Over the past week, I have led a group of community leaders to create an action plan in response to the current state of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Together, we wrote the following letter to Niantic and WB Games.
Note: This letter has slightly been modified for blog formatting, just as the graphic was slightly modified for readability on social media. You can find those graphics at the end of this letter. You can read the original letter here.
Open Letter to HPWU Team
Dear Niantic and WB Games,
The Wizards Unite community would like to express its ongoing frustration with multiple decisions made by the HPWU team. Generally speaking, we would like the HPWU developers to prioritize bug fixes over events and new features, and we would like to see better communication from the HPWU team.
Wizards Unite Has Too Many Bugs
For many players, the bugs, event design, and other issues in Wizards Unite make the game difficult, if not near-impossible, to play. These problems include:
- Adventure Sync is broken for many Android users. UPDATE 09/22/2021: Since publishing this, several iOS users have reported that Adventure Sync doesn’t work for them either.
- All distance-tracking is broken for many Android users.
- A WiFi connection is required to open the app.
- The Minneapolis and Saint Paul area is missing POIs.
- Players are kicked out of Adversary Encounters.
- The in-game Map is vastly out-of-date, resulting in many players having nonexistent Map activity at home. While Tonic for Trace Detection helps with this, players are stuck during events. Players can’t pick up items from the Map that never appear. For Adversary Events, players are required to use their limited supply of Edible Dark Marks, or purchase more, in order to complete tasks. In addition, Tonic for Trace Detection does not give sufficient event Traces, preventing many players from completing tasks.
- RNG is too unbalanced, while event tasks have required a greater quantity of specific RNG results.
- Players with disabilities cannot make Great spell casts, hindering their progress in Brilliant Events.
- Opening Spell Energy Gifts causes the app to crash.
- There is an error that kicks a player out of the Knight Bus when using a Potion and trying to click through the animation.
- Players are kicked out of the Knight Bus unexpectedly.
- Beta players still cannot collect Mystery Items. This bug has expanded to include other players, who have been unable to progress on these Achievements for months.
Communication is Insufficient
Players should not need to rely on Wizards Unite influencers to keep up with Wizards Unite news. At the moment, official HPWU communication is limited.
- The HPWU Twitter only announces event dates and artwork, plus player retweets.
- The HPWU Facebook only announces event dates and forum posts.
- The HPWU forum is difficult to navigate, iOS players can’t even access it, and responses from the HPWU team are limited.
- There is not a Community Manager posting on reddit or Discord.
- The in-game SOS Report doesn’t provide information on known issues.
Top Priorities for Change
Based on these complaints, these are the community’s top five priorities–what we would like to see from the HPWU team:
- Fix bugs
- Improve communication, especially with in-game announcements
- Expand Map activity with updated data, eliminating dead zones
- Rebalance RNG of Map activity, Tonic for Trace Detection, and Edible Dark Marks, especially during events
- Delay events (excluding Brilliant Events) as needed until bugs are fixed
While the Wizards Unite community would like to see many changes to the game, we want to be realistic with our immediate expectations. As already stated, what we want most is for the HPWU developers to prioritize bug fixes, and for the HPWU team to communicate more effectively.
Wizards Unite players understand the technical challenges in fixing bugs. We also acknowledge possible limitations to official branded communications because Harry Potter has strict IP guidelines. However, we believe the HPWU team can do more to incorporate player feedback.
We propose two primary solutions:
- Limit events and new features until game-breaking bugs are fixed. Two Brilliant Events and one Adversary Event each month are more than sufficient to keep the story moving while developers work on bug fixes.
- Communicate updates more often, even if it’s just a public acknowledgement of issues. These need to be public standalone posts, not just replies to comments or direct messages.
Long-term, we propose four additional solutions:
- Expand Map activity with updated data, eliminating dead zones. Update the in-game Map with correct roads, POIs, etc. Expand POI radius to compensate for incorrect in-game placement and inaccurate GPS.
- Make events more doable for all players by rebalancing RNG and doing more extensive play-testing, particularly outside of an urban area. Specifically, RNG should be rebalanced so that even with bad luck, players can still find the necessary quantity of boosted Foundables and/or Adversaries.
- Do more extensive QA and play-testing of new features before releasing them, even if that means delaying their release.
- Create a way for players to coordinate on the Knight Bus, instead of relying on the workaround “beacon” strategy.
We understand changes like this take time to discuss internally. As such, we look forward to your reply by Wednesday, October 6, 2021.
The Wizards Unite Community
Brita of Witches Unite and Wizards Unite Hub (NDA with WB/Niantic)
James of XpectoGO (NDA with WB/Niantic)
HerrKnüps, German Wizards Unite YouTuber (NDA with WB/Niantic)
Prof Lynette of Wizard PhD (NDA with WB/Niantic)
OrangeWizard (NDA with WB/Niantic)
Sigyn of HPWU surveys
Mark of Zealman’s Wizarding World and The Taskforce Times
Professor Voqas, Wizards Unite YouTuber
Shana Leigh, Wizards Unite YouTuber
Valki, Wizards Unite YouTuber
Sue of XpectoGO
LatinWizards, translator for Wizards Unite Hub
TinBudapest, moderator of Wizards Unite Hub Discord server
Kitzen, moderator of Wizards Unite Hub Discord server
Mert, moderator of Wizards Unite Hub Discord server
Elsie73, moderator of Wizards Unite Hub Discord server
TalathF, moderator of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Discord server
StephA75, moderator/admin of multiple HPWU online communities
Cindy Wolf, moderator of multiple HPWU online communities
PsychoCPA, moderator of multiple HPWU Discord servers
If you would like to share this letter on your own social media platforms, we also have this letter in simple graphics. You are welcome to download these. They are designed without signatures. Use the hashtags #HearUsNiantic #HearUsWB #WizardsUnited
The same group of 20 people has opted against organizing a boycott at this time. We are looking at different nonprofits that serve the global community. Once we choose a nonprofit to support, we will announce that, along with a schedule of charity livestream events. This fundraiser will go through the end of October.
While a boycott is not off the table at some point in the future, for now we would rather organize to do good in the world.
For a slight behind-the-scenes look at putting this letter together, check out my video. I read through the open letter to Niantic and WB Games, and then I explain the twofold purpose of the letter, plus the decision-making process on what to include.
Stay updated by following Wizards Unite Hub on social media.