November Community Day in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite ended up… very confusing, at least for players in Europe. The event started early, probably due to confusion since we went from summer to winter time, and communications were somewhat lacking. Here is my experience:
I’ve spent the night at my parents’ place, and am on the train, heading into town to participate fully in a Wizards Unite Community Day for the first time in months. All except the first Community Day have fallen on very inconvenient times for me, either because of previous commitments or sickness. No big deal, it happens, I can hardly blame the game for that.
I open Reddit, looking for tips and tricks from earlier time zones, and find a bunch of people saying that Community Day started an hour early in a lot of places in Europe. No reports from Sweden yet, it’s 10:10 here, so I open my game and check. Yes, Community Day has started.
The train is just pulling in to a platform, so I keep the game open, hoping to find some Spell Energy on the ground or some of those Ingredients for Healing Potions I desperately need.
I’ve been moving too fast, and the Map is empty for me.
Okay. No big deal, and nothing to do about it.
I turn the game off, and start planning where to go once I get into town. I moved away from this city before the game was released, so I know nothing of the good hunting grounds, and I’m not sure where there are Inns or Fortresses or anything. I extrapolate from what I know of Points of Interest in Pokemon GO, and set up a loose plan of where to try my luck.
I also regret not having asked in a local Discord if there was a group I could join. Now that I’m closing in, I feel like it would have been nice to have a group to play with, although the main reason why I didn’t was because the local groups, even for Stockholm, are so inactive that I didn’t expect a response.
Well, there’s that and my social anxiety, which we don’t need to get into.
I get off the train at Stockholm City, and open the game while I’m still far underground, hoping the GPS will find me soon, so I can see which exit will lead me closest to a Fortress.
Inns and Greenhouses pop up, then some Traces and Portkeys, and some Ingredients. Not a lot of the ones I need for Healing Potion, though. I try clicking to collect them, anyway. And start getting errors.
I try to get some Spell Energy from the Inns, and I get errors. Lost connection to the Wireless Network. Ingredient can’t be picked up right now, due to an unknown error?
Still, this happens in Pokémon GO sometimes, too, when it’s confused about my having moved too far too fast. No biggie. I close the game to give it time to cool down.
There are no Fortresses right by the station, so I go to the church nearby. I open up the game, and see that the Fortress there indicates that other people are in it, but I can’t see anyone outside the church, and I don’t go in. I did expect to play solo, though, so I enter Ruins Chamber II, as per instructions on the first task of the event. I get this error:
Okay, this is on me, I should have known better than to open the game while on a moving train. I can’t help but be put off, though, because if Community Day is only 3 hours long despite starting an hour early, I will now only be able to play for 1.5 hours.
I get back on the train, I have nothing to do in the city for half an hour, so I go out to a mall a little bit outside the city center. I don’t have high hopes. This is a sponsored Mall in Pokèmon GO, but know it will have next to no Inns, Fortresses or Greenhouses. Still, I seem to recall there’s supposed to be one Fortress close to the station.
There is, and by the time I get there, I can fight again. I start going through the Wizarding Challenges the Community Day tasks lay out for me, and I get through all of them except the last one. This is on me again, as I haven’t prepared enough Potions. I could buy some, but it is cold so I decide to cut my losses, and go inside instead.
This is where it could have ended.
I keep track of the news on Discord, where people are assuming the event will end by 1 pm, as this error is clearly due to Daylight Saving Time. Roughly 10 minutes before 1pm, the amazing Fazes (working incredibly hard at an inhuman time of day, as far as I’m concerned) posts a message acknowledging the issues.
Then things get confusing. The event ends at 1pm for me (I keep the game open to make sure), and I go have lunch. I keep half an eye on Discord, and see that we get the message that the event is to be extended until 3pm. Nice, that means I can play a bit more after lunch, and maybe even get back into town (where I need to be to catch the train back home). I barely have time to think this, however, before going into the Discord app and seeing that it will, in fact, be extended to 2pm, not 3. At the time, I assume I misread it the first time, but later I’m to find out that apparently it was edited from 3pm to 2.
Either way, I look at the game (I can’t remember the exact time this was, but it was before 2), and there is nothing. I keep the game up for a few minutes, then shrug it off and switch back to Pokémon GO (I was at a sponsored mall, after all).
Later, I was told by other Swedish players that the event did end at 1pm for everyone, not just me, and then was activated again around 1:40pm, only to run for another 20 minutes after most people had already given up and gone home. Since I’m one of the people who mostly gave up, I can’t confirm the exact timeline for the events in the hour between 1-2pm, but in a way, I feel like that’s irrelevant. Most players don’t keep track of the channels where Niantic’s messages go out (Discord and Reddit, in this case). So when the event ended at 1pm, many people assumed that was it. And many of those people only got 2 hours of play in, since they started playing at 11am, unaware that the event had started an hour earlier.
Lessons to learn
What I should take away from this day:
- Do not open the game while on the train!
- Stock up with a lot more Potions for any event that includes Wizarding Challenges.
- Try harder to get in contact with local players, because it’s more fun to play together!
What Niantic should take away from this day:
- Daylight Saving Time is confusing, but well worth to keep track of (I know it’s difficult, I’ve lived with it for 31 years, and I still get confused).
- Quick fixes sound good, but are difficult to implement. The extra hour was not a full hour, and most players seem to have missed it. A make-up day for the affected areas might have been the better option here. (Editor’s note: this might still happen. Stay tuned).
- Communication. Again, I place no blame on Fazes, she does a wonderful job with what she has, but players should not have to rely on Discord and Reddit to get this kind of critical information. At least utilize Twitter and Facebook, if an in-game announcement cannot be made.
All in all, my own personal experience of Community Day was more or less as expected. I didn’t find local players at any of the locations I went to, so I ended up soloing – which worked, but I lost out on the extra Challenge XP I could have gotten. I managed most of the tasks, and got most of the rewards, and I’m happy with that. I would have liked more Wormwood, but I could have looked for Ingredients much harder than I did.
However. The community is, understandably, not pleased, and I agree that the initial mistake (the early start time) and the fix (the extra “hour”) as well as communications (nothing in game, or official channels like Twitter or Facebook) leaves a lot to be desired.
I do want to bring up some positive things as well. This Community Day was fun, when it worked. The tasks were not impossible, even for me as a solo player (I would have gotten the last task done if I had had enough Potions), and the rewards and the Complimentary Gift were amazing. I had more Spell Energy when the event was over than I had when it began, and that despite barely touching any Inns for the duration of the event. Since Spell Energy farming is not the most fun aspect of the game, and one I normally have to spend a fair bit of time on, this was amazing.
All in all, had it not been for the time zone mistake, I would have had absolutely no complaints.
What did you think of Community Day?