The Spellwrighting System:
An Interview with Kingsisle
…Okay. Before I start this article, I just wanna say… AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
Okay. Okay okay okay. Deep breaths. Deeeeep breaths. In… out… in… out… but GOSH DANG IT I’M SO HAPPY.
Seriously. To think an idea I had over half a year ago would make it back into the core game… I’m beyond words. Maybe someone at Kingsisle read my article. Maybe it was by pure chance. Regardless, I am so, SO utterly thrilled to see Spellwrighting’s inclusion in the Spiral.
…Okay, freakout over. I should really start writing the article now…
A few weeks ago*, I had the chance to sit down with the KI team to talk about the new Spellwrighting system, as well as spells in the Spiral going forward. Here’s what we discussed!
*Some questions may be outdated given recent updates.
The Spellwrighting System vs. Crafting
James: In a sense, Spellwrighting is a form of Crafting. Why did the development team decide to introduce Spellwrighting as a standalone mechanic Wizards can do on the go, rather than just make a new Crafting Table?
KI: Spellwrighting is more streamlined and easier for Wizards without a crafting background to get into. We’re hoping that both folks interested in crafting AND those who haven’t really gotten into crafting will love Spellwrighting. It allows you to upgrade your spells from anywhere from your Spellbook without having to level up crafting or search for that proper crafting table!
James: Why Spellements? Why not use pre-existing materials like Treasure Cards, Reagents, Pet Snacks, and other things to upgrade spells?
KI: We love integrating systems together (for example, Gardening feeds into Pets and Socketing), but in this case, we wanted to start fresh and let Spellements be their own unique “currency”. Spellements are iconic and they more easily convey their purpose. A Daybreaker Spellement has an obvious purpose, whereas a Treasure Card can be used for multiple things. Like the intention with Spellwrighting as a whole, it’s more streamlined and helps people see and understand their progress to goals they are trying to achieve.
Spellwrighting is also at least in part a response to community feedback that drop rates can feel really random. Especially when somebody you know gets lucky and pulls it early, bad luck can feel really, really bad. It’s hard to get a good sense of what to expect when opening a Lore pack or farming Loremaster when looking for a spell. Dropping Spellements instead allows us to give everyone a more predictable progression towards getting that new spell.
The Future of (Crafted) Spells
James: Will Spellwrighting replace crafting spells? Or are the two unrelated?
KI: We definitely won’t be replacing crafting spells immediately, or all at once. However, it’s possible we might convert some spells over to the Spellwrighting system from crafting or possibly leaving the option for both (you can craft the base spell or get it with Spellements, but you’ll need to upgrade it with Spellements). This will all need internal and public testing, so stay tuned for more information!
James: Having Daybreaker and Nightbringer drop in the form of Spellements rather than as the spells themselves is very, very interesting. Will other dropped spells be changed to mirror this mechanic? Or will this remain unique to just those two spells?
KI: Our current plan is that over time, we may convert older spells (for example, those on the Loremaster) to work in this way. Generally, if we’re going to give a spell an upgrade path that’s currently dropped, it will probably convert to being earned with Spellements.
James: As it stands, Spellwrighting is unlocked after getting Spellements for Daybreaker and Nightbringer; in other words, players won’t even have access to the system until Level 130. Was this intentional, or will players be able to access Spellwrighting at earlier levels?
KI: Once lower level spells and Spellements are in game (they are being worked on!), a broader range of players will be able to see this interface as well. For new players in general though, we want to keep this system hidden for now so that we let them focus on learning the basics first.
James: A lot of people have been clamoring for nerfs to spells such as Shadow Shrike, Guardian Spirit, Burning Rampage, and Loremaster; those last three in particular got hit HARD. Under the new Spellwrighting system, would it be feasible for those spells to maintain their former power, albeit as higher-tier variations of themselves?
KI: We could certainly set some upgraded versions to be PvE only, and then folks that have no interest in PvP could upgrade. However, that would be a choice – if you wanted to use it in PvP, you’d have to stick with the base version. Keep in mind, as posted in the forums during Test Realm, these spells will probably go through a few revisions before we decide they’re final, even after they are Live.
James: Through Spellwrighting, most cards in the game have the potential to get an upgrade. However, there are currently only a few spells that are confirmed/available for Spellwrighting. What kind of spells are currently top priority for upgrades?
KI: We’ve got one coming out in December, and next year we’ll be trickling them in slowly to test the waters and see what the community likes in terms of upgrades. We’re always up for feedback on what you’d like to see upgraded – keep in mind that we’re much more likely to go for underpowered spells first, vs something that’s already obviously very powerful like Glowbug.
James: In the Update Notes image for Spellwrighting, Firecat is shown having two branches of potential spell upgrades. One has a scale of potential damage, whereas the other has a flat number. What other variations on spells can we potentially see? Spells with secondary effects? Spells that transform single hits into DoTs?
KI: The sky’s the limit! If we can do it in a spell right now, we can make it an upgrade. These are all possible and much, much more. Our biggest consideration is should we do it (to keep the game in balance)?
James: A lot of PvE enemies have unique spells that people often covet for PvP in the form of Treasure or Item Cards; for example, Brown Spider for Theurgists or Icebird for Thamaturges. Other unique spells such as Brulee Sucre and the various Aquila “Wrath” spells can also be found in Hoard packs. Through Spellwrighting, is it possible we can get these spells trainable?
KI: Your requests are acknowledged. 🙂
UI and Graphics
James: Let’s talk about spells in general. A recent update saw older spells getting updated audio and various sound effects. Can we possibly look forward to some of these older spells getting graphical updates as well?
KI: We’ve got some in the works right now! We’re very excited to be updating some of them. Not every spell that gets upgraded will have a graphics upgrade though. As we have art time, we’ll get around to updating more of them, especially the eldest that have graphics from 2005!
James: Now let’s talk more specifically about the Spellbook. Very frequently Wizards find themselves scrambling before big fights to re-adjust their Decks, which can take a lot of time when you’ve got dozens of pages’ worth of spells to comb through. Are there any plans to make navigating spells easier in terms of UI?
KI: Currently the best solution is to use multiple Decks and save your different spell loadouts there. However, we know that some folks want to use multiple configurations that are using rare Decks that can’t be easily obtained multiple times, so we understand that’s not the best solution. It’s something we’ll certainly look into.
James: Going off the last question, one of my favorite tools in Gardening is the Favorites tab. Could we possibly get a similar tab implemented into our Spellbooks?
KI: That’s a phenomenal idea! 😊
Since this interview, Kingsisle has been true to their word. We’ve now gotten more spells for Spellwrighting, some previously craftable spells are now obtainable through the spellwrighting system, and KRAMPUS AND REINDEER KNIGHT GOT GRAPHICS UPDATES HOLY BARTLEBY
…Shoot. Sorry, didn’t mean to freak out any more… I just want to leave you guys with this: I am so, so grateful for this wonderful game we call Wizard101. I’ve been playing it for over 10 years now, and being a part of this community is nothing short of magical for me, pun intended. So thank you, Kingsisle, for making one of my favorite games of all time. Thank you, Final Bastion, for having me on board. And thank you, fellow Spiral-goers; you’re what make this game a truly fantastic experience.
What do you think of the Spellwrighting system? Excited for its future? Let us know in the comments!