Wintersday: First Impressions

I won't be writing any guides for the Wintersday event. A lot of other sites already have guides for a lot of the holiday content already up. My favourite site for up-to-date guides for Guild Wars 2 is Dulfy's MMO Blog and Guides. He usually is among the first to have a quality guide up when new content is dropped. I also find he is the quickest to update his existing pages when new things are learned. With that said for guides, just head over to Dulfy's Wintersday page or his event page. Below I have my first impressions of the various activities that have been made available to us for Wintersday.

Jumping Puzzle - Inside the Snow Globe

Compared with the jumping puzzle for Halloween, the Christmas puzzle was a walk in the park. Like the clock tower, this Wintersday puzzle is also a race against time in an instanced zone across torturous terrain. A difference is that there are a number of different starting positions this time around. This has the effect of spreading the active players out. Clearly Anet has learned from Halloween that players like to be able to see there characters when running a puzzle likes this.

This is not the only thing that makes this puzzle easier. The race against the clock is not so frantic. The platforms do disappear behind you and your life slowly ticks away, but the amount of time you are given to finish the puzzle is more than enough. The jumps seem to be a lot cleaner than the clock tower as well. Most of the times I fell in the clock tower it was due to the often confusing and uneven surfaces or getting caught on a weird edge. In this new puzzle all the surfaces are flat and there are no weird edge to get caught on.

The reward at the end, a booster and some karma, felt appropriate for the challenge. I really enjoyed the dancing gingerbread men cheering for you in the victory area. The fact that you can repeat the puzzle each day is also nice. Being able to see other players jumping from the start area is also a cool addition. I do feel that Arena Net has made improvements since the last holiday. The puzzle could have been more difficult though. In the future though I would like to see a hard mode and an easy mode to keep all players happy. For example, the hard mode for Wintersday puzzle could include slippery surfaces, a faster timer, and/or more wind traps.

Snowball Fights

The first day I got into the Wintersday content I spent about 3 hours playing this game. It is a fun distraction, but that is about all it is. It is not terribly well balanced, and most people just fight each other as opposed to doing for the objectives. There are a lot of laughs to be had though. The support classes snowball move is hilarious. I trolled with just this move for at least half an hour. The scouts sniper skill was a hoot, and I used it to put down a good number of people. I did not enjoy the heavy gunner. I could not get used to the slow movement when your gun is pulled out. In the end I finished up my achievements for this game and moved on to something else. It is always neat seeing how easy it is for Arena Net to add new weapons to the game.

Bell Choir and Music

The Bell Choir event entertained me for another couple of hours, and I have since gone back and played it some more. It is basically Guitar Hero in Guild Wars 2 with bells. Timing the notes is a little different though. In Bell Choir you have to press the note after it has crossed the line. This through me off for a while, and I still find myself pressing notes early. If I could change anything I would make the songs longer. The short 10-15 second songs isn't enough to get into the grove.

Along with the Bell Choir they have also added a bell item into the game which lets you play music anywhere in the world. There are two varieties, an infinite use and a single use. I find this interesting since this is something I suggested they add into the game a little over a week ago. I hope this is just the tip of the ice berg, and I hope we move towards seeing something similar to what Lord of the Rings: Online has for music.


As of the writing of this article I have had the opportunity to participate in three of the five Tixx dungeons; the Asura, the Human, and the Charr events. The first two were fun and unique, but the third was just a rehashing of the events from the first two. I found this disappointing, but I have high hopes for more unique content in the last two days. The rewards were not that nice, at least, it was not as good as the Mad King dungeon. A lot of the fun I had with the Mad King dungeon was running it multiple times with guildies. The events in this dungeon were also kind of frustrating to repeat making multiple runs not on the top of the list of things to do.

The really nice thing about this dungeon is the map. It is amazing with a lot of details. Little castles, and towns, trees and forests all of which is breakable. Sometimes it was easy to forget you are inside a blimp, that is until you get to the edges of the map which are set up like a set from a play, complete with a back stage. You can even get up into the flight deck with Tixx and Toxx. I spent a good amount of time just looking at all detail put into this map.


Arena Net has added a lot with this patch. It is great to see that they have also learned from the things people did not like in the last holiday event. This gives me great hope going into the future that we will see better and better stuff in the coming months. The world in Guild Wars 2 continues to change, as evidenced by the half restored fountain in Lion's Arch. Arena Net continues to build a history within Tyria with its players. This makes it exciting to think about the future to the day when you can say, I remember when that statue was destroyed and they had to rebuild it, or I remember the day Karka walked the streets of Lion's Arch.

There is a lot to write about, and I can not talk about everything in one article. I have so many screenshots from all around the world. There are some many people in Christmasy outfits. It is great to see everyone getting into the spirit of things. The cities have never been more active. I am not sure this will hold out past the holidays, but if Arena Net keeps adding more custom clothing and things like the choir bell I am sure we will see active towns as a regular thing. As I have talked about in two previous articles this is something that I think Guild Wars 2 is lacking. I have played a number of other MMOs and the town areas are always full of activity with people duelling  guilds hanging out playing games, people chatting  etc. It is nice to see this changing, and hopefully it starts to last outside of the holidays. Keep enjoying the holiday events. I will keep trying to post more about what is going on and all the changes.

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