|Publisher(s)||KingsIsle Entertainment, Gameforge|
Wizard101 is an MMORPG created by KingsIsle Entertainment. Players take on the role of students of Wizardry to save the Spiral, the fictional universe in which the game is played, and battle creatures by casting spells using a turn-based combat system similar to collectible card games.
The game also has a sister game called Pirate101.
The fictional universe of the Spiral is divided into several worlds, each of which has multiple areas. Players advance in the game by either by: purchasing crowns, the game's premium currency, as each area costs a certain number of crowns to unlock, or purchasing a membership, which grants unlimited access to all areas for a limited time. Upon character creation, some areas of Wizard City are opened to access for free.
As the player progresses, more worlds become available, until they reach the maximum level of 100. The first main storyline takes the player through Wizard City, Krokotopia, Marleybone, MooShu, and Dragonspyre. The second storyline covers Celestia, Zafaria, Avalon, Azteca, and Khrysalis. There are also optional side worlds of Grizzleheim and Wintertusk, Wysteria, and Aquila. These can be accessed when the player reaches a certain level.
There are also many hobbies in the Spiral including PvP, training pets so they can help wizards in battles, Fishing, Gardening, and crafting furniture, gear, and spells.
- Merle Ambrose - The headmaster of Ravenwood and founder of Wizard City, Ambrose hails from the world of Avalon. He is the one the main player typically goes to at both the beginning and completion of a world.
- Dalia Falmea - The Fire (or Pyromancy) Professor at Ravenwood, Dalia Falmea is seen as very suave and polite towards her students. On occasion, she is called "The Fire Lady" by Manders and Water Moles due to her fire-shaped hair. She can also become very serious, especially with issues in the Spiral. It is currently unknown where she is from, but it is possible she is from the world of Avalon as a group of women who bear a similar design to her are seen there. In other theories she is an elf from Avalon (considered by her ears) but still is not known how she gained her height. She may be loosely based on Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series.
- Lydia Greyrose - The Ice Professor (or Thaumatergy) at Ravenwood, Professor Lydia Greyrose has a very cheerful and sweet personality but is also stern at times. She is an elderly fairy from Candyworld and has two half sisters who are not fairies and are evil because they eat the children inhabiting the world (which is similar to the story of Hansel and Gretel). Her half blood was what made her good-hearted and learned the art of Ice magic through extinguishing the flames under the pots where the children were being cooked. At one point, she left her homeworld and went into teaching at Ravenwood. Originally a minor character, she gains an important role in the storyline upon the player's arrival to Khrysalis, being one of the Council of Light. She may be loosely based on Professor Pomona Sprout from the Harry Potter series.
- Halston Balestrom - Hailing from Marleybone, Professor Halston Balestrom is an anthropomorphic frog and the Professor of Storm magic. He is seen as rather eccentric but does care about his students. His old friend is Sir Thurston Plunkett who went missing on an expedition to Celestia which gives Balestrom his important role in the Morganthe storyline. As well as teaching Storm magic, Balestrom also instructs the students in science (As some Storm students have a reputation for being great inventors) and potions. He may be based on Professor Flitwick from the Harry Potter Series.
- Moolinda Wu - An anthropomorphic cow from MooShu. Professor Moolinda Wu is the Professor for Life Magic or Theurgy. She is very calm, cheerful, and positive which probably landed her the job as Life Professor in place of Sylvia Drake. She is what one would expect out of a Theurgist,[by whom?] loves flowers, very softhearted, and cares about nature. She so far has played no significant role in the story but might in the future.
- Cyrus Drake - Professor Cyrus Drake teaches Myth magic and is the brother of Malistaire Drake. Very cruel, Professor Drake rarely teaches the students and instead has them do his bidding, such as fetching his laundry. He also looks for excuses to fail or punish students and shows and especially strong hatred toward the player, this was all caused by his brother leaving him after Sylvia's death. However, toward the end of the Malistaire storyline, Professor Drake softens up, he then challenges the player to a duel to see if he/she is strong enough to face his brother. He then helps you to reach the Crown of Fire and attempts to convince his brother to stop his plan by casting an illusion of Sylvia begging him to stop, but it doesn't work and he is forced to abandon the player. After the player defeats Malistaire and goes back to Headmaster Ambrose's office, Cyrus admits he should have shown more respect to the player when he first met him/her. He also plays a large role in the Morganthe storyline. He asks you to go to Halley's Tower, where you find a Quetzal, a creature from Azteca. At the end of Azteca, when it is destroyed, he follows you to Headmaster Ambrose. Then you learn that he is one of the Council of Light just as you are. Cyrus is based on Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.
- Dworgyn - Originally the assistant Death Teacher, Dworgyn takes charge as main Death teacher after he and most of the Death students were transported to Nightside by Malistaire. He is a hunchback with a lantern and has been working as a servant practically his whole life, including his job as the assistant Professor. He even revealed that he used to work for Dr. Katzenstein as an apprentice ever since he graduated from "Hench School" which also reveals his original homeworld was Marleybone. His personality is a Stereotype of a Death wizard, loves very little light, can get offended easily, and, even as a henchman, very intelligent. He is based on Igor from Frankenstein.
- Arthur Wethersfield - The Balance instructor at Ravenwood. Arthur is an anthropomorphic dog sporting a suit, a top hat, a cane, and a monocle. Arthur comes from Marleybone and seems to be very experienced in Balance magic as he revealed he has spent ten years in Krokotopia which is home to Balance magic and since Marleybonians are not practitioners of magic. He so far shows no significance to the plot, although he does play an important role in the Lost Pages quest line.
- Alhazred - An old Krok in Krokotopia, Alhazred is the Balance teacher who's classroom is beneath the Kroko-Sphinx. He is seen as very wise and kind due to his age. Alhazred is also the leader of The Order of The Fang, a society of pure-hearted Kroks who owned the Krokonomicon. The main player helps him reunite the members of the Order of the Fang, excluding Krokhotep since after they're all reunited, Alhazred reveals Krokhotep betrayed them by giving the Krokonomicon to Queen Krokopatra. Besides this role in the Malistaire storyline, he teaches Balance students and is the only professor who does not have a schoolhouse in Wizard City.
- Malistaire Drake - Former death professor of Ravenwood is the original villain of the game. After the death of his wife Sylvia, he changed forever. He would do whatever it takes to bring her back to life, and that is exactly what he plans to do. His goals are to recover the Krokonomicon from Krokotopia, a powerful book of Life and Death and command the Dragon Titan to raise his wife from the dead. The worlds of his arc are Wizard City, Krokotopia, Marleybone, Mooshu, and Dragonspyre. He was killed in battle against the players where he joins Sylvia in the afterlife. Morganthe later revived Malistaire as Malistaire the Undying. Players battle Malistaire the Undying in Xibalba where he is subsequently hurled into the Spiral upon his defeat.
- Morganthe - Morganthe is heavily based on Morgan le Fay from the Arthurian Legend and is the second main villain of the game. Morganthe (AKA The Umbra Queen and The Shadow Queen) tries to foretell a prophecy, learn the secrets of Astral magic, master Shadow Magic and sing the Song of Creation to recreate the Spiral to her own vision. The prophecy is "The mirror will break, the horn will call, from the shadows I strike, the skies will fall." Her homeworld is Avalon and so far only has 1 known sibling named Sir Malory. The worlds of her arc are Celestia, Zafaria, Avalon, Azteca, and Khrysalis.
- Lord Nightshade - Lord Nightshade is an Undead that resides in Stormdrain Tower at the end of the Haunted Cave. He fell under Malistaire's influence and controlled the Undead in Wizard City.
- Krokopatra - A Queen who is an anthropomorphic crocodile and the final boss of Krokotopia. She is a parody of Cleopatra.
- Meowiarty - Meowiarty is an anthropomorphic cat and master thief who is in allegiance with Malistaire Drake ever since he sprung him from Newgate Prison in a plot to steal the Krokonomicon. He has caused problems around Marleybone which kept the police busy. He is a parody of Professor Moriarty.
- The Coven - A group of at least six governing Ravens that want to bring a Winter Armageddon to Grizzleheim. They have committed plots throughout Grizzleheim ranging from taking advantage of the civil war between the Bears and the Wolves, planning to evoke the Everwinter Ritual. They even plotted to wake Ymir the Ice Titan in Nastrond to evoke the Everwinter throughout the entire spiral.
- Othin Stormfather - Leader of the Coven. He is later killed by the players.
- Eitri Shadowmirk - Member of the Coven. He joins up with the Coven at Nastrond.
- Kol Shadowsong - Member of the Coven. He later becomes the leader of The Coven in Wintertusk following Othin's death.
- Mord Runechanter - Member of the Coven. He possesses shapeshifting abilities.
- Munin Mistweaver - Member of the Coven. He is sent by The Coven to deceive the Wolf King into continuing his war on the Bears.
- Sadric Duskwing - Member of the Coven. He joins up with the Coven at Nastrond.
- Wizard City - A Renaissance-themed world populated mostly by humans that have become wizards and that has sprouted around the grandfather tree called Bartleby. This world is home to the Ravenwood School of Magical Arts. This is the first world where wizards visit and easily the most diverse world. The main area in this world is The Commons.
- Aquila - Aquila is a "Dungeon Zone" in Wizard City and can only be accessed by the Chariot of Apollo in Cyclops Lane. It is based on Greek Mythology and is populated by Cyclopes, Horses, Krakens, Mermaids, Minotaurs, Satyrs, Sharks, Undeads, and humanoid birds with lion-like hindquarters. Aquila is home to the Immortal Games, an epic challenge hosted by the magical Immortals Zeus: Sky Father, Poseidon: Earth Shaker, and Hades the Unseen. Wizards level 30+ Can join in on the games. The dungeons have the most power gear for the most powerful wizards in the Spiral. There are three dungeons you can enter from Aquila: Mount Olympus for levels 30+, where you defeat Zeus Sky Father, Atlantea for levels 70+ where you defeat Poseidon Earth Shaker, and Tartarus for levels 90+, the Underworld, where you defeat Hades the Unseen with his brothers Zeus Sky Father and Poseidon Earth Shaker in an advanced version from before. You will have to do each dungeon from easiest to hardest to be able to do all of them. In each dungeon, there is an extra boss that you can optionally defeat for levels 90+. The main area for this world is the Garden of the Hesperides.
- Krokotopia - An Ancient Egypt-themed world populated mostly by Kroks (a race of humanoid crocodiles) and Manders as well as some Marleybone Canines that are excavating the ruins. The main area for this world is The Oasis.
- Marleybone - A Late Victorian era-themed world that can also be based on Marylebone, a district in London, England. Some famous sites of Marleybone are Big Ben, Scotland Yard, Wolfminster Abbey, and the Royal Museum of Marleybone. This world is populated mostly by humanoid dogs, cats and rats. The city has all the trappings of a modern society built upon scientific foundations. This world is also part of the Council of Light. The main area for this world is Regent's Square.
- Mooshu - A Feudal Japan-themed world populated mostly by Samoorai (a race of samurai cows), Onis (which resemble Indian Elephant-headed humanoids), Ninja Pigs, Sheep, and Goat Monks. Blooming cherry trees, carefully maintained gardens, and tall mountains can be found everywhere. Although this is a place of knowledge and tradition, there is a great mystery here. This world is part of the Council of Light. The main area for this world is the Jade Palace.
- Dragonspyre - A world based on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that has Greek and Byzantine architecture. Despite the setting of Dragonspyre, the humans that live in Dragonspyre all have Russian accents. Dragonspyre serves as the final world of the Malistaire Drake storyline. Once an advanced militant society, Dragonspyre had an esteemed Academy rivaling that of the Ravenwood School of Magical Arts in Wizard City. The inhabitants once held a special interest in Fire Magic. This led to the summoning of the Great Dragon Titan which contributed to the destruction brought upon the area. The main area for this world is The Basilica.
- Celestia - An ocean-based world is based on the legend of the underwater civilization of Atlantis. It is inhabited by Pisceans (a race of humanoid sharks), Lophians, and Crabs. Once a rich and populous world, it was sunken by the Storm Titan. Besides the underwater levels, there are a few islands in Celestia. The main area for this world is Celestia Base Camp.
- Grizzleheim - A world inspired by Norse mythology and inhabited by Bears, Wolves, Boars, Ravens, Wolverines, and Grendels. The player first visits early in the game, and can not return until level 20. The main area of this world is Northguard. It is similar to a Viking-Themed area.
- Wintertusk - An island that is part of Grizzleheim which serves as an expansion to Grizzleheim. The area of Nastrond is where Ymir the Ice Titan is kept asleep. The main area for this world is Hrundle Fjord.
- Wysteria - The player is sent here to compete in a magical tournament against other schools to win the Spiral Cup. It may loosely be based on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The main area for this world is Pigswick Academy.
- Zafaria - An African-themed world that is home to humanoid Elephants, Gorillas, Lions, Jackals, Rhinos, and Zebras. The main area for this world is Baobab Crossroads.
- Avalon - A world based on the Legends of King Arthur and Middle Ages in Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy. Merle Ambrose was born here and gained a reputation as a fierce wizard. It incorporates many elements from Celtic mythology (especially the elements from the Matter of Britain). It is a land of Knights, Dragons, Fairies, Witches, Goblins, Ogres, Giants, and Spriggans. This world is also part of the Council of Light. The main area for this world is Caliburn.
- Azteca - An Aztec and Mayan-themed world populated mostly by the Aztecosaurs (a race of humanoid dinosaurs consisting of the Parasaurolophus-like Parasaurs, the Pterosaurs, the Raptors, and the Triceratops-like Tritops), the Monquistans (a race of Conquistador monkeys which also appear in Pirate101), the Jaguars, the Caimans, the Quetzals, and the Avians (the type that are based on parrots and toucans). The main area for this world is The Zocalo.
- Khrysalis - An insect-themed world that is filled to the brim with Morganthe's agents. It serves as the final world of the Morganthe storyline. Inhabitants of this world are Arachna, Burrowers (a race of humanoid mice), Goliaths, Mantis, Bees, Hornets, Centipedes, and Millipedes. The main area for this world is Bastion. Areas released with Khrysalis Part 1 are Bastion, Silent Market, Moon Cliffs, Last Wood, Tyrian Gorge, and Fort Rachias. Khryalis Part 2 areas are Crescent Beach, Ruined Alcazar, Radiance Reborn, (Ruined Alcazar and Radiance Reborn are part of the Alcazar of Radiant Judgement aka Radiant Alcazar) Sardonyx, The Kondha Desert, The Hive, and The Shadow Palace.
The game offers a choice of either subscription or "Free-to-Play" with microtransactions. Free-to-Play customers can purchase access to different areas of content using in-game currency called Crowns. Such areas only need to be purchased once, but other actions in the game may be necessary before accessing them. Crowns also can be used to buy in game exclusive items and access PvP tournaments. The fee for PvP tournaments vary depends on whether the player has existing member subscription. Crowns can be purchased by a game card or from the online store.
If a player decides to begin a subscription, they are not only free to roam about all playable worlds during their timed subscription days but are also able to participate in ranked PvP matches, Ranked Pet Derby races, buying Castles and Lands (or after reaching Level 15), advanced Crafting, Gifting capabilities, True Friends, faster Energy regeneration, larger backpack, larger friends list and faster Crafting timers. Also outside of the game, players will gain the ability to post on the Wizard101 Message Board.
Also, certain areas and dungeons in Wizard101 can be rented for a certain period of time such as the 6-hour rentals for Mount Olympus, Atlantea, and Tartarus in Aquila. PvP and Pet Derby can be rented as well. A certain amount of crowns per match or a certain amount per day(24 Hours).
Due to its young core audience, Wizard101 restricts player interaction when compared to other games in the massively multiplayer online genre. There are three different types of chat: Menu Chat, Open Chat and Text Chat. In Text Chat, what a player types can be seen by every other wizard in the area either from a word bubble on top of the speakers head or in the chat box. Private Chat is when a wizard wishes to speak in private to another wizard. This appears on the screen in a transparent box to the left. The age of the player directly correlates to the communication allowable. When typed, words that appear in white are words that everyone is able to view. Yellow words can only be seen by players who have their account set to "Open Chat". Open chat is obtained when a player has a credit card and they are 18 years or older. Red words are not allowed and can be seen by no one, not even the player themselves. If an adult chatter types yellow words, young wizards will see ellipses (...) in place of the word.
Aside from the different levels of chat filters available depending on player age, duels between players are available only in a special player versus player arena designated for the purpose. The PvP arena can be found upon entry to Unicorn Way from the Commons in Wizard City. The PVP arenas are also found in SOME crowns houses and all of the Bundle houses. (This is your private arena, and can only be used when you and other players are in your home.)
Rewards for combat or completing a quest are distributed automatically among the party, so players need not fight for spoils. Players may trade a special type of spell card called a treasure card, which is a spell card that can be rearranged by clicking the golden card icon in their spellbook and then can be used in battle when the player discards cards and then clicks draw. These cards can only be used once, and can be used by any school of Magic. This spell will disappear from the player's treasure deck once it is used. So far the players are currently unable to trade items between one another (it is possible, however, to trade items to one's other wizards on the same account, through the use of a shared bank).
Online safety features
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Parents must activate controls for players under 13, including setting levels for interaction with other players in the world. Three different levels of chat are available. At the most restricted level, players select from a menu of pre-defined phrases, and players using this option can only see menu chat from other players. At the next level, players may type what they want, as long as the words are available in the game’s dictionary. If a word is not present in the dictionary, or part of a forbidden phrase, such as asking another player’s age, it will not be visible. If players know each other outside the game, they can use a true friend code to allow less-restricted chat inside the game. However, it is still subject to some restrictions. Additionally, players choose names for their characters from a list that allows selection of a first name and a one- or two-part surname. The official game forums are filtered and moderated. Finally, at player request, KingIsle Entertainment added open chat for players aged 18 years and above, an age limit verified through credit cards, which allows everything except profanities to be said.
Other features have been designed with a pre-teens audience in mind, for example opponents in combat disintegrate or vanish, and there is no blood.
According to a press release published in May 2008, the development of Wizard101 began in 2005, upon the founding of KingsIsle Entertainment under the creative direction of J. Todd Coleman. The game entered open beta on August 6, 2008, and it launched successfully on September 2, 2008. On August 25, 2010, it was announced that Wizard101 would be released in foreign territories later that year.
Wizard101 launched a European Beta version on December 15, 2010 and then released the game on February 15, 2011, in partnership with Gameforge. This eventually included releases of the game in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Polish, Greek and Turkish.
It was announced on August 17, 2011 that KingsIsle and Taomee Holdings Limited had an agreement to launch Wizard101 in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. This has been the company's biggest move since launching the game in Europe. Wizard101 Taiwan officially launched on April 27, 2012, with the others to follow.
According to KingIsle Entertainment's press releases, the game has experienced a steady growth in the number of players: 2 million in April 2009, 5 million in September 2009, ten million players by June 2010, 15 million by January 2011, 20 million by July 2011, and 30 million by July 2013. In terms of reception, the game currently scores an average of 77.5% from ratings on GameRankings. GameShark reviewer Toni Dimayuga noted the game's overall ambiance and graphic setting as well as the overall fun nature of Wizard101 in the pro column, while the combat (in particular defeats) and the restrictive (at the time of the review) nature of chat were seen as the major minus points.
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- Dimayuga, Toni (March 11, 2009). "You have seen the TV ads on Nickelodeon – and what do you know? Wizard 101, the magical MMO for kids, is pretty darn good.". Gameshark.com. Retrieved August 22, 2009.