How Magicka Wizard Wars plans to stand out in the MOBA genre

Magicka: Wizard Wars Screenshot - How Magicka Wizard Wars Plans to Stand Out In The MOBA Genre

One of the questions asked to Paradox Interactive during a press preview of Magicka Wizard Wars last week was how it plans to compete with other MOBAs on the market. The answer emphasized a point that the game itself would soon reinforce: this isn’t a MOBA like League of Legends or Dota 2. This is a separate entity, a quick fired, mayhem filled, multiplayer arena for Magicka fans.

Ironically, when you break down the acronym of MOBA (multiplayer online battle of arena), it fits the bill exactly. That’s where the MOBA comparisons end though; there aren’t creeps, lanes, towers, or ancients. There’s no leveling up. It’s just you, your spells, and the enemy.

“When you say MOBA, you think of lane pushing games like Dota and League of Legends,” said David Nisshagen, Lead Designer of Magicka Wizard Wars. “You have rounds that can go up to 30 or 45 minutes. You have a deep progression. We don’t have any of that. The only thing that will progress in the game is your own magic meter.”

The long-paced games of the MOBA genre aren’t found here, but that’s not the only difference.

“You have the entire skillset, several hundred spells, at your disposal at any given time. You just create them on the fly. No cooldown, no mana bars, nothing like that. There will never be a case where it’s ‘Oh I’m ranged DPS, and I will always defeat this other class.’ It’s down to using the correct key combination in the moment, on the fly. And that is fairly unique I’d say.”

Yes, David. That is incredibly unique.

While my play sessions haven’t quite showcased this feature to its fullest potential, an example was given where a team was changing roles on the fly based on the flow of the game. Tanks were switching up to DPSers in the heat of the moment as the healers dished out spot attacks and others covered their allies with heals. This is something that is flat out impossible in, say, Dota 2. The role of a hero in a traditional MOBA is set in stone. That’s something Paradox isn’t doing. That’s something that makes them stand out.

The differences don’t stop there, though. Magicka Wizard Wars will also feature an in-game shop that allows the customization of your characters in terms of both appearance and stats. For those thinking that this can get out of hand, like how an experienced League of Legends player with a decked out rune page has an advantage over a newcomer, Paradox has implemented a neat little system to keep things in check.

“We want to attach stats to the [items] so what you see is what you get. I think it’s important to, if you see a guy that’s running around with a flaming staff that you know he’s good with fire…That’s why we’re quite proud of how we’ve done this pro/con item system where it doesn’t matter if you have good stats. You can buy yourself good stats, because you also buy yourself major weakness. We’re thinking that, so far, it’s looking reasonably balanced.”

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Jake Valentine
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Games: Magicka: Wizard Wars

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