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I think, as fans of gaming, we have all spent more time than most staring off into the distance and imagining alternate lives in fantastical worlds. I vividly remember many school lessons spent dreamily gazing out a window picturing myself in the most recent gaming locale I had frequented.
Instead of learning Algebra, I was learning to survive in a war-torn apocalypse. Instead of memorizing the periodic table, I was memorizing attack combos, and instead of running in Gym Class, I was running team compositions in my head.
Truthfully, the only class I tuned in to was English, and that’s only because I was rewarded for fabricating fantastical tales. However, I think if push came to shove, and I was thrust into a mythical gaming world, it would be a pretty rough adjustment period.
Even though I’m a long-time fan of the series, that extends to the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
I can only imagine how daunting it would be as a new Hogwarts Student to be pulled from their normal life, tossed through a brick wall at Platform 9 and 3/4, and told to spend a whole school year in a boarding school rife with enchantments and dangerous creatures aplenty.
Heck, I don’t even like driving a new route through my hometown, never mind starting a new life in the world of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There is a lot of pressure being a Hogwarts student.
There are expectations to become an adept wizard, ace your O.W.L.S., and be a social butterfly into the bargain. It’s like high school all over again.
Before you relive all that trauma of not being sat at ‘the cool table,’ we have a solution. Hogwarts Legacy is a game with a myriad of things to do and see, so much so that you can easily be overwhelmed by the scale of the task.
Hence why we have put together this Beginner’s Guide, helping you tell your Accios from your Depulsos, and make the most of your time as a new-fifth-year student. Okay, wands at the ready. This is RPG Informer’s Hogwarts Legacy Beginner’s Guide!
Before You Begin
As any good AAA game should have these days, Hogwarts Legacy features a number of helpful accessibility features allowing gamers of all abilities to jump into Hogwarts Legacy.
Aside from the obvious inclusions to accommodate those with disabilities, this also includes some great features such as a Left-handed mode, and an Audio Visualiser setting to show you what’s making that sound around the castle.
Next, you need to consider what sort of challenge you want when experiencing Hogwarts for the first time. The difficulty mainly relates to how intense the combat within the game gets. If you opt for Story or Easy Mode, the game will be very lenient, offering weak enemies and very forgiving dodge and block prompts.
Whereas the higher levels will make the enemy AI much faster and more aggressive, not to mention that the block and dodge prompts will be much more subtle and require quicker reactions.
I found Normal was the sweet spot for me, but it’s best to play around with this. The good news is that you can change this at any time throughout the adventure.
Then lastly, and this one is my personal viewpoint. Unless you really have a hangup with playing as a more feminine character, I would urge you to play with the female voice actors’ voice lines active.
The male vocal performance, in my humble opinion, is very one-note, stilted, and forgettable. Whereas the female protagonist lines, while not remarkable, are much better in terms of range and delivery.
Your First Hours in Hogwarts
Okay, so you begin proceedings, and you’re immediately thrust into the action with Professor Fig by your side. This acts as the game’s tutorial, allowing you to get a taste for exploration, combat, and puzzles before you even step foot on the Hogwarts grounds.
However, since this is the tutorial, we will be looking at the first few hours from the Sorting Ceremony onwards. Here are some tips for your initial period in Hogwarts Legacy:
Choosing Your House
The first thing you’ll do upon arrival in Hogwarts is choose your house, or have it choose you if you are keen to have an authentic experience. You will answer a quick questionnaire and be sorted into one of the four famous houses.
Now, cards on the table, this doesn’t make a huge difference to your playthrough. If you want explicit details on this, check out our dedicated Hogwarts Legacy Houses Guide. However, in a nutshell, this is what your house choice affects:
- One unique questline tied to each house
- Each house has a unique common room
- Each common room is in a different area of the castle
- Your house choice will affect a lot of Gear’s color palette
Stay on the Beaten Path
One important thing to know is, unless you do as you are told and do the main quests put before you for the first few hours, the game will keep you on a pretty tight leash.
Even when you are about halfway through the game, it will still be throwing tutorials and new features at you. So if you want to unlock all the tools needed to truly explore at your leisure, then you need to keep ticking off the main quest objectives.
When can I stop and go exploring; I hear you ask. Well, I would say that when you have access to a Broom and also have access to the first Alohamora spell, then you are pretty well equipped to wander Hogwarts and beyond at your leisure.
Revelio as You Go
I feel like this one almost goes without saying, as this is a learned behavior for all lovers of open-world games. However, I’ll say it to cover all bases. Hogwarts Legacy has a feature that hides collectibles in plain sight, and to reveal them, you must cast Revelio, which is an AoE revealing charm.
This allows you to spot nearby chests, puzzles, and Field Guides. So when exploring and drinking in the scenery of this wonderful game, be sure to regularly cast this spell and get the lay of the land.
A Floo Cool Places to Visit
“You wouldn’t believe how inconvenient travel was before I invented Floo Powder!”
This is a line that you will become intimately familiar with when playing Hogwarts Legacy, whether you like it or not. This line belongs to Ignatia Wildsmith, the inventor of Floo Powder.
You will encounter a bust of her every time you fast-travel in the game, as these are the markers that you can jump between within the game.
While it can be a very rewarding and immersive experience to simply exist in the world and walk, run, or fly where you need to go. You’ll struggle to get through this game in a reasonable period of time without using Floo Powder every now and again.
So my tip here is, make sure you spend time exploring the castle, Hogsmeade, and the wider world, and unlock a bunch of Floo Powder spots, because without them, the travel times, even by Hippogryph, can be pretty long.
Oh, and they won’t unlock unless you are standing practically right on top of them. So you might want to set a map marker or two to ensure you don’t walk right past them.
Now let’s break down the core mechanics included in this game. Now, full disclosure. If we broke down every little mini-game and throwaway mechanic this game packs into its run, this article would be longer than a school year without Quidditch feels.
So instead, we will be focusing on the staple mechanics and features that you absolutely have to master if you hope to be a competent witch or wizard. Okay, let’s get into it:
In case you haven’t gathered as much by now, Hogwarts Legacy is a game that urges players to explore and discover the wonders of the world for themselves. The game is truly at its best when you allow yourself to aimlessly wander around and uncover secrets as they pop up on the screen.
However, there are some things that you need to be aware of, providing you don’t want to end up overwhelmed and bewildered. So here is a quick breakdown:
- Mounts: These are the equivalent of vehicles in the world of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Players will be able to use a combination of Brooms and magical creatures to get around faster when exploring. You’ll initially get around on a Broom which you can upgrade over time, but you will later gain access to mounts like Hippogryphs and Thestrals.
- Floo Powder: As mentioned above, this is the fast travel system within Hogwarts Legacy and allows you to jump around this huge map with ease.
- Balloons: When exploring the open world on your Broom, you may encounter a series of colorful Balloons in the sky. These may seem like set dressing at first, but these are actually linked to side-quest content. These float around in packs of five, so be sure to fly through each one, popping all five to complete exploration challenges.
- Astronomy Tables: As you get a little further in the game and have your first Astronomy Lesson, Amit Thakkar will show you how Astronomy Tables work, and surprise, surprise, these are linked to side-quest content too. You need to solve a quick puzzle when you find each one, lining up the stars to discover constellations.
- Landing Spots: Perhaps the most uninspired side content in the game, but side content completionists will need to be aware of nonetheless. There are some landing pads dotted around the map, and your job is to land on each one. Pretty simple.
Next up, we have spells. What would a game about wizards and magic be without a whole bunch of spells to cast to your heart’s content? There are a grand total of 26 spells in Hogwarts Legacy, along with a few non-listed action commands like block (Protego) and parry (Stupify), to name a few.
Each spell has a unique effect that can either serve you in the overworld, in combat, or both. We won’t break down each and every spell, because we have a dedicated Hogwarts Legacy Spells Guide that does just that, but here are the types of spells you can unlock throughout the game:
Firstly we have spells that are primarily used in combat to deal damage to enemies. Some of these spells do have some situational purposes outside of battle, such as using Incendio to light fires. However, their primary use is to defend yourself against Rookwood and Ranrok’s goons. Here is a quick list below:
- Basic Cast
- Petrificus Totalus
- Ancient Magic
Next, we have utility spells. These are features that are used to solve puzzles and interact with the world around you above all else. These are as follows:
- Wingardium Leviosa
- Beast Feed
- Beast Brush
- Altering Spell
- Conjuring Spell
Flexi-Spells (Combat and Overworld)
Next, we have spells that are used in a variety of situations. They can be key to solving puzzles and interacting with the world around you, but equally, they can prove very useful in a fight. They tend to be supplementary spells that can be combined with a damage-based spell for a killer combo. These are as follows:
- Arresto Momentum
Dark Arts Spells
Then lastly, for all you Dark-Mark-sporting baddies, we have the Dark Arts spells. Spells that those in Voldemort’s company would cast with careless abandon.
Some players may opt to avoid using these spells and stay on the right side of history. However, if you are like me, you’ll be using these spells pretty regularly. Here they are listed below:
- Avada Kedavra
I’m sure we all like to picture Hogwarts as a place of wonder and tranquility where we can all drink Butterbeer, hang with friends, and use magic to solve all of our problems. However, as Harry Potter found out every damn school term, danger is around every corner.
Honestly, the amount of liability insurance that the school must pay doesn’t bare thinking about. That much is also true for our protagonist in Hogwarts Legacy.
From Ranrok’s goons, to the perilous creatures that simply exist in the wild, you always need to have your wand handy to protect yourself. So here is a rundown on how combat works in Hogwarts Legacy:
Spells and Combos
This is how you deal damage and whittle down hoards of enemies in this game. You have access to a range of spells as listed above, and each has its own unique effects, which can be chained together to deliver devastating combos.
A personal favorite is Leviso and Depulso to launch enemies off cliffs and into walls. Then when they are on a cooldown, you can also use a basic cast to keep chipping away at an enemy’s HP.
Dealing damage is great and all, but if you are too trigger-happy and don’t stay alert, you are going to get smacked around by the groups of enemies you find on your travels.
As you would expect when battling wand-wielders, there will be a lot of projectiles flying around, but thanks to a little spell called Protego, you can create a force field to block incoming attacks, and if you hold this spell, you will automatically parry with a Stupify spell, stunning enemies, and leaving them open to a counter-charm.
As the game quickly makes a point of telling you. The protagonist isn’t just your typical Hogwarts student. Oh, no, they are, in fact, able to harness the power of ancient magic.
What does that mean in terms of combat? Well, it means that you can throw nearly projectiles akin to telekinesis, and when you boost your Ancient Magic Meter to full, you can perform a finisher move that takes out most common enemies in one swift motion.
This attack is also great for keeping combos alive. Another personal favorite is Expelliarmus to disarm, followed by an ancient magic throw to chuck their own weapon back at them.
Then lastly, if you want to try and avoid the manic nature of Hogwarts Legacy combat now and again, you can make use of the Disillusionment spell, which allows you to become practically invisible.
Then when you are shrouded by this charm, if you get behind enemies, you can use Petrificous Totalus to take them out Agent 47 style.
The combat in Hogwarts Legacy is dynamic, accessible, and fun, but as you level up, the game will start to throw tougher enemies at you in the hope of delivering a suitable challenge for someone with access to the arsenal of spells listed above.
So to make sure you stay a step ahead, you need to make use of the Talents system, which is effectively a Skill Tree that offers new abilities and buffs to the character. There are a total of four talent groupings, and these are as follows:
- Dark Arts
- Room of Requirement
If you played any of the older Harry Potter games, you would know that aside from the main narrative, these games tend to keep you busy with innumerable little mini-games and puzzles scattered around the overworld, and this is again the case here.
Again, we won’t be diving deep into the mechanics of each puzzle type, but here is a list of the puzzles that you will encounter on your travels:
- Arithmancy Puzzles
- Moth Mirrors
- Merlin’s Trials
- Ball Statue puzzles
- Dragon Pyres
- Eyeball Chests
- Ancient Magic Traces
The Room of Requirement
Then lastly you have the Room of requirement. This is an area within the castle where you can create your home away from home. It’s practically The Sims meets Hogwarts, where you can acquire spellcrafts that allow you to conjure decorations and cool features for your room.
You can decorate, change the overall theme and ambiance, you can use the room to brew potions and grow plants.
Plus, when you progress a little further, you will gain access to the Vivarium, an area where you can keep any Beasts that you capture with your Nab-sack. Here is a quick list of all the possibilities available in the Room of Requirement:
- Potion Brewing
- Herbology Stations
- Beast Vivarium
- Customizable decor and theme
- Reveal Unidentified Gear
- Upgrade Gear and apply traits
Tips We Wish We Knew
Now that you have all the basics, it’s time to give you some extra assignments after class that will allow you to shine brighter than any other student. Here are some tips we wish we had known before starting the school year:
The Transmogrification System
As you play through the game, you will find yourself changing gear for better stuff pretty often. It’s an RPG, so nothing new there. However, the issue is that you end up looking like an absolute mental case, and that’s saying something in the wizarding world.
However, there is a feature that the game doesn’t do a great job of highlighting that solves that issue. You can actually equip any piece of gear you like and then use the Transmog system to change the appearance to any owned gear, while keeping the same stats.
Allowing you to not only be a force to be reckoned with but a style icon into the bargain.
Make Merlin Proud
On the subject of gear, you may find in the early stages of the game that you fill up your rather limited inventory pretty quickly. Especially if you hunt down every available chest as I did. In that situation, there is a temptation to simply destroy any lower-tier gear, but you absolutely should avoid that.
For you see, money is pretty hard to come by in Hogwarts Legacy, so it’s best to hold onto it, and head to Hogsmeade to offload gear by selling to a shop vendor.
However, if you want to make this a less frequent problem, then you should seek out Merlin’s Trials in the overworld. These are puzzles that, upon completion, offer you more gear slots for your efforts. What in Merlin’s beard are you waiting for? Get going!
Cheeky Little Monkeys
If you are someone that wants to collect all the Field Guides and trinkets that are hiding within this game, then you may find yourself stumped when a door has a Level II or III lock attached.
Completing Mr. Moon’s initial Demiguise quest will grant you Alohamora I, but you will need II and III to unlock all those pesky doors locking away key collectibles on the map.
So when you gain access to the Demiguise quest, it’s a good idea to make this your priority and get it completed fast. As this will allow you to clear areas faster without needing to come back again later.
There’s a Day/Night Cycle
This may seem a little obvious to some, but I genuinely got about ten hours into this game before I realized there was a way to skip the Day/Night cycle.
You can see why when the first main quest that points this out is when into the game when you are learning how to use your Nab-Sack with Deek the House Elf. To skip this forward, simply enter the map menu, and you will see the action listed at the bottom of your screen. As you can see, it’s pretty easy to miss.
Use Your Field Guide to Light the Way
This one is a lot more obvious than the function above, as the game teaches you this one pretty early on. However, after the initial use, some folks forget this is a thing, and it can be invaluable, especially when exploring the castle.
The Field Guide has a function that allows you to create a magical path that will guide you to your active quest. Akin to the holographic lines on the floor created by Issac Clarke’s Engineer suit in Dead Space.
Stealth is Overpowered
If you are someone that just wants to power through the combat and get the job done fast, then Stealth is going to be a huge asset for you. With the combination of Disillusionment and Petrificous Totalus, you can thin out huge crowds with no issues whatsoever.
The only caveat is that some stronger enemies won’t die instantly from a stealth attack, so bear that in mind. Overall though, if you want quick and easy results, Stealth is the way forward.
Things You Need to Avoid
Then to supplement all the dos, here are all the Hogwarts Legacy don’ts that you’ll want to keep in mind:
Careful with Special Chests
Hey, remember what we said about limited gear slots being a bit of an issue? Well, if you happen to have all slots full and open up a huge chest (which is guaranteed to give a top-tier item), then you will not receive the item, and you will not be able to interact with the chest again, forever locking that high-grade item away from you.
We assume that this is a bug that will be patched in later updates, but for all you day-one wizards, this may prove to be a pain in the Gobstones.
Claim Your Challenge Rewards
Another common mistake among players is that when you complete challenge criteria, a lot of players will fail to collect their rewards, assuming that they already have the new item in their collection. In most cases, this is pretty harmless as this means you don’t have access to a cosmetic item.
However, on some occasions, you may be denying yourself a combat buff, or an important upgrade. For example, if you complete Merlin Trials, and then neglect to claim your reward, you will still have the standard twenty gear slots, even though you have done all the leg work needed. So make sure you check your challenge menu regularly.
Be a Frugal Little Gringotts Goblin
Within Hogwarts Legacy, you get to head to a previously uninhabitable area of the wizarding world, at least in video game form, Hogsmeade. This is this game’s answer to Diagon Alley and allows the player to buy supplies and sell their gear.
You’ll quickly gain access to this area and find that there is a world of wonders at your disposal, with Spellcrafts, Plants, Potions, Recipes, Brooms, and various other items up for grabs.
However, we would advise you to tighten the pursestrings, at least until you have seen off the main questline. You see, a lot of quests require the player to brew potions, grow plants and acquire certain Spellcraft, and money isn’t exactly free-flowing in Hogwarts Legacy. Until you can capture and sell Beasts, that is.
So just take it easy on the spending front until you clear the vast majority of the various professor’s extra assignments. Professor Sharp and Professor Garlick seem to think that we are made of Galleons.
Unlock More Spell Slots
Then lastly, when unlocking talents, you want to make sure that you take the perks which allow you to preset more spells on your quick menu.
With each talent in this bracket, you can add a 4x set of spells to your HUD menu, and this means less menuing overall, and much more cohesive combo opportunities in battle. Don’t neglect these, or the game won’t flow nearly as smoothly as it should.
Long-Term Goals to Consider
Then lastly, before we sign off and let you loose in this magical world, here are some long-term goals to add to your to-do list. If you are an achievement junkie, this is the section for you:
Unlock All Spells
This is one that most players will do through natural play. While not all spells are mandatory for the completion of the game, it’s good practice to make an effort to gain access to all of these abilities, as they allow you to explore Hogwarts fully.
Some of these spells are tied to side quests, so you’ll need to go off the beaten track now and again. If you want to know if a quest rewards you with a new spell, simply check the rewards section on the quest screen.
Get All The Field Guides
This one is a real undertaking, and you will need to explore just about every single nook and cranny to get all the field guides in this game.
However, it’s a pretty rewarding process, as they are linked to a series of fun puzzles, and offer some fun snippets of lore to help you connect with the areas you are exploring. Plus, getting that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with confirmation of 100% completion in an area is unparalleled.
See All the Unique Quests
This one is for the true completionists, because if I’m being real with you, it’s not really worth the effort. However, these quests are tied to individual trophies/achievements, so overall, they are probably worthwhile to those select few who value in-game achievements.
Each house has a unique questline that occurs just before you meet Jackdaw, and you must play a few hours in-game as a member of each house to see these through.
These quests include romps with Nearly Headless Nick, and the chance to visit Azkaban Prison. So while it is a bit of a time-sink for little payoff, the uber Potter fans will probably take me up on this offer.
Do All the Bells and Whistles
Then lastly, aside from the masses of field guides, there are the other map markers with assorted tasks to complete, which you should seek out. Things like Landing Spots, Demiguise Statues, Daedalious Keys, Merlin Trials, Ancient Magic Traces, and much more. When the main quest is over, you’re far from done, trust me.
Leave a Lasting Legacy
As you can see, Hogwarts Legacy is a game designed to keep you busy for quite some time. As we have come to expect from Hogwarts and, indeed, the HP series, the world seems so rich and full of content that we could never dream of seeing and engaging with everything.
However, with the help of this guide, you can give yourself all the tools needed to hit the ground running and see more of the castle and beyond in one school year than most students see in a lifetime.
If you are anything like me, you might be prone to open-world fatigue, but thankfully, this game manages to make every small activity and event a magical one, so use this guide as your Hogwarts handbook, and when you come out the other end with an O for Outstanding in your O.W.L.S, then the Butterbeers are on you. As always, thanks for reading RPG Informer!
Question: How Long is Hogwarts Legacy?
Answer: This depends if you intend to simply complete the main campaign, or do everything the game has to offer. If you want to do the former, this will take you somewhere in the region of 20-25 hours. Whereas, if you want to go all out and do the latter, you will need to invest at least 60+ hours.
Question: What’s the Best Starting House?
Answer: Honestly, it doesn’t matter which house you choose. All you get is a different common room and one unique quest.
If I had to pick, I would say Hufflepuff and Slytherin are the best options based on their common room aesthetic and unique quest, followed by Griffindor, and taking the wooden spoon for a dull quest and dull common room, Ravenclaw.
Question: What Spells Do You Get at the Start of Hogwarts Legacy?
Answer: The player gets a lot of spells right off the bat in Hogwarts Legacy, and when you clear the tutorial, you will already know the following spells:
• Basic Cast
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