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

  • strategy
  • decision-making

Creativity

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • identifying strengths and weaknesses

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

  • imagination
  • making new creations

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • identifying strengths and weaknesses

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

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

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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; OK 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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Kid, 10 years old 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
Adult Written byCedric_Cross August 13, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

PARENTS. PLEASE READ THIS. I AM BEING AS CLEAR AS I CAN.

Now, I see a lot of people posting in here, and I assume it's over the mess of parents thinking this, kids arguing that. I will say a few things you should definitely know. 1. The only negative content you will ever see in this game will be from the players themselves. Despite the strictest word filter I have ever seen -seriously, you can't even type in numbers or months- most people will try to bypass it with words that sound similar. Some people are just flat out rude and it happens. But as for game content, if you take it for what it is, a silly, clumsy kids game about fairy tale magics, then you have nothing to fear, it comes down to letting your kids play the stories you heard as a child, in spirit. (Now that being said, please allow them to say they are 13+ years old. The only thing it does is allow them to chat freely instead of using pre-made notes, which would just agitate you or your child in the long run. No one says just "no" to an unwanted friendship, they usually say no and why, for example (I can't tell you how many people I have to shrug off because I didn't even get to know them before they randomly sw me in town and bombarded me). And don't worry, even free chat is filtered.) 2. Credit card information. Please.... don't blame a company for taking payments from someone who's essentially a bag of money with the word "YES" coming out of its' mouth. It cannot be proven who took the card and used it. It is your responsibility to keep your credit info safe from not just the obvious threat of internet identity thieves, but your children as well. You need to teach them about the value money has in this world, and in real life you can't play around to get it. And while we're still on this subject.... How dare you people complain that you have to pay to play. Do you have any idea how much it costs in power, server space, paying a creative team and debugging? (Let alone many other things) This game runs 24/7/365. And you are given free updates. You can even play free to get used to it before deciding to pay for it. And 10 USD a month is nothing compared to some games. If it's too much for you, then don't pick this or any other online game up. If you can't find yourself supporting a company, then you don't need to be using their products. 3. Many of you complain about bugs that cause you to crash. Yeah they can be fixed, but until then, they can also be avoided with a bit of common sense. Now, sometimes... you'll open a gate to a new area on one character, and somehow it's also open to another character who hasn't done that quest yet. Well... it's obviously a bug. Don't enter it yet. Or else the game will wonder why you got in without doing your quests, and crash. Or being on a different world then trying to teleport to your room. You're in a completely different set of maps. It can't load them up without being in that world. Common sense. So send them a mass amount of emails, from all your friends and yourself, it may seem counterproductive, but that's how developers know what to change, is by seeing a trend. Enough complaints, enough reason to fix/change. 4.Entertaining? Why yes it is. This game, when I first joined, literally kept me awake and connected all night. Thank god it was my day off the following morning. While only allowing for one class, a wizard, they have more than ,made up for that with a myriad of subclasses that dictate which spells you can use. Meaning there's still a diverse mixtur of offensive, defensive, support, etc. So to any other MMORPG players, this game may come off as childish, but it's still built like the best in terms of gameplay quality. THe entire game isn't even about fighting. You'll find yourself spending a long time exploring every corner of the worlds, collecting items, playing hide and seek with NPCs, crafting stronger parts, designnig a home, the list goes on. Even your pet has a huge list of thnigs it can do if you take the time to raise it. And the best part? This game is LONG. It takes a large sum of time to level up, complete quests, etc. There is no easy way out without exploiting a bug. Leveling will take hours per level, battles actually take planning and player cooperation, buying that new staff or chaging your armor colors will takes saving up. All of this in a bright and colorful interactive world, floating in the middle of nowhere. All in all..... yeah, if you can spare 10 USD a month, or 7 USD/family member, then it can be a wonderful experience and a game that can bring a family closer together, while still beign educational. But seriously, try before you buy, and keep your cards safe, as with anything.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
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

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