Harry Potter: Wizards Unite - A Guide For Pokemon Go Players
A whole lot of people have played Pokemon Go, developer Niantic's augmented reality mobile game that swept the world up into a mobile game fad three years ago. With its release this week, Harry Potter: Wizard Unite serves as something of a follow-up, bringing a lot of Pokemon Go's sensibilities into the Wizarding World. The game is now available for iOS and Android in the US and UK, expanding on the existing availability in Australia and New Zealand.
But Wizards Unite is a bigger and more robust game than Pokemon Go was at its launch, with a lot more things to keep straight. That said, the underlying ideas--walking around your real neighborhood to locate virtual people, creatures, and objects and interact with them--are the same between the two AR games. If you've played Pokemon Go, you'll catch on to Wizards Unite. (And if you need more tips, tricks, and coverage, be sure to check out our Harry Potter: Wizards Unite hub page.)
The thing about Wizards Unite is that there is a whole lot to know and learn about the game as you play it. You'll be constantly inundated with tutorials to teach you about Traces, potions, battles, fortresses, Foundables, and more. There's more to keep you engaged, but it's not nearly as straightforward as Pokemon's "catch creatures, battle creatures" underlying premise. (You might also find it unclear how to get more energy, which effectively serves as Wizards Unite's equivalent to Poke Balls.)
Fortunately, we've got a quick guide to help get you started. We've gathered all the information you'll need, whether you're a big fan of Pokemon Go or new to Niantic's AR games. Read on for a quick explanation of all the game's terminology and systems, along with how they all work, to support your quest to help Harry Potter and his pals save the world one more time.
The Calamity Grips The Wizarding World
There's a story underlying Harry Potter: Wizards Unite that explains why you need to run around your neighborhood, blasting boggarts and helping hippogryphs. The Wizarding World is gripped by something called the Calamity, which has transported magical people, creatures, and artifacts out into the real world. Harry Potter fans know that this is a big deal, because the Muggle world isn't allowed to know about the Wizarding World--it's part of Wizarding law, known as the Statute of Secrecy.
That's where you come in. The Ministry of Magic has recruited you (and everyone else who downloads the game) to help gather up the missing magical items, people, and creatures before they get noticed. As you collect stuff, you'll also work together with Ministry officials, including the adult Harry Potter (the story takes place in the current day, not during Harry's school years), to figure out who is responsible for the Calamity and what else they might be planning.
Traces, Foundables, and Confoundables -- Catching Pokemon
The thing you'll do most in Wizards Unite is locate and free Foundables. These are magical people, creatures, and artifacts that have been zapped out of the Wizarding World and found their way into the Muggle one, and it's your job to return them to where they belong before some unsuspecting No-Maj stumbles across it and breaks the Statue of Secrecy. Traces are to Wizards Unite what catching Pokemon is to Pokemon Go--they're your primary collect-'em-all activity. You'll see them on your map screen as icons that refer to the section of the Registry, your big catalog of Foundables, in which they appear (more on that in a second). Capturing Foundables requires casting spells, which you do by tracing with your finger the path laid out on your screen when you discover one (hence calling these encounters Traces). You'll need Spell Energy in order to cast spells, though.
Not every Foundable is easy to grab--each carries a "Threat Level" that determines the difficulty in collecting it. You can increase your chances of successfully grabbing a Foundable through your spell-casting. The more closely you trace the figure on the screen, the better your spell, which is rated on a scale at the top of the screen. For tougher Foundables, you'll need to level up. You can do that by earning experience points as you gather Foundables, check off Assignments, and finish Wizarding Challenges in Fortresses.
Spell Energy -- Harry Potter Poke Balls
This pool dictates your ability to capture Foundables and cast spells in general. You start with 75 Spell Energy points that deplete as you do magic in the game. Spell Energy is very much like your store of Poke Balls in Pokemon Go; you need it to get Foundables, so you need to spend time restoring Spell Energy after you use it. To do that, you'll visit Inns.
Inns -- Magical PokeStops
In Pokemon Go, PokeStops are real-world location you can visit and tap on your in-game map to receive items--most frequently Pokeballs. Since Wizards Unite and Pokemon Go share geolocation data, those locations exist in Wizards Unite as well, only in this game, they're called "Inns." Inns also dispense items and rewards you need: in this case, Spell Energy. Once you visit an Inn, you have to wait five minutes before you can visit it again and claim its rewards.
Registry -- Your Wizarding World Pokedex
Collecting Foundables fills out your Registry, the big list of everything that's missing from the Wizarding World. Your Registry is your Wizarding version of a Pokedex, and filling out its pages is one of the main goals of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The Registry is divided into several sections, and you get rewards based on which section you're adding items to (like the Ministry of Magic, the Room of Requirement, or Magizoology).
Some Foundables won't go straight into your Registry as soon as you catch them. Those ones are divided into "fragments," requiring you to capture the same Foundable more than once in order to fully unlock it in the Registry and gain its rewards.
Portkey Portmanteaus -- Wizard Pokemon Eggs
Occasionally you'll find a Portkey in the world. Once activated, a Portkey will take you to a Wizarding World location. The trouble with Portkeys is that you can't use them as soon as you find them; they have to be unlocked. Portkeys come in Portmanteaus, which function the same way Pokemon Eggs do in Pokemon Go. To unlock a Portkey, you'll need a Gold or Silver Key, which serve the same function as Incubators do in Pokemon. You get a Gold Key through the course of the story, which will last forever--but which you can only use on one Portmanteau at a time, while Silver Keys can be purchased or found through playing the game, but which can be used only once before disappearing. Once you have a key, you'll need to log some steps, since exercise is a big part of the Niantic formula with its augmented reality games. Your first Portkey will require you to log five kilometers' worth of walking in order to unlock it, but the distance you'll need to cover will vary with other Portkeys.
Potions -- Power Up Your Spells
Breaking Confoundable spells to capture Foundables can be tough. For Foundables with higher Threat Levels, you might not be able to break the spell until you level up. You may also find yourself battling dark wizards and other creatures, and you'll need help or healing to keep you in the fight. You can get a temporary boost in your abilities with the use of potions. They function similarly to stronger Pokeballs and various candies in Pokemon Go, with a variety of different effects. Brewing potions requires ingredients, which can sometimes appear on your map as you walk around in Wizards Unite, and are often given out as rewards when you clear objectives or add Foundables to your Registry. Potions take time to brew, though, so it's good to keep them simmering whenever possible to make sure you have them when you need them. You can also spend Gold (an in-game currency you can earn by playing or buy with real money) to speed up potions' brewing timers.
Dark Detectors -- Lures For Stronger Traces
As you play, you'll eventually earn some Dark Detectors. These objects work to let you see rarer, stronger Traces for a set period of time. They work a lot like Pokemon Lures in Pokemon Go. Dark Detectors are used at Inns (like Lures are used at PokeStops) and work in the area around the Inn for 30 minutes. Unlike Lures, though, you can add multiple Dark Detectors to an Inn at once, which can increase their effectiveness. Three Detectors can reveal some of the highest-level Traces, which you might not normally encounter otherwise.
Assignments -- Pushing The Story Along
While filling out your Registry is your overall goal, you'll get a lot of short-term objectives that help you gain more rewards, earn more experience, and push the Wizard Unite story forward. These are known as Assignments, available when you tap the calendar-looking icon on your map screen, and they're divided into several categories. Daily Assignments are just minor, relatively easy objectives to complete as you play to get extra experience, potion-brewing ingredients, and other common rewards. SOS Assignments, on the other hand, are the objectives you complete to help the Ministry of Magic solve the mystery of the Calamity. There are also Special Assignments--but we haven't seen any of those yet--and Achievements, which track your overall accomplishments and dish out rewards when you hit milestones.
Ministry ID -- Creating Your Social Presence
When you befriend other players in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, you'll see their Ministry ID. This is the document that tracks your progress in the game and lets you show off a bit to other players. You can build out your own Ministry ID by clicking the icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen. There, you can take a photo of yourself and add special filters to your portrait (you'll need to unlock them by playing the game), define your Hogwarts house, build and register a wand, and add titles you earn in Wizards Unite to show off your accomplishments.
Fortresses -- Your Pokemon Gyms And Raids
Like Pokemon Go, Wizards Unite is meant to be a social experience--you're not just exploring the Wizarding World by yourself, but with all your friends, too. Fortresses are where you'll see multiplayer coming to the forefront of Wizards Unite. Here, you can join up with other players to take on tough Wizarding Challenges. Think of these locations like Pokemon Go's Pokemon Gyms, but with a focus on the cooperative aspect, rather than the competitive. You'll team up to fight through fortresses to earn access to their rewards, which include Foundables you might not otherwise find in the world.
Fortresses require "Runes," a special set of objects you'll get as you venture through the world collecting Foundables, filling out your Registry, and completing story and daily Assignments. Runes dictate the difficulty of your venture through a Fortress, and also your rewards. The higher the Rune you use, the tougher the fight, but the better the stuff you get at the end.
Professions -- Specialize Your Magic
As you level up in Wizards Unite, you'll eventually get to pick one of three professions: Auror, Magizoologist, or Professor. Picking one gives you access to one of three skill trees, where you can unlock new abilities and perks specific to your job. Those specialties can make you more effective against certain kinds of enemies and spells, for instances. When you venture into fortresses, you'll want to try to build teams of players with differing professions, to benefit from each person's unique abilities and perks. You can also change your profession after selecting one to better suit your needs.