Tuesday, April 19, 2011

All you have to do is.....

....Keep talking.

Howdy folks the Spiral seems to be losing authors left, right, and center I can assure you though right here right now I don't plan on leaving or taking a break. For all those taking a break such as our beloved Friendly Necromancer Thomas Lionblood I hope you do return that the candle of creativity and enthusiasm is rekindled. Most importantly like the Pink Floyd song all you gotta do is keep talking and people like us, your readers, will keep listening and lending our support.

Now for me I seem to be a recipient of unlimited creativity lately FAAP 2 is looking more better everyday and honestly every few days I am coming up with story lines for other comics. If you missed it on Twitter I debuted a new style of drawing I plan to utilize in FAAP 2 it's better and more emotional it's traditional American fused with Japanese styles found mostly in Pokemon (Manga), Yu-Gi-Oh, and Bleach. Enjoy!

Until next time your friend,
Alric Ravensinger

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Creature Feature: Owls - Wizard's pet? Or Harbinger of Ill Omen?

Hello, wizards today I wanna discuss a cool creature that has been used for fantasy many times over from the Goblin King, Jared to the pet of the greatest wizard in recent magical history Harry Potter. Yes that's right if Gamma up there hasn't let it slip from his beak we are talking Owls!

It's hard to imagine Gamma up top or Hedwig just above as any more than a Wizard's friend but looks can be deceiving. Let's look at how Owls in their antiquity were viewed -- Let's start with  Meso-America home of my forefathers. They in particular the Hopi and Aztecs viewed Owls as omens of death, evil, and sorcery hard to imagine why but they did. Like all cultures many of them just didn't know how to attribute things to nature occurring phenomenon, so it must be supernatural? Keep in mind this is all before the Spanish (Also my forefathers) came and colonized much of the land bringing with them disease but also knowledge.

Africa also has Owls and view them much like the Hispanic cultures of The Americas -- Omens of Death. It's not everyone who believes this, it's mainly indigenous tribes like the Kikuyu of Kenya. Now although these cultures are old there is an even older culture that viewed Owls in a significantly less evil way -- Greece!
That's right our modern view of the Owl can be attributed to Ancient Greece where they saw Owls as beings of Wisdom. In fact, Owls can be seen in that culture as one of the symbols of a Goddess which one you ask? Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, Warfare, Strength, and Strategy. Who had a city named in her honor you know it as one of Greece's oldest and most influential cities -- Athens in which she was it's Patron.

In our world, the wizard101 one that is the main Owl we can identify is Headmaster Ambrose's pet owl -- Gamma. Besides watching the Spiral in the Headmaster's tower Gamma doesn't do much outside of this. However, in the magical world there is one owl that is pivotal and resonates with people the world over as the pet owl of "The Boy Who Lived" of course you know I am talking about Hedwig. In the magical world of Harry Potter Owls and other creatures are seen as pets, friends, and magical familiars. 

 Hedwig was Harry's Owl in the HP series and was given to him by friend and Hogwarts's Gamekeeper Rebeus Hagrid. Hedwig represented Harry's innocence as is very obvious during the earlier books of the series. Hedwig was very loyal to Harry throughout the series and was very mature even looking down on other immature owls such as Pidwigeon. Now Owls seen as Ill omens it's intriguing J.K. Rowling picked the Owl which is seen as a bad omen. Although it's only merely speculation on my behalf what if Hedwig's presence marked a doom for the whole series? I mean think about all that befell Harry? Is it not curious to think his closest friend -- one of his most well loved ties to the magical world a warning in disguise?

Honestly, I don't like the idea of that either but it's something to chew on, some food for thought. If you are a fan of the series you already know Hedwig's death in the final book symbolized the death of Harry's innocence. So in a way Hedwig was a harbinger just a symbolic harbinger although I must admit in the movie version of the final book I did like how Hedwig was killed as oppose to the book. Now obviously Hedwig dying the way she did meant the lost of innocence. But in the movie she is seen attacking a Death Eater protecting Harry and subsequently being killed by the Killing Curse. This death is also symbolic for the same reason but in a more profound way -- protecting innocence. Hedwig dies marks the end of innocence but left the impression no matter how the mirror is broken you'll try to protect it before, and after piece the shards together.That girl lived a "Great old life" indeed and if there is a Owl heaven Hedwig is definitely there.

Ok, enough with the symbolism and tears time to focus on the animal itself. Gamma and Hedwig are Snowy Owls which were believed to be a separate genus of Owl until recent DNA results show they are in fact related to the Genus Bubo, or Horned Owl family. Hedwig although a female was in the movies depicted with Male snow owls as males have the iconic white feathers -- females tend to usually have more black/brown feathers.These owls you had trouble making the connection between them and their Horned owl brethren.
But as we see on Gamma the horn "protrusions" are much more dominant showing a clear relation to the Horned Owl.

  They are also skilled but opportunistic hunters with talons made for grabbing small rodents or fish out of the surface of the water. They even during low food seasons resort to hunting other species of Owl which is pretty bad to me. It's a wide known fact Owls like Cats are natural predators that keep rodent populations down but Owl poaching threatens this I am happy to say though there are many groups like CITES helping to conserve habitats for Owls as mentioned before cause owls play a pivotal role in the food chain keeping down rodent populations while supplying other species of bird with protection from predators as owls have few to compete with.

That's it for this edition of "Creature feature" I hope you all enjoyed it and come to appreciate these creatures and how they live and captured our imaginations as birds of bad omen and friends.

Until next time your friend,
Alric Ravensinger

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Moonshine and Sunlight!

Howdy folks, I am sure many of you are aware that it's been Mount week or Mount-A-Palooza as KI officially calls it. Long story short KI gave several Official fansites 15 mounts to give away ranging from the fierce Proud Lion to the never before seen Sunshine Ponies. Each fan site had it's own contest to give these sweet mounts away. This Sorcerer participated in a few of these contests as did my sweetheart Alura Hexcaster we both manage to garner some nice mounts.

Look at the mounts I won! Moonlight Pony from The Friendly Necromancer, Sunshine Pony from Ravenwood Radio (Hide n Seek), and finally the Proud Lion from the Petnome Project which I gave to my darlin' Alura Hexcaster for her baby life wizard.

Other big news that's been traveling the spiral is Test Realm has opened up to test out new amulets that allow you to cast other schools using your regular power pips basically when equipped these amulets remove the "Double cost" rule of using another school. Another awesome feature headed to the spiral is the ability for our mounts to roam our houses much like our pets do how awesome is that? You can check out the video at Kings Isle's official Youtube page or you can let me do the hard work and click here.

As far as in game activities go I have been hanging out with my buddies the #twizards! -- nonstop farming with my tia Cassandra Dragonheart and my bro Kevin Battleblood. But more than that a lot of us #twizards have formed a large group on Skype which has been great! The ability to inform and just talk silliness all on one chat for everyone to see has been helpful no to mention exceedingly fun. Big thanks to my tia and Fallon they have been helping out this sorcerer train his pets not to mention they are some of the greatest people/women I've met.

On a side note for exciting things to come to The Raven's Vault it's April which means FAME AT A PRICE 2!! debuts this month. I within the next day or so will be posting a new creature feature which everyone seems to enjoy and I enjoy writing them although my knowledge is mostly from reading or Specials on TV hehe.

Until next time your friend,
Alric Ravensinger

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Small tidbit about Wintertusk and Legendary wizards

First off thanks to John Lifeglen for finding this!

Now, this confirms Greyrose's statement but in a clear direct way you will need to COMPLETE Grizzleheim in order to gain access to Wintertusk.

Mr. Goldpaws also confirms there will be no level cap so I reckon these Wintertusk quests MIGHT be Low XP but high reward quests such as more rare reagents, gear, and snacks etc.

Selena Statue and Portrait won't be returning not a big lost but the 2,500 gold was pretty nice oh well.

Players who have reached Legendary will learn a new spell so this means these new spells are exclusively for Legendary wizards.

The last bit of news was the saddest for me definitely cuts down Theorycrafting the horn Grandmother Raven is holding has nothing to do with the prophecy from the Morganthe Arch. The Wintertusk storyline itself also has nothing to do with the Celestian plot. Sort of sad but this Story has just started perhaps we'll see Grandmother Raven fighting Morganthe alongside us in another world.

Your thoughts?

Until next time your friend,
Alric Ravensinger

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creature Feature: - Cats from Gods to Backstreets to Video games!

Hey y'all today I wanna discuss a animal many of you adore -- or hate but an ancient species of animal that's been around for ages and also happens to be one of my favorite creatures EVER!! - Cats!

Now I am sure you all are very familiar with these creatures especially if you been through Marleybone - that place is jam packed with Cats and rats hm you figure with all the cats there would be no rats. Maybe them dogs down in Scotland Yard should swallow their pride and team up with the O' Leary Gang to take them out!

Now before they were our cuddly friends, characters in a game, and domesticated Cats were worshiped as gods and used in a variety of myths all around the world.

Let's begin with what people most think when they think of Ancient Cats -- Egypt! In Ancient Egypt Ubasti or Bast was a Feline Goddess who was greatly revered now here is the fun part it wasn't until much later that she was seen as a Cat. Before the wars in Egypt between the Lower and Upper Kingdoms Ubasti was seen not as a Cat but as a Lioness. Yes they are relatives but I point this out to inform you and to show you how over time even gods change -- in this case after these wars Ubasti was seen as a less prominent Deity and a Domesticated cat as oppose to a ferocious Lioness.

Before this fall from "Grace" however Ubasti was seen as a Goddess of Protection, Cats, and the Sun. In that time Ubasti was a Child of Ra or Atum or even Atum-Ra who was the God of the Sun more particularly Mid day sun Ubasti was also referred to as Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra! This happened because as a Goddess of Protection in Lower Egypt Ubasti was associated with the Pharaoh who in Egypt was seen as a Physical manifestation of Ra, or an Avatar of Ra.  

Now her actual fall can be attributed to the wars and ultimate unification of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms.
As mentioned earlier she was seen as a Lioness; a Protector this was during wars with the Upper kingdom. After the unification she was knocked down by Sekhmet who was now seen as the de facto feline Goddess in this new unified Egypt. Before that though Sekhmet was seen as warrior goddess and healer of Upper Egypt.

Now here are some cool stuff about Sekhmet she was credited with the creation of the desert in Egypt from her breath and that the hot desert winds are her still breathing --whoa that's some harsh breath! She also like her Lower kingdom counterpart Ubasti was seen as a Protector of the Pharaoh; Leading him to battle and a daughter of the Sun god Ra. Let's move on to another goddess associated with Cats Freyja or Freya from Norse Mythology she ruled over her own underworld like place called Folkvangr where half the dead came who died from battle (Debates say Freyja's Folkvangr was for women who died a worthy death) the other half went to Odin in Valhalla. Freyja was said to have a chariot that was drawn by two cats.

All these different backgrounds on cats you figure KI would have put Cats in Krokotopia or even Grizzleheim but they were also important in England, Britain, and other European countries.

Cats in almost all these cultures were seen as guides for humans or even ascended souls! In ancient Europe many superstitions arose with cats such as a witch may use a cat to augment her power and curses. This many experts believe contributed greatly to the Black Plague in medieval times. How do you ask? As sad as it is to mention but during this time of ignorance thousands of cats were killed for fear of witches. This great depletion of cats caused the Plague infested rat population to explode cause there was no predator to keep the population in check. Before this event however cats were kept as pets even on ships to hunt down mice and rats on board the sailing ships which held food.

Another myth about the cat is that a cat has nine lives obvious this isn't true but it varies many different cultures believed cats had many lives ranging from 6 to the well known 9. This is attributed to one main idea cats have what I like to call "Super Luck" they are able to escape extremely dangerous situations but that's just an idea. Here is the facts cats are extremely supple and lithe. They have extreme sense of hearing and sight especially in dim light since cats like to hunt in the dark. They also have a great balance which works automatically this is what causes the cat to land on it's feet and leads to the saying of "A cat always lands on it's feet" Don't go throwing your cats off your Balcony though you can seriously injure the little fella.

Back to Egypt many though cats first became domesticated there about 3,500 years ago however new excavations revealed domesticated mummified cats buried with humans in Cyprus. These graves dated FAR FAR back to almost 10,000 years ago! Wow now that is one old fat cat!

Well that's all for now I'd like to come back to cats someday there is so much to learn about these great creatures and I'd like to further discuss some of the cool things about them. For example did you know domesticated cats are considered the greatest hunters in the feline world this is because unlike tigers or lions domesticated cats hunt prey purely for sport since we humans provide them with food they have no need to compete over it.

Until next time your friend,
Alric Ravensinger

Producer's Letter - April (New challenges, Spells, and Pets!)

Producer's Letter April 4th, 2011 (Click me to read)

Wow the Spiral has been a hub of news lately and this Sorcerer has been busy doing contest entries, hatching, schooling, and overall the daily spiral hustle & bustle. This morning however I took some time to read this months Producer's Letter which is full to the brim with things headed to the Spiral.

Professor Falmea also gives us more details on what it takes to be a Game Producer and the various steps,hard work, and dedication one must take to achieve such goals -- quite insightful thank you Leah!

Now here is a quick evaluation of things that caught my attention.

- Balance will get a healing spell more powerful and it's a HOT! (Heal over time)
- Lower level wizards are to continue the Crab Alley Storyline after the departure of Selena Gomez.
- Storm will also get a new spell high damage output; but at risk one wonders what it could be me and Kevin Battleblood discussed potential risks of this new spell. Check out Twitter and give your own thoughts we both can be reached at @kevbattleblood and @AlricRavenwiz.
- New school specific pets for higher level wizards; the quest to get them will be exceedingly difficult.
- New spell upgrades
- New area for Legendary wizards to complete possibly similar to Brisk Breeze but for higher levels and opportunity for more rare loot! :D

Until next time your friend,
Alric Ravensinger