Designing Sky - Strength Prism Identity
Coulter L. Baker
Aug 18, 2021
Skyweaver is still in Private Beta, and information provided in this post is subject to change based on playtests and player feedback.
Greetings to all our community members and new visitors alike! Welcome to our new game design focused blogpost series: Designing Sky, which will give you an inside look at developments on the game design side of Skyweaver.
As we move towards our Soft Launch, one of the core things that’s been on our mind is ensuring that each of our Prisms has a distinct identity, strengths, and limitations, so that each feels unique and plays in a distinct way. We’re already pretty far along in that process, as each Prism already has a fairly distinct identity, so our focus has been on polishing these aspects and emphasizing what makes each unique. Today, we’ll take a look at our first Prism, Strength!
The Strength Prism represents physical might and durability, but more than that, it represents determination and strength of spirit. The Skyweavers who best embody strength are not necessarily those with the most powerful physical bodies, but those with the most unbreakable wills.
At their best, Strength-aligned Skyweavers are valiant protectors, using their strength in service of the downtrodden, always willing to intervene to aid the weak and shield them from harm, serving as bastions of justice for all around them.
At their worst, they can become bullies, overlords, or tyrants, viewing strength merely as a means to achieve their own goals. Such Skyweavers may adopt the outlook that their strength gives them the right to rule, and that the weak should serve them, rather than the other way around.
At its core, Strength's mechanical identity is fairly simple, centered around being bigger and stronger than its opponents, and using its powerful Units to overpower and crush its foes. Strength's Spells and effects support this core identity by providing a good mix of buffs, direct damage, and removal tools, letting Strength bolster its allies and clear away enemies to assert and maintain dominance.
As Strength is the first Prism new players play with, it's also important that Strength be simpler to learn and play than our other Prisms, which is supported by its focus on Units and removal. This does not mean that Strength is weaker than other Prisms though. It’s simple and efficient, remaining competitive while not being overly complex. Strength’s focus on strong Units and removal tools also gives it a bit of an edge in Discovery mode, ensuring that new players have a good Prism to start playing Discovery with.
Strength has areas where it is designed to excel. These are some of Strength's most prominent strengths and unique features. Future cards and updates will reinforce these key pillars of Strength's identity.
The core of Strength's identity lies in its Units. Strength's primary game plan is to summon Units that are too strong for its opponents to easily remove, thus allowing it to gain control of the tempo of the game. From there, it can capitalize on its control of the board via developing larger Units each turn, or buffing Units, using them to maintain control of the game, allowing it to overwhelm and crush its foes. Strength generally prefers playing individual large Units, rather than swarming the board with many smaller Units like Agility or Heart.
Another important part of Strength's identity is flexible and powerful removal options, allowing it to cleanly and effectively destroy and remove opposing Units, paving the way for its own to dominate. While it lacks the sheer volume of removal some other Prisms have, the tools it does have are efficient, flexible, and often capable of negating the effects of enemy Units via dusting or silencing them, allowing Strength to muscle through foes that might otherwise impede it.
Buffs and Unit-Support Cards
As Strength's core identity is focused around Units, the majority of its Spells (besides those which serve as removal) are based around rewarding it for playing Units. Strength is adept at buffing the Units it plays, using Spells to make them even more powerful. Strength is also the primary Prism to make use of its Units as a means of healing its Hero, since it has the ability to give its Units Lifesteal via cards like Tatt, Glorious Mane, and Flame Sword.
Strength also has some fundamental gameplay limitations and areas where it is designed to be less effective than other Prisms. These core limitations will remain consistent, so as to keep the Prism unique. This isn't to say any of these areas are totally off limits, just that, as a general rule, these are areas where Strength will be weaker than the other Prisms, and future cards and designs will respect these limitations.
Card Draw and Resource Generation
Part of Strength's identity is also having the lowest amount of resource generation cards of any Prism, which helps keep it simpler for newer players via reducing the amount of Conjuring that happens and limiting resource chaining also helps to counterbalance the fact that Strength’s Units have above average stats, which already gives it a kind of resource advantage, as its Units are harder to remove than those of other Prisms. If it could draw cards at the same rate as a Prism like Wisdom, that would make Strength’s resource management too effective. Having the weakest card draw does not mean Strength is totally incapable of generating resources, but Strength will generally have a lower density of card generation options than other Prisms, and those options it does have will be specifically geared towards drawing cards that Strength cares about, such as Fire cards, Metal cards, or Units, and it is not generally able to draw more than two or three cards at once. As a rule, It will not get the massive 6+ card draw options that Prisms like Wisdom or Intellect get, like Prismata or Floodwater.
Reliance on Units
As its identity is centered on the use and support of Unit cards, Strength is fairly reliant on keeping some Units on the board to make the majority of its effects work, and if Strength loses control of the board, and can't get its Units to stick, it will typically begin to struggle.
Furthermore, since the majority of Strength's effects are designed to support a Unit-based playstyle, and as a result, Strength has fewer options to offer if one is looking to make a deck focused on something other than Units.
Few Complex Cards and Effects
In service of keeping Strength simple, part of its identity is to have fewer wild or complex Spell and Unit effects than other Prisms. It’s unlikely Strength will ever have cards as complex as Grave Roil, Jar of Souls, Unophobia, or Sky Phoenix. Strength’s Spells and Units are centered around supporting its tempo-driven gameplan. However, while it will remain low on "complex" effects, its top end effects can still be quite flashy while remaining simple to use and understand. Titanic is a prime example of this.
That's all for this post! Next week we'll take a look at the Agility Prism's identity. We hope you all enjoyed this little look under the hood of our design process and where it’s currently headed. Keep providing us feedback on our Discord because we always want to hear from you! Thanks for joining us on this amazing journey through Sky!
If you want to learn more about Skyweaver, be sure to check out our Welcome to Sky blogposts here!
What’s your favorite thing about the Strength Prism? Do you play with a Strength Hero? We want to hear from you! Tell us in our Skyweaver Discord community! Our community managers stream every week on Tuesdays and Fridays, so be sure to tune in at twitch.tv/skyweaverlive to catch their streams. See you in Sky!