Monday, August 31, 2015

#Blaugust Day 31 -- Blaugust wrap up and thoughts

Well well well . . . looks like it's the 31st of Blaugust and I survived! Hurray!

I'm going to use this opportunity to take a look back at the month and reflect a bit while predicting the future.  Here's a quick summation of what happened on the Friendly Necromancer during Blaugust:

  • Changed the focus of my blog and removed myself from the list of official Wizard101 fansites.
  • Modified my blog look (which is still a work in progress)
  • Made actual progression on Angus, who was blocked forever in Celestia.
  • Talked about and played Hearthstone, Guildwars 2, Wizard101, Pirate101, Lord of the Rings Online, Badland, Little Big Planet, Heroes of the Storm, DC Universe Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Everquest, and World of Warcraft.
  • Talked about a couple of ideas like daily quests and gear swapping
  • Made a couple of discussion point posts

Hopefully it's been a lot of fun to read along and catch up with me. Personally I had a lot of fun in Blaugust discovering other blogs who were also participating.


Shoutout to Mama Needs Mana, who came here and posted a couple of times. I really like her writing style and it's good to know there's someone just as awful at MOBAs as me.

Shoutout to Jaedia from Dragons & Whimsy, who also stopped by to say hello on Day 1.

Shoutout to Jaromai from Why I game, who dropped by to talk a bit about Gear Swapping in GW2. Good luck with the raids in GW2!

Shoutout to Maeka Gaming, who mentioned me a couple of times in her awesome online paper.

As always, shoutout to the awesome Wizard101 and Pirate101 communities that offer their support each and every day: Adventures of the Spiral, Mercs, Petnome, Edward Lifegem, Chrissy, Central, flash33, Paige, Ditto, Stars of the Spiral, Leala . . . all y'all that I failed to mention . . . thank you for the retweets, comments and general support. It's hugely appreciated.

Shoutout to Team Spode!

Shoutout to all those who make these games! Good times are had every single day thanks to the hardwork and magic you pull out of your dev hats everyday.  Thank you.

. . . and last but not least, thank you to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut who hosted the event. The list of bloggers participating was astounding and herding those cats is a lot of work. Thanks so much!

(Shoutout to any I might have missed LOL -- feel free to berate me in the comments)


So, what this exercise has taught me is that August is a strange month. It starts out with oodles of time and then whittles away to nothing toward the end, which makes it harder and harder to complete this goal successful. I could keep a daily blog again, but to do so it has to become a higher priority in my life and something I think about every day. Will I keep a daily blog now?  Um, most likely I will *NOT* be posting everyday, but I think I will be posting with increased frequency now. (especially when compared to very dry years like 2013 and 2014.)

Hopefully I can continue to grow and change this blog and gain a few new readers along the way and make a few new friends while keeping my old friends informed of the goings on of The Friendly Necromancer.

I've got a few loose ends to tie up from this month of blogging like . . . will I build a viable Friendly Necromancer deck in Hearthstone? Will I ever actually play Heroes of the Storm? Can I make more top memorable locations posts for the Original Guild Wars, LOTRO, etc.?

Looks like I can't stop posting just yet! ;) (Besides, I haven't even told you guys about me playing Final Fantasy 13 again -- it's a good story.)

Thanks for reading.

Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaughust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

#Blaugust Day 30 -- My Top Memorable Locations in #P101

It's the weekend, and I found some time to journey a bit in a game that is near and dear to my heart, Pirate101. I had a blast doing it too, and it made me want to get back in and level up my third pirate to 65! (Definitely a goal!)  The new fast combat changes are great, and it's a great game no matter how you slice it.

Again, these are memorable locations that first came to my mind when I sat down and typed out which zones game to mind. I only ran into one snag, and that was I wrote down "the spider fight in Cool Ranch" when I was making my list. I was referring to the Spider portion of Dusty Arroyo Cave, which . . . well . . . that difficult fight has been removed. All that's left now are rumors. ;) I realize a lot of people were defeated on that particular fight, but I liked the challenge.  It's still a great instance that looks very cool, but I went ahead and chose an alternate.

With that said, here we go!


The beach on Skull Island proper.

I've always liked this spot. It's a nice non-combat zone that's big and empty and peaceful. It's a great place to gather big groups, it's picturesque and reminds me of a spot I'd like to visit in the real world. 

(Hidden secret: there once was a developer-only version of this zone that had every vendor from the Spiral plunked down around in it for testing purposes.  It's a perfect spot for this because it's so big and wide-open.)

I'm glad they put the transportaler across the beach here. It's a pleasure to run through every time you're on your way to somewhere. I couldn't think of a nicer entry / exit point.


The Tower of Moo Manchu in The Paths of Penance

There's only one word for this place when looking at it from outside, running around in Paths of Penance: Ominous.

There's only one word from running around on the inside of this place: Ouchy. You're pretty much guaranteed a few knocked out companions, and it's sent me packing a number of times. (Side note, I still need to get my glowy eyes from here)

What is there to say about the Tower of Moo Manchu, it's the most epic dungeon in Pirate101 currently, and something you won't forget quickly.


Stupendor-X in the Valley of the Titans.

I don't think I even need to bring up the old "un-nerfed" state of this fight for it to be a legendary occurrence in Pirate101.  It's possibly the coolest thing in the game.

I actually have some original concept art of this fella hanging above my computer at work. I'm sure I'd be able to meet a Pirate101 player 20 years from now, and we'd still have a great back and forth about this fight.


The Traveling Medicine Show in Cool Ranch.

It's a small little island that has an allure all its own, and of course it is the stage for the boxing match of the century!

Ahh Tyson, don't you know you shouldn't bring boxing gloves to a voodoo fight? (It's all about the details here too *waves* to Boochbeard and Gandry in the crowd.)

We had a housing item scavenger hunt in Pirate101, and this place suddenly became the most popular stop in Cool Ranch for farming. ;)


Valley (and temple) of the Gold Monkey.

Deep in the heart of the jungle, Gortez rules his mighty domain!

The famous conquistador for Monquista, turned native! Why? Because the throwing of the banana was unseemly?

YES, the Mighty Gortez! Here we have another fight that had its difficulty toned down a bit. That said . . . it's still a solid fight when you're level appropriate, and a lot of fun to revisit. Farming for his hat and to unlock him in the Crown Shop is reason enough to visit this instance at least 25 times. (I'm still pretty far away from unlocking him)


Sacrifice Cave in the Dark Jungle.

There's something about the way this place glows with luminescent light that I just love.

The fight inside is an interesting one as well! Put out the fires to save the cooking conquistador and then take out the high chief, but when he gets low on life he sacrifices his minions to heal himself . . . it's pretty fun. Not terribly difficult, but still interesting.

I looked at my badge list last night when I visited here to see how close I was to unlocking Eep from the Crown Shop.  Unlike Gortez . . . I was close on this one!  18 of 25 battles!  So I decided to go all the way on this one, farmed him the remaining seven times and bought him up in the Crown Shop.  Tada! You're coming to work for me, Eep!

(I also had a nice conversation with Virtuous Anne Radcliff from the Pirate101 Messageboards while I was at it! Bonus!)


Airedale Pier in Marleybone.

It's a pretty disturbing spot actually . . .

Not so much for the grand Ferris wheel and the Popcicle shop, but for the war torn town that was directly a part of our actions.  There's some great writing by Blind Mew and the team here -- really good stuff.


Khotan, home to General Tso . . . and his chicken.

This to me is one of the last great fights of Pirate101's vanilla game that hasn't been altered too much. It's still incredibly difficult, and one that players will probably bang their heads on quite often. In fact, it got a mention on the 50 million player graphic as being the toughest fight boss in the game.

Definitely beautiful though despite it being so deadly.


Off of the Port Regal Skyway in Skull Island . . . the fortress known as Fort Elena!

There's nothing quite like a prison break!

. . . and the characters you meet inside the prison are pretty awesome too! Napoleguin, Count Brastillo de Brass, Mustang Sally, Phule . . . I also just love fighting Corporal Klegg. It's a longer dungeon that's a lot of fun.


The Old Chum

"The Old Chum?" you ask?  But of course!!!

Surely you remember this from your past?! You venture here for a short stop while doing Bonnie Anne's first promotion quest, but that's not why I remember it.

hehe. I spent a lot of time videoing it for a Marketing project that never surfaced. ;) I'll just leave it at that.


And there you have it!  My top (er, first) ten memorable locations of Pirate101.

Got a different first ten?  Scribble them down and post them in the comments! I'd love to hear from you, and hope you've got some fun zones for me.

Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaughust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

#Blaugust Day 29 -- Discussion Point: Why do we play the games we play?

I had a thought cross my head the other day about why I play certain games, and why I don't play others. Why I'm totally willing to watch a streamer play a type of game I typically won't play? I don't know. It's a little strange. 

In general I avoid FPS games because I'm like Jim from the Office when it comes to them.

So why do we play the games we play?



Friendly's Top 22 Answers are on the board:

- Duh, it looks like fun
- Graphics look amazing 
- I heard it's super challenging!
- Bro, all my friends / office mates are playing that game.
- Bro, EVERYBODY is playing that game right now.
- No school like the old school / Nostalgia
- I'm broke and this game is the best for the money
- I just want to be a SUPER SAIYAN / Wish fulfillment
- I'm looking for new people to chill with / Community or Social needs
- I'm searching for something deeper *cue gong*
- Read a good review about it
- Saw an advertisement
- Recommended by a friend
- Totally random purchase -- cover art looked good.
- It was a present
- I played the Arcade version
- It came with the Console / Device
- I love the company that makes it
- I'm fascinated with all things in the fantasy / horror / whatever genre
- Watched a YouTuber / Streamer play it
- I played the 10 prequels to the series



;)  I'm just brainstorming things up there really . . . and I guess there are reasons you START playing a game, but those aren't the same reasons that KEEP you playing a game. i.e., I may start playing a game because I saw an advertisement for it, but what kept me playing the game was that I found something deeper there.

In general, I don't think I hunt out games to play because I'm looking for a new experience, but sometimes a game looks so compelling to me that I just have to play it, like Journey.

I also don't know if anyone ever blatantly thinks "I want to fly, so I'm going to play a superhero game." So I'm sure a few of those items on that list are debatable.

So what do you think. Do you have any other ideas about what gets you playing a game and keeps you playing? Tell me why you play the games you do: what brought you to your game and what keeps you there for just a little bit longer than you anticipated?

Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaughust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

#Blaugust Day 28 -- Discussion Point: Goals in Online Games

After finishing up Zojja's Razor the other night, I started thinking about how I arrived there. It wasn't like I had a guild directing me to craft the Razor so I could begin raiding with them or anything like that. (*cue raid guild requirements discussion somewhere in the distance) No, this was of my own volition and a goal I had set myself.  When I look at my own play of MMOs, it's really easy for me to see how setting a goal is what sets me on fire, and meeting those goals is something I like to advertise. hehe. Because it's fun!

If I don't really have a goal in a game when the run of the level cap has already been obtained, then I find a different game, or pursue after another goal. You know, like real life goals . . . like, uh, clean up the house or um, pay the bills.

Anyway, so my current game goals seem to be this:

- Fully finish the Khrysalis 2 story line in Wizard101. When I hit level 100 in Wizard101 and finished up Darkmoor, that felt like I had met my goal . . . but I really would like to see the rest of the story.

- Finish Pirate101 with my third pirate.(I've been sitting on this for far too long)

- Build my Friendly Necromancer deck in Hearthstone. (This one is hot on my agenda)

- I don't know if I'm fully ready to commit to getting that epic weapon in Guild Wars 2 or not . . . probably not . . . more thoughts on that later.

- Download and play Wildstar when it goes free to play. (Because it always looked fun to me.)

- Download and play Skyforge. (Because I have a couple friends playing it.)

- Make it through the tutorial for Heroes of the Storm. (Done!)

Woot!  Goal achieved! Oh, I can feel the greatness already pouring through me like little back up guys heading to their ultimate destruction in a pathway of death. (It's a very specific feeling)

Anyway, Goals . . . GOALS . . . are a funny thing. I talked about company directed "daily" goals a bit back, but I didn't focus much on the goal part of it . . . I was focusing more on the good vs. evil part of it.

In the comments to that post, Raltsmster made a very interesting statement, "If I got 100 Crowns a day for logging in and hunting 200 Fire Elves, I'd play more." I think what he speaks to there is the idea of "reward." I think my earlier statement, "meeting those goals is something I like to advertise" also speaks of "reward" because as a natural braggart (lol -- I mean STORYTELLER, yeah, STORYTELLER not braggart) I value the story behind the achievement!

I'll never forget when I was young, my mother used to tell me to find a way to reward myself after I made a personal goal. Whether it was a bowl of ice cream after a grueling session of studying for a test, or some TV time . . . or whatever. If I kept whatever small motivation I had in the back of my mind, then reaching the goal and feeling even better about it would help.

I also remember learning somewhere (can't remember this exactly and don't have time to look it up or research it right now *hugs blaugust*) that the most successful people in the world took on several challenges that had several medium to hard difficulties but not one giant challenge with an extreme difficulty. (*cue Epic Weapon in GW2 discussion somewhere in the distance: it's not the difficult, just buy it with real world money -- LOL RIGHT! LIKE I'M STUPID! WHAT A WASTE OF REAL MONEY! I HAVE BILLS TO PAY, PEOPLE!)

I know there are studies done on Goal Setting, but applying them to MMO objectives in this blog post seems silly. Really the end goal should be to have more fun and the last thing I really want to do is apply Edwin Locke's scientific papers to anything having to do with having fun in MMOs. Cripes.

Anyway . . . what was this blog post about?  How about: How to find success with fulfilling moderately difficult goals in MMOs through Goal Setting. Sounds legit to me!

Have at it people . . .in the comments:

1- What's a recent goal you completed in an MMO?
2- Did it feel awesome?
3- Did you reward yourself?
4- What's your current goal and why is it important to you?

Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaughust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#Blaugust Day 27 -- FINALLY crafted Zojja's Razor

Last night I finished up a goal for myself in Guild Wars 2. For months I've been toting around a Moonshank dagger, which ain't shabby, but I always wanted to replace it with something a bit meatier.

Crafting this is no harder than crafting any other ascended weapon, but it is an endeavor that takes a lot of patience and money.  This is the basic recipe:

Pretty clean, right? four ingredients and BAM, right? WRONG! Each of those four items go deeper. You can tell by that little magnifying glass to the right. When you click that it shows you what else is needed.  So let's click each of those and show you what goes into those four items.

Zojja's Berserker Insription  

Deldrimor Steel Dagger Blade

Deldrimore Steel Dagger Hilt

Vision Crystal

See those little spyglass inspection symbols on those four above . . . now I think you're getting the gist of this. I'll spare you the screenshots of going deeper into this recipe, but I will try to explain it a bit.

Globs of Darkmatter -- these can only be obtained from salvaging level 80 epic items. Cheaper epic items cost about 75 silver in the Black Lion Auction House. Or you could just salvage ones you find while out questing for a while.

Deldrimor Steel Plated Dowel -- that's 3 spirit planks and 3 spirit ingots. The planks and ingots can only be crafted once every 24 hours.  You can buy the ingots outright for about 4 gold each and the planks for about 3. These items are the real money drain in the whole process.  Either you're playing all day long to get the raw materials to make the planks and ingots, or you're going to buy the raw materials, or you're going to buy the planks and ingots outright. (Or you can simply buy a Deldrimor Steel Plated Dowel -- current price 26 gold and change.)

Personally I bought the components and then crafted them.  My daily buy list was like this:
  • 90 Iron Ore
  • 40 Platinum Ore
  • 100 Mithril Ore
  • 80 Soft Wood
  • 30 Seasoned
  • 60 Hard Wood
  • 150 Elder Wood
(Those quantities changed based on how much I had actually been out and about questing)

Beserker's Orichalcum Inscription -- Again craftable, but goes for about 8 gold in the black lion.

Crystalline Dust -- The easiest way to obtain this is by salvaging ectoplasm, which is obtained from salvaging rare items.  This is the least of your worries.

Thermocatalytic Reagents -- this is a minor gold sink for Guild Wars 2 plain and simple. It's a vendor sold item . . . you'll spend about 1.4 gold getting these just for the main recipes.  (also required when you craft the planks and ingots)

Dragonite, Empyral, and Bloodstone -- . . . also plain and simple, you get these from actually playing the game.  If you're out there hitting Silverwastes, you'll have all you need -- unless you're using items like Princess to nibble away at your excess supply.

Augur's Stone -- This is a straight trade of 20 levels (or spirit shards) as you were.  You get 3 spirit shards every day you complete the dailies, so as long as you're out there playing the game, you'll have plenty of these to spare. Go see the Mystic Forge attendant to pick one up.


And with all that behind me, I'm happy to say I'M DONE!  I now have an ascended piece of gear in every slot, and now both weapons.  The only thing I'm missing now is an epic weapon.

If you thought the above recipe sounded exhausting, it's nothing . . . NOTHING compared to an epic weapon.  Then again, you could just straight up buy an epic weapon.  The one I have my eye on currently costs 3,500+ gold. *cough* Bifrost *cough*

Yeah . . . it's probably not going to happen any time soon. HOWEVER, I do hear it will be a bit easier to obtain when Heart of Thorns comes out. So there's that at least . . .

Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaugust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#Blaugust Day 26 -- Naxxramas Update (THE PUNS)

Hey all!  Just wanted to give you a quick update on Hearthstone today. I'm continuing my quest for more cards to build my Friendly Necromancer deck in Hearthstone. As you know, I laid down some money the other day to buy the Curse of Naxxramas adventure.  I've had a lot of fun playing it an hour here and an hour there, and I've managed to complete three of the wings so far. Looks like good ol' Patchwerk is up to bat next.

It feels like using a facehunter-esque build (I don't have the cards to build a true facehunter) or a ramp druid build have actually been working very well for me. I switched to Mage a few times here and there as well when the druid just wasn't cutting it.

I haven't been reading guides to be honest.  That's kind of how I like to play anyway . . . if I can avoid looking at a guide I will, but when it gets too punishing, I crumble. ;)

Speaking of crumbling. Mexina crumbled to me and coughed up this bad boy card!

Now that's what I'm talking about! There's a card with some bite! ahHA! ahHAHAHAHA! Ok, my jokes aren't nearly as funny as Naxx's jokes. I try to screenshot them every time I win. Like this:


. . . and why when I die, don't I come back as Super Saiyan Stingite!

It's gotta be tough being Naxx. ;)

Also of important note . . . that whole Grand Tournament thing happened this week.  Sigh.  Can I just say I'm not happy about the Joust mechanic?  Not that it's horribly broken or anything (although I've got a friend who just refuses to use it), it's just . . . seriously, I lose like every joust, which makes this card a little less attractive to me for my Friendly Necromancer deck:

Although, just the *chance* at better card drawn when you're card starved is worth it.

Wish me luck on those last two wings of normal difficulty of Naxxramas!

Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaugust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#Blaugust Day 25 -- We Pause Now for Station Identification . . .

Hey all! So here we are near the end of Blaugust, and I have to say it's been interesting to put blogging as a high priority again. This was very easy to do since it's summer, and I was able to take a couple hours in the morning and devote it to simply playing video games and thinking about them in the form of blog posts.


The problem here is that . . . school starts for my kids today. So, I have to be dad again in the mornings. Sigh, it's over.  I MISS YOU ALREADY, SUMMER!!

One might say, well then just wake up an extra hour early, Friendly!! Yeah, I already wake up at five in the morning. I'm not waking up at four. I love you guys, but I don't know if I love you that much.

Those memorable locations posts I've been doing take a lot out of me. I've been burning a bit of the midnight oil to get all the pictures in all of the games.  So, I still have a few more games that I want to do "memorable locations" for, but I'm going to have to put them off until the weekends. Stay tuned beyond Blaugust and you'll see "memorable locations" posts for the following:
  • Pirate101
  • Guild Wars 1
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Super Mario 64
I'll get them out there eventually, but not today. (I'm hoping Saturday mornings will give me a bit more time?)

Next, over the course of this month I've changed a few things here. My look is super cartoony thanks to my daughter making an awesome new header for me, and I don't mind that.  I think for the most part I'm part humorist and part serious gamer, and I want my blog to keep that lighthearted yet serious feel. COME! READ THE FRIENDLY NECROMANCER! I'm a guilty pleasure, admit it . . . I'll give you some news, but you're gonna get a little Ziggy and a little Fox Trot while you're here. 

(Thanks daughter for at least trying to doodle me a comic five minutes before leaving for school)

Also, I'm doing an experiment, and I added a contact form over on the right hand side to see what happens. If you have a tip, or a question, or a thought you'd like to share, type it in there and shoot it over to me.  If it becomes too spammy, I'll remove the contact form, but in the meantime . . . USE THAT BOX! It may spawn blog posts with your question or thoughts.

Finally, I'm going to trim a bit more of the fat on my blogroll.  Those who haven't posted in a few months are going to get cut in anticipation of adding new friends and new blogs . . . active blogs! 

TFN is still changing, so thank you for staying with me. We'll reevaluate after Blaugust and see how things are looking for the future.

Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaugust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

#Blaugust Day 24 -- My Top Memorable Locations in #W101

Wizard101 . . . you're up!!  Obviously this is a game that is near and dear to my heart. I've logged thousands of hours between being in the game and penning thoughts about the game (and even more if you start counting my time behind the scenes at KingsIsle). I have to admit -- some of the first ten zones that came to my mind surprised me, but here they are . . . in the order they came to my mind.

(As long as I was taking screenshots, I thought I'd give you a few angles on them that you might have not seen before. :))


Unicorn Way.

Actually, this is not surprising at all. HAHA! For many people this street and Triton Avenue *are* Wizard101, but when I think of Unicorn Way, I think of the excitement of starting up a new character.  There's the thought of "ok, here we go!" -- before you know it, you're earning your first healing spell, downing Lady Blackhope, and hanging out with Dorothy and friends.


The Atheneum.

I used to spend a lot of time here collecting Stone for crafting.  Then the quest for Loremaster spells rubber banded me here again.  And now the fishing quests have rubber banded me back AGAIN. For being (largely) a non-combat zone, I sure do find myself spending a lot of time here!

I like it though. It's compact, interesting, and a nice staging area for things to come.  It's too bad the Dragonspyre Academy isn't used as interestingly as The Atheneum.


Grand Chasm Past.

I really do think Dragonspyre is my favorite zone in Wizard101. I waited for it with excitement and when it dropped on us, it was amazing.  There were specific gear drops where had you go to different bosses to farm them to get your "best of dragonsyre" gear set. Remember Ironhawk's guides? I just loved Dragonspyre in general -- I may not have liked the formulaic zone layout, but I dug it just the same.

Grand Chasm Past had you porting through a time machine to see how the world was before the destruction of the Dragon Titan. In fact, outside of the BOXES event, I think this is the only time that's done.  Must be strong magic. I feel it!


Big Ben.

Really it's just room after room of mobs, but I used to hit this place all the time with Kevin Battleblood. We liked all the free rank 5 snacks. :) Besting this tower with Angus was an experience I'll never forget (in fact, I'm exhausted just thinking about it).  Good times!

In general there's a lot to love in Marleybone.  That extended stay under the stars is pretty awesome.


The Great Beast of Starfall Sea.

This has my vote for the coolest dungeon in Wizard101.  Again, when you boil it down, there's really not much to this zone. It's basically an interior and a battle circle on the beast's back.

Those that haven't made it to the second half of Khrysalis are in for a real treat. Make sure you read up on Duelist101's guide. I had an enormous amount of fun with this one.


Cyclops Lane.

My mind and thoughts took me back to Wizard City next and the majesty of Cyclops Lane! I penned some fan fiction for Wizard101 that you can find on my blog here. I never finished it, but General Akillies was the center piece! Also the staging area for heading to Aquila and packed with some pretty decent fishing, it's a great zone, but watch out for those Minotaurs!


Firecat Alley.

I think I actually liked the story behind Firecat Alley more than I liked the story behind Cyclops Lane. A Fire Elf Prince gone mad just sounds like a recipe for adventure. I also spent a lot of time in this zone collecting reagents.  I had a little path I'd run to pick up as much Red Mandrake as possible. There's also plenty of bosses in this zone as well, which makes it fun for return visits.


Baobab Crossroads.

Zafaria has some super beautiful locations, and the hub of the zone was no exception. The treehouse qualities were nice, and it felt a bit like a hidden (and difficult) oasis to arrive at.

Hub zones *should* be relaxing and beautiful . . . that's Baobab Crossroads.


Celestia Base Camp.

Speaking of World Hubs . . . how about Celestia's main area?! I love that you can fish in this pond now. Ever since finishing up the fishing quests in  Dragonspyre, it has me here just seeing what I can catch. I'm pretty sure we'll see some more fishing quests here if we're lucky.

Overall it's a nice, compact zone, that gets a lot done. A lot has been packed in here.  Even better for me are the memories of being one of the first to see the zone before it was released. I was a fan back then, not an employee and my reactions are priceless.


Marleybone's Balloon Car ride from Digmoore Station.

Two words . . . Mister Personality.


And there they are . . . the first ten zones that came to my mind when I thought about Wizard101. To be honest, I think I'm more intimidated to post these than any of the other posts because it means so much to me, and my choices felt so . . . flippant? random? I guess when it's a game as close to your heart, it would feel more fitting to do a TOP ten instead of a FIRST ten, but a lot of these would still probably line up. Strange that Azteca, Avalon, Krokotopia, Mooshu, nor any of Paige Moonshade's dorm rooms didn't end up on the list. ;)

I love this game and the greater community around it. It's been such an important part of my life the past seven years -- hard to believe we're going to celebrate that game anniversary soon!

Happy Dueling!


This post is part of the Blaugust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#Blaugust Day 23 -- My Top Memorable Locations in #WoW

So for a long time on this blog I only referred to World of Warcraft as "The Game Which Shall Not Be Named." This game will easily eat all of your spare time up with about a billion fun things to do, and you will raid, and you will PvP, and you will buy mounts, and you will have a super fun time ignoring everyone in the real world . . .


Just writing this article on it and dipping my toes in again almost made me resub.  I ain't kidding. It's super alluring. As a dad of three who are all about to start school again . . . JUST SAY NO!

While you can play the first 20 levels of World of Warcraft free, any characters you previously had that were above level 20 will be locked and unplayable. This severely limited my ability to visit some of the zones I had jotted down from my memories of 2005-2006. But lucky me . . . I had THIS!

Well, at least that helped me get a few missing screenshots . . . and the Internet will provide the rest!

Onward, to my first ten memorable locations in WoW!


 - Zul'Gurub (ZG), or as I first jotted it down before the real research began: "Troll dungeon place"

Apparently also home to really funny looking hydras.

We had a raid alliance with several smaller guilds and this was one of our favorite places to hit for general "gearing up." I got a couple great pieces from this place including this wicked awesome shield.



(Wait, what are you looking at? Oh yeah, that glowy green cleaver thing from ZG was pretty hot too . . .)

You know what I didn't get from this dungeon? (Like most people) The uber exclusive and super amazing raptor mount. Sure, if you were Horde and a Troll, this was no big deal, but if you were Alliance (like we were), this thing was pretty much the rarest mount in the game at the time.

And it dropped for us in a dungeon, and I rolled a 97 out of 100!!!!!

(and as you can see . . . another dude rolled a 99 . . . I don't want to say I'm still burnt about losing that roll, but I'm still burnt about losing that roll.)


- Stormwind, the Human town of humanness and humanatude! NORMAL HUMANS!

I made a new version of my female human paladin, Reverencia, yesterday and flew in to Stormwind.  I was happy to see that Stormwind's bank was still the popular nerdfest I remembered it was. Good times! Nerd fest! PARTY AT THE BANK!! There was even a guy selling gold for USD!


- Blackrock Depths.  So, there's nothing quite as cool as running down a length of chain, right?

That picture was graciously borrowed from a wonderful blog called Wolfe's Den. You should read his extremely well written blog post where he pines for the WoW of the past (and decries the broken promises) . . . and it's also where this great screenshot above comes from.

now . . . I honestly don't know if this is a headnod or not, but it sure reminds me of something I've seen before in another game . . .

*cough* O.O


- The Barrens.

You know, I don't know what it was about this place . . . oh yeah I do . . . Barrens chat, as the WoWWiki so nicely puts it: "Barrens chat is like a stupidity centrifuge, distilling the unexpurgated banal thoughts of a thousand morons into a hardened impenetrable lump of smacktardery, spilling endlessly across the bottom of your screen."

I didn't see any of that yesterday when I logged in, but I did get to punch a zebra unicorn a few times!

Worth it.


- Un'Goro Crater . . . or as I first wrote it down in my notes "Dinoworld."

This picture was also graciously borrowed from a blog entitled Shattered Beginnings. This particular post from 2010 was about the author's journey through Un'Goro Crater for the first time with a new character. It's a great read, and I'm very grateful for the picture above.

Personally, I always thought of this nugget of fun when entering Un"Goro Crater:

Yeah, I watched this show religiously as a kid. It was definitely one of my favorites, and this zone sparked that from my childhood every time I stepped foot in it. Especially since there's a safe zone here called Marshal's Refuge (yup, they went there). How could I ever forget it.  In fact, if there was one zone in World of Warcraft that I would want to see again . . . as strange as it may seem, this is the one. Wanting to visit here almost got me to resub. (You're a father of three, you're a father of three, just say no, just say no. breathe.)


- Stranglethorn Vale.  Um, I did some reading up on this.  So, it's probably pretty apparent I haven't stepped foot in WoW since a week after the launch of Burning Crusade, but after the cataclysm, apparently this place got split in two. The "fishing tournament" I so fondly remembered is now found in a location known as "Northern Stranglethorn." *shrug*

What I did have on my CD of screenshots, was a picture of my old Hunter, Stingite, flying through the Stranglethorn Vale.

It appears I most liked the "jungle'y" zones in WoW, but what really made me think of this zone was the fishing tournament that happened here every Sunday . . . or rather the frustration of always losing the fishing tournament that I remembered most.


Scary water island place?  So, I actually don't know where this place is and therefore I can't provide you with a screenshot for this memory location.  What I do know is that Naga lived there in vanilla WoW.  Looking at this gamepedia page, none of the vanilla WoW zones listed there seem to fit my memory . . . so, either I'm remembering this place wrong, it doesn't exist, or some other third thing amounting to, oh well I forgot the name of the place.



It was super cool and the naga were terrifying. The particular area in my mind had a path leading up a hill and view down on to some beautiful ruins surrounded by naga. It was bright and full of sunshine. If you think you know the place, leave me a comment and I'll get this section of the blog post in ship-shape ASAP.


- Undercity -- home town of the Forsaken.

I had an undead priest that I used to play around with that I think I ended up getting to perhaps 30th level?  Not sure . . . but what I do remember is this amazing underground den for the undead. It was probably my favorite city Horde-side.

And just like Stormwind . . . it was awesome to see the nerdfest happening around the bank. PARTY AT THE BANK! (although I do believe Orgrimmar would be more packed if I remember right)


- The Stockade . . . or as I fondly first remembered it "stupid dungeon in Stormwind!"

My paladin couldn't solo much, but she could rain down holy terror in about five minutes upon this lower level dungeon, and I had a blast farming it for gold waaaaay back when . . . and leaving bodies strewn about in interesting patterns.


- Pandaria.  What?!  Pandaria?!  How would I remember that?!

Well, I'll tell you how . . . Leala, Beau, #JuliafromKI, and myself actually ran through the starter zone one day a number of months ago.  I ain't kidding . . . we all rolled up pandas and played right to the point where you decide if you're going Horde or Alliance.  We all went Horde . . . and then never played WoW together again. End of story.

I made a new panda to get the screenshot . . . I like his name.  I may have to play him a bit more just because of that.


And THOSE . . . (which I'm sure many players of WoW would be absolutely dumbfounded by my astoundingly dumb list) are the first zones that came to my mind when I reflected on my time spent in WoW.  LOL!

I sincerely apologize to the WoW players out there.  I do. I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane regardless. It was pretty fun to take a look back through all my saved screenshots and to log in and play with my new characters. Thanks for the memories, Blizzard!

Happy dueling!

(grumble . . . 97 out of 100 and I still got beat . . . grumble . . . trolled by a troll mount . . . grumble.)


This post is part of the Blaugust challenge -- Thanks to Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut for hosting.