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Hogwarts Legacy has Harry Potter fans counting down the days until its release, but players don’t have to wait until then to explore the School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even better, doing so won’t cost a single knut (provided players already own Minecraft).
Floo Network’s Witchcraft and Wizardry Minecraft mod is more than a simple Hogwarts map. It is a completely explorable Wizarding World game inside Minecraft, which includes quests, magic spells and pretty much everything Potter fans longed for since before Hogwarts Legacy was announced.
The mod is from 2020 and caught a fair few eyes when it launched. However, with Hogwarts Legacy pegged for a holiday 2022 release, it’s worth mentioning that this mod might scratch an itch until then. Players can even go exploring with their friends alongside them.
A Legacy of its own
Witchcraft and Wizardry goes beyond most mods. It ceases to be Minecraft, apart from the visual style. Yes, everything remains blocky, but that doesn’t take away from the details that went into recreating the Wizarding World.
The mod is not limited to Hogwarts, either. Players also get to explore Diagon Alley, Privet Drive, London, Knockturn Alley (don’t look at me like that, you would too), the Malfoy Manor, Hogsmeade and much more. And, comparing Hogwarts Legacy’s locations from the books with Floo Network’s Witchcraft and Wizardry, they are markedly similar — even when locations weren’t featured in the movies.
According to one of the mod’s creators, a private person who goes by the name of “Wednesday Frog,” the places that were not featured in the movies were among the most fun areas to create, because they allowed for more creative freedom. Still, they wanted to add as many places from the ‘Harry Potter’ universe, so no location was off the table.
However, they didn’t just wake up one day and decided to take up the gargantuan task of creating a playable Wizarding World game, with all of the iconic locations included. It just sort of happened by accident, according to Wednesday Frog.
“Years and years ago I saw someone who had built Hogwarts in a review of Minecraft on a Danish kid’s show called ‘Troldspejlet,’ and I thought it was cool, so I wanted to have a go at it myself,” Wednesday Frog said. “After a while — this is still many years ago — we decided that we wanted to make it into an adventure map inspired by classic Minecraft adventure maps like Hypixel’s Mansion. Back then, Minecraft was a lot more primitive, so you couldn’t have made this map back then.”
As the project grew, so did their ambitions. But because the initial group fell apart, Wednesday Frog simply released the map without any gameplay. However, they said releasing that way felt like a failure, because they never accomplished what they had set out to achieve. Then, as the map grew popular, that feeling of expanding kept nagging.
“This makes working on a large project like this somewhat difficult, because you end up wanting to go back and fix a lot of stuff that isn’t up to standard anymore,” they said. “That is basically how I felt about the whole map at this stage.”
Despite intending to only fix the “worst” parts of the mod, this effort turned the mod into a veritable Ship of Theseus situation. Eventually, Wednesday Frog had updated so much that almost none of the original map or resource pack remained. And on top of those updates, they added in extras that weren’t possible before.
“While I was working on this we had the idea of adding small puzzles,” they said. “Minecraft had gotten a lot more complex since we had released the first map and we were having fun trying to push the limits of what could be done with the new features.”
As Wednesday Frog puts it, everything came full circle. In the end, the scale gradually increased into what they initially wanted to do.
Hogwarts Legacy inside Minecraft
The game starts off with players in a little home, designed after 4 Privet Drive (where Harry Potter grew up). After receiving a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts, players go through all the steps any witch or wizard would. They go to Diagon Alley, buy school supplies, take the Hogwarts Express, take the boat across the lake with Hagrid and get sorted into their House via a short quiz. Then, the school year begins. Players already had the freedom to explore before this, but this is when the full world opens up.
Exploring Hogwarts in this mod makes Harry and Ron’s ability to get lost so often in their first year much clearer. Fortunately, players have the Marauder’s Map, which functions as a fast travel item, to help them navigate the enormous, maze like design.
Still, sometimes wandering around is part of the mod’s magic. It’s fun to get lost and find all kinds of nooks, crannies and hidden passages. It feels like being an actual first-year student who doesn’t know their way around Hogwarts. According to Wednesday Frog, while that maze-like feeling wasn’t the goal, it grew gradually from an older build.
Floo Network’s Witchcraft and Wizardry is the result of the hard work of volunteers, who released the mod for free and said they made it due to their love for the Wizarding World. As for Wednesday Frog, they are looking forward to seeing what Hogwarts Legacy does with an explorable Hogwarts.
“I think it looks cool,” they said of the State of Play reveal. “It’s obviously far more ambitious and professionally executed than a hobby project Minecraft map could ever be. But even so, I think it will be interesting to see how they tackled some of the things we tackled in our map, as well.”
How to install and play Witchcraft and Wizardry
Installing the mod is simple. To start, make sure version 1.16.3 of Minecraft is installed via the launcher. Simply click the “Installations” tab at the top, create a new one, select 1.16.3 from the dropdown menu and click create. Launch this once, just to be sure, then close the game.
Next, download the auto-installer by Floo Network. This will take care of the rest. The installer also suggests downloading Optifine and provides a direct download link for the appropriate version.
Simply download this, double click it, let it do its thing and continue Floo Network’s mod installation. Once that’s complete, players will find a new save game ready to be started. They’ll finally have that Hogwarts letter that never came from them when they turned 11.