What’s Next for Spellcraft
19 April 2023
The Spellcraft Team
tl;dr: Thank you for playing in Preseason 1! We’re aiming to bring you Preseason 2 of Spellcraft in late June during Steam Next Fest (June 19th – 26th) with a team-based game mode that builds on our core gameplay while letting you squad up with friends.
To the Spellcraft community:
THANK YOU for joining us for our first ever public alpha – Preseason 1. The One More Game team has been poring over data from all of Spellcraft matches you played, re-watching VODs from Twitch streams, and reading all of the thoughtful feedback you shared over the 10 days of the test.
During Preseason 1, we released balance and bugfix patches almost every day. We knew the moment we put Spellcraft in front of thousands of players, we’d be almost immediately surprised about which Heroes, Spells and strats became dominant — and we believed it was important to act early and often to steer the game towards a relatively balanced state. We also released new content in the form of two new Heroes! You might not know, but everyone’s favorite eight-legged boy, Squiddleston, only made it into the alpha a day or two before we went live. And then we decided to drop #1 Interdimensional Nacho Fan Worldwide, Tony, into the game midway through the test, because we heard players asking for another tank.
In addition to two new Heroes and daily balance patches, the countless matches you played pushed us to replace the ‘Bleed’ mechanic with ‘Poison’. After a number of adjustments during the test, it became clear that the downward pressure afforded by spreading Bleed – coupled with the nature of the Team Wipe & Overtime win conditions – meant that we needed to remove the mechanic. Removing a mechanic that has been present in Spellcraft for the last two years, and doing so on a public stage should have been harrowing for the development team, but our tools and your feedback gave us the confidence we needed.
That mode of game development — listening to what players are telling us and acting fast — is how we will continue to operate. On that note, we wanted to share what we’re working on next, and what you can expect from Spellcraft moving forward:
- Build On What We’ve Got
First and foremost, a lot of you told us you like the video game we made. Hooray! No one’s made a “real-time battler” before, and we couldn’t be sure it was something players would love until we put it in your hands.
Internally we use scaling a mountain as an analogy for finding fun. You go up the mountain, check out the view, and decide if the route you took brought you to the highest peak with the best view. After earlier playtests, we’ve made the difficult choice to “go down, find another route, and go back up the mountain”. This amounts to making significant, fundamental changes to Spellcraft’s gameplay. Past versions of Spellcraft, while retaining similar vibes, have played quite differently. This time, we believe the core gameplay — controlling a team of heroes who bring powerful spells to the fight, and making upgrade choices between rounds to progress your agenda or counter your opponent’s strategy — resonates with enough players that we’re going to continue to build on this foundation.
Future versions of Spellcraft should continue to feel like the Spellcraft you just played…only MORE™. More Heroes, more Items, more improvements to game systems, UI, matchmaking — oh, and different ways to play with your friends and maybe make some new ones…
- It’s Time to Team Up
One of the most common questions we heard during Preseason 1 was: “how can I play with my friends?” It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves about Spellcraft since the earliest days of development, and just as common in previous closed alpha tests.
We’ve never intended Spellcraft to be limited to a pure 1v1 competitive game. We’ve been building it as such for a lot of reasons, like the fact that player population requirements are less of a challenge for a 1v1 game, and iterating on the 1v1 experience allowed us to focus on developing a novel core interaction model.
The next time we put Spellcraft in front of a lot of players, it’ll be with a team game mode at its center. You’ll be able to squad up with friends and play together in a shared match, with opportunities to collaborate on strategy and change things up against your opponents throughout. The exact shape of this game mode is in the works, and we’ll have more to share about what we’re building soon.
What we can share are the feelings we’d like to capture that 1v1 Spellcraft was lacking, which are unique to a co-operative multiplayer game:
- Moments of Collaboration – For a meaningful co-operative experience, players need to be able to influence each other’s choices, provide help when another player is in need, and to pool their power for a big push.
- Moments of Heroism – A skilled player needs to be able to put the entire team on their back and carry them. To steal a moment from Counter-Strike, a player needs to be able to single handedly Ace Clutch the enemy team and diffuse the bomb.
- Moments of Mentorship – Learning to play a game with a high skill ceiling can be lonely, but it’s much more fun, easier, and quicker to get up to speed when you’re paired up with a knowledgeable friend.
Plus, hanging out and playing together with friends is just a lot more fun. By introducing a cooperative team element to Spellcraft, we hope players will recruit their friends to play, show them the ropes, and get good together.
We’re not sure what the future is for 1v1 Spellcraft because the co-operative mode hasn’t fully taken shape. We’d like to keep 1v1 Spellcraft available in the form of Duels (see you outside of Orgrimmar, scrub), but as with everything – we’ll be listening to your feedback and will have another roadmap update for you after Preseason 2.
- When Can We Play???
The second most common question we’ve heard after Preseason 1 was “when can I play again?” As devs, that’s a great question to hear!
Right now, our intent is to launch Spellcraft’s Preseason 2 as part of Steam’s Next Fest that’s planned to run from June 19th through the 26th. That’s a pretty aggressive timeline to achieve what we’re hoping to build — but we’re gonna give it a shot. There’s a chance our timeline might slip, and we’ll let you know if it does.
Besides that next big test, we’re also going to be thinking about the right ways to bring smaller groups of players back between now and then as part of our GameLab program (our community of playtesters who’ve been giving us feedback on Spellcraft regularly since late 2020).
We’ll be reaching out to Crafters who played a lot during Preseason 1 about opportunities to test what we’re working on soon!
Thank you again for joining us for this crucial moment in Spellcraft’s history. Your feedback and gameplay gives us fuel, and we’re so excited to show you what’s next. Make sure to wishlist Spellcraft on Steam, join us on Discord, and follow us on social media. We’ll be sharing a lot more now that we’ve finally revealed Spellcraft’s gameplay, and we hope you’ll join us on the journey.