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Thread: Spell Research Mechanics

  1. #91
    Archmage of the Outer Ring jamoecw's Avatar
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    well for one, you would want a dracolich due to max units in a stack. anything that is equal to 20 skellies can dispatch far more than 20 skellies tactically (as the most you'd be facing is 9 at a time).

    now given what you said about holy weapon and holy arms, i'd say that your proposal of making them equal would make it pointless to use holy arms, ever. if we go with my proposal to have holy weapon worth a little shy of half holy arms, then you'd want holy arms when you have stacks of 5 or more, in addition to if the opponent casts dispel area, removing all enchantments from your units in battle, making holy arms a 1 cast rebuff for your stack as opposed to having to recast for each unit, which would result in most of the battle taking place without the holy weapon spell.

  2. #92
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    Well, as you've pointed out, Summoning has some interesting aspects of its own - but if our balancing Skeletons out at 20:1 is largely based on the Strategy board, using the methods you've suggested here... well, not just Skeletons and Dracoliches, but presumably Summons-In-General between those Tiers - then in the same time that a Pure Lord can fill a stack of 9 Dracoliches, the Hybrid Lord can create 180 Skeletons, and that, presumably, has been kept "Balanced".

    Or we can consider that, let's say, three Dracoliches in a stack can utterly obliterate anything low-Tier Summoning can do, in which case we're back to my original point, just slightly delayed.

    For everything else, the lists we have so far go from:
    Life/Protection: Aid (+2 to AC and Saves for one Unit) and Wall of Force (boost one Wall's "Toughness") ... to Mana Shield (All spells against you, all of your Cities, all of your Units, cost +50%)

    Life/Mentalism: Glory and Tranquility (-20% Unrest for one city) ... to Crusade (All units immediately gain 1 Level, and can advance one level higher)

    Life/Summoning: Guardian Light and Healer Familiar ... to Teleportation Circle

    Life/Destruction: Disrupt Undead, Blinding Light ... to Shatter Artifact

    Life/Augmentation: Aid (A very brief +1 to hit and hit points for one Unit) and Bless Weapon ... to Divine Conduit (immediate +50 to your Spellcraft, and makes all your spells harder to dispel); note that Holy Arms is actually Tier 7, so you'd presumably want that somehow a little less than twice as good as Bless Weapon.

    Life/Biomancy: Good Harvest (boost one City's food - short term, if I remember right) and Heal ... to Master of Positive Energy (Makes all your buffs buffier, in a Circle with a lot of buffs).

    Death/Summoning: Skeletons and Zombies to Dracoliches. Dracolichi?

    Death/Destruction: Bloodletting (gives one enemy Bleeding) and Gangrene (stunts healing for a little bit) .. to Death Spell (one of our only approved Save or Dies)

    Death/Augmentation: Unholy Weapon (as standard), Dance of the Dead (underrated, I think, but we'll see); through Perpetual Darkness (Darkness on all battles, all the time!)

    Death/Protection: Bone Aura (resists Piercing damage, only) and Life Ward (blocks Life Summons only from one Tile) ... to Evil Omens (global, all Life spells cost more -- with a discussion not really closed about how that might be too weak for Tier 8)

    Death/Mentalism: Mind Wrack (One unit gets a Will penalty) and Suicidal Thoughts (one attack against the Unit using the Units own strength, basically) .. to Tendrils of Something, maybe (Drastically cripples *all* enemy cities, with maybe a personal drawback, but we've all agreed that shouldn't be anything too vexing)

    Death/Biomancy: Weakness (minor unit curse) and Withered Wings (minor unit curse that only affects Flying units) .. to Pestilence (starts slaughtering an enemy City -- and is actually set higher than Necromastery, so we actually have to have our Zombie Mastery equivalent balanced to be somewhat less than twice as efficient to cast as Weakness.)

    Air/Augmentation: Full Sails (Endurance for boats) and Leap (one Unit can go over walls) .. to Alacrity (All Units get an extra attack, "high" bonuses to movement and AC)


    ...The rest don't seem defined enough yet to really discuss, but that's a pretty solid sampling.

    I don't think that "double efficacy" has been our design goal, so far. Our T8s are way better than our T1s. Having just gone back through those lists, our T7s are, frankly, tending nicely to the epic side.

    So, if we need to rebalance things so that a Hybrid Lord can actually keep up with a Purist, power-wise, with their 30-turn Window of Opportunity Advantage, we need to redesign all of those so that they fall within your parameters.

    And then we need to go back and redo all of the Tier 7s to fit. And then the T6s, 5s, 4s, and 3s.

    The 2s are probably fine, though. Our T1s and T2s are pretty interchangeable as it is.

  3. #93
    Archmage of the Outer Ring jamoecw's Avatar
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    since we have established it takes about 20 skellies to choke a city out of its workable area, 9 dracoliches = 9 cities choked to death. as you have put it, there is only 2-3 key cities, so while 9 dracoliches can sack a city in the time it takes to reach that city+1 turn, you have to do that without the support of the 2-3 key cities you need + 6-7 others. less powerful, yes, powerless, no.

    as for the spell lists, all i have to say is that we have no hard mana costs for them yet (and that is all that has to be adjusted to balance them).

  4. #94
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    I... disagree with everything you just said there, but I'm also getting sidetracked again.

    . if we go with my proposal to have holy weapon worth a little shy of half holy arms,
    ...Then we can indeed balance things out so that our Tier 1 spells are totally functional next to our Tier 8 spells, balancing out that half/double impact with research time, later availability, and, of course, what I can only imagine will be much, much, much, much higher casting costs.

    Call that done and let's pretend it all makes sense when we're done. You haven't touched on;
    Why does anybody still care to reach for Tier 8, if we do this?
    If our Spell Tiers are balanced against each other so that a Lord with only T1 and 2 spells isn't at a disadvantage compared to a Lord with T7 and 8 spells... then they are by definition not balanced against the Disciplines, which are outside of that.


    Right now we have three possible choices when spending a Build Point:
    1) Additive Spell Circles, that build up to higher Tiers
    1a) In one Spell Circle, leading to several spells in each Tier, or
    1b) Crossed Elements and Effects, leading to a single spell in each available Tier
    2) Non-Additive Spell Circles; Elements when you already have an Element, or Effects when you already have Effects, which don't combine for higher Tiers at all;
    and 3) Disciplines.

    You can force a balance between 1a and 1b by flattening out the Tiers so that having 16 spells in Tiers 5-8 isn't so much better than only having 4. You can even force the balance between 1 and 2 by flattening them out more, so that having any T8 spells isn't really an advantage over having only 1s and 2s. But I don't think you can balance all three as they stand. They're contradictory.

    MoM had, basically, 2 and 3, depending on how you look at it, and that's easy... choosing Retorts meant giving up higher level spells, and their Rare and Very Rare spells were awesome. And that's what made it interesting; "I want Channeler, but is it worth giving up two Chaos Books?" "Do I want to take all eleven Life, or settle for nine so I can snag Divine Power?" "OK, my Myrran Warlord probably isn't getting Crusade as it is... but do I want to give up that last slim chance at it, or do I want to add Alchemy? Alchemy is pretty awesome with Warlord, but Crusade is better. Argh!" "A couple points in Nature would really shore up some of what my Death Magic is lacking, but...then I'm not `really good' at either."

    Etc. Always a tradeoff, but always an interesting tradeoff. And still, people tend to agree that it was better to push for the high-level spells than to diversify your magic; Life8 was better than Life2/Chaos2/Nature2/Sorcery2.

    If our Tier 8 spells are barely better than our Tier 1s so that a Lord with only T1s and 2s can keep up with Lords with a handful of T7s and 8s each... there's no tradeoff. The Disciplines are always better.


    if we go with my proposal to have holy weapon worth a little shy of half holy arms
    My other problem with this, is that we're totally throwing away Epic. MoM's high level spells were absolutely Epic. Zombie Mastery. Armageddon. Crusade. When just one of these came out, it changed the game, and felt awesome!

    We can't make Alacrity `about twice as good' as Full Sails, and have it feel Epic. Full Sails is not halfway to Epic. Frankly, neither is Holy Weapon. Holy Arms, in MoM, was. In WoM, it doesn't have to be, I guess, but I liked it that way.

    Soo... can we balance our Spell Tiers against each other so that having high-Tier spells isn't an advantage over having only low-Tier Spells? I'll take your word for it, so OK - yes, that can be done. Might it be possible to squash the Disciplines down so that they, too, are in line with capping everything at about Tier 1 for impact? I suppose it probably is.

    So I come back to my real question: Is that really the balance we want? Are we seriously planning to just throw away "Epic" in order to avoid taking a harder look at our spell selection system?

    Tranquility is... nice. Should Crusade be, "A Little Bit Nicer"? Is that the Crusade we want?

  5. #95
    Archmage of the Outer Ring jamoecw's Avatar
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    the high end spells were in fact epic, but they had a high cost to balance them out.

    if we look at MoM:
    crusade - heroism <1100/10 - 100/2> (11/5* heroism)
    holy arms - holy weapon <900/10 - 50/1> (18/10* holy weapon)
    high prayer - prayer <60 - 30> (2* prayer)

    it takes either 11 or 5 (depending on how you look at it) castings of heroism to make crusade better (not counting all the other reasons that crusade is better).

    holy arms is 18 or 10 castings (more than one full stack) to make it better.

    high prayer doesn't stack with prayer and has about double the benefit for double the cost, making it just as efficient.

    in MoM the higher level spells weren't so great as to invalidate the lower level stuff, and yet felt epic. i say we do the same, simply by making epic spells have epic costs, just like MoM.


    as for disciplines, in MoM you didn't sacrifice the best spell for a point in a discipline, you sacrificed a spell at random (maybe you don't get one you don't care about). thus you are in theory sacrificing less in MoM, however the tradeoff is that you have more points to spend (and thus a 1 point cost is worth relatively less) and you have a better idea of what you are giving up (maybe you know exactly what spells you are giving up).

    as long as we keep the MoM balance disciplines should be fine.

  6. #96
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    Crusade could affect 100 Units at once - or, you know, however many you had running by the time you got Crusade, but 100 seems really quite basic at that point. If six of your cities turned out new Units in one turn, boom, they all got the benefit, automatically, on top of the hundred that you already had, without using up your Casting Skill for the turn. Way better than Heroism. Ditto Holy Arms. And Doom Mastery, and all the others like them. Raise Volcano cost 200; Armageddon cost 1250, and 40 Upkeep, to cast six Raise Volcanos per turn. It paid for itself in one turn, and then it was not only running at... er, thirty times the efficiency of casting Raise Volcano six times each turn, after a handful of turns it was literally paying its own maintenance.

    If we keep the same balance, we're way, way off from your proposed balance of "about double".

    And I'm sorry -- honestly, you already agreed that yes, if we want to keep our current spell system, flattening out the Tiers so that they're not unbalanced against each other is, indeed, the only answer.

    What I really keep asking is: Why? Why are we doing that? Maybe more honestly, considering the way our spell list discussionshave actually gone, why won't we admit that we're *not* doing that, and are, in fact, aiming for the epic feel of MoM? What is so terrible about taking a step back from our current arrangement of 36 Element/Effect combinations of 10 spells each, to work something out that actually uses the 12 linked sets of 60 that we were supposed to be doing in the first place? I don't get it.

  7. #97
    Archmage of the Outer Ring jamoecw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lintking View Post
    Crusade could affect 100 Units at once - or, you know, however many you had running by the time you got Crusade, but 100 seems really quite basic at that point. If six of your cities turned out new Units in one turn, boom, they all got the benefit, automatically, on top of the hundred that you already had, without using up your Casting Skill for the turn. Way better than Heroism. Ditto Holy Arms. And Doom Mastery, and all the others like them. Raise Volcano cost 200; Armageddon cost 1250, and 40 Upkeep, to cast six Raise Volcanos per turn. It paid for itself in one turn, and then it was not only running at... er, thirty times the efficiency of casting Raise Volcano six times each turn, after a handful of turns it was literally paying its own maintenance.

    If we keep the same balance, we're way, way off from your proposed balance of "about double".

    And I'm sorry -- honestly, you already agreed that yes, if we want to keep our current spell system, flattening out the Tiers so that they're not unbalanced against each other is, indeed, the only answer.
    i've only suggested making sure the costs of epic spells are epic.

    other benefits you forgot to mention is that since it is a global spell, in combat a cheap area dispel won't remove the enchantments (which is pretty important btw). prayer is the best example of the bunch, as its higher form is so close to the lower form. it has double the power at double the cost, and you can't get that power any other way. that is what we should aim for (half casting time and thus twice as efficient for a battle spell). if it is more efficient than that, it should be due to how the spell works (like the other two listed, and thus not always more efficient, but most of the time), or due to a combination of effects (like some of the ones you mentioned).

    epic costs for epic spells means that if you throw out a disjunction to one of the spells, you know you'll have a couple of turns to operate with the super spell, giving well picked lower level spells time to shine in the late game (the better the spell the longer the lower level spells will have to shine, even if only for a couple of turns).

    another way to make hybrid SLs useful in the late game is polarization of the spheres. have each sphere specialize, so that even low level spells from other spheres have potential in some aspect that a specialist does not have. this is easy for the effect spheres, but a little harder for the element spheres. one thing we could do is have certain properties of elements in relation to the effects (like AoE for fire/destruction, thus it would lack strong single target spells, or have fire/destruction be DoT, and thus would have good damage, but not at all at once, etc.). that way a hybrid build would have an edge over the specialist, however slight, and would have to find a way to make use of it to keep from getting steam rolled in late game.

    which ever way you cut it, you can have epic level spells while keeping the 2-3 efficiency ratio i suggested (maybe the ratio needs to be different, playtesting will tell).

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