Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has been out now for about a week in North America, and while some parts of the new augmented reality (AR) game are enjoyable, there are certainly areas that could be improved upon.
As developer Niantic has had years to perfect Pokémon GO, there are several things that it does well that should be considered for Wizards Unite. Here are a few regarding player houses, wizarding duels, inventory management, getting more rare Foundables, and trading.
Actual Competitive Houses, Similar To Teams In Pokémon GO.
As information was slowly released about the game prior to its launch, players were surprised to hear that they would not be placed into a house from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. WB Games San Francisco executive producer, Mary Casey, went on to explain, “I want to be able to play with you! And I want to be able to play with that guy over there, and with my son, my husband, my nieces, and we're all different houses. We all have a part to play, we all have a role to play, and that's really important.”
Yet, now that the game has been out for a while, we should reconsider this statement. The truth is that the game is mainly a glorified AR scrapbooking app. Nothing in the game would be limited by belonging to one house or another. A Hufflepuff could easily play the game with a Slytherin. To strip away a core fantasy of the Harry Potter universe by not allowing players to be placed into their favorite house feels out of place, and it should be changed now that it is clear that there would be no adverse impact whatsoever.
What is Harry Potter without duels? So much of the books and films revolve around some wand-on-wand action, but we are instead left to cast simple spells on fire-breathing chickens and blocks of ice.
There need not even be a massive prize associated with dueling, but we could have additional stamps for our collection, since that seems to be the focus of the game.
Fix Inventory Management… Right Now, Please
This is not a small complaint, but a big one. The current inventory system is woefully inadequate for several reasons.
First, there is a terrible design choice when it comes to having a full inventory. If you click on an item in the world, like a potion ingredient or a greenhouse, you cannot pick up anything if your inventory is full, but you also cannot remove things from your inventory from there. You only have the option to spend in-game currency at that exact moment. So, you need to exit that screen and go manually into the Vault to delete items.
Why is this a big deal? Because if it happens when unlocking a 10 KM portmanteau, you simply lose the items that cannot fit into your inventory. It is by far one of the worst feelings in the game.
Along this same train of thought, you can hold hundreds of brewing ingredients in your vault to make potions and at the same time still not have enough of a certain ingredient to brew anything in your cauldron. So, you need to, again, go into your Vault and decide which items are unimportant enough to discard, hope you guess correctly, and then hope to find enough of the missing ingredients to brew some potions.
Walking To Find More Foundables
Like Pokémon Go, walking with our favorite Pokémon gives us candy for it, which is particularly useful for some of the rarer types that we would otherwise not be able to level up and evolve. Something similar must be added to Wizards Unite to help with the slow collection of items.
This is particularly true for some of the larger items, where you need 16 to complete the registry.
As the entire point of the game seems to be filling up our sticker book, or stamp collection, or whatever they call it, it feels like there should be a way to take duplicates and share them with friends. It would certainly add the social dynamic that is missing in the game and currently only available in attacking a Fortress in groups.
While Pokémon GO did take a long time to implement all of its improvements, it had the luxury of a strong start and a devoted fanbase. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, does not seem to have either, and if Niantic wants to see this succeed, they had better get to fixing these minor and major points right away.