Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Mystery of Dragonspyre, Revisited

A while back, in the early days of my blog, I wrote a post about the culture Dragonspyre was based on. I was so positive I had figured it out! Then Mirage rolled out, and all of a sudden my theory came crashing down. Mirage, though mainly based off of the Middle East, has a location that parallels Constantinople, which contradicts my Byzantine Empire theory. Please read The Mystery of Dragonspyre before continuing to read this post, as I often refer back to it.

Mirage is, with out a doubt, the Middle East. Aquila is Greek, Valencia is Italian, and Polaris is Russian. So where does Dragonspyre fit in all of this?

It's All in the Name
As I always do, I started with looking at the names of the NPCs because they are usually closely related to the culture that is being used. Here is where the names originated:
  • 9 Greek
  • 7 Polish
  • 7 Slavic
  • 5 Hungarian
  • 3 Czechoslovakian
  • 3 Latin
  • 2 Arabic
  • 2 Bulgarian
  • 2 Hebrew
  • 2 Nordic
  • 2 Russian
  • 2 Turkish
  • 2 Ukrainian
  • 1 Croatian
  • 1 English
  • 1 German
  • 1 Jewish
  • 1 Macedonian
  • 1 Muslim
  • 1 Phoenician
  • 1 Serbian
  • 1 Spanish
Slavic Regions
What we see here is an overwhelming amount of Slavic and Greek names. Around 580 AD, Slavs attacked Thrace, Thessalonia, and other areas near Greece. They settled there, but never truly "conquered" the land. Plenty of Dragonspyre's NPCs are Slavic, and all of them have a Slavic/Russian accent. The architecture, however, is Greek or Roman. The ruling empire at the time of the invasion of the Slavs? The Byzantine Empire.

All Mapped Out
To help visualize the cultures represented by the NPCs in-game, I made a map with colors corresponding to the number of names used per country. Please bear with me on this terribly colored in map- I am not that good at this stuff!

Red represents the most used cultures. Orange is the second most used, then yellow, and finally, green. The pink stripes on Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic are also part of the wider group of the seven Slavic names used. The pink area was strictly Slavic.

I partially colored in some of the other countries because they were so far away from the center of things that I didn't want to draw attention elsewhere. Additionally, some countries were unable to be filled in (such as those represented by Arabic and Muslim names) because it wasn't on this map. They are not necessary to prove my point.

What we can gather from this map is that Dragonspyre has deep roots in Eastern Europe.
At this point, I'm sure a lot of you are thinking "Well what about all the Greek and Roman stuff you were talking about in that other post?" The great thing about this is the map helps us visualize the culture. This map best matches, to some extent, the maps of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. These two empires had roots in Rome, so we still have that Roman influence that is clearly seen in the architecture and dialogue of Dragonspyre.

Map of the Byzantine Empire
Map of the Holy Roman Empire

My homemade map bears a some resemblance between these two. It's very possible Dragonspyre is a cross between these two cultures, but I am going to lean towards my Byzantine Empire theory.

Antiquity of Dragonspyre
The history of Dragonspyre is much like the history of an empire. Here is a short timeline of Dragonspyre history, according to the books from the quest "The Secret History."

  • Dragons rule the sky, striking fear into the hearts of men
  • King Mene and Gavarena, the Queen of the Drakes, meet in secret
    • Gavarena accepts Mene as her rider
    • Men and Drakes join together to overcome the Dragons
  • Age of the Kingdom of Dragonspyre
  • King Mene unites Dragonspyre by moonlight, when Gavarena's flames inspired the most awe
    • The Kingdom of Dragonspyre grows
  • King Jungen dies without an heir to the throne
    • The Century was begins over the right to the throne
  • Kilgor the Magnficent ends the war when he assumes the throne
    • During this time, great advancements in culture, science, and learning are made
  • Rydall the Conqueror unleashes a magical plaque upon his duchy
    • Duke Sebastian fights with the lords of Dragonspyre for the knowledge of the cure
      • Because of his bravery, Dragonspyre Academy is founded for the children of Dragonspyre
  • Aldared the Usurper unseats the king
    • Council of Wizards, Warriors, and King forms and removes Aldared from power
    • Dragonspyre now ruled jointly by this Council
  • The king's power wanes, and Warriors and Wizards struggle over power
    • A battle takes place before the Council between a defenseless wizard and a warrior
    • The wizard wins; Wizards now control all spells used in Dragonspyre

You'll notice that the only names that sound even remotely Greek or Latin are Mene and Sebastian. Interestingly, the Bosnian word for "raven" is "gavran," which is strikingly similar to Gavarena. (CONSPIRACY THEORY: Gavarena is Grandmother Raven!!) Bosnia is near Serbia (Yugoslavia), so this fits in. Most of the names above aren't real names, but sound like variations of Slavic and Eastern European names.

As mentioned above, the quest "The Secret History" chronicles the history of Dragonspyre. Procopius, a Byzantine scholar and recorder of the reign of Justinian, wrote a book known as The Secret History. However, there appears to be little relation between the contents of Wizard101's books and Procopius' book. (I didn't look through the entire book, so I'm sure there is something related.) I think this is a major piece of evidence that supports my Byzantine Empire theory.

In my previous post I explained how King Mene and Gavarena, when united, overcame the Dragons. I then said that it sounded like Justinian's campaign to take back the Roman Empire from the Barbarians. I would like to reiterate that point because I have another theory to go a long with it. Justinian I and Theodora ruled together, much like King Mene and Queen Gavarena. I think Justinian and Theodora are portrayed as Mene and Gavarena.

On Tuesday, January 13th, 532 AD, the Nika Riots broke out in Constantinople. The riot caused the rapid spread of a fire through out the city, and many buildings were destroyed. Is it possible that the awakening of the Dragon Titan was Wizard101's version/personification of the Nika Riot? Like the riot in Constantinople, the Dragon Titan desecrated Dragonspyre.

Another real-life explanation for Dragonspyre being fiery is that there a plenty of volcanoes in southern Italy, Greece, and Turkey. This could also be a contributing factor, not the main cause of fire.

Architecture and Locations
The locations and architecture of Dragonspyre are very important to solving this mystery. Some key places include

  • Greek Locations
    • The Labyrinth
    • The Atheneum
    • The Necropolis
  • Roman Locations
    • The Forum
    • The Basilica
It is completely logical to have Greek and Roman locations and architecture. If Dragonspyre is truly based off of the Byzantine Empire, it would be historically correct. The Byzantine Empire incorporated Greek and Roman culture into almost everything they did!

Before the Byzantine Empire was the surviving remnant of the Roman Empire, it was a Greek colony known as Byzantium. It quickly grew successful and was often fought over by the Greeks and Persians. Later, it was fought over by Athens and Sparta, and was under the control of each state at different times. Eventually, Byzantium became part of the Roman Empire and was renamed Constantinople. This is where I believe the Greek and Roman factors come into play. Each culture influenced the Byzantium region.

Roman Forums were everywhere in the empire. The most famous forum is the Foro Romano (Roman Forum) in Rome. There are three forums in Istanbul (Constantinople), known as the Forum of Theodosius, the Forum of Constantine, and the Forum of Arcadius. The fact that there is a forum in Dragonspyre is important because it confirms that there is at least a little Roman influence in the game. The Forum in Dragonspyre also has an amphitheater, which is consistent with Roman Forums. Another essential component with in a forum is a basilica. We see this as the port hub when we get into Dragonspyre.

At the Plaza of Conquests, there appears to be a huge triumphal arch with two large statues standing on either side. This is also common in or near a forum. I've included a picture of the Triumphal Arch of Theodosius, which bears similar architecture of that throughout Dragonspyre and looks similar to the arch in the Plaza of Conquests.

Triumphal Arch?
Triumphal Arch of Theodosius

Dragonspyre itself appears to be surrounded by a three-tiered wall. It closely resembles the style Theodosian Walls, which was employed by Constantinople for protection from invaders. Take a look at the comparison between these two! The bottom third of Dragonspyre would be the moat, especially since it is sectioned off. In Constantinople, the moat was sectioned off to be flooded with water as needed. You'll notice that the walls get thicker as each tier gets closer to the heart of Dragonspyre, just like in the picture below.

Notice the 3 main tiers? 
Theodosian Wall

The Basilica in Dragonspyre is a square building. Is it a complete coincidence that the Hagia Sophia (Basilica of St. Sophia) is also a square building, and listed as an architectural marvel because it is topped with a dome? I know the Hagia Sophia is in Constantinople, which is represented by Catstantinople in Mirage, but Dragonspyre was made way before Mirage existed. Maybe it's a plot hole? I may be just really stretching for evidence here, but I honestly think it's possible.

Other Connections
Something I think that is overlooked is the fact that there are these little "pox" creatures that you battle in the Tower Archives and in the Loremaster's Chamber. In the Tower Archives, they are called Damage Pox and Protection Pox; In the Loremaster's Chamber, they are called Font of Life, Font of Strength, and Font of Weakness. I think these represent The Plague.

As mentioned in "The Aftermath of the Century War," great advances in culture, science, and knowledge were made in Dragonspyre. The same is true of the Byzantine Empire. The empire tried to improve its daily life. Engineers designed spectacular buildings (i.e. the Hagia Sophia) and improved public structures, like sewers and aqueducts. The Byzantine Empire was heavily Eastern Orthodox, so the culture advanced around it. Daily life was filled with social gatherings, as many people visited theaters or the Hippodrome in Constantinople. The Byzantines valued education greatly. The Imperial Library of Constantinople held books from both Greece and Rome, making it an excellent center of knowledge. This may be the inspiration for the Dragonspyre Library, as well as the use of Knowledge Crystals (books/scrolls). There was also 3-4 stages of education (schools) for boys, as girls were not usually educated at a school. Girls were literate, but only wealthy families could afford for a girl to be privately tutored.

Zanetta Stormbreaker states
"...Our culture is based on knowledge and warfare. The nobles of Dragonspyre sent their children to this academy to become soldiers and sorcerers. Because we are a warlike people, our education requires trial by combat..."
Since Dragonspyre is a militaristic society, many of you immediately think of Sparta. While this is a good guess, it doesn't really add up with the rest of Dragonspyre. The Byzantine military was extremely advanced. They used heavy cavalry and fast moving archers that were more efficient and successful than the Roman legion. Since the Byzantines used cavalry, I think the Wizard101 equivalent is the drakes and drake riding. The cavalry was the center of the Byzantine military, just as battle drakes are in Dragonspyre. 

The quest "Et tu, Statue?" is a play on the famous line Julius Caesar said as he was being stabbed to death in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. "Et tu, Brute?" is Latin for "Even you, Brutus?" There seems to be no relation between the two, rather just an interesting allusion in the game. 

To learn about smaller connections, take a look at my original post The Mystery of Dragonspyre. I did not feel the need to repeat everything in this post because it would get even more lengthy than it already is!

Nordic Champion's Official Theory
I'm not saying Dragonspyre is Constantinople- it does not really appear to be any particular city, just some area that was influenced by Romans and Greeks and later inhabited by Slavic people. Plus, it really can't be Constantinople since Catstantinople already exists... in Mirage. Therefore, I have concluded that Dragonspyre is one of two things.
  • A ruined Roman/Greek area that was pillaged by the Barbarians, now inhabited by Slavic peoples
  • A ruined Roman/Greek area that was pillaged by the Slavs, now inhabited by the Slavic peoples
I believe that it exists during the time of the Byzantine Empire or a little after the fall of the empire. It is likely set in the general area of Byzantium, but is not exactly the city of Constantinople. Greek and Roman influence is evident, but is not the main culture of Dragonspyre.

So yes, I stubbornly maintain my Byzantine Empire theory. After a lot of research, I couldn't prove it to be anything else. What is could it possible be? The Byzantine Empire satisfies all of the requirements: Greek, Roman, and Slavic cultures are all represented.

I apologize for such a lengthy post, I just had to share all the evidence that I found! Thank you for reading, and I hope you learned something new! If your opinion on the matter contradicts mine, please share below... I would love a good conversation about this.

**I am no scholar! I have no credentials! I'm just really good at stuffing a bunch of information together and relating to Wizard101. How I relate history to Wizard101 is completely subjective. If something isn't correct, please let me know so I can get rid of it quickly.

"Advancements of the Byzantine Empire" - Champlain College
"Byzantines" - History World
"Byzantium" - Ancient History Encyclopedia
"Constantinople" - New World Encyclopedia
"Decisive Battles: Fall of Constantinople 1453"
"Education Byzantine Empire" - Britannica
"Hagia Sophia" - LiveScience
"Holy Roman Empire" - Britannica
"Procopius: The Secret History" - Penelope
"Slavs" - New World Encyclopedia
"The Military of the Byzantines" - Weapons and Warfare
"The Nika Riots" - Penelope

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How to be a Better Wizard

For my 101st post, I'd like to discuss something I find very important in this game. Being a good wizard rewards you in ways you may not have thought of. This is how I would like to celebrate 101 posts on my favorite 101 game!

In the past 3 years of playing the game, I've experienced a wealth of different attitudes of players, both good and bad. Playing a game in which many people aren't helpful isn't fun at all. When players get angry for messing up, it discourages others from group play. Wizard101 is about making friends along the journey, not making enemies.

For many of you, this post isn't necessary. Most players are good people with good intentions. Still, it doesn't hurt to take a quick refresher on becoming a better wizard!

Encountering New Players
Being a brand new player for any MMO is usually intimidating, especially if they've never played other MMOs. It takes awhile to figure out how the game works, what's socially acceptable, and that there's usually a wealth of information online. I remember only turning to the internet for guides sometime after level 15, which was at least 5 months after I started playing Wizard101. I wandered blindly through the game for way too long. I wish I had known about the online guides sooner.

Typically, Unicorn Way is filled with two types of wizards: Beginners and well-seasoned PvPers. Often, the beginners ask for help. They try to friend the "high levels" for guidance. Sometimes they get help or friended, but mostly they aren't. I'm guilty of not friending a "low level," but I want to change that.

Act on it
I'd like to encourage all experienced players to take one "low level" under your wing and be their mentor. When they have questions, kindly answer them. Offer to help every now and then! You don't have to necessarily be at their beck and call, unless you have nothing better to do & are willing to.

When I was in Moo Shu, about level 32 or so, someone named Dakota something, a level 50 Balance wizard, friended me. He helped me farm the Jade Oni for the pet, which I was never successful in receiving. He even offered to train and hatch his Jade Oni pet with me! He gave me advice on my gear (I was stubbornly using my Zeus' Bolt of Arbitration instead of the Sky Iron Hasta) and my deck. He really helped me become a better wizard, but he is no longer on my friends list. (If you are out there reading this Dakota something, Balance wizard extraordinaire, who helped me in Moo Shu, thank you!)

Group Play
Nothing can be more frustrating than going into a boss fight with random wizards who don't know the cheats. It's worse when they trigger a cheat that defeats your team. It's also infuriating when a higher level wizard takes the kill when helping a lower level wizard. Playing in a group is rewarding, but if you have a bad attitude no one will respect you. Being a good team player is essential to this game.

Act on it
Whether you like it or not, you're often stuck with a hodgepodge of wizards varying in experience and knowledge. You can be the rude wizard who immediately ports out, or the good wizard who tries to make it work.

When in boss battles or dungeons that practically require outside knowledge, such as the last battle of Waterworks, be prepared for an inexperienced team. If you are able to communicate to them to look up the cheats online, quickly do so before entering the battle. If you aren't able to communicate, adjust your deck for a tough fight. The other wizard(s) will be thankful for the opportunity to complete it. Chances are, if they don't know the cheats, they probably are on the storyline quest rather than farming.
If you're helping a lower level wizard with a tough quest, don't randomly quit on them just because you don't feel like completing it. It's one thing to have to log off because of dinner or to go to bed, but leaving someone that you agreed to help mid-quest is rude. Additionally, don't take control of the quest. Guide the wizard through each part, suggest deck construction, when to hit, and what not to do. Don't take the final kill unless it's okay with the other wizard(s) or defeat is imminent. By helping the wizard, you are teaching them to be self-reliant and more inclined to help others.

The most ideal situation is playing in a group of experienced wizards. The battle or dungeon is done quickly and success rates are high. Sometimes the group pressures a wizard to buff or hit when the wizard wants to do the opposite. I have sometimes found myself buffing storm wizards so much that I don't even get a chance to hit, even when I have great spells that could do the job. I've played roles in battles that I'd rather not. Respect it if someone wants to hit, but also be ready to play a supporting role. Your role in a group isn't permanent! Let people step up/step down. Just try your best to accommodate often.

Common Manners in The Commons
The Commons is a busy place. Wizards of all levels pass through it, chat, or stand idle. A lot of things are said and done, some being good, others are bad. It's pretty common to see a level 17 wizard running around saying, "I need a girl," or a level 6 wizard begging for a hoard pack. This is super annoying to everyone. If you're one of those people, please stop! It's not going to work.

Something I really despise is mid-level players trying to trick low level players into gifting or trading treasure cards. One situation I've seen is the glitch to get into the yard next to the robe shop in the Shopping District, where mid to high level players were only friending people who would trade/gift in order to teleport in. Letting someone in to a free area of the game is ethically not profitable!

The Commons is also a hub for finding help. Wizards of all levels are constantly asking for help. Some even ask for access to housing gauntlets.

Act on it
This game is not about manipulating others. Stop tricking wizards out of there treasure cards or crowns, and if you see it happening, try to stop it. It's absolutely wrong and a low move to con a lower level/oblivious wizard out of their treasure cards or crowns!

If someone is asking for help, and you have nothing better to do, why not lend a hand? If someone wants to use a housing gauntlet that you have, why not temporarily friend them? I remember desperately needing a team for Mount Olympus, and when someone finally offered and got me through the dungeon, I was so excited to have it done! I think it's important to help new wizards so that they stick to the game and enjoy it.

The Antagonist
Some players are just mean. They insult your gear, your school, your deck construction, and even when you duel them in PvP. All they do is complain and antagonize you or others. Perhaps you block them, but they continue to insult others. They go on saying inappropriate things to those around them. You've blocked them by now, but what else do you do?

Act on it
The first thing to deter an antagonist is to ignore them. Don't respond to anything they say, no matter what. Hopefully this makes them leave you alone. Block them for safe measure, and even switch to a quieter realm. If you found that they were insulting others or were being wildly inappropriate, report them with good reason! Be careful, though. Only report them if you know it's obvious that they were harassing you or others. If KingsIsle doesn't find any fault in the reported wizard, they could end up banning you!

An alternative to reporting is simply asking them to stop. However, it will probably make it worse, but at least if you do end up reporting, there's proof that you asked them to stop. If someone is antagonizing you. don't let it get to you. You are a stronger wizard than that!

A Random Act of Kindness
I was once given 60,000 crowns. I didn't know what to do with it, so I bought a new player a crowns wand. I randomly gifted some people packs, and it felt great! If you have extra crowns, gift someone something they want. You could make their life easier! Plus, if everyone randomly gifted, there's a good chance you could be gifted the one thing you were dying for.

If someone needs a good pet to hatch, hatch with them! Your stats could go on to be used for their perfect pet, and then they hatch with someone else. Soon a bunch of people have perfect pets, and possibly some time from then, you hatch with someone you didn't think would be willing to, and they contribute to your perfect pet!

Compliment someone's outfit. Express your amazement over their beautiful house. Even comment on how nice/helpful they've been! You'll definitely put a smile on their face. You never know, they could be having a terrible day. Little things like compliments really go a long way!

One random act of kindness makes the Spiral a better place. 

If you take away one thing from this post, let it be this: you were once a helpless wizard that sooner or later figured things out. Don't turn a cold shoulder on someone!

Now go out and make the Spiral a better place!

**What kind of behavior have I observed in Wizard City? Check out my brief observation here! This is a great supplementary reading for this post.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Ghulture's Hoard Pack

Die-hard fan of Mirage? Explorer of shifting sands? Loyal member of a faction? If you said yes to any of these questions, look no further! The Ghulture's Hoard Pack has everything you need for an enjoyable desert experience.

This pack is no mirage! Packed with school themed mounts, housing decorations, reagents, treasure cards, and more, there's definitely something for everyone in this pack. Here's a short list of what you can get in this pack.
  • 7 School Themed Ghulture Mounts
  • Worm Larva Pets
  • Ancient Purrzian Armor
  • Purrzian Scimitar Weapon
  • Mirage House Guests
  • Mirage Housing Items
For a near complete list of pack items, visit Stars of the Spiral's guide here.

Notable Items

Ghulture Mounts
If scavenging for morsels of damage is your thing, check out these birds! This pack has seven ghultures to choose from, one for each school. Each school's ghulture has mount colors that correspond with the school. Each mount offers an extra 3% of Fire, Ice, Storm, Death, Life, or Myth damage, or a 2% universal damage on the balance mount. This is very useful to get damage ratings a closer to a target damage rating. It's even more useful to wizards under the level of 15 to begin building their damage. 
Fire, Ice, and Storm Ghulture Mounts
Ancient Purrzian Armor and Purrzian Scimitar
If you want to look like a desert assassin, you may want this pack. The Ancient Purrzian Armor is kind of frightening, and sort of plays into 300's Immortals' look. Stat-wise, the entire set does not stand out. For some, it may fit your playing style. However, if you have too much sand in your shoes, you may want to have a look at the Ancient Purrzian boots. Offering 25% - 29% multiple school damage, these shoes may be the missing part for some sets. 
Worm Larva Pets
To accompany you on your desert wanderings, take a semi-cute worm larva! These little guys have some selfish and useful talents that could be great to add to gene pools. The Sand Worm Larva (Balance) has a 56 pedigree, while the Dark Worm Larva (Ice) has a 69 pedigree. They work great to complete a Mirage-themed outfit or house!

Overall, this pack is an excellent Mirage themed pack. It offers some great things for almost any wizard. I would recommend focusing on obtaining the Ghulture mounts for your wizard's school. 

What's your opinion on the items specifically/generally? Share below!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A New Year

Happy New Year! I am so excited to see what this year has in store! 2016 was a great year for my blog. I've grown so much and have created my own little community. It has been an honor to blog for all of you this past year.

2016 saw great accomplishments for my blog.
  • In the Wizard101 February Newsletter, I received my first mention; and now I am mentioned often
  • I am mentioned often in the Community Newsletter
  • In April, I received the honor of hosting my own event in the Fansite Festival
  • On July 1st, my blog turned a year old! 
  • I have achieved many of my goals since last year
  • Lastly, I believe I have made some great friends, both in blogging/social media and in the game
Not only has my blog accomplished stuff, but also other blogs! I am so excited about the amount of new & active blogs that have surfaced in the past year. I am so proud of all of you who have stuck with it! If there is anyone out there who is reading this and is wondering if they should start a blog, let me be the person to give you a nudge. Blogging has rewarded me with so many things! Give blogging a try. Share your knowledge with the community. Chronicle your journey through the Spiral! It is definitely worth your time.

Plenty of existing blogs hit important milestones this year as well! Congratulations to those bloggers! Interested in what others in the community have to say? Scroll through my blogroll! For an even more extensive list of Spiral Blogs, check out the The Spiral Directory and the original The Wizard101 Directory.

2017 is the year for repetition in my blog. I want to continue doing what I have been doing. Again, I don't think I will be buying my domain for numerous reasons apart from the cost. I will continue doing Spiral History and all other posts. This year is promising in that I am looking to build another solid base for my blog.

This year is for growth. Growth in my blog. Growth in my characters. But it is mostly for growth in who I am. I need to grow in my contributions to this community, but also my contributions in real life. I realize my lack of posting may be disappointing, but I cannot equally pay attention to both this blog, school, sports, getting a job and my considerably low rate of reading books. I am in no way ending the active status of this blog, I am merely informing you of the cause of the shortage of posts. I will try to post at least twice a month and hopefully more when I am not busy.

I hope this year is a great success. I hope my posts get better and even more informative. I hope I can figure out the comment issues with Disqus. But most of all, I hope you enjoy the content that this blog will bring you this year!

Wishing you a successful 2017,
Cheyenne Caster, Nordic Champion

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my readers and KingsIsle! I hope you all have an amazing holiday! Enjoy this Christmas card from Vaden & I :)

Aren't my editing skills fabulous? Have a great day! See you around the Spiral!

-Cheyenne Caster

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Top 5 Most Interesting Worlds of the Spiral (Wizard101)

Wizard101 worlds are so intriguing. The storyline is complex, the scenery is gorgeous, and the experience is often memorable. I picked 5 worlds with an amazing plot, breathtaking scenery, and unforgettable characters.

5. Zafaria
Having a jungle themed world in the Spiral adds so much character. Its fun atmosphere under a beating hot sun is an excellent combination. The scenery is really pretty. The characters and plot are one of the best in the game.

The world itself is actually pretty uplifting. Despite the semi-dark plot, everything about Zafaria seems happy. The characters don't seem to be at a loss of will. In fact, they are all pretty wise and calm in such a turbulent situation. Zafaria boasts some of the most breathtaking areas in the game. Jungles, savannahs, waterfalls, graveyards, mountains- all thoroughly represented in one world. Zafaria is just so diverse and really fun to play through!

Image via
Apart from its awesome scenery and story line, Zafaria has some of the coolest cut scenes in the game. It really immerses you in what's going on. My favorite is all the cut scenes in Mirror Lake. It makes the long dungeon seem more interactive and overall worth coming back to.

Even the gear in Zafaria is super cool. The wands, rings, athames, and amulets make you feel like you're actually a tribal leader. (Combined with Azteca gear= Tribal God!) Plus, The Lion King fans would love this world. So what's not to love? Pat on the back to KingsIsle for making an excellent world!

4. Grizzleheim (and Wintertusk)
I may be a little biased, but Grizzleheim is super interesting. Viking culture and mythology is presented in a unique way. The scenery is as refreshing as the music in the background.

Grizzleheim is a beautiful world. The airy forests, the flowing streams, the towering glaciers- all breathtaking.  I think it even sports the best waterfalls in the game! There's just something about each part of Grizzleheim that is gorgeous. I really like Vigrid Roughland, Nidavellir, and Vestrilund. Nidavellir is so intricate and I wish there was more to that part of Grizzleheim. It kind of feels a little homey.

You can often see a great representation of Viking life in Grizzleheim. From camps and shop owners to warriors and fisherman, the game immerses you into a Nordic lifestyle. It's too bad Grizzleheim is a side world and isn't as a developed story as others are.

Wintertusk has the best music in the game. It's soothing and sounds like a musical score for a major motion picture. I think each one perfectly captures the mood of it's corresponding area. I love listening to Wintertusk music whenever I need to focus. My favorites are Nordrilund and Austrilund music. KingsIsle (Nick Jonas) did an incredible job on it!

3. Marleybone
Marleybone is a world that everyone has either mixed feelings about or compete hatred for. It was likely the first world to begin making people quit the game. It was frustrating, hard, and long. But despite all these negatives, it's actually a very interesting world.

If you remember one thing from Marleybone, it's probably all the battles you got pulled into while on the rooftops. It seemed like you couldn't even travel 5 seconds to get a health wisp before getting pulled in. (5 Seconds of Freedom, am I right?) However, it was cool to be on top of the buildings, instead of walking past them. Our wizards fought a gang...and won. That alone is pretty impressive.

What I really enjoyed is the night time city feel. If you think about it, your wizard literally had a night life while playing through Marleybone. The fact that there's a modern world in the Spiral makes the game a little more relatable. Not to mention, the sky is so so so gorgeous. Marleybone even has tasteful outfits to go along with such a sophisticated atmosphere.

Even cooler yet was all the real life places, such as Barkingham Palace. Meeting the Queen was an excellent experience! The Royal Museum is so interesting that I wish it was more interactive, just like a real museum.

2. Aquila
Yes, it's technically an expansion dungeon zone, not a world. Aquila feels like its own world, though. Everything about it is so cool! It's a Greek themed world with a ton of references to mythology. In fact, the whole thing is basically interactive mythology.

The Greek theme is just so awesome. It's so cool to play with and against The Olympians in such iconic locations. Mount Olympus was pretty, but Tartarus was intricately detailed. Playing through the domains of the Big Three has got to be one of the most memorable experiences in the game!

The zone is so awesome to look at! It's unique, attractive and picturesque all in a small area. I really wish it was its own world, because there's so much to work with. (Pirate101 did a great job doing that.) Everything about Aquila is resplendent. It's truly astounding experience to play and explore through Aquila.

1. Avalon
Avalon is just one of those worlds that is all around magnificent. The plot, frequently referencing the tales of King Arthur and Camelot, is really interesting. Many of the NPCs, creatures, and locations reference these stories.

The world itself is gorgeous. The Wyrd is my favorite area. The Wild, Dun Dara, and Tomb of the Nameless all connect there. Everything is a little dark, but it's beautiful in its own way. On the happier side of town, the music for Abbey Road is awesome! Caer Lyon and Keep of Ganelon is really fun to explore. Lakeshore, though raining all the time, is also awesome. Avalon is a really cool world to simply explore.

The NPCs and creatures are very interesting. Many of them are warriors trying to regain lost honor. I think it is actually humbling for our wizards to get to help King Artorius. One of the interesting things I found is that Uther Pendragon (King Arthur's father) is portrayed as the Pendragon, a tough boss to beat.

Honorable Mentions

What's your top 5 most interesting worlds of the Spiral? Do you agree or disagree with mine?

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Mirage Raider's Bundle

The shifting sands of Mirage can be quite fatiguing. Not all wizards can handle walking in a scorching desert. Luckily, Wizard101's newest bundle can help you conquer Mirage quickly!

Introducing the Mirage Raider's Bundle for Wizard101! This bundle is available at GameStop for $39. Along with tons of cool items, you can get your choice of 1 month of membership or 5,000 crowns. Click here to find a GameStop location near you.

Level 120 Gear is now available for your wizard to redeem.

Mirage Raider's Bundle
The Mirage Raider's Bundle includes:
  • Nomad Camp house
  • Desert Racer mount
  • Sultan's Monkey pet
  • Mirage Dunerunner's Gear
  • Desert Lodestar Staff
  • 1 month or 5,000 crowns
  • Additional Castle Elixir
Nomad Camp house
The Nomad Camp house is beautifully designed. It truly feels like you are living in a desert. If you
Image from Duelist101
like fishing, you're in luck because this house has fish in it! You can catch Bone Fish, Chameleon Fish, Fall Foliage Fish, Pharaohmari, Qismah Doodlefish, and Sun Ray in this house. The house also has a PvP practice arena and merchants to get daily rewards from.

Desert Racer mount
The Desert Racer mount is a single person mount. It gives a normal speed boost. It's very unique and powerful-looking in appearance. I personally think the color scheme is kind of cool. It looks like Wizard101's take of a Griffin, but it could be something else.

Sultan's Monkey
The Sultan's Monkey pet is a 64 pedigree Balance pet. It takes 5 minutes to hatch, and can be received from a hatch. Its talents are great for adding to a talent pool. The Sultan's Monkey has a talent for each school, and does not have any selfish talents. See Wizard101 Central for more details.

Mirage Dunerunner's Gear and Desert Lodestar have stats that are typical of any other bundle. The gear could be used as temporary items until a better piece can be used. The robe, however, has plenty of health, resist, and block, making it a potential rival to Jade gear. The Desert Lodestar staff is gorgeous. Though it's stats aren't particularly great, plenty of great outfits can be based off it. This wand is worth stitching.

Overall. I think this bundle is super cool, especially if your favorite world is Mirage. The gear is great as a filler or supplementary piece, and the pet can act as a source of talents for breeders. This bundle seems like it can pay for itself through fishing and rewards.

What do you think of the bundle?