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December 16, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

8 Situations Made Much Better with Pirate Lingo

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When you’re a kid, things like getting a job and paying bills are thankfully far enough away that all you need to worry about is how to keep having as much fun as you possibly can. That is until your mom, dad, or big sis throw down demands and make you do something that you really don’t want to do.

Sometimes Mom or Dad asks you to do chores that you just can’t get out of. What would happen if you took all of the seafaring terms you’ve learned from Pirate101 and use them to turn those dreadfully “blah” tasks into hilarious pirate games? Here are eight ways to test out your lingo and make walking the plank fun:

1. Taking Out the Trash

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“Arrrgh. It smells worse than Davy Jones’ locker! Well, the other lily-livered scallywags on this ship can’t handle the task of taking out the trash, so I guess I’ll have to do it like a common bilge rat! When I turn 18, you can take care of this fish-gut stink ye’self!”

(Of course, after you say all this, you should quickly follow it up with a “Just kidding! Aye-aye, sir!”)

2. Sweeping the Floor

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“Do I really have to swab the deck? Am I getting a pretty penny for this? Where’s me bounty for this hard work? Don’t try to hornswaggle me, Mom!”

3. Dinner Time

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“What’s sloshin’ around the old chumbucket tonight, Mom? I’m no landlubber, but I wouldn’t shake a fist at a bit o’ pizza! And how’s about some cackle fruit in the mornin’?”

4. Being Dragged to the Grocery Store

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“Just make me dance the Hempen Jig now! I’ll climb abaft in ye minivan. Wake me when it’s over. Can we at least stop by Gamestop?”

5. Studying For a Test

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“Ye want me to do this right now, in the middle of playing the game? Well, I’ll be the son of a biscuit-eater. Wait! I didn’t mean you, Mom!”

6. Bedtime

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“Arrgh. Fine. I’d rather walk the plank than go to bed early! I’ll just sing me’self a sea shanty and dream of land ho!”

7. Getting in the Tub

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“What? Shiver me timbers! I just took a shower two days ago! It’s not like I’ve been swabbing the poop deck. C’mon!”

8. Eating Healthy Snacks

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“Avast! By snack I meant candy and cookies! I’m not some little scallywag who can get by on nutritious fruit alone, Mom! Me needs some sugary loot to coat me belly!”

For the most part, this should get the fun pirate games going for the whole family and give everyone a good laugh. However, if your mom or dad gives you a sharp look, strike your most adorable pose and simply say “Aye-aye, Captain Mom!” That should fix things right up.

December 9, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Darkmoor Dungeon Design!

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We’ve had a lot of fun lately providing the community with our “KI Live” events.  During a recent event we were asked, “What is our favorite “dungeon design” out of the new gauntlets in Wizard101?”  To get your answer went straight to the source, and asked our game designers this very question!

Jesse “King Artorius” Scoble

As the Creative Lead on Wizard, I’d have to go with CASTLE DARKMOOR (although Shangri-Baa was also tremendously fun, in large part because one of our other writers, Mike “The ThunderSnake” took point on it, so I got to supervise without doing the hard work).

For the level 100 gauntlet (or “dungeon,” we use both terms more or less interchangeably) we knew it had to be epic. We didn’t have time to build out a full world, of course, but we wanted to reward players who had made it to the end of the Morganthe Arc in Khrysalis with something new. And we had recently hinted at DARKMOOR during the Five B.O.X.E.S event, so both Design and Art had already put some effort into what we wanted it to look and feel like. We kicked around a few alternate ideas (“Nodor? The lost City of Alissar? An extension of Aquila?”) but DARKMOOR felt most appropriate, especially once we decided it would end with a climactic battle with Malistaire the Undying.

Now I’ve been quoted as saying that I never intended to bring Malistaire back – and this is true. But last we saw, Malistaire had been sent tumbling into the Outer Void, and upon reflection it felt like his story hadn’t quite been wrapped up. But doing it during the Morganthe Arc would have taken the spotlight away from her. Yet I certainly didn’t want Malistaire to be the Big Bad of the Third Arc, as endless repetition is the death of creativity. Thus the idea of exploring his fate during a contained “mini-world” or gauntlet seemed like the perfect opportunity to deal with his story, and how it relates to your Wizard(s), and to do so it an epically challenging fashion.

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Additionally, by revealing Malistaire at the beginning of the quest with his very direct challenge, it made the gauntlet much more personal, rather than having him be a surprise twist at the end (which would inevitably have been spoiled by Test Realm and YouTube streams).

The last remaining question was: where in Darkmoor would Malistaire be? Darkmoor is heavily inspired by the Universal Monster films, and of course the older horror classics that began them. It’s also influenced by modern takes on these legends. And I think it can be safely argued that Dracula is the “king” of the monster/horror genre, so a Castle Dracula / Transylvania style locale seemed most appropriate. So we started with the idea of a grand, Gothic castle in the vein of Dracula, Castlevania, and Ravenloft, and worked out from there to include as many horror references and tropes as we could – from the Wolf Man, to Dracula, to undead paladins, zombies, and gargoyles. We actually have a whole page of other ideas we couldn’t cram in there, so we’ll see where they end up…

I created a pitch document that outlined the general ideas – the core characters we would need, the basic environments, a rough sense of progressions, and so forth – and passed that over to one of our veteran designers, Valerie. And I’m going to let her explain the rest of the process:

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And now from Valerie!

Before the art gets created and before the story gets fully fleshed out, it was my job to come up with a rudimentary top down map of the flow of each dungeon. In order to do this, I worked closely with Jesse to get the details on paper; where bosses should go, how the puzzle should function, and how many fights should take place within each dungeon. Once the top down is created Art then uses that map along with a vision document for each dungeon to build the world assets and environments.

Once all the art is done is when my job really gets interesting. It’s my task to build all the quests and take the assets created by art and make them function.  One of the hardest aspects in scripting Darkmoor was making the Lens puzzle function. It took several versions and a lot of editing (this is what we in the industry call “iteration”) to make the puzzle function in a way that made us all happy (ideally not too simple, and not impossible, but appropriately challenging). The most interesting aspect about building this puzzle was creating a scenario in which the puzzle would reset if the player failed. It was also important to make it so players can use the puzzle’s elements to spawn a rare mob. After the iteration process was complete on the puzzle it was then time to move onto Darkmoor mobs (the creatures and bosses you fight).

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The most intense aspect of creating a dungeon is also the balancing that goes into the bosses and normal mobs. I worked closely with another designer, Brandon, who came up with the ideas for the boss cheats and combat triggers. After a lot of testing, balancing, and player feedback we eventually have the finished product we call Darkmoor!

Overall, I’d have to say this was one of my favorite dungeons to build because of how important it was to collaborate with each team member to bring this area to life. Since Castle Darkmoor is an optional dungeon we, as a team, really wanted to dig in and make it a challenging but also fun experience for the players. I have to say, putting together the finale cinematic for this area and working with several key artists to get it just right was the icing on the cake for me. And I have to admit, play testing against some of these boss fights was so much fun! Being able to share this experience alongside our players is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job and I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I enjoyed building it.

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Thanks to our great game designers for answering this fan question!  What do you think on the subject?

December 4, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

CodeWeavers and Wizard101!

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Wizard101 and Codeweavers have been working together for years to bring the magic of the Spiral to players on Mac computers.  So when they posted the “Top 3 Reasons We Let Kids of CodeWeavers Play Wizard101″ on the CodeWeavers blog, we had to share!

A few of us at the CodeWeavers Ranch have been playing…er…testing… Wizard101 since 2011. Since the beginning of our
“testing” of Wizard101, an exclusive group (those of us with kids) has happily introduced our children to the game. So when I was asked to write a blog post about our upcoming promotion with Wizard101, it was only natural for
me to write about why us parents love Wizard101. 
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1.) Reading, Math, and Creativity – Oh My!
Wizard101 is not a game that was designed specifically to teach math or reading skills, but a side effect of the game is its educational value. With over 50,000 lines of text in Wizard101, players are constantly exercising their reading skills to complete quests. While technically not a math game either, math and reasoning skills are improved as players learn how
to solve problems, reason out solutions, and figure out which combination of spells are needed in a given situation. 

Perhaps most importantly, Wizard101 nurtures creativity. While Wizard101 is not technically an art game, it has inspired thousands of pages of creative stories written by players as well as art submissions sent to the KingsIsle office. A game like Wizard101 can ignite a future passion for computer programming, digital art, and engineering.

2.) Sustains Relationships when Distance is Involved
Instead of just chatting with relatives through Skype or Facebook, why not play a game with them? Wizard101 can encourage stronger connections with friends and family from afar. Wizard101 gives children the opportunity to play a game with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that are spread out across the country. Grandparents and grandchildren can meet and play online, using the in-game chat to catch up on daily life and do fun quests together.

3.) Teamwork
Many of the quests can eventually be completed solo, but Wizard101 makes it possible to team-up in many different ways. Playing together can be a lot of fun too! Call your friends to action, wait near the sigil or press the “Team Up” button to join a group. You can complete quests faster and have a much more rewarding time playing in a group.

CodeWeavers is also currently running a special promotion with Wizard101!

Buy CrossOver or renew your existing subscription of CrossOver and get a special Wizard101 bonus pack! 

New Wizard101 Players (opening a new account as of December 2, 2014): Buy or renew your support of CrossOver using promo code WIZARDINVITE and receive:
• Lava Spider 
• Snack Pack 
• White Stag 7-Day Rental 
• Hand of Doom Pack 
• Remarkable Reagent Pack 
• XP Boost Elixir 
• Minor Fishing Luck Elixir 
• Ninja Pig Transformation 
• 1,000 Gold 
• 750 Crowns 

For Existing Wizard101 Players: Buy or renew your support of CrossOver using promo code CROWNBONUS and receive 3,000 Nontransferable Crowns. 

Questions about the Promotion? For questions related to this promotion please contact info@codeweavers.com. 
Technical Support Questions for Wizard101? For account related questions and technical support contact Wizard101. 

Offer expires December 31, 2014.