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October 20, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Trick or Treat: Be Merle Ambrose With These Everyday Household Items


If Merle Ambrose is your favorite character from Wizard101, then you’re in for a real treat this Halloween! While Merle is best known as the commanding Wizard who created Wizard City, he is also the headmaster of Ravenwood School of Magical Arts and is currently researching a third triangle of astral magics – one we know little about. You can easily dress as this great and powerful Wizard with items you probably already have lying around your house.

Stuff you’ll need:

  • Purple construction paper or poster board
  • White construction paper or poster board
  • Bathrobe (preferably purple)
  • Long stick from your backyard
  • Tennis ball from your garage
  • Cotton balls from your bathroom
  • Pencil
  • Single hole punch
  • 12″ piece of string
  • Blue paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Glue
  • Foil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Compass

Making the Mystical Robe

To create Merle Ambrose’s robe, you’ll need to borrow or use your own bathrobe. Bonus points if it’s purple to match the mystical wizard’s wardrobe! Cut stars out of the foil (younger Wizards should ask for help with the cutting while making their costume!) and tape them to the robe.

Crafting Merle Ambrose’s Hat

Use the ruler and compass to draw a large half-circle on the purple construction paper/poster board. Cut it out and roll it into a cone. Make small cuts along the bottom edge of the cone, then bend them outward.

On a second sheet of purple construction paper/poster board, measure the circumference of your hat and draw a circle that big. Then, draw a larger circle around it to make the brim. There should be 3 or 4 inches between the two circles.

Glue the hat to the brim, then use the ruler to make the bends in the hat so it looks like Merle Ambrose’s. Glue more stars onto the hat so it matches the robe.


Growing a Wizard’s Beard (the Fast Way)

Cut a sheet of white construction paper or poster board in the shape of a beard. It should be straight at the top and cut like a scalloped upside-down triangle. Use the hole punch to make a hole at each corner of the flat edge of the triangle.

Tie a piece of string through one hole, hold the beard up to your face, and pull the string around your head to the other hole. This will make sure your beard fits properly. Secure the other end of the string after passing it through the other hole, but don’t make the knot so tight that you can’t put the beard on and take it off.

When the shape looks like a beard, make it fluffy and more “beard-like” by gluing on cotton balls from your mom’s medicine cabinet.

Creating the Wizard Staff

For Merle Ambrose’s magical staff, head to your backyard and pick up a large stick. Next, roll some of the gold foil you used for the stars and shape it into the curve at the top of the stick, like Merle’s. When you’re done, visit your garage to pick up an old tennis ball. Paint the tennis ball blue and glue the curved gold foil and the ball to the top of your stick. Now you are ready to make magic!


October 15, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Pirate101 Celebrates its 2nd Birthday!


A baby buccaneer no more, Pirate101 is now two!  To celebrate this milestone, we asked some of the beloved game developers, Blind Mew and Ratbeard, what their favorite thing about working on Pirate101.

I get to work on pretty much all of the “systems” of Pirate101, so it’s really unfair to ask me which is my favorite– that’s like asking a parent which kid is their favorite! I’m always the most excited about whatever the latest thing is, and we’ve had a lot of really BIG releases in a row: the expansive story update from Marleybone and Aquila, then a massive UI overhaul, followed by a large pet update, and most recently the Tower of Moo Manchu and the Grizzly Beast Pack. When I think about what excites me the most about any of these updates in particular, it is getting to work on them every day, feeling the excitement building up behind the scenes, trying my hardest not to let any spoilers slip and then the great fun of seeing the feedback from all of the fans. I spend a good chunk of every day reading and replying on our forums, processing the praise and the criticism. Our fans are very passionate one way or another with their feedback. No matter what, that level of energy players have is very infectious. So my favorite thing about Pirate101 is definitely our fans!

Blind Mew

I’d have to say my favorite part of the development process in Pirate101 has been watching unexpected things emerge out of nowhere and become not only important, but essential. That’s always part of writing – when you’re in the groove suddenly a line will come out of nowhere that you never planned or even imagined, but there are other things too. Companions were the biggest, I think. We’d never thought of them as that big of a deal in the beginning, and then one day we decided to make them talk during quests – we’d use them instead of a narrator. And they did so much more: they let us have dead ends in quests so they could point you where you needed to go.  They also got to be funny – they were characters we could build over 50 levels instead of a single quest. SO much of the joy in writing for Pirate comes from inventing the quips from the peanut gallery: El Toro, Bonnie Anne, Hawkules, and the rest of them. Once we saw how much fun it was to have them talk, we invented promotion quests – and they exploded. They’re a lot of effort to write, but so worth it because they let us take the characters even farther. The Marleybone promo quests (Bonnie Anne and Ratbeard) are some of my favorite writing in the game – and as the game was originally conceived, they never would have happened.


The other thing I dearly love is to sprinkle in references. Yes, we do lots of movies and books and songs and the rest – those are great fun – but my favorites are the historical ones. Saving Nelson at Trafalgar. Getting to do a homage to the Illiad and the Odyssey, that kind of thing. There’s lots of history lurking under the surface, they we do put our own spin on it. Before I ever got into games I was going to be a history teacher – so sneaking this stuff in is second nature. I’ve said it several times – if I can get one player to read one more book than they otherwise would have, or get interested in some tidbit of history or literature that’s the highest achievement I can do – it takes this job beyond fun or rewarding – doing something like that makes this job truly matter.

Thanks to Ratbeard and Blind Mew for this look into Pirate101 development!  What has your favorite thing been in the last year of Pirate101?

October 13, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Become Captain Avery for Halloween for Less Than $10


Ahoy, mateys! Want to sail the seas as Captain Avery from Pirate101 this Halloween? Turns out, his garb is easier to create than you think – and you can do so for less than $10 by using stuff you have around the house, borrowing accessories from a friend, or making a visit to your local thrift shop.

First things first: You’ve gotta have a cockatoo of your own. Head into your sister’s room to see if she has a stuffed bird you can borrow. If you can’t find one, have your parents take you to a local thrift store. You can find all kinds of loot at these stores for only a couple of gold pieces.

For the captain’s coat, visit your dad’s closet for a long, over-sized jacket or shirt that he’s willing to get rid of. Have your parents pick up up gold trim at a hobby or fabric store and ask them to stitch or hot glue the trim along the edges of the coat.

To cover your peg leg and get Captain Avery’s unique sailing pants, you can wear a pair of pant that are too short or cut the bottoms off some old ones you don’t wear.


To make your captain’s hat, take an old hat and have your parents help you fit some pieces of felt around it to make that unique shape. If you live near a Halloween store, take a look at its selection of Pirate hats that have the same look and feel as Captain Avery’s for a discounted price.

Whether you’re swabbing the deck or counting your booty, the captain’s accessories are the most important part of the outfit. Find a large belt and cut a square out of cardboard, color it gold, and weave the belt through it. Take brown work or winter gloves and tuck them under your sleeves for Captain Avery’s signature look. You should be able to find an inexpensive, plastic sword at a local discount store. To make your own cutlass at home, have your parents help you cut the shape of a sword out of cardboard and cover it with aluminum foil.

Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot to be just like one of the most successful Pirate who ever lived. The important part of Halloween is having fun, celebrating, and sharing with your crew. Enjoy your Halloween as Captain Avery and have a safe, fun night.