So much for “Back to Blogging.” At least my quarter is almost over. Two more weeks and I’ll be free until September. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish a blogging project or two during that time, though my summer plans may keep me busier than I’d like to be. However, I have a lot of ideas for my blog and luckily I can work on several of them while in the car this summer. I plan on putting my blog toward the top of my summer priority list, but we’ll see what actually happens once summer and real life kick in.
I’ve decided to put Cultures of the Spiral on hold for a while. It’s a huge project and I have other projects I’m more interested in working on right now. (My sociology class has taken the fun out of exploring cultures for me right now.) But by putting one project aside, I’ll now have more time to work on the two projects that mean the most to me: Reagent Maps and Finding Housing Items Made Easy. I may also work a little bit on Who Drops It? but I don’t know how to execute that project. I have a vision for it, but right now I don’t see it as feasible. Maybe in the future if I ever have a small staff to help me…It’s something I’ve been considering.
Anyway, I should have a few Reagent Maps ready to release once summer hits. I’m almost done with a map for Mirkholm Keep and am working on maps for Hrundle Fjord and Caer Lyon. I’ve also created the Master Key. If all goes well, you should be seeing Mirkholm Keep and the Master Key by June 18th with Hrundle Fjord and Caer Lyon not far behind!
I’ll be kicking off Housing Items Made Easy with information for Plant Life, starting with Potted Plants, early this summer! I still haven’t decided how I want to format the webpages for Housing Items, but I know how I want things organized. Once I get started, the sorting and compilation shouldn’t take long to put together.
This summer you can also expect another in-depth Test Realm review, questing updates from Jenna, Suri, and the Hawks, and from Kayla and Rachel, PvP updates with Natalie, and likely a guide or two about gardening and pet training as I work on in-game projects dealing with both for my characters. You can also expect me to take another look at my blog/YouTube project, Dorm Rooms with Emma. I have ideas of how to reformat it to better fit what I want from it.
I’ve been interested in hosting my own contests for well over a year now. Possible prizes could include in-game gifts of Crown items, Treasure Cards (in bulk for selling or a few rare), pet hatches (either for stats or more likely cosmetic), custom graphics and artwork (keeping in mind I’m still fairly new at drawing), and maybe a rare gift card/bundle…maybe. Bearing in mind that I prefer contests that require a little work (those are the type I prefer to enter too!), 90% of my contests will be creative based (graphics/art, screenshots, short stories, etc) or in-game contests such as Hide-and-Seek and Scavenger Hunts, with maybe an occasional raffle. How interested would you be in entering, participating, and generally seeing me host? (Keep in mind I’m not an official fansite so all prizes will come directly from me–my prizes will most likely not be as good as what the official sites offer, but there’d also likely be less competition.) It’s something I’d LOVE to do, but I need to know my site is being visited first. So, leave a comment below letting me know if you’d like to see my host contests and would like to participate, don’t care either way, or wouldn’t ever enter so I shouldn’t even bother. If I have a large enough audience who’s interested, I’ll start hosting this summer. (So if you want to see contests, let your friends know!)
I’ve been busy questing with Cameron this past month. Our four finished Azteca on May 26th. We haven’t started Khrysalis yet, in favor of spending time farming Tartars. We’ve spent three days farming, averaging 3 runs a day, each run mercenary style. (I may write a guide for how the two of us with our four characters can run the dungeon in 40 minutes…) We’re still planning on doing at least another dozen or so runs before we consider moving on to Khrysalis, Shadow Magic, and Darkmoor.
I’ve spent the past several weeks intensively hatching with Suri and Emma, working on Suri’s “perfect pet.” Most pets have done well until ancient, but I’ve only had one manifest a desirable talent at ancient so far. As a result, I’ve been leaving pets with two desirable at adult to use as hatching bases. All pets that haven’t failed yet are capped at adult until Test Realm when I can see which pets can progress and which will be put aside. I’m hoping that I’ll only have to hatch intensively for another couple of weeks before I get a pet with Proof, Defy, and the three needed selfish talents….
I’m still actively creating graphics with GIMP, but I’m getting a little board of my wizards. If you’re interested in having a custom graphic made for a Wizard101 Central signature or avatar, a Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or blog banner, a wallpaper, or other type of graphic made, let me know and I can create a form for you to fill out. It’d be fun to work with new material!
I’m looking forward to being able to spend more time in game, blogging, and being part of our fantastic community this summer! I blog mostly for me because I enjoy it, but I’d appreciate it if you’d be kind enough to leave a shout out in the comments–let me know what you like about my blog and/or what I can improve on, if you’d like me to host contests, if you are (or may be) interested in any graphics (no need to mention them if you’re not), and/or if you’d potentially be interested in helping with any of my projects. (You don’t have to leave a comment, but it’d be greatly appreciated.)
Last time I posted was a month ago, right before I started my spring quarter. I’ve had a busy first month of school and have had a lot of big personal issues to deal with. Things feel under control again so I should be back to posting, hopefully at least semi-regularly until summer.
Last time I posted, I wrote about a new idea I had: exploring the cultures of the Spiral. Joseph Firesword (my first commenter!) alerted me to a project that the Nordic Champion has been working about Spiral History. Cheyenne did a fantastic job on the posts! She put a lot of thought, time, effort, and research into each one and they are incredibly interesting!
My original plan for The Cultures of the Spiral was going to be similar to what Cheyenne has been doing, but I have decided to take the project a slightly different way. While I do plan on exploring the history and cultures of the real life inspirations, I also plan on exploring the history of the Spiral World itself. However, my biggest focus is going to be on the culture of each World from a sociological perspective. I’m taking sociology class right now–it’s interesting, but I’m having a hard time understanding the concepts. I’m hoping that by applying the theories I’m learning about to something I genuinely enjoy, I’ll start to understand and do well in the class. Plus I can count blogging as studying.😉
I’m still working on Reagent Maps. I have three that are mostly done, but none quite ready to post yet. Hopefully I’ll have one or more ready by the weekend.
Who Drops What and Finding Housing Items Made Easy are both currently on pause. I’m not sure how I’m going to format Housing Items and Who Drops What will be on pause perhaps indefinitely. I haven’t found a way to put it together in a way I like. Dorm Rooms with Emma has been inactive for a while now, but I have plans to bring that one back to life.
In other news, Natalie participated in more than a dozen tournaments during the member benefit event last week. I’ve been enjoying ranked again on her now that she has all the PvP gear I wanted for her. I’m doing pretty good, considering I thought myself to be terrible at PvP 5 months ago.
Jenna, Suri, and the Hawks are almost done with Azteca. It’ll probably take us another session or two of questing to finish, depending on how long we have when we’re both on. We’re both excited to get our group of four to 100 and run Darkmoor. Based on this guide from Mercenaries for Hire, we think we can do Graveyard runs in about 20-30 minutes.
I’ve been slowly questing with Kayla and Rachel. I’ve decided Magus Storm and Adept Life make a good team! I finished the first third of MooShu in one sitting, but haven’t gone back to it yet. If I just sit down and quest, it probably wouldn’t take me more than a few days to reach Celestia…I just have to do it…
I think that about caches everything up. I’m excited to get back to blogging my adventures in the Spiral.
Yesterday, a good friend asked me if Marleybone was based on the US or the UK and then a question about the inspiration and culture of DragonSpyre. I told him my thoughts–both facts and speculation–and he commented that I knew a lot about it. The conversation continued and we talked about Polaris, Grizzleheim, Wysteria, Avalon, Celestia, and Krokotopia.
The conversation sparked a new idea for a blog series–something I hope will prove to be interesting, unique, and enjoyable–both for me and for readers. While we were talking, I realized that, both in real life and in game, I enjoy researching and learning about cultures, mythologies, lore, and histories. As I was telling Chase what I knew, I wished I knew more. I wish I understood the culture of each and every world. I wished I knew the inspiration behind each world’s culture, myths, and lore.
As a result, I have decided to start “Cultures of the Spiral”. I’ll be spending the next several months playing a new character from level 1 to 110, exploring the cultures, “Easter Eggs”, mythologies, and stories. Progress through the game will not be rapid since I plan on thoroughly learning about each culture by researching the inspirations, posing questions to the Community Managers and the community as a whole, and paying attention to even the smallest details. Although I’m planning on moving slowly through the game, I will try to do the research and write my findings as quickly as possible.
Since I will be seeking help from the community as a whole, I likely will be hosting small contests throughout this project to try to generate participation, helpful answers, and hopefully more readers.
I’m excited to begin this new project! I hope it remains as interesting to me as it is right now.😉
See you in the Spiral!
This will be the last of my graphics for now. I got a really good idea for another blog project today while talking to a good friend and school starts Monday, so I probably won’t be creating quite as much as quickly.
I did 3 of my sister’s ice character, Sophia MoonDust. One is wallpaper sized, one signature, and one avatar:
I also made 2 more of Jenna and Suri. While I was in the process of making the first one, I decided I liked the way the silhouette looked, so I paused work in the first to create the second. I like it, but I’m not sure how good it actually is…What do you think?
I also made a surprise one for a friend. I took the screenshot of him while he was trolling the Bazaar for Stone Block yesterday. Hope you like it Chase! Lol
About a year and a half ago, I started doodling in the Abradadoodle style. It started out as simple, pencil-drawn attempts like this (these are a few of my favorites):
After a week or so of doodling by hand, I decided to get a free drawing app for my KindleFire, Sketchbook Express. (I later “had” to upgrade to Sketchbook Pro because Autodesk stopped supporting all other versions.) When I first started using Sketchbook, my doodles looked about the same as by hand, just colorful. It didn’t take long for me to start adding layers and backgrounds, and basic textures. A few of my favorites:
Unfortunately, after school started again back in the fall, I stopped doodling as frequently as I used to. I’ll still do an occasional doodle, but not very often.
Saturday night, I decided I wanted a unique header for both of my Wizard101 blogs (regular/original wordpress blog and the Duelist Community Edition version of that blog). I did a little bit of research and stumbled across GIMP. I decided to download the program Sunday afternoon. I’ve probably been having a little TOO much fun with the program.
I started out with the header:
I made several before deciding on the doodle one. (After all, those little Abracadoodles are the reason I started exploring art based on Wizard101.)
I found the program easy enough to use that I wanted to keep creating, so I put together extremely basic character graphics. They weren’t anything exciting, especially the lettering:
Between Google searches and YouTube, I learned a few other new techniques like icy text, flaming font and glowing letters:
Then last night I was browsing Central and came across a whole bunch of guides for making signatures, avatars, and wallpapers. I’ve made quite a few of those:
I think my favorite so far is the one of Jenna and Suri (Together we are Unstoppable). I also really like the second one of Emma and the profile Emma. I’m really enjoying making these graphics. They’re a lot of fun, and not very difficult to put together either! ^-^
Test realm launched at the perfect time for me: the start of my spring break! This means I can enjoy playing and testing without feeling guilty about putting off homework or doing homework and wishing I was testing. It also means I can blog more over the next two weeks!
Test realm launched yesterday, March 17, announcing the additions of Daily Assignments, three new Skeleton Key bosses, fishing in Zafaria, a Gear Vault, a few spell updates, and other, small, miscellaneous updates. (Click here to see the update notes.)
So far I really like the concept of Daily Assignments, especially the rewards. The assignments I have had so far have been super easy, especially considering the rewards listed. My guess is the quests will be more difficult the farther into the 15 days you are. Unfortunately, Test Realm is only scheduled to be open for 11 days, which means we won’t be able to test a full 15 day cycle. As of right now, I’ve done the first daily assignment on 5 of 6 characters on Emma’s account.
Day 1: Emma (level 110), Kayla (level 32), Fallon (level 26), and Alyssa (level 16) needed to defeat 1 Rotting Fodder in the Haunted Cave (off of Triton Avenue) but Jenna (level 79) needed to defeat 1 Sokkwi Protector in the Hall of Champions (in the Krokosphinx). Based on my other 4 characters and observations I made of others running the quest, I’m starting to wonder if Jenna’s Day 1 was a glitch. It might be that everyone starts with the Fodders, but I’m really not sure. I hope more of the quests are scaled for level…
Day 2: Emma had to go to Elik’s Edge–that was it. Just go there. No fighting or anything. A little disappointing for a level 110. Kayla, Fallon, and Alyssa all had to go to Elik’s Edge too. And, like Day 1, Jenna was the oddball. She had to defeat 1 Foul Reaper in The Crucible in DragonSpyre instead. I think either everyone else is glitching (particularly Emma) or Jenna is…It seems weird to me that everyone else had the same quest.
Day 3: Emma had to defeat 1 Walking Dead in the Village of Sorrow in MooShu (5 Arena Tickets). Jenna and Alyssa had to visit Unicorn Park (the small section of Unicorn Way where the Unicorn statue is) in Wizard City (5 Arena Tickets each). Kayla and Fallon both had to defeat 1 Nirini Warrior in the Palace of Fire in Krokotopia (5 Arena Tickets each).
Day 4: Emma finally had something scaled to her level! She had to go to Serpent Island in Ruined Alcazar in Khrysalis. No, she didn’t have to battle anything, but at least it was in a high level world! Jenna, Kayla, and Fallon had to defeat 1 Charmed Slave in the Royal Hall in Krokotopia. Alyssa had to defeat a Scarlet Screamer on Triton Avenue in Wizard City.
Day 5: Emma had to defeat 1 Burning Flame Wing in The Forum in DragonSpyre. Jenna had to visit Newgate Prison in Marleybone. Kayla, Fallon, and Alyssa had to defeat 1 Gobbler Muncher on Colossus Boulevard.
So far I have observed that the gold rewards on days 1, 2, 6, 7, and 11 have been scaled to level. For example, on Day 1, Emma (110) earned 600 gold, but Alyssa (16) earned 200.
The Crowns rewards is a wonderful addition! While 10, 15, and 25 isn’t much on it’s own, those Crowns earned during the 15 day cycle will add up fairy quickly. If you’re doing Daily Assignments on all 6 characters, every 15 days you can earn 300 Crowns. (That’s approximately 7,300 Crowns every year!) And if you do 10 Trivia quizzes, that’s an additional 100 Crowns. And if you want 10 videos, that’s another 100 Crowns. So if you do all three daily, you could earn up to 80,300 Crowns every single year–more if you have the patience to watch more than 10 videos!
I was so excited for Day 5 to get here! I’ve been so curious about the mystery chest prizes! Every item I got was a Crowns Item of some sort, though 4 of the 5 can be crafted. I suspect that Day 10 will be slightly more coveted/rare Crowns items and Day 15 will be expensive/rare/coveted Crowns items (such as permanent mounts, pets, packs, mastery amulets…). I’m super excited to find out!
I thought the “unveiling” of the prizes was a super cute and fun idea!
I’m excited to continue testing Daily Assignments when Test Realm goes back online Monday!
Skeleton Key Bosses
I decided to try the key bosses today, so with 2 Wooden Keys, 1 Stone Key, and 8 Gold Keys in my backpack, I set off on 3 new adventures. So far, I’ve only fought Ra, but I’m excited to try the other two! (Although I’m a little intimidated by some of the things I’ve heard about Omen Stribog–Minion with 99,999 health! Same as Malistaire the Undying Shadow form 2!)
When I first entered the Krokotopia Library, it took me a minute to figure out where the Key Room was. Upon first glance, the room looked the same as always. I was expecting Zan’ne to have a quest or to see the Locked door or to see the float Skeleton Key sigil in the actual library so it took me entirely too long to notice the new doorway on the right.
Go through the doorway to enter this corridor where the Key sigil is located. I was surprised that there wasn’t anyone else around. I had been expecting to share my 2 keys with someone (and hopefully in turn get a few extra runs with their keys), but it’s not that big of a deal.
Let’s Speed this Contest Up: At the start of Round 1, Ra cheat casts Power Play
Accuracy is Such a Fickle Thing: At the start of Rounds, 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 7,8, 9, 11, 13… Ra casts either a +10% Precision on you and your teammates, a +10% Precision on himself and his minions, a -45% Black Mantle on you and your teammates, OR a -45% Black Mantle on himself and his minions
Let’s Balance Things Out a Bit: A the ends of round 4, 12, 20, 28, etc, Ra casts Amplify on everyone (both his team and yours). At the ends of rounds 8, 16, 24, 32, etc, Ra casts Fortify on everyone.
Unique Gear: Ra’s Rod of Integrity, Ra’s Integrity Cowl
Housing Items: Krokotopian Scarab, Ice Mummy
Seeds: Alligator Pear Tree, Honey Bee Plant
I spent half an hour searching both the inside and outside of the Black Sun Pyramid and I could NOT find the location of this boss. I’ll continue searching, but I may have to wait until Live Realm when it’s a popular location…
I spent a little time fishing in Zafaria the other day, specifically in the Elephant Graveyard. I generally enjoy fishing, but don’t do it often. I drained one energy elixir but decided I didn’t want to continue at the time. I might return to it later today or tomorrow…
So far, I’ve only caught 2 fish in the Elephant Graveyard. The new Sentinel and Gargoyles.
The new Sentinel, Pacuman, is super cute. I love all the puns that can be found in the Spiral! ^-^
I’m really excited for a second fishing spot for Gargoyles beside Darkmoor. You need 2 for the crafted deck, but it took me forever to catch the 2 I needed in Darkmoor. I caught 4 the other day in the Graveyard. It’ll make crafting Jenna and Suri’s decks a little easier.
I am SO excited for the addition of the Gear Vault! I have a TON of Crown and/or No Auction gear on Emma that I want to keep but they’re taking up most of my bank and backpack spaces. I’m so so so excited to move them into the vault for convenient storage!
And good news for those who don’t want to spend Crowns on the vault: the (current) recipe from Toshio is SUPER easy!
Other (Major) Updates
I’m excited that Call of Khuluhu now attacks all targets at once even though my Death is no where NEAR 100. That spell took FOR-EV-ER. The animation lasted probably close to a minute. I’m SO GLAD it was shortened!
I’m not sure how I feel about Nature’s Wrath, Forest Lord, Orthrus, Power Nova, Frost Giant, Fire Dragon, Triton, Storm Lord, and Skeletal Dragon being trainable to wizards outside of those schools. Those were spells that the wizard of the correlating school had to do spell quests for, some of which may have been considered difficult. However, since they’re available to 100+, I don’t see them being very popular. From what I have gathered, very few wizards past 50ish use attacks from outside their own school…
Overall Opinion: A
I’m looking forward to the Spring Update. I’m especially excited for Daily Assignments and the Gear Vault! I’m looking forward to testing more next week!
I was really surprised Friday morning when I saw double pet is back again. We had double pet 3 or 4 weeks ago…As much as I love double pet, I was hoping for free tournaments or free respect (free training point buy back)–we haven’t had either of those since September! Even though I’m disappointed it’s the same benefit two months in a row, I’m taking FULL advantage of it!
So far, I have trained two pets to Mega: one from Ancient and one from Baby. I have two other pets I’ve trained to Ancient and one is well on it’s way to Epic. I’ve also trained several pets to Adult. Since I did a bit of training on Test Realm Friday before the servers closed for the weekend, I saved myself a little heartache (and snacks!) by not training a few pets that were supposed to be promising, but failed at Teen and Adult. Thanks to Test Realm, I only trained one true fail instead of three or four! (The failed pet was one I hatched this weekend, so he wasn’t available in Test.)
Before now, I never thought I’d consider May Cast Unicorn a failed talent, but in the case of both Nala and Maddie, it is. I really want a pet with Fairy, Spell Defying, Spell Proof, Pain Bringer and Pain Giver for Natalie to use in PvP. But Nala is definitely one of the best pets I’ve ever trained and will work really well until I get my dream, generic pet!
Charlie was originally deemed a fail when he got the fire damage talent at Epic (since I wanted the double resist, double damage, & fairy pet) but after talking to a friend for a bit about Charlie, I realized he still had the potential to make a great fire pet for Jenna! I was hoping he’d get the other fire talent in the pool, Fire Dealer, but I would be happy with Proof or Fairy instead. He got Fairy! Now I’m trying to hatch a new fire pet with Pain Giver, Pain Bringer, Fire Dealer, Fire Giver, and either Defy, Proof, Fairy, or Infallible. (The bottom pet was a failed attempt at that pet.)
I still have a day left to train. I’m planning on getting Maddie to Mega unless (he? she? it?) gets a selfish talent (read: cunning). I’ll also have time to try another fire pet hatch and make good progress on training. Fingers crossed that I don’t have any more “major-put-on-the-shelf-and-never-touch-again” fails (like Annie) for the rest of this month’s double pet!
I’ve had a rough month in my real life between losing two pets, difficult college classes and making difficult decisions about the future of my education, and other personal issues. As a result, I haven’t written or posted nearly as much as I had wanted to. I have several posts planned and I’m excited for each one. I just need to find the time–or more accurately, the energy–to sit down, work on the research, and write them.
Thankfully, I’ve still been able to get on Wizard101 and some Pirate101 too and escape into the Spiral for a few hours. It’s a wonderful escape that allows me to forget my worries temporarily and relax and have fun–all things I’m having a hard time doing right now. I recently read a post from Edward Lifegem about anxiety and how Wizard101 and Pirate101 both helped him be able to work around his anxiety. Right now, I feel like I’m in a similar situation. I can’t concentrate on homework, I can’t focus at school, I’d rather be home than out and about (especially rather than being at school)–I’m just generally anxious, stressed, and exhausted. Lately, the only things I’ve been able to get truly excited about without any anxiety, fears, or worries attached to it are Wizard101 related stuff.
Once I get my feet back on the ground in my real life, I plan on being a more active blogger again. I have several posts and projects I want to work on for this blog…when I have the energy it takes to produce…
A couple weeks ago I created a second version of Spiral: A to Z on Duelist101 Community. I’m guaranteed at least a few viewers who aren’t just my friends over there. I’ve even had a post with a comment ^_^ (lol). Anyway, for the most part, both blogs have the same posts. I have a few unique posts here (Finding Housing Items Made Easy will likely stay unique to this version) and have a few unique posts there (for example I wrote a post about my character’s names in response to another Community blogger’s post about her name). You’re welcome to check out Spiral: A to Z Duelist Edition here.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have spent hours combing through the Wiki trying to figure out the name of the one housing item you’re looking for, whether or not it’s actionable/if you can find it at the Bazaar, and where you can farm for it. The problem is, there are hundreds of pages of housing items, and since their divided by the same 6 categories as in-game (Plant Life, Wall Hangings, Wallpaper and Tile, Outdoor, Furniture, and Decoration), and since you have to click on the name of an item on a list before you can see what it looks like, (and since the Wiki is super slow to load and has a tendency to freeze–even on my BRAND NEW laptop), it can take forever to find the perfect painting to finish a sitting area or the perfect potted plant to go by the door. The struggles I’ve been having lately finding exactly what I’m looking for has sparked an idea for a new organizational method for finding the perfect housing item quickly. I preset to you the start of Finding Housing Items Made Easy.
Housing Items Made Easy will feature a short list of various housing items from a specific category (for example “Potted Plants” or “Paintings”). Each item listed will have a picture posted with it, a brief description of how it’s obtained, and a link to the Wiki page for more information.
Plant Life: Potted Plants
Found near Khalkos Coppersmith (crafting vendor), Garden of Hesperides; can be found at the Bazaar
More information about this item can be found here
The formatting may change as I continue forming and working on this project, but that’s the general plan for how I’m going to have this set up. It’ll take time, but I’m so excited to work on (and finish) tis project! It should make finding the perfect housing items so much faster.