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How do people feel about the fact the game has stuck to a vancian magic system?

 

I know personally I played most of the Infinity Engine games from when Baldur's Gate came out onwards, and the vancian magic that is so central to the D&D ruleset always bugged me to no end. It just seemed to always result in resting for no other reason than to replenish spells, and for mages to end up suddenly and pointlessly useless until your next rest.

 

More importantly, a vancian system just doesn't sit well with me as a concept. Just personal preference I guess.

 

I would have much preferred spells to use endurance or maybe a magic point pool that spills over to endurance if it's exceeded.

 

How do other people feel about this fairly central design decision, given that we have let go of the D&D ruleset?

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It was discussed a lot during the early days just after the Kickstarter.  It seemed like there was a vocal group that clearly wanted to keep the Vancian system as they felt it essential to the old style of games.  I was unsure either way, on the one I was never a fan of the 'Memorise spells!" system and it always felt artificial to me, on the other a mana system would make it harder to balance for being able to find and add new spells instead of being abilities you choose like the Cipher does at level up, if you could find a spell and just add it into your system and cast it as many times as you have mana points then it means either you become overpowered or the spells have to be fairly weak.  I think the grimoire system works well, it at least gives a decent explanation as to how it works, doesn't require you to choose the number of times you want to cast a spell each day (you choose a selection of spells as a wizard but you can spam them as many times as you have the level), and still lets you learn new spells. 

 

Anyway, that's just my opinion, take it for what you will.

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First time I've ever heard the term "Vancian" magic system... Anyway, my 2 cents:

 

Yes, all the sleeping just to replenish spells isn't ideal. When I played an all-fighter party, it felt really smooth because I barely had to sleep at all.  

 

But what's the alternative? An MP magic system? You still have to sleep to recover MP.

 

I think the problem (if there is one) is not the system, but the lack of "utility" spells. Every spell is just another way to kill something, which IMHO isn't very interesting. I would like wizards to have some other tricks up their sleeves (like in the ultima series).

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There is nothing to let go. This system promotes different kind of gameplay. You might rest a lot, but I push on and use my available spells smartly. 

 

I hate systems that don't force me to conserve my resources. Using mana points or spell points that can only replenish when resting can also work that that usually causes design and balance problems where people spend them all on stronger spells and run out of points for any kind of spells faster while also making encounters easier due to having access to more stronger spells. In D&D Psionics use mana points and they always cause balance problems. 

Edited by archangel979
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I don't mind resource based systems, but they seem harder to balance. PoE tried to balance resource with encounter based, and kinda failed to do either right. Prefer if it just chose one and stuck with it for PoE 2. (Of which encounter based would be a better choice, just for popularity sake. Or resource based with no actual limitations on resource, I suppose)

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First time I've ever heard the term "Vancian" magic system...

I need reminding sometimes that I am so geeky that a lot of the stuff I talk about and take for granted is actually, well... :disguise:

 

Vancian refers to the system of magic apparently used in books by Jack Vance called the Dying Earth books.  It's been used in D&D since the early days and is pretty much synomynous with it now, and goes to show the 'standard fantasy world' as created by D&D isn't a 'Tolkien' world but pretty much ripped off from everywhere.  According to one source I read there is no proof they deliberately based it on Jack Vance's books, but, well, in my book "If it smells like a pig, tastes like bacon, and squeals like a pig when I molest it then it's a pig!" :biggrin:

 

TV Tropes actually has a pretty good explanation of it, but essential Vancian magic systems are "fire and forget".

 

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VancianMagic

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mmm, I don't mind as long as whatever system the devs choose is done well. Problem is that I think they had to go this route. There is a loud and vocal minority group who reckon the game has strayed from the ie template too much as is. There would be hair pulling, chest beating and wailing on a mass scale if Obs had made much more changes to what some people regard as sacred and the pinnacle of game developement:)

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It didn't stick to a Vancian magic system for even a single class, so I don't really know how to answer the question. Wizards definitely take inspiration from Vancian magic, but only indirectly, as the immediate precedent for PoE's wizard is D&D3E's Spirit Shaman. And that's 1/11 classes - none of the others are even vaguely Vancian.

 

Now, if I'm right in thinking that the OP is actually asking how people feel about resting to replenish spells, then I am somewhat ambivalent. The spell-levels thing doesn't really come into it, since most MP-based systems accomplish exactly the same thing - so really, it just leads to another question about per-encounter spells. And should PoE have been mostly per-encounter? Yes, yes it should have been. Cipher and monk are a lot more interesting than the other classes for a reason.

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It didn't stick to a Vancian magic system for even a single class, so I don't really know how to answer the question. Wizards definitely take inspiration from Vancian magic, but only indirectly, as the immediate precedent for PoE's wizard is D&D3E's Spirit Shaman. And that's 1/11 classes - none of the others are even vaguely Vancian.

 

Now, if I'm right in thinking that the OP is actually asking how people feel about resting to replenish spells, then I am somewhat ambivalent. The spell-levels thing doesn't really come into it, since most MP-based systems accomplish exactly the same thing - so really, it just leads to another question about per-encounter spells. And should PoE have been mostly per-encounter? Yes, yes it should have been. Cipher and monk are a lot more interesting than the other classes for a reason.

Well it is more or less using Vancian magic from D&D 5e 

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I generally like mana-based systems over vancian, but I believe they pulled it out very well in Pillars. In other DnD games the magic system was one of the worst parts for me. You had to rest after every fight if you wanted to use your spells in each one, which I did, otherwise why have spellcasters along? But in Pillars they used the per encounter system that works very well. Makes your spellcasters useful in every combat and makes you think when to use the most powerful spells because you have limited rest supplies. It adds to the immersion too.

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In Jack Vance's great Dying Earth series, casters put spells in slots and would forget them once cast.  D&D creator Gary Gygax used this as inspiration when writing (A)D&D and this "Vancian" system was later used in Infinity Engine games like Baldur's Gate.

 

5th edition scrapped the idea of putting spells in slots and replaced it with one in which you choose a subset of spells at the start of each day and can spontaneously cast any of them until your daily spell slots are gone.  In essence everyone casts as a 3rd edition sorcerer except that, unlike the sorcerer, you can completely change your spells known every day.  (This is similar to PoE's wizard except he has the additional flexibility of being able to swap spellbooks without resting.)

 

Certainly 5th edition is a distant relative of Vancian casting in that both systems require you to expend resources which can only be regained by resting.  But it's only a distant relative.   

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In Jack Vance's great Dying Earth series, casters put spells in slots and would forget them once cast.  D&D creator Gary Gygax used this as inspiration when writing (A)D&D and this "Vancian" system was later used in Infinity Engine games like Baldur's Gate.

 

5th edition scrapped the idea of putting spells in slots and replaced it with one in which you choose a subset of spells at the start of each day and can spontaneously cast any of them until your daily spell slots are gone.  In essence everyone casts as a 3rd edition sorcerer except that, unlike the sorcerer, you can completely change your spells known every day.  (This is similar to PoE's wizard except he has the additional flexibility of being able to swap spellbooks without resting.)

 

Certainly 5th edition is a distant relative of Vancian casting in that both systems require you to expend resources which can only be regained by resting.  But it's only a distant relative.   

Not that distant. Only real difference is that spell slots are flexible. You fill them with X spells and use up very limited (mental) energy to cast those slots. 

Yes it is a mix of wizard and sorcerer but it works well and feels very similar to older D&D, certainly more than 4e did. 

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I brutally hate mana magic system in games, not because of mana itself, but because of big problems with balancing. In most games I played with mana spell system my character eventually got to the point when mana pool become too large to be considered or gets crazy regen speed, so it basically comes down to "spam most powerfull spell" if it isn't cooldown restricted, and if it is, than spam next most powerfull spell and so on... Magic system based on pure cooldowns is even more ridiculous and imbalanced IMO no mater the genre. 

 

This Vancian magic system is best possible solution to:

1. Diversify casting with different spells which is great for gameplay.

2. Make magic actually powerfull by pulling hard restrictions (like 1-2 casts per rest)

3. Make player to think and consider if he may use spell now or save for later, thinking and considering is always fun.

 

PoE resting system isn't perfect, but it's close to it. I bet with few tweaks (presumably in PoE2) devs will get this system on. Considering resting only to recharge spells, well, it's not like that for me, at least not on higher difficulties. Fighters often get worn out faster than mages fire all their spells, so resting is kinda balanced for me. Then still, if no more spells left, there are still pretty usefull per-fight abilities and presumably you won't waste too much per-rest spells (if any) on generic trashmobs.

 

Hope more games would utilize this Vancian magic system, making magic truly badass, not like non-stop recasts of 1-2 most usefull spells =/

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It didn't stick to a Vancian magic system for even a single class, so I don't really know how to answer the question. Wizards definitely take inspiration from Vancian magic, but only indirectly, as the immediate precedent for PoE's wizard is D&D3E's Spirit Shaman. And that's 1/11 classes - none of the others are even vaguely Vancian.

 

Now, if I'm right in thinking that the OP is actually asking how people feel about resting to replenish spells, then I am somewhat ambivalent. The spell-levels thing doesn't really come into it, since most MP-based systems accomplish exactly the same thing - so really, it just leads to another question about per-encounter spells. And should PoE have been mostly per-encounter? Yes, yes it should have been. Cipher and monk are a lot more interesting than the other classes for a reason.

Well it is more or less using Vancian magic from D&D 5e 

 

That's not actually Vancian magic, though.

If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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It didn't stick to a Vancian magic system for even a single class, so I don't really know how to answer the question. Wizards definitely take inspiration from Vancian magic, but only indirectly, as the immediate precedent for PoE's wizard is D&D3E's Spirit Shaman. And that's 1/11 classes - none of the others are even vaguely Vancian.

 

Now, if I'm right in thinking that the OP is actually asking how people feel about resting to replenish spells, then I am somewhat ambivalent. The spell-levels thing doesn't really come into it, since most MP-based systems accomplish exactly the same thing - so really, it just leads to another question about per-encounter spells. And should PoE have been mostly per-encounter? Yes, yes it should have been. Cipher and monk are a lot more interesting than the other classes for a reason.

Well it is more or less using Vancian magic from D&D 5e 

 

That's not actually Vancian magic, though.

 

It is close enough to feel pretty similar during the game. 

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It's not really Vancian though.

 

In Vancian magic, spells are actual discrete entities captured in the magician's mind, and released when casting the spell. AD&D magic is true Vancian magic. D&D broke with this with the sorcerer and bard (and, later, other classes) in 3e, which IMO do not fit the metaphysics of the world at all.

 

Pillars magic isn't Vancian since wizards can cast any spell from their grimoire, up to their limit. It's just a system with an arbitrary per-rest cap on casting.

 

How I feel about it? Aesthetically, I prefer either proper Vancian casting, or casting based on a resource (mana etc). I don't think Pillars would've been any worse if it had limited casting by mana which is replenished on rest, rather than hard per-rest-per-level limits, and it would've made more metaphysical sense. I'm not hugely bothered by it though as the Pillars system is almost standard in fantasy RPG's these days, including D&D, despite the overall inelegance of it.

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Yes it is a mix of wizard and sorcerer but it works well and feels very similar to older D&D, certainly more than 4e did. 

No argument here, and I actually like the departures 5e made from traditional Vancian casting.  Having to fill each individual slot with a specific spell ahead of time, like you had to do in AD&D and Baldur's Gate, is just too cumbersome.  I understand the argument that the traditional Vancian system promotes strategic thinking, but suspect it too often promotes metagaming instead (i.e. looking at guides to see what is coming). 

 

Giving a fixed but reasonably large number of spells in your repertoire, as 5e does, is a nice compromise between Vancian and mana-based casting, in my view at least.

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It's not really Vancian though.

 

In Vancian magic, spells are actual discrete entities captured in the magician's mind, and released when casting the spell. AD&D magic is true Vancian magic. D&D broke with this with the sorcerer and bard (and, later, other classes) in 3e, which IMO do not fit the metaphysics of the world at all.

 

Pillars magic isn't Vancian since wizards can cast any spell from their grimoire, up to their limit. It's just a system with an arbitrary per-rest cap on casting.

 

Just so.

 

Vancian magic was based on the notion that the heavy lifting of a spell - the calculations and mental work that magic actually uses - are much too complicated to do on the fly. As a result, spellcasters in AD&D learned to hold a spell in their brain as something in the space between "captured mental image of a spell" and "charged spell held inside the cranium for later release." Mages would put their spells together each day by working through the formulas in their spellbook, while priests would petition a god to place the spell in their memory via divine inspiration. In either case, once a spell was cast, it was forgotten and needed to be replaced in the caster's mind.

 

This is not what PoE's casters do. Wizards cast spells out of whatever book they have immediately in their hand. Priests just know all of their spells, period. That's not Vancian.

If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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Wait a second. Some spells in PoE can only be used "per rest" and others "per combat." Wouldn't that imply that  once a spell is cast, it was forgotten and needed to be replaced in the casters mind? Before the next battle and after a full rest?

 

I've played plenty of D&D games and even the dreaded table-top, and if memory serves, all that is needed to "put the spell back in the casters mind" is clicking on a few icons or simply declaring it out loud followed by a dice roll.

Edited by Zenbane
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Even Wizard's doesen't like their old magic system, especially implemented in video games. Proof is they licensed Sword Coast Legends which has only cooldowns ;P

 

I don't know if SCL reflects anything, since it was evidently a trashy B-grade game trying to cash in on other games. But in any case, cooldowns are probably the worst option out there: unlike per-rest/per-encs, cooldowns just encourage a mindless spammy 'tactic' where you just fire everything that is ready, and then you run around waiting for the cooldown on the next thing. If abilities tend to have short cooldown cycles you just play like a stimulus-response monkey, pressing the hotkeys when you see the cooldown timer fill; if abilities have longer (e.g. 180 seconds) cycles, they are basically per-encs anyway, with the added silliness of waiting around in-between fights for cooldown resets, using them basically as per-encs, etc. 

 

I think POE trying to combine per-enc and per-rest is nice, as it conserves some longer-term resource management aspect, but the balance between the various abilities needs a lot of tricky rethinking.

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