Wishmaster's sound continues the bombastic symphonic power metal approach originally featured on Oceanborn, albeit with more emphasis on atmosphere and melody versus powerful speed and heaviness. Perhaps even more so than its predecessor, Wishmaster has a very clear fantasy theme. While commonly considered to be closer to conventional power metal, there is still a great variety with slower songs like "Two for Tragedy" and "Dead Boy's Poem", and more epic pieces like "FantasMic". "The Kinslayer" is written about the victims of the Columbine High School massacre.Wishmaster was inspired by the fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings and Dragonlance, mentioning Elbereth, Lórien, and the Grey Havens from the former; and Dalamar, Raistlin Majere (Dalamar's shalafi, or "master"), Gilthanas, the Sla-Mori, Silvara and the Inn of the Last Home from the latter. "FantasMic" is a song about the Disneyanimated movies, particularly their fantasy and fable elements, taking its title from the Disneyland show Fantasmic!.
The song "Wishmaster" has remained one of Nightwish's greatest hits, appearing on several best of compilations. Since its release, it has been a recurring track during live performances, and was featured on the live DVD End of an Era, recorded in 2005. As of 2013[update], it is still often performed live despite the band's change of vocalists. A new orchestral intro for the track was recorded during the orchestral recording of Dark Passion Play. The song was brought back to the metal community's mind by a cover version and video of metal a cappella band van Canto in 2008. Other recurring live songs from the album are "She Is My Sin", "Dead Boy's Poem" and "Come Cover Me".
Wishmaster was #1 in the official Finnish charts; the album also debuted in the European charts at #21 in Germany and #66 in France. Today,[when?]Wishmaster has sold more than 77,000 copies in Finland alone.