Spellweaver is an fantasy collectible card game in the spirit of Magic The Gathering. Choose between 7+ decks and undertake quests, fight against AI, and verse other players in ranked matches to earn new cards and expand your library.
|Publisher: Dream Reactor LLC
Release Date: February 01, 2016
Pros: +Smooth animations. +7 distinct card decks. +Ranked matches.
Cons: -Familiar gameplay. -Limited in-match options.
Spellweaver is a fantasy-themed online trading card game where players choose between one of 7 unique decks, such as Spectral Power or Rage. Play against AI or players in friendly matches, or test your luck in competitive play, matching yourself against other players based on rank. In a match players place Order cards to raise their wisdom level and gain mana, enabling the summoning of warriors, spells, and curses. Place cards strategically on the battlefield, whether it be on the front-lines or in support. Player can also activate hero skills, such as Daris' Thorough Study that activates the drawing of an additional card. The first player to decimate the other's health wins. Secure victory and earn gold to unlock additional decks, purchase card packs, and expand your library. Undertake quests to earn card packs and challenge yourself. Players can mix and match cards from multiple heroes when building their deck to create a distinct play style.
Spellweaver Key Features:
- 7 Card Decks – choose between 7 card decks with their own aesthetic and play style, and unlock additional decks by earning in-game currency.
- Ranked Play – play agaisnt AI or challenge your skills against other players in ranked matchmaking.
- Familiar Play – players familiar with Magic The Gathering will intuitively grasp the game's rules.
- 3 AI Difficulties – learn the basic by playing on easy mode, before working you challenge yourself with hard mode.
- Deck Building – freely combine cards of any kind to create a signature play style.
Spellweaver Featured Video
By Chanel Hwang
Spellweaver looks like it is yet another knockoff of the popular Hearthstone formula. However, players will be pleasantly surprised to find that despite the card arena's familiar appearance, Spellweaver has some unique elements that make its gameplay more complex and strategically different than the average TCG.
There's a tutorial right off the bat to acclimate new players to the gameplay. While Spellweaver does seem similar to Blizzard's Hearthstone at first glance, there are innovative differences that set the game apart. It's got the typical elements, such as the winning objective of depleting the health of the "hero" who controls the cards. The heroes have special skills that can be used in the course of battle. Heroes are specific to the six different decks, with each deck having a particular strengths and weaknesses.
Cards have both a health value and attack damage value. When a card's health value is reduced to zero the card dies. The attack damage value reflects how much damage the card can inflict. There's also a basic balancing system to offset the player who goes first, the option of resetting the first drawn hand, and a game mode where players draft decks to test their skills against one another.
The card arena has some nice graphics, with a weird battle field popping out of the middle of the board. Most cards have solid descriptions that can be easily accessed by hovering the mouse over them. There is a simple bar at the top of the screen that explains the different phases in a turn. Battles are also timed, with each side having their own individual running clock.
But Wait... What's Different?
Spellweaver deviates from the typical TCG formula with the introduction of speed. Cards have a speed value from 1 to 4, and must have at least the same speed or higher to attack an enemy. Higher speed cards can attack lower speed cards, but this is not always the wisest move. Adding a third stat to cards brings in another layer of strategy and doesn't make it feel so basic.
In addition to speed, cards regain all of their health at the end of each battle phase. This means that if there's an enemy card with 5 health, and you lower it to only 2 health, it will regain its health at the end of the battle phase. Players can choose when cards defend against attacks and what order their own units attack. Attacks do not happen immediately when issued, as it occurs in other TCGs. Spellweaver has players plan out their offense and defense, which adds yet another layer of complexity to the game.
Typically, cards need to be summoned by "mana" and players only start with a pool of one mana. Each tur, that pool grows by one and the mana is replenished. Any unused mana disappears. However, in Spellweaver, the mana pool does not automatically increase by one. Instead, players must expend "Shrine" cards, which give the option of either leveling up the hero's "affinity" or increasing the mana pool by one and drawing a card. All cards require the hero's affinity level to be a particular value and require the appropriate amount of mana to be summoned. This does make summoning cards more complex because it requires players to think strategically about leveling up their affinity and managing their mana pool.
Navigating Spellweaver, Unlocking Decks, and Acquiring Cards
Spellweaver's UI is reminiscent of older generation fantasy games like the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise. The buttons are embellished, the menu is colorful, and everything is square and medieval-like. I enjoyed the older feel of the menu, and found the UI to be quite smooth. It's easy to jump into a friendly game or a competive ranked game, or the Hearthstone "Arena"-like mode (called "Trials"). The shop is also easy to navigate, the deck builder has filters, and there is a separate submenu to look through all the cards.
As I mentioned before, there are six different decks that can be unlocked. The first deck is free, but all other decks must have their respective regions on the map unlocked. Players can either pay the in-game currency or the premium currency to instantly unlock the starter decks, or slowly receive free unlocks by leveling up their account by simply playing games. I didn't like the pay-to-pass element, but the game is free-to-play and the access isn't limited to premium currency.
Each region also has their own simple "quests" that players can complete in order to receive cards of that deck. There are additional challenges to be completed, called Achievements, which can be viewed through one of the small buttons on the top right-hand side.
New cards can also be acquired through the Marketplace. Booster packs are available for purchase with both in-game currency and premium currency. These new cards can be viewed in the Deck submenu, which is where the crafting system is found. I didn't understand why I have to go into "Edit Deck" to craft. Cards can be "unbound" or "crafted" in the Crafting system, allowing players to get rid of excess cards for new ones.
About That Marketplace
My biggest qualm about Spellweaver is the pay-to-win element. I understand that the publisher wants to make money, but making a game pay-to-win destroys game balance. In the Marketplace, players will find that there are premium booster packs that can only be bought with real-world cash. These booster packs contain a higher chance of getting rarer (thus stronger) cards.
The Marketplace also offers card backs, to make players' decks unique, and subscription options that give players weekly packs, free packs, and other bonuses.
Final Verdict – Good
Spellweaver sets itself apart from the typical assortment of Hearthstone copies in a decent variety of ways. The battle system is complex due to the speed of units and the decision between leveling up "order" or choosing to increase one's mana pool. However, the pay-to-win element makes it difficult to commit to the game, because eventually, free-to-play players will hit a ceiling where skill no longer matters and money does all the playing.
Spellweaver Online Links
Spellweaver System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP 32 bit
CPU: Pentium D 805 2.67GHz or Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3600+
RAM: 2 GB GB RAM
Video Card: GeForce 6800 GT or Radeon X1600 Pro 512MB
Hard Disk Space: 3 GB Free Space
Official system requirements have not yet been released for Spellweaver. The requirements above our based on our experience and will be updated when official numbers become available.
Spellweaver Music & Soundtrack
Spellweaver Additional Information
Developer: Dream Reactor LLC
Project Lead: Ivko Stanilov
Game Designer: Dimo Zapryanov
Lead Artist: Alexander Nanitchkov
Producer: Kaloyan Pishmanov
Marketing: Theo Petrova
Steam Greenlight: January 04, 2015
Steam Greenlight Approved: March 04, 2015
Closed Beta: January 11, 2015
Open Beta: June 15, 2015
Release Date: February 01, 2015
Steam Release Date: February 01, 2015
Development History / Background:
Spellweaver is developed by Bulgarian based development studio Dream Reactor LLC. Founded in 2011 by Ivko Stanilov, Dream Reactor LLC's first project is Spellweaver. The game was posted to Steam Greenlight on January 04, 2015 followed by a Closed Beta release on January 11, 2015 and Open Beta release on June 15, 2015. Spellweaver was greenlit on March 04, 2015. The TCG is scheduled to release through Steam on February 01, 2015.