Wizard101 was a catalyst that drew a picture for my childhood. It helped me through high school and form a bond with my cousin and I’m sure it has done more for many others, my goal with this post is to explain the rich history of Wizard101 and what led to it losing more than half of its player base and being a shell of its former self today.
Where it all Started: When I first played Wizard101 I was in the 6th grade and my friend recommended it. My grandparents PC were to slow and they didn’t like me playing games on it for whatever reasons so I only ended up playing it for a few minutes. Eventually my cousin got the game and I would always play on his laptop when he came over and I instantly fell in love. I didn’t have money to buy a subscription so I could only get to level 9 and had to farm to get into the higher levels. I think the highest level character I achieved with doing this was 16. But others have gone to even 30..
Brief history of the game: It came out at the perfect time. 4 years after WOW launch and games were finally stopping copying it and moving on. The mmorpg boom was still going on and was probably at its peak, and here came Wizard101 my generation was probably in 4th or 5th grade and a ton of us played it. I could ask anyone in my generation to you remember Wizard101? And they will laugh and say yeah that old kids game.
What makes Wizard101 Wizard101: For me it’s the combat. It was so perfectly designed and created it felt like each of the 9 schools and classes were each hand crafted and designed for different things. The combat on surface will look like any other kids cards games but if you dig into the inside you will find something magical… the complexity of it all. I like to compare it to those picture frames that look normal but when you turn your head a different picture shows. It was simple yet complex. Few games seem to master this technique. And in this way it’s not a kids game. I’ve seen more mature rated games that are kids friendly than wizard101. I feel you need to be at least 12 to understand everything in the game.
The Community: The community really made this game for me. Going to the commons and seeing all the different types of wizards doing things, hosting parties and going on dungeon runs together. I played the game purely for the community experience for about a year before getting a membership. I remember my cousin had a girlfriend that same girl would continue to be both of our friends until today which is about 5 years later. It’s amazing the bonds you can create in game. The chat system was very easy to communicate with other players.
More about the Combat: (it gets messy) Combat today is very different then the combat at launch but I’ll try to just explain the system entirely. When you go into a fight you have a wand hat robe and boots along with an athame ring and amulet and deck. These stats all effect combat. However the deck effects it the most. Once entering a fight you start off with one pip however leveling you can make that 2 and once you level you have the chance of spawning a power pip which acts as 2 pips that only feels 1 meter and I believe you have a max of 13. Spells you cast require pips and mana. If you don’t have the mana or pips you cannot cast the spell. Anyways let’s get into the complexity. By yourself you can choose to cast blades on yourself to deal more damage, put traps on the enemy to deal more damage these are called wards and blades. On top of this you get a spell later in the game called enchant blades which boost the effectiveness of your blades by 10% this can stack along with the normal blade. Stacking is a huge thing in this game. Stacking blades traps auras etc.. and no I won’t be getting into details of some of these things cause they can take hours. Treasure cards are cards that you can only use once and go into your treasure card deck which is smaller than your main deck of cards. To see your treasure cards in battle you have to delete a regular card and it picks a random treasure card from the deck. Treasure card blades stack with normal blades. There’s also builds centered around your team. There are 4 max wizards available in battle. I’d say for later levels and even earlier levels the perfect team of wizards will have storm or fire aka the hitters, life for heals, Ive for tanking, and balance for blading. Anyways I think I’ve shown how complex combat can get. Different spells can also remove all the blades you have like ugh…. earthquake… which is pretty much a meme In the wiz community. And shatter… sometimes the combat gets annoying lol.
The rise and fall of the game:
I’d say the peak was in 2015 a year after I joined and when I first got my membership a dungeon called darkmoor came out and it offered some of the best gear the game had ever came out with. This had its draw backs and I kinda didn’t like it but overall the dungeon was challenging and I loved the gear. The thing that mainly killed the game is the company behind it kingsisle. I can go on a rant of how they ruined the community and game but I’ll just say the basics. As more content released it’s like they refused to evolve the game. Instead of changing the pricing model they stuck to subscription based models which turned players off so they left. Sooo many friends I’ve played with that just don’t go online anymore. 90% of them that I’ve made bonds with idk where they are today. Kingsisle also has a rich history of not making the rules of the game clear and falsely banning content creators and normal players. I got banned as well because of this. People who spent thousands of dollars on the game there account instantly banned without even a warning or mute. As content kept coming out after darkmoor it got worse and worse. To the point where one expansion was purely and quiet literally a MEME. It was suppose to be story focused so they filled it with Batman references and a ton of other game and movie references when I say this I’m not lying. One character in the game was literally Batman. But I think they called him man bat or something. They got lazier with making gear so they just shipped expansion with trash gear except for the final dungeon which had all of the best loot. In previous expansions the dungeon set didn’t have the best armor so when you got the dungeon set you could mix it up with crafted gear and other worldly gear to make build sets now everyone has the same build either hitter healer or tank. With the launch of fortnite they completely copied the battle pass system but made it cost a TON. I’m talking about more than EA levels of disgusting micro transactions. You had to pay like 13k crowns to get a single mount which is about 20 dollars. And this is only for 1 thing within the battle pass. If you wanted to buy everything it was more than 60. There micro transactions were always bad but this was on a new level.
Anyways I think this is why and how kingsisle failed the game yeah they continued to evolve the combat which I still think is amazing and I think this game should go down in mmorpg. History for being one of the most innovative and the best ever made.
How kingsisle could turn things around: Make everything in the cash shop Available to earn in game, make the entire first arc free which is level 1-50 and the max level is 130. Make new expansions with diverse armor instead of making one set for all characters that are perfect. I think with this they can get a few million back in however the game is also just old and naturally dying. They have made few improvements over the years that really helped the game but these are things that would earn them more money and get the community more involved. Thanks for listening! I think wisard101 is still my favorite game of all time next to destiny.
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