Putting the Unity in Community
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I posed a simple question to the Wizard101 community. I asked, “Hey wizards, what are you thankful for?” The question gathered mixed results, but I did notice one constant. Almost all of the responses had “community” somewhere within them. Community is an important aspect in any online game, especially MMOs … but what exactly makes the Wizard101 community so special? Why do so many players feel so connected to it?
- It’s vast. No matter what part of the game makes you smile, you’ll find someone else who shares that smile. In fact, there are even smaller communities within the larger community. If you enjoy PvP, there are various PvP focused groups who bond through dueling. If you like to race, there is a derby community that participates in friendly competitions and tournaments. And pets? Pets might have the biggest mini-community out there. There is a whole section of the community just dedicated to figuring out pet pools, making perfect pets, and hatching out those pets to other players.
- In general, the community is very generous and supportive. The Wizard101 community is one of the most welcoming communities I have ever been a part of. Sometimes being a new player can be daunting, but when I first joined, I had so many people willing to help me and teach me the ropes right from the start. Not all the community help just comes from questing either. When I write guides for new bosses and dungeons, other players don’t hesitate to help out by sharing their own thoughts, findings, and strategies. This exchange of ideas helps to generate some interesting discussions and new ways of looking at the game.
- You’ll meet friends that could last a lifetime. Sometimes it’s hard to believe just how close I’ve become with some of my wizard buddies. I know one of the many great things about this community is how varied it is. Because Wizard101 is a family game, I’ve gotten to know a tremendously wide variety of people. Young and old, local and international, people of all different cultures and backgrounds come together and unite through Wizard101.
- At the end of the day, the community is a second family. When something great happens to someone in the community, we all offer our congratulations and share our excitement. When something tragic happens to one of our community members, we all feel for them and offer our sympathy. Good or bad, the Wizard101 community is in it together. And like any family, we have our differences as well. Some discussions can get heated, some feelings may get hurt, and some accusations may be thrown. But we get through it … and that’s what matters.
Through Good and Through Bad
Over the years, the Wizard101 community has joined together to accomplish remarkable achievements and mourn the greatest of losses. Here are four of the most memorable examples of Wizard101 community unity.
- Lady Stormrider. Known to be one of the most kind souls to ever touch this game, Lady Stormrider was a pet guru who always put others before herself. Her passing in 2012 had a huge impact on the community. Everyone came together to mourn and remember Lady Stormrider for the great person she was. Later, Kingsisle would introduce the Stormrider Hare - a rainbow bunny mount which was made in memory of Lady Stormrider.
- The Fansite Festival. Last April, both official and unofficial fansites joined forces to deliver the very first Fansite Festival. The festival offered events, contests, and giveaways from all corners of the community. Not only did this event involve lots of goodies, but it also gave the community a chance to hang out, meet new people, and get to know the fansite owners a little better.
- Allan Ghostdust. In 2013, Kingsisle invited their second Make-A-Wish kid to tour their offices in Austin! Being a big fan of Wizard101, Allan had a blast seeing how the game was made from behind the scenes. Even more exciting was when it was revealed that Allan’s character was made into an NPC who offered a brand new quest for an extra potion bottle. Sadly, Allan passed away in January 2014. To pay tribute to Allan, the Wizard101 community came together in Khrysalis and stood by his in game NPC shortly after hearing the news.
- Extra-Life. Extra-Life is a 24 hour gaming marathon that aims to help heal kids. The Kingsisle community did their part for this event by supporting community streams and donating to charity. This past year, the KI Gamers team managed to raise over $9000 for Extra-Life! For the kids!
There are a lot of great gaming communities out there, and the Wizard101 community is definitely one of them. Have a community memory in mind that I missed? Let me know in the comments!