Harry Potter: Wizards Unite ended 2020 with their 12 Tasks of Christmas event. Was this a worthy way to end a compelling year of gameplay and narrative, or does Niantic still struggle with their non-Brilliant Event features?
What Worked For This Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Event
- I hate to say this because I genuinely enjoy this game and I find it to be underrated. While Pokémon GO is Niantic's major hit for good reason, as it's not only a better game but has also become the best Pokémon game full stop, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite remains underrated due to the way it builds upon J. K. Rowling's original narrative with their Brilliant Events. The non-narrative events struggle, though, and this was another one that just wasn't fun. The one good thing I'd say came from this event was the doses of nostalgia that came when certain Christmas-themed Foundables surfaced.
What Didn't Work For This Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Event
- The Special Assignments continue to be a major problem in this game. Too often, these feel like players are being tasked with doing actual labor. Part of the reason that it feels like work is that the tasks ask for so much and reward so little. The more I played these tasks, the less I enjoyed the event, and I ended up having to ask myself if it was worth it to continue. Looking at the rewards, the answer was an obvious "No." The Brilliant Events work because they reward the player with pieces of a story. While I don't love comparing this game to Pokémon GO as much as I have here, it is strange to play both and see Niantic pull off Special Research with such skill in GO while so consistently bungling Special Assignments in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The idea is the same, and yet GO manages to reward players with useful items and desired Pokémon encounters, while Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will ask you to use eight potions you need and reward you with one you're never going to use. The Special Assignment, like December's Adversaries event, was a boring, frustrating feature that felt designed to drain players' item bags.
Niantic has major issues to address with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite's Special Assignments and non-Brilliant events. Otherwise, both hardcore players and casuals will begin to only play during Brilliant Events and then, after some time, perhaps not at all. The answer, I feel, is more of a focus on storytelling even during smaller, task-oriented events like this. Players want to feel as if they're helping Harry Potter solve a mystery rather than helping Niantic completely drain them of their items with next to nothing in return so they have to spend actual money to replenish.