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ATTENTION:We are thrilled to host "Gaming Ghosts", a new web-comic by an anonymous writer. Full expert literary analysis included!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gaming Ghosts - Comic #1-3


Analysis
Einstein visits our protagonist occasionally?  Though he seems to be sitting in front of a modern computer array, we are left pondering the many possibilities.  Is our hero senile?  joking? a time-traveler? Can he commune with dead? (let's not forget the title of the comic strip itself).  In doing some cursory research on Einstein's special theory of relativity, there is no mention of the practical applications of time travel.  Is this information made up to make fun of Mookie?  The transition to Stockholm Syndrome seems completely out of left field, wholly unrelated to the concept Mookie was presenting.  In fact, the entire comic seems like random thoughts pasted together without proper context.

In this cartoon analysts's opinion, this strip is murky at best, devoid of meaning at worst.  In building a foundation for a cartoon, the writer would do well to teach us more about its inhabitants.  Will the chair ever turn? -Kevin R. Scripps

Gaming Ghosts 1-1
Gaming Ghosts 1-2 
Gaming Ghosts 1-3 



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Calling the Ancients, Filling the Moonwell, or Additional Armaments: Which to Pick and Choose?

After you've completed both the Shadow Wardens and Druids of the Talon 150 Mark of the World Tree quest grinds, three new quests will open to you that each require 125 Mark of the World Tree to complete. (Also, please note that if you've reached this point, you may be wondering whether you can complete both the Shadow Wardens and Druids of the Talon daily quests (Into the Fire line and Forlorn Spire line.) You can only complete one line daily, so pick the one that goes quickest for you.)

At the end of each of these three new quests is access to one of the three Molten Front / Firelands vendors that have the new gear and recipes on them. It also opens up access to a couple more daily Mark of the World Tree quests. It looks like the best order to complete them based on number of Marks of the World Tree accumulated is as follows:

1) Call the Ancients
2) Additional Armaments
3) Filling the Moonwell

This order is simply a function of Call of the Ancients netting 3 Marks daily, Additional Armaments 2 marks daily, and Filling the Moonwell 0 Marks daily.

How to get to Firelands Entrance
Firelands Dailies Guide
Review of Firelands Dailies Plus Some Inspiration
Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which one Do I Choose?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which to Choose

The short answer is:  Pick either one.  Many players have veered toward Shadow Wardens because the daily quest chain takes a little less time to complete.  When you've completed each 150 Mark of the World Tree quests (both Shadow Wardens and Druids of the Talon), you will have a choice each day on which quests you want to do.

The long answer:  When you've accumulated your 150 Marks of the World Tree during your first week or so of running dailies in the Molten front, you'll have a decision to make.  Much like Rebecca Black's internationally renowned hit "Friday", you may be thinking to yourself -- Which one do I choose?  Chairman Zillionaire first suggests that you take a long, hard look at your life.  Then, follow this advice:  If you would choose to sit in the front seat, then pick Shadow Wardens.  If, rather, you would choose to sit in the back seat, pick Druids of the Talon.  Now, there may be a connotation of "front being better than back" laced here, but sincerely, you shouldn't think of it that way.  If you're in the front seat, you've got a better view.  If you're in the back seat, you'll be with your friends, so you don't need the better view.

What we're saying is that this is a win/win situation.  Whether you choose to start with Druids of the Talon or the Shadow Wardens, you will need to complete the other set in about a week too.  So, you can ride to school in the back seat with your friends, but then you can ride home in the front seat with the awesome view.  Accumulating your next 150 Marks of the World Tree will go much faster than accumulating the first 150 because more daily quests will be open to you.  And before you know it, it'll be Friday again, which comes right after Thursday and right before Saturday, and you'll be faced with new challenges of the Firelands.

How to get to Firelands Entrance
Firelands Dailies Guide
Review of Firelands Dailies Plus Some Inspiration
Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which one Do I Choose?
Calling the Ancients, Filling the Moonwell, or Additional Armaments: Which to choose?

Gaming Ghosts - Comic # 1-2


Cartoon Analysis 2

Economists have long used terms like "widgets" and "guns and butter" to describe basic economic principles.  Instead of talking about 1000 steam engines having been produced, they talk about 1000 widgets, a generic term that everyone could understand.  Regrettably, blogging has hijacked the term to mean something similar, though it ruined the widget-ideal for economic analysis.  "Bear butts" is a tongue-in-cheek widgety concept for MMORPGs.  Basically, it's been somewhat widely used to refer to anything trivial that players must gain in a gaming environment.  For example, 

"Hey Thor, Pwnurnubcatzlol needs six bear butts to complete his quest." 
"Ask Lady Neptuna, she's got lots."
"She didn't have any.  She said you were keeping some on Uranus"
"Dammit I'm Thor!  Why am I always the butt of jokes"
Lady Neptuna snickers.

In today's comic, it looks like our protagonist is having a bit of fun with Mookie, or Mookie is having a bit of fun with our protagonist.  Sometimes it is hard to tell how many individuals are in on a subtle joke.  Again, the writer presents us with some whimsy, though he leaves us with many more questions.  Is Mookie asking "How much gold is enough" to pull off the economic manipulation, or is Mookie condemning our hero for his thought process in an enlightened Bud Foxx to Gordon Gecko sort of way?

There also may be some social commentary going here as world oil prices continue to rise and consequentially inhibit business growth.  Are bear butts truly the motive force behind whatever economy these individuals seem to know about?  If they were, could one individual corner the market in such a fashion as to be able to manipulate it?  While it doesn't seem likely, we know very little about the individual behind the purple chair.

The name "Dwarftown" has a generic, "bear butt" feel to it.  It's possible that these individuals are playing an MMORPG.  Or, perhaps they really are part of that "Dwarftown" parallel universe.  Whatever the case, it seems apparent that the writer wants us to know that they at least have access to Google.  If you look closely in the comic, you'll notice its distinctive logo on one of the computer screens.  --Kevin R. Scripps

Gaming Ghosts 1-1
Gaming Ghosts 1-2 
Gaming Ghosts 1-3 



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gaming Ghosts - Comic # 1-1

Zillionaire Gold Blog is excited and proud to host the inaugural comic of what we hope will be a long series, "Gaming Ghosts".  We are also thrilled  to have commissioned former literary and spiritual guru Kevin R. Scripps to analyze and comment on each comic.  Please note that the writer of the comic wishes to remain anonymous as he does not want to be responsible for his postal carrier's midlife crisis or his wife's emotional breakdown in having to dispose of countless fan mailings and panty-filled parcels.  All fan mail can be posted after the analysis where he will be able to read it.  Personal fan mail should be sent to the "contact info" email address, ATTN: GamingGhostsFanmail .  --Chairman Zillionaire
Cartoon Analysis 1  

Bob Ross was an American painter best known for his television show, "The Joy of Painting".  As an iconically serene personality, he touched many would-be painters and craftsmen with his gentle disposition and his technical grace on the canvas.  While it is slightly absurd to think that Ross would eat smurfberries in the after life, there is precedent in the dead artist's community.

In a 1997 letter to his beloved Isabella, reknowned toadstool, mushroom, and fungoid artist P.K. Newton wrote, "I dreamt that I was a smurfberry, and that Pablo Picasso himself, your existential liege, your great great uncle of eternity, presented me to the King of Spain in a gold-adorned box, cubed as only the great master could, and I dissolved into the regal gullet as a vessel of good will, an ambassador of the great modern master himself!"

And later at a 1999 luncheon at TGI Friday's in Tuscaloosa, TN, the former Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America was overhead saying:  "Andrew Wyeth hated red almost as much as he hated the color green.  I was in the back of a pick-up truck in the late 30's with him.  He was skirting the great depression with his watercolors, I was skirting it with my seeds.  And he said to me, bright, like he was:  If I had a smurfberry for every man who suffers, I could then give a smurfberry to each man on earth.  Now, I didn't know what the hell a smurfberry was, but he had a whole sack of those things, and though he held magnanimity in his words, he wasn't sharing any that day."

Finally, if you use a black-light on the back of a two-dollar bill, you will notice that the chalice holding gourds and fruit mysteriously turns into a woven basket of reddish -- mauve if you will -- berries.  Obviously, your first thought would be:  cherries.  However, cherries are never displayed in currency except on a tree.  Because one of the United States longest held ounces of mythos is the story of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree, the plucked cherries have come to represent "small lies".  Additionally, if you look very closely in the range of hills behind the basket, you will see what appears to be a tiny smurf cap, distinctive in its stunted-stocking sort of way.

So, it's entirely possible that our protaganist in the preceding comic actually did see Bob Ross in some sort of incorporal form snacking on smurfberries.  As for what it *means*:  we'll probably have to tune in next time.  It seems the writer decided to present his first cartoon whimsically, though we can learn a lot simply by the first words uttered:  "Anybody out there?".  Though similar in fashion to the "Hello World!" program that all computer programmers tackle as their first endeavor,  the hero has not chosen a delcaratory or even exclamatory statement.   He's asked a question, and already we notice that he is on a search for something -- a connection, another sentient being, knowledge, experience, wisdom.  Any or all of these might be what he seeks, and we just won't know until the writer turns the next page for us. --Kevin R. Scripps

Gaming Ghosts 1-1
Gaming Ghosts 1-2 
Gaming Ghosts 1-3 



Friday, July 1, 2011

Review of Firelands Dailies, Plus some Inspiration

 The Review

When you get your 20 Mark of the World Tree and start into the Molten Front of Firelands dailies, you'll notice a fairly stark dichotomy in design.  The daily quests you'll be running in Mount Hyjal will be sorta cute (punting turtles and chucking bear cubs come to mind) and will be reasonably spread out in a calm, flowing sort of manner.  Conversely, doing the daily quests at the beginning of the Molten Front will make your eyes blur and your innards clench.

For some reason, the game designers implemented the "pigs at the trough" strategy for daily quests here, probably hoping to appease those who want to get them done as quickly as possible while at the same time alienating those who think that "dailies" are a poor excuse for letting time pass without delivering enough content.  Why do these zones need to feel like a Manhattan apartment? It may be great for some people to be able to shower and cook breakfast at the same time, but in a game with relatively infinite space, it just seems lazy.  There is no epic feel to running around in a tiny box of an area trying to complete four quests, constantly having to zig and zag to tag mobs or quest objectives that a hundred other players are fighting for.  Hopefully this is just the "Front" of the Molten Front and things will smooth out when more quests are opened, but it seems as though Blizzard wants us to accumulate Marks of the World Tree at a relatively slow pace.



The Inspiration

Suck it up and plod on.  Think of all the people in this world who do not get an opportunity to play World of Warcraft.  Think of all the people in this world who have never even seen a computer.  The next time you find yourself lamenting over another bleary eyed quest, imagine that you could have been born as a slug or a gnat or a birch tree and would not even have the capacity to conceptualize what a computer is.  Or, the next time your soul is wailing to the sound of endless daily questing, just think that you could have been born in a galaxy far, far away to a family of creatures that resemble muskrats, enslaved by the ignoble prairie dog peoples of your planet to toil endlessly in the sulfur mines.  And then, finally, when things seem bleakest of all, when the torment of one more god-forsaken blue exclamation point is more than your mortal being can bear, imagine that you were the metamorphic rock next to the sulfur in those sulfur mines -- unwanted, chiseled and broken to reach the better stuff, and all without consciousness, soul, opinion, or any hope of transformation into something greater.  That you will be mineralized over eons of neglect, only to undoubtedly be reformed into the insentient form that you probably have always been. NO NO NO!  You must embrace your blessed state and vanquish the evil-doers, slay the fire-dwellers, and pour ice over the blasted Firelands of the present.  Much like a traveler extinguishing an engine fire with a super-size Mcdonald's sweet tea, you must bring your own icy chill to the Firelands.  There is no despair in a living ember and there is no fern that grows unseen.

How to get to Firelands Entrance
Firelands Dailies Guide
Review of Firelands Dailies Plus Some Inspiration
Shadow Wardens vs. Druids of the Talon - Which one Do I Choose?
Calling the Ancients, Filling the Moonwell, or Additional Armaments: Which to choose?