Journal – Wicked Lair – Magical Incantations

Posted by – August 29, 2014

I finished all the spell icon graphics this week, making the spell casting system probably the most completed part of my game so far, so i figured now is a good time to talk about it.


Another tactical layer

When planning out the game it became clear to me fairly quickly that in addition to the core creature / tower defense / dungeon building gameplay i wanted another layer to spice it up a little.

In many tower defense games you get sometimes rare/not so rare items / abilities you can use to help turn the battle in your favor (such as bombs, mines, dynamite)

I liked the idea of that but wanted something a bit more in depth and tactical and also more fitting with the RPG / Fantasy theme i was going for.

Spellcasting  was the obvious way to go. It gave me two more resources to add to the resource game and allowed me to give the player one more choice in setting up their game by making them – over the course of the game as they level up – select 4 spells out of a spell pool of 12.

Looking towards Azeroth

The player’s level is tied to how deep their dungeon is +1 (for the lair), so a dungeon with 1 constructed floors would put the player at level 2.

New spells are then chosen at level 2, 4, 8 and 10.

As i mentioned he selects from a pool of 12 spells total, 3 spells at each spell tier with each of the 3 spells belonging to a distinct spell group.

The 3 distinct spell groups are

  1. Alteration – Heals, Buffs, Debuffs
  2. Destruction – Damage
  3. Summoning – Summon lair guardians and raise spells

This system is fairly identical to the revamped talent system in World of Warcraft (as it was at the launch of MoP – i havent played in a while so it might have changed again).

Ironically i wasn’t the biggest fan of how much they simplified it for WoW, but i think doing it that way works rather nicely here in a casually targeted mobile game.

Spawn More Overlords

In Wicked Lair casting a spell costs mana and chaos crystals. Depending on the spell it might cost either mana or N crystals or a combination of both.

Mana is earned by gatherer creatures that collect mana and deliver it to the lair.

Crystals are dropped by slain high level heroes and your boss creatures should they perish.

Only the most powerful tier spells cost crystals to cast. This was done simply to add another tactical element to the game. Crystals will be rare, so you will want to consider whether you want to cast that powerful AE spells now or later.

Nifty Spells

I worked on the spell system fairly early in the game (2 weeks in maybe?) and all the spells are already implemented by now – they need some polishing, but the logic and behaviours are all there. Obviously things can still change, game being in alpha and what not.

Let’s take a look of what kind of spells there are available at your cruel fingertips.


Alterations spells are your buff / debuff line of spells, a good example here is the Infuse Power spell. Infuse Power targets an entire floor and buffs the attack rating of all of your creatures on that floor for 1 minute. It costs 20 mana and you can stack its effect meaning if you are full (100) mana you can cast it 5 times giving every creature on the targeted floor +5 ATK for 1 minute, which is fairly significant.


Destruction spells are single-target and area-of-effect based spells. There is Fireball which is a powerful projectile spell that hits up to two heroes for a fair amount of damage. In this case i want to showcase the Thunderclap.

Thunderclap is an AoE spell, targeting an entire floor that cast lightning strikes down on any heroes on the floor that do some damage and stun each target for 6 seconds. I like how the lightning strike effect came out in the end which is why i am going to parade it in front of you here :).


Finally, the summoning spell group. It is not possible for the player to create creatures on the Lair floor (Thats the floor where your main bad guy resides) with the exception of summoning spells.  You may, for example, summon a Lidless Guardian who is a ranged defender that looks gross, and is fairly strong.

This is getting to be a rather long post, so i will end it here, as i think this should be enough to paint you a picture, thanks for reading!