What Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Should Learn From Pokemon Go
Although Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is being developed by Pokemon Go developer Niantic, there are still multiple lessons it can stand to learn from Niantic’s flagship catch ’em all game. Here they are, from three die-hard Pokemon Go players on the IGN staff.
Make Our Collection Useful
While Harry Potter: Wizards Unite shares a lot of the same mechanics as Pokemon Go in terms of its basic mechanics (catching Pokemon on the world map vs. catching Foundables, for example), the thing that differentiates Pokemon Go is that the Pokemon you’re collecting can be used for things beyond simply adding to your hoard.
Depending on what Pokemon spawns, its IV ratings, and level, it could be utilized right away in other aspects of the game. In Wizards Unite, you’re basically just scrapbooking and adding stickers to your notebook — which is cool the first few times, but feels worthless and grindy the more you come across the same Foundable. By contrast, in Pokemon Go, I could catch 10 Charmanders in a row, but every single one of those will be different in its level, moveset, usability, etc depending on what I need at a given moment. Maybe I will evolve that Charmander to a Charizard to use in a raid or PVP battle, or maybe I caught an ultra-rare shiny Pokemon that is just nice as a high-value collector’s item.
Give Us A Reason To Leave Our Houses
Pokemon Go has clear incentives to get up and move, including but not limited to leveling up Pokemon by having a “buddy,” Adventure Sync (which allows your phone to relay how far you’ve walked to your app without it being open) and, of course, catching Pokemon out in the wild.
While Wizards Unite has some of these capabilities, I’m not clearly incentivized to walk around the world and explore in a way that’s as immediately translatable and understandable as the world of Pokemon. Thus far, I’ve mostly played from my couch; picking up Foundables as they appear near me, but never clearly understanding why I should have the desire to explore.
Don’t Force The Paywall
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite seems way more forced with its monetization than Pokemon Go. I feel like whenever I go to pick something up, the payment popup shows up. It doesn’t help that the button to upgrade your vault space is green, so it’s easy to accidentally upgrade if you have enough coins from tasks. Pokemon Go definitely did not feel like it was pushing its players to purchase items with real-world cash.
Have An Adventure Sync Option Right Off The Bat For Accessibility
Adventure Sync allows you to contribute to your progression in Pokemon Go without it needing to be open as you were playing, which is extremely liberating. It allows you to track your steps through your phone’s measurements, and allows the hatching of eggs, walking distance and buddy candy be earned. Since Wizards Unite has an almost identical equivalent to egg hatching (WU uses “Portkeys”), not having adventure sync (or something like it) off the bat seems weird.
Let Us Interact With Our Friends
One of Pokemon Go’s biggest features is its focus on friendship amongst trainers. Being someone’s friend in Pokemon Go allows players to send gifts and receive an assortment of items from them. It also allows players to grow their friendship, with a higher level of friendship having benefits across almost every aspect of the game.
For example, if you are completing a raid with a friend in Pokemon Go, you get extra resources and do more damage depending on your friendship level. Similarly, if you’re trading Pokemon you have the ability to trade rarer Pokemon at a lower cost when your friendship is higher. Friendships that are actually beneficial to you in Wizards Unite would make the daily progression and grind more varied and rewarding.
These will probably come in the future in Wizards Unite, but Pokemon Go has events all the time from legendary raids, to half-hatch walk distance, to community days… even having research tasks that lead to a nice pokemon. Wizards Unite could benefit from this since the foundable grind gets old quickly.
Make Spell Energy Easy To Obtain and Sustainable
In Pokemon Go, the equivalent to Wizards Unite’s spell energy is poke balls. You need it to cast any spell and in a game involving wizards, witches, and magic that energy is everything. Right now, the way you get more is by visiting inns and greenhouses (as well as some quest rewards).
Pokemon Go almost always guarantees you at least 1-2 poke balls per pokestop (and even more from gyms), but in Wizards Unite you aren’t always guaranteed spell energy, which creates a supply issue. In Pokemon Go, I always feel confident that if I run out of poke balls I can stock up quickly and easily and get back into the action within 5-10 minutes. In Wizards Unite, collecting spell energy currently feels like more of a chore just by the sheer time difference it takes to “dine” at an inn or harvest from a greenhouse.
Streamline It For Accessibility
I’ve been playing Pokemon Go since the beginning, and as such have been able to clearly follow the progression of additional layers of complexity that come along with its gameplay. While the initial version of the game was all about collecting Pokemon, now there are elements of gym battles, Legendary Raids, trading, training and beyond.
It’s clear Niantic took the aspects of Pokemon Go that worked and translated them into Wizards Unite, but I find myself faced with such a complicated system of gameplay that I am having a difficult time tracing what the throughline is beyond coming across Foundables. I’m sure the more I play the more I will understand, but such an overwhelming plethora of gameplay avenues (plus some “daily task” elements that feel very Freemium in a way Pokemon Go doesn’t to me) don’t encourage me to want to explore the world.
What are your thoughts on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite compared to Pokemon Go? Let us know in the comments!