Fight or Kite: Harry Potter Magic Awakened’s winter seasonal event has its claws in me


Seasonal events and festivals are just about standard fare in MMOs these days. You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a game that didn’t include one for at least either the winter or spooky season. For players, it’s just such a great change of pace from the regular gameplay loop we’re typically in, or at least it’s that way for me.

But I think this year is the first year I skipped Guild Wars 2’s festival in its entirety. I thought about jumping in for the dailies as I tend to do every year, but it just didn’t have the draw this time, and the reason is simply that I’m getting my holiday fix in elsewhere.

Instead, Harry Potter: Magic Awakened is where I’ve been this season; it just hits the right notes for me. From the quick nature of the combat to the ease of access, I can’t seem to put it down, and even though I mainly play for the dueling, there’s some other good stuff in here as well.

HPMA offered a surprising number of festivals and seasonal updates this year

Between the regular game updates and seasonal events, HPMA players are flush with activities to play. This most recent season is no exception. The winter update added a new combat card (basically a new skill), story content, a new zone with shops, solo content, dance song, and a new dueling mode.

The story is a bit boring but does include werewolves, so depending on whether you were Team Jacob or not, that could make a difference in your opinion. Basically, there’s a new adult in town, and she’s fearmongering and trying to incite the people of Hogsmeade to go on a hunt for werewolves. There are a few scenes of her standing in the town square riling folks up. Of course, the newly introduced student NPC is one such howling-inclined individual and is trying to get people to understand werewolves aren’t really bad – they’re just people who can transform into something else. It’s not a particularly unique story, but something about it compels me anyway.

The new skill card isn’t as OP as the ones released in previous patches. but it’s no slouch either. It gets powered up by the number of summons you play, so ideally you’ll want to build it into a deck with low-cost summons so that you can play it out for maximum damage as often as you can. It would likely pair well with the Newt echo and perhaps the McGonagall companion.

The new zone and shops are primarily for selling cosmetics, but the inn does offer a limited supply of coins and keys in exchange for festival tokens, so that’s a big bonus. The game certainly puts those at a premium at the higher levels, so you’ll want to max out and get all the loot that you can.

The entire ballroom has been themed and decorated for the winter season; it’s fun to see it in a shimmering white and snowy motif. Magic Awakened alsp added a new song, as it did for Halloween, so if you’re taken with that content, you’ll be happy to see it wasn’t forgotten. The solo battle is one I’ve probably spent the least amount of time with, but at least it isn’t as overtuned as the past ones. (The dragon fights were ridiculous.)

The seasonal dueling event is addictive for my style of play

All that aside, the real meat that gets my attention is the dueling. And probably the biggest and best part of these duels is that everyone is normalized. Levels are balanced, and cards are all set to level 12. This means even a freeloader like yours truly has a shot!

In Magic Awakened, the dueling is pretty much a PvP-exclusive activity. However, in this event’s take on the dueling, called Hogsmeade Melee, it’s more of a pseudo-PvP mode. Honestly, its pretty much just PvE since you aren’t actively fighting another player; instead, you are fighting another player’s avatar and set deck. With these duels, you don’t control any of the combat, either, with one small exception, meaning you just have to hope your setup outplays your opponents. If anything, it probably counts as an auto-battler (although I’ve never played any of those, so I might be misusing the terminology).

Rather than engage in the typical dueling combat, you get to set up two types of decks: an attack deck and a defense deck. As implied, the attack deck is the one you’ll use when you’re actively initiating a duel, and the defense is used when other players attack you. You don’t actually participate in the defense battles at all, either. Similarly, when you start a battle, you’ll just be fighting some NPC representations of those players.

There are a two bonus powers that don’t exist in the standard duels, but you’ll be allowed to slot them as passives for each deck. They have some different abilities such as increased damage while over 50% HP or a higher chance for critical hits. On top of that, while attacking, you’ll randomly gain one of three powers to use during the fight. One is a small heal, the next a lollipop that shoots roman candles, and last is a freeze ability. They have a 20-second cooldown, and you can use them only three times during a fight. The freeze is perfect for locking down an opponent before he escapes your big AOE, whereas the heal is pretty rubbish. I’m always crossing my fingers for three freeze chances during a battle.

In keeping with the nature of many mobile games, you are given a limited number of attack attempts, which caps at 10. However, if you are not at the cap, you’ll gain an additional attempt every 30 minutes. Naturally, the more you log in and use your attempts, the more you’ll be able to gain and continue to compete. Each win earns you 20 points in the rankings, while a loss will take away 20. When you begin an attack attempt, you’ll be given a choice between three opponents whose defense decks and passive abilities you can inspect. If you don’t like your options, you can choose to use up an attempt to draw a new set of opponents. If you’re trying to climb the ladder, you’ll want to carefully chose whom you fight and whom to skip. That 20-point loss can really push you down.

Honestly, when the seasonal event began, I stayed on top of my attack attempts to maximize them, but I wasn’t really trying too hard to win the fights. But then I realized there was a leaderboard and decided to take a peek at it. Usually, I don’t mess with these things since I haven’t bought into the power curve, so I don’t really have a shot at being in the top of any combat. However, when I looked, I found that I was in the top of my House. Well, at that point I knew I couldn’t stop – this might be the only time I get to be this high up. The season lasts for another month, but I’m going to try to stick with it.

HPMA players have had a lot of content to partake in this past year, presumably because the game had plenty stored up, having already been released in China a year or so prior. So while it’s all new to us, I assume the developers have spent that time expanding and creating these events for the global release that we’re all enjoying now. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what the next year has in store and learning whether this content cadence can be maintained – or the events and content are on the road to rehash.

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!
The Harry Potter franchise is considered a controversial brand owing to the transphobic rhetoric of its creator, which has prompted backlash and boycotts against video games set in the HP universe.
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