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Vancian caster discussion


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Parts of this post may have been remotely correct if the per-rest and per-encounter abilities had been spread evenly across the classes in frequency and power. See my post above yours for a full rebuttal.

Oh really ?  :no:

Unless you consider your post as an absolute truth, and irrefutable by anyone.
And since I don't claim mine as such, I don't see any rebuttal, worth the try though.  :thumbsup:
Edited by DexGames
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Removing “per-rest” abilities certainly will have an impact on a game and I am curious to see how it will turn out. Not in terms of made up “hardcore resource management”, as it never existed, but in terms of those power spikes.

 

Spellcasters were weak and uninteresting in majority of fights, but also capable of delivering incredible spikes of power, in those few encounters. That was their biggest problem, and their most interesting aspect.

 

From the very beginning I have been wondering how “legendary” enemies, like dragons or powerful wizards, will work in Deadfire. With spellcasters getting rebalanced for consistent use, I am worried if there will be those memorable fights. An an average fight expects players to use their full arsenal of abilities, so how do you make those big fights unique? In previous games, those were fights which expected players to use their full arsenal to win. In Deadfire devs will need to do some clever enemy design to keep them interesting.

 

Dragons use plenty of abilities that player-controlled characters can't get, so I don't think that'll change much. In fact, we might see an increase in enemy-specific abilities.

 

As for wizards, I can't say I'm going to particularly miss wizards, clerics and druids always being the biggest threat on the battlefield.

 

 

Parts of this post may have been remotely correct if the per-rest and per-encounter abilities had been spread evenly across the classes in frequency and power. See my post above yours for a full rebuttal.

Oh really ?  :no:

Unless you consider your post as an absolute truth, and irrefutable by anyone.
And since I don't claim mine as such, I don't see any rebuttal, worth the try though.  :thumbsup:

 

 

Sooo... your counter-argument is "nyeh, nyeh can't hear you", basically. Okay.

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If you look at POE1, I figure the game was balanced around resting every 4 fights on average. With that in mind, the former Vancians have even more casts than they should.

 

Just switching them to Mana is lazy - I think spell slots can be interesting design space. I'd even bring Vancian per encounter casts down. You shouldn't get your second 1st level spell until the time you get a spell mastery in POE1 - 9th level (5th power level).

 

You still have strategic decisions to make regarding whether a spell is better cast as an opener or if you should save it for if things go south. Right now it is a no brainer to open with a spell because you have *so many* casts. If you don't open with a cast, you won't have an opportunity to actually use all of your spells. Lower the total casts also allows the spells to have a solid impact, bringing them more into balance.

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i'm in favor of per encounter vs per rest. if i were to design my own spell system, it would be a hybrid of per encounter with resource (aka mana). it seems to me the current state of the per encounter wasn't designed really well? as most of them are max of 2 per encounter.

 

i would be in favor that as player advances higher level they gain more per encounter spells (for low level spells), fewer (for mid level spells) and even lesser for (high level spells). maybe at max level, you are able to cast 2-3 per encounter (for highest level spells), 4-6 (mid level spells) and 7-9 (low level spells). these are only casting per encounter. they can certainly increase the number of spells that wizards/priest/druid can cast so that you have more variety instead of spamming the same spell over and over again?

Edited by Archaven
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​​

Spellcasters were weak and uninteresting in majority of fights, but also capable of delivering incredible spikes of power, in those few encounters. That was their biggest problem, and their most interesting aspect.

 

​True, though personally I never had a problem with that, and actually enjoyed it.  With 6 characters to control, I found it fine if 1 or 2 of them would do little or nothing in many situations, but be able of feats of powerful but bursty CC or damage when needed.  There was plenty enough to do with the other characters, micro managing their more "constant output" abilities, and this aspect was a strong differentiator of classes.  It seems like Obsidian wants to mash all classes into the same kind of mold now.

A key problem in POE1, I think, was that replenishing per-rest resources was far too commonly available.  Even if you ignore the "march back to an inn" thing, the game was absolutely littered with camping supplies.  I mostly ignored the ones I found, because (on PotD) you can only carry two, and I simply had no use for the deluge of them.  Anyway, it was more fun to sometimes be forced into having to fall back on weird spells you didn't use much.

​I'm not going to argue per-rest is the ideal system to balance burstiness.  However, I do think that to make the game tactically interesting in a way that extends beyond a single fight at a time (which a lot of us absolutely hate and feel it destroys a key part of the RPG experience), there has to be some kind of resource that doesn't instantly regen after each fight.  If I wanted to play Diablo, I'd play Diablo.

​So I think the better direction is to preserve the burstiness of certain classes, but to balance that against real limitations so that you don't just spam everything you've got in every fight and then get it all right back.

​Anyway I don't pretend to have the "right answers", but at the least, I feel the current DF situation is one of the wrong answers.

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I feel like the reason you cast the same spell over and over is because the spells aren't properly balanced, not because they are per encounter. In POE1 you usually cast the same spells everytime because generally speaking, the best spells were obvious. When Chill Fog was Foe AOE, that was the default level 1 Wizard spell because everything else paled in comparison.

 

The spells in general could use a serious balance pass. It would take some doing, but one could conceivably create a formula to rate spells by giving different values and/or multipliers to spell characteristics like damage, duration, AOE, debuff/buff, range, cast time, etc. And if you did, you'd probably quickly find the balance of POE1 spells to be all over the place.

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I feel like the reason you cast the same spell over and over is because the spells aren't properly balanced, not because they are per encounter. In POE1 you usually cast the same spells everytime because generally speaking, the best spells were obvious. When Chill Fog was Foe AOE, that was the default level 1 Wizard spell because everything else paled in comparison.

 

The spells in general could use a serious balance pass. It would take some doing, but one could conceivably create a formula to rate spells by giving different values and/or multipliers to spell characteristics like damage, duration, AOE, debuff/buff, range, cast time, etc. And if you did, you'd probably quickly find the balance of POE1 spells to be all over the place.

 

That's a very good point. It felt different because you could take those weaker or more situational spells anyway, due to how the three casting classes worked, and use them sometimes.

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I feel like the reason you cast the same spell over and over is because the spells aren't properly balanced, not because they are per encounter. In POE1 you usually cast the same spells everytime because generally speaking, the best spells were obvious. When Chill Fog was Foe AOE, that was the default level 1 Wizard spell because everything else paled in comparison.

 

The spells in general could use a serious balance pass. It would take some doing, but one could conceivably create a formula to rate spells by giving different values and/or multipliers to spell characteristics like damage, duration, AOE, debuff/buff, range, cast time, etc. And if you did, you'd probably quickly find the balance of POE1 spells to be all over the place.

 

I kinda agree with this. I like casting spells with variety not the same spell over and over again. Often i end up choosing the best spell that is the most efficient and that render me not using other available spells. What Obsidian can do perhaps to make other spells more viable so that we have options or preferences. Maybe the idea of what Obsidian did with PoE was some kind of puzzle difficulty in the spell system. They introduced dozen of spells to confuse you and only veterans find out which are the best?

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2 cast per level during combat it's hardly resource pool. Sometimes you just need use more spells from 2 level than 4 etc. In D&D caster can prepare lower level spell using hogher level slot and it has nothingto to do with metamagic. It's just better customisation to fit player's need.

 

In Deadfire non-caster classes have options to recover resources thanks to upgrades of certain abilities, like upgraded paladin's sworn enemy which refund zeal cost after targeted enemy die. Casters just have 2 cast per level. I'm not sure how stealing spells from grimoires work in Deadfire but it still require at least one cast do its tradeoff.

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I think the biggest problem is in the early levels of caster. Casters suffer that they lack spells to use and spells are relatively weak in early stage. This is specially true for multiclass casters as their early stage is extended because of multiclass. You only have 3 spells, 2 lvl 1 and 1 lvl 2 spell at character level 6 and because of lower power level, multiclass casters doesn't have many choices on their spell picks than summon weapon or self buff.

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I think the biggest problem is in the early levels of caster. Casters suffer that they lack spells to use and spells are relatively weak in early stage. This is specially true for multiclass casters as their early stage is extended because of multiclass. You only have 3 spells, 2 lvl 1 and 1 lvl 2 spell at character level 6 and because of lower power level, multiclass casters doesn't have many choices on their spell picks than summon weapon or self buff.

Few known spells and very limited number of casts at lower levels aren't much problem. It was designed like that since ages (vide Dungeons & Dragons). Real problem lies in limited cast at higher chararacter's level, when there are still only 2 cast per level during combat. It lacks flexibility. In longer fights I would like to cast more Curses of Blackened Sight, Combusting Wounds, Mirrored Images, Merciless Gazes... And now I'm limited to 2 cast each level and the new system forces me to use something else, not necessarily suited to a situation.

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I think the biggest problem is in the early levels of caster. Casters suffer that they lack spells to use and spells are relatively weak in early stage. This is specially true for multiclass casters as their early stage is extended because of multiclass. You only have 3 spells, 2 lvl 1 and 1 lvl 2 spell at character level 6 and because of lower power level, multiclass casters doesn't have many choices on their spell picks than summon weapon or self buff.

Few known spells and very limited number of casts at lower levels aren't much problem. It was designed like that since ages (vide Dungeons & Dragons). Real problem lies in limited cast at higher chararacter's level, when there are still only 2 cast per level during combat. It lacks flexibility. In longer fights I would like to cast more Curses of Blackened Sight, Combusting Wounds, Mirrored Images, Merciless Gazes... And now I'm limited to 2 cast each level and the new system forces me to use something else, not necessarily suited to a situation.

 

 

I agree with u, a resource pool is more flexible.

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I think the biggest problem is in the early levels of caster. Casters suffer that they lack spells to use and spells are relatively weak in early stage. This is specially true for multiclass casters as their early stage is extended because of multiclass. You only have 3 spells, 2 lvl 1 and 1 lvl 2 spell at character level 6 and because of lower power level, multiclass casters doesn't have many choices on their spell picks than summon weapon or self buff.

Few known spells and very limited number of casts at lower levels aren't much problem. It was designed like that since ages (vide Dungeons & Dragons). Real problem lies in limited cast at higher chararacter's level, when there are still only 2 cast per level during combat. It lacks flexibility. In longer fights I would like to cast more Curses of Blackened Sight, Combusting Wounds, Mirrored Images, Merciless Gazes... And now I'm limited to 2 cast each level and the new system forces me to use something else, not necessarily suited to a situation.

 

 

I agree with u, a resource pool is more flexible.

 

 

Let's unify every resource into mana!

Vancian =/= per rest.

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You can use Empower to regain half of your spell uses (that is 1 cast per spell level) once per encounter.

But if you don't want to waste empower you are mentally forced to use at least one spell from every level until you spend that one empower point. Casting spells is always partially tactic and partially situational based on the flow of encounter. You utilize some tools over and over in every battle but sometimes situation on battlefield requires to use the same tools one more time and right now you are limited to 2 attempts (without empower) and forced to use different tools after that. I prefer old per day limits - combined with passive talents and weapon there was no need to cast spell after spell. Resource management was better imho. Now it's only spellcasting and it's very limited.

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@Silvaren I think you have a point assuming that only one spell can be useful during and encounter, or that it is needed. Sure, previous system allowed you to spam favourite spells throughout the encounter. I do find myself wanting to cast myself more spells from the same level - I see it as a good thing though. Maybe expanding my spell limit for a buff, and saving “charges” for a heal. Or not buffing my party in case I will need this heal. Not buffing a spell with empower, to be able to regain spell charge if needed.

 

I don’t find the change that different than first PoE. While first PoE would discourage casting spells, Deadfire requires you to choose what spells you want to cast in this fight. I found myself using a wider range of spells and think about my choices more carefully. The biggest problem I can foresee is when some spells will turn out to be too good and be casted every single fight.

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You can use Empower to regain half of your spell uses (that is 1 cast per spell level) once per encounter.

But if you don't want to waste empower[...]

 

There seem to be items that restore resources. So far I am aware only of Marux dagger doing this (image). But maybe there will be more.
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You can use Empower to regain half of your spell uses (that is 1 cast per spell level) once per encounter.

But if you don't want to waste empower[...]

 

There seem to be items that restore resources. So far I am aware only of Marux dagger doing this (image). But maybe there will be more.

 

Wow! Never leveled it up. Really cool ability. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm 75 percent through a POTD playthrough, and more than ever I'm believing that you should only get one spell slot per spell level until you hit the former mastery levels - i.e., you get another level 1 spell at power level 5, 2 at 6, 3 at 7, 4 at 8, and 5 at 9.

 

On almost no fights have I managed to burn through a significant number of spells before the fight is over, and that's including the boss fights that you aren't trying to hold back on. What's more is that there are spell levels that my characters don't even use because they just have so many casts at the levels that have the OP spells.

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I was thinking that a new system could be something like this:

 

  • Wizard casts spell and as it does damage he generates more mana which can then fuel a more powerful spell or you can keep with the cheaper spell until you have enough for the big daddy spell. Sort of like focus generation for a Cipher but its based on spell use.

Not sure what to do for priests or druids?

 

Regardless of what we want, nothing is going to change in the short time left.

 

I'm thinking if i want a Wizard it'll be a multiclass with Devoted, Paladin, Monk or Cipher and just use the quick buffs and a summoned weapon while initiating combat from stealth with the best nuke I can.

Caster starts with a basic amount of mana. Lets say 5.

When you spill enemy blood (weapon, spell, trap) then mana comes by 1 per 2 seconds. Then mana slowly flows in still the same until end of combat.

Mana is raised also by casting spells.

1st level spell adds 5 mana, 2nd level spell ads 10 mana, 3rd spell  level ads 15 mana and so on. Damage regardless. Act of casting rises mana.

You need to rise mana to 10 then you could cast spell for 10.

You cant cast a spell which adds more mana than you currently have in your pool. e.g. combat start, you have 5 mana so you cant initiate combat by casting 2nd level spell.

Mana is consumed only by the character's highest access spell level. (Other spell levels add mana. Highes spell consumes same amount they would generate. e.g. 3rd level spell consumes 15 mana)

Once highest spell level is used, then two highest accessible spell levels consume mana. Also two highest spell levels now trigers level consuming countdown. This is continuous, so eventually all the spell levels consume mana.

Lets make sure we prevent endless cast of lower spell levels. Apply diminishing mana gain from spells. Repeating casting of the same spell adds less and less mana. Finally zero gain spell is not accessible. Casting a consuming mana spell sets all 0 gain spells to 1 mana gain status.

 

 

Target for this system >>> Caster works like a canon, takes time to load then fire blast. You need to choose proper time when to use it. Power curve of a caster fallows the Gauss curve, slowly builds up, peak, then fall down. First second nukers from hide are not possible.

 

Process >>>> a caster need to heat himself up to get casting power. However, after a while, his mana gets depleted, mana gain goes down so long battles he probably finishes by  first level of spells, scrolls or perhaps physical weapons. Also he might want wait for better timing/positioning/buffing/debuffing/mana stockpile to use his max power moment for the best effect.

 

- Strategic approach, easy to learn/manage, eliminates initial blast, promotes combat escalation, promotes cooperation in party - need cover a caster who heating himself

 

I think they could postpone a month or two release. Polish things up.

You could ruin your reputation just once.

Edited by gGeorg
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Circling back to report on spellcasts per fight - I just finished Llengrath on POTD. Spell casts left for my three Vancians:

 

Priest MC: 3/4/4/4/4/3/3/2

Aloth: 6/2/6/4/4/3/1/2

Hiravias: 4/4/4/4/3/2/3/3

 

I believe each of them used 2 of their 4 mastered spells.

 

My point being, 2 per-encounters per spell level is way overkill unless combat has drastically changed.

 

And finally, changing the Vancians to Mana seems a really poor choice. There's no real reason to. Spell slots are interesting design space, and if you want a Mana pool, almost all of the other classes have you covered.

 

To be frank, I think Mana pools were a poor choice for most classes. This favors mostly taking passive abilities and then the one or two best powers you want to spam. The per encounter system for martials in POE1 created more variety in ability usage because they weren't competing for resources. Sure, Barbaric Shout is cool, but do you really want to burn Rage on that when you could Heart of Fury instead? But it's far too late to worry about that now.

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I think switching all casters to the same model is a bad idea. Ciphers are already damage to get mana. Chanters are wait to get mana. IMO, Druids, Clerics, and Wizards should be distinguished, not made more like Ciphers, but can start with high "mana" that is consumed over the course of the combat. You could give Clerics one spell set that increases in power with level, so they only cast from one set of spells, but always at the highest available power level. Wizards could retain a rest mechanic in the sense they have to choose a spell for each level when they rest, which could not be changed, and have a per-level number of spell castings available; you could spam rest to get more variation, but not more power. (Wizards should probably have many more spells to choose from than other classes.) Leave Druids as is.

 

I'm not saying these are the "right" choices, but just they provide some variation. Different players will have different preferences.

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I think switching all casters to the same model is a bad idea. Ciphers are already damage to get mana. Chanters are wait to get mana. IMO, Druids, Clerics, and Wizards should be distinguished, not made more like Ciphers, but can start with high "mana" that is consumed over the course of the combat. You could give Clerics one spell set that increases in power with level, so they only cast from one set of spells, but always at the highest available power level. Wizards could retain a rest mechanic in the sense they have to choose a spell for each level when they rest, which could not be changed, and have a per-level number of spell castings available; you could spam rest to get more variation, but not more power. (Wizards should probably have many more spells to choose from than other classes.) Leave Druids as is.

 

I'm not saying these are the "right" choices, but just they provide some variation. Different players will have different preferences.

 

I agree on classes needing some identity, but this specific example makes priests into glorified supers, which might be fine for “battlemages” but feels weird for a pure caster.

Pillars of Bugothas

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