Saturday, December 27, 2014

Swordroll's Blog Update Notes

Over the past couple of months, I've been updating things around Swordroll's Blog here and there, and just recently spent a few extra hours getting everything together for the end of 2014. Here's what's new on the site!

Monday, December 22, 2014

J. Todd Coleman Announces New Game

Play2Crush / ArtCraft Entertainment - J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton

Former KingsIsle Entertainment Creative Director J. Todd Coleman officially announced the start-up of his new company ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc. today. Coleman, along with a leading executive game producer, Gordon Walton, has also unveiled his latest game - Play2Crush. Take a look.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Creating a YouTube Intro

I have never truly been a "YouTuber," but I do use YouTube to upload videos that I include in blog posts. Many YouTubers have short introductions at the beginning of their videos, kind of like the title sequence of a television show. It's often their name with a cool effect, but I decided to take that one step further - what if it was directly related to the Spiral as well?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pirate101's Mysterious Missing Gear Set

Pirate101 Unknown Tiger Gear Set

It's cool to get hints from KingsIsle about what we don't know of in the game - hybrids, upcoming content, or whatever else - but sometimes you don't need to look very far to find something new. In this case, you needn't look any further than the Crown Shop.

Adventures in Pet Hatching Part 2

Pirate101 Fire Spider Hybrid

Creating the perfect pet in Pirate101 may be a bit easier than in Wizard, but that doesn't make it simple. After numerous hatches, I am still working toward my ideal pet, but have come across several very good ones in the process. The real, fun, though, has been the multitude of new pets and hybrids that KingsIsle has been adding in and players have been discovering.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wizard101's New Pack Structure

Just yesterday, Wizard101 released a new card pack: the Winterland Pack. It contains Ice Skate mounts, new gear, a Maple Moose pet, crystal wands, new furniture including Yuletide fish tanks, and more. But even more interesting than these winter wonderland items is what they tell us about the changing structure of packs in Wizard101.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pirate101 Ship Cabin Starter Guide

With Pirate101's latest update, they've released the Black Market, Smuggler's Cove, and more! One of the other updates that has long been requested is the ability to go inside ships - ship cabins! And now, at long last, you can enter any ship, and even upgrade your cabin and decorations especially for it. But how do you get started?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Smuggler's Cove and Other New Updates

Pirate101 Smuggler's Cove

Pirate101 has released their latest updates into the Live Realm this morning! For a full list, click HERE. One thing that we didn't see in the Test Realm is the new Smuggler's Cove house. Check out a video tour plus other new updates you may have missed!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wizard101: The Evolution of Group Dynamics

Wizard101 Group Dynamics

Working together has always been a fundamental part of Wizard101. While soloing is certainly possible, the game was designed for players to help each other with certain bosses and instances. After over six years of assisting other wizards and interacting with friends, the basics of these in-game relationships may be changing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Black Market: Initial Impressions

Pirate101 recently opened their Test Realm, and while Book XV isn't included, there's plenty to be excited for! The highlight of the update is probably the Black Market and all its goodies. Here's what I've learned so far and here are my personal opinions.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wizard101: Concept Art Reveals New Gear

Wizard101 Shadow Malistaire, Darkmoor

KingsIsle Senior Concept Artist Kevin Chin has posted a number of great pieces of concept art on his site in the past, but his most recent works are particularly stunning... and telling about some of the gear we've not seen yet!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wizard101 Skeleton Keys Guide

Wizard101 Skeleton Key Guide

Wizard101 recently released the Test Realm. Inside was an interesting new feature - Skeleton Keys. These keys, which dropped from the bosses around the Spiral, particularly in the new areas, unlocked rooms with hidden rewards.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Concept of Randomized Enemies

Wizard101 threw yet another curveball at us in this latest Test Realm. It's a new feature that you haven't heard people talking about and that many people aren't aware that even happens. If you take a close look, you'll see that Wizard101 is doing something fundamentally different with "mobs" that could change the way you play the game.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wizard101 Evergreen Bundle First Look!

Wizard101 Evergreen Bundle Card

Wizard101's newest card - the Evergreen Bundle - has been gathering a lot of attention, and it's been tough to track down. With a Botanical Gardens Estate, Celestial Wolf Mount, and more, people have been looking everywhere. Now it has been found! Take a look at the gear, wand, and more, all here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wizard101 Level 100 Spells: Analysis and Feedback (Castle Darkmoor Spells)

Wizard101 Level 100 Spells - Darkmoor, All Spells

Wizard101 has opened the doors to the Test Realm, and inside is a new, level 100+ dungeon - Castle Darkmoor! Here, we fight Malistaire the Undying, along with a number of other nasty foes. At the end, however, each class gets a new, enhanced Shadow spell! Let's take a look at them.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wizard101 Teasers Hint at Spiral-Wide Update

Wizard101 has recently released a series of teasers, and when they do this, it usually means that updates are close behind - VERY close. But this confusing set of images makes determining exactly what's in this update difficult. Let's decipher some clues and learn what we can.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The KingsIsle Bundle Buyer's Guide!

Sometimes, bundles can be tough to snag. You make countless phone calls, you drive all over the place, and sometimes you even find the bundle... sort of. Then, it turns out they said "yes" to the wrong card or that you can't purchase it yet. And what stores are people even buying bundles from, anyway? Save the trouble and get informed about how to properly track down bundles, where you should be looking, and what you should be expecting.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wizard101: Mystic Fishing Bundle and Evergreen Bundle!

Wizard101 Mystic Fishing Bundle and Wizard101 Evergreen Bundle Card Images

Wizard101's latest bundles - the Mystic Fishing Bundle from Wal-Mart and the Evergreen Bundle from Gamestop - are two that you don't want to miss out on! There's quite a lot of information available on one, and much speculation on the other. Here's everything you need to know!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Malistaire the Undying Player Gear Concept

Paige Moonshade recently held a Costume Contest on her blog HERE. The contest, challenging contestants to design their own Halloween costume using a character gear template, led me to create a player version of Malistaire the Undying's gear. Because let's be honest, he's pretty creepy. Let me walk you through the process.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wizard101 Harrowing Hoard Pack: A Review

Wizard101 has released a new Halloween pack - the Harrowing Hoard! This unique new card pack contains guitar weapons, new gear, a new pet, and ghostly wing mounts in three colors! Take a look at my thoughts on the new pack here!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamland and the Third Arc

Wizard101 Old Cob

Things inside Wizard101 or Pirate101 that reference outside culture are called "Easter Eggs." Oftentimes, it's cool to look at the source for certain material that we're all very familiar with, but it does more than just amaze. KingsIsle may be tight-lipped about future content, but these sources of inspiration are wide open for our research - and my 500th post!

Friday, September 26, 2014

English Bill, Old Cob, and the Before Time

Pirate101's latest update, Moo Manchu's Tower (see a drop guide HERE), also slipped in some lesser-known details, including a new puppet show for the Duck of Death. This telling tale of English Bill's background story reveals much about his origin... and perhaps a little bit about Old Cob, too.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ten Tips For Speeding Up Your Tower Runs

Even the most experienced Moo Manchu groups have room for improvement. After having done all lengths of runs, from smooth hour-and-a-half trips to not-so-smooth three-and-a-half-hour visits, and completing nearly 30 runs between the Test and Live Realms, I've seen what helps not only complete runs, but make them speedy, too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

KingsIsle's First Livestream Recap!

Community Managers Leala and Tom, also known as Professor Greyrose and Professor Dworgyn, hosted the first ever KingsIsle Livestream to celebrate Wizard101's birthday. Here's what they covered!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wizard101 Pet Idea: Celestial Jellyfish

I've been playing around with Adobe Illustrator, and in the process, I created a new creature that would make an awesome pet in Wizard101! Let me tell you a little bit about the process and how you might obtain such a pet.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pirate101: Adventures in Pet Hatching

Pirate101's hatching system is a little bit more complex than Wizard's. Not only is it not as populated with pet trainers and collectors, but it's also got one or two more mysteries. I've had some interesting experiences lately, and seen several fascinating pets!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Top Ten Pirate101 Grizzly Beast Pack Items

Pirate101 Best Grizzly Beast Gear / Items - Intro

New content with different types of drops can be confusing and overwhelming - particularly with a pack of these proportions. Not only did they through out the traditional epic mount reward along with any hats, outfits, or boots, but they inserted a number of interested items we have yet to see. To clear your confusion and spotlight a few items, here are the top ten you should be keeping an eye on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pirate101: Hidden Players and Traps?

Pirate101 Developer "Ratbeard" recently shared some insights on the "Hidden" powers (meaning Walk in Shadows, Walk in Darkness, and Black Fog), which recently got an update in the Test Realm which allows it to remain in place even when damaged. But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doubloon Database Contest Winners!

Thank you to all who participated in this contest! There are now a grand total of 50 new doubloons to be placed in the database (though level 70 and 75 doubloons will not be added until the update goes live in case of any changes and to prevent confusion in the live realm). Take a look at who won some crowns and packs!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wizard101's Fishing: The Missing Pieces

When Wizard101 first released fishing, I was extremely excited. And I demonstrated that by publishing three large guides involving fishing, and have taken and interest ever since. However, their wording upon release had me wondering what they left out of this update that might one day be a part of our fishing experience.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pirate101: Moo Manchu's Nefarious Tower Drop Guide

I don't normally do this, but enough people are confused an overwhelmed with what all drops in the Nefarious Tower of Moo Manchu's (available only in the Pirate101 Test Realm currently) that I figured there'd be not better way to organize and inform about drops than through a post guide.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Recognizing Patterns in Wizard101 Fishing

Seeing how things relate to each other can be important in understanding the fishing system in Wizard101. But using these observations, we can do more than that - we can predict the future of some aspects of fishing. Like, for example, what we'll see in Celestia, as demonstrated by the edit above.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fun With FreeKI Games

I haven't given much attention to FreeKI Games (formerly KI Free Games) outside of Grub Guardian for those Energy Elixirs. (See an excellent guide HERE.) However, I recently tried out two of the games, and have found that they're really very interesting.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Player-Made Battleboard Spotlight!

Ambush! Survive ten rounds! I talk constantly about the battleboard possibilities in Pirate101, but I don't typically get much input from others. So I was thrilled when everyone else had so many great designs and possibilities for battleboards with the release of the latest feature here at Swordroll's Blog: the Battleboard Builder. Check it out using the gray button under the main navigation bar!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Introducing the Battleboard Builder!

For a recent post on Antinous, I decided to create a battleboard background with blue squares surrounding the render of the boss. What started as a one-image project quickly became a whole new site feature.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Adventures in Castle Building

When Wizard101 first released Castle Blocks, I was thrilled. The possibilities for new houses suddenly became endless, and I got involved immediately. For the first time, my interest in side features was growing. So much so that I made an extensive guide to advanced castle building, with tips for beginners to pros, all HERE.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Antinous: New Dynamics for Combat

There are a lot of great bosses in Pirate101, and a lot of fights with very special requirements and mechanics - take the Stormzilla, for example. But one in particular introduces something completely new. It isn't until level 65 that we see it, but it may change combat in future Pirate101 worlds.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wizard101 Epic Fish Hunting Guide

Wizard101's release of Magical Fishing finally gave the community exactly what they needed - enjoyable new content that takes time to complete. Even Khrysalis Part 2 was done in less than 24 hours by some of the top players, and yet no one has "finished" fishing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wizard101 Fishing Ranks and Badges Guide

From my first few discoveries of new fish, I knew I'd love fishing in Wizard101. Since the first day it opened in the Test Realm, I've been busily fishing away in an attempt to catch everything available to me. Along the way, I've discovered a few very interesting badges.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Doubloon Database Contest [CLOSED]

Doubloons interested me since the Test Realm in which they were released. I was that guy wasting time collecting a million just to see what they were and check them out. That interest soon grew into a fascination from which the Doubloon Database here at Swordroll's Blog was released.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pirate101: Secret Bosses and Hidden Loot

There have long been secrets and hidden fights in Pirate101, and even after over a year of being open to the public, we still don't know everything yet. Hidden bosses have been a hot topic in the past, but with a recent post from Ratbeard confirming potential unique loot, the game is official afoot.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lost in Translation: The Hole in the Pirate101 Plot

The Pirate101 storyline has always been fascinating. Sure, it's another "I'm going to remake the Spiral in my image" story, but it's so much more complex than that. Speculation points to a Valencia expansion with the next update, and that has players asking, "What are we doing there?"

Monday, July 7, 2014

Wizard101 Spiral Cup Gauntlet Complete Bundle Overview and Drop Guide

Wizard101 Spiral Cup Gauntlet Bundle Card and Drops

Wizard101's latest bundle has arrived: The Spiral Cup Gauntlet Bundle is available at your local Target stores for $39, and includes all new Wysteria-themed items, including the third house gauntlet. Take a look at everything you'd want to know about the bundle and the drops here!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wizard101: Fish School, Location, XP, and Tank Size Guide

Wizard101 Fishing, Fish School, Location, and Tank Size Guide

Wizard101 released a brand-new feature today in the Test Realm: fishing! With this new activity, you use fish spells to try and catch various kinds of fish in a number of different worlds - Wizard City, Krokotopia, Mooshu, and Grizzleheim.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pirate101: Doubloons in PvP

At this point, most of us know the power of doubloons. If you don't, follow that link above to the Doubloon Database and take a look around, particularly at the Jackrabbit Ju-Ju, Sluggish, and Spell Power / Damage Doubloons. So, with all of this power, should doubloons be allowed in PvP? They are now, but there's no real system in place. Central has already banned them from tournaments there. So... what do you think?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

True Origins of Astral Magic

Celestia... one of the most mysterious places in the Spiral. A once great civilization of the stars, it was attacked by Morganthe for its powerful Astral Magic. The Celestians summoned the Storm Titan to save them from destruction, but he betrayed them and sank the entire world beneath the waves, though its shattered pieces flew to many a place across the Spiral. Only huge domes protect what is left of one of the most innovative societies around... but was Astral Magic really theirs to refuse?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Introducing the Doubloon Database!

Where in the Spiral has Swordroll been? He's been working on a new feature for your benefit - the doubloon database. This handy tool will allow you to learn so much more than you know current about doubloons in-game.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Third Blogoversary: Looking Back (Plus Prizes!)

Photo Courtesy of Destiny Devereaux

Today marks three years running Swordroll's Blog. I can't believe how fast its grown and the numbers it's reaching. But more than anything, I've had so much fun blogging. I love an informed community. And now, I'll take a look back through the year... and offer you some bundles to join me! Click on any bold blog title to visit the post. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wizard101: Advanced Castle Building Guide

Creating a house with the building blocks from Wizard101's latest card, the Arcane Builder's Bundle, can be tricky. And whether you're just envisioning your first house, or you've already built several, I think you'll find some useful tips in this quick guide to getting the most out of your bundle.

Friday, May 23, 2014

NEW Wizard101 Arcane Builder's Bundle

With the new Wizard101 Arcane Builder's Bundle, you can build your very own Wizard101 castle using blocks provided! There's not one new card, but three, and they determine which pieces, arrangement, and castle plot you get for your building.