The cold stone floor pops into color as grass and flowers spread out from the center. A unicorn pops out of the ground and with a slight gallop, it heals me for 500 health before disappearing into the ether.
It's the enemy's turn now and he uses his “Ninja Pigs” monster card to summon a trio of pigs to attack me. Luckily, the next turn I draw a “Meteor Strike” card from my deck and I'm able to incinerate the enemy faster than a pyro taunting a sniper .
I'm playing Wizard 101 , a free-to-play MMO, with an optional subscription to gain access to premium areas, by KingsIsle. Battles are turn-based and players use a deck of cards to summon monsters and cast spells. Each player specializes in a school of magic that determine which spells the player can learn without spending training points.
I recently sat down with Fred Howard, Ben Conrad, and Todd Coleman from KingsIsle to discuss the game's upcoming expansion packs, and how they plan to use the packs to revamp the entire leveling and endgame experience with new areas, spells, and other content across all level ranges.
Celestia, KingsIsle's newest expansion, which launches today, targets the Grandmasters, players who have reached the level cap of Wizard 101, who Ben describes as, “the most loyal segment of players who put in the most hours...The high level followers are always in endless need of new content and we always want to push forward and fulfill that want.”
Features of Celestia are:
- New story arc villain, Morganthe the Spider Queen
- Level cap being raised from 50 to 60
- Three new schools of magic for players to learn
- More spells added to the existing schools of magic
- New pets for players to discover
But KingsIsle also wants to make changes to make the game more accessible to a broader range of players like parents, grandparents, families, and people who have never played in a game with other players before. To that end, areas like the intro tutorial are being revamped to make the areas more engaging and immersive for new players. It is a continuous process that KingsIsle says they will look over these zones again and again to find out how to make areas more approachable for new players.
Along with the new expansion pack, a new collector's edition of the game will be on sale in stores soon (because the game is free to download and play, you don't need to purchase the boxed game from the store). The collector's edition gives players exclusive items such as:
- The largest personal house that a player can currently get in the game
- A dueling circle that lets players battle each other
- A Gryphon mount
- A spear that can be scaled to the player's level or saved for higher levels.
- 5000 Crowns, the in game currency
I haven't delved too deep into the game yet, but I'm really enjoying the battle mechanics, which remind me of playing trading card games. There's the strategy of planning out your battle deck, deciding which cards to use in battles, who to attack, and waiting until you have enough resources to summon the spells you need. If you (or your kid) play Wizard 101, post in the comments below to let us know your thoughts on the incoming changes.