Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Celestia and Pet Capabilities Press Release

Hey all! I've been busy twittering about this while I was out at lunch. Hopefully this comes through ok from e-mail to my blog. It's always a bit touch-n-go when I post to my blog this way.

ANYWAY, HERE IT IS! The big announcement about celestia and pet enhancement. This Press Release hit the streets about an hour ago and already twitter is exploding. Central has post up about it. Mythspent Youth has a post up about it. West Karana has a post up in the works. Ravenwood Radio promises to talk about this press release on the show tonight. Edward Icespear is already lamenting the increased work load that his massive pet listing on Central will become. Hahaha! And here I am throwing down my two cents.

I'll talk some more about this after you read the press release. I cut out the bottom material of the release that no one reads for ya . . . you're welcome.


New world, advanced pet system and level cap increase included in two Wizard101 content updates

PLANO, TEXAS (March 24, 2010) – KingsIsle Entertainment, creators of the award-winning massively multiplayer online game (MMO) Wizard101 is proud to announce details on two of the major content updates for 2010. An extensive Advanced Pet system is launching this spring and the world of Celestia is launching late summer. In addition to all new quests the Celestia expansion will also include an increased level cap and new secondary schools of magic.

Coming this spring, players will have the opportunity to hatch customized pets from millions of potential combinations. The Advanced Pet system will bring a new dimension of interaction within Wizard101 as players can race their pets in the expansive Pet Derby, participate in new pet-themed minigames, feed and train them, and use them as allies in magic duels. Players will be able to level their pets from an egg to ancient beings with incredible powers.

The new world of Celestia is inspired by Atlantis, and young Wizards will encounter new adventures and quests deep under the sea. Celestia also increases the level cap in Wizard101 from level 50 up to level 60, as well as introducing three new secondary schools of magic. Celestia will officially open in late summer. Starting in June players can undertake new quests to discover the secrets of this new world and begin to unlock the story behind Celestia.

"2010 is shaping up to be an incredible year for the students of Ravenwood School of Magic," said J. Todd Coleman, Vice President and Creative Director for KingsIsle Entertainment. "Whether exploring the underwater kingdom of Celestia, or hatching and training pets to participate in the Pet Derby, every player–from the newest apprentice to the returning grandmaster–will find something compelling, engaging and fun."


My thoughts on some of the finer points:

- millions of potential combinations . . . so unlocking this puzzle is going to be a huge community effort.

- race their pets in the expansive Pet Derby . . . Yup we wanted Mario Kart for Wizard101, we got it!

- pet-themed minigames . . . notice the pluralization there . . . more ways to fill our potion bottles.

- feed and train them . . . hmmm, wonder where the best place to do that will be, hmmmm? Maybe in your player housing lawn?

- allies in magic duels . . . either pet cards just got a whole lot cooler, OR maybe it will work like the toon town pets where they randomly step in and take a swing when you attack . . . don't know how that will work with traps.

- level their pets from egg to ancient beings . . . yup. That. Is. Awesome. I can't wait to see a little squee baby wraith pop out from an egg. This probably also means that certain eggs will be crown items. Just a guess.

- Celestia is inspired by Atlantis . . . Have you all seen Atlantis Squarepantis . . . the spongebob mini-movie? Sorry, my brain is full of this kind of nonsense rather than historical book reading type of mumbo jumbo, but I'm going with it. In Atlantis Squarepantis, Sandy the squirrel explains that Atlantis contains all the pinnacle of existence there is to living, Krabs goes for the gold, Sandy goes for the Science, Squidward goes for the art, Plankton goes for the weapons of war, and Patrick and Spongebob go for the world's oldest living bubble. I really really really really hope that KI uses a few puns in their quests from this mini-movie . . . jus' sayin'

- quests deep under the sea . . . ok, so to this point Wizard101 has had no Z-axis. You have not been able to go up and down. Your character has been glued to the ground. If you actually get to swim, then WOW. That is truly amazing. The problems with traveling along the Z-axis in most games is that it increases the chance for glitches where you get stuck in walls or hills, etc. At least we have a port button. I really hope this doesn't increase complaints about getting stuck. Alternatively, I really want to swim up and down and not in a straight line . . . or be stuck to walking through hallways like the storm house has.

- increases the level cap from 50-60 . . . I told you so! Expect to receive 3 more training points I'm guessing.

- three new secondary schools of magic . . . note "secondary." That means you can't make a wizard that's a moon wizard or some such nonsense. I'm also going to guess that these secondary schools of magic are going to be necessary to fight whatever monsters you come up against in whatever final instance you fight in. So, expect to spend those 3 more training points in astral magic.

- late summer . . . dang, August or September seems so far away. It would have been nice for all these kids to play in Celestia over the summer break. Now it looks like pet racing derby and mutant pets are going to be the way to go.

- starting in june . . . OH WAIT! So at least they are going to give you summer break kids a few new quests to get you started toward Celestia! WOOT! NEW CONTENT FOR SUMMER!

- unlock the story . . . this, my friends, is one of the best parts. We all absolutely love a good story. I hope it really gets me excited and immersed in the anticipation of the new content. I wonder if they will unlock levels 50-60 early so you don't get the whiners complaining about missing out on the Exp of doing the quests early. Hmmmm.

- Quote from J Todd Coleman . . . I love J Todd Coleman. He's awesome.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts and feelings!

Happy Dueling!


Sierra Starsong said...

Atlantis? So maybe I was right about my Storm house world theory? Sweet!

Ten more levels - double sweet!

Not sure I like the "hatching new pets" idea, even if there is a lot of customization involved. If I wanted a pet game I'd still be playing Neopets. I can see feeding pets to grow them, but I hope occasional pets don't get penalized for not being able to feed as often. (No pet starvation!) Will the pets we already have fit in with this new system at all? Or will it only be for hatched pets?

Sierra Starsong said...

Oops, that was supposed to be "occasional players don't get penalized".

Heather Emeraldflame said...

I was very excited when I got on and read about all that at the site!
I do have some of the same worries as you guys, though. Especially on the trap thing you mentioned, Friendly. It drives me nuts enough when some noob comes running in and wands my set-up and destroys all my work, but if your pet will effect it then I probably won't even keep a pet out anymore when in battle.

All the other pet news sounds really cool, but like Sierra said; I do hope it doesn't become like Neopets where you have to worry about feeding and stuff. My poor Neopets are probably dying as I type this. Part of the thing I liked about W101 is I didn't have to worry much about my pets.I do enough of that in real

I love the idea that Celestia will be like an Atlantis-themed world. Personally I love the Storm-themed house...of course I do, I was meant for Storm, so everything Storm, water and weather related I love! But, yeah, wouldn't it be awesome if our wizards could swim?1?!?!

I do wonder how they will do the secondary schools. Maybe our main schools are not getting any extra spells and we will continue any further training at these schools. Maybe it won't even need the use of training points, that would be nice! So if we did get more points I COULD actually buy that Tower Shield I want for my Storm wizards ;)

Maybe the new secondary schools will have a lot fewer spells so we aren't gonna be getting a whole lot from them. In a way, it would be nice if the spell lists are short so it wouldn't be so hard to decide what to do.

Anyway, people, read my blog! I haven't had a lot of time on it yet but I will be posting stuff and fixing it up more when I get the chance. I just posted a couple new ones in the last 24 hours. Here is the latest:

Edward Icespear said...

I'm already lamenting the increased work load that his massive pet listing on Central will become, LOL! Nice Very Nice.

I made yet another guide for The Hatchery, you can found it in my pet guide, just to keep it look not so crowded.

Silverheart said...


Amber RosePetal said...

Oh. My. GOSH! *Freaks out*

destiny stormstone said...

they announced there are more secondary schools, right? do you think that there will be shields for them?

Heather Emeraldflame said...

@Destiny: I was wondering that same thing a few days ago when I was thinking about what the new schools would be and where they might put these schools. If nothing else I'm sure Tower Shield would cover them, but that is a real nuisance to those who don't wish to(or can't) take 5 levels of Ice to obtain it.

Isaiah Iceblood said...

O_O this is sooo exciting I remember when you wanted a celestia...haha now you got it xD i'm a grandmaster ice and boy I can't wait to see celestia and the pets

Morgrim said...

I'm not keep on growing pets that become a second job. If you have a real-life pet, that's different, but I don't want pets starving or becoming stupid because I took a few days away from the game. Also, I want their development to be about choices, not randomness. "Farming" for equipment is enough randomness, thanks. I don't need to farm or buy 50 copies of the same egg just to hope I get the pet I want, and if I make one mistake have to start all over again. That's the sort of thing that turned me off about the legendary weapon thing for LotRO, it was just too dependent on randomness. I like that Wizard101 is generally casual-friendly. I abhor the idea of adding in the worst time-consuming elements of the high levels of other MMOs.

As to the new secondary schools, hopefully thet will be a collection of utility spells instead of a chain that you have to buy in order. Niles, the shield trainer in the Commons, and the trainer that has Life Trap and Reshuffle in Colossus Blvd. are all good examples of trainers that don't require everything in a list. Secondary spells that take more than 0-2 pips quickly become a waste of power pips, so that's why I'm hoping they will be mostly utility that have low pip costs. Maybe some will be multicolored, so that many schools can use power pips on them.

Levelling from 50-60... I hope that EXP "lost" by hitting the cap will be applied once the cap is raided. That would be the nice thing to do, but I doubt it will happen. Those of us that are 50th but still doing quests for their story will probably get screwed compared to new characters, but that's a common snub that happens with every other MMO expansion that raises a level cap. I guess that with characters hitting higher levels between now and the cap increase, I'll avoid doing too many side quests if I can. I have a tendency to be an almosr OCD-level completionist though, so that will be a struggle.

I do kind of like that most of the cultural references and puns (particularly in quest names) are things that come from when I was a kid. I think that was done intentionally to increase the appeal for adults playing with their kids (or Nieces and nephews, etc.). If too many references are aimed at current cartoons like Spongebob, I think the game would lose some of that appeal. I've watched an episode or two, but I'm not a fan of that show, and leaning more towards being an anti-fan. Nothing personal against the fans, but I'd rather not watch it myself.

Sorry so much of this seems negative. Actually, I'm just as excited about the expansion as anyone, but simply gushing about being excited wouldn't lend itself to having much to say, compared to speculation, hopes, and preferences.

Morgrim Wraith

Reduce, Reuse, Reanimate
Black: It's the new Green.

David said...

gotta catch them all.

I am sure it will be closer to pokemon in battles rather than your pet being a new minion.

And I think the customization of your pet is more to do with allowing you to be creative and unique in your pet, rather than being a completely random set of stats/etc. So it may be along the line of "life" pets get these stats, but you can customize your life pets look to your liking... and "balance" pets get these stats... Then like in pokemon, the more you battle them, they "level" up. So you can have fun levelling your pets as well.

Or I may be way off. But if you think about it, we are basically already fighting like pokemon where we are weak to a certain class, and strong against another, and we have similar attacks... this just might move the game to our pets instead as a new way to play.

smvb said...

I'm really looking forward to the new world! It is too bad that it won't be ready until late summer, but understandable. I hope the pets aren't a tedious addition to the game. And yes, I think making them work more like pokemon than minions in battle would be a good idea. (My kids are playing those games right now.)

Here is a nitpicky side-note: In Toontown (at least last time I played, which was about a year ago), pets don't attack the cogs when you call them. They perform a trick that you have trained them with to give you back some of your laff--in other words, they heal you a little bit. They don't randomly pop up in battle, you choose to call them instead of using a gag to attack the cogs you are facing.

I very much prefer the idea of pets fighting along with you, but they will have to be more controllable than minions for me to use them. Although I would think that since they are standing next to you, they wouldn't take up another battle circle, which would be an advantage.