My nine-year-old quads are hooked on Wizard101, the kid-safe, free-to-play MMO from KingsIsle Entertainment, aimed at fantasy-loving children like them. They’ve even ponied up for a monthly membership out of their own allowances, which is about the highest endorsement any game can get from them. So, they’re pretty thrilled to hear that Wizard101 has a huge expansion coming soon: the brand-new world of Avalon.
The game has grown by leaps and bounds since its introduction in 2008. According to company reps Fred Howard and Ben Conrad, it’s currently localized in eight countries, and it plans to offer a Chinese-language version to help them break into the Asian market soon. You can pick up game cards in over 65,000 retail outlets, and these are reportedly some of the top sellers at Game Stop. The game passed 25 million registered users earlier this year, and KingsIsle reports that it gets 14 million unique visitors every month, so there are plenty of people to play with.
The world of Avalon goes up in the Wizard101 test realm this week. It’s a medieval world heavily flavored with Arthurian and Celtic myths, and inside it players should discover new clues about mainstay characters Merle Ambrose and the villainous Morganthe. This all leads up to a quest to heal the land and recover the legendary Sword of Kings.
Avalon features six new zones with 15 new areas, which should give players plenty of new territory to explore. The expansion also raises the level cap from 70 to 80 and features new equipment, pets, mounts, gardening levels, and plants. In addition, it introduces four new high-level spells per school (for a total of 28 new spells), most of which have interesting twists. One of the new Storm school spells, for instance, gives you a good chance of healing a huge amount of damage, but if you blow it, it causes damage instead.
In short, if you like the game, you’re going to love the new material. If your kids haven’t tried it yet, let them loose on it soon.
Disclaimer: I know several people at Kings Isle who work on Wizard101, including my friends Jesse Scoble and Jason Durall.
See the following pages for even more screenshots from the new world of Avalon.