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Back to Blogging

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.

~Emma

 

Few More Graphics…

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.

Emma Banner 2

Fallon Banner 2.png

Kayla Banner 1

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?

Suri and Jenna Banner 2-A

 

Suri and Jenna Banner 2-B

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

Chase Banner~Emma

Artistically Speaking

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):

Doodle 2-4 Doodle 3-10 Doodle 4-1 Doodle 4-7 Doodle 4-10 Doodle 4-16 Doodle 4-17 Doodle 6-7 Doodle 7-4

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:

Sketch17502437 Sketch175145543 Sketch164225846 Sketch175163151 Sketch186173511 12919155_955586984537861_1402622360_n Sketch186145229 Sketch182125014 Sketch20411453 Sketch1459298 12921174_955586991204527_1372564815_n 12899924_955587007871192_1323832789_n

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:

90832118-ca5b-44fd-a614-8eab1893ec70 14399cb6-574f-4b39-958a-97d8b46178f9 Doodle Header 1 Header Spells Header NPCs

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:

Jenna Pyromancer Kayla Thundersong Diviner Natalie Warlord 1 Suri WinterSong Ice

Between Google searches and YouTube, I learned a few other new techniques like icy text, flaming font and glowing letters:

Suri WinterSong Ice 2 Jenna Pyromancer 4 Natalie Warlord 5

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:

Emma Banner 1 Emma Banner 1-A Emma Banner 1-Cxcf Suri Wintersong JennaBanner 1-B Jenna Banner 1-A Suri and Jenna Banner Fallon Banner 1 Balance Avi Emma Avi

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! ^-^

~Emma

Test Realm Reviews

Test Realm Status

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.)

Daily Assignments

Daily Assignment.png

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.

The Quests

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.

The Rewards

Daily Assignment 2.png

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!

The Prizes

Day 5

I’m excited to continue testing Daily Assignments when Test Realm goes back online Monday!

Skeleton Key Bosses

Skelton Keys.png

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!)

Ra

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.

Wood Key 1

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.

Picture 2016-03-23 15-56-53Picture 2016-03-23 16-01-19

The Battle

Ra Alone.png

Ra, Rank 4 Balance Boss, 3,750 Health

Ra with Minions

Minions: Sia the Perceiver, Rank 3 Life Elite, 1,150 Health; Hu the Commander, Rank 3 Fire Elite, 1,000 Health; Heka the Haruspect, Rank 3 Myth Elite, 1,100 Health

Cheats

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.

Drops

Gold (494-595)
Unique Gear: Ra’s Rod of Integrity, Ra’s Integrity Cowl
Housing Items: Krokotopian Scarab, Ice Mummy
Seeds: Alligator Pear Tree, Honey Bee Plant

Ixcax Cursedwing

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…

Zafaria Fishing

Zafaria Fishing.png

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! ^-^

PacumanPacuman 2

Gargoyle

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. 🙂

Gear Vault

Gear Vault.png

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!

Gear Vault 2

Picture from Stars of the Spiral

Other (Major) Updates

Spells

Spell Update.png

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!

~Emma

Royal Estate Tour

After YEARS of owning a Royal Estate (the large Marlybone house), I FINALLY finished the inside to a point where I am completely content with how it looks. 🙂

I bought the house the summer of 2011. It was the first house I bought on Emma. (Although she’s my highest and main wizard, she was the 3rd I created. I don’t remember if any of my other characters had houses before her–I think I got Jenna’s Wooded Cottage before though…) Anyway, it was my first, and for the longest time, only house on that character. As I quested through the Spiral and found new housing items, I slowly began filling the house. In October 2012, I bought my second house, the Wysteria Villa. I abandoned the Royal Estate to decorate the Villa, deeming the Estate complete.

Then about a year ago, I spent some time looking over my first housing project and decided I didn’t like it, that I had wasted so much potential by decorating it the way I did. So, I began emptying it, tearing it apart room by room. (Now, I really wish I had taken screenshots of what it used to look like…It’d be fun to compare before and after.)

Well, today I added the last finishing details. It’s not on tour because the outside is still a mess, but I’m excited to show off the inside of this house. Enjoy!

Picture 2016-01-21 22-03-37

Front Entry (next6 images)

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Main Floor (next 10 images)

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Basement (next 2 images)

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Upper Floor (next 5 images)

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If I choose to put this house on tour after the outside is finished, then I plan on figuring out an elegant way to block off the crafting room since it doesn’t really fit the theme for the rest of the house. Anyway, what do you think?

~Emma

Creating the “Perfect” Pet

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the term “perfect pet” over the years. It bothers me because there isn’t a single perfect pet. THE perfect pet simply doesn’t exist. I’m tired of players judging other wizard’s pets. It’s one thing to critique a pet when someone asks if you think it’s a good pet, but it’s quite another to go up to someone and tell them that their pet “failed”.

For example, shortly after I trained Emma’s Carnation Fairy, Lily, to Mega, a friend told me it was a failed pet. When I asked why he thought that, he simply told me he personally wouldn’t want most of the traits Lily has. I understand that some of her traits aren’t ideal, and there a one or two that I’d be fine if I didn’t have, but she by no means failed, especially since I wasn’t expecting a pet nearly as good as she turned out. There was absolutely no reason for this friend to tell me that MY pet was a failure.

Unfortunately, I’m expecting to hear this a lot once I finish Suri’s “perfect pet”. Her perfect pet would ideally be ice, preferably the one-headed hybrid ice hound. I want the pet to have Spell-Proof, Spell-Defying, Fairy Friend, two “selfish” talents that enhance to resist stats, along with a third selfish as a jewel. If it all works out correctly, Suri will have a pet with 21% universal resist and may cast fairy.

Before you judge me for wanting selfish talents on my “perfect pet”, you need to understand Suri’s role in her team and how I play my ice character.

I quest Jenna (Fire) and Suri (Ice) together along with two of Cameron’s characters, Cameron Hawk (Storm) and Daniel Hawk (Balance).

Cam Hawk and Jenna are primarily hitters. Sometimes they’ll play support for each other. Sometimes the attack the same target(s) one after the other. Sometimes they take out different targets the same round. It depends entirely on the type of battle and who draws what cards when.

Dan Hawk primarily plays support. He keeps Jenna and Cam in blades so they can hit fast and hard. He sometimes will play healer with Availing and Helping Hands and sometimes with Treant Polymorph.

Suri is the tank. She’s always first in the battle circle (except for the rare occasion when someone gets dragged in on accident). For boss battles, she wears a hodgepodge of gear that gives her the highest possible resist. She has an average of 65% resist to any one school at a time, with the highest at 86%. My goal is to get her to 100% resist to any one school by level 80. I’m hoping to have her at 100%+ resist to ALL schools by level 100. It’ll take work: a lot of farming and a fair amount of crowns to succeed, but it’s possible. But in order to succeed, I NEED a pet with 21% resist.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, THINK BEFORE YOU JUDGE A PET WITHOUT BEING INVITED TO DO SO. It’s hurtful, thoughtless, and mean. You never know if the pet that you perceive to be a failure was intended to be the way it is, or if the pet belongs to a child who hasn’t grasped pet training, or if it belongs to someone who doesn’t want to invest countless hour and snacks trying to “prefect” a pet.

If someone asks for your opinion, give it (preferably in the nicest way possible), otherwise, please leave any critical thoughts to yourself. Remember, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.

On a different, but related note, I’m currently actively working on three “perfect” pets: one each for Suri, Jen, and Kayla. I’m also passively working on improved pets for Emma, my Life, Alyssa, and my Death, Fallon. (Which basically means if I stumble upon a pet with useful talents for them while working on Suri, Jen, and Kayla’s pets, they can have it.)

Anyway, I’m working on getting the above mentioned Ice pet with Proof, Defy, Fairy, and three improving selfish talents for Suri. So far I have a pet with proof and two if the selfish talents. (9% resist at ancient!) on Suri’s account. I also have a pet with Defy on Emma. That pet has a chance at developing Fairy Friend. If it does, Suri’s hatching process will become simpler….

Ultimately, I want Kayla to have a Spark Beast with a combination couple storm damage talents, universal damage talents, a may cast heal, Galvanic Field may cast, and universal resist. I realize that’s far more talents than talent slots. Ideally, I would want Pain-Bringer, Pain-Giver, Storm-Dealer, Storm-Giver, and may cast Galvanic Field, with Storm-Boon as the socketed jewel. Although right now, she’d probably benefit more from Pain-Giver, Storm-Dealer, Spell-Proof, Fairy Friend, and Galvanic Field

Jenna’s, like Suri’s, is more exact. I want her to have a Blaze Beast or Fennec Fox (both give extra Fire Blade card) with Fire-Dealer, Fire-Giver, Pain-Bringer, Pain-Dealer, and either may cast Furnace or Fairy Friend, with Fire-Boon in the jewel socket. Since she’s a hitter, the more damage she has, the better off she is. I’m hoping to have well over 100% fire damage by the time she reaches 100. From what I’ve seen, that shouldn’t be too difficult.

~Emma

More Thoughts on Critical

As I’ve been questing through Polaris with Cameron StarCatcher, I’ve noticed a few interesting things involving the new critical system. I’m currently level 103. I’ve been tracking Emma’s critical and block rates since before the update went live. I’ve noticed an interesting pattern as I’ve leveled up.

At level 100, post-update, I had 29% critical and 29% block.

When I leveled to 101, my critical went UP to 31% but my block dropped to 28%.

At 102, my critical dropped again, this time down to 28%. My block stayed the same at 28%.

When I leveled to 103 last week, my critical went BACK UP to 31% and my block remained at 28%.

So at this point, my critical has been higher at odd levels and lower at even. It’s odd. So far, the decline that was present with the old system is more intense at even levels than it was in the system, but it’s jumping back up at odd levels. It seems odd to me. I guess I should start tracking Suri and Jenna’s critical and block ratings for more data. Maybe Cameron will be willing to contribute data. Has anyone else noticed this?

On a slightly different note, I realized the other day that my critical and block ratings dropped by about 20% at the update, which means when I use Amplify and Conviction, my ratings are about equal to pre-update ratings. Just some food for thought…

~Emma

Introductions :)

A little over a year ago, I started a Wizard101 blog. I didn’t post regularly and my interest in it tapered out after a couple of weeks. Looking back, I think it’s because I didn’t have a focus for it. I wanted it to be unique, but decided that everything there was to say about it has already been said by someone else, and besides, I’m not really all that involved in the community outside of playing regularly, how was I going to build an audience when there are all the official sites?

Then last night I found a Wizard101 blog I’d never heard of. (Wizard101 Basics for Beginners) She’s been posting regularly and is still active! (A lot of unofficial sites are no longer active.) After looking at her blog, I realized that I DO have plenty of unique ideas. I have plenty of opinions, especially with the newest update. I felt inspired after looking at her blog! So…I’m going to try again.

This time, I’m not going to worry about standing out or about what other people will think. This time, this is for me. 🙂

Anyway, I’ve been playing Wizard101 for a couple of years now and I love it. I have 8 active characters and probably a dozen “on the side” characters. (I love creating new characters and hate deleting them!) My main wizard on my main account is Emma DreamWeaver, Exalted Sorcerer. She’s currently level 102, and getting close to 103. I love playing as a balance character. My main wizard on my second account is Suri WinterSong. She’s ice and is level 73. I quest Suri with my fire, Jenna, and two of my best in-game friend’s characters (Daniel Hawk and Cameron Hawk). (Both of us duel-account regularly.) My other characters aren’t as active as those three are, so I’ll introduce them as they come up.

The categories above will slowly be filled in as I write posts. I have a few good ideas for them that I’m super excited about!

I’ve also recently started a Wizard101 YouTube channel: Dorm Rooms with Emma. Spiral: A to Z will have posts relating to “Dorm Rooms with Emma” but won’t be the primary focus. Actually, the focus will be a little bit of everything 🙂

~Emma