Wizard101 launches!

After a summer-long beta period the graphically beautiful Wizard101 is now live! This kid-oriented free-to-play title is now available for any interested parties, and KingsIsle has announced a number of interesting tidbits to go along with the game's launch. While the title is technically free to play, the company is offering a substantial package of benefits for a $9.95/month fee. In fact, it might be better to think of the 'free to play' component of the game as more of a trial than anything else. Large parts of the game world are unavailable for non-subscribers, and the ability to chat with other players is disabled for free players. More details on the game's business model are available in a post from Tipa at West Karana.

Interested subscribers can actually get a steal of a deal if they want to pay a bit upfront; KingsIsle is offering a year-long subscription for just $60, allowing you a full year of the cards-and-kids magic title. For full details on the game, be sure to check out our previous features on the title:
Read on below the cut for the full press release, and enjoy the world of Ravenwood Academy!


KingsIsle Entertainment Launches Wizard101
Virtual Wizard School Now In Session

Plano, Texas -- Sept 02, 2008 -- Tweens are grabbing their best spell-casting gear and rushing off to school... wizard school, that is. Online entertainment company KingsIsle Entertainment, Inc. has officially opened the doors of its highly anticipated Wizard101 virtual world, a magical 3D environment where aspiring wizards gather to adventure with friends and save their world from creatures like a pumpkin-headed Harvest Lord and a zombie named Wormguts.

Michael Lafferty of GameZone commented, "The game is thoroughly delightful, exuding a youthful sense of fun and excitement... KingsIsle is on track to have a certified hit title."

Joe Blancato of GiantRealm said, "A kid-targeted [Massively Multiplayer Online Game] that's charming the beard off anyone who plays it, regardless of age."

Designed for pre-teens and attracting a wider audience of families and traditional gamers, Wizard101 features magical adventure and card style gameplay. Players enroll in the Ravenwood School of Magical Arts and begin a course of spell study. Immediately upon arrival at wizard school they are tapped by the Headmaster to help save the school from a renegade teacher who has disappeared but who seems to be behind some mysterious happenings.

Wizard101 features include:
  • Extensive magical 3D worlds, each with its own creative theme such as a feudal countryside run by Samoorai cows, or an ancient Egyptian-inspired land where the treasured relics are being carted off by dogs from another world.
  • More than 101 collectible spells that come to cinematic life as players learn to summon creatures such as Ninja Pigs and a Leprechaun that slides in on a rainbow and showers opponents with gold.
  • Seven different schools of Magic, each with its own unique style and gameplay experience.
  • The ability to adopt magical pets, like a flying dragon or a mischievous imp.
  • A wide variety of outfits and accessories for customizable Wizard avatars.
  • Puzzles and mini-games that challenge players and provide a place to rest and rejuvenate after duels.

Wizard101's collaborative play style supports an environment where players benefit from working together in adventure quests and lower level characters can play alongside higher level ones. A three-tiered chat system and pre-defined character name generator create a safe community for younger players. The game contains no blood, and characters don't die if they are defeated in a duel of spells-they simply go to a safe area on campus to regain health. An Arena provides a spot for more traditional gamers to show off their player versus player spell-casting skills.

Wizard101 is free-to-play, with advanced play content available by subscription at the rate of $9.95 per month. Discounts are available for six-month and one-year subscriptions. For a limited time a 12 month subscription can be purchased for $60. Gift subscriptions are expected to be available online soon. To play, PC users may simply go to www.wizard101.com and download the game installer.
This article was originally published on Massively.