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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. 


Last June, I started hitting the Concept101 posts pretty hard, with a new post and new sources every day. It was a lot of fun, and I suggest visiting the archives to get a look at those. I even had some Darkmoor concept art. One interesting post I did about that time was "Hoard Packs: My Thoughts."

Later in July, KingsIsle welcomed Ryan the Relentless, and I did a post about how you could continue to support him: "How Can I Help Support Ryan the Relentless?" I was also fascinated by the Aquila and Marleybone updates that brought the Reckless Frenzy power, and talked about it and the divide that it and other powers and spells create in PvP in "Reckless Frenzy and the PvP Divide." It was that same month that I introduced the fortune cards on my Entertainment Page, and they involved many community members. Between the two games, there are currently something like 250 fortunes.

I started it in July, but concluded my "Wizard101: The End?" series in August. The post linked there is the last, but also leads to the others. Here I speculated about changes in content release frequency and noted a few telling factors. I also took a look at Wizard101 China, who'd gotten a little something special - "Wizard101 School Furniture Sets Go Live in China!" We still have yet to see these almost a year later in the U.S. version. I also offer my thoughts about certain elements of Pirate101 in PvP in "A Companion/Gear Consideration." Wizard101 released Aquila soon after, and everyone was quite confused on what they were supposed to farm for. I cleared up the questions with my "Top Ten Must-Have Wizard101 Aquila Drops."

It was in September that I introduced new background packs for download on my Tools Page as a continuation of content updates on all pages. During the month, KI Free Games became FreeKI games, and their Game for Girls section sparked some major controversy: "KI Free Games Update Resurrects Age-Old Debate." I also started a very interesting series that I don't believe I've continued at all since (maybe one more post), and would love to - "The Art of Blogging: Starting a Blog." I wasn't the only doing unique things, though, I highlighted "Five Clever Community Ideas" in one post.

October, save for a few new Halloween quests, was pretty slow with content. I did, however, discover an "Epic Morganthe Trailer" that still hasn't been used. I also did a rather long post which has some answers today, and many yet to be discovered: "Top Ten Unsolved Spiral Mysteries." Might want to give that one a minute to load.

November was full of Excitement with the Empire Bundle, Hive Bundle, and the introduction of an all-new Pirate101 feature that still hasn't taken off, but that seems to have a lot of potential. I covered one of these cards in "New Wizard101 Hive Bundle - Full Look Plus Amber Estate Video Tour" and the other in my "Full Look at Pirate101's Empire Bundle: Battle Standards, House Tour, and More." However, the post that I most enjoyed doing that month was my guide: "Pirate101 Battle Standards: A Complete Overview."

I was really into it in December, with a number of posts still relevant today. My "Keeping Your Account Safe in an Age of Technology" is one that is perhaps more important now than it was at the time it was posted. It's not the usual safety post, and includes some special tips. I also worried about a new feature in Wizard101: "Housing Tours to Kill Gauntlet Bundle Sales?" That was the month that many Frozen Yogurts showed up in the Bazaar and even four Khrysalis Part 2 wands came out there (crafted ones, and the second part hadn't been released yet, of course). I mentioned those in my post, "Bazaar Issues Reveal Unreleased Items." I particularly enjoyed Pirate101's update with new gear, and talked about that in "Pirate101 Class Gear and Its Significance." I finished up the month with a project I'd been working on, and talked about the process in "Creating and Amber Estate Map."


January of this year was when our obsession with Captain Swing's gear began: "Pirate101 Highlight: Captain Swing's Gear." We had started getting the "barmy" hints for Pirate, and I made a connection to a history quest in Wizard with "Count of Days: Completely Barmy!" I then posted a very long and detailed theory regarding Kane that is still relevant now, and had some cool political graphics with "Valencian Politics, The Armada, and the Grand Design."

Now prepare for just a moment... February was a great month. With my obsession with Swing's gear, I started "The Privateer Project" to obtain it. Duncan Stormthief had a little bit of a weapon mystery, and we did some testing: "Blades of Shade Raise Strange Questions." I also began to fall in love with Wizard101's lore quests, and noted my interest in "A History of Avalon: Tapestries Tell the Story." I talked about "Bundles and Their Potential," too. Pirate101 introduced "Avery's CourtCam and the Metal Eyepatch" that month. I did kind of an interesting post on schools in Wizard101 as well: "Lost and Found: School Originality." However, my biggest project that month involved a color photo of Marco Pollo's crew and extensive theorycrafting: "Marco Pollo and the Quest for El Dorado."

In March, I started my post series regarding sets of items in-game. My second was "W101 Collections: Some Assembly Required," which also links to the first. I then took a look at "Wizard101 Environments Through the Years."

On April Fool's Day, five fansite owners including myself got together to do a set of April Fools Posts which turned out wonderfully. Mine was "It's Only Weird If It Doesn't Work." With the Pirate update finally having been released, I published a "Pirate101 Skull Island Expansion Boss and Drop Guide," as well as the first guide to the Khrysalis orb quests: "Truth From the Shadow: A Guide to the Khrysalis Orbs."

And here we are in May. I have to say, one of the best benefits of blogging is getting to meet all the other people in the community and make some close friends here. It was just today that Destiny offered to go chest hunting, and I decided to log in and help with any she found, but was actually working on this very post. She had to teleport away to see a glitch of a friend's, and she called me to take a look.

Five minutes later (or so, that's my approximate loading time for teleports), I appears in a Swashbuckler house and headed inside the Armada vessel where the glitch was supposedly taking place. Just around the corner inside was a huge of friends all shouting "surprise!" I was dumbfounded for a minute and realized that I might not have been the only one to remember my blogoversary!


We then had a few PvP matches and talked for awhile longer before heading out. It was great fun, and reminds me of the true benefits of being a part of the community.

So now, it's my turn to give back. I'm offering the latest bundles in both games on my contests page, HERE. While it is set up as a Rafflecopter to manage entries, the bulk of the contest is actually the few paragraphs you'll use to respond to the question at the end via email. I look forward to receiving your entries! 


Be sure to enter for your chance to win! Thanks for reading... and for all the memories, and good times... see you in the Spiral!