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Fairly regularly (and especially in Black Lion chests) I seem to be given tonics whose description says will transform me into an ooze or a moa or what have you for 15 minutes. It also says I can't attack anyone but am, presumably, still vulnerable. I think I read somewhere that enemies will ignore you, but I'm not sure about that.

So my question is, what's the point of these items? If I can't attack anyone for 15 minutes that's a good chunk of XP I'm losing out on. I also can't interact with merchants. If enemies do in fact ignore you then they would be good for a quick escape from a tough battle, but 15 minutes is far too long for that.

The only possible use I can see for these is in a big fight with lots of downed players - you could transform and go around reviving people without fear of attack. Doesn't seem that useful. Am I missing something?

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3 Answers 3

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Tonics now have two additional uses (at least, during the Halloween event);

1) They can be consumed to be turned into a mob, which has combat abilities in the Costume Brawls, which also have their own achievement track.

2) Mystery Tonics are part of a recipe for the Mystic Forge, which allows you to create Mad King's Chests (no BL Key required!). Six Mystery Tonics, a piece of Candy Corn, and two different boosters (Killstreak, Karma, Regen, Magic Find, etc.) will create the Mad King's Chest. These chests have a chance to drop rare Halloween weapon skins.

Note: Now that the Halloween event is over, the Mad King's Chests are no longer available for crafting. They may or may not be implemented again next year. Mystery Tonics still turn you into various creatures that participate in costume brawls.

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Cool, good to know! The boosts you mention - you mean sigils and stuff? I had a ton of low level sigils but I sold them last night :( –  Alex Oct 25 '12 at 8:32
    
The kind of boosts you get from Black Lion Chests. Armor, Movespeed, Health Regen, Magic Find, etc. The only boost you cannot use is the Killstreak Boost. Which, of course, is the least useful one available. –  Confuzzledmaniac Oct 26 '12 at 6:49
    
Ah, ok. No, didn't have any of those. Boo. Thanks though. I suggest you edit your answer to give those boost examples. –  Alex Oct 26 '12 at 8:53
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Doesn't matter, Killstreak Boosts are now included as a possible Boost to use in crafting the Mad King's Chest. –  Confuzzledmaniac Oct 27 '12 at 23:52

It's more for fun than anything else, really. To be used in towns and outposts primarily, e.g. during festivities. Don't try to read too much into it.

When you leave an area (or fast travel), the tonic wears out, so you are not tied to the 15' duration if you don't want to. You are indeed susceptible to damage.

Might also be linked to an achievement (can't look that up now).

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Hmm, disappointing. Seems entirely pointless. Had a look and in this thread they say there's no achievement tied to tonics as of a few weeks ago. –  Alex Oct 23 '12 at 15:28
    
Gathered as much. So it's indeed purely cosmetic. –  pleinolijf Oct 23 '12 at 17:15
    
Right now, during the Halloween event you can use them in the costume brawl? –  Gwen Oct 23 '12 at 17:48
    
Alternativley, you can get one that turns you into a baby quaggan which is adorable or even better you can get infinite tonics. Some people have reported tonics that will always turn them into furniture or trees. –  Emerica. Oct 23 '12 at 17:52
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@Gwen Costume Brawl is a permanent addition to the game and will be available whenever you're in Town Clothes/in tonic form after the event ends as well. –  FAE Oct 26 '12 at 1:28

Several changes have been made to tonics, and many new tonics were added since this question was asked. Here are some facts and uses for tonics as they exist today.

  • Not being able to interact with merchants while in tonic form was a bug that was fixed a long time ago.

  • Being in tonic form does not make enemies ignore you.

  • Tonics are primarily for aesthetic purposes.

  • All tonics (except for Growth Tonics and Hylek Potions) lock your normal skills, but some will provide Costume Brawl skills, which can be used to fight other players and progress the related achievement.

  • Tonics cannot be used in sPvP, but they can be used in WvW, where they can occasionally be used to trick enemies. For example, one time I was being chased by three enemy players while underwater, so I swam through some hostile NPCs, used my Endless Mystery Cat Tonic (which made me much smaller and harder to spot), and immediately doubled back between the enemies. They didn't see me turn around, which gave me enough time to get out of range and escape.

  • Tonics can also be used as equalizers for certain player-hosted events. For example, if you want to host a race through a jumping puzzle for your guild, you can have them all transform into plastic spiders for the race to negate any movement skill differences between classes or visibility differences between races.

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