What does an entire game built around spell-crafting feel like? Sarah McGarr had a chance to find out first hand while demoing Mages of Mystralia at PAX West.
I was able to sit down with Dan Adelman and Louis-Felix Cauchon from Borealys Games to talk about Mages of Mystralia. The story is written by Ed Greenwood, creator of Forgotten Realms.
In Mages of Mystralia, I started out as a girl named Zia, who has just learned she can use magic in a world where not many people can use it, and even then it's forbidden. So she sets off on a journey to learn how to control her newly found magical abilities that have had her exiled.
While journeying across the lands, I had to complete quests and puzzles to unlock runes, which are essential for creating your own spells. Once collected, runes have magical properties that can be combined into millions of different kinds of spells using a grid. At the PAX demo, I was able to cross a river by combining my projectile spell with an ice effect. When the spell landed, it turned the river to ice, creating an ice bridge. Of course, I also fell off the ice bridge and died, because it only lasts so long, so you have to be quick.
As someone who always plays a mage in games, this was an instant attraction. With all the runes and orbs unlocked in part of the demo, I had my four orb elements to use: fire, wind, water, and earth. Without any runes on the orb, it just floats until it disappears. This is where the runes come in handy: to tell it what to do. Orbs an be ordered to move, turn, control size, create multiples, etc. I created a spell that I could throw fireballs with, and then use another rune to control the direction, and also how many I could spew out at one time. Things can really go deep with countless combinations and nesting spells within spells. But that's when mana issues arise. While I could create anything I wanted, I also needed to have the mana to cast it.
Apparently not everything should be killed. I ran up to kill some bunnies, only to find that they turn black and link and then I promptly died. Dan told me, "I don't know why everyone kills those bunnies.." I killed them because I wanted to try my new spell and kill things with fire. Same thing with the barrels. Destroying barrels offers the chance to get items, but some of them are explosive and doing so resulted in me dying. However, I always play a mage so I'm used to that.
Mages of Mystralia will come out on Steam in 2017, and I honestly can't wait to play more of it.