We’re Frogsong Studios, and for the past year we’ve been hard at work creating a free to play game called Spellsworn in Unreal Engine 4. In approximately one month we’re going into early access on Steam, and we haven’t really had the opportunity to talk a lot about our game in full on the forum yet, so we thought we’d give it a go. We’re still looking for people willing to test out our game, and we still have quite a lot of keys to hand out - so if you want to take it for a spin give us a heads up.
The inspiration for Spellsworn is actually a mod for Warcraft 3 : Frozen Throne called Warlock. We’ve all played the hell out of that mod, and still love it to death. It’s always been a favorite on any LAN-party we’ve been to, and will probably remain so for a long time to come. So we decided we’d want to make our own standalone game based on that mod, and so Spellsworn (and actually Frogsong Studios) was born. Spellsworn is all about hectic arena based combat, with the tactics and strategy of a MOBA. You have people on one side trying to knock you out into the lava, and people on the other side dying to be scorched by your fireballs, and somehow you need to make a split second decision in the middle of it all. It’s disorienting but fun at worst,exhilarating and making you feel unreasonably good about yourself at best.
The gameplay can sort of be compared to Super Smash Bros in its’ hectic decision making, but also to LoL, DotA - even Counter Strike in its’ tactic and strategy. You start off with only one spell, but have the option to buyi and upgrading a couple of more spells using gold before the first round of combat. Between each round of combat there’s a grace period and a shopping time for you to increase your spell arsenal - or upgrading already bought spells - in order to wreak more havoc in the following round. It’s important to keep track of what your opponents are starting to upgrade and buy in order to counter them and their spell lineup. Sometimes it’s best to skip buying an offensive spell if you notice the enemy has a strong offensive combo; in which case it may be best spending your cash on a transportation spell. There’s many different spell lineups to explore and master ( I usually go for a glass-cannon build which means I die half the time I try to execute a massive combo )](http://puu.sh/jhSIz/e6260871ef.jpg), and equally many that will destroy and stomp on your specific lineup. It’s what makes the game fun and balanced.
There’s a total of five rounds of combat before a victor is declared, and then XP and rating points are distributed based on your performance. Casual play is of course totally possible (ie, locally hosted custom games) - but we personally like the rating system found in many pvp games these days ( and the glory and titles that come with it ). Before a match starts you gather in a lobby, so you can taunt each other and show off your awesome skins and characters. There’s currently a myriad of team setups which we may want to limit in the future; but at the moment it’s possible to play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, 2v2v2v2, 2v2v2, and FFA with up to 8 players. We’re trying to focus the balancing on 3v3 and 2v2 at the moment, but that may change depending on where the players want to take things.
Before entering a lobby you have a main menu with a few buttons giving you the option to change skins and characters, which brings us to monetization. It was very difficult for us to establish a method of payment for Spellsworn. None of us like ‘pay to win’ titles, and some of us have a neutral feeling towards ‘free to play’ in general - but we still felt it would be best to go the free to play route since the player count is what makes the game fun to play. Spellsworn without any foes makes for a boring game. With this decision came a huge amount of work, which we didn’t really expect starting off. First; you need to be able to find a sustainable way to keep the match servers up and running around the clock, which isn’t cheap, without an initial income - second; you need a large pool of characters and skins for the players to use for customization and purchasing, otherwise nobody will buy anything, and lastly; the infrastructure behind such an item-based game is rather difficult to setup tech-wise. In hindsight we would probably never have gone down the FTP-route had we known of these problems, but now we’ve dealt with them and feel confident we can pull it off.
It’s been a pretty long and at times shaky journey thus far, but we’ve stayed true to our goal and see no reason to quit. The development will most likely stretch out into early next year (before we’re ready for full release), and we have lots of features planned. The spell-idea-department is running a little dry, so if you have any suggestions please do share.
EDIT: I forgot; here’s our kickstarter which ends in roughly a day :eek: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/438269196/spellsworn