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January 16, 2015 / KingsIsle Entertainment

8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Making of Wizard101

The Spiral is a magical place, with Wizard City at the center of all the worlds that are or could be. But, the Spiral had to come from somewhere. Who conjured Merle Ambrose? How did Ravenwood School come to be? What evil genius summoned the diabolical Malistaire and Morganthe? It all began with an idea… These eight facts about the making of Wizard101 might truly surprise you.

1. Was Wizard101 the brainchild of Shadowbane?

Once upon a time, there were some heroes on a quest to build a different kind of world. Little does most of the public know that many of the Wizard101 founders, including Josef Hall, initially learned how to build worlds by creating Shadowbane, a popular MMORPG game from Wolfpack Studios.  That experience translated into the creation of the family-friendly MMO game, Wizard101.

2. Wizard101 Wasn’t meant to fit in with other MMOs.

When the heroes mentioned above came together, they thought about all the other games out there, like World of Warcraft, and realized there were not many games designed for parents and kids to play together. Josef Hall was a father, and he knew he wanted to build a game that would be fun for families. Quests in most MMOs are filled with violent battles and weapons that are not appropriate for children, so the creators wanted to come up with a game that was suitable for the whole family. In addition, the chat feature within the game is filtered to be safe for players of all ages.

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3. Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and Wizard101

Turns out Pixar’s model played into the inspiration behind Wizard101. Like the heroes behind Pixar, the heads at KingsIsle wanted to create a world that would be engaging and safe for children, but still interesting and challenging for adults.

4. It started out as a real card game.

Believe it or not, the premise behind the game didn’t magically appear. The team spent days playing with a deck of character cards, some dice, and beads that symbolized the power-up and other boosts. They scribbled down rules, ideas, and notes about what worked and didn’t. They knew that the core of any good game, no matter how amazing the graphics and effects, is that it is fun to play.

5. It was made in record time.

The team of heroes had an ambitious goal: They wanted to launch their new game within three years, which is a pretty short video game development time in the gaming industry. By keeping the initial features compact and focused, they imagined, designed, tested and programmed the game on time!

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6. You can play it at Grandma’s house.

The creators realized that many kids and families don’t have the latest technology, so the game is designed to run well and look great on any system, even the old one at Grandma’s house. The specs that this game requires were actually thought out with a purpose. The designers knew casual users and kids on hand-me-down computers would be playing Wizard101, so the focus needed to be on the game being easily accessible and able to run on minimal RAM and processing power.

7. The cards actually come to life!

Instead of flat cards popping up on the screen during game play, Wizard101 took creativity a step further to have the characters on the cards actually come to life and act out the combat.

8. The first launch of the game only included four adventure areas.

With a deadline quickly approaching, the team opted to only ship with four major adventure areas (Wizard City, Krokotopia, Marleybone and Mooshu), then added a fifth area three months after launch. Can you imagine playing the game back then?!

Wizard101 is constantly evolving, bringing about new spells, characters, and technology. The creators of the game frequently refer to it as the best project they’ve ever worked on, and you can see why!

105 Comments

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  1. christina unicorn caster ( lol add me if i seen ) / Jan 17 2015 4:29 pm

    that blog is awesome!!!!! o: makes me happy to know about the card game thing 😀 XD

    • Anonymous / Jan 19 2015 12:07 pm

      love it!

  2. kl1512 / Jan 17 2015 5:17 pm

    that’s cool

  3. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 5:35 pm

    i love wizard 101 very much

  4. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 5:56 pm

    I played it back then… IT WAS SO AWESOME!

  5. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 6:17 pm

    Best game ever! I Love it SO CHALLENGING when you finish Zafaria!

  6. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 6:20 pm

    i love this game thank you kingsisle for making it 🙂

  7. Matt / Jan 17 2015 6:58 pm

    This game is awesome! I started playing in 2010, and I can see how much this has changed so far!

  8. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 7:44 pm

    yes dragonsphyre was a wonderfull addition

  9. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 9:48 pm

    I did play way back when before they released the ever so delightful 5th area DragonSpyre lol It was such a scary thrill getting access to DS for the very first time!!! Fond memory

  10. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 10:42 pm

    remember it all great game hope you keep it up

  11. mystg / Jan 17 2015 11:43 pm

    Ahh those were the days. I joined back in early 2009. I may not play this game anymore, but I still love it with all my heart. I’ve met some amazing friends and have grown a lot through this game. I still come back to visit sometimes 🙂 I love you KingsIsle! You guys are amazing being able to make such beautiful games tht can run on low RAM!

  12. mystg / Jan 17 2015 11:52 pm

    Ah the memories. I remember this game back when I joined… Lol I didn’t even know there was more to the game than level 10 back then. After getting my behind kicked in pvp by a level 23, I grinded Haunted Cave until I got to level 11. Only then did I decide to get a membership and continue on my journey.
    This game is amazing: It’s helped me grow, it’s allowed me to make wonderful friends, and it’s even become something to bond over with my brother! It has an amazing story and beautiful graphics, even with low RAM!

    I joined in 2009, I haven’t played much since 2012, but I do miss it. I come back to visit every once in a while, because I love this game with all my heart.

    I just want to thank KingsIsle for all their hard work and products. You guys are truly awesome! I love you and thank you. Keep up the good work!

  13. David / Jan 18 2015 12:25 am

    KI should actually make an official cardgame. I would definitely play it!!!

  14. Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 1:40 am

    I did play back then haha XD 2008 🙂

  15. Louis / Jan 18 2015 4:30 am

    I must say I am rather disappointed by this. I knew pretty much all of these things already. Also, I find it rather offensive that in the last fact you added, ‘Can you imagine playing the game back then?!’ as if it was really bad in those days. I can very well imagine it because I DID play it back then, as well as quite a few other people who looked at this. Adding the last fact also reveals that this fact list was aimed at your newer players, and sort of leaving the older ones out to dry.

    • Anonymous / Jan 26 2015 8:49 pm

      Amazing! That’s exactly right, I actually miss the old game lol… Pvp was balanced, pets were decorational, and ds was the end. I miss those days lol.

    • Samantha / Jul 10 2015 4:58 pm

      I think they made it “can you imagine playing back then?” because it was WAY different than it is now. No need to make a big fuss over it.

  16. Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 8:52 am

    I have played since just after your launch. I was hoping you would keep adding. Did you base this on Magic the Gathering card game? I won’t tell. LOL Great game! I still play it almost daily.

  17. Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 11:26 am

    nice I love wizard101 you guys should make more quest more worlds more houses and more games for pets

  18. Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 11:47 am

    ya and when there wasnt mounts for those areas either…

  19. Nicholas / Jan 18 2015 12:47 pm

    It is funny how they say could you imagine playing back then? I really look at it. Like a few days ago I looked at their channel and saw the date on the celestia trailer which was back in 2011!!! I don’t understand this. It feels like it was so long ago but so short. Great Job Kingsisle. I have been with you from the start. From when you only had dragonspyre as the final place and everyone was trying to get the drop for the robe from him to the release of pets having an age (Baby,Teen,Adult Etc) And I am still enjoying it. I played this when my little brother was young. I tried to motivate him to play the game. Now he is 9 and trying to motivate me to play the game which I would gladly do! Thank you kingsisle for bringing a game that has impacted my life very much!!!

  20. Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 1:45 pm

    I really love W101, just because there are no cool magic games, and if there are, then they cost money, which I think is really lame. (BTW, I am your biggest fan!!!!! :D)

  21. alicia / Jan 18 2015 2:05 pm

    So interesting, great job Kingsisle! 🙂

  22. Calamity / Jan 18 2015 3:22 pm

    52 and have played 5.5 years of the 6. My mother is 82 (spends ALL her ‘mad’ money for crowns) and plays. My Grandmother 98 wishes her fingers worked because she would like to play! So we have ‘Parties’ for her. LOVE this game! ❤ THANK YOU KI

  23. Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 3:42 pm

    this is a fun game i just need a new update to make it more fun

  24. Pherome / Jan 18 2015 4:05 pm

    My grandson asked me to play with him. I was surprised when he asked me to play. His goal was to get me into the game and pay for a membership so he can go into all of the spirals. I never played a game on the internet. I became addicted to the game. You all have created a master piece.

  25. Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 4:21 pm

    my goodness thats amazing

  26. Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 7:10 pm

    nice i really like it

  27. matthew b. / Jan 19 2015 5:27 am

    Thanks so much for this game I renamed it on my computer as play the awesome game now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the courage to battle and fight in this epic game!!!!!

  28. Anonymous / Jan 19 2015 7:32 am

    lots of in of good work and fun to play

  29. Bloxer10 / Jan 19 2015 11:32 am

    #Wizard101 Hype!

  30. Anonymous / Jan 19 2015 12:52 pm

    WIZARDS RULE!!!

  31. hannahburns / Jan 19 2015 1:45 pm

    I love Wizard101 i got this computer so i could play on the best game Wizard101 lots of people play it thats why i play it you can play with friends and other wonderful things. So thanks SOOOOO
    much for making the game Wizard101. 😀

  32. Richard / Jan 19 2015 3:22 pm

    I got addicted to Wizard101 as soon as I got into playing it. Love it! Keep up the awesomeness!

  33. Anonymous / Jan 19 2015 4:38 pm

    Geez I really cant wait to get back into this game for the first time in four years, I find it hilarious that this game is still so fun!

  34. Anonymous / Jan 19 2015 5:33 pm

    I started playing wizard 101 at grandmas house and loved the game! still playing and I started in 2013.

  35. bernice / Jan 19 2015 7:42 pm

    i’ve played this game for a long time im just getting back to it now o missed this game so much!

  36. GAMPS / Jan 20 2015 9:41 am

    been playing a bout three years, wizard101 is exactly what is a masterful place for all the FAMILY . KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK ALL KINGSISLE PEOPLE YOUR THE GREATEST.

  37. niles / Jan 28 2015 7:10 pm

    Wow!! Love this game. I wished that they could challenge me more this is way too easy.
    I would love if Fire cat Alley’s fire snowmen had 500 Health and stuff like that.

    • niles / Jan 28 2015 7:11 pm

      Me too!

      • Anonymous / Mar 2 2015 9:30 pm

        101 comments about Wizard101 🙂

  38. Wizard101 Fan (Isabella UnicornGem) / Jan 12 2016 6:16 pm

    My my this is so good! I was once bored with this, but reading it makes me jump into amazement! This is so much better than the flat card games (obviously) and thank you for the graphic improvement!

  39. A cat / Feb 3 2016 6:19 pm

    OMG you guys should make actual cards to play with friends with the spells!!!! It’d be like pokenon cards, but wizard101 cards!!!!! I’d so buy them!!!!!

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