Category Archives: Wizard101 on a Budget

And now it’s Double Garden Rewards!

Elder Harvest

Wow, quite a week KI is presenting for us.  After a day of Double Pet XP, we now have Double Garden Rewards from today (6/7/17) through Sunday!

If you plant Evil Magma Peas, Couch Potatoes, Boom Shrooms, Snapdragons or Tiger Lilies today and provide them with all the likes, you can collect double XP, gold, treasure cards, seeds, pet snacks, etc. before the event is over. [I’m sure there are other short-term items, but these are the ones I happen to grow..]

I’ve had gardens sitting at elder harvest for four of my wizards so I’ve already collected a round of double harvests– including feeding a bunch of Evil Magma Pea seeds to pets on an account on which attics and Seed Vaults are already bursting with them!  And I’m planting some EMPs and Couch Potatoes to get a second round of pet snacks.  And on one of my accounts I’ve harvested an abundance of blade TCs from Sword Ferns.

Make sure to take advantage of this great opportunity!

Reminded I hate fishing…


In recent posts I’ve been experimenting with how much a wizard can do playing for free.  Even though I quit fishing very shortly after taking a few wizards through the first couple of quests, I decided to include fishing to see how much it could help in leveling up

While it does provide a bit of a boost, the experiment has mainly served to remind me the many reasons I loathe fishing in the spiral.

  1. It’s BORING.  Once you cast a lure, your character can’t move and you’re just stuck there staring at the same thing.  (see above picture and imagine just standing there for several minutes with nothing to do but look at that).
  2. They’ve added an annoying feature in which the fish can “get away” after you’ve caught it.  It just happened to me for 14 out of 16 casts.  Yup.  And they have the gall to take an energy point for it.  So after you’ve stood there being bored to death and finally caught a fish, it gets away and you still lose energy–in this case 14 points for absolutely nothing.
  3. Very little works the way the training and instructions tell you.  You have lures for each school and supposedly each school’s lure makes it more likely you’ll catch a fish from that school.  I can keep casting a lure from the same school 8 or 10 times (and yes, even after wasting 3 more energy points to see the schools of all the fish) and I might catch 7 or 8 fish from other schools.
  4. The “luck” elixir doesn’t seem to improve my odds much at all.  Each wizard gets one that lasts for an hour with the first quest and my wizards have still caught fish of the wrong school, caught the wrong fish, cast lures that no fish came to, had fish get away…  It seems to add nothing.  I would never buy one.
  5. Every time you catch a fish you lose 3 energy points, whether or not it was a fish you needed or wanted.
  6. One of the pieces of advice is to run through the water to get rid of the fish and have them spawn again.  They’re already few and far between and after you’ve scattered them it’s a long boring wait before any significant number shows up again and for me it hasn’t tended to mean that the kind of fish I need shows up.  So you scatter and have a boring wait for the fish to show up again followed by some boring standing around staring at a lure and whatever scene is in front of you, followed by most of the time failing to get what you were after.
  7. It was pretty clear to me from the beginning that this is a blatant effort to get wizards to spend Crowns on energy.  I get that KI exists to make a profit and many things in the spiral are designed to entice you to spend money.  But in most areas they’ve also provided ways you can get things for free with some work.  In fishing, you just burn through energy with little result and there’s no way to keep going without purchasing more and more energy.

I’m glad I’ve pretty well finished with my experiment as I have no desire to ever engage in fishing again.


Farming Stormdrain for Christmas drops

In Stormdrain Tower

In Stormdrain Tower

I’ve had a tendency to forget the holiday drops in the Stormdrain Tower at times other than the big Halloween bash but it occurred to me to check it out a few days ago.

In only a couple of tries a level 16 wizard on my newest account quickly got a Lump of Coal pet.  When I checked out the school (Fire) and potential talents I wanted one for my Fire wizard … who’s on a different account.  So I opened that account and started farming.

It took ages to get the pet but in the meantime she received most of the other special pets — some of them, like the Maple Moose, several times — and loads of other seasonal drops.  Unfortunately most of the seasonal pets are Ice and I have no Ice wizards and others I got were also schools I don’t need or with potential talents I don’t want.

And I landed a couple more Yuletide Spirits.  I may train one or more but I managed long ago to hatch a Yuletide Spirit into a pet with three may cast heal talents and I’ve used that one to hatch so many pets across my accounts I’m already awash in Yuletide Spirits though most of them have several talents from other pets.

I started out farming in October for the Halloween drops but it seemed like they’d lowered the drop rates (something I found other wizards saying as well) and I gave up since it seemed like a waste of time.  This time I would say I got considerably more seasonal drops than ever and I’m wondering if they’ve raised the drop rate?

I’ve also not been running into the obnoxious high level types who usually make the Stormdrain an unpleasant experience during seasonal-drop time.  I even called one on wiping everybody out before all wizards were officially in the circle and he apologized!  Mostly I’ve not seen people jumping the gun on finishing everybody off to the detriment of wizards who don’t get in fast enough.  (See previous post for more on this).

In any case, I’m assuming they’ll have the seasonal drops through Sunday (1/1/2017) so you’ve got a few days to get some of the great pets.  I even got the whole Santa outfit — first time ever I’ve managed all three pieces!  And there are lots of holiday decorations dropping.  Get in on the holiday fun while you can!



The next try on playing for free

Unicorn Park

A couple of posts ago I wrote about starting a new wizard and running her through every single quest she could do for free to see what level she reached and then bought Cyclops Lane and did every quest to see if i could get her to level 12.

She hit level 9 and then some on the free stuff and, after a bunch of rounds of fighting the Harvest Lord to see if I could scootch her up to level 10, I finally bought Cyclops.  My goal was to get her to level 12 so she could become the gardener and provider of mega snacks for the new account.  At the end of Cyclops she was level 11.

So then I turned to a wizard on the third account who’d been sitting at level 5 (just finished Unicorn Way quests, side and main) for ages.  I suspect I did some of the Halloween stuff with her too and got some XP for the Jack Hallow quests level fives can do.  She hit level 10 (just) at the end of all the Triton stuff.  I then took her through every quest in Firecat Alley to see if the extra dungeon there might get her to level 12 but no dice.

No matter which zone I purchased first, I couldn’t get a wizard up to gardening without purchasing both Cyclops and Firecat.  You don’t get the quest for Crab Alley (which racks up some pretty good points and also costs) until level 12 and you don’t get the quest for Nightside until you’ve completed all three areas (Triton, Cyclops and Firecat) plus Foulgaze (Sapphyra’s Tower) and Lord Nightshade (Stormdrain Tower) and the only way to get big points in Nightside is to pay to do the Sunken City dungeon.

Colossus Boulevard is the other main side quest area and it too requires purchasing the zone.  So, it’s 1500 Crowns to get Firecat and Cyclops and then if you want access to ALL of Wizard City that’s appropriate for lower level wizards it’s another 2250 Crowns to get Crab Alley, Sunken City, and Colossus.  Grand total for all of it 3750 Crowns.

Final results of my trial:  you can only get to level 9, maybe 10, if you don’t purchase any zones.  You’ll be somewhere in level 11 if you just buy one area, either Firecat or Cyclops; you’ll be slightly farther into level 11 if you just purchase Firecat).  If you want to be able to garden (the best way in my opinion for a free account to be swimming in gold from an early stage), you’ll have to come up with the 1500 Crowns and complete Firecat and Cyclops as well as Triton.  And for both I had to do a few extra boss fights to tip over to 12.


Scattering quests through crowns areas

Jack Hallow

Jack Hallow

I’ve noticed many times as I’ve played the game what a clever (sneaky???) job of scattering quests through different crowns areas KI has done but it’s really been sinking in this week as I play through the “free to play” area and then see what I can accomplish for new wizards with the least crowns possible

For starters, you can pick up the Professor Zeke Smiths quest for free but you can’t finish it without buying Cyclops, Firecat Alley and Colossus Boulevard because each area has one of the Smiths.  At level 10 you can pick up a quest for books from Harold Argleston (after completing a quest Boris Tallstaff has for you as soon as you reach level 10; it isn’t announced, you just have to know to go to the library and do his little quests), but again, you can’t finish it without buying all three of the main pay zones.

You will also get quests for Crab Alley and Sunken City.  They’re side quests (don’t have to do them to move forward) and you have to pay to enter both.  Crab Alley contains the Waterworks so if you’re into that dungeon (many people farm it; personally I find it a tedious bore) you might find it worth 750 crowns.  It’s also 750 for Sunken City which seems like a major rip off since it’s just one dungeon.

You can get the opening fishing training at level 7 as a free player and also the first fishing quest but you can’t complete it without access to Cyclops Lane which you have to pay for.   Then the second quest requires you to go to Grizzleheim.  Not only do you have to pay for yet another zone but I find it really odd that you start fishing at level 7 and then they set the second quest in a location you can’t access until you’re level 20.  Huh?

Penny Dreadful has several quests which you can pick up in the Commons, but the final one requires a visit to the Dark Cave which means you have to buy access to either Cyclops Lane or Firecat Alley (there is an entry into the Cave from each of those areas) in order to complete them.

Death wizards receive a quest to get the Prism spell at level 12 and it requires going to Colossus Boulevard so you can’t complete the quest without purchasing that zone or becoming a member.  It’s been a while since I’ve started a wizard from any school but Death so I’m not sure if any other schools require Colossus at that stage.  Chime in in the comments if you know about another school.

Non-members are allowed to participate in the Halloween festivities and there are a bunch of quests you can complete in the free areas but to do all of them you need to have access to Firecat Alley and Cyclops Lane as well.

When the Professor shows up, free players can do the quest in the Wizard City box but all the others require paying for access to each area with a box.  BTW the Halloween quests,  and the Lost Pages and B.O.X.E.S. quests in WC are a great way to punch up some extra XP as a free player.

One way I handle some of this is by getting a one month membership every now and then* when there’s a Double Garden event or for Halloween (something where there are extra perks to being a member) and racing a couple of wizards through as many areas I haven’t bought as possible.  But the game is stacked in favor of making you either buy lots of zones or just succumb to membership.  If you want to do more than hang around in Unicorn Way and Triton Ave fighting the same mobs and bosses endlessly, KI is going to make some money off you.

*Since I have two membership accounts I can get memberships for $6.95/month.  You can sign up and cancel later the same day – they bill you for the one month and end the membership when the month is up.




Sword Ferns

I’ve written about Sword Ferns before but I haven’t given them the full post I usually offer to explain individual plants.


When I first started growing Sword Ferns, KI hadn’t started offering Double Garden Rewards.  I bought a few seeds because I wanted Hambrosia pet snacks.  The seeds are quite expensive (1500 crowns each), so I figured the Hambrosia drop rate would be high.  It’s not.  I get maybe one out of 25 or 30 plants at elder harvest.  So I didn’t consider them worth it.

They’re also available in some packs (never gotten one from a pack myself) and are dropped in some higher level worlds (Avalon and up) though I’ve never gotten more than one or two for either of the two wizards who are most of the way through Azteca.

When the Double Garden days started, I began planting Sword Ferns for double harvest and, over the course of a number of double elder harvests, I’ve managed to double the few I bought for the first two accounts enough times to have 50 or 60 on each.  Even with all the likes they take about 8 days to get to elder harvest, so you have to plant them well before a double garden event and just leave the elder harvest uncollected until an event starts.


Now that I have a few wizards who’ve reached higher levels and none of them are going critical (see previous post), I’m using Treasure Card blades much more in order to beef up my hits.  Sword Ferns drop TC blades at every harvest, both mature and elder, including drops of Balanceblades and Dragonblades, neither of which is available at TC vendors.  Every school can use them to add damage.

I can find Balanceblades in very small numbers on RARE occasions at the Bazaar and Dragonblades are just about impossible (both are also available as spell cards through some pets and some gear) so I find it really helpful to get them dropped in decent numbers from the Sword Ferns.

Though some Sword-Fern-owning wizards complained when KI made other blades available through vendors, I like the convenience of getting them through drops and not having to keep heading to the vendors or dropping piles of gold (1,000 apiece) to get a bunch.  They drop blades from every school, including the Spirit and Elemental ones, so I’m able to trade blades between accounts and keep every wizard supplied with blades appropriate to her school.


Care isn’t too bad.  They only have two needs, water and pollination.  They get level 3 pests for which I just use Dragonflies (keeps level 3 pests off for 48 hours).  They also draw pixies with high frequency.  It’s hard to count but I’d say out of 24 at least 19 or 20 of them draw pixies.


I find the Purple Grapes of Wrath the easiest to grow and you’ll only get “like” credit for one type, so I recommend growing one of those.  They don’t like garden gnomes, so if you have a gnome for the Sword Ferns it will slow down the growth of the PGW so much you just have to grow one through several crops of Sword Ferns.

Honey Sickles hit elder harvest really fast.  Usually I just leave it sitting at elder to be a “like” I don’t have to take care of, but if you want the drops, you’ll wind up planting at least two and sometimes three successively for each crop of the far-slower-growing Sword Ferns.

Sword Trees are easy to get at the Bazaar, as are the Tropical Garden Gnomes, and the trees are also dropped by Sword Ferns, so if you’re willing to wait you’ll probably pick one up.

Sword Ferns take a long time to get to “young” and “mature” so there’s often a long wait to have pixies show up on the plants.  In order to nudge things along I usually cast a Summon Pixie on the Honey Sickle (it will be at young, when you can cast a Pixie, in about a day).  Once the Purple Grapes of Wrath comes up I usually keep a summoned pixie on it too since it gets rank 4 pests.  You could also just use Miniature Bloodbats on the whole patch — it will keep the level 3s off the Sword Ferns and level 4 off the PGW and save energy.  But I’ve cut back on gardening so Sword Ferns are the only crop for most wizards right now and I don’t have to worry about energy.


The Wiki for some reason doesn’t list the drops for these and I’m not much of a record keeper, so this segment is based on experience and general impressions.

As mentioned above, lots of blades drop at every harvest.

They also drop snacks.  At the mature harvests it’s a rank 5 or 6 or a Ninja Figgy Pudding (rank 7).  At elder harvest it drops two snacks, rank 7-9.  You mainly get the lower level ones, most of which can only be sold at the snack vendor — and don’t pay nearly as much as many lower level snacks do in the Bazaar.  Occasionally you get a Hambrosia, which is 5o XP including 15 points for Intellect.

The wiki says they only drop housing items at elder harvest but I get housing items all the time at mature harvests.  Lots of sword racks.  There’s a Ninja sword rack that can’t be sold at auction (I feed them to pets) and another type of weapon rack of some sort that you can sell at the Bazaar.  They also drop a variety of “fern” plants, from Primitive Fern to Celestian Fern and lots of the outdoor types.

Personally I still think for what you pay for those seeds you should get a Hambrosia at elder harvest every time.  But now that you can double the seeds in Double Rewards events, I’d say it’s worth it to buy a couple of seeds for your account and just make sure you have some already at elder harvest before each Double Rewards event starts (i.e. plant some a few weeks after an event, let them get to elder harvest and just leave them sitting there until the next event) so you can slowly build a bigger supply by doubling your seeds at every event.

Gardening: Working Your Whole Account

Picture 2014-05-04 00-45-20

I’ve mentioned before I don’t do the super mega gardening many wizards get into.  I’ve found two-layer gardens with more like 42 plots provide me with enough drops and let me plant and tend the garden within my energy limits.  For lower level wizards I create gardens for medium area plant spells with 12-18 plots and it keeps them well supplied in gold, snacks, reagents and treasure cards.

Part of my strategy for keeping my accounts stocked with all the various drops for which I grow gardens is to get all the wizards on the account gardening.  When I first got into gardening on my first account, I had all six wizards growing 12 Evil Magma Peas and 18 Pink Dandelions. Eventually the two highest level wizards added a large area garden with 24 Couch Potatoes.

Mid-level garden

I was able to stockpile plenty of mega snacks and reagents and suddenly they were all overflowing with gold from selling unwanted treasure cards, lower level snacks and extra reagents.  And this was before KI started offering Double Garden Rewards so nothing was ever doubled.

The big advantage to having all six wizards gardening was that I could get the big accumulations of drops without having to buy energy.  You can only quest with one wizard on an account at a time, so you can feed more of the drops to whichever one is questing if needed and otherwise build your shared bank stores.

Tatiana's mid level garden

Tatiana’s mid-level garden

I think it’s worth creating all six wizards, even if you’ll ultimately choose to delete some of them and start over.  Level them up enough to get the initial gardening training.  If you can pass some Pink Dandelions over, one crop of 4 or 5 of them will level up the gardening rank enough to buy the medium area spells in Krokotopia.  At that stage they’ll have enough energy to grow 18 PDs and 12 EMPs.  I put the two medium area groups close enough that I can use one pest spell to cover both.  You’ll be amazed what you can do for the one wizard you’re leveling up (if you’re just working on one) just by using all six slots for wizards and growing six small gardens.

Above you can see Tatiana at about level 40, in front of a garden with two sets of 12 medium plots and one set of 18 small plots.  By then she had the large area spells, which fit over that whole garden.  See post for more info on how that works.

More of the wizards now have large-area gardens with 44-52 plots (I started off with 52 but none of the wizards at the time had enough energy to plant 52 seeds at once so I started making it smaller — two layers of 22).  But I still use the medium-area 18 plot small plot gardens.

Now that I’ve got plenty of mega snacks and reagents in backpacks and the shared bank, I usually just have two wizards on one account at a time gardening, but when I need to maximize a drop, I go back to having more wizards growing things.

At this point, I’m gardening more strategically for certain things I need or anticipate needing.  Now that Morgan and Rylee have gotten high enough level to realize how much more Amber I’m going to need than I’ve collected, I’m regularly having one mid-level wizard grow a 44 plot garden of King Parsley.  I’ve been working on crafting two Seed Vaults per wizard and growing lots of Silver Trumpet Vines to get the Braided Vine drops, so one wizard on each account has been working on those.

Sword Ferns have been keeping my higher level wizards supplied with blades, especially Balance Blades and Dragonblades.  I’ve only purchased a few, a couple for each of the first two accounts and have been slowly expanding the seeds by doubling the seeds every time there’s a Double Garden Rewards event.  With just 12-24 plants going at a time I’ve been able to keep all three accounts well supplied with treasure card blades.  Blades drop at every harvest, not just elder harvest, so over the course of a number of mature harvests plus the elder harvest, you get a LOT of blades.

One wizard growing King Parsley, one growing Silver Trumpet Vines and one growing Sword Ferns.  Since each of them is often growing just one crop they all have some energy for pet training — on the rare occasions I decide to do any 🙂  I’m about to wind up the STVs as I’ve got two Seed Vaults per wizard.  Don’t figure I need to stockpile more seeds than that and I don’t want to have to keep track of what’s where for any more vaults than that.

Once you’ve decided your current gardening goals, having six wizards with gardens helps you create strategies for getting all the drops you need.  Since you can buy Crown Shop houses for gold, I’ve used the copious amounts of gold the gardening supplies to buy Red Barn Farms (a “like” for all plants) for all of them.  I spent a lot of time farming bosses and the bazaar for “likes” so most of my crops have six to seven “likes” speeding the process along (and recently plants started dropping housing items, including items they “like” so now they’re easy to get).  Six wizards, maximum likes…  and it all adds up to mega snacks, TCs, reagents and so much gold I’m constantly having to buy expensive gear just to get below the gold maximum!




Double Garden Rewards Return

August 17, 2016

Gardening bonus

KI is running another Double Garden Rewards event through Sunday, August 21, 2016.  Members receive double the XP, double the gold, double the seeds, double the drops (pet snacks, treasure cards, reagents, etc.).

I had all six wizards on my two membership accounts waiting to collect final elder harvests on their gardens until a double rewards day and wasn’t expecting another event till maybe the annual KI birthday celebration in September.  I didn’t even notice it on the news feed when I opened the game. It wasn’t until one of my wizards with some daisies still in progress collected a mature harvest that I noted she was getting twice the XP.

I’m now busily engaged in the long, involved process of not only harvesting all those crops but moving stuff around all over the accounts to make room for all those double seed harvests.  On my first account I think a lot of pets are going to be eating Evil Magma Peas 🙂

I signed up for a one month membership for my third account in order to collect double stuff on a bunch of elder harvests I’ve had sitting there waiting for double rewards.

These events are not only a nice chance to fill your reagent stores, stockpile mega snacks and earn lots of gold, but if you’re playing on a budget, it’s a great way to multiply a few crown seeds into a large garden patch.  On the third account I’ve turned six Evil Magma Peas into well over a hundred, just collecting double seeds during these events.

Unless they slow down the timers (which I kind of think they did the last time) you have time to plant Pink Dandelions, Evil Magma Peas and/or Couch Potatoes and, if you have all the likes, get them to elder harvest by the end of the event.  Go forth and multiply!


Housing Sale

Red Barn Farm_edited

Houses in the Crown Shop are on sale for half price through August 21, 2016.  And for a limited time (i.e. anybody’s guess when it ends…) they’re offering the membership deal in which you get a year of membership plus 13,750 crowns for $74.99.

The housing deal includes that under “featured” items they’ve brought back the Pagoda and Winterbane Hall back and those you have to buy for crowns — no sale for gold.

They don’t offer this $74.99 membership deal too often but I’ve usually been able to pick it up in December, so I’ve kept my first account going on that deal.  I think it’s one of the best membership sales they offer.

Most of the houses in the Crown Shop are available for gold.  The gold prices never seem to have a sale, but if you can buy a house for gold I’m not sure that you need to buy one for crowns, even if it’s a 50% off sale.  However, if you have crowns to burn and you’re keen to have a new house, now is the moment to get one.