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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

Leave a Comment
  1. Chrissy The Blesser / Jan 16 2015 2:22 pm

    How fun 😀 Those screenshots are awesome and the info is really fascinating. Nothing like a good story, be it in a game or a post about it. Thanks guys 😀

    • Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 3:08 pm

      i like this post
      🙂

      • Alex / Jan 18 2015 1:09 pm

        i thin kits pretty cool and all the other worlds are very adventerous and creative also put a lot of effert

      • Jaden / Jan 18 2015 4:23 pm

        it is so cool i defeated mailistare

  2. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 2:42 pm

    cool

  3. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 3:27 pm

    if kingsisle gets in here i hope they see this cause this is the worlds best game and i wanted to tell them thank you cause i love this game

    • Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 4:01 pm

      i love playing w101 now these little tid bits help you endure your understanding of the game and they are really interesting.

    • Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 5:06 pm

      i love the game more!

  4. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 3:39 pm

    interesting

  5. Beau / Jan 16 2015 3:58 pm

    Yo I did play back then and it was pretty nice without housing and cheap criticals In pvp. I also think the astral gear should come back for a day.

  6. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 4:08 pm

    Oh yeah, I remember the days of the four areas. I joined right around the launch date of lovely area five.

    • Anonymous / Jan 18 2015 10:26 am

      Same here!

  7. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 4:27 pm

    wow! that was helpful and interesting!

  8. Diane / Jan 16 2015 4:58 pm

    Thank You Kingsisle! You hit the nail on the head about the other games that were out there. I can’t play them (too complicated for someone my age) & I sure couldn’t play them with my grand children! TY TY TY Been playing since the beginning, one of my grown sons introduced me. Can’t thank you enough. Stay true to your core objectives & you will be around a long time.

  9. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 5:03 pm

    thanks for the post kingsisle your game is amazing!

    • Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 7:30 pm

      i love this game

  10. Christian Groff / Jan 16 2015 5:14 pm

    Man, you guys didn’t even complete the first story arc when you shipped it?!? That must have been frustrating to a lot of players. But I understand you had spent so much time developing the details of each world like you always do that you had little time to resolve the issue with Malistaire and you didn’t want to tack him on as an afterthought. I am going to create a new Balance Wizard and go through each world again, taking my time and enjoying it. I hope that when you start up the next story, you give the same detail to each world as you did with everything from Wizard City to Khrysalis. ^_^

    • si1verwing / Jan 16 2015 5:32 pm

      “Man, you guys didn’t even complete the first story arc when you shipped it?!? That must have been frustrating to a lot of players.” *Pirate101 players laugh as we’ve had two main worlds added and our first arc is not even close to done*

      • Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 7:10 pm

        actu;;y third arc is in question for w101 we first first arc a long time ago in w101 second arc is soon to be over hopefully considering krysylis and the new darkmoor dungeon.

  11. si1verwing / Jan 16 2015 5:33 pm

    I should check out Shadowbane, then. 🙂 And I would totally play the physical card game. You guys should totally make a post like this for Pirate101!

  12. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 5:40 pm

    good post lot of info

    • Xavier / Jan 17 2015 3:01 pm

      true anonymous that was a lot.

  13. Rob / Jan 16 2015 5:47 pm

    I actually played wizard101 before the bazaar came out. Those were touch times, you had to buy all your gear from the worlds or just get it from a battle. The level 50 gear was the thang back then.

  14. DaCracken / Jan 16 2015 6:07 pm

    I remember when there were only four worlds. I still have that outfit that was extremely expensive, yet extremely useful. Even since I got to Mooshu I saved every piece of gold, only to shell them out once I had enough for each piece of the 3-piece outfit, which cost about 100,000 if I remember correctly. And that’s just in brown which was by far the cheapest color. Then i began saving my money for black (the most expensive color) which ended up costing somewhere between 150,000 to 250,000 gold. Hard times, but fun ones. 🙂

  15. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 6:15 pm

    i think wizard 101 is the best game ever but i think they should make some worlds free

  16. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 6:27 pm

    i remember back in beta people really have no idea what the game was like when you had to run the entire game without mounts or speed boost made it quite the challenge to level up and was an entire experience all its own 🙂 -Anthony Shadowhunter

  17. Karolina / Jan 16 2015 6:55 pm

    Love the post!!! 🙂

  18. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 7:08 pm

    wow there a shadow bane

  19. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 7:10 pm

    Did not know that info till now. You started out with only FOUR worlds?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 7:12 pm

    I started playing W101 at my son’s request about 7 years ago. A year later, he got bored and moved on to other things. I kept playing for the next 4+ years. I finally took a hiatus, but have recently started playing again, using the free play option – my pet training skills are getting pretty good! I hope to start playing “for real” again soon, and start playing with my granddaughters Fun game, family friendly, and a way to spend time with my grandchildren. The kid in me loves it! Keep moving the game forward, please.

  21. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 7:17 pm

    i think you should add more shadow enchanced spell because now there is only one and I think you should expand levels

  22. Mark / Jan 16 2015 8:09 pm

    My wife and I began playing W101 for out niece. She quit playing. We didn’t! We still love playing the game! My wife plays when she’s not working or in college and I play daily as I’m disabled. You could not have created a more interesting and diverse game. Looking forward to what is to come! See you in the game! – Mark Darkstone – Necromancer Extrodinaire!

  23. afshin / Jan 16 2015 8:23 pm

    cool

  24. Benjamin William Schweitzer / Jan 16 2015 8:35 pm

    So, when did it expand into Pirate 101? What are some of the next installments of the 101 series being considered? I know I suggested mechanists, and I saw few suggestions for Ninjas.

  25. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 8:42 pm

    I like wizard 101 but i don’t understand some of the cards spells or what they are used for

  26. christina unicorn caster ( lol add me if i seen ) / Jan 16 2015 8:43 pm

    o.o lots to know out there! I never knew about the card game thing…

  27. Mariah (AceWolf95) / Jan 16 2015 9:10 pm

    That is awesome! I’m to be learning of Game Art and stuff so to hear where the ideas came from is great insperation. I have played LOTS of games (EX: runscape, dragon fable, flyff, dragon nest, rise of mythos,ect…) and Wizard101 has always stayed on my computer even in the two years i wasn’t able to download and play it. Hope it keeps going too! i’m only halfway through 😀

    • Mariah (AceWolf95) / Jan 16 2015 9:15 pm

      the ending rhyme was not intentional, i do that a lot for some odd reason. lol

  28. Anonymous / Jan 16 2015 9:28 pm

    i love everything about this game exept for the prices. SO many of my friend stopped playing because they couldn’t afford crowns. I even stopped for a while because of that.

  29. wizkid20 / Jan 16 2015 10:19 pm

    yea but whats sad is they have 7 schools and only 6 choices I just wish they could once and for all make it happen some of us don’t have the money to work for 2 or delete one for another

  30. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 1:26 am

    i love wizard 101

  31. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 1:51 am

    Awesome history! I hope you guys be inspired more in developing the game!

  32. Robert / Jan 17 2015 3:06 am

    I just wanted to say, Thank’s for this Game – really nice job
    by any chance can put in a secret spell in for like say boss
    fights. It would be like Loremaster………..just saying lol……
    THANK’S AGAIN……………………………………………………….

  33. Josephine / Jan 17 2015 3:17 am

    This is amazing information 🙂
    Three years! Wow!

  34. milan1234810 / Jan 17 2015 3:38 am

    i vare vare love this blog post

  35. milan1234810 / Jan 17 2015 3:39 am

    Christian Groff / Jan 16 2015 5:14 pm
    Man, you guys didn’t even complete the first story arc when you shipped it?!? That must have been frustrating to a lot of players. But I understand you had spent so much time developing the details of each world like you always do that you had little time to resolve the issue with Malistaire and you didn’t want to tack him on as an afterthought. I am going to create a new Balance Wizard and go through each world again, taking my time and enjoying it. I hope that when you start up the next story, you give the same detail to each world as you did with everything from Wizard City to Khrysalis. ^_^

  36. Sathish / Jan 17 2015 3:47 am

    i always enjoy playing Wizard101 one of the best games i have ever played Kingsisle you guys are awesome!!!! 😀

  37. Evan DreamWeaver / Jan 17 2015 5:54 am

    Here is a lot of things i didnt know about this SUPER game.
    I remember my first time playing like the best summerday in my life.
    I started quite soon so it was strange why everyone talked about the dragonspyre world that came some days before me.
    Well it was nice to know how my favorite game came tolife and i hope you in kingsisle entertainment will continue to make great games and improve wizard101.
    I love the game! hope you will like my comment to 😀

  38. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 6:35 am

    Kingsisle have you ever thought about letting us have a roommate in Wizard101?

  39. Laura McDonald / Jan 17 2015 8:13 am

    This has been a fun game for me to play for years with both of my kids, now 18 and 26. The younger one saw advertising and wanted to play, and I had to do it to see what he was up to! We have had many enjoyable times over the years. Mission accomplished!

  40. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 8:26 am

    i love this game it is the best although my mom and dad quit playing like a year ago.

  41. Luke / Jan 17 2015 8:46 am

    Thanks for the info 🙂

  42. Ava / Jan 17 2015 9:27 am

    I really wish if we could just sell stuff for crowns or just do member quest to earn crowns am I right?

  43. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 11:08 am

    you are right mom and me play a lot and it brought our time together as a special and wonderful adventure learning how each other played learning the game mom hates pvp i love but yet she can strike fear when needed so ty for allowing us the adventure of life

  44. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 11:09 am

    WIZARD 101 IS AWESOME!!!

  45. Mr. Tracy Torres / Jan 17 2015 11:35 am

    Are they going to come up with shadow pets too? I had really liked the ice scorpions like to have it as a spell.

  46. luke skywalker lvl 28 / Jan 17 2015 11:51 am

    i never knew any of that

  47. Amrin / Jan 17 2015 12:01 pm

    wow i think w101 is doing great work! even p101! I think you done a great goal in your lifes have fun! 😀

  48. Anonymous / Jan 17 2015 1:06 pm

    Wow cool!

  49. me / Jan 17 2015 2:39 pm

    My young son and I both play. We love it. We like that new quests are added. We’d love to see some of the voice actors taping their parts. How many people have contributed their voices?

  50. ryanpearlshield / Jan 17 2015 2:54 pm

    hi wizard101 i look the game its nice

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