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Let's talk: Vancian systems

magic vancian discussion

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#1
hrwd

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After playing through Pillars, my opinion on standard Vancian casters sorta changed: the basic impression remained the same, but the usefulness of them did shine through. I am still not impressed by a Priest(just take a Paladin...? Seems more useful), but the other two are just fantastic. So where is the problem? Chanters / Ciphers / Monks etc. Per encounter resource builders as opposed to standard Vancian casters. This is the part of impression that remained the same. Let me elaborate:

 

I feel that Vancian casting systems(Druid etc) should exist only in Vancian settings. What are those settings? Those are settings that allow you to rest whenever, wherever as long as there are no enemies nearby(think BG, NWN etc). This is important because of one thing I'll mention here. In semi Vancian settings(say Pillars), you have TWO LAYERS to spellcasting: STRATEGIC(long term resource management) and TACTICAL(what to use, when to use etc...short term in battle decisions) layers. Strategic layer exists because you can't just rest whenever / wherever(camping supplies). This part of equation is completely VOID / "LACKING" in a standard Vancian setting. Thus you have only one layer to it that is often very fun: TACTICAL. Thusly, you can freely buff your party, debuff enemies, fling fireballs etc as you wish.You CAN'T do that in Pillars(unless Cipher, Chanter etc). And this is one of those things that, rightfully if you ask me(though I do understand why it is in there: kickstarter backers requested it), infuriated a lot of players: even with AI, you can't use "per Rest" abilities as you would in, say, BG II or NWN.

 

Then I saw the Gamescom Tyranny video and I noticed there are no Chanters / Ciphers etc. Only spellcasters(Entropy / Frost etc). This made me think: will Obsidian make the right choice and abandon Vancian casting for good? I mean, it's not like Obsidian has ANY links with DnD anymore, thusly they can FREELY ADAPT the rules(think of Homebrewed Warhammer Fantasy 9ed rules or the difference yet eerie similarity between WHFB and Warmachine). And why would they use Vancian rules in a system that actively suppresses it?

 

edit: I agree that adding in a strategic layer is ok as opposed to simply spamming(basically) willy nilly, but this way does not work imo.

 

What do you think? Should Vancian spellcasting remain a part of future Obsidian RPGs or should they adapt Cipher etc mechanics and go full tactical mode? Is Vancian spellcasting antiquated?


Edited by hrwd, 21 August 2016 - 03:48 AM.


#2
anameforobsidian

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Here's a couple of counter arguments.

  • Strategic layer is not lacking in most standard Vancian setting.  Sometimes games cut off resting in certain points.  Other times they mob you with random encounters to interrupt your rest.  Just because you can break through that by repeatedly pressing the rest until the random encounters go away does not mean you're playing as intended.  And PnP DMs just plain don't allow CRPG style fight, fight, nap play.
  • Ciphers and chanters are limited in different ways.  At mid levels, most random trash fights are over before you build up resources for their most powerful abilities.  
  • Not using Dragon Breath or Maximized Missile Swarm every fight is a good thing.  Fights should vary in scale in both mechanics and narrative.  Encouraging players to use their most powerful abilities in every fight leads to lack of tactical variance, which leads to boredom.  Vancian systems shine when characters are half out of spells and have to start scrimping.
  • Removing Vancian spell-casting is not the right choice or the wrong choice.  It's just a design decision.
  • Why would they dramatically rework a system that has evolved quite well over several years?  Most players haven't even had the chance to see the difference between release and patch 3.0.  
  • Furthermore, the resources spent to rework a system are not infinite.  The time spent reworking and rebalancing the system could be much better spent either adding additional classes or bringing in multiclassing.  Multiclassing is one of those things repeatedly mentioned across several sites.
  • If Vancian casting were removed, the classes would need to find a new way to differentiate from other classes.  One of the things Pillars does very well is make every class feel unique without a huge power gradient.  
  • There's a reason other classes  have daily's too.  They work really well at changing the scale of the fight, and let a character shine under a different set of circumstances.
  • Finally, quite a few players like it.  

 

That's a whole long list of reasons why it shouldn't be changed.  But here's the real problem, the benefits you give for changing it are pretty weak.  Basically, they're getting to unload every spell, every fight.  You can already do that in Pillars if you put it on one of the modes with unlimited camping supplies.


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#3
Loren Tyr

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I don't hope they go as far as Tyranny for PoE2 or other future games, but that is mostly because apparently there you have no classes at all. But I do think the whole Vancian thing (and to some extent the "per rest" thing in general) is due for retirement. In part this is due to the issue of balancing. It is usually easy and cheap to rest, there isn't inherently much incentive to just unload all your spells in a big encounter and rest right after, making the Vancian casters generally more powerful than other classes. This used to work fine in the pen and paper days when there was a DM to keep things in check, but it never really translated well to cRPG. I'd much prefer they innovate and shift all Vancian casters to a resource-per-encounter system of their own; there was an extended discussion on this as well in another thread where there wa a variety of ideas on how to do that already, there is certainly enough design space for this.

 

The other part of it is indeed the strategic element of it. In itself this can be a fun aspect as well, and the health system, other per rest abilities and consumables to some degree, are a factor in this as well. But the problem in PoE is that the game doesn't really reward you for it. Because

 

  • Not using Dragon Breath or Maximized Missile Swarm every fight is a good thing.  Fights should vary in scale in both mechanics and narrative.  Encouraging players to use their most powerful abilities in every fight leads to lack of tactical variance, which leads to boredom.  Vancian systems shine when characters are half out of spells and have to start scrimping.

 

this doesn't really apply. As a rule you don't *have* to start scrimping at all, you can just rest. Even in large dungeons or otherwise far removed from civilisation, it's at best an annoyance tax (having to go back to an inn to get some rest and new camping supplies). 

 

So yeah, I'd agree that the Vancian/per rest thing should either be dropped altogether or significantly reworked. Make resting less of a binary thing, make it more of a genuine cost. Or keep the Vancian thing but tie spell regeneration to playing time rather than in-game time / resting (ie. a long-term cooldown). 


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#4
hrwd

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Here's a couple of counter arguments.

  • Strategic layer is not lacking in most standard Vancian setting.  Sometimes games cut off resting in certain points.  Other times they mob you with random encounters to interrupt your rest.  Just because you can break through that by repeatedly pressing the rest until the random encounters go away does not mean you're playing as intended.  And PnP DMs just plain don't allow CRPG style fight, fight, nap play.
  • Ciphers and chanters are limited in different ways.  At mid levels, most random trash fights are over before you build up resources for their most powerful abilities.  
  • Not using Dragon Breath or Maximized Missile Swarm every fight is a good thing.  Fights should vary in scale in both mechanics and narrative.  Encouraging players to use their most powerful abilities in every fight leads to lack of tactical variance, which leads to boredom.  Vancian systems shine when characters are half out of spells and have to start scrimping.
  • Removing Vancian spell-casting is not the right choice or the wrong choice.  It's just a design decision.
  • Why would they dramatically rework a system that has evolved quite well over several years?  Most players haven't even had the chance to see the difference between release and patch 3.0.  
  • Furthermore, the resources spent to rework a system are not infinite.  The time spent reworking and rebalancing the system could be much better spent either adding additional classes or bringing in multiclassing.  Multiclassing is one of those things repeatedly mentioned across several sites.
  • If Vancian casting were removed, the classes would need to find a new way to differentiate from other classes.  One of the things Pillars does very well is make every class feel unique without a huge power gradient.  
  • There's a reason other classes  have daily's too.  They work really well at changing the scale of the fight, and let a character shine under a different set of circumstances.
  • Finally, quite a few players like it.  

 

That's a whole long list of reasons why it shouldn't be changed.  But here's the real problem, the benefits you give for changing it are pretty weak.  Basically, they're getting to unload every spell, every fight.  You can already do that in Pillars if you put it on one of the modes with unlimited camping supplies.

 

Let's do it one by one:

 

1. This just proves the point Loren was making. That either Vancian systems or Camping supplies are too much. In other words, they don't mix nicely and just feel like they're suppressing each other. It also reinforces the notion that most cRPG variants of rest systems are severely lacking compared to the real PnP.

 

2. But you can still use abilities and not feel hindered on those classes. It doesn't feel restrained, but rather limited. But then again, most fights below PoTD and other difficult fights don't exactly require level 5+ casts. This is where Monk / Cipher etc shine compared to Vancians. Not to mention that due to lack of attribute modifier (say 17 / +3 Int), you lose on spellcasts of lower level and BIG TIME. In previous DnD games, you could've had like 8 casts of level 3- spells. In Pillars, you are always limited to 4-5 + 1 / enc. That combined with camping supplies just feels...odd.

 

3. I agree but in Pillars it just reinforces backtracking mechanics and those are ALMOST NEVER GOOD mechanics. Even ExtraCredits did an episode on it recently. This point just reinforces point 1.

 

4. Indeed it is, but if either of choices lead to player dissatisfaction and hence them leaving / abandoning games, then yes, it means it is a wrong choice. Either one can be wrong, but currently it feels like leaving them in would be an ultra conservative, if not wrong outright choice.

 

5. Because it doesn't work, doesn't make sense and pushes people AWAY from the game, hence making a dent in their profit? Idk, that sounds like a helluva motive.

 

6. You mentioned multiclassing and balance in the same point. Don't be so silly. Yes, it'd be good, but I'd rather have freedom of NWN + balance of Pillars - Multiclassing(I never even as much as thought of multiclassing...why, just why?). But that's just me.

 

7. Agreed, but they're very Vancian lite as they are. For example, there are no proper Wizard / Cleric / Druid in Pillars. What we have is a (fancy) Sorceror and regular Favoured Soul and < Sorc / FS like Druid class >. If you're against removing those systems, perhaps reverting the rest system to good ole BG / NWN system?

 

8. I was never against per rest. Per rests should be powerful and should be reserved for battle changer abilities, not for bread and butter abilities(what casts are to casters).

 

9. Quite a few people like to get hurt. Quite a few people favour nazism. ...so? What kind of argument is this? I don't understand, sorry.



#5
demeisen

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this doesn't really apply. As a rule you don't *have* to start scrimping at all, you can just rest. Even in large dungeons or otherwise far removed from civilisation, it's at best an annoyance tax (having to go back to an inn to get some rest and new camping supplies).

 

​Certainly true for the most part, although I do remember some areas in WM where you couldn't rest, couldn't retreat to anywhere you could rest, and had to finish the whole area or die trying.  Of the two, I throw in with your "more of a genuine cost" option: the availability of resting is too high, rather than per-rest abilities being intrinsically undesirable.

​It's probably difficult to balance in a semi-open game, but I love higher-scope constraints when they can be made to work and have a plausible reason to exist.  I wish there was more of that.  It makes you consider a higher level of gameplay than a single fight at a time.  You have to react appropriately to the difficulty of each fight​, and conserve resources to finish the area, so your unit of resource consideration becomes a dungeon rather than a fight, along with the inherent unpredictability that comes with it.

​On the other hand - not speaking for myself or anyone in particular, just a general observation - it seems like the past few decades of CRPGs have seen a movement towards everything being a per-fight resource.  You unload everything you've got, completely recover, lather, rinse, and repeat.  I don't enjoy that style of play at all, but I think it's an expectation of a large fraction of the player base, and if it's not catered to in some manner the game will end up with angry fans.  I think PoE tried to please both sides, albeit imperfectly for each, which ends up irking everybody a little since the system isn't perfect for them.  Still, it can be played either way, so things could be a lot worse.


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#6
Abel

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this doesn't really apply. As a rule you don't *have* to start scrimping at all, you can just rest. Even in large dungeons or otherwise far removed from civilisation, it's at best an annoyance tax (having to go back to an inn to get some rest and new camping supplies).

 

 

I don't feel players "have" to go back to get some rest or buy camping supplies. Players who do this all the time, and complain about "having" to do this should either drop the difficulty level or build better strategies that does not require to unleash lvl 1589234 spells on 3 goblins. If they don't, they should not complain about the consequences of their own choices. If they try to cheat the system and complain it's boring to do so, they should just stop doing it. As demeisen said, it's not meant to be a hindrance, but limited resources should be handled carefully, be it camping supplies or spells.

 

I'm definitely with demeisen in everything he said up to now.


Edited by Abel, 21 August 2016 - 12:05 PM.

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#7
KDubya

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I'd be in favor of getting rid of all Vancian casters and replacing with some variant of how the Monk (damage received), Cipher (damage done) or Chanter (time and invocation) work.

 

In pen and paper you had the Fighters for the trash mobs and minions, making sure that they kept the fragile Wizard alive. When you got to the big fight or if things went bad the Wizard could unleash hell and save the day. With a DM this works well and both Wizards and Fighters are happy and feel special.

 

In Baldurs Gate, ADnD, Wizards are pretty much dead weight until level 9+. A few spells per day ended up either having a bad slingshotter for 90% of the time or a guy with a sleeping disorder :) Don't even bring up multi-class abominations like Kensai or Berserker Magi.

 

In PoE it is easy to balance for a Cipher. By adjusting the cost of his powers and the rate at which he gains focus you can achieve a state that is both challenging and fun. Good in both trash and boss fights. For a Wizard you can act as if there was a DM around and marshall your resources, saving some for when you really need it. This works well or you can just blast everything into little pieces and camp a few extra times resulting in trivial encounters. Balance the big encounters on the assumption that a few Vancian casters will be unleashing hell and any team without them will be severely disadvantaged.

 

Since the license and all creative decisions are entirely up to the team at Obsidian, I'd like them to think out of the box like they did with the Cipher, Monk and Chanter and apply that to re-making the Vancian casters.


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#8
hrwd

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I'd be in favor of getting rid of all Vancian casters and replacing with some variant of how the Monk (damage received), Cipher (damage done) or Chanter (time and invocation) work.

 

In pen and paper you had the Fighters for the trash mobs and minions, making sure that they kept the fragile Wizard alive. When you got to the big fight or if things went bad the Wizard could unleash hell and save the day. With a DM this works well and both Wizards and Fighters are happy and feel special.

 

In Baldurs Gate, ADnD, Wizards are pretty much dead weight until level 9+. A few spells per day ended up either having a bad slingshotter for 90% of the time or a guy with a sleeping disorder :) Don't even bring up multi-class abominations like Kensai or Berserker Magi.

 

In PoE it is easy to balance for a Cipher. By adjusting the cost of his powers and the rate at which he gains focus you can achieve a state that is both challenging and fun. Good in both trash and boss fights. For a Wizard you can act as if there was a DM around and marshall your resources, saving some for when you really need it. This works well or you can just blast everything into little pieces and camp a few extra times resulting in trivial encounters. Balance the big encounters on the assumption that a few Vancian casters will be unleashing hell and any team without them will be severely disadvantaged.

 

Since the license and all creative decisions are entirely up to the team at Obsidian, I'd like them to think out of the box like they did with the Cipher, Monk and Chanter and apply that to re-making the Vancian casters.

 

Yes, this was exactly my train of thoughts when I did not see anything even resembling Chanter or Cipher in Tyranny. It could be very fun provided they actually make it that way. Vancians trivialise content. They are tradition and past. Monk, Chanter etc are future and they should REALLY embrace it. Especially now when they don't owe anyone anything(which is quite the opposite to Pillars Kickstarter backer situation).



#9
Nonek

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I want far more attrition and strategy in gaming, not less. I also want the enormous out of combat and gameworld/play altering spells that were implemented in AD&D to be brought to gaming, to restrict spellcraft to combat is ridiculous, backwards looking and regressive. The resting system felt half baked and poorly implemented, it did not solve the problem it set out to combat nor provide any new opportunities as any feature should. There is much talk of combat balance, but what of balance outside combat and why are there so few features other than melee now? As a GM if I presented my players with a scenario where they had nothing to do but fight and loot then I would feel ashamed of myself, time for balance across the board, in and out of combat.


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#10
Fenixp

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I finally want a game to properly replicate the system I got to enjoy in Morrowind - using spells out of combat was often even more desirable than using them in it. Levitation, teleportation, restoration, various forms of buffs (including buffing yourself to be more charismatic before trying to persuade someone), breathing under water, becoming invisible, unlocking doors... That system was brilliant. Sure, the magic was overpowered, but hey - I'm sure effects could be toned down a little for the sake of balancing playstyles.
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#11
Climhazzard

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From the view point of someone who is neither for nor against eliminating vancian spell casters.... let me ask you this, what is a good alternative?  Cooldowns?

 

Currently PoE classes use 5 different resource systems, per rest, per encounter, per damage received, per damage done, and per time (chanter).  Per rest and per encounter would both be converted to cooldowns, probably per time too, for the sake of balancing the last two might as well be converted to cooldowns as well.

 

The result?  A classless "skill" based game with little difference mechanically in how one character performs over another, Tyranny (I'm not going to judge it before playing it, that's just what i thought when I saw that one of the attributes controls cooldowns).

 

What are some options besides cooldowns?  Unique resources to every class?  Such as slowly regenerating mana for wizards?  Unique resources for every class as well as cooldowns?  As long as the solution doesn't equal homogenization of the classes then I'm not against it.  I'm not really opposed to the way pillars is currently, but I could see why people would have a problem with it.


Edited by Climhazzard, 21 August 2016 - 04:43 PM.


#12
anameforobsidian

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Here's a couple of counter arguments.

  • Strategic layer is not lacking in most standard Vancian setting.  Sometimes games cut off resting in certain points.  Other times they mob you with random encounters to interrupt your rest.  Just because you can break through that by repeatedly pressing the rest until the random encounters go away does not mean you're playing as intended.  And PnP DMs just plain don't allow CRPG style fight, fight, nap play.
  • Ciphers and chanters are limited in different ways.  At mid levels, most random trash fights are over before you build up resources for their most powerful abilities.  
  • Not using Dragon Breath or Maximized Missile Swarm every fight is a good thing.  Fights should vary in scale in both mechanics and narrative.  Encouraging players to use their most powerful abilities in every fight leads to lack of tactical variance, which leads to boredom.  Vancian systems shine when characters are half out of spells and have to start scrimping.
  • Removing Vancian spell-casting is not the right choice or the wrong choice.  It's just a design decision.
  • Why would they dramatically rework a system that has evolved quite well over several years?  Most players haven't even had the chance to see the difference between release and patch 3.0.  
  • Furthermore, the resources spent to rework a system are not infinite.  The time spent reworking and rebalancing the system could be much better spent either adding additional classes or bringing in multiclassing.  Multiclassing is one of those things repeatedly mentioned across several sites.
  • If Vancian casting were removed, the classes would need to find a new way to differentiate from other classes.  One of the things Pillars does very well is make every class feel unique without a huge power gradient.  
  • There's a reason other classes  have daily's too.  They work really well at changing the scale of the fight, and let a character shine under a different set of circumstances.
  • Finally, quite a few players like it.  

 

That's a whole long list of reasons why it shouldn't be changed.  But here's the real problem, the benefits you give for changing it are pretty weak.  Basically, they're getting to unload every spell, every fight.  You can already do that in Pillars if you put it on one of the modes with unlimited camping supplies.

 

Let's do it one by one:

 

1. This just proves the point Loren was making. That either Vancian systems or Camping supplies are too much. In other words, they don't mix nicely and just feel like they're suppressing each other. It also reinforces the notion that most cRPG variants of rest systems are severely lacking compared to the real PnP.

 

2. But you can still use abilities and not feel hindered on those classes. It doesn't feel restrained, but rather limited. But then again, most fights below PoTD and other difficult fights don't exactly require level 5+ casts. This is where Monk / Cipher etc shine compared to Vancians. Not to mention that due to lack of attribute modifier (say 17 / +3 Int), you lose on spellcasts of lower level and BIG TIME. In previous DnD games, you could've had like 8 casts of level 3- spells. In Pillars, you are always limited to 4-5 + 1 / enc. That combined with camping supplies just feels...odd.

 

3. I agree but in Pillars it just reinforces backtracking mechanics and those are ALMOST NEVER GOOD mechanics. Even ExtraCredits did an episode on it recently. This point just reinforces point 1.

 

4. Indeed it is, but if either of choices lead to player dissatisfaction and hence them leaving / abandoning games, then yes, it means it is a wrong choice. Either one can be wrong, but currently it feels like leaving them in would be an ultra conservative, if not wrong outright choice.

 

5. Because it doesn't work, doesn't make sense and pushes people AWAY from the game, hence making a dent in their profit? Idk, that sounds like a helluva motive.

 

6. You mentioned multiclassing and balance in the same point. Don't be so silly. Yes, it'd be good, but I'd rather have freedom of NWN + balance of Pillars - Multiclassing(I never even as much as thought of multiclassing...why, just why?). But that's just me.

 

7. Agreed, but they're very Vancian lite as they are. For example, there are no proper Wizard / Cleric / Druid in Pillars. What we have is a (fancy) Sorceror and regular Favoured Soul and < Sorc / FS like Druid class >. If you're against removing those systems, perhaps reverting the rest system to good ole BG / NWN system?

 

8. I was never against per rest. Per rests should be powerful and should be reserved for battle changer abilities, not for bread and butter abilities(what casts are to casters).

 

9. Quite a few people like to get hurt. Quite a few people favour nazism. ...so? What kind of argument is this? I don't understand, sorry.

 

 

1.  Vancian systems and the camping supplies don't suppress each other, they work synergistically to challenge the player as they go further into a dungeon run.  In Baldur's Gate the Vancian system was suppressed by the rest system.  Every ability became per encounter.

 

2.  I can still use abilities in both classes and not feel hindered.  If you fight 8 battles and use all your spells plus the memorized one you get 12 casts, more if you take the feat or get a ring of wizardry.  You just can't unload 8 casts of the same spell in a fight.  If wizards are supposed to be adaptable because of their variety of spells, then let them be adaptable.

 

3.  Backtracking to finish a dungeon is never necessary in Pillars unless you are horrifically underpowered for the dungeon.  I almost always run with a druid, wizard, and priest, and only had to backtrack once in my potd playthrough, when I was level 6 going into the White Forge.  Rest supplies are liberally placed.  Backtracking is basically something you do to yourself.  If you're backtracking a lot or resting when most of your characters have top health, then you're playing the game unstrategically and the game is telling you that.

 

4.  And if removing it leads to a less interesting game, then that is a wrong decision too.  Hypotheticals can be made to support any point.

 

5.   Or maybe it draws people in because they missed those type of systems and the strategic choices they provide.  Do you have data to support any of these points?  I don't but I'm not advocating a radical change based on feels.

 

6. Fine, that was a weak argument.  However the fact that there's an opportunity cost to rebalancing 3 class is pretty apparent, and you've yet to justify how the game would be significantly improved by that change.

 

7.  The rest system and the spell casting system work together to make you conserve resources.  Are you arguing against having to conserve resources?

 

8.  Memorized spells are available for bread and butter abilities.  But more importantly, PE casters aren't wilting flowers when they're not casting.  Druids shift, priests get weapon proficiency bonuses, and wizards have non-spell abilities (and can be built effectively based on weapon damage).

 

9.  Eh, it's a weak point.  I was trying to say that a major controversial change needs a set of concrete reasons.

 

 

 

But!  Rather than get stuck up going back and forth on individual points, and have the whole discussion turn into a vindictive circlejerk, this is how I understand your arguments:

 

+  Vancian casting is just a way to annoy players by forcing them to turn back.

+  In BGII and NWN basically every ability was per encounter, and this was a good thing.

+  Obsidian doesn't have to do it anymore, so it shouldn't.

 

Obviously, this kind of exercise leads to strawmen, but I read your argument and Loren's multiple times to try to do you justice.  Here's my basic response.

 

-  If you're going to have a strategic limitation, there needs to be a resource that gets permanently or temporarily depleted.  Permanently depleted resources are consumables, and Sawyer already said that too many players hoard them for them to be an effective strategic limitation.  Temporarily depleted resources need to be recharged some time.  If they're recharged after every fight, then there's no strategy to their use.  Any other recharge system is going to involve something that looks a lot like backtracking or rest.

 

-  It wasn't a good thing to use the same spells over again, because it lead to a death of tactical diversity.  When you have a giant unstoppable cost-free hammer, every problem gets a maximized missile swarm to the face etc.

 

- Obsidian chose to change the rest , health, and casting system this way, it wasn't blind slavery to nostalgia.  They work together to prod players into playing the game smarter without punishing them too hard.  If you unload on spells too much, you run out of spells and then camping supplies.  If you only save spells for bosses, you run out of health and then camping supplies.  If you use both judiciously, you make it to the next set of camping supplies.  If not, yes you turn back.  The only other option is killing the players.  That encourages riding the dice until your bad tactics are successful; lord knows that's how 12 year old me played BGII.

 

- The most important counter is that Obsidian already gives you the in-game tools to circumvent these mechanics if you can't play this way.  8 out of 11 classes don't use a majority of daily abilities.  If you don't like the Vancian classes, there are twice as many to choose from.  If you don't like health punishing you, take field triage.  And if you hate the current rest system in general, lower the difficulty and you get more (eventually infinite) resting supplies.

 

 

Loren, I could get behind changing the availability of rests, although I think it would be hard to do without using checkpoints or encouraging even more backtracking.  I think the bigger problem is that a lot of players would hate an even harder game.  You know there were frequent complaints that the game was too hard even on easy until story mode appeared.  There are surprisingly few complaints that the game is too easy on potd (though they still do and always will crop up).  However, I could get behind it if a designer went through and took out half of the camping supplies scattered around the world on potd.


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#13
anameforobsidian

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From the view point of someone who is neither for nor against eliminating vancian spell casters.... let me ask you this, what is a good alternative?  Cooldowns?

 

Currently PoE classes use 5 different resource systems, per rest, per encounter, per damage received, per damage done, and per time (chanter).  Per rest and per encounter would both be converted to cooldowns, probably per time too, for the sake of balancing the last two might as well be converted to cooldowns as well.

 

The result?  A classless "skill" based game with little difference mechanically in how one character performs over another, Tyranny (I'm not going to judge it before playing it, that's just what i thought when I saw that one of the attributes controls cooldowns).

 

What are some options besides cooldowns?  Unique resources to every class?  Such as slowly regenerating mana for wizards?  Unique resources for every class as well as cooldowns?  As long as the solution doesn't equal homogenization of the classes then I'm not against it.  I'm not really opposed to the way pillars is currently, but I could see why people would have a problem with it.

 

I was thinking about this too.  There are only three resources I could think of that aren't already in the game.  Mana is a little too ARPG.  Resources you get from killing an enemy (souls) could be cool, but it could be really unbalanced.  Focus, a resource that depletes as you get hit or cast spells and slowly regenerates over time (cipher pool could be renamed affinity or something).  Honestly, it might be neat to see a 12th class that uses the last resource.



#14
hrwd

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From the view point of someone who is neither for nor against eliminating vancian spell casters.... let me ask you this, what is a good alternative? Cooldowns?

Currently PoE classes use 5 different resource systems, per rest, per encounter, per damage received, per damage done, and per time (chanter). Per rest and per encounter would both be converted to cooldowns, probably per time too, for the sake of balancing the last two might as well be converted to cooldowns as well.

The result? A classless "skill" based game with little difference mechanically in how one character performs over another, Tyranny (I'm not going to judge it before playing it, that's just what i thought when I saw that one of the attributes controls cooldowns).

What are some options besides cooldowns? Unique resources to every class? Such as slowly regenerating mana for wizards? Unique resources for every class as well as cooldowns? As long as the solution doesn't equal homogenization of the classes then I'm not against it. I'm not really opposed to the way pillars is currently, but I could see why people would have a problem with it.


The problem with this is that they trivialise content when they have their spells ready and bring almost nothing when they don't. Just imagine 10 levels of a Sling while steamrolling over boss battles. That sounds...wrong(especially when you can, after all, lob Fireballs and what not around-so why hold back).

My favourite would be per damage done. You start with basic amount and can rapidly ramp it up via Arc.Blast(this thing providing 2x the damage it causes). Priest could get the resource for both healing and damaging with Radiance and Druid's could increase moderately over time while in Spiritshift. I am not a fan of cooldowns...everything would be so...balanced, boring and same-y.

The worst thing is that every difficult battle must be designed around the idea of having them in your party. So...bye-bye freedom.

#15
Loren Tyr

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From the view point of someone who is neither for nor against eliminating vancian spell casters.... let me ask you this, what is a good alternative?  Cooldowns?

 

Currently PoE classes use 5 different resource systems, per rest, per encounter, per damage received, per damage done, and per time (chanter).  Per rest and per encounter would both be converted to cooldowns, probably per time too, for the sake of balancing the last two might as well be converted to cooldowns as well.

 

Simple cooldowns would be one way to go, for example through a slowly recharging mana system. Hardly original, but it works and can easily interact with other things. But I would say there are plenty of other avenues that could be taken. One possibility that would appeal to me for mages would be more of a reverse resource system; ie. as the mage casts spells he builds up casting fatigue, with higher level spells incurring greater fatigue than lower level ones, and Fatigue slowly dissipating again over time. You can cast as many spells as you like, but as Fatigue builds up they become less and less effective; the degree and manner in which they do so can also be varied across spell levels and individual spells, of course. Aside from allowing for mechanically interesting variations, this would also provide a natural incentive to mix higher and lower level spells. 

 

Anyway, that's just one possibility, I would think there is plenty of interesting design space to give Mage, Druid and Priest all their own distinctive mechanic. Which, frankly, they rather need anyway. In the current implementation they feel rather same-y, differing in their spells but not mechanically. 


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#16
Caeyrii

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Replace Vancian system with Stamina system akin to how Health/Endurance work. 



#17
Climhazzard

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Replace Vancian system with Stamina system akin to how Health/Endurance work. 

 

So... casting a spell depletes a resource that refills at the end of battle and a separate resource that refills on rest?  Say... stamina and mana?


Edited by Climhazzard, 21 August 2016 - 07:24 PM.


#18
Tigranes

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Eww. Cooldowns tend to produce the most mindless, tedious clickfest gameplay, because you're stripping everything else away from other scarcity systems, leaving only time. So the only strategic decision that remains is that you can't use it for the next 5/10/30 seconds. 

 

If your cooldowns are too short, you might as well replace your brain with a monkey's; all you do is click the shiny button when it's not grey, and repeat ad nauseum. If your cooldowns are too long, then there's no real difference from per-encs, since POE battles are typically decided fairly quickly. 

 

Any good system for an old school RPG, where you enjoy a smidgen of strategic thinking as opposed to "OMG 80 FIREBALLZ", needs to introduce some appropriate kind of resource management. Vancians are supposed to be good for this because they actually make your resources/decisions carry over across battles, so that instead of the 5th level of a dangerous dungeon feeling like "eh whatever i just cast same spells again and again and i'm all good", you actually might feel like you're running low. The problem is that in every CRPG, it's been really hard to organise Vancians, resting, etc. so that it works well without driving people crazy. 

 

POE needs to not use so many different systems, and I'd support streamlining into per-encs if meaningful decisions were still present. This might mean an upkeep system, where, for example, your character's Resolve controls how many different spells you can keep alive at once (see: Arcanum), so that maybe your priest can only keep 1 or 2 buffs going at a time; and/or it might mean reworking the Interrupt system so that enemies can actually purposefully interrupt your castings (and vice versa). The point is that any system has to encourage gameplay where each spell cast is meaningful, instead of boring and brainless 'i spam 3 awesum abilities every single fight'.


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#19
Loren Tyr

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Eww. Cooldowns tend to produce the most mindless, tedious clickfest gameplay, because you're stripping everything else away from other scarcity systems, leaving only time. So the only strategic decision that remains is that you can't use it for the next 5/10/30 seconds. 

 

If your cooldowns are too short, you might as well replace your brain with a monkey's; all you do is click the shiny button when it's not grey, and repeat ad nauseum. If your cooldowns are too long, then there's no real difference from per-encs, since POE battles are typically decided fairly quickly. 

 

Any good system for an old school RPG, where you enjoy a smidgen of strategic thinking as opposed to "OMG 80 FIREBALLZ", needs to introduce some appropriate kind of resource management. Vancians are supposed to be good for this because they actually make your resources/decisions carry over across battles, so that instead of the 5th level of a dangerous dungeon feeling like "eh whatever i just cast same spells again and again and i'm all good", you actually might feel like you're running low. The problem is that in every CRPG, it's been really hard to organise Vancians, resting, etc. so that it works well without driving people crazy. 

 

POE needs to not use so many different systems, and I'd support streamlining into per-encs if meaningful decisions were still present. This might mean an upkeep system, where, for example, your character's Resolve controls how many different spells you can keep alive at once (see: Arcanum), so that maybe your priest can only keep 1 or 2 buffs going at a time; and/or it might mean reworking the Interrupt system so that enemies can actually purposefully interrupt your castings (and vice versa). The point is that any system has to encourage gameplay where each spell cast is meaningful, instead of boring and brainless 'i spam 3 awesum abilities every single fight'.

 

Yes, the Vancian system is *supposed* to be good at that, it just isn't (except in P&P, but who cares). Hence the need to innovate. Are simple per-encounter cool-down or mana systems original, of course not. And they're hardly ideal either (neither is per rest), but that doesn't mean they can't be used as building blocks to make a system that does work well. The fact that they are staples of action RPG clickfests doesn't mean they cannot be adapted to a different kind of gameplay. One relatively straightforward approach would actually be just to replace per rest casting with long-term cooldown tied to playing time. This makes casting resources span across battles as well but without the magic "rest" refresh button. It also provides more flexibility, since you can for example vary the cooldown duration across spell levels. 

 

Not that I'd necessarily favour that as a generic change, seeing as Mages, Druids and Priests sorely need to diversify, but it'd be one option. It would be nice to see at least one of those three moved to a different model altogether, ie. away from the standard "spells organized into tiers of spell levels made available at regular intervals" approach, change it up a bit. Priests in particular could stand to have much more of a deity-specific vibe at the core of their class, rather than a couple of extra talents and a disposition-based radiance.



#20
Caeyrii

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Replace Vancian system with Stamina system akin to how Health/Endurance work. 

 

So... casting a spell depletes a resource that refills at the end of battle and a separate resource that refills on rest?  Say... stamina and mana?

 

Exactamundo, but I wouldn't say Mana, let's go for something in more generic terms. Energy spent is energy spent, whether you're a mage or a fighter.







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