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If you'd like to learn a thing or two about SpellForce: Conquest of Eo, the upcoming turn-based take on the fantasy series, you can now check out a couple of "Developer Insight" articles on the game's Steam page. The first one serves as an introduction and a quick look at the game's early challenges, while the second one is dedicated to the game's lore.
Here's the former:
Greetings esteemed wizards,
This is the first installment of our Dev Log, where we update you with news and insights about the game and design process (a.k.a. ramblings of a game developer). After we returned from Gamescom with a lot of enthusiastic feedback and had the chance to watch gamers play and enjoy the game while lurking behind them, we stuck our collective heads together and looked at what we could do better.
The game is already in a very stable state, so we can focus on improving gameplay and balance the challenges we put in front of you as an up-and-coming mage in the world of Eo. One thing we noticed is that while people loved the exploration, there was so much to do, that it was not clear to everyone what they should do first or what is at stake for the mage’s story in game. So, we wanted to give some structure to the initial phase of the game and also show you what you are up against.
Which leads us to the Circle of Mages – founded a little over a century ago by the pre-eminent wizards of the age, they will stop at nothing to prevent you from learning their secret: Mastery of the Allfire (also called Archfire by some), the source of all magic on Eo. Which of course is precisely what you set out to do. Initially, we had you hunt down one of their minions to gain more information about it, but this didn’t really convey the power of what you are up against and so our designer took matters into his hand and presented us with a new solution: Planting one of their towers right next to your own, cranking out fantastical monsters and dialing up the heat from the get go while also giving you a first clear goal: Get rid of those neighbors!
This worked very well and focuses players on strategizing early on about how to deal with the threat, while at the same time giving you some juicy reward to look forward to. It’s a small thing, but it made the early game phase feel challenging and interesting without railroading the player into a specific course of action.
This may not look like much now, but when a fire-spweing demonic beast comes at you the first time and you field a mage's apprentice and a few goblins, the heat is literally on!