My Dear Wizards,
It’s been a sizzling year for us, but as they say, winter is coming. The leaves begin to fall, the wind starts to chill, and for this Fire Professor, I’m counting the days until summer returns. However, it’s not all cold and dark – Empyrea is already here!
With this new world, we definitely boldly go in directions we’ve hadn’t gone before.
Here are some of my favorite parts...
This is Empyrea Part 1.
With this new story arc, we’ve attempted to prioritize quality over quantity. This means intricately crafted cinematic moments, extensive plot twists and turns, and new creative gameplay challenges. We wanted to make sure we wrap up this story arc with all the epicness it deserves, so we took the opportunity to split it into two parts to tell even more story.
Speaking of story…
it’s hilarious, heartwarming, and has an unmistakable sci-fi twist while still being the Spiral you know and love. When I attended the read through for the dialogue, there were many times where we had to take breaks because we were laughing too hard, or had to high-five the writers. Occasionally, it would hit me right in the feels. This one is great, y’all. Don’t just click “Next” as quick as you can. I promise you, this one is worth it.
Cinematics for days.
I’ll be honest, these are some of the most time consuming, trickiest things we put together in the making of… well, anything related to Wizard101. They involve so many different departments and take quite a bit of time to get right, and they’re usually one of the last things we’re tweaking when it’s time to put our pencils down and send the updates out into the world. This time there was a point during mid-development where I said we’d never be doing this many complicated cinematic sequences again. However, they always end up being some of my FAVORITE parts of the new content (and from what we’ve heard in feedback, yours as well). The ship cinematic. Breaking the Chain of Ice & Fire. The finale of part 1… they’re all so good. It was all worth it.
We think these are some of the most interesting, tactical, and in some cases, most challenging boss fights in the game. Hopefully, you’ll still be standing after the beet drops, and that the big brain doesn’t confuse you too much!
So, it’s time to boldly go into Empyrea, save Mellori, and save the Spiral.
We’re excited to share Empyrea with you, because it’s been in development since last winter, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a whole bunch more to talk about this fall update.
Ever since Ignus introduced you to Legendary Weapons, we knew we needed to make the next ones… extra legendary. These Revered Crafting weapons have the most difficult Recipes in the game. For those of you who would rather not rise to the challenge of obtaining the required Participation Trophies, we want to remind you that it’s TOTALLY OPTIONAL,
and that Legendary Crafting (Crafting your LEGENDARY weapon) will be all that will be required to move up the main Crafting ranks. There’s also new Gear and Housing Item Recipes that require the Legendary Crafting level. Also, to make life easier for Crafters of all levels, you can now “equip” a Crafting Recipe to store as a favorite for ease of use and reference.
We heard your pleas for MORE SPACE!
It might have even influenced the theme of Empyrea (well, ok, probably not, but it’s a nice pun, isn’t it?)! Literally though, you asked and we’re giving you MORE SPACE in your Backpack! While it’s not the final frontier, you can now purchase up to two “Expand Backpack” Elixirs from the Crown Shop to increase your inventory by 50 (per potion, so 100 maximum). And how about EVEN MORE SPACE for FREE? We’re also giving you 100 more Housing slots specifically for Castle Magic items, and we’ve increased your Bank space by 50 as a reward for you being you. How cool is that?
And there’s more:
- Velma has tamed that tricky Shadow Trickster, and now he’s back with 100% less trouble and 200% more useable Spells!
- Speaking of Spells, you can now Craft or battle the Loremaster for the Wysteria Lore Pack Spells.
- We’ve included a few Deck sorting changes:
- You can now copy your current Deck set up to your new Deck.
- Monstrology Spells have been moved out of the Myth section and into their own.
- You can now sort Treasure Cards by School, and quick sell them if you want to get rid of them!
- We made several improvements to the Castle Magic system, including 36 new Spells.
- You can now lock your Realm!
- We’ve doubled the Pet Derby rewards.
- And… some really cool new member benefits will begin rolling out very soon. More on those later!
While I may detest the cold and dark days, winter does mean the return of the Yuletide festivities! All our old favorites are back this year – the Krampus Skeleton Key dungeons, the decorations, the Yule Fish, and of course, Felix Navidad. And, as always, we’ll be celebrating the holidays with the 12 Days of the Spiral. We’ve got lots of new goodies and gifts and merriment all season long!
Long before even the first leaf began turning color, we were hard at work planning for next year, and let me tell you, it’s going to be beyond epic. We’ll be turning ten years old and celebrating all year long. Everything old will be new again. Our list of plans is long and ambitious and we can’t wait to share it all with you. But for now, we’ll take a brief respite in the VIP section of the Leisure Dome in Zanadu and let Alyvia the Muse crank up the music while we celebrate the close of a crazy fun 2017. Have a warm, happy, and safe holiday, and we’ll greet 2018 together!
See you in the Spiral,
Leah "Professor Falmea" Ruben
Senior Producer of MMO Content