Today marks the start of Guild Wars 2's Wintersday celebration and we had the chance to ask the developers a few questions on the three-week celebrations that are set to descend on Tyria. Wintersday celebrations started back in the original Guild Wars back in 2005, but these are probably the most elaborate festivities to date.
"It's been 250 years since Guild Wars 1 and the Gods are gone and the traditional Wintersday festival involved the Gods so we wanted to come up with something new and fun for Guild Wars 2," said Steven Waller, coordinator for the holiday team at developer Arenanet. "The minute that the Wintersday goes live on December 14 people are going to have access to all kinds of different fun holiday themed new content."
"I think holidays are a really great way to sort of get away from the serious side of Guild Wars 2, and explore more stuff," said Anthony Ordon, principal designer on the Halloween and Wintersday events. "I think a lot of the team wanted to get some different concepts into the game so with all these different activities, I mean we basically have an activity that's Guitar Hero, a rhythm music game, so there's a lot of different variety - quite a bit different than what standard Guild Wars is all about."
"We definitely took that idea in for Wintersday and you know Halloween specifically is a little darker and we wanted to make sure that people were going to have some holiday fun. It's just totally kind of a holiday gift to our fans really. It's something that we think would be a lot of fun for them to play over the course of three weeks. It's kind of a thank you to all the fans," said Waller.
At the centre of the Wintersday celebration is Lion's Arch where Zommoros, an eccentric djinn, has transformed the Forge into a giant snow globe. This is where you will be able to partake in 3 festive holiday themed mini-games - Winter Wonderland (a jumping puzzle), Snowball Mayhem (PvP snowball fight), and Bell Choir (a music based mini-game that brings Guitar Hero to mind).
"Winter Wonderland is a crazy jumping puzzle, it's an environment that's kind of like a snowy theme park. It's dangerous but it's also really, really fun and it will certainly get your blood pumping" said Waller.
"Snowball Mayhem and that's a snowball fight done Tyria style. You can get frozen, hit on the head with a stack of presents or run over by a giant snowball among other things," Waller continues.
"The Bell Choir activity is a musical game that's hopefully going to get everybody in holiday spirits. And people will be ringing in the new year," Waller concludes.
Toymaker Tixx will be making stops in five of the major cities before settling in Lion's Arch - the instances you'll experience in his ship are specific for each time, but later you will get to experience all of them in Lion's Arch. Each experience centres around one specific item created by Tixx and upon completion of one segment players will get the recipe needed to create the item in question. You will be able to amass materials for two of the five items - so there's a choice there for players, even if Arenanet promised that the other items would be made available in some other way (item shop?) for players who want them all.
The official Wintersday schedule:
• Friday, 14 December - Wintersday begins with a holiday-themed Lion's Arch, numerous mini-games, presents falling from the sky and more.
• Saturday, 15 December 15, 19:00 CET (20:00 GMT) - Tixx the Toymaker will make his first appearance at The Grove followed by stops at every capital for one day (24 hours) each. Tixx will then stop by at Divinity's Reach (Dec 16), Black Citadel (Dec 17), Hoelbrak (Dec 18), Rata Sum (Dec 19)
• Thursday, 20 December, 19:00 CET (20:00 GMT) - Tixx the Toymaker's airship will hover over Lion's Arch and remain there until Wintersday ends.
• Thursday, 3 January 3 19:00 CET (20:00 GMT) - The Wintersday event ends.