The much-anticipated new Harry Potter augmented reality game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, officially hit mobile app stores (a day early!) on Thursday, and it's probably safe to say that hordes of wannabe witches and wizards will be diving into the game this weekend. As expected, the game is noticeably similar to Pokémon Go, but there's still a lot to learn before you're, say, Auror material. Some of the first things you'll have to figure out is what your Wizarding World code name will be and what kind of wand you want.
To help you breeze through the beginning of the game Hermione-style, we threw together this guide to deciding on your wizard code name and choosing your wand. You'll be rounding up pesky Foundables in no time.
Coming Up With Code Names & Using Name Generators
Unless you're J.K. Rowling, dreaming up whimsical witch and wizard names -- Albus Dumbledore, Newt Scamander, and Bathilda Bagshot, to name a few -- isn't easy. But since you're prompted to come up with a code name for yourself when you first start the game, you'll have to put some time into creating something unique. Luckily, we found a number of resources that could very well be the inspiration you need. Editor's note: I ended up going with Merevolo, my last name combined with Voldemort's given last name.
First, you should take a minute to skim through this exhaustive list of character names from the Potterverse. What are your favorites? Which ones sound the weirdest? Take what you like and put a personal spin on it, but just note that the game won't allow you to just steal your favorite character name -- we tried (hence Merevolo). You're gonna have to riff, which is kind of fun in itself.
Another option is to use a name generator. As you can imagine, several Harry Potter name generators have emerged in the years since the books debuted. Here are a handful of generators that we found and enjoyed. Bloomsbury Fantasy Name Generators Character Name Generator Behind the Name Random Name Generator Of course, there are many more name generator sites of varying quality out there, but the above should leave you with at least a few viable options. Maybe even a few too many to choose from. Coming up with a magical name for yourself isn't easy, but it should be fun, so don't sweat it too much. If all else fails, consult a kid in your life. They'll come up with something in seconds.
A Guide to Choosing Your Wand
Once you've made it through the start of the game, you'll have a chance to choose your wand (yes, you get to choose it instead of the other way around). When you're ready, tap the circular wizard icon in the bottom left of the main map screen, then tap on the part of the screen labeled "Wand Weighing." From there, you'll see a bunch of options for customizing your wand's wood, length, core, and even how flexible it is. Here's a quick rundown of the options you can choose from:
Wood: There are dozens of different woods to choose from, many of which you'll recognize from the books and movies. As the game explains when you tap the handy "i" button on the screen, the properties of the wood types can correspond with "the character and values" of the witch or wizard wielding it, which are outlined in a long list. For example, wands made with ash wood are "[i]deal for those who are stubborn and courageous, but not arrogant or crass." Or, you know, you can always just choose the wood that looks the coolest to you.
Core: Unlike with the wood, you have only three core options to choose from: Dragon Heartstring, Unicorn Hair, or Phoenix Feather. The game explains each of them: Dragon Heartstring: Produces the wands with the most power, and the quickest to learn new spells. However, they can change allegiance if won from their master, and are the most prone to accidents. Unicorn Hair: Produces the most consistent magic, and the most faithful of all wands. They do not make the most powerful wands, but the wood they are paired with can compensate for this. Phoenix Feather: Produces the greatest range of magic, and shows the most initiative. They are the hardest to tame, and phoenix feather wands are often the pickiest when choosing its owner. Flexibility: As the game explains, the flexibility of a wand impacts two things: the adaptability of the owner's spellwork and the wand's loyalty to the witch or wizard who wields it. Levels of flexibility range from "brittle" to "surprisingly swishy."
Length: You'd think that the length of your wand would have major implications, but it turns out the length is a matter of personal style. Longer wands are usually used by witches and wizards who are more dramatic when casting spells, while shorter wands are the go-to for magic folk who are more precise and practical.
To be clear, there's no indication so far that the wand you choose will have an impact on your game character or gameplay, so you probably shouldn't freak out over all the wood options or sweat over which of the three cores you think are right for you. If anything, choosing your perfect wand is just another way to help you feel more like the wizard of your childhood dreams than the muggle you are in reality.
Have fun with it, and don't forget to keep your spell energy up.