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Video Game / Spellbreak

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Spellbreak is a magic-themed Battle Royale Game developed and published by American studio Proletariat for PC, Play Station 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The game entered early access in early 2020, with a full free-to-play release following on September 3, 2020.

Players assume the role of a Vowbreaker; one who defies the Vow Mandate, which outlaws all magic under the justification that magic is a corrupting influence. The primary setting of the game is known as the Hollow Lands, which, after a past event known as the Fracture, is ravaged by strange phenomena known as Spellstorms. Now, the Vowbreakers take up magic to find what caused the Fracture, and a way to stop the Spellstorms.

So far, there have been three game modes introduced: the traditional Battle Royale mode, the currently vaulted Clash, a combination of battle royale and deathmatch which allows players to re-enter combat after being KO'd with their gear intact, making it an ideal mode for newcomers, and Dominion, where two teams of five Breakers fight over three control points, all the while earning boons from a mysterious merchant and fending off hostile Vowguard troops.

In June 2022, Proletariat announced that the game would shut down in 2023 due to them being acquired by Blizzard Entertainment.

Spellbreak provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: The lore of the game was largely only present in the form of journal entries, wrapped into Alpha and Beta update posts on Reddit, written by a Vowkeeper named Garrick Sagemark. One can also view the compiled journal entries on the Spellbreak wiki.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The (currently disabled) Clash mode plays similar to the original Battle Royale mode, but with an important distinction: players who are defeated won't be eliminated from play, but will be allowed to respawn with any gear they collected before being KO'd, a feature made both for new players and those who may not necessarily enjoy battle royale games.
    • Quests that call for "disrupting" enemy players will allow progress if said players end up immediately exiled instead, a boon for those who prefer Solo or Clash, both of which skip disruption altogether.
  • Aura Vision: Some abilities outline enemy players in this way, such as the Wolf's Blood Rune (which also highlights enemies through walls) or a Frostborn player's Icicle passive.
  • Character Class System: Players can take on one of six classes, each related to one of the game's elements:
    • Pyromancer: Fire specialists who can launch fireballs that ignite and split apart, as well as use their firewalls to fly.
    • Frostborn: Ice specialists who can use their ice slicks to move more quickly across the battlefield and overcharge their shots for even more damage.
    • Conduit: Lightning specialists whose skills allow them to cast bolts more rapidly and store extra charges for their runes.
    • Stoneshaper: Stone specialists who can quickly replenish their armor while attacking and throw larger boulders more frequently.
    • Tempest: Wind specialists who can leverage their magic to increase their aerial mobility by launching into the air.
    • Toxicologist: Toxic specialists who can leave poisonous puddles about and render themselves invisible using their own poisonous clouds.
  • Charged Attack: Basic attacks from Frost Gauntlets take the form of long-ranged icicles that need to be charged up to reach full power.
  • Combos: Elements can be combined in ways that can increase a battlemage's lethality. For example:
    • Throwing a fireball into a tornado will create a flaming twister.
    • Shooting lightning into an ice slick will electrify it, creating a trap that can stun enemies.
    • Vaporizing ice slicks with fire spells creates steam, which can either be refrozen into impromptu cover, turned into mini toxic clouds, or zapped to create a lightning-based Area of Effect.
    • Hitting toxic puddles with wind causes a small toxic explosion. Hitting toxic puddles with fire creates a lingering green flame.
    • Firing stone shockwaves through flames on the ground will ignite the shockwaves, dealing additional fire damage.
  • Damage Over Time:
    • Toxic attacks poison opponents (or the caster, if they are careless), causing gradual damage to armor over several seconds.
    • Pyromancers (or any class with a Flame Gauntlet, if they have the Ambidextrous talent) can set other battlemages on fire if they land a direct hit with their fireball. Flamewall also ignites enemies passing through it.
  • Elemental Powers: There are six elements total: fire, ice, lightning, wind, stone, and toxic.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted. A careless Vowbreaker can damage their own allies with poorly aimed area-of-effect spells.
  • Ground Wave: Stone gauntlets' primary attack unleashes a fissure along the ground, damaging any opponents standing on the ground when hit.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Players aren't killed, but rather "exiled". With Chapter 2's release, this extends to the hostile Vowguard NPCs in Dominion.
  • Rocket Jump: Tempest players can throw wind spells into the ground to launch themselves into the air.
  • Soul Jar: Every mage has what's called a "Vital Stone", hidden in a remote location, that allows them to reconstitute at said location in the event that they're exiled. It extends their lifespan, but can also lead to the user being destroyed if it's shattered, and its power will fade regardless. Part of the backstory in Garrick's Journal insinuates that the Fracture was caused by the Vowkeepers trying to reverse an instance of the former.
  • Status Effects: Quite a few to watch out for:
    • Freeze: Player cannot do anything, but effect ends early if damage is taken.
    • Shock: Spellbreak's version of Silence, preventing usage of everything except movement and items.
    • Slow: Movement speed reduced.
    • Corrosion: Player's armor takes damage over time.
    • Ignite: Player takes damage over time.
  • Video Game Flight: All battlemages can levitate, allowing them to jump higher than normal in exchange for some mana. A rune players can collect (named "Flight") also allows them to launch themselves forward through the air, while another rune (named "Featherfall") allows players to perform a high jump with slow falling.