A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wizard 101 is a downloadable massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for kids set in a fantasy world involving wizards on Windows PCs. Players duel using magic spells, some with crude humor referencing farts. Wizard 101 is COPPA compliant and there are several ways to pay for this game. The initial download is free and there are free areas to try out, but players are enticed them to spend money on fun vanity items and exclusive content. Access to content can be gained with in-game currency (bought with real-world cash) or subscription; family plan subscriptions cost $6.95 per month (per account) and general subscriptions go for $9.95/month. Players can also opt for six-month or yearly subscriptions at $49.95 and $79.95, respectively. Game gift cards are available at various retail outlets, and parents can use these to create reward systems for kids. Cartoon violence is included as players duel each other and fight monsters with spells, but defeated enemies disappear.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
WIZARD 101 is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) where players get to become wizards. Players can customize everything about their wizard, including their gender, hair and skin color. Kid-friendly online handles are generated by players choosing from combinations of predetermined names. Players choose their “school” (field of magical study based on things like fire, ice, storm, and death), then begin their careers at Ravenswood Academy. Players go on quests, searching for items and fighting monsters to gain items, gold, spells, and experience. Turn-based combat involves trading spells with opponents (monsters while exploring: other players when dueling) in a trading card game style. In addition to questing, players can duel, garden, fish, craft items, play mini-games, enter derby races, and own and decorate their own dorm rooms and homes. Since the game's 2008 launch, the game's grown from four to thirteen worlds for players to explore, and a recent graphics update brings the game up to a higher standard of artistic polish.
Is it any good?
This month marks the online wizard school's tenth anniversary, and it's come a long way since it began. In addition to introducing new locations, Wizard 101's added tons of new items, stories, and activities for kids to enjoy. Kid wizards get to explore cool themed worlds offering glimpses of Ancient Egypt, Steampunk Space, the Middle Ages, the African savannah, a rival school (Pigswick Academy), and more. These fun, colorful locations are designed for maximum adventure and include complex four-player dungeons full of challenging bosses and narrative surprises. Though playing alone is totally possible, group play is easy because players can automatically join one another's battles. The community as a whole is friendly and helpful to new players, but if it has an off day, players can rely on a strict profanity filter and “block” settings to protect their enjoyment.
Higher levels can require lots of repetitive resource farming (for gold, gear, and crafting materials), which can tempt players to spend lots of real-world cash to minimize this boredom. Still, there's tons to do. Kids who get tired of questing can spend hours crafting items, improving their homes and gardens, or enjoying the two latest additions to the game, Monstrology (the collection of various monster essences) and Photomancy (taking screenshots and character selfies). Even better, the game underwent a complete graphic overhaul this summer and looks better than ever. Magic-loving kids will love Wizard 101, and parents looking for a good value in quality, kid-friendly entertainment will be hard-pressed to find something better.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Hobbies: board games
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy
Creativity: imagination, making new creations
Self-Direction: achieving goals, identifying strengths and weaknesses
Collaboration: meeting challenges together, teamwork
- Price: Free & Subcription
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free (Game can be played for free, but there's also subscription options that range from $6.95 a month per account for family plans, $9.95 a month for standard subscriptions, six months for $49.95, and yearly subscriptions for $79.95.)
- 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
Themes & Topics
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