Free Gift! Magicka: Wizard Wars Rock-Throwing RPS Robe

We like Magicka: Wizard Wars a bit, which is why Jim, Adam and Jim again have all written to profess their love. Yesterday was the game’s one-year anniversary, and we’ve consequently got a special RPS-themed in-game robe to give away.

It lets you hurl rocks harder and faster than others, fittingly.

What is any of this?

Wizard Wars takes the frenetic, slapstick violence of Magicka, clarifies the spell system a tad so there’s thousands instead of tens of thousands of element combinations, and then puts it towards creating a free-to-play multiplayer game. It’s technically still in beta, though that’s been open beta since back in May.

This robe, pictured in full below, provides a boost to the wearer’s earth stats, which as mentioned above determines how fine you are at flinging rocks. (It also comes with the “cower” emote, which is equally fitting.)

Alright, how do I get it?

Are you an RPS Supporter and therefore one of our favourite people? You’ve already got it. Log in to the Humble account you used to sign up and you should now be able to redeem a Magicka: Wizard Wars key from the same page you received your lovely Team Fortress 2 Horace Hat. IMPORTANT: new gifts – which we’ll add regularly throughout the year – appear automatically on all active accounts (so if you signed up previously, you’ve got this), but are provided on a first-come, first-served basis to future Supporters and are not guaranteed due to limited numbers.

Are you not an RPS Supporter, and therefore one of our second-favourite people? Then scroll below this dapper image for another chance at getting a key.

While we’ll make sure RPS Supporters get free gifts first where possible, we don’t want anyone to feel left out unnecessarily. So here’s another batch of keys distributed via godankey.com. Enter your email address below and a code should be emailed to you shortly – unless they’re all gone, in which case the widget below will deactivate.

Have at it, luvvies.

I have a key! But where do I enter it?

A fine question. This code is a Steam key, which means you redeem it just like any Steam game or DLC – even if you already have the game installed, the process is the same.

1. Launch Steam (or download and install Steam if you’ve not got it already)
2. Click “Games” from the menu bar at the top of the Steam client, then select “Activate a product on Steam”
3. Follow on-screen instructions to redeem Steam key
4. After redemption, Steam will automatically download and install the RPS Robe as a piece of DLC (and if you don’t have the game, it’ll download and install that first)

That’s it. Any questions, email someone.

I’ve no more questions.

Thank goodness. Let us ask you one: how do you feel about us giving away gifts like this – with Supporters taken care of first, but other people able to grab one if quick enough as before? Let us know in the comments. We are, as ever, working out how to do this as we go.

30 Comments

  1. X_kot says:

    Oooh, neat, thanks! Did y’all have input in the design? Was the candle John’s idea?

  2. Melody says:

    I won’t be redeeming this, since I don’t care for this particular game, but I think it’s a great idea and you handled it very well. If you didn’t also give it to everyone else I’d have just given mine away on the forums or something =)

  3. Anthile says:

    It does have a certain rustic charm.

  4. CMaster says:

    This might prompt me to have another stab at the game. I tried before and was kinda underwhelmed. It didn’t feel to me like it delivered the slapstick (or opportunity for creativity) of Magicka or the tactics and deep gameplay of a “true” MOBA. Was a noble attempt though.

    On the “supporters first” thing. One, I remember back when I was a subscriber, one the very few emails I received was a beta key to something or other. So it’s not new I guess. Two, I think giving to subscribers first makes perfect sense when it’s something RPS-branded like this. Something you get in games (or solid form too I guess) that says “I am a fan of RPS”. If it’s something with a bit more value and a bit less link to the site (free copies of a game, hardware competitons, etc) than to me it feels fairer (and possibly legally required, gambling laws and all?) to make it open to all. Also you know, might bring more eyeballs that way. I’m not going to cry myself to sleep if it’s subs only though.

  5. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    Thanks for the freebie!

    Quick note to other supporters: you have to have the game installed on Steam first before you can redeem it; and there’s no way to gift it. This is just a heads-up, not saying either one of those is bad or anything.

    Also, it’s very kind of you to give away to non-supporters, too. I’m all for this!

  6. moocow says:

    I write this knowing it will come off as implying this is a bad thing, or you are bad for doing it, and I want to say up front I think neither of those things, and am just testing out these arguments not to be provocative but as a tedious exploration of New Ways Of Supporting Things While Still Worrying About Influence And Whatnot

    If I see an ad on your site, I know it’s an ad. People are giving you money to show me their stuff because I come here to read your nice words. These gifts for supporters also help provide funding for the site, but it’s not so clear what the relationship between a studio and RPS is when they’re making something that serves as a promotional item for them in both coverage on the site and getting people to directly engage with the game more because of free things, and you’re getting more supporters (hopefully!) out of it.

    Now there are undeniably examples in other media where this happens all the time without issue, and maybe it’s directly analogous to those (free book if you buy our newspaper &c), and hence is not worth worrying about. But on the other hand, it does feel slightly more direct (like a book review magazine giving away a book that they’re also reviewing), that you’re supporting someone’s PR effort more than you would otherwise because it’s indirectly incentivising people to support you.

    On the other other hand, I don’t think you should be held to some ridiculous unassailable ethical standard when it’s obvious you’re all perfectly sane human beings capable of giving away freebies without becoming gibbering corporate sycophants (insert joke about giving away your tickets to the GMAs to supporters as a reward)

    In conclusion: waffle.

    • Veeskers says:

      Precisely and indeed.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Giving away products related to your field is not unusual. I’ve got several with gaming magazine subscriptions. Dungeon Keeper and Red Alert when they were fairly new and the Nintendo DS Star Fox game.
      I’ve got a few more over the years but those are from the top of my head.
      Of course that was for printed paper magazines a few issues after they had reviewed the games and as a part of the subscription deal I signed. Plus complete games, a long time before the DLC/Microtransaction era.

      • moocow says:

        A fair point, and probably the most direct analogy, though I would say that was in an era where magazine/publisher relationships were murky at best

      • pepperfez says:

        Even game demos – some decision had to be made about what to put on the disk.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          It probably varied a lot. Some where editors shared offices with the larger publishing company and thereby more influence. Other magazines relying more on freelance editors not involved in the details (like ads, posters and promo fluff).

          I’m sure most of the beloved old cover disks/discs with patches, mods and demos got more input from the actual writers rather than some clueless marketing suits. Some magazines had some really crappy discs compared to others though.

          Then there are the Official [Insert Format] Magazines (as murky as it gets). For example; The Official Playstation Magazine in Sweden (a side project by the then-largest multi-format games mag here). As part of their Official-license they got ready-made demo discs from Sony Europe and had no say regarding the disc content.

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      For what it’s worth, we think about this a lot, too.

      We get emails from people every week asking if we want to give away keys for this and keys for that. In most instances, we say no because we don’t like the game, or because we simply have never played or written about the game. In Wizard Wars case, a bunch of us have played it, like it, and have written about it to say so. There’s an implicit recommendation in giving this thing way, but I don’t mind that when we’ve explicitly recommended the game already.

      So we’re giving away a thing we like to people who might also like that thing. We know that readers like the free stuff, because people like free things and they tell us so. We’ve also done giveaways in the past and people have been frustrated by the first-come, first-served mechanism and that non-RPS readers divebomb the site, grab a key, then never come back. In that case, it makes sense to offer them to Supporters first, so those readers are assured a key.

      But you’re right, and other commenters here are right. The relationship is still unclear from a reader’s perspective, especially for new visitors. I think this kind of thing benefits readers, and benefits us, but it also does benefit game creators in a way that’s slightly different from things we normally post.

      When I edited PC Gamer, we’d give away free stuff with every issue as a replacement for the coverdisc. This was often free in-game items, or free games, and it was often tied in to whatever game we put on the cover. We separated it out from those editorial decisions, but it was broadly similar to this…

      We think about the “this is only on Steam” thing, too. We’re OK with it because our sense is that (most) of our readers like Steam, for all its flaws. Sometimes new stores want to do giveaways with us and we say no, because it feels again like promoting something that no one (yet) likes.

      So, yeah, those are our thought processes. My feeling is that giveaways are fine under a very particular set of circumstances and not in a lot of others, and so I suspect we’ll keep doing them now and again but find ways to make clearer how they come about and the nature of them and so on.

      And thanks for the feedback.

      • TheApologist says:

        This deliberation seems utterly sensible and necessary to me.

        I wonder if it might be worth a policy-on-this-sort-of-thing-post explaining a) the ethical stance, and b) the distribution mechanisms (which stores, and supporters-first approach). Not for the front page, clearly, but something you could link to it and not need to explain it in every giveaway post?

        Not that you won’t have thought of that already…

        • Martel says:

          Great explanation Graham. And I agree with theapologist’s idea about a post on it that you can just link to in the future. I imagine the question will come up during every giveaway or freebie.

  7. Synesthesia says:

    Capital!

  8. sinister agent says:

    To be honest, every time I see a promotion like this I feel uncomfortable. But I can’t articulate exactly why. Probably significant: If I saw it from a site I hadn’t heard of before and/or didn’t know well, I think I would feel immediately suspicious of them and the people behind the game.

    It’s something I’d have to sit down and really think about, but my instinctive reaction so far has been uneasy.

    More tangibly, what definitely does bother me is that is a Steam-only deal, which is effectively giving an unfair advantage to one business outlet (or, even more of an advantage). Granted, in this case it’s because the game itself is only on Steam, but the end result is the same. RPS is effectively supporting Steam above other distribution platforms, in a way that’s only possible because Steam is already dominant.

    Cards on the table: I dislike Steam, and any other similar site that demands dicking about with special software instead of just giving me the game I bought (I respect Valve a lot though). But I think I would be concerned if it was another site, too. Just imagine if instead of Steam, it was some brand new, utterly unheard of shop offering this deal. I suspect in that instance. people would immediately be asking “here, who are these people? Why are RPS dealing with them? That looks a bit dodgy”.

    I feel similarly about the ‘curation’ thing, incidentally. Sure, you could defend it by saying that users can look at the RPS Steam curation list (or anyone else’s) and then look those games up elsewhere, but let’s face it, we know what people are like, and in any case, if your defence of it is “well they can go elsewhere”, then why have your list on Steam at all, when you could do it somewhere independent?

    • pepperfez says:

      I’m with you on feeling uncomfortable about Steam-only promotions, but I’m afraid that ship has sailed. It’s too limiting for a full-time PC games magazine to not work with the de facto monopoly in games distribution, just like it wouldn’t be possible to only recommending cross-OS games. As a game player, I don’t have any patience for Steam, but that does mean I’m not playing a whole lot of new big-name games.
      So I guess while I’d rather Valve not have such a stranglehold on PC gaming, I’m not going to begrudge anyone playing ball with them. They’re just a part of the landscape for now. RPS is doing something useful for its readers with their in-game bonuses and Steam recommendation list, and if Valve benefits then so be it.

    • qrter says:

      Is Magicka Wizard Wars available as a DRM free game? Doesn’t the game always use Steamworks, therefore you need Steam to play it? I’m not entirely sure, but I believe it is, which would mean RPS have little choice in the matter.

    • DragonOfTime says:

      It might be worth mentioning, that as a supporter, you also get GOG.com discounts, so while RPS is in this instance indirectly supporting Steam, they also support its competitors.

  9. sockz says:

    Thanks for the freebie! Not played wizard wars yet, but did enjoy Magicka :)
    I’m wearing the Horace Hat you give me.

  10. Urthman says:

    On paper, it’s like a rock-hurling shotgun.

  11. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    Sorry, doesn’t feel very RPSy for me. I guess the tartan could feel RPSy in the alternate reality where the site was founded by Robert Florence and Cara Ellison, but other than that…

  12. Bassem says:

    As a non-supporter (for now), I think this is a good system, and all the more generous for offering a chance to non-supporters to benefit from it.

    And I have no reservations about the endorsment/advertising aspect of it, if there is one. After all, readers can decide whether or not to use the gifts offered.

    That’s one ugly robe, by the way. I love it.

  13. mpk says:

    I do not see the link in my Humble library – should it be amongst the unclaimed Steam keys?

    • Martel says:

      I got to it through the humble link I got for becoming a supporter. I’m not home and apparently you can’t redeem the key via humble steam integration without first getting the base game in the steam store. But it is there in my keys to redeem list.

  14. mr.black says:

    I’d chime in late and add that I appreciate the care you show with the gifts and giveaways, and since I started seeing previously sponsored content on main open site, I don’t have absolutely no problem whatsoever with this system. Sure, let the backers have a first go, I’d sponsor you myself if I could, and they deserve it. I’ll keep addblock.. blocked exclusively still for your site. You more than deserve it for your beautiful work.

  15. mohmmed49 says:

    That’s not fair i got no key ! wow i was hoping to play a fair game !