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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ravenwood Radio 45 Tonight!

That's right, it's Ravenwood Radio 45 tonight, with . . . me . . . as a guest host filling in for Fallon. :) She has a previous engagement this evening, and Mr. Spiritcaller was so kind as to invite my special brand of insanity along for the ride.

I apologize for his mistake in advance. ;p

That all starts at 6:30 pm Pacific, 7:30 pm Mountain, 8:30 pm Central, and 9:30 pm Eastern. See you all there!

I've looked through the show notes and there should be a few fun topics. One that I see needs to be added would be the addition of all these new housing items in the crown shop that can be purchased for gold!

Theater Masks!!! I definitely need that one. :) *DRAMA*

Happy dueling!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Magic The Gathering vs. Wizard101

A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I bought a couple starter packs for the collectible card game Magic The Gathering (“MTG” from here on out). I should have tried out this game a long time ago, but everyone told me that the cost to play the game over time was extremely high. That kept me away, but I wish I would have just tried it. Meh.

So, the local card shop/comic book store is about 15 minutes away from our house, and it’s a good one. It’s snuggled into a strip mall in a very unassuming location next to a Christian Strip Mall church and a Mexican Supplier Store (I imagine all the Taquerias nearby use them as a grocer).

Along a side wall inside the game store is a long series of tables where locals gather twice a week to try out their luck and finely crafted MTG decks against each other. We were told to show up on a Wednesday . . . that’s when newcomers were more accepted. Friday was tournament night. They called Wednesday “New Guy Night.” I quickly turned that into “Triple N,” or New Nerd Night, and the phrase Triple N around my house was born! When we showed up Wednesday and told a couple of people who were showing us how to play the game my joke about Triple N, they laughed and one even suggested an improvement. “N3”. Well played!

Ever since that time, my daughter and I have really had MTG on the brain. We’ve picked up a number of booster packs and contemplated buying a few fun decks like “Knights vs. Dragons.” I even purchased MTG: Duels of the Planewalkers on Playstation 3 . . . um, not all bajillion expansions of it . . . just the basic $10 game. My daughter hates it and thinks it’s far too complex. I love it. I think it’s helping me learn the game better. To each their own. ;)

I can safely say now that I see how people can spend hundreds of dollars on this game in trying to build a variety of decks. We’re at least $50 into it by now. What can I say? It’s incredibly addicting and fun! Building the perfect deck for every type of opponent you come up against would be a VERY costly and time consuming adventure (since there's like 10,000 different cards or what have you).

This whole MTG thing was not my idea. It was my daughter’s idea, but I'm firm believer in playing alongside your kids (and it seemed interesting to me as well), so why not, I'm all in. Unfortunately, she’s young for this game. There were a few swear words at Triple N the other night that made me cringe a bit . . . at the same time, there were some genuinely courteous people. One even apologized for the others in the crowd. He was a nice guy around 19 years old. I found out he just lived about 5 minutes from me. Nice!

Anyway, now I'm starting to see where MTG and Wizard101 are the same, and where they are different.

1- Where Wizard101 has pips, MTG has "lands." A land card is played at the beginning of the round. Pips are given to you at the beginning of the round. Both pips and lands count toward how big of a spell card you can play.

The difference is that pips go away after you've cast a spell and you have to build them back up, but lands usually stay so you can keep casting higher cost spells. I say usually because MTG is so complex with so many different cards that any object in play can be killed or boosted (including lands). Sometimes you can play a card to get more lands or remove opponent lands. etc. etc. etc. *insert complexity*

2- In Wizard101 you can summon one minion that hangs out to fight and attack for you every round--they are programmed to play from a mini-deck of cards all their own. In MTG you can summon any number of minions to fight and attack for you (called creature cards), but you have more control over their actions, which are usually limited to attack and block, but most have abilities that are activated by either "tapping" them or by them being introduced or removed from play.

3- In Wizard101 you have treasure cards that you apply to spell cards to buff them up or make them different all together (Gargantuan or Death Minotaur for example). In MTG you have enchantment cards that can modify both your spells and your opponent's spells. You also have equipment cards that can be used to modify your creature cards to make them stronger or have new effects like "infect."

4- In Wizard101 your damaging spells are usually creature cards that do a certain amount of a type of damage (like a fire dragon does fire damage). In MTG, most of your damage comes from your creature cards (remember those minions from item 2), but you can also cast "sorcery" cards that will cause your opponent damage. Damage from both your creature cards and sorcery cards are from a type (like a fire goblin does red card damage or a fireball does red card damage).

5- In Wizard101 you have "schools of magic": Fire, Ice, Storm, Balance, Death, Life, Myth. In MTG you have five basic lands: Plains (white), Island (blue), Swamp(black), Mountain (red) and Forest (green). Sometimes you get lands that can be played as any of the above or could be one of two land types.

There are other similarities and differences, but I think you get the point. There are differences, but the similarities are quite striking. In the end, Wizard101 is a social MMO with quests, a PvE element, housing, gardening, pets and can be played from the comfort of your home. MTG is a player vs. player card match--that's it, and that's ok.

If you're interested in learning more, Dylan and Sam are totally your dudes:

I'm sure there are a ton of people that play Wizard101 that have played MTG before, so feel free to leave your comments if you have some experience with the game and see the similarities and differences. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Thanks and Happy Dueling!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Live Waterworks Run Today!

Yes, my friends, many back channel e-mails have passed between myself, Stephen Spiritcaller, and the Fallons to finally come to a date where we could all livestream a run through the Waterworks . . . AND TODAY IS THAT DAY! (Today being 16 July 2011.)

If you'd like to join us on a run through Waterworks, hop on over to the Ravenwood Radio Livestream (Click the "Listen Live!" tab) around 11:00 am Central and join in the fun. :)

I'm sure we'll be casting a lot of Mythbats, Scarecrows, and Tempests. ;)

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ranked Derby -- What to do with the growing black hole?

Yesterday over Twitter I moaned that it'd be great if all teen-pet knight-ranked derby racers would please log on and join derby. ;p Bailey asked me to zoom up her teen pet the last few points she needed for Pet Captain yesterday, which I did.

Yay! Baby Cassie was rockin' the teen-pet circuit. It took a bit to get there, but luckily on a busy Saturday morning there were at least four other like-minded speed racers.

The population in Derby is a real problem, as others have noted. It's true. I kind of made a rough diagram of where I feel you'll find the most races (this isn't actual data or anything . . . just what I've experienced).

It'd be interesting to get some actual statistics from KI on this (if that's possible). Anyway, that black hole in the middle tends to grow and shrink based on time of day and week, and I imagine it will slowly grow bigger and bigger as derby gets older and older (then again, fresh blood continues to pour into the game). I also think it will continue to be a growing problem for KingsIsle and its players . . . unless . . . INTERVENTION! (was going to link to a video called World of Warcraft Intervention, but a questionable word or two in the video prohibits me ;))

My fixes would be as follows:

1- More derby awards. I mean, these pets are great, but really?

Really? That's all we get? No cool car-related housing items? No trophies? No special speed-boost potions you can use during derby? No special mounts? It just seems like a lot of lost opportunity here.

2- Player intervention . . . something like ranked derby parties. Attach the word "party" to anything and get it widely publicized, and you'll be sure to get at least a handful of new players.

3- Balancing of skills. Debuffs should be harsher . . . they just can't compete with the power of the "hurry" skills.

4- ??? - What are your suggestions and insights?

Like I also Twittered yesterday, I don't think I could get to Pet Warlord anymore if I were to try for it today. There just aren't enough matches to go around like there were back when derby was brand new. "Good luck" is all I can say for aspiring Pet Warlords.

Happy Dueling!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fairy wings! You're a butterfly in the sky!

Just found out on Twitter (and the Wizard101 Patcher) that you can now buy Fairy wings in the crowns shop! This item was requested as a mount a long time ago by fans, and it's finally here! I imagine a few of the "gals" out there are flippin' out! If I could wear my fairy wings while riding on my unicorn and go twice as fast, THEN I might be more excited. ;-) But that's just me.

Myrna has been riding on a cheap old broom for a long time, so . . . I decided what the hey! It's time for an upgrade for Myrna! Amber hasn't really had anything new on her character for a while either, so we sprung to give the "girls" a make over with new butterfly wings! Check 'em out!

WOOT! That there deserves a random butterfly-in-the-sky Youtube for awesomeness sake.

HAHA! That guy is freaking AWESOME! He would wear butterfly wings in Wizard101 for sure!

Anyway, I love the little side-to-side air dance/resting animation your character does while wearing fairy wings. Heck, in general I'd love new dances options for our characters. I like the fairy wings, don't get me wrong, but I'd even be happier to pay crowns for a new dance move. Know what I'm sayin? Maybe not 15,000 crowns for new dances moves, but still . . .

Happy dueling!