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Wizard101 (W101)
KingsIsle Entertainment | Play Now
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 09/02/08)  | Pub:KingsIsle Entertainment
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:n/a | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:$09.95
System Req: PC Mac | ESRB:E10+Out of date info? Let us know!

Player Interviews: Appealing to the Hardcore Gamer?

By Garrett Fuller on October 14, 2009

Appealing to the Hardcore Gamer?

Randall Lekan: First let me point out that I can't/don't speak for The Syndicate. I have been a member almost 5 years now, but my responses are my opinions and l do not represent the guild in any way. Second, I am not sure I could classify myself as a hardcore gamer any more as real life consumes a lot of my free time these days. I tend to ride the fence between casual and hardcore, but it is safe to say my wife classifies me as a hardcore gamer.

Wizard 101 has been planned out as a kid's game. How did hardcore MMO players like you get involved?

Randall Lekan:

Kingsisle approached Dragons, the Guild Master of The Syndicate, and offered to allow us to joing the BETA. Initially I tried it out and liked it enough to add my children's accounts. At the time we were playing Toontown but my boys had lost interest so we were not playing as much. By the end of the BETA we were hooked and subscribed when the game went retail.


At first glance Wizard 101 is definitely fun. What kept you playing the game after the initial zones and storyline

Randall Lekan:

I am a very goal oriented player. Max level, max skills, finish as much of the content as possible. Getting to Grandmaster Wizard was a goal, seeing the worlds and all the spells for the wizards also. I do play even when my kids are not, but their continued interest helps.

Tell us about one element in Wizard 101 that would definitely appeal to the hardcore MMO gamer. What was that element for you?

Randall Lekan:

For me it was the ability to share my passion for gaming with my childern, playing an MMO with my sons. I likely would play even if my kids were not since it is a fun change of pace to the traditional MMO grind, but playing with my kids was the main draw.

The combat in Wizard 101 is unique and turn-based. Was it enough to keep you excited during each fight?

Randall Lekan:

The animations are very well done and I still enjoy watching them, so in general the turn based timing is not too excessive. Some spells had very long animations, but KingsIsle has been tweaking them to improve the delays. Because I play with a full party there are some situations where it seems slow doing 8 sets of spells (4 players and 4 mobs), but overall I think it is balanced pretty well.


How is it playing Wizard 101 as a family?

Randall Lekan:

Being a gamer my children often see me playing. The are of course interested but the content of most MMO's is not something I was comfortable allowing my children to be exposed to let alone the madness of in game chat. The ability to play with my younger kids (5-9) had a lot to do with my choice. Last Thanksgiving my father came to visit and we introduced him to the game and he was hooked. A normal Saturday night is myself, my two sons who are now 7 and 9, and their grandfather who is 65 playing Wizard 101. We use Ventrilio to ease the communications challenges since he is remote.

The game has grown in success. Do you see more hardcore players joining with their kids, or even on their own?

Randall Lekan:

I think so and I would personally recommend it as a good game for kids and would not be surprised to see its success continue. The system requirements are not excessive, so it is easy to play on your 'old' gaming systems or laptops (Yes my kids get to use my last couple of generations of gaming systems). The content is very kid friendly, chat is safe, and it is hard for players to scam eachother due to the inability to trade items. Pricing is reasonable as they have a family pricing discount often do a $60/year special. Last thing I want to do is pay for 4 accounts at $15 each a month when we only play one night a week for 2-3 hours.

Do you ever talk about the game with other hardcore players in your guild, or hide your enjoyment because it is a kid's game?

Randall Lekan:

I often talk with guild members and friends outside the guild about the games my kids are playing, The Syndicate is a mature guild and many of the members have children that play games also. I reciently attended The Syndicate's annual conference, which was in Austin this year, and many of the members openly discussed playing the game, we even toured Kingsisle and met many of the developers


What changes would you like to see with Wizard 101?

Randall Lekan:

Like many MMO's, it is missing family (i.e. guild) features that would be very useful. You can have a house and use a shared bank for all the Wizards on your account, but there is no option to have a Family house/storage. The game is Family friendly but the gear is all tied to your account or character (BOP or BOA). I can not tell you the number of times my kids have found a special item that they wanted to trade to one of the family members and could not, it is probably one of the most frustrating aspects of play for the kids. Basically a family house and storage would be my top item on the wish list.

Does The Syndicate have a Guild presence in Wizard 101? Are they expanding?

Randall Lekan:

Details on The Syndicate can be found at Currently, The Syndicate has an official presence (where we recruit new members and organize regular guild events) in Ultima Online and World of Warcraft. We have informal presences in pretty much every MMO as we have members actively playing them with each other. I would not expect to see us create a "formal" recruiting and scheduled events presence in Wizard 101 however. As for expanding, The Syndicate is actively engaged with a number of developers to consult on their titles and test them in an effort to make online gaming better for all players. We are always exploring expansion opportunities and Dragons' has recently mentioned there are some strong titles on the horizon that may get an official/formal presence from the guild.

Sum up what is most fun about Wizard 101 for you.

Randall Lekan:

It is a enjoyable alternative to the grind of a traditional MMO. The theme, simplicity, and the ability to play in short or long sessions without the requirement to grind or play many hours to achieve a goal. In general completing the quests is enough to advance and the graphics are very nice and never seem to get old. I find it a nice change of pace from the faction grinding, raiding, farming mats madness of other 'adult' MMO's.

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