Saturday, December 9, 2017

Introducing the Trading Post!

Hey Jammers! As promised, I updated that Trading Post page with some info about item rarity.


Check it out! I'll be updating it more soon.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

AJHQ Embraces Clans + Secrets You've Missed

Hey Jammers, happy Jamaalidays!



While yesterday was the first day of December, there was a widespread glitch where practically no one could open the first gift! I took this screenshot on that day. 

However, if you were one of those people, you really didn't miss much. This is what the Day 1 gift was supposed to be:



This calendar seems to continue the "tradition" started last year of giving out diamonds every other day as gifts, but a new one seems to have been introduced as well... on days 6 and 14, are those Masterpiece Tokens?



Up until recently, I had thought this promo item to be completely useless and that people trading for them just wanted a weird looking item. 

It was only this week that I learned Masterpiece Tokens allow you to make a free Masterpiece– Nonmembers included!

This is wonderful because the only reason I ever get membership is to make Masterpieces. Now I never have to spend that extra money again!!! :D

So, my fellow nonmember artist friends, remember to log on on December 6th and December 14th for the chance to make 2 free Masterpieces. ;D

Because today is the 3rd day of the Jamaalidays, there are still two gifts left to discuss. 





I had the idea to make up verses in the style of that "12 days of Christmas" song for each gift given out. I don't know how long this will last, given that there are 31 gifts, but I hope this might be helpful if you'd like to remember what gifts were given out on which days. XD

So, I begin:


 On the 3rd day of Jamaalidays, AJHQ gave to me: Eight strung bells,
One creepy mask,
And a hedge that nobody got~ 

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post everyday to add a verse, but every couple day's I'll continue it. 

Aside from the advent calendar, a few other notable things have come out this update:


As is every year, there's the Jamaaliday Jam party, the ever-laggy Jamaaliday Rescue maze, and a new addition to the Zios Archives adventures: The Mystery Below. O_o

I have not yet went through it yet, but once I do I'll be sure to tell y'all all about it!

Another thing in the Forgotten Archives that people seem to miss every update is the constantly changing scroll excerpts:



The top one is last update's, and the bottom one is current.

The scrolls that are constantly changing are the ones on the bottom floor in the tall shelves. I have screenshots of most if not all of them so far, and eventually I'll compile them all together. 

This update's new excerpt raises some interesting questions: what calamities have been brought upon Jamaa by us, its inhabitants? Well, there's scamming, hacking, and some bullying, but what is this passage referring to exactly? Could it be environmental problems caused by the clearing of land? 

I guess we'll just have to wait and find out.

On a side note, I love each and every illustration in the Forgotten Archives. Maybe I'll use one of my Masterpiece Tokens to recreate one! ^_^

Before I go, y'all know already that I don't talk much about AJ Play Wild, mostly because I rarely log onto it, but something caught my eye recently on AJHQ's Instagram page:


Packs in Play Wild? What is this?



Apparently, AJHQ has not only embraced the idea of role-play clans, but they've imbedded a feature into AJPW that allows you to make one!

Most of the reason I don't go onto AJPW very often is the fact that 3D CGI makes me nauseous, but you know, I think I'll have to check this thing out. 

There's a lot of stuff on AJPW not at all on browser AJ. Then again, there have also been some mini-games on Play Wild that were introduced in the desktop version. Could packs come to browser AJ, perhaps? What do y'all think?

Before I sign off, it's come to my attention that there's some stuff I've neglected to do. First one being the creation of that Trading Post page, second one being that eclipse Appondale land map I've forgotten about, and third one being that drawing of an idea for a new Alpha HQ.

That third one is in the works. I haven't got much done on it this week because of busy-ness, but I will surely finish it within the next couple weeks.

The trading post page will come sooner rather than later. I'd say... within the week.

The Appondale land map, though? Well... the soonest you can expect that is probably towards the end of this month when my school goes on break. Land maps take hours.

I'm mostly just writing this out so it gets engraved in my mind so I don't forget. So sorry for the lengthy exit.

See you in Jamaa! :D

~DoomyPanda

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Birthday :D

Hey Jammers! I was gonna have an AJ party because my birthday is today, but as I'm busy I can't. I might do it a bit late though, like next weekend? It depends on what you think.

Still, I've unlocked my den for the next couple days, in case any of y'all wanna check it out. I'm a nonmember so it's nothing special, but I did decorate a bit lol


P.S. I started a drawing on the upstairs of my Alpha HQ idea. Hopefully both drawings will be done within a week!

See you in Jamaa~ :D

~DoomyPanda

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Alpha HQ WIP Art + Gratitude List

Hey Jammers! So, the reason I haven't posted since the very beginning of this month has to do with the fact that I like to do larger posts with more content. I only found bits and pieces this month worth posting about, so I kind of... waited for more. 

Also, you know how I promised I would draw up an idea for an "improved" Alpha Headquarters? I wanted my next post to show my idea, but it's taking some time.

As proof that I'm not just using this as an excuse to be lazy, here's what I got so far:


The uncolored parts are pretty faint, I know. I'll be doing a ton of coloring today though.

Basically, I think the ideal Alpha HQ would be less flashy, more earthy, and blend in better with the other rooms on AJ. It would incorporate lore a bit more– I can't believe there are no images of Mira or Zios throughout the whole current building. That's why my version will have two huge images of the two guardian spirits on the wall. X) 

I'm including the same clickable adventure items that are already in the current HQ– I think those are a great idea. I want to display them a little more naturally, though. For instance, boomseeds and whirlpearls are pretty common in adventures, so I think it's better for them to be haphazardly placed on a table than get their own little pedestals.

Also, I'll include the armor shop– but in a less flashy display.

Overall, I'm trying to make more of an HQ than a mansion. A place where Alphas can actually get stuff done.

Along with an eventual exterior of the building, I might add an upstairs and change some stuff around. That's kinda why I've been hesitantly coloring this in– I'm still figuring stuff out.

So, what's my overall goal with this?

Share it with AJHQ, of course. I know it might be insensitive to do so, considering the amount of work they put into the current building, but I feel it must be said that a giant crystal palace looks out of place in the Township. 

I'm not necessarily asking them to use my exact design (even though I'll give them permission to). I just wanna suggest that maybe they should consider something like it *wink wink nudge nudge* B)

What do you think? Should I follow through?

The next half of this post will be about different ways to celebrate Thanksgiving.


This image is from the Instagram page of Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, a wonderful place I've visited before. They do an event called ThanksLiving where you can sponsor a turkey rescued from being killed for Thanksgiving. 

The turkeys at the sanctuary are so sweet– their feathers are soft and angelic, their voices gentle, and they approach you for pats, just like little kittens.

Before I begin, I'm not trying to make you upset if you're going to eat a turkey's body today– you probably don't have much say in it, and this is in pretty short notice. I completely understand, I've been there as well. I just want you to think a little bit about the future, any situation when you can choose whether or not you eat another animal's meat. 

Let's talk about Thanksgiving. It's a holiday centered on eating a whole lot, probably more than you actually should! Abraham Lincoln started its practice in the USA, on the grounds that during colonization of North America there was a "first Thanksgiving feast" involving a nation of Native American people and white settlers. 

This is what you might have been taught in school, but given the brutal history of colonialism that often goes under the educational radar (and also the lack of recorded evidence so long ago), the idea of a "first Thanksgiving" is definitely more fantasy than reality.

However, I'm not trying to make you feel bad. I'm celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, as many of you who also live in North America probably do. Of course, me and my family don't eat many animal products like milk, eggs, or meat, so we're not going to be eating a turkey. We're gonna eat vegan pumpkin pie (which is super good), stuffing, and lots of veggies!  


I guess I'm telling you this to know for future reference: you can be really happy with meat not being the center of everything you eat. A growing number of people are!

Aside from eating, I thought it would be a fun idea to have a little list of things I'm grateful for... and invite you to add to it in the comments! 

So, today I am grateful for...

• Animal Jam (duh XD)
• The planet I live on and all its beautiful creatures, unlike anywhere else in the universe!
• The sun which lets this planet exist and thrive
• The moon that moves the water from which the world drinks
• My whole family, who let me be myself 
• The forests that are like cities for millions of creatures
• My grandfather, who is an amazing person and artist
• My school, which isn't perfect, but I'm still happy to go there
• My classes this year, which are really fun for once! 
• My favorite books that I love to reread over and over again ^-^
• My little group of school friends who are always there for me
• My AJ buddies and everyone who reads this blog :) 


What are you grateful for today? I'd love to hear in the comments! 

See you in Jamaa, my friends. Remember: your choices can change the world!

~DoomyPanda

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The New Building That Must Not Be Named

Hey Jammers! I've actually been sick for the past five days so I really haven't even had the energy to post.

But I'll let you know, my dudes, I am not all that happy about the Alpha HQ thing. I'm not gonna rant, that's a bit useless at this point and I don't have the energy. 

But I do have some constructive ideas.

I never use Instagram, but whenever there is an update that annoys me I take advantage of the fact that AJHQ connects to their audience on there and log on through my computer to comment on their most recent post. I try to not be irritating and demanding (though I'm bad at proofreading so sometimes I slip up a bit).

Last Thursday during the update, I told AJHQ that the Alpha HQ looks out of place (in the kindest way I could) and they responded "Thank you for the feedback, Jammer." That's nice! Thank you, AJHQ. :)

A lot of other Jammers are sad that Club Geoz left. Here's a statement from Nafaria AJ's Jammer Opinion post on the subject that particularly resonates with me:


Yes, I hate it. However, beyond the fact that Club Geoz is gone, this new Alpha HQ just looks so... weird. I don't know about you, but it looks a bit too glamorous and glittery for Jamaa Township-- let alone Jamaa! 

Excessive jewels, crystals, and the like are not what I associate with the Alphas. A few here and there are awesome, but this Alpha HQ just coats and studs everything in shiny gems, almost in a show-offy way. Being the hardworking protecters of Jamaa, I would suspect the Alphas would prefer a more natural and practical aesthetic with a little wisp of mystery– like the Basement of Secrets. It doesn't look like they could get anything done in a mansion like this!!!


Of course, a little less crowded than this magical storage basement, but y'all get the picture. The Alpha HQ should be earthy, mysterious, and fit in with AJ's nature-based lore.

You know what? I think I'm less sad about Club Geoz now. We have the Play Wild Party. Honestly, I am fine with the idea of an Alpha HQ. Excited, even! I love all the information about the different adventure items. But you might agree that what we have now could use some downsizing. 

I think today, while I'm home sick from school, I'm gonna draw up an alternative building idea that fits better with the aesthetics present in the adventures, cuz that's really what the Alpha HQ is about. 

I'm planning on showing y'all and AJHQ, and maybe, just MAYBE they might understand. 

Wish me luck! 

~DoomyPanda

Monday, October 30, 2017

My Den is Unlocked! :)


From now on, I'll be decorating and unlocking my den during certain parts of AJ "holidays".

Check out my den, if you want! I have a couple semi-spooky masterpieces you can look at. :3

Happy Night of the Phantoms!!!

~DoomyPanda

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Trials of Zios + Wolf Heartstone?

Hey Jammers! Wow... it's been a while since I've posted. Don't get me wrong, I check AJ every day for things worth posting about but I never... seem... to remember to post them. XD

So, here my friends. A little compendium of cool stuff!


First up, The Trials of Zios. In this unusually wonderful adventure, you will learn and be measured by the virtues of a true adventurer: wisdom, patience, wit, and fortitude through six trials.

These trials do not come with a hard mode, but if you wanna feel EXTRA ACCOMPLISHED when you finish them you can make the game harder for yourself by restarting the adventure every time the phantoms put you in a deep sleep. Okay, I know that's weird, but sometimes a challenge is fun!

The above screenshot is from the patience trial where you move troughs like in Overflow to direct water from the adorable water source towards a well so you can water every sunflower in the garden.

Something I thought of later: maybe all the plants were sunflowers because Zios' mask symbolizes the sun... XD

This adventure is a sweet and simple one reminiscent of Return of the Phantoms, or Liza's base camp training. Maybe a combination of both of those along with a dash of Meet Cosmo. 

It does not require much explanation and elaboration, but I will take the liberty of telling you which treasure chests hold which rewards:



These are all in order of their placement in the treasure chests. If you wanna go back and get a specific one, you can write something like "scrolls top center" on a piece of scrap paper to remind you. :)

In other news, have you looked around the scrolls of The Forgotten Archives Lately? Because something new and unrelated to the Trials has arisen:


Every update or so, a new scroll in the shelves above the Zios altar is revealed. This time, we get something never before seen: an image of a Heartstone! The wolf Heartstone, that is. What else could that golden jewel be?


Additionally, is it a coincidence that the jewels Zios tells you to collect during his trials look EXACTLY like the wolf Heartstone??? I cannot see how that would fit together. 

So many mysteries, so little time...

Before I go, I just wanted to let you know something quick:


I'm decorating my den for Halloween, and I've decided that once it's done I'll unlock it so you guys can come "Trick or Treat"! Hehe :)

I'll make a post to tell y'all when it's ready. ^-^

See you in Jamaa!!!!

~DoomyPanda

Monday, October 16, 2017

Club Geoz Revival Confirmed?

Click image to read the possible hint easier.

AJHQ picked out of many art entries for their contest "#RIPClubGeoz", so is it a coincidence they picked this one?

Along with all the reasons to have Club Geoz around, I don't think they'd wanna spread misinformation and get Jammers' hopes up, so... could this be a little happy sign that good things are to come?

What do you guys think?

~ DoomyPanda

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Myths About Beta Testing

Hey Jammers! I promised a post like this about a MILLION years ago, but completely forgot about it.

But now, after all that wait, it is here... Myths about beta testing.

In Animal Jam, you typically hear about beta testing minus the "testing" part. People consider some items "beta", and you'll hear many players, old and new, reminisce about the "beta days". 

But what exactly is beta testing? By the title of this post, you've probably already judged that there are some things about beta that a lot of people-- maybe even you --have gotten wrong.

With that in mind, let us begin! ^0^


Myth #1: Beta always looks the same.



A couple of years ago, WildWorks began to release the mobile version of Animal Jam that we all know today as Play Wild, or AJPW. At its beginning, AJHQ advertised it as PlayWild Beta, inviting a small number of Jammers to test it out.

Many Jammers saw the word "Beta" and instantly went into fits of hysteria trying to get invitation codes, thinking that this game would be a revival of "the beta days", with the older land designs, dens, items, and the overall "beta" aesthetic. 




Y'all know what I'm talking about.

Sadly, many of these Jammers were disappointed that PlayWild Beta was just a 3D version of "modern" AJ. A few of these Jammers felt lied to.



But no one was lied to. Why? Because the term "beta" is not simply used by Animal Jam, it's used by every game. Beta is not an aesthetic, but the word for the early developmental phase each game goes through where select players are allowed to play it to report bugs and give feedback.

For a more specific definition:



So there you have it. Beta testing!


Myth #2: Any item that's a bit old/in high demand can be considered Beta


I don't trade often, for a variety of reasons. One reason being is that I always get into so many arguments about what items are beta or not. I remember one time this seal was utterly convinced that Sunglasses were a beta item, and I could not at all explain to them otherwise. -_-

However, I don't hold it against them. I can understand where so much confusion comes from– a combination of The Forgotten Desert giving out beta items as prizes, and simply the fact that there have been more and more years since beta testing, blurring the definitions of what is beta.

Simply put, a real beta item is an item that was most recently released between July 17th, 2010 and September 9th, 2010

That short period of time, barely 2 months, was the period when Animal Jam was in beta testing. Because that span of time was so short, added to the fact that so many items from that time have lost their beta status because of rerelease or The Forgotten Desert, very few "true betas" remain.

(If you're wondering about that "Trading Post" page I added awhile ago, once I get around to updating it I plan to have a list of ALL true beta items in there.)

What gets tricky, however, is whether an item last released in early 2011 counts as beta. It is practically impossible to know the exact date an item went on clearance. Additionally, even if you do find out the date and it wasn't technically from beta, the person you're trading with might disagree with you because its demand is so high. 

How can age and demand factor in to make a fair trade? Is a perfectly fair trade even possible? Stay tuned, because once I update the Trading Post page, that question might just be answered. 0-0

Myth #3: Crystal Sands was remodeled immediately following beta testing


Contrary to popular belief, Crystal Sands' original design did not change to its current one after the last day of beta. In fact, about a year passed by before the waterslides were added on July 7th, 2011!

And even after then, it was a whole other year until Tierney Thys set up her aquarium in 2012. 


Once the aquarium was set up, a bridge of stone became accessible and the Pet Wash was moved up there. 

Ah... I remember that day. I always have mixed feelings about change, but now I really love Tierney's Aquarium! ^-^

Myth #4: EVERYTHING was different in beta testing


The above video was published midway through beta testing, and as you can see, Jam Mart Clothing looks exactly the same today! Not to mention the player bar (although the color has changed) and most of the top-bar settings.

I think a lot of what gives AJ its charm is that they rarely renovate rooms unnecessarily. Because of their interactions with the community, I think AJHQ pretty much understands what we want to keep on AJ.

Well, that's all the myths about beta testing I can think of today. If you know one that I didn't mention, feel free to comment! :D

And in the spirit of things past, I found an old Animal Jam blog from 2011:


Did you know that the Conservation Museum used to be called the Animal Museum? That changed after the first time an animal (monkey) traveled (then called "Endangered"), around mid-2012. Since then, the statues in the center of the museum were replaced by a coloring table. Fun fact: the crocodile statue was never completed.

They have not posted since early 2012 (the time I joined), but their website serves as a nice archive. Check it out: http://animaljamhq.com/?p=420

Were you around during beta? What's something you want to come back?

Comment!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

SADNESS (and Hope?)

Hello, friends. I hope you all are prepared for a tidal wave of unbridled drama. :)

So, let's start at the beginning.



WHY, AJHQ????? 

WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DO THIS TO US????

THE PHANTOMS DIDN'T HAVE TO STRIKE CLUB GEOZ, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO COME OUT AND JUST SAY "whoop dee doo, Geoz is gone 4 good!!!!! Time for Diamond Shop 2: the sequel :)"

IF THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING, AND THE PHANTOMS WILL LEVEL EVERY SINGLE BUILDING IN THE TOWNSHIP, WILL THIS JUST BE AN ANNOYING EXCUSE TO RENOVATE EVERYTHING PAST RECOGNITION? WILL THERE BE NOTHING BUT DIAMOND SHOP CLONES SOON? 

IF YOU'RE PLANNING THAT, STOP! IT'S SO UNCALLED FOR. RENOVATION OF OLDER ROOMS JUST DRIVES PEOPLE AWAY



MY FRIEND MEEK TINYMOON LOUDLY AND VIOLENTLY AGREES WITH ME, YOU JUST CAN'T SEE IT IN THIS SCREENSHOT. (:

AND ALRIGHT, I ADMIT IT, THAT SECRET ITEM YOU GET BY CLICKING THE MUSIC NOTE BANNER IS PRETTY NICE AND I WANT TO WEAR IT FOREVER. BUT WHEN FUTURE JAMMERS RARE-IFY THESE DUMB HATS AND TRADE THEIR KIDNEYS FOR THEM WILL THEY EVEN KNOW WHAT 'CLUB GEOZ' IS???? WILL THEY???? HUH???


One word, AJHQ:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

....


....


*ahem*

I'm okay now.

So, friends, what do we know?

1. AJHQ probably knew that a lot of Jammers would be upset. Especially the ones who love and defend underrated rooms.

2. The Jamaa Journal claims that Club Geoz is "closing its doors for good". Again, that was probably to make people freak out. Like I did.

3. Aside from the Pillow Room/Medical Center shift, no room has ever just been removed from Jamaa. Club Geoz, while old, is very different from the beta medical center. During beta, no one ever went in the Medical Center. Club Geoz has always been a fun place, it just became a little less popular since the Diamond Shop crowded it out. 

4. Still, according to the party AJHQ started in their Sneak Peek video, and the fact that they felt the need to give us a uncharacteristically awesome nonmember item as a consolation, they are well aware that a lot of people still LOVE Club Geoz.

5. A few years ago, AJHQ said that Club Geoz would be remodeled. The remodels were abandoned. Maybe that's relevant.

From all this evidence, it seems that there is a strong chance that Club Geoz will NOT be entirely replaced, despite what the Jamaa Journal claims. 

And the fact that they called the consolation item "Club Geoz Hat and Headphones" seems like the name "Club Geoz" isn't going away. 

So, what's the most likely outcome of this?

This whole thing might have been partially intended to get everyone interested in Club Geoz again. And perhaps give them a feeling of actual anger toward the phantoms as conflicts build.

Club Geoz will most likely get remodeled. I hope it comes back the same way it was, but it probably won't. :(



Honestly, even though it might not seem very flashy to a lot of people, I always liked Club Geoz's "dustiness". It seems appropriate– AJ isn't a glitzy game with too many bright lights, it's a natural game. Club Geoz seems very unique and important in its earthiness. 

Its dustiness is honestly my favorite thing about Club Geoz, as well as any room on AJ. It also is probably what makes beta items so appealing to many people: an earthy dustiness, as if each thing from beta is ancient. That's the AJ aesthetic.

Well, maybe this will turn out okay in the end. It seems like AJHQ is slowly building up a feeling of serious-ness with the phantoms that does not stay strictly in adventures. It's in Jamaa now. Maybe they want us to focus on that rather than the more light-hearted aspects of Jamaa, like silly parties.

Maybe when all of this is over, Club Geoz will reopen and we'll have a huge dance party. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

See you in Jamaa!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Adventures in Aldan

Meanwhile, at Animal Jam court...

AJHQ: Step forward, Apprentice.

Apprentice Courageouselephant: *steps forward*

AJHQ: Do you know why you are being banned, Apprentice?

Apprentice Courageouselephant: ...

AJHQ: While you have been a good Jammer, a courageous elephant, for most of your time in Jamaa, it was scamming that finally did you in to the moderators, correct? 

Apprentice Courageouselephant: ...Yes, AJHQ.

AJHQ: And what is the punishment for scamming, Apprentice?

Apprentice Courageouselephant: Permanent banning, AJHQ.

AJHQ: No longer will you terrorize the land of Jamaa. Any last words before you explode?

Apprentice Courageouselephant:


Narrator: And with one last futile cry into oblivion, Apprentice Courageouselephant exploded, never to be seen again. THE END.

Do you ever go into Jamaa on a crowded server, to trade and whatnot?

Do you ever wonder how you understand what people are saying?




Just imagine being a new player... you spawn into the Township, excited to start your adventure, but no more than a minute in you are suffocated by chat bubbles screeching "ORNG SHORT RED LONG BETA BETA BETA JAG" 

You don't know what 'beta' means, or what a 'long' or 'short' is, and you have no clue why Major Majormajor is demanding you 'jag' them.

Your mouse hovers by the log-out button, and you click, never to return to this terrible place again...



...But no matter how hard you push them out of your head, their words will forever haunt you...

~DoomyPanda
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