Developer Diaries


December 2014

My Dear Wizards,

The leaves have turned colors, and it’s beginning to look a lot like the Holidays around here (yes, 60 degrees is Austin’s version of the Holidays). As we near the end of 2014, I want to reflect on all the fun we’ve had in the Spiral this summer and fall, as well as what is to come.

Fish Tales

We’ve talked about adding a way for Wizards to fish for years here at KingsIsle. Finally, this July, we were able to take the oppor-tuna-ty to hook all the pieces together and launch Magical Fishing! This has also allowed me to cast out a wide variety of piscine puns! You may not think of me as a fisher at first glance, but I’ve spent much of the summer by various lakes perfecting the arc of my Fire Lure.

Some of the more epic Fish have yet eluded me, but I have caught many a Small-Fry, as well as the biggest of Whoppers. And, while I have quite the collection of critters in my home aquariums, some of you have aquarium houses that put mine to shame! My favorite prize fish are the limited-time Warhammerhead and Gobblerfish. Sorry if you’ve missed the boat on those, but I can tell you that there are other season Fish swimming around in the Spiral already.

So- don’t be koi, you betta get to a pond in Wizard City, Krokotopia, MooShu, or Grizzleheim to check it out!

Professor in the B.O.X.

Recently, we’ve debuted our second limited time event – The Five B.O.X.E.S. Event!

One of my favorite ways to relax is with science fiction, and I especially love stories about time travel and alternate dimensions. You have me to thank/blame for the high level concept for the new Events where you get to save the day!

In coming up with these stories, we were able to ask a lot of fun questions about how the Professors of Ravenwood could have ventured down the road not taken. How would their life be different if they had pursued another path? Could fate twist to the point where some Professors never came to Ravenwood? Could one individual’s choice, nudged another direction, change nearly everything about life as we know it?

When these events are active again, if you want to help keep the Spiral’s time-space continuum on the right track, you can visit The Professor and his B.O.X. in Wizard City, Marleybone, Mooshu, Zafaria, or Avalon, depending on how advanced you are in your studies. How can he be in so many places at once? Well, it’s all very timey-wimey… and a little hard to understand, but once you step inside the B.O.X., things will be made a lot clearer, I promise! Hurry though! The Professor won’t be around forever!

The Tale of Four Dungeons

Having just completed the second story arc with Morganthe, we wanted to do something a little more light and fun. We knew we had quite a few unexplored nooks and crannies in the Spiral, and we wanted to open them up for exploration. Our #1 most requested addition is Barkingham Palace, so we knew that absolutely had to be on the list. The second question that always follows is “what’s with that island in the Oasis”? Shangri Baa made the cut as well. There were some keys from Briskbreeze that needed to find a lock, so we had to take you to the House of Scales. And, we couldn’t bring Malistaire back without a spookily fitting setting, so traveled to Castle Darkmoor.

We’re also excited to launch the concept of skeleton key boss rooms. We asked, and you answered that you really liked the optional bosses around the Spiral, as long as there was a reason to go there. And there are definitely reasons to seek these baddies out, as they have some pretty cool and unique loot including new pets and permanent mounts.

We also couldn’t let 2014 finish without some more spells for our most accomplished Wizards. We added Shadow enhanced spells – based in your Wizard’s school, but they use a shadow pip + normal pips to cast. We think these are some of our most visually stunning spells yet, and they should be incredibly useful in your arsenal to beat the infamous Malistaire the Undying in Castle Darkmoor.

Happy Holidays

We love holidays and seasonal content around here! Here’s what we’ve celebrated in the Spiral the second half of this year:

  1. Everything you know and love came back for the Fourth of July, including our patriotic leprechaun.
  2. Shark Week in August saw the addition of Thor’s Hammerhead.
  3. We celebrated our 6th birthday with the limited time Gobblerfish, a new piggle pet, some really great Crown Shop sales, and 6 gifts for everyone!
  4. Halloween saw the addition of three new limited time Halloween fish, a new Harrowing Nightmare pack, along with all your favorites from past years.
  5. Harvest Hannah made her yearly return back to the Spiral for Thanksgiving
  6. The 12 Days of the Spiral are still going strong at the time of press, but so far, we’ve met the Charity Bah Humbug mount and the new Winterland Pack. There’s more to come before the fun ends!

Odds and Ends

Of course, we’re always trying to improve quality of life in the Spiral, and have added many other odds and ends since the last time we spoke, including-

  • Restore Original Castle button for Arcane Builder’s Bundle Castles.
  • Castle Blocks can now be obtained via Crafting or the Castle Block CCG.
  • Equipment sets allow you to save and quickly switch between gear.
  • Quests can now be sorted by world in your Quest Log.
  • New member benefits have been added – more space on your friends list and backpack, new emotes, and some limited time member benefits we tested out that you’ll see in the future.
  • Combat idle – if someone in your group is away for a few rounds, the fight won’t wait for them.
  • Sometimes when you open a silver chest, you’ll play our new minigame: Catch-a-key.
  • New Menu Chat phrases and Housing Sign customization options have been added.
  • Improvement of some lore spells.
  • Many other items to tidy up the Spiral –for details, see the update notes for July, September, and November.

Future Musings

Our next update is rolling ahead at full steam, and we’re already working ahead on spectacular stuff for 2015. Let me just leave you with a few hints of what we have planned.

  • We’ll be giving some of those things in your backpack just a little bit more sparkle.
  • If you weren’t able to use magic, you’d probably be hauling heavy stone slabs around. So, be thankful for that.
  • You’ll have a chance to visit some new, yet familiar spaces.
With that, I must take my leave to grade these exams (Ravenwood IS still in session, you know). Until then, I suggest you dolphinately find a lake to practice Magical Fishing! Don’t mullet over, just go! It’s so fun, I’m not even squidding!

See you in the Spiral,
Leah "Professor Falmea" Ruben
Producer, Wizard101

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