Updated Wed, Mar 23, 2011 by Space Junkie
Wizard101 is a fun MMO designed for early-teen players and their families. It boasts a world of wizardry, magical combat, and story-driven gameplay that has enticed literally millions of tweens to try it out.
KingsIlse, the makers of Wizard101, have announced an update containing an infusion of new content. Though the exact date and details of the update are still a mystery, Ten Ton Hammer had a chance to sit down with some KingsIsle people at PAX East and pop a few questions about, oh, this and that.
The New World: Wintertusk
Grandmother Raven is one of the most important characters in Wizard101, yet her past will remain a mystery until this update.
Wintertusk will also contain quests that reveal the full story of Grandmother Raven, one of the most powerful figures in the world of Wizard101. Despite her status as one of the creator figures in the world of Wizard101, little is known about her. The new update promises to fix all that, with an exciting story arc that explores her more fully. Since the world of Wizard101 is so story-driven, this should be fun. More likely than not, it will probably at least touch on the greater story involving Malistaire Drake.
Other Good Stuff: New Pets and Spells
Aside from new places to explore, there will also be new spells and new pets. KingsIsle is pretty cagey about what those will be at this point, but we do know that each school of magic will have its own level-58 pet, and that at least some of the spells will be intended for higher-level characters. Alas, we must wait for the details.
The Wizard101 Community
Though I could not winnow out any great secrets about the upcoming pets and spells, we did have a chance to talk about the Wizard101 community. Wizard101 is sort of an experiment: it targets a different demographic than most other MMOs. Targeting a younger audience is brave for an MMO company, and keeping the game appropriate for that age group is difficult.
KingsIsle have set up some pretty serious protections to prevent Wizard101 from being dragged down to the low-level of communication that permeates the rest of the internet. A family-friendly environment is hard to come by online, but KingsIsle seems to have achieved it. So remarkable is this feat (especially the cross-generational player base) that Trinity University is doing a research study of Wizard101 players, in collaboration with KingsIsle. According to Fred Howard and Ben Conrad of KingsIsle, in December their site was the 8th-fastest growing web site in the United States, as ranked by unique visitors. It is also apparently the 200th-largest web site in the United States.
Not bad for an MMO about young wizards, eh?