Wizards Unite map is built on top of the same location data used in Pokemon GO and Ingress. The map is much more lively than it is in Pokemon GO, with brooms, postal letters and owls flying across the map. There are a few key areas and object types on the map:
- Inns – Allows players to pick up food items that refill your spell energy. Looks like a vertical inn with a chimney. 5 minute cooldown.
- Greenhouses – Allows players to pick up potion ingredients. 5 minute cooldown. Potion ingredients can also be found on the ground.
- Landmark – Open area that is more likely to spawn a particular type of Foundable. Marked with a flag that highlights the affected area.
- Foundables – Magical encounters shielded by a Confoundable magic. Can be encountered throughout the map. Symbolized by a semi-transparent icon on the map.
The map also reflects all regular real world features: streets, parks, landmarks, water beds, etc. Certain foundables are more likely to be found in particular locations (school-related Foundables near schools, etc). When your character moves fast, he / she will fly around on a broom instead of running.
We’ve analysed all of the promotional images showing the in-game map and we think we cracked most of the featured locations. Given the early state of these images and the fact that we don’t know a lot about the game, this is all based on speculation. This analysis was also heavily influenced by this reddit thread written by a player who used to live in SF and who recognized the location.
Comparison with Pokemon GO and Ingress
Niantic uses the same proprietary, user-submitted map of interesting locations around the world in all of its games–Pokemon GO and Ingress included.
The map contains all POIs (Point of Interest) that were submitted through Ingress’ Portal submission mechanism and approved for inclusion. The POIs are validated against a set of rules known as the Candidate Portal criteria. The map is a part of Niantic’s Real World Platform (RWP), a platform that powers the entire lineup of Niantic’s modern AR games:
- Ingress Prime
- Pokemon GO
- Wizards Unite
The connection between Ingress, Pokemon GO, and RWP was well known since RWP debuted. Recently Beuttenmüller confirmed that Wizards Unite is also based on the platform:
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be based on our platform, so we will have to deal with the same locations as in the case of Ingress or Pokemon Go. This is our platform, our database on which we base games, including Harry Potter. However, I can not go into any details, including gameplay mechanics.Gram, interview
What does this mean for you? A lot. Every location that is filled with Poke Stops (or Portals if you’re an Ingress player) will also be filled with a Wizards Unite equivalent.
Submitting new locations to Wizards Unite map
Naturally, more locations in RWP means more fun for the local player base, therefore there is always a lot of interest in submitting new locations to the database. Currently, the only way to submit new POIs is to play Ingress and reach level 10. Ingress L10 players can submit new Portal Candidates and add new locations to the game.
More advanced players can reach Level 12 and participate in Operation Portal Recon, a crowd-sourced POI reviewing platform exclusively available for Ingress L12 players.
A Pokemon GO submission system is also in the works, but there is no news about that topic as of yet.
Will there be third-party Wizards Unite maps?
No one, including us, knows that yet. The game is not even in Beta yet, and there is no way of saying how important the in-game map will be. Pokemon GO maps were widespread because Pokemon GO featured location-specific encounters and an intricate mechanism of collecting strong, rarely-seen Pokemon. As Wizards Unite mechanics are not yet known, there is no way of saying if there will be any third-party maps available.
The information outlined here was confirmed by Anne Beuttenmüller, Niantic’s Head of Product Marketing in the EMEA region, in an interview with the Polish magazine Gram. The same interview hints that Wizards Unite is to be released by the end of 2018, so it’s worth checking out our analysis on that: Niantic Says a 2018 Release for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite