by Morgan Tysor (aka MarauderMo)
Last week WWG’s Rob Dougherty (CEO) and Darwin Kastle (Creative Director) held an “Ask Me Anything” livestream where fans could ask them anything.
MarauderMo compiled the below highlights from the livestream. The full livestreamed video is linked at the bottom of this post.
Rob described his job as handling more of the business aspects of the company, as well as designing and developing games. Darwin described his job of Creative Director as 1) game design and development for new and existing games, 2) art direction.
Darwin oversees reviewing new art direction for all games, picking new artists, etc. He spent some time discussing the art for WWG games. He tends to pick artists focusing on detail and color. For their games they like art that is full of color and detail.
When Rob and Darwin play head to head, do you still have that old school rivalry?
“Oh yeah!” They highlighted how their games are ideal for 1v1 matchups with plenty of replays to work out strategies. By playing so much together they are better able to ferret out imbalances in the game during design phases.
What are your plans for Epic moving forward?
They will do in person conventions again some day, just not in the short term. They highlighted online play in the meantime.
Are we going to see dwarfs in Epic?
No, but they didn’t foreclose on the possibility. The world of Epic is wide open to it.
Are you familiar with Ascension: Tactics and do you have any similar plans for spinoff games for your existing IPs?
Yes they are aware, even backing it themselves. They do not have any specific plans for similar spinoffs for their own IPs, however they’ve certainly discussed it. They revealed a new game called Robot Quest which is an anime style robot battle game.
Do you plan on releasing games in any other genres besides fantasy, sci-fi, horror?
Yes they are looking at different outside designers to pick up new games (like Sorcerer, Kapow!, and Robot Quest). They love all geeky genres!
Will you release more campaign style co-op sets for Star Realms like you have for Hero Realms?
They talked about Rise of Empire the new PvP story driven expansion for Star Realms. Rise of Empire will also dive deep into the lore of Star Realms.
Have you considered novels or animated features for Star Realms?
Yes, they are interested in it, but they are primarily focused on games. They referenced Rescue Run, the first independently released Star Realms novel and mentioned they’re in negotiations with a company to release a series of novels. Also, for more background lore, check out the campaigns on the app.
Can I buy add-ons as a Deluxe Nova late backer?
In the pledge manager you’ll have access to the KS exclusives and add-ons available in the KS. Rob also spent some time talking about the Deluxe Nova collection.
Can you describe the life of a Star Realms card from concept to final design?
- How big of an expansion,
- What is the right distribution of ships v bases, factions, costs
- What card abilities fit for this classification of card given other cards in the set
- How does the card balance other cards in the same classification from other sets.
- How does the card perform in early and late game? They try to give cards utility both in the late and early stage
- Once function is set, they choose lore/theme
- Then finally the lore/theme informs the art direction
- Then they do testing of the card with mockups to tweak the attributes
Are there any Easter Eggs in WWG games?
Sorcerer has a lot of cool Easter Eggs, not so much for their other games. They do have influences and homages to other sci-fi properties, like Star Empire is influenced by Honor Harrington series, Machine Cult influenced by Warhammer, etc. Rob mentioned Assur 4 is an homage to Babylon 5 (Rob’s a big B5 fan).
Do you plan to keep legend series digital after the pandemic?
Can we get alt Scouts and Vipers retroactively if we won legends in the past?
No, it won’t be retroactive. They will continue to be used as prizes for more exclusive or competitive events.
Has Rob ever bagged a unicorn?
When is Hero Realms, Sorcerer and Commanders coming to the app?
Legendary Commanders for Star Realms is being worked on currently, but not the next thing to come out. Estimates “about Christmas” (with heavy disclaimer that digital team is not on the call and he’s just guestimating).
Hero Realms is coming at some point; a considerable amount of effort has already been made. They want it to not just copy Star Realms but have a very different feel from Star Realms.
Sorcerer app “would be nice” but is not currently in development. There are some challenges in adapting it to an app.
Would you be open to doing a small SR tournament, players vs WWG staff?
Occasionally they run in house tournaments with their games, it would be fun to do a fans vs staff. Darwin remembers playing Dodgeball once.
What’s your favorite card or type of card?
Darwin: Embassy Yacht because it’s like a little side quest within the game which is very rewarding to complete. Muse is his favorite in Epic.
Rob: His favorite strategy is… well he basically listed all the winning strategies. His favorite mechanic is scrapping.
What advice do you have for prospective game designers?
Make a game for fun. Don’t bother thinking about producing it until your friends are begging you to play it. That’s how you know it’s good enough.
If you have trouble deciding on a game mechanic, that means you haven’t found the right one yet. Don’t be afraid to borrow game mechanics from other games you like that work.
After doing only card games, what made you decide to do a game like Sorcerer with more tabletop components?
He spoke a bit about the advantages of cards (cheap production, small boxes, nice art) but for Sorcerer, the player boards and tokens and whatnot were too important to the table feel for them to be reduced out of the game design.
Interested in learning more about the business of games and Kickstarters
Pre-kickstarter, Rob would make a game, develop a prototype, and do a lot of legwork to pitch the game to companies, game stores, etc. It requires a lot of self investment. Kickstarter has totally turned it around and made it possible to invest more into artwork. KS is a huge part of the company and gives them the flexibility to spend more on artwork and development.
They both put a lot of their own money into it. Neither took a salary for two years after Star Realms. Game designing is not for the faint of heart.
What’s your favorite game you’ve designed prior to WWG?
Darwin: The Battle for Hill 218
Do you think there will ever be a crossover between game universes?
There’s nothing in the pipeline but it could be fun.
Are you considering banning certain cards from play in Epic?
They don’t like banning in TCGs, but Epic is a very different kind of game where banning is easier and creates less of a negative player experience. They have banned some already (just didn’t put them in the app to begin with).
Will there be more lore made available for Sorcerer?
Yes, there is a lot of information and lore out there for the different lineages and characters from Sorcerer.
Scrap Scouts or Vipers first?
The community wants a pro mode to allow optional draws, optional mission completion, etc.
They believe too many options like that really bogs down the game. The feel letting people choose would imbalance toward people choosing. Any time you create more options, it splits the player base and makes it harder to match. Also development time is better spent on new features rather than reinventing existing functions.
What about pause and rewind playback, downloadable game logs, easily shareable videos, etc.?
They like that idea, but don’t necessarily see it happening unless it can be done without delaying other projects
Why don’t we have a $500 tournament for Star Realms?
In-app Tournaments is something they’re working on for the app.
Can you open challenge API to make it functional with Challonge, Battlefy, etc.?
The direction they want to take is in-app tournaments, not using outside 3rd party site.
Will there be counter cards for Tech cards?
Not currently planned. They’re designed to be balanced on their own and not attackable?
Do you have plans on how Commanders will be implemented in the app?
Not totally settled, but leaning towards having then selectable, with occasionally randomly assigning them in Arenas. If a particular Commander proves too powerful, they’re open to errata to balance them.