Monday, June 25, 2012

Giddy-up, there, uh, "Pirates"?

Hey, Captains!

Sorry I've been so mute, lately, lots going on, but check THIS out:
Click to link to P101 Cool Ranch. Hold the croutons, please.

"If there is a bright center to the Spiral, Cool Ranch is the realm it is farthest from. A stark, beautiful realm of rocky islands and seemingly endless skies, Cool Ranch is a land of desert, cactus, and tumbleweeds, a wild realm where civilization can be as fragile as a cool breeze."

Wow, first Johnny Depp, now I gotta dig up som Clint Eastwood references, too!
I dunno how "Cowboys" is gonna fit, but "what the heck?". I guess it worked for Cowboys&Aliens, and "Cowboys&Ninjas", so why not "Cowboys&Pirates" right?

Who knows, this could be the next, best thing, since peanut butter&chocolate.

So, "Saddle up", and uh,  prepare to board!

And be sure to check out the New Added Concept Art! And New Downloads!

Also, be sure to follow WitchWarrior101 for the ongoing story of "Poison Ivy 2"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

To all our W101, (and future P101), Dads!




Of course, we' cant forget the First Father of Our Spir@l, Friendly. (Who I envision "Rockin' the Dockers" at KingsIsle).

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Official, tSC is *not*

See the updated banner? Notice anything different? Let's discuss.

After KingsIsle's recent opening of the proverbial floodgates for Official Fansites, I have made the conscious decision *not* to apply, and I'd like to address it here and now.

In NO way whatsoever should this be considered any kind of 'slight' to KingsIsle. Quite the contrary, having been graced previously with "Official" status with HiaG, (now rescinded), it seems inappropriate for me to take any spotlight once again. I believe *new* voices should stand up, and be heard, not "the usual suspects". I've had my time, and I gracefully expect (nay, demand) that my "dandelions" step up, and take my place. It's the Circle of Life. (Que Lion King theme)

I had my time, now it's YOUR turn.
I have stated before, as have several other fine bloggers, that the motivations for being "Official" must, by nature, be darn-near 100% "Pure". We who blog, from the heart, do not do it for "fame", nor "prizes". I want people who read tSC to be here because they share a certain affinity for my views or writing style, not because I'm "Official", or "Likely to give stuff away", or even "famous".  My blog here is for the love, and for the friends I make that share it with me. Nothing more. Nothing less.

If you're going for the "Official" nod from KI, I wish you well. Understand that you are pledging yourself for the future. Hold your blog as a committed promise, and  do it with joyful love. Sail proudly in the Kings(Isle) Fleet. Know that you represent something greater than all of us, and that is the family-friendly magic that is Our Spir@l. I salute you, and your honor to be able to hoist the KI colors. Serve those colors, and what they represent, to the very best of your abilities.

I am a Pirate, and I am free to live or die by my words. And so it shall remain. Are *you* "Simba enough" to carry the KI banner high? Let's see what you got.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

tSC, your Fast Lane to the "X"..or "O"

Well, Good ol' Captain Avery ( @Pirate101_Avery ) just tweeted the following:




Seems simple enough, doesn't it? "No big deal", even...If you think that, you'd be "dead" WRONG.


An astute observer, who diligently seeks, shall find something grand, indeed:
Forget "X", "O" marks the spot on this treasure hunt.
Sure, I *could* show you more, but it's "all about the hunt", isn't it?


Fan Sites. That is all.


Happy hunting, Captains. ;)

This bodes well

Hey, Captains! Great P101 news!

Pirate 101 won "Best Hybrid Strategy" at E3! (via RTS Guru):

" Kingsisle's 2nd kid-friendly MMO could be written off by that one hyphenated word: kid-friendly. But doing so would make you the stupidest person ever. No. Really. The stupidest. Because Pirate 101 is shaping up to be one of the fantastic example of an MMO with a strategy bent done right. All combat is turn-based grid-movement RTS goodness at its finest, and the crew you build makes P101 like Final Fantasy Tactics on the high seas. Watch this one folks. It's going to be a keeper."

 ALso, P101 nominated for "Most Innovative" at MMORPG.com.


And last, (but certainly not *least*), P101 gets front page coverage over at DadLabs

"Pirate101 Online Family Gaming - Daddy Clay and Daddy Brad visit the headquarters of KingsIsle, creators of Wizard101, the smash online game with over 25 million users. They get a sneak peak at the follow up game, Pirate101."

Pirate 101 is an adventure game that is accessible and family friendly with various levels and game tracks for older and younger players. KingsIsle focused on multi-generational play because online gaming is becoming more important to families, and many report being brought closer together by playing them.
Absorb it all..

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I CALL MUTINY!

Hello Fellow Pirate People! It's Ashley! Here to call Mutiny! Now for those of you who do not know what Mutiny is:

Mutiny (in Ashley Terms) - The crew revolting against it's captain because the captain is stinky....

Mutiny (according to Merriam Webster) - Forcible or Passive resistance to lawful authority

I still like my definition better! Anyway, many of you may be wondering why I would be calling Mutiny. Well the answer in its simplest form is. Because I can. Mutiny is usually called because the crew mates dislike the way their captain is running their ship. I call Mutiny for the plain fact that its a fun word to yell out! But anyway, Mutiny, as I just said, was taken because the members of the crew didn't like the way the captain was running the ship.

Now Mutiny didn't only happen on a ship. No, no my shipmates. It happened on land too. Many occurrences. But alas, the land lovers made punishments and penalties against Mutiny. Some penalties got as serious as death itself.

On a ship, most times if a mutiny was successful the former captain would be left on an island, barely anything to eat, or to drink. They'd pretty much only have the clothes on their back, and a pistol. A pistol with a single bullet. Now that was for when they went insane.

But don't fret! Not all mutinies were a success! Most of these were on land though, but I am sure there were punishments to be paid. Very bad ones. How do I figure this? Well pirates aren't exactly known for blowing bubbles and playing with stuffed unicorns. The punishments to be paid on land could be as bad as death.

Now, I don't know about you, but I for one call Mutiny! We must band together, we must retake our ship! We must take what was once ours! Yeah.. Just kidding! Autumn would definitely kill me. It would go something like this.


            

Yup. Totally. I call being both Jack and Angelica! Just Saying!

See Ya On The Seas,

Ashley ♥

More KingsIsle eye candy

Posted on the Pirate 101 Facebook:

Finny Concept Goodness. She could *so* beat up Ariel.


Leaving the obvious P101 possibilities aside, a "weather eye" will pick up on the url (bottom center) of myelectronicdays.blogspot.com, the blog of concept lead artist,  Dave Greko. *Plenty* of W101/P101 "eye candy" to be consumed here. I *highly* reccomend you go to myelectronicdays, and peruse the beautiful offerings. Artists are the highest form of storytelling, unlocking the door to imagination.


Happy Eye Candy!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pirattitude

Pirattitude: (pronounced pie-rat-i-tood)
Pirattitude is that natural attitude that comes from being like a pirate. Pirattitude is not always something that can be learned, and some people who are not pirates have pirattitude. These people have yet to embrace their inner pirate.

Well, pirates, gonna get a bit edgy, here. Risk-taking is not my forte. Apologies, in advance.

What can we expect from Pirate 101? Wow, that's a lot to ask. It's from KingsIsle, so we know it's a quality, kid-friendly title. But it's also about pirates, which were notably *not* kid-friendly, nor having much in the way of redeeming social graces, at all.

How will these two (seemingly) disparate qualities be combined? Pirates, in both a historical context, or in a romanticized media portrayal, are marauding sea-robbers. At the *minimum*, they are  thieves, highwaymen, preyers-upon-the-weak. And that's just the *minimum*. "Pirate 101 is the Han Solo story", as it quoted, but to what extent does that apply? Han was a smuggler, he shot first, and he did the right thing (initially) "for the money". No gleaming plate armor, here. Less "Shining Knight", and more "Dark Knight"

However, in this post-"Grand Theft Auto" generation, perhaps the sliding scale of "acceptable fantasy behavior" has shifted. Maybe, just *maybe*, I'm just a bit out of touch..or just overthinking it. In this day and age, where the area between "G" and "NC-17" is anything *but* distinct, and seems subject to the perceptions of the moment, rather than concrete rule, I fret. Like watching a metronome, the center/balance is always fleeting, and probably will always be so, considering the very broad range of the KingsIsle player demographics.

Not that I'm all "Pollyanna" about it, nor do I think that kids still live in the "Full House" timeframe,  but unlike the more "Good vs. Evil" simplicity of W101, P101 seems set to explore the many shades of gray in between, and therein lies the latch to Pandora's Box.
Hit my thumb with a hammer? Sure, I can curse like a sailor, and sometimes do, but not around younger, impressionable ears. That's part of what being "grown up" is about... appropriateness. It is a social context, something learned, not instinctual, and not exclusive to any one demographic.

I trust KingsIsle. They have a proven track record. I have no concerns for P101 from their perspective. However, having spent altogether too much time watching the shenanigans in the Commons of W101, I can only *imagine* the "artistic license" that may be "common" with the older of our younger players. Of Parents and Younglings, I have no worries. It's those who are "learning to be grown up" that I see problematic. ( I submit the very pirate-y, and ultimately mis-uable term "booty", as an example). The fiery dynamic those who are neither "Youngling", nor "Adult", and can mercurially morph between those states, where the younger look to for role-models, and the older watch over to guide the younger.

Or, like I've said "Maybe it's just me". Having been a long-run "kid-friendly" blogger, maybe it's just that natural default to "keep it appropriate", like with HiaG. Should things get a bit "keener" with tSC?
P101, however, is a new game. It's already stated it will be "Han Solo", so cartoony graphics aside, "How dark is dark?" on this new spectrum of appropriateness? How far is too far? What will we, as a collective community, decide the boundaries for our behavior (other than those specifically outlined by any ToS ) be?

This, like almost every Pirate 101 question, will be answered, in time, and I have faith (in both KI and the vast majority of Our Spir@l), that we can find an appropriate "middle ground", where it can be (and stay) fun for most. (it's never "all", because some people, you just can't reach").

So, what will be the "attitude" of our "Pirattitude", Spir@l? Please let me hear your thoughts.

Naughty-Call video time
Video selection (16+, for suggestive themes). Please exercise discretion.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Only Phules rush in...

...where angels fear to tread.

Hey there, you (eventual) Skyway Scallywags of Our Spir@l !

"So, there I was....", studiously re-checking every nook and cranny of the Pirate 101 Website, when an image in the "General Concept Art" flashed by.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Full Stop! Come about, lads! 5 Dots in! Bring that graphic back up, with a will!"

Phule Character Art

Well, well, what have we here? Another escapee from a Masquerade Ball? Is this a future companion? Hopefully we won't be fighting a Tsunami of clowns, because this character doesn't quite look like they do kid's parties. Is there a Pirate101 BatMan? Really digging the Yin/Yang motif. Who knows? Perhaps it's a "Nod of thanks" to Jester, over at Pirate 101 Central , in recognition for years of Community Support.

I was over at Witchwarrior101, (yay! She's back!), and Cassandra says the Armada reminds her of 'V for Vendetta', and having read that, I can't help but really see some 'V' in this 'Phule', which, in the long run, tells me nothing, because 'V' was quite the anti-typical hero.

KingsIsle, you're killin' me, here! I'll theorycraft me'self to death, I will! What am I saying? I can't be mad at KI, only my own impatience. So, what are your thoughts?

 
 

Oh, Pirate 101, I can't help falling in love with you!

Be Thee Well

Edit: Darn it, Autumn, *check* to make sure the video is embedded *before* you publish, geesh!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Yo-ho! Ho-hum.

Arrrrgh, there Captains.

This is the part I do detest the most...the wait.

Much like plundering the high seas, we have days and days of rolling, empty oceans, broken only by the ship of information to plunder. On top of that, there are limited waters to sail, and let me tell 'ye, them waters be crowded. Many a fish, and not enough worms to go around.

However, sometimes one gets lucky. Lucky is good. Heckhound, I'd rather be "Lucky" than "good", because Lucky beats good.

Case in point, the Pirate 101 Facebook page. Not one but *two* tantalizing, and conspicuously vague pictures:

Volcano (!)

Oh, I dunno, "The Birds"?

Theorycraft away, me 'earties! One can only imagine the possibilities. 

Oh, and, just in case'n yer not, a bit o' advice:
"Always good t'be following the , erm, "antics", of one J.Todd Coleman, savvy?"

Be Thee Well

Friday, June 1, 2012

Heard around Port

Hey there, you Captains.

Captain Duskhunter's overwatch of the Blogport.
I'm sure enough that, by now, you've heard about some of the new concept art added to the Official Pirate 101 website, and that more questions have been answered, since there are many fine blogs, (listed at right), who are keeping us all up-to-date, as the situation warrants, I'll refer you to them. (Remember to leave nice comments. Bloggers like nice comments.)

There's some other art I'd like to make sure you're aware of, as well.


First and foremost, Captain Avery, himself. I *almost* missed his tweet ( @Pirate101_Avery ) , and I'm glad I didn't, because some sleuthing on my part brought me to the "X" that marks his Pinterest page.
Of greatest interest to me, personally, is the art concept covering ship customization, Showing two hull customized with various rudder and , Oh, I  dunno, "sails" doesn't seem to cover it. Be sure to see it!


     Of great joy to me is the dual announcement that my old friend Cassandra Griffindreamer, ( @WitchWarrior ) ,a long-time ally (and inspirational artist) from WitchWarrior101, is coming back to the Spir@l! On top of that, she's teased THIS, hinting at an upcoming story, an all  original, to be based in our upcoming P101 Spir@l. Cassandra has always been the personification of the spark of imagination that KingsIsle inspires. Art and stories abound for all!
Now tSC feels a bit more complete, being able to actively report on "the usual suspects", from 'days of old'. Welcome back, Cassandra!


There is (always) more  to report, but I've got to get myself organized first. It seems I've *yet* to report the same day as news is available, so I'm making sure, (for posterity, if nothing else), to cover things as they develop...as best as I can. 

NOT heard, sadly, I was not able to catch Pieces of Eight Radio, (and do so hope for archives) , because, if Ravenwood Radio is any guideline, Po8 ( @ Piecesof8Radio) will be a valuable resource for the P101 Community. Be sure to be more diligent than I, savvy? Missing a live show is like losing a leg... no peg will ever quite match "the real thing".


Be sure to be listening to Po8 Radio, and be sure to follow Pirate 101 on Facebook..and learn things before me...like everyone else. ;)

Be Thee Well.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The makings of our own Fleet

Fleet : (n) the largest organized unit of naval ships grouped for tactical or other purposes.

"Ready to sail, at your word, Admiral"
Avast, there, me 'earties. Taking a moment out to survey our local blogging waters. It never ceases to impress how dedicated the KingsIsle blogging community can rally 'round, and work to maintain and prepare for the eventual release of Pirate 101. The mere fact that several blogs are now well-established, and ready-to-sail, (under the flag of "Admiral Friendly".), from the initial announcement on April 25th, to date, speaks volumes for the interest and passion that KingsIsle generates in it's player communities.




Removing tSC, for modesty's sake, from this survey, I'd like to highlight several blogs that have consistently caught my eye. These be "tha' ones t'watch", in my less-than-humble opinion, for their consistent efforts to prepare their fellow captains for the Skyways of Our Spir@l. 


Now, by no means is this list exhaustive, and we're always keeping a weather eye on the horizon for new sails, (and if you're a Blog Captain, and you're not seen here, notify me, an' I'll be correcting that), but the blogs listed below have truly sailed to the fore of our Blog Fleet, and have rigorously striven to maintain the momentum and excitement of the announcement of P101 from it's start to the foggy horizon of eventual Beta. Blogs mentioned below (in alphabetic order) are chosen for their creative ability to consistently create and educate the future P101 community, despite the (relatively) limited resources we can bring to bear, atm. This is not to take away from *any* of our Captains on the Blogroll, for all are faithful before the mast, but certain hard-chargers are feverishly chomping at the bit, waiting on KingsIsle's pleasure.


So, without further ado, let's look at our most motivated of Captains:



So, fellow Captain's I "doff me hat" to ye, in recognition of your contributions, already.

Which brings me to a related subject, the future of Our Pirate Spir@l. Yes, I know, it's still exceptionally early, but if I've learned anything while doing HiaG, it's to "look forward". Already, we've seen the seed of Community take root, have we not? Knowing "Admiral Friendly" is at the helm makes it so much easier to mentally define.

Community, escpecially n the KingsIsle's waters, it a precious thing. Having sailed many a MMO community, there is none like the W101 Community (believe me, I've looked), and I expect it t'be no different for P101.

We stand at the dawn of a new Era for Our Spir@l, and we should all be looking forward. There's an old saying "When the avalanche starts, it's too late for the snowflakes to vote". In the interest of being pirat-ey, I'm inclined to replace "avalanche" with "floodgates", and "snowflakes" with...um I didn't think that far ahead.

Back on course, it is upon us, the earliest of adopters of Our Spir@l's new facet, to generally agree upon "The Code" of how our Spir@l will be, A "Brethren's Court", as it were. One where all who would stand at the table share a vote. (That means all of us "Blog Captains"). One where, as is proper, Admiral Friendly and KI have the the first (and final) word, but where we who choose to speak loudly all agree on "guidelines". Now these, of course, are mostly common sense, and these promises I make are purely me own, but one's that I believe should be considered, at the very least.

"they're more like guidelines than actual rules.."
"I will treat my fellow captains with the same respect I'd expect from others for myself"
"I shall keep my personal quarrels with other Captains out of the public eye"
"I shall always remember that we all start out knowing nothing, and only learn by asking"
"I shall view the needs of our community to be paramount to my own"
"I shall embrace views, opposing my own, to be a valid right of my fellow Captains"
"I realize that 'Fun is fun', but not when it's at another Captain's expense."
"The Skyways are big enough for all of us"
"When a Captain is overboard in their actions, it affects all of us" 


I'm sure there are many more that can be added, (and will be), over time, but no book is written in a day, and the chronicles of our eventual adventures is only now just beginning. We, collectively, are the authors of a Greater Epic than any of our individual chapters can convey. I, for one, am the Captain of *my* chapter, and I'll not have it tarnished by behavior that can, over time, be looked back upon with disdain or regret. So, as I stand, with quill to ink, I do so undertake these guidelines as my own, lest my own honor be impuned.


"Sail as you will" O Captains, My Captains, and ...
Be Thee Well
 EDIT: Feel free to copy/distribute the "Oath" logo, and it's ideals (credit not required), as a Community Ideal that you Captains endorse!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Where can I download Pirate 101? The Answer.

The short, and bittersweet answer is : You Can't. It's not available...yet. KingsIsle will let us know when.

Of course, many of you already know this, but this post is put out early because *already*, I've seen sites advertising that they have Pirate 101, whether by torrent, mirror, hotfile or Zip file.."all you need to do is join/sign up" ..

That's all fake fishcakes and sawdust, my future pirates. NOBODY has Pirate 101, except KingsIsle Entertainment.


It would be an awful shame that if, out of impatience, you downloaded a file *promising* you Pirate 101, but instead allowing YOUR data to be pirated, (and possibly your W101 login, too).  Then, when Beta *was* announced, you couldn't play because your computer was out for repair because of that file you downloaded, if your hard drive could be recovered without a full wipe.


Patient Pirates Prevail.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Knotty by nature

Two ropes slither into a tavern and the bartender looks at them suspiciously. He says "Sorry, 'mates, we don't serve ropes any drinks in here." So the two ropes slither out again, very unhappy, and very thirsty.

They're sitting dejected outside when one rope says "Hey! I've got an idea to get me into the tavern."


So he starts twisting and turning, wriggling this way and that, pulling out a few threads here and there. His friend looks at him like he's gone completely out of his braided little mind.


Then the rope slithers back into the tavern. The bartender looks at him suspiciously, and says "Here now, you're not a bit of rope are you?"


"No",The rope replies, "
I'm a frayed knot."

(Boo! Hiss! Get the hook!)

Okay, Okay, pun intended. Today, we talk about knots. All good things come to an end, and rope is no exception. However, more often than not, you'll find a knot. (couldn't...resist..). This is about Nautical Knots (as in tying rope), not to be confused with Nautical Knots, the measure of speed.

A "knot board", a sailor's display of skill
To the uninitiated, it can be quite a daunting thing, this little matter of twisted ropes, but take heart! Think of it this way, you once thought tying your shoes was hard, as well, right? Now it's 'no big deal', (yes, I can hear some of you saying "But I wear velcro fasteners, nyah-nyah!") . Don't be naughty, be knotty (just..can't..resist..these...)

Anyways, to the subject at hand. There are a boatload of different knot types, for different applications, and different ropes. Since we here at tSC are all about Pirate 101, we'll be limiting this little discussion to the more practical and common knots one would employ while sailing. Remember, pirates, a mast and a sail are no good to you without working the rigging. .(Yeah, good luck with *that* one, there's a "Summer Read" for you.).

An educated knot artist can secure anything with rope, on land, at sea, (or in our case, "At Sky"). And practicing couldn't be simpler, all you need is a piece of rope.
For a basic overview of some boating knots, I'd recommend the "Anchor Hitch", the "Bowline", the "Clove Hitch", the "Figure Eight", and the "Rolling Hitch". A longer list of sailor-type knots can be found at The Pirate King.

Am *I* going to teach you how to tie knots? Of course knot! (did...it...again), but I can tell you that trying to learn from a book is difficult, at best. Fortunately, we have the internet, so I can refer you to a really good visual guide : Grog's Animated Knots, which is infinitely better at showing you how to do "rope origami" than some future pirate blogger, amiright? You be the judge. I have faith in you that you can learn some basic knots, and be viewed with awe and envy by all your friends. Heckhound, you could even make "Monkey Fist" key-chains, or paracord bracelets and sell them, ( to save up for future Crowns purchases, of course). Nothing says "gift" like something you made yourself, with your own skill! The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Am I going to *reward* you for broadening your horizons?
"I'm a frayed knot."

Be Thee Well!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hoist the colors! What colors?

Right off the top, a special thanks to Edward Lifegem , over at "Around the Spiral with..", for a surprise endorsement of tSC, and yours truly. Help me thank him by visiting his blog, (and be sure to leave (nice) comments, bloggers love (nice) comments)

Now, before I begin, you ought watch this inspirational (remixed) bit from World's End. (Gets me every time, it does).Yes, it is related to the subject matter, at hand.

The Flags used in the movie are historically accurate. PotC did their homework.

What exactly does "Hoist the colors" mean? Well, in *general*, "colors" refer to a flag, of any sort, be it a unit, a nation, what-have-you. Since, however, we're talking Pirate 101, We'll be exploring a bit about pirate flags.

The "Molly Roger"
The "iconic" flag is, of course, the Jolly Roger, the skull and bones. Historically, however, we can see there wasn't a "one size fits all" for pirate flags. Many a famous pirate had their own, personalized, flag that no other Captain flew. Think of it as "the officially unofficial corporate logo" of a pirate Captain.  There are actually many, many variations of the Jolly Roger, some older, some newer, but they all say the same thing: "Yarr! Be Wary! We're up for a fight!"

Let's then, take a look at the fear-inspiring flags of famous pirates past. Keep in mind, *these* are what an unlucky merchant ship were likely to see, no the "iconic" skull and bones we come to expect today:

A not-nearly-exhaustive look at "NOT Jolly Rogers"
Okay, to be honest, not *every* pirate had their own flag, and many are historically contested as to "whose was whose", but we're not doing a college-level critique, here. ;) There are many more examples to be found, if you go about looking for them.
Oh, and since we're talking "maybe" about historical flags, there is contention as to whether of not flags were more often red (the sign of "No Quarter"), or primarily black (The sign of Quarantine, ie sickness/plague/death). One way, or another, these flags were designed purely as psychological warfare, to scare a target into submission. Many a ship was taken, with no loss of life, simply upon seeing a dread pirate's "colors". Those who put up a fight, and lost, did considerably less well as those who simply surrendered.

So, while we wait on Pirate 101, what are *your* colors? As a future Dread Pirate of Our Spir@l, what colors do you think you will hoist? (Hint: this is a chance to make your own pirate flag, something that represents you). If you submit your own user-created "Pirate Flag" here to tSC, I'll be happy to post it, and share it with everyone!

Be Thee Well!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Timeless Beauties- Both Fictional, and Factual.

Fact, or Fiction, still a feast for the eyes.
"Who would win in a fight, between...." No, let's not do that.(Although it *would* be interesting theorycrafting, would it not?)

As I sit here, pondering the eventuality of Pirate 101, images continually "sail by" in my mind's eye. Sure, by now, we've all see the Official trailer, (some of us more than others), and many of us have probably longingly watched the ships scroll by, knowing there *has* to be more. Just has to. If KingsIsle ever decided to go into Commercial Fishing, I know I'd probably be hooked, right off the bat. Just fry me up, and serve me with tartar sauce and a basket of chips.

Anyhoo, back to the beauty of ships of sail. Of course, no Piratey-themed blog would do without a smattering of references to the mega-popular film franchise based on an amusement park ride.


The Black Pearl. No introductions needed, I'm guessing.  Did you know the ship's name was originally "Wicked Wench"? And that a  black pearl earring, was traditionally for survivors of a sinking ship? Who knew? Sadly, this revenant of an undead ship has no historical base, other than being the Kardashian of Ships."Famous for being famous".


The Flying Dutchman Oh, now here we go, a ship with some lore to it! No, we're not talking Spongebob, here, geesh. Going back to 17th-18th Century folktales, This Bad Boy is a doomed eternal wanderer of the seas, and cursed to never make port.Therein lay more tales than mere celluloid can do proper justice.Sadly, we have to file TFD with Unicorns, and Loch Ness.


Queen Anne's Revenge The third of our PotC fleet, is, one that is (very artistically ) styled after a real, timbers-and-canvas ship, very famously Captained by the real Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard). Originally a British frigate, named Concord, it was captured by the French, renamed La Concorde de Nantes , before falling into Blackbeard's possession, and being renamed, yet again. "Show me the Car Fax", already!


Now, all the Above is good and well, but what about the here-and-now? Is the Age of Sail *completely* over? Have we, the land-lubbed, missed our chance to gaze upon such grace?Fortunately not.


USCGC Eagle (WIX-327): The United States Coast Guard still maintains the Eagle as a Coast Guard Academy Training vessel , which is the U.S's only active duty square rigger. Sure, she's got a steel hull, and modern accoutrements, but darn it, just *look* at them sails!

USS Constitution. "Old Ironsides" This one is famous for actually *doing* stuff, like real, honest-to-goodness, "Boom, thud, is-that-all-you've-got?" kinda stuff. I can proudly say that I've stood on deck, and belowdecks on this Warrior Queen. If you're ever in the Boston area, make a point to visit her in Charlestown, and learn a few things at the museum. This baby fought real pirates, and she's stillin the water, to this day. True Fact: The USS Constitution is *still* considered on "Active duty" Yes, you read that right, she's still part of the US Navy, and the oldest commissioned ship still floating, and she's undefeated. (Okay, okay, i know. I tend to gush a bit when supporting the "Home team".)


HMS Victory Okay, to be fair, Although Constitution is the oldest still floating, HMS Victory is *The* Grand Dame of Fighting sail. This tough Ol' Gal was fitted with 104 cannon. Yes, you read that right , one hundred and four. She was the Flagship of Lord Nelson, and even though she's been drydocked since 1922, she still retains the title of "Oldest Commissioned Ship" in the world. She's got a full 30 years on the Constitution,and, like her younger 44-54 gun "sister", HMS Victory saw true naval combat, and lived to tell the tale.

Of course, these are mere samplings of Tall Ships that still abound, and I hope that this little diversion can help you bide the time 'till Beta, and give you a more visceral appreciation of the (virtual) beauties we shall have beneath our (virtual) feet. Just because they're "not real" doesn't mean we can't give them all the love we give their physical, (and mythical), counterparts.

So, "Who would win....?" With enough patience for Beta, eventually, *us*.

Have you the stomach for pirating?

First off, I want to (happily) point you over to Pirates of the Spiral for the first (known) Pirate 101 contest! Yes, there's booty to be had! Hurry over, (and hurry back, I'll wait.).

Oh, back already? Welcome back.
Ever wonder why 'scurvy' is always attributed to pirates, (Like "ye scurvy dog!")?
Well, it's actually a reference to scurvy, a condition brought on by Vitamin C deficiency. Not a pretty thing, by any stretch of the imagination.

As the Chief Cook of my domestic scallywags, I thought that, since we're talking pirates and food, I thought I'd share a little "try this at home" for you, (with the help of a responsible parent or guardian, there be ovens involved.)

The "cracker" that battles back.
So, what do I suggest for your first "Piratey Martha Stewart" experience? A historically acurate, (and none too shabby), bit of provision that many a sailor and pirate would have been well-acquainted with: Hardtack

Hardtack. Known also to sailors as "Pilot Bread". Perhaps you've heard it referenced in a movie, (often in with a tone of complaint), hardtack is a very simple, long-lasting type of thick cracker made from flour, salt, and water. They are baked "extra-dry", and have a considerable shelf life. There's actually many recipes for making various types of hardtack, but we're gonna stick with something simple and standardized. This is the recipe that I've used, myself, and I'd like to share it with you.

Here's what you're gonna need:
  • 4 cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • Water (about 2 cups)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375° F (Please, please, be careful! Have a trusted adult help.)
  • Makes about 10 pieces
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add just enough water (less than two cups) so that the mixture will stick together, producing a dough that won’t stick to hands, rolling pin or pan.  Mix the dough by hand. Roll the dough out, shaping it roughly into a rectangle. Cut into the dough into squares about 3 x 3 inches and ½ inch thick.
After cutting the squares, press a pattern of four rows of four holes into each square, using a nail or other such object. Do not punch through the dough.  The appearance you want is similar to that of a modern saltine cracker.  Turn each square over and do the same thing to the other side.
Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake for another 30 minutes. The crackers should be slightly brown on both sides.
The fresh crackers are easily broken but as they dry, they harden and assume the consistentency of fired brick.

The above is the "Army Recipe", made by standardized procedure, common during the Civil War.

A word of warning: The "Hard" in "Hardtack" is no joke! You're going to want a nice cup of broth, or some other liquid when consuming hardtack. If you have a loose tooth, hardtack *will* "help you with that".

Also, don't limit yourself to "standard cracker shape", you can make "hardtack gingerbread men" (aka pirates), or , how about this, Pirate 101 Class-shaped hardtack? Spyglass, sabers, hoodoo dolls, you-name-it. Send in pictures of your "Pirate 101 Hardtack", and I'll glady share it with Our Spir@l.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pirate101 Interviews -Sam Johnson, via Massively

Well, 'mates, If'n you're like me, (and if so, my condolences), you like to scour the skyways of the internet for "all things Pirate 101".

Just stumbled across this myself, and it's a good read, over at Massively, interviewing Creative Lead Designer, Sam Johnson.

In this interview, Sam gives a lot of tantalizing tidbits covering gameplay expectations, companions, and how your pirate will start their journey.

(From the interview)

Massively: What do you feel are the most important lessons you learned from the development of Wizard101, and how did they influence the design of Pirate101?

Sam: From a purely story standpoint, we learned that humor works, that a light, welcoming tone is absolutely critical, and that the right kind of humor can create experiences that resonate with both kids and adults. We also learned that "side quest" content must be clearly distinguishable from the Main Story; players must always be able to easily tell what they have to do next and not fear that every little quest they find is required to finish the big story.

 Read the full interview HERE.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Is the war over?

"So, there I was...", poring over possible courses to chart on Our Spir@l's skyways, when a nervous representative of my ship's future contingent approached me, followed by a less-than-enthusiastic crew.

"Beggin' yer pardon, Cap'n, but with Friendly now recruited by the Kings(Isle) Navy, might'n this mean that the ongoing war with Ol' Tom be over, with nary a shot fired?"

*Thwak* sang my blade, as it flew from my scabbard.

*thunk* went my ex-minion's head, as it began it's newly-liberated journey from it's mooring at the shoulders.

"An excellent question, lad" I thoughtfully replied, "Ever so glad you asked. Gather up the Crew, and we shall discuss. Also, someone make a note of that minion's bravery..and bring a mop."

Ah, Old Tom. Not to be confused with Dead Tom, Necromancer extraordinaire, Cornerstone of the W101 community, now not just privateer for KingsIsle, but outright Major General. Of course, this scuttlebutt is not 'new', by the convention of "Internet Time", but must needs be addressed, regardless. I've been mulling over this development, and am now ready broach the subject.

Our little war, composed of skirmishes spaced over time measured in years, is *far* from over. Quite the contrary, one might surmise we are only now seeing the full and glorious clash just now coming over the horizon.

There is no glory to be gained by conquering lesser opponents, such is only a form of carrion feeding. Jostling with one's own peers is slightly better, but no more than wolves struggling for "Alpha" position...
True Glory, however , is found in the Epic Battles. it's about Davids and Goliaths. What sweeter victory than that of overcoming supposedly insurmountable odds?'Ol Tom's ascension has provided us with unexpected opportunity! Dodge the thunder, and seek the silver lining, lads! And when you find that silver lining, loot it!

True enough, Ol' Tom may now have the very  powers of Triton Himself, but therein lies our inevitable victory, lads! True and well, he may have Phenomenal Cosmic Powers, but , and this is the best part of it, me 'earties, is he's all but handed us the keys to (eventual) victory! Sure, he got powers, but he's also now beholden to many a binding chain of rules, regulations, and procedure, muah-ha-ha! While we here are free to fire at will, 'Ol Tom has a Chain of Command, wrapped like an Albatross 'round 'is neck.

Now, that's not to say we can simply sail up "as we please", for there be dragons, but, should we manage the perils with strategy and deftness, not even The Armada itself shall stand against us.
Ol' Tom has well and justly deserved the riches heaped upon upon him, but uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. We most certainly wish him well, and take nothing from him for his accomplishments, far-flung and storied as they are.

So, Ol' Tom, we hereby doff our hats to 'ye, "Major General", in deference to your title, and position, as we respect only the most worthy of opponents.


"Gratz", Friendly, and Thank You!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I spy, with my little eye...

...new minigames! Coming to Pirate 101~

Must have mayhem!

Of course, with this new Part of Our Spir@l opened to us, there be even more ways to be spending your time, and earning booty, to boot! Be Sure to check it out HERE, at Pirate101!

Coin Drop - Pirate treasure coins are stacked in a confusing mass, and you need to clear away as many coins as possible so the stack doesn't raise above the foul line!

Pirate's Pub: In this mini game, it's a race to the end of your shift as you serve up cold frothy glasses of Yum to impatient Pirates.

Powder Keg: Shoot back enemies and keep your tower standing as long as you can in this action packed mini game.

Rat Attack: Control an infestation of pesky rats with your powerful cannon in this fast paced Pirate mini game.

Rogue's Range: Get your target practice in by shooting Pirate cut-outs with this first person shooter mini game!

Windjammer: The Skyway can be a busy place, as you see by having to avoid enemies and blasting cannons in the Windjammer mini game.

Wow, honestly, I can't wait to try ALL of them. Lotsa "Crash, BOOM, Bang!" going on in the Pirate's Life, it seems.  If this is just the *minigames*, I'll wager many a crown that there will be raucous fun to be had for all ye' salty dogs!

Your Top Pirate 101 Questions Answered! <- A *must read* link, straight from KingsIsle.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Anchors, a weigh-in.

<- What is this? Well, it's an anchor, of course. Kinda the iconic "One anchor to rule them all". When someone says "anchor", this is what generally comes to mind.

However, with all things nautical, there is never just *one* way to do things, but more on that, in a minute.

What is the primary purpose of an anchor? It's the "emergency brake" for ships, used only when you don't the ship moving . Any ship, whether it be power, or sail, will naturally move with wind and currents regardless of whether sails are up, or a motor is running. When you want to park, and a dock isn't available to lash to, you drop anchor.

A sampling of only *some* types of anchors

Anchors come in many shapes, sizes, and purposes. Most ships will carry more than one anchor, and more than one *type* of anchor. Even deep at sea, when reaching the bottom of the ocean is just too impractical, a "parachute" type of sea anchor can slow, and maintain a ships attitude. An anchor is usually selected to match the ship, and the expected conditions. For example, a 40-foot sailboat expecting sandy-bottom conditions will most certainly have different anchors than, say, The U.S.S Constiution, or a Carrier that's expecting a rocky bottom.

"Something for everyone". Sometimes, bigger isn't better.

So, the overall purpose of this post? Just some simple sampling of he overall nautical world, and ships in general, but for Pirate 101, we can expect the "one anchor to rule them all" to be just fine for our pirating purposes. So, while we wait, keep your eyes on the prize, and become a more well-rounded pirate. ;)


Be Thee Well!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Salutin' all ye Pirate Mom's

"All of us" at tSC wishing all the(future) Pirate Moms, (and yeah, you Wizard Moms, too), a Happy Mother's Day. Go rouse your crew, have 'em sing you songs, about how much their own "Captain NoBeard" does for them all 365 days a year.


And thank you to KingsIsle, for games that Moms, Dads, and little scallywags can all enjoy together!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Little Siren History Lesson

Greetings Pirates! I have a little history lesson for you! About Mermaids! Yes you read that right. Mermaids. Now I think most of you will think of one thing when you hear the word Mermaid. The Little Mermaid. Trust me! I think of it too! Anyone (including Autumn) will tell you. I love love love the Little Mermaid! But before the whole 'Under The Sea' thing came into Walt Disney's head, mermaids were known for a different type of behavior.

Mermaids are mythical creatures in old pirate tales. The upper body of a human, up to their hips. Everything under the hips are of a fish. The mermaids have leg length tails. These tails would have fins at the end of them, enabling them to swim. These creatures had beyond belief beauty. Their faces, ever so perfect. These very evil creatures would drag the mesmerized sailors to the ocean floor. Killing them.



Exhibit A. "My Jolly Sailor Bold"

I honestly adore that song. But as you can see mermaids know how to handle the sailors of the ocean blue. As you can clearly see by this lovely song, these mermaids are very different from that cutesy stuff they do over at the Little Mermaid. They lure in the sailor with their beauty and song. Then they snap. They become vicious and well evil.

I would SO play a mermaid in P101. But that's just me!

Well there's your little Pirate History Lesson of the Day! Hope it didnt bore you tooo much!

You're "Innocent" Mermaid,
Ashley


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Introduction Time!

Ahoy Loyal Ship Mates! 'Tis time for introductions! Oh who am I kidding? I can't pull off this Pirate Word Play! Anyway, it really is time to meet the crew! Or at least the newest member of the crew! Hi! I'm Ashley Duskhunter! Autumn's Teenage Child. Some of you might already know me from a previous blog. But now I'm joining the Pirate World (Along with trying to stay in the Wizard World)! Well, All I can say from what I've read about P101, it seems very very very awesome sauce! I also think I'll be going Witchdoctor. "Ashley The Teenage WitchDoctor".

Well My Ship Mates! I have found this "Doll Creator". The website is Azalea's Dolls. I must say it is a very interesting Doll Creation site. So Kudo's to Azalea! Now to the point of this part! One of the Doll creators is the Heroine Creator. You can make your own Disney Heroine! The creator has undergone alot of updates since the first time I tried it. At first you could only make mermaids. Now you can make Princesses, Maidens, etc. So Autumn told me about tSC and Idea's got a brewing in my head!

"Hey Ashley! Let's go Make Sirens for tSC!"
"Hmm.... OKAY!"

So this is what I came up with:

 
Autumn:  The Elder Siren

Ashley: The "Ariel" of the Sirens



Now we all know Disney's The Little Mermaid. But before any of that Mermaids (or Sirens) weren't known for saving a drowning princes life and singing to him on the beach until her regained consciousness. They were known for luring pirates in on their ships in dangerous waters. Then the ship would sink and all the crewmen would be gone.

Well that's all for now! Just Keep Swimming!

See You all In the Deep Blue,

Ashley

"Hull-abaloo." Know your displaced sky.

Well, there, mates.
We all know that a boat floats, right? It's based on displacement. (Now *how* this works on the Pirate101 Skyways, well that's just the *magic* of it all, isn't it?). Seeing as I'm no Merle Ambrose, I'll stick to the trivial bits off of flotsam and jetsam that I do know.

As I've said before "A boat is a hole in the water that one throws money into", and that's true enough. However, there are many shapes of "hole" that one might choose.

We're talking hull design, here. Usually when one thinks of a ship, be it a Spanish Galleon, The Mayflower, or yes, even The Black Pearl, those are all just *one* type of boat, regardless of the sail plan. These are all "Monohulls". By far, this is the most common design around. The Monohhull is like the Microsoft Windows of boat design, found everywhere, across most of the planet.

But, there are other ways of going out to sea, and the "other side of the coin" to a monohull is a "Multihull". Instead of just *one* hull, these ships have, as the name suggests, more-than-one hull.

The Multihull category has several variations, those being the catamaran, trimaran, and proa.

A) Catamaran B) Proa C)Trimaran D) Monohull
Now, with so many choices,, why do we stick primarily to monohulls? To be honest, it's about weight capacity. Monohulls can carry, by far, the most on cargo. From the days of yore, to the present, most sea trade has been based on volume. From breadfruit to Oil, a monohull has always been, and always will be the King of Ocean Shipping.

So, why even have "other" designs, then? Depends what you want to do. The more a ship displaces, the deeper it's draft. A ship's draft is basically how *deep* in the water is sits, determining how close it can come to land before it runs aground. If the water by a dock is 12 feet deep, and a ship has a draft of 15 feet, that ship will not be able to reach the dock, making loading/unloading a difficult proposition.

Many multihulls have what's known as a "shallow draft" , meaning you can basically run it right up on to a beach. Your average camping canoe is a "shallow draft monohull". Multihulls are considerably faster, although they can carry (significantly) less weight.

From a pirate's perspective, a multihull, though exceptionally faster than a monohull, wouldn't bee a good choice, (because cannons are heavy), and they couldn't carry as much loot. But for sailing vast distances, lightly provisioned, one would be hard-pressed to beat a multihull.

And since we are talking Pirate 101, with the sneak peeks we've seen already, we'd be remiss to mention *another* type of hull, limited only to the imagination: The "Bio Hull"

"Space Turtles, mate."
A "Bio Hull" has long been a staple of lore. Be it turtles, whales, dracoliches, what-have-you. The idea of a man-made structure on the back of a living creature, has long been an accepted concept. And to leave you , today, my "Naughty-Call" video selection of the day.



Saturday, May 5, 2012

A "Friendly" Letter

What is it that makes a pirate a "pirate"? In Pirate101, well, we'll *all* be pirates, in one fashion or another, true. Some may even choose the Privateer class. However, we're not, atm, talking about what's coming up, instead, we're delineating what has already past.

License to plunder.
What's the (historical) difference between a pirate, and a privateer? Only 2 things: Paper and Perspective.

Let's start with the "Paper". In the Fighting Age of Sail, when wars were fought among Nations at Sea, a privately-owned (non-military) ship could be enticed to attack the enemy for profit. Of course, Nations being the bureaucracies that they are, one had to have a license, known as a Letter of Marque and Reprisal. Say that "Nation Evil" was at war with "Nation Friendly". Of course, each nation would bring it's military Fleets out to beat each other up. However, back in those days, strategy and tactics also demanded stopping the opponent's supply lines, as well, and a Military can be *everywhere, all the time*. So, we'll say there's a third Nation involved, "Nation Neutral", not involved in the war.


"Seems Legit."
Now, say a private citizen, Captain Duskhunter, of Nation Evil, wanted to get in on the action. In exchange for a License, Cap'n D would have to (usually) agree to split the profits with Nation Evil. Fair enough, I guess.
So, with Letter of Marque in hand, Cap'n D could now go out actively hunting down ships of Nation Friendly, but *not* Nation Neutral. Cap'n D is now a Privateer for Nation Evil.

This is where "Perspective" comes in. Although Nation Evil is A-O-K with Cap'n D's actions. Nation Friendly isn't very likely to acknowledge Cap'nD's "license". To Nation Friendly, Cap'n D is just a non-uniformed combatant performing robbery on the High Seas, a.k.a. a "pirate", and will likely deal with Cap'n D in a manner most unpleasant.(Probably denying episodes of "MyLittle Pony:FIM ...it has unicorns.) ;)

And let's say that Cap'n D just so happens to plunder a Nation Neutral Ship. Why, even Nation Evil itself may (attempt) arrest of Cap'n D for piracy, because attacking Nation Neutral ships was outside the parameters of the Letter of Marque. A wise privateer *always* confirms the target's national flag before beginning an attack. This is also why many a pirate carried, in their holds, more than one Nation's Flag. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

May the 4th be with you, always

Not, not wishing you a "Groundhog Day", It's "Star Wars Day" May 4th, get it? See what they did there?

Yes, I'm a bit partial to Cad Bane. (It really must be the hat ). He's got a "good" crew, as well. ;)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A place to call Home.

"Turtle Island" Tortuga. "Sea Turtles, Mate."

"So, there I was", taking random potshots at @FriendlyNecro  , defending my, uh, "Good" name against slander and calumny, (whereas no crimes can, indeed, be proven in a Court of Law.) And he was kind enough to stir the bubbling pot that is my mind, and brought forth a thought. Tortuga.


Ah, Tortuga. "Turtle Island". Had Obi Wan seen it, he might have revised his statement about Mos Eisley Spaceport. In truth, they probably share many of the same qualities. A fine lot of rabble-rousers. Loud, unscrupulous,  cunning, and opportunistic. If only we had such a place! A haven, a sanctuary. A place where a pirate can feel truly welcome. Oh, but that's right, we do! Skull Island!

"Too far from the center of the Spiral for the great powers to exert much control, most of Skull Island is ruled by the Pirates themselves - crews and gangs have taken over failed colonies or built new ramshackle cities of their own: Jonah Town, Flotsam, Scrimshaw, and Skull Island itself, Captain Avery's Pirate capital."


Aaaaargh! I'll thow me a piratey temper tantrum, I will, I will! The skyways are lovely dark, and deep, but we've many weeks before we sleep.   They say "Patience is a virtue", or so I've heard. Could be just a rumor. Best not to take any chances, though.

I just only now, this past week saw Peter Pan (2003), and all I can say is "Jason Isaacs? BEST. HOOK. EVER.". Well, truth be told, the entire move was "Best.Adaptation.Ever.", of J.M. Barrie's play and novel.
So, I'll just leave it off here, then.