Saturday, January 5, 2019

A balanced perspective

Every coin has 3 sides
Not dead yet!
No, I’m not “back”, or anything like that, but I’m inspired to write, and , well, HiaG is as good a place as any, since what I’m writing applies to Our Spir@l, as well.

I am far away, in another game, (and yes, still a Necromancer).
The things I observer are not particular to any given game.. more like ALL of them. Never one to fuss over the minor specifics.

 Since the Dawn Of Time, humans have told stories. Some fact, some fiction, some a mix of both. Heroes that emerge victorious from their Sysiphean Challenge, Tragic Figures That fall to their own inner demons. Dragons, Good, evil, or studiously neutral, with time-aged wisdom and perspective. Conquest and loss, victory and defeat. All right these tales have a single correlation: US, and the “versus”.

Whether it’s to entertain, inform, or forewarn dire consequences, we tell, and re-tell these stories, weaving them into the fabric of our being, forever coloring the way we see ourselves in the particular world we happen to inhabit; both the physical world, or those we escape to in our minds and diversions.

Gaming is a storytelling device, where we are oft the Narrative Focus of the tale. Factions are a common divisor of any gaming population, creating a collective “them” to be the foil and challenge of a collective “US”.

I am reminded of a story, often told, in many variations, of “The 2 Wolves”:

Two Wolves

A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

It’s a good, timeless observation about not wolves, but ourselves

Much like the modern concept of “Road Rage”, gamers in the community, safely ensconced behind their monitor, feel free to feed a wolf they cannot/will not feed in their out-of-game lives. Power, Superiority, Oppression, a churlish and snarling derision Of those deemed “less witty”, or “less worthy “ than their own obvious and undeniable epicness. I personally have empathy for those frustrating players, who revel in trolling others. How miserable must their real lives be, that they can only find joy in the misery of others? 
Conversely, there are those on the opposing side, launch righteous counter-attacks, seeking to “out-bully the bully”, making the game “suitable” as they see it, for the defenseless masses. Warring for Peace is still War, and we may never know which innocent bystander we may shellshock with our counter offensive.
Typically, there’s always a false dichotomy of position: Good vs Evil, Light vs Dark, Jedi vs Sith, Heads vs Tails. 
What we forget, is every coin has THREE sides, and no coin can exist with only two. As a matter of fact , we forget it’s ONE coin, irrespective of facing side.
Regardless of the particular game, or it’s narrative, we do not all have the same gaming experience. We are all “noobs”, with a nerdy card collection of foes conquered, gear obtained, and skills mastered. We are all on different stones of The Path, with that elusive “End Game” content. I dislike the idea of “End Game”, because it can often be the “Death by Conquest “, Of the very thing I love. The journey is the reward, and the destination is the end of that pleasant hike, that reflective stroll, or that Zen-Like Motorcycle trip. We cannot have our cake, and eat it too, our games are a cake of the imagination, savor each bite, and share the experience with your fellow party-goers. 
Keep your Beginner’s Mind, That is to say, embrace every day that wonder and enthusiasm that propelled you as you started your personal journey from “noob” to “leet”.
We are all, at some point, part of that entire coin, and every player alongside us. I don’t know how many Angels can fit on the head of a pin, but Gamers on a coin? In the tens of thousands. Be Excellent to each other.

And Be Well.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


"Abaracadabara". No word strikes more fear into a wizard of Our Spiral. It is the word of deletion, of endings, of finality. It is a word for The Graveyard.

After much consideration, I have decided to permanently retire HiaG. This is a measured decision, not a "rage quit", or some declaratory statement, simply the end of a cycle. HiaG shall , henceforth, become a static Historical Archive.

"All good things must come to an end...even the not-so-good things". Barring some unforeseen circumstance, this will be the final post for HiaG. Do not mourn it, celebrate it. We've had an excellent run. And hey, I got to go out with a "bang". (see what I did, there?)

First, and foremost, I want to thank KingsIsle, (and specifically Professor Greyrose) for the Honor and opportunity to represent Wizard 101. It has been a privileged to watch Our Spiral grow from a cottage 'indie' title to a "20 million + " shining beacon of kid-friendly gaming. It is a growth I fully expect to continue.

Secondly, I want to thank my Mentor and Inspiration, my peers, and my siblings. Friends old and new. I cannot possibly hope to "name names" without missing someone. You all know who you are. Our Spiral is better for having you in it. I am better for having met you.

Unlike some of my peer's sites, HiaG never expanded beyond being a critical eye, scrutinizing the developments of Our Spiral, as we have known it, then and now. It holds no intrinsic value to the modern player, except for expose and critique. We, as a Community, and KingsIsle, as a Company, have long outgrown the "need" for a grassroots site like HiaG. So, with dignity, and a sense of nostalgic pride, I dutifully step down, and rescind my "Official" status. I shall be just another wizard. Autumn Duskhunter transcends the Graveyard. I shall still be a presence, in Our Spiral, but not as a "name" or a "rank". Just as myself.

There is nothing more I can say, that has not been said before, therefore, this Opus finds it's restful conclusion. But with this ending, I charge upon you, My Community, a final request: Rob the Graveyard. Dissect it, search it, use it as a compost for the next generation of growth. Everybody knows that a single dandelion, left unchecked, can pave the way for hundreds, if not thousands more.Take whatever seeds of inspiration you can glean from "Homework", and make it your own. This is the cycle of life. Build upon what's already gone before, refine it, strengthen it. You, as a Community, have this ability in spades.

Don't be sad at HiaG's conclusion. Revel in it's time in Our Spiral. Put the "Fun" in "Funeral". You don't need a leader to see, you need to see the leader in yourself. To paraphrase Ghandi "Be the change you want to see in Our Spiral". I seek no eulogy or ritual of passage, however (knowing the symbolic nature of some of our wizards), should you feel compelled to Memorialize "Homework", in-game, a simple unharvested Elder/Ghost Dandelion is sufficient.

Remember, the strength of Our Spiral comes not from a server, or an artist's concept, or a patch. WE are the force that keeps Our Spiral spinning. It has been an awe-inspiring privileged to watch you all grow.

Be excellent to each other. Your Homework, here, is complete. You all get an A+, by me.
And, as always, my final wish:
Be Well.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Booom-checka-lekka! House winners.

The Answer:

Why are we here?
The Code
Because we're here
Roll the bones
word is.

PERSISTENCE was the correct answer. Fortunately, spelling did NOT count. ;) The message folded in on itself, it was not "guessable" until actually completed. The lines in orange are actually song lyrics, (and it's "Roll" the bones, not "Joll"(?!?) or "Troll". - it means to throw the dice.

Well over 100 of you got the correct answer, but there can be only 10, so, per, here are the winners:

The above listed must comment me their emails (on this post- will NOT be published), using the same login as listed above, and I will have them out, immediately.

"Time is of the essence", here, so sooner is better.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Here comes the BOOM!

Ah, Autumn's Death House. "The Malistaire Memorial Death Academy". An ancient structure (by W101 standards). Very few have ever set foot on these deathly grounds. Those that have, have left with lasting impressions..(mostly good). ;) It is the only house I've truly gone out of my way to decorate.

What secret and mysterious things take place inside? Is it home to the Skullinatti? Is it HQ for the "Student Committee for Tenure for Dworgyn"? Does Autumn imprison other bloggers here? Why are there Swiftshadow feathers everywhere? So many questions, that cannot be answered here. (And forget the whole "Skullinatti" thing, they don't really exist...really.)

For those of you who have never set foot in any Death House, please allow me to present the video from Wizard101extreme, which gives you a pretty good idea what to expect:

A coveted piece of Real Estate.People are dying to get in.Or out.

And now, thanks to the supreme generosity of KingsIsle, you too can own the quintessential domicile of Necromantic studies. 10 lucky winners of this year's "House-a-palooza" can add this undead abode to their housing roster. Get yourself outta that Dorm room!

Ah, but here's the catch: "Nothing worth having ever comes free". You know, I'd just *love* to give everyone a Death House, but alas, I cannot. Therefore, there shall be skill, and luck involved in acquiring said house. Remember the "8 bit Trials"? I betcha do. What was the most evil, aggravating, and nerve-wracking challenge I could send at your Guardians? A Puzzle. Oh, yes, and they were kind enough to highlight their solving strategies, so I have re-engineered the mechanics of this one.(Thank you, Guardians!) Click the pic below to link to your "Doom and Gloom Housing Boom" puzzle. There's a code word in that there mess. Post it in the comments, and you're entered!

Click on me for the puzzle (and to clean up Autumn's Lab).
(Okay, here's the backstory: I was trying to re-skin a bone dragon mount (Yeah, bad idea, I know that now), and the re-animation lab kinda went 'boom'. I'm too lazy to clean it myself, so I'm bribing you to do it.)

Da Rules. (Read 'em, know 'em, follow 'em)
1) One entry, per person. You only get the one shot, so make it count! Spelling is 'optional'.
2) Entry winners will be notified to submit their e-mail (will not be published) using the same login as their initial entry.
3) In the event there are more than ten (10) correct entries, the 10 will be chosen by
4) Entries must be submitted no later than ( August 22nd). A countdown timer is provided.
5) Winners will be given the (optional) opportunity to tour Autumn's Death House, for decorating ideas, and inclusion in a group photo, to be published at HiaG) <--- Wow! Double prizes!
6) Codes must be redeemed at

Friday, August 12, 2011

Click, click, BOOM!

That's right, readers, another "palooza". You *gotta* love KI, amiright? 

HiaG is happy to be included in this, and we're rocking the Death House
Contest details forthcoming!

Starting August 12th through August 23rd,
save up to 50% OFF Housing Items in the Crown Shop!

  • Houses and Housing Items are up to 50% OFF!
  • Over 50 new housing items added to the Crown Shop
  • Get a free housing item when you log into the Wizard101 game
  • Fansite contests, code giveaways and more!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Integrity in gaming, and in life.

Hiya, peeps.

I know, I know, "Where have you been?!?". Those of you who actually know me, know that I am "a bit" of a Beta Butterfly. By "a bit", I mean "The Titanic had 'a bit' of  a leak". Although W101 is my Home, and shall remain so, I do dabble quite frequently in the latest Betas. "Have to see, have to know".

There is one coming up that I'm really looking forward to. Since Homework is a 100% W101 site, I won't advertise is (directly), but if you were to add a Fireplace with a waterFall, you'd get the idea.

"So, why are you even posting it, here, Autumn"?

Because, gentle reader, as always, there is a tie-in.

You all know by now, that (until recently) , I don't PvP...ever. I'm "All PvE, all the time". Well, this upcoming game is a "shooter", so I thought I'd go find a game that would (relatively) get me some practice time.

I chose a Sorta 4 League of Hackers, it seems. I cannot recommend this game in good conscience. It has almost ALL the things I despise in a game. "Gashapon" lottery, timed items, and most importantly "Lack of Game Integrity", i.e. hackability. In this post, I use the term "hacker" as synonymous with "exploiter", as well.
"I wanna be a real gamer, when I grow up"

2 days in a row, instead of getting into a 20-minute match, I got into (2) separate 3 HOUR matches. Yeah, you read that right, each of these games was 1 hour, 30 minutes, per half. And that's two days in a row.
( I've done EndGame Raids that took less time than this.)
In theory, I *could* have left the matches early, but I'd take a penalty for "abandoning game". I have a policy of "Never quit a match. Win with Honor, lose with Honor", so I was bound by my own code to ride out each of these modified matches, and it wasn't pretty. It was like prison time, instead of gaming.

The room I got caught in last night, had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR unrelated hackers in it. "God Modes", all of them. Unlimited ammo (without reloading), infinite flight, ability to exist "outside the map", OneShotKill ability.  You know, all the powers you'd expect a GM, or a Developer to have.

Thankfully, we don't have (much) of an exploit problem in W101. Sure, there have been the occasional "Undocumented Game Features" which were squashed, but nothing like the hack-riddled Swiss Cheese that is common in a lot of F2P games out there (especially the shooters).

What, if anything, do these people prove? They prove the following:

1) I don't have skills, so I have to cheat to win. Maybe someday I'll get some skills.
2) I'm insecure about myself, so I have to prove to YOU how "good I am". Aren't you impressed with my "MaD L33T Sk1llz"?
3) I am willing to kill the game I supposedly "love" by breaking it in my favor. The rest of you don't matter. I am all about ME.

Hacking isn't "cool". Hacking as become an abomination of what it originally  inferred.

If you have to hack/modify/exploit something "Just to win", know that, to everyone else, you've already failed. The only people who will "Look up to you" are people who want to be as weak as you.

Ask any of our Community leaders, here in W101, what their personal opinion of Game Hackers are. I seriously doubt you'll get a single positive response. Real gamers know that your "Uber +12 weapon of Dietyhood" means nothing unless you've proven worthy of wielding it.

I have less than zero respect for anyone who has to cheat to win. I will not party with them, I will not friend them. I will use my "direct line" reporting ability to terminate them. Everyone has to "pay their dues".

Say you're in a line for tickets. You've waited for hours, patiently. Then some kid just walks in and cuts to the front of the line. Do you simply accept that? Heckhound, no. Send his feet to the back of the line.You've earned your place, why should they be any different?

Only funny if you're not the one getting frozen.

So, basically what I'm trying to say here, readers. is "Do the right thing". EARN your place in the Game. It will help build a sense of true pride in your accomplishments. "Taking the easy route" is a mind-set that will affect not only your game life, but your real life, as well.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

This is the dawning...

...of the Age of Wysteria. Better known as "The coming Chaos". WYSTERIA is available on Test Realm, for all wizards lvl 25 and up. See Headmaster Ambrose to get yourself started.

NOT gonna post spoilers, (much), but I *HAD* to share this:

Just LOOK at those eyes. It's like even then, he *knew*

I knew there had to be un-torn copies *somewhere*

Never has W101 felt more HP than today, for me. I'm interested to see where this is going.

Be sure to stop by TFN and wish our Greatfather of W101 Blogging, Thomas Lionblood, a Happy Birthday!