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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wizard101: The End?

Wizard101

Even today, I like to trick myself into thinking that by purchasing Wizard101 with crowns, I'm buying those areas forever. But, when Wizard101 is no longer a profitable enterprise, it will go. And all of my money with it. We all assume and hope that it won't be any time soon, but recent signs seem to prove otherwise. Will Wizard101 shatter like glass?

There are three telling signs to me that Wizard101 is nearing a close. But let's take it...

From the Top

J. Todd Coleman left KingsIsle not long ago. While the reasoning was his being ready to move on to begin working on another game, I'm not sure that's all it was.

KingsIsle/Wizard101/Pirate101's J. Todd Coleman
This is apparently very common in gaming. The original creators or project leads end up leaving because they don't like the direction of the project - and let's face it, good or bad, the direction of Wizard101 has changed. If you don't want to take my word for it, just look in-game.

As Nicholas Lionrider mentioned, everyone in Azteca died according to the story, in a game where there were never to be any deaths. And how about the difficulty level? Not exactly ideal for that ten-year-old audience. But for a lot of this, this was an exciting twist. Turns out not everything is a happily ever after. And an increase in difficulty? Ideal for the crowd that sticks around long enough to play areas like Azteca, right?

But what if that wasn't J. Todd Coleman's intention at all? Was the game getting a bit too extreme? Perhaps Coleman was unsatisfied and left under the guise of creating a new game. That's not to say that he won't, of course. It just serves as a perfect excuse, doesn't it?

Another example? How about Electronic Arts and their recent decline in popularity as CEO John Riccitiello stepped down. It has been said that KingsIsle may go the same way.

To the Critics

Of course, whenever the end of Wizard101 is discussed, the fact that J. Todd Coleman said something about years of more adventures always seems to come up. I tracked down that quote, posted on October 24, 2012:
New W101 world announced - Azteca, lost world of the Aztecasaurs! Don't worry -- we have *years* of new adventures planned for Wizard101 !
Source: FB post HERE. Sure. But like any plural, years can mean as few as three... or two. Or, it could be many, many more. But even more importantly, look at the time frame in which new content has been released recently. 

Azteca was released last November. Since then, we've gotten some PvP updates and fixes... a three-dungeon expansion... and then, for the most part, new crown shop items have been passed off as major updates. But no new world. Not anything even really close. 

Wizard101 Floating Mountain Concept Art

In years past, we were getting as three new worlds a year. In 2011, for example, we saw the release of Wintertusk, Wysteria, and Zafaria. Those were the titles of the Game Updates, not "Misc. Updates" or something similar. In 2009, we got Dragonspyre, Voiceovers, PvP, Housing, Grizzleheim, the Bazaar, crafting, mounts, and school housing.

Now the rate has slowed. In the past many months, it's been new bundles and hoard packs. That's not a bad thing, just another sign, but one that I'll visit later on.

J. Todd Coleman's Game Vision: A Thing of the Past?

Coleman was always, in my opinion, a model leader for anyone in the gaming industry. But perhaps it was his own visions that led to the success that Wizard101 sees today.
I believe that nothing in the world is more powerful than having a powerful vision, and the relentless drive to make it happen. If you really love doing something, you won't need a lot of convincing -- it won't feel like work, it will feel natural.
KingsIsle/Wizard101/Pirate101's J. Todd Coleman

On January 25th of 2013, Coleman announced his leave from KingsIsle, saying:
... I have decided to leave KingsIsle and pursue my own course. This might sound crazy – and, full disclosure, it probably is – but it is something that I have to do. ... What is next for me? I’m a storyteller, so I will keep doing what I do best – dream up ideas, breathe life into characters, build worlds for you to explore… only next time, I want to do it for myself. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. A new company, a new game, a new story…
Some people's worry is that something left with him. Perhaps something did, but I believe Coleman's vision still exists. I think Wizard101 still has plenty of potential. I'm just not sure how much longer it'll live that out. But JTC's leave is only the beginning...

The End?

This mini-series has a few more posts before it's finished... but what about the game? Do you think it's coming to and end? On its way out? Or just getting started?

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

24 comments:

  1. I agree. J Todd Coleman leaving might have been a large turning point for the things I think KI could get away with, they still stick to a child friendly game in some aspects but I think the community as a whole has just been more "mature"? It still has a kind of friendly feel but in reality both games are going to a more dark side in story and overall feel. Azteca was the start for death in W101 and I am worried with the climax to Morganthe approaching...will Azteca be the only world with death we see? Pirate101 also has quite a few darker things they have added lately. With the talk of new worlds approaching we see full out war with Marleybone, as well as jails, prisoners and orphans in various areas throughout the game. This is just P101 as we know it now. Darkmoor, Polaris and Rajah seem like more adult worlds that seem to be larger and have a deep story that have things that might not be in Todd's original ideas. Wizard101 might be coming to an end I assume after one more arch. When the company sees more value in their other games. With only one other released, I think they are promised a good 3 years before they can release another and keep the other importing money. From there we might see a hault in worlds for Wizard101 but by then we will be seeing other games by them arrive. Wizard101 will probably still keep updates from time to time I could see with mounts that are for the other games, or dungeons but nothing too serious like worlds. Wizards is a start for 101 franchise but I think with the small engine it has now, they are better off working on new systems with their more complex games.

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  2. Merciless TrevorJuly 24, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Honestly, I liked the dark ending to Azteca. It's a really good twist instead of just saving that world. I hope KI does what Don Bluth did in his animated movies: As long as you include a happy ending in the story (or story arc in KI's case), you can kill off main characters, create nightmare inducing monsters, and make your audience cry into fetal position in sadness.

    Also, I think Wizard101 still has some life in it, so won't die off for a long time. To estimate how long, I'm going to say about at the end of the third-arc will be the end of it, around the 150th level. Keep in mind, KI is an indie company who has two games running. They are their own publishers and developers and aren't some large company like Bethesda or Ubisoft; indie companies also have their own problems to deal with. IMO, I think KI is going through a rough patch, I think that they'll get over it soon.

    Look on the bright side, maybe the lack of major game updates this year is because KI is planning something REALLY BIG for W101, for all we know

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  3. I would never call KI "indie", sure they were a new company at the time but they had a lot of experienced members to start off. It became wildly popular and can't really still be considered indie with 200+ employees and two offices. I am going to say around the end of the third arch too. And I can promise you the reason we haven't had an update in a while is the huge expansion with the final Morganthe world. I still assume we will see it in Sept. since they like to release worlds when we go back to work/school.

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  4. I hope it doesn't end. I'd lose my awesome friends and everything. ALL THE TIME. I:

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  5. I have to agree with some other posters that I liked the ending of Azteca. It was a smart twist (as well as punning off of the end of the dinosaurs), and just set this mood of wanting vengeance in the PC (even if the actual Player didn't see it, we did meet some memorable characters and funny characters in Azteca. Some I just die-hard love).

    I can agree with many that I feel this game won't see anymore world expansions after the end of the 3rd Arc (they can't just leave that Malistaire vansihing. Seriously, that would be worse than not figuring what happened to the Eye of History).

    I could agree that KI's game's seem to take a darker tone after awhile. I prefer this in a story as it keeps interest, and doesn't make things so...baby-ish (if I may). I mean you could look at the recent update with Aquila as a way of still keeping with the dark (they ended it with Hades, lord of death, in a very dismal place.)I really wouldn't expect anything less. I mean you could look at the first arc and even Dragonspyre was a little dark, as it was a place of destruction and decay (always the dying worlds, never somewhere nice to end things...)

    If Wizard101 were to end at some point, all I ask Kingsisle to do is make very mentioned world they ever said and then stop. I really want to see all these worlds like Gobblerton, Candy World, Mirage, Yago, Empyrea, Rajah etc. I don't want to just imagine it, I want to play in their vision and see their inspiration behind these ideas. Once that is done, then they may stop.

    As of the long wait, we all know KI loves -LOVES- to surprise us and pull our legs. I mean we waited like an eternity for Avalon or Celestia. Since they are doing graphics more detailed, and stories more complex, it is possible that the last world of the 2nd Arc is taking a long time, because they're planning everything to be just right.

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    1. I agree my friend 100% do not let the game end, add more adventures for wizards of the Spiral - it be nice to interact in more worlds like you said.

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  6. Ooh gosh, I never thought of it this way but it may be closer then we think, soon our wizards will to Valencia, Monquista, Cool Ranch, and Skull Island (probably will be a add on to The floating land/Island in Celestia by the comparison of the areas) then they may be done with ideas unless they will do Rajah and the other ones we barely know about; but think about really, they are running out of ideas, they have done almost every theme possible for every world and every living animal (please no more insects, the shadow weavers, there heads creep me out enough) unless they do aliens.

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    1. But who says they have to go to worlds we know about? Did we know about Azteca, Avalon, Zafaria, Wysteria, or Celestia before we went to them? No.

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    2. True but I just think they are running out of ideas.

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  7. I can definitely feel a slow period in Wizard101, whether this is a signal of the end of just troubling times at KI I don't know. And while I certainly hope Wizard101 has plenty more years to come, I also fear they've run out of ideas for Wizard101 and that may have caused this absence of new content. I think the perfect ending for a 101 game of any would be to end at the level 101, however as a hardcore player 101 isn't that far away, the current cap being 90. If 101 is truly the end there are only 11 levels left in the game. And on a completely different front there are so many Wizard101 websites that rely solely on this game for their content (mine being one of them) and an end is my worst fear, I'm just getting started and don't think Wizard101 ending is a good way to keep my site running. Great post Jason, though of morbid topic I look forward to the sequel.

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  8. Wizard101 has made a huge turn! We must keep in mind Wizard101 does have A LOT of players and if they end the game imagine what everyone will think if they just started because they noticed a new commercial on T.V. When they stop airing commercials that's when I'll start worrying. I am a bit worried about Todd leaving Kingsisle though, Azteca was not easy to complete so Autumn and I leveled together through it. I'm thinking recently Wizard101 has stopped releasing so many updates because a lot of people were complaining about how fast they were releasing them in the first place (including me). They released Avalon and Azteca last year, it seems like its going way too fast and I know everyone wants to level through but I think everyone needs to take their time and enjoy the game, not level through like there's no tomorrow! I think Kingsisle should release one main world, a side world and a few updates every year not two difficult worlds and a bunch of updates. To answer your last question.. I would say just getting started if they continue to release so many difficult worlds for players who want to rush through the game. Pirate101 on the other hand will go on for quite sometime, I know that. :D

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  9. I'm a little apprehensive to see Azteca as some odd dark turn, when there's been precedent within the game for a while.

    We kill Malistaire. He is clearly a living being before the fight, and after he is a ghost, going away with Silvia. It's not as in your face as the AZ ending, I'll admit, but they didn't go to lengths to make it extremely subtle either.

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  10. They lowered the prices.
    https://www.wizard101.com/forum/test-realm-updates-discussion/aquila-pricing-changes-8ad6a4183ff0eccd0140120ef68e512f

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  11. I say as long as players enjoy the game and ask for more content (and most importantly continue paying for the game) KI will be updating Wizard for a very long time. I do agree that Wizard101 has been a little less fun and a little more grind lately but with the Aquila update coming it looks like KI is trying something new (which is appreciated).

    Anyone who says KI has run out of ideas should go in the corner for a time out! KI has literally hundreds of employees and to say that not a single one of them has an idea is impossible. Also think about the fact that KI takes ideas from players too (and not in a creepy "ha ha I stole your idea" way but a "players help shape the game too" way).

    While J Todd Coleman’s leave was a sad and depressing loss I say again, KI has hundreds of employees that are dedicated to make this game awesome. If they don’t make it as awesome as we want, we say so! If Wizard101 ever does come to an end which is almost certain (but we never know, KI has broken barriers that were at first indestructible) I hope KI has some way to reimburse it’s players (not necessarily in $ but in another way) because I too worry about all the money I put into the games only to have them end and disappear. But if we flip that coin over we see that the money we pay for the games is not so much paying for the 2GB of space that is being taken up on our hard drives but instead we are paying for the experience of the games (like going to a movie theater, you’re not paying to own the movie but to watch it for entertainment).

    I actually love that KI is taking their time with the updates this year because the multiple worlds and multiple level cap increases did not show me a thriving company but a company that is rushing out content for contents sake. The slower releases show me that more work has been put into the updates and players can also take a moment to breathe. Faster is not always better.

    As far as how dark the game is getting? I’m not concerned. Look at the Harry Potter books/movies. Each one got darker and darker but did the fans go away? No, they grew with the series but the series still allowed for newcomers to jump right in. I’m hoping something similar happens with Wizard101. KI I know for certain will be around for a long long time and Wizard101 will always be their first game. For that reason I feel that Wizard101 will be around for quite a while.

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  12. I think they should expand the game with new abilities and powers of characters. For example, first time I step into Wysteria I was thrilled, thinking, wow we will get another school to chose, another powers, spells, etc. These days, and I am very disappointed about it, the new updates with gear, pack gear etc, are just unreal boost of one stat - like Jade gear (we all hate) and not about new abillity. Tbh, I am lvl 90 and still wear ww robe and boots and lvl 56 craft hat! All they brought after ww was even worse then ww. So, I think, only some drastic, fresh, inspiring inovations will keep this game in top! I am tired of paying sub every month just to plant garden, play some tourney or hang out in Bazaar xD

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  13. If W101 really did end, it would be sad for all of us. The loss of so many good friends, and the older players:years worth of hard work, gone. It would be very sad, maybe even enraging if Kingsisle just left W101 in the dust, and moved onto P101. It is obvious KI is drifting rapidly towards P101, i mean, they came out with more worlds in that game in less then a year then W101 got in 2 years! I hope both games last much longer, and people still play, and enjoy them.

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  14. These good memories will always we kept in my heart....
    Wizard101 had changed so much since the day I got enrolled in ravenwood school...

    Daniel Fire River
    Ex-Player (2008-2013)

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  15. Its really sad how it will end well if it really ends. but right now my lifes goal is to become a person who works on the story line i will really miss this game if it actuallyn is shut down D: Kingsisle i really want to work with you in the story boards i have ideas so if you see this just look for a wizard called chris nightshade 81 archmage necromancer X3 yeah o. o but i will admit i am 12 i have been playing this game since i was 8 years old i loved this game and i still do meh i hope you see this :)

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  16. Does anybody think that they will add a third arc? I REALLY hope they do, and that it'll be loads of fun, making players believe that their money is well spent. And also, does anybody stop and consider what will happen to Pirate101 when we defeat Kane and find El Dorado? Will they make a new enemy? more worlds?

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  17. I would be completely destroyed if they shut it down. I am disable and spend most all my time and money there. When you spend like I have there you feel like you own a piece of it so I hope KI will think long and hard about people like me who have been loyal all these years.

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  18. the ending for me is sad :( even if the Aztecs and dinos did pass, this sadly had to be meh fav world. R.I.P AZTECA :'(

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  19. Honestly i believe that they are making something big, after all krystalis (or however you spell that) has came out, the both parts and we also have the ultimate bosses in aquila where we can fight Zeus, Poseidon and Hades for the best gear in the entire game! the reason for the dark ending might be to trick us into thinking that we are loosing the battle but there might be a bigger twist at the last battle,at the whole final!!!

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  20. I am ambrose long lost son. I am communicating to you from my phone wand. Ambrose locked me up in a fire house. He did this because I ate his wife hamster. Im here to ask for all you young wizards to get me safely out of here. When you save me ill be happy. Then we can all join and kidnap ambrose my father. Then feed him to da whales in my mansion. Then we can all go fishing foe ARABO the rarest fish in the spiral my dad ambrose created

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