Monday, January 31, 2011

Test Realm: CL Housing Ingredient Totals

**UPDATED BY KINGSISLE**:  Instead of 2 Stars Icons, the recipe will replace them for 2 Celestian Shields.

**UPDATED AGAIN**:  Thanks to Bailey Skystaff for catching the Cards/Reagents missing from the list for the House Recipe!  They've been added into the picture below now!

**UPDATED**:   Fixed the gold amount to include the House Recipe and Furniture Recipe costs.

75,000 G  House Recipe
9,690 G  CL Tree Sprig Recipe
13,005 G  CL Sconce Recipe
14,430 G  Star Chalice Recipe
16,950 G  Crystal Street Lamp Recipe

Over the next few posts and days, I'll go over a few of the unannounced updates made to the game.  For now, here's a chart for you Grandmaster Artisans for that new Celestian Observatory:

The Star Icons are dropped from Astraeus in the Trial of Spheres.  
The Celestian Shields are dropped by Charmtooth
Good luck on gathering and sniping!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Floating Large Soil

Small post today, but "large" results! Thanks to Jacob Taleheart for revealing that soil can indeed be floated too!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BUN: Connections and Commentaries

While starting yet another semester at college this week, I've already begun some deep enlightenment in a few classes.  One thought is that the people we look up to in artistic professions (Shakespeare, Mozart, Beethoven, Van Gogh, etc.) are really just ordinary people like you and me.  "If Shakespeare were alive today," my professor ponders, "he would be just a television writer.  People would find it difficult putting up with [the arrogance of] Beethoven; he was anti-social, and some people felt he was 'riding' them."  When these names come across our mind, "...we shouldn't put them on a pedestal, and distance ourselves from them.  We are them."  It's true; we tend to exaggerate the amount of credit we give to the sources of our inspirations, in terms of talent or creativity.  When this happens, we create this invisible invisible ruler, if you our minds.  We end up measuring ourselves against our heroes while we set them high up on the meter.  Self-esteem then becomes impacted, partially due to the imaginary bar that we (ourselves) create, and we make the mistake of comparing our work of inexperience to the works that were (actually) deemed inexperienced in their debut, such as Van Gogh's "Potato Eaters."  Understand that while a lot of the classical artists are praised in this era, most of them were looked down upon in their lifetime, simply because they did not fashion their creations after what was called "popular" or "mainstream."

So what exactly am I trying to say?  Though you may look up to someone, don't set standards too high for yourself that you fall out of your own style and stumble upon something unfamiliar and uncomfortable.  Your personality is yours; the same goes for your vision, your style, and your interpretation.  This thought reminded me of Mackenzie Lifebreeze, a new Blogger who's also an active Diary of a Wizard member, and her active search in finding an interest in a Wizard101 project, such as house decorating, blogging, etc.  She is especially impressed with Paige Moonshade's creations--which are just incredible, I must say--but she was having trouble finding motivation to carry on decorating her own house.  So, I suggested she try every aspect of Wizard101 out, then look into writing about her endeavors, and see what she liked doing best.  That's probably the most important key to have to an environment that can sprout up a wide variety of projects: finding something you can do on your own, whether or not other people like it, as long as no one is harmed, of course.  Once you manage to grasp onto a hobby that you can become lost in for hours on end, you've found your calling.  At that time, comparing your work to others' is more of an educational experience than a competition; everyone has a different style, remember?  Paige's recreation of "Pandora" from Avatar cannot be ranked against a setting from Harry Potter or SpongeBob Squarepants.  True, you can compare talents in terms of how well a player understands the floating bug and decorating tricks, but this type of experience can be gained by anyone.  And thus, anyone can become just as talented as their inspirations, assuming there is passion, dedication, and an open mind.

With that said, I present my current Massive Fantasy Palace in video form, below this paragraph.  Keep in mind that a lot of it was based on accidents and instantaneous brainstorming.  In other words, the decorating came first, and then the stories behind it.

And here is yet another hobby, one that I really enjoy a lot:  PVP Commentaries, done at Fallon Deathslinger's Wizaversary and last night's "Last Minute PVP Party":

*you can click "Watch Ad Now" a couple of times to stack uninterrupted viewing time; otherwise the ads come every 15 minutes*

Fallon Deathslinger's Wizaversary

Last Minute PVP Party (1/22/11)

And last but not least, two more transcripts completed last weekend for Ravenwood Radio:

Monday, January 10, 2011

BUN: Ringing in the New Year

I know, it’s been a long, long while since I’ve sat down and shared some updates or tips.  I have to admit, Twitter’s been serving as an activity recorder, but there’s only so much that can be expressed within 140 characters.  Procrastination, taking advantage of my new real-life situation, and projects have been factors with priority that dominate over “The Chillanthropologist,” and I’m unsure of what should be introduced first.

One thing I’ve been meaning to write about is a personal New Year’s resolution.  This isn’t exactly the typical vow that gets lost halfway through the year, because it’s something we all could use and work on annually, if not daily, weekly, or monthly:  communication.  The more we open our minds to expand beyond dichotomy (which is the system in which there is only two possibilities, such as “black” or “white”, without any possibilities of “grey”), the more productive we can become, on many different levels.  This is a topic that will continue on a future post, in some more detail, but with this exercise as a resolution, there are sure to be many more exciting outcomes over time.

Today, I managed to complete two main tasks:  reveal the winners of the first Petnome Project Contest (PPC1), and complete a transcription of Ravenwood Radio’s last episode.

The PPC1 was definitely an exciting contest to hold.  About 91 people registered, but only 48 sent in their entries, which was in a way, a blessing, because setting up and locking in the 29 stories that followed the rules took at least half a day.  There were so many great stories that had to be dropped due to an infraction, and there were some mediocre ones that made it to the final stage.  But, I’m wholeheartedly glad that every featured author (Rowan Lifewhisper, Sierra Dragonbright, Isaac Mistheart, Natalie Jade, SorceressMiklai, Kane Mooncaster, “Jack,” Scarlet Moonblood, and last but not least, Sean Lightheart) rightfully earned their spot, opposed to someone “defaulting” into a winner slot.  If you’ve yet to see the Special Notes below each story, check them out by clicking on the authors’ names.  These are brief analyses on why these 9 stories were chosen over the others.  My personal favorites were those by Rowan Lifewhisper and Natalie Jade, due to the depth that their stories stretched to.  Rowan’s “Death-Giver the Leech” received just as many nominations (and nomination points) as Natalie’s “First Flight” for different reasons: 

  • Rowan’s execution was unique in that she used 101 pet abilities to create her story (see the screenshot below; I used Excel to ensure no abilities were used more than once, and found that cool Easter Egg), but it was not a collection of pet powers randomly aligned within her text.  She demonstrated strong vocabulary skills: the adjectives, when compounded to a subject, were synonymous and relative to the topic.  It was certainly a risky approach to splice so many abilities within the assignment of a short story, but the plot was explained clearly and creatively.

    101 abilities!
  • Natalie’s was certainly one that stood out from the rest by a long shot, with very descriptive imagery and textual illustration.  Many judges (whom are to remain anonymous; I would be happy to have them all help out again!) left comments within their score sheet pointing her story-telling skills.  I truly felt that I was taken along for the flight that the two characters indulged in. 

I had the honor to meet both of them in-game today to pass along their prizes: the Sea Dragon to Rowan, and a Phosphorescent Maul and two King Parsleys to Natalie along with her 2500 Crowns.  Many thanks go out to KingsIsle (Professor Greyrose!) for sponsoring the contest via the supply of prizes and website announcement, to Petnome contributors for helping us develop the overall project, and to our contest volunteers! 


As for the transcription, I received a nice message over Facebook from Kelsey Fireheart who asked if Ravenwood Radio had any way to provide text for the show, for those whose hearing are impaired.  This was probably the first message that struck and stuck to me, as I realized that “hey, there are some fans of the show who aren’t getting the full experience, only abridged or shortened summaries from friends who could hear.”  So what if there was a way to allow them to enjoy the show the way that I did and do?  Sure, there are some programs out there that can “listen” and write out text, but it just doesn’t capture the personalities of Leesha or Stephen…let alone, misspell some words that are only recognized by those of us from the Spiral.  So, I decided to give the manual way a shot for the live portion of the show, and this is what it turned into:

Ravenwood Radio 32 – 2010 in Review – Transcript.

I downloaded the episode to my iTunes so I could have free range and control over the file; the stream made it tedious having to rewind back a few seconds if I missed or misheard a word.  But, it was managed, and I had some fun with interpreting tones and emotions into text form so that other Wizards could receive at least some of the experience that those of us without restrictions have.  For example, down on Page 13, the “drumroll” that Leesha asks for when announcing a contest winner can’t genuinely be replicated by a speech-to-text program, and doesn’t help provide imagery when needed.  So, with that, I’m wondering if there are any Wizards out there, who can type at least 80 words per minute (I’m an average 98, and drafting this live portion [lasting just a little over 30 minutes] took about 4-6 uninterrupted hours alone) who are interested in volunteering some time to help out with transcribing older episodes with me.  We could break it into “parts,” where, if we have enough helpers, we could take 5-minute portions of the show and type it out, and then splice them into a full document.  Or, if you aren’t a speedy typist, you can help pass along the word, or maybe even give it a shot if you’re up for it!  Feel free to let me know if you’re interested in the Comments below.


In addition to “The Arena” series, the team and I have been randomly holding evening PVP parties for anyone to fool around in, or take an effort to pick up on some interesting playstyles for the real deal, as a way to spark interest in dueling.  Generally, these parties happen around Friday or Saturday evening, with start times ranging from 4 PM PST to end times as late as 10 PM PST.  Whether you have no experience or are a Warlord yourself, you’re all welcome!  The general idea is to create an environment where players do not feel judged based on their playstyles, and are actually encouraged to practice or ask questions if they have them.

As for personal training, I’ve been sparring a bit with Kayla Emeraldheart (Fallon Deathslinger’s “munchkin”) and Jasmine Stormblood to help amp their game.  There’s also a third (who is actually my first trainee) player whose identity will be private for the time being, just as a surprise, who is indirectly helping me structure what I want to write next for the series.  All of them have been improving greatly, and I can’t wait until they’re playing at super-advanced levels!


I’ve been taking up some other games at the same time as Wizard101.  Sometimes you just have to escape from a sigil and kill a zombie, up close and personal, with combos, like my Riftstalker Battleblood in RIFT.  To sum up what that is, it’s a rogue that’s a tank.  A beefy ninja.  No, not like a Samoorai.  Someone who can bend time and space so they don’t get hit as much, while striking out of nowhere themselves.  And then there’s Atlantica Online, where I wield a guitar and expose my opponents’ weaknesses with riffs and melodies.  If you happen to play AO as well, let me know; I’ve established a guild named “Wizard101” out of pride for this one ;).


And last but not least…I’ve been doing some crazy things with my Massive Fantasy Palace:


Picture 2011-01-10 01-06-16

Picture 2011-01-10 01-06-32

Picture 2011-01-10 01-06-40

Picture 2011-01-10 01-07-07

Picture 2011-01-10 01-08-41

Cheers, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You Will Be Missed…

He who gives should not remember, and he who receives should always remember.

Heather Emeraldflame.  True to her name, she was a light of a special, different color; a gem not many knew of.  Though most of her adult life was full to the brim with unique, overwhelming difficulties, she hung on courageously and quietly.  Because of nature’s restrictions, much of her recent life has been devoted to the world we know as the Spiral.  With over 13 Grandmasters and extensive experience with dual-(and sometimes even triple)-boxing, she was a player of many impressive surprises, but her feats were of true awe.

Originally at this link, Heather’s blog was full of crisp commentary and review about her characters’ adventures, and openly shared her achievements and analyses.  Each post was about essay length, but the eye-opening fact behind her work was the effort she placed behind each line that she wrote.  There was typing difficulty, never given the chance to take classes; and her condition made it hard for her to see clearly.  She struggled with the mechanics and physical aspects of producing her blog, but emotionally and mentally, her passion for the game drove her to continue.  Even if her posts took many hours out of her day, and even if she strained here and there, she would still write and write.  All of this was unbeknownst to us.

The depth, quality, and length she placed into her textual voice was probably the most noticeable characteristic for us in the Blogosphere, and was one of the first things that started our friendship.  Her insightful responses to some thought-provoking posts made by The Friendly Necromancer were of epic length and full of sense, and back and forth we discussed mechanics or theory-crafted in the Comments section.  Many times, I imagined that Tom, along with others, would feel wide-eyed when seeing our massive “conversations,” but we never felt that it was odd to be so expressive.

Soon we were emailing one another, talking about our favorite series (Dragonlance) and commenting on the lengths of text and time we put into writing.  Eventually we began playing together, to the point where my own group of friends were subconsciously wondering where I was.  Heather was truly skilled as an individual in AI anticipation, and a committed farmer.  If you were looking for help with finding something, she was glad to help until her limits were reached.  She became another friend that I spent time with everyday, like Cheryl Fire and Ronan Dawn. 

A quiet individual, she focused more on actions than words, and consequentially would go unnoticed, in appearance and work.  When her Wizaversary came the day after Fallon Moongem’s, there wasn’t as big a celebration, but a few of us made her day with just simple Tweets and wishes.  It took her a lot of courage, and a lot of encouragement and support, to finally share her wisdom on the Storm School, on Episode 21 of Ravenwood Radio, and it sparked (pun unintended) motivation and inspiration for many listeners to pick up a Diviner.  She helped apart and as a part of the Petnome Team, training her legion of pets in secret and sharing mountains of data with us.

Heather and I ran into very numerous misunderstandings and misinterpretations, to say the least.  Regretfully, I have much reason to doubt that she saw my last words (from months ago) to her, and it numbs me to know there wasn’t any true closure between us.  I thought that there would be a day when a bridge could form again, but now that is lost.  But, memories of Heather won’t be, and the Twizard and Wizard101 community echoes that fact, here on John Lifeglen’s post.

Her Twitter name was h2oEmeraldFlame, and her Xfire username was oceandaydreamer.  These references to water represent her dream to escape to the beach or an island, away from her current lifestyle.  I cannot say whether she was able to fulfill that dream before her passing, but I hope Celestia, with the vision of the bottom of the ocean, has partially helped with that wish.

Here’s to you, Heather…take care…: