It’s no secret that Wizards Unite has its issues, chief among them is the Spell Energy Problem.’
Look, it’s a fun game. The talent tree system is really cool, being able to prestige pages incentivizes recollecting stuff and that’s smart. Fortress combat offers a fresh. welcome co-operative challenge.
And when Niantic announced the game’s first Community Day, I felt the game was ready to take things to the next level, especially with the surprising amount of events they’ve put together already featuring ‘Brilliant Foundables’.
But if I’m honest, things didn’t really go according to plan. Niantic actually have a lot of work to do or risk seeing people drop off the game altogether.
The event in of itself was fine and was mostly designed to boost XP, adding 3x XP when you pop the game’s equivalent of a Lucky Egg – Baruffio’s Brain Elixir.
The spawns seemed to focus on the Platform 9 3/4 category, more specifically Hogwarts Students in Peril. Which is fine, except for the fact that those spawns are already relatively common anyway.
That leads into the first issue I had. Those students share a page with the Boggart Cabinet and I didn’t see a single one pop during the whole three hours, so there was no chance of prestiging the page unless you’d already collected the cabinets beforehand. Oops.
Then we come to the ‘Spenergy problem’. I know this has been an issue with the game since launch – and I’m still amazed nothing much was made of it during the overly lengthy beta period as surely people would have talked about it then.
But I ran out three times yesterday and I live in a busy city with plenty of inns. Niantic tried to give a little and offered a box during the event which gave you fifty free Spell Energy to start. I can tell you that I ran through that in about half an hour.
It’s partly because most Foundables resist me at least once or twice, despite averaging Great and Masterful casts. Each time they resist, you lose energy. Each time you miss a cast, you lose energy. And some Foundables drain more than others, dependent on their severity. And they seemed more resistant than usual during the three hour period, a complaint I’ve also seen mentioned by multiple sources.
This Community Day also presented an opportunity to help people finish up their Special Assignments in the first part of Potter’s ‘Brilliant’ Calamity Event.
Sure enough, there were loads of the rare Purple spawns popping up everywhere – even though I hadn’t really struggled beforehand to find them and had collected enough Quidditch Harrys and Hedwigs days before.
But to finish the page, you have to walk 7km Portkeys, complete the tasks, and battle a few Fortresses in order to get the remaining collectibles.
However, it got to a stage where I started to ignore the Brilliant Foundables altogether because it wasn’t worth me losing my precious energy to gain a little bit more XP. Sure, if I’d stayed in one spot, used Dark Detectors and kept spinning, I would have loaded up on Energy in no time.
But for a game designed to make you get up and walk, that sort of defeats the point doesn’t it? Ironically, I’m finding Wizards Unite is a game better played while sat down in a nice spot of rechargeable stations, whereas Pokemon encourages you to keep walking.
The problem is, Niantic don’t seem to have learned from Pokemon community days. There you get regular tasks to earn more balls and berries but there’s no way to earn that Spell Energy in WU unless you’re fortunate to be near lots of inns or are willing to spend money.
Put it this way, I rarely find myself in shortage of Pokeballs, but am always close to running out in WU and often have to ignore things until I can stock up. It’s a system designed to make money and it’s quickly becoming tiresome.
WU’s intentions are becoming more clear. It’s a money pit between a lack of poor inventory space – constantly having to ditch things to make more room – regular draining of energy, and the emphasis on wait timers.
This Community Day only emphasised those errors rather than disguised them and frankly, my interest is starting to wane.
I mean, I get it, PoGo took months/even years to get to where it is now and WU is still a brand new game. But they’re setting a dangerous precedent early and unlike PoGo, WU does have pretty heavy competition in one of the biggest mobile games ever made.
And I feel like if people leave WU to play something else, Niantic may not get them back so easily this time.