'Twas late in the night, and throughout Rata Sum
not a creature was stirring -- no, not even one.
The garlands were laid out, the decorations prepared,
for, on the morrow, Wintersday would be there.
The progeny slumbered, snug in their beds,
while schematics of golems danced in their heads.
I'd bid goodnight to my krewe and turned off my station
and made myself ready for light hibernation
when from outside my lab there arose such a clatter
I sent my VAL-A to see what was the matter.
It rose at my bidding and trundled outside
and called out, "ALERT. DISTURBANCE UN-I-DEN-TI-FIED."
I went outside, quite perturbed, to see what could be there
for which my VAL-A was so unprepared.
It didn't take long to find the source of the noise:
There were two festive golems, both rounding up toys!
There were hundereds of toys, all perambulating
toward the hold of an airship, which stood open, waiting.
A kindly old genius watched the toys prance about
until he lost patience, and at last he cried out:
"These toys have got places to go, as have I,
so get to it, LAK-Y! Toxx, bring them inside!
I think you've all capered about long enough.
Time's of the essence; we've got to be off!"
The toys would not be corralled but insisted on dancing --
they continued cavorting and running and prancing.
There were gear-driven moas and skritt made of tin,
loud-croaking hylek and fiery djinn.
At great length they were all rounded up in the hold
'til just one toy quaggan was left out in the cold.
It looked round, smiled, and (giggling with glee)
ran through the snow and straight up to me!
A miniature quaggan, it was perfectly modeled,
right down to the swing of its tail as it waddled.
It seemed quite pleased to have escaped apprehension
'til along came the maker of this delightful invention.
His ears were quite long, his eyes seemed to twinkle,
and when he moved, his toolbelt jingled.
On his shoulder he carried a bag full of tricks;
I knew him at once: the Toymaker Tixx.
"I see that this toy's taken a liking to you.
Please keep it," he said. (The quaggan just cooed.)
"Oh, I can't take it; it's meant for another.
These toys are for children!" I managed to sputter.
"There's no shame in liking," said he, "childish things --
I'm an expert in the cheer that childishness brings.
There's dark days about us, and darker to come.
Why not fight darkness with a smidgen of fun?
"Those dragons need fighting, and fight them you shall,
but for now, have some peace with your new quaggan pal,
for although it is just in the form of a toy,
all of us, even heroes, can do with more joy."
So saying, he left us (my quaggan and I)
to wave his infinirarium goodbye.
And just as the airship rose out of sight,
my quaggan companion gave me a heck of a bite.
The end of the year is a busy time for everyone, whether it's because you're out visiting family, cramming every sugar-laden calorie possible into your body, or wrapping up projects and working valiantly to meet deadlines. That can make it difficult to squeeze in time for Guild Wars 2 -- so how do you make the most of what little time you can get in-game? I'm glad you asked! Just as in the Halloween update, there's a title associated with the Wintersday festivities. It's a title that tracks achievements, and in order to get it, you need 12 of the 14 or so available Wintersday achievements. You've got just over a week from today to rack up achievement points. So what's the best use of your time if you want to be an Apprentice Toymaker?
A few rounds of the Bell Choir activity will net you two achievements: Ring in the Season and Become the Bells. You'll have to play 500 correct notes and play through 10 songs; that means at least two full rounds, possibly three or four if you're struggling a little at getting the notes properly. Bell Choir will reward you with a number of presents based on your performance, so there's a perk there.
Completing the Wintersday jumping puzzle will earn you only one of your 12 necessary achievements, but it's relatively simple. The puzzle is timed but not overly tricky. You can run it once a day for the shiny reward of a booster or tonic, a karma consumable, and a few crafting snowflakes. Subsequent runs will get you three gift boxes.
If PvP is your thing, the capture the flag-style Snowball Mayhem is a pretty quick way to pick up titles. I was able to nab the Gift Bringer achievement in just two rounds. Depending on your boldness, Gift Stopper might take a couple of extra tries, as you've got to get the final blow on a gift-bearing opponent.
Tixx's Wondrous Workshop
You've pretty much got to head into the workshop instance at some point. Now that Tixx is in Lion's Arch, you can go back and do any day's event that you like. Each day gets a little more complicated than the day before, so if time's of the essence, you'll probably want to run however many of the five instances you need in the order that they were created. Tixx visited the Grove, Divinity's Reach, the Black Citadel, Hoelbrak, and Rata Sum in that order. That's five achievements right there, with a sixth if you smash every single miniature piece of Tixx's diorama. This is easiest to do if you just hang back after the instance is completed; you won't have to worry about mobs spawning on you. The Workshop instance, as well as Toypocalypse (which we'll address in a second), will also earn you credit toward the monthly "Buster of the Busted" achievement for killing malfunctioning toys.
This has only been available since Tixx arrived in Lion's Arch and can get you two achievements (in addition to helping out with Buster of the Busted). You're defending gift-bearing dolyaks from onslaughts of malfunctioning toys. Make it through 10 rounds without losing all of the five gift dolyaks for the first achievement; survive a total of 50 waves of foes for the second. The first achievement used to require that all five dolyaks survive to the end of the 10 rounds; now you can keep just one alive and be fine.
The achievement for building snowmen throughout the world is probably the worst return on your time. You've got to build 50 snowmen out of piles of Magic Snow, and the snow isn't exactly everywhere.
Have a very merry Wintersday, everybody!