Wizard101
Producer's Letter

 

August 2017

 
 
 
 
My Dear Wizards,

It’s summer, and my favorite time of year! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, my pet firecat’s flames are roaring, and it’s a wonderful time to be at Ravenwood!

But first, let’s back up to our Spring Update! The team and I did a Dev Diary, where we talked in length about the motivations and thoughts behind the new tournament types and Monstrology.


As discussed in the article, we were SUPER excited to bring you Monstrology because we’ve been talking about it in one form or another for quite a few years. Even before a “now famous” mobile game popularized collecting a bunch of creatures last year, we’ve been discussing this system, which is right up every completionist collector’s alley. We know there are folks out there that live to collect every badge, complete every quest, and climb every mountain; so we wanted to give them something else to accomplish!

However, since not everyone out there is motivated simply by acquisition for its own sake, we wanted to give you some neat incentives to go out and collect Animus. House guests have been quite popular, so we wanted to make sure that once you’re familiar with your enemies, you can invite them into your home. Taming enemies also helps you beat them more easily by creating Instant Defeat Treasure Cards, or summon them to your aid in battle as Treasure Card Minions. In fact, Myth students have a special affinity for working with Monstrology and can summon more than one minion at a time. If that’s not enough, you can bring the battle home with the new Monstrodome, where you can add those minions and challenge them on your turf. There are now SEVEN types of Animus to collect across ALMOST every area of the game.

And, if you really want to speed things up, we’ve offered a Triple Animus Elixir that you can purchase in the Crown Shop. Couple that with the occasional Double Animus Member Benefit Weekends and you can increase your collections very quickly!

We added a lot of other awesome stuff:
  1. Three new Skeleton key bosses (with new loot) - Captain Hockins in Zafaria, Verboten Mimic in Mirage, and Saptoi in Krokotopia
  2. Your level 118 school pets are ready to come home with you!
  3. You can now fish in Aquila! Catch the Minnowtaur or the Neptuna!
  4. Your Castle can now have more bling with the Jewel Vault
  5. There are new Castle Magic Items and Spells to discover!
  6. New Frenzy, Link, Gobbler, and Precision trainable spells
And a whole lot more. Seriously, check the update notes. They go on FOREVER!

Over the summer, we decided to focus mainly on QUALITY OF LIFE updates.

After considering how many layers this corner of the Spiral has, and how many NEW systems we’ve added in the last few years, we wanted to make sure and take some time to concentrate on improving upon what we had. We constantly try to strike the balance between adding completely new things and adding/polishing existing systems, because both are important! Trust me, there are so many ideas on BOTH lists that it will take 100 years or more to run out of things to do.

One system that constantly needs our attention is PvP, and PvP is a game of inches. Some may wonder why we make changes to this system so slowly, but even small tweaks tend to change the meta drastically, not to mention people finding unintended loopholes. It’s a very fine line between eliminating cheaters and impeding legitimate gameplay. However, we think that we’ve made some improvements that (hopefully!) won't cause issues to people just trying to get a match, but should make it much harder to boost up the ranks super quickly. We’ve also removed people who were obviously boosting (due to an issue that has since been fixed), so anyone on the top should be on the up-and-up. Obviously, if you see something that doesn’t seem right, let us know.

We also added a bunch of new and shiny things to PvP with our Summer Update:
  1. Daily PvP rewards
  2. New turn-based tournament modes
  3. Due to requests, we changed the schedule around a bit (adding back a few school perk tournaments)
  4. Dispel shields in PvP

Another Summer Update item which was near and dear to my heart was improving menu chat. This update, we’ve had the opportunity to delve into our chat systems and functionality and do a lot of cool things. We added a TON of menu chat options, and spent a lot of playtesting trying to have conversations with each other. While a limited system is never going to have EVERY option you want, we think this should help menu chat players be more effective in battle and more communicative in other areas. We also combined the battle and out-of-battle chat phrases so you can strategize before the combat starts and chat about other subjects during leisurely battles. Most importantly, if a non-menu chat player says a menu chat phrase, it will be shown to everyone. So, feel free to type Howdy! to anyone – they can see it now!

We also added friend chat, something else that the team has been super excited about adding for a while. I know that there are many folks out there who have requested a feature that starts with a G (and ends in an –uild). While some functionality of guilds may not be entirely appropriate for this particular corner of the Spiral, we thought that one of the more important parts was a way to communicate with a larger group of folks than 4 (or just whoever’s in your area). We’re happy to give you ways to bring your friends closer!

And, of course, emojis. If everyone loves the first set, I can definitely see us adding more in future updates.

We didn’t stop there. Here’s the rest of the giant Summer Update:
  1. Forgot what a floating head on the side of the screen told you? No more! We’ve added a Tutorial Tip Log
  2. Avalon fishing is here...along with a new quest AND a new spell!
  3. There are three new types of animus to collect – treants and gobblers and pigs, oh my!
  4. We added two Potent Trap Treasure Cards as quest rewards for completing Broken Idols!
  5. Questions about whether a quest is mainline or sideline? Now you can tell between them!
  6. We finished our pass on the first two story arcs and made Zafaria and Khrysalis more cinematic!
And, as always, so, so much more.

What’s to come? Well, we’re turning nine in just a few days. Nine! Can you believe it? Thank you to our fantastic community, we wouldn’t be here without you! We’ll be celebrating all month, so stick around for the fun. Also, we’re in the thick of building the next update! We’ll give you more details soon, as the winds turn a bit cooler. Until then, let me give you a few pieces of eye candy to tide you over.

For now, enjoy your summer sun and fun!

With fire,
Leah "Professor Falmea" Ruben
Senior Producer of MMO Content