Sunday, June 23, 2013

Breezes Thoughts: "Twas an Old Lady ..."

'Twas a old lady, lived in a shoe.  She needed something to do.

She decide to untie that shoe. Grinning excitedly, she left that old shoe hearing sounds far away she ventured off to see what she could get into. Oohhhhh, yes  what did she find? 

A land of olden times, full of  warpainted Indians chanting away, smoke signals floating thru the sky. In amazement and such curious thoughts ran thru her mind. 

She knew she was different and dressed all wrong, looking around to discover what could she do.  Finding a strange looking abode, abandoned for some reason. She ventured in and saw a beautiful deerskin that would fix her needs. Slipping it on, it felt so nice and soft. Fringes swirling round her legs, she began to see young and free, being as how her skin was sunburnt and resembling the others that she had seen from far off.

She nodded to herself, pulled out the old fashioned bun of hair atop her head, her long tressing falling about and down her back. She spotted some red berries, smashing them finely  and rubbing the color onto her face, she knew she was ready to go amongst this land and discover sights she never knew existed.

The story will continue as this adventure unfolds, 

Breezes Babii

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Game Review: World of Warcraft - The Darkspear Rebellion

By Bixyl Shuftan

(Note, the article has some spoilers about what happens in this World of Warcraft adventure)

The biggest Multiplayer Online Game, World of Warcraft, recently went though a few changes in the form of a "patch." Patch 5.3, also known as "Escalation." There are four new scenarios players can play out, two of which are aimed at one of the factions, one Horde, one Alliance. Two new battlegrounds for player vs player action. There's new PvP gear and some Pet Battle and Brawler's Guild Tweaks. But the biggest feature is the Darkspear Rebellion.

For those who don't remember much about the game in it's earlier days, the Horde used to be led by Orcish Warchief Thrall. Thrall valued peace with the Alliance and the freedom of the Horde's peoples. But when Azeroth was threatened with being torn apart in the Cataclysm, Thrall steped down to help stop it as a shaman. In his place, he appoints Garrosh Hellscream as the new Orc and Horde leader. But unlike Thrall, Hellscream sees little need to negotiate for what can be taken by force, and refuses to listen to the Orcs' allies. His brutal ways lead to increased conflict with the Alliance, and the alienation of the other peoples of the Horde who see him more and more as a tyrant.

With opposition against him increasing, Garrosh brands the the Trolls of the Horde, the Darkspear, as traitors, rounding up those still in the Orc capital Ogrimmar and moves against them elsewhere in the province of Durotar (the home province to the Orcs and trolls). The Troll leader Vol'jin responds by declaring open rebellion, dubbed the Darkspear Rebellion.

Both Horde and Alliance players can take part in quest chains, Horde players as part of the rebellion, and Alliance players aiding it. Level 90 players will get a letter in the mail from Lorewalker Cho, and upon entering the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Pandaria will see him waving at them from Mogu'shan Palace. Talking to him, the player hears about actions concerning the Alliance and the Horde, and sends out the player in two scenarios via his "dream brew" on a nearby table: "Blood in the Snow," and "The Warchief and the Darkness." Normally playable by just one faction, in this case the opposite one can do so as well, Horde players in "Blood" disguised as humans, and Alliance ones in "Darkness" taking on the guise of Goblins.

Following the revelations, Cho will send the player off. For Horde players, they head to Duartor and to Sen'jin Village. Vol'jin is there, among with Chen Stormstout and Thrall. Thrall has finally had enough of Hellscream, and is aiding the effort against him.

Speaking to Vol'jin, the player hears about the rebellion, and will be asked to gather resources from the Northern Barrens to help supply it. These resources are in camps set up by Hellscream's Kor'kron, once elite soldiers of the Horde now Hellscream's personal army, loyal only to him and determined to carry out his will (see later in the article on more how to get the resources). After the player returns to the village, the place is attacked by the Kor'kron.

After the player helps defeat the assault, Thrall heads off to convince some Orc leaders to more actively support the rebellion. Vol'jin will launch a counterattack north to Razor Hill. There, the player has to free several captives (dissident Orcs are among the Trolls), in addition to defeating three elite NPC enemies, a gunman, a shaman, and a Lvl 92 axe-wielding melee fighter. Speaking to the NPC Zulu de Voice just outside the town will provide a healing buff that without defeating them single-handed is nearly impossible. Even with it, players may need to team up to defeat them.

After the battle, Horde players will see a scene between Vol'jin and the Tauren leader Baine Bloodhoof, discussing the future of the rebellion.

For Alliance players, they can take a shortcut to Duartor via a teleporter at the upper level on the Summer Terrace (the Alliance hub in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms), which takes them to the town of Ratchet in the Southern Barrens. Flying to above the defenses south of Ogrimmar, they'll see two Alliance agents, who will ask them to help scout for intelligence. Once they find out just how badly Hellscream and Vol'jin have fallen out, the player is send as an emissary to contact them. After talking to the Troll leader, the player is offered a chance to show his good intentions by getting some supplies from the Kor'kron camps in the Barrens and delivering them to the insurrection.

Following these quests, both Horde and Alliance players will be asked by Chen Stormstout to return to Pandaria to Mount Neverest in the Kun-Lai Summit to talk to an old seer about some answers to questions about Pandaria's situation. Meeting up with him, he accompanies the player up the mountain. Once they reach Seeker's Point, the seer will reveal his true identity, why Pandaria was hidden from the world, and how that is relevant to the current situation, "Only by working together can we overcome the darkness."

Horde and Alliance players can continue to gather supplies in a weekly "Battlefied: Barrens" quest. The player needs to gather 150 units each of lumber, stone, oil, and meat. These can be gathered at four camps in the Northern Barrens. Players can gather them by clobbering Kor'kron guards or the workers helping them or swiping crates and slabs of meat there. One can also get meat from slain wolf mounts.

There are two quicker ways to get resources. One is by escorting caravans of goods. Multiple players are needed to ensure the caravans survive the attacks by Kor'kron raiders. Once it reaches it's destination, the player gets rewarded with surplus supplies. You can also get supplies by taking down elite Kor'kron commanders, but they're too tough to fight alone. It takes a team to defeat them. One can also get supplies by overturned Kor'kron caravans, announced in Barrens chat when these events happen. But only if you can get them before they're recovered.

Rewards include new titles, "Darkspear Revolutionary" for Horde Players, and "Hordebreaker" for Alliance, some high level gear from some of the quests, and the "Radical Mojo" rewards from the weekly Barrens quests can be combined with "Latent Kor'kron armor" you get either from battle or the Darkspear Quartermaster into items with "randomized stats that may have some unexpected results that you won't be able to get from other gear."

The Darkspear Rebellion won't last forever. Eventually another patch will close these events, "where the story will continue beyond the Barrens and take the next step toward what could be a historic shift in power."

So players of WoW, whether you're "For the Horde" or "For the Alliance," get into the action while you can in this turning point in Azeroth's history.

Sources: BlizzardWowpedia

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, June 14, 2013

This is Your Life, Grease Coakes

By DrFran Babcock

Grease Coakes, SL Newser Reporter, was rezzed on June 12, 2007. This makes him six years old—an old-timer in this virtual world that is about to be ten years old. SL Newser sat down with this remarkable griffin on June 11th to learn a little bit about him, and see what he was up to. Grease needed no prompting:

Grease Coakes: Tomorrow is my sixth SL birthday and I’ve done a lot in Second Life™. I’ve learned to deejay,  I’m well known in furry clubs, and humans are familiar with me. I think that says a lot about an avatar, for SL.

SL Newser: How did you come to be in Second Life™?

Grease Coakes: Well, a friend from Neopets (the online virtual pet community) was saying I should check out Second Life™. I had no idea what it was about. I came on like a complete newbie, and my friend told me about camping for Lindens, so I tried it.  At first, I wasn’t earning jack, but then I figured out I could buy Lindens with real money, and I bought for my first furry avatar: a mutant red fox from Mutation Industries. I thought I was too cool walking around in that ugly avatar.

SL Newser: haha

Grease Coakes: I spent my own money a few times, but when I learned you could work in SL earning Lindens I wanted a part of that. I think the first job I got was as a male stripper for a club that’s long gone called The Spot. I used to hang out at a club that’s Dance Island now, but was called TJ Icey’s. Just for kicks I still use their really old glowsticks. I met RAFTWET Jewell there, who is one of the co-owners of the A-List and is Xavier’s wife, and Sneaky Krugman, a deejay who almost never changes his clothes. He’s always dressed in his longcoat and that Russian hat.  Later on I learned to host for a club that’s still around, Blackhearts Café, that you may have heard of—that plays 80’s music. I think back then in 2007/2008 it was a new club. It was fairly popular as an 80’s club. I guess it was a new thing in SL, an 80’s club, so lots of people came while I hosted and I made good money.

By that time I had my second avatar, an Aventity black fox. I started buying those like crazy, but the thing was I was earning the money from hosting instead of going to my debit card. I also found out about furry clubs a little later. Before, I only went to human clubs. The first furry club I went to was The Ark. Other furries, when I mentioned human clubs, said I was lucky for not being ejected as a furry, or at least being griefed. I guess I went to the right clubs back then. Even Blackhearts Café, a human club, got so used to me they let me host there. So I might of been the first furry to host at a human club in all of Second Life™.

    I ran into Tantari Kim at The Ark, who became one of my friends for a long time. She also gave me positive feedback about my children’s story before it got published. So she has always been a good friend.  And she's the leader of her very own Vixen Scouts. Every time I IM her to say “hi” she always says “arf!” Yeah Tantari is a helpful and kind person, but I can’t join her Vixen Scouts because I’m a guy. She likes recruiting vixens that are helpful and kind like her. She’s also been in SL a long time (2004), a longer time then me. So, even if I’m old in Second Life™ at six, her avatar is almost a decade old. Her last name, Kim, was the only last name she could pick out back then

SL Newser: Will you be deejaying at SL10B?

Grease Coakes: Yes, I might have to change my time though because it conflicts with a game I play over Skype. For those who haven't heard me I play house trance and video game remixes.

SL Newser: Have  you been a griffin for long?

Grease Coakes: Yes, for a while. The first griffins I bought were Toshuki, and today I have all nine of their colors, even the pink color.  One way or the other I’ve found a way to earn Lindens in SL. I haven't bought Lindens with real money for a long time. I’ve been in tail sales; lots of them (See: ). In fact, speaking of pink anyone who buys my children's story for 250L in SL gets a pink shirt with the book cover on it that is also a sixth birthday shirt. So far I have had three people buy it.

SL Newser: So, tell me about the book. How did you come to write a children's book?

Grease Coakes: Well I always remembered the Richard Scary books with the talking animals. As a kid I related to those stories, so I was a furry at heart although I didn't what it was a called back then. I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I wrote something similar? My character deals with something that children might relate to in the real world.

   My book was rejected many times, but in real life a woman did help me. I found her first life phone number on a website called Literary Market In the end she didn’t accept my book, but she was encouraging me and giving me advice. Her name is Annette Johnson, and she runs allwrite publishing. She’s a nice lady, and even though she did not publish my book in real life she helped a lot, just like Tantari Kim did. She was proud of me when I published my book in first life through a website called It cost me a lot of money, but I was excited when I saw my book get published. I used a tax refund, so I didn’t really lose out. I can promote myself too in Second Life™.

   I like having fun too. I just blew 4,000 Lindens on buying an artist at a tail sale. I forget what club it was though.

SL Newser: Could you please explain about tail sales for readers who might not understand?

Grease Coakes: At a tail sale, for example, a furry can bid on me for my writing abilty. The last furry who bought me wanted a story about pirates, so i wrote a high seas adventure with his character and his girlfriend. One time, Dragon Heart bought me at a club for 5,000L. I kept 2,500 the other 2,500 went to the club to help pay for club fees. He had an interesting request, one that isn't suitable for the SL Newser (grin).

SL Newser: OK, we can move along…

Grease Coakes: Chazore Ayers is the exception, because she just wanted a flat out adventure without adult themes. The story I wrote for her is more PG-13, not so much XXX. She just wanted to be in a fantasy adventure. I thought it would be easy, but it took a while to write. She also gave me a 7,500L bonus when I finished because it was so long.  It was close to 40 pages long. I made 10k off a single story. I didn’t have to worry about Lindens for a while.

SL Newser: So, what would you like for your birthday? What gift would make you the happiest ?

Grease Coakes: Probably just people buying my book, Ginny Griffin’s First Day Of School, and then turning around saying it was a good book .

SL Newser: And, you said it deals with something folks could relate to in First Life ?

Grease Coakes: Yes, for children on their first day of school who don’t know anyone. Ginny Griffin runs into some bad things at her new school. I won't say what, but it’s a big issue now.

Starting tomorrow I will start handing out limited edition shirts to celebrate my SL birthday. I’ll be handing them out for a week or so, and after that no more shirts. Last year I handed out my fifth SL birthday shirts only on my SL birthday.  Giving away the shirts is fun as they are limited edition, making them rarities, like Linden bears.

Find Grease Coakes and get a limited edition birthday tee shirt, see if you can guess what issue troubles Ginny Griffin on her first day at school, and:

Come see Grease Coakes deejaying for SL10B on June 20th from  4:00-6:00 SL time.

DrFran Babcock

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Minecraft Angels Village: An Ending and a Beginning

By Bixyl Shuftan

Since I last wrote on Minecraft, the activity continued in Angel's Village's server. Jasmine continued to work on improving her chicken cooker at her place of Havenshire, and then went on to work on other projects. She built an object sorter, a "silkstone" maker, an obsidian generator that worked on redstone dust, and more. One of her newest, an "enderman spawner" in the nether. She had corralled them so in one region they spawned only in one place, and players could easily hack away at them from spots they couldn't reach, getting lots of experience orbs. Trouble was, there were more orbs than could be easily absorbed at times. So a player could easily be swinging blind at the enders in front, and not notice another player stepping in front of him/her. The result could easily be one player back to her bedroom, without her gear.

Jasmine and I had been alone with occasional visits from others, other friends of Nydia preferring her "Feed the Beast" and the Kitsunuki servers. But we soon had company. Kryxia and Valkyre signed up on Minecraft and joined. Kryxia made a nice longhouse near Havenshire with Jasmine's and my help. Valkyre once she had a little time to figure things out went on a 24 hour building spree, creating a *massive* tower. Taking a look at it, Jasmine had thought Nydia had made Valkyre a server op without telling her. That wasn't the case. Valkyre had done the big build simply through hard work.

Then Jasmine went to work on her biggest project: literally. Nydia's Village was surrounded with a  detailed wall. Jasmine planned to do even better by surrounding the place with castle walls and towers. So starting in one corner, the first structure went up, and bit by bit the walls extended away from it, with castle gates and battlements going up along the way. Jasmine did the planning and the bulk of the work with some help from Kryxia and I. We soon came across one problem: Jasmine's house was built into a hill that would be level or taller than the castle walls. So an excavation was called for, one done partly through server op powers of easy digging, and partially through blasting through TNT, "Jazzy wants big boom." Eventually most of the hill was replaced with flat land on level with most of Havenshire, and the walls continued to go up.

Soon, the walls were more or less done. Havenshire was surrounded by castle structures that could be walked through via gates or climbed from the inside via doors in the battlements and ladders upward. It was so big, only from the air could one see the whole thing. From the castle led roads to Valkyre's tower and Kryxia's longhouse. There was also a road heading north to the desert. To the east deep in a region of tundra was Nydia's ice castle. And further east of that was Skylark's home. The area north of Angel's was getting some truly great builds.

It was about this time that came two major events. One was the Dragon. If Minecraft has a way to win, it's beating the Dragon at "The End," accessible only through the nether. Getting there, there's only two ways out, die or defeat the Dragon. Nydia never had, and when she was on with Jasmine, Kryxia, and Valkyrie also there, they decided to team up to beat him. And they did. Jasmine got a dragons egg out of it, as well as able to say she had "beaten" Minecraft.

Going to the spot where they had gone to "The End," instead I was shown the credits, as well as something else. What is it? Well, I won't spoil the surprise. You'll just have to find out for yourself.

The other event, well, it seems all that has been created in Angles will soon be coming to an end. Nydia says the servers will soon be updated, an update that will essentially wipe the slate clean. Back to an unspoiled wilderness with no buildings, roads, machines, farms, or roads. Just the players, the wilds, and the monsters that come out at night.

Nydia says those whom were still active there will be made server ops, once this change occurs. Which means the option of playing the regular way, or being able to create as we please, flying across the land. And since the server's starting over anyway, Nydia's installing a modification called "Terra Firma Craft." It's a bit different from normal Minecraft in a number of ways. For one, you can't just knock down sections of tree trunk to get wood for a shelter. You need to collect small rocks on the ground, gather branches from trees, notch a rock to make an axe head, make a hatchet, *then* cut down the tree. There's also a thirst bar in addition to the hunger bar. But the hunger bar doesn't go down as fast. And the monsters at night are stronger. More information can be found in the Tera Firma Craft Wiki, in addition to the youtube Brandi Strussel sent me (Click Here).

Our friend Ranchan, or Amaya as she's sometimes called, has a server as well, the Kitsunuki one, of which the Angels world is one of several the players can free hop and take inventory from one to another. Her Angel's Village was duplicated there, as well as the Newser building (before the top floor was finished). The difference there seems to be mainly graphics. Nydia also has a server with a modified version of Minecraft called "Feed the Beast," but as of the writing of this article it is shut down due to bugs. Our friend Kit Repine has a FTB server as well. I've heard that one has a number of machines one can build. It also has a number of new materials, and plants. A short look at Kit's server also revealed new dangers. There's quicksand in places which can trap you if you're not careful. Some of the monsters are more powerful here too. There seems to be a number of different versions of FTB, so what works in one may not work in another.

So it looks like the Minecraft journeys of Jasmine and I will be taking a new turn. Will we build a new Castle Havenshire, or just take things one step at a time. We'll soon see.

Bixyl Shuftan