Harry Potter: Wizards Unite October 2020 Wizarding Weekend Review

The Harry Potter: Wizards Unite community is currently uniting over one shared idea: October's Dark Arts Wizarding Weekend was an absolute trainwreck. Here's where Niantic went wrong with this event that was meant to kick off their highly anticipated October festivities.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite October 2020 Wizarding Weekend promo image. Credit: Niantic
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite October 2020 Wizarding Weekend promo image. Credit: Niantic

The Wizarding Weekend boosted certain Dark Arts family Foundables while tasking players with a Special Assignment. The fun of both Wizarding Weekends and Brilliant Events is placing images in Registry pages and successfully completing the Assignments. Unfortunately, if playing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite isn't your full-time job, the Special Assignment this weekend was nearly impossible.

The tasks that seem to get the most collective groans from the game's fandom are those that require players to grind for Family XP, and that was an issue with this event to be sure… though not the biggest, which we'll get to later. Earning 2000 Dark Arts Family XP was a difficult but doable task with a few grinding sessions. As a casual player myself, this was the one I went in worried about but was able to successfully complete this.

The problem was the Dark Arts Foundables spawning on the map.

Players were tasked with returning 25 Portrait of Voldemort, 20 Percival Graves, and 15 Tom Riddle. Considering all these were meant to be boosted, that seemed like an easy set of tasks, as the Brilliant Events also included similar goals that were easily completed. Not so with the October Wizarding weekend. These Foundables popped at a very low rate compared to previous Harry Potter: Wizards Unite events, with even Tonic for Trace Detection often spawning just two or three relevant Foundables with every use. When these did spawn, the bigger problems of the event presented themselves. Each of these Foundables is of a higher threat level than most and was difficult to return. The number of times I would complete a "Masterful" spell onto to have the Foundable immediately depart after one cast became comedic after a while.

Niantic handles this kind of thing far better in their bigger cash cow, Pokémon GO. When hard-to-catch spawns are featured during Community Day, Niantic adjusts their catch rate and even sometimes the placement of their circle. Unfortunately, the immense difficulty of every single relevant Foundable made this event a frustrating turnoff that felt uninviting to casual and rural players and difficult even for hardcore grinders. The player base of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite deserves a better-planned event with fun, varied tasks that don't treat the game as if it's a job. While the last Brilliant Event was a glowing win for Niantic, this Wizarding Weekend was unfortunately a loss in every way.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.