Thursday, 27 October 2011

of Egos, Alter-Egos, and who you REALLY are.

There was recently a thread on central that got my brain spinning - and admittedly, my heart hurting. The thread itself was innocuous enough, about about people's egos and alter-egos, but it got me thinking about a path I've seen countless people on. Notice I don't say countless wizards. I'm not talking about wizards. Wizards are nothing but a bunch of pixels that a person controls, and it's the people behind the screen - the hearts, the minds, the souls of those people - that is on my mind today.

Compared to many of you, I've been in this game a short time - barely over a year. In this relatively short period of time, I have seen a lot of things. I have seen people start this game as shy, quiet, humble players and turn into loudmouth PvP bullies. In the real world, I have known happily married couples that are loving, moral, salt-of-the-earth type people where one person gets sucked into a game, withdraws from their real life, and even starts up a 'second family' including a 'spouse' in game. Even worse, they feel no remorse or see no problem with it. I have seen people on game boards - smart people, adults with marriage and children and very real lives - let their lives be torn apart by games and their egos within it. I've heard someone say (a few phrases combined together here, but this was actually wording taken right from the horse's mouth), "I am the greatest player this game has ever seen. The fact that you would think rules that apply to other people should apply to me is absolutely absurb to me."

At some point, you can invest too much of yourself  into your alter ego within a game. It's important for EVERY gamer, Wizard101 or not, PvPer or not, well known or not,  to have a strong sense of who you REALLY are outside of those pixels. If you don't have that sense of your real world self, you start to lose track of everything that matters.

I am not Katherine Light. Katherine Light is a set of pixels I control sometimes, for fun. I am SO much more than that. Pick any member of this community and the same should be true for them. If that line is blurry for anyone - if you are muddying the space between your real world self and a character on a screen - it's time to take a step back.

I think a lot of problems in the arena and the game in general are caused by that. People lose track of who they really are (or are unhappy with who they really are), and rather than work on those issues they start to think that their value as a person is tied up with how their character does in a game. We as people are worth infinitely more than that, and it's sad to see people give up a part of who they really are in favour of having a character on a screen with a big ego.

You are a person, not a character. You are worthy of being valued. Your pixels are just pixels. Never, ever forget what you, the person behind the screen, truly value and who you really are.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

What I learned - hosting a 4v4 tournament.

Well, The More The Moneyer Midlevel Mayhem tournament is completed and The Veneration are the champions! [round of applause!!!!!!!] We had some crazy fun, some tough matches, a lot of laughs and, of course being a competitive tournament, some drama.

The following is NOT intended to be a passive agressive jab at anyone. I know there's been some discussion about doing more 3v3 and 4v4 tournaments in general, and I thought it might be helpful for me share some of the lessons I've learned and the advice I would give to someone who wanted to set up something similar. You may not agree with this advice, and that's fine - it just things I wish I had known ahead of time that would have worked for me and that I wish I had followed myself.

1. You cannot be specific enough. Literally, you can't. How specific you choose to get is up to you, but there will always be something that crops up that you were not able to address. Explain your rules thoroughly, but make clear that any issues that come up outside of those rules are at your discretion to deal with how you see fit.

2. Don't justify or defend your decisions. You are running this show, so make the decisions that seem right to you. Whenever conflicts pop up (and they will pop up), people on one side or another will be annoyed with any decision you made. Explaining it, justifying it, and defending your choice only gives people the idea that they are up for discussion or debate. Let people complain or rage if they feel need to, but don't engage. "I stand by my decision." is all you need to stick with.

3. Be prepared to be the bad guy. No one will be happy with every choice you make when you're organizing a competitive event and are in direct contact with opposing sides, particularly in a game that has a lot of younger players. You need to be okay with people thinking you're the bad guy - and you need to be prepared to see a side of people you did not expect. Don't take it personally (even if it's being made personal).

4. Stress commitment to team leaders. The TMs don't say flaking is a big concern for nothing. Stress right from the beginning that you expect teams to be responsible and prompt as far as arranging matches, showing up for matches, keeping in contact with the team members to arrange matches, etc. Tell them that if they are not willing to commit to doing those things and stick with them, they may want not want to register. Have at least one alternate team for those teams that will flake anyway.

I may edit this post as more things occur to me, but all in all it was great to see people in genereal having fun, and playing a type of match you don't normally get to enjoy in ranked PvP. Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting their favorite teams, their friends, and the tournament in general! I had a blast.

Also, Happy wizaversary to me! Woot! :)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The More the Moneyer Match Time and Results

I decided to make one post where everyone could go to find out match times, winners, links to any videos that may be out there, etc.

Here are the current tournamanet standings:

That matches are shaping up as follows (all matches will take place in the practice arena):

Round One:
Match One - Magi Monsters vs. The SkullBreakers
Match Time - no information received after multiple attempts at communication with both teams
Result - Both team disqualified. The Spiral's Greatest Protectors advances to Round Two in their place.

Match Two - Luck be a Lady vs. Fresher then Airwick
Match Time - Thursday, September 15, 10pm EST / 9pm CST / 8pm MST / 7pm PST
Result - Fresher Than Airwick Advances

Match Three - The UnNamed vs. SNOWPOCALYPSE!
Match Time - Saturday, September 17, 10am EST / 9am CST / 8 am MST / 7am PST
Result - SNOWPOCALYPSE! Advances, The UnNamed disqualified

Match Four - The Flying Squirrels vs. The Willie Coyotes
Match Time - Friday, September 16, 10:30pm EST / 9:30pm CST / 8:30pm MST / 7:30pm MST
Result - The Willie Coyotes Advance

Quarter Finals:
Match One - The Veneration vs. The Spiral's Greatest Protectors
Match Time - Friday September 23, 8pm EST / 7pm CST / 6pm MST / 5pm PST
Result - The Veneration advances

Match Two - Team Perfect Catch vs. Fresher Than Airwick
Match Time -Saturday, September 64, 9:30 EST / 8:30 EST / 7:30 MST / 6:30 PST
Result -

Match Three - P.B.B. vs. SNOWPOCALYPSE!
Match Time - Thursday, September 22, 8:30pm EST / 7:30pm CST / 6:30pm MST / 5:30pm PST
Result - PBB Advances

Match Four - The TMs vs. The Willie Coyotes
Match Time - Sunday, September 24, 9:30pm EST / 8:30pm CST / 7:30pm MST / 6:30pm PST
Result - The Willie Coyotes advance

Semi Finals
Match One -The Veneration vs Team Perfect Catch
Match Time -
Result -

Match Two - PBB vs The Willie Coyotes
Match Time -
Result -

Match Time -

Winner! -

Friday, 9 September 2011

The More the Moneyer Tournament Teams

Well, registration time is up and here's the final info!

Team One - The Veneration (Team leader : davidshadowsword)
Contact info:
Benjamin BattleWraith - Myth
Mackenzie Green - Life
Lauren Breeze - Balance
Devin heart - Life

Team Two - The Flying Squirrels (Team leader : $eth)
Contact info:
Seth- Myth
Austin MythBlade- Myth
Alexis WinterSong - Ice
Paul FireSpear- Fire

Team Three - The TMs (Team leader : zolofarm)
Contact info :
(wizard names forthcoming)
Alex JadeRider - Balance
Savannah WindWeaver - Life
Caspeen - Myth
zolofarm - Fire

Team Four - Luck be a Lady (Team Leader: Cassandra StarDreamer)
Contact info :
Cassandra FireFlame - Fire
Cassandra DayDreamer - Myth
Julia SparkleLeaf - Life
Julia SummerBreeze - Fire

Team Five - Fresher Than Airwick (Team leader : Iridian Ravenhunter)
Contact info :
Iridian Ravenhunter - Fire
Jason Shadowheart - Fire
Duncan - Ice
Morgrim - Life

Team Six -  Team Perfect Catch (Team leader : Kevin BattleBlood)
Contact info :
Ronan Dusk - Ice
Victoria Moondust - Balance
Kevin TitanBlood - Myth
Fallon DeathSlinger - Fire

Team Seven - The Willie Coyotes (Team leader : Hidrac)
Contact info :
(wizard names and schools forthcoming)
Lord StormRider
Lady StormRider

Team Eight - P.B.B (Team leader : kylespiritwalker)
Contact info :
Sean MythFlame - Myth
Luis Frostrider - Life
ValkoorDeathbringer - Death
Tyler Thundersword - Myth
sub -Alex

Team Nine - SNOWPOCALYPSE (Team leader : StorySmith)
Contact info :
Finnegan DragonWielder - Life
Tyler Sunheart - Fire
Padric Lionheart - Fire
Cassandra SpiritHaven - Balance

Team Ten - Magi Monsters (Team leader : calebkk8)
Contact info:
Fred SeaWielder - Balance
Caleb DragonVault - Fire
Seth Lifebane- Death
Maxitola, wizard name forthcoming - Life

Team Eleven - The SkullBreakers (Team leader : Danny b2k)
Contact info:
Daniel Night - Fire
Blaze - Life
Kellan HawkStone - Ice
Daniel DarkGlade- Death

Team Twelve - The UnNamed (Team Leader : Death Lord)
Contact info :
Myrna MoonRiver- Ice
Charles LotusCloud- Myth
Justin DreamSong - Life
Chase FireThief - Fire
sub : Benjamin Dragon - balance

Alternate Team - The Spiral's Greatest Protectors (Team Leader : The Water-Mole Idol)
Contact info :
Eric DuskBreaker - Death
Ryan FireCloud - Ice
Christina Jade - Fire
Wolf Myth - Ice
Sub: Talon - Ice

Because there are twelve teams, every tournament advisor in the world seems to be telling me to do this:

While I don't like giving so many teams a bye, it seems to be the only option for a 12 team tournament. To stay fair and objective in granting the byes, I inputted all of the team names into and said that the first 4 teams would be given a bye, Teams 5&6, 7&8, 9&10, and 11&12 would be paired for the first round. generated the follow list for me:
  1. The Veneration
  2. Team Perfect Catch
  3. P.B.B
  4. The TMs
  5. Magi Monsters
  6. The SkullBreakers
  7. Luck be a Lady
  8. Fresher than Airwick
  9. The UnNamed
  11. The Flying Squirrels
  12. The Willie Coyotes
So, The Veneration, Team Perfect Catch, P.B.B, and The TMs have been granted a bye into the second round. The remaining teams will face off as follows:
Magi Monsters vs. The SkullBreakers
Luck be a Lady vs. Fresher then Airwick
The UnNamed vs. Snowpocalypse
The Flying Squirrels vs. The Willie Coyotes.

The team leaders will be given each others information. Please get in touch with your opponents by the end of Tuesday at the latest and have your match completed by the end of Wednesday so the next round can begin. If you do not contact your opponents by Tuesday night, an alternate team will take take your place in the tournament.

Matches are to take place in the practice arena so that anyone can watch, and so that player cannot the order of their team. As soon as your match time is set up, please get in touch with me so that I can either be there myself or have someone go in my place to ensure the rules are followed (and to keep an eye out for possible winner of those Ravenwood Radio prizes).

12 teams = total Crowns giveaway of 62,000. You're all trying to backrupt me, aren't you? ;)

Good luck to all the teams!

Monday, 29 August 2011

of The More The Moneyer Mid-level Mayhem!

My first wizaversary is coming up and I've decided to celebrate by hosting a tourney!

While leveling with friends we debated hitting mid level team PvP, only to quickly realize that mid level team PvP consists of very little else but legend/newb teams trying to gain some easy rank. I would love to see some REAL mid-level team PvP with complete, fair teams of like-leveled players. Since team mid-level 4v4 play is so rare, in an effort to encourage more people to give this a try, I'm dishing out the prizes on a sliding scale - the more teams that join the tournament, the greater the pirze to be won!

-You must be a minimum of level 22, maximum of level 39.
-No pet spells or treasure cards of spells trained past level 38 (including vengeance). Exception: Damage and accuracy enchantments are permissable.
-No critical rating (I'm looking at you, greenwarden's boots). Block rating, including conviction, is fine.
-no more than two players of the same school on each team of four.

Edited to add: You must behave in a sportsmanlike manner. Cussing around the filter, or even something as simple but annoying as shouting out "CHEATING SPAMMER NOOBS HACKERS!!!11!!!1!" ;) will be an automatic loss for your whole team, even if you've won your match. Make sure your entire team is aware of this, since one person's bad behaviour could cost your whole team.

First Place:
For every team that enters, each member of the winning team may select 1,000 crowns worth of items from the crowns shop. Eg, If only 2 teams enter, each member of the winning team will receive 2,000 crowns worth of items. If 10 teams enter, each member of the winning team will receive 10,000 crowns worth of items.
Second Place:
For every team that enters, each member of the 2nd place team may select 250 crowns worth of items from the crowns shop.
Third Place:
Each team member will receive their choice of a Wyvern's Hoard or Dragon's Hoard Pack.

Additional Prizes:
The cast & crew of Ravenwood Radio are donating several prize codes. How these are distributed will depend on the number of teams that sign up.

- Please comment on my blog or email me at to sign up. I will need to get the contact info for the leader/co-ordinator of your team so that I can put you in touch with the leader of your opponent's teams to set up match times.
- the deadline for sign-ups is Friday September 9th. Matches will begin as early as September 10th, and the finals will take place on September 24th.

The final match will be broadcast on livestream by Kevin BattleBlood with commentary by himself and Cassandra DragonHeart (and possibly myself if I'm feeling brave).
** Amendment - The finals will be livestreamed IF Kevin & Cassandra's team is not competing in that match. Should their team make it to the finals they obviously don't want to give their strategy away live, so it will be recorded and posted to youtube after they record commentary. **

Feel free to post with any questions or comments as well. Good luck, and Happy PvPing!

Update: by popular request the level limit has been increased to 39. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Of Wysteria and.... Oooo... Sparkly.

By now most of you, like me, have probably run through Wysteria on any number of wizards. Since most of my wizards are legendary (or close to it - fire is 59 and barely into DS Academy, but that's a whole other story), I really didn't get much of an idea of how much XP Wysteria gave.

Aside from a Kensington Park run or two, my balance baby has been collecting dust for a while. I mean, really... I'm in the middle of Marleybone. Heading back to leveling there is not a prospect I much relish. But Wysteria? Now THAT I can handle! So I decided to take some quick screen caps, just to see how much experience Wysteria really gives. Turns out that, given the size of the world, this is more of a Wintertusk than a Grizzleheim.

This is where my level and XP were sitting when I first started Wysteria.

Level 32, almost to 33.

Here is where I set AFTER Wysteria (and only Wysteria).
Just a hair past 35. I wouldn't say the XP is overkill, but this in combination with the XP of Wintertusk at level 40 is, imho, a bit too much XP for the game to handle. This world is so gorgeous and so fun, I doubt anyone would have stayed away from lack of XP.

And now, on to more important matters. With this most recent level, there has been a VERY important change. Please observe.

Katherine LightGiver, Pre-Wysteria, level 32.

And now, Katherine LightGiver, Post-Wysteria, level 35.

Oooooo..... sparkly. What can I say, I like pretty clothes. This character is much more bearable to play on now.

Also, I'm a Wyvern's Hoard addict.I think I need to join a support group.
It was worth it. I am not ashamed. Okay, maybe I'm a little ashamed, but not ashamed enough that I regret it. And again I feel the need to say.... Oooooo, sparkly. I'm riding a dragon. That shoots sparkles. Check your reason at the door and just enjoy this. Say it with me. "Oooooo.... Sparkly."

Speaking of pretty things, check this out!

[covers eyes]
Is it gone?

Oh that note, whether you be sparkly, just plain creepy, or somewhere in between, I hope you're enjoying Wysteria. Happy Wizarding!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Of new content (AKA there goes my weekend)

Today Wysteria goes live! You all know what that means!

Yes, it means more people will be begging for crowns in the commons so they can buy the new areas, but that's not what I was getting at.

It means I will online far too much for my own good, enjoying every second of this! :) It also means... NEW CHEAT TOWER!

This fight can be BRUTAL. However, if you can cut off the bosses' cheats at the pass you should be just fine. Here's the (of course, lol) guide I wrote to help get you through the boss fights in this tower.

DiSpellbound: A Strategy Guide for the Tower of the Helephant

Using these ideas we actually ENJOYED this fight, and got in a bunch of hits like this one. :)

So have fun, and enjoy yourselves! I'm sure I'll be seeing a WHOLE lot of you in Wysteria VERY soon.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Of my crazy PvP noobness (or is it nooby craziness?)

Well, we finally got our PvP team off the ground! I was gifted (yes, I just turned 'gift' into a verb, and I stand by my choice) some lovely crowns a while ago and, after giving some away here I bought some fancy schmancy mastery amulets for myself and our myth player, Mr. Owl. Josh and John had already won the amulets they wanted from the WaterWorks. At this point I COULD go off on a rant about how I've run the Waterworks at least twice as much as they have and have yet to get either of the amulets I want, although I HAVE won them and they just keep dropping on the wrong account, and Josh and John somehow have had the incredibly unfair good luck to get exactly the amulets they wants on exactly the wizards they wanted them. However, I WON'T go off on a rant about that, because I'm just not that sort of person. ;)

After getting our gear, we worked on a strategy for our team. Our final strategy is a very complex, hard to understand one that I couldn't begin to explain. But for those of you who feel ready to have some insight into our well thought out plan, it's mostly based around the extremely in-depth concepts of 'winging it', 'playing it by ear', and 'let's try this out and see if we all die." Like I said, VERY complex, you've probably never heard of it. (Hipster PvP'er used winging it strategies before this blog post.)

Also... don't put up a doom and gloom when you're going second against a powerhouse team, no matter how good of an idea it seems at the time. That's one definitely nailed down piece of strategy.

My rank going into team PvP (after I took this picture I won 1 more match, and then lost for the first time in 1v1).

My current rank:
If you do the math *which you don't have to do because I did*, that translates to 50 wins, 8 losses for our team. Not too shabby! Thanks for different experiences in 1v1 prior to making our team, and a few ill-timed random disconnects, this has brought Mr. Owl to overlord, Josh to commander, and John to captain. These are the highest ranks any of us have gotten on any of our wizards so far, so we'll all pretty happy with how it's going. We'll keep on with this team until we all hit warlord, and then I suspect we'll switch up our schools and fight as Mercenaries 4 Honour, version 2.0.

Don't let this fool you, though. We don't have a clue what we're doing. In fact, we are
-treasure noobs
-dispel noobs (often this is in combination with bring treasure noobs)
-shield noobs
-heal noobs
-attack spamming noobs
-beguile noobs
-pet noobs

.... and the list could go on. As a matter of fact, it did. One of my good friends, Alex Lionheart, actually sent me a (friendly, funny) list of the 101 types of noob I am. It was greatly appreciated, as I need to know the extent of my noobness before I can fix it.

In other words - the better the do, the more annoyed you make people. So don't take it personally. Choose a group that you'll have a blast with no matter what, win or lose, and that go out and do just that. It's not about winning or losing, it's not about being a noob or pwning, it's about having a blast.

Also, we may or may not be crazy.

And on that note... soon to come, the story of day my pet got himself reported. BAD Moose!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Of Guiding Light

Wow, that post title may just be the corniest thing I've come up with yet.

The past month has been busy with merc requests, my PvP team, leveling up my fire wizard (just got fire dragon, w00t!), all of which I plan to blog about soon. However, the news that has me all excited now is a NEW CHALLENGE!   New content for levels 25+? Possibly a new CHEAT DUNGEON?! Yes, please!

On that note, I realize when they released this info that I never got around to finish up my guide on the Warehouse. It's been in the works for a while but somehow I just never got it all down on paper. Er, on screen? Either way, I loooooove cheat dungeons - figuring out how the bosses cheat, how to cheat them right back, and helping people accomplish something they're struggled with just makes my day. But with news a new dungeon on the way, I finished up the warehouse guide yesterday and will be able to focus on the newest dungeon when it comes out.

I also realized that those wizards who are not on Wizard101 Central probably haven't ever had cause to see my guides, so if anyone is interested, here's a link to the two current ones. Here's hoping I get the chance to make another one very shortly! Thanks for yet more new content, KI, and I'm excited to see what new challenges are in store!

Plumbing101 - A Guide to the Waterworks instance

Exterminated - A Guide to the Warehouse/Spiral Geographic Tower

Monday, 4 July 2011

Of TRI-winning! (Beat that, Charlie!)

Since I already made you dredge through that whole last post to get to the good stuff, I'll go easy on you on this time and get straight to the fun!

There were 14 people entered (2 entered via twitter/facebook and were added on to the end of the list), and since I'm all about making this up as I go along anyway I'm gonna give away 3 prizes instead of 2. I asked Alvin, Simon, and Theodore each to pick a number higher than 0 and less than 15. So the winners are...

From Simon: "TEN!" (congrats to compguru1)
From Alvin: "THIRTEEN!" (congrats to Sarai Griffinsong)
From Theo: "FIRTY!"
From me: "Less then 15, honey, pick a little number."
From Theo: "A HUNDWED!"
From me: "That's not a little number, honey, try picking something waay smaller."
From Theo: [confused silence].... [holds up four fingers] "I am FWEE years old!" [stares at his four fingers, counts them our veeeery slowly, pushes one finger down and waves his 'fwee' fingers around proudly since he's now apparently a math genius in his own mind.]
So... three it is! (congrats to elite wizard)

I'll get in touch with you all this morning so we can set up a time to meet and get you your crowns items!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Of following the rules, even when there are no rules.

Any one else feel like this week has been a little...dramatic?

Between temp spamming proliferation and everyone (even us Canucks) finally getting out of school for the summer, the spiral has been an interesting place to be this week. I won't address temp spamming because I don't team PvP (yet - give my team a week or two to finish our gear farming!), and because I think Cassandra DragonHeart and Kevin BattleBlood have covered it with more eloquence than I ever could. Obviously, temp spamming is a permissible strategy in PvP. That doesn't mean it is a good or legitimate one, but it is allowable.

I had my own 'interesting' (in a dramatic chipmunk kind of way) turn of events this week. A player was presenting himself as two different people - as one persona to one group of people, and another persona to another group of people. There are no sanctions against this in game. You can be whoever you want to be, say you are anything and everything. Nowhere in KI's terms of use does it say, "You may not lie about your gender, age, or occupation." However, this player's lies caught up with them, at least from one end - and the two differing stories were so diametrically opposed that he found himself in more trouble than he imagined. Although there were no rules against his actions, there were indeed consequences.

It's beginning to look like the idea of 'doing the right thing' has gone out of fashion. More and more I see people reaching for some all-consuming goal without thought or care as to the consequences their actions may have on others, or even to themselves in the long run. They simply want what they want NOW, and anything that stands in their way should be taken out in any way possible. As long as they act within the rules, their actions MUST be okay. It's as though we've turned off our own personal moral compasses and have turned to whatever governing body we're acting under at the time (school officials, bosses, government, KingsIsle) to tell us what is and isn't okay.

It is my belief that there is right,  there is wrong, and those things do not cease to be right or wrong simply because a person REALLY wants something, or because there are no rules against it. I would love to see people both in life and in this game take pride in not only achieving something, but in HOW they achieved it. This weekend, in both my country and (most of) yours, we're celebrating our freedom. Our freedom to make our own choices, to be who we want to be, to make something of ourselves. Use that freedom wisely! There are a whole lot of issues I could apply this to in general, but as this is a Wizard101 blog and temp spamming is the buzz topic of the week... for myself, I'm choosing not to stun in the first round of a PvP match, regardless of what the other team may choose to do. I simply wouldn't feel good about myself if I did not give the other team at least one turn to do SOMETHING to set up a basic framework for the match.

So on that note... to celebrate freedom, making choices, because I wanna, and because I was gifted some lovely crowns that are burning a hole in my pocket, I'm having a rule-less giveaway! I'll be giving 2 people 2500 worth of crowns items from the crowns shop. Which item or items you get is entirely up to you. Patriotic leprechaun for the 4th of July? Sure! Mega Snack Pack? Why not! And because there are no rules, I might just change things up a little myself. ;) No contests or conditions (those sound an awful lot like rules to me....), just leave a comment and tell me what you'd like. If you can't reach me on twitter, Wizard101Central, or Diary of a Wizard, leave me a way to get in touch with you please. The giveaway ends on July 4th at whatever time I manage to drag myself out of bed - or more accurately, whatever time the kids manage to drag me out. Good luck, and happy wizarding!

Edited to add: For those of you telling me to keep some for myself -  I may be in a sharing mood, but I'm also in a spending mood! Don't you worry about me, unless you're facing me in PvP next week.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Of failed patriotism and broken promises.

I have a confession to make, dear country. I have betrayed you. From far and wide, O Canada, I stand on guard for thee! ..... but come on, I can only resist so much! He was just too cute to NOT take home, with his little beard and his pot of gold and his top hat, and all of those leftover crowns from Luke Goldhorn's Wizaversary party were burning a hole in my pocket anyway! I'm sorry, Canada. If it's any consolation, my act of betrayal has in turn betrayed me right back.

The Patriotic Leprechaun is a promising new crowns pet with some EPIC derby  talents. Check out the pet my friend got.

When I saw this guy's talents, I was all in. See, I've had to take a bit of a break from PvP. Right now my free time comes in small increments, and it's hard for me to set aside time for a match that could plausibly take more than hour. I'm a bit shy on the arena tickets I need for the robes I desperately want, though. The solution: per derby! Short times frames, simple fun, and a few tickets as a reward. Why not?

I'll tell you why not. Because all of my pet's derby talents STINK, that's why. So I was PUMPED when I saw this little guy! Bring on the arena tickets, right Sam? (And yes, his name is Sam. What did you expect, originality?) So without, further ado, I introduce you to.... SIR SAM!

[crickets chirping]

So you see, Canada, I have already paid for my act of betrayal. Forgive me. I shall pay you back by buying copious amounts of gift cards when they finally come to Canadian stores this fall. (See June 13.)

I also may have a lied a teensy a little bit two posts ago, where I promised myself I was putting my balance on hold. Sure, I meant it at the time, but then John went off on vacation (real life, pulling my friends away from leveling? Say it ain't so!) and left my fire baby all alone. So back to balance it was! And yet again, in betraying my promise to myself I brought about my own punishment. Witness, if you will, what I have brought upon myself. (Steel yourselves. This is not for the faint of heart.)

Are you ready?

Can you handle the horror?

You're still reading, so I'm not sure you understand how terrifying this is for me.

Fine, then. Witness my pain.


Yes, Josh and I got ourselves through Krokotopia (and observed some questionable make-up choices by Krokopatra) and on to Marleybone. WHY, I say? I just finished this madness! On the plus side, my balance baby is wearing semi-matching clothes again, so at least there's that. A girl's gotta match, right?

Did I really just say that? Oh boy. Marleybone is wearing off on me already. If you need me, I'll be running across roof tops at lightning speed, trying to find my way out of this place. Watch out for the rats!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Of video games & education. Yes, in the same sentence.

As some of you are aware, our oldest 2 children have special needs, and due to some unfortunate cracks in the education system Mr Light and I homeschool Simon, Alvin, and Theodore . Okay, so homeschooling Theodore is more like  letting him playing with alphabet blocks, but the concept is there. The reasons behind this decision were convoluted and various, but to say that we never thought we'd find ourselves in this position is an understatement. That I'm a homeschooling Mom right now is as much of a shock to me as to anyone. If you have any questions about why we homeschool, how we homeschool, and what on earth we could be possibly be thinking, feel free to fire away in the comments. But this post is about the role that Wizard101 has played in our homeschooling life.

And yes, it has played a role. A very helpful one at that. Who knew?

One of the unexpected benefits of homeschooling is that, while I certainly use a traditional elementary-style curriculum for all subjects, I can pull almost anything from my kid's lives into their school day and work it into their education. And at this age, anything that can grab a kid's attention and get them actually CARING about their education is a good thing. In our case, we started homeschooling at about the same time our family was introduced to Wizard101, and the result is that we frequently use concepts from Wizard101 to make lessons more interesting. Here's an worksheet we used for math recently.

(Age at the time of the child completing this worksheet : 5)

The main purpose of this worksheet was address an issue with word problems - these questions are intentionally verbose. Genereally speaking, word problems were a struggle for Alvin because he simply didn't care enough to read them thoroughly. But throw a little Wizard101 into the equation and suddenly his mind was able to focus and pay attention, because for once he actually wanted to. Aside from that - look at the concepts this game employs even at it's most basic levels. Percentages, ratios, subtraction, and all in such simplicity that even a five year old can understand them. More importantly, a 5 year old WANTS to understand them and is actually willing to work to do so.

Math concepts aside, by nature of their autism, Simon and Alvin struggle with social situations. They don't always know what's appropriate, what's polite, and what's expected. The game, especially within the confines of menu chat, has given them concrete social rules to play by. If you want something, you need to say please. If someone does something nice for you, you say thank you. Don't jump right into a conversation without even saying hi. You don't jump into someone else's space without asking first. (Note to KingsIsle - you added a 'Please may I join?' chat option, but not 'Please may I teleport?' option. That would be fantastic.) There are millions of little social rules that most people pick up on automatically, but that Simon and Alvin have struggled with. Now, though... well, check out this screenshot I took of a conversation Simon had with me on his wizard the other day (you may need to click to enlarge).

We've tried to teach these rules in the real world, but the boys didn't get the necessity of them until they tried to conquer life in the spiral. By practicing them in game and seeing first hand the benefit of being kind and polite, they've actually transferred those manners to real life. It's second nature for them now to follow up a please with a thank you, and to say you're welcome. They don't interrupt a conversation with their own random comments and requests... as much. Life in the spiral has impressed on them the lessons that were difficult to grasp in real life.

And then there's history. I can't tell you how the boy's eyes lit up when we read about Theseus and the minotaur in the labyrinth, or Odysseus and the Cyclops in the cave. Mythology in particular has come to life for them. It's given their imaginations a springboard to work from and they've been diving into the classics with a fervour I could NOT have imagined. They've even on occasion taking to acting out their favorites, just for fun.

Children with autism, playing pretend? For fun? This is HUGE. So huge, in fact, that their therapists had to see it for themselves before they would believe me.

In short, this game in moderation it's been an incredibly valuable tool in an educational aresenal. It's helped my kids ENJOY school, and drawn them into the learning experience that much more.

Next up - fractions! Oy.

And, because I couldn't let this post go by without mentioning it - Ravenwood Ball, tomorrow night at 6pm CST, in Ravenwood on Vampire Realm! WOOT! Bring on the par-tay!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Of bittersweet goodbyes. Ok, mostly sweet.

This week I bid a fond farewell to my balance baby.

Okay, maybe a more of see ya later.

Between having some fun as the new merc on the block with the Mercenenaries For Hire and working on leveling my fire, trying to level my balance on top of that started to feel a little too hurried and rushed for my liking. So my balance baby is on hold for a bit while John and I work on our new wizards.

I also said a not-so-fond farewell to Savarstaad Pass, and more importantly to everyone's favorite party planner, Abigail DooLittle. Marleybone is DONE! Sweet, sweet relief! I even forced myself to stick around a while longer and farm for some scrap iron from the counterweights to get those pesky crafting quests done so I never. have. to. return. ever. Erm, on this character. John and I are now cooking bacon in the first parts of MooShu. To be more accurate, I'm cooking the pigs and John's frog is... well, doing what myth frogs do. Thanks for ruining the bacon with that, btw.

I also hung out at my first Twizard party this past weekend, and managed to get lucky and win a Sultan's Palace gift card! I used the crowns to buy myself and some friend a dragon's hoard pack. :) I got lucky and with my one pack got the only thing I actually wanted - the dragons wings mount for my fire! To be honest, I don't care for the bone dragon mount too much. I also won a crowns robe for my baby balance that I'm sure will come in handy (once I get back on my balance, lol). My ice got the the flute and I gotta say that while I love the block, that flute playing every spell is going to get old FAST.

I gave the house to my balance baby because, well... sultan's palace, balance wizard.... it just seemed appropriate. The problem is, I have no idea what to do with it. I love decorating, but I always go in with ideas, like this one.

In this case, I have no CLUE how I want to decorate this place, so I feel like I'm just throwing stuff together. So far all I know is that I like the lake, so I've put some plants around it along with a boat and a crab. (Also, my balance is horribly mismatched right now. Sultan's hat, princess/prestigious shoes, aand dragon rider robe. Oy.)

I feel like I need a bigger idea behind my decorating here, before it starts to look at thrown together as my outfit. I should tour some other people's sultan's palaces and steal their ideas.

I mean, get inspired. Yeah. That. 'Inspiration.'

All in all, it's been a fun week!

Side note - a few weeks ago I saw a low level named Katherine LightWeaver talking to a John Shadow low level outside the bazaar. As I knew John wasn't around at the time, I just thought it was a funny joke (and John still thinks I'm just setting him up for a prank with this, lol). Yesterday, however, I ran into her again at the bazaar (no fake John Shadow in sight this time), and she's now a life grandmaster. I asked if she was Katherine Light from central and SOMEONE said yes, but as I was signing out while it was said, I can't confirm for sure if it was her that said it or just someone else assuming this info. Given that both times I saw he she was on scarecrow, and once was with a fake John Shadow, I feel safe assuming this is someone pretending to be me. So far, there's no harm done and I don't really mind (other than being a little weirded out, lol), but please let me know if you see this person acting as though they were me in any more public situations. 'My' Katherine LightWeaver is a death wizard, not a life wizard. Thanks!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Of wizard babies and wizard buddies.

It's been a while since I took a new wizard through the Spiral. For the past little while I've been focusing instead on pets, gardening, decorating, crafting, PvP, Wintertusk, Waterworks... pretty much anything other than new wizards. In these past few weeks I've made two wizards, and I'm loving it. Going back into the questing stage after a long break is like rediscovering the magic all over again, but this time with good friends by my side. :) This time instead of pushing through, I'm taking time to read the dialogue, laugh at the corny one-liners, and just have fun with my friends. The Spiral is a fresh new place again!

This was taken a few nights ago, just after I made my balance. We're at level 1 here, with the gates on Unicorn way still firmly closer. The is my baby balance with Josh's baby myth, as well as John's (in his words) "WAY higher level" storm and balance, who were on Cyclops Lane at the time.
  Since that time Josh and I have burned through WC and left John a little bit in the dust (sorry about that, John). This was my balance baby today, getting her Mander Minion.

I'm loving balance so far. A low level 4 pip AoE, buffs for anyone who needs them, and a nice diversity of bosses in spell quests have made this a fun character to level.

This is my Magus Pyromancer, who's questing along with John's myth and life. We're REALLY taking our time with these ones, which is just fine with me.  Marleybone is by far my least favorite world and, to be honest, I can only handle it in short doses anyway. We finished off Newgate Prison shortly after this picture, so now we're moving on to Knight's Court, some final errands for the aptly named Abgail DoLittle, and then taking on the string of final Marleybonian dungeons. MooShu is so close I can almost taste it. (Mmmmm..... beef and bacon.)

I gotta admit, John's pumpkin head is a little disconcerting. When talking in game I find myself instinctly turning away from his myth and facing his life, lol. It may just be a bunch of pixels, but a guy with a pumpkin for a head is still off-putting. Sorry, man. :P

I'm amazed by how much I enjoy hanging out with these guys. They are both so completely different but somehow we all have a blast together. I'll spare you the details (by which I mean I am saving them for future blackmail), but these guys are a load of fun. If you know them, you want to get to know them more and more. They are smart, silly, sarcastic and yet kind, giving, and genuinely care about others. And if they read this they will tease me mercilessly for having said that, but they'll secretly love it and we all know it.

And let's be honest here - this is why we all stick with the game. The storyline is fun, the dungeons can be a challenge at times, earning badges and learning strategies are great accomplishments, but we keep coming back because of the great community and the friends we've made within it. A year ago I had no idea who any of my in-game friends were, and now the idea of NOT knowing them seems strange. So thanks to everyone out there for making this community the fantastic, welcoming place it is. I know it's been a wild ride this year for me, and I look forward to seeing where the next year goes!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

My legen(wait for it)... daries.

I suppose a blog about wizard101 isn't much without the wizards, huh? ;) So, since I'm lacking the creativity to invent an introduction or a segue, here are my legendaries!

This is my life wizard, Katherine LightWielder. She was my first wizard and is also my main. While I love all my wizards for all different reasons, in my heart I'm a life through and through. I love it when someone calls out for help and I can jump in knowing for sure that I can actually HELP them. That being said, because this was my first wizard, I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I think I've repurchased her training points at least 3 times, maybe 4. I tried PvP on her back before CL came out, and before I really understood the mechanics of the game. To say it did not end well would be an understatement. I went back into the arena a short while ago with my newfound knowledge and enjoyed myself a bit more. :)

My life wizard is the first to get her dream pet. A dragonblade pet with blade of life (not as good as may lifeblade for PvP, but far more useful in PvE which is my main focus), spell proof, pain giver, and spritely. The spell proof is a little low for my liking, but overall I'm thrilled with Bandit.

Life's stats. Don't know why you would care, lol, but I felt like posting them. If you wanted to know anything about my gear, ask away.

Up next is my death wizard, Katherine LightWeaver. She was my second wizard, and I created her because I kept hearing how AWESOME death school was. Overall, she's my least favorite. I have fun on her (especially since winning the life mastery amulet in Waterworks!), but for some reason gravitate towards my other wizards more. Perhaps if they'd come up with a solution for the gargantuan/life steal situation a bit sooner I would have stuck with her more, but as it is she got relegated to the bench. I think I'll be pulling her out a bit more in the next few weeks, just to get a feel for death again. That being said, she was VERY easy to get to warlord in PvP.

Death's pet changes with the weather, lol. I'm still very much working on something decent for her, but my pet priorities right now are with storm and ice. In the meantime, I usually use a polar cat with spell proof, health gift, and pain giver.

Death's stats. Full WaterWorks gear again, as all my legendaries have *because I'm hopelessly addicted to the WaterWorks*.

Next up is my storm, Katherine LightWalker. Next to my life I probably use this one the most. In PvE, who doesn't love a storm? You can one hit Sylster and his minions (or Nordri, for that matter) without breaking a sweat. I take her along when I'm worried about firepower. Erm, or if I just really need to work out some aggression by pounding something to death. Not that I ever get that way.... [walks away whistling] Storm was BY FAR,  HANDS DOWN the most difficult to get to warlord in PvP. I did it before Waterworks was released and with low health and no resist aside from pet resist at the time, it was brutal. BRUTAL. And when I did win it was met with complaints about lucky criticals, the unfairness of spritely, etc. I'm glad I pushed through, though - I'm more proud of the badge on this character than on all of the other combined.

Storm has two pets that I alternate between. This is my pet for PvP and soloing. 14% resist, spritely and a stacking blade? Yes, please. For PvP a may cast would be preferably but my focus is usually on PvE.

For PvE in groups I'm still working on my dream pet - that being blade flurry, storm giver, pain giver, and spell proof. If my value as a storm is in my power, I'm going to max that out for MAX OVERKILL! I mean, erm, for the good of the team. Yeah, that's it, the team. I've got 3 out of 4 right now but need to replace a sticky selfish talent with storm giver. It is just not working out yet.

Here are storm's stats (you guessed it - full Waterworks gear) with my PvE pet equipped.

This is my last legendary, my ice wizard Katherine LightWhisper. I like ice. Ice is good for everything. I can solo, I can buff, I can tank, I can kill, I can go undefeated up to warlord in PvP... but for all those reasons I don't really LOVE Ice. I love a challenge, and while ice can burn through accomplishments, I was left feeling like I hadn't really EARNED those accomplishments. Then again, Ice got to warlord before the great ice nerf of Waterworks gear, so perhaps it's time for me to give ice a whirl again. In PvE I treat my ice as more of a pseudo-balance. Blading, tanking, and setting others up while taking the heat.

Ice's stats. In this picture I was wearing my waterworks gear, but I actually often alternate with the level 58 robes. I lose some power and health but gain that 5% resist, which is helpful when I'm planning to just be the tank.

This is ice's pet. Pretty close to perfect (and a hatching machine), but given that I'm not usually using ice as a powerhouse, I'd prefer to trade in either pain or ice-giver for spritely.

That's all I have for legendaries at the moment! I have two new girls working their way up through the ranks - a baby balance who just (literally just, right before I started this post) finished off Wizard City, and a fire hanging out in Marleybone. I'll show them off in another post where I'll take the opportunity to introduce you to my fun, wonderful, but mostly insane leveling buddies. :)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

My inaugural blog - meet the family!

Welcome, young wizard!

As this is my first blog post, or at least my first wizardly one, I'm hesitant to say exactly what you might find here over time. A hodge-prodge of all things wizardly, most likely. Friends, family, farming, fighting, and everything in between! So I'll keep it simple for now then! By way of introduction, here are my husband and kid's wizards. I'll throw mine into a separate post.

Sean LightWielder, aka Mr Light. Legendary Sorcerer and PvP Warlord. Sean is hard-working, dependable, solid as a rock, and would give you the robes off his back (if they weren't no trade/no auction). This right here is the love of my life, pixelized.

Gabriel LightWielder, AKA Simon, Grandmaster Thaumaturge. Simon is patient, smart as a whip, and always pushes (both himself and others) to do the right thing. He believes he is right, the world both wizarding and otherwise is black and white, and digs in staunchly when challenged.

Wolf LightWielder, AKA Alvin, Magus Pyromacer. Alvin is a big ball of energy. Whatever he does, he does passionately and with complete focus. He has what I can only call a talent for trouble. There is NO stopping Alvin once he makes up his mind about something.

Youngin' LightWielder, AKA Theodore. Asks for a 'widdud' on occasion, but trust me, the wizarding world is not quite ready for this quantity of cute yet. Theo is sweet, high-energy, and keep himself busy creating toddler havoc and tagging along after his brothers.

We're having a great time taking on the spiral as a family, and hopefully we can join some of you on our adventures!