Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Tell me I'm not the only one!

Alright, I have a confession to make, and because I'm confessing it, that means NONE of you are allowed to ridicule me. It's kind of two fold really, first part isn't too bad but the second part is where I'll need you to bear with me. First off, I'm addicted to a child's game. See? Not that bad. What game is it, you ask? Well, this is the embarrassing part so I'm just going to put it out there...

I play Wizard 101 like a bandit.

There, it's out in the open and everyone knows it. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I'd like to tell you why I'm addicted to this elementary pass-time.

Wizard101 is an MMORPG by KingsIsle Entertainment, aimed at families and kids, but is so brilliantly done that anyone, even the most hardcore of gamers, can play it and have a great time. Wannabe wizards start with the choice of seven different classes (and they are literally classes, the story is set as if you were a student) that determine what type of spells you cast. The schools range from elemental (fire, ice, and storm) to spirit (death, life, and myth) and the odd one out, a neutral class called balance. True to the staple of these types of games each school has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. The spells are based on a deck of cards style system, when you are in a battle you choose from the hand of cards you were dealt that round, which may contain card types like damage, healing, boosts, defensive, and offensive. To cast a spell you merely select the card, then select your target. Seems easy enough, right? Well KingsIsle decided to make it a bit more challenging by using the age old "mana for magic" requirement but adding in a "pip" system. Pips are glowing white or yellow orbs that appear at the feet of your wizard in battle. The cards take any where from zero to seven pips and you gain a pip each turn. You may have a card in your hand that does enough damage to defeat your enemy in one hit, but if you don't have the pips for it you can't cast it. Therefore you either have to pass and do nothing, or use cards that don't use any pips at all. The yellow orbs are called "power pips" and count as two regular ones if you are using your school specific spells.

The story is simple yet engaging, you are a new student at Ravenwood, a school for young wizards. You start out in the primary world, Wizard City, and very quickly your studies get you involved in the fate of the Spiral (Wizard101's ever growing universe). From then on you go on quest after quest to visit other worlds and save the Spiral from the greatest evil it's faced. You gain experience along the way which gains you new spells from your school and even training points to learn other school's spells as well. Along with experience you get gold and items dropped from monsters and bosses. Its really engaging and each world has a different crisis's that no one thinks you can help with because you are a young wizard in training. Now a number of the quests are similar, but stock quests are typical for RPGs.

A couple down sides to the game are the level cap and limited numbers of worlds. As any gamer knows these two things can pose a problem with the length of time you can play a game, and if it's a game you've payed for you want to get as much out of it as possible. KingsIsle didn't expect Wizard101 to take off like it did, in under two years it has gained over five million users. Luckily they have been working hard to catch up with the massive demand and have new content come out every few months. This summer they have promised to raise the level cap, introduce a pet system, introducing a new world, and three new schools with new spells. Wow, what an update. Needless to say I am stoked about all this. After you hit the level cap and defeat the final boss there is nothing left to do save for craft or create another wizard of a different class, but now there will be much more to do. Very exciting news and you know I'll keep you posted, now that my obsession is public. I really feel anyone, young or old, experienced gamer or nOOb, can enjoy this game.

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