Like everyone else on Planet Earth, I’ve read the different Harry Potter books and seen the movies, and I consider myself a pretty big Harry Potter fan. Let’s just say I win a lot of trivia games when Harry Potter comes up. So I was pretty excited last year with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling announced Pottermore, an online site dedicated to extending the Harry Potter experience. It wasn’t quite clear what it would be all about but there were rumors of participating in the world of Harry Potter with an online game, like an MMO or something similar.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get into the beta testing group, which was a disappointment, so like everyone else I patiently waited for Pottermore to be available to the public, and this weekend, it was released. I was able to create my account on Saturday morning. There was a little initial disappointment when the system said I would have to wait a bit for the invite, but it arrived a few hours later and just like that, I was finally in Pottermore.
So let’s be clear: Pottermore isn’t much of a game, especially if you’re comparing it to other more elaborate MMOs like World of Warcraft or Rift. It doesn’t even stack up as a game against simpler kids casual games like Wizard 101 or Poptropica. What it really is: a kind of extended reading game based on the books. The experience is divided into Chapters, just like the books and each chapter is a series of “Moments.” It’s in these moments that you interact with the scenes, clicking around to find hidden items, galleons, and collectible chocolate frog cards. You can also unlock special new stories and essays from J.K. Rowling that give more background and insight to Harry Potter. Going through all seventeen chapters in one sitting is a little tedious, and you might want to look up some Pottermore cheats to help you out if you get stuck.
There are some game elements like wizard’s duels, where you can compete against players from rival houses for points. You can also brew potions for points, but that’s really about it. So while Pottermore was interesting to read and it was fun to learn some new things about the Harry Potter universe, I was kind of left wondering if it’s Pottermore or Potterless.