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January 26, 2015 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Fan Site Spotlight for #CMAD!

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Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day, an online holiday to recognize the hard work of Community Managers all across the web. And what better way for a Community Manager to celebrate than to turn the spotlight back on some of the dedicated players that make my job a pleasure every day. Many knowledgeable, helpful and creative members of the Wizard101 and Pirate101 communities create and run fan sites. If you aren’t familiar with their work, below is an introduction to the official fan sites that celebrate KingsIsle games.

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Wizard101 Central ,Wizard101 Wiki, Pirate101 Central and Pirate101 Wiki

The Central sites host a massive player-run forum that holds a wealth of discussion and information about both Wizard101 and Pirate101. If you are looking for help, to hatch pets or just to chat about your thoughts on the games, Central is a great place to start. It also hosts the most comprehensive wikis available. If you are ever in search of where to find an item or where to go for your next quest, the Wizard101 Central or Pirate101 Central wiki will have the answers.

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Petnome Project and Petnome Pirates

For fans of the pet systems in Wizard101 and Pirate101, Petnome is your source for all the information you could ever need about talents, hybrids and more.

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Spiral Radio

A combination podcast about both Wizard101 and Pirate101 (and an assortment of other games), Spiral Radio is the longest-running audio podcast about KingsIsle games. Hosts Steve and Christina host regular live episodes that cover the latest news in both games.

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Duelist101

Duelist101 is a wonderful resource for information about PVP, strategy and the latest news about Wizard101 and Pirate101. The site regularly posts guides and is host to many community blogs and discussions.

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Stars of the Spiral

Stars of the Spiral is a fan site for both Wizard101 and Pirate101 that focuses on comprehensive guides, blogs about the latest news as well as community forums.

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Mercenaries for Hire and Mercenaries for Charter

If you are ever stuck in game and need help with farming, completing a tough boss fight or dungeon run, the Mercenaries are there to help. On their websites players can request help as well as find many helpful guides.

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Legends of the Spiral and Stormgate Pirates

The Legends fan sites are host to a large community of players for both KingsIsle games, with contests, comics, discussion boards, a nifty CardMaker and more.

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Art in the Spiral

The Art in the Spiral blog hosts wonderful fan art created by Alura RB, as well as art from other community members that she helps to spotlight.

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Paige’s Page

Paige Moonshade is another Wizard101 and Pirate101 blogger, best known as one of the foremost housing decorators in the Spiral. Take a look at her blog to see some of her lovely creations.

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Ditto Monster

Ditto is Wizard101 and Pirate101’s most famous Fabricated American blogger. Join Ditto as he takes you along in his video blog adventures throughout the Spiral.

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Valerian’s School for Wayward Wizards

Valerian and team share their adventures through the Spiral in one of our longest running official fan blogs.

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Skull Island TV

On Skull Island TV, Dr. Zeppers creates hilarious and catchy tunes about his adventures in the world of Pirate101.

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Adventures of the Spiral

The Adventures of the Spiral blog posts the latest news in KingsIsle games and hosts an informative Companion Database for Pirate101 and a Fishing Database for Wizard101.

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Wizards of the Spiral and Pirates of the Spiral

On his blogs about Wizard101 and Pirate101, Johnny discusses his ideas for how to improve the games, posts high quality character renders and covers the latest news.

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FrostCaller

New to the roster of Wizard101 official fan sites, FrostCaller’s blog joins us with insightful posts, amazing graphics and colorful wallpapers.

And these wonderful sites are just the tip of the iceburg! Look for even more mentions of other non-official fansites regularly in our monthly newsletter. If there’s a good post to be read on the internet by one of our fans, we love to read it! Thanks to all of our wonderful Wizard101 and Pirate101 fan sites for all that you do.

-Professor Greyrose

January 20, 2015 / KingsIsle Entertainment

More Cheese Please!

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Here at KingsIsle, we celebrate Cheese Day once a month. This has been our tradition for several years, and it is a fun way to catch up with fellow employees as we eat some tasty cheeses from around the world. But how did we get this strange idea to eat cheese once a month in an organized setting? Read on and maybe you will want to celebrate Cheese Day along with us, month by month.

A long time ago, when Wizard101 was simply a glimmer of an idea being worked on at Kingsisle Entertainment, a young designer got a gift for Christmas. He received a Cheese of a Month Club subscription. With an overabundance of cheese, he started to bring in the cheeses from around the world to the office, inviting everyone to finish off what he couldn’t eat. Once a month, a cheese from another country would arrive with a little pamphlet telling about the history of each cheese. Most of the cheeses were good and a few were bad, but it started a tradition of gathering around a table, eating cheese and crackers and chatting with each other in a relaxed environment.

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People started to ask about when the next cheese package would arrive next month, and soon there was an e-mail thread about when the cheese would arrive. When the cheese DID arrive, people would rejoice and talk and laugh and eat a bit of cheese around the break room.

But all good things must come to an end, and that end was the discontinuation of the designer’s Cheese of the Month Club. For, you see, it had been a year since the initial cheese had been shared around the table, and the subscription died out. The designer left the company, and all hope was lost, for we had no cheese.

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Until one day, a not-so-young but inspired artist decided that we didn’t need a Cheese of the Month Club as an excuse for eating cheese. We didn’t need one person determining when we could eat some snacks. The concept was stronger than one individual. That realization was when Cheese Day was born. We got people to bring their own favorite cheeses for others to share. Every month, we have discovered many different cheeses that still to this day surprise even me. The concept of Cheese Day is one of sharing and simple conversation around a break room table. It is a break from the busy day and instead focuses on how good a simple flake of 10 year old cheddar tastes on the tongue. (The answer? Very, VERY good, thank you very much.)

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So, we celebrate Cheese Day here at Kingsisle. We may have started this tradition, but we encourage every business and family, large and small, to start their own Cheese Day. Announce a date; buy some cheese and crackers, (The more variety, the better) and simply eat and talk with your coworkers or family. Oh, and tell us about your Cheese Day experiences and maybe take some pictures and send them to us at community@kingsisle.com. We would love to spread this idea to the rest of the country, for it is both relaxing and delicious.

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And isn’t that what life is all about? As we enjoy our delicious cheese, we’d love to hear from you. Share your favorite kind of cheese in the comments! Happy Cheese Day, everyone!

 

January 16, 2015 / KingsIsle Entertainment

8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Making of Wizard101

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The Spiral is a magical place, with Wizard City at the center of all the worlds that are or could be. But, the Spiral had to come from somewhere. Who conjured Merle Ambrose? How did Ravenwood School come to be? What evil genius summoned the diabolical Malistaire and Morganthe? It all began with an idea… These eight facts about the making of Wizard101 might truly surprise you.

1. Was Wizard101 the brainchild of Shadowbane?

Once upon a time, there were some heroes on a quest to build a different kind of world. Little does most of the public know that many of the Wizard101 founders, including Josef Hall, initially learned how to build worlds by creating Shadowbane, a popular MMORPG game from Wolfpack Studios.  That experience translated into the creation of the family-friendly MMO game, Wizard101.

2. Wizard101 Wasn’t meant to fit in with other MMOs.

When the heroes mentioned above came together, they thought about all the other games out there, like World of Warcraft, and realized there were not many games designed for parents and kids to play together. Josef Hall was a father, and he knew he wanted to build a game that would be fun for families. Quests in most MMOs are filled with violent battles and weapons that are not appropriate for children, so the creators wanted to come up with a game that was suitable for the whole family. In addition, the chat feature within the game is filtered to be safe for players of all ages.

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3. Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and Wizard101

Turns out Pixar’s model played into the inspiration behind Wizard101. Like the heroes behind Pixar, the heads at KingsIsle wanted to create a world that would be engaging and safe for children, but still interesting and challenging for adults.

4. It started out as a real card game.

Believe it or not, the premise behind the game didn’t magically appear. The team spent days playing with a deck of character cards, some dice, and beads that symbolized the power-up and other boosts. They scribbled down rules, ideas, and notes about what worked and didn’t. They knew that the core of any good game, no matter how amazing the graphics and effects, is that it is fun to play.

5. It was made in record time.

The team of heroes had an ambitious goal: They wanted to launch their new game within three years, which is a pretty short video game development time in the gaming industry. By keeping the initial features compact and focused, they imagined, designed, tested and programmed the game on time!

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6. You can play it at Grandma’s house.

The creators realized that many kids and families don’t have the latest technology, so the game is designed to run well and look great on any system, even the old one at Grandma’s house. The specs that this game requires were actually thought out with a purpose. The designers knew casual users and kids on hand-me-down computers would be playing Wizard101, so the focus needed to be on the game being easily accessible and able to run on minimal RAM and processing power.

7. The cards actually come to life!

Instead of flat cards popping up on the screen during game play, Wizard101 took creativity a step further to have the characters on the cards actually come to life and act out the combat.

8. The first launch of the game only included four adventure areas.

With a deadline quickly approaching, the team opted to only ship with four major adventure areas (Wizard City, Krokotopia, Marleybone and Mooshu), then added a fifth area three months after launch. Can you imagine playing the game back then?!

Wizard101 is constantly evolving, bringing about new spells, characters, and technology. The creators of the game frequently refer to it as the best project they’ve ever worked on, and you can see why!