Let’s be honest for a moment. Would I really make a short blog post solely to complain about a free iPhone game that has no actual impact on my life, just because I happen to be an A+, ridiculous, highly competitive, no-turning-back-I’m-just-like-this gamer?
Because I’m serious about Harry Potter and I’m serious about the entertainment that reminds me there’s a life outside of writing a dissertation. Because the temperature is starting to drop. Because I’m tired. All of these reasons and more mean that when I opened up my app a few days back to find that there was a new outfit to earn? Wonderful. Fantastic. Fucking superb you funky little game. You know that I’m weak for laced boots and a jacket with magically animated leaves. I don’t ask for much in life, but I’ll ask for this. Give me the virtual validation.
The only problem is that for the first time in Hogwarts Mystery our ability to earn a reward is dependent on other people. Like… not the fake AIs we’re normally competing against for the House Cup. Real, breathing people. (I know. It’s hard to imagine.) And yes I’m well aware—thank you—that my previous blog post bitched about the dueling and how that would be better without the AI challenger… so I’m admittedly a hard woman to please. Though it’s hardly my fault if Jam City has gotten these clearly obvious choices backwards.
Because on the one hand the idea of randomly assigning ten players to a group and having them compete against ten others for a prize? Sounds good. When it works it works well. Check out a screenshot from a friend’s game:
Neck and neck! What a race! I honestly don’t know who’ll manage to take first place once the week is out, and that’s the point. Working hard in your classes and seeing that effort pay off is the kind of fun we’re (presumably) aiming for here.
On the other hand, you have my game…
Yeah. I'm Ravenclaw. Please take a moment to appreciate the difference between those two numbers. Soak in the utter decimation. Also, three guesses who’s earned the majority of those House points so far.
We see now the inherent problem with this system: sometimes you end up with a really horrible group. It’s high school projects all over again. Everyone knows that you have one or two people doing all the work while the rest just kick back and relax, but your grade is going to drop dramatically when faced with classmates that actually pull their own weight. Gryffindor is currently the ten BFFs who have had this project planned for weeks and are wowing the teacher. I’m the lowly nerd trying desperately to do my share plus covering for the nine jocks I’ve been paired with. You get the idea. Given that a bunch of people in my group haven't earned a single point yet—which is pretty much impossible in this game—my assumption is that they’ve put the app aside. How then do we distinguish between those who just have accounts and those who are still playing with any regularity? We can’t. So this setup is always a possibility.
It’s not all bad, of course. Second place lands you 500 coins and I get personal rewards for earning my own House Points, slowly edging towards buying myself that cutie patootie pup. Plus, if this type of challenge comes around again I’ll get a whole new group. Maybe even one where people are still playing! So can I rationalize the silver linings of this? Yes. Is it just a game? Of course. Am I still salty af that I never stood a chance at that awesome coat?