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Wizard 101 beta testing

Submitted by Meg on August 31, 2008 - 1:54pm. Game Preview

I got to check out the upcoming Wizard 101, here are some of my thoughts from my own blog:

I was predisposed to like the new Wizard 101 game. It’s not exactly a secret that I love Harry Potter, and the game promises to be a wizard school MMOPRG. The game is adorable from the first loading screen. They’ve got a Wizard 101 gallery on the website, but it doesn’t do justice to the fantastic sketch drawings and handwritten notes, or the cheery game characters.

I was asked not to post screenshots, (edit 8/25: that’s changed, my W101 pictures are here) as the game’s still in beta, so you’re just going to have to believe me that one teacher is a qipao-clad animated cow. And there’s an attack leprechaun! Even the menu screens are draw like classroom doodles. If I could post just one screenshot, it would be the stick figure cartoons on the map and in the margins… a girl and a boy who are always getting into mischief. Also, I would put a pair of glasses on the girl!

The Wizard 101 quests are flavored with mixed-up fairy tales and subtle puns for adult players. While the quests themselves are the usual fare of “kill 5 baddies” or “return this item to an NPC”, they’re mixed with a Fairground of minigames. The minigames are quick casual games, a bit like the puzzle games in Neopets. The point of the Fairgrounds is to recharge your mana and make a few coins, but I really liked Potion Motion.


The game is intended for tweens, and I was a little annoyed by all the safety controls. Users must be over 13 to even have access to chat. Also, you can’t pick your own name, there’s a spinner that chooses a first name and a two-part last name (something like Starspinner or Whitethorn). You can set the spinner to your favorite combination, but there’s no chance to make up your own name. While it does eliminate the players running around cleverly named “YOURMOMSUCKS”, it’s billed as a safety feature, forbidding kids to use their real names and identifying information, and I think it’s taking ‘net safety a bit too far.

Read the full review at Simpson's Paradox.

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