It's that time again ... Wizard101's test realm is back online! While the summer 2017 update doesn't contain any new areas or bosses, it does try to address numerous concerns players have had over the years. Specifically, KingsIsle really honed in on PvP.
Wizard101's PvP community has always been pretty vocal. In fact, many veteran duelists feel like the system is "broken." The truth is, PvP is a complex beast, and it certainly won't be fixed with just one update. However, KingsIsle attempted to alleviate some of the PvP community's biggest concerns in this most recent test realm.
- Matching Changes - To address boosting, KingsIsle will no longer allow players to play against the same people they’ve been matched with for a period of time. Although I think this is a good step forward, I still feel like boosters may be able to get around this by simply switching accounts.
- Dispel Shield - Similar to stun shields, players will now receive dispel shields (in PvP only) when a dispel is cast on them. These dispel shields will prevent PvPers from constantly stacking dispels on their opponents. As someone who's personally been on the receiving end of a never-ending dispel spam, I'm incredibly happy about this.
- Turn-Based Tournament Mode - One of the biggest complaints about PvP is the infamous first turn advantage. A skilled duelist can potentially "control" an entire battle if they end up going first. Because of this, even some of the best fighters have been struggling in the arena. To experiment with a possible solution to this problem, KingsIsle has introduced a new turn-based tournament mode. Much like Pirate101's combat, the turn-based tournament mode forces players to choose their spells one at a time. This gives players a seemingly more equal playing field since both duelists are aware of what's on them, and what their opponent has cast. The turn-based system will be limited to the tournament mode for now, but if proven to be popular and successful, it just might make it into Ranked PvP.
With all of these changes, KingsIsle is saying goodbye to the 3rd age of PvP and hello to the 4th. Now, I'm not going to lie, I don't have much experience with PvP. I've done a few tournaments and ranked matches here and there, but that's about it. As a result, I don't really know how much of an impact these changes will make. They look good on paper, but I'm curious to see what the true PvP experts think about them.
Let's Be Social
Another aspect of the game that KingsIsle worked on for the summer is chat. Menu Chat options have been greatly expanded to include more strategic phrases, community locations, and a favorites column. Better yet, now the Menu Chat phrases will stay consistent whether you're in a battle or not.
Not limited to Menu Chat are the new chat emojis. The new emojis are restricted to what's currently available on the official message boards for now, but they could always be expanded on later. Perhaps the biggest chat change comes in the form of the new friend chat channel. Think of it as an enormous guild chat. Each friend chat channel can be set to either public or private, and holds a maximum of 150 people. Yeah, those might get hectic!
Other New Stuff
In addition to general bug fixes and upkeep, the upcoming summer update also includes:
- A Tutorial Tip Log - Tutorial tips will no longer clutter your screen! They've been condensed into one icon.
- Avalon Fishing - Fishermen and fisherwomen of the spiral will now be able to reel in some Avalon catches. Completing the new quest just might land you a new fishing spell as well!
- Monstrology - Monstrologist Burke wanted in on the summer fun as well. Colossus Boulevard, Grizzleheim, and Wysteria all have new monstrology spells.
What are you most excited for in the summer update? Do you think the PvP changes will work? Share your opinions in the comments below.