A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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'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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Platforms: Windows
- Subjects: Hobbies: board games
Language & Reading: following directions, reading
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, identifying strengths and weaknesses
Collaboration: meeting challenges together, teamwork
Creativity: imagination, making new creations
Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy
- Price: Free & Subcription
- Available online? 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.