“Greetings traveller! Come in, come in! Do make yourself comfortable – anything you wish, Doreth shall strive to provide. Warm fire, hearty company, a bed for the night? These are harsh times, but let not the strife and toil of war trouble you here. Doreth welcomes all to his inn, Order or otherwise. Come, come, enjoy a mug of our finest ale and lend your ear to the stories Doreth has to tellHey everyone, and welcome to our Developer log!
No patch this week I’m afraid – we’re hard at work on dealing with engine upgrades, creating something extra special and doing all we can to make sure the Rock Pillar is as rock-solid as it can possibly be. With that out of the way, we’d like to tread a different path with you wonderful fans and fireball enthusiasts this week, in our new, monthly (hopefully) developer log. We appreciate the time, dedication and patience all of you have given to Spellsworn and us, and we’re hoping to show our appreciation for that by providing insight into some of the hard work, ideas and aspirations we give and have for Spellsworn. This week, we’d like to discuss the past, present and future of Spellsworn, and what we hope to work on in the coming weeks and months.
Two years ago, some friends and I decided to bravely throw ourselves into the void and do something we’d always talked about incessantly over beers. We started our own game studio and began the creation of Spellsworn; a game inspired heavily by the Warcraft 3 mod, Warlock, that we felt was the peak of a PVP arena battle. It focused heavily on player vs player combat that involved weaving combinations of skills and spells together to outwit your opponent.
What we felt was so special about Warlock was the pure simplicity and balance on offer that created an engaging, strategical experience and an even playing field. Every player had every spell and item available from the get-go, with the ability to upgrade and swap his/her loadout as the match progressed. This has two implications – firstly, you have the ability to forge and create your own playstyle from the very beginning, allowing you to dominate a match in your own way. And secondly, with every spell on offer and available to all from the beginning, it means that the most important factor in the battles is YOU. There is no specific hero clearly better than any other, no clearly overpowered game mechanic that can be abused to dominate a game – the only factor standing between you and victory is you. YOU are the hero, YOU are the one who makes the game and decides your fate, YOU are the one who rock pillars.
Other elements also stood out for us – with the arena shrinking and knockback increasing as you receive damage, the battle takes a sharper edge and an unavoidable exciting climax as it reaches its closing moments. Players are forced into close-quarter combat with almost no cover to protect them (unless you bring your own i.e. Rock Pillar). This adds another dimension to the player loadout as certain spells that proved invaluable in the early game could be your undoing in the late.
As we’ve watched the MOBA scene develop, and seen the variety of other PVP titles rise to the forefront, we had yet to see a title that offered the same experience and excitement that Warlock had. Therefore, with the blessing and help from their community, we decided to take our love for the mod and Warcraft 3 and craft our own game. Thus working from home, with nothing but a brand new Unreal 4 engine and coffee to guide us, we struck out on our own to forge Spellsworn. We’d had some experiences with minor projects and games in the past, but this was our first commercial endeavour. It hasn’t always been easy; we’ve had some pretty harsh downtimes and have been hit hard by the realities of running a business and creating a game. But, these experiences have only filled us with determination, and we’ve learned so much from them and had so much joy from the great things that have happened that we wouldn’t trade this for the world. The journey so far has been thrilling, enlightening, and fulfilling in so many ways. We take great joy from the work that we do, inspiration from what our peers and community do, and excitement from what we plan to do.
Right now, we’re quite happy with our progress in early access, and are delighted to see and read the wonderful feedback and experiences you’ve shared with a game we’ve poured our heart, energy, and coffee into. We appreciate not everything is perfect (*cough* more players *cough*) and we read and take onboard the feedback you provide to us. From our end, we feel that the core gameplay of the game is solid, interesting and engaging, evidenced by the positive feedback we’ve received, the wide array of spell configurations we’ve seen and the engagement we’ve seen at our weekly playdates (if you haven’t already, come play with us!). I personally love trying to come up with unused combinations of spells to make the coolest kills; my proudest combo is the “Slingshot”, where you use Lockdown and Swap ball to bodyslam unsuspecting enemies far out of the arena – #gitgud.
That said, we’re conscious of, and actively working on a number of critical issues that have been raised and on some of the long term milestones we have for Spellsworn. Right now, we’re currently focused on user retention, and implementing systems to provide meaningful feedback to your match performance and time invested in the game. We want to give winners the proper recognition they deserve and provide the losers with a sense of accomplishment, even if they spent too much time bathing in lava. On top of this, we’re also looking at improving and fixing some things under the hood, primarily bugs, networking issues, and engine issues.
Plans are set in motion to add more meat to the proverbial bone that is the core gameplay. We are rapidly approaching a stable Alpha-build ready to be launched during the summer/autumn, with lots of work done on the progression aspects of the game. We also want to add more in-game content, giving you more to work with while fleshing out the who, what, where, when and why of the universe. We want to provide voice, context and meaning to the cataclysmic battle that is tearing the world apart.
Personally, we really just want to provide a thrilling experience for you and your friends, and to make Spellsworn a game that you are delighted to show at a LAN or play for a night-in, that serves as an outlet for your creativity, and that provides you with experiences that you can take with you for life, just like the original Warlock has for us.
That’s all for this week, travellers. Thank you for reading, and more importantly, thank you for taking part in this journey – it wouldn’t be possible without you or your Chakrams. We’ll be back with our regularly scheduled patching next week, but we’d love to hear your feedback and comments on this, and whether you’d like this to be a regular segment. ‘Til next time (and don’t forget to try Doreth’s ale!)
Keep up-to-date with everything Spellsworn
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Hope to clash with you in the arena!
(Getting rocked by my mad pillars)