Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Awesome Thing #44 -- Toy Trains

I may be overblowing these toy trains a bit, but for some reason I love 'em!

The large one is crafted and the small one is farmed up from the Gurtok Barrier Demon, who stockpiles these things by the bajillions apparently. They make a sound when you're near them and have a small puff of steam coming out of the top of them.

I've dedicated a whole room to them in my player housing.

I guess in a way they remind me of my dad. He seemed to always want to get into toy trains. I think he liked them as a kid, and one Christmas he went a little crazy and bought this gigantic train set mounted on a huge sheet of wood, and this thing sat in our basement taking up precious realestate for YEARS.

Dang, the only old picture of the toy train I could find is mostly showing me in a bear blanket trying to scare our dog.

He had plans to decorate the whole sheet of wood with tiny trees and miniature landscape, but it never really worked out, and my cousin stepped on the train and broke it. I know this because of a page in my journal from the time.

It was kind of a big deal.

Anyway, eventually the toy train was scrapped for a pool table and life got an upgrade. Good times those are! And because they cue memories, spout steam, and make my death house sound a bit spooky and distant with their train sounds . . . they're awesome!

Happy Dueling

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Awesome Thing #43 -- The Labyrinth (through the eyes of my tribute!)

I talked a bit about the lava flow gag in the Labyrinth a few awesome things ago, but really . . . I gotta give it up to this whole dungeon, and what better way to do that than give it, oh, 12 hours of my life learning the new foundry system in Neverwinter trying to recreate the dungeon as a parody/tribute?

Seriously, there is nothing that will make you appreciate good Designers more than trying it yourself -- I'm a farcry from a good designer. I always tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. (like my tribute to Wizard101 in Little Big Planet)

So,let's get started then . . .

If you play Neverwinter and want to give this Wizard101 Parody a shot, Search for the short code "NW-DTKOXE29P" or the term "Dragonspyre" (currently in the "For Review" tab and stop reading now, so I don't spoil anything. :)

(Click on the pictures to make them larger if the text is too small to read)

The scene opens with a young wizard in distress, one Bailey Skystaff is rage quitting.

Watch out for those Confused Sentries near the entrance!

Ahh, Dmitri will guide us through!

Oh look! Bailey's treasure deck on the ground!

Gotta get that key to cross the lava bridge.

Did I say lava bridge?

I did!

And it's not as safe as the one in Wizard101's Dragonspyre (not-so-pro tip: swim back through the lava to the beginning . . . there's some stairs there)

Once at the end, Dmitri's asked you to deal with those three scandelous criminals that The Dean had freed.

Watch out for their vengenance after their defeat!

Free their souls that are bound to their prison doors (pro-tip, there's a short cut portal behind Andor's door so you don't have to swim through all that lava)

Behold, a side quest by that famous young wizard! (Pesky spells just keep jumping out of her spell book,don't they?)

Time to unlock the center pedestal

. . . and talk to the Dean.

Wait a second, it's not supposed to play out like this, Dean?!

Dmitri scoffs at letting The Dean free.

What could go wrong here with the Property Master?

1,2,3 . . . the banners have revealed secret doors and the cloak, staff, and crystal ball have been secured. Here you go, Dean!

Oh man, I should have listened to Dmitri . . . forgot the Dean was a Death Wizard . . . MEGA FINAL BATTLE THAT'S INSANE AND REQUIRES MULTIPLE POTIONS ENSUES! This time Dmitri joins in! WOOT!

Oh, it was all a test, whew . . . glad to be part of Dragonspyre Academy


This tribute/parody in Neverwinter takes about 10-20 minutes whereas the real Labyrinth takes around an hour or two. If I would have made you crawl through a bunch of streets and open a back gate to deal with the Gallium Paladin (still thinking of adding him in as a side quest:)), it would have taken longer -- but my family's patience was wearing thin with the amount of time it was taking to 1) learn the tools (which are pretty limited, but still awesome) and 2) just put the darn thing together. Whew!

I had a ton of fun doing this, and I will say out of all of Dragonspyre's dungeons . . . this is the one that has stuck with me the most. Because of its memorable nature and my newfound respect for how awesome this zone is . . .

it's awesome.

Happy Dueling

Friday, January 24, 2014

Awesome Thing #42 -- Teleport Stones

When Grizzleheim was released, along with that was a very interesting new feature that allowed Wizards to bamf from a central location out to the further reaches of the zone with a click. THUS, THE TELEPORT STONES WERE BORN! Soon after that it became the new hot sauce for KingsIsle, and teleport stones were put in all the worlds of the Spiral.

If you knew which stone went where, using them was a HUGE time savings. I think the people who benefited most from their use were those who farmed bosses near the teleport stone exits.

There was something awesome about being the guy who knew your way around quickly and could race people to a boss, then you'd send 'em a tell saying "Hey, you still running here? You could have just ported to me like an hour ago . . ."

Anything that's a time savings is a blessing in an MMO; therefore, teleport stones are awesome.

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Awesome Thing #41 -- Multistrike (AoE) Damage Spells

I've already given a head nod to Tempest, but I wanted to make sure I gave a shoutout to the spells that people really love. When new spells are released, it seems to be these types that create the most thunder, and when your class's shiny new damage spell isn't one of these types, you notice. :) They are that loved, and that awesome.

Specifically these bad boys come to mind:

By class:

Power Nova

Meteor Strike
Fire Dragon
Rain of Fire
Sun Serpent

Frost Giant
Snow Angel

Storm Lord


Deer Knight
Avenging Fossil

Forest Lord

*I've probably missed a couple . . . I'm a bit rusty here, and I didn't add anything like the snowball pet's aoe spell, which is something to bring up another day :)*

They're all awesome!

Happy dueling

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Awesome Thing #40 -- Katzenstein's Dance Floor

I had almost forgotten about this . . . so thanks to Amber Rosepetal for reminding me over Twitter yesterday!

The real magic happens on that old video of mine around the 3:04 second mark. :) After defeating Dr. Katzenstein, you pull some levers and *whabam!* Instant party dance floor! It's another great gag that's part of an old school dungeon in Marleybone.


Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Awesome Thing #39 -- The Lava Bridge in The Labyrinth

I think one of the most memorable instances for me in Wizard101 is the Labyrinth in Dragonspyre. It's just one of those dungeons whose memory sticks on you and won't leave (especially given how many times we crashed through this dungeon) -- and that's a good thing for me. I like haunting levels that have some kind of gag to them, and the lava bridge in The Labyrinth is definitely one of those areas.

At first you come to what appears to be an impassable lake of lava . . . impressive in its own right.

Eventually you get a key that magically lowers the lava levels and creates a pathway for you to walk through to get to the other side, and standing there with a wall of lava on either side of you, is probably one of my most favorite locations in the game.

I spent some time last night trying to construct a kind of tribute to this dungeon in Neverwinter, and . . . wow that's a lot of work, but it was kind of fun.

Recreating the lava bridge gag would be pretty difficult to do with the limited tool set you're given in the Foundry system -- but if I ever get something even close to playable, I'll have to let you know.


LISTEN . . . the Lava Bridge in The Labyrinth is awesome. XD

Happy Dueling

Monday, January 20, 2014

Awesome Thing #38 -- Memories of Farming the Ravens

There was a season (or two) where the prime farming spot for all the high level people (and their low level friends) was the final battle of Grizzleheim with the Ravens.

It was like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow . . . I guess both figuratively and literally in this instance. And everyone would flock there and grind the Ravens over and over and over. It wasn't so much the actual gold amount they dropped, but the number of bazaar/vendor sellable drops that you would get from them after defeating them.

The basic strategy was to blade the Storm Wizard up for a round and a half, use a convert spell on the storm boss, and hit that flock of vultures with a big ol' nasty tempest or stormlord spell.

And we'd make our decks super short and tight to ensure we got the spells we wanted and did that over and over and over . . . and over. Good times. We all started calling them the "Raven$$" and made out like wizzy bandits, which was awesome.

Happy Dueling

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Awesome Thing #37 -- Feint

You know it . . . you love it . . . you use it on every boss fight!! Mages and Evokeresses, please give it up for FEINT!

Coinciding right along with a recommendation of taking "ice to tower" as I was saying yesterday . . . how many times have I recommended taking "death to feint"?


I'm sure I've recommended it countless times, AS HAVE YOU, gentle gentle reader. It's a must have for those boss fights and who hasn't used at least one or two variants of the feint card when going for their million hit badge, eh? I mean +70 to damage is so super sexy that it's entirely worth the curse trap back on yourself. SO worth it!

Gotta love that feint trap. It's awesome.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Awesome Thing #36 -- Tower Shield

What's the best shield of them all in game? Why the one that's universal and obtainable by everyone! Wizards and Sorceresses, please give it up for . . . TOWER SHIELD!

It's part of the essential cards for those who don't "specialize" in a certain class and choose another class as their secondary and train uni-laterally in one direction . . . how many times have I recommended "Ice to Tower" as proper strategy?


I'm sure many more times than that . . . and I'm sure you've recommended the same to countless people as I have, smart reader! And even if you haven't, I'm sure you've stuffed a sideboard full of Tower Shield treasure cards before. Fess up!

It's the easy go to shield that I'm sure has been cast millions of times. Billions of times? Sounds like a question for Madame Vadima. ;)

Any way you slice it, a shield that saves you from -50% damage, no matter the type (and not figuring in that nasty piercing mechanic) is . . . simply awesome.

Happy Dueling!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Awesome Thing #35 -- Class Pets

Wizard101 gives several pets from quests, but class pets in particular are those you can receive when you reach a certain level and have finished a number of quests. The first batch were the level 48 class pets that were introduced with the Advanced Pets system.

Then we have the Level 58 pets out of Wintertusk and also the Level 78 pets from your class professor. The whole lot of them dubbed "Class Pets."

Although the class pets by themselves made for some fun class pride feelings . . . they were (at least when the level 48 pets came out) really fun to play with. I remember fondly the times when players were combining pets together striving to find new and rare hybrid pets. But THAT's a topic for another day. :)

. . . and because I can get a class pet that matches my Friendly Necromancer style . . . it's awesome!

Happy Dueling

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Awesome Thing #34 -- Riding the Young Battledrake

As the story goes, at the end of Dragonspyre, you become a trained dragon rider who has equipped a Young Battledrake in order to take flight and do battle with Malistaire.

It is one of the last great "rides" in Wizard101 through a spiraling, lava-filled tunnel on the back of a Young Battledrake.

It feels like a right of passage and gives you a wonderful feeling of accomplishment as you set forth on to the final task of the Malistaire story arc. What better way to present this final encounter! As opposed to Mr. Personality's ride, I think this is one ride many people will take all the way to the end . . . because it's awesome.

Happy Dueling

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Awesome Thing #33 -- Memories of Oyotomi Farming

I guess the main reason I put down Oyotomi farming here is because it's a throw back to the good old days when Mooshu was king and it used to be something I'd recommend all the time to people.

The only real pain was the trip to get to him . . . but really how painful is a trip through beautiful mooshu over a few zones. Not painful at all.

Oyotomi himself was pretty much a push over, and didn't have very high dps, PLUS, much like the Kraken, he was out in the open and available for farming by groups . . . which made Oyotomi the Kraken Pad of the high level players. Unfortunately Oyotomi seems a bit forgotten now aside from the black lotus farmers who scoop up the reagents near Oyotomi. There's other more profitable places to farm now for sure.

BUT still . . . it's the memories of Oyotomi farming that are the most awesome to me . . . the random strangers I'd meet there and the quest for gold cap and something to do while waiting for an expansion. He was still a good farm even when Dragonspyre came out.

And because of all this, he's awesome.

Happy Dueling

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Awesome Thing #32 -- Mooshu Spiral Chamber

It may seem simple, and it is.

Simply beautiful. I just love the wonderful atmosphere, calm, colors, and peace of the Mooshu Spiral Chamber.

It's probably my favorite safe zone that feels great to be in when you just want some quiet and peace in game.


Happy dueling

Monday, January 13, 2014

Awesome Thing #31 -- The Kraken Pad

Ever since I first saw the Kraken Pad, I was stunned at how it was always full of players.

. . . and I didn't know why until I realized that it's a boss out in the open world, in a central hang out location, and in the free to play area of Wizard101 . . . then it made sense.

It's basically where you go to fight the strongest boss in the fastest amount of time, so you can sell off the goods to make gold while being social.

That screen shot was taken super early in the morning by the way . . . you're pretty much assured that whatever the time zone, you'll pretty much find someone else hanging out here, which makes the Kraken Pad awesome.

Happy Dueling

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Awesome Thing #30 -- Mr. Personality

I actually have a unique blog tag for this guy he's that awesome.

Mr. Personality

. . . and I'll never forget how disappointed I was when KingsIsle made the Balloon Car rides optional. HA! Imagine if those transition phases were more popular than they were? We probably would have had a lot more of them in the game, which from this point of view wouldn't be so bad. Speaking of which, I like the dragonfly ride in the Bee House, it's like a kick back to these rides in my mind . . . only with much more looping and soaring. :) But less Mr. Personality. :(

He hasn't changed, but I have. :D

If anything, Mr. Personality's Balloon Car Ride gives us a wonderful view of this floating city, doesn't it?


Happy Dueling

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Awesome Thing #29 -- Golem Minion

It took me a while to discover the Golem Minion -- Once you play a Myth character, though, you start to realize what a wonderful thing this zero pip cost minion is (or not . . . I'm sure its easy to miss the beauty of this ugly little guy). That in itself is super unique: Myth gets THE ONLY zero pip minion, and you know, sometimes it is the seemingly weak spells that can by the most useful.

Once you cast that you get a Living Puppet minion that helps you out in battle for the mana cost of absolutely free.

On his own, as long as you have agro, you're pretty much assured he will continue to chuck out little one pip spells and live on, nipping away at someone's life (and understandably, if you're setting up a series of traps, he may not be the best candidate for your deck), but my favorite use of him was with Angus's Sacrifice Minion spell. In fact, the golem minion + sacrifice minion + tempest got Angus through a good chunk of Krokotopia and Marleybone if I remember right.

So, trust me LOL, he's awesome.

Happy Dueling

Friday, January 10, 2014

Awesome Thing #28 -- Pigswick Schools and Professors

Wysteria has a certain charm to it that seems to hail back to a more light-hearted time in the Spiral, and I've always been really fond of the school names and the oddball professors in this world. Let's take a look:

Teaching for the School of Spirit, Edna Fuligin.

Teaching the School of Equilibrium, Velma Pepper.

Teaching the School of Frost, Quentin Burble.

Teaching the School of Chaos, Heironimus Bunch.

Teaching the School of Tempest, Thaddeus Price.

Teaching the School of Ember, Ankhu.

And finally . . . the disgruntled Professor for the School of Earth, Chester Droors.

HA! I love it and every time I play through Wysteria, I think about how different this game would be if you were taught here . . . or perhaps if your Witchdoctor trainer was a dropout from the School of Spirit ;) (**NOTE: I was just being funny here and riffing off of Vadima's Lore. The rumor of being expelled vs. being a drop out would be two entirely different things. No doubt, Vadima is awesome in her own right, but this is a Wizard101 list, not a Pirate101 list, eh?)

And because they contain this much awesomeness, they're on the list.

Happy Dueling!