Friday, July 31, 2020

Proptapalooza: Fandom Change'mups with a Fan Art Twist

Welcome to Day one of Promptapalooza, a really cool idea from Belghast at Tales of the Aggronaut. It's kind of like a parade of blogs through the month of August while also providing a month of writing prompts.

Belghast makes some very good points about toxicity and the exclusionary nature of some game communities. As he states:
" . . . I see an awful lot is what can be collectively termed as “Git Gud” culture. There is a constant thread of trying to push “scrubs” out of the community and force them to play better. I think in some ways this starts off as a somewhat toxic altruism… like that players are being “bad” because they don’t know any better so folks will take it upon themselves to “educate the bads”. I mean there is an awful lot of hyper cringe content in the early years of this blog that would fall into this category. The problem however is that this does not take into account that folks often times come to a game for different reasons. There is the false assumption that every player is playing a game for the exact same reasons you are."
Yes! Preach on, Brother!  I've seen that plenty in every game community.  He makes great points and you should definitely check out his post.

Now in this post, I think I'll take a similar view at the games I'm currently playing with also a slightly different angle. I feel that ultimately the greatness of a community can be judged by its creative content. 

Project Gorgon
The only thing wrong with Project Gorgon's fandom is its size and lack of complexity. It's vocal minority is tiny and tends to stick to itself. This is undoubtedly a result of the game population being small and older. Unlike other communities, I don't see fan art or a ton of creative endeavors happening in the game. It might be happening somewhere on a small scale, but I just don't see it. I did find one person who drew their character. That's it.

So . . . I'm doing my part as well . . . I made a remix of the Serbule Dawn theme song the other day and have plans to make a video for it eventually.

Small communities need your creative love too! Even if your art and words won't get a lot of likes.

Oh man, I'm not a part of this fandom, and I don't think I ever could be because of the "get gud" mentality that Belghast mentioned. I'm more on the edge looking in . . . that said . . . I have in the past done things like join the Houston Outlaw's Discord server.  Being on a server for a professional esports team inside of a game you play was interesting. Did you know that in Overwatch, people make fanart of the professional players as well as the characters in the game? It's amazing.

It's completely different from a game like Project Gorgon: this game's fandom is enormous, thriving, and diverse. Its YouTubers do everything from talking about metas and upcoming patches to fun and cute videos based around the characters. Dillongoo is amazing. He re-imagined all the characters in Overwatch as cats! Again! Just amazing creativity.

The fanart here is so plentiful that a search on a hero's name and "fanart" will get you a lot of hits . . . and . . . some stuff you'll wish you could erase from your mind. I guess that's what I'd change. Less fanservice from the fringe and less toxicity from the haters. Butwatchagonnado? That's just a result of a huge community based around an FPS hybrid like Overwatch.

Guys . . . you don't know how cool the Wizard101 community is. Full warning, I'm incredibly biased here. Being this game's community manager for a few years, I've seen it all.  The highs and the lows. From crippling 2017 DDOS attacks on our game's anniversary to Make a Wish visits from fans who become a virtual part of the game. What I've learned is that every community has its saints and devils. All you can hope for is that the good outshines the bad, and that's definitely the case in Wizard101.

(**UPDATED SIDE NOTE: After thinking about this a bit . . . I just want to be sure to mention here that, yeah, you still try to eliminate the bad. You ban, you discourage the bad, you encourage the good, but for all those efforts, it always seems like when you squash one cockroach another 10 appear. That said, you never STOP trying to improve. Felt like that needed to be said.)

The majority here is kind and caring. It has great artists that love what they do and love the characters in the game they play. It has everything from what I'd call "glorious grandmas" to small kids and big kids alike. On its average days it's super lighthearted, happy, and welcoming.

The artists that love this game are super quality. In fact the background picture for this blog features my wizard101 character as drawn by Dearly Doodles.

I love it so much.

I wouldn't change a thing . . . other than I wish I was a little more involved than I am currently.


There's probably more I could discuss here. If you have any additional thoughts about what you'd change in a fandom, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Thanks Belghast for running promptapalooza! I'll be posting on and off throughout August, but probably not about every prompt. My day is August 6th, so I'll for sure see you back here again when that happens.

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Level 60: Defending the Darkest Foxholes

Ding level 60 Spirit Fox!

So it took me about a week to get from 50-60 with my current playtime schedule, and from my previous post, not much of my play style has changed. I'm still grinding up levels and trying to be the best little fox I can be.

The big thing for me personally is I'm starting to make the mental leap into "how could I make Fox work as a solo DPS?" So, lemme break down my mental processes here for you.

1- Not necromancer.  I looked at the necromancer mods and spells and I have to say, it doesn't really seem like a good fit for Fox at second glance.  Necromancers really only have one line of "dark damage" spells and the gear mods don't really seem to emphasize that damage type. From the outside looking in (admittedly I've never leveled necromancer), it seems to be all about building an undead army, NOT dark damage.

2- Possibly Fire Magic.  There are a few things that seem to blend well with Fire magic and Foxes. With a few gear mods you can change the damage type of a couple of your spirit fox spells to Fire based damage, but I'm going to consider this a back up plan.

3- The Necro Rat.  I've never really spent a lot of time looking into the Rahu Sewers dungeon.  Previously I only took a few footsteps in to the sewers before seeing the poison spitting vipers and going . . . NOPE! I hate those things. Dying to poison damage DOT from a snake is the worst, but I finally found something that made me get over my fear: The Necro Rat.

To be honest I didn't even know this thing existed. It's an Animal Handling tamable white rat pet that has a "special trick" called "Rat Darkness" that boosts the owner's Dark and Electricity Attacks by 25%.  BINGO!

So I went down into the sewers last night and wandered around until I gave up, and then I logged in in the morning and finally found where the necro rats were hiding.

It's a horrible maze of Rat People, Vipers, and Slimes. The perfect necro rat hiding place.

Soon I had a Friendly Ratsomancer pet of my own.

Who's a cute white rat of death? Hmm!?!?! YOU ARE FRIENDLY RATSOMANCER!

It came in as a level 60 pet. Sigh. 

He'll be better after . . . oh 30-40 hours of playtime.

Imma side rant here for a second.  I really hope that with the introduction of Animal Husbandry that they find us an alternate way to level pets to 80.  If I could be so bold, giving your pet its favorite item to play with seems perfect.  If I have a rat, I give him cheese.  If I have a cat, I give her string. If I have a bear, I give it a fish. etc.

I currently have two pets leveled to 80 and the ONLY way to level them is to fight with them out in combat.  That's it.  I don't even want to think about what it would take to get my level 37 freeze wasp up to level 80.  I'd have to grind the game all over again from mid game to top level. It's just not a very fun way to handle leveling pets. I need something that negates it with the ol' time vs. money equation. Giving my rat expensive cheese to level him seems reasonable. (end of side rant)

4- Animal Class basics. When you become an animal in Project Gorgon you get access to a spell called "Toxic Flesh" This makes it so when someone attacks you, they take thorns damage.  Also when you become an animal, you get access to animal drugs . . . aka Bounceweed.  Bounceweed is great. It increases the amount of damage your animal attacks do and for a fox, it also makes you run faster. Sure there's the downfall of losing damage for a while when you aren't using Bounceweed, but the answer is simply, never stop using Bounceweed!

After-effects Shmafter-effects . . . gimme that Bounceweed!

5- The Ratkin Shaman's Belt -- this was a fun discovery while running around in the Rahu Sewers.  This belt item increases direct Darkness damage by 6%. YOINK.

The additional two inventory slots is just a bonus.

6- Spirit Fox gear mods -- Specifically I'm interested in the following mods:


  • Spirit Fox Damage +40%
  • Soul Bite Damage +50%


  • Soul Bite Damage +50%
  • Dimensional Snare Damage +90%
  • Spirit Bolt deals +96 damage and there's a 50% chance it deals +55% damage
  • Spirit Pounce Damage +35% and there's a 50% chance target is Stunned


  • While Blur Step is active, Soul Bite has a 33% chance to deal +7 damage and hit all targets within 7 meters
  • Dimensional Snare causes target to take +14% damage from Crushing for 15 seconds (for the animal handling pet damage increase)


  • Spirit Pounce Damage +48 and ability hits all enemies within 6 meters
  • Dimensional Snare causes target to take +9.5% damage from Darkness for 15 seconds
  • Spirit Bolt Damage +94 and range is +5 meters


  • Nip boosts the damage of Basic, Core, and Nice attacks +80 for 6 seconds. (This buff does not stack with itself.)
  • Spirit Pounce Damage +70 and target is Knocked Back

Main Hand

  • Spirit Pounce Damage +50%
  • Dimensional Snare Damage +90%
  • Spirit Bolt deals +96 damage and there's a 50% chance it deals +55% damage

Off Hand

  • Direct Darkness Damage +96 when Spirit Fox is active
  • Soul Bite deals +48 damage and boosts the damage of Nice attacks by +16% for 6 seconds


  • Spirit Fox Damage +40%
  • Direct Darkness Damage +96 when Spirit Fox is active
  • Spirit Bolt Damage +55%


  • Spirit Pounce Damage +50%
  • Spirit Bolt Damage +55%

7- Last (and probably least), additional Direct Darkness damage buffs from leveling the Lore skill. If I can get my Lore up to level 43, my character will have a permanent +6% direct darkness buff. That's a lot of nonsense though.  Apparently if I had played the game back in 2016 I could have leveled up the skill by just making Words of Power; now it requires a lot of running around the world and clicking on signs and offering sacrifices to alters, etc. Shouldn't be too tough though.

So . . . that's what I've been thinking about as I've been grinding up those Fox levels.  It's going to be a tough road getting past 70. The cost is SO steep.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, July 20, 2020

I'm 50! 50 fox years old!

You better believe I was high steppin' it like Sally O'Mally when I dinged 50 Spirit Fox today.

My time grinding to 50 was mostly spent in . . .you guessed it . . . the Fae Realm, but listen, in all that time I learned a thing or seven!

me, my fire rat, and I

Thing 1 -- As a Spirit Fox you can cast a mini-pet that's more like an illusion with a taunt. It'll take a hit or two for you and then die.  Then you just re-summon up another illusion.

To get this super cool illusion pet, you have to make ANOTHER run down into the depths of the Wolf Caves where the Spirit Fox that turned you into a spirit fox will teach you his illusion trick . . . but only in exchange for Lapis Lazuli gems.

I made the mistake of running back there to him to be trained only to find out that I didn't have any gems on me.  Then my guild leader was kind enough to take pity on me and run me down a few gems. Please don't be like me and also make that mistake.

What did the Trick Fox say?

Thing 2 -- You'll be talking to a fox in Kur named Mittens to learn all your cool "alternate" spells that aren't naturally granted to you (aside from the Trick Foxes spell mentioned above).  Mittens will also be advancing you from levels 50- 60.

Tada!  Time to go grind more levels . . . yay.

Thing 3 -- Mittens taught me some cool stuff! Spirit Foxes can get a really cool buff ability called Paradox Trot. This spell allows you to completely ignore the effects of cold or hot weather. That's right, no more frostbite or dehydration . . . as long as you're not seen.  That's the catch. The moment you grab any kind of aggro, the spell drops and you're back to freezing or being thirsty.

It has its uses for those long runs between Kur and Gaz, but half of the places I want to go in those zones are typically right through a group of vicious enemies. But if you're sneaky, it's a really super cool buff.

Thing 4 -- In group play it appears the Fox is the "mana battery" of the group. You get a group energy heal spell and you can drop down an energy restoring rune every 20 seconds.

The runes also make for a dramatic effect to let other people know this camp is claimed.

Thing 5 -- Foxes are fast!  I'm finding myself outpacing my group mates. I wish I knew exactly how much innate sprint speed I have as a fox.

Thing 6 -- I went to the Animal Town for the first time ever, and there was nothing there for me to do except a few quests.

Animal Town you say?  Yeah! Out in Sun Vale there's a town full of nothing but animals (and one human named Spot).  They have terrifying giant scorpions patrolling the area, so it's really only for animal classes.

I went here thinking maybe there would be a new fox NPC in the town, but . . . nope . . . nothing. As it turns out, I will be training my level 60+ spells from a Fae-Green Panther named Raina in the Fae Realm.

Thing 7 -- You can cast a human illusion! If you're lucky enough to track down the Spirit Fox illusion book to train it, you too can look like a static-y human and trick the local dummies into selling and trading items to you.  It appears the upgrade path to this line reduces the cool down and perhaps the length that the illusion lasts for.

Human you say? Looks legit to me!

And that's it!

I'm not having any issues grinding levels with Spirit Fox and Animal Handling, so I'll probably continue taking this skill up at least until 60 or 70 . . . at that point I'm going to need to make some big decisions on what I actually want to do with this class.

Do I pay the enormous arm-and-a-leg cost to get the skill to 80?  Do I try to pair it with necromancy or fire magic?  I'm honestly not sure, but for the time being, it's still fun running around as a fox.

Happy Dueling!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Lookin' Foxy in Project Gorgon

Project Gorgon surprised its fans yesterday with an update that was a mixed bag of fun and not-so-fun.

The not-so-fun news is that using skills like Animal Handling to boost your level in other combat skill got a little harder to do.  There was a bit of a complicated explanation in the patch notes, but basically you'll be earning 25% less of the "bonus" exp when power leveling a skill. I mean, you can still use an OP pet to farm exp, but not quite as fast as you used to. 

Didja gloss over while reading that? 

My suggestion? Definitely go to the poetry jams on Saturdays to get the bonus exp buffs and drop some money on a memory enhancer potion.  It'll help with the grind.

The FUN news; however, is that a new animal class was added to the game.  In case you didn't know, you can be a pig or a cow or a deer or a spider or a bat or a whatever the other ones are that I can't think of right now, and fall under a completely different set of rules in game.  At the end of the day though, it's basically a combat skill with a cool skin.

Ahhh, speaking of cool, how about a nice cool bath?

I've been avoiding playing as an animal class in Project Gorgon for a long time.  I "should' have played as a spider, just like I "should" have played as a necromancer.  I mean. Those types of spooky classes are my jam typically. I'm edge-y like that when it comes to the game world, but not here.

So, because it's new and I have no other reason not to, I'M A FOX!!

The process of becoming a fox is interesting. 

1- First, you need to find a Spirit Stone. I'm like . . . a what?  The wiki entry for a Spirit Stone basically says you can find one in the "dawn" time while in Eltibule, and it will be inside a wooden crate in a location where fireflies were seen during the previous night.  Ok.  I've never even seen this happen and I've run around Elitbule a metric ton.  That said, I gave it a shot because why not? So I looked, and I looked, and I looked.  Finally I'm like, are they talking about this wisp of magic you can find outside the Goblin Keep?

So I waited, and I waited, and I waited.  The answer was . . . no.

So I figured that by the time I actually found one of these firefly spawns at the right time of day and waited until morning to loot this magic chest, I could easily farm up the ~25k that a player was asking for in the player bazaar, and justified buying one.

It's a good time to up-charge those spirit stones.

2- Second, you have to travel to the Wolf Caves in Kur with your spirit stone.  At first I went to Kur Tower, like an idiot, thinking that the Fox NPC was in there somewhere. I killed the boss in there with a couple people and ran around a bit until I caved and asked in Global Chat. I like never do that. Global Chat is scary.

Luckily an acquaintance of mine named Lagitha was there to lemme know, it's in the Wolf Caves and you follow the main dungeon path and drop down twice until you get to a back cave full of imaginary wolves.  Thank you, Lagitha! You're the best.

3- Lastly, you gotta make it past all those freaking static-blurry wolves!  They only have like 300-400 health, but it's a metric ton of them. I loaded up on thorn shield buffs and died a couple times getting back to the back room solo.

Blurry fox is blurry!

Once you get there, there a fox NPC you can talk to and he tells you a very sad story about how he's stuck without a spirit as a fox.  You give him the stone, and he "trades" with you by turning you into a spirit fox and a whole set of guidelines about being a fox. (which don't really make a lot of sense to me just yet)

Confusing instructions are confusing!

It sounds like I need someone to give me another spirit stone to un-fox myself.  So I'm stuck like this for a while. It's cool though. I'm up to the challenge and I really needed something to mix it up.

So far the class seems interesting. At the time of this writing I'm only level 20 in the spirit fox skill line, but I can see that they have a pretty amazing buff that makes them very hard to hit for a while and can cast an energy rune on the ground that will restore your energy if you click on it. So, it's like making a little emergency store of energy on the ground before you engage an enemy.  The rest of the skills so far seem to be pretty run of the mill damage, but I did notice most of the skills deal "Dark" type damage.

I'll have to do some research to see what coincides with that damage type, but immediately my mind goes to . . . dun dun dun . . . necromancy.  I'll have to play with it a bit more to see if there's something cool that synergizes.

So far the equipment I've found doesn't have impressive stats just yet, but it all remains to be seen what can be done here.

Hmm, stun resistance, sprint speed, and extra damage . . . now to just get fox to 60th level.

In the meantime, I have no opposable thumbs in game! That means, I can't use tools and weapons and stuff like that.  Humans won't really talk to me in the early zones.  So, game on!  I'm a fox now!

Happy Dueling!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Meanwhile Back in Project Gorgon ...

You ever just click on a random icon on your desktop and end up back in a game out of sheer boredom? Yeah, that'd be a cool reason to end up in a game like Project Gorgon again, but I willfully clicked that button! I blame the Project Gorgon player named Sausage Javelins. He's been Twitch streaming lately and everyone in Project Gorgon should strive to be more like SJ.  He's super cool. 

When I logged in, I found old peeps talking about things I used to be a bit more passionate about . . . like Animal Handling and Knife Throwing.  So I've stuck around for a bit longer than I've intended now, and here's what I've learned.

1- Using Animal Handling makes it very easy to level other combat skills. I mean, I already knew that, but I reaffirmed it by leveling Psychology from 15 to 50 in the span of on and off playing for 3 days.  Why Psychology?  Sausage Javelins uses it!

2- Grinding levels is super boring. Leveling Psychology was all about grinding those levels in the Fae Realm and eventually in the Rahu desert. It got super boring at the end of the grind, not gong to lie.  I had several mental hurdles to jump while grinding to make it not feel like a huge waste of time -- I don't even want to think about leveling this up to 60 let alone 70 or 80. Sausage Javelins is cool, but I don't know if he's cool enough to make me grind Psychology up to 80. /shudder

Rahu Desert . . .where you purposefully get overwhelmed for exp sake.

3- Why didn't I level Alchemy to 50 before now? I mean, I left it at 49 and it was very easy to level that to 50. I think I might have been hell bent on leveling that skill only using the level 1 recipe for converting bones into bone meal, but level 50 brings the possibility of creating potions that add 20% more damage to your favorite skills . . . like Animal Handling and Knife Throwing.

4- Grinding ingredients is super boring. After getting my Alchemy up to level 50, the first thing I wanted to do was to create a few Knife Throwing damage potions, but one of the ingredients in the potion is worm teeth.  Worm teeth are a super rare harvest after you Butcher one of those evil alien-looking worms. I spent an hour doing this in Kur and found a grand total of three teeth.

I hate these worm things so much . . . so very very much.

5- Battle Chemistry is cool. The really cool thing about getting your Alchemy to 50 is that a new battle skill opens up called Battle Chemistry.  It's all about throwing down flasks of pain in an AOE around your character, casting mutation buff spells like "grow extra toes," and making a golem pet that you can "program."  As you level your pet, you can assign it a programming nature so that it reacts to the state your character is in. I ended up grinding this skill up to 25 so far, and it's looking to be something I want to check out further.  Ice Mage / Battle Chemist has a certain ring to it, doesn't it?  Oh man, that's a lot of grinding. /shudder

I need a higher level golem for higher level programming.

6- Battle Chemistry is unfinished. The NPC that unlocks Battle Chemistry is called "Chemist" and has no lines of dialog or personality . . . he just makes you pay for every skill and skill up. Yup. Unlike the other battle skills, you have to pay for every skill up.  This is one battle skill that feels like it could use a revamp.

7- Monsters and Mantids Got an Update. I should probably list this as number one on my list as it was the coolest discovery of the bunch. The most interesting mini-game within Project Gorgon is one I've talked about before . . . only now they made it easier.  I managed to win the game two times and earned enough crown tokens that I could buy an actual crown.  The update made it so that now there isn't just one super narrow way to win, and I like it a lot. I finally had a reason to enter the high stakes gambling room again, and it felt great!

Look what's waiting at the bottom of the dungeon . . . LETS GO!

A crowning achievement in the game

8- My guild isn't grouping at night anymore. Or at least I'm not seeing it happen. We had a really great healer in the guild and she isn't logging on anymore . . . so it looks like the groups dried up for us. Being a dps, you feel a bit replaceable, but healers and tanks, y'all are the glue. So, if I want to group, I'll probably have to hitch a ride with a random group. 

9- Cooking is still awful. This is still the worst skill in the game hands down to me. It clogs up your inventory with raw ingredients. It's hard to level. I'm just not looking forward to grinding this abysmal task up.

10- There's more to come. It's looking like an update to Animal Handling is on the horizon that will involve a new skill called Animal Husbandry. This will let you mix and match your pet DNA to do things like get a new hue of pet or increase the size of their wings.  It wasn't in game yet for me to check out, but this is definitely something I'll need to see for myself.  If I could do something like add fire attacks to a bee pet, I'm all in.

Happy Dueling!