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You don't need keys to unlock an HOS within your private rooms. They will activate automatically when the event is running. If you click on an HOS in a private room while the event isn't running, you'll see a message that it isn't available until next year.
You will need keys to unlock a new private room. You also need keys to unlock the "furniture" in your private rooms (usually multiple keys, like 3-6 keys, to unlock a single piece of furniture and there are usually 3-4 pieces of furniture in a new room). You will never need keys to visit a friend's private room or play the HOS in their rooms.
I try to keep at least 35 golden keys on hand before an event. That way when an event starts I can open everything immediately and not be working on key quests while the special event is running. That is personal preference of course, you can play the HOS whether you unlock furniture or not.
You also want at least 40 friends because you can play the HOS (or multiple ones, some rooms have 3) in their private rooms every day. Once you hit maximum rank in a special event HOS, you are getting 100+ coins in addition to the standard HOS rewards. That adds up and comes in awfully handy.
I'll send you a friend request and I can send you stamps when I rotate to your turn for gifts.
Hope this helps and happy gaming!
Oh, and you won't need to unlock your albums in order to collect the ghosts. Unlocking an album in your room allows visitors to see your collections, that's all.
If anyone can give me some help understanding how to navigate this event, I would be grateful. Also, are there event pets that only are "gettable" or able to be crafted during this event, and if so, how do I find them?
First, the MC Game Guide contains quite a bit of information about to the special events (Fall, Winter, Spring) and the private rooms. Start with message 32 (Seasonal Events) and read through 44 (all located on page 3 of the Guide). Link to page 3 is: http://forums.delphiforums.com/midnightcastle/messages/109/31
In short, there was first the original room...there are no HOSs in this room. Later came the event rooms. Since Fall is upon us soon, I'll keep my comments here relative to the Halloween Rooms.
It will require 1 Golden Key from a Trina Quest to open each of the private rooms. I would suggest that as a first time player, you first open the last Halloween Room (we currently have 3; I would expect a 4th to be issued for this year. If that's the case, scroll through the Halloween Rooms until you get to Halloween Room 4.) After that, I would suggest that you open the first Halloween Room.
Why? ...Each of the Halloween Rooms will yield different items necessary to craft the pets issued during that event season. Most players will have the newest room open at the beginning, then they will generally alternate through the rooms so newer players can get some of the previous pet parts. Historically, the first Halloween room has 3 HOSs; each new Halloween Room has only 1 HOS. ....since the first Halloween Room has 3 HOSs, you can get more coins from playing the rooms in this private room. All of the Halloween Rooms will yield 250 coins when maxed out.
The default rendering of each of the private rooms is sufficient for being able to play the HOSs; the HOSs are all activated at the beginning of the event and then closed when the event concludes. However, if you press the "off" button at the bottom center of the page, you will see "slots" that can be unlocked for additional Golden Keys. These slots will contain "upgrades" for purchasing with either diamonds, shards, or coins.
Please read the section about Trina and The Private Room (included in the posts recommended above), because there's a list of all the slots in all of the private rooms, the number of keys needed to unlock those slots, and a description with the cost for what upgrades are included in each slot. With this knowledge and seeing some of the changes made by other players, you can determine if you want to spend the coins/shards/diamonds. (I would recommend that new players pass on the upgrades until they get maxed in the game, have plenty of coins/diamonds/shards to spare, and want to make personal changes to the rooms).
Most people who have been playing for several years have additional pet parts to help you get any pets from previous seasons. Look in the Pet part of the Lab for a pet that you may reeeeeeellly want to get, see what item is required, and put that item on your wish list.
During the events, there will be "flying objects" at each location....for Fall, they will be "ghosts." There is an album for ghosts that will show you all the ghosts that can be collected from previous years. Your Ghost Album will be included on your pull-out tab during an event; however, if you want to display your album to others, you will need to unlock the Gargoyle (in most of the private rooms). Unlocking that slot requires 0 Golden Keys, but each book in that slot will cost 1 shard to open. It isn't necessary to display your book to others; it's just personal choice.
You will need "ghost traps" to capture a ghost. The Ghost Traps will be given to you randomly as you complete HOSs. When completing an HOS, you will also receive an event item. Without listing all, they will include Black Candy, Orange Candy, Toffee Apple.....click on the children at the Castle Gates when the event starts to see all of them...and be sure to use the arrows to scroll to the right to see all in the list as only a portion are displayed. You can trade these items with the children for the Ghost Traps. Or if you run out and want to capture a ghost, you will be given the opportunity to purchase one with diamonds.
I do not recommend new players spend precious diamonds on Ghost Traps to collect ghosts. You will not be able to collect all that are available from this upcoming event and previous years during one season. They add no game value; you will get duplicates. The only "benefit" will be rewards received from the Achievements associated with the collection of the various ghost types.
There's much more I could explain, but this should be a good start.....especially if you'll please read the recommended posts from the MC Game Guide.
Thank you SO much! That info was incredibly helpful!!!!!
I just want to add - there is a way of getting all the ghosts in one season (I did it, with all 3 of the events) - it involves paying attention to which rooms certain ghosts appear in and watching what route they take - as they almost always appear on a certain track - meaning what room they show up in next. Once you figure out the path, you can be selective on what ghosts to capture, knowing if the one you want is in the room or not. :)
So definitely collect as many ghost traps as you can get, if that is of interest to you (to catch all the ghosties) - and put them on your wish list for friends to give. :)
ETA: Also want to say - be sure and build up to then keep at least 20 of the ghost traps (or any item) - the game drops more frequently when you have at least 20. :)
Also, it might be too late in the season to accumulate enough ghost traps to get all the ghosts - I had about a hundred when I started - had put the item on my wish list months before the fall event started, at the great advice of friends here.
With that said - go ahead and put holiday wand on your wish list and start building them up - you will need them to catch the spirits for your album in the Christmas event, which starts only a couple of weeks after the fall one ends. :)