Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fan Fiction

So . . . at the nudging of the Wizard101 correspondent . . . I actually have been trying my hand (as an exercise mind you) at writing some fan fiction for this game. I wrote chapter 1 and 2 the other day.

I fear I have gone off the deep end.

Anyone else writing fan fiction out there?

(or just reading the blog? I'd love to hear a hello if anyone is out there.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Official low price announcement for second account made!

This just came across the wire from the KingsIsle crew . . . as promised . . . lower prices for second accounts! Don't we all wish they had done that for Everquest back in the day. ;-)

Hello Young Wizards!

We are very proud to announce the addition of Family Pricing to our Wizard101 subscription options! If your family purchases more than one “1 Month” subscription, your monthly subscription rates will only be $6.95/month. That’s a $3/month savings per subscription!

Sadly, we are also announcing the end of our $60/year introductory offer. The last day to purchase a one year subscription at this price will be Sunday, October 5th.

If you want to take advantage of the NEW $6.95/month family pricing or the $60/year introductory offer, login to www.wizard101.com and select Update Subscriptions!

See you in Wizard City!
Mr. Lincoln
Ravenwood School of Magical Arts

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Common Sense Prevails!! News at 11!

Hahaha. I don't have much to write today, and I've been busy with other things like creating a 16-channel Halloween light show, but I did manage to squeeze in an hour of play this morning in Marleybone.

I had a really funny realization though. In the first two worlds, the safe spot is on the side walk. In Marleybone's Hyde Park (where I'm playing currently), the bad guys walk down the sidewalks and stick to the edges. This proved to be sticky until I realized . . . oh . . . if the bad guys walk on the edges, why am I not walking down the middle of the road? Tada! It's so funny that it took me a number of minutes to realize what I was doing. I guess call it conditioning from the previous two worlds.

You still have to be careful, of course, because the bad guys do sometimes make a right or left turn and walk across, but for the most part if you just run directly down the middle, you'll be fine.

I was able to move about much more quickly. pffft, forget all this creeping around behind slow moving charlatans.

More later!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Out of Krokotopia

(not out of africa) RE:the blog title . . . .

My goodness. I truly think I found one of thee most annoying boss fights for a death/myth wizard last night. Not that it was particularly difficult, but rather that it took FOREVER to finish. To make matters worse, her companion buffed her with a guardian shield, which takes 500 points of damage to remove. That was possibly the most annoying thing I’ve confronted to date. I wonder what pet she drops . . . that would be the only way I’d want to solo through that fight ever again.

I am also happy to report that I have taken my first steps into Marleybone! Hooray! With the help of my new best helper buddy Zachary, we took on the Krokopatra and beat her and her guardian down to the ground.

Also to report, I was overjoyed to hear that one of my favorite gamer buddies decided to join me in playing Wizard101 (at least for the free demo). Fantastic! Welcome to the fray Tony . . . I mean Calab. It was nice to revisit the main world and run through a few quests with him while chatting on vent.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Tuesday and the Temple of Storms

Happy Tuesday everyone. I trust you enjoyed your recess? (That's what KingsIsle terms their server maintenance for Wizard101)

I managed to get some play in early before recess, and I made it into the Temple of Storms on Krokotopia. Good times, and it looks to be an interesting area. One of my first tasks was to set fire to ancient and historically important mummified krok remains. Oh well . . . who needs another Museum of Egyptian Antiquities.

Of other important note, KingsIsle had this important note about pricing today:

"Thank you for being a part of Wizard101!

We have some great news! We are introducing Family Pricing to our Wizard101 subscription options later this week. Our new family pricing will reduce the monthly subscription from $9.95/account to $6.95/account.

This opportunity is available to anyone who purchases more than one account.

If you have an existing family account with one or more subscribed child accounts, you should be receiving an email today with further instructions.

See you in Wizard City!"

Fantastic. If I ever decide to spring for another account so my daughter and I can play together, this will be perfect.

See you in Krokotopia!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Twenty Something

Here we go . . . it's now a couple weeks later, and I’m chillin’ in my twenties (there are 50 levels to this game btw). I’ve made a couple more friends just by hanging out and helping people. I must have done the “fang” boss 3 or 4 times now just from helping people work through it.

Who’s the fang boss? I’ll tell ya! So our friendly Egyptian Krokotopian helper “Shelek the Wise” tells us we need this golden fang from the Ice Caverns. Basically what you have to do is kill three death magic bosses (+1 of their friends) and solve the resulting puzzle that occurs at their death. These puzzles are age appropriate for younger kids, as long as you figure out that you’re suppose to look on the resulting “clue wall” behind them for clues after their defeat. Solving the puzzles then opens the door to the main boss (+1 friend). Defeat her, and you’ll be smack dab where I am progression wise at the time of this posting. :-)

On a side note, although I’ve made a couple of friends, I have run into someone who tried to make fun of my avatar. Haha. Check this screenshot out.

I love watching this kid try to circumvent the filters to fish for an insult. It turned out to be just about the most idiotic thing I’ve ever read. Hahaha.

Hasn’t this person heard? Real men wear kilts!

p.s. Take note, don't be unfriendly to the friendly necro. Be excellent to each other.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Video time! Tearing up the Krokotopia Arena

Here's some video footage I spliced together from my adventuring the other day.

There are a number of fights you have to complete in the grand arena on the Krokotopia world. I decided to pull out my fraps program and start the video running!

Enjoy! (Music: "Have a Nice Day" by MC Flip side, MIC Perry and "The Battle" by J-Break)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wizard101--on making friends

So I’m running around last night in a burning chamber of fire, and I get a little talkative. I open up my relatively void friend list, and I see there is one gal online that I’ve chatted with before. I say hello and ask her if she needs any help with anything. Unfortunately, it’s met with a “no, I’ve got it handled” comment that seemed a bit unfriendly. (Not the friendly necromancer's speed, yo) I tell her ok . . . look me up if you need any help (my friend list shows me as being 5 levels higher than her; although, I have my suspicions that it isn't updating her level for some reason).


I go about my business of killing these fantastic hulk-looking rock golems when another necromancer joins the fight. I say hi. He says hi. I say, “welcome to the rock smashing party.” He laughs. And suddenly that cosmic goo thing happens where you know you have someone talking to you that gets it.

I of course have no idea how old this fella is, so . . . you know, you have to be wary in this game. Another person joins our party. He says hi to her. I say hi to her and once again welcome her to the rock smashing party. But apparently the goo is not with this third person, and perhaps they can’t hear me because of parental controls being enabled. If that was the case, then my message would simply appear to her as “…”

Keelan (my new companion) and I then continue to quest and chat for the next hour. There’s this wonderful feature in the game where you can insta-port to anyone in your friend list. He runs down to a room that’s further along in the quest chain than I am while I continue to finish off a couple battles, and he asks me to help him dispose of a particularly nasty boss down there. I finish off my battle and run to the library. He tells me that I need fire resists for the fight, so I buy a few fire resistance cards from the librarian, and I insta-port to him for the fight.

We start clearing a bit, and he dies in a fight. He releases and goes back to town, drinks a full health and mana potion and pops right back into the fight. EASY and BRILLIANT.

We end up fighting the boss and it is quite difficult, but we win. And I win because I now have a partner in crime!

One Week Later

So a week later, I’m level 15 and working on a brand new “world” within the Wizard101 realm. This is Krokotopia! it’s a land of walking, talking lizards and crocodiles. The quest givers who are upright canines with proper English names and who are stranded in the midst of conflict while not wanting to give up their exploration of the area.

How did I come to this land? Why through a magical door in the heart of the tree that dreamt up this world of course!

Why all this trouble? You see, there’s this rogue wizard from the death school of magic named Malistaire that’s causing all kinds of problems. He’s the one responsible for all the mayhem in the main city and it appears his mischief has spread to Krokotopia.

Play in Krokotopia is somewhat similar to before, but I am seeing a lot more cooperation between players now. Now you must fight two monsters at once instead of one. It’s definitely a change of pace and atmosphere. Also, it is not odd to see one, two, or even three people join your battle to help, and it *is* definitely helpful . . . um, except for in one case. You see, if you’ve already killed off one monster and your other monster is on its last legs, and then someone joins your party when you are out of healing cards . . . well, it could get touchy.

I was happy to find that my class has a Taunt card. Imagine that, a taunt card in a kids game! That could be fun! I haven’t found a need to cast it yet, but dang . . . that could be fun!

I also stumbled into my first 4-man (the maximum allowed) instance and promptly died. As soon as I entered the instance, a group of 3 pumpkin-headed scarecrows beat me down (I did take one down with me though hehe.). That could be fun! I wonder how deep it is?

Either way, I’m still having fun with my little game. I can see that the end of leveling is probably only 2 or 3 months away, but they (Kings Isle entertainment) promise more fun (more worlds than the four existing ones) are on the horizon.

Day Four

I finally have a bit of in-game cash, so I bought a unicorn . . . and I was overjoyed when I saw that Bentley was a name option (they only give you a 100 or so names to choose from). Bentley doesn’t do much for me other than look pretty, and I’m ok with that. Bentley is a gorgeous unicorn. I couldn’t be happier with Bentley! haha!

I continue to do quests around town and am now a level 9 necromancer. Only one more level until I open up the next tier of cards and gear. /clap clap Oh that Banshee card looks awesome.

Of other note, I looked down from a ridge today over a river from a fenced edge, and I noticed that there were a large number of players on a little island fighting a Rank 3 boss named “Kraken.” They must certainly know something I don’t know! Is it profitable? Is it fun? Moreover, they for sure know something I don’t know . . . how to get down there to that island. More research may be in order!

Side note: There’s something else I love about this MMO. I can walk away from the computer and let my son (he’s 4) play my character without fear of him dying or whatnot: 1) Because defeat is relatively inconsequential and 2) Because it’s easy enough that he can just grind mobs to his heart’s content . . . I don’t mind the free exp. Go little buddy! Go!

Day Three

Last night’s adventure saw my first defeat in game! This is an easy game, right?

So there’s this tower that a quest giver tells you holds pieces of her homework. You work your way through five levels of the tower killing wooden, clockwork, and iron golems.

It became quite apparent how important it was to end a battle with as much health as possible to set you up for the next battle to come. The game randomly decides who goes first in a battle you see, and if you go into a battle with half life against two opponents, well . . . defeat. So sometimes stretching a battle out just for the purpose of playing a healing card may be to your favor.

My son and I eventually worked our way up to the top of the tower and earned our second in-game title "golem tower champion."

I also noticed something else inside me . . . oh, somewhere in the second hour of play last night and then later in the middle of the night. They were two separate instances, but tied together. So when you cast a spell from your card deck, it gives you a battle animation that’s a bit extended. For instance, I have a card that summons up a ghoul (being a necromancer and all) from a grave (a very cartoony looking ghoul and gravestone mind you). The ghoul sucks life from your opponent, and then spins around and shoots half of that life back into you. I suddenly and almost instantaneously grew tired of watching this animation at one point last night. (My brain mumbles, “/sigh, I wish I could toggle that off, /sigh”.)

Also, around 2 am in the morning, my daughter jumps into my bed and is whimpering because, obviously, after watching an animation over and over, your brain is going to process that in your dreams and haunt you a bit as it tries to dump it out. These little cartoony battle animation sequences got to her last night! How awful! And how awful for me because the plastic part of her curler rolls kept jabbing my face throughout the night and waking me up.

Pro’s aside, con found . . . confound it!

Awww well, hopefully our brains will soon begin to ignore the stuff that it doesn’t need to process as it happens, so we can go back to enjoying the game, which . . . still . . . I find myself wanting to play even though I find myself at work. Doing adult things. Like reading documents. Like not playing Wizard101.

*editor note: since the time of writing this post, I haven't had any more problems with my daughter having nightmares from the game. They went away. I think it may have just been that initial excitement.*

Day Two

I haven’t been able to get much play in on the computer. It’s kind of funny how the computer has now become something the family has to “take turns” on. /giggle (I can sense a second computer on the horizon).

So day two was fun. I did a number of new quests and have now earned the in-game title “hero of unicorn way,” which is a street within the main city filled with ghosts, skeleton pirates, and evil fairies. There are also a number of houses along this street. Much to my surprise I found Dorothy, Sir Toto, and the Tinman in a couple of them. awesome.

This game uses the “zone” technique like Everquest. It isn’t seamless like LOTRO or World of Warcraft . . . and that’s ok with me. I don’t mind it.

I love how lighthearted this game is, and yet there are a number of facets to the game that are well thought out. They have lore concerning the development of the different schools of magic and how their world came to be. Nothing too complex, but it is lore.

The battle system is a card game where you can’t cast certain spells in your deck until you have the correct number of “pips,” which encourages a diverse deck using a mix of low level and high level cards. yet, it’s not too complicated of a card game, which would confuse my children.

I like the mini-games you play to refill your mana; they’re awesome! It’s like bringing the fun back into MMOs. I really don’t care if it’s silly or not “hardcore.” The original purpose of playing these games was to have fun after all. Right? RIGHT?

Even better . . . everything I’ve done in game so far would be available without subscription fees. It makes me wonder what surprises my daughter and I have yet in store for us beyond the walls of this town now that we’re full paying members.

Of course, after a few months, I’m sure some of the magic of Wizards 101 will be gone for me, but for now . . . for now . . . Thomas Lionblood the level 5 necromancer is happy.

Welcome to Wizard101--Day 1

Hi! My name is Thomas Lionblood! I call myself the friendly necromancer and this is my blog about a brand new family-oriented MMORPG called Wizard101.

In my real life I'm a busy father of two that likes to write and have a lot of fun. I've played a number of MMOs in the past (Everquest, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, etc.) When I read about Wizard101 and saw how amazingly fun this could be for me and my family, I couldn't wait! I downloaded the game that night and started to play with my daughter by my side.

And now some quick information for those that are not familiar with the game: The game is free! All that you pay is the subscription fee, which was only 60 bucks for the year (pretty much the price of a new video game in the store).

Don't make the mistake of going to the videogame store and asking for a copy of the game like me! They won't have it. Instead, go download the game and try it for free at this address: http://www.wizard101.com

This game is very easy. It's very beginner. It's very cartoony. (I think comic sans is its default font LOL.) But it does get more challenging as the game progresses and can be a lot of fun!

As with any new MMO, there are a bunch of people (um, kids and parents), running around in the world. Be warned though, chat can be pretty non-existent at times or very simple. This MMO for the family has very strict chat filters. If that bothers you, then this game may not be for you. I personally like the restrictions . . . helps me feel my daughter is safe from things she doesn't understand.

The purpose of this blog will be two-fold. 1) to be a place for me to tell my stories of adventuring as the friendly necromancer, and 2) to discuss things that readers may be interested in. So, please, comment and ask your questions about Wizard 101!

Happy Card Dueling!