Wizard 101

Wizard 101 is a new free-to-play MMO with an option to subscribe for extra content. It's aimed at the 10-13 age-group, but don't let that fool you - it's a well-executed, well-designed game, with its own distinct style and gameplay.

I'd been idly following some of the reviews and previews (Wired, MMOsite.com, WarCry), and took a look at the game last night. I have to admit, it's charming enough to make me look forward to logging in again, which is more than most free-to-play games ever manage.

It has very simple character generation (reminiscent in some ways of a simplified version of the questions in Morrowind), a setting close enough to some popular children's fantasy to be familiar (though it's more Diana Wynne Jones than JK Rowling), and a turn-based combat system that reminds me of Magic: The Gathering, cards and all, but is probably more like Pokémon, which I haven't played.

There are a large number of safety features in it for children; kids under 13 can only use the pre-set chat menu to talk, while there are heavy filters applied to other conversation. There's a lot of attention paid to parental controls, which I reckon can only be a good thing in the target market.

It's not a game I have any intention of playing in the long- or even medium-term. But it's amusing to poke at, a notably high-quality release, and it's an ideal game for starting pre-teens on MMOs without having to consider the implications of letting them loose in WoW or Warhammer.

Find out more at Wizard 101.

Posted by Drew Shiel at December 10, 2008 9:55 AM

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