As far as character customization beyond spells, players do not have to worry about statistics on level up. They simply are granted new spells at certain set points and also earn training points to use to purchase spells outside their school of magic.
Players find or purchase robes, hats, wands/staves, shoes and even pets. All yield bonuses or resistances and can be dyed to match the whim of the wearer. My character is decked out in black and gray, my daughter in green and yellow, while my husband is in orange and green. Even some pets can be customized to match.
As with most MMOs, there are quests to accomplish and a bad guy to hunt down through the ranks of his minions. In this case, the head master of the School of Death has gone rogue and through the quests, players are brought ever closer to the 'final battle'. Along the way there are mini-bosses and monsters galore.
Fighting in Wizard101 uses a card-based spell system. When receiving spells from a character's chosen school or after purchasing a spell, players receive a card that is added to a spell deck. Cards give information about what type and how much damage each spell uses and are randomly displayed each combat turn. Players choose a spell with their mouse and then watch the combat progress throughout the turn. The spell effects are very well done. They are wonderful and imaginative and many of them will make you laugh out loud. The leprechaun spell is a particular favorite of my daughter and it's a hoot as are many of the others.
On a battle's completion, players are awarded with gold and experience if successful. If they are defeated, they are sent back to the starting area no poorer than having wasted time. There is no death penalty or loss of XP or gold. But players will need to spend time in the 'carnival' (mini-game) area replenishing their life and mana. There are several interesting mini games and most of them take little skill in order to be successful. Players not only replenish their mana but can earn gold and items for particularly well-played games.
Wizard101 employs a unique battle system. Monsters ramble about the streets with sidewalks being the 'safe zone' for player movement. When a battle is entered, a player and monster move to a circle. Up to three other players can also enter the battle along with their 'attendant' monster. At completion, all players are rewarded with the same loot, eliminating the necessity for the grab and run. This system is unique in that it utterly banishes the notion of grinding and being forced to wait for the quest monsters to reappear in overcrowded areas.