Planning ahead, the developers say they want to release seasonal updates once every three months or so with new chapters that expand on the lore underpinning “Spellbreak” and the Hollowlands, the map in which players compete every game.
Each upcoming chapter will include weekly quests that fit into what amounts to a tiered “battle pass” system where players complete objectives to earn a higher reputation and unlock outfits, cosmetics or gold — which is used as the in-game currency. The developers were tight-lipped regarding how the quests in forthcoming chapters will manifest in the Hollowlands but Jesse Kurlancheek, the design director for “Spellbreak,” told The Post the quests are “very much like RPG questing, or MMO questing, where you’ll be tasked with doing a thing and you’ll have to go to a place in the world to do the thing.”
Kurlancheek then added, “I know that’s super vague.”
The newly released prologue will be “Spellbreak’s” first attempt at explaining the Hollowlands and the five main kingdoms in the game. Seth Sivak, the chief executive and co-founder of Proletariat, said the prologue will be the “earliest taste of what our chapter system will be.” In it, players will learn more about Avira Emberdane, an obscure character who narrates the tutorial at the start of the game.
With this first update, “Spellbreak” is now a bit more than just a free-to-play battle-royale. The title’s new game mode, Clash, is a 9v9 team deathmatch with teams built from three squads of three players. Sivak said the core of “Spellbreak” is the spellcasting combat, not one particular game mode. Patch notes posted by the development team on “Spellbreak’s” Reddit community include a note that the title’s “game modes are not set in stone.” Sivak said the team has discussed releasing other modes, like a 3v3 arena or a 5v5 map dependent on completing certain objectives.
“Our intent was to always bring this style of combat to some additional, different modes,” Sivak said.
In a battle royale, every match slowly builds to a tense flurry of combat. Clash cuts right to the action. There’s a small window of time for looting but the steadily approaching storm forces the two teams into combat. Every time you eliminate a player, your team scores a point. When a player dies, they respawn almost immediately, teleporting into the skies about the Hollowlands, barreling back down to the spell-slinging action.
It’s a rough-and-tumble brawl in Clash. You never lose your loot when you die but you do leave a copy of your loot behind for others to scavenge. The game mode is an accelerated version of a battle royale. By the end of it, everyone has their ideal loadout and the fighting turns into this maelstrom of elemental spells.
“You’ll never see battles like this in the battle royale. This many people, this close together,” Sivak said.
On top of the added game mode, the update includes three new talents: Ambidextrous, Foresight and Vigor. Kurlancheek said talents are going to be one direct way the developers can quickly affect the meta in “Spellbreak” and fans can expect talents will regularly cycle in and out of the game.
“We can affect the game, the metas, the builds that people are relying on in pretty substantial ways without upending everything,” Kurlancheek said.
The ambidextrous talent is built for fans who are “really into the game,” Kurlancheek said. It allows players to actively use the base class skills of both their primary and secondary gauntlet. With this talent equipped, players won’t need to pick between two class perks they love, like wind jumps and ice trails.
Foresight shows players a bit more of their surroundings. Every few seconds, a “sonar pulse” will detect if there are nearby enemies on your mini map. You’ll also have a sixth sense for determining where the surrounding storm is moving next and what future vaults may appear along the way.
Vigor provides players some additional health at the start of the match. Players start with 130 health points and can scale up to 150, after finding a health potion in the Hollowlands.
Then, in addition to some added talents, there are also two new consumables in the game, Safeguard and the Knowledge potion. Safeguard is “Spellbreak’s” version of the “Fortnite” chug jug. Drink the potion and you’ll simultaneously recover 50 points of health and armor.
The Knowledge potion is the first consumable to affect gameplay. The potion provides players two extra charges for their sorcery and runes — the two most powerful abilities in the game. Last week, the team at Proletariat posted a video of the Knowledge potion in action for Spellbreak’s Reddit community. These potions are hard to find, but, if you drink a few at once, you’re able to stack the charges together in lethal succession.
“People are very scared of it, but it’s not that common,” Kurlancheek told The Post.
Speaking of scary, “Spellbreak” is adding to the in-game store with five outfits for Halloween. The game’s cosmetic options have expanded significantly since “Spellbreak” first released in September. Sivak said the company kept the store small at first to make sure everything was technically working in the battle royale. Early reviews of Spellbreak (including my own for Launcher) criticized how sparse the in-game store was but things have changed. The shop updates every day with new offerings. Moving forward, Sivak said they’re trying hard to make sure the cosmetics weave into the larger, complex world they’re just starting to build.
“We are slowly adding more and more of the narrative and the backstory and world-building into the game,” Sivak said. “It’s going to be a couple more updates before it really gets to where we want to go.”