Helpful Tips on Playing Wizards Unite With Your Kids
This past week, my wife Sacia and I have downloaded the new AR game Wizards Unite onto our phones, and we have been having a good time playing this Harry Potter-themed cell phone game. This has also peaked our children’s interest as well, and we have had fun playing it as a family.
There are elements to this game that could cause some headaches for you when playing with your kids, however, so here are some tips on making sure that you have the most pleasurable experience.
(1) Avoid falling into the microtransaction trap
Wizards United is published by Warner Games, a game studio that has been notorious for implementing microtransactions into their game. In case you don’t know what microtransactions are, they are miniature purchases that are built into video games that are impulse purchases that, over time, can result in a player spending much more than they ever planned to spend. Wizards Unite is a free-to-play downloadable game, so it is understandable that the game publisher would like to use creative methods to generate profits from the game they created. The problem with Wizards Unite, however, is that these microtransactions are structured so that they pop up during moments that players are at their most desperate. If you run out of magic spell power, you can pay a small amount to receive more. Need more room in your inventory? Then just spend a certain amount of in-game currency to pay for it.
You may have noticed I did say “in-game currency”, and technically, yes, there is currency in this game that you can purchase items with that you don’t need to spend actual money on. The problem is that accumulating the in-game currency is incredibly slow and scarce, and it’s made much easier by just purchasing it outright. This could be a problem, especially if your phone is somehow connected to one of your credit cards.
Now that you know that these types of transactions are built into the game, you now can have the conversations with your kids in regards to what you are comfortable spending (or, in our household’s case, not spending) on this game. Make sure to set parameters early so that your kids don’t accidently end up maxing out one of your credit cards because they wanted to build up their in-game character’s abilities.
(2) Use the game to get out and walk
One of the features that I really like about this game is called the Portkeys, which are special items that are unlocked after you walk a certain amount. Since the game tracks your travels, once you have walked a certain distance, it will open up a Portkey so that you can collect new items. The game doesn’t give credit for when you are in a car traveling, but instead just when you are walking.
Use this game to go out on family walks to unlock Portkeys and build up your character. Knowing that the further you go, the closer you’ll get to unlocking a Portkey should give your little ones the extra motivation to keep moving.
Side note: I’ve been finding myself going on early morning and late evening walks once the kids are in bed, and Sacia has as well, just so we can unlock more Portkeys. This game has given us a new reason to get some exercise, and I think that’s great!
(3) When walking, look up!
AR games can cause players to be absorbed in what’s happening on the screen, for your character on the screen moves in real time with your movement. This can cause players to forget about their surroundings. Do what you can to not be walking and having your head down in your phone. If you’re able to have another person play with you while playing, you’ll be far better off.
(4) Patience is a virtue
As I mentioned earlier, microtransactions are everywhere in this game. One of the sneakiest ways that they are built into the game are when it comes to features that require a certain amount of time to have something unlock. For example, when you have collected enough items to create a potion, you can make the potion, but you can either wait 2-6 hours(!) for it to brew, or you can pay a certain amount of in-game currency to have it be instantly completed. Try to avoid falling into this trap and either play other parts of the game while you are waiting for the timer to expire, or if you have nothing you can do without spending in-game currency, turn the game off and do something else. The nice thing is that the game doesn’t have to be on the entire time in order for the timers to expire, so you aren’t locked into a game and spending your entire time waiting.
(5) Make sure you have the proper data plan on your phone
If your cell phone service is NOT a part of an unlimited data plan, either make sure to monitor your data usage or be very aware of wi-fi spots. This game could easily eat up all of your data for the month if gone unattended, so make sure you are aware of the amount of time you are playing the game, when you have the app active on your phone, and also how often your children are playing the game.
(6) Remember to share
This may sound silly, but because of how time consuming it can be to collect certain items, you may find yourself being too restrictive with your kids in regards to them playing with you. I caught myself not wanting to share because I didn’t trust my six year old son being able to wisely use the items I had collected. Just try to remember: it’s just a silly cell phone game, and sharing the experience with your kids will be a hundred times more fun than just playing it by yourself. Sure, it may be aggravating at times because of their skill level, but in the long run it is certainly worth it.
Originally published on June 29, 2019