Monday, January 12, 2009

Wizard 101 First Impression

I kept saying to myself several times while I was playing Wizard 101 that I really should stop this and go do something else. But it was always just one more quest, one more boss and eventually I just gave in to just having fun in this game.

So this weekend was supposed to be where I'd get my White Lion to 20 and get the mount to make my leveling life a little easier. Instead, I decided to check off a couple more games on my to-do list and installed the free-to-play MMO's Atlantica Online and Wizard 101. Even without the updates on the game from Saylah and Tipa, I knew this was a title I would eventually check out on my own. Many moons ago, I had a voracious addiction to Magic: The Gathering and spent quite a bit of time playing the collectible card game. Also, while I've never read the Harry Potter books, I knew basically what the genre was about from the movies based on them.

Based on the little quiz that is given in the beginning, it turns out I was a Fire Mage. Since I had next to no clue what the different schools were about yet in the game, I just went with that result. As a secondary school, I picked Thunder thinking the best defense is a good offense. Now that I'm close to level 15, I'm thinking this build might not be all that suitable for soloing which I plan to do a lot of in this game. So I'll probably reroll as Thunder/Life before I get too much further in the game. Strange that in a game with such a young target audience, there isn't a respec system to redo bad decisions regarding your character class selection.

While the game is free to play, the amount of free content is pretty meager and it won't be long before you exhaust it all. I opted for the pay as you play option instead of a regular subscription but I knew in the first hour of playing that I'd eventually be plunking some money down to unlock the additional content.

Kudos the developers at KingIsle Entertainment for creating a game that appeals to both the young and young at heart. The graphics and animations are suitably bright and colorful yet look like they could run on almost any system. The world looks alive as you see tons of players run around. I must admit to feeling a little uneasy at the thought that most of these were really young children and I've found myself being more reticent than normal. The ability to jump in and help out in fights is fantastic and the cardgame mechanic is solid if a little elementary. I still need a guide to decipher all the card symbols and it won't be long before I pore over card lists and come up with the ultimate deck design. I can't wait.


  1. I do think that KI did a fantastic job of building a game bleeds over nicely for more mature audiences. I was in love with the lowbie zone of Wizard City. However, where the strategy and game play quickly escalate is in the 2nd world, Krokotopia. That's when you'll start to see this is NOT just for kids and the challenges continue to increase into the third world Marleybone. As such, I noticed a decline in the kiddies running around, especially in Marleybone.

    One mechanic that people might not initially like is that you have to unlock the other worlds by completing certain quest chains and they are no cake-walk. As a result, I found that the maturity of the players you encounter, increases with each zone.

    There is no way to reset your training points so choose your 2nd or 3rd school wisely. I rolled 4 characters to level 10 to help decide and even having done that, I wish I'd not taken Storm as my secondary magic. The unreliable burst damage doesn't suit me for soloing, especially soloing encounters intended for groups. A few untimely fizzles and you could die and reset a whole instance.

    If they ever introduce resetting the training points for secondary, I would go Death as 2nd and Fire as 3rd. You get enough points to complete full spell selection from your secondary and about half way through a third or pick up random utility spells from trainers peppered through out the game.

    I'm Balance/Storm/Fire. I would like to be Balance/Death/Fire. I've made due and solo'd all of the content except for 2 optional instances and required. If you're going to hang in there for a while let's figure out a date and time to exchange friends list with the bloggers already there.

  2. I decided not to reroll and stick it out with my original Fire/Storm wizard. I want to see how far I can get with this combo. I figure having a sideboard of nothing but Sprites will help whenever I need a healing spell. Currently close to dinging 22 and in Krokotopia. My character name is Ronan Windcaster.

    I'll be playing this for a while as I'm paying as I go and not really on a subscription plan as yet so even if I decide not to pay any more I can always roll alts to go through my unlocked content.

  3. Fire/Storm has possibilities and you can to Life as your third and get 1 to 4 spells deep depending how far you go down in Storm. Let us know what you think about Kroko. I found the puzzles cute once I realized that I had to pay attention as I went along. :-)

    I think my jaw hit the ground when I came here today. It looks like you left Warhammer?????????????????????????????????????????? I have to bail on this comment and read your post.

  4. I've been happy with my Myth/Fire character and my Balance/Life/Fire character. They play differently enough that it's fun to approach missions with each.

    I'm doing the Access Pass method of purchasing, and I find I much prefer it to the sub model. I'm very happy they offer both.

  5. Balance fits me to a Tee. But I'd still like to dump Storm for Death which would make me Balance\Death\Fire. With one more training point I'm going to ditch most of Storm anyway which is a horrible waste of precious points. *endless flow of QQs*

  6. My ice wizard is almost level 20. I started a few days ago and I completely agree with you on this review. I can't stop! The new voice-overs are cool except for some characters who's voice actors obviously went way into it. But other than that I love the game! (note: I need to get to krokosphynx for a quest but I haven't unlocked it yet, I really would like to know how...)

  7. Just do all the quests you can do in Krokotopia and eventually you will be sent to the Krokosphinx.