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Thursday, September 30, 2010

PR Spam is Wild

Things are starting to ramp up for my trip over to Kingsisle and GDC Online.

You should see the amount of PR spam from game companies I'm getting after receiving a press pass. I actually got invited to a party by Zynga, the makers of Mafia Wars and Farmville. "Open bar" doesn't excite me since I don't drink. But Dj D:fuse on the other hand seems pretty nice!



I have a skeleton of what I want to do over there, but hopefully a few cool people are going to be dragging me around . . . or I could just go back to the hotel and use the network to play some 101 with the family. Take it low key. /shrug

Most of the PR Spam I'm getting is from companies with booths asking me to drop by and maybe schedule a time to interview a key person from their company.

Possibly the most interesting I've gotten so far is this note from ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers):
"With all of the popular online, multi-player games, it’s easy to see how important the Internet is to the gaming industry. However, there is a problem facing the Internet today: we are almost out of IPv4 addresses (the address protocol widely used today). Once those IPv4 addresses are gone, some gamers may not have a direct connection with their online games, causing anything from a slight delay to a character’s sudden demise.

Luckily there is a solution: IPv6 – the next generation of Internet Protocol. IPv6 adoption should be a key aspect in all gaming companies’ management plans. By adopting IPv6, they can ensure that all gamers will have a direct connection and the best gaming experience possible."

Um, not that I would ever champion a cause for IPv6, but as a gamer I would hope online game companies would step it up if their players were losing connection because of this issue? (There, ARIN, consider your cause championed!)

This is the kind of stuff GDCO seems all about. Things that gaming companies are incredibly interested in. Like, monetization. You know those game cards you can buy everywhere. There's a few companies who are producing those game cards for video game companies, and they will be there at GDCO. Companies that are interested in hosting video games. Companies that provide Cloud computing. Companies that provide "tools and resources to make innovative and successful games" for independent game developers. *light bulb* Hmmmm, must be why they call it a "Game Developers Conference." *light bulb*

I am moderately interested in all that stuff, but I'm most interested in getting some Swag on the floor of the expo at GDCO and hitting a few key lectures. The Production track seems to be the most interesting to me at this point, which just happens to coincide with the Session that J. Todd Coleman and Josef Hall are giving, "From SHADOWBANE to WIZARD101: A Tale of Two Cities". I'm also incredibly interested in listening to a session about "Battle.net:a postmortem" from a couple of Blizzard Technical Gurus.

There's a few others that look hot as well. I'll keep you guys informed. Thanks for reading!

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Isaiah, Rowan, and Moira Enter Dragonspyre!

This is our latest team we've been pulling through the game:


Those darn meddling kids there foiled the Jade Oni, patched up old Emperor Yoshi, and smiled big for the camera. Hai.

The next big fight is Cyrus's throwdown, which is kind of like a Bobby Flay throwdown, only without as many calories and significantly less hair on the star of the show.

We all ran in to the Myth Tower at the same time and managed to get in the same fight together. YAY. IT WORKED! They each got a chance to toss a spell or two at old baldy as well. Rowan kicked us off with an attack from her fatezilla pet.


Next, Moira had a wraith up her sleeve.


In the last round, Rowan used a prismed baldy vs. baldy attack . . .


. . . and Isaiah threw down a prismed ninja pig treasure:


Needless to say, he didn't stand a chance with his paltry 5,000 hitpoints.

The kids all entered the spiral door either level 42 or 43, and we're all set for a final stroll through reddish brown world . . . I mean Dragonspyre.

I'm thinking we may actually finish this thing off before Celestia hits the live servers! WOOT!

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Celestia Prediction Follow Up

You may remember my post on "What is Celestia?" No? Go read it.

Keep in mind that this was in fact before ANY INFORMATION WAS AVAILABLE except for the name of the world was mentioned in two quests. That's really all we had to go on as any factual proof of Celestia's existence.

Here's the *brand new* comment I got on that 10-month old thread today:
"i think you put much more thought into this than need be, most likely your predictions will be way off because of thinking about it too hard. Like about the missing jewelry, most likely just coinsidense that they were showing sneak peaks on quests and just happened to be about jewelery, and more that i think you spent too much time thinking about. more examples
great raven
heavens
storm or possably a new air element

no offense, i am just saying that too much thought was put into your blog"

My response to that?

THANK YOU!

Wrong or right, putting way too much thought into something like this is just kind of what I do. At the time I was answering a lot of questions. I felt it was entertaining, and I think at the time it served as a good starting point for a lot of discussion on and outside of my blog.

10-months later, we know a whole heck of a lot more because KI has been leaking more information.

Let's review my predictions from 10 months ago to what we know today:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prediction: I predict 5 more levels of progression

Truth: There will be 10 levels of progression, BUT, there *are* levels of progression. That was huge at the time my predictions were written. You probably have no idea how irate the community was 10 months ago because we didn't receive any levels with the release of Grizzleheim. The mere fact that we would be getting more levels spoke volumes. Five levels are what we thought we were going to get with Grizzleheim. KI even wrote an apology about it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prediction: I predict the introduction of one to three new school(s) of magic (astral magic being the most cited)

Truth: There will be three purely secondary schools of magic. I think that was a pretty good guess myself. Point Friendly. *licks air with finger*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prediction: I predict Malistaire or Malistaire's ghost will be on the prowl there.

Truth: No, KI is done with Malistaire for a while. /shrug. I was going off of a thread from Professor Greyrose that had stated we hadn't seen the end of Malistaire. Who knows, we may see Malistaire make a return, we may not. I was wrong. /shrug. Professor Greyrose's new mantra seems to be Malistaire was the end of Chapter 1.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prediction: Since rings and watches are mentioned in both quests about celestia, I predict there will be an emphasis on tinkering or engineering (crafting will take on a new importance there).

Truth: Since 10 months ago, crafting has already taken on new importance with crafted Grizzleheim housing. In a thread on Central it was quoted that we might be seeing crafted pets in Celestia. No one know what else we may see, but, once again, it was a guess . . . because two quests mentioning jewelry was all we had to go on. I'd love to see them do more with it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prediction: If celestia is based in the sky, I predict it will be cold based. If celestia is based in the heavens, I predict it will be storm based.

Truth: Pretty much everyone got thrown when Celestia was announced to be an underwater world. All we had to go by was the name, which seemed to indicate something Celestial was in store for us. Little did we know, Beneath the waves the stars still shine. Just as an aside, contrary to what was put in that quoted comment up there, I said nothing about "possably a new air element."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prediction: Since Mr. Rowley says, "antique," I'm predicting Celestia is an old world that has ancient beginnings and that it started to form before the world broke apart and that it is the farthest world out in the spiral.

Truth: We know that Celestia was an ancient civilization that Thurston Plunkett's Geographic Society spent a lot of effort unearthing. I'd say point Friendly on that one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prediction: I also predict that it will be the home of the great raven, who is the sister of Bartleby, that she landed there at the farthest point of the spiral after spinning it with her magic and Bartleby's roots.

Truth: I have no idea if we'll see the great raven in Celestia. Probably not. /shrug I was riffing on the hopes that I'd get to see The Great Raven in a world whose name seemed to point outward and upward. Maybe someday!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prediction: I predict that the armor sets will all look similar to the current top PvP gear, but there will be many more fashion choices.

Truth: I don't think this anymore. The only reason why I said that is that the name of the pvp gear was commonly called "Celestial" gear. Here's a link to prove it. And as we've seen with the Wayfinder Gear from the Celestia Pre-quest, there's sure to be more fashion choices. That part of the prediction was pretty safe.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One more thing before I let you go: A month or so after I had answered that question, I talked with J. Todd Coleman himself, who had read that very post about Celestia predictions. He let me know then that I was wrong on some of my guesses and right on a couple as well, but regardless it was fun to read. I'm hoping all my readers take that same attitude.

It's all about having fun, right? BRING ON CELESTIA!

Happy Dueling.

Monday, September 27, 2010

FW: Wizard101 - Celestia Wallpaper Reveal #13

Hey! I was thinking it was about time for another Wallpaper reveal! Here's
the message from Professor Greyrose:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Attached please find that latest update to the Celestia wallpaper.

This update may be a little hard to find, but when you do, you'll smile :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I see it! Do you?

*Noggin*

DUDE!

Happy dueling!

Something to Admire with Crafting in Free Realms?

I've been working up the Blacksmith and Miner classes in Free Realms, and I kind of like how crafting in works there. If you're not familiar with the process, you should check it out:



The sticker comment there with crafting in Free Realms is at the end of the video . . . you do this process over and over and over. What was awesome and fun for the first 50 times, slowly begins to lose its shimmer. Then again, comparing it to Wizard101 or Everquest or The Game Which Shall Not Be Named or any number of other MMOs, it feels more "real" than simply clicking a button to say "combine" these things. GO! I like that I can get more or less of a raw or refined element based on how well I do on the mini-game.

So, if you were to apply a similar system to Wizard101, I think it could be done . . . better. I like that I can collect ground spawns of items, but what if when I clicked to pick up a ground spawn, I was given the option to play a short mini-game to get a better chance at the rare node item? (This would be kind of how the silver chests in game work, only you get an either/or option instead of all/or nothing situation.)

You know how we have four or so different crafting tables in our houses? I think each one of those could be turned into a mini-game as well. I like options though, so I would like to keep the "click to combine" option of crafting for the sure thing, but since I'm a gamblin' man, how about instead of clicking to combine, I get the option of playing a mini-game for either nothing or a rare combined item! Sure, I can craft tacos, but what if I played a mini-game to make SUPER TACOS WITH SUPER SAUCE? Sure, I can craft a carousel, but what if I could craft a rideable carousel? Hmm? It'd be like crafting advanced!

But, please, KI, if you were to ever take crafting in this direction, just make sure there is more variety than what crafting is like in Free Realms. My word do those mini-games get repetitive after 100 times or so. Then again, I guess that's why they put leader boards on them so you could try to get yourself into the top 10. :-)

Happy Dueling!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Celestia Test Realm Date (Kind of) Revealed!

So, I was over at West Karana checking out a very interesting conversation between Tipa and Fred Howard, when I stumbled on this yardstick of information:

"Celestia will be out somewhere between 'very soon' and 'before the Halloween content re-opens', which should give us an idea of when we can expect to see it."


Do you know what this means? Last year Halloween content appeared on October 1st. The year before that (the first year) Halloween content appeared on 13 October.

OH MY WORD, CELESTIA IS GOING TO BE ON THE TEST REALM . . . VERY SOON . . . like possibly even next week type of very soon!? YES!

Thanks for grabbing that information, Tipa! And if it turns out to be Fred giving true-as-far-as-he-knows information (I'm sure that happens sometimes), I've got a second ruler for us to use too:


;-)

I'm going with the first ruler.

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Exciting News for Me!

Keeping a blog about Wizard101 for the past two years as a father of now three kids (only had two when I started this mess) has been difficult at times. Trying to give depth, fun, relevance, information, objectivity, and humor on a near daily basis outside of being "just me" (and all the responsibility THAT entails) has been a battle that I'm sure my faithful readers know about.

At first I wrote just to catalog my adventures here and to break into new territory with this brand new, fun, and family-friendly MMO, but obviously it became much much more. After a couple years and a lot of fun (um, and question answering), I'd say that I've helped blaze a community trail and tried to snag opportunities as I went along, and now the road has led me to a trip down to Austin, Texas to write an article about the inner workings of KI, GDC Online, and who knows what?!

When the trip happens, I'll be sure to try and take you along with daily video footage and pictures. I won't be able to share anything that's sensitive with you, but I'm sure stuff like a wall of the front office area of Kingsisle will be ok. *click*


hehe. That's an old picture. :-) Maybe they've changed it now, and if they have, I'll let you know here in the next couple of weeks!

Thanks for being faithful readers of TFN and thanks to those who made my wish a reality! I'm feeling very humbled and grateful right now, and really freaking stoked!! THIS IS GOING TO ROCK!!!!! *pinch* OUCH! I AM NOT DREAMING!

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ravenwood Radio . . . Episode 25!?

Wow, there's 25 of these things now? Ahhh, memories of Ravenwood Radio 5 . . . that was fun! I was uber excited.

If my daughter doesn't kick me off of the computer I will definitely try to be in the chat room tonight. Remember, that's recording live tonight at 8:30 pm CST. Hope to see you guys there or catch you at the after party. :-)


Happy Dueling!

Future housing items of the day from Crab Alley?

I did a little swimming around last night while doing my Selena Gomez quest, and tried to look at the little objects around Crab Alley that maybe someday, somehow could possibly become housing items at some future point in time.

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How'd you like to own a record player?


(or a hormoniogram or whatever they call it). How would you like to be able to go into your house and have a record player that you could assign a few select .mp3 files to? Oh man it would be awesome! Dance party at your house!

~~~~~~~~~
And no party would be complete without a disco ball . . . or this shinier crystal ball item.


If only you could float that upside down somewhere in your house. We have a crystal ball housing item like this now in game, only it doesn't glow as far as memory serves.

~~~~~~~~~
Red Coral explosions:


There was also some green coral around Crab Alley, but it was far less dramatic than these blooms.

~~~~~~~~~
Table full of presents:


I wouldn't mind some variety in present sizes. I think all we have now out of that pile is the little red present with a bow in front. It's a crowns item too if I remember right.

~~~~~~~~~
The Ace of Cakes Wedding Cake, of course:


Deeeeeliciously awesome. I doubt they'd put this in the game for us to have as a housing item, but I wouldn't mind one of these in my party room.

~~~~~~~~~
Intricate Flower Vase:


Tucked away in the shadows of the Selena room, there was this foo-foo grandma-looking vase that looked really nice. I'd put it in my hot tub room in my death house for sure.

~~~~~~~~~

So, if I could only choose one out of all those to be future housing items, I'd go with the record player! They could make it an interactive housing item too, which is something else I think we'd like to see more of in the future, right? Couches that you can actually sit on. Record players you could play. Statues that would flex when clicked. That kind of stuff. (Thanks Caleb for reminding me about the mannequins) What do you think?

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Selena Gomez Quest is Live??

**EDIT** I went into the spiral to find that the Selena Gomez quest didn't seem to be live after all?? I expect we'll be hearing more about this. I tested it on both Thomas Lionblood and Myrna Lionblood, and said Lionbloods couldn't get the Selena quest. Anybody else experience that? The game seemed to patch this morning, but I think Selena has gone missing. **EDIT**

**DOUBLE EDIT** SHARK MOUNT IS LIVE THOUGH! I caught a glimpse of Destiny on her new shark mount and had to post it up!


Awesome new mount, Destiny! **DOUBLE EDIT**

I woke up this morning to a couple messages from Professor Greyrose:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wizard101 Maintenance

Wizard101 the game will be offline tonight from 3am to 5am Central US Time. During this time, players will be unable to log in to the game, and active players will be prompted to log out.

This downtime allows us to put the Selena Gomez quest into the Live Game for all players level 6+. For details on this quest and other small updates, please visit this page: Selena Gomez comes to the Spiral!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And the second e-mail was clarification on the ravens drop values being halved:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Answer:

https://www.wizard101.com/game/community/updatenotes/september2010

Dying your items will be less expensive now. All Dye Prices have been reduced. This will also affect the SELL value of items. We have adjusted the gold value of some items to compensate for the difference.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, at least they did go through items and try to up the gold value to account for the loss inherited through dye costs.

/shrug

See you in Crab Alley!

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

*Incognito*

This guy in Free Realms must have been to a few Wizard101 parties where I was present, weird:


I've been having to once again travel incognito:


I don't know, perhaps my unicorn ride (complete with undulating rainbow mane) is a bit too flashy for incognito.

So what's all the buzz about? OHHHH, a couple of things I guess.

1- I won the crash cup in Demolition Derby on Free Realms.


That's the cool trophy you get at the very end of the Demolition Derby quest line, which has been the hardest quest line for me in Free Realms to date. It involved a lot of patience and luck for sure.

2- I actually placed on the all-time leaderboards for the Tangletrack Derby (See 4th place there):


. . . and THAT was done WITHOUT the cool station cash car . . . me wanty.

3- To top it all off, mark me down for level 20 in Demo Derby!


WOOT! That puts Thomas Lionbolt at Level 20 for Brawler, Card Duelist, and Demolition Derby. I think I may take a break from the cars for a while and try something else . . . maybe mining? I hear it's good money.

Speaking of money:


Yeah, I wish!

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Check This Out! (Episode 4)

WELCOME, to yet another episode of CHECK THIS OUT! The blog post where you guys send me stuff and I let others check it out as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~
First up is a theory from Alexis Deathflower:
I was thinking about Malistaire and his becoming a good guy and I was wondering about a couple possible theories of him coming back in other worlds. First do you think Malistaire could come back as a death school teacher to teach us our over level 50 spells? And second do you think he might give out a quest and have a spot in a different world like his brother?

Cool. I wouldn't mind seeing Malistaire come back as a good guy, but I don't know if that'll ever happen. I think Kingsisle might be done with our buddy Malistaire for a while. In the two-year anniversary Q&A with Leah Ruben (Sept/Oct issue of Beckett Massive Online Gamer), Director of Wizard101, she said that they were pretty much done with Malistaire for the time being. Barring any surprises, I don't think he'll be making a return any time soon.

THEN AGAIN, Greyrose has been quoted as saying that we haven't seen the last of Malistaire.

Hmmm.

Fun to think about!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Next up is a note from Donna Spellthorn:
Hey Friendly! I've been looking at the Battle Circle lately and I noticed something interesting. For the symbols you have pictures of the Sun, Moon, and a Star. And if you look at one of the outer circles you can find Celestian writing. The only reason I know it's Celestian text is because of the Celestia Quest line. So what do you make of it?

Let me take a look here at that battle circle writing:


Hmmm . . . I don't know. Seems like Celestian writing usually has a little wave crest that goes across the top of the symbols, but this does look similiar. I don't think that's celestian. /shrug Maybe that's a good question for the Kingsisle Answer forum?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mr. Thunderstaff had a couple more hybrid pictures to share here:




Nice! I *still* need to post pictures of all my hybrids. :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Next up is a message from Blaze Drakeflame, who started a new fansite on webs.com:
Hey Friendly!
My wizard's name is Blaze Drakeflame. I'm creating a fansite with my brother. It's called wizard101pethunters.webs.com. It's still in progress at the moment but I wanted to know if you could recommend it on your site and post a link. If you can that would be great. Just recommend it to anyone who needs help finding a pet (or wants to read Abracadoodle!)
Thanks and Happy Dueling,
Blaze Drakeflame

Nice work! Thanks for the link!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have a nice letter here from the Ravenhaven family:
Hi Friendly,

I'm sure you remember the Ravenhaven family from this post-

http://thefriendlynecromancer.blogspot.com/2010/01/families-of-3-choosing-secondaries.html

We got to the end of MooShu earlier in the year and took a break for the summer. The attached screenshot shows what we look like at the moment complete with my life mage's Cheatin' Hammer that my Death Grandmaster got from a Gurtok (it does happen).



Last time my daughter wrote in you suggested that as a life mage I should go with fire as a secondary school for Meteor Storm. I can confirm this was sound advice because, as you predicted, we tore up Marylebone and MooShu with Blizzard/Sand Storm/Meteor Strom. I am wondering if taking Myth to Humungafrog would have been better? Meteor Storm does more damage than Humungafrog, but Spirit blade would give a life blade and a Myth blade in one spell, rather than needing a seperate Elemental blade. However, when we use an AoE strategy, I don't get the luxury of casting pip spells- I have to cast on round 3 or everything is dead because Erin (balance) and Amber Ravenhaven (ice) can use powerpips for their AoE spells.

Regardless of which of Fire/Myth people prefer the potential for; round 1 Life Blade, round 2 Seraph is, um, better. But it's a shame! There will be less reason for life to take a secondary other than death to Feint like every other robed goon on the spiral. I am the despairing owner of the Firebloom outfit and the next Marylebone Life/Fire outfit (I can't remember the name) which are both pretty terrible compared with items you can buy from the auction house at lower level.

I like being Life/fire i just wish the game could help me like it more. C'mon KI, you posted a load of changes you had planned for the Celestia release, but 'overhaul of crafted items of encourage character variation' wasn't one of them. It's a missed opportunity.

Thanks for listening Friendly, and obviously you still rock.

Matt
~Carlos Ravenhaven

Awesome!

1- Love the cheatin' hammer.
2- Thanks for the update! I was wondering what happened to your team! Nice!
3- Yeah, Myth to Humongofrog might have been a better choice for the sake of the Spiritblade. Hmmm. Have you checked out the skillpoint planner website? Looks like you could go fire to meteor storm and then myth to Earthquake and still pick up spiritblade and spirit trap? Not sure, but messing around with that is always fun. If you've got a few spare crowns you always can drop some money to reassign skillpoints for your character.

Best of luck! (Glad you guys are still having fun!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And finally is some alarming news from winnicott1001:
Friendly,

Just thought you should know. Here are the links to Christo Deathgiver's post and to my post on Central in the W101 feedback section.

Needless to say I am attempting to fill the gold to capacity at this time.

I enjoy the blog and congrats on your new writing job.

Have a good day.

I think I hear 1,000 Raven$$ farmers crying out a simultaneous "NOOOOOooooooooOOOOOOOOOoOOOO!"

I'm hoping this doesn't go live. I may drop a line to Greyrose and get some further clarification on this. Sigh. The fact that the ravens dropped such good loot was one of the only motivations to finish Grizzleheim. I don't want them to take that away. My wife REALLY REALLY doesn't want them to take that away.

Thanks for the heads up and thanks for reading!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And that wraps up another episode of Check This Out! Thanks for all the cool e-mail, my friends!

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grading the Artistry behind Selena and Wizard101

You know, this whole Selena thing has really got me thinking lately and revisiting something in my mind that I learned back in college. (Yeah, Selena was still doing Barney videos back then most likely) It was something so simple and unspoken yet more profound and important to me than probably half of the information I digested at college.

This kind of stuff happens in retrospect throughout life. Boom. Magic. Someone mentions "creativity" and I'm instantly transported to that moment where it happened: a darkly lit back room in a college television station/practice lab and a professor, who was kind of a jerk that I didn't care for much at all. The class at hand was media copywriting and mr. professor had some wonderful insights to share about "creativity."

He said creativity is the mixing of things. In essence, creativity is picking objects or ideas and smashing them together. Aliens and mint gum. Books and the Ocean. Pirates and tutus.


yay halloweencostumes dot com (My daughter's homemade "devil riding a unicorn" costume from a couple years ago was better and cheaper . . . jus' sayin' . . . I am biased of course)

Take any two or more things, smash them together and make them live together in some kind of reality. Boom. Magic. He went on to say that creativity really isn't that hard at all and as a future copywriter, you will have plenty of opportunities to do this simple mental activity . . . somethin' like that.

This bothered me.

I was a poet and a songwriter back in those days and I got really stuck mentally on his definition of creativity because it was a message that probably wasn't really meant for someone like me. It was meant for joe blow sitting next to me who thought he could never write creative advertising because he was in fact "joe blow" after all. WAKE UP JOE BLOW! YOU TOO CAN WRITE CREATIVE ADVERTISING COPY, YAYZ!

So on my own time after the course I sat and mired and thought for a long time about things like "original creativity," which I proposed to myself would be creating something entirely new and didn't involve mixing things, but that was really hard to wrap my head around because everything that seemed entirely new could be broken down into something else. For instance, a beautiful wedding ring on my wife's hand. Nope. Diamonds and gold . . . and my wife's hand. It cold be broken down into things that mixed together to create a vision all its own.

Maybe you've seen where I'm going with this by now, maybe not. Let me cut that story short and get to the point . . .

I imagine working at Kingsisle and the message comes down, "we need to work Selena Gomez into our game somehow." Boom. Wizard101 and Selena. It's simple creativity involved in slapping these things together.

So here's a question for my readers, if you take away all the good and the bad feelings that might be associated with smushing them together and remove any feelings that might make you cringe or scream for joy, how do you think Kingsisle did with their creativity in smashing Selena and Wizard101 together? Or actually, it was more like Selena, Celestia, you, and Wizard101 (within the constraints of time and money I'm sure) . . .

AND ACTUALLY, in the end it's the "artistry" behind the creativity that matters most. Because, really, it was the discussion on artistry where my professor missed the mark for me (or perhaps it was my fault for not listening good enough and getting caught up in the definition of creativity). Any fool can smash running shoes and porcupines together, but how many fools could invent the world of Sonic the Hedgehog?

There were some things about the mixture that I didn't like. I hate the name Crab Alley. They have Firecat Alley, Colossus Boulevard, Triton Avenue, and Cyclops Lane. Why reuse "alley"? Why not Crab Cul-de-sac or Crab Corner or Crab Causeway or Crab Galley or even Crab Street? I wasn't really a fan of the crab king's voiceover, too . . . slobbery . . . although his poem was funny. I didn't really like the mention of CD's and what not in my wizard game where J. Todd Coleman has been quoted as saying that he *tried* to keep that real world stuff out of the game, but he also has been quoted as our world being one of those found in the spiral. Meh. It's just going to kind of be the nature of the beast with a promotion like this. Whatcha gonna do.

BUT I have to say that the creation of a new "smaller" zone, dancing crabs, story, preview of swimming, instanced zone cut-scene mechanic, rewards for the quest, and the way it all just laid out was AWESOME and well done by the KI crew (again, I'm sure time and money played a big part in what they could actually do . . . that's a given . . . I heard through the grapevine that this quest came together quite quickly). This was a much better application than the Snorri quests IMHO.

What do you think?

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Free Realms Likes Giving Me Free Stuff

Every time I log into Free Realms I look down on my login bar and see this little yellow button.


If I click that button, I'm taken to the magical land of Disney-is-everywhere-ville. It's magically commercialized AND delicious!


I can't tell you how many times I've watched that little Tinkerbell trailer. Enough to tell you that on September 21st flying is believing, But wearing my new Lady Gaga outfit makes it all worth it.


OH yeah, lest I forget to mention the daily free wheel in a discussion on how Free Realms gives me free stuff . . . can't forget that. Sure, most of the time it's an old pair of work boots or something, but IT'S FREE!


FREE! FREE IS AWESOME! I CAN'T GET ENOUGH FREE STUFF!

p.s. added Steven Spiritcaller to my friends list on Free Realms yesterday . . . FAMOUS PEOPLE! Now if I could just get Selena Gomez on my friends list in Wizard101.

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fame At A Price, Episode VII

Alric over at The Raven's Vault has been at it again, but this time he took Episode 7 and broke it into three huge, awesome frames! Amazing!





HAHA! Not only do I take the Wildbolt for Uber Wife, I drop the Wraith bomb! BOOM!

Thanks for the cool toons, Alric. We love reading these. You're awesome!

Happy Dueling

Voting for Wizard101, it's easy.

You know, there's a lot of things that are easy to do. Breathing, breathing is super easy. Pressing the "f" button on my keyboard is easy. Here, let me give it a go . . . f. I liked that. It was easy. f. f. f. Yeah, I could get used to that.

Here's something else that's easy: http://www.gdconlineawards.com/audience.php

Click that link above, type out that Wizard101 is your favorite game, put your email in, and click Cast Your Vote.


HEY, easy. Not as easy as typing "f" because of all those other letters, but relatively painless.

Now for the e-mail confirmation . . .


wow, super easy. hmmmm . . . how many more e-mail addresses do I have . . .

Best of luck Wizard101! You got my vote!

Happy Dueling!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Life Wizards *May* Have a Lot to Look Forward to: AoE Attack

I've played up a couple life wizards to Grandmaster, and I have to say that it really does bite that they are the only class without an AoE damage spell. I know, I know . . . the ability to heal and doing gimp damage should go hand in hand like butter and toast, but still . . . the *only* class without an AoE? It's part of the reason I recommend going fire up to meteor storm for life wizards as part of their second and third schools, BUT NOW! BUT NOWWWWWW . . .

Check it out, both the regular life seraph spell and the seraph spell from the seraph pet are marked as AoE spells on the test realm. YIPPIE SKEE DOODLEY DOO!


Unfortunately, it's not. It's just marked that way. It's still a single attack spell.



I'm hoping that this *isn't* just something they plan to implement with Celestia. I'm REALLY HOPING that this *is* something they fix while it's still on the test realm. And when I say fix, I mean IMPLEMENT! FREE THE LIFE WIZARDS! GO FOR IT AND MAKE IT AN AOE SPELL! YES! THAT WOULD ROCK! DO IT NOW! PLEASE!?!?!

. . .

In other test realm news, y'all realize that the test realm is awesome for figuring out what your pet's talents will be in the real game, right? I mean, you did know that you can find out exactly what your pet will manifest in exactly what order, right?

I took the opportunity to buy many many mega-snack packs with all the crowns they give you on the test realm and discovered many many valuable things about my pets. Things like, hey! I need to level up my Ianthine Spectre because he manifests Death shot, Death giver, and Death proof. And things like, hey! I need to not level my Death Leprechaun or Black Spider pets because they manifest completely lame talents! That right there is a HUGE time savings. THANK YOU TEST REALM!

Hope you all are using your time on the test realm wisely.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Day Without 101 (Selena Parody)

Here's my warmest welcome to Wizard101, Selena!

*WIZARDHUGZ*



And for those of you who want to add this MP3 to your iPod (if you're that kooky), here's a link to the MP3 file on Google Docs.

A Day Without 101

Lyrics:
ooooooWOWoooooo
Wizard101, y'all
oooOOOOooooo
Friendly Necromancer in the house, Selena.

Do you fear me
when I pvp you?
With every spell I cast,
Every minute,
it's like Moolinda Woo
Fizzled spells are my last . . .
Been stuck in Krokotopia 1,000 days
Don't know if it's a mirage,
But I see Merle Ambrose face!
J TODD COLEMAN!

Been missing you so much
Can't help it, I'm a noobie
A day without 101 means Selena's in pain
I need you by my side
Check my unicorn ride
A day without 101 means Selena's in pain
on an ononnnnnnnnn WOW!

Heckhound is burning,
I see bladestorm in my mind,
I love Balance Wizards.
My tower shield is guarding battle circles--
A gobbler's behind--
(stop me from fleeing!)
It's like the ground is crumbling
underneath my feet
(won't you heal me?)
Dang, that Myth wizard must have been level 50 . . .

Been missing you so much
Can't help it, I'm a noobie
A day without 101 means Selena's in pain
I need you by my side
Check my unicorn ride
A day without 101 means Selena's in pain
on an ononnnnnnnnn WOW!

Selena Gomez . . .

(fade)

Happy Dueling!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Celestia Wallpaper 12 Reveal!

Wallpaper 12 just crossed the newswire!  It’s the haunting figurehead!  (See, now I thought that was going to be some kind of evil centipede or insect of some sort . . . go figure . . . head.)

 

Happy Dueling!

 

Housing Item of the Day--Selena Gomez Statue and Portrait

On the test realm, at the end of your time in Crab Alley after saving the Damsel in Distress, BOOM, you will now have your insta' shrine to the awesomeness of Selena Gomez ready to go.


I am told by my wife that because of my age, it would be SO INAPPROPRIATE for me to have a Selena Gomez shrine in my Death House. (Come to think of it, it's probably not normal for a guy my age to be thinking about Selena Gomez as much as I have in the past 48 hours . . . thanks KI . . . .) My daughter and son, yeah, they can shrine it up all they want. Me? I guess I need to look to the *other* reward that flashed by my screen when I got the statue and portrait.


Yeah, I don't know if you guys saw that MONSTROUS TREASURE CARD float by on your screen or not? My word, that's a nice card to drop for this quest. I figure it's motivation for those, who like me, must stash their Selena shrine in their dorm room that they never visit. ;-) Although, apparently Selena doesn't mind hanging out with older dudes, like those three 20-something guys driving her around, alone, in a desert, in this new video of hers:



You know, with all this talk about rain and thunder and lightning, you'd think she'd be a storm wizard instead of an ice wizard?

/shrug

I'm gonna go read some more of the mag I picked at the store the other day or go remix one of Selena's songs or something.


Catch you guys later.

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pictures from Test Realm!

Bailey on the scene guys, and this is what I had time to see today....


Wow.... Selena's song is now in the game....weird


I wish I could have seen the splash!


Herman is AWESOME!


Swimming with your pet is the BEST!


Selena's all like, "whats the spiral YO?" And she is a Ice Wizard? WHUT?


More swimming and a cool vicious fish YAY!

That was pretty fun y'all annnnd a little cheesy in my opinion, but ya know, it might be kinda creepy for me to have a Selena Gomez statue in my house too. lol
But go and explore the rest for yourself I'm sure there is a lot more to see :D

Happy Dueling

Test Realm is UP! Selena is IN!

Heya all,

 

I just got wind that the test realm is open and has the Selena Gomez quest going!

 

RUN AND LOG IN!  I have Uber Wife on the case.  I hope to have some pictures soon for you all.

 

Happy Dueling!

 

Kingsisle's Interesting Lean Toward Disney

It was a big news media blitz yesterday. The Fred Howard and Ben Conrad Marketing/PR team had a busy weekend at PAX 2010 chatting up some rather ginormous news about Selena Gomez coming to the spiral. Then, BOOM, Wizard101 posted, Massively posted, What They Play posted, MMORPG posted, At least 14 Wizard101 bloggers yesterday posted (just look at the blog roll on the right) about Selena Gomez coming to the spiral . . . Why even Celebglitz posted! Everybody in the freaking world posted. And a good chunk of Selena Fans asked this question, "what's Wizard101?"



Me? I was at work, but even I twittered about it. Cripes, people, it was the perfect media storm for Wizard101 yesterday.

But, I have to say something about what I've noticed Kingsisle doing and that is a crazy new dance move I call The Disney Lean. Let's do a search on the term "Wizard101 Pixar" . . . what you're going to find is that Kingsisle has been dropping the Pixar reference for a while now. With this Selena Gomez addition to the game, it's like Kingsisle is passing a note in the hallway to the popular kid (aka Walt Disney . . . or one of his living relatives) that's basically asking them on a date. OH MY WORD KINGSISLE WANTS TO DATE DISNEY! As was said in the Massively article yesterday, "KingsIsle feels that this is a huge vote of confidence for the legitimacy of MMOs in mainstream pop culture."


So let's wander down the path of buyouts. You may remember when Pixar was bought by Disney . . . no? Well it was in 2006 and came at the price tag of 7.4 billion dollars.

The owner of Kingsisle is Elie Akilian. I haven't talked much (or pretty much at all) about Elie Akilian on this blog because he's mostly behind the scenes. You do get to see him in the very first Wizard101 video though. He says with excitement, "Here. Hey! You want to see something cool? I mean like really really cool?" Yup, that guy there is one smart businessman.

If you go to the University of Texas at Arlington's website and look at their list of Distinguished Alumni, you'll see Elie listed down on 1998. Here's what it has to say about him:

Sam Simonian and Elie Akilian both graduated from UTA with degrees in electrical engineering. Family friends who grew up together in Beirut, they left Lebanon as teenagers to escape the country's civil war and eventually came to study at UTA. In 1989, they invested their savings in an idea they and another friend had mapped out on the back of a napkin at a Denny's restaurant late one night. From that late-night encounter, Inet Technologies was born, with Simonian as president and CEO and Akilian as executive vice president. Inet became a multimillion-dollar international company with almost 300 employees, supplying telecommunications products to a customer base that included AT&T, MCI, Sprint, Southwestern Bell and British Telecom. From 1996 to 1997, Inet sales more than doubled, jumping from $17 million to $42 million. The company's success has been recognized with several awards including Dallas' Fastest Growing Company (SMU 1993), Entrepreneurs of the Year ( Inc. Magazine , 1994 Southwest Region), Fastest Revenue Growth Private Company (Dallas Business Journal 1996) and Inc. 500 ( Inc. Magazine 1996)


That blurb needs to be updated . . . fast forward to 2004 . . . Inet is bought out by Tektronix for a price tag of around $325 million.

Concerning that deal, Elie is quoted as saying this:
"We are very excited about this opportunity," said Elie Akilian, President and Chief Executive Officer of Inet. "The synergies between our two companies - in terms of products, sales channels, customer care and strategic focus - are substantial. This transaction provides Inet the scale needed to successfully capitalize on the significant growth opportunities in today's mobile data and VoIP markets. Our stockholders should be pleased with the resulting combination - a global market leader offering a broad portfolio of products that address the entire technology life cycle to the world's leading network operators and equipment manufacturers. This also provides a great growth opportunity for our employees to become part of a $1 billion company with significant worldwide resources and footprint."

So what am I saying with all this? Well, if I was Elie Akilian, which I'm definitely not (picks lint from pockets), I would put my sights on Disney, and it wouldn't surprise me if we see in another 13 years this same message only with the names of Kingsisle and Disney replacing those of Inet and Tektronix and that silly talk of mobile data and VoIP replaced with talk of MMOs and entertainment.

What do I think a buyout of Kingsisle by Disney would do for us as players of Wizard101? Well, I think we'd see a whole lot more plushies and pins and clothes and TV shows and feature length movies and EVERYTHING that a full scale, powerful Disney commercial blitz can muster.

Here's a fun picture of J. Todd Coleman giving PC Gamer a cute little hand-crafted plush gobbler.


That little plushy at this point is a one-of-a-kind. If I was PC Gamer, I'd lock that sucker away $$$.

. . .

THEN AGAIN, Disney already has a video game company and lots of games and they don't even need Kingsisle. They have the Toontown MMO and they totally failed on the commercial blitz that could have happened with that, so what's that all about Friendly!? I don't know . . . to me Disney uses their video games as part of their commercial blitz and not vice versa. They don't blitz their video games, they blitz their products with video games. Disney scooping up Kingsisle would bring them a whole *NEW* set of characters that are begging to be blitzed.

. . .

Obviously I don't know jack about the corporate strategies of Kingsisle or Disney. I'm just a blogger who tries to take notice of the writing on the wall. When I see Kingsisle dropping Disney metaphors all over the place and Selena coming to the spiral, I think positioning for a buyout. Is that bad? No. Happens all the time in business, and the fans would probably get a lot of the power of Disney that the staff of 120 at Kingsisle couldn't possibly provide us.

Just something to ponder.

Happy Dueling!