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Wizards unite!

04 Dec 2019

Have you seen a dragon on the docks? A quaffle on the quay? A boggart on Bourke? How about a death eater in The District?

Docklands may not be Hogwarts, but it’s a world of fantastic beasts and magic creations in Wizards Unite, the third game from developers Niantic, best known for the explosively popular Pokémon Go.

Set in the Harry Potter universe, Wizards Unite creates a virtual Docklands of mystic greenhouses, cosy travellers’ inns, wild magical creatures, and grim fortresses guarded by hostile foes.

Docklands resident Annabel convenes a Wizards Unite group at Billy’s District Cafe, where players regularly team up to strategise, collaborate, and tackle bigger challenges than when playing alone.

“I love that Wizards Unite keeps the Harry Potter universe alive, and it’s so much more fun playing with other Potterheads and levelling up faster,” Annabel said.

“The wizarding community in Singapore welcomed me with open arms when I visited recently and I wanted to recreate the magic in Melbourne.”

The magic may be virtual, but the geography is real, and an ambitious wizard must be on the move from point to point in order to find spells, potion ingredients, and lost creatures to capture and return safely to their homes in the magic world.

“I’ve tripled my physical activity since I became a wizard,” Annabel said.

At one table, a group of wizards is led by Anthony Constant, a well-known player and vlogger of the game. “I like the community side of it. 20-odd people here for this, and I think this is the single biggest gathering we’ve had,” Anthony said. “Getting out and being able to speak to people online as well as locally ... I’ve got friends around the world from this game.”

Raz, a newcomer to the group, said the game promoted community by encouraging veteran players to team up with junior wizards, but the Docklands group was leading the way.

“I’ve ‘convinced’ my housemates into playing,” he said. “One needed more convincing than the other because he already played Pokémon Go. I’ve looked for groups across Melbourne and this group has players that really know their stuff. What’s really lovely is that are happy to help others like me, learn to become better at the game.”

Can Docklands bring the magic? Anthony said he saw potential: “Docklands is good for us. Billy’s has welcomed us and we’re within range of three inns and a fortress, and we know we can walk over towards Costco and find more.”

“It’s perfect [but] we don’t have any sponsored locations in Australia like there are in places like Japan. If Docklands and Niantic could somehow liaise and get sponsorship and a focus for our community, the wizards will come.”

Find the Docklands Wizards at facebook.com/groups/WizardsUniteMelbourne

 

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