Posted: October 14, 2014
Early Access Review
What is a Wizard?
This game is all about skill. It is PURE skill. Said skill is demonstrated in real time via mechanical execution, muscle-memory, level-headedness, reaction, anticipation, situational awareness, adaptation, and mind games. It is the purest test of all-around personal, gaming capability. All of these are intricately tied to and driven by the first listed skill form: mechanical execution. Mechanical execution is the core of the game. It enables the test of level-headedness. Mechanical execution, and all other forms of skill, suffers when under pressure. Keeping your cool is necessary to not fumble spells. It is necessary to successfully cast the correct spell.
It tests a player’s personal muscle-memory potential. A large number of spells are possible. Because each of these must be cast extremely quickly at any given moment, muscle memory is formed and tested by repeated mechanical execution.
It perfectly tests reaction in both parts; reflexive speed and quick decision making. Using the correct spell in reaction to an opponent’s action is necessary for survival. Being able to successfully cast a given spell in reaction to an opponent, before said opponent can pull off an action or combo, requires fast and correct, mechanical execution. Warding !SES before an opponent can detonate SES is a perfect and common example of this in practice.
Extending from reaction is situational awareness and anticipation. The possession of such ability comes from ascending beyond deliberately typing spells to effortlessly casting spells. This is a challenge on muscle-memory. When a player is focusing on how to cast a spell, that player cannot anticipate actions and that player has limited capability to “see” the battlefield; the mind is too consumed with casting that spell. However, when enough of the proper actions and reactions are truly mastered, a player can begin to anticipate things and think beyond casting a spell. One can innately know the next spell to cast in a combo, know the proper counter to it, know if the opponent will be able to defend in time, and, not only know what the opponent would potentially do to stop the player, but which action(s) that opponent is most likely to do in the current situation.
But, if muscle memory is needed to attain situational awareness, and by extension, anticipation, why not remove it so that players can immediately partake of and enjoy the “end-game”? The answer is that anticipation is a test of muscle memory, not that muscle-memory is a needless gate into anticipation.
So, how does anticipation test muscle memory? This is where adaptation and mind games come in. Certain common combos become expected. Rather quickly, a player realizes that SES is generally followed by back-pedaling with FFF. This is anticipation. By anticipating the FFF one might summon an !E to nullify that FFF, thereby preventing the detonation of the mines. However, that player may also anticipate said reaction and shoot QRS to detonate the mines. One may realize that player understands this concept and drops an EDF instead, overwriting some of the mines, blocking FFF if that player uses it, and blocking some of the ice if the player uses that. There are a handful of “correct” decisions that can be made in reaction to such a combo and there are a handful of ways to adapt that combo. All of these further test muscle memory and mechanical execution.
Players must predict what each other will do and set up chains of attacks and tactics to throw an opponent off. This is the key. This is everything. This is the true test. By fighting an opponent that is trying to throw you off, you must be capable of casting the correct spells with which to defend against that player’s attacks. You must have more spells locked in your muscle memory to be able to throw your opponent off. Each opponent that takes you down offers you a lesson. You learn a new potential combo or attack chain. You use that knowledge against others and prevail until someone devises a tactic that negates it. And.. then you learn again.
This is what makes a wizard better than another wizard. The better wizard knows more spells. The better wizard can cast those spells faster. The better wizard knows which spells are best for each situation and knows how other wizards will react to those spells in those situations. The better wizard can probe the weaker wizard, feeling out that wizard’s style and skill level; a tendency toward an element, a tendency toward a specific spell or tactic. The better wizard can exploit that style, turning it into a weakness. When the same is done to the better wizard, the better wizard adapts and turns it back on the weaker wizard, throwing him off guard, thus putting him on the defensive. Mind games.
Wizarding is the truest test of pure skill and intelligence. I love it. Thank you so much devs.