Friday, April 30, 2010

Windows Into the Test Realm

Good to see so many entries in the Gobbler Raffle below! :-)

OK, so I snapped a few pictures of the help windows yesterday while I was in the Test Realm's Pet Pavillion. If you haven't been able to log in there (or just aren't subscribing right now), these might help you with understanding how things "work" in the new expansion.

There's going to be a loooooot of clicky clicky going on over there.

1- Hatchery Window (click on all these to make them bigger)

There are actually two dialogue boxes for this one feature in the game. Once you enter the hatchery with another person, you'll see a split screen where you'll have a chance to confirm that you want to go through with this expensive egg creation exercise. A lot of people seem to think that getting the message "your partner left" is a bug. It isn't (but it could probably be executed better or more explanatory). What it's telling you is that one of you doesn't meet the requirements to be there. You should go in with enough cash and an old enough pet, or you'll get kicked out.

2- mini-game window:

All mini-game windows operate pretty much in the same way. You'll want to click on the different worlds of the spiral to see which one will give your pet the correct stat gain. Always remember to go into these mini-games with a snack to feed your pet when you're done. It'll help boost your pet faster.

3- pet derby window:

This is another double window explanation. So for practice races, you'll get a handy join window, but for the real races, you won't get a window. It just matches you up automatically with other racers. Pressing on the up arrow and using the spacebar to duck and jump will be your new found fun in this patch. Also remember to click those four buttons that hold all your pets special derby abilities. Timing is everything on all the above mentioned clicky clicky fun. :-)

4- Snacks window:

Snacks work much like reagents do. In fact, you will actually get an opportunity to craft snacks (cooking yay!) in this update. Some snacks will be super yummy for your pet, some they'll tolerate, and from what I understand, so snacks are YUCKY for your pet. Pay attention to the wizard class type on the pet. :-)

Hope that helps with understanding some of the Window's you're going to see in the new expansion!

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Making of Diapermancer 4

Looks like Bailey and I are going to have yet another mouth to feed thanks to this wacky test realm nonsense!

Yeah . . . um, definitely might be some "chat issues" with the new hatchery . . .

Can't wait to see what ancient wraith + ancient helephant will equal! At least I know it's a girl! (Bailey's was a boy name egg btw)

Happy Dueling!

So jealous of my daughter

Ok, my daughter and wife conspired this morning and put together an absolutely awesome blog post about their visit to the spiral. It's over on my daughter's blog, Boogie Woman's Babble.

You have to go check out those screenshots!

I'm going to steal one and put it here . . . I need to steal it because it shows a KI support staff member with a Celestia Crab pet. /jaw drop

So jealous.

Happy Dueling!

Test realm is up!

I just got a call from the uber wife and she says the Test Realm is UP!!!! It's time to go patch and check it out!!!

Sent from my iPhone

Advanced Pets Video on Youtube

Most of you have probably already seen this, but the following video is in addition to the advanced pets page video that I linked to last night:

1- I want that zombie cyclops, street sweeper, skeletal pirate, black firebird crow, decaying ninja pig, and mummy snake you see around 1:04-1:05.

2- The very last words of the video are very prophetic my friends: "Collect all your pets now so you can hatch all new pets." Hopefully if you've been following along with my pet of the day feature, you've farmed up a few pets or purchased a few that you never had before. Farming season for pets has officially begun . . . if you've been following along with my lead, you've got a head start.

3- I don't think this is the full extent of the new pet system that we're seeing here in this video. I don't even think the full extent of the new pet system is what we're seeing on the advanced pets page . . . I think it's going to actually add a new layer of play that none of us have expected. What do you think?

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pet . . . mania . . . has . . . begun

Ok, I'm at work, I take a little break and twitter a couple things . . . go back to work and an hour passes . . . Bailey calls me.


I do the whole, "wha, wha?" thing.

Check Twitter again.


So I retweet about five of the messages and start watching the clock . . . COME ON CLOCK!

Drive home.

Hop on the computer.


Check it out, now, don't even read the rest of the post if you haven't watched this. Come back afterwards.

. . .

Ok, I've grabbed a few stills from the video itself. Let's look at some of this.

This is a firezilla pet running around in a pac-man like maze collecting power dots of some sort. It's obviously some kind of mini-game for your pet where you assume control of your pet and drive it around the maze. I love that I can become my pet. We kind of all knew that was going to happen, but seeing it is believing it. I wonder exactly what the goal of this game is? Will it be to get from the start to the end or is it going to be more like a pac-man type game where something is chasing you? Will it get progressively harder? I'm interested in seeing how this maze game is actually implemented.

This to me looks like a ghoul pet being launched out of a cannon into a target. I love it. I'm instantly reminded of the Toon Town party cannons. I wonder if we'll be competing against other people in a target game or if this is a solo challenge. I'd hope that it was a multiplayer experience since, you know, this is an MMO. (I love the tree that's a stand up target to the side. hehe) BULLSEYE! I'd love to have a cow pet from mooshu and say that as I shot him through the air at the target . . . jus' sayin'.

Ok, there were tons of shots in the video of pets hanging out in houses and dorm rooms. It appeared as if you could call your pets to you. Awesome. I can't wait to unleash my five pages of pets into my house. This is a direct request that many people made on the pet thread that started a year ago on central. Good call, KI. BTW, CHECK THE SKELETAL PIRATE PET OUT, YO! TAKE THAT HATERS! WORD! ;-) Also, is there something strange looking about that ghost pet in the back or is it just me?

Here we have what must be a NEW pet. It's a Freddy Nine Lives running the new derby race. You hear that? FREDDY NINE LIVES PET? TAKE THAT CAT HATERS! I would love to have a Freddy Nine Lives pet. hehehe. It's good to see that the pets are running on their legs as "exercise" instead of driving cars. I like that. It makes more "sense" to me.

What, pray tell, is Merle doing in the Storm School here? Could it be that storm magic is what is causing all this advanced pet mania? I think so. Obviously we've seen Dr. Katzenstein (or his more sociable counterpart) using the power of electricity to channel pets into an egg. I wonder if Merle will be sending us first to the storm school on our quests for this new found magic of increasing and modifying the powers of our pets.

. . .

Honestly, I can't wait for this to hit the game. I'm pretty sure that over the next few months pet farming is going to be huge. I'M PROPETS Y'ALL!

As I've tried to communicate in the past, this expansion really will bring something wonderful to the spiral. Count on it.

Happy Dueling!

Shark Kid and Robot Boy--Episode 1

And now presenting! Shark Kid and Robot Boy!

(click on that to make it bigger)

There were a couple cool ideas expressed yesterday! Keep 'em coming!

Happy Dueling

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pet of the Day--Colossus!

Remember the first time you saw a colossus? For me it was 20 September 2008. (ahhh, long gone are the days of void friend lists and some dude named Keelen) I describe it like this:
"I go about my business of killing these fantastic hulk-looking rock golems when another necromancer joins the fight."

Nowadays I'm thinking new players first see the Colossus as pets on passersby in Wizard City Commons, and if not there, then certainly out in the Oasis where Al Saf'wan peddles his reagents.

ATTACK! There's the gals showing off their versions of the colossus. Saf'wan is our General leading us into battle. :-)

Let's review all of them:

1- Ice Colossus. Ahh, poor Myrna (my ice wizard) would love an ice colossus someday. It's the level 48 pet of our dear ice wizard friends. It comes complete with +5% power pip chance and a card of ice colossus. Maybe someday I'll have one of these.

2- Earth Walker. This here is every life wizard's dream pet as they are leveling up. Why? The 5-pip wonder spell for life wizards! Yup, it comes with 1 card of Earthwalker, which does 420-500 life damage. It's a little spendy at 10280 crowns . . . ok, it's A LOT spendy at 10280 crowns. You used to be able to buy this little guy for gold in Dragonspyre. In fact, that's how I got Amber's Earthwalker. I can't remember exactly how much gold it was, but I think I remember paying well over 50,000 gold for it. /shrug . . . been a long time ago. This thing actually is rumored to drop from Tumok (unlike the, uh, Skeletal Pirate pet hehe).

3- Magma Colossus. This here is the uber pvp pet for Warlords. yeah, I don't have one and even if I did, I don't think I could equip it. It's for Warlords only. This comes with the ever awesome +5% Power Pip chance AND a card of Pierce. I've only ever seen a handful of these, but that's probably because I don't spend much time in the arenas.

That is one nice looking colossus. *whistles*

4- Walmart Colossus! Now this colossus is so my speed! LOL! yo. As you can tell from that picture above, I'm fond of the Walmart Colossus. haha! I've got a handful of these bad boys scattered across my characters. For ten bucks you get a cool pet AND crowns. YEAH! These all have varying effects, so you should always check the gift card pet page so you know what kind of colossus you're getting.

So as you can see with that list above, getting your colossus will either take a trip to Walmart and ten bucks, obtaining level 48, farming it from Tumok (laf), obtaining warlord and spending 1500 tickets in pvp, or shelling out 10280 crowns. The colossus isn't the easiest pet in the world to obtain . . . imagine, enduring a Walmart trip . . . /shiver. Ahhhh, it's not so bad. :-)

Take your Colossus out of your bag and let 'em run around on those stumpy legs today because, whatever the flavor, today is the day of the Colossus pet!

Happy Dueling!

The Friendly Warcaster?

Heya all,

I just wanted to alert you all to a side project I think I'll be taking on in all my spare time I have (LOL . . . yeah, what am I thinking). Now presenting The Friendly Warcaster!

I've been playing in the closed beta of Mytheon over the weekend, and I can't really talk specifics about the game (but soon I will be able to).

I know y'all like free stuff, so I thought I'd inform you of the Mytheon Open Beta Event. (Medusa wearing an ipod, LOL)

This game will not be for everyone. It's a much different game than Wizard101, so I wouldn't expect the same kind of vibe up front. What I will say is that Kyle and I played this game over the weekend and had a pretty fun time with it. :) If my son likes the game, and I like the game, then that's a good sign I will probably blog about it in one fashion or another.

Now, for the side story from me . . . so, being the Friendly Necromancer I talk to people at Kingsisle from time to time over e-mail. It's an honor really to have access to some of these fine people. One VIP that I grew close to was Fernando Blanco in the Marketing Department. It was a sad day when Fernando moved on from Kingsisle and headed over to True Games as their Marketing Director since he was such a fun guy to write to over e-mail. I dig Fernando, so naturally, I kept in touch with him as he made his move. haha, I was () this close to snagging an interview of Fernando to share with you all about a year ago, but the man is just incredibly busy, and it never worked out.

Well, I never got that interview of Fernando with Kingsisle, but maybe I'll get that interview of Fernando with True Games, eh? He's a great guy. 'nuff said.

I don't know if The Friendly Warcaster will be as big a hit as The Friendly Necromancer has been, but I definitely will be playing through this game and writing about it on the side. No worries though, The Friendly Necromancer isn't going anywhere. The Friendly Warcaster is just another stone in my arsenal of games.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fwd: Celestial Sneak Peek for our Fansites - Part 2

This just came across the wire! WOOT-worthiness indeed my friends!

Sent from my iPhone

Pet of the Day--Minotaur

Here's your minotaur and your axe!

Love that axe!

Love that axe too!

If you haven't figured it out by now, today's Pet of the Day is the Minotaur! Behold its mighty woot-worthiness from the Friendly family!

Speaking of our current location in that screenshot (btw, notice Bailey got her GM hat?), you know, I've never quite understood why the Minotaur drops from Youkai in the Tree of Life. Doesn't it just seem like the minotaur *should* drop from Grummish? I mean, not only is he a super dooper rocking minotaur, when you click the little braziers there in the Entrance Hall, a line of mini-minotaur pets appear all around the base of the battle circle!


That kind of stuff is very odd to me. KI, you guys are such teases!

I digress.

So bring out your minotaur and his axe today and have some fun with your awesome looking man-beast, even if his name is Penny, Queen Moose, or Madame Ellie. He's not ashamed!

Happy Dueling!

Leveling fast and Grizzleheim houses?

Ok, I have a couple of questions here from a couple of posts yesterday.

Olivia Ashbringer asks this:

Okay, I wanted to ask you a question, as I've seen other people do that, but had no idea where questions were supposed to be submitted!

So, I'm just going to ask it here, if that's okay.

I discovered KingsIsle's youtube channel today and was going through all their videos and I saw this one:

Three seconds into it is housing I've never seen before. It looks like Grizzleheim housing, of which I thought there was none!

Am I right?

I'm actually in the middle of a break on answering questions because it was burning me out, and I wanted to just talk about pets and whatever I wanted for a little bit. I talk a little bit about that on this thread.

Your question has actually been asked before believe it or not! Check this out.

My current theory is that Grizzleheim housing exists, but it hasn't been implemented in the game. There must be a problem with it of some kind or it would have been released by now. So, I'm not getting my hopes up to see it at this point. I know, I'm being all Debbie Downer about it, but it's 2010! Grizzleheim is so 2009! ;-) Hopefully those words come back to haunt me.

Second question comes from Anon:
Hey Friendly, love the blog, I check it out all the time! Anyway, I was wondering how you leveled up so fast. I remember in one post you said you were level 16 halfway through Wizard City. You've gotta have some kinda method right? Please pass on your gaming knowledge to me and I will be gratefull

Thank you, kind anon!

Well let's see, here's a couple links for you.


About two weeks ago I made some kind of mental breakthrough with Wizardblox, and I now seem able to break the 500,000 point barrier! This means that my reward is going to be an experience boost potion. Awesome. Just remember the best way to use those is to get a number of quests right to the edge of where you are going to finish it, and then finish them all up while your potion is burning.

. . .

You know what kills me? (No friendly, what kills you?) What kills me is when people try to make a battle last as long as possible so they get more experience points. Oh it just kills me. Seriously. In the time that it takes to really get up into some good experience points from a battle, you could have completed a slew of quests, and QUESTS (outside of Grizzleheim ;-) I'm such a Debbie Downer on Grizzleheim today) are where the real experience points are earned in this game. The faster you do those kill quests and collection quests, the faster you level.

Delaying a battle for experience points is so Unicorn Way, yo.

*nasty taste in mouth*

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

BOOMS! Uber Wife Finishes the Game!

Well it's been fun y'all! I just wanted you to see my last screenshot I will ever take!

That's perfection right there . . . no need to take any more.

/wipes hands clean

;) Just kidding.

OK, so that screenshot comes from Bailey and Molly's Malistaire run last night! WOOT! We ended up taking Cassandra Griffindreamer (Witchwarrior 101) with us and Travis Emeraldspear. Even though Travis was doing his best to rush us through the most momentous climactic point of the game, we still managed to get a few cool screenshots along the way. hehe. One of which was perfection, as you saw above, I totally should bring back the Unicorn for the pet of the day . . . it should have been official MONTH of the unicorn. ;-)

Check out this screenshot! The wife scores her athame and she snags a screenshot so it looks like she's saying victory. :-)

Nice work pressing the screenshot button, Bailey! Bailey's lucky! Although she was a bit lost in the dungeon (we need to do it a few more times just for fun I think), she did a great job pressing X.

Nice job pressing X, Bailey!

Next up is the obligatory, "OOO! IT'S MALISTAIRE!" picture that everyone takes. :-)

The gals are looking awesome there. Malistaire has no idea what's coming for him.

Check out this panorama shot. You should click on this one to see the awesomeness!

Bailey made quick work of those Soul Servants with her Fire Dragon spell.

We managed to pull off a Malistaire line dance before the fight.

During our line dance/ninja fight with Malistaire, there was a pretty cool one-two punch from Molly and Bailey where Molly cast her Centaur spell back-to-back with Bailey's Helephant spell. We left Malistaire with just a few hundred hit points after that round.

Yup, Cassandra and Travis helped us make quick work of ol' Mally. Before you knew it, Merle Ambrose was telling Bailey Bravo for a job well done. BRAVO!

And the wife did a fantastic job of pressing "done" here.

Yes! NICE WORK PRESSING DONE, BAILEY! DONE! Can you believe it?!

So after leveling to 50, Bailey put on her horrendously pink-colored Malistaire robe, and we all made our way to Cassandra's new Carousel to celebrate. :-)

She charged us for the ride of course . . .

Ok, now . . . Bailey is at work today, and she just sent me a text that she wanted me to add at the bottom of this post. So . . . here goes:

"Bailey wants to give a big thanks to CASSANDRA GRIFFINDREAMER (cue music) and Travis Emeraldspear and to everyone else along the way who has helped her and wanted to be her friend! You guys ROCK!!!"

INDEED! :-) We've come a long way, Bailey! Nice work.

Happy Dueling!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ready For Malistaire!

Yup, That's the uber wife riding the dragon to Dragon's Roost! I'm happy to announce that the gals are ready to fight Malistaire! The Molly and Bailey team are ready to roll into the Great Spire and lay the smack down!

To make matters even more awesome for the uber wife. Check out her exp!

Uber Wife is UBER! Defeating Malistaire will make her a Grandmaster!

Oh wait . . . there's more . . . looky what the husband got her months and months ago . . .

That's right! The moment she dings 50, she'll slip on that Dragonfire cloak and BOOM! Behold the mighty uberness of uber wife!

It really will be cool to add a GM fire wizard to the friendly family of characters. I'm so proud of uber wife! (Molly on the other hand . . . she needs some focus to get to level 50 . . . don't worry, I've just been holding out hehe)

Next up? Iridian, her balance wizard, and Myrna, my ice wizard, will be finishing out Mooshu and having their own Dragonspyre adventures soon! Our family of characters just keeps getting more awesome and more awesome all the time. woot!

Happy Dueling!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pet of the Day--Ghoul

It's Mr. Necrosis himself!

Today's pet of the day is THE GHOUL! There are actually four types of ghastly ghouls in the game:

1- Myth Ghoul. The Myth Ghoul can be purchased for 750 crowns in the Wizard City Pet Shop. It has no card, but it looks super snappy.

2- Dream Ghoul. The Dream Ghoul is an excellent "first crowns pet" for lowbies. It doesn't come with a card, but it does come with +50 life and +50 mana. The +50 mana is really what seals the deal for new characters methinks.

3- Ghoul. This is just your regular ol' flavor ghoul. No card. Just a cute little gravedigger to follow you around. You can pick up your new diseased fleshy fiend friend from Prince Suten Sokkwi in the Emperor's Retreat in Krokotopia.

4. Dire Ghoul. Last but not least, we've got a skin-dripper with a card of . . . wait for it . . . GHOUL! You can pick up your Dire Ghoul from the Death Oni in the Tree of Life instance in Mooshu.

Here's me and ol' Screwy Louie hanging out in the Death Tower!

He's a gem.

So go grab your little ghoul'y gem today and show 'em off! He's today's pet of the day!

Side note: Anybody remember the game Super Ghouls and Ghosts? /shiver

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ravenwood Radio tonight!

It's that time again! Ravenwood Radio #14 will broadcast live tonight! The chat room is sure to be jumping around 8:30 Central!

And for those of you that like the times spelled out:

Pacific: 6:30 pm
Mountain: 7:30 pm
Central: 8:30 pm
Eastern: 9:30 pm
Other: figure it out yourself! ;-)

I do have a segment I've submitted for tonight, but I'm unsure if I'll be there. If I do show up, I'll most likely be fashionably late and start chatting about power rangers about five minutes after that.

Happy Dueling!

The Cassandra Griffindreamer Song

It's true . . . I wrote a song about Cassandra Griffendreamer from WitchWarrior101 . . .

If you don't know Cassandra, you probably haven't read any of the diapermancer comics on this blog. I posted the first three Diapermancer comics on my blog and then I encouraged Cassandra to make a blog of her own!

She's awesome!

You might have heard her on wandcast as well. She usually does a segment (and then david usually complains for an extended period of time LOL).

I think you'll gather a few more things about Cassandra from this short song I crafted, which you may now download from Google Docs. I hearby give wandcast permission to play some of this song before Cassandra's segment if they want to! ;-)

Thanks for being awesome and helping the Molly and Bailey team so much as we progressed through Dragonspyre, Cassandra! You're a pleasure to play beside! The whole family has been singing "CAAAASAAANDRAAAAAA GRIFFENDREAMEEEEEER!" The past week. :-)

Happy Dueling!


Detective Friendly here. I have a few facts to post:

1- At 12:49 pm one AutumnalDusk posted the following comment on my blog about the Celestia Wallpaper, "An interesting series of observations, old friend."

2- At 1:42 pm (I don't know if it was her time or my time or someone else's time) one AutumnalDusk posted the Celestia wallpaper to her blog, which has been dormant for about 8 months. You'll notice there's something slightly different about that picture on her blog . . .

3- Around 4:00 pm, @AmberStarGem on Twitter said, "OMZ AUTUMN FROM HOMEWORK POSTED AGAIN!!"

4- shortly thereafter, @Shadowthistle responded, "@AmberStarGem Woah! OMM! (moomintroll)"

5- Around 5:00 pm, @mooncatcher101 responded, "@AmberStarGem Check out a comment she left on W101 Info."

6- At 6:00 pm, Isacc Mistheart posted the following comment on my blog, "Um friendly HW in a Graveyard just posted thought you might want to know."

7- Also at 6:00 pm, Icywiz retweeted, " RT: @AmberStarGem: OMZ AUTUMN FROM HOMEWORK POSTED AGAIN!!"

. . .

Hmmm, Detective Friendly thinks that perhaps Autumn has taken a moment away from her Forsaken World Blog to give us all a hello! Does this now mean I can remove it from the dust of the Blogger Archives and put her back in her rightful spot in the active blogroll? Hmmmm.


Thanks for all the heads up guys and AUTUMN! YOUR HOMEWORK HAS BEEN PILING UP WHILE YOU'VE BEEN AWAY!!!! /whipcrack

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pet of the Day--Lightning Bat

Here's the concept art from KI:

Yeah, that's completely wicked looking . . . sigh . . .

You know, farming Wavebringer is one of the most painful farms for me in the game. Just to get to Wavebringer you have to pretty much do the entire Shirataki Temple instance, so you're talking anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour just to get to Wavebringer, and then he doesn't have a second chance chest. Yes I've complained about this before. That is why every time I see one of those lightning bat pets, I just FUME! It's the pet I want, but don't want. It's the pet that everyone that has one just holds over my head (incoming comments about the people who own lightning bats in three, two, one . . .)

Bazaar sniping one of these would be ideal, but because it's not an easy farm, I highly doubt you're going to see one of these pets. (incoming comments about the people who either sold or bought their lightning bat pet in three, two, one . . .)


It's THEE reason why I voted for the lightning bat to win in the pet contest at Gorman's party the other day. I don't have one. Having one would be awesome. I don't have one.


Happy Dueling!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Playing a "kids game" is awesome!

I've had a few comments lately that Wizard101 is a "kids game." I even got an e-mail that said this

"Friendly, I have this friend who says he is quitting wizard101. He says people tease him because its a 'kids game.'"

Go ahead, look all the way back at my first post I ever made about this game.

"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."

Wizard101 is a "family-oriented" game, not a kids game, but even at that, I wouldn't care if it was a kids game or not.

Here's the truth of the matter, Kingsisle started creating this game and then the people that worked there started realizing that this game was a game they would like to play themselves. They realized that with this game long-distance relatives could play with their grandkids. They realized that families who were separated by great distances, could still play together. TADA! The family that slays together, stays together. A tremendous amount of good has been done in the world of MMOs because of this game. We class the joint up!

Listen. Why have I written about this game so much and put so much time into talking about this game? It's because I know that out of the trash heap of MMOs out there, this one actually cares about my family. I've played countless games in my life. Countless. But I've NEVER written more about ANY game than this one. Why?


I used to be a big time hardcore raider in other games. They expect you to put in a certain number of hours a week to even stay with the guild. The game mechanics are like manning a console in a big submarine where the stakes are not really that high unless I leave my console. I've had moments where I've had to make a judgement call between saving a raid and addressing a question with my child. Do I want to do that? With Wizard101 I get 30 seconds to a minute or so between each judgement call. It's perfect. I can click and turn to my child. I can talk to them. I can help them. I can even get out of my chair, walk over, grab some milk, click another card, walk down the hallway, hand the milk to a child, come back, click a card, clean up a spill, click a card, continue cleaning up a spill, win the fight, run to a sidewalk, finish what I'm doing and I've been dad while being "Thomas Lionblood."

At the same time, when I'm all alone, I can load up three accounts and do a briskbreeze run by myself and play it as hardcore as I want.

Will people make fun of you for playing this game. yes. This is me not caring: -_- . . . A few of my coworkers in the "world of warcraft" crew love to poke fun at me. That's why when I talked to J Todd Coleman on the phone for an hour, I loved shoving it down their throats. "Guess what, I just talked on the phone with the dude who made Shadowbane, yeah that little game you guys used to play in . . ." Let me tell you how fast they did a 180 about me playing Wizard101. BAM!

I wish I could say that Wizard101 will keep your attention forever and be the last game you'll ever play, but I'd be lying to you, and you'd be lying to yourself. Everyone will quit at some point. Even the Friendly Necromancer. I can't blog about this game forever, but for now . . . TADA! HERE I AM!

If someone makes fun of you for playing this game, it's because they like playing something that feels and looks more "extreme" and keeps their hands and minds constantly busy. You know, the Halo crowd will never get it. This game is an entirely different experience, and there's a good chance they may feel like a complete woosie and be instantly bored. For us, we click a card and we socialize with our friends as we head toward a common goal. We help others do the same. We have fun exploring our world without feeling like we're being hunted with a gun. We are awesome avatars with hundreds of clothing choices with a deadly deck of cards in our hands. This world is both dangerous and light and airy at the same time. There's a lot of layers to the experience.

From the outside looking in, the graphics (outside of Dragonspyre and Grizzleheim) make this look like a kids game, and it started out being that way, but it ended up being much much more. From the inside looking out, this is a new world that most people will never understand unless they try it and allow themselves to "suspend their disbelief." Their game will always be cooler and more extreme and more awesome whatever it is . . . and you should try it, because you may like it. But I'm telling you, you should never forget how awesome Wizard101 made you feel inside when you played it. When you leave it, you should be happy about the time you spent here.


OK, final thought of this long rant: There's more to this life than what game you play. People may make fun of the game you play, but they can't touch what makes you awesome inside.

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pet of the Day--Treant

These dudes, are so awesomely funky looking, aren't they?

Look at that cool "Treebeard" (yeah, not hard to tell where they got that inspiration from, is it?) and the awesome looking tree claws! Look at the funky mushrooms and the spiral tattoo carving in the shoulder! LOVE THESE GUYS.

These two, would totally date in real life.

I could see them going to the clubs together. Getting down with the tribal beats.

So, out of the whole "Friendly Family of Characters" (tm) only Iridian and Bailey have these pets, and I do believe they also were both bazaar sniped. I did try to farm one of my own last night in preparation for Treant day . . . to no avail. Meh. You win some, you lose some. :)

And now, the last march of the ents from Lord of the Rings recreated in The Game Which Shall Not Be Named:

I love machinima. LOL!

So, break out the funk today and show off your funky pets! Today is the day of the treant! woot woot!

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Complexity -- Getting Nearer to the Root of the Problem

So, I really don't think it takes any rocket science to understand that the pathways in Wizard101 are very straightforward . . . and this is probably a good thing in the end, but I must admit that there are moments when it feels too straight. There are moments when I wish the complexity was just a tad bit more.

There was a time when the game didn't have that little yellow arrow on the bottom that guided you through. The moment that little yellow helper friend hit the game, was the moment the game became a ton easier and a ton less about exploration . . . and that's completely ok with a lot of the playerbase. And truth be known, if I'm given a choice between arrow or no arrow, I'm going to choose arrow. Haha! If given the choice of being hand-fed grapes while reclining on a chair or plucking them off the vine myself, I'd probably choose being hand-fed grapes.

BUT, truth be known, I don't think this game was originally built with the quest arrow in mind. It wasn't there at the release of the game and it wasn't even there at the release of Dragonspyre. Our original world wasn't meant to be completed with a quest arrow. I feel that in a game like this, there should be moments where you think to yourself, I'm LOST! And then overcoming that challenge is where the reward is.

How do you overcome the challenge of being lost? Some people run to fansites like this searching for the answers. Some people turn to their friends list. Some people try to understand it themselves and get back on track. Any way you overcome it is perfectly great by me, but to really be immersed in something, I would argue that there need to be challenges that simulate real life. Real life is not a straight path. In real life we don't have a yellow arrow leading us to success.

So with that, I now present a couple graphics I created a few months ago and never published.

1- The root of the problem as illustrated by Dragonspyre:

2- How Dragonspyre should have looked:

Why would I say that? DRAGONSPYRE IS THE FINAL CHALLENGE OF THE ORIGINAL GAME! I'm saying "original game" in this case because as we know, Wizard101 is going to probably continue inheriting new layers to it over the next few years. Many new stories and sub-plots will continue to be added to the game, and we know that Malistaire will probably make a return to the game somehow, but Dragonspyre will always be that original final world. End game.

"End game" should be the ultimate challenge in any game. Dragonspyre should have had more complexity to it. There should have been times when I was journeying on multiple paths trying to unlock one or two final zones. Getting to Dragonspyre academy should have been more complex. In essence it should have been a "keyed" zone where I needed to find world keys that lay before me in many (or at least a few) different directions. Being stuck and lost would have

1- Led to more of a sense of accomplishment when you became unstuck and found your way.
2- Increased the need to rely on your friends to help you.
3- Increased dependence on fansites.
4- Increased brainpower! Brainpower is GOOD! THINKING IS AWESOME!

UNFORTUNATELY, you know that we would have also heard a lot of whining. Just like in real life when your kids say, "feed me grapes, daddy," and I say, ". . . go get them yourself," there's a lot of whining. No one likes whining . . . unless it's a rewarding occupation.

Now there is a point when the complexity is just ridiculous . . . example, in Everquest (sorry I always go to Everquest for examples) there was an "end game" zone that required you to collect fragments from nine different worlds (taking up nine different slots in your bank and backpack), take a raid group in to fight mini-bosses throughout the world to get 1 important piece of the puzzle, then do a two-group instance to get another key component, and finally complete a full 72 person raid to get the final key to open up the end zone in the game. Anyone that ever completed the "Vex Thal key" in Everquest within the first few years of its release would tell you that it was one of the most grueling experience in an MMO they've ever undertaken. That amount of complexity is WAAAAAYY too much for Wizard101. I would never in a million years suggest that kind of insanity for Wizard101. NEVER EVER NEVER.

But, is it too much to ask for a little more complexity in world layout and construction?

do they all have to look like this?

It's too formulaic at this point. Even Grizzleheim is too formulaic and that was a good scratch at attempting some additional complexity. The boss fights in "end game" Grizzleheim are much more complex than Dragonspyre.

End of the day though, you can't go back and change the way things went down and the way things are in the game. They would never ever never redesign Dragonspyre. It's done. It's completed product. It's out the door.

But there are hopes for the future, right? What do you think? Do you think Celestia and the worlds beyond should keep to the three zones beyond three zones, step by step by step quest progression leading you through to the end, or do you think these worlds should bring more complexity and more challenges? Do you think there should be more quests in Celestia where the quest arrow is completely disabled?

From my point of view, hands down, if they don't add some new degree of complexity to the world, the heavily grandmaster playerbase is going to finish this thing in a few days and be bored again.

Happy Dueling!

Friday, April 16, 2010

. . . On a More Somber Note

So during my little self-aggrandizing celebration of half a million hits yesterday, I was given a smack of reality while reading on Twitter that Tom Hall had a stroke. If you're not acquainted with Tom Hall, he is the man who is heading up the second project at KI (unless that's changed, which there is a good chance that has since things seem to change there laterally from time to time, and I think he might have been shifted to a more Creative Director type of role . . . I can't verify anything atm because they don't really announce lateral moves unless it's someone in the public eye). Many months ago I did a search on him and found out a lot of very interesting tid-bits.

From everything his Twitter is saying, he seems to be in good spirits and is going to go through some rehabilitation. For us that should mean some both touching and funny tweets as he recovers. That just seems to be his style.

So this unfortunate stroke of Mr. Hall's reminded me yesterday of a great video that a friend of mine shared with me a year or so ago. Not only does it talk about strokes and what that's like, but there's this "idea worth sharing" from Jill Bolte Taylor that's pretty astounding and inspirational. Basically her left-brain shut down from her stroke, and she experienced the world through right-brain understanding only. It's a loooong video, almost 19 minutes, but so worth it.

Now, I have no idea if Tom Hall's experience was anything like this, but I hope that he can make a full recovery like Jill Bolte Taylor did. Not only does it appear that a recovery like Jill's possible, but if you watch the video you see that she came out of the experience with a great message of hope to share.

I hope you all find your peace, and, sincerely, best wishes for a speedy recovery, Mr. Hall, from the readers of the Friendly Necromancer.

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pet of the Day--Unicorn


As I've said before, just deal with my unicorn obsession, m'kay!? Or, remember when I totally coined this unicorn-inspired phrase that never took off, "I'm ready to frolic."?

TODAY I'M READY TO FROLIC! It's all about the unicorn obsession today.

TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH THAT! Best concept art ever KI!!

And now, the most rocking Linkin' Park meets the Last Unicorn youtube eva . . .

Here's Amber and me hanging out in Amber's pad chillin' with her unicorn.

Amber's got the awesome FOG Unicorn (with a card of Dark Wind) and Thomas is sporting his original Bentley.

You know, I used to do this thing with my friends growing up where if we saw a unicorn anywhere we went we'd cry out "UNICORN SIGHTING!" You know, like you're hanging out in the mall and you're window shopping Hallmark and there's some crazy glass unicorn . . .


Or, you find yourself in a rug store and then all of a sudden . ..


Or, you see some lady walking down the mall with a horn growing out of her head . . .


That kind of stuff.

So here's to hoping you and your unicorn have a great time frolicking today! HAPPY UNICORN DAY!

Happy Dueling!