Spellbreak has been involving the player community in its development since June of 2018. Around that time, we felt we needed to open the game up to the community that had been following our progress and start developing live with our players as an essential part of the conversation. Since that time, Spellbreak has grown considerably and as we enter the next phase of development, we want to share more details on the coming roadmap and changes you can expect to see. The goal of this post is to lay out our high-level vision for the Closed Alpha and to open up the discussion with the community on where Spellbreak is headed.
What did we achieve in the Closed Pre-alpha?
The goal for the pre-alpha was to create an in-match experience we were happy with. This focused on both the engaging spellcasting combat (including mechanics like runes and gauntlets) and the RPG progression system of classes and how they interact with items. There is still plenty of work to be done (see gameplay below), but we feel that the in-match experience is fun for a variety of players and it is time to build outwards.
What do we want to achieve in the Closed Alpha?
Polish, Performance, and Balance
Almost everything you see in Spellbreak right now is a work-in-progress. This covers all the art, sound and visual effects, (lack of) music, user interfaces, client and server performance, and more. Much of our work in Closed Alpha will be focused on improving the overall look, sound, feel, and polish of the game from top to bottom.
We have felt from the very beginning that we needed to experiment and get feedback early to help us design a new combat paradigm and this meant focusing on the most basic mechanics and features first, without fully polishing anything to completion. Now that we have confidence in these mechanics, we hope to deliver a high quality experience in every aspect of the game. Expect improvements to visual polish, performance, and balance with every release as we continue to flesh out every part of Spellbreak.
We have several different goals for progression in Spellbreak. The first is short-term activities that players can do every day and week to add variety to their experience. This will primarily be accomplished through quests and will eventually extend to areas like guilds. The second is around long-term, permanent progression which we feel will come through class mastery. Both of these features, quests, and class mastery, will provide rewards through customization so players can build their unique identities.
Players in Spellbreak will gain progress through completing activities in matches. This will start with basic daily quests but we hope to build out this feature into something that most MMO players will recognize and enjoy. The goal of these quests is to give players a variety of ways to achieve their goals and feel advancement in a match in ways other than the number of kills they get or where they place.
We also believe quests can be a great channel for narrative in Spellbreak. Our current players have expressed tons of interest in the world and characters of Spellbreak and we want to deliver an evolving storyline that touches on what is happening in the Hollow Lands on a regular basis.
A core aspiration of Spellbreak players is to become the ultimate battlemage. Our goal with Class Mastery is to build a system that both gives players a reason to play a variety of classes but also rewards players and allows them to show off their mastery of their favorite classes. The basic bones of this feature are in place currently and we plan to build upon it over the coming weeks and months with your feedback.
Pre-alpha players could swap out full character skins from a very limited set of options but this is only the starting point for our customization plans. Our goal is to give players a variety of ways both in-match and outside, to create a unique identity that shows off their style, skill, and personality. This will include character skins, animated emotes, additional character customizations, player icons and cards, and eventually guild-level customization.
We see cosmetic items as something that will be both available to players via an in-game store but also tied into systems like Class Mastery and quests as rewards exclusive through those systems.
Our goal for the gameplay in Spellbreak is to create a balanced ever-evolving meta with a variety of viable playstyles and considerable depth to explore and navigate. This will include adding more classes, gauntlets, runes, and items but also revisiting existing content for balance and consistency.
New classes will be rolling out over the course of Closed Alpha as we continue to build out the launch set. The next few classes will be focused on support and team play and from there we will look at how a broad baseline of classes can fit into the overall ecosystem. There may still be large changes to the class system coming as we continue listening to your feedback and evolving this feature.
We feel that the class system and the in-match RPG elements it provides are a core part of what makes Spellbreak different. The ability to select two classes opens up a massive amount of variety and our goal is to provide interesting playstyle options and strategic build choices every single match.
The active abilities provided by runes are a crucial part of the combat and gameplay feel in Spellbreak. There is more we want to do with both additional mobility runes, utility runes, and exploring how runes can change squad and duo play. The next set of runes that will be coming will focus on mobility first to round out those options for players.
The pre-alpha focused on just six schools of magic and on only one gauntlet per school. In the coming months we will be adding additional gauntlets and getting a feel for how new gauntlets will impact the overall gameplay feel and balance. As mentioned above we will also revisit some of the spells and sorcery attacks on existing gauntlets both in terms of functionality and visual fidelity.
We know that a major appeal of Spellbreak is the ability to combine and weave spells. Many of the spell combinations currently in the game are still using placeholder art and there are still other combinations that are not even built out yet. Our goal is to make every spell interaction clear, understandable, tactical and fun.
In general, we feel good about the items currently in the game. Over the course of the pre-alpha we experimented with a variety of options around item slots and loot overall and feel like we have found a good balance. Going forward we will be adding more items across all rarities as we flesh out the total item options leading into our next development phase.
This will also include additional consumable and interactive items beyond Belts, Boots, and Amulets.
The Hollow Lands will be changing with nearly every update in Closed Alpha. We want to polish the existing areas of the map and also increase the overall variety of scenery. This will include at least one entirely new biome and a reduction in the amount of repeated assets players will see.
We also hope to revisit more interactivity with the environment itself. This is something we have experimented with in the past and want to test out on a larger scale. Our goal with the map design is to make it a tactical factor in every single fight and a strategic factor in most decisions throughout a match.
What will come after Closed Alpha?
We feel strongly that this is a big opportunity for shared progress and rewards that can exist outside of a squad. See this Spellbreak Answers video on Guilds:
Competitive Matchmaking, Custom Servers, and other Esports Features
We're interested in seeing where the community wants to take the competitive Spellbreak scene. See this Spellbreak Answers video on Esports:
We believe the combat and core ideas around RPG progression can work well in a number of different game modes beyond Battle Royale. See this Spellbreak Answers video for an explanation on why we started with Battle Royale:
We have no formal announcements at this time but we hope to bring Spellbreak to every platform eventually. See this Spellbreak Answers video on Additional Platforms:
Working on Spellbreak has been an incredible experience for me and the entire team at Proletariat. The passion and excitement from our community drives us to continue building something totally new—even though that is completely crazy. We could not do this without all of you and I can’t thank you all enough for being a part of Spellbreak!