Spellements Q & A
With Wizard101 Developers
Merely weeks after the Wizard101 Spring Update went live, the Wizard101 Developers have offered us the chance to sit down and get some more information on Spellements. This side system has a lot of potential for the game and I know many in the community have been vocal on implementations and new changes we’ve seen recently. With that in mind, we set out to dig deeper into the changes in the Spring Update as well as ponder what could be coming next.
Before we start setting off the fireworks, it’s important to note that the developers have also released a Dev Diary on these spellement changes. Lots of information was made available there so I recommend giving it a quick read through. Some of the questions below will dive deeper into the information provided there. However, below are some quick highlights:
- Rank 1-6 spellements, aka World Spellements, are available from world bosses starting in Krokotopia and ending in Dragonspyre.
- Elemental and Spiritual Retriever talents are both in the game and can now be unlocked as an additional source.
- The recently released Cantrips system also provides a new source for these spellements.
With how passionate players are about this system, it seemed obvious that the best way to get answers was to ask questions the community wants to know. The following questions were collected from numerous sources around the community both directly and indirectly. We would like to thank everyone that participated and hope that every relevant topic was covered.
Q: To start off, many players had high expectations for this update and Spellement acquisition. Overall, many players are disappointed with the end result. Is there anything you would like to say to ease players’ frustrations or reassure players concerned about Spellements moving forward?
A: By the time your readers read this, the “end result” will already be behind us, and we hope that our most recent patch has eased most of your concerns. We will continue to improve the system and add more places for players to acquire Spellements as we go on.
Q: Wizard City is the only Arc 1 world to not have farmable Spellement drops from bosses. Are there any plans to eventually add boss drops in Wizard City – and if not, why exclude this world?
A: The Spellement system doesn’t officially “roll out” to players until level 15 because we don’t want to overwhelm players with too many new systems. That’s why the boss specific drops begin to show up in Krokotopia. Wizard City Spellements are still available from bosses in higher worlds, and they will be specifically targetable when we introduce the new Boss Rematches.
Q: Why is there so much importance on level appropriate drops?
A: There’s a couple of reasons for this. First, we want to try to avoid situations like the Loremaster: a short, somewhat unsatisfying fight that people feel compelled to grind on just because it’s the most efficient. We don’t mind efficiency but there IS a line between efficiency and drudgery. Another reason is to create a better farming environment for low levels. It doesn’t feel good to join in a Team-Up, try to set up your hit or help your team, and get yelled at for not being optimal. It’s like big kids playing on the kindergarten playground while the younger kids just sit there and watch.
Lastly, I would say we’re trying to expand the farming experience where low levels can farm for useful items with players around their level, which is an experience generally only seen at max level. With badge restricted drops, players have the choice to farm a bit as they’re questing rather than having to rush as fast as possible to max level.
Q: The new TCs that mirror some of our Spellement upgrades look great. Why are they no-auction and unable to be traded?
A: Releasing new Treasure Cards into the game ecosystem is letting a genie out of the bottle – once they are out, they are out until players use them. So, you should expect us to keep a tight control on the supply of new Treasure Cards—but you can also expect us to relax those controls over time. More generally speaking, when the “input” to a new economy is “time and effort” we prefer to make sure that the reward for that time and effort rebounds to the Wizard who actually invested the time. This is especially important when the reward can actually “jump” through the economy from one player’s account to another (as is the case with Treasure Cards).
Q: Why were rank 1 and 2 Spellement drops removed from the Deckathalon and Skeleton Key Bosses?
A: As we review the Spellement economy in general, spells which are categorized as “World” spells – as is the case with your school trainable spells – will drop from a variety of “World” sources. Some Spellements may drop from “Event” sources like the Beastmoon and some Spellements may drop from “Lore” sources like Skeleton Key Bosses. It’s also possible for the same Spellement to drop from multiple source categories, but in the case of World spells we definitely want to direct players back to the main content to get them.
Q: Some players are concerned that the pet talents can be a bit difficult to unlock. Has there been any consideration to ease the accessibility of these talents and their tokens or are you happy with where they are at the moment?
A: We’ve had some design discussions about how restricted those unlock reagents need to be, and we are leaning towards relaxing the requirements somewhat, but we have not yet made a final decision regarding them. At the moment it is possible to get these reagents via free to play methods, but we understand that it is probably not as convenient as players would prefer.
Q: Players have quickly adapted to the latest patch. While before the patch many players thought it impossible to ever upgrade their spells, some have managed to max out their spells within the first day or two of the new adjustments with many close behind them. Does this timeline match up with where the devs want Spellements to be and should we expect any more changes to the new sources (Cantrips chests, pet talents, or boss drops) whether they be nerfs or buffs?
A: We build an engagement model any time we introduce a new system and that model is geared towards “casual players.” And so, based on the drop rates we calculate from that model, it ends up being the same amount of time investment whether you are a casual player who plays for just a couple of hours every other day, or a hardcore who wants to grind it out over a long weekend. There are times when we think this is acceptable and there are times when we think that kind of engagement is bad for the game. If our engagement model expects months of time investment, but allows players to grind, then a good portion of players will feel compelled to grind it out, and they’ll be unhappy about their accomplishment rather than feeling fulfilled by it.
So, one of the things we have been trying to do lately is to be more aware of our casual players, of the total timeframe we have in mind, and to be mindful of how players with more than a single wizard are impacted. And this can be a tricky problem for Design – while the vast majority of our players (over 70%) only have a single wizard, that doesn’t necessarily hold for our end-of-content players or our most engaged players.
The Update Notes mentioned that Loremaster will only temporarily drop Spellements for lore spells and that they will eventually be moved away from this fight. A couple questions on this topic.
Q: What could some of these new sources be?
A: We’re not sure if we’re ready to reveal this yet, but we’re trying to link Lore Spells to appropriate Worlds (such as linking the Knight’s Lore Spells with Avalon) but in contrast to World Spellements, they won’t be found just by following the mainline quests. We’re aware that the current sources for obtaining these don’t feel good to players right now, and we’ll be sure to address that with these new sources.
Q: Why do they need to be removed from Loremaster instead of just adding more sources?
A: By placing Lore Spellements in more logical places throughout the various worlds, players will have more agency in farming for specific spells – and we will be able to better address the players’ time investment. Spellements are a more reliable way to feel like you are making progress towards that first “unlock” tier; they are shareable through your bank to other Wizards on your account (so you don’t ever have to feel bad about getting the “wrong” drop); and finally, by distributing Spellements across more bosses, players won’t feel like they have to go fishing for one Spellement out of dozens.
Q: What will become of the Loremaster fight – we’ve previously heard that there was interest in reworking the fight altogether?
A: There are not currently any rework plans, but we at least intend for Loremaster to be the place to farm for the Loremaster spell specifically.
Q: With Lore spells being converted to Spellements, what will happen with crafting recipes for Lore spells?
A: We’re not sure how we want to handle crafting just yet, but for Lore Spells specifically, we’re aware that the biggest value there is simply unlocking the spell, so we do want to maintain that value and excitement through our Spellement implementation.
Spellements – Paid Options
Q: Has the Deluxe Spellement Pack been updated with any of the new Lore or World Spellements?
A: Not yet, but we will be updating it in the future to include new Spellements.
Q: Any plans for a Spellement only pack/bundle similar to the jewel packs for each school?
A: Yes and no. There are plans for Spellement only packs, but we’re not planning to break it up by school like the jewel packs. We want to break it up by World Arc.
Q: When can we expect to see Boss Rematches as mentioned in the Dev Diary? While it didn’t suggest a time frame, the other two mentioned sources definitely implied a longer wait.
A: Sooner than you think 😉 Probably before this Q&A even gets out. (Editor’s note: The rematches released the day this article was published)
Q: The latest Dev Diary mentions that the next few updates will continue to focus on Arc 1 Spellements. Does that mean it will be a while before we see new Spellements for more spells?
A: We added over 50 new spell paths in the Spring Update, and while we are excited to keep going through Arc 2, we want to take it slow to gather feedback and to continue adding more sources so that the Spellement acquisition feels good before we shove dozens of new Spellements at the players.
Q: Any plans to add more Spellements to Beastmoon?
A: Right now, we’re more focused on finding good homes for all Spellements. That includes World, Lore, and Event. While there aren’t currently any plans to add more Event Spellements in the near future, that door is always open.
Q: Any plans to add Spellements into other Events?
A: Yes. Deckathalon seems to be the most obvious place to add them, especially since we removed the Rank 1 Spellements from there, but there is something special about keeping certain Spellements exclusive to Beastmoon, so it may not be all of them.
Q: Lemuria and Karamelle reward school specific Spellements from main and side quests. Can we expect this same implementation for Arc 1 worlds when Spellements are available through those quests or will there be any changes to the delivery?
A: Yes. As explained in the Dev Diary, we’re looking to add Spellements to quests. It may not be done exactly the same way as Karamelle and Lemuria, but in general, we like the idea of players being able to upgrade their spells at least once via normal story progression.
Q: Given that we are still very early on in the planned timeline for Spellement changes, this may be a bit too soon and more of a suggestion than a question. But do you have any thoughts about adding the Aquila Item cards as learnable spells through the Spellement system?
A: We’d like to overhaul those spells entirely – they were designed before our current audit practices and probably don’t give enough bang for the buck. It seems a terrible waste to have these cool spell animations stuck behind lackluster spells. They keep winding up on the “To Do” list of every milestone since we first introduced “trainable TCs” – and they keep getting pushed out. Ultimately, we think it’s more important to do them right than to do them right now.
That concludes the Q & A. Based on a couple of those answers, it sounds like there’s a lot to look forward to in the future. These ‘Boss Rematches’ have me intrigued, and I can’t wait to dive into these fights. Additionally, it was great to get deeper understanding of some of the design choices. While some of these changes seemed iffy initially, I think the spellement system is on a great path long-term. It took some time, and might take a bit more, but this system is definitely shaping up to be satisfactory addition to the game.
If you haven’t yet started your spellement grind, check out Stormbreaker’s Spellement Guide. We’ve got all the latest info on spellement sources in there. We’ll definitely keep that updated should anything new pop up.
A special thanks to Kingsisle and the Wizard101 developers for giving us this opportunity and involved in taking the time to answer our questions. We appreciate the explanations and hope players have found some of the answers they were looking for.
Happy with spellements? Excited for future updates? Let us know what you think in the comments below!