I live in a really rural area in Southern California. We have 3,600 homes, a dollar store, a restaurant, and some realtors, and that's about it. So as you can imagine playing games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a challenge, there isn't enough data for Niantic to give us much in the way of content.
I've been playing Wizards Unite, Pokémon GO, and Ingress since each of them launched, in fact in my home town in the UK I made 90% of the Ingress portals that are used for all three games, and I have been working on ways you can successfully play Wizards Unite in an area with very little action in terms of Inns, Fortresses, and Greenhouses.
Why is it so hard to play?
Back when Ingress first launched Niantic asked the players to create the data to make the portals in the game. There were a few rules — it had to be a permanent structure, be on public property, and be of historic significance — but portals started popping up, albeit slowly, and while Ingress had a good fanbase, it was never a mainstream hit. When Pokémon GO first launched, Niantic used the original data they gleaned from Ingress.
Niantic has been slowly allowing people who have reached max level in Ingress and Pokémon Go to add new data, but only for certain places in the world, and, in my rural-life opinion, not quickly enough.
So what can you do about it?
There are ways to play Wizards Unite, even in a rural community but you have to really want to play. Casual play is not really possible so it requires planning to get it right. Here are some helpful tips to make playing more productive.
Make a day of it
I'm putting this one first because it's the one that will get you the most XP but it also takes a lot of your time. If you are heading into your local big town for groceries or something, plan to spend some time on Wizards Unite. If you haven't already, you can sign up for the Ingress portal map, which will give you the approximate location of all the portals in Ingress. As Ingress and Wizards Unite use most of the same data, you can use it to work out the best place for you to maximize your time.
Once you are at a place with a large number of Inns, Greenhouses, and at least one Fortress, spend some time there; maybe grab some lunch if there's a restaurant nearby, and farm those points of interest (POI). Of course, the more POI there are the more Traces there are too, so spend time catching as much as you can.
Use your brain (elixir)
Once you are in a place with multiple POIs — most rural towns have at least one Inn and Fortress near each other — you'll want to maximize your XP gains. If you can, use a Baruffio's Brain Elixir potions while you are there. These give you double XP on any Traces, Portkeys, and Fortresses you complete.
My standard use is to wait for my Portmanteaus to all be unlocked, then travel the 20 minutes to my nearest POI nest. From here I will activate a Barrufio's Brain Elixir and open all my Portmanteaus to play the Portkeys, then when I am finished, with those I will do as many Fortresses as I can — stick to the first 5 levels to maximize XP gains — Then, once my energy is drained I will sit for another 30 minutes and gain energy from the Inn, while fighting traces.
This uses two Brain Elixirs but lets me get huge chunks of XP at a time.
Don't walk, drive
Don't waste your time walking from Inn to Inn when you live in rural areas. I know the game is supposed to get you out and walking around, but for those of us who have three or four POI in a huge area, it is better to just get them as fast as possible and then walk around while you are close to them. If you have a bicycle, cool. If not, I would drive to where you need to go.
When you have limited ways to play the game all your time is precious so don't waste it.
Sink some galleons into the game
There is no getting around it; if you want to succeed in Wizards Unite living outside of cities, you will likely need to spend money. Investing in Dark Detectors is going to be one of the first things you will need to do, as they can be put on one of the Inns closest to you and will lure Traces more often. You can also stack up to three of them on each Inn for more Traces, and, more importantly, higher level Traces which give you way more XP.
You may also need to invest in Spell Energy to keep your game going until you can reach an Inn. This isn't ideal, as 50 energy costs 100 gold, and 100 gold costs $0.99. You don't want to be spending that kind of money every day, so make sure you plan your trips ahead of time.
Talk to Niantic
Honestly, the more people who send feedback to Niantic about adding more POIs, the better. While there have been improvements to the number of real-live structures that are used in Niantic's games, there are still a lot of areas, especially rural ones, that leave many of us feeling shut out of the fun. To leave Niantic feedback head over to its Twitter page or the Wizards Unite page and drop a DM or email. Don't expect a response, but if enough people ask for more POIs, maybe Niantic will make it easier to suggest them in the future.
Do you have any ideas?
If you have been playing in rural areas for a while you may have some ideas has to how to get the most out of Wizards Unite. Let us know your tips and we will add them here.
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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.