The first Magicka let you jump into a co-op game with its inventive spell crafting system, morbid humor, and unrestrained friendly fire that let you "accidentally" roast your allies alive. All that was a blast. But with no competitive element in the first title, it makes sense that the natural progression of the series is to give players an arena to roast, zap, and freeze their friends in full-blown multiplayer (since they basically did that in co-op anyway). That's where Wizard Wars comes in.
If you're unfamiliar with the basics of Magicka, let us break it down. You have eight magic spells at your disposal (water, life, shield, cold, lightning, arcane, earth and fire) which can be mixed and matched to create powerful spell combinations for offensive or defensive use. In multiplayer battles, players must use their spell combinations to overcome one another's defenses and counteract debilitating effects. If you're on fire, you can put it out with a water spell, or if an enemy is wet, lightning is more effective.
In a multiplayer environment, the spellcasting between two opponents becomes a twitchy wizards duel in which thinking on your feet becomes paramount to survival. So far, the game features a capture point game mode pitting two teams of four players against each other. Teams have spawn tickets which will whittle down with each death. You can also win the match by capturing all spawn points on the map and eliminating the remaining team's wizards.
Check out the following slides for more information and images and be sure to sign up for the closed beta here