We all need to remember that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite does not exist in a vacuum. This isn't Niantic's first rodeo or even second, this is its third Augmented Reality game, and as such, a lot of the slack I would normally give a company is used up.
Wizards Unite had its first "Community day" style event, called a Task Force Emergency, on June 29, 2019, and by all reports, it did not excite people in the way Niantic may have hoped. There are a lot of people including us here at iMore who found the whole event to be something of a non-starter.
Comparisons have to be made
There is no getting around it, everything Wizards Unite tries to do will be compared to Pokémon GO. It's inevitable and not really a bad thing. Pokémon is one of the largest mobile games of all time and is the direct predecessor to Wizards Unite. When I look at the events and general gameplay of Wizards Unite I expect them to be as good, if not better than Pokémon GO.
So let's talk about Community days a little. A Pokémon community day focuses on one particular Pokémon, and greatly increases the spawn rate of it, while also giving you new attacks to upgrade it with. The idea behind community days is to catch as many of that one Pokémon as possible so you can evolve it to its highest form.
And maybe that is where the Task Force Emergency falls down, it didn't have a purpose or any benefit that we could see. The Emergency was supposed to be an influx of Foundable spawns in general, with double family XP awarded for Care of Magical Creatures Foundables, and the Inns would give you extra spell energy. But that was it. There was no clear goal, and no real reward for the day—just a chance to get a few more of what you already had.
What went wrong?
There were a few issues with the Emergency that we could see. The first being the lack of any measurable increase in spawn rates. When a Pokémon GO community event happens, there is a huge influx of that one Pokémon. In this event, there wasn't much of an increase in Foundables, so it didn't feel different at all. As you can see from the above pictures there is a measurable difference between the spawn rates on the two games.
Even when they did finally spawn, the Traces were never something worthwhile. Community day gave you a chance to potentially get something you hadn't been able to before. It didn't matter if that Pokémon never spawned near you normally, you would still be able to catch them in large numbers. Nothing about the Traces changed in the Emergency, you got the same low-level Flubberworm and Kneazles you always get, with maybe a few Severe or Emergency-level here and there.
To get the most out of the Emergency event, it seemed to do best with three Dark Detectors on Inns. This would make more Foundables show up, though you weren't guaranteed any more Care of Magical Creatures Foundables, which was a big part of the event. I got exactly one high-level Care of Magical Beasts Trace, but unfortunately, it vanished after the second spell cast.
So how could we make it better?
I think this needed to be either more general or more specific. I know that sounds weird but if it were more specific — if it was one Family Frame that appeared much more frequently — then you would reach a goal, Prestiging that frame, which would them make this event worthwhile.
A recent post on Reddit) may help explain why we had so much trouble with the event. Perhaps Niantic didn't do it wrong, we just misunderstood. Despite it saying a "Flare-up" of Foundables, Niantic didn't actually say that the Care of Magical Beasts Traces would increase, only that we would get more XP from them.
Honestly, the entire Emergency would have been saved if the world map had been littered with Magical Beast Traces like the world first thought. If the area was flooded with them you would have fun just catching them, rather than worrying that they are all something you already have.
There is one last thing that could have helped the Emergency and it is a problem I have with the game in general. Give me more actual XP for capturing Foundables, as well as more Family XP. In this way, the grind feels worthwhile, as you are increasing your ability to catch things, not just increasing a stat that makes little difference in the game. This is an issue for the whole game, not just these events, and it needs to be addressed soon.
While this was Niantic's first event on Wizards Unite it isn't its first event ever. There is no real reason for it to have been so dull and unrewarding. With a few tweaks, this could have been really fun, but it was lackluster instead like they had phoned it in. I really hope Niantic takes the community feedback onboard and moves forward in a positive way.
Let us know how you felt about the first Task Force Emergency and how it could be improved in the future.
Harry Potter accessories we love
Hogwarts phone case ($10 at Amazon)
Show your love of the Potterverse, and protect your phone with this beautiful faux-leather case. The Hogwarts crest burns bright on the front with plenty of room inside for some cash and cards too.
RAVPower Ace ($40 at Amazon)
You don't want to run out of juice while battling baddies in Fortresses, now do you? Make sure you've got backup power with this quality but inexpensive
Hogwarts House PopSocket ($15 at Amazon)
Represent your house with a secure way to grip your phone while walking on your magical adventure casting spells and securing Foundables.
Harry Potter Over The Ear Headphones ($25 at Amazon)
Show your love of Harry Potter to the whole world, while shutting that same world out with these funky headphones from ihome.
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James is a lover of all things new and shiny. From 3D printing to Nintendo he stays current with all the technology that will lead us into the future.