You've also got plenty of opportunity to finish up the storyline and the associated achievements, but it's probably more fun to get it done while it's fresh. With that in mind, I've written up a guide to help you chase off that whiny Thorn kid before the trick-or-treaters come knocking.
Raiding the reliquary
I'll start off by issuing a public apology to Edrick Thorn: In last week's column I speculated that he'd been killed by the same vengeful mob that did away with his father, and I made fun of him for being a murderous jerk who brought his demise upon himself. According to the short story The Family Business, the truth is a little more complicated -- and he hates being called any diminutive form of his name. I'm sorry for calling you "Ed," Your Royal Highness Bloody Prince Edrick "Painlord" Thorn, and for jumping to conclusions about the circumstances of your death. Your dad is a piece of work.
Edrick is still a murderous jerk, though, so I'm going to continue to make fun of him. He'll earn the right to be taken seriously when he gives the bad cosplay and village-burning a rest.
You should have a letter in your mailbox from Magister Tassi, who first appeared to uncover the history of Mad King Thorn during last year's Halloween event and later sold her energy-detecting gizmo to Marjory Delaqua for use in the Dragon Bash murder investigation. Tassi is continuing her study of Mad King Thorn's reign, and she's already gone ahead and found a dangerous artifact that vaporizes people when meddled with. She's from the Durmand Priory, and that's what we do. It's in the rule book and everything.
Tassi wants you to head to Haunted Nolani in the Black Citadel to help her out. If you haven't fully completed the map for the Black Citadel, this can be an intimidating prospect; it's one of the most frustrating cities to navigate because Charr don't believe in marking map layers the way other cultures do. As a result, the Black Citadel has around three distinct floors, but the map looks flat at a glance. You might find yourself running the short distance to the living story marker from the Asura gate waypoint only to find that actually getting down into Haunted Nolani is impossible from there.
Your goal is the Haunted Nolani waypoint, which will be highlighted for you if you click the "Show Me" button in Tassi's mail. Getting there on foot is, fortunately, a lot easier than it looks: Head in a circle from the Ligacus Aquilo waypoint at the Asura gate around the core of the Black Citadel, passing through the Perimeter Loop. Hit the marked down elevator above the Gladium Canton first, and then a second down elevator in the Canton will drop you in the Ruins of Rin. From there it's a short jog north to Haunted Nolani.
Edrick is immune to damage, although he's not particularly dangerous. He will hurt you if you get too close to him, and he has a nasty knockback, so it's probably a good idea to have a ranged weapon on hand to keep him distracted. Eventually he'll spawn a few weak reinforcements from haunted doors; after those are defeated, Tassi will suggest throwing anything you can find at Edrick to see if it sticks. Remember how he died -- and what the room is full of -- and you'll unlock the key to containing him... although flinging a few cow pies at him might be cathartic, so go wild.
Completing the instance will grant you Tassi's Relay Golem, which you can summon to get updates on your progress. The next part will take some time: You'll need to complete the Blood and Madness meta achievement to get the mini candy corn elemental Tassi wants.
Not all of the 13 sub-achievements required are available at this stage of the story, so you'll have to fill in the gaps by doing Halloween daily achievements. I'm a little iffy on the time-gating aspect of recent meta achievements, although I guess it's a good way to sprinkle in the "click X number of Y item" bits -- like carving pumpkins in Lion's Arch or the Mad King's Labyrinth, or eating candy corn -- without asking us to run around repetitively hunting them down outright. It turns those grindy achievements from a chore into basically a daily freebie, since many of them are quick and easy, but at the same time the system ensures that you'll need to log in for a few days' worth of dailies before you can unlock everything.
The good news is that most of the sub-achievements for A Sweet Friend can be completed within a stop in the Mad King's Labyrinth. You'll pick up Containment for helping Tassi in the Reliquary, and PvP fans can finish A Stomping Good Time in structured PvP or World vs. World if you've got the finishers; they drop rarely in the labyrinth and you'll get a free temporary scarecrow finisher for helping Tassi (although it's good for only five stomps). You can knock out your eight games of Lunatic Inquisition by talking to Rasmus in Lion's Arch or various starting area locations -- he's marked by a pumpkin icon on the map. Apart from that, you'll want to find an open haunted door to the Mad Realm in Queensdale, Kessex Hills, or Gendarran Fields and make your way into the labyrinth proper via the portal stone in the lobby area.
The Mad King's Labyrinth is a dangerous place, and earning the Death to the Undying, Bonebreaker, and Candy Corn Crusher achievements means defeating legendary-level foes: the Labyrinthine Horror, the Skeletal Lich, and the Grand High Viscount of Candy Corn. There's usually a group of players farming the labyrinth, hitting the bosses as they spawn and taking out any other haunted door events that pop up. Joining up with a farming group is a good way to grab trick-or-treat bags for Something Good to Eat as well as giving you a steady supply of door events for Shut the Doors and candy corn nodes for various candy corn-related purposes. On top of that, it's a great way to level alts if you're cool with running around in circles beating up on Halloween novelty items.
The labyrinth is also the go-to place to bear witness to more family drama between Edrick and his father (Fred Tatasciore is back to voice the Mad King, and he's still great). Don't get me wrong; Oswald Thorn has very few rivals for the crown of King Total Malicious Evil Jerkface of Tyria, but it's clear that the candied apple didn't fall far from the dead tree. Edrick would seem almost sympathetic given his abusive upbringing, except that he's just as interested in wanton destruction as his father is. The only real difference is that he doesn't have much of a sense of humor about it.
Once you've earned your candy corn elemental, take it back to Tassi at the Reliquary and you'll get to slam the lid on Edrick in a second instanced fight. Standing in pools of that sticky stuff Edrick hates will allow you to damage him, and you can bring along friends to help get the achievements Beaten Bloody and Upset Stomach. As in the final Clockwork Chaos story instance, only one member of your group needs to have access through the meta achievement in order to enter, so finding someone to tag along with might be your best bet if you're short on time to complete A Sweet Friend.
Boxing up Edrick will grant you a candy corn node for your home instance, ensuring that you can maintain the cycle of eating too much and getting sick to your stomach all year round! Ah, that holiday magic. Unless, of course, you have better uses for it...
Safety tip: Remember to have an adult check your candy before trading it for weaponry
The vendor who will accept your candy corn for Halloween-themed prizes is located in Lion's Arch next to the Fort Marriner laurel merchant. He'll also trade simple versions of chattering skulls, nougat centers, and plastic fangs for high-quality versions that can be used to discover the recipes for the classic Halloween weapon skins. This is a great way to move the (probably literal) tons of candy corn and other Halloween materials we farmed last year off of the trading post, but for people starting from scratch it's a daunting task: Refined versions require 1,000 of each material. That's not as bad as it initially appeared due to a typo in the patch notes, but it's still no relaxing hayride.
There are also several new weapon skins that can be bought with Black Lion claim tickets. I was hopeful last week that we wouldn't see more lockbox-based weapon skins in this year's event, but I had a feeling they were probably coming. On the plus side, there are only a handful of them, and they're available through the trading post. Trading post access to lockbox skins is the one concession that's kept me from grinding my teeth down; I'm perfectly happy with farming up the gold just as I would for any other high-end skin as long as gambling isn't the only way to get it.
As for me, I'm off to beat my head against the Mad King's Clock Tower and debate whether or not to spend actual money on an adorable miniature ghostie quaggan. What are your thoughts on this year's event? Have you given your input on the forum thread for collaborative development topics? Are you excited for the new Edge of the Mists WvW map? Let us know in the comments, and I'll see you in Kessex Hills!
Anatoli Ingram suffers from severe altitis, Necromancitosis, and Guild Wars 2 addiction. The only known treatment is writing Massively's weekly Flameseeker Chronicles column, which is published every Tuesday. His conditions are contagious, so contact him safely at firstname.lastname@example.org. Equip cleansing skills -- just in case.