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Deconstruction - Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

by Alexandr Sitnikov on 04/19/21 10:50:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Wizard Unite - Geolocation collector's game, with elements of augmented reality.

Niantic - American developer of video games with augmented reality, which was founded as a Google startup in 2010, three years ago became famous for the project Pokémon Go. Many players liked the idea of walking around the city with a mobile device, collecting Pokémon. But as the years went by, the game was getting tedious.

That's why Niantic switched to Joan Rowling's novels and together with Warner Bros Games developed Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The game includes many of the mechanics from Pokémon Go and was soaked in the atmosphere of magic. 

But unfortunately, It couldn't repeat Pokémon Go's involvement or success

Unfortunately, this time Niantic has developed a fairly standardized game with no high level of gaming content, adequate socialization of players and progression of users. 

A brief introduction to the game:

In Wizard Unite players have the role of discovery and recovery workers of foundables

The user is on a map, it’s one in one synchronized with the map of his physical location. Various buildings and foundables are scattered across the map, indicating a magic creature or object that needs to be returned to the world of magic. As well as a variety of consumables and portkeys allow the player to move to another world

To raise the foundable the player must come close to the mark, click on it, and then begin the process of returning (catching) the foundable. it consists of the fastest and most accurate reproduction of the glyph on the screen using fingers and display.

The foundables are divided into two types - peaceful and combat. And also on rarity and complexity. Ordinary, rare and very rare. (This can be determined by the color of the light column, above the foundable).

Peaceful - To send peaceful foundables back to the world of magic, you need to draw a certain symbol on the screen, the faster and clearer it is done, the higher the chance that the foundable will return to the world of magic.  Also, each foundable has a certain level of complexity, which affects how quickly and efficiently the user should draw a spell on the screen.

If the spell is poorly drawn, or if the user cannot return it several times in a row, it may be lost and become inaccessible

For each drawn symbol user spent one unit of energy.

Combat - foundables that needs to be fought. To do this, the user places his finger at a certain point on the screen, combining it with a circle. Depending on the complexity, this circle can move around the screen.  

Also, the user can defend himself against an enemy attack.

For each attack, one unit of energy is spent.

After a successful catch, the user gets a copy of the foundables and rank pumping points depending on the type of find, as well as game experience

Each foundable in the game belongs to one of the ten thematic sections: School of Magic and the School of Witchcraft Hogwarts, the legends of Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic, etc

Each section contains several pages of foundable. Often, in order for a creature or artifact to be considered as collected, they must be caught several times

After the entire page with the foundables will be filled, it can be folded up. And the foundables counter will zero and increase.  

If at the beginning it is enough to find one foundable, then 20/30 pick up of foundables of the same type are required to collect one foundables afterward

Each of the schools has its own rank when filling the rank of 100 - the user receives a reward - scrolls and runes. Scrolls are used to pump a certain school of magic (profession). Runes are used to launch battles in the Towers (about this further)

During the collection in the bottom left corner of the screen, the energy reserve is shown, which disappears with each cast spell. To refill the spell energy, you need to visit hotels, where you can restore energy every five minutes. Or a greenhouse where energy is supplied with spell ingredients.

Hotels and greenhouses also have additional mechanics

Hotels - it can accommodate special sensors - dark detectors, which increase the generation of new foundables in the hotel area. You can increase it up to three times

Greenhouses - You can grow certain types of ingredients from seeds

Suitcase

The basic equipment of the user contains such sections as:

  1. Brewing of potions 
  2. Resource and runes storage 
  3. Foundables Registry 
  4. Profession progress
  5. Portkeys

Potions

The ingredients are used to brew potions.

Potions help in a variety of ways during combat and to collect foundables. The brewing speed can be increased by repeating a certain combination of symbols above the boiler during brewing.

Professions

Users can select one of the three roles and develop it. This will be required to participate in the towers

Standard roles - Tank (Magizoologist), Damage Dealer (Auror) and Support (Professor). Each role has its own set of abilities that will help it to pass through the towersFor example, Magizoologist can strengthen all players in a raid. And Auror can debuff enemies.

Portkeys

The most interesting mechanics, in which the guys from Niantic realized the mechanics of portals. To open the portal, you need to insert the key into the portkey. In order to open the portal, you need to walk a certain number of kilometers from 2 to 10

The user can then install the portal by scanning the surface and entering it

When the user enters it, he gets to a certain gaming location associated with the universe of Harry Potter. There you can find rare finds, ingredients, and experiences

Towers

At the moment, the towers are the only group mechanics of joint experience for other users. But the first 8-10 levels of the tower can be passed by itself. (Only 20). The higher the level of the tower, as well as the runes, the greater the rewards for the user

To start the battle, the user chooses the rune of a certain subject. And becomes a queue waiting for other players

After the player gets to the "floor" of the tower where he sees the opponents and enters into battle with each of them. Depending on the profession, the user can use the abilities to make it easier

The battle is the same as the interaction with the battle foundables. Hit a circle, dodge an attack

At the passage of the tower is given a certain amount of time and a fixed number of foundables. The more players, the more foundables on the floor

After successfully passing the tower, the user receives special foundables, which can only be obtained by defeating opponents in the tower. And also a special rank score. Which will allow him to get the red books, that will be needed to pump the profession.

Monetization

  1. Energy Recovery 
  2. Increasing the maximum amount of energy
  3. Enlarging Storage
  4. Purchase of keys for portkeys 
  5. Buying runes 
  6. Customizing a user's portrait

Events

Events allow you to collect unique "green books" that the user needs for pumping professions. Events are usually held once a month. They differ in the tasks of collecting certain foundables within the event and performing tasks. Sometimes there are awards for avatar customization

Daily mission and Every day assignments

Daily missions are represented by a standard set of 7 tasks, which do not change and are rather boringThe Daily Bonus is distributed over a month, with no special awards for daily entry and a series of entrances

Customizing a user's portrait

The developers from Niantic have been bothering themselves and created a lot of fanservice elements for the fans of the game

They created a lot of different AR Mask elements. This allows you to customize the player's avatar and share it with friends

Also, some of the elements can be obtained for certain achievements, or buy for gold

GAME’S CORE LOOP:

There are two core loops in the game

The first loop is Collecting. Here the user walks around the world, replenishes energy, collects foundables, collects collections of foundables, collects resources, runes and the level up

In fact, it is an endless collection, for the sake of collecting, which is not a very positive impact on the interest in the game at a later stage.

The second loop is the Battle in the Tower. In fact, it's a collective PvE content for which the character is pumping and collecting runes. At the highest levels of the tower, the collective participation of different pumping players is required. Fewer foundables are given for the tower's completion

That's where the whole progression and high-end content in the game ends. 

Best Feature

  1. Spells and collecting finds.
  2. Portkey
  3. The desire to collect 
  4. Niantic geolocation engine with element arrangement.  

Why work well?

  1. Convenient and easy to teach the user how to use spells, good Call to Action. Correct and clear mechanics for Harry Potter's world.
  2. The opportunity to get into a fantastic world in any place. The first "honest" use of augmented reality in the game
  3. People have always liked to collect and collect things. Whether it be baseball cards or brands. The creators chose interesting mechanics. But could not develop it. Since, apart from collecting cards, nothing else can be done with them
  4. The location of all the towers, greenhouses, hotels in places convenient for the game

What needs to work on?

  1. Strengthening the social function
  2. Adding elements that increase repeatability 
  3. Adding elements that enhance the meaning of the collection 

How's that gonna improve the game?

  1. At the moment there is no possibility of interaction with friends. Except together to physically come to the tower and pass it. Although you can add up to 200 people. Adding guild, clan mechanics will increase the interaction foundables exchange, etc.
  2. Protecting the greenhouses from theft. Leaving findings on the "protection" of the territory borders. Protection with the finds of the players' towers, which generate a certain resource for the players of the tower owners
  3. For example, add a reward for collecting the full page. Now it is missing. Add navigation to help you find the missing foundables. Add unique rare foundables and give the opportunity to "brag" between other players about what you have it. Game bonuses, character enhancement, search for other rare foundables - depending on the evaluating of certain schools of magic. Now the school of magic is just a catalog of foundables
 

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