Ditto the Monster looks at the world of family friendly online games from a Fabricated American perspective


New Gameplay – More Asheron’s Call fun!

Ditto continues his introduction to the still fun Asheron’s Call – in this video we trek through a very creepy spooky dungeon full of murderous giant insects!  The was very dark and the sounds – ew, those sounds when the weird bug doors opened and closed, I won’t soon forget those!

Looking for help with Streaming and the Bloggy Thingy

Hi everybody!  So Ditto has been having a great time streaming, and it works a lot better than my old recording method.  I’ve had some fun interactions with people in the chat room too – like I said, I really like it and, small technical glitches aside, it’s been great.  Now, I want to improve it, fine-tune it…  and that’s where I need your help!

If you are a person who loves watching gaming streams and watch them all the time, or you are a Ditto fan who just likes watching my videos, I want to hear from you!  I want to know what you’re looking for! How often you want to see videos?  Do you prefer watching live or seeing the recordings on Twitch or YouTube?  How long do you like them – short, like 15 minutes?  A half hour?  Longer?  I can really get wrapped up while playing and some of these videos and they can go on fore a while… so how long is too long?  Also, regarding schedule, I’m TRYING to keep a semi-normal schedule of streaming on Tuesday night and Thursday night starting between 7:30 and 8:00pm EST, plus weekend play on Saturday and maybe Sunday morning, starting between 8am and 8:30am.

Hopefully that works for most folks, but I know in addition to good timing I have to provide entertaining content too – if a TV show is boring it doesn’t matter if it’s on every night, people aren’t going to watch!  I’ve got plans for Wizard1o1, Pirate101, maybe Hearthstone (I kind of fell out of favor with that one) and now Minecraft – I want to keep the content fun and totally family friendly, but what more do you like to see?  Ditto in daring battles?  Ditto completing quests, doing boss fights, getting killed by zombies?  I’d love to hear thoughts and suggestions to make Ditto’s channel your go-to destination for furry monster gaming video fun!!

Have Fun and Play Safe!!!

Ditto has a Streaming Studio!! Hooray!!

So Ditto finally got his Twitch.tv streaming channel all set up, did a few streams at random intervals, and then disappeared for like 3 weeks…  Ok, that was not really what Ditto intended, of course.  What happened was multiple things – Ditto lives in a house with other people and Fabricated Americans, for one, and it can be difficult to find ‘quiet time’ where I can stream or record without interruption – typically I was streaming from the central living room (that was our big green couch behind me).  Another thing is that work schedules and other schedules sometimes make planning specific streaming times very challenging (especially combined with the first issue…)

What Ditto finally did about this is, I think, pretty awesome – Ditto has built himself a streaming studio!  Woohoo!  That’s right – it should have proper lighting, great sound, a cool backdrop (that can occasionally change), and most importantly, it is nice and quiet and interruption free!  So stay tuned – I actually have a broken mouse that I will hopefully have replaced today, and then I should be able to stream my favorite games on a pretty regular schedule!  I’m hoping at least three days a week, possibly four – we’ll see how it goes!

Ditto’s 500th Video!! 500!! Happy Holidays!!

Ditto’s 500th Video!!

Hi everybody – it is the Ditto.  Wow, so here we are – 500 videos.  That seems like a lot, doesn’t it?  I’m pretty sure it is, yes.  I’ve had a lot of suggestions about wacky things to do, from doing a Christmas video  to doing a parody of ‘Gangnam Style’, but when I thought about it, I think the most important thing to remember about this milestone is why I reached it – and that is for everyone out there, all of you who follow my blog, and watch my videos, and listen to my silly adventures on Ravenwood Radio or Pieces of Eight Radio.  To all the wonderful people who I have met in-game, from people I met and friended at parties to all the wonderful and friendly strangers who helped me get through tough quests or beat tough bosses.

In the nearly three years since my first video  I’ve done a LOT here – I’ve played all kinds of great video games, I’ve talked to people about staying safe , I’ve run I can’t remember how many contests, I’ve gone to PAX East and interviewed all kinds of people, like Fred Howard from KingsIsle, I’ve beta tested new games, written for an online gaming magazine, gotten over a thousand twitter followers, I’ve been attacked by Kittens and had a lot of fun with my Fabricated American friends.   The most important thing of all, though, is that I’ve made lots of friends with all of you – from people I’ve met online at game parties to the complete strangers who helped me out with tough quests or nasty bosses, everyone I’ve met and talked to and made friends with have been great, and all my my friends and fans and twitter followers are the real reason I keep doing this, and why I love it so much and have so much fun with it!!

So thank you everyone – thank you for being my fans and my friends and for sticking by me and for enjoying and sharing my blog and my videos so much!  I’ve got 500 videos done, and with all your support I’m sure I’ll do another 500 before you know it!!

Thank you all and happy, happy holidays to each and every one of you.  I couldn’t do it without you all!!  Well, I guess I could, but nobody would watch it, so why bother??

New Video Bloggy Thingy – Ditto is back online! Yay!!

Ditto is finally back online!  Yes, Ditto had some internet gremlins this week that kept me off the internet and, sadly, off Wizard101 and Pirate 101.  I also missed Ravenwood Radio and getting my Daring Adventures of Ditto out, which was sad 😦

One positive thing did come out of this – while my laptop was not working, I got to try a new game (well, new to me) called Skylanders, which is a lot of fun! I might have to try to get a video of me playing that one…

Ditto’s Video Bloggy Thingy – September 13th, 2011

So here is this week’s Video Bloggy Thingy.  Since I FINALLY made it to the Malistaire quest, I’ve been taking time to do other side quests as I plan my huge assault!  I did all of Wysteria, which was a lot of fun and really cute, I think it was a well written story and set of quests.  I also went back to Grizzleheim, which I hadn’t been to since I was level 26 or 30.  I was able to spend a bunch of time finishing quests and finally got to see the king, who of course gave me a super crazy and dangerous quest to take out a big bad grendel named Jotun.  Yikes.  I’ll be doing that soon too, maybe tonight… (more…)

Play Safe – Check those links!!

I got a very official email yesterday from another gaming company (NOT Wizard 101 or KingsIsle), warning me that my account might have been compromised and giving me a handy link to a very official looking website so I could go and change my password.  The problem was – I don’t play that game, and I’ve never had an account with their system.  It was a scam.

An example of a Phishing Site

An example of a Phishing Site - Always check the URL

These scams, called ‘phishing‘, are a two part process.  They send people an email that looks like it’s from some ‘official’ source – their bank, or Facebook, or their favorite video game.  This email will contain a ‘call to action’ – it will tell them that they need to log into their account to fix or verify something, and there is usually a serious consequence for not doing it, like your account getting canceled.

I’ve also seen this starting to pop up on social networking sites like Twitter as well, where URL Shorteners like bit.ly can mask a URLs true destination.  If you see some ReTweet about getting prizes or rewards from your favorite game, double check the link and be really careful!

The second part of the scam is a website, usually crafted to look exactly like the ‘real’ website, that will collect the username and password of everyone who tries to log into it.

It’s a fiendish plan, to be sure – send an email telling someone they have to log into their account to fix something, and then give them a link that looks like it’s a real website that will instead steal their password and let the bad guys into their account to steal their stuff.

To combat this and stay safe is easy, as long as you know it’s there.

  • First, always remember that no website or game is going to send you an email asking for your password.
  • Second, if you get an email telling you to log into a website to correct or change something, look very closely at the sender’s email address and the address it’s trying to send you to.  Instead of wizard101.com it might be wizardlOl.com – it doesn’t look too different, so you have to be careful.
  • Finally – instead of clicking a link in an email, go to the main website yourself and log in there, so you know you’re putting your credentials in the right place.

Phishing scams aren’t hard to avoid, you just have to know what you’re looking for and remember, never trust an email that’s asking for your account information or telling you to log in right away – no reputable company would do that.  Always check the URLs and if something looks suspicious, don’t put in your user information, that’s the safest play.

Play Safe!

Ditto’s week and the hardest duel ever! (so far…)

Wow, what a week it has been for this furry orange monster. PAX East, interviewing Fred Howard from KingsIsle, guest hosting Ravenwood Radio, getting my stories posted or linked on Beckett MOG and MMO Crunch and who knows where else… It really all comes down to having the BEST community of any game out there, and having amazing and supportive fans and followers! I couldn’t do any of this without all of you! Well, I COULD do this without you, sure, but what would be the point really? It would kind of be like talking to myself, wouldn’t it? And there’s nothing sadder than a furry orange monster just sitting there talking to himself… oh wait, where was I?

Oh yes – back to Wizard 101, since I’ve had a few spare minutes this week to jump back in. Inspired by all the pet talk this week, I’ve started training Madame Jasmine again and got her to Ancient, I’ll keep working with her until she’s all the way to ‘super old’ or whatever they call it…. I’ve also been working my way through DragonSpyre – this place is pretty terrifying! It seems like every other fight is a boss fight or else you’ve got to get through a tower with like seventy levels of elite battles to get to your end goal, which is usually just reading a book, and sometimes eating pudding. It’s very exciting though! Well, maybe not the pudding, but all the other stuff is really exciting!

And speaking of exciting – I’m working my way through the Plaza of Conquests now and had to go talk to Mavra Flamewing for ‘shield training’. I’m not sure where she got her teaching degree, but I was under the impression that saying ‘Here’s a storm shark, good luck with it’ wasn’t really ‘teaching’… This turned out to be the most difficult fight of the game, I think!

It's shield-tastic!

Mavra and her shiled-tossing minions!

For anyone who hasn’t gotten to DragonSpyre or hasn’t made it to this quest, Mavra is a storm boss with 2000 health – certainly not huge, I’ve taken out bigger and meaner. The trick is that she has two ‘minions’ with her, which are these little ‘protective pox’ critters that do nothing but throw out every shield imaginable. Elemental shields, absorbs, tower shields, you name it, they shield themselves – and Mavra – with them. Sure it’s nice that they don’t hit you with damage, but putting up to three shields up (one from each pox AND Mavra, and yes they CAN all land on the same target, I’ve seen it done) every turn makes dealing damage VERY tricky!

Fortunately, as a pyromnacer I can specialize in damage over time, which it seems to me is the only way to beat this foe, at least solo. I got rid of helephants and even my beloved meteor strikes and loaded up with link, scald, even fire elf and heck hounds, as well as every shield I could personally carry, then maxed out healing spells and dove into the duel.

The duel took a long time – I’d say 20 minutes? Wasn’t paying that close attention but it was around there. I would toss up a shield and then hit with a DOT spell, trying to stack as many DOT as I could. Scald was really nice because it hit all enemies, so I was slowly working the pox’s down as I was focused on Mavra. Oh yes unlike most boss fights where you try to take out the minion first, because it’s quicker, for this fight I recommend going after Mavra 100% until she’s down, because once she’s down the Pox minions can’t hurt you, so you’ve bacially got as long as you need (or have cards) to take care of them, and without Mavra raining damage down on your head every other turn, it’s much less stressful!

In the end, it was a double stacked ‘scald’ that won the day and got me my victory dance. I kind of wish I have taken video of this fight, but honestly it would have been twenty minutes of me whining about yet ANOTHER shield going up and ruining my winning shot….

Victory Dance for Mavra

I beat Mavra and her annoying shield minions

So that’s about it for this week – not that I could have handled any more!! Next week things ‘should’ be back to normal, in theory – I’m actually kind of looking forward to that. For now, I will content myself to sneaking a cupcake while Miss Narrator isn’t looking…

See you in the Spiral, keep playing safe!!

Ditto Interviews Brad Borne of ‘The Fancypants Adventures’

Getting interviews at PAX East is a very tricky thing, because there are LOTS of reporters trying to get interviews all day, every day. Fortunately I had arranged for my interview with KingsIsle a few months in advance, but I hadn’t made any other arrangements. While we were there at PAX East Miss Narrator and I did try to get on a few interview schedules, but most places were either booked solid or, for reasons I can only guess at, didn’t seem to take my request for an interview seriously. Once again Wizard 101 proves they are an industry leader, being the fist major game company to do an interview with a Fabricated American! Now I can also add Brad Borne to that very exclusive list!

I was able to get another short interview at the show, this one with Brad Borne, the creator of the great, family-friendly flash game ‘The Fancypants Adventures‘. His game is being released on xBox Live and PSN with new levels and a multiplayer mode, and I can tell you from experience that it’s a LOT of fun! It’s a platform game with stick figure characters and some really fun physics – we had a blast playing it and Brad was kind enough to sit and talk with me for a few minutes. Here’s that interview.

New MMO Crunch Article posted!

That’s right, it’s Wednesday and my newest MMOCrunch article, ‘Playing it Safe, part 2’ is now posted! Enjoy!


New article is up on MMO Crunch!

I missed getting this post out yesterday (Crazy day for the Fabricated American here…) but I just wanted to post it and let people know that my latest article, ‘Finding Your Fun’ was just posted yesterday at MMO Crunch!

Thanks for all the support!

The Game Monster – Finding Your Fun!

Ditto’s Big News!!!

So I can finally reveal my big crazy exciting news! After much arranging and organizing, I, Ditto Monster, and my fearless assistant Miss Narrator, will be attending PAX East in Boston! We will be filming some video segments, rubbing elbows with gaming’s finest, and most importantly, we’ll be swinging by the KingsIsle booth to meet some of the wonderful people that make Wizard 101!! We’re really excited about all this and can’t wait for March!!!

I’m a writer!! I’m a writer!!

OK, I guess I’ve been a blog and podcast writer for a while, and I wrote all that ‘Harry Potter’ fan fiction before that… oops, I wasn’t supposed to mention that, was I? Anyway, I’ve been writing for my own amusement for a while now, but today I am officially writing for OTHER PEOPLE’S amusement! That’s right, I am now an official contributor to the fun and fabulous MMO magazine MMO Crunch!! My column is called ‘The Game Monster’ and today they posted my very first article, ‘By Way of Introduction‘! I’m very excited and really thank the staff at MMO Crunch for taking a chance with a furry orange monster like me! I hope everyone likes the articles I’ll be putting out – they won’t impact my normal posting schedule here, because try as I might I don’t really have much of a posting schedule here… but I’ll still be posting all the time, so don’t worry!

And don’t forget – an all new live Ravenwood Radio tonight, including the exciting climax of Ditto’s Marleybone adventures in another installment of ‘The Daring Adventures of Ditto’!!

Ditto learns about gardening!

So during my amazing adventures in beautiful Mooshu I found lots of seeds, but I had no idea what to do with them! Well thankfully my old friend Moolinda Wu, the life professor at Ravenwood, helped me to learn all about gardening! This is part 1 of my gardening adventures, where I meet a funny little mole man named Farley who teaches me all about growing magical plants.

Ditto Plays Warstorm…

Oh Zynga, I thought I was safe from your cruel clutches. I’m not interested in farming, or running my own cafe, or poker, or the mafia, or any of the other silly things Zynga was trying to get me hooked on, nothing appealed to me at all. Like I said – I was safe…

And then came Warstorm.

Warstorm Main Screen

The main entry screen of Warstorm

You see, I love CCGs, or ‘Collectible Card Games’, and I’ve been into them for… well, let’s say I’ve got some pre-4th edition Magic The Gathering cards rattling around in a drawer somewhere, I’m sure. The card combat is actually one of the things that attracted me to Wizard 101 in the beginning – I love the idea of basing tactics and strategy around something as purely random as the luck of a card draw, figuring out the percentage chance of specific cards coming up at the right time. Will I get the Meteor Strike card I need, or will I get four pixies and a shield I can’t use? Will I draw enough land cards to power my uber combo, or will I get pounded for six turns waiting for that one swamp card to finally come up. You can take your shooter games and your twitch combat and your skill bars, they’re all fun and they have their place, but for me, a carefully constructed deck of spell cards and deck-to-deck combat always makes me a happy orange monster.

Warstorm Cards

Warstorm Cards - my undead collection

Warstorm, for any who don’t know, is a casual, free to play Facebook game created by Zynga, the makers of Farmville and many other popular social games. If you’re familiar with typical card combat type games, such as Magic the Gathering, Yu Gi Oh, Pokemon, or Wizard 101, then you pretty much know the basics. Zynga isn’t really known for doing many ‘groundbreaking’ things, they take old favorites and build new games around them, putting their own subtle spin on them. They do it well, though, and Warstorm is no different.

The concept of the game is very simple – there are five factions – Human, Elf, Orc, Demon, and Undead, and you create decks – or ‘squads’ in this case – with cards of the same faction. Each squad is built around a hero card and will contain your infantry, ‘special forces’ type cards, spells, and artifacts, and will contain only seven cards – this makes strategy crucial and very interesting.

The cards are mostly standard creatures of fantasy or dark fantasy fare, from dragons, ghosts, and vampires to typical soldiers, dwarves, and elven rangers. The cards have a ‘cost’ in turns, a strength number which indicates the amount of damage it does your opponent, and a toughness that indicates how much damage it can take. Many cards also have ‘special abilities’ like block, flying, fire breathing, health drain, etc… – again, nothing that won’t be instantly familiar to anyone who has played Magic or games like it.

Squad Select screen

The Squad Select Screen

Combat includes one to four of your squads versus an equal number of opposing squads. You can choose which squads to send into battle based on your opponents factions and your personal playstyle. Since you only need seven cards, including a leader, to create a new squad, you’ll find you’ll have a number of options to choose from for any fight, even early in the game. Choosing which squads to send in for different situations becomes one of the critical strategies, even as early as level five.

Victory – or defeat – can come one of two ways. The first is the obvious ‘kill or be killed’, as each player gets a ‘morale bar’, the size of which is determined by the number of squads involved in the battle, plus bonuses. Any creature sent in to attack that is not blocked by an opposing creature does damage to your opponent, and vice-versa. The second victory condition is running out of cards, meaning that you do not have any cards to draw, any cards in your hand, and you have no cards in play. If you run out of cards, it’s game over. In the earlier levels in and 1-on-1 or two versus two squad combat, this is usually the way you’ll win – or lose. With only seven cards in a squad, those games go pretty quickly.

Strategies are varied and, for me, tend to be based on the cards I have (obviously) and the size of the fight I’m in. For a single squad versus squad battle, I try to put together a squad of cards with fast casting times and I try to put as many high toughness and blocker cards as I can, because odds are in a 1 on 1 fight it’s going to be the first team to run out of cards that loses – damaging my opponent isn’t as important.

For larger battles, however – the three or four squad battles – I’ve found that you need squads set to specific tasks. I’ll normally have one squad of fast casting times, one squad (usually my dragon deck) of ‘heavy hitters’ – high casting time but serious firepower and special abilities – and then at least one deck focused on indirect damage skills like Zap and Snipe, to take care of any flying or blocking opponents. If it’s a four squad battle I’ll round it out with a solid defensive squad.

Mission briefing in Warstorm

A mission briefing in Warstorm

The actual battles themselves are very straightforward, though non-interactive. You get a backstory with some flavor text, you choose your squads, and you attack. Cards are drawn randomly and turns taken automatically, with zero input from the player; you just watch as the fight plays out. It’s still exciting, but I do wish there were a few choices you could make at this point, like which of your creatures you can cast spells on or apply bonuses to.

Choosing squads for battle

Choosing your squads for battle!

You can speed up or slow down the action, or even replay the fight if you want to pay close attention to tactics and strategy. You can click on any card in play to pause the game and read it’s text, which will also tell you what special abilities it has – a very useful feature, especially early in the game. The fights will usually run from a minute to several, and if you’re into it there’s quite a rush – seeing your cards come out, seeing the activation timers counting down on your cards and your opponents, anticipating the clashes to come… I’ll admit, I get really into it and have, in fact, yelled at my screen when I see an opponent’s awesome card hit the board and tear through my carefully planned strategy. I’ve laughed rather manically – well, as maniacal as a furry orange monster can laugh – while I see my minions burning through my opponents defenses and seeing their morale drop, knowing in a turn or two I’ll have them beat.

Doing battle in Warstorm

Doing battle in Warstorm - the playing field

Winning battles moves you farther along the quest/storyline you’re on and captures a new part of the map. Areas that are fully under your control produce silver, which you can spend to buy more cards. Sometimes (OK, daily), barbarians can ‘invade’ a part of the map you already hold, and if you don’t repel them, they’ll stop your silver production and just be annoying in general. There is also the standard real-money transaction currency, and in most cases either currency can be used to buy better cards, pre-made squads, or more content/quest packs – again, nothing groundbreaking, standard free to play and social gaming fare.

The social game aspects are not at all subtle – you’ll get a lot of pop ups and dialogs telling you to send cards to your friends, visit the alchemist for stat boosts, buy new booster packs, things like that. If you are playing with others and they’re into it, go ahead and send them gifts – you can send some pretty decent stuff, and this is also the first game I’ve seen where you occasionally have the ability to win or send the real-money currency, not just in-game silver. I was able to buy a good pre-made squad using that, without spending a dime, so that was nice.

The ‘PvP’ aspect of the game is lacking only in that your opponent has no idea that you’re attacking, and has no way of choosing which squads to defend with, so it’s sometimes not a very fair or satisfying experience. It doesn’t appear that anything ‘bad’ happens to you if you get attacked, so it’s not the end of the world, but I’d love a more active PvP element to this. Like ‘Backyard Monsters’, my biggest pet peeve is the fact that I can be attacked and defeated and have no input or say into the attack or my own defense. But as I said – there don’t seem to be any consequences, so I guess overall it doesn’t matter, it’s just more battles to hone your skills.

So that’s it – the game is listed as still in beta, but it seems well polished and it plays great in Chrome or Firefox. I don’t use IE because even monsters have standards. The game is set up so it can easily be a quick 15 minute lunchtime diversion, or you can play for an hour or more and not be bored – again, that’s if you’re into card combat. If you don’t care for the mechanics and gameplay of standard card combat and collectible card games, this is NOT going to be your cup of tea.

I’m level 10 as of yesterday and still going strong, so I’m sure I’ll have more information and tactics posts in the future. Thanks for reading!


Ditto versus the toughest boss of all…

I was setting up to film myself playing Warstorm, my newest gaming obsession, but my kitten Phillip had different ideas… just something cute and silly for today.

Ditto’s Current Games – Dec 17th

Here I am, back with another THRILLING blog about the games I’m playing and what I’m doing… and this week we’ve got some great new stuff in my older games, and a new game that has rocked my furry orange world… I think many of my Wizard 101 friends will agree, too.

Wizard 101
As always I start with that game which is nearest and dearest to my heart, Wizard 101. Of course as people know, I have made it to MooShu, and it is SO nice!! It finally feels appropriate to be riding a Koi mount through the lush green landscape, surrounded by gentle streams and tranquil settings. I absolutely LOVE it here, and so does Madame Jasmine!

Ditto and Madame Jasmine Exploring MooShu

Ditto and Madame Jasmine Exploring MooShu

I haven’t tried gardening yet – I will, I promise, but right now it’s more about exploring the wonders of Mooshu, since it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything but grimy old Marleybone..

I jumped into LOTRO ‘for a couple minutes’ this week to check out the winter festival they’ve been promoting. ‘A couple minutes’ ended up being about four hours! My jaw dropped…. I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest. Their winter festival is in a complete instance, a beautiful snow-covered village with lit trees and dancing revelers and really interesting quests, with many layers of interaction. There is one quest line that has you rousting a bunch of what are essentially homeless people off the streets, but then you’re given an opportunity to have a change of heart and donate a bunch of festival tokens to these same poor unfortunate souls. I don’t know what happens after that, but it’s wonderful!
Ditto the Dwarf at the Winter Festival

A Hobbit who was partying a little too hard

A Hobbit who was partying a little too hard

LOTRO does continue to impress – it’s still a little overwhelming at times, but the game is just so pretty, and the quests are really immersive and fun.

The Game of the Week
Zynga’s ‘WarStorm’

OK, I promised myself as soon as I joined Facebook that I wouldn’t fall into the ‘Zynga’ trap of Farmville and Frontierville and Mafia Wars and all those other mindless Zynga games.
I failed.

Warstorm - card based combat

WarStorm - Card based combat

WarStorm is a new Zynga game based around your standard collectible card game, similar to Magic the Gathering. There are different ‘armies’ – Human, Elf, Undead, etc… and there are specific cards for each, and you create ‘squads’ – basically small decks featuring a leader, some infantry, and some ‘special forces’ type cards that have special triggered abilities. There are also artifacts and spells you can add to your deck if your leader/general has the space for them. There’s a lot of complexity, but not TOO much.
Combat is standard CCG combat – random cards drawn, cards have a ‘cost’ in turns until they can enter the field of battle. You win if you get your opponent down to zero life, or if they run out of cards, so multiple strategies are possible. By winning battles, you gain silver and you gain control of lands that produce silver. With silver you can buy more cards – single cards, faction booster packs or even pre-made squads. You can also spend real money for these as well, but I haven’t had to (yet)
So far, I’m really hooked on this one, though I’m still just starting out. It’s detailed enough and challenging enough to keep you hooked, but not really frustrating and there doesn’t seem to be any PvP ganking like in Backyard Monsters. Nothing worse than logging into your casual Facebook game and seeing your entire yard in ruins because somebody decided to attack you eleven times in a row while you were asleep…

That’s all for this week – see you in The Spiral!!

Happy Monday everyone

I hope everyone had a nice holiday or, if you didn’t get four days off, you at least had a nice weekend… I had a pretty relaxing weekend, though I definitely ate too much! How can one meal stretch out into overeating for four days straight?

I did play a lot of games during my time off, including Wizard 101 (Videos coming soon, just need to pull them off the camera and edit.) LOTRO, and some new games, Zentia online and Iris Online, that I saw Massively magazine posting about. I also got a new copy of ‘World of Goo’, which my roommate had on his old computer that died. That is such a fun, cute, and addictive little puzzle game, I’m sure I’ll be playing it constantly…

The new MMO games are interesting so far, though I’ve barely scratched the surface. Zentia I’ve seen a lot about, it’s pretty cool but hasn’t ‘grabbed’ me yet. Iris is cute, I love the graphics, but the fixed camera is really frustrating, especially since you can get stuck on objects in the world that you can’t even see because of the camera angle. I’ll play them both a bit and see if any of them hook me in like Wizard 101 did – somehow I doubt it 🙂

I had a fun and interesting LOTRO experience over the weekend – I was doing a quest in Thorin’s Hall that completely reminded me of the quests in Krokotopia! The quest is called ‘The Puzzle Vault’ and in it you have to pull four levers (Sun, moon, axe, jewel) in a specific order, based on a riddle! It really reminded me of a few of the Krokotopia puzzles, like the Test of Aptitude in the Temple of Storms.

So overall I’m a happy Fabricated American today and I’m looking forward to Ravenwood Radio on Wednesday – I’m sure it will be an awesome show! Until then…

See you in The Spiral!!


Ditto fights random mechanical spiders…

I was in the middle of figuring out the Smogger side-quest in Katz Lab, looking for stacks of wood to build a bridge, and I got pulled in by a couple evil steampunk spiders. It’s a fun, quick fight with some great meteor strike action… It’s very funny in that I get my last opponent down to two health and couldn’t take him out because I had to wait for more cards… I thought it was amusing anyway.

Ditto’s Current Games

Not a lot of movement on the current games this week – I finally got back into Wizard 101 and finished Katzensteins’ Lab, which was pretty awesome. I did find out that there is apparently a side-quest in there that you can finish as well, to defeat some elite side-boss called Smogger or something like that. I think I’m going to try for that – wish I knew about it before I exited the dungeon, because I think the pre-fight bosses were actually more challenging than Katz…

Ditto at the first Clocktower

Ditto and Madame Jasmine, preparing for the first Clocktower

so now I’m ready to start the big Marleybone Finale – I started reading up on it and got great tips and pointers from readers, thank you SO MUCH for that! I ‘think’ I’m going to try to do each clocktower solo, then get a few friends together for Big Ben. Big Ben seems insane to try alone (though I did pull off Sunken City solo) – we’ll see what I can put together.

I did jump back into LOTRO again for a while, as well – I just love the look of this game, the epic feel of it. It’s a little overwhelming sometimes, it feels like there are a thousand different things you can be doing, where I’m used to the much more guided Wizard 101 quest lines. It’s still awesome, though, and I do still geek out when I see something I recognize from the books, like the dock for Buckleberry Ferry.
Right now I’m just questing and looking for crafting supplies to sell at auction, which is certainly a lot more involved than the Bazaar on wizard 101. It’s fun, though, and I’ve gotten some good gear for great prices just be being in the right place at the right time, so to speak.

Ditto the Dwarf riding across Middle Earth

Ditto the Dwarf riding across Middle Earth

Backyard Monsters
Backyard Monsters had a huge update this week, including a new level of Town hall which I’m currently in the process of building – it takes SIX DAYS! I also upgraded my catapult another level (I can now fling goo at my enemies – LOL) and unlocked the new ‘worm’ monster they just added, who has some underground burrow attack I havent’ tried yet. Sounds interesting but worrisome, as if it works the way I think it works, it will be VERY hard to defend against, especially since they didn’t seem to add anything that would defend against subterranean attack yet…

Other Games
this week was pretty much all focused on Wizard 101 to be honest, with a little LOTRO and my daily Backyard Monsters fix. I’ll try to find a new ‘Game of the Week’ for next week, because that is a lot of fun.

I’ll try to find a new and exciting game for my ‘Game of the Week’ next week.

Ditto’s Current Games – 11/5/2010

Hello Everybody… Well it is time again for another exciting article about what Ditto is playing!
So this week all my focus has been on an AMAZING new game that has literally consumed every free moment of my time – it’s unbelievable! It’s got action, it’s got great characters, but it’s definitely a bit of a grind… It’s called:

That’s right, it’s the all-new MMO that seems to be sweeping the nation, possibly the globe. It’s got it’s own hashtag on Twitter, multiple forums and social networks dedicated to it, and even non-gaming sites are talking about it – it’s like some kind of crazy phenomena!

The gameplay here is pretty much all-consuming, with a focus on daily – that’s right DAILY – leveling goals that to some people (um, me anyway) find nearly impossible, but that seems to be part of the fun! I’m a little behind the curve right now, I’ll admit, because I really had trouble with my first big boss fight, ‘The Opening Chapter’ – that was a TOUGH fight, but I ended up staying up pretty late and finally finishing it off. Right now I’m grinding through some lower level narrative areas, but I think I’ve got another boss fight coming up soon so I need to make sure I get caught up soon.

Oh, and graphics – the graphics for this game might not be cutting edge, but they’re really crisp and it seems to run smoothly even on older computers – my only complaint is that they could have used a bit more color, I think…

My new MMO obsession - NaNoWriMo

Screenshot of the new gaming obsession sweeping the globe

I’m going to try and get a bit more Wizard101 in really soon, but for now I’m just focused on leveling up my NaNoWriMo character – after all, I’ve only got until November 30th to hit max level!!!



How NOT to keep loyal players happy….

So last week I found a fun, really entertaining game called Braaains on Facebook. It was cute, it had zombies, it was fun and easy to play, but still a bit challenging. I’ll admit it, I got hooked on it – I’ve played every day since last week, sometimes logging in multiple times to check in on my terrifying Zombie horde…

Until today. Because today, when I logged in, instead of seeing my happy and smiling legions of the undead ready greet me, I found this:

Braaains fail

Braaains login screen - click here?

So it tells me I need to ‘click here and enter my email address’ – well that’s odd, I thought to myself. Facebook already has my email address, obviously – it’s my login. Why would Braaains need me to enter it again? Well, let’s click and see…

Braaains scam

Here is who wanted my email address... really Braaains? Bad form!

Braaains sent me to what looks like a complete scam site ‘Get a free iPad just enter your email…’ blah blah blah. These sites are NEVER legit and I can’t imagine the flood of junk – or worse – I would get in my inbox if I were to sign up for this. I could not circumvent this in any way – not in different browsers, not by manipulating the URL tags, nothing. If I wanted to keep playing Braaains I would HAVE to give my email address to this ‘service’.

Sure I could put in a fake email address, but that’s not the point. While I understand a developer putting out a game is doing it to make money, FORCING your players to sign up for some disreputable service is just plain wrong, and I cannot, will not support this. I’ve deleted Braaains from my profile, I won’t be supporting them any more, which is sad, because it’s a game I was really getting into.

So for anyone who started playing Braaains because of my glowing recommendation last week, I do sincerely apologize – obviously I couldn’t have known about this shady business practice, but I still feel bad if anyone started playing and either got tricked into doing this or, like me, got invested in the game and then was forced to stop playing because they were uncomfortable with giving their email address to such a questionable site.

Ditto’s Current Games 10/22/2010

Once again I discuss my weekly gaming fun – gaming from a Fabricated American point of view! Lots of great fun this week, and the best ‘game of the week’ I’ve found so far!! Of course not everything was hugs and puppies this week… there was tragedy as well – of the completely temporary virtual sort, anyway.

Wizard 101
Wizard 101 was at the top of my list with the new Halloween quests taking up lots of playtime this week – I am a huge fan of Jack Hallow and his pumpkin-headed brothers! I did some great ghost-busting and apple bobbing and pumpkin gathering, and soon I will be attacking those eerie towers floating over where the Death school used to be. Celestia fever is in high gear too, of course, but I’m not terribly worried about that yet. Wizard 101 was definitely my main game this week.

Chatting Up Jack Hallow

Chatting Up Jack Hallow

I played zero LOTRO this week, sadly – I was too tied up with other games and just never got a chance to log in. I will be playing soon though, as it looks like they have some cool seasonal event going on. I love these special seasonal events so I’ll definitely be checking it out soon – once I’ve finished all the Wizard 101 stuff, that is!

Backyard Monsters
So this week was all about attacking the new enemy tribes, and I did pretty well – I took out a few serious encampments and I’m refining my strategy – which basically means I’m updating the monsters I attack my enemies with. You’ve got a number of different kind of monsters that have differing costs and abilities, so it’s all about mixing and matching to get the best results. You could use a few high cost, powerful monsters, or a whole fleet of smaller monsters.
Of course when you attack them, they will sometimes attack back. Exhibit A – my fairly well demolished yard from earlier this week. Fortunately, even though I needed a lot of repair work to get back up and running, the attack was a failure, since my new defenses kept my town hall safe from harm. Power to the Monsters!

My Backyard, attacked

Ditto's backyard after an attack

Game of the Week
I have found an awesome Halloween-themed game this week – Braaains!!! It’s a zombie horde fight game and I became instantly addicted, because let me tell you – Monsters like zombies, it’s just a thing with us. We also like sherbet and chickens – trust me on this one….
The game is similar to things like Ninja Wars, but more fun – You dig up zombies from the graveyard, train them and equip them for battle, then attack other player’s zombie hordes. The currency is mixed – gold, brains (of course) and bones, and it really becomes a game of resource management. You can have a bunch of poorly trained, well equipped zombies, or fewer zombies that are much better trained and more effective. I’m going the ‘all the zombies I can dig up’ route and arming them as well as I can afford. It’s working for me so far. This game is definitely going to replace my daily School of Wizardry game, I think. At least for now.

Braaains - my zombie horde

The motley crew that is my zombie horde

Zombie Fight!

Ditto's zombie horde taking on an opponent

So that’s it for this week’s games – I’ve got a big 100th video planned, I’m working on that now, plus more Halloween fun and hopefully I can connect with a few friends in game and film us doing Katz’ lab soon… That would be a ton of fun. Until next time!


Ditto’s Current Games – Oct 15th

So here is my weekly feature about what games I’m playing now and how I’m enjoying them – gaming from a Fabricated American point of view!

Wizard 101
So as always my first game is my beloved Wizard 101. Of course the big news this week is Celestia hitting the test realm, but that wasn’t really the big news for everyone’s favorite furry orange monster – I’m only level 33, so I can’t really do much with Celestia. I did hop onto test realm and bought some new mounts – I’m in LOVE with the ancient Koi, it’s such a fun and awesome mount! I can’t wait to get one in the real game – so cute! And Madame Jasmine likes it to!
One big game change this week for me was changing my secondary school spells. After 33 levels it has become clear to me that I am a much more aggressive player than I thought I was and my play style is more about damage and knocking my opponent out fast – I rarely used my satyr healing spell and that was all I used from the life school. So what did I switch to?
Death. Yup – I’ve trained death to Feint and then grabbed the elemental trap and blade from Krokotopia. I hit Jaques the Scratcher for over 2000 damage and he didn’t even get me below 1000 health, so yeah, I do enjoy the big damage numbers.
Instead of my traditional screen shot for Wizard 101 this week I’m putting a video in of some of my Halloween questing, since I realized I hadn’t posted a game play video and people like those – so here you go!

Lord of the Rings Online

I’ve only played about an hour of LOTRO this week because I was having so much fun in Wizard 101. I DID get all the way to The Shire and actually made it to BAG END! Ancestral home of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins!! I have to say, this is where LOTRO excels – it literally pulls you into Tokein’s world, and if you’re a fan of the books, it’s details like this that make you say ‘ooooh, ahhhhh…’ I totally did the tourist screenshot thing here, my dwarf Ditto Monster in front of Bag End… So cool!!

Ditto the Dwarf posing at Bag End

Ditto the Dwarf posing at Bag End

Backyard Monsters
Big re-design of my yard this week and though I am taking a bit more damage to my outer buildings in this configuration, no attackers have even gotten close to my town hall or my core buildings, which is the main point now. So far it’s working out really well for me, though I think I’ll continue to tweak it. The PvP aspects here are interesting because when you’re attacked you don’t have any way of interacting or preventing damage outside of the defenses you’ve prepared in advance. It’s all about the strategy of your yard and how you’ve set up your towers and lasers. Yup – still fun, I play at least once a day…

Ditto's backard in Backyard Monsters

Ditto's backard in Backyard Monsters

Game of the Week
So my game of the week this week was from a suggestion made last week – I started playing Toon Town Online.
So I know this is an older game, at least 5 years old, but I have to say, it’s still fun. The basics are a lot like Wizard 101 – you have a similar combat setup (though totally different combat mechanics) similar kinds of quests, housing – it’s just with cartoon characters instead of student wizards. There is also far less ‘story’ to it – it’s pretty light on storyline overall – but it’s still clever and cute.
I created an orange cat character and named him Ditto Monster, and right now he’s got a squirt gun and he can throw pies, which is pretty hilarious, I like the character design.
The game certainly shows it’s age a bit, but I think it’s something I’ll play once in a while – while not as in depth as Wizard 101 it’s still quite a lot of fun overall!

Ditto's House in Toon Town

Ditto's House in Toon Town

That’s it for this week – stay safe, have fun, see you in The Spiral!!!