MMOARG Harry Potter Wizards Unite is launching globally on Friday


Well, that was sudden: After just two months in beta in Oceania, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will roll out globally this Friday, June 21st. Niantic, best known for its wildly popular MMOARG Pokemon Go (which itself was preceded by the groundbreaking Ingress), first announced the title back in 2017 as a mobile multiplayer augmented reality title.

Niantic CEO John Hanke told GIbiz that he has high hopes for the game. “Harry Potter’s a bigger franchise in terms of global awareness and fanbase than Pokémon was, so there’s huge potential there,” he told GIbiz. “It’s one of the only big franchises that has more female than male fans. When you look at Star Wars or Avengers or IP like that, they tend to skew male. Harry Potter is the only one that really pulls against that. We want these things to appeal broadly, and I think that’s the key to unlocking the social opportunity — to have a good mix of people. You want male and female, and also diversity in age. Potter has that cross-gender appeal, and then you’ve got kids and parents. You’ve got kids who grew up with it — my daughter’s in college now, and she was in the heart of it when she was eight or nine years old.”

We’re just over here still trying to make HPWU – “hipwoo” – a thing.

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Aussie here, been playing the beta on Android (have also played PoGO).
I do find a lot of the game fun (it has surprisingly deep character creation and customization) but there are also a bunch of things I like less:
* Be prepared to sideload the app if your device doesn’t support AR+ (this is only really required to open portkeys, like eggs in PoGO – shame they didn’t provide an alternate way for non-AR+ owners). Game does otherwise run fine on my non-AR+ device.
* HPWU has a “stamina” resource (named “spell energy”) that doesn’t refill automatically, rather you have to walk to inns to painstakingly grind it back up. Inns have a 5min cooldown. Great if you live next to a good inn, otherwise not so exciting (also in cities a lot of inns seem to just give 1 energy, to refill a cap of 75).
* Raids on higher levels are geared towards groups, but it’s extremely hard to form an anonymous pick-up group (unlike in PoGO). This is because while anybody can initiate a raid at any time, the raid queue lasts only 15 sec and it’s hard for people to see that a raid is starting (plus of course they have to be physically where you are to join). Also, you unlock raid tiers sequentially, so you can’t see or join raid queues you haven’t unlocked. I’ve tried many times in the city to form or join a raid but have managed to do this only twice back when the queue timer was 30 seconds.
* There’s not a lot to do (yet). You can pick up foundables, unlock portkeys by walking and raid. The rest (picking up ingredients and potion brewing) just support these activities. In PoGO, during downtime I might look through my latest Pokemon; in HPWU, there’s really nothing equivalent.
The game does have a story but it’s pretty basic atm.
* As with PoGO to this day, the netcode is atrocious. If you tab out of the game even briefly, it very often fails to reconnect to the network afterwards. I’ve not had this issue with any other game or app on my device.
* HPWU apparently uses a lot more mobile data than PoGO due to the assets it uses. You can now ask it to download all the assets over WiFi to reduce the data usage, but that requires a good 3GB free on your main internal storage (even if HPWU is installed on an SD card, it will check the internal storage instead – which has caused me some headaches).
* As with PoGO, be prepared to slowly grind up the in-game currency (and you better raid every day if you want the daily coin rewards) to expand your inventory and buy other convenience items.

Overall I do enjoy playing but I’m not sure if I’ll get tired of it. I did enjoy the Magical Beasts event during beta, and they also just added friends lists, so let’s hope for the best.

Have fun everyone!
Oh and if you’re still reading and you’d like an Australian HPWU friend, my code is 1959 7812 1512.

Michael Fuchs

The trailer at the end says that the 21st is only for the US and UK and the other regions will roll at afterwards.

David Goodman

Whelp, I wondered how i was going to keep in shape during my vacation coming up. Guess I got a lot of walking planned.