The first thing that must be said about the April (now May) Test Realm for Wizard101 is that there is not a single ugly thing about it. There’s not even a single bad thing about it. It’s all good.
First and foremost, Wintertusk is breathtaking. The music of Wintertusk has received adulation from players of all ages – it’s the one feature that players have praised the most. The Wintertusk graphics and the battles also reach new levels of amazing.
There are new school (i.e., class) spell quests for toons level 35 and 58. As always, there is debate among players as to the usefulness of the spells that have been awarded. For example, Ice School players seem fond of the spell they can cast to reduced damage from the next spell of any class. However, they aren’t big fans of the so-called “upgraded ice armor” spell.
Players of each school will receive an additional school pet at level 58. As with the new spells, players debate over the choice of spell for each school. Many Storm school players wish their pet was a Leviathan instead of a Kraken (or a “stupid sneezing Kraken” as one of my Diviner friends calls it). However, they soon swarmed Doctor Purreau’s Hatchery to mix and match pets and see what neat-o hybrids might be obtained. A Death Phoenix? Yes please!
New gardening features have been added, primarily the addition of new seeds. New seeds are fun, because they present new challenges in terms of needs and likes, and drop new loot upon harvesting. The loot dropped from gardening might be low-level reagents which can be sold at the Bazaar, or it might be Mega-Snacks which otherwise can only be obtained through the cash shop.
The Test Realm also rolls out not one but two things that players have dearly wished for yet didn’t believe they would ever live to see. First off, wand stitching. This will enable players to take the stats from one wand (or sword, which is the other casting implement in Wizard101) to the appearance of another. So if you have a wand that looks kickin’ with your favorite battle duds, but it casts strikes that waste all of your best-laid class traps, you can have the best of both worlds once the Test Realm goes live by stitching it to an implement with wand strikes of a different school.
The second /swoon! addition currently being tested is the ability to set unequipped mounts free in your house or dorm room. The player community has been longing for this ever since mounts came out – we’ve wanted to see them float around our homes alongside our pets. Truthfully, I don’t think any of us thought KingsIsle would give in to this whimsical desire. But they have in spades. Bravo KingsIsle!
I haven’t covered every last feature currently in the Test Realm. There are new mounts, and the new spells for each school deserve careful review and dissection. When the Test Realm goes live, I’ll be sure to at least hit the highlights.