So it's been a while since I have posted on the blog (almost a month). I'm really sorry for the delay, and I'm going to try to post more often for a few personal reasons.
There's a ton to talk about today, so I best get started:
First, I should probably tell you how New York Comic Con ultimately went. Let me tell you; this event was definitely one I'll remember. I got to see a load of exclusive game footage, received a ton of exclusive items, and went to amazing exclusive panels (did I mention it was exclusive?). I also got to demo some great games including Star Wars: The Old Republic (let me tell you, this game looks amazing for all you Star Wars and MMO fans out there!), Halo Anniversary, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I even got to make my own Decipticon for Transformers Universe Online (his name is DeathShark)! I also got to meet a friend of mine for the first time, Paige Whisper (we meet through Wizard101). We had a great time running around New York City, and I think it definitely made our friendship stronger.
All in all, it was a great experience, and I'm extremely grateful to everyone who listened to me fan-girl over everything I saw as well as the people who granted me this insanely awesome privilege! I'll be sure to post some pictures in the bottom of the post!
In much more recent news, a BRAND NEW world has come upon Legendary Wizards! In case you didn't know (who didn't?), this new world is called Zafaria! You can find out all about the update notes here at the Game Updates page on the Wizard101 site in case you haven't seen them yet. Zafaria is an African and Indian inspired world that focuses on continuing the Celestia storyline, meaning that we're going to see more of the Umbra Queen. There are four main tribes in Zafaria; the Lions, the Zebras, the Elephants, and the Apes. Of course, there are a bunch of less important new monsters, such as the hyenas and the rhinos as well. The basic story behind Zafaria is finding a group of Wizards studying abroad in Zafaria and their teacher, Umlilo the Flameingo (that's right; Fire Flamingos!). In trying to find this group of missing students (most, if not all, modeled after community leaders ;D) you also get wrapped up in Baobob politics (pronounced: Bay-oh-bob), and things get ... messy.
For those of you that do not have access to the Test Realm, here are some pictures of Zafaria:
This is a picture of Valdus rescuing one of the students studying abroad in Zafaria. You save her after defeating the king of a certain Lion tribe. According to Cassandra GriffinDreamer, this student represents Fallon ShadowBlade! Awesome! :)
This is the Star School Teacher in a city called Zamuda in Zafaria, home to the Zebras. You can activate the pillar at level 64, however as we're about to see, you cannot learn it's spells until Level 66.
A risky new Star School spell, Beserk increases the amount of damage put on you by 40% to give you a +30% damage boost for four rounds. This spell is not available until level 66 and should only be practiced by brave wizards. ;)
Finally a new Star School spell that supports healing! EXACTLY what we've been asking for, KingsIsle (or at least me anyway)! Mend gives +20% healing for the four rounds (ok, so it's not MUCH of a boost, but hey, it's something :D).
This was an interesting picture I took in Stone Town, home of the Olyphants (A.K.A. Elephants). As you can see in the screenshot, the merchant talks about how she wants to visit "common" stops in the Spiral. Two of those worlds (Marleybone and MooShu) we already know. HOWEVER, if you look very closely, she mentions two worlds we've never EVER heard of before; Avalon and Polaris. I'll probably make another post soon to theorycraft on these two worlds, but my basic summary is this; Avalon is going to be a King Arthur themed world, and Polaris will be an Arctic theme (no, not like GrizzleHiem; think more Santa Clause, Polar Bears, and Penguins type of world). Just thought that was an interesting note to touch upon...
One of the towers where you fight a boss (not an actual tower; just a place where you fight a boss). I haven't gotten far enough into the story of Zafaria to talk about what this black stone is (and know my facts, that is), but it seems to be connected to Morganthe, and it also seems to corrupt people using it. Umlilo can also be seen in the photo. :)
This is a picture of the Sun School trainer in the Drum Jungle of Zafaria. You can activate the trainer by completing a quest at level 66. It should be noted that you also need to have access to the Drum Jungle to accept the quest.
One of the two new Sun School spells that shall replace Gargantuan in many decks. With +50 more damage, I'm sure it will be a valued tool to all "Transcended" Wizards ;).
Another picture in the Drum Jungle. This is of the Ape village which is deeply plagued by black stones mentioned above. This is one of my favorite areas of Zafaria (as you can see by my many pictures of it, haha!). I really like the Ape tribe and their village, and I think their history is very unique and interesting :)
This is the HUB of Zafaria, or in other terms the "commons" of Zafaria. It's called the Baobob Crossroads, and it really does look like a basic mixture of all the lands of Zafaria combined. It's a beautiful place :). That Zebra to the right, Inyanga WhiteStripes, is the "main quest-giver" so to speak (comparable to Edith Benchley).
The Savannah region of Zafaria. This land is mainly dominated by the Lions, although some Zebras live there as well. The Savannah is extremely pretty and the wildlife there is fantastic.
This is a dungeon you go through in a part of Stone Town. Again, you can see this reoccurring black rock that corrupts the different factions of Zafaria. The dungeon was extremely interesting, but be careful! A cheating boss lies in there, waiting for you to test him!
This is the Baobob Market, and its the first area you go through (other than the Baobob Crossroads, that is). This is where you can access Stone Town and the Drum Jungle. It's an interesting beginning taste to Zafaria.
Here's the crown of the Baobob Crossroads; this is where all the "action" happens. Here you can find the Library, Zeke and the Seamstress, student dorms, and even political scandals. Not only is this place beautiful, but it's also the center of all social life here in Zafaria.
Lastly, this is a look at the outside of Zamuda. You can see the amazing arching Zebra statues that guard the way into the cities. The flora and fauna are also amazingly beautiful as well. To the right, there's an amazing river. Truly beautiful. :)
Lastly, I wanted to touch on an issue that's been encroaching its way into many wizard's real lives:
For many of the twizards of the Spiral, this is their first year in High School or their last year in Middle School. Let's say Bob goes up to his friend Timmy at lunch time. Bob starts talking about this amazing new world in Wizard101 called Zafaria that just hit the Test Realm, but Timmy's not impressed. In fact, Timmy says Wizard101 is for little kids, and a game is only cool if it's rated 'T' or 'M'. So the big question here is; what does Bob do? Does he quit or does he stick up for the game?
Many people would say he should probably quit, because it's just a game after all, and Wizard101 IS in fact aimed at children. Besides, there are some really cool 'M' games, right? ALL the cool kids play 'M' games. There are tons of other games out there, and chances are, Bob's probably going to find another game that he feels just as passionately about.
What people fail to realize is that this problem is deeper than just quitting a game. It's more than giving up Wizard101 for a more "mature" game. The fact is, Bob is being faced with peer pressure. His friends are making fun of him for playing an 'E' game, because children can play 'E' games, which automatically makes him immature.
And, a personal note to all those people against 'E' rated games, PLEASE realize what 'E' stands for. 'E' does not stand for "Child" but for "Everyone". It's geared towards all ages, whether 6 or 66. This, by no means, means any person who plays 'E' games is immature, or a child, and they are just as much a gamer as another person who plays an 'M' rated game.
This is one reason why I really dislike the ESRB rating system. If people saw a game with less "Parental Warnings" versus one with more, there wouldn't be the huge gap of people that there are when it comes to 'E' v.s. 'M'. It's almost like labeling a game.
Maybe I'm just ranting. Anyway, I hope I got my point across to anyone that needed it. And if it wasn't clear; stand up for what you believe in. Tell your friends, family, or whomever it may be that criticizes you that the games you play don't reflect your maturity.Be passionate about what you play. I really hope that helps people. :)
On my final note, I MIGHT be going to PAX East in late April! I'm really excited, and I'll be sure to bring you more news as it comes...
See you in the Spiral!