TY Girlz – Virtual Worlds for Girls

The most recognizable product that Ty Inc. has produced is the Beanie Baby. Ty produces a long line of unique plush toys. In 2007, Ty Girlz first appeared as a plush toy, quickly followed by the Ty Girlz website. Both the toy and the website are aimed directly at girls from age 8 to 16. Non-members can check out the website for free; however, this limits most of the activity they can have in the virtual world. Unlike most other virtual worlds, Ty Girlz does not offer monthly or annual memberships. Instead, members must purchase a Ty Girlz doll which has a secret code attached to the tag. The code can then be entered on the website during registration, unlocking full membership benefits. Currently, the price for a Ty Girlz doll is $14.99, though this price can change and may vary.

Features

Ty Girlz is a very pink website, specifically tailored to girls. The website is actually modeled after the dolls and operates for two reasons: to gather the owners into an online virtual world and to further market the dolls. The dolls actually look like dolls – with serene and happy expressions On Ty Girlz, the avatars do not look like dolls – they look like they were modeled after teenagers with little respect for themselves. Once girls purchase a doll, they input the code from the doll into the registration process and fully activate their membership. Members choose an avatar to be their online personality. This avatar can be customized with accessories and a unique look. The avatar gets their own room, the ability to decorate it, a choice of major cities to live in and $500 in virtual Ty Dollars.

Though most of the website exists for girls to talk about the Ty brand and interact with other girls, there are games to play. These games earn players Ty Dollars, the website’s virtual currency. The more games people play, the more Ty Dollars they can earn. This currency allows players to buy room furnishings, personal accessories, clothing, makeup, games and other commercial items. Chat is the most popular feature on the virtual world. Chat Around the World restricts members from typing their own words. They must use pre-selected words and phrases. In the Freestyle chat version, members can type their own phrases, but they are limited to words found only in the Ty Girlz dictionary.

What’s Good

The website will appeal only to girls in a wide age bracket who are interested in fashion and social chatting. The graphics are quite good – clean, clear and crisp images. It flows quite well. It’s a bright website with vibrant colors. There is no violence, drinking, drugs or smoking on the website or in the games. Chat filters eliminate foul language. Other than testing simple memory skills, there is no real educational value to Ty Girlz.

What’s Bad

The comparison to Barbie is unmistakable. Isn’t there more to a girl’s life than makeup, fashion, beauty and shopping? Certainly, Ty Inc. doesn’t think that this is all that will come of the girls who buy and parade their Ty Girlz – or do they? There are no positive role models or messages contained in the virtual world for girls that will empower girls to become nothing more than vacuous shopaholics. Girls can have some fun on this website, but it must not be taken seriously.

Online Safety

Ty Girlz has no control over who joins their website; however, they do have control over what members say. In this regard, Ty Girlz is to be commended for at least trying to put strict safety measures in places to protect girls. The safest mode of chat only allows users to choose pre-selected words and phrases. Even in open chat, only words chosen from their restricted dictionary are allowed and moderators patrol this area. Members are encouraged to report inappropriate behavior and parents are required to give their consent prior to a child using open chat.

Northrend Bestiary

World of Warcraft’s Wrath of the Lich King has a new Bestiary that many players are quite excited about. In this informative guide, you will be introduced to the new creatures that will be released with this new game expansion that are considered to be “known” and some information on the three types of beasts that not so much is known about. If you want to have the advantage of what you will come up against in WotLK, this is guide for you!

Nerubian Vizier

This is a particularly interesting beast that is considered to be a half-humanoid and half-spider. These characters are said to be the main rulers in the underground kingdom of the Nerubians. Those that are considered to be Nerubians are part of a race that is considered to be not only ancient, but highly intelligent. Their native land is that of the ever-popular “Northrend”, a piece of land that drifted to the far north after the great Cataclysm. This rests underneath the popular kingdom that is known as “Azjol-Nerub”. This race once served under the control of the spiderlords that were Nerubian based. However, a great war occurred that is widely known as the “War of the Spider”, and they rose to power.

Due to the high level of intelligence that this particular race has, it is believed that they have a “secret” leader that instructs their moves, their laws, and other activities. It is believed that they keep this leader in the shadows to avoid bringing his existence into knowledge so that he cannot be overthrown or out witted by the Scourge. These creatures are planning to achieve victory over the Scourge.

Plague Eruptor

The Plague Eruptor is a type of walking corpse that works to spread devastation in the areas in which they visit. These terrifying characters are all part of the dreaded Scourge army that is working to destroy anything and everything in their path. While this type of character is incredibly violent, super fast, and has an unbelievable amount of strength, these characteristics are far from the most frightening ability that they have. These monstrous characters have nodules that contain the plague. When the nodules burst, it rapidly spreads the ominous sickness.

Shovel Tusks

The Shovel Tusks resemble what we know as the common moose, the only difference is that the antlers that they have on top of their head is curved back and they have tusks that they use to dig for food, and even protect themselves. These beasts have been said to be extremely territorial over their space, and will stop at absolutely nothing to protect their area from invaders.

Wendigo

These beasts are actually humanoid creatures. It is a tall creature that is relatively dense in size and works to protect the area that it resides in. In addition to this, there are two dangerous horns that actually emerge from the head of this ferocious beast. While it does reflect that of the standard orc, it is covered in fur to protect itself from the immensely cold temperatures and stands an average of about ten feet tall. While they are good at masking their location, and often reside in caves, they seem to lack basic intelligence, but have a violent temper.

Flesh Giant

The Flesh Giant is an immense creature that is literally created from an assortment of flesh pieces. In some instances, it is not uncommon to see that part of the overall composition of the beast is mechanical based. The pieces that make up the composition of this creature have been obtained from many different corpses. These beasts are enslaved to the individual that they serve, and exhibit a massive amount of strength.

Taunka

In World of Warcraft’s Wrath of the Lich King, is a type of tauren that has adjusted to the cold climates that it lives in. Their home rests in the frozen wasteland to the North known as “Northrend”. While it is believed that their demeanor is largely due to the fact that they have learned to survive in the harshest conditions, it is important to know and understand that this type of creature has recently allied with the faction of the Horde.

Jormungar

The Jormungar is a very interesting beast that will be in the Wrath of the Lich King by World of Warcraft. This particular beast is especially aggressive. In times past, it is believed that these creatures served the Nerubians in the way of heavy labor and slave like work. However, when the empire of this people collapsed, these creatures made their escape to freedom. They are strong, and can adapt quickly to their environment.

Magnataur

These creatures are quite massive in size. The upper part of their body reflects a giant, while the lower part is that of a mammoth. These creatures are relatively strong, can adapt easily, and have been known to eat their own if the case calls for it. Often described as plain out “mean” this is a misunderstood beast that has had to work diligently to survive in the toughest of times.

Iron Dwarf

The ever-popular Iron Dwarf is a Dwarf that is composed of metal. It is common to see the cities and items that they create crafted of metal as well. It is believed that they are both dwarf and titan.

Unknown Beasts

The “Unknown” Beasts are that of the:

o    Darkfallen

o    Proto-Dragon

o    Ice Troll

Until the actual release of Wrath of the Lich King, little is known about the characters. Here, you have been introduced to the Wrath of the Lich King Bestiary by World of Warcraft. It is important to know and understand these beasts so that you may engage in productive game play once you experience this expansion for yourself.

How to Get to Level 40

Getting to level 40 is probably the second marker you want to achieve as this is where you will be able to obtain your next mount.

You should by now be pretty comfortable with your characters skills and your role playing identity will be developing well. Start thinking about how you will spend your next amount of talent points which will allow you to play with ease. If you have spent your talent points wrongly then now would be a good time to correct them. It will cost 1 gold and you should not need to change them again as long as you chose correctly. Get the addon ‘talented’ as this will allow you to design talent templates without the worry of using your points up.

To level yourself up to 40 we need to follow the same principles of minimising downtime, here are the zones I would recommend you do:

Alliance

Redridge Mountains

Duskwood

Wetlands

Ashenvale

Stonetalon Mountains

Thousand Needles (do not forget to check out Mirage Raceway)

Stranglethorn Vale

Hillsbrad Foothills

Desolace

Dustswallow Marsh

Horde

Stonetalon Mountains

Hillsbrad Foothills

Ashenvale

The Barrens

Thousand Needles (do not forget to check out Mirage Raceway)

Stranglethorn Vale

Arathi Highlands

Alterac Mountains

Desolace

Dustswalow Marsh

You are going to need to circuit these zones maybe more than once on separate visits, as quests will range in level requirements. Pick up those that turn green in your log only doing yellow ones if your confident enough to do so; however if you plan your circuit well enough then upon your return they will be green and much easier to do. The easier the circuit you plan the quicker it will go as wasting time on death or taking too long on quests will slow your levelling down.

If you have not already done so getting the addons ‘cartographer’ and ‘liteheaded’ which will help you plan your circuits more efficiently.

Cartographer will use your in game map to plot coordinates so you can plan journeys for questing with ease and liteheaded will have quest information that will be indispensable for your levelling journey.

If you have a high level friend possible guild mate who has a choppa/hog or a traveller’s tundra mammoth ask them to take you by road to pick up the zone fly points, this can potentially save you bags of time during levelling between 20 and 40.

Bag space is going to be imperative during this phase as your going to be picking up quite a few items. Most will be junk, however there will be meat and cloth for your secondary skills together with whatever items you pick up for your primary skills. Cutting down on time spent going back to sell items is a must, so obtain as much zone information as possible. There are some traders dotted around in other locations in some zones so it would be worthwhile looking these up and marking them on your map using the notes function of cartographer. If you are lucky enough you may obtain a world drop of a rare or epic quality so the last thing you want is no bag space.

A point to note is that some quests will take you to the cities. Try to time this with training, banking and checking the auction house. When in the cities check if there are quests available to pick up for future areas you are about to do as these can usually reward some nice Xp.

Some of the quests will require items which you will need to either craft or buy from the auction house. What I normally do is check a zone ahead of my character going there and buy then bank the items. Another method is to buy the required items with your bank character then mail them to you.

Here is a list of items you will need for some quests whilst you level between 20 and 40 that can easily be missed hence waste time obtaining.

Alliance

10 Lean Wolf Flanks – level 27; Duskwood

1 Bronze Tube – level 26; Duskwood

60 Wool Cloth – level 30; Darnassus, Craftsmen’s Terrace

4 Lesser Bloodstone Ore – level 32, Stranglethorn Vale

10 Turtle Meat – level 31; Thousand Needles (do not worry if there are none on the AH it just means you will have to kill Turtles)

Keep any Green Hills of Stranglethorn pages – level 32; Stranglethorn Vale

1 Soothing Spices – level 35; Hillsbrad Foothills

Elixir Of Fortitude – level 38; Dustswallow Marsh (you will get this as a quest reward, keep it for a later quest)

Horde

Keep any Shredder Operating Manual pages – level 22; Ashenvale

1 Deadly Blunderbuss – level 26; Ashenvale

10 Turtle Meat – level 31; Thousand Needles (do not worry if there are none on the AH it just means you will have to kill Turtles)

Keep any Green Hills of Stranglethorn pages – level 32; Stranglethorn Vale

1 Soothing Spices – level 35; Hillsbrad Foothills

1 Elixir of Water Breathing – level 37; to aid with a quest in Desolace

Quests to Note

Alliance

*A Watchful Eye (Elywnn Forest) – Starts at the Tower of Azora on the road between Elwynn Forest and Redridge Mountains.

*Elune’s Tear (Ashenvale) – This quest has a chain. There is approximately 15 seconds of text before the next parts become available so do not run off too quick or you will miss a quest.

*Blisters on The Land (Wetlands) – Fen Creepers can be found in the shallow waters and are stealthed.

*Missing In Action (Redridge Mountains) – This is at the northern edge at Render’s Rock where this is a cave entrance past some mobs. Once inside the cave stick to the left until you reach a room with a big pool. Clear the way and take the escort quest. The mobs here are close together so once outside the cave, he will stop to rest. Pull the camps yourself when you get outside or your escort will pull the lot.

*The Wanted Tharil’zun and Gath’llzogg (Redridge Mountains) quests may require a group depending on how skilled you are. I have done these solo however when I first started I could not.

*Wanted: Lieutenant Fangore (Redridge Mountains) – Try to get around the mobs on the west side and position you behind him. There is group that is near him so wait until he walks away from them and pull 1 or 2 and move backwards while fighting. Remember these mobs run when about to die so use any slowing, root or stun ability.

*The Cursed Crew (Wetlands) – Enter the boat through the hole in the side which is partially submerged in the water.

*The Lost Chalice – When you hand this in there may be up to a 30 second delay for game text from a different quest just handed in.

*Hints of a New Plague?part 2 (Arathi Highlands) – You are looking for a Forsaken Courier and several bodyguards. You have to kill the Courier and loot the envelope by using some means to distract the guards. The courier wanders on the road throughout the zone.

*Recover the Cargo! (Dustswallow Marsh) – If you are having difficulty locating these underwater they can been more clearly from the surface.

Horde

*Vorsha the Lasher (Ashenvale) – Make sure you follow Muglash or the quest will fail. You will be taken to a brazier where you will have to fight 3 waves of mobs. Vorsha will be in the 3rd wave. If you die, do not release, the NPC can sometimes finish him off without you and you will get credit for the quest.

*Freedom to Ruul (Ashenvale) – This is an escort quest from a cave full of Thistlefur Avengers and Shamans and can be tough as they respawn quite quickly. Once outside try to control the pull as the NPC your escorting will more than likely pull entire camps.

*Torek’s Assault (Ashenvale) – Protect Torek or the quest will fail. Let the other Orcs take the mobs.

*The Tear of the Moons (The Barrens) – You have to kill a level 30 NPC who has other mobs around. Root, sap, stun and focus on the level 30. If you die run back in resurrect, loot quickly and pop a health pot. Without the level 30 the other mobs can be handled quite easily, just do not panic.

*Sharptalon’s Claw (Ashenvale) – You can lure him to the Forsaken camp who will assist in the attack. Just make sure you do most of the damage so you get the loot.

*Battle of Hillsbrad Part 4 (Hillsbrad Foothills) – Clear the first 2 rooms, then pull the 1 mob which is on the left inside the room. Go back to the room behind you and hide behind a wall. This way the Councilman cannot shoot you from a distance but instead come to you. Then go to the big room and kill Clerk Horrace Whitesteed. Get back to full health then kill Magistrate Burnsidethen. Finally, destroy the Hillsbrad Proclamation and collect the Town Registry.

*Battle of Hillsbrad Part 5 (Hillsbrad Foothills) – Foreman Bonds at 20% health summons 2 dwarves to guard him and they can stun you, so ensure you have a clear escape route if things do not go your way.

*Homeward Bound (Thousand Needles) – Watch out for a rare elite called Heartrazor. You can sneak past at the right moment however since you have no control over the NPC your escorting you may find this difficult.

*Helcular’s Revenge (Hillsbrad Foothills) – Watch out for the guards they are much higher in level, will aggro easily and kill you.

*Gelkis Alliance (Desolace) – Take this quest not Magram Alliance.

*Questioning Reethe (Dustswallow Marsh) – You will have to deal with 4 level 35-37 NPC’s although the orge can take 1. Sometimes if you hit one just as the combat starts 3 will go for the orge, it has happened a few times for me now. Be sure to kill quick and not let the orge die.

Items to Have

Make sure you keep a steady supply of health and/or mana pots as these can be invaluable for those near death moments. Have enough food and/or drink so you can top up your health/mana after combat. Use your cooking skill as you progress as most buff food always gives a stamina bonus. Keep a stack of bandages in your bags to top your health up. Check what areas you are going to quest in and buy some potions or elixirs that can aid you i.e. swim speed, water breathing, attack and spell power pots can improve your levelling time.

Professions

Keep doing your secondary skills first aid, cooking and fishing as these can assist you whilst levelling. Most primary skills will also have items you can craft that can benefit you whilst levelling like potions, armour or weapons.

Dungeon Instances

If you can get a group together you may want to try your hand at some of the instances you are going to be near. There is some nice Xp and gear to be had. Below is a list with level and location:

Wailing Caverns / 15-21 / The Barrens

Shadowfang Keep / 18-25 / Silverpine Forest

Blackfathom Deeps / 20-27 / Ashenvale

The Stockades / 23-26 / Stormwind (Alliance only)

Gnomeregan / 24-33 / Dun Morogh

Razorfen Kraul / 25-31 / The Barrens

Scarlet Monastery / 30-40 / Tirisfal Glades

Razorfen Downs / 35-40 / The Barrens

Uldaman / 35-45 / Badlands

How you should level is all about what makes you feel comfortable whilst getting the highest level of enjoyment out of the game. Everybody levels at a different pace. I level slower than some of my friends because I want to experience battlegrounds, ensure my professions skill up, follow the game lore and take in the wonderful game scenery. However I am not usually far behind them and because I have done extra with the professions and built up honour points my gear and gold made tends to be far better.

Again I can not stress enough the importance of not buying power level or gold services as Blizzard will terminate your account if they discover it. Also most of these services are game hackers so using these services supports them to the detriment of fellow players.

Customary Amenities On Cruise Ships

Ever wanted to take a cruise? If so, you are not alone. Each year more and more people are vacationing aboard cruise ships and the choice of ships and destinations grow and grow. If you have never been on a cruise ship before, you may be wondering what amenities can be found onboard many of today’s cruise liners. Most cruise ships have common amenities such as eating facilities and bars and also daycare centers and activities geared towards children of all ages.

When first evaluating your choice of ship, it is important to decide whether you prefer a smaller, more intimate type of cruise or whether you would prefer a larger ship with more amenities. It is important also to consider the comfort level you require. Small does not always mean luxurious as many of the large ships nowadays are very luxurious. However, the number of passengers could be a concern for you. Large cruise ships often offer more of a choice of amenities especially in the case of onboard dining facilities such as dining halls, restaurants, and cafeterias. Many of these dining facilities are classed as upmarket restaurants with specific dress codes. This is because Elegant dining among cruisers is as popular today as it was in days gone by. To make sure that you are able to enjoy a superb meal, you are encouraged to make a reservation as soon as you board the ship. In addition to a sit-down restaurant, there are usually a number of small eateries located onboard.

Bars, Ballrooms and Disco’s are also found on most cruise ships. The Range of Entertainment depends on the size of the cruise ship and often include Broadway style productions and comedy, with dancing, music and cabaret all in separate bars. Larger ships can have a TV studio and even a conference center. For the Bars and Discos, it is important to check if any age restrictions are in place. If there are younger members of the family who cannot use the bars then it is advisable to check that they can complete other activities while you enjoy the nightlife at sea.

In addition to the above mentioned bars and Entertainment Venues many cruise ships have casinos. Most Cruise Lines adopt the same age limits as with land based casinos. Some of the gaming halls and casinos are open 24 hours a day Some of the popular gambling activities include slot machines, blackjack, poker, bingo and much more. Because Gambling is popular on cruise ships, if you want to cruise just to gamble, it is advisable to check what facilities are on each ship. Check the cruise liners websites for more information.

Childcare is often available for young children. Many parents have concerns about leaving their children with the daycare staff. It is important to know that cruise ship employees are often highly educated, properly trained and are closely monitored. One way to allay your fears is to quickly familiarize yourself with the staff that will be looking after your child.

What do you do if you have older children who are too old for daycare? Well, there are Swimming pools, movie theaters gyms, libraries, video arcades and even ice rinks on some of the larger ships. However, one thing to check is whether the cruise ship has a Adult Supervision Policy, this prevents children under a certain age from roaming freely around the ship.

As each cruise ship could have a different adult supervision policy, you would be advised to check out these policies before you purchase your ticket. Also ask whether Teenagers may be able to visit these facilities without adult supervision.

For those people who do not want to give up their daily exercise routine when they are on their cruise, many cruise ships now have fitness centers and gyms which would rival those found in many large towns and cities. The larger ships have sporting activities which include tennis, basketball, jogging tracks, volleyball and some even have 9 hole Golf courses. Many ships also have spa’s, steam rooms and sauna’s, massage, health treatments and beauty salons.

For those who want to stay in contact with the outside world, cruise ships often have Internet cafe’s.

So how do you check if a particular ship has the amenities you require or not? First you can check comparison websites. Just do a Google search for cruise ships and you will see several websites listed for you to check out. We found Cruise Ship Finder very helpful. Next, visit the Cruise Ships website. You can often check the individual ships listings to see what they offer. Also make use of the toll free numbers they often supply to get answers to specific questions.

Some cruise lines to check, are, Carnival Cruise Lines, Paradise Cruises, Royal Caribbean, SAGA and Celebrity Cruises. This is just a small selection. There are many others as well.

Silly Laws in Virginia

Anybody that’s ever looked through anything passed by a legislative body has likely seen a number of strange things included that had little or nothing to do with the main bill or law. These riders are often included to appease a small constituency and don’t always have a big or lasting impact. Sometimes these riders come in the form of money for a state or district, and sometimes they come in the form of rules and laws that are quote often, to be frank, silly. Here are some of the silly laws that have managed to make it on the books in Virginia, even if only for a short time.

Politics As Usual?

This is one that just makes you shake your head. There is a state law “prohibiting corrupt practices of bribery by any person other than candidates.” This sounds like the type of law that a corrupt politician got passed to help themselves retain their office against a better, more morally pure candidate.

No Tickle Parties

I’d like to think that this law was the result of a more conservative time in the state’s history, but I honestly can’t think of any reason to pass a law that makes it illegal to tickle women. Maybe there was a tickle bandit, but I suspect puritan hands are to blame for this law.

Hunting Season

There has been a law in Virginia making it illegal to hunt for any animal on Sunday, with the sole exception of raccoons, which may be hunted until 2 AM.

Apparently whoever passed this law didn’t feel that raccoons were really one of God’s creatures and thus not worthy of his protection on Sundays.

Clean Your Mule

This has to be an old law as I think it’s fair to say that nobody has attempted this in some time. In Culpepper it was made illegal to wash a mule on the sidewalk. I really hope this isn’t a recent law as it may be too much for my mind to handle.

Dress For the Hour

This law is clearly something of an antiquity, but it still makes you want to know the reasoning behind it. There has been a law on the books in Norfolk, Virginia that required women to wear a corset after sundown and to be in the company of a male chaperone.

Civility is Key

This law likely goes back to a time when we put more of a premium on civility towards each other. There was enacted a law in Prince William County that made it illegal to cuss about another person. Maybe this also made gossip more civil as well.

Who Gets the Tab?

I’m working under the assumption that this law was passed in response to gambling issues in relation to restaurants, though I could be way off base.

In Richmond, a law was passed making it illegal to flip a coin in a restaurant to see who pays for a coffee. I’m not sure why coffee alone was singled out in this law, nor am I aware of a history of coffee and gambling going hand in hand.

Warning! Lady Driver!

As it has never, to the best of my knowledge, been illegal for women to drive in this country, I honestly don’t know what to make of this one. In Waynesboro a law was passed making it against the law for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband was walking in front of the car waving a red flag. Did this mean that unmarried women couldn’t drive on Main Street in Waynesboro? I appreciate a female driver joke here and there within reason, but this seems to be taking the notion to excess.

Only the Tip of the Iceberg

This is just a small sampling of the silly laws that you can find not only in Virginia, but across the country. While some may have reasoning behind them, in the end they seem frivolous, even though to this day many of them remain on the books of many states, cities, and counties.