Let’s be clear: Kingsisle Entertainment, Inc.’s  href="http://tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1186"
is a huge Harry Potter
knockoff. Players assume the role of a budding wizard enrolled in the
world-famous Ravenwood School led by Professor Ambrose. Ravenwood
suffers from sinister attacks by a dark wizard named Drake. The names
have been changed to prevent copyright infringement, but the world of
screams Harry Potter
through and through; even so, you can’t
blame Kingsisle for taking the initiative on the setting Warner Bros.
(owners of the Harry
movies) should have turned into a
blockbuster MMOG long ago. What makes style="font-style: italic;">Wizard101 stand out
is the combat
system, which features creature summoning from six different schools of
magic, and the family-friendly delivery of the package. The fact that
can be free-to-play for a long while is just icing on the
MMOG cake.

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Making your
wizard is pretty fun.

You’re a Wizard,

My journey into Wizard101
began with character creation, which can be accomplished via a quiz to
determine your school of magic or by simply picking a school. Eager
gamers can even try out the character creation quiz on  href="https://www.wizard101.com" target="_blank">the
official website. The six schools of magic are Fire, Ice,
Myth, Life, Death, Storm. A seventh school, Balance, draws upon the
energies of the other six schools. Kingsisle balances the spells
available to each school by a combination of potential damage and
accuracy. The Fire school has higher damage but lower accuracy than the
Myth school, for instance. Wizards learn spells in the form of cards
they use to make spell decks. Each card summons a creature to attack,
heal, or perform some other action. More powerful cards require wizards
to build up pips by spending more rounds in battle. With this battle
mechanic, the game becomes three parts style="font-style: italic;">Harry Potter and
one part Pokémon.

Bring the Whole Family

From the outset, Wizard101
aims to get parents and their children playing the game together. A
file less than 8MB in size gets players going with installation. System
requirements are modest; the website advertises that any computer
running Windows 98SE or newer can play style="font-style: italic;">Wizard101.
Up to 5GB of gameplay data can download while you are playing, but this
is based on the areas you try to access, so the download happens in
small pieces in the background during play. To add some sprinkles on
top, Wizard101
is stable; I have yet to experience a crash.

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Preset chat
options help players under 18 communicate.

feature geared to attract whole families is the chat system. Gamers
under 18 can use pre-defined phrases to communicate with other wizards.
Although it takes some time to identify their location in the
menus, it’s an effective system. Certain presets even
you to tell someone you need help with a particular quest. The downside
to the chat system is that even adults have a filter. Many words and
numbers are blocked to prevent youngsters from giving their phone
numbers and date of birth to predators. It can be very frustrating to
try to tell someone you need to kill two more golems only to have your
chat get scrambled.

Payment options in Wizard101
are family-friendly, too. A trial of the game is available 100% free
while a single subscription unlocks all of the content for $9.95/month.
Families can sign up as part of a package at $6.95/month per player,
but six-month and twelve-month subscription rates for individuals tend
to be cheaper. Gamers who don’t want to subscribe can unlock areas of
the game with microtransactions. Most areas unlock for $3 worth of
crowns, the RMT cash of Wizard101.

target="_blank">Continue to page two to learn
about the graphics and features
of Wizard101.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Wizard101 Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016