More Wizard101: Farmer In The Sky


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Welcome back, my friends.

In previous posts, I covered:
basic gaming concepts,
Wizard101 game mechanics,
tips to save time, and
Special pets.

But there is more. Much more. This game is acquiring depth. I might not see all of it. So much to do. But I will try. For you.

And what I see, what I learn, I will tell you. No secrets here. No “pay, me and I will teach you” bull. No time for bull. I will show you my Wizard101 house in the sky, my battles, all of it. This blog will KEEP getting better as long as I can do it. Yes, there WILL be movies as soon as I learn how. Remember, I am a career programmer, not a video editor or a graphic artist. All of these pics are screen grabs edited with MS Paint and saved as JPEG files to compress their size and make the pages load faster even with pictures. I need to learn how to make videos and compress them. Soon, my friends. Soon I will be able to do all you want to see…or eventually to be able to pay someone to do it. But not yet. I am not a rich man. I am one of you.

How do I get the screen grabs? Easy. when something is on your screen you want to save, hold down the SHIFT key and press PRINT SCREEN (or PrtSrc on some keyboards). That copies the screen image to the Windows clipboard. Then go into a graphic program like Paint and hit CTRL V to paste it in. Simple.

Simple. Free. That’s what I like. Free. I won’t tell you to go buy some expensive program. Paint comes with Windows, all versions of Windows. It’s included. I won’t hide how I do things and tell you to pay me to learn how.

No. This is for you. Free. Because I can. Because I enjoy doing it. Why spend your life doing anything else?  Help others for free! Try it!

Okay, I don’t necessarily level faster than anyone else. I’ve learned to stop and smell the roses. Life is too short not to enjoy. Shorter than you know. There was a philosopher, once who said this: “we do not even know if we will exhale the breath we just took in.” Wise words. So enjoy your life. I do not know if you get another one. For all I know, this is all I get. I want to believe otherwise. Ok, that’s enough chatter for now. I am such a windbag.. Let’s learn!

Treasure cards are handy in Wizard101.  If you put some in your spell deck, you can always discard a card from your hand and draw a treasure card, if you remember to. And treasure cards often do more damage than their regular versions taught by the trainers. But there is a price. You have to buy them, be lucky and get them as a drop, or get another player to trade with you. In Wizard City, the beginning zone, you can buy treasure cards at the Library.

But I don’t buy them any more. I grow them. Yes, that’s right. I grow them. And I have been neglecting my garden. We’d better go there and see what needs to be done.

Oh, darn it! I have been away too long! There are PESTS in my garden. And the plants need sunlight, music, magic. So much to do!

guty windsBut no worries! I am a pretty good gardener. Grandmaster level.  It is a separate levelling path from the main one. Take that! Gusty Winds. Rank 2 gardening pest spell.

Caring for your garden in Wizard101 builds your gardening XP. In other words, you level in gardening separately from wherever you are as a wizard. This avatar is not a Grandmaster Wizard. But he IS a Grandmaster Gardener. Look at the top of the picture. Isn’t that interesting? You can become a powerful gardener long before you reach the level cap for wizardry. Heh, the pests cannot fight back. No circle of combat here.  Gardening spells use Energy. It replenishes over time. I can just stand here and my energy will come back. But not time for that now. The plants need more care.

Ah, the process of recording screen grabs interferes with my concentration; experience is diminished. Pause. Hmm. look, I don’t mean to jerk you around, but I just realized my selfishness is causing me to miss the mark here. I will put in the rest in text first to get the outlines of it, then I will come back and fill in with images from a particular battle.  These are not really battles, of course. I am wailing on a bug. But it still gets animations, though perhaps not as interesting as the combat ones.

sunlightPlants in Wizard101 have many needs: ground, sun, rain, music, magic,  defense from pests, and so on. You can get seeds as drops or buy them , whatever. Once you have a seed, you need to plant it. The seed must be embraced by the mother Earth and held safely to extend its roots.  ”Oh no!” you say. “But I don’t have a castle island floating in the sky. I am just a humble student in a dorm room.” Do not worry, little Wizard. I have spoken with the groundskeepers and they tell me that you will be allowed to grow plants in your dorm room. Maybe the bigger ones will not fit. I do not know. I move out so fast when I am obsessing.  But you can get a start on it, and build your power as a magical gardener from the smallest of beginnings. Less can be more. Be glad you cannot plant very much, because then you have to deal with all the plants needing, needing.  It uses all my energy to nourish the plants often , I plant so many.  Far better to do well in smallness than fail in abundance. I know this from experience.

plantsBut I cannot help it. Green is my favorite color. Astrology might say that is because I am a Libra. But I do not look at the stars as pulling my strings. No. I just love green because it is the color of the chlorophyll parts of plants that uses the old, OLD energy of the Sun to split water, to combine the oxygen with carbon and make starch and sugar. Chlorophyll feeds the plant. It also feeds mankind. For free. From solar energy. Hard to hate chlorophyll.  If you look down on the surface of the Earth from outer space you will see green areas. These are the places where it is easier to live.  There is food there. Plants. And the animals that eat the plants like cows and goats and sheep and so on. Food form the Sun. For free. Then we turn them into groceries and make people who don’t have farms pay money so that they can eat.

You plant the seed into the plot of ground or plant pot for the windowsill, and it is started. Should I water it? you ask.  Well, in real life the answer would usually be yes, to help the seed open and let the root tip out. But these are magical plants. They will tell you when they need.  Believe me, they will tell you. not in words, of course, although my King Parsley does seem to mutter “thank you, thank you very much”. I think I got those seeds in Vegas. Hard to remember.

No, the plants will tell you by showing you their needs. And this is how they do it in the real world too. When a plant in a real garden starts to droop, you get the idea it needs water in it filling up the plant so it can stand up straighter. When you SEE the bugs crawling on it eating the plant, you do not need an explanation of what it wants. What would YOU want if bugs were crawling on you eating you?  (Yes, my friends, I know this actually happens in the real world.) People who do not care let it happen. I am not talking about parents. I am talking about rich people who do not GIVE.  They have abundance, and they let their fellow human beings wither.

sandhill cranes in the front yardA plant would not do that to you. When there are plants in an area, more life moves in. The plants actually improve the local survival rate. The more plants there are, the more life there is.  You do not believe this? Take a look at a desert sometime, then at a rain forest or even a temperate forest. Which would YOU want to live in? Why do you think most animals would feel any different?

Okay, I am rambling, sorry. Must forget the images of thousands of acres of the remaining rain forests of my planet being carved away to grow grass for cows, to plant a few crops in rows.  A corn field is not a forest.  But we need corn, yes. People must eat. Please, do not eat the forests! We need them. But back to gardening.

At first you will only see a tiny shoot coming out of the dirt. Should I water it now? No, my friend. Be patient. It will tell you when. Sure you can water it before it needs the water.  Too much water will not hurt magical plants the way floods and hurricanes do with real plants. But while watering early will not hurt, it will not help either. So save your energy and wait. it will tell you when to give.

When you come back to your castle or dorm room, keep checking your plant. if you mouse over it in gardening mode, it will tell you how long it has to go to reach the next stage. And it will tell you its needs. A plant that needs sun will get as little sun floating over its head. You can see what the plant is thinking. Not like us humans with our complicated kinds. The plant is simpler, easier to understand.

You see a see a couple of musical notes hanging over the plant? it needs music. See it thinking of a bee? it needs pollination to help it make more seeds. See something that looks like a white sun? What means the plant is thinking it needs some magic.

Gardening spells are not taught by the main school trainers. Those busy elder wizards are too busy pushing back the frontiers of knowledge, learning new spells.  No, you need to talk to a gardener. people who work in a garden know how to work in a garden. if they do not, the plants teach them. And they tell you. They may not always tell you for free. Education costs money: teachers have to eat, too.  Teachers spend their whole day helping young humans learn. They do not have time to grow food.  I have been a teacher. not for young humans. I taught calculus-based Physics as a night adjunct. Then I taught people how to program computers. but I know that teaching takes time, and energy, a lot, just as it takes time and energy to listen to the teacher. But it is worth it.  You get to learn, and your teacher gets to eat, and to know that they have helped build the future.  Today’s children are tomorrow’s teachers, scientists, bakers, farmers, plumbers, and so on. Teachers touch the Future.  They help build it. Respect that. or they will find something else to do and your next teacher might not be as good, at first.

The gardening spells are important if you want to grow magical plants. You need the spells to give the plants light, rain, pollination, magic,  music, and so on. get them as soon as you can. Your plant depends on you. it cannot make it rain. It has to use whatever sunlight it can get. And it needs pollination. In reality, plants call bees to them with nectar, the sweet juice the plant, makes that the bee can smell.  it is a win-win situation. The plants gets pollinated, and the bee gets nectar to help it keep flying and to make honey for the winter. Bees are important. I planted some tomatoes in real life. They grew well, but no tomatoes appeared on them. I called it my tomato hedge. The reason may have been a shortage of bees. Without bees, no pollination, no fruit.  I hope we are not running out of bees. Maybe it was just one of those things.  I do not know, I am not a beekeeper. I will not pretend to know things that I do not. Others do that. I have no time for that bull.

If you give the plant what it needs it will be at peace and the images over its head will go away. For a while. But you know it will get thirsty again. Be patient.  Plants do not appear overnight full grown. Neither do people. You think there might be something the game is trying to tell us here?

Eventually the plant will grow into an Adult. You can tell because its appearance changes as it gets bigger. The plant will still go on needing, but now it will pay you back for your caring for it. Now you can harvest some stuff from the plant. How will you know when it is ready to harvest? That is simple. A glowing ring will appear around the base of magical plants that are ready to be harvested.  You cannot harvest them when they are busy trying to fight off pests or needing, needing. But when the plant tells you that you cannot harvest it while there are pests or needs are not met, it is telling you also that when you satisfy the needs and drive off the pests it will be ready to harvest.

Harvesting a plant in Wizard101 that is ready is as easy as clicking on it.  The plant will give you snacks for your pet to help it level faster during training. It will also give you money! Gold. Frankly, I do not know where a plant gets gold. maybe the way it gets everything else from the soil. Roots take in minerals and the plant uses and stores them.  One mineral that your body needs is magnesium. You can get this from the green leaves of edible plants. The leaves are like supermarket shelves saying here, here is some magnesium for you, for free. how do I know this?  Magnesium is at the heart of the chlorophyll molecule. The chlorophyll molecule holds the magnesium the way your hemoglobin holds iron. Chlorophyll uses the magnesium to drive incredible biological nanomachines that do things with air and water to make food for the plant and for animals and humans. Your red blood cells use the iron they hold to catch oxygen from the air when they travel through little blood vessels, tiny passageways  called capillaries in your lungs. The they go and give the oxygen to your cells so they can stay alive. We are alive because of plants. We stay alive because of plants.

When you harvest some magical plants they will give you more seeds! I started planting my King Parsley and found that I did not need to buy any more seed of that kind; it keeps giving me more King parsley seeds. Maybe I am lucky? or maybe the makers of Wizard101 want me to keep gardening.

harvestingWizard101 plants will ALSO give you treasure cards. For free.  Plants are not selfish like me and other humans. They share. They can’t use the treasure cards, so they give them to you, to show their appreciation for you taking care of them. How many of you have given back to a teacher to show that you appreciate them helping your mind grow? Hmm? I know, it is rude of me to ask. But teachers like to hear “thank you” just like other people. And they earn it.  They work hard, like gardeners. giving you knowledge you need. Do you give back to them. Give! Try it. They will be encouraged to keep  teaching, and you will feel good about yourself because you know you have done a nice thing. it is nice to be nice. I know, I am an old ” care bear“. That is what rude gamers call people who do not love to hurt and destroy. It is good to be a good fighter, when there are enemies to fight. But there is more to life. All the soldiers and guns in the world will not grow a single plant. Plants do not grow on lead, on bullets. Life comes from life. And life must go on,  so that people can eat.

Once you harvest from a plant, it keeps on growing. Picking an apple or a tomato does not stop the plant from growing and giving. You will be able to harvest it again, in time. But first, you will have to watch it and fulfill its needs again. Always needing, needing. Like baby birds in a nest holding out their beaks for the mother bird to feed them. So you feed them. Plants are a commitment. I have spoken elsewhere of commitment. Follow through.  Would you adopt a puppy and then not feed it? No? Then why would you plant a seed and then ignore it when it is growing?

You will see the plants thinking when they have needs, and eventually they will glow again to tell you they are ready to give you more gold, more snacks for your pets, maybe more seeds or more treasure cards.  Please listen to me: gardening takes time, but the rewards are free.  You want gold, to buy clothes, wands, houses, spell cards, training? Well the plants are collecting it for you while you are questing. That way you get gold faster.

When a plant gets old, it is time for the plant to be fully harvested to make room for more plants.  You will now the plant is ready to give you the last of its gifts when it turns grey and mousing over it says it is an elder.  Do not be sad. The plant had a good life, thanks to you. Now it will give you its greatest thanks. When you harvest an elder, that is the time you are most likely to get seeds, even more gold, and treasure cards.  Once I realized this, I began planting more and more.

After you harvest the elder, its ground is ready for a new seed. This is what gardeners and farmers do. They raise plants, harvest, plant again, and so on. We have been doing this as a species ever since we figured out that plants in cultivated fields and rows are easier to find than running around in the forest looking for food and trying not to be eaten ourselves.  We have been doing this for so long that we have modified the plants.  Did you know that “wild” almonds are poisonous? It is true, my friends. Someone, sometime a long time ago found some almond trees whose nuts were not as bitter. (The bitterness is cyanide!) They thought these might be a valuable new food so they encouraged the safe almond trees. Now we have safe almonds to eat. Think of farmers the next time you eat an almond. it is their gift to humanity. Give! We are not all farmers, but we all have something we can give.

Take former president Jimmy Carter. People who don’t like him say he was a weak president. Do you know what he did when he retired from being president? Ah, I see some of you know. He started giving. He started helping people build homes so that they would be able to afford having a place to live.  It is called Habitat for Humanity. Gee, I guess he is a care bear too. He gives. Ask the people he has helped if they like him.  Some presidents, they retire, build themselves a memorial library, and sit in it writing their memoires to make some more money.  Some go on speaking tours to get lecture fees. Jimmy decided he would rather help people.  You cannot eat a book. You cannot live in a lecture.

Are we done? Not even close.  Wizard101 has tougher plants for you to grow as you become a better gardener. These plants give out better rewards. This is a lesson about life, parents. Work harder and build skill, and you will be more rewarded. Isn’t that a nice lesson for your kids to be learning?  Then let them learn it. If you are not careful they might grow up to be politicians.  The internet is here. We have enough presidential libraries. We never have enough homes or food. Get the message? GIVE! And raise your children to know they should give too.

Silver Trumpet Vine” The higher level plants are more interesting. Dandelions will roar like jungle cats but that is it.  Yes, they give seeds, but they are for beginning wizard gardeners. As you level up in gardening you can grow bigger plants for more rewards. I have grown silver trumpet vines (sorry, they cannot help being noisy) Elephant ears, Desparagus ( not a happy plant — it seems to be born with a cold and sneezes a lot) and Baby Carrots (have you ever seen a carrot wear diapers? I’m glad I didn’t have to change them. Don’t want to know what was in them).

For some reason I always seem to get enough King Parsley seed to go on growing it. Maybe some day I can grow him a band. Okay, he is a little weird. But so far, he is the only plant I have grown that actually says thank you out loud. “Thank you. Thank you very much.”  He might be imitating a real person. I have no idea where he always gets that white suit with the high collars to wear. Plants don’t need clothes. They have no embarrassment, no shame.  But somehow he always finds one somewhere. He feels like he is more of a presence with his uniform.

Did you know you can get Gardening Treasure Cards? It is true. You can use one to water ALL of your plants at the same time. Or give them ALL sunlight. Just like regular treasure cards, they are single-use items, so don’t use them unless you have to. They take more energy to cast, too. But they save you time that you could be spending questing with friends.

Okay, I promised to take you inside my sky house. Lets go in.  You enter it the same as you go into a dorm room in Ravenwood. You just walk up close enough to the door. Or you use your Teleport Home button on the lower right of your screen. See the circle with little circles on it? Mouse over them. One of them will say it takes you home.   You can use it whenever you are not in the middle of a battle.

This is the inside of  my sky home. It is not the biggest you can get. I don’t need a huge place. Only I live here.

Oh my! Sorry about the mess. I am afraid I have littered it with my battle trophies. Bones and sarcophagi and things. these are things you can buy or get as drops from winning battles.  But there is one thing about trophies.  You cannot argue with them. They show where you have been. Yes, maybe I should not have them all over the place. Or just the chairs and tables. But they remind me that I have not spent all of my time chatting and hanging around the Commons, as some wizards seem to do. No. I have been working.  I am not here to build a crowd of friends. yes, I have been told I am a friendly fellow.  But I have less time for that now, so I do what I want.

Yes, there is a second floor. It’s not big, hardly more than a balcony. Maybe I will get a bigger house sometime. Getting gold in Wizard101 is not hard. Like in most games, it is a matter of time, that’s all. Your backpack fills up and so you sell the things you don’t want or cannot use. More gold for the bank.

You might have noticed my pets milling around outside the house. You can also let pets roam around inside your house or dorm room. Wizard101’s pets have new behaviors now. When I come onto my sky island, and get near them, they come to say hello.  Well, they don’t talk but you know what I mean. Like the way your dog or cat comes to you when you get home from work or school. The dragons and dark fairies and myth sprites and regular sprites and so on fly over to say hello before the go about their business.  it is kind of nice to know that someone notices me. I have been waiting to be noticed for over 30 years. But this is not about me, my friends. This is about you. This is my way of giving to you. This I give the world, for free.  I am not a rich man in money, but I am rich in experience. And I can pass some of it on to you. Like a teacher. And I give it to you for free. No pay memberships here. For free. What do you give for free? Are you afraid to give value for free? When you grow up, will you give back? Will you give the world something for free? I hope so. It is the hope of the planet.  It is the hope of us all.  Lots of us do not have money, rich people! But we grow your food, sew your clothes, build your shopping malls, run your buses, your taxis, your airplanes.  What a surprise! The waiter who just brought you that order of food is not a rich man or woman. Tip them! GIVE!  I have delivered pizza for a living.  People are usually happy to see the pizza man. Happier than they are to see a waiter, often. Waiters have feelings too, my friends. I have made donuts for a living. In the mornings I would make donuts at the Fractured Prune in Ocean City, Maryland until 11AM, then go home to a trailer in Delaware, rest, and then drive up to Dover to teach Physics at night at Wesley College. I have worked at a Wendys serving people who drive through for food. I did that for 9 months between programming jobs. The manager hired me because I lived two blocks away back then.  I could walk to work.  He knew I would give him no bull about “car trouble”. I made like $5 an hour. He was sad when I left. But I could not stay. I had found a job making $24,000 a year. That is like $12 an hour. I had no difficulty deciding which job to be in. School!  Stay in school and you will make more money.  You might not be rich but your children will eat.

Oh I am such a windbag! I have rambled on too much again. Forgive me, my friends. When I find a virtual reality realm that I can live in and learn things to pass on to others and help them learn and enjoy, I get too talkative about it.  I have always talked too much. My father was the strong, silent type from new England.  he klike to quote Kahlil Gibran’s  The Prophet. “We speak when we cease to be at peace with our thoughts.” The he would tell us to be at peace with our thoughts.

Okay, enough speaking. Time to go back and find pictures to make all this talking less dull for you. I do it for you, my friends. For all of you. –MRK

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9 Responses to “More Wizard101: Farmer In The Sky”

  1. Er I have been a Web Developer for many years…but at 55 I am hardly a “youngster”. I was born in 1956.

  2. Kk aka Kiera Fairyfist says:

    Oh my, glorious find …..i have to ask, what is your occupation. I am an adult player myself and i just find it hard to believe a youngster could be so , um … well , idk entertaining and mature, insightful so very many things…i read and left with a smile. :D

  3. I discovered this really great post today. Look at it.

  4. Well, look no more. Wait. Scratch that; keep looking. But only at my pages! Sleep! Sleep! Obey my dog! — MRK

  5. Mai Sedlock says:

    Nice, been looking for what seems like an eternity trying to find information on this.

  6. “The place else may anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal way of writing?”

    Sorry, I cannot help you there, i think. You see, I write all of my own articles, so I really do not know much about where to find good articles written by someone else.

  7. e-ticaret says:

    Thank you for any other excellent article. The place else may anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal way of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the search for such info.

  8. Renay Albracht wrote: “Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!”

    Relax, Renay. I have spoken to the Warden and it is no longer a hanging oiffence to go off-topic. I ramble myself a lot. My theme look like yours because I use the old default theme. The URL to it is at the top of every page in the blue. OK? sigh. –MRK

  9. Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

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