Witches & Warlocks: A Digital Trading Card Game

What is Witches & Warlocks?

Witches & Warlocks (W&W) is an online, multiplayer, digital trading card game. In W&W you take on the role of a badass spellcrafter with knowledge of long forgotten sorceries. You build an arsenal of spells, scrolls and runes by collecting cards into grimoires to battle your friends and other players. A typical game of W&W is a free-for-all battle of wits and carnage between two to six Warlocks.

Distinguishing Mechanics

  • Simultaneous Multiplayer Combat — Instead of the typical turn-based action of TCGs at-large, the core spellcrafting mechanic has been designed to promote constant action with very little downtime–even when playing with a total of six players in a match.

  • Combined Combat & Deck Building — Most collectible card games fall into one of two categories. You’re either summoning creatures to attack your opponent a la Magic: The Gathering and it’s various progeny, or you are strategically building a deck to amass victory points, like the game Dominion. W&W combines these two concepts to create a unique strategic experience. You may have brought your own cards to the fight, but all players start on even ground and must decide how to build their power as the match progresses.

  • Procedurally Generated Cards — Many of the cards in W&W are procedurally generated (think loot in Diablo games, or guns in the Borderlands series). This is a prominent departure from the predefined sets of cards that exist in every other TCG I can think of. What it means for the players is a constant stream of new and interesting cards to play with; the game takes on an ever evolving landscape as new effects are added to the card generation scripts and effect combinations are balanced, rebalanced, re-tooled, and re-imagined.

  • Free to Play — Yep, it’s free-to-play. But, wait! Before you go running for the hills, allow me to elaborate.

100% Free to Play; 0% Pay to Win

Free-to-play games (a.k.a. freemium games, a.k.a. soulless bloodsucking annoyance engines) have a well deserved bad rap. However, there are some shining examples in the wild of how to do it right (e.g. League of Legends), and we want to make a game that follows in their footsteps. Below is a breakdown of what really sucks about free-to-play, and how Witches & Warlocks measures up.

No Paywalls

Paywalls are a baffling feature of free-to-play games that are primarily used to fleece gamers of their cash in order for them to keep playing, remain competitive, or skip monotonous content. This concept flies in the face of how we think games are meant to be played. All cards, game mechanics, and game modes will be available to all players without paying a single cent.

No Skippable Timers

This is basically just another paywall in which players consume a limited resource every time they play a match and have to wait on a timer for new resources to be generated in order to keep playing (or they can opt to pay for more resources, or skip the timer). W&W will never include any “wait or pay” mechanics.

Impossible to “Pay to Win”

A feature of many free-to-play games allows players to buy the most useful, most powerful, or most rare content for cash. In a multiplayer, competitive landscape like W&W, this can be a game-killer. With that in mind, we’re designing the game so that you and every opponent you face start on equal footing. Nothing that can be used for strategic advantage in a game can be purchased with cash. Cards are only available for purchase using an in-game currency that must be earned by playing the game. Furthermore, you can’t buy the in-game currency. So, if you get obliterated by an opponent (it’s bound to happen), you can rest easier knowing that it was their skill that won the day, not their credit card.

No Advertisements

“We know you want to play a game right now, but first listen to this 30 second message from our sponsors…” Yeah right. W&W will never destroy the gaming experience with something as disruptive as ads.

How are we going to make money?

I’ll do a proper write-up of our monetization strategy in a future post, but suffice it to say that we will collect payments primarily through cosmetic micro-transactions (and a sprinkling of a few clever, out-of-game features). When you play W&W, you create an avatar that represents your character in the game. We are planning to offer a plethora of cosmetic upgrades to this avatar including everything from skins, clothing options, special effects, character models, etc.

When Can You Play?

We’ve come a long way in development, and have crossed several milestones:

  • We built a working physical prototype out of card stock to quickly test out the features and ensure the game is fun to play. (hint: it is!)
  • We built a highly advanced server architecture/framework that is basically a cluster of micro-services, each with it’s own “job” to fulfill. (seriously, it’s pretty badass and built with scaling in mind from the start. I’ll write a technical blog about it in the future.)
  • We have some initial, rudimentary card animations and client-side interactions. (basically, we’re very close to having an almost workable/playable system)

Here’s a rough sneak peak:

Rough Card Animation

We still have a long way to go, but I hope this post has made you as excited as we are about it. Thanks for reading!