Editorials

Wintersday Wonderland

Wintersday is upon us! The annual visit of Toymaker Tixx marks one of the grandest celebrations in Tyria. What was once a struggle between Dwayna, the goddess of life and Grenth, the god of death, has grown into a fabulous celebration of light and laughter; people gather from across Tyria to partake in the festivities. Although the most recent Wintersday celebration has been limited to Divinity’s Reach, once the frivolity stretched across Tyria with decorations and activities in every city. The genius asura toymaker Tixx in his floating workshop, the Infinirarium, visited every city in 1325 AE (2012). Now, he only docks in Divinity’s Reach. His arrival marks the beginning of the Wintersday celebration.

Divinity's Reach Decked Out for Wintersday

Divinity’s Reach Decked Out for Wintersday

Good Clean Fun

When Wintersday begins, there will be snow aplenty where we can build snowmen and have snowball fights! Walloping fellow Tyrians and innocent passersby with snowballs always brings laughter (well, I find it hilarious). Of course, it takes two to fight and only fellow Tyrians who are armed with a snowball will be able to participate, so if snowball fighting isn’t your thing, beware the piles of magic snow! For those seeking a snowball fight with a little more substance than randomly pelting NPCs and fellow players, there is also a team version where you and four others vie for gifts in a “capture the flag” romp! Choose your role – scout, heavy gunner, or support – and then prepare your icy ammunition. As the saying goes, he with the most toys wins! Of course, this Player vs. Player game, Snowball Mayhem, isn’t the only place to find presents.

In past years, giant presents could be found in abundance, scattered across Tyria. In a way, they illustrated the generosity of the season. However, adventurers who discovered them had to be cautious when opening them as they were likely to be full of malfunctioning toys that were jettisoned from Tixx’s floating workshop, the Infinirarium. The plush griffons, toy soldiers and princess dolls were surprisingly hard to kill. Toy golems and ventaris were no push-overs either. It’s no wonder the toymaker threw them overboard! Yet, opening them and defeating the rampaging toys inside gave nice rewards, making the trial worthwhile.

Snowball fights and presents aren’t the only treats awaiting us! There will be an amazing snowglobe jumping puzzle to challenge the nimblest players. This timed jumping puzzle is full of Wintersday-themed obstacles. Between timed jumping platforms and frostbite onset, it will keep people hopping. Its multiple sections include leaping on snowflakes and mint candies, traversing ledges and dodging giant snowballs before picking your way across a field of presents. Five warm fires mark the multiple paths a person can take up the snowflake towers. But be warned that once you move away from these fires, your health will begin dropping as an icy chill bites at you. This year, as every other, you will be able to find me huddled beside the fire between bouts of falling off the various obstacles.

800px-Winter_Wonderland

The musically inclined should head to the Bell Choir Ensemble, a rhythm game that allows players a chance to entertain the crowds as they play the bells. Each instance of the game has room for a dozen players and the songs offer a range of difficulties. All skill levels are welcome and, although points are awarded and players are ranked, the Bell Choir is not competitive. It is a game of skill. Practice makes perfect and the better a person plays, the more rewards that player earns. While everyone is different, I have found that the lower part is easiest, followed by the middle and then upper parts. For those interested, a permanent version of the Choir Bell exists and can be purchased from a Wintersday vendor. Once you are armed with a permanent instrument, you can search the web for “sheet music” for your instrument and learn new songs. In addition to the Choir Bell, other Wintersday-themed items are available from vendors and the Black Lion Trading Post. These include a number of lighthearted weapon skins, winter themed dyes and PvP finishers. Warm clothes, miniatures, and special items for guild halls are also available.

1325 AE, Tixx visited Lion's Arch along with all the other major cities bringing toys for everyone.

1325 AE, Tixx visited Lion’s Arch along with all the other major cities bringing toys for everyone.

The Workshop of Toymaker Tixx

When Tixx’s ship docks this year, as before, those who enter are in for a unique treat. Helping the genius toymaker create his amazing inventions is an annual opportunity that should not be missed. Your efforts may be thwarted by malfunctioning equipment, renegade clockwork toys, and thieving stowaway skritt, and, the five phases of the Infinirarium dungeon leave one wanting to break things! And, quite often, that is exactly what happens. Happily, nearly every piece of scenery in the Infinirarium is breakable and destroying everything grants achievement points. Be warned though, some scenery is harder to hit than others, especially with a ranged weapon, and there are likely to be one or two random trees that survive the destruction. Yet, Tixx’s generosity knows no bounds and, despite the havoc, he is more than happy to reward those who help him. Once the toys are created, they are packed onto a small herd of dolyaks and prepared for delivery. With so many gifts in one place, the dolyaks require a high degree of protection and during the Toypocalypse challenge, you and your fellow Tyrians are charged with that special honor.

Storylines and surprises wend their way into these happenings but the staples of Wintersday in Tyria remain unchanged. They are welcome traditions that offer merriment and light-hearted fun. For several years now, war-torn cities have used Wintersday as a time to collect donations and our citizens have proven time and again that they are very generous. Last year, fearless adventurers were able to help secure presents for some needy orphans and thwart the efforts of a grumpy grawl. This year, with the war in Maguuma, the need for generous giving continues and players will be able to give special wrapped presents to the orphans, earning good karma.

Today, the celebration of life and laughter that Wintersday brings is more important than ever before. The war in Maguuma has left Tyria weary and desolate, but fun and laughter will soon descend upon Divinity’s Reach and everyone is welcome to join in the festivities. The music, magic, and mayhem of Wintersday is sure to brighten the darkest days.

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