Niantic's follow-up to Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, is now available. Like its predecessor, the new Harry Potter game tasks you with walking around, interacting with real-life locations that have been translated into the game world, and collecting things--among other Wizarding World-related activities. And like Pokemon Go, it has an augmented reality component designed to bring a bit of fantasy into your everyday life, and you'll need to amass energy (in place of Poke Balls) so you can progress through the game and fill out your collection.
There's a lot to learn in Wizards Unite, from how to take on enemies in combat to what you're even trying to accomplish (it's complicated!). Essentially, magical objects, people, and creatures have been scattered throughout the world, and you're tasked with recovering them before the secrets of the magical word are revealed to the world at large. You'll do this through some rather Pokemon Go-like gameplay, and the joking references to this being "Harry Potter Go" are not unfounded. That said, there are a lot of wrinkles to distinguish the two AR games from one another beyond their respective licenses, as you can see with something such as the Raid-like Wizarding Challenges.
We'll keep updating this article with the latest news, guides, and more on Wizards Unite, so stay tuned. For now, here's what you need to know.
It's Live Now For Free -- But It's Not Available In All Countries
Set to launch on June 21, Wizards Unite appeared on the iOS App Store and Google Play a day early, on June 20. Those in the US and UK--as well as Australia and New Zealand, which got access even earlier--can now download the game on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. It's free to play. If you're not in one of the four available markets, you'll be told the game isn't available in your country. There's no word yet on when it will be made available elsewhere.
- Download Harry Potter: Wizards Unite on iOS App Store
- Download Harry Potter: Wizards Unite on Android's Google Play
Guide For Pokemon Go Players
As noted above, Niantic has undoubtedly derived a lot of the core mechanics from Pokemon Go. Given the level of success that game has enjoyed, that comes as no surprise, but it does mean that anyone who has played that game should have a decent grasp on the basics. That said, all of the names are different--Foundables are like catching Pokemon, spell energy stands in for Poke Balls, Inns are Poke Stops, and so on--and some things have changed, so we've put together some tips and a glossary of sorts to help Go players get up to speed.
How To Get More Spell Energy
One of the big questions you'll run into if you play Wizards Unite for long is how you get more energy. Whereas Pokemon Go restricts your ability to make progress through a limited supply of Poke Balls, here you have an energy system. Energy is used to cast spells, which is the core mechanic of the game, like catching a Pokemon. Getting more energy can be done by visiting real-world locations like Inns, which are basically PokeStops.
One of the central elements of Wizards Unite are its Wizarding Challenges. If you've played Pokemon Go, you can think of these as Raids--larger-scale encounters at specific locations where you can earn rewards you wouldn't be able to obtain elsewhere. However, while Raids are a good way of imagining them, there are--like so many other areas of the game--more layers of complexity to this. Runes are used to determine certain aspects, seemingly such as difficulty and rewards. We're still digging into this aspect of the game and will report back with more information soon.
Along with choosing a profession (more on that below), another decision to make is your choice of wand. This is customized through the Ministry ID section (the bottom-left icon in the default map view). There are several aspects to your wand, including its wood, core, flexibility, and length. The game suggests these choices do play a role in the game, although it's unclear if this is just a role-playing element that doesn't impact gameplay. Fortunately, you're free to alter the composition of your wand at any time.
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Not Everything From Pokemon Go Is Here
While Wizards Unite builds on Pokemon Go in many ways, and is a step ahead where that was at launch. For instance, the ability to add friends is here for the US/UK launch of Wizards Unite but wasn't added to Pokemon Go for a long time. However, other features that would be nice to see aren't available, at least so far. Case in point: Adventure Sync is nowhere to be found. That feature allows Pokemon Go to track the distance you've walked even in the background, so you don't have to keep your game open to collect progress toward hatching eggs. Wizards Unite has similar goals that require you to walk a certain distance, but for the time being, you'll need to make sure the game is open to complete them.
One of the choices you'll have to make once you've played enough to reach Level 6 is your profession. You can pick from three: Auror, Magizoologist, and Professor. This is a choice you can change, but it's to your benefit to choose one and stick with it--and, ideally, you'll complement the profession of those you're playing with.
Like Pokemon Go, Wizards Unite contains microtransactions. You can spend real money to purchase Gold, which you can then use to buy items in the game. These include potions and Runestones, which are used for Wizarding Challenges in the game.
We were able to play the game a bit early during an event. From what we've played so far, it seems like Wizards Unite is dodging some of Pokemon Go's problems at launch by offering a broader array of content right out of the gate.
If you've been on social media since the game's launch, odds are you've seen people sharing their friend codes all over the place. This is done by sharing a long string of numbers, and adding others to your friends list provides various benefits. At this point, the one upside to doing so that we know about is you'll get bonus Wizarding XP and Wizarding Challenge XP when you complete Wizarding Challenges together.
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