Players jumping into Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery are experiencing the same shared frustrations early on in the game. It all comes down to in-app purchases.
There’s a challenge early on in the free-to-play game where players become trapped in Devil’s Snare, the potentially lethal plant that Harry and his friends faced in The Philosopher’s Stone. Players are expected to use their energy, a resource that builds through completing activities and depletes during challenges, to get out of the Devil’s Snare’s vice-like grip.
Except the app doesn’t let players earn enough energy before encountering the plant. The alternative is to either buy more energy through in-app purchases or wait for hours, but players argue they don’t want to spend actual money this early on. The scene occurs less than an hour into the game and, according to players on Twitter and Tumblr, feels like it’s forcing people to spend money on energy.
The Devil’s Snare scenario highlights a particularly frustrating problem that players have run into as they get more time with the game: enormous wait periods or encouraging in-app purchases, seem to appear frequently for players.
Android Police’s Matthew Sholtz, who spent time with the beta version of Hogwarts Mystery, wrote about his own frustrations:
While I can easily ignore the IAPs and currencies, the wait timers have a tendency to stop your fun dead in its tracks. They don’t even take that long to rear their ugly head either. At about the 25-minute mark you will find yourself in the middle of a task that requires you finish it before an 8-hour time limit is up. The trouble is, your limited energy will run out right in the middle of this task, and I assure you this is by design. So now you are stuck, with a clock ticking down that you can do nothing about, at least until your energy levels build back up or you purchase some more.
In-app purchases vary in pricing, but there are items up to $100 being offered to players. It’s jarring, especially as players realize they’re going to sink quite a bit of time into their seven years at Hogwarts. Other players on Twitter have pointed to egregious wait times and constant nagging to purchase in-game items as a reason they’re walking away from the game.
“I started playing Hogwarts Mystery but apparently I need to either pay money or wait 8 hours for the Devil’s Snare to stop strangling me so I’m done with this,” one person tweeted.
“So ... I’m trying to defeat the devils snare but I have no energy and literally can’t move the game forward without it and the only way to get it is to buy it,” another person tweeted. Seriously, there’s no way to play Hogwarts Mystery without paying through the nose???? Fucking disgraceful, tbh.”
Players are so frustrated that they’ve begun to look for possible cheats to get around the wait time and in-app purchases.
Polygon has reached out to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery developer Jam City for comment on players’ concerns and will update when the company responds.