For the last several weeks, I’ve taken you through so many different activities available in the recently released Harry Potter: Magic Awakened mobile MMO that you might think I’ve covered it all. From the game’s heavy focus and intense dueling combat to the more laid back classroom mini-games available, there really is something for everyone. But nope: I’ve still got so much left.
This week, I want to talk about the different forms of housing included – namely, the dorms and personal space. To be honest, I had planned on finishing up all the game modes this week, but housing alone turned into its own column. In other words, I’ve done something I didn’t plan on doing for a long time, but I think you’ll be as stunned as I am.
Now, it’s probably not a surprise that a gamer (yours truly) devoted to primarily PvP games wouldn’t normally be too keen on any housing features. I’ve just never really understood it. Going all the way back to my Neopets days, I remember the addition of some very basic home building – and I just didn’t get it. Sure, like most everyone, I did have a lot of fun playing The Sims once upon a time, but it was more gamified there. You weren’t just building a nice place to look at; you were building things to improve your Sims and help with their jobs and lives and stuff. I don’t know. I understand other players really like it, but it’s just not for me.
That’s a pretty longwinded way of saying I’ve never fully understood what player housing is all about. But I do hear the grumblings of my fellow gamers who love it, and I think even they would be impressed by what housing can do in Magic Awakened.
Your dorm room can be customized to your style with different trinkets and beds
Let’s begin with your dorm room. I previously covered the failures of Magic Awakened in terms of restricting player roommates, but if you can look past that, then within your room you can do some neat things. In the dorm, you have a corner reserved just for you. You can walk over to your roommates’ areas and check out their setups too, which is cool. Also, every time you log in, you spawn in your room, where typically you and NPC versions of your roommates will be hanging out. Sometimes the group is playing the guitar, and other times you’re just reading a book. It doesn’t do anything, but its a fun touch to think our characters are hanging out even when we’re offline.
In your corner, you can customize the trinkets that sit on your end table, your rug, your bedding, and even the knickknacks that line the wall of your headboard. You can’t move any of these items around, but you can choose from sets you’ve unlocked – some from achievements, but most purchased, of course. There’s also a shared mural wall, but I haven’t unlocked anything for it, so I’m not sure how it will work once I do.
The level of detail in the housing is staggering
Next is the real housing, called simply your personal space in game. You have to advance through around half the first- or second-year storylines before it’s unlocked. Here you have free access to all the furniture, portraits, owls, and other cosmetics you’ve unlocked (again, mostly bought). Initially the room is a decent size, but you could fill it with furniture rather easily. Through playing and gaining more achievements and loot, you’ll be able to expand the size of the room, so don’t even worry about running out of space. I haven’t bought any furniture myself, and I’ve already unlocked 40 pieces and most of the paintings.
It’s extremely simple to place and adjust your furniture. Just open the furniture list, select an item, and freely place it almost anywhere. You can even resize and mirror items to adjust them to your liking and the space. The only real restrictions on placing items is clippingL You can’t place things that intersect other furniture and items. Additionally, some items have to be mounted on surfaces, like pictures and some wall decorations.
There are also plenty of wallpapers, flooring, lighting, and even items to interact with. For instance, the mirror for changing your character’s clothes and even hair and facial features can be placed in the room. There’s a book for viewing splash screen art, and yes, even all the chairs can be used. (MMO players will remember how years ago, players in Guild Wars 2 voiced annoyance with the fact that there were chairs all over Tyria when players couldn’t use them – in a genre where other games have had sitting in chairs for a quarter of a century! When ArenaNet eventually did add the ability to sit properly, it even added an achievement to go along with it for players to try to sit in all the chairs.)
Now, acquiring new furniture in HPMA is a mixed bag. On the plus side, you do gain some items through gameplay. You’ll earn a lot of portraits and paintings for hanging on your walls. You’ll also earn the usable items I mentioned as well. However, if you really want the cool sets, you’re going to need to open up that wallet.
From what I know about housing modes in many other games, this is kind of par for the course, but in Magic Awakened, NetEase is definitely trying to squeeze players. So while some furniture can be bought in the shop on a rotating basis, a lot of the really cool ones are only obtained through a lockbox-style random unlock. Extremely disappointing.
But on the plus side, you can view all the furniture in the game and even place it temporarily to see how it would look. Viewing a piece’s details also shows how you can acquire the décor, so you don’t need to tab out to look it up on a wiki or something. As a bonus, you can save multiple copies of your room for quickly switching between different setups, and then you can view other players’ rooms through a special mode to see how to copy some of their styles (ahem). There’s just a lot of nice-to-have features baked into the housing here.
For me, though, there’s not a lot of value in using the space. But I can see why most gamers would love it. If you put in the time and want others to appreciate your room, you can even enable users to visit it. Players viewing your character profile can select to visit and walk around your room and even “like” it. I don’t know whether there’s an achievement for having the most-liked room, but who knows. It’s still a cool feature.
There are so many features built into the housing that I probably still missed explaining it all, but even this non-housing MMO gamer was impressed!