Wizard 101, My Complete Review

I do not think I’m your average MMO player.  I tend to play with my family, I despise end game, and I’m not a huge fan of raiding.  Doing the same 4 hour long zone, 20 times to get 1 drop, isn’t my definition of fun.  Call me crazy. 

With that said, I’ve given a few impressions of Wizard 101 as I’ve played it.  Noah, is now level 20 and I think I’ve made every type of wizard there is to make (but, not every combination, yet 🙂 ).  I thought it could be time for me to give my full out impressions.

Wizard 101 is a Family MMO brought to us by KingsIsle.  The game offers an unlimited time free trial that limits some of your content.  It’s also worth mentioning that the game itself is free.  So if you decide to play the game you are only paying for the monthly subscription.  They have a very aggressive pay model.  9.95 a month for one account.  6.95 for multiple accounts.

The game downloads in sections.  From starting at the download, wait time is limited before your creating your own wizard and starting the action.  When your close to starting in a new section, you’ll notice the game starts downloading again.  The few times I’ve seen this, the game download was completely finished with time to spare, well before I was ready to zone in.

Unlike many MMO’s your race and customization feels extremely limited.  This can be explained as catering to children, they really don’t need too many choices.  Customization seems to come more from the items you wear (and there are some cool gear out there, looks-wise.)

You do get a healthy amount of classes to choose from.

Myth – Pet Class
Fire – DoT DPS
Storm – High DPS/High Fizzle
Ice – Highest natural HP’s.  Considered the tank
Life – Healer
Death – Lifetapping Necro
Balance – Debuffer

Is how the classes seem to brake down to me.  You get to choose 1 primary school and a secondary school.  Tipa gave me this hint and it’s probably some of the best advice I’ve received.  The best combination to go is one elemental and one utility.  That way you can DPS some and heal some so you limit the amount of mobs that pwn you.

The game put’s you as a new student of the school Ravenwood.  You start standing out by completing quests given to you by the teachers and Merle Ambrose, the school’s headmaster.  So you uncover an evil plot by the missing Death School Professor Malistaire, who is trying to take over THE WORLD WIZARD CITY!  Never send a lazy NPC to do a beginning wizards job, it’s up to you to save them!

Worth mentioning, having played MMO’s for quite some time, I’ve developed a nasty habit of not reading the dialogue given to me most of the time.  I have no idea why but, I just breeze by it.  Tell me what to fight, and I’ll go fight it!  For some reason though, I find my self reading most of my quests and my quest updates, even on alts, when I’ve already been through the same quests a few times.

Combat is unique to me.  As I’ve stated is almost all my W101 posts, I’ve never played card games or had to deal with PIPS before.  Basically, as you level you get cards, you can think of these as your spells.  Cards themselves, come in two types.  Treasured cards, which can only be used once and your normal card that can be used over and over again.  Then of course your cards in general are broken into healing, DPS, taunts, debuffs and buffs (your normal stuff)  You have to put these cards in your deck (which is limited to how many cards you can use).

In combat everyone gets 30 seconds to pick one card out of seven, which are randomly drawn from your deck.  Once everyone picks the spell they are using, the combat starts and you go through an animation sequence of everyone casting and receiving damage.  Once the players and mobs cast everything starts over again until Hit Points are out and either the players or mobs defeated.

This is actually a really fun combat system that takes some thought once you get a few spells under your belt and start fighting multiple mobs.  Just clicking cards is a great way to loose fast, and your kid will excel past you in levels and make fun of you.  It seems that each card offers 3 different animations which are dictated by how hard the card is hitting that round.  The animations range from fun (a gobbler farting on you) to awesome (a kraken coming out of the ground and grabbing a lightening bolt from the sky to throw at you).

The game also enforces a real life rule.  Sidewalk equals safety.  Most crosswalks equal safety as well, as long as you look both ways.  Most of your travel will be via sidewalk to get to where your trying to go.  Traveling itself can get kind of…well boring.  There are times when you have to go 5 zones deep.   And even though the zones aren’t very big,  it does make you missing having a mount, sprint, or SoW.

What you can do, is teleport to your friend.  For me this seems to be a weak aspect of the game.  Let me explain.  As there is no grouping, in a traditional sense, if your with your family (or a PUG) and you zone, everyone seems to go into their own zone.  Then you can teleport to each other.  Or if your in Zone A, and your friend is in Zone B, you can teleport to where they are.  If they are in a fight, welcome to your fight.  In the end, what you find, is that you get a kajillion invites to be peoples friends, especially if you make the mistake of standing still.  They are just wanting to be able to teleport to you to save themselves some time going to different zones.  (or at least that’s my conclusion).  Of course, it could just be kid’s enjoying clicking on button’s a little too much.

Graphics are very cartoony, yet extremely charming.  I think it’s very appropriate.  I have gotten a graphics glitch once or twice where I had to log out and log back in.  My icon’s were all replaced with boxes and the characters turned into some kinda black and white funky mannequin.  Textures are limited but, justified in the style of the game.

Sound is great, my wife has had some glitches with the sound on the mini games.  Seems like as the sound gets more intense and picks up the pace, the music gets stuck and always plays faster, even when she stops playing the game, she gets the same stuck music.  Nothing a restart of the game doesn’t fix.

Worth stating, these are the only two glitches we’ve noticed, and they’ve happened very rarely.  Really compared with almost any MMO I’ve played, even MMO’s that have been out for quite some time, the bugs seem very limited.

Of course, no one game is for everyone.  This is no exception but, this game definitely is for my family.  Everyone is having a great time with game play.  My wife is hooked on the mini-games (which are used to build mana up).  My son and I are enjoying the combat systems and actually using strategy over button mashing for common mobs. 

In my opinion, this is an extremely charming game for all ages.  It’s definitely the best bang for your buck of any MMO out there at the moment and has quickly become my MMO of choice.  I’d be willing to go on a limb and say it is top contender for best MMO of the year.

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8 Responses to “Wizard 101, My Complete Review”

  1. I enjoyed it, and if there was going to be a game I subscribe to, it’s likely it would be W101. That said, I strongly prefer the gameplay and business model of Puzzle Pirates. The microtransaction model perfectly fits the casual (time-limited) game time that my wife and I have.

    Even so, W101 is a refreshing spin on the MMO genre, and a lot of fun. Oh, and the “warp to friend” bit is nice for when you’re trying a dungeon with friends. If you happen to die, you can warp home, play some minigames to get back up to snuff (or drink potions and buy refills for them, whatever), then warp back in to your party. It’s quick, easy, and much, much more casual friendly than the crazy travel schemes of other games. It’s worth putting up with the friend request spam for the convenience factor.

    Nice writeup!

    Oh, and my main character wound up as a Balance/Life wizard. I like the utility of it… but I’ve got to admit that I love my Myth/Fire alt with a small dose of Storm for fun. 😉

  2. Thank you so much for the comment. Checking out Puzzle Pirates now 🙂

  3. Great article 🙂

    Grouping is really the weak point in W101’s awesomeness. I wish they’d add guilds or something.

  4. Thank you so much Tipa. I definately agree but, that’s going to be an upcoming blog 🙂 No matter how much the game rates on the awesomeness meter, critiques and suggestions are always good

  5. kladfjljksklj;ds Says:

    how the heck do you get a secondary sxhool?

  6. one of the worst games ever and they do not care about there players
    fan site is worse i was banned tonight just for trying to say goodbye to my friends now is that any reason to be banned

  7. card games are my favorite past time when not surfing the net ~

  8. nintendo…

    […]Wizard 101, My Complete Review « The Gaming Goob[…]…

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