War(Un)Locked: Magicka Wizard Wars Open Beta

I’m wary of posting Magicka Wizard Wars news, particularly when new content is involved, because the temptation to dip in for a couple of games is strong. Experience tells me that ‘a couple of games’ last around three hours, despite each round of the magical multiplayer murderthon taking less than ten minutes. Here’s the thing – there was a time when I was among the premier pyromancers in the land, leading teams of robed strangers to great victories. All of that has changed and with the beta now open to the world, I’m tempted to jump back in so that I can rebuild my confidence by setting fire to hapless newcomers. Inevitably, they’ll all overtake me soon. New trailer and details on additional content below.

Competitive multiplayer games don’t often slide their hooks into me anymore but Wizard Wars is skill-based and comedic in almost equal measure. Occasionally a loss is cause for despair but death transforms wizards into merrily bouncing giblets, and it’s hard to be upset for long when the screen is decorated with the cartoonish aftermath of a meat pinata party.

The most powerful magicks in the game are often key to success. They rely on accumulated power rather than speedy elemental combos and teams that use them well are likely to succeed. Oddly, communication isn’t necessary. The maps are few, small and easy to learn, and after a couple of games basic tactics become second nature. It’s an intricate game despite its apparent simplicity and did I mention it’s entirely free? There are stat-boosting items available, which can be earned through experience, as well as cosmetic equipment. I’d like to blame a pay-to-win formula on my plummet down the ranks but I actually have a bunch of early backer items that should tip the balance in my favour.

I’ll rise again. One day. For now, here’s what’s new:

The advance to Beta introduces a cauldron’s worth of new content to Magicka: Wizard Wars, including a new Wizard Warfare map set in the dark caves of Galdrhöll Halls – where the spectacular effects of players’ spells can really shine, along with the slick red bits of Wizards who probably should have practiced a bit more. A new ‘Raise Dead’ Magick has also been added, which conjures forth undead zombie imps who hunger for enemy brains. New robes, staffs, and unique skins also appear in this version, making it the most robust depiction of frantic spellcasting in gaming today.

Sign up here or read Jim’s thoughts now that you’ve had your fill of mine.


    • Koozer says:

      These are exactly the noises I make when attempting to play.

    • ersetzen says:

      It’s interesting how much the meta game has changed so far. ASF was king once but know only really works to finish people of. Then ARA was strong for a while and know it is helpful but doesn’t kill anything instantly.

      Anyway, there are going to be big balance sweeps after the beta settled in in any case!

  1. Steven Hutton says:

    This game is really well designed and super fun. Too bad it’s got those Pay to Win elements that ruin it. Oh well.

    • Reapy says:

      Not at all. For most of the alpha despite having most of the robes I chose to pick the default gear because I didn’t want to specialize.

      Every element boost comes with a negative, boost your lightning, and earth damage goes down, meaning you do less earth damage and take MORE earth damage. Despite your lightning resistance and damage going up, you now have a big vulnerability to incoming rock damage.

      The default available magicks are pretty much the best ones to have, maybe slot 2 can be argued a bit… Haste is vital to capping points and almost irreplaceable, revive is a critical skill to keep a game going in the end, and meteorite is arguably one of the most destructive tier 4 magicks out there.

      Weapons also don’t play much of a role besides an occasional shatter combo, so again is not a big deal.

      I will argue that some of the real life prices for cosmetic robes are way, way over priced by my book, but easy enough to not buy them. Again I’ve had fun throughout the pre alpha and alpha with the default robe, or using gear that keeps my elemental affinities right near balanced for a few months, and there is no reason to think that robes are giving any advantage at all. I’ve actually made a few posts on the forums suggesting that the item’s dont do enough to justify even wearing them, so there is that to consider as well.

      Finally, for anybody having trouble with the game, don’t be afraid to stop by and ask for help on the paradox forums, there are a lot really friendly helpful people there that will bend over backwards to help anybody willing to learn the game more.

      Good luck out there wizards!

      • Cronstintein says:

        I completely agree with Reapy. The gear is fluff and completely unneeded to play for either fun or competitively. I bet you’ll find a lot of good players running default stuff since they tend to be more versatile in their spell choices and don’t want to be half-gimped.

        I’ll also note that the effects of that gear are pretty minimal. 650 damage on a rock ball vs 600, etc… Not game-breaking in the slightest.

  2. lomaxgnome says:

    Oddly, they had given this game away free to everyone who owned Mount & Blade a while back, it was a permanent library entry in Steam and gave away cards, but when they did this release, they removed it from those packages, so everyone who had it lost a +1 to their game count and if you didn’t get the cards when you had the chance, you’d now have to buy one of their dlc packs to get some. Not of much importance except to Steam collectors, but still weird.

    • ersetzen says:

      Of course you could just add it back because it is free to play… :P

      • lomaxgnome says:

        Insofar as being able to play it, yes. But to a collector, the +1 game count is now gone and there’s no way to get it back (f2p games don’t count towards your game total, even if you buy dlc for them). And the trading cards that were previously available due to “owning” the game, no longer are.

  3. MellowKrogoth says:

    I want to love this game (love Magicka), but I’m simply unable to distinguish friend from foe! I guess it has to do with name tags being small and sometimes off-screen, and me being partially color-blind. The screen can be very, very busy too and things move fast. But still, I play a lot of multiplayer games, am good at some of them and this is the only one that causes me such problems.