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Alternatives to Vancian or Cooldowns? Other suggestions?

cooldown rest magic inn fatigue health vanacian

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#21
Gatt9

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We're circling around an issue much more basic that needs to be discussed before it's really worthwhile to even try to have these higher level discussions.

Group 1: "I believe my Mage should be active at all times in combat, and he should be using Magic to attack, not a physicial weapon.

Group 2: "I believe my Mage should be something that turns the tide in battle through comparitively large effects, but is limited in the number of times he can do it".

Group 2a: As above but, "I'm not a fan of being unable to choose my spell on the spot, but rather guessing what I'll want ahead of time" (Mana)

This is what the arguement boils down to. People whose issue is "Rest spamming" fall into group 1. People whose issue is Reloading are in either Group 1 or Group 2a. Vancian people are in Group 2.

If this arguement is to progress, we need to resolve this first. The arguement is how people perceive Mages should play, and without resolving that discussion, it's really pointless to keep trying to have any other higher level discussion on implementation.

#22
Jaesun

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Or it could just be as similar as it was in the IE games. That's why we liked it.

#23
Lohi

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The problem with applying negative consequences to magic use is that then you need to apply a similar system to other action forms, such as a melee swing using up stamina that you're actually in danger of running out of,

I agree. But so many players here are so rabidly opposed to this it seems. I don't understand it really, maybe D&D is a religion and we're not allowed to dislike it? Many players seem to think that magic users are supposed to be special, held in reserve, using that one awesome spell at just the right time to save the day. That seems boring. Let the mage do something useful in all the fights I say, if they're restricted then all classes should have restrictions, if they have advantages then all classes should have advantages.

This is not some corrupting influence from MMOs, this is just common sense of having the classes be roughly equal. D&D was an early primitive form of RPG, the "role playing" part was really really new and it was just an extension of wargaming with miniatures. There was no attempt to balance classes. You were supposed to create a party of unbalanced characters that worked together. The working together part is great, however the unbalanced part is not. Fighter is always useful, mage however starts out as useless and over time becomes somewhat useful, and eventually extremely overpowered.

Since then we have come up with point based systems. You have a fixed set of points and design a character around that. If the game system developers did it right they have roughly equivalent usefulness (in a pen-and-paper way at least, maybe not equivalent in combat in a computer game). Maybe they're not all perfect either but they point the way towards balancing off different types of characters all of which are roughly equal in usefulness.

Therefore, if a mage has to rest after using a certain number of actions, then it is only fair that a fighter do this also. If a ranger can shoot 20 arrows in a row, then it is only fair that a mage be able to shoot the equivalent amount of damage.

Here's my main problem with games like BG1/BG2/etc. If you are in a simple fight the mage does nothing. Because it's a waste to use your limited number of spells on kobolds. Just send in the fighters. So I just leave the mages standing there twiddling their thumbs until there's a tough fight. This is boring! And it's completely unfair that some classes get to have fun because they have no restriction on the number of actions that they can do during the day.

I think the GURPS system uses fatigue for spells. It seems pretty reasonable. You use too many and you're drained. Melee attacks use up fatigue too, it's equivalent that way. But you can rest up and be ok, and you can rest up in much less than 8 hours. Mages in GURPS aren't narcoleptics.

You actually see a similar issue with ranged characters in games that limit them by ammo, as opposed to the ones that don't count the ammo.

Yes this is true. I notice in BG1 that before I added the convenience mod to let me stack arrows that I was trying to conserve them and use melee more... However I have had a melee character break swords in BG1 as well.

I am confused why some people will criticize this problem for ranged and melee attacks as being too inconvenient, and yet also defend even harsher limitations on magic use.
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#24
Lohi

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Or it could just be as similar as it was in the IE games. That's why we liked it.

These were the things I disliked the most in IE games. I like the games themselves, but I did not like the D&D game system or it's magic rules. These were things I tolerated.
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#25
Lohi

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I am not sure what the solution is,

There's the middle earth solution, where magic is very rare and player characters don't get to use it... Not sure how well that would go over :-)

#26
Ieo

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Or it could just be as similar as it was in the IE games. That's why we liked it.


I did not like the IE games because of the Vancian magic system. As Lohi says, I tolerated it; I adapted just fine, but by no means did I enjoy the Infinity Engine games for one combat mechanic. Goodness. That's such a one-dimensional view of the IE games that it's rather sad.
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#27
Lohi

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An archer should stock up before going on a longer expedition, he should collect arrows, repair broken ones if possible. And he always has his backup weapons.

However in most games you don't act this out. It's rare to have a game where you collect arrows from corpses or repair them. A lot of players would complain that this was too tedious. So you stock up on an absurd amount of arrows which have 0 weight and volume (really how many arrows do you think can fit into a quiver?), and it's done in the name of convenience.

But the same convenience doesn't happen to the magic user. They're forced to do the ritual of sleeping for 8 hours in some games. If it's made easier than some players post here that it's dumbed down or stupid!

As for backup weapons, in the D&D system your mage has a backup weapon but it does low damage, the mage can bary hit anything, and is wearing no armor. It's a viable option for a ranged fighter, but it's not at all viable for a mage. A mage in a D&D game is essentially casting magic, using magic items, or else trying to stay out of combat.

#28
nikolokolus

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Personally, I'm in full favor of a fatigue system for melee actions as well as spell-casting.
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#29
Jasede

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Or it could just be as similar as it was in the IE games. That's why we liked it.

These were the things I disliked the most in IE games. I like the games themselves, but I did not like the D&D game system or it's magic rules. These were things I tolerated.

I simply can't understand your kind. What made the IE games for me were the spell system and selection. The huge amount of spells, the different ways to use them, the mage battles in BG 2, the sheer utility and power of it all. Finding a new high level spell scroll was a real joy, as was reading all the different spell descriptions and planning out casting orders and techniques.

Who hasn't spammed Chromatic Orb on Firkraag after lowering his SR and saves to instant kill him? Or set up clever spell sequencer combinations? There were so many options. Spellcasting made the IE games; the melee and ranged combat was very dull.

Edited by Jasede, 02 October 2012 - 06:51 PM.

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#30
D3xter

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I'll just post what I did in the longer thread, but with a few additional remarks.

 
Let's just say that I haven't seen a single example in which cooldowns ended up working well, imo it is also one of the largest banes of the MMO genre that they can't seem to finally drop that crap system. (in that combat degrades into pushing 1-2-3 etc. repeatedly and it is very saddening that it's flowing over into SP RPGs) I was actually more fine with Ultima Onlines reagent-based system than any cooldown-based one I've seen or experienced so far...

I don't think most people want the Infinity Engine-based system back as it was translated 1:1, entirely with rest-scumming and having to walk back to town, traversing 2-3 maps to do so and come back again, but have it IMPROVED upon. It could likely be more easily fixed to be made into something fun and tactical than ANY cooldown-based system.

A recent game with a Vancian magic AND hp system checkpoint-based "campsites", a lot of people loved because of it, got critical acclaim and worked rather well was Dark Souls (despite the respawning enemies).

 
The idea behind the system is the planning through choice, challenge and limited usability of abilities and spells that comes with it, and not hanging on every little detail in regards to the mechanic like having to get back to town because "it was such in the Infinity Engine games".
In the ideal case, the player would only have to resort to that if he hit an impossibly challenging wall (a boss he can't beat or enemies one/two-hitting the entire party) and wants to get back to a Hub and do a certain other quest series or stock up again before he comes back (kind of like in Dark Souls when going back to Firelink and taking another way).

If I remember right Dungeons & Dragons Online had an interesting system with campsites/rest places with limited usability sparingly distributed inside dungeons. There was no HP or spell regeneration before you hit those places, and you had to get through quite a lot of enemies and fights before you got to one (or they were placed right before/behind a boss encounter). You could only use each of them once so there was a certain tactic involved in when you wanted to rest up, the challenges and fighting could be balanced around using as many resources as possible to get the the next such place. If you dropped too low in HP and couldn't get through to the next resting spot, you pretty much wiped and had to try again (e.g. having to go back to town and reprepare).
Souls obviously solved it by respawning every non-special enemy and having the player perform to the best of his abilities till the next checkpoint, but I guess that would be too tedious, and let's not forget that there should always be different ways of resolving a certain battle e.g. there should always be a large variety of compaions, weapon combinations and strategies to get past something.

The details on how it would solved (e.g. "according to D&D rules", "like videogame X" or in a totally new way) doesn't seem awfully important as a discussion point, just that it doesn't rely on cooldowns:

* If the cooldown on spells/abilities is low, and all it takes is spamming the same 3-4 optimal skills for an encounter over and over again every few seconds in a "skill-rotation", where is the fun and tactical challenge in that? The most boring systems around this are those where you just press a number-key like "1" and your character starts performing an ability. (e.g. most MMORPGs or games like Dragon Age: Origins/2), there were a few new systems like having to press additional keys in Age of Conan or the skill combo only being accomplished with a certain Mouse-Button/Keyboard-Combo like in fighting games in DCUO, but those didn't particularly work all that well and this ain't an action game.

* If the cooldown is long and it takes minutes for a spell to regenerate and you are standing before an encounter where you know you will likely need it, how exactly is it better than going back to a campsite e.g. "I'm getting my Ultimate in 10 minutes, then we can do the boss, AFK brb in 10" in MMORPGs

* Does anyone else have a single example of a CRPG in which a cooldown system has worked better tactically and regarding challenging gameplay, than one where players have to prepare for encounters beforehand like in the old Infinity Engine games or ToEE?
I'm really curious, since I haven't seen any, and looking at some of Obsidians other experimental game mechanics in Neverwinter Nights 2 and some of the campaigns, in Alpha Protocol or in Dungeon Siege III let's just say I am not filled with the utmost confidence that they are the right company to solve this particular problem satisfactory.

* Any system that doesn't restrict spell or ability usage in a way will ALWAYS be exploited in the best way for players to perform at optimum or do the "maximum amount of DPS" and similar. They will only use a few of the abilities that they deem the best. Just look at ANY cooldown-based system and it's always just a "skill rotation" based on a pre-defined build, Blizzard for instance designed the Diablo 3 spell/skill-system in a way that doesn't favor skilltrees and specialization and everyone can use every single skill/spell, and there were still just the few viable builds with most of the rest being outright ignored.

Same thing mainly happened in games like Dragon Age: Origins.
If you are limited to only a certain number of spells you can use, you WILL make sure to memorize ones that are actually helpful and you WILL use them in some way tactically after you ran out of the "good"/useful ones. If you don't have that Meteor Shower or Fireball anymore, you'll use even the lower level attack spells, buffs or other spells you might otherwise not in a way to maximize their efficiency, possibly even the likes of cantrips, which gives the spell system as a whole more tactical depth than could ever be achieved through cooldowns.

#31
GammaHamster

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D&D was an early primitive form of RPG, the "role playing" part was really really new and it was just an extension of wargaming with miniatures. There was no attempt to balance classes. You were supposed to create a party of unbalanced characters that worked together. The working together part is great, however the unbalanced part is not.


Yes, lack of balance is a problem because every character is played by a human and no one wants to feel left out.

In a party-based video-game you play for entire party, you are both the fighter and the mage. That little difference makes your entire wall of text pointless.

#32
Oerwinde

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I liked the combo of fatigue and reagents. Every character has a fatigue bar, determined by say a CON stat plus feats or whatever the game uses (cardio training type feats would increase max fatigue without the HP benefits of boosting CON). All abilities cost fatigue. Fighter abilities would cost increasing amounts as they get more powerful, making CON a good stat to invest in. Magic would have set costs thag could be reduced by using proper reagents or spell focuses. Rogue types could get more attacks depending on Dex making their attacks worth more for the same fatigue cost.

As your fatigue bar depletes you suffer penalties from... being fatigued. These could be speed reductions, damage reductions, spell failure chance, etc. If your fatigie bar is completely drained, you can still use abilities, but it begins draining health.

#33
alanschu

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Let them eat experience points...

If you want to put a serious strain on your soul (which presumably powers "magic"), let it come at a cost that cripples magic wielders that are over reliant on their "gifts". I seem to remember some different approaches in one of the updates, like rituals and flesh mortification to wring out that extra energy of your soul. Wouldn't be surprise me if they came up with not one, but several alternatives to fuel such stuff coming with different downsides, depending on your chose flavour of magic.


I can count on you for good ideas! People want consquences right!? :D

#34
TrashMan

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Fighter is always useful, mage however starts out as useless and over time becomes somewhat useful, and eventually extremely overpowered.


This is how it worked in old D&D, but there is no reason why it should be like that in PE.
What's stopping the devs from giving a LVL 1 mage 10 starting spell slots? Suddenly he isn't so uselss at start.


Therefore, if a mage has to rest after using a certain number of actions, then it is only fair that a fighter do this also. If a ranger can shoot 20 arrows in a row, then it is only fair that a mage be able to shoot the equivalent amount of damage.


Yes and no. I don't see action beign equalent. You're talking about a "perfect" balance that is unrealistic.

Yes, fighters should grow tired over time, but tehre is absolutely NO reason why they should grow tired jsut as fast as mages. It would depend.

What armor is he wearing? What is he doing?
Waht spells is a mage casting? The rate at which characters tire should depend ONLY on what they are doing/weaporing and not have anything to do with class.

Also mages aren't usless once out of spells. Repeat after me - THEY CAN STILL FIGHT.




Here's my main problem with games like BG1/BG2/etc. If you are in a simple fight the mage does nothing. Because it's a waste to use your limited number of spells on kobolds. Just send in the fighters. So I just leave the mages standing there twiddling their thumbs until there's a tough fight. This is boring! And it's completely unfair that some classes get to have fun because they have no restriction on the number of actions that they can do during the day.


A mage can still fight.
you got crossbows, you got wands, you got scrolls, you got staffs.
Assuming the mage doesn't have 5 HP (there's no reason they should in PE) AND can wear armor, there's no reason why he should sit fights out.

#35
Virgil

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I hate Vanacian system....I know that many players don't like mana or cool down system but mana+cooldown is nice and easy way to do this and yes it can be very tactical contrary to general belief. Take DA:O on highest difficulty cool down + mana was very important and you had to choose spells carefully to survive harder fights. Vanacian system is all about load/reload until you find working combination for particular combat or choosing the most versatile spells which work in majority of situations and in both cases it is very boring.

#36
metiman

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Thank goodness Sawyer doesn't seem to share your taste in combat systems, Virgil. So BG2 combat = boring and DA:O combat = tactical and difficult. Interesting.
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#37
SGray

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and yes it can be very tactical contrary to general belief. Take DA:O on highest difficulty cool down + mana was very important and you had to choose spells carefully to survive harder fights.

Nope, whole system was quite cheesy - you could simply max out magic power and burst everything you encounter without any problem on max difficulty. No need for large mana pool anymore, if everyone around is dead from first casts. No need to care about cooldowns, if you have 3-4 almost same nukes. With blood magic included (and/or health for mana spell from one of dlc's) + vampiric spells + near 300 spellpower at end - ehm... Fun, but no challenge or tactics at all.

Edited by SGray, 03 October 2012 - 12:48 AM.


#38
cealicu_ca

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I know it's not pretty nice to advertise your own topic but here goes my suggestion:

http://forums.obsidi...ability-system/

I think it's simple and elegant. Yeah, i do :yes:

#39
IndiraLightfoot

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Clearly very few of you have forgotten about the only gripe Obsidian got for their marvellous NWN2-expansion Mask of the Betrayer: the spirit meter. I didn't mind it so much, at least it was integrated well in the story and all, but heaps of people just hated it. And several suggestions here are in line with that meter, I think Obsidian would be very cautious about bringing in some kind of soul meter to PE, but that's my five cents.

#40
Lapsed Pacifist

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If some don't like Vanacian and many don't like cooldowns, what then?

Here's an idea:

Fatigue

A fellow Jagged Alliance fan? I definitely approve of this idea. And not only should spellcasting drain fatigue, but so should general physical exertion (combat in heavy armor, excessive encumbrance or special fighter abilities) and damage.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: cooldown, rest, magic, inn, fatigue, health, vanacian

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