Niantic’s AR-powered take on Harry Potter is finally here. But even for Pokemon Go fans, there’s a lot of structural changes you’ll need to be aware of. Here’s everything you need to know.
This story has been updated since its original publication.
Know how and where to get more spell power
Coins is the only currency you can buy with real-world money, but it’s nowhere near as valuable as your spell power. Spell power functions a little similar to the timers in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, insofar that your progress will be stunted until you get some spell power back.
Fortunately, you can grab more spell power by going for a walk. As soon as you open the GPS map, you’ll see purple-coloured buildings all around Wizards Unite‘s in-game world. These areas are inns, but instead of giving you food and Butterbeer they’ll give you a small amount of spell energy every five minutes.
Like every other challenge, you’ll have to draw a brief spell before you can get the reward. And the better your outline, the more spell power you’ll get back (although it’ll usually be two instead of one). Which brings up the next important point…
Beyond whatever bonuses and potions you quaff down before a fight or Trace, Wizards Unite measures your progress on speed and accuracy. The more accurate your outline of the spell, the more powerful it is. But more importantly, the longer you take, the weaker the overall spell. So you’re better off trying to cast the spell as quickly as you can, because the bonus you get for being accurate doesn’t make for the amount you lose by taking time.
Pick a profession
When you hit level 6, you’ll unlock the real grind of Wizards Unite: the professions. Each of the professions has a strength and a weakness. Professors are stronger against curiosities in the real world, but take more damage from Dark Forces. Aurors, incidentally, do better against the Dark Forces and Foes, but not so well against Beasts.
You can change your profession at any time, but each profession has an unlock tree of its own with 134 upgrades. Most of the early upgrades are simple stat bonuses — more HP for battles, slightly more damage, percentage increases to your ability to block.
But by the time you’re able to get a profession, you should have enough to start unlock those classes’ special abilities. The Professor, for instance, can place an impairment hex on foes that lowers their HP every time they attack or defend. Once you complete the entire book of lessons, you’ll get a 150 percent bonus to your proficiency power, which is equivalent to 250 percent of your base power.
If you want the raw numbers, Quazii23 and Iced9x from the Harry Potter community have compiled a handy data dump on the professions. Put simply: Aurors have the best ability to breach enemy defences, Magizoologists will have the most HP by far, while Professors have a slightly higher proficiency power, much greater accuracy and maximum focus. There’s also extra tabs on the Google Sheets doc for each of the skills, and the power of every individual spell.
Portkeys are your Pokemon Go eggs
You’ll come across Portkeys on the world map, but they don’t function quite the way you might think a Portkey would. Instead of opening an immediate portal to another world, Portkeys are more like Pokemon Go eggs, only unlocking after you’ve walked 2, 5 or 10 kilometres.
Once the portkey is opened, you can unlock it and earn magical items by travelling to a different AR environment in-game. You’ll be transported back to your location on the in-game map once you’re finished.
Don’t forget the Dark Detectors
Inns aren’t just good for extra energy. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a tab called “Dark Detectors”. Dark Detectors are basically Wizard Unite‘s equivalent of Lures, but instead of activating them around your character, you deploy them at inns.
Each detector lasts for 30 minutes, and you can place up to three detectors at once. The more you have, the more powerful traces that will appear around that inn. You can tell whether a Dark Detector is in effect thanks to a circular white label around the inn.
If you fail a powerful trace – and you will, particularly in the opening levels when emergency traces appear – don’t worry too much. Traces tend to pop up every minute or so, and you can always access more by wandering around.
Don’t forget the daily tasks
It’s still in beta, but Wizards Unite already comes with set of daily rewards and tasks from the off. These are fairly straightforward – return 10 foundables, pick up an ingredient, walk a certain distance. They’re an easy way to get a good chunk of spell power, extra potions and coins without doing anything more than what you’re already doing. Special events (termed “assignments”) are planned as well, but they’re not available in the beta as of yet.
Save your potions for fortresses and foes
As you wander around the map, you’ll see giant red towers. These are fortresses, and they’re basically the equivalent of gyms, although they operate very differently from their Pokemon Go counterparts.
When you enter a fortress, you’ll see a series of “Wizarding Challenges”. Each challenge requires that you complete the previous chamber, and five people can take on each chamber at a time. The first six chambers are available as soon as you run into a fortress, although you’ll have to unlock them in order. (Future chambers have a player level requirement.)
To attempt the challenge, you’ll need to deposit a runestone. The runestones, which you pick up throughout the course of the game and in various boxes, determines the difficulty of the challenge and how good the rewards will be. Regardless of the difficulty, you have five minutes to finish the challenge.
During combat itself, you’ll have to aim your wand in a bit of a weird way. Instead of tapping directly onto the creature to attack, you have to press your wand at the bottom of the screen, and then control the aim a little like you would an aircraft, aiming up and down until the cursor locks on.
Once you’ve locked on, all you have to do is trace the figure to cast a spell. You’ll do more damage if you’ve taken a potion, which lasts for three attacks. (Defending yourself doesn’t count, gracefully.) Just note that more difficult bosses can sometimes attack twice or three times in a row before you get a chance to respond, so if you think you’re close to dying, take that stamina potion.
If you do get knocked out, you’ll respawn within 20 seconds. Because most of the early levels only require that you knock out two enemies to proceed, five minutes is usually plenty even if a werewolf knocks you down. It helps to have extra potions on hand as well, although you can’t craft more of those until you hit level 4.
Players can only attack on enemy at a time, so if you’re attacking a fortress with a few friends, you’ll be able to clear it much faster. The larger party size also means you get the benefit of support spells, particularly from the Professor profession which can revive some HP for an entire team as a quasi-healer.
Craft as much as possible
You’ll unlock the ability to make potions once you hit level 6, which lets you use the various ingredients you pull from chests or throughout the game world. Crafting works largely like you think it would. You start with one cauldron, which can queue up to four potions, although after a couple of days’ play you’ll unlock a second cauldron so you can brew two things at once.
All potions will have a brew time. Exstimulo, which increases the power of your spells, takes an hour to brew. Something like Baruffio’s Brain Elixir will take 12 hours. The game will also tell you whether you’re missing ingredients, and you can spend coins to get them if you want – although any coin usage should be left for combat, in case you need to buy some emergency spell power for attacking.
That’s our tips so far for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. It’s a more mature product than Pokemon Go was at launch – particularly around the implementation of currencies – but the game also has plenty of creatures, skills and unlocks to explore. We’ll keep playing, and update this post as we go.