Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Wizard101. Happy birthday to you! It's been 8 years. That's right, 8 years since the launch of Wizard101 (September 2nd, 2008). Over the years, the game has grown and evolved in so many ways, and I'm happy that I've been there to see some of the changes firsthand.
It seems to be increasingly rare to see an MMORPG stay around as long as Wizard101 has - and that makes the celebration feel even more special. So let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we? In honor of Wizard101's 8th birthday, I'll be listing 8 things that happened in each of the 8 magical years that Wizard101 has been around.
Year One (September 2008 - September 2009)
- Pay by Zone - Instead of purchasing a membership, players could buy permanent access to zones by using crowns starting in October 2008.
- Dragonspyre - When the game was originally released, it actually only went up to Mooshu! It wasn't until January of 2009 that players were able to defeat Malistaire and complete the game's first arc.
- One Million Players - In its first year, Wizard101 reached and surpassed one million players.
- Voiceovers - Like listening to the game's dialogue? Wizard101's original release didn't include any voiceovers. Wizard City and Krokotopia were the first worlds to find their voices in March 2009. (Voices for Marleybone, Mooshu, and Dragonspyre were added in May 2009).
- Shared Bank - Players with multiple wizards were unable to share dropped items until March 2009.
- Quest Helper - That little arrow that directs you to your destination wasn't always there as a guide. The update in April 2009 introduced the now essential feature.
- Housing - Avid decorators might be surprised to find out that the housing system didn't make it into the game until May 2009.
- Grizzleheim - Wizard101's first side world, Grizzleheim, made its debut in July 2009.
Year Two (September 2009 - September 2010)
- Mounts - Slow down! Mounts weren't introduced until October 2009. Brooms, Horses, Cats, and Dragons were the only available options at that time.
- Crown Shop - The one stop shop made its way into the game in October 2009.
- Stitching - Ah, stitching. After the feature was added in October 2009, players were able to mix and match their gear to achieve the look they wanted. I know I'm thankful for this feature!
- Gifting - Being able to purchase gifts for your friends wasn't always an option. October 2009's update made this feature a reality.
- Briskbreeze Tower - When it was released in October 2009, Briskbreeze Tower was the most challenging gauntlet in the game. It was designed for the (then) max level 50 wizards.
- Advanced Pets - The advanced pets update in May 2010 was a huge game changer. It allowed pets to help players in battle, encouraged people to hatch for new pets, and established the pet derby.
- The Warehouse - The Spiral Geographic Society Archives, otherwise known as The Warehouse, was intended to be a Celestia preview in July 2010. It was originally going to be a required pre-quest to gain entrance to Celestia, but due to overwhelming player feedback, this requirement was removed and the instance is currently optional.
- Selena Gomez - KingsIsle teamed up with Selena Gomez in September 2010 to bring players an exclusive quest line in Crab Alley. The quest line has since been removed and can no longer be completed.
Year Three (September 2010 - September 2011)
- Celestia - Wizard101's second arc made its debut in October 2010, along with the new level cap of 60.
- Astral Schools - Enchants, auras, and polymorphs ... oh my! The sun, star, and moon schools came with Celestia in October 2010.
- Critical - The critical system, which was introduced alongside Celestia, turned Wizard101 upside down! The addition of critical contributed to why Celestia had such a steep difficulty increase at the time.
- Gardening - Gardening wasn't even in the picture until December 2010. Can you imagine trying to train pets before being able to harvest those precious mega snacks from Couch Potatoes and Evil Magma Peas?
- Wintertusk - Grizzleheim's add-on, Wintertusk, arrived on the live realm in May 2011. With it came a boatload of XP and the go-to gold farming boss, Halfang Bristlecrown.
- Return to Crab Alley and Waterworks - In May 2011, players were able to return to Crab Alley for a brand new quest line and a difficult max level dungeon. That new difficult max level dungeon, Waterworks, still arguably holds the best universal gear until level 100.
- Hidden to Friends - Having a bad day or know you won't be on long? May 2011 gave players the option to "hide" from their friends to avoid being disturbed.
- Wysteria - In August 2011, Wysteria, a kooky and upside down side world, made its way to the live realm. Its similarities to Ravenwood made it an instant favorite.
Year Four (September 2011 - September 2012)
- Zafaria - November 2011 is when Wizard101 continued its second arc with Zafaria. The world was notorious for its grind and Fire Lion Ravagers/Greyhorn Mercenaries, but it's since been adjusted.
- Armor Piercing - That's right, this stat wasn't always in the game! November 2011 is when it made its debut.
- Tag - The first housing game, Tag, was added to the game in February 2012.
- Avalon - The medieval world of Avalon was unveiled in May 2012. With it came brand new utility spells, level 78 pet quests, and a new max level of 80.
- Wand Displays - Wands couldn't be displayed on castle or dorm walls until May 2012.
- Mega Pets - Before August 2012, pets could only be trained up to Epic. Mega pets gave players the ability to utilize an additional pet ability.
- New Elixirs - Although other elixirs were previously available, the August 2012 update saw the addition of the Additional Castle Space Elixir, Crafting Elixir, Hatching Elixir, and Purreau's Potion #9. I may or may not use the Hatching Elixir and Purreau's Potion more than I should.