I question how well the tower was tested before they rolled it out. It was designed for single players, and it shows with the large number of complaints about the mass of people at the beginning and the griefing that went on. Glad you captured both of those, and coincidentally, you beat it with only one other person running with you. I had the same experience, not finishing it until I was only running with two other people, none of them Charr or Norn.
What should have been an enjoyable puzzle was marred by these problems as well as technical glitches like the camera going wiggy, random resets, lagging during the cutscene voiding entire runs, and network errors when trying to switch instances while in a group. There were a lot of complaints about the timer, but I don't think that would have been an issue if it were a solo instance since the thing that made the timer drag on was waiting for everyone else to finish.
I'd give it a C overall: nice idea, good visuals and music, piss-poor implementation. I'm a little surprised by the dev's comments that he expected people to go in, maybe get to the first chest and decide it wasn't for them. I've never seen a holiday event with that mindset, and I think that fueled the rage. The expectation of holiday events as casual-friendly things to do with a holiday themed social reward was radically different than a timed, group race that was only around for a week whose creator only expected 5% of the players to finish.
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