Wizard 101 : A child safe card summoning MMORPG
Wizard101 is a refreshing change from the majority of MMORPG’s out there. It uses a card based summoning system in combat, that is very easy and simple to master. The game sells itself as being a child safe zone, which could explain its extremely imaginative, really funny, and simple to play yet remains fun.
- In RPG terms there is only one class to choose from – Although this game offers a lot of different sub-class for you to choose from such as : Death Wizard, Life Wizard, Fire Wizard, Ice Wind, Storm Wizard and Conjuring Wizard.
- Great story that starts from the tutorial with a central death wizard bad guy.
- Lots of quests that are easy to find and complete, giving you a lot of equipment and cards.
- A card based summoning combat system that is very different
- Parties that are formed automatically on the field dungeon.
- Lots of literary references, so far I’ve met Dorothy, Tin-man, Toto and penny dreadful.
- Great for kids – it’s almost like Harry Potter Online.
- Imaginative characters and graphics.
- All text is full narrated – storybook fashion.
Class wise you have to be a wizard. Kind of makes sense from the title huh? But it does offer you a lot of diversity around what wizard you want to be. Interestingly, the school of wizardry you belong to is more interactive than simply choosing a school. You are asked a set of seemingly random questions, that selects the best school of wizardry for you – like a digital sorting hat. Here is a video of my entry test:-
Yeah, not to surprising the goth was placed into the death school, is it? But it reflects well on the tests abilities. And in typical goth fashion I thought I’d try and subvert the mainstream stereotypical options by giving my death mage a health tan and a bright red robe with yellow trim that lasted until my first equipment drop.
Later you can train in a second school of wizardry too – I oddly choose life magic, just because of the teacher:-
How awesome is she and that name!?
Another interesting feature is the name selection process, you don’t get to select your name but it is comprised of random words that you can slot together or press random to jiggle about. I have included a few random selections on the video above – I just kind of feel in love with the name Johnathan Legendpants though. I just couldn’t help but imagine my character doing a Thor like bellow :- “ Beware of my legendary pants.”
Although this does limit freedom it does also make the game more child friendly as there are no user names that haven’t been preordained – and is a novel and interesting system to filter out the unfriendly user names. Plus I legandpants… two words that I’d never put together but seems to make me infinitely happy.
The story line is there from the get go. You are new student attending wizard university and even before your enrollment is over the headmaster is attacked by a more stereotypical Death Mage – Black robes, dark eye bags, and a bad attitude. Before you know it the Headmaster has thrust you into a dual with the Death Wizard and talks you through the basic of the dueling and card summoning system and then send you on a journey to clear unicorn alley of undead creatures – without even asking for a signed permission slip.
You get to meet a lot of very interesting characters both graphically and story-line wise that range from classical film characters from the Wizard of Oz to storm wielding toads, fairy queens, Bear Merchants (that is a merchant that happens to be a bear not someone who sells bears), a gnarly Death study that sounds like he would rather be surfing, dude and the worlds tiniest smiths – amongst others.
This game is designed to be child friendly, and as even the most basic of concepts are explained in great detail, and with an array of brightly colored icons. So, it is a very good game for beginners or children. The user interface is simple and easy to use.
The combat is fun and simple. It basically amounts to you choosing a card to play or summon by clicking on it, but like all deck building games there is an element of strategy to creating it, such as enemy debuffs, summoning cost, self-health/duffs and treasure cards. Although there are more strategic and tactical games out there for this such as Magic: The Gathering or the online card game Eredan iTCG both of these lack the RPG element. Here is some footage from the tutorial:-
Parties are formed almost automatically as you travel the map, entering an existing duel of anyone that you happen to wander too close too. Although this can be annoying as you’ve been dragged into a battle accidentally, it is a life saver when dueling some of the harder creatures on the map when you’re under leveled. All the sidewalks in an area are free from enemy encounters too, so any battle is easily avoidable.
Quests also vary a lot in design. Some required you to defeat a specific number of enemies, whilst others ask you to free sprites from cages, find people hidden on maps or look for lost items.
There are a range of mini-games that you can access from the fairiegrounds, that are simplistic but fun if you get tired of adventuring and want to play something else.
You also have your own dorm room, which you gain items for and can decorate with them.
It is a busy and friendly community. In the two hours I was in the game I received over ten friend requests, without really talking to anyone (with the safe game for children emphasis I was afraid they’d all be ten).
There is a world chat as well as lots of icons and emojis for you to use for some quick thanks, or hi during battle.
Technically they are slightly above average – but they are fun and convey a real sense of character in the people that you meet as well as providing interesting environments to explore. You can tell a lot of love has gone into the design of the areas from the details of pictures on the wall. What is that? Is it a monkey in a uniform?!
The battles are very stimulating visually too, as not only do the enemies look great but so do your summons.
A fun game, lots to laugh at and very imaginative. Is a great game for children, with lots of features to keep kids safe online, like locked chat until they’re 13, no user-names that are not pre-approved, and a chat filtering system. Really great if you’re a childish adult like me too.