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Concerns About Spellcasting Effects

Spells Saving Throws Status Effects Balance Wands Resistance

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#1
Mr. Magniloquent

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My primary draw to medieval fantasy games is spellcasting. Hence, my greatest draw to Infinity Engine games (D&D) has been the incredible sophistication of the spell casting system. While Vancian systems have their complications, every other system I've experienced pales by comparison. Since P:E has chosen to use cooldowns, I have some very serious concerns.
  • Meaningful Effects
    Will spells be able to meaningfully alter the status of an opponent? I speak of spells like Emotion, Hold, Confusion, Domination, Sleep, and even death spells. Outside of vancian systems, the most wizards can hope for is "Stun for 0.089786976 seconds every X seconds" or "Slow for 1.09809 seconds every X seconds". Cooldowns & mana casting are the primary culprits for this devolution of spellcasting. Since P:E has chosen cooldowns, I am deeply concerned. How much should I fear spellcasting will be a stupor of generic damage spells with different durations/animations?
  • Potency & Resistance
    How will the effectiveness of spells being determined? Will there be a roll to save type device as in D&D where DC is pitted aginst Saving Throws, or a percentage based system (45% likely to effect opponent)? Likewise, will wizards be able to meaningfully increase the potency of their spells, or will they have to accept the harsh reality that their limited quanity of spells will only work 40-60% chance at best?
  • Spell Protections & Counterspells
    Perhaps one of the most shining aspects of the spellcasting in the Baldur's Gate series were the myriad of spell protections (Spheres, Shields, Traps, etc.) and their counters (Breach, Spell Penetration, Warding Whip, etc.). Will this degree of depth be present in P:E spellcasting?
I apologize if these topics have been previously addressed. Should that be the case, I would very much appreciate links to those discussions.

Edited by Mr. Magniloquent, 03 October 2012 - 09:05 PM.


#2
Hypevosa

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cooldowns are how you regain your spells outside of battle. Ultimately, if they made it so every 9th level spell slot took 8 hours to recover and you only got 3 at highest mage level, it would be the same as forcing a rest every 24 hours, no?

They're looking to have powerful magicians, but have them regain spells gradually instead of forcing you to rest for them.

#3
Mr. Magniloquent

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I suppose that works. A recharge time equivalent to resting recovery could actually be superior if in game resting were actually absent. It would abate the overwhelm, camp, overwhelm strategy. However, being able to utilize multiple iterations of the same spell (memorizing multiple Confusion spells for example) might be excluded by this approach.

If this is true, then can I be at the very least optimistic for spells to have meaningful effects beyond direct damage? Fireball and Magic Missle cause me to yawn. Wizards without Hold, Sleep, Fear, Petrification, Death, etc is just an overly complicated Archer.

#4
Hypevosa

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Resting is still there, they've confirmed as much - we imagine it's going to just be limited though so it's not something you can spam.

The way he described it when we talked about it in the cooldown thread, it sounded like you would essentially have multiple spell slots, spells in those slots (the same or different) and then they'd slowly recover when you weren't in combat. So 5 magic missile preparations would still be possible.

He also asked if it was really responsible for mages to be handed such uber effects like wail of the banshee - the mage description he wrote (or I think it was him at least) on the kickstarter update makes it sound like those kind of spells will still happen. Hold monster he also mentioned specifically, in reference to another game, but it sounded like he appreciated those kinds of spells too.

#5
Valorian

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They're looking to have powerful magicians, but have them regain spells gradually instead of forcing you to rest for them.


Because forcing you to wait is better?

It's certainly not. With a resting system I can decide not to rest (if it's even possible in that specific area). With a waiting system... the line becomes much more blurry.

#6
LadyCrimson

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They're looking to have powerful magicians, but have them regain spells gradually instead of forcing you to rest for them.


Because forcing you to wait is better?

It's certainly not. With a resting system I can decide not to rest (if it's even possible in that specific area). With a waiting system... the line becomes much more blurry.

Perhaps you'll be able to do both? If you want to regain them faster in terms of real-world time, you rest. If you want to continue exploring/being active instead of Resting for 8 hours in-game (which may have risks of it's own, like being attacked while resting), the cooldown allows you to do so while spells will still be making some progress towards becoming usable again. And if you Rest later, perhaps you won't have to Rest for as many hours for the spells?

...just thinking out loud. :)

#7
Valorian

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They're looking to have powerful magicians, but have them regain spells gradually instead of forcing you to rest for them.


Because forcing you to wait is better?

It's certainly not. With a resting system I can decide not to rest (if it's even possible in that specific area). With a waiting system... the line becomes much more blurry.

Perhaps you'll be able to do both? If you want to regain them faster in terms of real-world time, you rest. If you want to continue exploring/being active instead of Resting for 8 hours in-game (which may have risks of it's own, like being attacked while resting), the cooldown allows you to do so while spells will still be making some progress towards becoming usable again. And if you Rest later, perhaps you won't have to Rest for as many hours for the spells?

...just thinking out loud. :)


Nope. You didn't understand.
The problem with waiting is that you can't resolutely decide "not to wait". I can, however, decide not to rest.

For example. I am fighting in the wilderness and I use all my resources. Now, if I decide I want to return to town to purchase something, by the time I'm back all the resources will be replenished. Have I cheated the system or not?

#8
LadyCrimson

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Ah, I see where you're coming from now. If one does like to be "forced" to wait as a manner of difficulty challenge (or something) then yeah, that would likely be affected. How much, exactly, is hard to say without knowing the exact hours required for both cooldown (have they said?) and for average travel times. I don't think your example is cheating the system, however, if the mechanic is part of the game design in the first place.

#9
Valorian

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I don't think your example is cheating the system, however, if the mechanic is part of the game design in the first place.


It's not cheating, but I'd effectively remove cooldowns with quick trips. On the other hand, you can leave the game unpaused and surf the internet instead.
It's hard to draw the line and say "yes, now I'm abusing it", as opposed to "no, I really need to go back to town to buy something! It's in character."
Yes, this is my concern.

#10
Hypevosa

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They're looking to have powerful magicians, but have them regain spells gradually instead of forcing you to rest for them.


Because forcing you to wait is better?

It's certainly not. With a resting system I can decide not to rest (if it's even possible in that specific area). With a waiting system... the line becomes much more blurry.

They're forcing you to be judicious instead of cheesy. Resting before every battle to have full nuking capacity is as cheesy as using protection from undead scrolls against kangaxx... like an uber lich wouldn't have a dispell magic spell prepared to deal with other spellcasters.

Edited by Hypevosa, 04 October 2012 - 11:34 AM.


#11
Cthulchulain

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  • Potency & Resistance
    How will the effectiveness of spells being determined? Will there be a roll to save type device as in D&D where DC is pitted aginst Saving Throws, or a percentage based system (45% likely to effect opponent)? Likewise, will wizards be able to meaningfully increase the potency of their spells, or will they have to accept the harsh reality that their limited quanity of spells will only work 40-60% chance at best?


Um, how are these different? You generate a random number, compare it with another number (save DC or %) and the effect succeeds or fails. In both cases there may be mechanics to pierce resistance. But don't think the devs have weighed in on that bit.

#12
Valorian

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They're looking to have powerful magicians, but have them regain spells gradually instead of forcing you to rest for them.


Because forcing you to wait is better?

It's certainly not. With a resting system I can decide not to rest (if it's even possible in that specific area). With a waiting system... the line becomes much more blurry.

They're forcing you to be judicious instead of cheesy. Resting before every battle to have full nuking capacity is as cheesy as using protection from undead scrolls against kangaxx... like an uber lich wouldn't have a dispell magic spell prepared to deal with other spellcasters.


They're forcing... what? Because waiting in a spot to replenish resources isn't cheesy?

Who said anything about resting before every battle? What makes you think it will be even possible?

And there's nothing cheesy about using a spell; that is in the game precisely for the purpose of being used.

#13
Gfted1

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I dont really get it either. Weve had ~700 posts of reinventing the wheel to prevent people from resting (to recover abilities) when all that needs to be done is nothing. If you dont want to rest to recover your abilities, dont rest to recover your abilities. Its a single player game, let people play it how they want to.

#14
Caerdon

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Outside of vancian systems, the most wizards can hope for is "Stun for 0.089786976 seconds every X seconds" or "Slow for 1.09809 seconds every X seconds".


What kind of reasoning lead you to this conclusion?

  • Potency & Resistance
    How will the effectiveness of spells being determined? Will there be a roll to save type device as in D&D where DC is pitted aginst Saving Throws, or a percentage based system (45% likely to effect opponent)? Likewise, will wizards be able to meaningfully increase the potency of their spells, or will they have to accept the harsh reality that their limited quanity of spells will only work 40-60% chance at best?


I'd like to see a character's defense/dodge/etc skill affect spells thrown at him.

  • Spell Protections & Counterspells
    Perhaps one of the most shining aspects of the spellcasting in the Baldur's Gate series were the myriad of spell protections (Spheres, Shields, Traps, etc.) and their counters (Breach, Spell Penetration, Warding Whip, etc.). Will this degree of depth be present in P:E spellcasting?


I know I'm probably in the minority here, but this is one of the things I hated about spellcasting in BG2. The more you have to waste your spells on dispelling all those protections, the less spells you have left for everything else. It's like a zero-sum game.

#15
Mr. Magniloquent

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  • Potency & Resistance
    How will the effectiveness of spells being determined? Will there be a roll to save type device as in D&D where DC is pitted aginst Saving Throws, or a percentage based system (45% likely to effect opponent)? Likewise, will wizards be able to meaningfully increase the potency of their spells, or will they have to accept the harsh reality that their limited quanity of spells will only work 40-60% chance at best?


Um, how are these different? You generate a random number, compare it with another number (save DC or %) and the effect succeeds or fails. In both cases there may be mechanics to pierce resistance. But don't think the devs have weighed in on that bit.


It was a poorly written question, I do concede that. Better phrased, my concern is that the potency of a Wizard's spells will not scale well. When all of your effectiveness is concentrated within very few exhaustible actions, a Wizard needs reasonable confidence that their spells (when focused) will work 85% of the time. Any ratio approaching less than 4:5 success to failure with a non-spammable casting system becomes a severe liability and restricts the practicality of many spells.

I wish to know what the mechanics for determining this outcome look like, and if it will be possible to build a character so that they have a high certainty that their scant allotment of spells will do more than breeze by. It's a question of quality vs. quanity and how that influences the types of spells available. Quality vs. Quantity. Hold Monster vs. Ice Bolt. D&D 3.0 Edition vs. Diablo.

I wish they would just declare it a vancian system and be done with it, rather than any quasi-cooldown system which will likely ruin and bastardize any alternative. Pathfinder has done an excellent job circumventing the problem of a Wizard firing a crossbow more than spellcasting. That's the same direction they should be looking to for answers.

#16
Cthulchulain

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It was a poorly written question, I do concede that. Better phrased, my concern is that the potency of a Wizard's spells will not scale well. When all of your effectiveness is concentrated within very few exhaustible actions, a Wizard needs reasonable confidence that their spells (when focused) will work 85% of the time. Any ratio approaching less than 4:5 success to failure with a non-spammable casting system becomes a severe liability and restricts the practicality of many spells.

I wish to know what the mechanics for determining this outcome look like, and if it will be possible to build a character so that they have a high certainty that their scant allotment of spells will do more than breeze by. It's a question of quality vs. quanity and how that influences the types of spells available. Quality vs. Quantity. Hold Monster vs. Ice Bolt. D&D 3.0 Edition vs. Diablo.

I wish they would just declare it a vancian system and be done with it, rather than any quasi-cooldown system which will likely ruin and bastardize any alternative. Pathfinder has done an excellent job circumventing the problem of a Wizard firing a crossbow more than spellcasting. That's the same direction they should be looking to for answers.


OK, appreciate your point this time. I had a think, and even the presentation of DC vs %, while arguably equivalent mechanically, emphasises different things. DC's are easier to describe ITO scaling, while % (w/o modifiers) is a bit more transparent as far as knowing how often your spells will work, but less easy to describe circumstantial modifiers on.

Anyhow, guess you really need a dev to answer the details, but I'd be surprised if they're approached in a manner substantially different from D&D, so I don't think your fears of magic being useless in the bulk of situations will be realised -- the occasional monster with heaps of resistance may exist to keep mages on their toes, but everything else will have at most minor reduction and/or saves to reduce the effect. These guys aren't Blizzard, JE Sawyer != Jay Wilson ;)

Don't want to harp on the cooldown vs Vancian (false) dichotomy esp when the details are still murky, but the consensus is that within each encounter it'll basically be Vancian and JES has said that he wants there to be attrition across encounters, so there will be conservation of spells but my bet is on this working without one cast of magic missile losing a slot for the whole day.

#17
Hypevosa

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They're looking to have powerful magicians, but have them regain spells gradually instead of forcing you to rest for them.


Because forcing you to wait is better?

It's certainly not. With a resting system I can decide not to rest (if it's even possible in that specific area). With a waiting system... the line becomes much more blurry.

They're forcing you to be judicious instead of cheesy. Resting before every battle to have full nuking capacity is as cheesy as using protection from undead scrolls against kangaxx... like an uber lich wouldn't have a dispell magic spell prepared to deal with other spellcasters.


They're forcing... what? Because waiting in a spot to replenish resources isn't cheesy?

Who said anything about resting before every battle? What makes you think it will be even possible?

And there's nothing cheesy about using a spell; that is in the game precisely for the purpose of being used.


They're forcing you to carefully consider using spells by not allowing you to rest with high frequency and by making it so spells come back slowly regardless of resting choices.

And the idea that a thousands year old lich would not be prepared for another magic user to come along and try to claim his secrets by simply casting protection from undead, when all that would mean is preparing a few castings of dispell magic or finding a magical means of ignoring it? Gross oversight. Winning that fight by casting protection from undead on everyone is gross oversight.

Edited by Hypevosa, 04 October 2012 - 06:09 PM.


#18
Valorian

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They're looking to have powerful magicians, but have them regain spells gradually instead of forcing you to rest for them.


Because forcing you to wait is better?

It's certainly not. With a resting system I can decide not to rest (if it's even possible in that specific area). With a waiting system... the line becomes much more blurry.

They're forcing you to be judicious instead of cheesy. Resting before every battle to have full nuking capacity is as cheesy as using protection from undead scrolls against kangaxx... like an uber lich wouldn't have a dispell magic spell prepared to deal with other spellcasters.


They're forcing... what? Because waiting in a spot to replenish resources isn't cheesy?

Who said anything about resting before every battle? What makes you think it will be even possible?

And there's nothing cheesy about using a spell; that is in the game precisely for the purpose of being used.


They're forcing you to carefully consider using spells by not allowing you to rest with high frequency and by making it so spells come back slowly regardless of resting choices.

And the idea that a thousands year old lich would not be prepared for another magic user to come along and try to claim his secrets by simply casting protection from undead, when all that would mean is preparing a few castings of dispell magic or finding a magical means of ignoring it? Gross oversight. Winning that fight by casting protection from undead on everyone is gross oversight.



I don't need to carefully consider using spells if all I need to do for them to come back is to quick travel somewhere to fast-forward time, or wait in a spot.

Also, I don't want to have an out of character consideration every time I want to travel or hang out in a place doing nothing in particular: "I want to travel somewhere, but if I travel now it will replenish my spells again, encounters will be much easier and I want a challenge."
With resting there's no such dilemma. You either decide to rest or not (if you can rest at all in that specific area) and it's not tied to travelling or strolling around to enjoy the scenery or reading something from a book you found (because during these actions spells would replenish if they're gonna use this flawed waiting system).


Protection from undead is a very rare and powerful scroll in BG2.
It's not like that's the only way of making Kangaxx a cakewalk, though.

#19
Zeful

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They're forcing you to be judicious instead of cheesy. Resting before every battle to have full nuking capacity is as cheesy as using protection from undead scrolls against kangaxx... like an uber lich wouldn't have a dispell magic spell prepared to deal with other spellcasters.

And there are better systems that can do all of that better without feeling entirely artificial and arbitrary. Like this one I wrote in twenty minutes that also prevents magic spamming in combat, has a form of battle fatigue for mages, and allows high power spellcasters to feel like high power spellcasters.





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