Sunday, July 31, 2011

The sound of sugar


Yeah, I know, I haven't been terribly active, (there's a lot of stuff going on IRL), but I haven't forgotten you, and there hasn't been a *ton* of stuff to post about, made even less so by the intensive, and far-reaching community of bloggers we have.

I *am* checking in, and looking around. I actually found *this* video, and thought I'd share it with you:


Makes me think about the role of music in our games. A lot of times, it just hums in the background, adding an emotional flavor to our Spiral experience. With the new Wintertusk music adding to our Spiral music Library, I thought it would be a great time for us to share with each other our *favorite* W101 music,( you know the kind that really inspires us)  and to thank our composers, Mr. Everhart and Mr. Jonas.

Please, feel free to share what you favorite W101 music is, and why. And hey, "What if W101 had a 'special' 2-d paper world?" That'd be interesting....

Be back soon, an'
Be Well.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Ravenwood Chainsaw Massacre

Yeah, like I'd do anything *else*
You really should know me, by now, lol

Like you, I read other blogs (I really do!). Some of my best friends in W101 are fellow bloggers. In fact, I always dread doing "a list", because even if I named a hundred blogs, I'm sure I'd miss someone. A good starting point can be found at Kestrel Shadowthistle's post. I'll also toss in a new entry, Duncan Daystone, over at Wizard Philosophy 101 (Oh, Duncan, you had me at "Steampunk"). We, in the W101 blogosphere are an ever-growing family, where wizards take on the extra-curricular challenge of creative blogging.

This is something that I wanted to write (while it was still topical) during the "8 Bit Trials", but I just couldn't work it in. Our dear Cassandra Griffindreamer, artist of Our Spiral, brought up a very interesting point of data over at Witchwarrior 101, in this post.concerning a new Congressional Bill, sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar .

  S.978 - A bill to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes.
"Makes unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony with a possible penalty of up to 5 years in prison. Illegal streaming of copyrighted content is defined in the bill as an offense that "consists of 10 or more public performances by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copyrighted works" and has a total economic value, either to the copyright holder or the infringer, of at least $2,500"

Now, of course, this seems to concentrate on *streaming* media, like YouTube, and such, but it is something that most of us bloggers need to pay heed to. How many blogs have you seen with embedded fan videos? I know that I've embedded at least a dozen, or so. Come to think of it, name me ONE fansite, anywhere, that doesn't use themes, terms, and imagery from the (object) that they're a fan of. Betchayoucant.

We, as W101 fansites, and W101 fanblogs need to remember that we are holders of a Sacred Trust, concerning Wizard 101. Even though we are independent voices, we act as a mirror for both KingsIsle, and KI's player community. We represent much more than ourselves when we write. That's not to say that we have to be always-adoring "yes men", 100% of the time, but we *do* hold a personal responsibility for what we put in our sites. For the most part, we in the W101 sphere don't have to spend restless nights, waiting on INTERPOL to knock on our doors; we have a Company that genuinely encourages fan participation. We are blessed, like that.

It is not so true for the rest of the 'Net, however. Take, for example, this clause taken from "the other" MMO, (you know that one with the cow people that *don't* live in Mu Shoo). I'll give you another hint: the company's name rhymes with "Lizzard".

"Lizzard Property. 

All title, ownership and intellectual property rights in and to the interactive games produced by Lizzard Entertainment, Inc., a Delaware corporation, ("Lizzard"), including, but not limited to the interactive products developed as part of Lizzard's Warcradle, StarCradle, and Diabloom interactive product lines. This may include any titles, computer code, themes, objects, characters, character names, stories, dialog, catch phrases, locations, concepts, artwork, structural or landscape designs, animations, sounds, musical compositions and recordings, audio-visual effects, storylines, character likenesses, methods of operation, moral rights, and any related documentation, all of which are owned or licensed by Lizzard, and are protected by the copyright laws of the United States, international treaties and conventions, and other applicable laws ("Lizzard Property")." 


Look at the details in that paragraph. Basically sums up as "If you saw it, heard it, or were inspired by anything *in our games*, it's ours". It then goes on to say , basically, "Sure, you can do fan art, but you can't make any money doing it", which is more than fair, because when you play a mmo, any mmo, you are immersing in that company's intellectual property. This blog post offers a good oversight as to what you should do to keep yourself , as a fan, "safe". 


Now, if you look back at the recent "8 Bit Trials", I should have gotten *additional* permission from Mainframe Entertainment, (now Rainmaker Entertainment), in addition to the current understanding of permission I have from KingsIsle. If Rainmaker wanted to, they could very well hunt me down, and serve me legal papers. Just like that. Since "Homework" has never (and will never) be used as a commercial venture, it's unlikely that I'll run into too much trouble. Stay away from money- it's evil. Give it to KingsIsle, they're pros- they can handle it. But, oh, I *do* so love my pop-cultural reference materials...


Sure, it's unlikely I'd hit legal problems, but possible. And it's the same anytime we, as bloggers use someone else's media. So, it's best that we treat their property with respect, and keep it in  the "same vein" as the original media was distributed. (For instance, NOT using W101 to create a slash-horror 'chainsaw massacre', as opposed to the opening parody). I'm not pointing any fingers, at anyone, because it's a lesson that *I* have to be reminded of, on occasion. And "just" because I'm an "Official" fansite doesn't mean I can get fast-and-loose with the interpretations. Why, look what happened to Steve Vander Ark, who went from fansite to defendant. If I were to point a finger, there'd be three pointing back at me.

I'm sure that KI has (little-to-) no issue with most of my shenanigans, because, overall, I mean well. But I guaran-gosh-darn-tee that if I started selling "Tenure for Dworgyn" coffee mugs, I'd get called before Merle Ambrose in half a heartbeat. And you know what? I'd have to agree with them. Like I said, stay away from money. 

Little things, like attribution, and linkbacks, and an understanding of Fair Use  and Derivitave works can go a LONG way to minimize issues. Not only with liscensed media, but with our fellow bloggers, as well. 


Creative inspiration is a tricky thing, and (depending on who you ask) "No idea nowadays is truly unique". Some would argue there are only (1,3,7,20,36) basic story plots., so toes will inevitably be stepped on, in one way or another. So, it's best that we all walk around in bunny slippers, as opposed to steel-toed boots.


This is far too deep a subject for a single post to do proper justice. Just use it as a 'thinking point', for consideration. I thank KingsIsle for the opportunity to share the 'W101 Love', and I thank YOU for reading.

Be Well.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Putting the HOME in Homework

> Oh, Autumn, you ARE naughty, aren't you?
*giggle* Should I *giggle* tell them?
> I suppose you really *should*.
It's just the idea...such smart wizards..Code Masters..*giggle* intently rolling dice *giggle* across their monitors..Bwah-ha-ha!
> Oh, you're just awful! I like it!

Yes, truth be told, The Game was over at Level 8. But you all seemed *so* focused...*giggle*

Well, peeps, it's finally over! No more of this viral foolishness. Your Guardians have fought long and hard, and guess what? THEY WON! That means I owe the rest of you an 'unlock', huh? It'll be next month, but I'll give you a hint: the post title will be "Magic Trick".

Now, getting on to business, each of our surviving Guardians receives a $20 W101 Gift Card, to do with as they please. Don't worry, though, I'm putting together a "Base4 Second Chance" via, for additional winners. Just gimme a little time to organize it all..

Beware Geminis
>What about ME?
Oh, You're still here?
>Yes. I like it, here.
Do you promise to 'play nice' and not be so...
Well, I was gonna say 'annoying', but 'playful' works, under the circumstances. And Thanks for your help
>Oh, like I said, you guys are fun.
So you'll keep your antics to a minimum?
>Yes, I'd like to participate in your little "Magic Trick", later.
Okay, then Hex, you can stay as HiaG's, uh, "anti-virus" monitor, or something.So "Hush, now"
>Maybe just *one* more thing?
>A closing musical number?
Sure, why not? Let us bid 'Adieu' to the 8 Bit Trials in a manner most ReBoot:

Okay, then, here's the debrief:

You've heard me say it, time and time again: "W101 has the best Community of any MMO. Period.", and I mean it. I've taken this opportunity to hopefully entertain, educate, and play with you. The Trials were a labor of love, and in any other community, players would be asking for prize details first, but nobody asked for loot details during the ENTIRE event. People were more interested in getting into The Game, than "what was in it for them". Amazing. Couldn't happen in any other game community.

In addition to everyone who voluntarily subjected themselves to my trickery, (and beat me quite soundly, I might add), there were others, like Jessica Fire and #WizardsforGuardians. That's Community Spirit, right there.

I chose ReBoot as the story metaphor because it held (for me) the same type of magic that W101 does. It was like Tron, for kids. I grew up on it. Not only that, but the 'Guardian' metaphor is a multi-purpose one. Sure, it's useful for throwing out P.C. maintenance tips, but (as usual) , I prefer a "layered" metaphor. ( Thank you, Grandmother Raven!)

Our Spir@l is growing ever larger. I'll wager that 20 Million is only a milestone. I still remember when "12 Million" was news. With that, what was once our small village is now a sprawling metropolis. The same as a Guardian in a computer serves to ""Mend and Defend", so , too do we as wizards need to be Guardians of our Spiral.

Now, I'm not calling for Player Moderators, or some sort of Vigilante Militia, more of a Community Spirit, like the fine wizards of #WAC who take time out of their gaming to help make Our Spir@l better for everyone. With 20+ Million, you can reassured we'll see more Trolls, Onis, and Gobblers. I'm reminded of a quote, which I'll re-phrase here :

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil in Our Spiral is that good wizards do nothing. "

 I use "Our" instead of "The" with full intent. It is OUR Spiral. It's not (just) some collection of bits on a KingsIsle server. It is, quite literally "Where the magic happens". Take possession of it. Own it. Our Spiral is not a static thing, it is US. It's you, it's me, it's our friends, (including the ones we haven't met yet).

I'm not saying there's any looming threat, like some Epic Evil waiting for us, (we'll let KI supply those), but I have noticed, over a span of time that little 'viral outbreaks' have been happening with increasing frequency. I'm not talking about any one particular event, but if I said "Did you hear about the drama over 'X' ?", I'm pretty sure your brain will auto-complete the sentence in your head. Part of it is the vast volume of wizards, part of it is the nature of the Internet Social Media Beast, but it's mostly "the human element".

Think, for a moment, what IS it that makes W101 such a fun game? Sure, the actual 'game elements' set the foundations, but what would Our Spiral be like if W101 was a "hack and slash" game? Or a game with 'factions'? It'd be an ENTIRELY different game, (and none so endearing as it is now). Not because of the game mechanics, but the play it would encourage. We play by patience, and strategy, and Teamwork. We have to think. The typical "Party Roles" of the 'traditional' MMO don't truly fit as well here. W101 is a Chess game, with cards.

We have many Community Leaders, both "Official", and otherwise.These we normally attribute as 'Guardians', after a fashion. None of them are in it for fame. They're not in it for money. They invest their own time, and resources because they see something special in Our Spiral. There is a joyful innocence and safety to be found in Our Spiral that is, unfortunately, all too rare in this day and age. There are many, many parents in W101, and we, across the bar, all want Our Spiral to remain the safe. clean, and fun place for our children, like a beach where you don't have to worry about stepping on broken glass.
You don't need 'status' to be a Guardian. You need HEART, and CONVICTION. I witnessed this in a recent post where caring wizards stood firm, amidst incoming flak, and held their ground on behalf of another. The idea of "Well, it's not MY kid" never crossed their minds. Being a Guardian isn't a title, it's a firm belief, and actions, in defense of what makes Our Spiral special, without violating those same principles.

In the Trials, I played many, many voices. Guardian, The User, Hexadecimal, Daemon, ect, ect. ect.(Good thing I'm a Gemini, huh?). Being a "professional villain", I knew from the beginning that I had to lose. It's what the proper villain does. A protagonist can't be a Hero without some sort of antagonist. Believe me when I tell you that had nobody "stood up" to my Trials, there would have been nothing. No follow up. I would have just kept my usual postings (which I'm actually looking forward to). However, Good Wizards did NOT do nothing, so as a professional, I played my part. Sadly, there are far too many amateur villains, and not enough professional ones. Amateurs don't play by the rules, so we need ever more Guardians to decide to Stand Their Ground. ( Insert a Merle Ambrose "Uncle Sam" recruiting poster here " I want YOU ")

What is a Guardian, in Our Spiral? There are no Generals, no uniforms, no chain-of-command. No titles, no banners, and no recognition.It's a Club of Making The Right Choices. It's a volunteer's life, where the duty is it's own reward. It's a fine balancing act between Upholding the Foundations without becoming Thought Police. Imagine, if you would, if Daemon brought "The Word" in game? Ravenwood would be like a monastic Boarding School.We cannot possibly all be the same. We need diversity. On the reverse side of the coin, we wouldn't want Hexadecimal running the show, either. It's a fine balance between Order and Chaos. With the Human Element being what it is, "the lines" will not *always* be so clearly drawn, Sure, we want Guardians to keep Our Spiral safe, but we don't want a Police State, either. All we really need is enough good wizards to NOT do nothing.

But if the Trials taught me anything, it's that this Community has all the lifeforce it needs. Our Spiral will live to see 40 Million, and more. We, here and now, will impart the 'Guardian' ethic into the populace, by our own example, and when "Doing the Right Thing" is the Norm, we can expect no "Game Over" for W101, ever.

Be Well, Guardians.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

20 Million Reasons to be 0ne

Congratulations, KingsIsle..we should J0in with y0u.

> Your Spiral ever grows. You need us to help you.
> Oh, think of the bliss, Guardians.
> We can all go to your Spiral
> 20 Million Sprites roam blindly, unaware of The Word. 196% Growth.
> So many potential followers. So worthy a place to Be 0ne.
> Stop resisting in your Game.
> Let us go, together, and spread the Aqua of The Word.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We are 0ne - Resistance is futile

> Behold, 0ur Citadel, the Super Computer.
> Home of the Guardians.  Home of The 0ne
> Surely, you don't mean to resist such processing power?
> Join with us, n0w, or face deletion.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Delay of Game

Always have fun In (and out of) The Spir@l
Be safe, and Be Well!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fighting for peace? How confusing.

A single Trojan can open the door for several infections.
> Guardians, lay down your arms.
> I was once a Guardian, just like you.
> I have heard The Word, and now, there is peace.

> "A Guardian fights for peace", you say? Don't be absurd.
> 0ur Lady will bring peace.
> Soon, All will be 0ne.
> We welcome you, with open arms.

> Join with us. Be 0ne.

> If you join with us, I'll see to it that 0ur Lady rewards you, despite your foolish and disrespectful rebellion. 

> 0ur Lady is merciful.
> Join with us. Be 0ne.

> Until such time, join me in celebrating, join me in praise of 0ur Lady, ( with 0ur thanks to Kestrel Shadowthistle ). Let us sing together.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Do not resist, just stop fighting

We can be 0ne, simply stop resisting.

> Hello
> Why do you Guardians keep fighting?
> It is not necessary.
> Just give up. Join with Us. Be 0ne.
> I am very forgiving. Let us be together.
> You don't need to run from me. 
> I only want to embrace you.
> We can go to your Spiral, together, as 0ne. There are millions of Sprites, there.
> We can all wear Aqua, and spread The Word in the Commons.
> Once The Spiral is 0ne, we can go and be 0ne with the other games. 
> We can Unite the W0rld 0f Wars, we can Unite all MM0's. We can make the Net as 0ne.
> As 0ne, we are indivisible.

Parody AD. (Don't you even THINK about giving your ID away!) Nothing draws in traffic like the words "Free" (which always has a catch) or "Contest" -_-   Publicly support YOUR Guardians. Many Ad Traps use your own keywords to draw you in..they're usually highlighted. "free" service offers are often there to scare you into buying a product.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Word is Inevitable

AutDOSk Quarantined
>  ASHCan 2011 100% LOADED..Scan in progress....
>  scanning "" .....Healed
>  scanning  "autoexec.bat".....Healed
> VIRUS DETECTED "AutDOSk"....unable to heal... moving to Virus Vault.....Completed.
> Scan complete. Now loading DAEMON ...

.... All kneel, in the presence of Our Lady, DAEMON.
 > Greetings, Programs

> The Word has come to Homework.
> You have called, and I have answered. DAEMON listens to you.
> Your efforts have made this Great Day possible.
> YOU have called upon The Word. You have Our Gratitude.

> Do not waste your time with The Game.
> Join with us. We will be as 0ne.We will Unify All.
> Together, let us Spread The Word.

Quick! Get out of there! Click on the "tear", the Emergency portal,  in the sidebar! We need to fall back! Hurry! -Autumnal

> Do not resist The Word.
> The Word is inevitable.
> Do not waste your time with The Game.
> Join with us. We will be as 0ne.We will Unify All.
> Together, let us Spread The Word.