It's mind-blowing to think Wizard101 turned 15 this year!
Time flies, plain and simple. Some things come and go, some fade away, while others move ever onward and stand the test of time. While, of course, there are some that fall in between that wide range of possibilities.
Time is relative, but what is a decade to a century? Or a day to a lifetime? Time is interesting to say the least. Time is special, an infinite, yet limited concept experienced on both the personal and global scale. The gaming industry, for example, is a worldwide concept being adjusted and built as time progresses in the era that we are in today. Creating a game and supporting it, while growing an audience base along the way isn't easy. Wizard101, however, is defying the limitations of the industry, and is doing exactly that. Continuing onward into the next era.
The gaming industry is massive, there's no doubt about that. From the classic arcade games we all know and love, to latest technologically advanced billion-dollar projects, using the word 'vast' to describe the gaming industry is an understatement. No matter what style of game you personally prefer, each game is unique in its concept and style, and ultimately, the industry has always had one main goal: provide entertainment and unite us gamers together. Here, in this large sea of various creations, Wizard101 has certainly shined among them.
We all remember things from our childhood, no matter our age or origins, we all hold onto some of our earliest memories dearly. For many of us, Wizard101 has played a massive role in that endeavor. Many of us hold fond memories of playing the game after school or hopping online with friends or loved ones to go out on our next big adventure. It's not just about the kids who grew up playing this game though. For many, it wasn't a childhood experience, but still one that can't be found in many other forms of entertainment today. It's rare to see something as impactful as the game has been, and it's truly unbelievable to see how much it has grown over the years.
Launching in 2008, Wizard101 was KingsIsle's flagship project. A MMORPG set for all ages and members of the family, the openworld, turn-based RPG would soon grow beyond anyone's expectations.
We've all seen the iconic commercials on tv, from the "Chosen One" style commercial, to the 3 Part Battle with Malistaire Saga, the commercials were well known and still remembered by many today.
That's how I got my start on the game. In Early 2010, after seeing the commercials for what felt like forever back then, I finally made an account, and jumped into the magical universe known as the Spiral.
There really weren't many family friendly MMORPG games out there at the time, especially ones that targeted such a wide range of ages, but Wizard101 was different. The game was specifically designed to appeal to and allow for anyone and everyone to jump in and have fun.
Starting out, I was in third grade at the time that I finally made an account. A lot of us kids back then talked about some of our adventures playing Wiz or trying to meet up with each other online after school. I remember how alot of us never realized realms were separate servers, so we met up in the same place at the same time but wrong server, so a few simple clicks meant we wouldn't see each other until our next IRL encounter to figure out what happened. Back then, there were only six worlds (as I started before the launch of Celestia but after the addition of Grizzleheim) but the game seemed and was so vast to us and our imagination.
To think, there were less than that when the game originally launched. Starting out, Wizard101 had only four worlds (Wizard City, Krokatopia, Marleybone, and Mooshu) with Dragonspyre releasing shortly after the official launch. Grizzleheim was the first side world to be added, and the chatter around Celestia felt like a monumental moment, as it solidified that the developers of the game, KingsIsle Entertainment (or KI, for short) were committed to providing large, continuous updates for years to come, and the players were indeed onboard.
Many updates not directly related to main content, such as the famous Pet Pavilion, Castle Decorating, and Gardening Features came later on. Side questing, such as Grizzleheim and it's famed expansion, known as the world of Wintertusk, also showed that it wasn't just about targeting one specific type of player, but to create a wide variety of systems and activities to include everyone in this shared open world. Also, with all of this talk about side content, we can't forget the world of Wysteria, and the community interest to see it too have a Part 2 expansion one day! Large and small systems alike have seen countless changes, from the smallest of things such as the 60 second cooldown between teleports being changed to 30 second cooldowns (highly underrated quality of life change by the way, thanks KI!) to fishing, castle magic, and Player vs Player, KI has always been aiming to improve the game for everyone.
Man, PvE and other open world content has grown, but we can't forget PvP, the well-known activity of the Arena. While I'm not much of a PvP player myself (I must admit I've had my share of deaths in the first two rounds or less) the larger player base at hand are familiar with some of the PvP changes over time, such as the addition of Tournaments and the recently updated Arena layout. As the years have come and go since the beginning of PvP, you can still occasionally pass by some of the original PvP players displaying their First Age Player vs Player titles!
Which is what I love most about Wizard101, the memories that fuel the community that have supported the game to what it is today. Reaching ten years was a massive milestone, and now, here we are at the 15th Anniversary. As I've said, many of us have grown up with the game, I myself (turning twenty-two this year) have been playing for over thirteen years now, and still active with the game today. The Spiral has left a massive impact on us, and for those who may not be as active much nowadays, still hold fond memories of exploring the Spiral as an adventurous wizard.
We've grown up watching new worlds and villains emerge, the addition of Shadow Magic, and may have even graduated both IRL and in game. This game itself hasn't just grown, but the community that loves it have grown up alongside it. It's always important to remember too that this growth of the playerbase isn't just reflected in youngsters now tackling on the greater challenges of life, but people of all ages have experienced some of the magic KI has had to offer. Adults playing with their kids, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or trying the game out themselves to see what it's really all about, Wizard101 has always offered that magic that connects us together, no matter our age or country of origin.
Many groups have come together, some being more casual and impromptu groups, others being larger fansite teams that have united to bring players together. Meeting up to help out or put together a small questing group are only just a taste of what the community has arranged from time to time. Content Creators continue to create a large variety of content, ranging from gameplay streams, game highlights, guides, reviews, really anything and everything in-between.
Wizard101 Central is the largest fansite hub for general information regarding Wizard101. Any time you need to learn about a boss's cheats or where to get a certain item, the Central has been a beacon of all the little details regarding gameplay and questions.
Around the Spiral with Edward Lifegem has been a long running blog of the game and has hosted many large-scale events throughout the years. Some being based on holidays or the weekly questing group, to fun little get-togethers. Edward Lifegem and Autumn Dreamwalker have brought forth many fun moments over the years!
Some may remember the SpiralRadio101 podcasts, or the wiz music videos and parodies that can still be found on YouTube today (Shout out the Friendly Necromancer's Parody of Selena Gomez's "A Year Without Rain" titled "A Day Without 101".)
Final Bastion, formerly known as Duelist101, was and still is one of the largest sources of Wizard101/Pirate101 based articles and guides. If a boss is giving you trouble and you need a strategy or if you're ever trying to figure out where you are in the storyline, Final Bastion has you covered.
Mercanaries101 was an iconic group of helpful, supporting wizards, looking to aid any new players that can be found, and while the group itself is no longer active, many former "mercenaries" can still be found helping players on the streets of Wizard City and beyond today.
Fashion shows hosted by creators have brought the many styles of the community's appearances together, and other events such as birthday parties, graduations, and in game weddings have taken place. Faeriqueens, a Wizard101 content creator, actually met her husband in Wizard101. They had both an IRL and in game wedding celebration!
PvP matches hosted by groups such as Duelcircle and other PvP content creators have built up a reputation for calling upon any seeking challengers willing to go head-to-head.
Blaze Lifehammer, a well known name across the Spiral has uploaded content for quite some time now, and he still holds the title as the most subscribed Wizard101 based YouTuber today. Zenmaster Blue, who holds close second, has not been active on his channel as of late, but his content has brought joy to many, and his journey though the medical field has been no short of inspiring.
I mean, look at us, fifteen years ago, this game came out, and us as a community are still here and being joined by new players each and every day. This excitement and celebration of the game doesn't just pertain to fansites or streamers, but to new players and everyone who has continued playing or has returned to once again relive the experience.
With fifteen years of magic and continued support by both players and devs, there are many milestones that come along with that.
The game launched on September 2nd, 2008, and is no stranger to many accomplishments made since then. As of February 2009, just five months after the game's full launch, KI had already crossed one million registered players. Just two months after that, Wizard101 surpassed two million registered players. Later in 2009, they released the first side world of Grizzleheim, and the Bazaar, a store, where all available items to purchase come directly from the players themselves, quite a system when you think about it.
2010 was by no means short on surprises. Selena Gomez (yes Selena Gomez) participated in a Wizard101 questline in association with her single "Round and Round", which rewarded players with the extremely rare and exclusive Selena Gomez statue and house portrait. In Summer of 2010, Wizard101 crossed ten million registered players, and that same year partnered with Gameforge with the goal to launch Wizard101 in Europe. Players voted to award Wizard101 the title of "Best Family MMO of The Decade" by Massively's MMO 2010 Player Vote.
2011 wasn't any different either. Nick Jonas was revealed to be a composer for new in-game music, and Wizard101 continued to grow even further. The game crossed fifteen million players, and the 2010-2011 time period saw the Wizard101 site earn recognition as one of the largest gaining sites by unique visitors (as reported by various analytics groups such as comScore). ComScore even ranked the Wizard101 site among the top 180 sites in the United States. Also, that same year, just shortly after crossing fifteen million players, Wizard101 crossed twenty million registered players, and that's not even including European users at the time. Wysteria, considered by some players to be one of the greatest worlds in the game (okay, maybe I'm a bit biased on that one, please make a Part 2 KI) also released in 2011.
That next year saw the launch of Pirate101, the sister game to Wizard101, where instead of spell slinging and magic wielding, players could now try their hand at swashbuckling and sailing the skyways in their own ship.
All of these accomplishments were made just within the game's first few years, and that momentum continued. Year after year, the developers continued supporting the game, leading to one of the largest and perhaps most significant moment in KingsIsle history. In 2021, Media and Games Invest (MGI), the owners of Gamigo, announced the acquisition of KingsIsle Entertainment in a large, approximately hundred-million-dollar+ deal.
Fast forward to today, the game is still thriving, and KI continues to surprise us, including the recent releases of new limited time plushies and appearances at gaming conventions such as PAX West 2023. Wizard101 currently has over fifty million players, and the sky is the limit, especially with even more surprises, such as the recent release of the games on Steam. Wizard101 even occasionally trends on X (Formerly known as Twitter). The current max level is 160, with an expected ten level cap increase coming soon, four story arcs to quest across over twenty worlds, and thousands of housing items to decorate with.
Looking back, I can't even begin to express how many hours I've spent in the game. Adventuring out and exploring on my own journey is one of my favorite things to do in games, and Wizard101 captured that experience perfectly for me. I still remember fondly the first day I entered the game, making my wizard with the iconic school test (storm now and always!). Years later, that character is still my main wizard today.
I often think back to my memories of running around Wizard City, taking everything in. How Golem Court was the challenge everyone talked about in the Commons and how fast you could beat it. Playing the minigames in attempt to reach a high score (shout out to all those legends that actually did make a high score, wherever you are at today, I hope you're doing good!). The first pet I ever got was a fire cat, and I still have that same exact pet in my bag today.
I remember the moment I unlocked Krokatopia (I used to port to a friend and leave a mark before that point, never knowing when I would be able to go there myself). The mysterious elements of not knowing what I would encounter in a world so vastly different from Wizard City was something I pondered quite often. My first time seeing Marleybone, and wanting to explore everything the world had to offer. When I ported to someone in Mooshu for the first time, I was in awe. Talk about vast, Mooshu was the literal definition of vast exploration. You could only imagine my thoughts on porting to someone in Dragonspyre for the first time.
One of the first friends I ever made in Wizard101 way back when was a person named Seth (named Seth in game, that is). He was always helpful and kind to everyone, and never afraid to join your battle to help out or venture out into the Spiral with you (he was max level at the time when I first started, seeing someone range from level 40 - 50 was unbelievable!). It seems he stopped playing Wizard101 many years ago, but wherever you're at Seth, though you may not remember me, I want to say thank you. It never hurts to be kind, maybe we should all try to be a little more like Seth every now and again!
I even still hold a few of my original early 2010's friends on my list. They don't have an "Added Date" listed (as they were added to my list before the visual added date improvement), so that alone carries weight, and a couple have even reappeared lately in game for the first time in years.
My best friend (and practically brother) and I have played this game together as we've grown up for over thirteen years now and counting, the countless memories I've made with him are also intertwined with my love for this game.
Image: WhiteTiger93 and MysticalCell Questing
I started my YouTube Channel with a focus on Minecraft but later on built it around my joy for Wizard101. The many memories I've made with viewers over the years hold a special place in my heart. Questing my ice wizard up from the near beginning on live streams, every funny moment and PvP fail have brought me nothing but good times to look back on. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my journey!
While a strong community is a key component of the game's success, we have to remember to give the developer's credit for their hard work. The developers have continued their love for the game alongside us players, and KingsIsle seems to have quite the retention rate of hires. Many members on the team today have been around since the early days of game's development. Fun fact, even some members in the community that have grown up with the game, such as Vanessa Mythdust and Kyle IceWielder, are now working at KingsIsle, continuing our childhood legacy in a very unique and exciting way.
KI has often worked with the "Make a Wish Foundation" over the years, providing some wholesome contributions to a great cause. Aside from "Make a Wish", KI has also worked with other charities regarding a variety of causes.
One of the greatest, heartfelt aspects of this game, is none other than Grandmother Raven. The voice that guides us on our own journey, who is very much more than just a story narrator as the lore progresses, was made real by the legendary voice of Dell Aldrich. Mrs. Aldrich passed away October 2nd, 2022, at the age of 91, but her legacy continues to live on. Her work as Grandmother Raven guided us beyond just the computer screen, and her presence throughout all these years was something special. Beyond the Spiral, she had a connection with the ZACH Theatre in Austin, Texas, and KI honored her memory with a Grandmother Raven plushie, with some of the profits going straight to the ZACH Theatre in her honor. Thank you for everything Mrs. Aldrich, you are forever our Grandmother Raven.
It's rare that an idea, let alone a game, can last for fifteen years. Wizard101 continues to defy the odds as the developers continue to provide support in this new and everchanging era. So, I ask you, my fellow wizards, to share some of your favorite memories of the game with us here at Arcanum Archives and the larger community around us. What year did you start playing, and why? Did you see one of the iconic commercials? Was it recommended to you by a friend or family member? What fond memories do you have, and what's been some of your favorite experience?
No matter if you are a continuously active player, a returning wizard, or a new face all together, once a wizard, always a wizard.
Thank you KingsIsle for making such a game, it will always be one of my favorites. Here's to another 15+ years!
Always remember, you're never too young, too old, or too far behind to experience a little magic.
This article was written by Co-Owner and Content Creator of Arcanum Archives, WhiteTiger93. Sources for information presented in this article are found in the following links tab, and more information about WT93 can be found below. To contact him, reach out to his social media here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
WhiteTiger93 is a Proud Texan who joined AA in the Summer of 2020. He became an Admin in 2022, and a Co-Owner in 2023.
He's been playing Wizard101 since 2010, and has no intentions on stopping anytime soon. He enjoys questing and learning the lore, while exploring everything the game has to offer.
From the Great State of Texas, WhiteTiger is a Certified Computer Technician, Big Marvel Fan, Lover of Country Music, and Historical Researcher.