Our Favorite Wizard101 Memories (Part 3)
Finishing up on our favorite memories post from the past two days, we have a final few KingsIsle employee memories of Wizard101 to share with you today. Be sure to check out Part I and Part II of the series if you missed it. Thanks again to our fan, Helenie Nightseer, for this request.
Dave Timoney, Senior Game Designer
I play to level up (as do most KI employees!). I’ve also been lucky enough to make online friends that have stuck with me through the worlds. So one day I’m with an online friend in Marleybone, in combat. Another player asks to joins. He turned out to be pretty amusing. It was a long battle and he got most of the attacks as he attacked more often than we did – he was lower level. He started saying “Not me, kill them, kill them.” whenever he was attacked. Meaning us, of course, but it was so silly we got a big kick out of that. For a week or so after that, we used that phrase whenever we were in battle together.
As employees, we get a jump-start on some of the purchasable goodies. I was (probably) one of the first 5 people to go online with the Griffon mount. So I pop into The Commons riding the griffon and head down the road to the bazaar after a quick look around, like usual, to unload last night’s loot drops. Just before I enter the tunnel, behind me I hear “Holy cow, after her!” When I get to the bazaar door, I look around as a herd of people come pouring out of the tunnel all charging towards me. They only wanted to ask about the mount but – for a split-second – I was wishing the griffin could really fly.
Over the years, I’ve run wizards through every school – sometimes more than once. I’ve kinda played Wizard101 a good deal. But, probably about every 10th time I’ve played, I’ll just stop for a while when I’m in the Commons. I love watching the players charging around, going off on quests, heading to the shops/bazaars or teleporting in after a fight and discussing what happened – sometimes sad and sometimes happy. Not to mention those who offer to help others get through a tough battle. It never gets old and continues to make me glad that I work here, where I can actually see people having fun playing the game my company makes.
Jay Gordon, Pirate Producer 2010-2014
I downloaded Wizard the week before my interview at KI with no prior familiarity – it was simply attached with the company to which a friend had forwarded my resume.
I was not an MMO gamer, generally preferring frantic, violent First-person Shooter Console games or Strategy games on PC. Within moments of choosing and naming my Wizard avatar and standing in my school’s Classroom (Balance) with iconic theme music looping in background, I felt a connection and I had the distinct feeling that this was a game, and a company I would want to be a part of.
The look, the feel, the subject, the music, the approachability combined in that classroom scene and that was “the moment”. A very subtle moment, not flashy compared to my ensuing appreciation for the fun, whimsical art style of Spells in combat and/or seeing masses of players flying around the fountain on Brooms and fantastical Mounts in Wizard City. But, for me it was seeing my Wizard created and attached to a specific school (Balance) that foretold of a magical experience I knew I was going to love, and I did. And I got the job!
Evan Calderaro, Principal Artist
My favorite Wizard moment as a KI employee was the very first time I summoned a Frost Giant.
I’ll never forget the art team’s initial combat playtest together. I don’t think we cared one bit (for the first 20-30 duels, at least) if there were bugs or if things weren’t playing as intended — we got to drop massive HumungoFrogs from the sky and swing giant frozen hammers at each other’s puny little Wizards!
The Frost Giant was special for me because our Art Director had begun letting me Model and Texture characters (I was an Animator at the time) and he was the first one I had made.
The moment I summoned him hit me pretty hard that we were really making something special. Not because of the Frost Giant exactly (even though it was awesome to finally see him in action) but because we were all excited to play the game and were legitimately having fun. I’d say it was magical – but that’s a corny thing to say, and I won’t do it!
Jeff Toney, Principal Artist
I have a personal fondness for the Gobblers in Wizard City and I have two good stories to tell about their creation and a plot that never happened.
We wanted to create an enemy that, on its face, was not that threatening in appearance, but because of their way of thinking, became a big threat to Wizard City. The idea of an enemy that naturally wanted to consume everything around it was born. We wanted them to be thin to start out with, but as they consumed more and more objects around them, they grew bigger and rounder until they became the size of the current Gobbler King, able to eat towers and castles for lunch. They hailed from another land that was comprised completely from candy, so it was just a natural thing for them to want to consume everything around them. I guess they wondered why everything in this land tasted blander than what they were used to, but the intelligence of a Gobbler was never a thing Wizards had to worry about.
An early quest that was scrapped was to have your Wizard collect certain baubles and trinkets around Wizard City for the Gobbler Princess. A button here, a bow there, the Wizard was lead to believe these were all things that the Gobbler Princess loved to collect. What they were really doing was finding all the missing pieces of a Gobbler Princess doll that the Gobblers (because they were a bit dumb) thought was their real princess, instead of a dressed up sack of potatoes with a mop wig and some fake lips.
Leah Ruben, Senior Producer
I moved over 1000 miles to work on this game, not knowing the title or subject matter. Once I got to the KI studios, my first question was “what am I working on?” William Haskins (at the time, the Producer, now the Executive Producer) sat me down and told me to go ahead and play for a while. I created a Pyromancer, and was INSTANTLY hooked. Even months before the alpha test, I spent the first week playing, and then the next eight years (plus some) just in love with this whimsical, fun, witty, and funny Spiral.
As a player, I think my favorite moment so far was in Khrysalis, boarding the Great Beast for transportation. It was impressive, unique, and just a huge WOW moment.
That’s it from us for now, but we liked doing this so much, that we may make this a tradition! Thanks again and Happy Birthday Wizard101! See you next year with more fun and excitement.