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Developer Diaries


August 2013 Producer's Letter

My Dear Wizards,

The days are long, and so is the mercury in the thermometer – just how I like it! I just wanted to take a few moments out of enjoying my favorite time of year to drop everyone a line about the new hot happenings in the Spiral since we’ve last spoken.

The newest hotness is Aquila, a series of dungeons, and a test of your battle prowess from the immortals, which has just hit our live servers. We’ve had lots of folks send in feedback saying that it’s hard to keep up with the level cap increases, and also that they’d love more challenges like Waterworks, so we think that Aquila will be right up your alley. Mount Olympus is for Wizards level 30 and up, Atlantea is for those who have reached level 70, and the deep abyssal dungeon of torment, Tartarus, was designed for level 90 Wizards looking for a tough, new challenge. Additionally, each dungeon has an optional boss geared towards our Promethean Wizards.

Each dungeon will have rewards worth the risks. In Mount Olympus, you can get one of the spark-iest weapons we've created: Zeus’ lightning bolt wand (either the level 30 version by fighting Zeus, or the amped up level 90 version by fighting the optional boss Dimachaerus, the greatest gladiator bear of all time). In Atlantea, you’ll battle the mighty Sand Squid to rescue trapped adventurers, and have a chance at a new, unique pet. In Tartarus, you’ll traverse the river of souls to confront dire Hades and his brethren for some new spoils that are some of the best in the Spiral!

Also, the team had a lot of fun putting some extra touches into the world of Aquila. You’ll notice that some of the bosses have new, amazing cinematic attacks. For example, let’s just say we had some fun trying to get a battle going with the ARMS of the Sand Squid as four separate targets. We’ve also not done many multi-level worlds before, and we are excited to create an area where folks that are in the middle levels and maximum levels can both be engaged in fun and challenging adventures. Lastly, we’ve introduced the ability for Crowns players to rent the dungeons to try them out before making the commitment to fully own them. Not sure you want to own it for good? Rent it for 6 hours!

nullEarlier this year, we took a focused look at PVP and made some changes and improvements. Now, let me just say that any time you start talking Player versus Player, it brings out a little bit of everyone’s wild side. I’m sure if you’ve frequented our message boards, you’re very aware that PVP is a fiery topic… there are a lot of differing opinions on strategy, technique, and what should (and shouldn’t) be changed.

The same could be said about our meetings discussing the creation of tournaments and debating changes to PVP. Typically, we’re a bunch of civilized and calm Professors. However, we all had fiercely combustible opinions about how things should play out, and the meetings ended up being far more passionate and animated than normal. In the end, I think we were able to come together and agree on some great changes to PVP. Please keep in mind we’ll continue to monitor PVP balance as we continue to add to the game – there’s some really interesting stuff that’s still in the “discussion” stage that could make things REALLY fun.

What’s the next evolution of PVP? Well, that would be tournaments! It’s long been a feature we wanted to do, and with this year’s focus on PVP, it seemed like a natural time to do it. While we’ve had some challenges getting Diego Santiago Quariquez Ramirez III to focus properly and judge the match, we sure had a lot of fun getting there. I’m not sure if we’ve had a more blazing, smack-talk filled, or fun playtest company playtest than when we tested tournaments. The folks outside my office are generally mild mannered for the most part, but during these tests, there was lots of banter about who owned whom, and it was a grand ole time.

Not a PVPer? With our new spectator mode, you can watch matches in a much more informative way. While I enjoy getting in the ring to duel, I sometimes find it more fun to cheer on dueling Wizards, and we’re finding that quite a few of you out there like to do the same thing!

And that’s not all… here are some highlights from the May, June, and August releases:
  1. Want to change up your ‘do? We’ve released some new Hairstyles! You can find even more new (but familiar) ones as rewards from boss duels, which will be coming soon to the Crown Shop! We’ve got lots of fun and funky ideas for future ones, so stay tuned if you’re looking for a particular style.
  2. Wizards had a lot of fun with the limited time Lost Pages quests – chasing possessed students around the Spiral in search of top-tier rewards from the Dragon’s Hoard Pack.
  3. Is your Wizard a natural musician? Showcase your talent with musical instruments. I’ve even heard of some music festivals out there in the Spiral!
  4. Feeling lonely in combat? Then go seek out your level 75 Minion Quests!
  5. Never lose your hard earned treasure unintentionally again – now we have Inventory Sell Lock.
  6. Deck Renaming is here, so you can keep your decks better organized.
  7. Two new houses – the Avalon Bog Witch House and the Red Barn Farm Gardening House.
  8. New world themed furniture sets (there are more of these to come)!
  9. The logical progression from Stitching… Unstitching!
  10. Hungry for housing game fun? Then the Food Fight Minigame is for you.

Finally some clues as to what's to come:
  1. Our 5th birthday will bring a major flashback for our earliest players, but with a twist – not to mention a lot of fun for everyone.
  2. Something new and spooky this way comes -->
  3. What you find in the next major world after Azteca will rock Wizard101, and things will never be the same.

I’d love to chat more about these, but we’ll have to save that for the next Producer's Letter.

Lastly, we are still on the Official Message Boards doing Feedback Friday each week, and a while back I asked for questions. As promised, let me pick a few this time to answer.

Question from A Friendly Quest Helper
My question would be for the Headmistress of Pigswick Academy Belladonna Crisp. I would ask her how old she really is, but that probably wouldn't go over to well. So then I would direct my question to the Ancient Matriarch in the Drake Hatchery. I would ask her what's it like to be a dragon and soar across the skies.

Answer from Headmistress Crisp:
What a clever child, who understands the virtue of good graces, and knows when to stay silent.
Answer from the Ancient Matriarch:
I wouldn’t know anything else, as I am and have always been a dragon. It must be very… limiting… to be trapped inside your small, land-bound, fragile bodies. Soaring across the skies is a gift of utter freedom and ultimate majesty.

Question from Blue Dragon Riders:
I would probably ask our Headmaster Ambrose how hard his job is and how he feels with everyone coming up to him all the time.

Answer from Headmaster Ambrose:
Oh… yes… my. Some days it is a little… distracting to have so many students asking questions. I suppose it is my own fault for summoning them to my office so much... but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The students are what make Ravenwood so special! Now… what was the question again? Hmmm?

Question from SXSST02:
For Moolinda Wu did you know the former life teacher had died and how did you feel about taking her place?

Answer from Professor Wu:
I knew right away that I would be taking the place of someone very special, someone who had left an indelible mark upon Ravenwood and who could never be replaced. I simply tried to make sure I stayed true to the teachings of life: the ebb and flow of the moon, the tides, and the seasons. My goal was not to replace her, but to continue her important work, and I think that’s what Professor Sylvia Drake would have wanted.

And with that, I shall leave you until next time. Hope you are having a fantastic summer!

See you in the Spiral,
Leah "Professor Falmea" Ruben
Producer, Wizard101
  • We’re rated E 10 and up for Crude Humor and Mild Fantasy Violence
  • We won the Massively Award for Best of the Decade

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