I get asked that question quite a bit — perhaps every day that both of us are home in the evening. I’m cautiously gratified that my wife’s enthusiastic about a game we both can play together, and in retrospect, it really does seem tailor-made to her tastes. It’s easy to figure out, colorful and built around that pseudo-Harry Potter theme that she’s gotten into.
As for me, there are ups and downs of Wizard 101, and I’ve learned that I can play it at a good stretch — perhaps an hour or hour-and-a-half at a time — but I typically peter out quicker than she does. Here’s a quick list of my personal pros and cons for the game:
- Very quick to load up and start playing — especially in contrast to Warhammer’s 2+ minute start time.
- I love being able to teleport to where my wife is at any time, a feature we use liberally in conjunction with the “home” teleport to travel back and forth to the main area without losing our place in the danger zone.
- I do enjoy building decks and refining it, even though it’s a little more simple than I’d like.
- Lots of strategy in battles, and we often are talking across the room to coordinate who’s attacking who.
- It’s very casual — we can start and stop at any point.
- I love the pets (I have a flying blue-and-white pig named Baby Buster, in tribute to Arrested Development)
- The little comic stick-figure drawings on the maps and whatnot are pretty well-done and funny.
- It really does seem like there’s too few cards to play with — this might be because we’re just level 15, but I really want a bigger variety.
- The combat portion takes -forever- to experience, as every animation has to be played out, between turns can go as long as 30 seconds, and creatures get tougher and tougher. We often tab out of the game once we make our card choices for that round, knowing it’ll be a good minute or so before we have to choose again.
- Speaking of animations, the moving, swirling camera was neat at first, but I really wish there was an option to keep it STILL, at a fixed viewpoint. Gives me a headache sometimes.
- It’s far too kiddy-protected: we can’t use text chat for anything but the most basic statements and we can’t group up as a party.
- Getting caught up in combat when you’re just trying to cross the street and go somewhere — blerg!
- The music gets old pretty quick, and I’ve long since disabled it.
Anyway, it’s fun to play, but for me it’s lacking that MMO addictiveness that I come to expect out of my subscription games. That’s okay, though, because playing a game together is a great way for us to relax without being apart.
It’s also nice to know that they just added a metric ton of new content with the Dragonspyre expansion — check out West Karana’s early impressions here.