This year’s celebration of Halloween will be different. Although it is still too soon to know anything about the rewards -which, last year at least, put a lot of people off- what we do know already sounds very promising: the Labyrinth and the Tower make their return, along with a long-forgotten dungeon! The fact that this two-week event coincides with the launch of the game’s first expansion can only bring tears of joy to every GW2 fan out there!
Some think that it is a baaaaaad idea to launch two content updates simultaneously. I agree in part; must be a developer’s (and support team’s) nightmare. On the other hand there are those who can see what Anet is trying to accomplish: free-to-play players and those who haven’t yet purchased the expansion will have something to keep them busy and, hopefully, excited – along with their brethren who will be enjoying and celebrating the new content in the Heart of Maguuma. In my book, this is a good thing. In the same book, there’s an underlined sidenote reading: “coming prepared will help both groups get the most of it!”. Let’s see how one can best prepare then, shall we?
Group A: “I do not own the expansion (yet)”
Whether you’re only just starting the game or wish to level a new character, the best place to be, hands down, is Mad King’s Labyrinth. Non-stop events and mindless, endless, breathless killing around the clock, guarantees loads of XP and ultra-fast levelling! Presuming the drop rate is close to what it was during the first appearance of Halloween and not last year’s, this is a player’s paradise. Get as buffed as possible -more on that later- join the ‘farm train’ and kill away! It is a good idea to have the most free space in your inventory (bags) you can and carry a Merchant Express or a Bank Access Express consumable with you.
If you are more of a PvP type of person, then you can try to eliminate the opposition in the Lunatic Inquisition arena. And if by any rare chance you are a masochistic jumping puzzle aficionado (…) you are welcome to try to ascend the Mad King’s Clock Tower!
Group B: “I am a proud owner of the expansion!”
Well then, good for you! I bet you can’t wait to dig your teeth into all the new stuff the Heart of Maguuma maps have to offer… Or not? If you, like me, opt to leave that until the Halloween events go away, then heed my suggestions 🙂
The main difference of interest here, between owners and non-owners of the HoT expansion, is Masteries. In short, those who own the expansion will be able to train in some Mastery (reward track) every time they level a character past level 80. Given the major role these will play in the new content -in Raids, in particular!- it is more than just a great idea to bring your level 80 character in the Labyrinth! Given the crazy rate at which one may level their characters here, it is beyond wise to take full advantage of it and gain as many Mastery points as possible.
One word of warning – call it a disclaimer if you wish: it is still unknown and debatable whether the ‘Mad King’s Realm’ will be considered as ‘Pact Tyria’ for the purposes of the Mastery system. Common sense suggests that it should, based on what ArenaNet said when announcing this system: “all PvE zones currenty available in the game” (i.e. anything pre-HoT) will be called ‘Pact Tyria’, as opposed to the expansion areas, called ‘Heart of Maguuma’.
Come prepared: buff up!
To take full advantage of the time you spend in the Labyrinth, there are a number of things you can and should do in preparation. I’ve already mentioned two: have as much empty space in your bags as you can and ensure access to a trader and/or bank, so you don’t have to leave the frey -and possibly end up on a different overflow when you return!
Beyond that, there are two statistics you should boost as much as possible: XP gain and Magic Find – for obvious reasons. Now, there are a number of sources for getting those boosts in the game, albeit temporarily. The list below is what I will be using, or at least try to ^_^
- Guild upgrade: +5% XP from kills (24h)
- Heroes banner: +10% XP from kills, +15% MF (30m)
- Ram’s Reward: +10% XP from kills (30m)
(from Lunar New Year Fireworks, can stack up to 2h)
- Birthday/Celebration Booster: +100% XP from kills, +100% MF (24h/1h)
- XP Booster: +50% XP from kills (2h)
- Metabolic Primer (12h)
+ Spicy Pumpkin Cookie (food): +15% XP from kills, +30% MF (30m)
- Utility Primer (12h)
+ Lump of Crystallized Nougat (+10% XP from kills, +30% MF), or
+ Flask of Pumpkin Oil (+10% XP from kills, +30% MF), or
+ Sharpening Skull (+10% XP from kills, +30% MF)
Total: +200% XP from kills , +175% MF !!!
NOTE: it is important that you consume the two ‘primers’ (Metabolic & Utility) before the food/utility you intend to use, in order to get the maximum duration for them!
I believe I have singled out the best of the lot, but I will be happy to hear your suggestions! Leave them in the comments area then, to make everyone wiser!