Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wizard101's 9th Birthday

The 9th Birthday of Wizard101 is upon us! To celebrate, KingsIsle is really stepping up the festivities with decorations, giveaways, birthday-themed items, events, and so much more!

Birthday Giveaway
For their 9th Birthday, Wizard101 is giving you these 9 fantastic gifts:
    • NEW Sparkler Wand
    • 1 Professor’s Hoard Pack
    • 1 Rockhammer Jewel Pack
    • 1 Energy Elixir
    • 1 Hambrosia Pet Snack
    • 1 Birthday Snack Pack
    • 1 Birthday Gala Gazebo
    • 1 Confetti Cannon
    • 1 Birthday Hat
To redeem the free items, use the code “burstingwithfun” before the giveaway ends on Sunday, October 1st at 11:59 pm, 2017.

What's New
The newest mount is here: The Birthday Balloons mount! This mount costs 3750 crowns.

What's Returning
  • Member Benefits (through September 5th)
    • Double Pet Experience
    •  Double Gardening Rewards
    • Bonus on Daily Assignments and Daily PvP Assignments
    • Double Animus and Monstrology experience 
    • Free Training Point Respec
  • Returning Crown Shop Items
    • Gobbler Mount
    • 8th Anniversary Gobbler Cake
    • Party Corgi Pet
    • Grandpa Piggle Pet
    • Reg. Keeper Party Multi-Tank Aquarium
    • Party Chair Housing Item
    • Party Buffet Table Housing Item
    • Birthday Snack Pack

  • Lost Pages & Five B.O.X.E.S. Events (through September 5th)
  • Birthday Mystery Fish (through October 1st)
Save the Date!
A special birthday KingsIsle Live will take place on September 21st, 2017 at 4:00 PM Central time! KingsIsle Community Managers play and discuss KingsIsle games, answer questions, and give away cool prizes! If you would like to watch the livestream, use this link to watch during the event!

Happy 9th Birthday, Wizard101!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Fantastic Voyage Gauntlet

The newest bundle in Wizard101 is the Fantastic Voyage Gauntlet! This gauntlet provides players with a great four part dueling experience and an exclusive fishing voyage. Jock Coosto assists your wizard through this grand Celestia-themed voyage! The Fantastic Voyage Gauntlet is available at Walmart for $39. If you are having trouble locating this card, check KingsIsle's list of locations!

What's Included
- Fantastic Voyage Expedition

- Shark Skirunner Mount

- Peppy Porpoise Pet

- Abyssal Warrior's Suit

- Abyssal Eel Whip

- 1 Month of Membership or 5,000 Crowns

Fantastic Voyage Expedition
This challenging four battle dungeon is not for the faint-of-heart. The first three battles are simple enough, but the final battle culminates in an extremely tough cheating boss! When you finish the gauntlet, you get a free +33% Fishing Luck Elixir and access to Data Atoll, the fishing island. You can access this island with out doing the quest, but you'll have to successfully complete the dungeon once to do so. The unique fish caught is the Microfish.

Shark Skirunner Mount
The Shark Skirunner Mount is a clockwork Celestian contraption built to boost your speed by 50%! This great looking mount will help you get from place to place in a timely manner. It is the second mount to give a speed increase!

Peppy Porpoise Pet
Need some pep in your mundane wizarding life? Magical studies bogging you down? Enter the Peppy Porpoise Pet! This cute little pet starts off with a 69 Pedigree and a Lifespear card at Baby. If you can't buy the gauntlet, you can hatch it in the Hatchery.

Abyssal Warrior's Suit & Abyssal Eel Whip
This unique set of gear provides a hodgepodge of stat boosts. As with previous bundle gear, I recommend using the gear for supplementary or stand-in use. All the stats are universal. The cards seem very useful.

The Abyssal Eel Whip looks very intimidating, but the stats aren't. I don't think the wand has enough lashing power to really be useful. However, the two May Cast cards, Wild Bolt and Healing Current (casts as Ice), may satisfy some wizards, but the unpredictability and unreliability of May Cast cards aren't worth it in my opinion. This flashy wand would make a great stitch though!

This bundle is really cool! I like the Skark Skirunner Mount and the Peppy Porpoise Pet. I think the expedition-like gauntlet is a neat idea. This is a great bundle with some really cool components, great supplementary gear, and an entertaining experience.

What drops have you been getting from the gauntlet? Have you caught any fishing chests? What did you receive from the chests? Comment below!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Nordic Champion Turns Two!

Nordic Champion is celebrating two years of blogging today! I am so excited to share this great milestone with all of you!

Looking Back
I've come a long way since I began blogging back in 2015. It really feels like it was just last year, not two years ago. I've since grown in my writing and research abilities. The blog hasn't changed too much over the past two years, but that's not a bad thing. I think that my current look stands true to my name, and I love it the way it is!

In the two years of blogging, Cheyenne Caster has gained 21 levels since Level 71. However, she has been a level 92 Promethean Sorcerer for a while. She has been stuck on the first battle in Khrysalis. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to progress since I haven't had a membership in a while.

Within the two years of my blog's existence, Wizard101 has changed so much! In the past two years, we've seen the addition of the "Ultra Summer," Daily Assignments, and Monstrology. Polaris and Mirage were added to the game. Numerous packs, bundles, and other items were created.

What's Next
I would first like to apologize for such a low post rate. School got incredibly time consuming. I was hoping that summer would be better, but it's not looking that way. To top it all off, I have had severe writer's block.
What I am planning on doing is to continue posting once or twice a month. I hope that this relieves a little pressure on me, which in turn will hopefully cure my writer's block. It is entirely possible that I could post more.

I am going to continue what I have been doing: news, guides, and spiral history. I will still do my other posts, but those three are my main areas of focus.

I think that my only goal for this coming year is to make more time to really work on this blog. It really disappoints me when I can't think of something to write about. I want to write!

Special Thanks
I would first like to thank everyone who reads my blog! Whether you've read one post or 10, I appreciate you reading what I have to say. You have all been a great support for the past two years!

The special group of people I would like to thank is all the community leaders, bloggers, and YouTubers. I've interacted with a lot of you and the endless support you have all given me is incredible! You are all amazing people and I appreciate everything you do!

Lastly, I would like to thank KingsIsle for creating the beautiful, complex game that we all love! Without it this blog would not exist. Thank you for all the questions you've answered and all the fun you've given!

Thanks for a great two years everyone! I can't wait to see where this next one takes me!
-Cheyenne Caster, Nordic Champion

Friday, June 30, 2017

Patriotic Sale 2017

Don't miss your chance for limited time festive patriotic items like the new Red Cactus Hopper Pet, and the return of the Soaring Eagle Mount and Patriotic Leprechaun Pet! These items are available for Crowns and are limited time only. This sale ends July 6th, 2017.

Plus the following red, white and blue items are on sale for up to 50% off!

  • Solar Sabercat Mount (Perm)
  • Astral Unicorn Mount (Perm)
    The Red Cactus Hopper is so cute!
  • Roller Blades Mount (Perm)
  • White Stag Mount (Perm)
  • Skyracer Pegasus Mount (Perm)
  • Seraph Wings Mount (Perm)
  • Royal Ibis Pet
  • Cunning Seal Pup Pet
  • Red Panda Pet
  • White Tiger Pet
  • Evil Magma Peas Seed
  • Ice Mastery Amulet
  • Balance Mastery Amulet
  • Myth Mastery Amulet
  • Red Barn Farm
  • Ice House

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Disqus Comments Problem Update

I installed Disqus on my site for easy commenting. Apparently, this is not so. I've had issues in the past with it, and I don't forsee it being resolved any time soon. Disqus is aware of the problem where comments were not syncing with Blogger. Did you know only a small portion of the comments on my blog are visible? I'm so sorry that it's not working. There's no known simple solution.

If you know how to fix this, please email me via the contact form on the right. Sorry about this!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

5 Things To Do When You Don't Have a Membership

Not having a membership in Wizard101 can be really boring. You may be fortunate enough to go to some places that you bought with crowns, but if you're like me, you've only bought a few places. So if you can't explore worlds, what can you do?

5. Castle Tours
If you're bored, head over to Castle Tours! Looking through houses can be really exciting! If you are interested decorating, touring houses is extremely helpful for inspiration. If you aren't the decorating type, there's usually awesome stuff to do in the top rated houses. There might be a PvP duel circle, housing games, gauntlets, fish, and even reward-giving NPCs to talk to! Plus, exploring houses is really awesome. You can get a glimpse of cool gear, pets, mounts, furniture, and even plants!

4. Fishing
Believe it or not, but there are good fish in free-to-play zones. Holiday fish are available all over Wizard City. Numerous recipes call for fish caught in free-to-play zones. Fishing in houses can yield great rewards: some of the chests have items from their respective bundle! Additionally, you can get a lot of gold from selling fish!

3. The Bazaar
The Bazaar offers cool items from around the Spiral! Buy fun items for your house or character. Get items for hard recipes. Sell unwanted items! Sell rare items to make someone's life easier. Offer to trade treasure cards with someone so that they don't have to buy any! Observe cool outfits and pets. Make conversation with others. Just hang out!

2. Earn Crowns
Earning crowns is a great thing to do because it will enable you to go anywhere in the Spiral! Watch videos in game if you are completely out of ideas to do. If you aren't in game, take quizzes to earn crowns.

1. Help New Players
Helping new players in Wizard City can encourage them to continue playing the game! Starting Wizard101 can be complicated for some people. They may not know about online resources. Helping them through Unicorn Way and Triton Avenue can mean the difference between someone continuing with the game and quitting. Some bosses are extremely difficult. Lend your knowledge and talent to someone who needs it!

What do you do when you don't have membership?

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