Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Future Fishing: Celestia and Zafaria

In the recent Update Notes for Fishing, Kingsisle made a brief promise: 

"Fishing is currently only available in Wizard City, Krokotopia, Grizzleheim, and Mooshu. Fishing has only just begun in the Spiral and more Fishing Holes and species are just waiting to be discovered!"

This seems to suggest that an update expanding fishing to the Morganthe-Arc worlds is inevitable. All worlds from Celestia to Khrysalis could be updated all at once, or only several at a time. So, until then, why not theorycraft? (or theoryfish, if you will)

Celestia is nearly all underwater, albeit mostly covered by an underwater dome. As stated in the Update Notes:
You currently cannot fish in underwater areas.

It's a long shot, but could fish be being pumped in from the ocean? Possibly small creatures, like plankton, anemones, or other reef fish. In that sense, underwater fishing could happen. However, Celestia's only above-ground area, the Floating Land, is a more distinct possibility.

The Floating Land in itself could bring many more fish to the Spiral. Wouldn't it be great to catch more sharks, squid, and other exotic fish? There could even be a theme on the Sun, Moon, and Star schools that make Celestia stand out. For instance, the Sunfish is actually a huge fish in real life, and coincidentally, its scientific name sounds more like a Water Mole - Mola mola, to be exact. The Starfish, of course, is also well known. 

Any way you look at it, Floating Land's so-called Blue Sky Beach is pretty large, and may house a surprising amount of new fish. Freshwater species are a likelihood too - there's a little river that runs by Tupa Taua, for instance.

A water-mole fisherman offering new spells - or even a small quest - would be sweet, too. There's only two ranks of fish currently, and as such only the Lesser and Minor lures. It would make sense that there will eventually be a Rank 3 lure (Major, perhaps), whether in Celestia or beyond. As for fishing levels, the current fish count (63 throughout four worlds) places an experienced fisherman only up in the Level 7 range. With fishing spells of levels 8-10 in Grizzleheim, reaching these heights with new fish species makes sense. If enough fish are added with Celestia and Zafaria, the peak level for experienced fisherman may go up to Level 9. 

Celestia is interesting to think about, but Zafaria's long rivers and watering holes make it a much more likely hub for fishing. It has one major river (possibly inspiration from the real-life Nile or Congo), which in itself could host more than a few new fish. In addition, the Great Baobab tree is the source for several likely fishing holes, including infamous Mirror Lake.

Why go underneath Mirror Lake to defeat an evil zebra when you can catch, maybe, a Zebrafish? (Which is an actual species of fish, by the way)

The Savannah's watering hole is the only Zafarian fishing spot that does not have a clear source, aside from rain that we never see. The water here is initially diseased, but is purified near the end of Savannah questing. This would also make this spot unique, as a low-level wizard could fish anywhere but here.

 Next up, the Zamunda Outskirts wild rapids. This appears to be a tributary of the major river that goes from the Drum Jungle to Baobab Market.

Stone Town rhinos control the side rendered impassable by the broken bridge. That other side is likely an island or strip of land that separates Zamunda's tributary from the main river. 

Given the rapids and rather remote location, it's likely that some of Zafaria's hardier, wilder fish reside here. For some examples, I looked into some of the species endemic to the Congo River in Central Africa. 

A common fish in the Congo that would fit perfectly in Wizard101 is the Elephant Fish. Like actual elephants, they are very intelligent compared to other fish.

Put a slightly more believable trunk on this guy, and we have a perfect W101 fish species. Perhaps it would look like Dumbo, with the ears/wings acting as gills instead?

Adorable cartoon creatures aside, the Elephant Fish is a prime candidate to be Zafaria's one rare fish. If you're not familiar with the four rare fish in-game, there is one in every world, found in every area of its designated world (i.e. the Bearracuda is rare, but can be found anywhere in Grizzleheim). Why not have a large, aquatic pachyderm in Zafaria?

Going back to Zafaria's geography -- Shown on the left are the outskirts of Stone Town, forming the eastern edge of the barricaded rhino-controlled island that is integral in separating Zamunda's tributary. This leaves those wilder rapids cut off from Zafaria's main river, also shown above.

For the main river that goes from deep into the Drum Jungle to Baobab's Marketplace, there are even more places just ready to be fished. Who knows what we'll encounter among Zafaria's fishing holes?

Last and least seriously, I came up with some creative possibilities for Zafarian fish species, and equally bogus descriptions for each. Do you have a unique ZF fish idea? I may end up doing a little contest on Twitter (@arlendawneyes), so stay tuned :D

  • Bao Barbel: One of Zafaria's oldest fish, and still firmly rooted to its home.
  • Belloq Barbel (Epic): Shady black market dealers. Find them hiding in the shadows of Zafaria.
  • Carp Diem: Catching this fish is a real confidence booster. Lives without regrets in Zafaria.
  • Elephant Fish (Rare): Don't bother trying to fool this fish, as it never forgets a face. Seen stampeding around Zafaria.
  • Finoceros: Large and in charge of their environment. Only dangerous when their weight is joked about.
  • Painted Finoceros (Epic): The main mischief-makers of Zafaria. Not to be confused with the Zebrafish.
  • Gazeel: Can outswim most Zafarian predators, but inevitably ends up on the dinner menu anyway.
  • Hatuna Matata: Laid back and always worry-free. Found in relaxing, still waters.
  • Lion Kingfish (Epic): Poised to rule its fishing hole. Remains wary of other scheming fish.
  • Spider Witch Fish: Don't get on the dark side of these fish. Found performing magical rituals in Zafaria.
  • Silverback Gar-illa (Epic): Leads by instinct, for better or for worse. Find them making questionable decisions in the jungles of Zafaria.
  • Zebrafish: Keeps safe by travelling together, but often gets split up from its group. Seen getting mixed up in Zafaria.

(My favorite is the Hatuna Matata, obviously)

Happy Angling!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Operation Grimwater

As I was minding my own business in Triton Avenue, I happened upon the ever-egotistical Duncan Grimwater. Suddenly, it occured to me that my Death wizard, Chase Deathcrafter, had the same facial features as this humble NPC.

So... why not replicate the clothes?
After a little bit of Bazaar research, I happened upon Duncan's hat and boots --

Certainly not cheap for level 20, but stylish nonetheless.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find the appropriate robe to complete the look, so I went with a standard one. Duncan's Terminus staff was in good supply though, and the look was done!

Well, almost perfect. The robe was still bothering me.

Flawless above the shoulders, though! :P

Newbie wizards were gawking, but I had to figure out how to get Duncan's cooler death-y robe. His robe and boots both come from Taskmaster Djal in the Karanahn Barracks.. won't the robe also?
A visit to the Wiki page proved fruitless. Several of his robes were specific to other schools, and all of them were auctionable.

Obviously the newbies were starting to see past my disguise, so it was time to start farming Djal for a robe I wasn't even sure he had. However, Chase hadn't even done the quest.

On the bright side, I got to see manders dancing for freedom! :D

Sadly, farming the tyrannical Krok for an hour or so produced no results, so I had to cut my losses with the death-y symbols and be content looking mostly like Duncan Grimwater.

Close enough.
Next up, Susie Gryphonbane?

Yeah, probably not.
Happy Stitching!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Apocalyse Now & Then (Pt. 2)

Continuing this weeks theme of posting Part IIs, here are some comparison screenshots of Azteca before and after the apocalypse occurs. Don't worry, this post will be a little shorter ;)

Cloudburst Forest - Before

Although the quests are tedious as usual, Cloudburst Forest is my personal favorite area of Azteca. Not only is the music theme wonderfully orchestrated, but it is screenshots like this that become my laptop background.

 Cloudburst Forest -- After

It's rather difficult to see the effects of the apocalypse unless you glance at the forest canopy. Then a piece of comet comes hurtling toward the Tehuano Spirits.

Alto Alto -- After

Apparently I was too lazy to gather some 'Before' shots for this one. Just imagine those two flashes wrecking havoc on toucan houses aren't there.

Being higher up in the forest, it's a little more apparent that the apocalypse is nigh.

 Floating Mountains - Before

Just a nice little shower next to a huge electricity source.

Today's forecast: A few flurries with a 30% chance of impending doom.

Floating Mountains -- After

It's raining too hard to see any comets, but the sky tells the story.

The lava pool's probably safe considering it melts dirty ice in a heartbeat.

Can't say the same for way up in the Islas Nevadas, though..

Twin Giants - Before

I think I know what area will be the first to go :P

 ... On second thought ...

Going into Xibalba to trigger the apocalypse, what fun. On that note, I wrote parts of this post while my Storm and Ice wizard reached Khrysalis. Yay alt leveling!

Twin Giants -- After

A look back at the Floating Mountains, and what is now a scary death spiral.

Not a great time to go flying, I think.

Xibalba remains open, but going there is essentially fruitless. And thus marks the end of Azteca's saga. A picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, so this post might as well be a 17,000 word chronicle.

A tale of two Aztecas is indeed a sad story, but it is one of the final steps towards Morganthe's defeat. The end of this world is indeed the end of the world, which is unique as it goes.

Hope the screenshots were enjoyable,
Happy Adventuring!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mongols & Mooshu Pt. 2: Subodai and the Khans

A few months ago, I wrote a historical-based post on the distinctions between the real-life Mongols and Pirate101's Amber Horde. Back then, I did not have a Swashbuckler - but the one I would make a month later has just recently reached level 65. The Horde warrior Subodai is the starter companion for that class, and there is plenty more to expound upon with his two upgrade quests at level 13 and 46.

I didn't get many pictures of Subodai's first promo quest, but it involved him fashioning a warrior's plume. In fact, a horse spirit makes an appearance --

Ogudai's name comes from the second Khan of the Mongol Empire, Ogedei. The successor to Genghis, he actually completed the invasion of China's Jin Empire, much like the Amber Horde overran Subata in Pirate101. A cheery note: he drank himself to death.

Subodai's attitude epitomizes what the Mongols were about. If they ran into opposition in their conquests, a brutal siege was all but guaranteed. One of the few regions that (wisely) accepted Mongol control was Russia, controlled by the Golden Horde -- naming inspiration for Pirate101's Amber Horde. Of course, Mooshu and real-life China was not spared from damage, particularly evident with the Ravaged Valley and Ashen Roads area.

A slash and burn style, basically. Brutal but efficient in conquests.

 Now onto Subodai's level 46 quest --

'Khan' basically means 'King', which is a big step up from Warrior. In Mongol/Horde society, it's more of a vague, high-ranked position - a ruler or elite figure. As Great Khan, though, Hunan has a similar standing to that of Genghis and Ogedei Khan. The main point: Subodai becomes an elite Amber Horde member from this quest :P

Batu and Guyuk were much more significant than Qulpa in the history of khans. In fact, they were both grandsons of Genghis Khan, with Guyuk being a son of Ogedei. The two quarreled in their Eastern European conquests, but Guyuk's mother eventually helped secure his nomination for Khagan (Great Khan) after Ogedei had died. Batu, who was still off fighting in Europe, did not have a say in the matter. 

In contrast, Pirate101's Guyuk and Batu appear to collude together, seen later in this post. After Subodai appeases Guyuk and Batu, he is granted an audience with the Great Khan, Hunan. There was no legendary Mongol figure by this name - it is actually a large province in modern day China :P

Again the prevailing attitudes of the Mongols/Amber Horde are shown in Subodai's pledge to forcibly "crush your enemies". Horses and 13th century warriors weren't exactly diplomatic in their proceedings.

A twist to the story. Dragons and the mythical Kirin (the namesake of a hoard pack and mount in Wizard101) were revered in Central-East Asia, explaining why Hunan viewed them as sacred.

Hunan had some surprisingly good drops, but unfortunately could only be fought once. Great battle though!

Batu couldn't become a Great Khan in real life, but Pirate101 gives him the title about 800 years late. Unlike Mongol history, Batu and Guyuk (and other Lesser Khans) all pitched in to have a Great Khan overthrown at Subodai's hand. Through a complex series of events, Batu becomes Great Khan in Pirate101, while Guyuk earned the honor in 1246 Mongolia. Subodai's second promo quest really provides a great mix of historical figures and attitudes, even if the outcome was quite different.

This explanation might actually forebode (or prevent) a future Pirate101 questline. But the obvious real-life reference does raise a couple questions - where is Mooshu's Great Wall? Did the Amber Horde cut their losses and stop pillaging once they reached it? 

The wall was designed to secure China from "barbarian" enemies, after all, and it served as a great barrier in ancient times, but couldn't keep out the fierce Mongols. Apparently though, it saved the Jade Palace from the Amber Horde (but not Malistaire -- that's another story). 

A theory: As Qulpa's proclamation seems to explain, the Lesser Khans thought of a siege on the Great Wall as suicidal. Their conquered areas, from Subata to the Ravaged Valley, lie by the path to the unknown skyway, so it seems as if they stopped their conquests there, as the Great Wall lies just beyond.

In the above picture, then, lies the doors to Mooshu's unexplored Imperial Skyway, home of the Jade Palace in Wizard101 - and likely the Great Wall in Pirate101. After all, it's hard to bypass a huge Great Wall, and we haven't come across it yet in either game. Even more of a bombshell - could the Amber Horde and the Armada be connected? As Swordroll notes, there seems to be a hole in the plot concerning the Scroll of Secrets (<-- link to post). Maybe, by some series of events, the Scroll of Secrets found its way into the Imperial Skyway, or it will involve this unknown skyway in a major way.

Another somewhat outlandish possibility: The Scroll of Secrets was taken back by the Emperor's forces, and to get it back, the Armada will try to foment more unrest in Mooshu with the help of Moo Manchu. 

Or perhaps, to get back at us for spoiling his plot to take over Mooshu, Moo Manchu takes the Scroll for himself, moving it to the Nefarious Tower for safekeeping. Unlikely, perhaps, but it would tie up many loose ends, including this recent teaser from Pirate101:

Then again, Moo Manchu may be a red herring in all of this, and the Nefarious Tower could just be an upcoming glorified side quest, much like Moo Manchu's dungeon was. With the Terracotta soldiers Moo Manchu involves himself with, that whole questline has enough material for another History101 post.

What do you think? Will pirates venture into Mooshu's third skyway sometime soon, or will it be involved in a totally different storyline? Will the Amber Horde and the Scroll of Secrets play a major role of their own?

Thanks for reading if you got this far ;)
Happy Questing!