In my opinion, Halloween 2004 was a fantastic event. It saw groups of players gather outside of zone doors, clicking on them for the treats and tricks they contained. Broadcasts would go out across the zone every time an Eochai – a giant pumpkin headed monster – appeared. It was a fun occasion and the first time such an event had been run. I’m sure that novelty contributed a lot to the success of this event.

Now, for Halloween 2006, a similar event to the Halloween 2004 event has (and is, until November 1) been implemented. While the basics are the same – click on doors, get Tricks or Treats and “arrest” certain mob types for badges – there have been some changes. These changes have been the offering of a reward of an extra costume slot for the collection of the right kinds of Trick salvage and the inclusion of Jack-in-Irons as a Halloween Giant Monster (GM).

I won’t discuss much about the basic Trick or Treating for this event – it’s easiest done in a group and running between a few sets of doors, but can also be soloed if you have the patience – because it’s pretty much the same as two years ago. If you did the event in 2004, this door-clicking doesn’t really hold much of a surprise for you, but is still mostly fun. Those who joined after Halloween 2004 will probably find Halloween in Paragon City / the Rogue Isles to be a nice change of pace from the usual missions / trials / task and strike forces.

The changes are what make this event interesting to me. Firstly, requiring special Treat salvage to unlock the extra character slot was a nice touch, especially since it is so common. It took me about forty five minutes to get three of the four necessary types of Treat salvage (Recluse Halloween Mask, Statesman Halloween Mask, Hamidon Costume) from solo door clicking. I traded for the final item (Back Alley Brawler Gloves) for a spare piece of Treat salvage and that was that – a quick trip to Croatoa and my main had an additional costume slot. The ease and brevity in completing this reward made it a lot of fun to do and, as was pointed out to me, an extra costume slot is something “everyone” wants and can find use for on a character. Also, because Treat salvage collection was so easy, it also means that altoholics can collect up as much salvage as they need to unlock the extra costume slot without too much effort.

For this, the Halloween 2006 event receives a big tick.

The availability of Jack-in-Irons has been met with a less warm reception from a lot of players. There is a 10% chance Jack will spawn in a 20+ zone when Eochai (a Giant Monster who is only beaten by Paris Hilton in it’s ability to appear everywhere at once) is defeated. Jack requires some luck to uncover and some players have complained of hunting GMs for hours to not find him.

My experience on this has been very different. Out of 5 CoH sessions (averaging about 3 hours) I’ve played since the Halloween 2006 event started, I have been involved in GM teams that have defeated Jack in every one. In some cases I formed the teams myself, sidekicking players who needed it and sending /t messages based off the “Find Member” screen. Other times I just accepted an invite and did my bit. Since you need to defeat Eochai to get Jack, the GM team would take out as many Eochais as necessary to spawn Jack.

Also, we didn’t hide the fact that we were going to be fighting Jack. Once our team had assembled, we’d broadcast that we had Jack and heroes would appear from everywhere to take him on. It was an impressive thing to see around 24 heroes go to town on a Giant Monster.

I believe the only people who can gripe about the 10% chance of spawning Jack are badge junkies who are also altoholics. For players who have to get every badge on every character. That I can see as being a tedious exercise in frustration. For most other players, provided you can get a GM Jack spawn at some point in the two week time periord the event was run, you’ll get this badge.

Overall, Halloween 2006 is a good follow-up to Halloween 2004 and among the best seasonal events organised by Cryptic in the CoH/V universe. I do understand that it can be frustrating that they can’t find / defeat Jack right now, but if players are able to come back later on, it really isn’t that hard to find Jack and his Iron Warrior badge.

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