Tuesday, February 24, 2015

As The Crow Flies

Just two years ago, Kingsisle co-founder J. Todd Coleman left his position to pursue other endeavors. His influence in developing Wizard101 and Pirate101 was enough that I wrote a post wishing Coleman the best of luck.

Now, he and Gordon Walton, another veteran in the gaming industry, are on the verge of releasing Crowfall. This unique MMO will be the first release of ArtCraft Entertainment, the company Coleman moved onto. I wouldn't know where to begin in describing it, so check out their Kickstarter page (linky) for yourself. Nearly halfway there already! Congratulations are in order for the old Headmaster Ambrose :)

 Wizard101 wasn't Coleman's first project. He oversaw another popular MMO, Shadowbane, earlier in his career. Similarly, the W101 and P101 community has never been solely dependent on Kingsisle enthusiasts. The first major bloggers and podcasters had past involvement in countless MMOs -- without that experience, Friendly and Leesha would not have become Tom and Leala, the community managers.
Similarly, more W101 and P101 bloggers are branching out to revamp or begin new sites for coverage on multiple MMOs. Here's a couple of them!

    Soultamer | Indie Games, MMOs, and More
  • Soultamer: In my opinion, Destiny Soultamer is the most creative Pirate101 blogger. With development slow in the Spiral, she remade her site for coverage on many other games. Check it out here: http://www.destinysoultamer.com/
  • WatchHallow: After Wizards Unite, Ian Stormstaff extended his focus into a personal gaming blog. Check out his lovable, bunny-centric persona here: http://www.watchhallow.com/
    Shadowhorn Gaming
  • Shadowhorn Gaming: The incredibly ambitious Blaze Shadowhorn hasn't just found his niche, he's founded one of the first Crowfall fansites! Here's his new site: http://www.shadowhorngaming.com/ --- and what promises to be Crowfall Central: http://crushthethrone.com/

Seeing all the amazing work being done by others begs the question ...
 what are my future plans?

 I won't have the time or energy to keep up with Crowfall. I have played other games, but this site will remain centered on Wizard101 and Pirate101. In fact, I have an end date in mind for my blogging days. On the other hand, with more free time on my hands, I can promise that there will be much more content on this blog for the foreseeable future. A project or two is already in the works. When I retire from The Two-headed Wizard (a name I can't believe stuck on :P), I want to be assured that I not only entertained myself, but entertained the readers who have stuck around. You know who you are. Even though new comments come along about as often as an Amber reagent, the 100,000 page views (!) tell me I have an audience. Like the little PBS reminders, this content is made possible by viewers like you. Thank you.

Happy Blogging!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Quest A Day Keeps The Juju Away

..Although I didn't entirely bind myself to one quest a day, per se. It was more like, 3 quests during the week and then 4 to catch up on over the weekend. Nevertheless, Wicked Valkoor Vane is done questing! Here is the first of two posts with his travels over 3 worlds in approximately 3 months.

Barely level 40, Valkoor sailed into Mooshu relying on Dan Drake's sharpshooting. To be fair, I did have my companions set on random.

After breaking up some weddings in Mooshu, it was evident that maybe a few Cool Ranch companions were becoming obsolete. Sorry, Skyfire. I love your name but would prefer tasking you 24/7.

When doing one quest a day, you realize just how long the infamous Inoshishi quest is. For once, I entirely agreed with Ratbeard.

On the guise of getting Mormo a cooler Mardi Gras mask, the introduction to Moo Manchu went off with few hitches.

Okay, I cheated a little and did a side quest too.

...but it was for an awesome, fire-wielding helephant. :D
General Tso's dungeon was a real challenge -- enough that all but 3 or 4 of my companions had died after several battles with him. [T]so, I only had one more chance with Carcarius as my best companion.

After a long battle and minimal health left, the chicken was successfully threatened! On to Khotan!

First, an obligatory Stormzilla screenshot. Tiny arms are your worst enemy when tumbling into a hill.

With enough Will and a Super hit, I was pleasantly surprised with the damage Valkoor could do. With regular hits of 1000+, Khotan was smooth sailing for the most part.

The awesomeness of Kan Po really comes through at pivotal moments. Hamakala Temple is one of my favorite battles -- very difficult but not terribly frustrating.

The Metal Guardian challenge, though... that's pretty frustrating.

With Mooshu complete, I took a moment to hang with the levitating cow.

Oh, and Kan Po took care of the whole Yak-wearing-sunglasses dungeon. On to Marleybone!

A little comfortable bliss before all the war stuff.

Nothing like Beachhead for action movie screenshots!

Bishop is also a fun battle, with or without the sweet Witchdoctor powers.

Bad breath rebels, on the other hand -- not so much.
Even if many of my companions regularly died, I got through Marleybone with relative ease. Having one quest a day can actually be pretty convenient with the recent (well, ten months old, but it doesn't feel that long ago) Advanced Companions update.

I also came through with a cleaner conscience! Sort of.

Catbeard... not so much.

On to Monquista! Err, Aquila.

Like Gortez and his Queen, may your Valentine's Day be regal... and not full of civil wars and monkey business.

Happy Questing!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwback Post -- The Missing Cello

Sometimes I look back on my old posts and get embarassed, for obvious reasons. But a post from four years ago caught my attention (LINK). With my pursuit of the Antique Cello long over now, I decided to touch up this 2011 screenplay and put in some more pictures. I had to take advantage of a new Barkingham Palace villain, too.

Sherlock: My heavens. Where did I put my cello?
Arlen: Where did you last have it?
S: I took it to, err, Ms. Marphely's house...
A: You sly dog!
S: You know I have a penchant for the classics. I've even been getting into opera lately. Wag-ner, specifically.
A: I think it's pronounced "vag-ner". Anyways, let's head over to Marphely's and look.
S: She's not expecting me back until Saturday...
A: Do you want the cello or not?

A: Did we search the whole house?
S: Except up the chimney. Soot does not suit my health.
A: I'll investigate.
S: ... Any luck?
A: There was a rope. Santa Claus must have forgotten it last year.
S: Oh! It's elementary. The cello was stolen and the culprit made his getaway through the chimney.
A: Shall I battle Scroungers and O'Leary Thugs for clues?
S: Not necessary. Just check the rope for fingerprints.
A: Looks more like paw prints, Sherlock.
S: Ah! Let's put these through the lab for analysis.

S: Indeed... these prints perfectly match our criminal record with Doctor Jackall.
A: What, he's already out from Newgate?!
S: Why yes, he escaped several weeks back.
A: *sigh* You're just telling me this now?
S: I assumed you saw all the wanted posters.
A: Yes, they were very detailed. A fuzzy mugshot with the description: "WANTED for being a bad guy and stealing stuff!"
S: Our printers may or may not need to be upgraded...

Marphely: Oh, Sherlock! The neighborhood watch is reporting noxious fumes coming from the Kensington Park rooftops.
S: Goodness! Arlen, I'm commissioning you to investigate this matter.
A: Righto. I've been to Kensington more times than I count.

A: *cough* This must be Jackall's gas golem!
Golem: Ha ha! Did you think I'd go down after two attempts? Our robot army will conquer the city!
A: Odd, I don't remember him being this articulate. Or planning to capture Marleybone.
G: I'm Stoker, you fool.
A: Oh. Wait, that still doesn't make sense.
G: H.G. Waggs was nothing more than a red herring. Dr. Jackall is the mastermind. He gave me these fumes!
A: Ohhhh. Well, I can still defeat you with relative ease.
G: Impossible! We will take ov--

G: Bzzzrrrrkkrrrrrtzzzzzzz.
A: Yep, Humongofrog always does it.
Jackall: You again! Stoker is but a pawn in the scheme. You do not want to be around when I turn into... Mr. Hyde.
A: With all due respect, Doctor Jackall sounds more intimidating.
J: Silence!
S: Jackall! Scotland Yard here -- you are surrounded. Surrender with your paws up.
J: Never! I'll just jump 50 feet down to street level and escape the authorities again! *jumps*
A: That wasn't a good idea... oh, but at least he left the cello!
S: Looks like this cat ran out of his nine lives.
A: I'm surprised he didn't land on his feet.
S: Wait -- his body is changing form! Could it be..?

M: Oh, dear me! What am I doing down here?
A: It was... Ms. Marphely?!?
S: Despite her -- er, attractiveness -- it appears that Marphely was prone to turn into a hairy, villainous trickster.
A: And you didn't figure this out after arresting Jackall?
S: As the saying goes, a watched pot never boils. Marphely would only transform when alone. Or when dead, apparently.
M: Could someone please explain what's going on? I was having tea and suddenly ended up here on the street.
A: So Doctor Jackall is gone now?
S: Yes, but Mr. Hyde isn't.
A: What? How?

Hyde: Ah, but haven't you noticed? I'm Mr. Hyde.
A: Wait, what?
H: You've just been marveling at Marphely this whole time and haven't turned around to observe my transformation. Sherlock was the pot. I am the boiling water.
A: You really need to get your metaphors in order.
H: Hush, insolent wizard! Now, will you help me lead the coup over the Queen or shall I have to do it all myself?
A: *sigh* Oh, bother. Looks like I have to put up with another wannabe super-villain.
H: No, seriously, I'm a worthy villain. Look, here's the Antique Cello that I lured you into my trap with.
A: So... rare...
H: Exactly. And you can't have it! Mwahahah---

M: What's this, a blasphemer against the magnificent Queen?! Eat my purse, you filthy, royal-hating animal!
H: Ow! No, stop! Noooooo!
M: Ahhh! He's changing form!
S: What's going on here?
A: Interesting. Looks like a savage purse-beating boils the pot back to Sherlock.
M: I still have no idea what's going on.
S: Me neither, and I'm a world-renowned detective.
A: Don't worry, you two. Sherlock, why don't you serenade Mrs. Marphely with your cello?
S: I'd love -- er, that is, I'd be glad to.
M: Ooh, I do love some classical music to help unwind.

Thus concludes my messy attempt at numerous plot twists with completely different Marleybonian characters. It kind of evolved (or devolved) into a fan-fiction piece, but I'll just count it as improving a 4 year old blog post. 

Happy Sleuthing!