Magic’s mana is divided into five colors, each with their own themes and philosophies. Our first step with any class design is to take a strong look at these established facts and ask ourselves the following questions:
When designing the Geomancer specifically, we knew we wanted a durable melee character class that encapsulated both the passionate fury attributed to red mana and a deep connection to the element of earth. We researched Magic the Gathering’s iconic planeswalkers and landed on Koth from the Mirrodin expansion block as our starting design inspiration. Not only did he appear durable and earthen in his card art, the visual language of the illustrations portrayed a very clear and molten aggression we felt was perfect for a melee gameplay experience.
Our goal in terms of gameplay was to create an accessible power set that would appeal to melee fans and stand apart from the other classes. We wanted the Geomancer to couple incredible strength with a high level of mobility. They should be able to leap into the fray, deliver punishing attacks, and then leap out of range should they get overwhelmed. They needed to be durable but not overpowered, able to deal high levels of damage but also add survivability to their party. To ensure we delivered this experience, we tailored the Geomancer’s default stat bonuses and gave the class a unique shield mechanic.
Shield is generated passively when the Geomancer is engaged in combat and actively when they cast certain spells or utilize class abilities. The player then has the choice to unleash the shield to boost their outgoing damage or keep it built up to mitigate incoming damage. This presents the player with a constant, active choice that lends flexibility to the class’s base role.
With the gameplay concept down, it was time to complete the art and animation. We envisioned the Geomancer as a strong, hero style character. To achieve that heroic feel, we utilized strong, bold tones and simple color blocking. To add further flare, we incorporated fire shapes in rich orange and red tones throughout the character’s outfit and hair. The combination of those sharp blocky angles and flowing, molten elements conveys the chaotic self-expression of red mana.
To complement the gameplay mechanics and make the Geomancer feel iconic, we equipped them with huge obsidian gauntlets they could use to smash anything in their path. These harken back to the visual language of Koth, the planeswalker that served as that primary inspiration for the Geomancer design.
When we started looking at how we wanted to animate this planeswalker, we talked about the sheer intensity of their fist-to-face melee style. We didn’t want Geomancers to come across too controlled and refined, we wanted them to feel raw, aggressive, and powerful. When we paired the animations and VFX, we knew we had struck the perfect balance of chaos and impactful visuals. Players who pick Geomancer are able to go flying into combat and demolish their enemies with quick, heavy strikes.
The end result is a confident and purposeful class that is naturally suited for dishing out massive damage. As stated in our combat blog however, our progression systems will enable players to greatly customize their loadouts and fill any number of defensive or support roles they wish. Any player can enjoy the melee fantasy of the Geomancer, whether they want to be the defensive tank, a support class that can hold the line, or the glass cannon that jumps into combat and generates shield resource to boost their damage.
We hope you enjoyed this peek behind the scenes and look forward to sharing more information with you in the coming weeks! Follow our Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date with the latest news. Be sure to join our official Discord server to chat with the devs and other fans like you!
- By Phil Zeleski, Lead Systems Designer, & Barclay Chantel, Game Art Director