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I remember the thrill of running on low health and spells to the next safehouse, or risking ambushes when I tried to rest in the IE games. However, what else does resting for health/spells add to the game, if players view it as a minor inconvenience that stops them from continuing on?

 

What does it add to the game? The purpose of the mechanic is to provide the party with time to prepare their strategy for area they're entering. Whether it's a rougue/assassin preparing poison, a Cleric communing with his/her god to prepare spells, or a mage preparing his spells and components. The mechanic is meant to model things that logically take a significant amount of time.

 

The CRPG eliminates most of the reasons for resting, any form of alchemy is a good example, because in a CRPG it happens instantaneously in any place, without any preperation. The CRPG eliminates components, preparing a trap is a split second event, weapons/armor never need maintenance.

 

It's not all that dissimiliar a topic from Bethesda's attitude towards CRPG's. Bethesda recently removed stats because they claim they serve no purpose, except Bethesda fails to note that they serve no purpose because Bethesda removed all of the things that stats do. Sure intelligence does nothing but increase Mana, Bethesda doesn't implement any meaningful dialogue system. Player skill replaces everything Strength and Dexterity are meant to do.

 

Sure, Resting just reloads health/spells. That's because CRPG's fail to implement any of the more complicated mechanics involved in an RPG, so is it a huge surprise that Resting has numerous issues when you've removed everything it's meant to do?

 

As far as Player's viewing it as a minor inconvience goes, that's a touchy subject. Today you have a number of "RPG players" who've never actually played an RPG, they believe that CRPG's are equivalent to RPG's because they've literally no experience with RPG's. It's really becoming a major issue, because the purpose of a CRPG is to simulate as best as possible the experience of playing an RPG, but there's now a number of people who define themselves as "RPG players" without ever having played an RPG, who are arguing that the genre should deviate from simulating an RPG just because they've no experience (On many topics).

 

So I pose a different question: Is it better to remove the partially implemented resting mechanic, or is it better to fully implement the mechanic and all of it's supporting systems that works very well in an RPG?

 

I would argue that what we really need is for the genre to advance, for it to more fully implement the RPG experience, and in doing so, introduce more people to the real possiblities an RPG can encompass. There's honestly a large number of people who think an RPG is a game where you talk to someone, and trite romance plots are it's pinnacle. Head over to the Bioware boards and you'll find more than a few people who'll insist that any game where there's dialogue is an RPG.

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D&D actually did this, to an extent, mundane weapons wouldn't work on some enemies. And you had different levels of magical weapons, that acted as a melee weapons ability to overcome certain defenses - as such a +4 magical sword might not work on an opponent, but a +5 magical sword would. So your melee could have issues with such things, much like the magic user.

D&D - and most of the IE games - had ****tons of weapon-immunity, either innate or through spells. ****, even the main character could get permanent immunity to nonmagic weapons, albeit at a point where nonmagic weapons have pretty much ceased to exist.


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I remember the thrill of running on low health and spells to the next safehouse, or risking ambushes when I tried to rest in the IE games. However, what else does resting for health/spells add to the game, if players view it as a minor inconvenience that stops them from continuing on?

 

What does it add to the game? The purpose of the mechanic is to provide the party with time to prepare their strategy for area they're entering. Whether it's a rougue/assassin preparing poison, a Cleric communing with his/her god to prepare spells, or a mage preparing his spells and components. The mechanic is meant to model things that logically take a significant amount of time.

 

The CRPG eliminates most of the reasons for resting, any form of alchemy is a good example, because in a CRPG it happens instantaneously in any place, without any preperation. The CRPG eliminates components, preparing a trap is a split second event, weapons/armor never need maintenance.

Any ideas how to add them back into the context of a CRPG that would improve the experience?


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Any ideas how to add them back into the context of a CRPG that would improve the experience?

 

Tons.

 

Dungeons and Dragons Online has an excellent mechanic for this--you can only rest at special "rest shrines" which are placed at infrequent intervals, and depending on the difficulty setting you chose when you entered the quest, there's a cooldown on the shrine or you may only be able to use it once, period. It doesn't hurt that ALL classes (not just casters) have access to abilities that can only be recharged by using a rest shrine, so deciding whether or not to use a given shrine is not a caster-centric mechanic. There are also a TON of subtleties to the way this works in DDO. Sometimes, when you pass a shrine in a given quest, it's not possible to come back to it. Some you can only get back to if a caster in your party has the Dimension Door spell. (Which is awesome, by the way, it's fantastic to see a computer game get some actual USE out of these kinds of spells.) Any active effects you have up on your character (except some very special "lasting" effects) disappear when you rest--but they don't go away when the person who cast them rests. So you will see casters burning through their remaining spell points at a shrine buffing party members, then rest to recover their SP. This mechanic ALSO means that the game can contain fights where in order to get buffs over the entire party, your party healer or caster might have to burn half their SP bar. Resource management is a very fun and interesting part of DDO. Attrition is a lot of the game, particularly since the way the game is designed you really want to do a quest all in one go--you lose so much experience if you have to leave the quest and go back in that it's better to just start the thing over from scratch.

 

Or, there's the suggestion I made in the Degenerate Rest thread I created. It is possible to have a viable resting/preparing mechanic of some kind without any sort of something-per-rest system, whether it be spells, smite evils, wild shapes, whatever. You can also make this mechanic in such a way that while it requires people to eventually rest, it also discourages them from doing it really often.

 

Gothic had a fantastic rest mechanic based off the fact that it was just REALLY FREAKIN DARK at night and even with a light source you had a good chance of getting lost/running off a cliff/running straight into six wolves which would tear you to pieces. You did your adventuring during the DAY in that game, and you went and found a bed to sleep in after dark. (You had to rest in a bed.) The fact that you got your health back from sleeping was incidental. (Oddly enough, since the NPC's were often using the crafting stations during the day and interfering with you, it was usually more advantageous for you to do your crafting at NIGHT when they were in bed.) They also did a good job of managing the convenience of this because you could just "sleep till dawn" (or sleep till dark, or sleep till noon, or sleep till midnight--there were some things you needed to do at particular times of day). It was pretty much instantaneous, and you didn't have to do any math to figure out how many hours to sleep in order to get up when it was light enough to adventure without missing any of the day. It was about a thousand times better than the day/night/sleep mechanics in, say, Oblivion--for instance, in Gothic you had to actually run everywhere until fairly late in the game. This was actually really fun--the game "world" was very small but also incredibly convoluted so it didn't take long to get anywhere but there was always tons of cool stuff to mess with on the way. The fast travel you got was actual teleport, so it was still the same time of day when you arrived as when you left.

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Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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So I pose a different question: Is it better to remove the partially implemented resting mechanic, or is it better to fully implement the mechanic and all of it's supporting systems that works very well in an RPG?

 

I would argue that what we really need is for the genre to advance, for it to more fully implement the RPG experience, and in doing so, introduce more people to the real possiblities an RPG can encompass.

 

Actually a CRPG working strictly with the movement of time and narrow time constraints would really create a new experience. You would really have to plan your next step, take distances into account, time management would be part of the tactical or even strategic decision. It would change a lot, for example main quest would be more pronounced, the number of side quests would shrink because you would only do the ones that can be done on the side without losing any time. I really would like to play such a game.

 

But in a "normal" CRPG with hundreds of side quests time constraints can get in the way of the player. He isn't any more the one deciding what to do. Consequently this is a touchy subject with many people for or against time contraints and time management. One can argue the good and the bad sides of it, I just don't think it is worth the trouble just to save the Vancian system.

 

You say the mechanic "Vancian" works very well in an RPG. But do modern pen and paper RPGs use the Vancian system? Sure, oldtimer AD&D uses it and it might still be the biggest and best known. But at least the RPG systems I played in the last years (7th sea/Legend of the five Rings, Deadlands/Hell on Earth), and also all the old ones I know or played (Palladium, Midgard, DSA, GURPS) don't use Vancian, all use a mana pool. Is it only luck or the selection of my social group that led me to avoid Vancian in all pen and paper RPGs? Or is Vancian only in a minority of systems and on the way out?

 

When we look at all those pen and paper systems without a memorized spell list, we also see that they always keep mana low so that you can't spam spells, you have to manage your mana pool. A few examples of tactical decisions: You might have the spell to counter a blessing spell of the enemy, but it might cost more mana than the bless. So you have to decide whether to get into a bless/unbless artrition game or bless yourself or cast offensive. You might not counter an impressive guard spell of an enemy mage because that spell cost him most of his mana, so you ignore him and attack other enemies instead. You will have formidable bless or guard spells yourself, but casting them will cost you much of your offensive ability, so you have to guess whether you are safe enough with what your armour gives you or you really need them.

 

Even if my narrow view of the RPG field should be myopic, those non-vancian pen and paper RPGs show at least that mana systems work and work well.

 

PS: Forgot to mention that while all modern RPG system I know don't use memorized spells, they use various methods of replenishing your mana pool, among them resting. So resting itself isn't out, but it is just one of a few possible mechanisms.

Edited by jethro

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Any ideas how to add them back into the context of a CRPG that would improve the experience?

 

If you don't mind, I'll get back to you tomorrow morning on that. It's pretty late here and my brain is starting to go all fuzzy.

 

You say the mechanic "Vancian" works very well in an RPG. But do modern pen and paper RPGs use the Vancian system? Sure, oldtimer AD&D uses it and it might still be the biggest and best known. But at least the RPG systems I played in the last years (7th sea/Legend of the five Rings, Deadlands/Hell on Earth), and also all the old ones I know or played (Palladium, Midgard, DSA, GURPS) don't use Vancian, all use a mana pool. Is it only luck or the selection of my social group that led me to avoid Vancian in all pen and paper RPGs? Or is Vancian only in a minority of systems and on the way out?

 

I should probably preface the following with: I'm not saying Mana-based is bad, doesn't work, or that I don't enjoy games that use it.

 

I would say that Yes, modern PnP RPG's do use it, since 5th edition D&D is reinstating it as the default magic system (With alternate rules if House wants a different system). I would also say that the premium editions of 1st edition, 2nd edition, and 3rd edition are selling incredibly well, with 2nd edition reportedly being the most popular so I think we have yet to see if it's Oldtimer or not since there's a strong possibility that it may be a significant portion of the market that's buying them.

 

Vancian has always been a bit of a divisive issue though, even amongst D&D Players. There's pages of debate on the subject on Wizards forum now, and it's been a front page issue since 5th edition was announced.

 

I doubt it's on it's way out, the system has it's merits that alternative systems are unable to introduce. Like the aforementioned Prismatic Sphere, it's only an issue in a Vancian system due to the strategic nature of spell selection, but becomes trivial in alternative systems because they permit unfettered access to all spells a mage knows. It's that layer of strategy that'll insure that Vancian remains relevant indefinitely, as it's something that's lost with alternative systems. Alternative systems, of course, will remain equally relevant because they offer things the Vancian system is unable to offer.

 

When we look at all those pen and paper systems without a memorized spell list, we also see that they always keep mana low so that you can't spam spells, you have to manage your mana pool. A few examples of tactical decisions: You might have the spell to counter a blessing spell of the enemy, but it might cost more mana than the bless. So you have to decide whether to get into a bless/unbless artrition game or bless yourself or cast offensive. You might not counter an impressive guard spell of an enemy mage because that spell cost him most of his mana, so you ignore him and attack other enemies instead. You will have formidable bless or guard spells yourself, but casting them will cost you much of your offensive ability, so you have to guess whether you are safe enough with what your armour gives you or you really need them.

 

That's one of the problems with Mana based systems, it becomes illogical at times just like Vancian. Unbless costs significantly more than Bless for purely mechanical reasons to try to achieve some of the tactical nature of the Vancian system. When you stop to think about it, it's really no more logical than spells disappearing from the mages mind. Why does it require so much more "Energy" to undo a spell than to do it? If I already know how to do the spell, shouldn't I be able to undo it with equal ease?

 

I'm not saying it's bad, I'm just saying that Mana based systems have their faults too.

 

Even if my narrow view of the RPG field should be myopic, those non-vancian pen and paper RPGs show at least that mana systems work and work well.

 

I can't argue with that. The best non-D&D CRPG's I've seen have all used mana based systems, some of them with facets I really wish would be used and expanded on today (The Bard's Tale mage progression system is quite unique and compelling, Ultima had a very interesting component and "verbal" system)

 

PS: Forgot to mention that while all modern RPG system I know don't use memorized spells, they use various methods of replenishing your mana pool, among them resting. So resting itself isn't out, but it is just one of a few possible mechanisms.

 

I just wish PE would try to handle the issue better. They've identified that Resting is an issue in CRPG's, but instead of trying to fix Resting, they're designing around minimizing it. Which IMO is a very Bethesda approach, system isn't performing significant function, don't try to improve system, remove it.

 

Tomorrow I'll post my thoughts on how Resting could be improved instead of removed, from a magic-system neutral point-of-view, since honestly I believe both have merits and weaknesses.

Edited by Gatt9

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That's one of the problems with Mana based systems, it becomes illogical at times just like Vancian. Unbless costs significantly more than Bless for purely mechanical reasons to try to achieve some of the tactical nature of the Vancian system. When you stop to think about it, it's really no more logical than spells disappearing from the mages mind. Why does it require so much more "Energy" to undo a spell than to do it? If I already know how to do the spell, shouldn't I be able to undo it with equal ease?

 

I would postulate that it is nearly impossible to design a magic system for a fantasy CRPG that is logical (ok, we could but then it would be pretty unusable in CRPGs. There is no way you can create something like fireballs but not kill any person immediately by heating up his heart by a few degrees). We already subscribed to the dispension of disbelief, so it doesn't disturb me a bit.

 

I just wish PE would try to handle the issue better. They've identified that Resting is an issue in CRPG's, but instead of trying to fix Resting, they're designing around minimizing it. Which IMO is a very Bethesda approach, system isn't performing significant function, don't try to improve system, remove it.

 

Tomorrow I'll post my thoughts on how Resting could be improved instead of removed, from a magic-system neutral point-of-view, since honestly I believe both have merits and weaknesses.

 

Did Obsidian already give a definite statement about how it will work in PE? I thought they just said that they weren't happy with resting as in AD&D and wanted to try something different. How different it eventually will be is still a lot of play testing away.

 

Anyway, while resting is somewhat broken in CRPGs it still is the spell limiting mechanism of choice in most RPGs and CRPGs. While I can think of other mechanisms that should work there is no practical proof. Unlike memorization which is a relict best forgotten and where alternatives (like mana) have a proven track record.

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Irreversible upgrades.

 

If I somehow upgrade my fireball to make it bigger, I should still be able to cast the smaller version when I want to.

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God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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Irreversible upgrades.

 

If I somehow upgrade my fireball to make it bigger, I should still be able to cast the smaller version when I want to.

 

Oo, that's a good one.


Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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I don't want to see:

- Instant kills.

- 10 second protection spells. Or 30 second that doesn't matter.

- Useless spells, obviously.


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Only two things come to mind immediately regarding magic mechanics that annoyed me altho I'm sure there must be some more...

 

1) I hated the whole buff/debuff sequence that was mandantory fare for every single mage battle in BG2 - it just semed to be so contrived as a manner of extending the battle time and made memorizing your own buffs and debuffs mandantory as well so that in the end mages became carbon copies of one another as magical mystical buff buff debuff bots.

 

2) Overbearing spell effects - I'm looking at you giant color coded shimmering shiny bubble forming around each adventurer with any sort of simple buff cast on them.

 

Well maybe three as I am not too keen on sequencers either - one spell at a time boys one spell at a time - this magic is hard to do even when you've studied long and hard all these years and it's not like loading up a submachine gun and just pulling the trigger - or at least it shouldn't be (IMNSHO).

 

Disclaimer: haven't actually read the thread at this point just responding to the OP. :disguise:

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Buffing before fights is the big one as is limited number of spells. Buffing is boring, generally is only properly viable before fights and encourages meta-gaming. Limited numbers of spells has advantages such as increased use of strategy, but again relies heavily on meta-gaming and knowing what you're going to have to face to do right, or else just suffer resting abuse. It also imbalances the classes and makes game balance more difficult to implement.

 

The way to solve buffing would be persistent abilities. Sacrificing the ability to cast active spells for passive benefits allows you to get involved straight away and provides trade-offs and tactical options. Many spells could be cast as persistent spells until deactivated manually and not just buffs. One of your fighters is bottling the enemy up and getting pounded, cast Otiluke's Resilient Sphere as a persistent giving him time to recover his stamina and then let him back into the fight. You can also include situations in the game where you use non combat persistent abilities to avoid combat and screw up and so can't immediately bring your entire fighting power to bear.

 

The problem with repeatable spells is you just repeat your most powerful spells every fight which gets pretty boring. One way to get around this is for all spells to draw a certain amount out of your mana pool but that the more of your mana pool you use up the longer it takes to recover. This means that higher level spells will be used less as they are either gambles on a quick and decisive victory or a desperation play. Lower level spells are used more often as the safer choice outside of those two extremes and can be tactically used to win through a battle of attrition.

Edited by Radwulf
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I like memorization (or a similar mechanic) because it adds a tactical layer.

 

Imagine you have to face a vampire. And because you took the time to talk to npcs you also learn that she often summons fire elementals.

Your mage character has great fire spells, which wont work against the elementals, as well as great ice spells, which have reduced or no effect on the undead, as well as buffs that protect the party from vampiric charming and fear type magic. BUT, the mage can only take 2 out of the 3 of those. So, do they go for the raw damage? Do they focus on the elementals and buff the warrior who will fight the vamp?

 

I enjoy this type of pre-fight planning (coupled with an ironman type mode where you cant just reload and change your mem if you got it wrong).

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Yep, buff spells are boring. So instead of generally helpful buffs each buff spell should only have a very narrow application.

 

* A protection spell against blunt damage, another for piercing damage another for fire damage... No protection spell against any damage. No stoneskin (except if the duration is really short)

 

* An attack buff against elementals, another against orcs... No attack buff against everyone.

 

Why not just limit the duration instead? Because if the duration is short you will be casting it before every fight (if low level enough to not hurt your mana pool) -> boring.

Edited by jethro

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I absolutely hate the vancian memorizing system, it may work great on pen&paper, but on computers it's just ridiculous and unnecessary.

 

Other problems with most magic systems is the way summoned monsters are handled; having a limitation of 1 monster per mage, or just having plain weak and useless summons is a very common sin. There's nothing quite like the feeling one had with a Diablo 2 necromancer that had multiple skeletons to do his bidding.


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I think what is ridiculous is taking a pen and paper system and porting it over without examining the strengths and weaknesses of the medium.

For pen and paper, you are right, memorization systems are great because it requires minor amounts of work for the people playing the game.

 

What I am hoping for is that extra tactical layer. I want to make decisions outside of battle, based on intelligence, that affect the coming battle and be rewarded for good choices and punished for bad ones.

 

Example (bear with me, I am playing a lot of xcom):

Council missions have you squaring off against Thin Men. Thin Men spit poison. Titan Armour makes you immune to poison. In my council missions I put my psy-assault character in a suit of titan armour (vs psy-armour) because it is situationally appropriate. The reward being that I never get poison spammed by my foes and it is ok to kill a thin man in a tile directly next to my character (run and gun assault type).

 

Take that example and translate it to a fantasy rpg and what are the decisions you MUST make before a fight and not during? Memorization is the obvious one. If your warrior has a flaming sword and a flaming club they can switch between them based on skeletons vs zombies (resistance to edge vs blunt) during the battle. But if you are going into a graveyard against the undead and you take all charming/fear based magic (classically weak vs the undead) you suffer.

 

That doesnt mean, however, that the system has to be exactly like DnD.

You could have a system where your character has a certain number of spell slots and a certain amount of mana. So of their 12 spells they can memorize only 6 and based on their mana pool they can cast those 6 X number of times. Then as you level up you can make meaningful choices like the ability to memorize another spell OR have more mana. Etc.

 

But dont take away the tactical layer outside of combat that affects combat. It is one of the things that makes an RPG great. Especially if the story is designed in a way that players who take the time to talk to npcs, read the lore books, explore their environment gain intelligence on their foes and then make good decisions.

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Can we program a buff sequence (drag/drop spells into a queue and "call" the queue) if it's a common thing, like in BG2?


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Vancian magic and pretty much all other kinds of fast-and-flashy spell casting systems. I especially despise "mana pools".

 

I'd really love to see a CRPG with a well-implemented hermetic magic system, but that's probably never going to happen. I guess that kind of thing is better suited for PnP.

Ultima VII and IIX probably had the best magic systems of any CRPGs I've ever played (even if that was pretty much the only thing that was good about IIX). Especially the ritual magic system.

It may sound like a hassle, but I'd really love it if, in P.E., you had to gather reagents and place them on an altar or a hand-drawn magical sigil, light candles, and then make a blood sacrifice in order to cast truly powerful spells.

Edited by Agelastos

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I remember having to collect ingredients to make my magical staff in Quest for Glory III, and then taking it back to Kreesha to perform the ritual that would create it. She even called on you to cast your spells at the staff to seal them into it, during the ritual, fun stuff, despite what happened to it after all my hard work.


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1. Overuse of buffs and persistent buffs to decide battles. Every rpg I played these two are and overpowered and plain boring.

 

2. Spells that work for just about every opponent. Game is boring when you constantly casting the same 1-3 spells. fireball spell over and over again because it works on everybody but the one fire elemental in the game lol. Much more fun in games where wizard has to use a large variety of magicks. Even basic enemies have strong resistant types to certain elements or magic types.

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Just building on my previous post regarding more powerful spells requiring greater mana and the more mana used slowing recovery; this idea isn't fully incompatible with a memorised spell approach. Certain types of spells could be prepared beforehand (presumably writing glyphs or somesuch to help focus the power) which could change the effects of certain spells. The obvious one would be to reduce mana use, but it could also mean increased damage or other similar effects quite similar to how I've heard Diablo 3's rune system works. This would reward preparation for specific engagements whilst also granting access to your whole spellbook for one off requirements that would otherwise waste preparation slots, require a rest or use items; and generally reduce tedium. The disadvantages for combat though would be significant compared to a well planned selection, especially on higher level difficulties.

 

In terms of collecting ingredients for spells I can't imagine that would be practical for everyday spellcasting but it does seem like a good idea for some optional plot related quests to make them easier. The other option of course is to create high powered one off consumables via arcane crafting.

 

They also need a decent counterspell system. Baldur's Gate 2 had an awesome system but most games barely seem to bother. Even in BG there were significant issues. If Obsidian are going to have a good magic and counter system they need the feedback systems to make it usable. I don't want to have to trawl through text because I can't tell what protections I need to strip.

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One problem in IE games that works counter to a "gather intelligence, pick spells based on that information" mechanic is the implicit tie between resting and memorization of spells. It is impossible to come to an area, scout (potentially using a spell like Invisibility), then pick the right spells without having to fully rest again.

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I like idea of ingrediences AND cast times. I can imagine that when caster grows in levels he should not spend too much ingerdients/non on low level spells and can cast them almost instantly, but then when it comes to casting finger of death user have to stand still, read from the spell book mumbling dark rituals and using rare ingredients for such valuable spell and your party should protect that wizard for that time or he will have to start over if he is interupted. Of course, high level spells should have cooldown to protect from spamming them infinetly. This could be really great as different spells would require different ingredients. I quite like casting system in Ultima Online. There should be magic shop selling ingredients but the most valuable should be spare and you should probably go hunting these things. Need toad eyes? swap are it is. Need sulphur? lets go party to volcano. This can even 'force' user to not spend valuable ingredients on pathetic foes and resting after each fight

 

I agree of course that spell times should be increased depending on the difficulty of the spell. While pure magic users should be frail, let's not forget that they can study protection spells to counter balance their lack of being able to wear any kind of heavy armor. This particular breed of mage should have the largest variety of spells, but would require players to experiement with components to create recipes. This would offer a really diverse dynamic to the game, making everyone's experience very different and unique.

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As long as I can get haste and invisibility, I'm good.

 

Maybe a few extra utility spells, like mud to water or something, but those have more of a niche use.

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There's a guy who runs an automotive repair shop down the street. He's a Wizard, and he's always cantrip-ing his tools through the air, and making people's cars glow. He's pretty annoying.

 

Oh... oh GAME mechanics? Sorry.

 

I'm definitely on board against the redundant spells. You'd think that if a child can punch something and generate a little force, and a large man can punch something and generate more force (with the same effect), then magic would sort of work the same way, however you decide it actually generates the force in the first place. Otherwise everyone would be equally as strong in magic. So, it just doesn't seem to make much sense to need a different spell just to make a faster, larger fireball.

 

OR, take what Skyrim did. You've got Ice Spike that hurls an ice spike (go figure) at stuff, for 25 base damage. Want to do more damage than that? Well, you progress a little, and CONGRATULATIONS! You now get ICE STORM! But I don't want to spend more mana to be able to affect more targets every time. I just want to icily spike people, but harder! Nope, too bad, it's the AOE ice storm spell, or the wussier ice spike spell.

 

They sort of half-grazed the issue of spell redundancy, while, at the same time, creating the new issue of spell type restriction. "Want to do more damage? You're going to have to do it to a 1,000 square-foot area, because there's no possible way to more powerfully affect just a single spot using a power which was literally created by human imagination. u_u"

 

So, yeah, I definitely want to see my Mage's spells (and really, this goes for other classes' ability systems, as well) develop alongside my Mage's level of magical ability. Maybe they gain effects as you go (knockback, burning, etc.), and the radii on fireballs and other such AOE effects increase, etc. I'd really love to see actual utility changes, though. The trend in games seems to be that each spell can only do one thing. Oh, it's a fireball? Then it can ignite/burn things. What? NO it cannot knock people down! It already burns things! You need some other knockdown spell for another spell effect!

 

I'd love some manner of spell customization as you level/progress. KIND of like the runes in Diablo 3 (but, you know, without the rest of Diablo 3.) The idea is good there, even if all the runes aren't... Some of the D&D spells kinda did this well, I suppose. Like magic missile gaining missiles every other level. Of course, if the only effect of the spell is damage, then the additional missiles could have been just an increase in damage, only now the spell has a more visually interesting animation. I'd like that depth of choice, though. Perhaps, for the sake of example, the missiles could gain a chance to daze your opponent. Well, when you level up, you could choose to add missiles, OR you could choose to make the single missile larger and more damaging, or perhaps you could add a different effect such as heavy armor reduction or piercing (the missile will damage anything else in its path whilst traveling to its target). Etc.

 

Such things give the player different ways of using spells, rather than simply having every spell effect/damage tier basically be divided into a different spell.

 

Something should definitely be done about buffs, too. The "I obviously want all the buffs all the time, because they just boost numbers" thing is a little silly. I mean... would you have a cooldown on plate armor? "This gives my warrior +5 AC, but it keeps de-equipping every 20 seconds, and I have to go back in and equip it." Again, I think spell effects here would be better than simple number changes; giving the character some effect or status that they didn't already have, rather than simply boosting things.

 

An example would be the common Barkskin-type spell. Make it turn their skin to wood, changing how things affect them. The damage from piercing arrows might not be stopped much, but slashing blades might get stuck in the thick bark. Also, fire would most likely do MORE damage, as the character's skin would now be MORE flammable, etc. As opposed to simply "You look like a tree, but really it's like you just gained a breastplate temporarily."

  • Like 2

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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