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If some don't like Vanacian and many don't like cooldowns, what then? Here's an idea: Fatigue * EDIT: in case you havn't figured it out yet, red is health, green is morale * Lets say your mage starts the day with 100 fatigue (or 1000.. higher numbers might be better for balancing and nuances) He and the party go traveling. They've been on the road for 2 hours and the mages maximum fatigue has gone down, so now he's at 90/90. Max fatigue goes down as the day goes by and as you do physicly demanding things (long journesy, running, etc..). Even if you don't cast any spells, you will need sleep. So your group runs into some orcs. Battle starts. You launch a pretty powerfull spell that costs 15 fatigue. Roughly 10% of that costs is drawn from MAX fatigue. Your max fatigue has now dropped down to 88. However, your regular fatigue will regenerate by roughly 1 point per second. In 15 seconds the mage will be at 88/88. He can cast antoher spell immediately or wait. Had he/she cast a less pwoerfull spell, the max fatigue would have been reduced only by 1 point. Either way, as time passes and the battles go on, the MAX fatigue drops. At 25% the character (any character, fighter or mage) becomes tired. It's harder to focus, but not by much. At 0% the characte is dead tired. He cna still continue to fight and move, but the penalties become severe. Miscasting becomesalmost a certanty. The only way to recover MAX fatigue is by resting. Yes resting. Resting should be a part of any true RPG. It gives inns and villages a clear purpose. It is a safe haven to gather information, prepare, stock up, rest and heal. I'd propose even healing to be very difficult. A natural and slow process. Healign spells don't heal fully - they give back only a small amount of HP (and a character cannot be healed over 50% wihout rest), but increase natural regeneration. - Note it would still take hours for critical wounds to heal. Without healing magic it might take days. This even more gives a feelign of a real adventure and resource managment. Pulling back and regrouping becomes not onnly a valid tactic, but sometimes necessary (realistic, no?). Also, leaving a wounded companion in the inn to recouperate while you take another companion with you for a while becomes an enticing prospect. Personally, I'd rather have a few powerfull spells that I can't cast all of the time, and having to resort to a crossbow/staff/sword often enough, thanto have easily spammable low-level spells. That just sucks. More like Gandalf, less like Hawke.
Spell / Ability system
cealicu_ca posted a topic in Pillars of Eternity: Stories (Spoiler Warning!)Hi there, I've put my TLDR in the Cooldown 2.0 thread but i really want to expand a bit. Seeing as there is much discussion around this cooldown thing i would like to propose a mechanic that seems pretty good to me (or course it does, duh!, i'm proposing it lol). Ok, let's get to the point. 1. Basics Each ability or spell has two components: Proficiency and Efficiency. Proficiency is gained (points) through the use of abilities/spells or combos, and starts to decay naturally (percentage of the current number of points) after a fixed amount or time. It stops decaying once you use the ability/spell or a combo that uses that ability/spell. Efficiency is lost (percentage of the current number of points) through the use of abilities/spells or combos and starts to regenerate naturally (points) after a fixed amount of time. It stops regenerating once you use the ability/spell or a combo that uses that ability/spell. 1.a. - Proficiency is measuring how skilled is the PC in using that ability/spell. It goes up each time you use an ability/spell against and enemy that is not below a certain level compared to yours and scales with that level difference. For example if you use an ability on a target that is 3 level below you (or more), you will get no Proficiency points, if you use the ability/spell against a target that is the same level as you, you get 5 Proficiency points and if you use the ability/spell against a target that is 3 levels above you (or more), you get 10 Proficiency points. Of course, some other game mechanics (like the ability/spell is saved against or blocked completely) might be used when fighting against targets way above your level. Proficiency is used to advance your ability, either by directly applying a buff to the effects of that ability/spell, or by simply moving towards the next tier (so using Bash will slowly gain you Proficiency points towards Improved Bash). The latter would mean that the PC only learns the most basic spells/abilities from external sources, and the more improved abilities/spells he discovers by actually using the related lower tiered ones. Also, Proficiency slowly decays (at the same time as the Efficiency goes up) but it will never reach 0 (it decays by a fixed percentage of the total points that you have, so the more time passes the less it decays). 1.b - Efficiency is measuring how that ability/spell is performing, considering on how many times it has been used, successfully, over a certain period of time. The Efficiency is regenerating naturally (or through other means like drinking from a well, whatever), slowly, over the course of time. Each time you use an ability/spell however, it drops by a percentage (let's say 5%) so that if you use it 5 times in a row it will only be at 77% Efficiency. This translates into reduced effects (for the sake of simplicity only direct damage or damage over time, or direct protection/healing or protection/healing over time). So if a certain ability does, let's say, 10-20 damage, after it's first use it will drop to 9-18 damage, after the second use it will again drop to 8-17 damage (rounded up) and so on. As you can see, it's not going to be a liniar drop so you don't get to use it only 20 times before reaching 0. You will actually never reach 0 as it will always go down by 5% (of the total Efficiency points). The first time you use it it will drop by 5 points, the second time again by 5 points, by the time you reach 80 points (out of 100) it will only drop by 4 points. All numbers are rounded up, so if it drops by 4.6 it actually drops by 5 points, as opposed to 4.2 that would translate into 4 points. There might be game mechanics or skills/perks that either reduce this decay per usage or rise your maximum Efficiency to more than 100 points. It's really open to any kind of tweaking, just like the Proficiency. EDIT: I forgot. Just like Proficiency, the Efficiency percentage that decays with each use should be calculated using the same rules, related to the level difference between the attacker and the target. 2. Combo I know that this is not really related to the system, but it would work great with it. The system lets the PC combine any previously learned ability/spell. At first you will be able to only combine 2 of them, but maybe as you get better and better you might combine more than 2. The effects of the combo are the added effects of the basic constituent abilities/spells calculated at their current level of Proficiency and Efficiency. The Proficiency and Efficiency system works in the following way for combos: - Each time you use a combo you will gain some proficiency points just like using an individual spell/ability but those points are divided equally towards each basic constituent ability/spell. - Each time you use a combo you will lose 5% (again just as an example) from the Efficiency of each constituent ability/spell. 3. Conclusions Such a system, at least in my intention, would do away with resting and cooldowns, mana or stamina. Every PC will only have those two resources (when talking about abilities/spells or combos), the stats only adding the the effects of those. The complexity of it comes from the two diverging directions. PCs are free to use whatever ability/spell or even combo in their arsenal. The advantage is that the more you use an ability/spell or combo you will slowly advance towards better abilities/spells and of course combos, the drawback being that if you abuse the system you will soon find yourself with really weak abilities/spells and combos. Moreover, the PC must decide weather to use a "strong" combo (strong because it has the added effects of the base constituent abilities/spells) or a more basic ability/spell. You wouldn't want to get caught with your pants down (low Efficiency) when encountering a strong hostile NPC because in your last encounter you "wasted" your best combos on some low level critters. The system could be tweaked and tested, and those numbers that i threw here are definitely not the best, they are only used as an example. The beauty of this system is that it no longer requires a cooldown, no longer requires a rest (or maybe you could regain the Efficiency but lose Profficiency through rest). Such a system means that the player really needs to use an ability/spell in order to advance (so encourages him to abuse it) but also means that the more it abuses it the weaker that ability/spell it will get (for the moment). Such a system would mean that the PC will have overpowered combos, but it also means that the player will surely not want to "waste" those OP combos on critters and will always try to save them for when it matters. This would add so much complexity to any fight (imho) as you will always try to "balance" the rewards of killing the opponents as fast as you can with the risk of not having your best combo at top efficiency for the next encounter. Also, in longer fight this would mean that the PC must rely on a well rounded and diversified arsenal, because if he uses the same abilities/spells and well as combos that use those abilities/spells as basic constituents he will soon lose all of those due to them being weaker because of low Efficiency. On the other hand he is encouraged to use them as often as possible in order to make them better (gain Proficiency). I'm pretty sure this is not perfect, some of you might just think it's rubbish (and by the way it's somewhat inspired from Rage of Mages 2, the Proficiency part at least) but i like it (again duh!) and with some tweaking and/or refinement i really think it would work. There's at least one person here that would, in theory at least, be excited to see it implemented. 4. Expanded The game could play with such a system, by adding skills that lower your Efficiency decay but also lower the Proficiency gained (you get a PC or companion that is able to use the preferred abilities/spells more often while not being able to advance that fast), or by adding items that will tweak any of those components (or by adding Max. Efficiency points). You could get abilities (non PC, or even PC) that would temporarily raise your Efficiency (PC) or temporarily lower your Efficiency (hostile NPC). And probably much, much more than that. P.S. Oh darn... lvl 10 Fire Dragon... where's my Ice Shard + Stun combo? Oh sh!t, Ice shard is at 65 Efficiency... what do i do, what do i do. Why did i used Ice Shard on those lvl 7 Rogues?!?!
Please forgive the wall of text. I am a big fan of considering what went before. So the arguments about Vancian magic versus mana-based systems (and the completely understandable passion it generates) got me thinking. And, because I find myself less moved about it than some other folks, I thought that maybe I could add something new to the debate by casting my mind back to other RPGs from the Days of Yore. Of course, it should go without saying that pen and paper systems mechanically might not fit into a CRPG. But thematically... sure. Why not? Magic has always been divided into a giddying variety of types: divine versus arcane, sorcerer versus mage, cantrip versus spell, innate powa versus learnt, scroll versus memorized, generalised mage versus specialist... then you get funky stuff like bards or rangers or paladins all of whom access magic in the form of innate, modal, passive and spell-casting forms. Accessing magic is similarly broad, i.e. via using a wand, magic item or having a stack of five fire-and-forget offensive spells (all viable and powerful additions for a spellcaster). This is before we consider 3E style feats and meta-magic. Therefore pen and paper systems have always allowed spellcasters a broad range of tactics and methods to access magic. Too many perhaps, showcasing the piecemeal evolution of the hobby. So as I watch the debate unfold, it strikes me that the combatants (and I say this with respect) have perhaps not done a three-sixty and fully considered the diversity of What Went Before (WWB). Sorcerers, for example are as near-as-dammit using a mana system, the closest you'll get in an IE game. Sorcerers, by the way, are my favourite arcane spellcasting class. I often bang on about RuneQuest here, but please hear me out (read me out? Whatever). The magic there was (a) divided into two and (b) specifically rooted into the setting. There was Battle Magic and Rune Magic. Battle magic was predicated on the idea that magic was something anybody could access (classless system) if taught. It used a statistic, POWER, using a mana-type metric (boosted by items that one could store POWER in). Battle Magic consisted of buffs, minor healing and stuff. Rune Magic was the preserve of advanced cult members and was like powerful arcane magic in D&D. You could do all sorts of funky stuff with it. But the spell-list was relatively small compared to D&D but all the spells were useful. All the spells were impactive. All of the spells were fun. It was a case study in the Less Is More approach to game design. It combined hardcore, old school flavour with what would now be considered to be a mana-system, but was managed in a way that made sense --- lose POWER by casting spells and your character became physically weaker. The decision to cast spells was one made carefully. Of course, Rune Magic casters had all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to mitigate this, and this was also part of the fun. So, my conclusions 1. Old-skool Vancian magic evolved with the game to the point where there were so many options it began to undermine the whole fire-and-forget principle, creating bulky mechanics to underpin the innate clunkiness of design (meta-magic, prestige classes etc) 2. Sorcerers are almost there in terms of aping the mana model, and might be a model worth studying for this project 3. Other properly granular old-skool systems, like RuneQuest, managed to create impactive, fun, immersive magic systems using a mana-based model 4. Therefore it seems odd that the debate around a mechanic so potentially nuanced can boil down to Vancian versus Mana when there is obviously so much room to exploit in the natural gap between the two. Many thanks if you finished to read my post, and if only a handful of people Google 1st Edition Gloranthan RuneQuest after this then I'll be a happy man. Love & Peace
[Merged] Cooldown Thread
Ieo posted a topic in Pillars of Eternity: General Discussion (NO SPOILERS)I'm neutral because I adapted fine to all the magic mechanics I've come across. Instead of bemoaning Obsidian's basic decision on spell/ability cooldowns, let's have some constructive discussion on what can be done right with them. From Kickstarter comments Q&A (linked from Known Information sticky): Josh comments: (Geez, it's a fair bit of work to quote things when a thread is locked. )