Wizard101 Test Realm: Preview and Review

The Wizard101 Test Realm went live just a couple of days ago, and it's time that you get an inside look and hear what I have to say about the recent updates! Avalon housing, major PvP updates, hairstyles, events, and more - take a look!

Small, but Cozy

I want to start off with the newest addition to the housing world - the Wyrd house, available for crafting from the same vendor that sells the housing game recipes. It's a rather small house, but is balanced by the fact that it's incredibly easy to craft, requiring only one or two rarer reagents or items from gardening or other crafting. It has two separate interiors, and a scenic exterior.

I've put together a short video of me crafting and exploring the new house, because pictures just don't substitute a good look around.

Azteca Furniture Takes a Modern Turn

There are three new packs in the crown shop, but these are special. They only contain seven items, and when you buy them, you get all seven automatically. They cost 4500 crowns each or 22000 gold or so. Not bad. The furniture has thrown out the cobwebs and ruins, though, and been reintroduced with a new, modern take. Several of these items are interactable, and instead of just being a short animation, interacting will trigger "on" and "off" modes.

PvP Enters the Second Age

...and rightfully so. With these updates, it changes quite a bit. There's definitely work to be done, but KingsIsle is making progress. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Resuffle now has a "x1" symbol and can only be used once. It won't be reshuffled back into your deck by other resuffles.
  • There is now a spectator and combat view in PvP that makes match-watching much more enjoyable. It even shows the spells being used (AS they are being used, not during the planning stage).
  • The player going second will now receive an extra pip or power pip.
  • Leaderboards have now been reintroduced to Wizard101.
  • Player ranks will be reset, but players will keep their tickets and old title in a "1st Age" form.
  • New rewards are available for tickets, including a tapestry to the Arena!
  • The matching system has been updated to minimize puppeting and keep levels closer.
  • You can now get a kiosk that allows you to PvP or player Pet Derby from your home.
  • There is a new, Azteca arena.
Wow! There have already been a variety of complaints, of course, and some are probably valid. I'll explain in a bit.

New "Events" Offer An Experience Like No Other

There's a new series of quests from all over the worlds of the Spiral dealing with a book that has possessed six students. In the first ever event, the "Lost Pages," your wizard will be able to play different towers and receive different rewards for a common goal.
There are all sorts of brand-new badges associated with these quests, so get out and get ready! It has yet been announced whether or not these events are seasonal, available for a limited time, or permanent additions simply labelled "events" because of their unique nature.

Looking Great Made Easy

There are five new hairstyles for male and female wizards in the crown shop that can be purchased in various colors and equipped in the hat slot. They look like a lot of fun, and altogether I'm not a big fan of the male styles, this has been something that players have been asking for for a long time.
You can also now "unstitch" items. I'm really excited about this one - it means that you can stitch anything without worry of losing the look or stats when new wands are released. I'll let you explore these cosmetic features for yourself.

My Thoughts

First, if you want a full list of updates, take a look at the page HERE. I skipped out on a couple of details and the miscellaneous bits.

First off, let me tell you one reason why I love bloggers, and I'll go into more detail in the future about this. Essentially, bloggers post as they please. Therefore, they're allowed to keep the positively at a desired level, filtering out nasty comments or ones that simply don't add anything to the discussion. So, you'll get my opinion, and I'll give it honestly, but without some of the possible negativity that some users have. 

Anyway enough about that. Before we really get into things, I'll first ask you to look at everything that is new in this update. I want you to notice that many a common request is being filled, from hairstyles and PvP changes to more side quests and unstitching. Now take a look at the number of crowns it's going to cost you to play with all of the new updates. Membership extension? New crowns areas? I don't think so. So you've got this load of new content, all without a cost. I think that says something about how KingsIsle cares about players and their requests. Awesome job, KI!

I'll be frank about the PvP - the Reshuffle change is probably going to have to go. It restricts PvE, and fails to accomplish the goal in limiting it. There's plenty of detail on that on Wizard101 Central, so there's no need for me to further discuss it. Beyond that, I think what they're doing with PvP is great. Small step, but in the right direction. I also posted about how much I'd hate rank resets, but I really like the way they're doing it with keeping our old "1st Age Warlord" titles and being able to gain new, "2nd Age" titles and ranks. I do like the new views, they're exactly what I was hoping for.

Avalon is my absolute favorite world, so I'll be crafting this house, no questions asked. It's a shame that it's so small, but I like it. For once, it'll allow for attention to detail versus scrambling to account for item limits.

As for the events, I can't wait to see how these play out. I'd love it if we received some sort of cosmetic item that was fun to wear. In this case, it might be like Johnny suggested, and be the glowing eyes like the possessed students have. Then, when the events retire, we'll have the special item, and await new events.

Other than that, I'm just, overall, looking forward to this update (and trying to grab Warlord before test goes live). My question now is, what do YOU think?

Thanks for reading, and see you in the Spiral!

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