Fight or Kite: Harry Potter Magic Awakened’s February update nerfed dailies and degraded the UI


Over the holiday and new year’s break, I spent the vast majority of my free time in mobile MMO Harry Potter: Magic Awakened. Because it’s a mobile game, it’s just so easy to whip out my phone, launch the game, click through a handful of duels, and then close it up. The main reason I played it so much then, however, was the limited time dueling event. I mentioned it in several of the past Overthinking columns, even as it was beginning to wear thin on me.

Magic Awakened has continued to pump out a ton of content at a very steady and probably even excessive rate ever since launch almost a year ago. So when the seasonal events ended, I was very much looking forward to all the new things that would be in store while taking a break from the treadmill I put myself on. And while we did get a bunch of features that we’ve come to expect, we also got some major graphical and UI changes as well as an overhaul of dailies – much of which has been extremely detrimental to the gameplay experience.

I might be in the minority (I typically am), but I really like dailies. It gives me a nice shallow goal to log in to complete. I love the process of seeing a bullet list with several different options and tasks set up – and then I love to knock them down one by one. If somehow I ever get a double, boy howdy, that’s some exciting stuff right there. I’m the same way in my daily chores and other work too. I write down a list of tasks to do, and I try to check them off and get my little hits of accomplishment/dopamine.

So when the Magic Awakened team retooled its whole daily reward system, I was hopeful. It wasn’t the best to begin with and definitely had room for improvement, but the rewards were decent. Then I realized what had really changed, and I couldn’t be more disappointed.

First off, the old system really was absolutely annoying. Every day when you first logged in, you needed to go talk to the weekly professor. Every day. You needed to click to port to the professor, then click to run over to the NPC, and then finally click several more times to get through the dialogue and accept the dailies.

Now, you could tell it was set up like this because the dailies would then be unlocked and available for the remainder of the week. So your weekly wasn’t really based on a fixed calendar but more on your last seven days. At least, that’s how it appeared. I didn’t miss any dailies, so I could be misrepresenting it, but I feel pretty confident that’s how it was set up.

Hideous UI text ahoy

The nice part was that even if you didn’t complete all the tasks for one of those days, you still had them available until the end of the week to complete before you missed out on any rewards. So there were often tasks like the dances that might take me a little bit longer to sit down with, and I’d usually save them up for the weekend.

Moreover, the rewards were fairly solid. I never counted it up explicitly, but I’d wager I earned around 6 to 10 silver keys and maybe 2 to 5 gold keys per day. I described these in a previous column, but there’s too much – let me sum up: Keys are used for earning extra cards, which let you level up those cards, which ultimately levels your hero up. While there’s a lot of different ways to earn keys, these dailies were very efficient.

The issue with the update is that the whole daily system has been revamped and twisted into a battle pass tie-in. I think I’ll earn 2 to 5 silver keys and maybe 1 gold key now with the same amount of time and effort. What a bummer.

You no longer have to talk to the weekly professor to unlock the dailies, but you do have to open the battle pass, then click on the dailies tab. Every. Single. Time. It’s a serious pain in the butt. The devs even removed the dailies from the quest list on the left side of the screen. It was always so easy to just scroll through and see what needed to be completed. Now you have to go back to the battle pass every time. So instead of seeing simple view to the left of the screen, you have to open the battle pass and then the dailies tab.

And that’s without mentioning how cluttered the whole UI is. Just look at those two tabs on the right side of my screen in the pic above. As someone who knows very little but opines quite a lot, I’d reckon “Homework” and whatever the second tab’s text is are single characters in Chinese, so it looks nice. But in English, that scrolling text is a mess. “Ack” is right.

The dailies auto-refresh now, so if you missed a day’s task, it’s just gone. You don’t get the whole week to sort them out any more. On top of that, we previously had all four tasks readily available to complete. Now, the team has locked one of them each day behind the battle pass, meaning you can’t even complete all the dailies unless you’re paying for the battle pass.

It’s such a disgrace and disrespect to players: taking a typical feature, and one that we’ve had access to and played with for nearly a year, and putting it behind a paywall. It’s beyond weak.

The next UI the devs really screwed up was the shop itself. I suppose I don’t really care a whole lot about it, but it’s so ugly now! Since release it was set up to look a lot like the magical newpapers that were in the films. When you panned between sections, it had a really thematic vibe. It was a familiar sight since you go to the shop often to open up your daily freebie.

Now, we still get the daily freebie, but it’s so freaking awful to look at. It looks just like a hundred other generic gacha mobile shops. Is it technically more refined for navigating? But that’s not the point! It’s just generic mobile trash now, and I hate it.

Last, Portkey and NetEase apparently removed the time-limited events. These were really simple tasks that would pop up once or twice a day with a two hour time limit to complete. Usually it involved winning a duel or completing a forest exploration round. It was just another simple way to get rewarded. I miss them.

All of that said, the update wasn’t 100% terrible. The devs updated the open-world map travel, so even if you’re very far away from the location you want to port to, there’s text floating above it that you can click on that will take you there. Previously you needed to open up a small dropdown menu and search from that list. The studios also added a new squad feature for grouping up with friends more and gaining rewards as a team. This is good stuff.

Finally, I have to acknowledge that the Magic Awakened team did add in a new free rewards feature called Activity Rewards. These are random lockboxes that unlock through playing the game’s activities like duels and the forest. You get a new box every four hours and can hold four of them. Some players might argue these replace the rewards you’d earn from the old daily system, but they haven’t been as beneficial.

The real problem is how egregious and greedy the daily update feels. And after putting this whole column together, I admit I feel almost as if I’m ranting about something so insignificant as one small feature vs. all the others that Magic Awakened has added. But it’s honestly been the feature I interacted with the most. I still play through the story and duel for fun too. But it’s been such a part of my daily routine for the past year that the bait-and-switch has really bummed me out – especially because it’s so clear that the purpose was to reduce the number of keys players get for free and to direct them to buying the battle pass.

I know I won’t quit playing over this. But I might play a bit less every day, which could become playing less overall – and that isn’t something I really wanted to do. I’ve been having fun, and I really don’t want to end up sliding out of playing daily.

I just hope we don’t lose more features to push the gacha systems harder because that could really kill it for me.

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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