Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What If...?: Survivor Mode

Happy Holidays, all!  Now that I'm done with finals and picking out my new classes for the Spring at the University, I'm ready to return to Wizard101-based activities!  I'll admit I've also been looking into a new game recently...which I'll have to share more about next time; it's called Cardmon Hero.

There was an exciting instance/dungeon in this game (one of many, actually) that required a different technique than the ones I used from Level 1 through 20.  Instead of standing around and casting spells like in most MMO-grinders, a solo player in Cardmon is required to run around this specific boss, because his hundred minions are all chasing you at the same time.  If I stood in one spot, they'd surround me, and I'd be taking 100 hits per second...  Ouch!  Thus, to combat from being surrounded (and to finish the instance in the time limit they allowed me), I had to summon my own minions and run circles around the mob, avoiding their attacks while letting my creatures knock them out one-by-one.  My creatures also had to stay within a certain range of me, or else they'd stop attacking; hence the circular path.  Slowly, the enemies diminished, and I could resume a stationary position to take out the boss next.

Having run around nearly 30 or 40 times, an idea sparked for me for Wizard101.  What if we had something similar to what other games call a "Survivor Mode"?  Now, the thought of a tower comes to mind, where you must extinguish a set number of monsters before you arrive at the boss (without the ability to freely refill potions and return to the instance).  That can be considered a type of "Survivor" style, but what I'm looking for is one that's a little more restrictive.  In other words, how about a battle that doesn't end until you slay a certain amount of creatures and a boss before you receive its rewards?

Imagine an old scroll unrolling to reveal a number in Shermlock font (bright red), indicating the number of Wooden Golems that must be destroyed before an upgraded, shinier Smogger appears.  Oh, he also cheats; you're not allowed to use single-target abilities on him (that goes for attacks, utility spells, etc.)  Something of that sort.

The challenge here is that short decks (Zerg/Blitz/Rush decks), usually built for a full team of wizards to end a battle quickly and effortlessly, become obsolete along with the strategy of building up a titanic attack that destroys everything in one hit.  Survivor Mode would require full decks of heals, shields, blades, globals, and, of course, Reshuffles.  In essence, you're no longer segregating different decks for different situations (short decks for farming, specially built decks for Storm bosses, etc.), but you're building an all-in-one deck...almost like a PvP deck, I suppose.

I'm certain that this is doable by KingsIsle.  In the Trial of Spheres, Tower of the Helephant, and Briskbreeze, we see bosses summoning allies for help, either as support or as distractions.  Even if you kill the first boss in the Trial of Spheres, there's a chance his minions will show up after his death, due to a structural rule within the coding.

Thus, let's have a counter in the corner of the screen that requires you to kill 100 Golems (that's 25 strong AOEs within your team) before Smogger 2.0 shows up, and you're allowed to keep your Pips, Health, and Mana from the last turn.  Deck Status stays the same, meaning discarded or used cards remain in the discard pile until Reshuffled.

Of course, there're slight flaws with how enjoyable Survivor Mode can be:  you might run into teammates who permanently AFK the entire time, or who don't have the right deck set-ups...but these are pretty general issues that can be found anywhere else.

So, what are your ideas to add, take away, or modify this proposed "Survivor Mode"?  Or, have you thought of something similar that's different in context or content?  Let me know down below!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Petnome Project: 2011 Holiday Contest

Holiday Contest!

Help us reveal the 20 abilities of the Yuletide Spirit beforeDecember 26, 2011 for a chance to win a Super Bundle!

(Courtesy of our mysterious benefactor, once again!)


  • The information you submit MUST be on the FIRST GENERATION Yuletide Spirit.
  • Yuletide Spirits created within the Hatchery are not eligible for data submission for this contest.
  • You may submit information more than once, as long as there is new and relevant info regarding this pet.
  • The Yuletide Spirit Petnome page will be updated ONCE, daily, at 12 AM PST, to ensure greater chances of winning for more people. 
  • Once the 20th ability has been discovered, the contest will close, and the drawing will begin. 
  • If the Yuletide Spirit is NOT completed by 12:00:00 AM Pacific Time on December 26, 2011, this contest is voided.
  • Kevin Battleblood, Alric Ravensinger, SorceressMiklai, and Cassandra Dragonheart of the Petnome Team are NOT eligible to enter. 

How to Enter:
1.  Visit the Yuletide Spirit Pet Page.
2.  If you see at least one ability that the Petnome Page does not have revealed yet, click on "Click Here to Help Us Complete This Pet!" and make a valid photo submission.
3.  Once verified that you've discovered this hidden ability, we'll add your name to the Contributor List for EACH new discovery.
4.  Each time your name is listed, that counts as one Raffle Ticket that goes towards a drawing for the Super Bundle card.  Because more than one person may discover a non-revealed ability, there is a chance there may be more than a total of 20 Raffle Tickets.

The drawing will be recorded to YouTube.  Contestants will be entered (per Raffle ticket) into a list on Random.org, which will be randomized SIX (6) times, and the top name will be selected as the winner.

If there are any questions or concerns, please Contact Us here, with "Yuletide Spirit Contest" placed in the Subject Line.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How to Create an In-Game Christmas Tree

Hey, all!

Last year, my PVP team and I took this holiday photo in front of a tree that I made in December 2010.  This year, I'll take you behind-the-scenes so you can create one of your very own:

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What If...?: Fusion Magic

As cheating bosses -- and, potentially, mobs -- become more prevalent, teamwork and playing with a partner (or three) become even more valuable concepts to completing Wizard101 battles successfully.  Venturing with someone whose school matches yours increases your chances of supporting one another, since you can use the same Blades and Traps.  In fact, my Storm Wizard and a friend's Diviner were able to quest all the way to Malistaire after we received Tempest without needing to heal; we demolished the mobs before we took any damage.  Another beneficial -- and more effective -- tactic of teamwork is questing with someone that's the opposite of your school (Fire and Ice, Myth and Storm, Death and Life) to virtually eliminate the need for Prisms (or conversions).  Cassandra Hexthorn and I are able to fly through mob battles just by using our Rank 4 AOE and a few modifiers; she can handle the Ice creatures that I despise, while I wipe out the Fire-based enemies that resist her.  And, other than just ending battles faster, a variety of schools (especially in a full team) is the most optimal tool at anyone's disposal.  Without being able to synchronize effective combos, such as using Steal Ward or Pierce Train to break a cheater's 90% Tower Shield before a Fire or Storm attack is executed, duels can take a copious amount of time.  Let alone, as this game evolves, soloing isn't becoming any easier.  Heck, even the Rhino mount is advocating for increased social interaction!

When we look at the history of game-changing mechanics, there's a common theme to what these updates are focused on.  Critical and Block Ratings, Advanced Pets, Astral Magic, and Armor Piercing (coming soon with Zafaria) can all benefit a single player, whether or not they have teammates.  In other words, when my questing allies have logged off, all of these features (Critical, Pets, Astral, Piercing, etc.) are still available to me, and I'm not losing out on anything when my friends are offline.  It feels great to be able to play and not have to be dependent on matching schedules with someone else.

However, what if there was a game mechanic or feature that becomes an incentive (or a reward) for practicing teamwork and/or coordination between multiple schools?  Instead of four Storm Wizards being the most effective bulldozer to mow down normal mobs, why don't we introduce Fusion Magic, where a tertiary effect occurs when two or more specific schools lay out their spells in succession?

This idea is actually inspired from my Atlantica Online days and from contemplating how it'd feel to be a mob that was drenched in a fierce Tempest and suddenly frozen by a Blizzard follow-up attack.  In AO, when certain DoTs were stacked on top of one another, they'd produce an entirely new spell that would affect the targets in a unique fashion that couldn't be accomplished if the DoTs were cast separate of one another.  For example, if Break Down (visual effect of an earthquake, physical DoT) and Chaos Wind (a vortex of wind magic, elemental DoT) were played consecutively, the affected units are affected by a new spell called Destructive Wind.

If this were implemented into Wizard101, imagine all the different possibilities and outcomes that would follow:
  • Let's say one mechanic would require a new spell called "Fusion," which is a pair of Universal Prisms, meaning any school will affect them.  Two Prisms are placed upon one target.

    To use "Fusion," two attacks of opposite schools must damage the target consecutively (one right after another, without any other school in between).  In other words once the Prisms are placed, a Fire-then-Ice or Ice-then-Fire combo must take place -- it can be on the same OR different turns (under the condition that no other school's spell uses up the second Prism).  Thus, DoTs like Fire Dragon and Snow Angel must be timed correctly, or else one of the ticks from one school will remove the second Prism, nullifying the "Fusion" spell.

    If a "Fusion" is used correctly, the following events can occur:

    If Fire Dragon followed after Snow Angel, for example, it'd create a spell/effect called "Steam Wall."

    (The Snow Angel  tick is removed, only to be replaced by a tick that's silver/grey.  This tick would not do any damage, but it will last for two rounds after it has been placed, and not allow the victim to cast any magic upon anyone else but themselves.  It is almost like a "blindness" effect, where self-target spells do not fizzle, but anything else that targets allies or enemies WILL fizzle.  Enemies and allies, however, can still target the afflicted creature/player.)

    If Snow Angel were to follow Fire Dragon, "Freezer Burn" would take place.

    (The Fire Dragon's tick is removed, replaced by a tick that's pearl white.  This tick would do very little Astral damage (50 per turn) for two rounds, and act as a Stun per tick.  Of course, if a Stun Shield is present, then a Stun is avoided while the shield is removed.  So, someone with 3 Stun Shields under Freezer Burn would have only 1 Stun Shield after the spell is exhausted.)

  • Or, what if any school could "fuse" with any school (except with its own), and what if the order the spells were used in didn't matter, as long as they were casted consecutively?

    Death and Myth could fuse to create "Shattered Dreams," which removes all charms on the target, and adds a 10% Weakness spell for every unique* charm on them (*though Elemental and Spiritual blades consist of three different charms, they will be counted as one single charm, as a whole).

    Storm and Fire could fuse to create "Acid Rain," which creates a personal bubble around the target (similar to Star magic) for three rounds, which imbues an additional 15% Armor Piercing to any incoming attack.  Thus, if an attacker already has 20% Armor Piercing on their spell, this bubble will increase it to 35% Armor Piercing onto the victim.  (Of course, the victim could always play another Star Magic spell to cut off its normal duration!)
Keep in mind that the concept of fusing is NOT meant for increasing damage (Meteor's damage + Blizzard's damage != fusing), but it is meant for creating an effect with unique properties on a chosen target.  Thus, it's possible that Fusion Magic will result in lowered damage output (like removing a Snow Angel tick in the first example), but, as I've explained to Ronan when he feels uneasy about using his Nova when he's stacked with three different types of Weaknesses, spells don't always have to deal significant damage to be useful.  

For example, while I may lose my Snow Angel tick in the Steam Wall spell, a hypothetical boss will be unable to cast anything onto anyone but itself for two rounds.  That means we could nullify a cheat (instant-fizzle, per Steam Wall's effect) together.  

I do have my solo-happy friends in mind, however.  So, I'll reiterate that these Fusion spells are not required to beat certain bosses, but rather, to help cut down time and act as an optional, auxiliary mechanic (just like Gardening, where you don't have to utilize this feature to be able to fight Morganthe).  I just feel that it would be interesting to introduce a type of "chemistry" where reactions occur between two different "elements."  Thus, with the Mastery Amulet and/or a minion, Fusion magic can be achieved without another player, and there still exists the essence of "team strategy," timing, and combination spells.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this matter: whether you agree, disagree, or want to "fuse" your own ideas with mine, or make up some of your own spells using my prescribed system, please leave your responses down below!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Petnome's Pet Feeding List

Another tool/reference page the Petnome Project is providing and maintaining is a "library" of all the possible Pet Feeding rewards for certain items:  The Pet Feeding List.  If you need a quick way to access this without adding it to your favorites, just remember that you can find this over at the Petnome Project (one of the links at the top of the front page), or visit:

The link must be typed in verbatim to this, or else your browser will become lost in the interwebs!

If you'd like to help us out, please visit

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Petnome Calculator 2.0.0 Released!

Right click and select "Save As..." to download it to your desktop, or simply left click the link below to use it through your web browser (Adobe Acrobat 6.0 or higher must be installed):

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Zafaria Test Realm Patched!

Recently, the Test Realm has been updated with a few new tweaks:


Kevin:  Hey guys, Battleblood here.  So, there're some exciting updates in the game now, in Zafaria!  I'm actually on the Live Realm farming Nastrond -- I'll soon explain why we're farming here.  

First of all, there's been an update to the Henchmen.  You can actually fight with creatures of the Spiral...next to you.  So, you can literally have a Helephant -- well, not a Helephant, but one of the Black Cultists from Zafaria -- as a Level 70 Henchman.  They're supposed to be stronger, since they're more expensive.  I think they're 400 Crowns, but they're (supposedly) worth it.  They're worth buying -- I guess -- if you're in a rut, or if you're stuck somewhere.  They have higher Critical Rates...

At the same time, the creatures of the Spiral (in Zafaria) also have higher Critical Rates themselves.  Thus, your battles could be a lot longer than before.  I know their Health has spiked up along with their Critical Rates.  What that means is that there's a chance you might be spending much more time fighting than running around and questing, depending on how many teammates you have, and it might be harder to Block their Criticals.  You might have to shield more, or even use Conviction in your decks now, especially to ensure that you don't become stunned.  I remember from last night fighting Life mobs, and they've used Forest Lord on their first turn, and they actually saved up Pips to to another Forest Lord after that.  Because I was by myself, I had to work out some heals, get my own Vengeance up (so I can Critical better on them) and escape the battle faster to collect the Health wisps.  That's the good news: there's an abundant amount of Health wisps flying around.  Therefore, you might not struggle that much, but it's all about what you do in the battles now.

I don't know if the Bosses themselves have changed, but I'll do a Vlog on that when I get the chance.

As for now, Pet Feeding has also been tweaked a little bit!  But, before we get to that...

Some spells have been amp'ed up or nerfed:  there are the Sirens, which have been nerfed -- it went from 900-something damage to 800-something; Dr. Katzenstein's Monster has been renamed -- or, maybe it's always been that way (I haven't been paying attention) -- but it's called Dr. Von's Monster, and it does Life Steal still, but now it's buffed so that it adds a 25% Infection on the target; and, Chimera has about 30 damage added to each head, so it's an increase of 90 -- they didn't really add any other special effects (which is a little disappointing for some Balance wizards; I was kind of hoping that one of the heads might give a small DoT that does 90 damage to help remove shields from one Spiritual School).

The reason why I'm in Nastrond is because KingsIsle has expanded the window on what items can give Pet XP (PXP)!  To follow up on the last Vlog, where I said that it was based on regular or holiday Crowns items: now you can feed Auctionable items!  Last night, I went into the Bazaar, and bought a bunch of Level 0-1 Amulets (which gave Firecat), and started feeding my pet those.  It actually gained 1 XP here, and 1 XP there!  Most of the time, though, it received gold.

Now, that's not totally profitable if you're looking for an income of gold.  In the example above, I'm purchasing these Amulets for 38 gold each, but received only 2 gold back if my pet didn't gain XP.  My strategy is to collect as many Non-Auctionable items as possible, and feed that to my pets!  The cool part is that there is no difference between feeding your pet a No Auction item (and receiving gold for that) than selling it to a Shop Vendor (like the Seamstress, for example).  

So, what I'm doing here is collecting as many No Auction items as possible -- since it's from a high-level world, I'll have a chance of 4 XP per feed, if I get lucky.  Or, I can get the same gold I'd get if I sold it to a vendor, (plus some additional rewards like Reagents or Treasure Cards).

Plan to plant many Pink Dandelions, King Parsleys, Silver Trumpet Vines, or any of those plants that tend to give their own seeds at Mature or Elder.  I know that Silver Trumpet Vines sometimes like to give two of their own seeds at Elder; Prickley Bears also do this.  There's a small chance for Pet XP when you feed your pet these surplus seeds.

If your items are Auctionable, I would recommend selling to the Bazaar if you're short on gold, rather than feeding it to your pets.  If they're not Auctionable, you can feed those items on-the-go to make room for Auctionables!  If you'd like to see the results of the Pet Buffet Survey yourself, you can go to http://tinyurl.com/petnomefeedresults, or you can conveniently visit the Petnome Project and browse the links towards the top of the front page.  There will be a spreadsheet which has collected a bunch of data from numerous contributors, and if you scroll down towards the bottom, you'll pass the light-blue colored text (which represents the data accumulated before this Test Realm Patch) and come upon the current data in solid, black text.  It will help give an idea of which items are giving PXP!

Last, but not least, if you look at the Update Notes on the official site, they've scratched out the word "sometimes" and written in "occasionally" (in the Pet Feeding section).

I hope you've enjoyed this video; if you did, please Subscribe, Like, and/or Comment if you have some questions, and I hope to see you guys in the Spiral, and hope you've enjoyed your day!  Peace out!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How We've Truly "Transcended"

Why I think this title is a perfect fit for us as wizards AND as gamers...and a little info on the Pet Buffet Survey and small update to the Petnome Project:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Next World" Leveling Preparation

Ever reach the level cap and feel like you've accomplished everything, and end up ignoring the side quests hiding around the Spiral?  Or, if you are a hardcore "completionist," ever feel the need to clean out your Quest Book?  Here are some tips on how changing those impulses may be beneficial for the long run:

Haiku Interpretation of Zafaria and Upcoming Updates

Zafaria comes
Stampeding, my heart beating
With the native drums.

Soon, Legendaries
Become no more, searching for
Unbound Transcendence.

New monsters, new spells
Lie in wait by promised fate...
Of what strength, pray tell?

Decorations are
Becoming one, balancing
Their large, wrathful form.

Demonic creature
Speaks thrice; empty of advice,
But full of terror.

Pieces no longer
Resting in peace, but released
Combined and stronger.

Giant beasts charging
With an ivory present
Granted to a foe.

A shower of heat
To wash away confidence
From one’s enemies.

A corrosive spray
To drown away defenses
And immobilize.

Beauties of malice
Evoke a cold melody
For those who listen.

Spheres of translucence:
One aiding blessings, while
One's eye for an eye.

In flows new concepts:
Penetrating resistance,
And pet engorging,

Aside from small games,
Critters and creatures shall fight
A large invasion

Along a long path
Foes arrive with stubborn drives;
No rest 'til their end.

Warriors, shamans,
And elders alike struggle
With their own kinship.

Ominous evil
Of parasitic nature
Infests lands and hearts.

Water defiled,
Spirits crushed like fine powder,
Homeland turned war zone.

Harmony shaken,
The black widow is spinning
Her destructive web...

It is now the time
To seek out the Dark Nest's queen
And purge her poison.

Uncover secrets
And restore alliances;
Enlighten yourselves.

Under the red sky,
Wizards will raise their wands high;
To cast back darkness.

(Add your own haiku
Within the comments section
For Zafaria!)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Test Realm: Acquiring the Level 68 Ice Spell, Woolly Mammoth; Testing Mend and Berserk Star Spells

The lovely Cassandra Hexthorn and I quested through Zafaria to finally reach Level 68. This video explores three new spells from Zafaria: Woolly Mammoth, Berserk, and Mend.

Test Realm: Acquiring the Level 68 Fire Spell, Rain of Fire

The lovely Cassandra Hexthorn and I quested through Zafaria to finally reach Level 68, and she had to go to sleep. So, I took over to visually document the fight to obtain this spell and analyze its capabilities.

Test Realm: Zafaria (Day 1)

Review of the new updates released today, and a new extended project for the Petnome Team.  A careful look over the new Pet feeding system, and a short glimpse into Zafaria!  More to come this weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Third Mystery Picture

Unusually short gap between the release of two mystery screenshots, we find the third of the series over at MMORPG.com:

So, once again, using my primitive method of deciphering Morse Code, we come upon this message:

Shadow Weavers are making a return, apparently, to our quest line...  "Her" could refer to Morganthe herself, meaning that this new world is most likely to be the next main story arc!  Seems that safari clothing are making a return, as well -- Morganthe's inclusion brings about... exploration and adventure.  Cant' wait!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Morse Code and Second Mystery Picture

Today, a new mystery picture for the jungle-themed world has been released on ZAM.com, along with a coded message at the top:

So, naturally, Katherine Light and I once again cracked open our Morse Code sheet:

...and in a short time, deciphered the following message:

@SirWolfblood asks, "How did you decode it?"

Honestly, the last Mystery Picture and this one are the only times I have ever worked with Morse Code -- it was an intimidating cryptogram for me back in middle school.  Then again, after asking some military veterans at my workplace about their knowledge of Morse Code, they've confirmed that they're just as fluent as I am, save for "SOS."  So in a way, it's almost a "dead language"...which makes sense, considering that it can be internationally deciphered, and national security secrets are supposed to be national security secrets.  Anyway, my method of deciphering the code may be very primitive and inexperienced; I accept that!  But, since it was asked, I shall share!

Let's look at a different sequence:

   - - - - - . - . . . . .  | - . - . - - - - . . .

According to the Morse Code chart above, every letter has a minimum of one character OR maximum of four characters.  It gets a tiny bit more complicated when numbers are involved, but we can use a method called elimination to find out which letters are which.  We'll assume that the vertical line is a symbol for a space between two words.  And, to save some time, both of these are words, and there are no numbers.

So, starting with the first word:   - - - - - . - . . . . . 

Let's start with the maximum possible characters (4) as our first letter.  Already, we know that the first letter of this message CANNOT contain four dashes, as no letter is translated for that.  Thus, we must assume it is represented by the three dashes (or less).

So, we have this:   - - - / - - . - . . . . . 

So, we'll try to find a letter represented by three dashes:  O.  We don't know if it's "O" for sure, because perhaps the third dash may belong to another letter's sequence.  But, we have to assume, for the time being -- we can find out whether it's not by process of elimination!

Now we have:  O - - . - . . . . .

Let's repeat the process and look at the next four symbols:  Dash Dash dot Dash.  That stands for Q.  Okay,  per a general English language rule, there is usually a "U" after a "Q."  But, "U" consists of dot dot Dash.  So, this word is unlikely to be a real one, but we'll go along with it, JUST in case it's one of those weird words that your suspiciously "clever" friend used on Words With Friends or Scrabble.  Since we have dot dot dot dot as the next four, we'd collectively have "OQH."  Well, how about just dot dot, I?  "OQI."  What about just dot?  E.  "OQE."

To save some reading time, the rest of these combinations do not produce a common word.  So, let's backtrack to the very first letter.

We'll look at just the two Dashes, which represent M.  Again, we don't know if it's this, or the single Dash T, but, the coding must move on!

Thus, we now have:  M - - - . - . . . . .  

Taking a look at the next four characters, we have Dash Dash Dash dot, which equates to...nothing!  So, we'll look at just Dash Dash Dash, which comes out to O.

Therefore, M O . - . . . . . 

Repeating the system, the next four characters are dot Dash dot dot.  L.

M O L . . . 

Now, the true test of this word begins!  The next three characters, dot dot dot, equate to S.  Thus, we assume our first word is "MOLS."

Let's look at the second word:   - . - . - - - - . . .

The first four characters, Dash dot Dash dot become C.  

So, we have  C - - - - . . .

Repeating the process, the next four are ... oh wait!  Dash Dash Dash Dash doesn't exist as a letter, so the next best thing is Dash Dash Dash, which ends up as O.  

Thus, C O - . . .

Finally, Dash dot dot dot becomes a B.

So, we have "MOLS COB."  However, this doesn't make sense, especially if we know that it has to be a commonly used phrase.  So, let's backtrack once again on C, O, and Dash dot dot dot.  Knocking the last letter down a notch, let's look at what Dash dot dot is:  D.  Finally, the single dot is E.

"MOLS CODE."  Now, let's backtrack on the word MOLS, and see if it can be read any differently, too.

M O L . . . 

If we treat dot dot and the last dot as two separate letters, we'll have MOLIE or MOLEI, or MOLEEE.  Thus, let's backtrack again on "L."

M O . - . . . . .

Thus, let's backtrack again on "L."  Instead of looking at the following four characters, let's focus on just three: dot Dash dot.  This represents R.

M O R . . . .

Based on our system, the last letter could be H, but since "MORH" isn't a common word, we should break it down further.  dot dot dot then gives us S, and the final dot an E.  

M O R S E   C O D E

Kudos to such an intricate way to hide a message...not only do you have to decipher the entire phrase, but you have to ensure that each word fits and is context with the rest of the phrase.  Mols is supposedly a peninsula in Europe, and a "Mols Code" could relate to an actual guideline or set of rules placed by residents...but unless a theme is known, misinterpretation isn't difficult to discover.

Finally, here is some actual pen-and-paper work that I did on my end:

Anyone else feel that a telegram will be included in this new world?  I think it's very likely!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

BUN: Small Catching Up

Hey all,

It's been awhile since I've written anything technical (let alone, at all), but my activity level has shifted back in-game, the Petnome Project, on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook (it's seldom there, though).  I'm either farming up a "bottom"-load over at Halfang and devising a number of Zerging deck builds for each school for first-turn kills, keeping track of Gardening drops, or pet training with a "Recycler" wizard in the Spiral (these items will be future topics!), keeping up to date on Petnome submissions, uploading Perfect Catch videos along with Vlogs, or Tweeting the latest thoughts or adventures.  Also, Ravenwood Radio had their 50th and 51st episodes recently -- those were a LOT of fun.

A lot of new content has also kept us pretty busy, such as Halloweenfest, Hallowe'en, the Nightmare packs, and this mysterious world that's coming up...  Based on Stephen Spiritcaller's interview with Fred Howard, I'm thinking we can expect to learn more about this around December...maybe the world will be released by then, but that's my wishful thinking!  Massively gave us a small sneak peek, and there are some symbols on the picture below that were deciphered by myself and Miss Katherine Light:

We caught onto a small mistake, as noted in the image, so here is the newly revised picture, hehe:

I've also been dealing with some University items -- I've been accepted!  My state's budget problems aren't improving, so the acceptance is an extremely big deal for me, especially when it's during the a very selective Spring semester.

And, last but not least, I've ended up treating my blog like more of a scientific journal than a personal one.  It's starting to become just a bit awkward -- out of style, in other words (for me) -- to be writing things here when I habitually post them on the spot on Twitter.  Usually, it's the "guides" or "tips" or "really chunky stuff" that I can write pages and pages on, that goes on The Chillanthropologist.  What can I say?  I like the "article" style of writing, where there's an overall subject, a dissection of its elements or parts, a weaving of facts/experiments/results, and a blend of insight/commentary.

But, I'll give this "true blogging" thing a try.  Sometimes a personality just needs to shine through from the layers of logic or rational thinking...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Arena Design: "The Bronx"

At last Sunday's PvP party, I had the pleasure of visiting (our very own) Heather Raven's Celestial Observatory.  She allowed me a sneak peek before the event, and there were some amazing features and motifs within her design that highly impressed me.  Working with partner Donna Spellthorn, Heather brought us to a battle ring that is "out of this world," yet retained a home-sweet-home feeling for those of us who love "indoor" duels.

The Entrance
Before you even take a step, you are enveloped by a lush of lime green and teal upon arrival.  The overgrowth and abundance of plant life instantly shroud the fact that you're standing on a platform in a cold and desolate outer space.  The scattered columns and grounded flowers intuitively welcome the expectation of other humans in the vicinity...and indeed, there is Heather with her special Red Gobbler.

Within the center, there is further evidence of an existing community: walls of brick containing the battle ring.  For some, this may bring memories of a gym, a fortification, or an underground meeting room.  For me, it brought images of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to mind, and thus, I quickly associated the layout with the theme of a battle-worn city, standing sturdy and stable through the years of duels within or around it.  Hence, the name "Bronx."  Let's dive in further, shall we?

The Battle Ring
You can see within the closure a gang of Red Gobblers, hopping around in search of excitement, action, and fun.  Overlooking the duels are five rooted dragon heads...perhaps trophies of Heather Raven's travels?  One day, we shall find out, but I digress.  As the battle ring stands separate from the scenery of nature, it presents a  hidden metaphor that any thoughts and emotions of any duel that takes place should remain within the boundaries of where they originate from.  In other words, "whatever happens in the Arena stays in the Arena."  The matches shouldn't be taken personally, whether a victory or loss was received; competitive tension should not step into the sovereign of friendship.

Here lies the teleporter nearby a scene of confrontation between two Colossi.  This device will launch competitors into the enclosed ring.

Another teleporter would direct travelers onto an invisible plane, as seen in the picture above.  This had my jaw dropping, as I learned something new about the teleporters:  

When the Teleporter Destinations (TP-D) are floated above a Tangible Area (an area where your Wizard can walk upon without the aid of Floating or Teleporters),  the Users will be relocated to the same point as the TP-D.  On their own screen, they will see that they are hovering in midair.  However, on other players' screens, the User is actually standing on the ground.  In addition, the User's perspective will show that other Users are standing on the ground directly below them.

To help you understand what this means, picture that you and five other friends are standing in front a Teleporter.  One of your friends walks into the Teleporter first, and will be relocated to where I am standing in the above picture: hovering next to a Celestian tree.  That friend will see exactly what the picture above shows.  However, to you and your other friends, you will see that person standing on the ground.

Now, let's say that the rest of your friends follow through the Teleporter, leaving you by yourself.  On your screen, as you look towards this Celestian tree, you will find all of your friends standing within each other, on the ground.  They aren't moving off of one another, which seems puzzling.

When you run into the Teleporter, you will find yourself hovering next to the tree, as the picture above shows. Isn't it odd that your friends aren't anywhere near the top of this tree, though they went through the same Teleporter you did?

Heather explained that this was formerly on a makeshift platform that she created out of rugs, only to be removed when she "Picked Up" something below it.  But, I believe this is one of the greatest housing discoveries accidentally made!  By floating the TP-D, you can have a full audience watching from the exact same spot -- without blocking each other's view!  What does that mean?  Infinite seats....(well, sort of...assuming that there is no limit of visitors to the house!)  Combine this idea with the wooden headboards from my MFP, and you will virtually have the best seats for everyone in the Arena.  Great find, Heather!

Rooftop View
Heather, with Donna's help, brought me another surprising innovation: the "Rooftop View."  Spectators are used to watching spells from a distance at various ground-level and inclined levels, but what about viewing spells from directly above?  This sturdy platform with a "transparent" extension left me in excited awe...

What a sight!
I'm very sure that many new prototypes and designs of the "Rooftop View" will spark and flourish within the community, thanks to our hostess's and friend's vision.  From above, you can actually look down and see the clutter of sheep within the Frost Giant's spell, or the top of the Efreet's topknot!

Since the battle ring is closed off and allows only competitors to enter, there is another teleporter for a way out.  However, there happens to be a few chairs around here...implying that a few special spectators may be allowed to watch up close...

Amazing in sight, the "Bronx" was indeed a new perspective for duelists and the audience alike.  The only thing similar to this, that we've seen before, is probably the Marleybonian Arena, where the duel takes place within a walled and roofed area.  The one drawback about this design is the duelists' point of view, and I reiterate that this Design is still a work-in-progress.  The reason why KingsIsle added some Intangible Area surrounding the battle circle tightly is to ensure that the Battle Animation cameras of each player are not obstructed by tall objects such as the brick walls or trees (this will be another topic for another day!).  But, I strongly support designs such as the "Bronx," since it places the Architect (the house designer, house owner, etc.) into a new level of decorating, where distance, placement, and perspective matter.  For example, we cannot see where the cameras are flying around, and thus, we must hop into the Arena ourselves (or with a second account) in order to test for a design's user-friendliness.  That requires a lot of patience, practice, determination, and critical thinking.

I am very sure that there will be even more impressive features as Heather revises the few flaws and upgrades the design of her ring.  I cannot wait to return...thank you, Heather and Donna!