Magicka: Wizard Wars public alpha launches today

Magicka: Wizard Wars is Paradox North's PvP take on the magic-combining franchise. Originally planned for a 2014 release on PC, the developer has decided to launch the free-to-play game into public alpha via Steam Early Access today.

"We patched a PvP mode [into the original game] and it was really well received," Paradox North's David Nisshagen explained to us. "But the complexity of the original Magicka made it impossible to balance. There were so many things you could do at any given time."

"Basically, what we wanted to do was lower the skill floor and make it more accessible for new players, and raise the skill ceiling so that there's lots to learn," Nisshagen added. "We reduced the number of total spells available, but we basically made them all useful."

The goal of the Early Access alpha will be to test the game's balance, all while getting feedback from the community.

Access to the Alpha is free, and will include access to the Excelsior Line Staff and Vendetta Dagger. However, there will be three premium packages to purchase as well. The IMPressive Founder Pack ($50) includes the ability to name an in-game imp, for example. Sign up for Early Access and check out all the pre-order bonuses on the official site.