Roughly a week into Wizards Unite, I find myself switching back to Pokemon Go and wondering why Niantic and Warner Bros. are holding back. Yes the AR (augmented reality) is more sophisticated than Pokemon, yes we are doing more than tapping the screen to defeat enemies, and yes the skill trees add a nice layer of complication. But why can’t I send my fellow wizards and witches much needed energy? Why are energy caps only increased by ten when they cost 150 precious galleons? Why does this game feel bloated and empty all at once?
When I added my first friend codes I was disappointed that I could only watch everyone’s progress. It seems a little pointless to add anyone unless you are actually going to meet up with them regularly to go battle in towers. We can’t even send anyone owls. I thought we were uniting? I have friends all across the country and I can’t help them collect Foundables of store energy to battle their way through Wizard Challenges. If this were the first time Niantic was testing out a friend system it would make sense that they roll things out slowly. However, Pokemon Go has an effective friend system in place that rewards players with items needed for their quest to be the very best. I’m sure that players in Wizards Unite will eventually be able to send gifts as well, it just seems odd that such a feature would be teased during the official roll out, and not in the beta.
The biggest problem that many players are having, myself included, is running out of energy. I think part of what is going on here, is that it is much easier to lose track of what you are doing in Wizards Unite. In Pokemon Go you can see a nice big visual of all the recent pokemon you’ve caught. Simple, clean, easy to follow. Wizards Unite, on the other hand, uses a sticker system and spreads out all of your information across several locations that have magical backgrounds which can, at times, over stimulating. With all the extra swiping and scrolling, it can be hard to keep track of how many foundable you collected in a row. After I hit the goal of 10 Foundables under daily tasks, I have no clue as to how many Foundables I have collected. Was it 11? 15? Who knows. When you really start to grind, it is not uncommon to find yourself in the unfortunate situation of running out of energy mid-battle. It doesn’t help that you start with a cap of 75 units of energy and can only increase your storage 10 units at a time. Pokemon Go isn’t nearly that stingy with its upgrades.
Wizards Unite presents itself as a polished game ready to play, but it feels like there is quite a bit of growing to do before it breaks even with its predecessor. I didn’t even touch on the lack of Adventure Sync. It might not seem fair to constantly compare the two games since they ultimately have two different goals in mind for the players, but it’s hard not to make those comparisons knowing that both games were made by Niantic.
I have faith that Wizards Unite will pull eventually through for Potterheads in the same way Pokemon Go did for Pokemon trainers. We are just going to have to be patient. Very, very patient.