Monday, May 31, 2010

Advanced Pets Tips: F3 (Farm For Food)

First, a quick update on Petnome Project:  Thank you to those who have taken the time and blog space to spread the word about the research study.  It makes me proud to know that we're a community of mutuality and support.  We have fantastic responses thus far; over 200 submissions ever since PP's debut.  While every piece of the puzzle is just as important as another, I can't overlook the fact that many of these components come from just 13 of our community, including myself!  So, on average, that's around 15 submissions per person...yet, that isn't the case here.  Thus, I want to recognize the following people who have gone to great lengths to spend a grandiose amount of their time to help us reach that number:

*Note:  These submissions were made in a single day!

Thank you, everyone!  Keep it up!!  And now, onto the show:

NOTE:  This is a guide for Grandmasters with as much of their Grand gear obtained.

Given how slow training can be in the Live Realm, especially when the supply of Crowns have shot down to becoming narrow and fragile in our wallets, Wizards all over the Spiral most likely are dreading and wishing to return to the experimental era of free digital currency.  Without a bountiful supply of decent snacks ready for our pets after every minigame, the journey to raise them to Ancient or Epic becomes thousands of miles longer.  But do not feel despaired, for there is an actual Pot o'Gold at the end of one Rainbow.

Huh?  That Rainbow is........get ready......

Big Ben. 

GET OUT!  No, why don't you come in?

First, let's consider what the Snack Pack, the little "expansion pack" that Wizard101 offers in the Crowns Shop, gives.  Seven (7) snacks are randomly chosen, between the ranks of 1 through 5, are given to the buyer for 115 Crowns.  The thing is, the snacks are usually around Rank 2-4, a very unfavorable range of food for that amount.  Luckily, there is an area that gives a much, much better deal.  Check this out:

NUMBERS?!?  Hear me out, first.  These are the results of 4 different Big Ben runs...that's right, that end-world instance of Marleybone, where you finally fight the cowardly Meowiarty.  I'll break that table down for you.  What it shows is how many snacks were obtained on each floor, with the total number of snacks obtained, in one run, at the bottom, for each player.

The yellow column represents what "wave" or floor the snacks were obtained on.  As you can see, there are a total of 12 battles you must enter in order to clear the entire dungeon, with the boss floors marked by their names instead of numbers.  The columns next to that have the players' names at the top, and are color coded to signify different runs.  For example, the dark grey column next to the yellow represents what I recorded for myself.  To review a wider range of samples, however, I started adding my teammates in each run and recorded their collections of food.

Want to see something unbelievable?

Paul Icebreeze captured 20 snacks in one run.  That's nearly the amount of THREE Snack Packs, and not even those will give you all Rank 4 food!  However, as shown in the circle below the arrow, there spells...ahem....where you may get just one snack....yeah...

Nah, I'd rather be farming bosses for Pet drops and the chance of food...Big Ben is way too long...

Not so fast, friends!  There's a reason why this is efficient for Grandmasters (per the note above).  With our Power Pip chances at max and a hefty Power Pip sword to accompany us, we have the opportunity to wipe out one floor in one or two turns, via our Area of Effect (AOE) spells, that is, if you have at least three wizards, in case you choose not to take a preliminary turn to Blade, use Prism, or Trap.  If no one fizzles, and you have a variety of schools in your group, monsters who resist one school will be knocked out by full damage by the other two.  Sadly, the First Turn Kill method applies to schools with Rank 4 AOE, meaning you require at least three of these schools:  Ice, Fire, Storm, Myth, and/or Balance.  If you plan to kill on the Second Turn, you can add in Death, with the use of Empower on the first turn (kudos to Thomas Lionblood from the blog site The Friendly Necromancer for revealing this in a Big Ben run last night).

So, would you rather spend 115 Crowns for a chance at 7 Snacks that are, on average, around Rank 3, or would you venture into Big Ben and...
  • earn 83 Quest Gold every run; and
  • earn gold every battle (around 80-100, and there are 12 fights in the instance); and
  • loot equipment, ranging from 80-350 in resale value; and
  • score a chance at the White Rat Magician from Spike the Crusher (remember to spill his milk thrice); and
  • score a chance at the Myth Ghoul (Crowns Only) from Spike the Crusher; and
  • have the opportunity to win some fancy designs from, once again, Spike the Crusher; and
  • score a chance at the Krokotillian from Meowiarty; and
  • score a chance at some other fancy designs, also from Meowiarty; and
  • score a chance to win a brand old car from Meowiarty;

    but most importantly, and as the whole point of this post...
  • to gain an average of 6 Snacks per run, all at Rank 4?

Yeah, I think I'll go with the second option too.  Happy Hunting!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New "Mistblood" Released, Page 18

For the entire series, click here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Advanced Pets Tips: "What Do Those Number(s) Mean?"

To my surprise, it turns out that the answer behind the numbers above our pets is still a mystery to many people, but to be fair, not everyone has spent a lot of time on the Test Realm or with the little critters.  Heck, I remember the rupturing flood that exploded in my mind, gushing out questions upon questions about the purpose and symbolism behind the digits, so I imagine the confusion might have flung some Wizards into the fog when it hit Live Realm.  Let's lift the lid off this wonder, shall we?  I'm going to open up my Pet Page here; please ignore the Paint Shop markings for now:

Today, Bubba will be helping out in Advanced Pets Tips.  As you can see, he has a Pedigree Number of 54 (11).  How did KingsIsle get those numbers??

I want to introduce something I call "Rarity Points" (RP).  These are the tiny circles next to each Talent's or Derby Skill's picture icon.  For example, [TIRELESS] has 3 RP.  The unlocked [ULTRA-RARE] Talent above that also has 3 RP.  These Rarity Points tell us how rare a skill is, with 1 being Uncommon, and 4 being Epic.  Therefore, we can say [HURRY] and [MUTE] are Rare, and [SPELL-PROOF] is Epic, just by looking at the tiny circles.

So...where does "54" come from?  And what is (11)?  The left number (in this case, 54) represents the total Rarity Points your pet has between locked and unlocked skills.  In other words, if you count up the number of tiny circles on all Talents and Derby Skills, whether they're maroon or yellow, you will come to that number.

The "11" represents the total Rarity Points on Talents and Derby Skills that have been manifested, or "unlocked."  Notice that the orange boxes surround Bubba's manifested skills.  Add those RPs up, and you will get 11.

How does this knowledge and the overall Pedigree # help players??  Unfortunately, at this time, I cannot say for sure what the point behind showing us both numbers is, other than raw "surface" comparison about which pets have higher rarity averages.  If we see a pet sporting "80 (32)," we can confidently say that that critter is at Epic level and has only Epic Talents and Derby Skills, for all unlocked or locked abilities; in contrast, a "20 (8)" pet will be one that is also Epic, but has all Uncommon traits for both columns.

Other than that, the mathematics I've looked at, so far, behind our hybrids or offspring all point towards what Miguel Wildthorn has found:  the traits that pass on to the young have random correlation.  By that, I mean that having more Epic skills on one pet does not mean the next generation will have more Epic skills; the only sure thing is that the second generation has a higher chance of getting them.

I do have faith that once we map out a large enough sample of Petnomes in the Petnome Project, we can explore further into whether or not there are formulas behind inheritance of traits.  It's a long, long way to go before this happens, but with the immense and passionate community we have, and with some luck, we'll find these answers soon.  Nevertheless, I hope your stop here has helped extinguish another personal conundrum!

Thanks for your time, and Happy Hunting!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Into the Spiral: Petnome Project

Hey everyone!

From Friendly's suggestion (and as an inevitable project much like ironhawk's guides), I've developed a nice little form for those who want to contribute to the results of mapping the Petnomes (term coined by our very own Miguel Wildthorn, whom I like to call the Mendel of Wizard101), I'd like to present to you, the Petnome Project.  Check it out and be part of the study!

If you'd like to genuinely help out and can *really* commit to working behind the scenes, please let me know!

To the (bullet)Point: Advanced Pets Debut, Night #2, and Plans

These are a few notes of what I noticed or did on the debut of the Advanced Pets System; pardon my laziness, but it is overdue by lengths (and now, for a Behind-the-scenes-look at how I draft posts):

  • Surprise!  PVP Ranks were not reset like I speculated!
  • I regretted in not preparing in the following ways:
    • Max out gold on every single character by transferring Coven loot to everyone; just my grandmasters got the jackpot(s)
    • I wish I used some overflow of gold to buy more pets!
    • Should have hunted for pets more...!
  • But, the night before, I managed to get some last minute prepping in by splitting all my pets amongst my 6 characters
  • I looked at all of my pets' skills, wrote down what I wanted to pass onto future generations, and gave the "useful" or high pedigree pets to my Grandmasters, while the Teens and Babies went to alternates
  • Then I proceeded to place all my characters into the Pet Pavilion (even young Mistblood; no pet scenes yet ;) )
  • Then I Danced away each toon's energy, given that that was the fastest depletion method
  • I farmed up the Coven with Heather Emeraldflame [LINK], Reed Giantpetal [LINK], and Fallon Shadowslinger [LINK]; managed to score two (2) Silverback Wildclaw [PICTURE]
  • turned in Gobblers' codes
  • Pet train station setup: Defender Pig, Magma Colossus, Pixie, Krokotillian, 2nd Generation Guardian Dragon (from Def Pig + Guard Dragon), Evil Snowman.
    • Going for ranking-to-Ancient, Barrier (derby), Morale Boost (derby), Hexster (gives card), manifestation experiment, Ice Giver (damage boost, ice); respectively)
  • Farmed Briskbreeze
    • Rank 5 food drops moderately here [PICTURES] food and loot to sell and Gold per battle?  Delicious indeed!
    • Found out (too late, in relativity to my experiments with Ice) Steal Ward works on Orrick (final Boss).
    Night #2
    • Raised Wildclaw to Teen [PICTURE]; looks like a Derby and Myth PVP monster
    • Farmed Jotun with Heather; she wins Death Troll!!!  Pay him or you get the Death TOLL!!! [PICTURE].  I am very corny.
    • Updated Training Lineup (all pets are First Generation unless denoted otherwise; i.e. 2G, 3G, etc.):
      • Battleblood: Teen Pixie (speed racer!) / Teen Silverback Wildclaw (he is AWESOME to watch in Gobbler Drop)
      • Ironblood: Teen Krokotillian / Adult Magma Colossus
      • Titanblood:  2G Baby Guardian Dragon
      • Boomblood:  Baby Red Gobbler #1
      • Wildblood: Baby Orange Mander
      • Mistblood:  Teen Evil Snowman
    • Pet Rank of Veteran achieved (I believe); only First or Second place for Pixie Missy!
        And we have a 3-Day weekend coming up!  Plans for the weekend (due to real-life circumstances, blah):
        • Prepping for Ravenwood Ball (tomorrow)
        • Mistblood pages 18, 19, 20 (at least)
        • BMC #2
          • Poster
          • Location set-up
          • Lots of gold farm for this..
            • Now that I think about it, it really does take awhile to get 100k back for mating, but takes WAY longer before you raise a pet to while farming for food and gold, pets should not be ready to mate just yet...meaning more time to spend with friends, w00t!
          • Finding assistance, have them reserve June 12 for W101
        • Floating bug tricks, tips, and explanations [Video and blog post]
        • Courting Yeva Logo
        • Raising Pixie to Adult after obtaining Pet Rank: Knight; Baby Red Gobbler to Teen
        • Helping a friend (Hint: Heather E.) with something not necessarily having to do with Wizard101 inside the game and may provide some employers some info.  Oh, the clarity of this note!
        • Smile.
        • Repeat above step.
        • Remind readers to smile.

        Have you smiled today?  Share about when and why!

          Wednesday, May 26, 2010

          Advanced Pets Tips: Setting Up Your "Train" Stations

          Disclaimer:  Please read this guide THOROUGHLY before using any advice.  Many parts are connected as a whole, so be sure to absorb everything before carrying through.

          With limited resources and time, you DO NOT want to end up moving your pets around too often, or training many different pets on a single character!  Putting yourself into either of these situations will only slow you down from carrying out your plans, especially if you do not have unlimited money to buy mountains of Crowns with.  So what do you do to create the most efficient "setup" for reaching your breeding goals?

          Note:  Before making any pet transfers to other characters, remember to deplete all Pet Energy on the toons who are removing pets from the Shared Bank.  There is no penalty for placing them in Shared Bank, fortunately.

          Each character has their own Pet Energy (PE); the capacity varies based on the character's level.  If you are planning on not using Crowns as often as you did in the Test Realm, you must realize your pets will not level as fast as they did with your free Test Snacks or Pet Elixirs.  Thus, it will take daily training and feeding for roughly half a week before you manage to take them to Adult.  So, there will be somewhat of a limit before you stop training on one character, and much more work before that Pet levels.  Therefore, I stress that you split six of your "target" pets among each of your alternates and mainIf you do not have 6 characters on your account yet, make some new disposable ones as placeholders.   

          Note:  You do NOT need to be level 7 OR kill Rattlebones to be able to train your pets!   

          Those requirements seem to apply only to accessing the Pet Pavilion, or mating.  So, all you need is a helpful friend to stand in the Pavilion for you to port over.  Once you enter Pet Park, MARK it.  That way, when you finally have created an Adult that's going to mate, you can teleport Home, deposit/withdraw a pet, make your way to the Minigame Fairegrounds to stock up on Mana, port back to the Pet Park, and MARK it again.

          By "target" pets, I mean the ones with abilities that interest you, whether it be the Talents or Derby Skills.  There isn't an effective point with spending PE on a pet that doesn't even have a skill that you want to see in later generations.    I want to reiterate what Miguel Wildthorn posted on Friendly's blog:  starting out, you want to mate your favored Adults to combine their potential Talents/Derby Skills.  It seems that Gift Card Pets with Variable Boosts* start out as Adults in order to provide the correct bonuses as they did before Pet Updates.

          *Variable boosts are Talents in which value changes as your pet's stats increase.  For example, the Gift Card Pet Defender Pig gives Spell-Proof, which is a Variable universal Resist, of 6%.  Had it started out as a Baby, it would provide you with only 1%, due to low Strength, Agility, and Power combined.  But, as a default, the Pig started out as an Adult, with 150 Strength, Agility, and Power each (all of which affect Resist), providing me the 6% it normally gave before the Pet Updates!

          Note:  It's best to leave the pet that will take the longest to reach its goal on your "Farmers."  Pets requiring more experience will need Snacks just to keep pace with your younger pets, and we want to avoid making more transfers than we have to.

          The point here is to take the standard pace you're allowed for training onto many pets at a time, especially if they are First Generation. That way, you can begin mating as soon as possible and discover if you managed to get the skills you want manifested.

          In summary:

          • Look at all of your pets' Talents/Skills
          • Pick out which skills you would like to have in the next generation
          • Give each of your characters a pet with each skill you favor; if it takes a long time for the pet to level, give it to a character that will farm for Hatchery gold
          • Train each pet everyday.  It takes 10 minutes to refill one PE, so in one hour, you will have 6 PE, and in 8 hours you will have 48 (max).
          Happy Hunting!

          Advanced Pets: Dawn of a New Age

          It is currently about ten minutes before the anticipated release of Advanced Pets.  Of course, KingsIsle was kind enough to remind players that perhaps there was to be extended maintenance, so I won't be too disappointed if we aren't able to log in soon.  I'm sure a lot of players are sitting at their screens, constantly trying to log in to be the "first" inside...Time to explore while we wait!

          So, thanks to Miguel Wildthorn and some personal research of my own yesterday in the Test Realm, I feel much more confident about what to do as soon as I jump in.  Yesterday was yet another reset, so it was nice to work with a clean slate and experiment with mating.  However, with just a single day of work before the Live Realm debut, I feel like walking through the fog with future generations of pets, such as the question of how traits are distributed when a later generation mates with a predecessor of the same type, and which Talents tend to get overridden.  But because of our very own "Mendel", I was able to recreate yet another Derby beast (the first one was made between me and Ronan Dawn by accident, on the second day of Test Realm), with this one helping out greatly in Resist AND Pips too!

          So, as I explore, plan, and experiment, I will be making frequent posts and archiving them right away in my new Advanced Pets guide collection, under the Chillanthropologist logo.

          New "Mistblood" Released: Pages 16 and 17

          Page 16

          Page 17

          For the entire series, click here.

          Tuesday, May 25, 2010

          Pet Gaming Tips: "Perfect" in Gobbler Drop

          Put on your hard hats and tennis shoes, it's time to turn your pet into a perfect "Gobbler."  Helping me today is my Test Realm newborn, Lady Pebbles, the Defender Pig.

          Gobbler Drop seems to be underrated by many reviews, whether it's because of the level of difficulty or length of time in comparison to--I sadly have to say--Dance Game.  But, hopefully after reading this, you'll find yourself scoring longer streaks of Perfect games.  Once you have truly mastered it, you'll no longer have to rely on feeding your pet to rapidly and efficiently raise Strength.

          Note:  With four minigames to choose from, each game favors either one of these stats:  STR, INT, AGI, WILL.  If the game provides a potential +4 to a single stat as a reward, then you know which attribute is dominant there.



          If you haven't figured it out by now, start making Shadow Hunting a habit.  Instead of putting all your focus at the sky, evaluate the grass and shadows on the ground.  ALL shadows are circular; the only way to tell the difference between what the items are is to quickly scan the area above the pet.  

          Use these spots to help you plan out your path.  You can stand under one shadow of a desired item and, while waiting to collect it, look for the next spot to run to.


          Bah, what laziness or carelessness on the Company's part!  From the description below "CONTROLS," many of us are led to believe that Gobbler Drop functions on a two-dimensional platform: forward, backward, and to the sides.  However, this minigame is actually incorporated into a 3D setting; there is height involved, hence the use of the Spacebar!

          How does this help?  With jumping, you can Catch food before they reach your pet's head, meaning you can leap and pick a Fish from the air and land in the shadow of a falling Pizza to score on both!  You can do this by using your directional keys while you are in midair.

          Not everything presented on the screen will be exactly how it registers on the server.  For example, you may jump, touch the food, and it doesn't disappear or give you credit right away.  No problem, just try it again!  It seems like there is occasionally a small delay irregularity, but you can also use this to your advantage.  If the situation at present shows you a Drumstick that's about to hit the ground, just run over its shadow anyway; by some luck, that delay irregularity will register you collecting it, even after it's gone!

          SANDS or HANDS
          OF TIME

          The "bonus items" that the instructions are referring to are the Hourglasses and Clocks that are occasionally thrown by the Gobblers.  Both objects affect the Timer at the upper right corner, but are different in effect.

          Hourglass - This is your BEST FRIEND in this minigame.  As depicted above, Lady Pebbles chose the Sands of Time over the Hands of Time.  The Hourglass has four (4) effects:  
          • Pauses the timer for quite a length of time
          • Slows the speed of objects dropping
          • Maximizes your pet's speed
          • It counts towards Collected Food
          There is a special, "fifth" effect, but it is based on the situation.  Let's say you get hit by an anvil or bomb and become burdened with the Slow Penalty, which reduces your pet's speed.  The duration of the penalty can somewhat turn the tide of your success, but luckily there is a quick solution:  Hourglass!  The four effects listed above will override your penalty.  And what happens if you get hit by another anvil or bomb again, after collecting an Hourglass?  Well, you lose the third effect of max speed, but the Timer is still paused, and falling objects are still slowly trickling down.

          SPECIAL TIP on Hourglass:  When there are two or more Hourglasses on the screen at the same time (but have different heights), don't try to catch both of them right away in hopes that they will stack the Pause Timer duration; unlike the Hands of Time, the Hourglass will only reset its duration when collected.  Normally, after collecting one Hourglass, I run around collecting some food (1-3) before rushing over to the shadow of the other Hourglass.

          Clocks - On the other end of the spectrum, Clocks are a little trickier to utilize.  Look at the two screenshots below, and pay close attention to the Timer and Food meter:

          As shown, Clocks:
          • Add back to the remaining seconds on the Timer, roughly about 6-7
          • Penalize you by decreasing your Food Collected meter by one object.
          Thus, do NOT chain Clocks too often; while the lengthened time allows you to run around longer, it defeats the purpose of efficiently training your pet.  Remember, you'll want to earn that +4 experience right away, feed your pet, and start on another minigame as soon as possible.


          I hope this helps one way or another.  Please feel free to ask any questions or comment below!

          Lady Pebbles:  "Yes, yes I am."

          Sunday, May 23, 2010

          Into the Spiral: Ice Magic Anomalies

          One of Autumn Duskhunter's recent posts comes with amazing timing, as it provides the best--if not perfect--opening for this entry (which I decided to dust off after leaving it as a draft ever since Thursday, May 13).  I had not realized the nature of this contemplation until she, once again, indirectly enlightened me in her insightful fashion; I give my gratitude to the writer of Homework in a Graveyard.  Here is my "emptying of the cup," with a touch of her presentation style...

          There is a thought that I would like to revive, which was formed and neglected in my early levels, while my enjoyment for Wizard101 grew.  I had extinguished a minor need to understand why a lot of the spells for the Ice school trail away from universal themes, in form and/or in concept.  What we are familiar with, when it comes to the term "ice," are not readily present or recognizable in the game's creatures/attacks and effects.  In fact, it takes quite an amount of gameplay before we can make solid connections from what we knew before Wizard101 to what we see on our screens.

          The majority of the spells of Ice is questionable when we observe the summoned creatures or attacks, and consider their origins.

          Beginning with the Frost Beetle, the closest relation I could find to my class's first attack is this.  However, to be fair to KingsIsle, the initial attacks for each class are symbolically unrelated to their school, with the exception of the Imp, so the lowest level spells are exempt from making my point.  Snow Serpent is probably a reference to something that began before I stepped foot into this world (and another meaning to the acronym CPA).  Evil Snowman is the first, solid connection players can make when casting an "Ice" spell and witness a common image of that school.  Continuing on, we hit another bump in the road with the Ice Wyvern, but it may be a small allusion to this.  The image of the Ice Colossus is present in quite a number of games, including Guild Wars and Runescape.  And last but not least, the incorporation of the Frost Giant presents an ambiguous reference: it represents a Norse god of ice (whose name is really Skadi, but she is a goddess skilled in archery) with the resemblance to Thor, another Norse god, who is actually the deity of thunder and wields a hammer.

          Update:  Thanks to Kestrel Shadowthistle for making Frost Giant an actual connection!

          But Mr. "Chill bee log guy", KingsIsle is just doing their "own thing."  It's a different game, so there are different creatures involved, and the Company doesn't have to relate the spells to existing symbols, icons, or legends/mythologies!

          True, and good point, but I present to you the following cases:

          • In many Asian cultures, the term used for a life force, or our internal energy, is Qi, pronounced "chi" (of course, there are variations in the way those cultures say it).  The replenishment of Qi through meditative exercise is representative of the "positive half" of the cycle of nature: growth and recovery.  What generally comes to mind when "growth" and "nature" is considered?  Trees and plants.  In Wizard101, we see the Woodwalker/Nature's Wrath tree, the Dryad tree, Rebirth's Bartleby, and even the Imp (which I linked to an outside source; it explains the origin of the creature's name).

          • Death magic/abilities in countless games have the universal theme of conversion, whether it is:  trading life of a second party to replenish one's own; damaging one's self to be compensated with power or energy; or "recycling" a corpse to do some bidding.  The creatures and spirits from Ghoul (the "zombie") to Wraith (the "Grim Reaper") are unmistakably derived from lore involving the "negative half" of the cycle of nature. 

          • Fire is generally viewed as destruction in two ways:  its essence slowly consuming what it touches, or instantaneous neutralization, thus setting that school in both the Damage Over Time (DoT) and Nuker class (a category for damage dealers who use spells that cause a sharp drop in the health points of their targets).  The creatures of this school (Firebird, Phoenix, Dragon, Heckhound [sic]) are easily denoted, and a real life "phenomenon" is loosely mirrored by Immolate.

          • Storm school does seem to have an array of attacks that are as Wild as its Bolt connecting them to stories or documents outside the game, but the summons are tied to the elements of this class with a shocking attack: water and air.  For water, we have Storm Shark, Kraken ("humanoid squid," as Ronan Dawn puts it), and Triton; for air, we have Storm Bats and Storm Lord (whom I believe represents Zeus (Greek) or Jupiter (Roman adaptation of Zeus)).  Stormzilla is a direct parody of Godzilla, who also happens to breathe lightning.  Zing!

          • Both Myth and Balance Magic require some experience with the game before they are readily classifiable, given that these two schools are custom (if not original) creations of KingsIsle, but when the concepts of both magics are grasped, we can simply identify them to common themes, each.  Myth spells are in light of the school's name, displaying creatures of various mythology, such as the Minotaur, Orthrus, Cyclops, and Troll.  Balance magic seems to focus on sand affinities early on, like Scarab, Locust Swarm, and Sandstorm (of course!), while taking on more elemental-based attacks during late-game, such as Spectral Blast and Hydra. 

          With all the pop culture references across different generations in the game, I'm surprised the Company did not implement an attack for Thaumaturges to send out arctic, flightless birds wielding blunt objects to parody another game; heck, that site was even recognized by J. Todd Coleman as one of the solid games currently "in the market."  How about some polar bears, or the Woolly Mammoth?   (UPDATE:  Through Zafaria, the Woolly Mammoth has been added as an Ice Spell! [11/6/11])

          In addition to imagery in Wizard101, Ice (and Storm, to be fair) is lacking its universal concept and gameplay mechanics.  Ice (commonly represented as "winter" or "snow" throughout various cultures) is the symbol of preservation, delay, immobilization, (re)birth, and "hate."  (5 points to the first person to reference the last symbol)

          In the game, the ability to take copious amounts of damage and carry an abundance of damage reduction (Ice Armor) and universal resistance (Tower Shield) cards illustrates (self)-"preservation."  Bingo, one down.

          There aren't any true spells that "delay" an opponent; by this, I mean "slowing," rather than "stunning."  However, it's not a big deal, considering that this is a turn-based game, and I would imagine it difficult to apply such a concept; yet, I did a little "theorycrafting" (ooh, Autumn-esque again) at the end of Study Hall on Ravenwood Radio Episode 14.

          Here's the meat of the oddity, for both Ice and Storm:  in general, "ice" and "storm (focused on lightning)" have universally recognized characteristics that eliminate motion on victims.  For the former, low temperature conditions constrict those under its effect; for the latter, paralysis.  In Wizard101, Ice is given the spell "Freeze" and "Frost Giant" to stun opponents (individually and in a group, respectively); Storm is given "Storm Lord." 

          Hah!  Leaving Freeze to the side (for now), notice how it requires 7 pips for either school to produce an effect (stun) that is usually an innate effect or proc to these elements.  Now look over at each school's natural counter (Fire for Ice, Myth for Storm) and check out what Choke and Blinding Light does and for how many pips.

          Gadzooks!  Area Of Effect (AoE) stun for only two pips??  It's somewhat ironic that Fire and Myth are the feared chain-stunners, rather than Ice and/or Storm, isn't it?  :)  In other words, Fire and Myth may cast their immobilization spells more frequently than their counter schools can!

          Now, let's add in Freeze, for more "wow" factor.  Check out the accuracy on that; it's only 70%.  Choke and Blinding Light are 80%.  Apply Keen Eyes (+10% accuracy) to the spells, and wear full Commander Arena Gear (16% accuracy boost).  That means Choke and Blinding Light, the most inexpensive AOE stuns, have 106% (or perfect) chance of landing on opponents.  For Freeze, however, there is still a 4% chance of missing a single target with said spell.  I suppose that's the way Wizard101 rolls ;)

          Keep in mind, these are merely observations...I'll still be happy if changes aren't made or planned.   /shrug.  What are your thoughts?

          Thanks for your time!

          Friday, May 21, 2010

          New "Mistblood" Released: Pages 14 and 15

          Let me know what you think about the new speech bubbles!  Love it or Hate it?

          Page 14

          Page 15

          For the entire series, click here.

          Thursday, May 20, 2010

          Chillanthropologist in Global Warming

          This week has just been a major blast of excitement, good news, and luck all around, at least for this Thaumaturge.  I'm not even sure where to begin, other than chronological order.  Already got Sunday covered in an earlier post...

          Monday was somewhat brutal, just sitting on the sidelines a bit while studying for Tuesday's final, just interacting in what ways I could with friends.

          On Tuesday, played around on Pet Realm a bit and learned some minor things about the Pet Updates, then freed myself from the grasp of textbooks and calculators.  Summer school?  Perhaps not, at least based on some minor hints I received from work today.

          I took yesterday to relax a bit after finishing my finals, so I rocked "Mytheon-house" with Heather Emeraldflame, kicking the Warforge end-boss around with our funny kiting strategy.  Then in the evening, nearly lost my marbles as Steven Spiritcaller disconnected from the call for a long period of time.  It was my first night modding for the show, so I was already excited about helping out....the thing Leesha asked of me after the awkward event was...well, to put mildly, overkill on that adrenaline rush ;)  But she carried on the show smoothly; a lot of podcasting experience for sure

          Then I'm back at full time at work today, starting earlier than usual...and what do you know, the first thing I hear is a "Good Morning" from my supervisor and her superior, and was asked a series of questions that led me to suspect that I was in for something I had been longing for awhile: PROMOTION!  Though it's not officially approved yet, both of my bosses clarified that they were actively pressing the matter in my favor!  So, should I receive higher income, the better my BMC prizes will be; that's a given ;)

          Then this Saturday, some time to spend away from my hometown on a camping trip with me significant other.  Let's call her the Jillanthropologist.  Unfortunately Jill isn't her name, and she's not a gamer (sad face), so the whole title actually lacks all meaning other than some referencing label.  Maybe someday she'll fall into the depths of the "accident"....[plot plot]

          Oh, by the way, if you haven't noticed by now...[rubs hands together]...let's just say you'll find something interesting for the next BMC in this video.

          Happy hunting!

          Tuesday, May 18, 2010

          "Updates and Tweaks!" says Ian Emerald

          Well, there's sure to be some changes as of the patch....I found Ian Emerald online in the Test Realm, and here's what he's hinted at so far:

          Never heard from him after he went AFK "hang on..."

          Then about 10-20 minutes later, the server went down for Maintenance!

          So, explorers, time to restock on ink and parchment, let's see what we can find after more work from KingsIsle!

          Happy hunting (for "tweaks"!)

          Sunday, May 16, 2010

          An Explosion of Sunday Euphoria

          I'd like to share a little exciting update, unfolded today, about The Chillanthropologist, in case you missed it:  Yours Truly is honored to be Certified Staff (minus the "certified" part; I haven't taken any tests, and I just thought it'd sound cool) for Ravenwood Radio!  From Wednesday, May 19, 2010 and every other Wednesday on forth, I'll be chilling behind the scenes with Christina IceDreamer (IcYwiz), helping the show with weeding out questions from the mass of text in the Chat Room, and eventually assist in freezing those who violate the chat rules.  Thank you to the crew for considering me, I'm looking forward to working with you all!

          Secondly, Heather Emeraldflame (as Heather Sandwalker), Allan Spiritrider (as Allan Thundercaller), my mentor and good friend Ronan Dawn (as Galen Lionheart), and I (as Kevin Ironblood) completed Kensington Park for our alternates!  That's a second Machine Master badge between all my characters, and probably the last for a very long time (waiting for my Myth Kevin Titanblood to finish his Commander arena gear before leveling past 25).  It was one of the shortest runs I've had in that burdensome dungeon.  If you haven't tried it out yet, here's a vital tip:  find someone who has done Kensington before and who is great at maneuvering through Marleybone (meaning someone with a reliable connection speed) to run to each boss.  The less time you spend in fights that don't have a boss, the heavier cuts you'll make to your total time.

          Third, Ronan Dawn was kind enough to gift me a set of Boots of the Titan, his reason being so that I may have different appearances (stitching) without losing stats!  Thanks a ton, man!

          And last but not least, managed to score my Ice Ring from Briskbreeze Tower, thanks to the following people:

          Before even stepping into Colossus Boulevard, I said I had a "good feeling about tonight" (or something to that effect)...and whaddyaknow?

          Thanks to everyone I've made contact with today; You all have totally made my day (every second of it)

          Happy Hunting!

          Saturday, May 15, 2010

          Special "Mistblood" Released, Page 13

          Specially dedicated to Sierra Starsong (starsongky) and Christina Icedreamer (icywiz).

          (click to enlarge)

          For the entire series, click here.

          Friday, May 14, 2010

          "Mistblood" Page 12 Released!

          (click to enlarge)

          For the entire series:  click here.

          Wednesday, May 12, 2010

          "Mistblood" Released! Page 11

          Update:  Got the right one uploaded now....sorry!

          Jumped right on Paint, Microsoft Word, GIMP, Diary of a Wizard's Connect X Image Editor, and my Wizard101 screenshots as soon as I got home (four and a half hours ago....oh my).  Then also had to log on to take some new ones, and put it all together.  A long (and exciting) process...

          Hope you guys enjoy!  By some demands, I'll put new pages on the blog from now on, so you can see them right away.

          For the entire series, click here.

          New "Mistblood" Released: Page 10

          Click for the series.

          Click for Page 10.

          More to come (and be explained) very soon ;)

          Tuesday, May 11, 2010

          Beyond the Spiral: Hobbies

          So, literally all day (and afternoon and evening) yesterday I got to have a very long date with Quickbooks.  We had some good times: we watched a few YouTube movies, had lunch and dinner together, and even got to try out a new browser-based RPG, called Shakes and Fidget, which we found as an ad on Sierra Starsong's collaborative blog.   Here's a picture of my character: 

          It sort of resembles me, minus the unnecessary kiss Quickbooks decided to plant on me right before the camera went off.

          The friendliness crashed towards the end though.  Through some weird twist of fate, we were bickering over who was right or wrong, looking into the past to point fingers, and even gave one another the silent treatment.  I desperately needed some distance, perhaps forever, but I knew my life wouldn't be complete without Intuit's core product.  As an accountant-in-the-making, it would be inevitable that I require this automated bookkeeping program at some major part of my career.  It is part of my identity, no matter how I feel about it.

          "Identity."  It's one of the most sought-after characteristics in high school, especially with the icebreakers on the first day of class; at least it was, back when I had the right to free education.  The teachers always wanted to know what made us..."us," and wanted us to find pride in whatever those attributes may be.

          During a drawn-out fight with the stubborn software, that memory sparked in my mind randomly, and I haven't been able to shake the thought since.  A lot of Wizard101 players use the game as temporary relief from stress, reality, and sometimes ourselves.  Some of us create a richer experience for ourselves and others through blogs, fan fiction, music, and movies; these projects become our little side hobbies in life, whether it's writing about the game daily or making music videos.  In other words, the documents and text and bits of data are expansions of our escapes, and, when given the time and dedication, become a part of us. 

          Unfortunately, as authors and artists, we eventually run into the dilemma of lacking the will to produce; keep in mind, this is different from "lacking something to produce."  We may feel like we're missing something, like a part of us.  This may be due to our frustration with something totally unrelated to Wizard101 or to our projects, or we are just temporarily exhausted in terms of our mental state. 

          In my case today, I had been planning on jumping into the world of Mistblood as soon as I finished my semester-end course assignment.  The later in the day it was, the more excited I became.  Towards the last section of my class project, however, I suddenly lost that boiling urge that captured me all day.  It's not that I didn't want to work on the comics at this point; I was looking forward to it still.  Yet, I strangely felt like entering my laptop into "studio mode" would be unsatisfying.  It was a disappointing feeling, but
          as soon as I was free from my educational obligation, I went to the one activity that I love more than gaming, producing/editing, problem-solving, and writing combined.  Instead of popping out 2 or 3 pages of Mistblood, (hey, I'm not slacking!  They'll be coming out pretty soon...) I present to you a little...

          Freehand Glowsticking (Minor warmup)

          No matter how stressed, worried, or upset I become, for whatever reason, glowsticking has always cheered me up or cooled me down.  It's the one part of me that I'll never pass off on.  I learned it from a long lost friend while I was a freshman at my first university, and it has been my favorite skill ever since.  This is "THE" hobby of Kevin Battleblood.

          What do you guys do to unwind when Wizard101 and the projects related to it just don't "jive?"  Is there something you love doing that isn't shared by many others around you?  Feel free to share your unique talents or out-of-game hobbies!

          Happy Contemplating!

          Saturday, May 8, 2010

          Debriefing: Battleblood Monthly Challenge #1

          ....and the winner is:


          What a turn out!  It does nothing more than please me to know how persistent our community is!  Not one contestant gave up, despite the twenty-five-or-so times they fell off the course.  Without any guidance, all players still in the running managed to scale up the tricky initial slope, which was mildly littered with inkwells to instantly halt those who tried running through.  Then they each realized where to go after hitting the dead end, very well done by everyone!

          I have to point out some key things I noticed about Michael Owleyes's superb performance.  Every time he fell, he was back up on his feet and running up the slope again, keeping his mind focused on the goals at hand, without distractions.  He smoothly transitioned from Spotter to Spotter in the questing segment.  What impressed me the most was how he handled the quest (explained later) Sierra Starsong gave him, and that was with endless patience and determination.  Outstanding work, Michael!

          I want to personally thank the following people who helped me administer the event successfully by screening for any potential cheating, keeping the contestants motivated, and for putting up with me, the "complexity" of the "questing" part of the course, and the viral random ports from friends of a disqualified player:

          Allan Spiritrider
          Paul Sandbreeze
          Cheryl Fire
          Ronan Dawn

          In all honesty, we couldn't have had this event without each of them.  The event did have a little awkward moment from some last minute misunderstanding, but we were able to smooth it out via effective communication and prompt replies.  If anything, I would be happy to have each person back for next month's BMC.

          For those who are interested in trying out the course without a guide, please skip past the black text, which will go into the Challenge in detail:

          The main objective is to enter the Ice quarters and present to me a sequence of emotes.  In order to find that sequence, players have to scale the entire course successfully, where they will meet Heather Emeraldflame.  The obstacle course includes a small maze at the very beginning with a few visual illusions to deceive contestants on where the real path lies.  Once through, players would "use" a rowboat to travel through the freezing moat.  Wizards are met with a tricky, slippery slope with minuscule inkwells, arbitrarily blocking their path.  

          As they enter a Dragonspyre platform, Boris Blackrock presents them with a long, devious path to take, while hiding a shorter, simpler path to the right.  There is also a tablet blocking the view of that shortcut, with a Snowflake symbol on it.  Autumn Duskhunter holds her post here.  After accessing the next platform, players would climb the residence mountain up to the hollow statue of the Frost Giant, to be met with another platform, occupied by Allan Spiritrider.  Behind him stands two tall tablets; one with an icon of a Windswept Tree, and the other, hieroglyphics.

          A path is visible from here, leading straight into "Santa," and exits his eye, only to present an ominous skull, symbolizing a "dead end." (the Zoom feature of the game is required to see anything inside)  Directly above the dead end is another path, with an indirect clue that players would have to backtrack to find the entrance to the trail above.  Upon returning to Allan's platform, contestants would discover another path that is initially hidden by the two tall tablets.  This path leads past the forehead of the Frost Giant onto yet another DS platform, this time occupied by Paul Sandbreeze, later joined by Ronan Dawn and Cheryl Fire.

          From here, the path splits into two, both hovering dangerously high over the ice cave with the frozen Gobbler beneath.  One slip would send the player back to the bottom.  On the left path, which is placed very low compared to the right (thereby hiding it from view), there is a very small chance of falling off, which is the innate reward for players who take the time to use their pet to aim for a short drop.  The right path, though straight, contains many obstacles, ranging from a woodpile to feline dummies to hidden inkwells.  Both trails lead over to the statue of the Dragon, where they meet at a Large Watcher Rug platform.

          On this floor, there is a minuscule maze of tin cans, red stools, and balloons.  Past this is a path following closely to the Dragon's wings, requiring players to change their camera angle by holding down the left-click button, and sliding their mouse around.  Steadily, the course leads to a platform occupied by Sierra Starsong.

          Further along the journey, contestants meet with Heather Emeraldflame at the bottom, by some pine trees and the side of the house.  Heather notifies players to run back and speak with Autumn, as she has a quest(ion) for them.  When players directly inquire her for their question, Autumn asks, "How many red stools are by the Dragon?"  When the correct answer ("3") is given, they are told to find
          Allan and must use the emote DANCE in front of him.  As soon as the contestant is breaking down some moves, Allan will ask, "What is the symbol next to Autumn?"  A correct answer will send the player over to Paul with the instruction to use the emote BEG.

          Paul's question is, "How many balloons are next to the Dragon?"  When the contestant answers "2," they are sent to Sierra with the order to CRY.  Sierra asks the player to tell her what symbol is next to Allan.  Once they pass her test, they are sent to Heather again, this time with the command to SWOON.  As soon as Heather sees this, she will reveal the correct sequence that the player must show me:  CHEER, FLEX, JUMP (spacebar).  However, there is no obvious path after Heather's spot, so players must explore to find some steps leading to an elevated glacier, where there is a single path trailing over the pine trees, and towards the house.  Players must jump down from the path and enter the house, where they show Kevin the correct emotes to win.

          Initially, I wasn't going to incorporate the small questing segment, but I realized that rules could potentially be broken, and the overall difficulty of the course would collapse into a joke of a challenge.  By adding the questions and giving my Spotters significant roles in the Challenge, I was able to prevent a player--whom I will not mention--from ruining the game for others when they decided to abandon policies explained at the beginning of the contest.

          After Michael's victory was announced to everyone, Spotters and Contestants ported over to me, where they were greeted by a fountain surrounded by dragon heads, a Colossus, a Marleybonian, and Triton.  Above the fountain was a shimmering trophy.  From here, players were given a chance to find the "easter egg," which was stashed inside "outer space" around the Ice house.  Jessica Fairyheart and Heather Raven are the two that will be receiving "Headstart Hints" for the next Battleblood Monthly Challenge.

          If anyone wants a go at the course, I'll be leaving the house the way it is, forever, so don't worry about missing an opportunity; there are plenty!

          Again, congratulations to Michael!  Your patience and dedication truly paid off in the end. 

          Happy Hunting!

          1st Battleblood Monthly Challenge: The Contenders!

          Meet the contestants:

          Not pictured, but also in the contest:    Jessica Fairyheart, Isaac Stormflame, Benjamin Lighthammer

          Good luck to everyone! 

          Unseen Record Breaking Damage

          Click the title above and you'll be transferred to Youtube.

          Let's consider what we know about the game.  Traps and Blades work Geometrically.  If you don't want to do all that reading on what it means, here's a simple example:

          You plan to attack a monster with a 100-damage wand, and you've trapped the creature with a Feint (1.7 or 170%)  and a Curse (1.2 or 120%), in that order.  There is no damage boost from armor, and no natural boost or weaknesses; in this example, you're a Storm Wizard in Grandmaster Gear using Redwind's Sword.  Your damage is calculated geometrically as followed:
          100 x 1.2 x 1.7 = 204 (rounded down, per Wizard101 mechanics)

          Had we had Weakness on our Storm Wizard, the calculation is:
          100 x 0.75 x 1.2 x 1.7 = 153 (rounded down).

          Reduction is also geometric (the state in which all values are multiplied with one another), but the value never reaches exactly zero unless you are multiplying by zero.  Taking a half of a half of a half of a quarter will still give you a positive number, an existence of something, and not "nothing" (zero).  The only time we see "zero damage" is when there is an Absorb, but that is another post, given that wards/shields weren't used at all in our experiment.

          So, how did we get damage to skip past 0 and into the negatives?  I would loosely explain it by introducing the figurative expression, "It hurt so much that it felt good."  In other words, we must have broken a limit on damage, whatever that number is?  But, Sacrifice Minion did -5,709,186 to the minion, "healing" it and healing Cheryl.

          Hey, wait a minute, when did an attack ever heal the target itself?  It's impossible, especially when it doesn't register as a "heal."  I bet if we were allowed to run two Bubbles at the same time, adding Sanctuary wouldn't do anything to the negative five million, so it's not a recovery spell.  It was damage (notice the fist icon next to the number).

          Here's a personal mathematical theory (in the region of calculus and advanced algebra) regarding what our experiment showed:  The number we produced was outside of the programming code's range.  What that means (just in case you don't want to read that either) is that our input did not produce an acceptable output.  For example, if you had the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4, as inputs, and I asked you to square these (multiply them by themselves), your acceptable outputs would be 1, 4, 9, and 16, respectively.  If I gave you 5, to input, not 1,  3, or 47. 

          Whether it's based on a maximum amount of digits in a floating number, or a maximum value, I can't say.  We have seen damage go as far as around 130 million damage with a Tempest.  The base damage, without modifiers, is 85 damage per Pip equivalence, or 1190 maximum, under ten times less of Sacrifice Minion.

          Though, this is just one experiment, with many factors to consider:
          • Cheryl used a treasure Sacrifice Minion (ice class) to utilize Fire damage
          • No elixirs were used
          • There seems to be an abundance of Ice Traps on the Minion, and all class-biased traps, including Elemental Traps, were placed before the treasure Fire Prism
          So, expect more to come in the near future!

          Friday, May 7, 2010

          Registry for 1st Battleblood Monthly Challenge Closed!

          -----REGISTRATION CLOSED--------


          (Click to enlarge, then click again for maximum view)

          And here's another hint I forgot to add:  

          Holding the Left-Click button and moving your mouse will help you at certain places!

          Happy hunting!

          Wednesday, May 5, 2010

          The Very First Battleblood Monthly Challenge

          ---REGISTRATION CLOSED----

           Put on your seatbelts!  Instead of taking a mental journey to the limits, it's time to test your Wizard physically!  Check out the picture below for more info:

          Is This New?

          I woke up this morning and decided to do a quick check on the Test Realm to see the minor changes KingsIsle announced about.  I sent a chat asking Ronan Dawn if he got a chance to see the changes, to which he replied, "i found a crazy door in live realm."  So, naturally, I decided to check it out.

          Has anyone seen this before?

          Sadly I haven't paid attention to this area in the past, and I'm not able to find a "before" picture.  It's a wide cylindrical structure with the entrance to a door marked by some railings and Dragonspyre lanterns, and a Dragon statue on top.  It seems to be some sort of elevator mechanism. 

          If this wasn't here before, then this is one of the things that KingsIsle had been sneaking onto the Live realm the past few days...perhaps last night.  But, can someone please confirm?

          Thank you, and Happy Hunting!

          Monday, May 3, 2010

          New "Mistblood" Released: Page 9

          For the entire series, please click here.

          For just Page 9, please click here.

          Saturday, May 1, 2010

          Miniscule Post: Confirmed Pet Theory - Training and Boosts

          As I mentioned in my last blog, I started training up Cali, my 7-11 Guardian Dragon from March, and here are the results:  the pets of the future will be superior to the ones of today on Live:

          Remember, Guardian Dragon gives 5% Resist and a Tower Shield (50%) card when bought from a 7-11 Store.  Training his Agility and Strength allowed me to push him past the former threshold.  This brings a new world for both PVE and PVP.