Wizard 101

Common Sense Media says

Magical MMO where kids learn to become wizards.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Cartoon characters are human, teachers in the school range from the small plump fairy-like characters to animals to the stereotypical old wizard with long white beard. The game is about learning and adventuring and the teachers are helpful when assigning you quests.

Positive role models

By playing this game, kids learn that other players can be helpful to winning the game and that you don't always have to game alone. The in-game teachers are good role models.

Ease of play

Easy to play, but younger players may need help. This is a beautiful, colorful animated world, yet you only need low system requirements to be able to play.

Violence

Cartoon Violence where enemies are blasted by magic. Some spells include a bat who spits green goo, a frog who oozes acid, and a creature who farts. Losing participants in a magical duel collapse in various ways and simply disappear or in the case of a skeleton, falls apart and disappear. Defeated players will return to the Wizard School to rest and regain health and mana (magical power). Playing mini-games can hasten health and mana recovery. No blood, gore, or any other visible violent actions.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

In game chat is controlled by quick chat choices which are easily accessed via an icon and menu system. Free-form chat is available but even these and the forums are heavily moderated and boast a stringent automatic language filter.

Consumerism

Gamers playing for free will encounter areas which are locked and players are asked to go to the website to unlock them by paying a fee. This is called a velvet rope model where kids start to play for free but then get roped into spending money.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy and safety Concerns: Wizard 101 has free form chat  but it is monitored and has a stringent automatic language filter.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an engaging massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) for kids set in a fantasy world involving wizards. Kids will duel using magic spells that have some crude humor including the release of farts. Wizard 101 is COPA compliant and there are several ways to pay for this game. The download of the game is free and there are free areas for children to try out the game, including the ability to play all the minigames. Family plan subscriptions are $6.95 (per account) a month and general subscriptions $9.95. A micropayment plan beginning at $1.00 is also available to obtain permanent access to particular streets or areas within the game. Game gift cards are also available at various retail outlets. This allows parents to structure a reward system for their kids and many families do play this game together. However, it is also a game that ropes kids in for free, and then dangles additional compelling content in front of them to encourage them to become consumers.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Math

  • patterns

Hobbies

  • board games

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • strategy

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Self-Direction

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • achieving goals

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

This beautiful, colorful animated world will appeal to children who enjoy magical stories. The game is constantly changing because it provides regular and free updates, giving players more things to do.

Learning Approach

Kids can learn thinking and reasoning skills as well as teamwork. There are also mini-games that involve pattern matching, memory, and decision-making. Kids will learn by experimenting with strategies and practice.

Support

The in-game teachers are helpful when assigning quests and other players can be a good resource. High scores attained in these games are displayed at the end of each game.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Math

  • patterns

Hobbies

  • board games

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • achieving goals

Collaboration

  • teamwork
  • meeting challenges together

Kids can learn thinking and reasoning skills as well as teamwork when playing Wizard 101. Combat is won by picking the right card from a deck they create, to play against the computer, and having the right wizards (other kids) in their team with strengths to complement their own. There are also mini-games that kids play in game that involve pattern matching, memory, strategy, and decision-making. While kids will spend a lot of time dueling, they will also be able to use their imagination by decorating their home and crafting.

This Learning Rating review was written by Carolyn Koh

Parents say

What's it about?

WIZARD 101 is a massively multiplayer online game where children take on the role of wizards while playing this game over the internet. Children begin by creating a character, selecting gender, hair, face, skin color, and the color of their clothing. Names are selected through a combination of first names and a two part last name. Children can take a fun quiz to determine the school of magic they are most suited for, or make the selection themselves. Then its off to Ravenswood Academy, to enroll in the various schools of magic. As young wizards, you will run errands and go on quests to earn skills and to obtain new spells, equipment, and gold to purchase more items. As a wizard, kids can use various magic spells to defeat enemies. These spells are represented in game by Trading Card Game style cards showing a graphic of the spell and icons representing the different schools of magic. Most spells will bring up some form of cartoon animal representation, such as a Fire Cat, Lightning Snake, Unicorn, etc. that actually blasts the enemy with magic clouds or sparkles. Combat is carried out by duel and each participant goes in turn. Little Wizards can also team up against enemies or jump in and assist each other. Defeated Wizards are sent back to the school and can go to the faire and play minigames to replenish their depleted health and mana (magical power). High scores attained in these games are displayed at the end of each game.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This game will appeal to children who enjoy Edward Eager or JK Rowling's magical stories. Apart from combat, little Wizards can earn enough gold in-game by playing minigames and dueling to buy new clothing, accessories, Treasure cards, as well as Houses and housing items to place in their house. As with any MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game), Wizard 101 is constantly changing because it provides regular and free updates to the game giving players more things to do. This is a fun game for parents to explore with their kids. They can even team up with their children in duels.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this online world encourages you to spend money.  For talking points, parents might want to check out Money Lessons in Online Worlds Tips.

  • Do you like playing as a fantasy avatar with others who are really other people?

  • Do you find yourself playing this game longer than you think you should? How might families set time limits?

  • Does this game remind you of Harry Potter's world?

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:Free & Subcription
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Kingsisle Entertainment, Inc.
Release date:September 2, 2008
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:E10+ for Crude Humor, Mild Fantasy Violence (Windows)

This review of Wizard 101 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 10 year old Written byldb February 25, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

The problem I have is not with the game but there is a problem that they say that they can't fix.

I added my niece to my account so that I could transfer crowns to her. We were logged into my account which said it was the master account. I was following instructions. And then we added her. The next time I attempted to buy crowns the system told me that hers is the master account and Kings Isle says there is nothing that they can do about it.

I was really angry and disappointed. If I did something wrong it was not clear to me and now I have to be concerned about a 10 year old spending crowns willy nilly if I buy any. I would just start over but I have already paid crowns for most of the areas of the game so obviously not a good solution.

I recommend against setting up a master account because of my experience with this. I asked them just to undo the connection and they say they can't. So anyone who doesn't get it right just has to live with it according to them. Very disappointing.

What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTexas-Ire March 23, 2011
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO!

Wizard101 Will allow charges to be made on any credit card info you ever use, with or without your authorization with NO REFUNDS!!! BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!

What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 10 years old Written bykirbysteel January 9, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Good for everyone 7- 100!

IT IS AWESOME! I guess the only thing bad would be you have to pay to go to new worlds.Still if you think, $10 for one month? You CAN go buy a DS WII XBOX game for around $29-$60 but it IS sort of cheap. For $50 you can get a 6 month subscription or tons of crowns. With the one month you can lvl up to around 21. My guy's name is Eric GhostStalker, add me to your friends ( I am in krockotopia right now (the second world) Over all it's a great game

What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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