Players have many (often conflicting) opinions on ways to improve Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Some players would like to see changes to make the game easier while others want to see more of a challenge.
In this guest post, Andolov analyzes some popular suggestions to improve Wizards Unite. In addition, he offers possible solutions to reengage players without deviating from the overall concept of the game.
Wizards Unite Players are Bored
For a lot of Wizards Unite players, the game has become more boring, with very few in-game goals to pursue. Much of this can be attributed to the introduction of the Repeat Image Collection (RIC) system. This update adjusted the number of Fragments needed to place an Image on a Registry page, for both the Exploration Registry and the Challenge Registry.
The changes for the Exploration Registry made a lot of sense at the time. Players struggled to prestige pages due to the rarity of Severe-threat and Emergency-threat Foundables. Few players could reach gold frames outside of Community Days. However, when the HPWU team implemented this update, they also made it easier to find rare Foundables on the Map, essentially fixing the problem twice.
On the other hand, the change for the Challenge Registry didn’t make much sense for many players, since it vastly shortened the time needed to prestige pages.
For example, look at the Registry page Wands of Dumbledore’s Army I. This page has 4 Images. Prior to the Challenge Registry update, a player needed to win 220 Wizarding Challenges using only Level 5 Runestones to place a single Image on a gold frame on this page. That was assuming perfect RNG, with no repeated Images.
Now a player only needs to win 23 Wizarding Challenges using only Level 5 Runestones to reach the same achievement. In addition, players can save Images for the next prestige, making the overall task easier.
Over a year after the introduction of the RIC system, and the reduction of the Fragments needed to prestige, players are seeing the effects on the life of the game. Many long-time players, and even some newer players, have all Registry pages completed at gold, with nothing to do besides playing the events. We no longer have in-game goals to achieve. While the addition of Adversaries briefly alleviated this issue, some players already have the entire Feared Adversaries Registry prestiged on gold frames.
If you enjoy the grind of the game itself, you can still keep returning Foundables and playing events, especially with the chance to earn Gold Gifts to trade with other players. However, the accumulation of in-game Gold eventually becomes pointless as well. Once you have sufficient Vault capacity, what else do you really need?
Gold for renting Cauldrons and brewing Potions? Not much point when you don’t need any Registry Images because everything is green-starred on gold.
Gold for buying Dark Detectors? Same issue. Why bother attracting rare Foundables you no longer need.
With the introduction of 1920s Wizarding World Convergences, players do need to Gold for Silver Keys. However, that is also a temporary situation. Once players prestige the new Registry pages to gold frames, they will again have no need for in-game Gold.
In regards to Wizarding Challenges, many who still do these regularly are not pursuing Spell Books, Challenge Fragments, Wizarding XP, or Family XP. Players with all gold frames keep doing Wizarding Challenges because of the community. We have fun playing with a coordinated team and teaching newer players how to be better.
Unfortunately, even dedicated players get frustrated by the workaround beacon strategy to find Friends, plus the unpredictable connection issues. The Knight Bus could be so much better, and its ongoing issues remain unaddressed by the HPWU developers.
Frequent Suggestions to Improve Wizards Unite
Keep in mind that any proposal to share with the HPWU developers needs to work with the current game mechanics. In addition, any suggestion for improvement cannot just be a short-term solution. This means that it addresses the main issue and helps keep players engaged.
First of all, we need to recognize that Wizards Unite is a mobile game. That means this game is not meant to have an end point, it will get updates, and we will keep playing indefinitely.
Based on this, let’s analyze some of the most common proposals to see if they will provide long-term solutions to Wizards Unite.
Solution 1: Higher Prestige Levels (Platinum, Diamond, Onyx, etc.)
Players will start chasing Foundables again to prestige their pages, with even higher numbers of Fragments to collect. However, this solution has a core game design issue, and it only offers a short-term solution. also once you finish your green star there you will have the same problem.
Game Design Issue
Right now the Prestige Level (frame color) is linked to RIC. At a higher Prestige Level, you earn better rewards for placing Images. For example, by placing an Exploration Challenge Fragment (ECF) you have the following results:
|Prestige Level||Fragments Required||FXP||FXP/Fragments||Improvement vs last level|
Why does this present a problem?
Any new Prestige Level would need to follow this same rule. That means it would have an improvement of around 60% on the FXP/Fragments ratio. Which means no matter how many Challenge Fragments are needed to place an Image, you will get around 77 FXP per Fragment required for the first new Prestige Level.
At a certain point, the increase in FXP per Fragment will break the game mechanics. Your return on investment (ROI) for your Runestones will be too high. While the game can support one additional Prestige Level, a second additional Prestige Level will result in players earning over 100 FXP per Fragment placed. Then you will be in a loop of earning more Runestones than you need.
This same issue is translated to Traces. At a certain point, you will earn too much FXP, resulting in an almost endless supply of Trace Charm charges. Sure, this doesn’t seem so bad as a player, but if our current issue is that we have nothing to do because everything is already done, then this would only exasperate the problem.
Adding more Prestige Levels solves the issue of having something to do for a few months. But once you are again at the max Prestige Level, with everything a green star, what then? Continuing to add more and more Prestige Levels is not a sustainable solution, and it doesn’t actually fix the issue that players have.
While this does seem like an easy solution without having to add new content, ultimately too many Prestige Levels could break other game mechanics because of how the game works.
Solution 2: A Higher Max Level
Adding levels beyond 60 is another common proposal to improve Wizards Unite. This would be simple to implement by creating new Wizarding XP thresholds for each new level.
Before SOS Training, I would have agreed that new levels would solve the issue of player boredom momentarily, lasting for at least a year. Prior to SOS Training, every 5 levels you earned a boost on your minimum and maximum return chances on every Foundable. Therefore, reaching a higher level gave a big incentive.
Right now, after level 50 there is not really any benefit to keep going. After that, each level does not grant you any new special ability, capacity, or anything. Therefore, simply adding levels would lead to pointless grinding unless those levels work towards something.
Personally, I think we should get new levels at some point. However, the new levels should work as requirements for something else in Wizards Unite. Ideally, they would relate to new nodes in SOS Training, or even a new skill tree, like Calamity Essentials IV.
If new levels unlock new SOS Training, this is not a solution that can be implemented quickly. It will require more time and effort from the HPWU developers to be a meaningful update.
Solution 3: A Leaderboard
This is the last solution I usually encounter on Facebook or in Discord. However, this common solution presents 2 problems:
- Against the Cooperative Core of the Game: This game is in essence a cooperative game, which means a leaderboard of Player vs Player does not necessarily match with the essence of the game.
- Incentives: Usually a Leaderboard should have some incentives to participate, play a lot, and try to get the best places. These incentives come as rewards, but with the current system, what can Wizards Unite actually give that the hardcore game players need? Would a pack of Silver Keys, Dark Marks, Dark Detectors, or Gold be a sufficient incentive for someone that is done with everything else? Besides bragging rights, I can’t see a good reason why a Leaderboard would revitalize the game for most players.
Practical Solutions to Improve Wizards Unite
What can the HPWU developers do to improve Wizards Unite?
Unless our proposal is an overhaul of the current game (and not likely to be considered), it needs to work with the current system of the game. This is:
- a cooperative game
- a Map that provides Traces, Ingredients, Portkeys, etc.
- the RIC system
- Wizarding Challenges
- a balance in rewards versus effort
In addition, any proposal needs to considers the experience of a new player. Any proposal shouldn’t make it impossible for new players to eventually catch up.
Proposal 1: New Pages in the Exploration Registry
Difficulty to implement: Easy
Adding new pages to the Exploration Registry automatically fixes the issue of players needing something to do. We saw this with the new Forbidden Forest II page, which resulted in widespread player excitement. However, new Registry pages also come with some unintended consequences that will need to be addressed.
When Wizards Unite debuted in 2019, the Legends of Hogwarts Family had just 3 pages, with just 3 Exploration Challenge Foundables (ECF). Later in 2019, Room of Requirement V and Yule Ball Great Hall were added to the game, resulting in 5 total ECFs.
Later in 2020, when the Hogwarts Grounds page was added, players started encountering a big issue with the ECFs. With 6 total ECFs in the Legends of Hogwarts Family, players struggle to find the exact ECF we need.
If the HPWU developers add new Registry pages using the current system, each page will become harder and harder to prestige, because now the pool is diluted with more ECFs each time.
With this in the mind, the proposal needs to go beyond just adding new pages. We need a way to add them while keeping the balance through both the Fortress and the Map.
To do this, each month should feature multiple boosted Registry pages, with a limit of 1 page per Foundable Family. These could be boosted on the Map and with Tonic for Trace Detection, or just with Tonic. In addition, the boost applies to Wizarding Challenges. Players will have a fixed percentage of receiving that page’s ECF when using that Runestone.
Here’s an example of what this might look like in a single month.
- Boosted pages: Forbidden Forest II, Hogwarts Grounds, Oddities V.
- When using a Care of Magical Creatures Runestone, players have a 25% base chance of earning a Baby Phoenix.
- When using a Legends of Hogwarts Runestone, players have a 25% base chance of earning an Unfinished Marauder’s Map.
With a rotation of monthly boosted pages, no matter how many pages a Foundable Family has, players will always have a month where it is reasonable to seek specific Foundables.
The specific details (number of pages boosted, Tonic exclusive or not, base percentage for earning a specific ECF, etc.) can all be tweaked by the HPWU developers according to their own expectations. The basic idea is to create a system that allows new pages without making impossible to find the specific Foundables due to too many options.
Proposal 2: Guilds or Orders
Difficulty to implement: Medium/Hard
Wizards Unite is a cooperative game, however so far that aspect is limited to playing Wizarding Challenges in a group of 2-5 or doing Dark Detectors together. If Wizards Unite adds Guilds or Orders to the game, that would be another cooperative aspect for players to do missions together to earn rewards.
The HPWU developers have a lot of flexibility in implementing a Guild system. Missions could include working together to fight big types of “Adversaries,” unlocking Fortress Chambers that are exclusive to players from the same Guild, etc.
This solution takes a lot more time to develop, but it could also enrich the game a lot more because it also puts the community together, which is really a strength of this game.
The big challenge of a solution like this is not from the part of the developers, but more from the community itself. Since each Guild would need to have a fixed max number of members, players might struggle to decide which Guild to join, especially since so many of us participate in multiple Wizards Unite communities. However, aside from the initial chaos involved in a process like that, Guilds could be a good feature to have.
In addition, this is an opportunity to add a Leaderboard to rank the progress of each Guild. This would add a competitive aspect between the Guilds while still maintaining the core tenet of player cooperation.
Proposal 3: Cosmetic Features
Difficulty to implement: Easy/Medium
One challenge with game design and the addition of new content is balancing existing content with new content. However, one type of content doesn’t have this issue, and that is cosmetic features such as avatar customization.
Wizards Unite already includes this with Ministry ID customizations. However, this is limited by two problems. One, the Ministry ID is only visible to us, so we can’t share it with the rest of our friends. Two, we don’t check our Ministry ID often enough to pay attention to it.
However, both the Niantic game Pokémon GO and the WB game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery provide a different option. These games include a customizable avatar. Players can change their avatar’s hair color, hairstyle, outfit, and more.
The HPWU developers could add customizable avatars to Wizards Unite. Players could earn exclusive outfits and more the way we currently earn titles and badges. In addition, this could add a good source of revenue if Wizards Unite also sells exclusive items. Players won’t see this as a cash grab because the items are merely cosmetic.
A customizable avatar would require a big change in how our witch or wizard is shown on the Map, plus how it is shown when checking the Ministry IDs of our Friends. This is a feature that wouldn’t impact the current gameplay in any way, but it could add to the overall enjoyment of the game.
Proposal 4: New Foes and Fortress Levels
Difficulty to implement: Hard
Adding new Foes and Fortress Levels is a change that many players want to see (including me). The one big challenge would be adding new lesson plans that make sense without breaking the game in other places.
Proposal 5: Arcade Fortressing
Difficulty to implement: Medium
Another feature they could add is an arcade system to Wizarding Challenges. You enter with your team, and you start encountering Foe after Foe until the time runs out. You start with the classic 10 minutes from Dark V, and every time you defeat a Foe, the timer adds 10 seconds. Then, once the Chamber runs out of time, the rewards you earn depend on the number of Foes defeated. This is also an opportunity to add Adversaries to the Wizarding Challenges with extra time.
An arcade system would work even better with new pages added to the Challenges Registry. These Fragments could be exclusive to Wizarding Challenges done in the arcade system, giving players a new goal to pursue.
Wizards Unite needs new features, or players will continue to leave.
Players want new features that offer new goals to pursue and that keep us engaged for years to come. However, any new features need to maintain the balance of the game and to work within the current system of the game. Otherwise, the game will run the risk of getting stuck, or it will require yet another overhaul to bring new content.
I hope this article helps to elucidate a little more about the challenges of adding new features that work with the existing game design, as well as some possible solutions that could work to enhance Wizards Unite.
You can support Andolov’s game strategy research directly on Patreon.
What do you think about these suggestions to improve Wizards Unite? Do you have any ideas to add? Leave a comment here, on Twitter, or on Facebook. I read all comments, even if I can’t respond to all of them.
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