Sunday, June 27, 2010

Geeky Family Time

How did you spend your weekend? With the family? Chores? Shopping? Swimming? Going to the park? Not us, nope. Kids were worn out from a full week of summer (day) camp last week and my goal was to keep them in, quiet, and healing from sunburn (which they got despite being painted in sunscreen) so they’d be fully recharged for camp again this week. We logged on, and went on quests… wizardly, monster fighting, world saving quests! I’ve advocated for the online game “Wizard101” before, but thought I’d actually show you a bit of what I’m talking about.

It is a fun, family, MMORPG, and we have been playing and sharing this game for a long time, but usually, depending character level or place in game play, there’s only so much we could do as a group. When we first started playing, Honor (then 6yo) would get bored of the actual game quickly, but still had fun running around the virtual worlds, playing hide-and-seek with her brother, and shopping. However, as the kids have grown their skills in tactics and team play, we’ve been able to do more actual ‘team work’ in the quests, rather than just helping each other out here and there, and hanging out together in the game. Chess, it’s not, but the characters, their classes, and abilities can be complex, there are many variations, and players must pay attention to their partners, as well as the enemy, and their own stats, offensive and defensive, in order to play well. There are ways to aid or protect your teammates… if you are paying attention to their needs as well as your own. There are also plus and minus percentage spells to use, which require a bit of math to estimate what attack or defense you should play in order to win a battle.

Here’s Honor (right) and I having a little mommy-daughter time. My character is casting some sort of death spell.

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Maybe this spell. He’s always good to have on your side.

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My character can also manage some pretty tough fire spells, like a phoenix. Honor’s 'reaction(texted, as she was in another room, away from me) : “Cute!” … I guess, as long as he’s not aimed at you, he is cute.

Picture 2010-06-26 17-21-48  My little girl is quite the ice wizard. When she casts a spell, little snowflakes swirl around. She’s also, finally, learning to equip her character (clothes and tools) properly, to increase her strength and defense stats… it’s part of the game strategy, and not just about style and matching colors(!), but what can I say, she’s has her girly moments.

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Here she is, fighting next to her dad, in process of sending an evil snowman after the polluted elementals we were battling.

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Honor also enjoys decorating her house, and collecting pets. You can win or buy items in the game and each player’s home can be a very unique hang-out/trophy room to show off to your friends.

Here are Brian and Honor with a couple of their pets. The game has a new feature that allows you to train your pet so that it might actually assist you in battle with a spell here or there, or by providing a boost in your stats. I’m glad they don’t bring home these sorts of critters in real life.

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The game allows you to make a number of separate characters. The game plot stays the same, but how you play with a wizard of one school (life, death, myth, ice, storm, and fire) will be different than your strategy in another school. There is a bit of story line, here and there, that differs as well.

Brad played one of his characters to the end, pretty much maxed out, and then started another to work with another of Brian’s new characters. Here he is with Honor, using his death mage. He’s got a pet ghost, how cool is that?

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Casting one of our favorite spells, the skeletal pirate. The animation in this game is very well done, and as you can see from the screen shots, the details and backgrounds are very ornate and detailed too. The colors are bright and vibrant. When this spell is cast ,water covers the play area, an island rises from below, the pirate awakes, focuses his eye on you, and leaps up to attack with his sword. It’s humorous, but rather cool too. The game deals with fighting, and spells, and beating bad guys, but it’s not graphic or gory, and if you get killed, you might lose some progress and have to re-start an area, but you come back to life again, unlimited times.

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Wait, where’s Brian? I wouldn’t forget my awesome son! Here’s his storm character starting to get all sparkley and cast a spell. Picture 2010-06-26 16-46-43

And when he gets all sparkle-y, I mean really sparkle-y…

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Watch out! This might be coming your way.

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or this…

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or this…

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or even this guy.

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I don’t actually plan on turning my blog into a free-advertising site for this game, but we get so much enjoyment out of it, as a family, I do like to share. Having 4 computers functioning, and every one at a level/place that works well together, was a new experience. I couldn’t resist grabbing (and sharing) some screenshots. Just one more…

Family portrait…  everybody on the battlefield.. say cheese!

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hannah said... The thing is amazing - I'm playing right now with a few friends, and I don't think my house has ever been this clean.

Connie said...

I'll have to check it out :D Thanks!