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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Late to the Funeral

I suppose I'm a bit late to the party...err...funeral here. It is with a heavy heart that I tell you Homework in a Graveyard has locked up the gate to the grounds once and for all. Autumn's posts will be missed greatly, and if she ever has something pressing to pass along, Through the Eyes of a Sorcerer will gladly accommodate for a guest post.  Autumn has requested that we not do anything special for her (full details int he post) other than planting and keeping an elder dandelion somewhere in our yards. To keep with the "spirit" of things here, I decided on a commemorative poem (forgive the funky meter and rhyme scheme in advance, I tend to do strange things. They work together, but not in any recognizably conventional manner. No, this is not another limerick. Though I was tempted.) And Autumn's knack for pulling pop culture has always impressed me greatly, so I tried write a poem based loosely on the style of a certain "Year in Review" (which is not necessarily child friendly and therefore not linked). It might makes more sense set to the tune from the video.

NOTE: I'm hoping this doesn't flop miserably, but without knowledge of the group it could potentially be bad. The year in question for the tune is 2008, by the way, for those of you with some sort of idea about babies in top hats that like to sing about the disasters through the year.


Three years ago it started, 6th of June Saturday,
She opened up her bloggy-thing and began to write away.
Her mission simple,  to tell of a great game,
Through her critical point of view it never did look lame!

Tenure for Dworgyn started, and the battle cry still rings,
Penny Dreadful's story came about containing all sorts of things.
Pop culture references started, and slowly they matured,
And all throughout the blog process we heard how Autumn endured.

From the cat and mouse gangs of Marleybone to strife in Dragonspyre,
Never once did she turn back and wish she had been fire.
The power of death, a nercomatic unlife,
Through the entire game Autumn played and wrote on the highlights!

And now we end this, on a note of memory,
Autumn Duskhunter, your contributions will never be forgotten by me.
The 8 Bit Trials, in modern times were fun,
And no matter where you roam next you've always got our Spiral's shining sun!


Be Well, Autumn. We won't let your battle cry die out.

Your Friend Always,
John Lifeglen

Friday, August 19, 2011

Not Again!!!

Let me start by saying that this is not going to be a cheery, upbeat,happy-go-lucky post about what's new and awesome in Wizard101. Quite the contrary. The only feel-good portion of this post is that Wysteria is live...and it goes down hill rapidly from there. Where to even begin.

Heather Raven makes some awesome points in her latest post HERE. You should all stop by and read it. Pet Page ridiculousness and the fact that the new houses from Test are NOT Live. Yeah. Now we'll address my main focus. "Lotto" Packs.

With the Dragon's Hoard Pack, you were guaranteed 7 items of varying usefulness all related to dragons for 399 Crowns a pop. Awesome, right? There were chances at wands, cool gear, and the jewel of the collection: The Bone Dragon Mount. And a LOT of people (myself included) blew a large amount of crowns shooting for that very prize. And then I helped friends get it by mass-gifting. And it was ridiculous. If they had put it in the crown shop individually, people still would have paid for it. They still would have enjoyed it. And they would have had crowns left over for more crown shop goodies. If the gear sets had gone in individually, I firmly believe that people would have bought them.

Now, enter the Wyvern Hoard with not 1 but 5 individual new mounts along with permanent and 1 day copies of the Fairy Wings.  They're large, colorful, really cool looking, and equally challenging to get. And all of those people who like to collect things are going to be all over it. Well, almost all of them. I'm done. I spent 2000 crowns just to see what some of the stuff was and boy was I disappointed. Deep Mushrooms popping up religiously, along with some other stuff that is available to everyone very, very easily. If I wanted Orange Bell Peppers I would just buy the peppers from the crown shop, not blow 399 crowns and hope for the best. I don't want 3 copies of the same set of boots before even getting one hat/mask to go with it. Yeah, I came in hoping for energy gear that was better than the Baconator and it IS, but what are my chances of actually obtaining the last piece of it? Little to none.

Maybe the purpose of the "Lotto" is to allow children to learn that life isn't fair. That's a noble lesson to attempt to teach in a children's game, sure. What is this really teaching, though? Some would say that it's teaching that Gambling is OK (in moderation....questionable with this). I say it's teaching children that if they spend enough money, they'll eventually get exactly what they want. Is that something we want our youth to think? That's creating the next generation of entitled little brats. You can't buy your way out of jail, but this is showing that with enough $$$ and you can get anything.

Also with the "Lotto", we're seeing may objects that overlap between packs. I don't need Deep Mushrooms. If I want those I'll buy a Remarkable Reagents. If I want Zounds...Bees, I'll buy a Green Thumb Pack. And what's up with all of the normal pets? Unicorns and Imps come from the Wizard City pet shop for gold, so why would anyone want to spend crowns on them? They just released the Pack O' Porters, why add teleporters to the Hoard? It's filler. The "Lotto" works like over stuffing your deck. The more stuff that's in there, the smaller your shot at drawing what you need. And this pack is certainly stuffed. Just from the Mounts and Gear alone (not counting gear that is replaced depending on level) You have 3 sets of gear (9 items) and a staff to match each (3 items) plus the 5 Wyvern Mounts, 3 Fairy Wings, and 3 Temp Wings. That's already 23 items that you might want, which requires at LEAST (and this is VERY wishful thinking) 4 packs or 1596 crowns. Add in all of the junk furniture, treasure cards, and lame seeds and you're not likely to ever see these things.

It's pretty safe to say that I don't want a Wyvern or to complete the gear set that I started. It's ridiculous, a waste of money, and a waste of time. The collector in me has died with this update, I guess. I still want all of the teleporters, but you can bet I'll be crafting for them rather than putting it up to luck. Blah.

Your [Peeved] Friend Always,
John Lifeglen

P.S. I got moved in to school safely, as have internet working here (obviously...). 

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Coming Tide

Captain's Log, Stardate 65123: In two days I will be moving back to college. This means, you guessed it, less frequent entries. Hey, Earthly education is unfortunately more important than the diploma-less education we're given at Ravenwood. When Wysteria hits, I'll still be logging in for that stuff. I need that Triwizard Spiral Cup Trophy for my trophy case (still undecided on how to construct it).  I'm also still gardening in hopes for Orthrus cards. I can't just abandon my Silver Trumpet Vines (as much as I might like to...)!

That's all I've got for today, except that this blog is now featured on the approved link list on Wizard101Central, though I still can't link it in my signature. Oh well.

Your Friend Always,
John Lifeglen

End log.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Warlord in Da Hause!

Oh, look at that title. Yeahhh...It's not me. John's planning to talk more about that a little bit further down. I hadn't posted in a while, though, and wanted to show off exactly how we're doing the portrait things now. John got sick of not having NAMES on them so we opted for these newer ones. Woohoo!  And now on to the meat of this post.

Here's John. Keep it Frosty,
Noah Mythglen

As Noah said, we're switching up the portraits a bit. Something a bit nicer. With names. The old format will still be used for level updates, though!  Oh, that title? You're wondering about that? Well, the big news is that I achieved Warlord today! I bought a 24 hour day pass and played some good old fashioned 1v1.  Woohoo!!! Then I proceeded to go spend a bunch of tickets. I'm planning a trophy room as soon as Wysteria goes live and I'm able to get a 3rd trophy! Picture time!

Mr Baxter and I.
Yeah...not the best stats in the world. It took a lot of work. And I used to do some other PvP. Only recently did I step back into the ring and pull myself above Knight. 

My stats used for PvP. 

Mister Baxter's stats. Note: He does NOT have Spritely. I'm still working on a pet with the top 3 talents and Spritely. This was something of a challenge without any random healing. Just goes to show how dependent I've become on it. Gotta try and ween myself off of it!
My new goodies! I've had the Kyanite Trophy for a while now, but I just bought Lord Chance and the Angelic Trophy today. So excited!
Next on my agenda is to keep at it, shoot for Overlord (1000+ rank) and eventually obtain the rest of the furniture and the other pets. I'm a bit low on tickets at the time being, so this is a long term goal (though I might be able to hatch for a couple of them). Next on the agenda is Pet Warlord. That should be interesting considering how little the Derby is played.

And that's all I've got for the day. Exciting stuff indeed!

Your Friend Always,
John Lifeglen

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cyber-bullying and its Many Ugly Forms

Remember back on the Balance Study Hall when I said I was "beating a dead otomo to death" when discussing side quests vs. story only? Well, it's another topic like that. Everyone and their Heckhound has written on it and I'm revisiting it out of necessity. There have been many, many more frequent squabbles popping up in our fair Spiral as more and more wizards are called from their home lands into the depths of Wizard City and beyond. Heather and Jessica have written on this topic today already, and I'm tossing in my two cents. (1(1 ). Cents are tossed. Sense has not been. And we're off.

WARNING: Lengthy sentence structures ahead. Definitions included for those not familiar with game jargon. Skip over the items inside of parentheses if you know the terms!

What is a cyber-bully? Webster defines cyber-bullying as, "the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously". Yes, it says that it's done anonymously. It can come in a much more direct form, though. I just witnessed it tonight on Twitter and have been seeing it crop up often. Playing a Role-Playing game (RPG: game in which textual descriptions are used to communicate a story--definition by me) and claiming to be participating in RP as an argument that you are not bullying when the subject on the table is murdering a Player Character (PC: Character played by a person in a game. Non-Player Character-NPC: a character placed into the game as a vendor, enemy, quest giver, etc. Lacks a player) is a crock of Krok droppings.  Talk about murdering Morganthe, what spells you'll use, how hard you'll hit, fine. There's no person behind her that will be upset. She is the wicked witch, right? Don't talk about PCs the same way you talk about NPCs because they are very much different entities.

This is but one form of cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying never physically hurts a person. Every bit of it is taken psychologically and emotionally. Emotional abuse often leaves scars much deeper than physical injury ever could.  Direct bashing of someone through any means on the internet is cyber-bullying. Telling someone that they are worthless, making threats to them, smearing their name because of something you don't care for, anything over a social media outlet hit even harder than face-to-face bullying because the impact spreads so quickly through the Internet.  These outlets include (but are certainly not limited to) Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Because of the problems cropping up lately with cyber-bullying, I have come to the conclusion that children should not be allowed to play with social media outlets. Unfortunately, this inhibits those with positive things to say and forcibly removes them from the discussion. 

So, what can we do to stop it?  First, everyone should be adding a filter to the things that they say. If you wouldn't say it to your friend's grandmother, don't say it at all! I say to use your friend's grandmother as a filter because you're on your best behavior around her, as opposed to your own who you know how far you can push the envelope with.  Secondly, avoid large crowds of people united under one banner of negativity. Bandwagon leaping becomes much more common as the peer pressure mounts. Thirdly, everyone deserves a second chance. Or a third. People have the ability to change. Sometimes it's for the better, sometimes it's not. At least give them the benefit of a doubt. 

Those three little things are only suggestions. I can't claim to be an expert on psychological abuse, but I know enough about it to recognize it, call people on it, and try to stop it. Cyber-bullying is real (like salmonella).  It's not a myth (like Global Warming...I jest, I won't go there!). And unfortunately it's growing in our fair Spiral. If you were a new community member, would you stick around long if all you saw was fighting and chaos?  If this stuff doesn't stop there's going to be a major rift in the community, one that doesn't belong, because people will literally be picking sides between who's right and who's wrong. How can we call a splintered community the best community there is of any MMO? Think on these things, and try to pull your act together and stop acting uninformed and hiding behind excuses to justify your bullying.  Eventually the truth will come out, and when it does you'll be on the receiving end of many blocks, unfriends, and unfollows. 

I wanted to do something fun for my 100th post, and maybe I'll come up with something still, but this was a much more pressing matter than announcing that I'm in triple digits.

Your [Peeved] Friend Always,
John Lifeglen 

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Puzzle of ME!

In response to my super-cryptic post last night, I'll reveal what I was working on. The conversation mentioned then was one of "completion" of another person, that you fit each other like a glove covers a hand or a puzzle piece fitting into another groove. That's where this comes in. Just for fun, and as a way to thank those who've played a pivotal role in making me who I am today, I have created a puzzle with some phrases on different pieces. At the end of this post, I'll include templates for the one I did (12 pieces) or the one I almost did (6 pieces).

You're welcome to download and edit them to make something similar to this to post on your own blog. If you don't blog and only Facebook or Tweet, that's fine, just be sure to leave me a link in the comments so I can come check our what kind of shenanigan-ry you've come up with!

Mine's very basic, and the colors are slightly representative of the individuals each piece represents. I will not be telling you who's who later, though. Those who need to know will figure it out based on small clues hidden in the puzzle. Part of the fun is figuring it out. Part of the fun of creating one is finding words to describe some acquaintances in our Spiral.  There are so many influential people in my life, I wanted a way to thank them all. Well, 12 slots is kind of confining, but kind of difficult to fill, too. I wound up representing 13 people with my 12 slots (you'll see why soon, and those two will know what I mean, hopefully).

Enough rambling, I'll just post it now. NOTE: Piece size/font size are NOT relative to impact on my life. Placement is purely random (since time of original post I have located a better template of 12 and remade it. New template is available, old puzzle has been replaced with the better one.).
Thank you to all who have supported me, tested my will, and encouraged growth as a person.


I do not own either image, as Google was so kind to provide them. Thank you, Google, for providing the images HERE and HERE. Note: The 2nd link contains a couple of other available sizes.

Have fun with this should you choose to do it!

Your Friend Always,
John Lifeglen

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Something Super This Way Comes

Hey guys and dolls, John here again! I'm working on something super-cool and super-fun for all of you fellow blogger types to play around with. It started with a conversation with someone very near and dear to me, and it escalated into something more pretty rapidly. I won't share all of the details, but I can tell you that you'll most likely want to use MSPaint or another alternative to do your own. I'll post mine along with the template I used, but if you all want something else you're welcome to it. It should be a fun way to kind of say "thank you" to certain people secretly and at the same time let others know just how much you really mean to them.

Think "tag your friends" on Facebook, only without news-feed spam, predefined images/phrases, and a much narrower base. This will either take off or completely flop. I'm OK with either. Mine will be done, and anyone else who isn't afraid of potentially looking silly or who doesn't mind hopping on the occasional bandwagon might join in, too.

Expect this to come super late tomorrow night or sometime on Monday, as my church's annual picnic is tomorrow!

Your Friend Always,
John Lifeglen

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Noah's Side on Teleporters

Yes, I did say that John is a complete nutjob for wanting to craft that many teleporters. But after looking at what they can do for myself, I'm beginning to see the potential. He mentioned the dorm hub thingy, which is cool and all, but marking them would be hard. Guess what. KingsIsle JUST gave us the answer with the new Krokotopian Obelisks and Pressure Plates in the Crown Shop! I had this awesome idea to use the plates on the dorm end to mark a teleporter, and s pair of obelisks on the other end around the "spitout" location. Thank you, KI, for giving us something non-interactive and yet helpful and functional!!!

Yeah, that's all I've got today. I haven't been released onto the Test Realm yet because John was having too much trouble with lag. Oh well, I'll have some bacon when TR goes Live :D

Keep It Frosty,
Noah Mythglen

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Testing the Teleporters

Hey everyone!  John here with some AMAZING discoveries. News broke over Twitter earlier that there was a new crafted item from Gearwise in Celestia. That item is a Teleporter. Yes, it actually works!  This No Trade, No Auction beauty is a miracle in science, straight out of a sci-fi novel. I'll cover some basics of how it all works, and then I'll go into specific ideas that I've had already.

To craft the Teleporter, you need the following things:

Once you have gathered all of the required ingredients, take them to your HOUSING crafting station. Click the Create button and BOOM you've got a shiny new blue portal. Let's see what they can do, shall we?

Once you've got it. Place it in the location you want the portal to direct to. If you want a way to teleport directly to your crafting room, for instance, drop it in there. Then select the item again. You'll see this:

Just click the green triangle button labeled "Set Destination Location" and then pick up your portal.  Now go outside to your Spiral Gate, place the portal, and close the housing interface. Then run into the portal! BOOM. You'll teleport back into the location you "set as destination".

I thought maybe it only worked on the same level of the house that you bound, and was curious about up and down levels. Because I was in my Royal Estate, I plopped the teleporter upstairs, set the location ("anchor" from here on out) and then moved the portal back downstairs. When I stepped in I teleported up. From outside to inside works, too, and vice versa. The real kicker is teleportation between houses! Yes, you can set up two portals to teleport between houses. If you maintain gardens in two, you don't need to wait on the timer countdown anymore!!!

MFP End of the Teleporters

Royal Estate End

Many players thought it could take two teleporters to make a set that functions, which is untrue. To make a two-way system, two are required, yes. To make a single-directional teleport, though, only one teleporter is needed. Now how can we possibly use these...hmm...

The amazing Cass Dragonheart helped me to make my set of two that I played with by providing Orthrus cards necessary for their construction. Thank you to Cass! She also had a BRILLIANT idea with these new beauties. Managing multiple PvP parties between houses owned by one wizard is now easier than ever. If you have a Massive Fantasy Palace and a Sultan's Palace (or a Celestial Observatory) you can rig teleporters between them to double your fun! Full credit to Cass for that marvelous idea.

Then on to my ideas. If you've ever had that super pesky kid at a party that you didn't want to boot because you'd feel bad, but you needed a way to add a "time out" option? Anchor a teleporter (inside the house or away from the party if you wish), add a jail cell over it, and then place the teleporter out of the way of the party, but within easy view. Upon having someone make trouble, ask them to please enter the teleporter (them having no idea what is on the other side) and then they're whisked away to "time out" for a little while.

Other options involve the examples above. Gardening from multiple houses, setting your crafting tables within easy access, and easier party management. Some players could create a maze using them. Can you imaging a maze spanning three complete houses?!

My personal favorite idea for them, though, is this. Empty out your dorm room. Then, craft multiple teleporters (number up to you/how many houses you have or use/how much you're willing to craft). Anchor a teleporter at the Spiral gate of each house or a particular drawing point of the house. Then put all of the teleporters in the dorm room. Find a way to denote which portal is which (memorize, or use a small object from the theme world. Whatever works for you). Then unequip all housing. Now when you teleport home, you have immediate access to whichever house you need! (Crafting, pet storage, PvP arena, Gardening). You also have the option to make it a two-way network! Doesn't that sound like fun? (And work. Noah wanted me to inform you all that he thinks I'm completely insane for even considering it.).

That's about it! If you've got a cool idea for how to play with there, drop me a line! I'd love to see what you all come up with.

Your Friend Always,
John Lifeglen

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On Friends, Cliques, and Politics

John here again. Unfortunately it's time for another "serious" post. I can't let Noah do this one (as much as I don't want to) because he hasn't been exposed for quite as long as I have and he has a wonderful ability to fly off on lengthy tangents.  I say I don't want to do this, and I really don't, because some of this is hard to say. Nothing stated in this post is meant to target one group or player, because I can think of at least 2 instances of each item mentioned.  Nothing's happened in the community, this is just a compilation of things that I've been noticing more and more in my time in the Spiral OUTSIDE of the Spiral. I've been blogging (off and on, admittedly) for a little over a year now. I've been playing the game for over 2. I'm far from an authority on the subject of friends, I've made my fair share of mistakes, but I'd like to take some time and point out what I've observed.

Friends in the Spiral often become more than just a mass of pixels that you talk to. Over time, you grow attached to the person behind the wizard and eventually you've bonded in a way much deeper than you ever intended. That's great! Sometimes those relationships bloom even further, sometimes you deem one another best friends and can't seem to be without them. Just because you met online doesn't mean you aren't "real friends". And sometimes these friends can hurt you just as badly as a friend you have met face to face. And you work it out just the same. The rules of friendship don't change just because the medium of expression has.

When people become fantastic friends, cliques form. Cliques, while being of common interests, often cause those not in the clique to feel left out. This adds even further to the feeling that some players are "famous" rather than the "just-average" person that they are because the "famous" players are often all of the same clique. I had a really stupid idea when I hosted the All-Star Meet & Greet when I thought that roping off a select few would do any good.  The party was meant to show that those "famous" few are really just average players like the rest of us, but it didn't go over as intended.  I learned that lesson the hard way.  It's really no wonder that people want "fame" to feel included. Does that make it right? Not at all. The Spiral needs diversity, not the same group of players operating everything.

Other times an entire clique (or someone that had hidden their true colors very well) will reject a single person because of an opposing viewpoint, leading to hate messages through Skype, Twitter, or blog posts publicly bashing others. Cyber-bullying is real, and it's cropping up more and more often in the Spiral. Many who practice it don't even realize (or make claims that they don't realize or intend) that what they're saying (or the way in which it is delivered) cut people deeply. That kind of behavior makes the Spiral a very nasty place to hang out sometimes.  Is exclusion what we want in the Spiral? Wizard101 may be "just a game", but the people are real. If it's a game, isn't it meant to be an escape from the problems of reality?

Finally, politics in the Spiral have a tendency to drive off players. When things get hot, they get out of the kitchen entirely, and we lose valuable insight into the game.  Sometimes a dispute will make players feel like they have no place if they can't share their thoughts, no matter what the opinion on the matter is. Sometimes not saying something just the right way or passing over small details leads to some very problematic situations. All of the fighting and arguing that goes on publicly these days would drive me off if I was new and just trying to get a foothold somewhere.  The level of dominance and command that some players (fansites) exert on others is ridiculous, and the amount of groupthink going on in certain portions of the community inhibit growth of the whole.

These are just some general observations based on appearances. I realize this post will probably go over like a lead balloon, but I'm saying my piece for all to see.There's usually more than meets the eye, and if anyone would like to share thoughts/views the comment box is always welcoming of new ideas. On this post especially, though, moderation will be enforced much more critically than usual. Keep it clean, and keep it unspecific.

Your Friend Always,
John Lifeglen

Monday, August 1, 2011

Staffs, Headers, and News. Oh My!

Hey hey Wizard fans!  Exciting news from yours truly! John *finally* managed to snag that Staff of the Querent for me so I can have a fancy schmancy sparkly blue and purple staff to match my duds! Wasn't that nice of him? I know I rag on him all the time but once in a while he'll do something unexpected LOL!

So since I have a staff, now I get to be in the header! Look up everyone (no, I'm not going the ridiculous arrow things that John thinks look so good. Bah. You all are perfectly capable without street signs). Yeahhhhh. Special thanks to Kestrel for putting together the background, and then John added the text and stuff. It looks spectacular if you ask me!

Today also marks August 1, which means that the KIFreeGames rewards have changed. Check out the Ravenwood Bulletin for specifics on that. No more temporary mounts or transformations, though. Woooo!

And that's about it for me! You might want to note, though, that the Bulletin mentions new content for level 25+ wizards and a new tower challenge tougher than the likes of the WaterWorks (can't be THAT hard, John even managed full gear. If he can do it, I can too. With my brain tied behind my back!).

Keep it frosty,
Noah Mythglen