Niantic, Inc. released Pokémon GO in 2016, and claims to have learned a lot between then and now, with the release of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite on June 21st, 2019. Many aspiring wizards and witches have also dabbled in being Pokémon masters on the side, or vice versa since the release of the HPWU beta in May 2019. Many players have already been eagerly planning out routes and strategies to maximize efficiency when attempting to play both games at once - why not save time, right? But the question has been posed as to whether it’s useful (or even possible) to play both at the same time. Before we answer that, let’s look at some things the games have in common, and where they differ - what should someone who plays one game expect from the other?
In Pokémon GO, team play and collaboration is implemented in a relatively hands-off, indirect fashion with the three teams: Valor, Mystic, and Instinct. However, in Wizards Unite, there are both cosmetic and direct gameplay implementations for teams and group play.
On launch, the biggest community opinion about the three-team system of PoGO was enjoying the feeling of camaraderie (or rivalry!) with your friends, since you were able to symbolically fight on the same team. Since then, however, there have only been a couple of updates, and the team system remains relatively under-utilized except in one or two places:
The biggest aspect of teaming up with other players is the turf war Pokemon Gym system. Each Gym is controlled by one team at a time, and members of each team can band together to attack or defend them. Being a member of the team controlling the Gym allows you to place a Pokemon there and gain extra PokeCoins over time, as well as earning extra rewards for spinning the disc above it.
Raids in PoGO take place at Gyms, and involve groups of players (independent of team) working together to take out a strong Pokemon, in exchange for the chance to catch it afterwards. Your team’s contribution to the overall damage dealt to the Pokemon affects how many chances you get to capture it, with even more bonuses available if your team controls the Gym where the Raid happens. As many of the highest-tier Pokemon in the game are only available through Raids, this makes the system very important, and consequently your team matters as well.
Another update in early 2019 added the Team Medallion, which can be bought once every 365 days for 1000 PokeCoins and allows players to change their team. This update introduced a little bit of a reset for anyone who started on one team and later regretted that decision, but otherwise didn’t really represent a big shift in the Team system.
Summary: What team you choose is only very slightly relevant, so go nuts.
On the other hand, Wizards Unite has taken a more integrated, yet flexible approach to group play. Though as of now we haven’t had any news of content that reaches the scale of Raids, it’s definitely a possibility in the future - perhaps having many wizards and witches team up against a Dark Magic user? Regardless, even in the currently available content, WU has two separate areas where the idea of teams or teamwork comes in:
Your Hogwarts House is purely cosmetic (so far!) and can be freely changed at any time. Don’t let the Sorting Hat tie you down! Follow your dreams! You can choose from the standard options of Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor. Yes, I listed Hufflepuff first on purpose. This is a nice little touch that lets you freely show your affiliation of choice without tying you down in any way gameplay-wise.
The more active aspect of teamwork is present within the combat of Fortresses and Wizarding Challenges. There, you can team up with any nearby players without restriction to tackle the combat together. However, one important part of teaming up is balancing the classes (Auror, Professor, or Magizoologist) of the involved players. Even though this isn’t a classical (ha) ‘choose your team’ system, picking your class requires investment and can be costly to try and switch around. Therefore, you still have some thinking to do when you get ready to work with friends or other players. It’s by no means necessary to tailor your in-game progression purely towards that end, but diversifying your group’s classes and having a nice spread of offense, defense and support abilities helps provide consistency and stability.
Summary: The ‘team’ aspect of Hogwarts Houses is purely cosmetic and freely changeable. However, your personal class and skill build will affect how well you can team up with other players for group combat.
Both games use the same general UI for the Overworld Map: your character avatar moves around on the map as you do in the real world, and various encounters and interactable objects are strewn around. Sometimes there are collectibles, sometimes there are handy ingredients or resources, and sometimes you have to get ready for combat. However, the relatively simpler array of Overworld interactables from PoGO has been slightly expanded for Wizards Unite.
When PoGO originally launched in 2016, there wasn't a lot to do. You walked around to catch a relatively limited number of Pokémon, and you spun discs at Pokéstops to get Pokéballs with which to catch more Pokémon. Sometimes you also hatched eggs, and periodically you ran into a Gym and maybe got beat down by the inexplicably overpowered Pokémon that someone already put there before you found it. These days, even though the experience has broadened, the base part of the game is largely the same regarding what you can actually interact with on the map.
- If you couldn't interact with the very things you wanted to catch, it would be pretty sad, right? Pokémon are the main attraction on the Overworld, serving as the collectable drive of the game.
- Your main source of resource replenishment, with some other goodies from time to time. As you walk by Points of Interest, a common community-submitted feature in Niantic games, you are likely to run into these 'rest area'-style interactable objects on the map.
- You've trained up your beloved Pokémon. Now you need somewhere to test their mettle! Gyms are the main area where combat takes place in the game, whether it be fighting over the Gym itself, or taking part in a Raid that happens to be stationed there.
That's largely it - all Overworld interaction in PoGO happens with one of those three things.
With the time between PoGO launching and the release of Wizards Unite, not to mention the improvements made in the interim, Niantic has clearly taken some feedback to heart about adding some variety to the basic play patterns on the Overworld. HPWU has quite a bit more that can be done and more things that can be interacted with from the map.
- Foundables are pieces of the Wizarding World that have gotten unstuck in time and space by chaotic magic. On the Overworld, they serve the same role as Pokémon: your main objective and collectible. You encounter them via special map markers called Traces (traces of magic), where you can complete a quick Spell minigame to collect them.
- The analogue to Gyms in PoGO. Here you can test your might in Wizarding Challenges, alone or even with friends, and earn various rewards by doing so. Thus far there are no Raid equivalents, but the idea is the same: looking for a fight? You've come to the right place.
However, here the Overworld for HPWU diversifies a little bit compared to PoGO.
- Inns are the closest thing to a direct equivalent of Pokéstops, but instead of replenishing your Pokéballs, they provide you valuable Spell Energy, which you use to cast (even when you mess up!) any Spells during combat. This is the most important part of your Overworld if you want to play consistently - because Spell Energy does not recharge over time.
- Greenhouses are like if you took Pokéstops but decided they should only give out Berries - they let you pick up Potion Ingredients and nothing else, but boy, are they useful if you need those ingredients consistently! Speaking of which...
- You can also find Potion Ingredients on the Overworld just by themselves! "If you can't make the ingredients yourself, picked up off the ground outside is fine."
- The last thing you can find lying around the Overworld is an item called a Portmanteau. These little doodads are the closest equivalent to Eggs from PoGO. Once you have one, traveling a certain distance will allow you to unlock it, but instead of hatching a cute Pokémon, you get to play an AR minigame that allows you to find various rewards.
In Summary: While both games are largely similar in their execution of the Overworld Map system, there's a little more depth in Wizards Unite. However, it's a simple setup that should be easy for new wizards and witches to get used to, and veteran PoGO players should be able to pick it up at a glance thanks to the similarities between the two Overworlds.
Can You Play Both Together?
As soon as Wizards Unite was announced, many veteran Pokémon trainers immediately began puzzling out the best possible way to play both games at once for maximum efficiency. If you're going to walk around all day, you might as well get some two-for-one mileage, right? Here are some things you need to consider if you want to play both games together.
Is it possible at all?
- Yes. If you want, you can have both games running simultaneously, and there's no lockout or anything like that to prevent it.
- HOWEVER: To play both games at once, you must have Wizards Unite open in the foreground. Pokémon Go has the Adventure Sync system, which allows you to track steps and distance traveled even when the game is offline. Wizards Unite has no such system. You have to have the game open and running to track your movement and get mileage on completing Tasks and unlocking Portmanteaus, the equivalent of Eggs in PoGO, which require a certain distance traveled before opening.
How should I do it?
Through some tests run by GamePress, an important note was made.
- Overworld objects from one game don't always correlate to the other
If you run into a Fortress in Wizards Unite, it doesn't mean you can open PoGO and expect the exact same Point of Interest to correspond to a Gym. You might find a Pokéstop, or you might find nothing at all. Same goes for Greenhouses and Inns - they aren't hard coded to show up in the same spots where Pokéstops would be in PoGO.
- However, both games do use almost all the same Points of Interest
Despite the lack of 1:1 exact correlation mentioned above, it is still almost always expected that if you are at an interactable building in Wizards Unite (Inns, Fortresses, Greenhouses) you probably can expect to find either a Gym or Pokéstop in PoGO. So if you're going around in the Wizarding World, but you remember you wanted to look for a local Gym to take over, or to replenish your Pokéballs, you can switch games and chances are you'll be in luck.
Therefore, it seems that the best way to do things is to get all your Eggs lined up in PoGO, set whatever Pokémon you want Candy from as your Buddy, and boot up Wizards Unite for a day of walking around, casting Spells, and dispelling rogue magic and saving Foundables. Then, if you're in a dense area of the Overworld, collect everything you can in Wizards Unite, and pull up PoGO to collect everything from that Overworld. Sweep the area, then when you're ready, close PoGO to save battery and dust off your wand to head back into Wizards Unite and explore new frontiers!
Happy Wizarding to all the Pokémon Masters and new Wizards and Witches alike!
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