My impressions so far


#1

Hey everyone! Well, not like there are many of us here yet, but I don’t see why this place wouldn’t be blooming with crowds in a few weeks. In any event:

I tried a few games of SpellSouls at the GamesCon 2 months ago and I have to say my initial impressions were lukewarm. The game was obviously made after Clash Royale ( and as such, it practically begs, and deserves to be compared to that game on all levels ), something which I’ve dabbled with for a couple of weeks before. I own a smartphone only since recently, so I didn’t get to play that many mobile games, but I am a passionate PC video gamer all my life - so that’s where I’m coming from.

After playing the game for a few hours yesterday and today, I have to say I like it more than I expected I would. The fact that the initial impression wasn’t amazing still counts for quite a lot in the mobile world, I imagine, so its something to take into account.

Things I disliked

  • Name of the game, sounds a bit prosaic, doesn’t really hook you
  • Visual style, or rather lack of a recognizable style. Seems like it went for a League of Legends type of visual in a way, but the way the heroes look, especially Ameryl gives me that spammy Chinese MMO feel. There is nothing specific that tells a story of a special world with a story behind it, everything looks kinda fantasy-ish and that’s it. The minions look bland and uninspiring. Once again, perhaps all of this was just a clever plot to go for something palatable in the mobile world, but my impression stands.

Things I liked

  • Music - gets old fast, but it’s really cool nonetheless. I suppose they will add more tracks to help with the repetitiveness.
  • Sound Effects - also really good, they add weight to spell effects.
  • The overall design with minions that spawn on their own, and you only casting spells is remarkably clever, and I think it has a good balance between how easy it is to play and how much strategic and tactical depth the game actually has. I wish there were unique unit types per hero, but there is room to do this sort of thing in the future perhaps. The idea also gives it enough novelty over Clash Royale.
  • Another design tidbit, the way it’s set up, with you slowly getting to place more unit-spawning nodes over time, means every match starts off simple, but quickly gets more and more complicated, taxing the players’ awareness. The longer the game goes, the harder it is to play. This is really cool for many reasons, and is my favorite thing about the game, and is the main advantage the game has over Clash Royale imo.
  • Interface and menus feel crisp and polished, although sometimes it’s hard to scroll up or down since clickable elements take up most of the screen.

That’s it for now I think :slight_smile:


#2

Thank you for taking your time to share such an extensive feedback with us, our team is closely watching :), see you in-game.


#3

This is amazing, thanks for sharing! <3


#5


#6

Aww, thanks guys. Time invested is not an issue, I’m a fast typist and I really like the game anyway. Someone said in another topic you have an urge to play one more game after you’re done - this is so true. In any case, a few more impressions from me:

  • I personally appreciate the fact the visual style isn’t caricature cartoony-ish, but rather more proportionally realistic (and the field of view has a bit of depth). Bear in mind I do play from a 5.5 inch screen. While it does look good on big phones and tablets - on smaller screens, I think my eyes would be hurting.

  • Progression system with XP gained only from a chest you got from winning feels a bit awkward and inconsistent. Basically, if you are not investing money into gems ( currently my payments don’t work, something I’ll try to sort out with apple first ), you will get a game that counts every few hours - and you better win it, because if you don’t, you will get a chest that has no XP, and then there is no way to fix that by playing more. I believe in Clash Royale, all of your games - even the ones that don’t award chests count against your rating, so your performance is rated in a more spread (granulated) way, and thus returns a more realistic result faster. I wish XP was somehow seperate from chest slots, that you could perhaps fill soulless chests with souls by playing more or something similar.


#7

Hey Malvolio, really liked your post.
Just wanted to say that I totally agree with you on XP part!! Even with crystals (key increase in price if you use it often) you are going to have hard time leveling if you are simply unlucky to lose every game where you get chest. And believe me after you get like 4 no exp chest pressure to win next one is going to be so big you might lose game only because of that :)/ Although I like that you cannot get max level in one day.


#8

Thanks Shane. Personally I’m a very competitive player when it comes to games I like, and pressure to win is something I’m used to (albeit not immune to), but I feel many people will find this quite frustrating.


#9

Hey Malvolio, Shane I also agree on leveling part… and wanted to add there are no any rewards from wining streaks or some, i dont know, quests maybe for additional rewards, any other way to earn crystals for even small amount.
At the moment after you use all keys and spend your crystals, only what you can do is to play the game for coins that you cant spend and ranking from which also dont get any reward :slight_smile:
The game is really good and fun to play imho :slight_smile:


#10

A couple more. These are almost all positive:

  • The more I play it, the more I realize just how much tactical depth it has. It’s almost like playing a real time strategy in terms of intricacies. Since you are playing the game with one finger, it’s mostly about timing, but you can achieve a lot with it - time spells to stun just as the enemy minion is about to swing and stop it, knock enemies back to reset your minion’s target to the objectives… A lot of skill in the game, which means there is a lot of opportunity to excel as a skilled player.
  • No randomness except for the assortment of cards of course (which is good and useful rng) - just how I like it.
  • Gold feels useless, it’s too easy to get too much of it and opportunities to spend it are very gated
  • The chest for gems price system, which makes fancy chests very cheap on the first purchase of the day seems to be nudged towards getting more players to invest a little bit of money rather than to ride on the coattails of a couple whales who have a problem. It feels like it’s very efficient to invest a small amount over time, almost like having a subscription, rather than being pressured to invest much. I like this.
  • Being relatively new to mobile games, this might only be a novelty in my heart, but it’s remarkable how much gameplay and decision making can be achieved with so few gameplay elements. The hero special ability for example, has so many elements to it -
  1. When do I want to reach 10 mana?
  2. When do I want to place it in terms of how I want my minions to spawn after each other
  3. When do I want to place it in terms of when is a good time for my special ability,
    and all of that just with one ability. It’s as if very limited interface forces you to make decisions that turn out quite well. I come from an architecture background, and I remember how limitations can sometimes be an inspiration to create even better things than what we would have achieved with complete freedom. Less is more, and the usual, you know :slight_smile:

#11

Another little tidbit I noticed, this one is a critique:

( mind you, I’m obviously not a native English speaker, but having experienced a lot of hobbyist board games and collectible card games I kinda have an ear for clarity of gaming terms, and I feel SpellSouls has a bit of a weakness here )

  • The card description sometimes doesn’t do a good job of describing what the card does, and even the English sometimes feels awkward, or at least non-intuitive in gaming terms. The term “certain area” for example just rings in my mind. I would have preferred “designated area”, “area of effect”, “specified area” or better yet, just - “area”. Certain area doesn’t make it sound specific. It sounds like “some area” to me.

  • The card Shockwave for example says “Damage shock-stricken enemies for 90 and stun them for 1 second”. When I read this for the first time, I thought it deals damage to enemies I had previously struck with lighting. The spell simply deals 90 damage and stuns enemies in a line - this is what the card description should say as well. You could say it “shocks enemies for 90 damage” if you wanted to go for a more flavorful description I guess.

  • The card Cleanse says : " Remove spell on Minion cast by enemy Spellcaster. If target is an enemy, stun for 6.5 seconds." Language here sounds broken. Maybe this was a pun by the designers, since cleanse is a broken spell :slight_smile:

And so forth, and so forth … I understand these seem tiny, but these details can deduce from the feeling of “fine polish” that the game otherwise has.


#12

Thank @Malvolio, there is definitely space for improvement in the card descriptions, we’re working on that one as I type.

The rest of your feedback is shared with our Game Designers, we’ll keep you updated on our progress.


#13
  • I spoke too soon about having too much gold! You definitely don’t have too much of it later on. The fact still stands it’s a bit boring, and you have only 2 batch items to buy in the shop per day, rather than Clash Royale’s “buy as many as you want, but each time it gets more expensive”. Maybe more casual players enjoy it this way though, I could easily be wrong.

  • I enjoy the fact all the new spells past the starting 6 ones are class specific, and that there are no more neutral spells. I’m a huge fan of the original StarCraft: Brood War, and one of the best aspects of it was showing that factions that differ a lot can be very well balanced. Having wildly differing characters gives them more flavor, sense of role-play, allows players to experience different play styles, and thus improves replayability.

  • I held off this comment since I know how it is a tricky subject to talk about until you have a LOT of experience with the game, but some minor balance concerns are starting to show. Perhaps not so much in terms of balance between heroes, moreso between cards within a hero’s card pool. Now, this could be totally fine, as certain cards can be “faction-defining” - as in, you’d want them in every deck since they define that hero’s playstyle, but I feel like with Ruul, it’s more a bug than a feature. While Ameryl, and to an extent Mordrake have a fine assortment of spells to choose from, Ruul puts in the bonkers Fire Grip, adds Rage as a great spell of opportunity, and then has a lot of more or less underwhelming damage spells to choose from. Maybe that epic spell that pulls stuff together can tie in all that damage nicely, but who knows. Maybe he is the character you need a lot of cards and upgrades before he starts to shine. These are still early impressions though.


#14

Hopefully this isn’t starting to sound pretentious, me never stopping with my babbling here? Especially when I get to suggest something rather than just describe my experience. I like this game and have nothing but respect for the design team - I doubt I ever say something that they already don’t know, but I can’t help myself. Maybe the redundancy helps a bit. Anyways:

  • The “Use your key to unlock a chest!” notification is a bit annoying. It appears that it occurs once when you get the key, but then if you go to the game, decide not to use the key, and exit the game, the notification will nag you again very soon. It’s as if “dude why aren’t you opening it?”. And it will keep doing it every time you exit the game without spending all of your keys. I actually disabled notifications for the game because of this.

  • Ameryl feels a bit stronger than other heroes at high level of play with current spells. In customizable card games, player perception is what is driving the metagame, and it doesn’t always align with actual strength - maybe that’s what’s occurring here, but I noticed that top 2 players are playing Ameryl for a while, and it now expanded to top 5, with some strong Mordrake and Ruul players switching over. Repel and Punish Arrogance which I gained on last two levels seem to be very strong abilities, compared to what other heroes get, that cement her lead. I’m having a ton of fun playing Ameryl, but sometimes it feels like she has all the fun, with having so many abilities to control the flow of the battle. We will see if the spells gained from 14-17 can change that, it looks as if Ruul and Mordrake finally get some cool / powerful stuff.

  • This is up to personal taste ( and if I remember correctly Clash Royale is even nastier here ) but with how receiving keys is set up, 5 slots 3 hours per key, I feel a somewhat discomforting urgency to play the game rather frequently to spend these keys. You get between 15 - 18 hours at best before you start wasting keys. Now, I kinda play a lot ( more than I should at least :), but I would prefer if I could manage the time when I want to play it better. Feeling nudged to play it once per day would be just fine, with keys maybe stacking up to 6 or 7. The last 2 keys could even take longer than 3 hours to appear - introducing some waste, and rewarding frequent play, but it feels bad to lose keys if sometimes you are busy for a whole day, or perhaps in a remote location without good internet. I understand this is just free stuff that you don’t really need, but even to the non-hardcore player, it feels bad to miss out. This aspect of mobile games is really something I don’t have a lot of experience with. Maybe it’s a standard thing to urge players to check in often.

Love, Malvolio.


#15

First , I have problem with screen freeze from time to time…
Second, due to long queue (it will be shorter when game comes out for all countries) i would recommend to put in vibration when you find an opponent or at list the option to turn off and on vibration in a UI menu.


#16

Must admit this started to bug me a lot lately. I mean it is fine to get notification every 3 hours for new key and once 7 hours for a free chest, but really when I leave a game believe me I will know if there are keys left :). And also that it happens to pop up right at the same time my display goes off, so blinking light will distract me till I unlock phone and remove notification.


#17

Well, seeing how I didn’t manage to deliver half of what I wanted to talk about to the devs in person, I guess this topic still has a purpose :smiley:

  • It’s really easy to make accidental purchases in this game! I wish there was a warning message before upgrading cards with crystals at least. Since it’s ridiculously inefficient as it is, anyway. Think about us, people who are a bit clumsier with touchscreens.

  • Even though I’ve probably played over 500 games, I still make so many noob mistakes. The skill ceiling is quite high, and if there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s discovering just how much more there is to know about strategy, how much better you can get at it yet.

  • Perhaps some other type of player, more casual, or one who enjoys theme and experience more might not feel similarly engaged. Some sort of carrot chasing, daily quests, a weekly challenge that is freshly designed every week. Some people are frustrated and anxious about facing other people. Some sort of fun player vs AI feature would probably make them stay longer in the game.

  • I feel as if card rarity is not equally assorted across characters. Ameryl needs her epics far less than Ruul and especially Mordrake need theirs. Some Ruul players with built up collections are starting to show he can be quite strong in the lategame, but I feel as if Mordrake is still waiting for better cards. Maybe this is why Ameryl is most successful in this early stage of game development, and Mordrake probably least so.


#18
  • After getting some cards, and trying to figure out what works in Practice mode, Ruul is turning out to be quite fun! Even just the torrent of pure damage spells, with the way ignite works, makes it quite fun to play. Even his hero ability is looking better to me the more I play it, in the light of my realizations on how to play him correctly. What is a shame is that it’s not entirely clear that igniting an ignited minion deals instant 15% damage, and reapplies the ignite. One of the loading tips says “igniting an ignited minion deals extra damage” But honestly I thought this meant that the dot effect simply stacks. It’s a lot more potent than that. When you lay ignite over ignite everything dies so fast, even the tanks! As soon as you figure out you should attempt to always combine these spells to optimize damage and what you achieve with it rather than throw them here and there - you are having a lot more fun. Perhaps some more apparent visual effect when you ignite an ignited minion, or maybe Ruul yelling “yeah burn” or something would reward players with exciting stimuli to understand they are doing something awesome, and that they should do it more. This is really the key to playing him well, and it should be more obvious than it is.

  • Leveling progression isn’t terribly exciting at the moment. Just getting new cards unlocked that you may or may not pull out of a chest in the future isn’t bad, but not sure how good it feels across the playerbase. As players progress in rating in Clash Royale, they get access to new arenas. Maybe you could get your hero visually upgraded or something similar. Maybe you could get a chest here and there when you level up. Just getting new cards unlocked that you may or may not pull out of a chest in the future is a bit mild.

  • When I open a chest, and get to touch the cards, a card refuses to flip and that means it’s a rarer card, which is great. And when it doesn’t open again it’s an epic. I really like this part! It builds tension. What often kills it though, is the fact it can sometimes be just due to fact you didn’t touch the screen properly, and it was a common card. There is a glowy aura around the card that’s a rare, and an even glowier one around the one that is an epic, but it’s not clear enough. I wish the card itself would shine and change color, start shaking, sounds, the sky is falling - especially for the epic one. I think it needs more kitche. Both for more clarity, but also to add even more to the suspense and excitement.

  • I think Soul Harvest should have a bit of fixed damage added on top of the percentage based execute effect ( which should get somewhat reduced, to balance it out of course). Nothing much, like 40-50 would be fine, which would be applied to the targets after the percentage based bit. As it is, it’s a bit too dependant on being thrown in a combination, and can sit in your hand for quite a bit. Mordrake already has quite a lot of situational spells, and for a mobile game that could use a bit more new user comfort and friendliness, I think getting some of the spells a bit more streamlined and less hardcore combo dependant would help. It’s not fun to have 4 cards in your hand and feel like you really don’t want to play any of them.


#19

Hey guys! I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been very, very busy. I wish I had more time to play Spellsouls, especially now that the patch has turned the meta-game on its head! Speak of the devil, here are my first impressions on the patch:

  • The overall balance between cards within a hero’s pool is a lot better. It’s harder to choose which cards to play now than it was before. Especially with Ameryl. This is, of course, a quite good sign. I’m still trying to find my feet though, so maybe things will stabilize down the road.

  • The overall balance between heroes has shifted - I’m not positive on whether it’s better than before though. Ameryl is no longer the queen - as I suspected when I read the changes, that title now belongs to Mordrake. Long may she, err he reign? I feel like it is a little bit better, but I also feel like it’s really hard to beat Mordrake as Ruul now. It’s not easy to beat him with Ameryl either, though. These sorts of impressions need many more hundreds of games before they’re worth considering, of course.

  • The overall balance between the 3 minions is better ! The pressure to make tanks has been reduced considerably. Especially thanks to the nerf to Punish Arrogance, change of Subvert Magic to percentage based damage, nerfs to certain fixed damage spells of Ruul - but also a shift in metagame which favors Mordrake, since he has access to many % based spells anyway. I welcome these changes.

  • The new cards look great, Mordrake got a better Shackle in Link - a very competitive card, however Hex of Thirst feels a bit weak, and also perhaps a bit off for his playstyle at the moment. I didn’t get the Necrotic Grasp yet. Ruul’s Fire Crush seems interesting, but I also find it weak. Perhaps there is a place for it, but currently Ruul mostly plays AoE with a lot of Ignites. Someone said the Plutonic Wall is good - I didn’t see it yet. Ameryl’s Enlighten seems like a card you want to combo with Mass Charge, Protector’s Wings, and such. I don’t find it great, but there’s a pretty cool Johnny deck to be made here :slight_smile: I didn’t get to see some of the other spells yet - more on them when I do!

  • I tried the VIP system for 10 days, and I find the benefits pretty cool, even if they are a bit all over the place. I feel like they are mostly beneficial to people who want to catch up to other players in XP, or to players who can’t afford more than one play session per 24 hours thanks to the extra keys - a bit of comfort I personally welcomed. It felt as if I was hitting the gold cap way too easily with the extra gold I gained - meaning that in the end you don’t really earn that much extra gold, since you just hit the cap sooner. I wish they added a 50% increase in gold cap to the VIP system as well, to make it more appealing to more active players. Also, the price tag feels a tad steep for Eastern Europe. For western countries, it could be right.

  • The fact marksmanship was changed really feels like feedback I shared had made a bit of an impact - even if that’s all probably in my head and devs were way ahead of it anyway :wink: In any event, I feel Marksmanship being borked was the biggest reason why Ameryl was top dog. It’s going to be interesting to see what new strengths of her’s we can find, so far I wasn’t incredibly lucky on that front.


#20

After some more experience with the patch and some of the new cards, here comes a few more Malvolio bulletpoints!

  • As far as cards added in the new patch, and which I didn’t touch upon in my previous post, go, Plutonic Wall and Ash Cloud don’t feel too strong. I feel like these cards don’t go too well together with Ruul’s current competitive playstyle, but they could be interesting in a combo deck in the future. Ameryl’s Zone of Endurance is another combo card which can be devastating when used at the correct time, but will mostly just sit in your hand. For 6 mana and not a very large area - it’s quite difficult to use well. It’s mostly a card you will want to use after a strong pile up + Resurrection combo for the finishing blow. Orb of Justice feels like a reasonably competitive card - even if it is mostly just a much weaker version of Sacrifice at the end of the day. Still, Ameryl lacks concrete AoE damage after the nerf to Punish Arrogance, so there might be a place for OoJ. I still haven’t tested Necrotic Grasp, but my impression that Link is by far the best of the new cards still stands.

  • After some more playing … I feel like Mordrake might be too strong. The Mordrake vs Ruul matchup feels particularly onesided. Mordrake has many lifestealing spells which make any damage spell or combo that doesn’t instantly kill a unit futile. Also, Ruul doesn’t really have counterplay options against Possession, a spell I think is problematic in its current form, and is a big part of the reason why it’s difficult to beat Mordrake. I also think Wall of Pain has too much value for 2 mana - especially in the early game, since you can debuff both of the enemy’s lanes while their towers are up. This just doesn’t feel very fair. Perhaps it should be slightly shorter so that this couldn’t happen, or this spell should be nerfed in some other fashion. One other spell I feel is overpowered is Sacrifice. The damage could be reduced so it’s not as easy to wipe out opponent’s units.

my 2c,
peace.


Community opinion! Is Mordrake over buffed?
#21

I would like to add my 2c to your post. I can agree with you on points. I also feel that vamparism is overpowered when used on a swordsman. Vamparism on swordsman = Almost immortality. It’s time is fine but life steal is over the top. It should steal half the attack of the minion it’s put on. And the fact that it costs 3 is overkill. I need to use 4 mana on cleanse just to beat that. The soul fissure is really annoying when they get it a thing the start of the game. If I don’t have judgment, I’m gonna lose a lot of tower HP. It’s kinda unfair. I really hate to say it but I feel Mordrake is easy mode. Ruul and amerly are so much harder to win with. Mordrake vs Mordrake is fine but vs the others he is very hard to beat especially when facing a top player. Ameryl defiantly has a easier time against Mordrake but Ruul is almost hopeless against Mordrake. I find it funny. I almost never lose to another Ameryl or a Ruul but the majority of my losses are against Mordrake. His wall of pain is ridiculous, you have already said why. His link is fine and I have no problem with that spell. It’s his acid pool combined with sacrifice that really annoys me. I feel like I’m in infinite death stun on my minions. I find that archers work well against Mordrake but it’s not a guaranteed win. Possession is really problematic because Ruul does not have a counter play and if the unit that gets posssesed is buffed ( growth , haste , herosim ) then the player gets the buff as well as the unit. Something needs to change about Mordrake. Please don the see this as whining but just my 2c and genuine care for the game. # Spellsouls.