Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BUN: Pets and Bloggers

Hey all!

Now that a lot of us are heading back to actual classrooms and dueling these, these, and these monsters instead, things may seem to slow down a bit.  Even yours truly is hitting up the books again...but, it doesn't mean that progress on the Petnome Project, Mistblood, or blogging will cease or slow.  These Wizard101 Projects have partly served as a means for an escape from stress from the real world without having to log in and play.  So, while game time may be shaved down to Pet training, crafting, and gold farming, my community contributions won't.  With school work as a priority, I have a feeling that there will be a larger sense of discipline with whatever I am focused on, and that mentality of "completing something that's started" will integrate itself as a habit.

It's been a pretty busy Wizard' weekend the past few days, mining gold via Wayfinder hats and Coven raids.  Mistblood got his contractual paycheck; for the rest of the gang, some Hatching funds.  What did they do with all that money?

I got some Dragonblades added to my spell collection:

3G Talented Piggle (my Krokotillian and Fallon Deathslinger's 2G Talented Piggle; courtesy of John Lifeglen's Zeus)

5G Frontier Dragon (my 4G Defender Pig and Ronan Dawn's 2G Frontier Dragon)

Speaking of Lord Hunter, the above 4G Defender Pig, here are his parents.  Then check out his manifests!

After ten hatches and a lot of cross-generational breeding, and raising about 8-9 of the offspring to Epic, I finally obtained what I had been searching for ever since the Test Realm went Live!  With a surplus of gold on my other characters, I produced 4 more little Defender Pigs (all 5G), using Lord Hunter and his parent Duke Honey ("eww" "gross" "how could you?!?"  "never eat a furry lollipop"):

These two were the ones that came out decent....

Yes, they look the same, but the manifest order was random; one pig got their Pip O'Plenty first and Spell-Defying last, while the other got theirs in the reverse order.  These will be staying at Ancient until the Test Realm opens again...I'd like to work on Lord Hunter all the way to Epic, since his double Universal Resist is a "sure thing."  I'll be sure to update on what he gets!

Speaking of Epics, I should update my list over there to the right, eh?

Then here are some Pet Drops from the middle of Tree of Life (we fought only Akuji and Youkai):

I'm very happy with getting the I can try for a solo mix for the Nightwalker, giving the Death Minotaur card!

Oh yeah, and this neat card dropped for me too:

It's supposedly a very rare card, one that I could "trade forum gold for," as the alluring SorceressMiklai from "Hexing Spells and Vexing Tales" put it.  Yep!  She's a new Blogger, and one of the ladies of the newly created group "BACK."  The other, Cassandra Dragonheart, has also joined the Blogosphere with "From the Heart of a Dragon".  I met both of them through our very own Alric Ravensinger.

Speaking of bloggers, our own Heather Raven is the newly appointed Public Relations representative for the Petnome Project!  In addition to helping out with maintaining the site, she'll help keep it fresh and polished by connecting with contributors and community.  It's a wonder how she isn't our H.R. person....hah hah?  Okay, I won't quit my day job.  Anyway, check out the first P.P.P.R. survey here!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beyond the Spiral: "Got a Bartleby?"

Back when I was just a Master Thaumaturge, at some level beyond 45, but not yet 50, I was told of a place by a stranger where gold was sure to be bountiful:  "the Coven."  Masking my ignorance, I began walking through the Commons asking if anyone wanted to join for "the best farming instance."  Honestly, I had absolutely no idea where the Coven was, or even what they looked like.  In fact, I was hoping to meet a more experienced player who would show me the way when we grouped.

Instead, I met Scarlet Deathblood, who was around the same level, wearing optimal Bazaar armor (Lv 40) like I was; she was the first to chime in with a Tell-back.  Luckily for our group, she had access to the instance, so while I didn't learn where to find the birds (instead, we all teleported to her), I got to see their crooked, old beaks in person.  After a couple of runs, we got to replace our current gear with the drops, and from that day forth, we became inseparable friends.

I later learned that "Missy" was her name, and I revealed that mine was consistent with Battleblood's.  We quested together, finished missions at the same time, beat Malistaire, and achieved our first Briskbreeze success together, in a 3-man.  The most memorable and significant activity, which reflects the strength of our bond, was farming for each other's 100-damage class swords.  The farms lasted from 2 to 4 hours daily, until we got our corresponding weapon.  Neither of us gave up on each other, or felt hesitant to continue pursuing the other person's item.  You can pretty much call Missy and me "siblings."

The friendship grew to a point where one of us could say anything to or about the other person, and we would not feel offended.  For example, Missy has a close relative who is constantly suffering, whether or not they are receiving treatment.  On the night that I found out about this, I asked her, "So why are they still around?"  I know, this sounds like a cold question, especially when that person is someone she loves.  But, without hesitation or negative reaction, she answered me sincerely, "I don't know.  I don't want him to go, but it hurts to see him like this.  I really don't know why he wants to do this, either."  Our insight and comments to and about one another do not feel like slaps in the face, but rather they are window openings, giving us the opportunity to visit a new perspective, or escape from annoyance or grief.  We challenge each other intellectually and emotionally.

When the depth and complexity of our conversations flourished, each of us revealed a dark secret to one another.  We both initially feared that our skeletons in the closet would compromise the friendship, but we had more than enough faith in the bond, and trusted one another.

Missy's secret definitely topped fact, I couldn't even imagine that I'd meet such a person in Wizard101, let alone with that personality of hers!  Don't worry, it wasn't anything horrifically serious, nor did she harm anyone, but it would definitely stir a stranger's outlook on her.  My mind began questioning about the friendship, whether we should still be in one another's company or separate ways. 

Usually when humans are presented with situations or cases so unusual or extreme, we can't help but stereotype or draw upon cliches to find a personal solution or answer.  A general example is like my experience: finding out that Missy did something that the majority of us would look down on.  Those quickest to judge would already associate her with a negative essence, based on the proposed idea that she had done something unacceptable to most.  Already, extreme cases flood the minds of some.  "She did A.  Or B.  Or X.  She cannot be trusted."

How did I react?  At first, I was a bit thrown off, and certainly questions about trust ran through my head, but I did not conclude that we could no longer be friends, nor did I hold any conditions against her, such as, "I'll play with you, but let's never bring the subject up again," or "Give me time to think about it."  I didn't know the whole story at the time, but I didn't have to.

As humans, we have that gift of learning from experiences and developing insight on those events.  The consequences, results, and effects of our actions play the major role in who we become in the future, not the acts themselves.  Certainly, what we did is part of our past and our identity (i.e. "a former ____"), but whoever we are in the present has branched off from the subsequent timeline of our life, rather than from a single point.  We become influenced, either through enlightenment/realization or passion/indulgence.  How we act upon and after that is what really matters.

I never thought about this before, but it solidifies the point:  I always felt it odd that an animal was euthanized when it unknowingly violated a human's basic right to life, which is something impossible for it to comprehend.  Instead of receiving "life" in a cage, it's put to sleep, without the justification that it acted on instinct.  It becomes forever categorized as "dangerous," and "unfit" to live among us.  I wonder if it's the mindset of "once a killer, always a killer" that brings that judgment.  Or, if we assume the animal doesn't have the capacity to learn or recognize "right" vs. "wrong," it is then exempt from second chances.

Thus, those around us should be treated as humans, and not quickly condemned for something that happened long ago.  We all have the capability to mature or better ourselves, unlike animals.  Treat them as the friend you know them as, regardless of what you discover about them, because that's the person you became friends with; not the mistaken or misguided individual they used to be.  Your friendship could also provide for them a support system they lacked in the past.  Or, the friendship was possible between you both due to some proactive, positive and healthy decisions made by that person; they grew into being that person you now like.  Going back to the "intro" post, the man may have lost someone truly special, due to negatively associating them with their history.  Perhaps his partner has changed her way of life and agrees with his views's a shame he never found out.

Missy, to me, is pretty much the personification of the Bartleby (Rebirth) spell.  She did a complete 180 on her life, and I'm proud and honored to get to know her, let alone meet her.  Cheryl and Ronan have expressed more than once that they also feel the same.

True, there are some extremities where certain actions cannot be forgiven or disregarded.  In the case when someone wasn't hurt in the short or long run, however, we should think twice before giving up on a connection.

What do you guys think?  Have you ever had a situation like this, and if so, what did you do?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Game Update: On-Going Game Maintenance (8/12/10)

Taken from the login page:

Wizard101 Maintenance

As part of our ongoing effort to improve Wizard101, we are performing ongoing maintenance on the game.
Today only, Paying Players* will be able to log in to the game, and Free to Play players will have intermittent access. All players may experience a delay the first time they log a character in to the world today. This is expected and there's no need to submit a bug about this delay.

Thank you for your patience while we diligently continue to improve Wizard101 for all our players.

*paying players include those who are currently subscribed, or have purchased $10 in Crowns or more in the last 30 days.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Request for the Community

Update:  I forgot to mention that this will be left open for a week for collection (closes next Monday, August 16, and the writing process may take around one to two weeks, depending on how many different areas need to be covered!)

Hey all,

In addition to a response to the last post, I'm about to do a lengthy, exploratory essay on Player vs Player, and I'll need your help.  You don't even have to have any experience in the Arena to participate, though!

We're all different players of many different backgrounds, and I'm looking for all sorts of personal experiences, views, expectations, likes and dislikes, observations, insight...really, anything you want to share or say about PVP, positive or negative.  Think of it as a poll where the answers are large prompt boxes for paragraphs to go into, and like a poll, what you share will be confidential; I will email you before using your name and your statement(s) in the composition.  You can submit any length, from a short paragraph to a multi-page rant or praise.

The key thing I'm looking for is honesty in your responses, so really, "anything goes", but remember to be yourself :)  The end result will be yet another "Into the Spiral"-type post, and possibly the longest one yet. 

Please send your submissions to this medium, with "Chill ITS" in the subject line.

Happy writing!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Beyond the Spiral: "Got a Bartleby?" (Intro)

A few days ago, while driving to work, I was listening to my favorite local talk show (I won't name it here, since it's not always safe for listeners under 18 to be hearing) and they were discussing a seemingly common social dilemma.  A listener wrote in, explaining her situation:  she had performed an action many years ago that was debatable up to this day regarding its morality and acceptance in our society, and her partner, upon discovering her history, had left her.  He was on the side that believed that her certain act was "wrong," and he was totally against it; their separation had nothing to do with any specific problems between the couple.  So that raised a difficult question:  Should someone's past be the basis of our present judgment of them?  In other words, do we let what they did back then affect how we think or behave towards them?  How fair is it for a person on Team A to throw away what they have with someone when they discover that a person used to be on Team B?  Keep in mind, this action would have happened before you ever met this person. 

Before I dive into my answer, I'll wait a few days to give you readers a chance to explore and respond...I'm really curious in seeing what we have on the table so far before I bring my entree.  So what do you guys think?