NOTE: if you are looking for technical support, click here.
Thanks for checking out Shardbound! The game is in Early Access (Alpha) on Steam. While it’s far from ready to be launched, the core gameplay is very playable, allowing us to get invaluable data from players like you.
This FAQ is intended to help you get the lay of the land and answer some common questions. In some cases, we might not be speaking publicly about our plans. If we’re not ready to share detail on something, we’ll just say so. We’d rather be direct than give you the runaround.
Beyond this webpage, we encourage you to come and find us in the community. We run a weekly developer’s stream on Twitch and we’re very present on in Discord, on Reddit, and in social media.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It’s got elements of both. We’ve tried to combine the best of both to create something new and different.
The game hews very closely to tactics because of the board - the board changes everything. Shardbound’s specific approach to the board matters: hexagonal tiles, combined with different terrain levels and the resulting line-of-sight game mechanics makes Shardbound play very differently than any other game out there.
Cards are effective both as a UI element as well as through their impact on system design. Cards in provides a visual language that players around the world already understand. They also allow us move gameplay depth from the tactical ruleset (something which is often invisible to new players) to the very clear vehicle of the card. What’s this unit do? Just read the card! No complicated rule to learn about the hard way.
Is Shardbound a tactics game or a card game?
What makes this game unique?
In a word: positioning.
Positioning gameplay in Shardbound allows skilled players to demonstrate clear mastery within a match, offering multiple ways to outwit and outplay opponents.
We are also investing in the game art at a level other CCGs don’t, bringing not only visual differentiation but, hopefully, delight in the way that every match unfolds.
Is this game Pay-to-Win?
No. You can unlock and collect everything just by playing.
Going deeper on this topic: while we don’t publish our drop rates at this time, we have modeled them to be mathematically more generous than most other games out there. We also just give away a ton of stuff for regular play. That said, we are sensitive to this issue ourselves as players and are constantly monitoring.
What is the Shardfall system?
Shardfalls are pieces of a shattered ancient world, falling through the sky as they slip out of orbit. Each contains an ancient Vault with the secrets of an ancient world locked within. By playing matches, winning, and completing quest-like goals, players break open the seals of the Vault and collect everything within.
Are there guilds/clans in this game?
Yes. We call them Houses.
Currently in Early Access, Houses aren’t much more than a custom friend list. On the road ahead, we’ll be bringing meaningful collaborative progression into the game through the House system.
Is this a competitive game? #esports?
Very. We love competitive games and esports - they are the kinds of games we like to play as well as make. We’ve long felt that turn-based games are great esports entertainment, but that card draw introduces to much randomness to allow players to attain consistently high win percentages.
Will you support esports when the game launches?
Yes. When we get closer to launch, we’ll assess what best supports where the competitive players want to go and either launch our own initiatives or work with partners. Or both.
What is your philosophy around balance?
We intend to actively balance and tune Shardbound, often - now and forever.
We believe that active balance keeps a game fresh, replayable because it’s constantly evolving (and hopefully improving!). This approach will extend in ways that might challenge industry norms. For example, we do not intend to offer players refunds for design/gameplay content changes to items they own. Doing so will have a chilling effect on our ability and desire to balance and tune the game.
We’re very committed to an active balancing ecosytem.
Why are you in Early Access on Steam?
We are in Early Access to develop the game from alpha through launch with a small-but-steady community. We believe strongly in open, honest development with a live player base.
Do you want/need a big player base right now?
We glean valuable and consistent game data from a relatively small player base in terms of balance/tuning, stability, and overall usability. In fact, we really don’t want too many players right now. We’d rather stay effectively unknown until we all love the state of the game, and then drive it straight into the beating heart of gamerdom.
Why aren't you marketing Shardbound now?
We aren’t ready to launch the game. See the last answer for more detail.
Will the art quality threaten the game's launch?
No, though this is a very reasonable and thoughtful concern.
This concern is rooted in many assumptions about Shardbound’s complete production and business design. We’re not ready to talk about some aspects of Shardbound that might shed light here. We ask that you trust us and come along on the ride that is Early Access.
Keep calm and carry on. :)
How is Twitch integrated with this game?
In Shardbound, when players aren’t engaged in Tactical CCG matches, they’ve got a bird’s eye view of what we call “The Overworld.” In the Overworld, players can see their House’s “home island” and their current Shardfalls. The can also see the Shardfalls of people who are streaming Shardbound.
This feature is in an initial state in Early Access: players can fly to a Streamer’s Shard and engage in one of a few different types of activities with a Streamer: use a deck that the Streamer has created, give the Streamer a deck to play with, or play a game against the Streamer with a randomly created deck.
Expect this feature to expand greatly over the coming months.
Why are you integrating Twitch into the game?
We believe that Twitch has changed gaming for the better by revealing something about how important it is for people to connect with one another through games.
Online games don’t just have communities - online games are communities. Spiritwalk believes in the power of community above all else, and finding ways to bring broadcasters and audiences together through our games is at the core of our mission as a studio.
Where do you want to take this feature?
We aren’t getting specific here yet, but we are watching and listening closely. Please don’t be shy with your feedback.
Are you considering streaming integrations?
We are 100% focused on Twitch at this time. There is a lot to learn about this kind of integration.
When did development on Shardbound begin?
We began working on Shardbound in January 2015.
Is Spiritwalk independent? Will you self-publish?
Yes, and yes.
While the current vision is to self-publish Shardbound, we are open to partnership if we think it’s the best thing for the game and the players.
Are you hiring? Do you have an intern program?
We are fortunate to have been able to pick our colleagues to date. That will inevitably change, and when it does there will be a page on the website listing available positions.
We do not offer an internship program at this time.
How can I help?
Join us in Discord or on Reddit! Find out what others are doing. Whether it’s fan art, running tournaments, organizing feedback, starting critical discussions about how to make the game better … you’ll find a way to strengthen and grow the community’s core.
We’re glad you’re here. :)