Element-Hell: Magicka Wizard Wars Adds Duel Mode

Magicka: Wizard Wars may well be my favourite competitive multiplayer game since the original Unreal Tournament. I was startled when I realised that might be the caese, but the rattle of fingers across keys, weaving deadly magicks, accompanies an enormous chunk of my free time. It’s a game that requires quick reflexes and the ability to switch between various forms of attack and defence without a second’s hesitation. I often find turn-based games a bit too fast-paced for my sleep-deprived mind to handle so I shouldn’t stand a chance in a team-based Wizard War, but the rhythms this game are in tune with the beat of my blood. The new Duel Mode, which is a one-on-one arena face-off, sounds more intimidating than team-based shenanigans, but with a built-in spectator mode it’s as much a learning experience as a series of brutal bouts.

I’ve only played Duel mode on a LAN setup at the Paradox Convention so I’ll reserve extensive judgement as to how well it works with the unwashed wizardly masses until I’ve had a chance to play online following today’s release. It’s a far more sophisticated addition than the Duel name might suggest though, integrating a mini-tournament system. Four players take part, with two spectating from a secure balcony at any one time, incapable of using magic or weaponry.

This allows them to learn their opponents’ habits. Wizard Wars is a game that tickles muscle memory and, particularly when stress and panic set in, people tend to resort to familiar elemental combinations. Watch them as they work and, like poker players, they’ll reveal their tells.

The first player to a set points limit wins the entire tournament, which can lead wizards to hold back their most powerful charged spells for use against a specific enemy. I was one kill away from victory at one point and my opponents each saved a ‘Summon Death’ spell throughout their rounds against one another, unleashing the Reaper as soon as I entered the arena. Bastards. It was a sign of respect in a way, sure, but they’re still bastards.


  1. Reapy says:

    The duel mode is the basic round robin style that was in jedi outcast. Truthfully I wish they had some sort of simultaneous dueling thing going on so you don’t have to wait a while, I have seen some duels in the 4v4 game drag out for a while.

    Also would like them to take out some of the magicks in the duel, or at least reset everyone at the start of each duel.

    All that complaining down, the game is really fun and the devs are working hard at it, making improvements each patch that move the game in a positive direction. I really hope more and more people come to check out this great game with a (so far) great community of helpful and friendly players.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Ah, yes, I agree on the Magicks being reset.
      I was third in line on a server with a very skilled guy. He never lost one match, I wasn’t expecting to last long, but to fight, at least.
      Unfortunately, that meant he had his “death” magick loaded and released on me at the beginning of the 2 rounds I had against him. Not really fun. Obviously this will be taken out in a patch or two, but still, annoying.

  2. Maxheadroom says:

    Urgh, arenas

    The one reason why (back when I played WoW) I preferred Battlegrounds to arenas is that im useless in a fair fight.
    I’m all about killing things in the face from the back of an angry mob, but put me in anything resembling 1V1 odds and I’m dead in seconds

  3. subedii says:

    Hate to break this to you Adam, but I think Graham beat you to the punch in this duel.

    link to rockpapershotgun.com

  4. Leb says:

    Looking at my steam games i noticed I owned this… yet i’ve never bought it.

    Is the Alpha free for owners of Magicka or something? It is pretty fun

    • Cosm says:

      Paradox gave it to people that owned Mount & Blade, sort of as an appreciation of support, but also because they won’t be publishing M&B2.

      • Leb says:

        So did they just give me the alpha? Or will i still own this at release?

        Pretty cool either way

  5. Viceroy Choy says:

    Urgh, I’m so bad at this game but I love it.