Development Roadmap 2023
Apr 14, 2023
It’s that time of year again, when we peel back the curtain and reveal many of the features and updates being crafted by the team here at Skyweaver 💜
You can tap or click the image below to peruse it, but make sure to read on for additional comments on some of the big things coming down the pike this year. Without further ado:
This summer, our Heroes are getting a bit more heroic.
We’ve always known that single-prism Heroes would need some advantage of their own in order to compete with Heroes that had access to twice as many cards. Our original solution was to allow single-prism decks to only include 25 cards, as opposed to the 30 cards required of their multi-prism brethren. While the thinner deck does provide a slight advantage, it’s proven to be simply not enough to compete against decks with access to twice as many cards. Every bit of data we have shows that multi-prism Heroes are dominant across all levels of the game. So going forward, all Heroes will require a 30-card deck. But that means we’ll need a different balancing mechanism - enter Hero abilities.
Additionally, we are very excited for the opportunity to flesh out our Heroes more. Up until now, all our Heroes have had sort of the same ability - they simply provided access to a certain group of cards. Now we can celebrate our diverse cast of characters by giving them unique and varied abilities - some active, some passive - that define them within the game, as well as within the lore of Sky.
These abilities represent a considerable design challenge to be sure. We have to design abilities that are good enough to feel relevant, but aren’t so powerful as to define the game at the expense of the cards themselves. Abilities that also fit with a Hero’s flavor, as well as their cards - both current and future. A good ability should enhance existing cards, not make them obsolete. We’re being careful to make the most of this high-risk, high-reward opportunity.
To start, only our single-prism Heroes will have abilities, but as the year progresses, our multi-prism Heroes will get their turn. We look forward to developing a healthier metagame where all fifteen Heroes are viable. As the year draws to a close, we’ll be introducing Hero progression in our next expansion, allowing you to unlock new abilities for your favorite Heroes.
But how to first release these new Hero abilities?
Also arriving this summer, we’ll be introducing the first Hero abilities of Ada, Ari, Bouran, Lotus and Samya as part of a package of improved starter decks. These 30-card starters will be composed almost entirely of previously unseen cards, and provide a streamlined entry for new players into the world of Sky. These decks were designed with an ethos of making each one provide a distinct and yet flavorful play experience. Each deck is centered around specific elements, and each one encourages different tactics to teach novice players all the ways to approach Skyweaver. We expect these decks to be far “stickier” with new players and to result in far greater retention.
Many of the cards in these starters will be formidable enough to make their way into even established players’ decks, and we’re making sure that they’ll be easily unlockable by veterans of the game.
We’re also extremely excited to announce that our improved questing apparatus will debut in the next couple of months and include daily, weekly and seasonal quests. Each of these types will be populated with dynamic and detailed quests requiring you to perform both in-game and out-of-game actions. Seasonal quests will dovetail with the free and premium Skypasses to help you get further, faster. There will also be onboarding quests accompanying the starter decks to provide new players with more context and guidance as they unlock Heroes and decks.
This update does feel a bit overdue; quests are perhaps the most common retention mechanism in modern games. But we wanted to take our time in deploying the full-scale system until it could do everything we wanted. A lot of the next year will be spent giving Skyweaver players more to do, more to achieve - and the new quest system will be at the heart of that.
Speaking of new things to do…
Another important goal for any game is to make itself available to as many levels of players as possible. Right now, Skyweaver only does a great job of catering to two groups - casual and Conquest. Our new, robust tournament system will define and support many strata of players.
Conquest is, in fact, just one type of tournament - Conquest is an 8-player, asynchronous, single-elimination tournament that starts when filled, requires an entry fee and has a defined prize schedule. But each of those variables is just that - variable. Will we have tournaments with hundreds of players? Absolutely. Synchronous tournaments with posted round times - you betcha. Free or paid, any number of rounds, scheduled or not - we will be running oodles of tournaments to fill in not just the current void between casual and Conquest - but also beyond.
To begin with, all the tournaments will be constructed, where you build a deck in advance to compete with (and yes, you will lock in a decklist at the start of the tournament which can not be adjusted between rounds.) But eventually, a final variable in the matrix of tournament options will be between constructed and…
It has been reasonably said that there are only two types of card game players - those who love drafting and those who haven’t drafted yet. Of course, there are many purists who love the process of building a deck, playing it, learning more about it, refining it and playing it again. But drafting offers unique challenges and rewards itself.
For those uninitiated: Drafting is a “limited” way of playing card games, just like Discovery. Rather than “constructed” games in which you construct your deck in advance, in limited games your deck is made from a limited pool of cards. In Discovery, for example, your deck is just a random group of cards from a chosen prism.
In a Draft, you build your deck one card at a time by taking a single card from packs that are passed to you, after which you pass the pack along. It’s both incredibly fun and skill testing: attempting to “read” what your opponents are drafting, building unique synergies as you assemble your deck. In Skyweaver Draft, you can also play any cards you draft, there are no assigned prisms at the start of the draft - anything goes!
To provide some guidance in this process, before beginning to select cards, players will select a Draft Hero. Draft Heroes will be different from our standard Heroes, and have powerful abilities which synchronize with the preselected pool of cards in the draft pool. They’ll combine with the inherent variance in draft to make every game compelling and new.
The team here at Skyweaver has been remarkably cautious with regards to the game’s economy. This restraint flows from our understanding that first we have to make a good game, from which we can then develop a flourishing economy. Too often, Web3 games make the error of trying to design the game around the market.
With those priorities in mind, we’ve been keeping a close eye on our economy for the year it has been fully active and are excited to announce some updates on the way.
The economy update will include the addition of two new in-game currencies: Spark and Weave.
Spark is a non-tradable resource that will be used to craft non-blockchain items like Base cards, as well as to enter free tournaments and other events. It will be acquired most often by leveling up the free Skypass.
Weave is a non-tradable resource that will be used to mint on-chain items like Silver and Gold cards, skins and other cosmetics, and as well as to enter premium events. It will be acquired most often by leveling up the premium Skypass.
Both Spark and Weave will greatly improve the user experience in Skyweaver by affording each player the ability to earn the type of prizes they want. Using Weave as prizes for Conquest, Leaderboards and Tournaments will allow winners to choose from a wide array of options instead of always getting Gold and Silver cards. Additionally, we can be much more diverse and precise with our prizing when not limited to just two ordinal values.
One final aspect of this economic update is that it obliges us to include an additional factor of card rarity, wholly separate from that of Base, Silver or Gold. Even within those card grades, we will have varying levels of rarity between cards. Some cards will be more rare than others, and require more Spark or Weave to create. Without this additional dimension of rarity, the market would be extremely flat and unexciting; we want some cards to be very special and their acquisition to be a more significant achievement. Additionally, having differing card rarities allows us to better manage player progression. We want to continue to make the same sort of very “involved” cards we have in the past, but to curate more closely when tricky cards are first encountered. We are acutely aware of the challenges of maintaining such a system, and are devoted to finding the ideal balance between creating a dynamic market and keeping the game accessible to everyone.
Ok friends, that’s all we’re going to touch on now but as you can see in the graphic above these are just the largest items; we’re also working on a ton of other updates and improvements: Improved graphics and animations, vibrant sounds and music. More new cardbacks, stickers, and other cosmetics including new islands. We hope you’ll agree there’s a lot of amazing content on its way and we’re incredibly excited to bring it to you. Please note that everything you've read here today should evolve over this year and the details shared might not reflect the final product.
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If you would like to hear more, be sure to watch our Game Director Eddie Fear discuss the roadmap on our Twitter spaces soon!