Wizard101: The last gift of the Giving Tree

I’d hoped that the Giving Tree would give, as its final gift, the seed for another Giving Tree, but — no such luck. A bunch of rare Celestia harvests, a handful of gold and Rank 7 — Expert Gardener — will have to do in its place, I guess.

I’d been saving a Rank 7 seed just for this occasion, the Maelstrom Snap Dragon, which was intended to fill the Giving Tree’s empty plot. The Large Enchanted Soil required for the plant couldn’t fit in the spot where the Giving Tree had been planted, so I had to plant it across the path, which is going to be inconvenient. I planted more Baby Carrots where the tree had been, instead.

I usually snap a picture of my garden each day and tweet it — you can follow along on my TwitPic page, if you like.

W101: Celestia finished!

I SHOULD be playing the BTCNBM… oh what the heck, I should be playing in this weekend’s Rift beta event. And I have, but … past few days, I’ve been getting closer and closer to finishing Celestia. The turning point was getting Ra and the Forest Lord. With a one-two AE punch that could clear through trash in a couple rounds, the remaining quests went MUCH faster.

Having opened up the Stars and Moon portals, only the Solarium remained. Many Pisceans died in the Solarium, incidentally completing some quests from way back in the Stellarium. Every bit of XP helped.

Calypso — Figurehead of the boat she commands. Well, the boat is kinda sunk. It’s like in DDO, pirate ships never seem to GO anywhere. I have to imagine Calypso commanded her zombie crew to tramp in circles outside the grotto in which the ship is sunk, and never stop. Can you really be pirates without a ship? Mixed in with the pirates in Blue Bart, a creature of some sort. He was annoying largely because being a life monster, he was more or less immune to Tara’s spells. I once saw three Blue Barts tramping around in circles with the zombie pirates.

Queen Morganthe — she and her minions guarded the last portal piece in the Solarium. She took off, leaving a rather weak boss to fight us. By that time a level 50 friend had ported in and was helping — he stayed for the rest of Celestia, but since he only has text chat, it was hard to discuss strategy.

Trial of the Spheres — Having done this instance so often on the Test Realm, and a couple of times after Celestia went live, I knew generally what to do at each stage. I got my friend to wait and let me take the lead on things, and after that, things went okay. Slowly, but okay. Neither of my characters got any decent loot from the Trial, but … I bought everything at the Bazaar anyway.

After that, it was back to Ravenwood to inform the Storm Professor about Celestia, and — I have lots of quests left to do in Celestia, but a) am now at max level, b) have all the loot I need, and c) can’t get any more training points, so I’m calling it finished. I’m going to take a break, just continue working on gardening, and then bring Marissa, my Myth wizard, through. With Ra helping, it should go a little more quickly.

Looking back, it took about as long to go through Celestia as any of the other worlds. It’s nice to see that we have a new villain, Morganthe. Now, the Laws of Plotting demand that Malistaire either join her or battle her at some point. I’m hoping they join up. A Malistaire-Morganthe teamup would be EPIC.

Wizard101: Level 58, and I Feel Fine.

It seemed level 58 would never come to my dynamic wizarding duo in Wizard101. Slogging through grindy grind after grindy grind. Last night, The Friendly Necro kindly help me kill a bunch of Megamind-style Minions in the Science Center for one sort of thing. THAT took forever. Then the quest continued — I had to go back and kill the OTHER kind! Ugh! So I logged off.

But I could not stay away. I came back tonight, determined not to let the Science Center and its Hydrobots and Automatons and Hydrotons and Automabots get the best of me. There were plenty of people around, actually, and in full groups, the monsters did die and eventually coughed up their goods.

Both characters dinged 58, and it was time for new clothes and a new, class-defining spell.

First — to the bazaar! Now that the legendary outfits can be put up for auction, there’s no point at all in farming for gear. Leveling leaves you with lots of cash, so I just bought up the clothes for both my characters, and that was the end of it. I sure would have appreciated this during my Dragonspyre farming days…

Next, off to Grizzleheim for Tara’s Forest Lord. One hitch: Tara, not having done Grizzleheim, did not have access to the zone. I’d duo’d Grizzleheim with Allison and my Myth wizard, Marissa. Tara had already been at max level when Grizzleheim was discovered, so I didn’t see a lot of point in doing it for her. The experience in Grizzleheim, even at level, isn’t that hot, but the treasure is very nice.

Anyway, when Allison finished her collection quest (Tara had finished first), I ported her to Grizzleheim and she let Tara into the zone.

The big bad for life wizards is a life boss with 13K+ health, and a storm friend with about 1.7k. Usually these signature spell quests are solo, but just for fun, I tried to port Allison in — and she got in!

Every time either character cast a trap or a charm, the boss would interrupt and cast a debuff on the caster. The boss DPS, therefore, got more critical with every buff or debuff we cast. The fight finished with Tara doing about 3K with a prism’d and bladed centaur, and Allison doing over 10K with a critical bladed and feinted Judgement.

Tara went to Mooshu and got her Forest Lord. And then she went to the Bazaar and found some decent looking clothes to stitch onto her legendary items. She liked the stats, but the outfits are UGLY. And more than that — every wizard in Celestia seems to be wearing them. A girl likes to stand out from the crowd.

Now, Allison isn’t wearing that red outfit because the legendary clothes are ugly. She’s wearing that outfit for her very survival.

Unlike Tara, Allison was not able to bring anyone into HER boss fight. She went up against a fire boss with about 8K health and a fire minion with about 1.5K. Same rules as with Tara’s boss — any buff or debuff cast got a debuff from the boss. Allison summoned minions to help, of course, but they weren’t much help. Fairly soon, Allison was working too hard to stay alive to do any damage to the boss, and she lost her first encounter with no damage done to the boss, and the minion only down to half health.

There was only one thing to do. Build her resistances up to a point where the monsters simply couldn’t harm her. Off to the Bazaar! I managed to build Allison’s resistances up to about 78%; combined with her substantial number of available charms, even with the matching debuffs cast by the boss, spells like the dragon would do 70-150 damage. With only minimal need for healing, and aided by a fire minion that kept casting fire absorption spells on the boss, the fight was a lengthy one but the end was never in doubt.

Now, a couple of polymorphs would undoubtedly have taken up the slack, here. Maybe. I’ve gained a pretty low opinion of polymorphs from the actions of people in some pick-up groups I’ve been in. See, when you join a group in a duel, you look around and see what kind of wizards you are with. You assume that everyone knows what they’re doing and will cast the appropriate spells, so you know what you have to work with.

Then someone casts a polymorph, and now they’re dealing with a random assortment of cards and they just might as well have fled at that point. For solo play, I can see polymorphs having a place. But in a group, especially a pick-up group — not a fan.

I could also have rented a wizard from the crowns shop, I guess, but I have to admit I only now thought of doing that.

Anyway, getting special resist gear just brings me back to EverQuest and WoW and the need to adapt your gear for the encounter, and I like that.

So anyway, it was off to the Palace of Fire to speak with Ra.

And now both characters have their shiny new AEs — Tara’s first. I can hardly wait to use them — I’ve never seen either used in the game, so it should be some fun to watch.

Progress through Celestia? I have opened the Moon and the Star locks, and have just started on the Sun. Once that is finished, I think that gets me to the Temple of the Spheres — the place where legendary gear is farmed. A farm I don’t have to do :) And that makes me smile so much!

Picture up top shows part of my garden. I have a Giving Tree growing and am working my way through Rank 3. When the tree is grown, I’ll get a better shot of the garden.

Wizard101: Halfway through Celestia!

We’ve been through the Stellarium, the Lunarium, the Floating Island, the Celestia Base Camp, the Grotto and half a dozen other mini-worlds in Celestia. Quests have been shoveling experience points at us, and we’re level 56 and starting to get some gear upgrades — most recently, school-specific wands that add an incredible boost to the new stat, Crit.

Is Celestia everything I thought it would be? I’d have to say yes — a qualified yes. And I say qualified, because I’m not really sure what expect from expansions.

I’m always measuring each expansion by Marleybone, my favorite world on the Spiral. I loved the silly puns and the steampunk ethos, the fantastically done Katzenstein’s Lab and the marathon fight up Big Ben. I had both Professor Meowiarty and the mostly unseen Malistaire pulling me through the world, always just one step away. This was the theme of the worlds up through Dragonspyre — always getting close to Malistaire, but being thwarted by his lackeys on each world. Krokotopia had Krokopatra, Marleybone had Meowiarty, Mooshu had the Oni, Dragonspyre had Malistaire himself, Grizzleheim had the Ravens.

There is, I think, a big baddy in Celestia (Queen Umbra?), but I haven’t found any sign of such a villain yet — I’ve taken care of dozens of minor evils, learned about the devastation that pulled Celestia below the waves, but that story hasn’t yet coalesced into something I can fight. It’s sad that misuse of power sunk the world, but that’s not something I’m going to be able to fix.

The first few levels were a bit of a grind. I’m not sure I can kill another shark, even if it started gnawing on my feet. That sped up to such an extent that I made level 55 and 56 in the same night, last night. In two levels, I go for the level 58 spells and can start farming the legendary armor set, so in that respect, if progress keeps up at this pace, I could be looking at the end of Celestia sometime next week.

I’ll still have lots of quests to finish. I also have my Myth wizard to level up after I finish with my Life wizard. Farming gear for three wizards will likely take a few months. I’m not really into crafting or pet breeding.

Celestia is a fun ride; I’ve been ignoring all other MMOs for the past several days because the game is moving too fast for me to let go. It’s definitely a great expansion. My one concern with it is all the lower level wizards I see being boosted through. Celestia’s bounty of experience could lead to new wizards skipping Mooshu and Dragonspyre entirely. And that would be wrong.

Funny story: I was working through an instance in the Lunarium last night, when a mid-forties ice wizard ports in on me. Only has menu-based chat, so conversation is hard. He’s helping with the instance so I’m happy to have him along. We come up to one mini boss and are working on it — I have a feint on the boss, he had an ice trap, and he menus “I’ve got the boss”. I’m not a big fan of people who ask a group to not kill things so that they can build up pips for some big attack when stuff could die faster or as fast without, but whatever.

Then I see he’s about to play a minotaur, an out-of-school spell for him. The minotaur’s first, weak attack will waste the feint. The second attack will not kill the boss. I drop the Judgment on the boss, doing 3K of damage, killing it. He gets angry and ports out.

If you tell me “I got the boss”, PLEASE actually look like that’s something you’re likely to be able to do!