Talking about Essence

By on May 29, 2010 6:34:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

TCores

Join Date 02/2010
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Lately there have been a number of posts talking about essence. A lot of things have been uncertain, like how certain things will work, and basic mechanics have proven that they need to be tweaked. I figured it's probably time to kick off the discussion again,

so in order to avoid going over the old ideas, I'm going to put up a big list of things people want to do with essence already.  

 

UPDATED!!: At this point Stardock may not be willing to make massive changes to the essence system. This thread contains ideas that are small tweaks in addition to big ideas. As time goes on, this thread will be more useful to Modders who want to tweak magic and would like some interesting ideas.


What players want to do with essence

  • Imbuing land: increase the fertility of the land or quality of the mine
  • Infusing magical artifacts with power (like Daggerfall handled it, item creator in game)
  • Infusing people with magical power
  • Creature creation:   infusing captive creatures to give them special abilities, higher stats
  • Build "Wizard Towers" that let them cast magic on the battlefield from their home cities, or just extend the range they can cast from
  • Massive spells: destructive one time spells, global spells,  global spell that is continually destructive, essence upkeep: "the dead rise" with ongoing effect
  • Redo the spells that require essence, make them "rituals" and drive home the fact that they are different and special and not just another spell
  • Land deformation : )
  • Increase the sovereign's base stats
  • Be able to spend a part of our essence to also make champions live longer (turning them into core units throughout the game)
  • Essence is used to create Wonders: permanent nonmobile structures that have ongoing benefits until destroyed
  • Essence is required to "Unlock" shards for use, or at least to increase the amount of mana they provide.
  • Channelers can use essence to radically enhance mana-based spells (increase damage, remove upkeep etc)
  • Imbue land a la D&D's "Sanctum" magic: spells cost less, go further, and do more damage. Fog of war removed
  • Be able to cast spells after running out of mana by drawing on your internal reservces of essence (spell is free but risk/get essence loss)
  • Win the game: a victory condition could be control of all world shards by one Sovereign ends the game. 

   
Ways players want to get essence

  • Destroying a magic artifact of extreme value for the essence
  • killing a unique Legendary Monster and absorbing its essence
  • killing a Champion/Sovereign and absorbing their essence
  • completing a quest and getting some essence-based reward
  • end game building ultra-expensive building produces a one time gain of 5 essence
  • Super Rare Ancient Artifacts one time gain of x essence
  • Certain magic technologies increase essence by a certain amount: "Discovered Advanced Meditation? +4 essence!
  • Gain x essence every turn as a renewable resource?
  • Kingdoms gain essence for restoring the land to life.
  • Empires channel the power of death and destruction. They gain power as they twist land and through violent acts.
  • Both sides channel the power of the crystals. All types of crystals provide both mana and augment essence.

  Things players have wanted changed about essence (some of these ideas are in conflict)

  • Redesign the level system with a focus on essence: "essence is the points," and essence is spent on better strength, intelligence, etc, moving your sovereign beyond mortal power. Maybe even special abilities?
  • Remove essence from the buyable list: quest only gain
  • Redesign the level system so you don't have to risk your sov in combat for level gain and essence gain
  • Get rid of the mana = essence * 10 cap and replace it with something else
  • Spell power: spell cast * (1 + Essence/20). Every five points of essence could increase damage by 25%
  • Spend Essence to increase Mana Channeling ability (increase cap + regen rates)
  • Number of Shards controlled should allow for a higher Max Mana than your essence would normally allow. +2 mana a shard?
  • Link shards to mana caps and regeneration.
  • Delink Essence from the mana pool
  • Delink Essence from all stats

 
New System Ideas (new category!)   

 #1001 "Essence should work as a temporary investment of your magical tasking ability."

  1. If you imbue your retainer with your essence so that (s)he is a conduit of your power, you must continue to maintain that spell.
  2. Your overall potential (essence) would be reduced--how can you cast a really complex spell when you're also busy maintaining five minor spells at the same time? Either get a bigger essence or cancel some of those spells that are eating up your essence.
  3. That means there would need to be a screen in the magic menu where you could see what is eating up your essence and have the open to cancel.

 

#1002 "An empire strategy for gaining essences should be like Vlaakith of the Githyanki"

  1. Lets say you give one of your essence to your champion, bob.  He gains a few levels.  You raise his essence up. 
  2. He has maybe 5 now. 
  3. Now you kill bob and consume his soul/essence in some kind of ritual.

 

#1003 "Shards generate Essence and provide the unique "potential" of a given element."

  1. Elemental Shards (Fire, Ice, etc.) are unique STRATEGIC locales, potential resources of the utmost importance,
  2. They are the ONLY locations that generate Essence; they also generate the Shard's unique potential (e.g. "fire.").
  3. Possession of a shard provides that shard's Essence source and that shard's unique potential.
  4. If you lose the shard, you lose the essence.
  5. Rare and infrequent events provide an essence bonus directly to you, which can't be taken away.
  6. Having one shard of an elemental type allows you to cast spells of that type. You gain the "potential."
  7. This idea combines well with #1001.

 

#1004 "Essence is the Points."

  1. You have a set amount of essence. Essence totals have nothing to do with stats.
  2. When you create your character or when you level, you are Spending Essence on increasing your points beyond what normal humans can do. You can do this for special abillities or just outright stat increases.
  3. This means you spend essence to make yourself a better fighter (str) or a better wizard (int)
  4. Whatever is left over is your "essence," that can be used for Mega-spells, or invested as in #1001.

 

#1005 "Shards generate mana and require essence to unlock."

  1. The only source of mana is from shards. You regenerate mana based on gaining control of shards, and channel a certain amount based on wisdom/essence/other bonuses to your mana pool each turn.
  2. In order to begin channeling from a shard you must take control of it and "unlock it" using your unique powers as a channeler: essence.
  3. In order for a champion to be able to receive mana, you must imbue him with essence.
  4. Certain other global enchantments, such as ones that affect the flow of mana, ones that give life, and domain powers, require an investment of essence as in #1001.
  5. Unlocking fire shards unlocks fire spells, etc.
  6. The idea is that Essence is the power to manipulate Magic Itself, and what sets you apart from mere magicians, who can only use what they are given.

 

 

Some selected comments about how players feel about essence:



NEW COMMENTS




"It seems to me that essence should be the stuff that makes a channeler so powerful--whether wizard or warrior." - CHiZZoPs  


"A stat like essence is more fun when the game lets you spend it and where the decision is on what cool things you want to do, not on if you dare spend it and gimp your spellcasting by doing so. That encourages hoarding, and hoarding isn't fun." - Tridus  

 



OLD COMMENTS (FOR POSTERITY)


"I want lots of options for how I use my limited supply of essence.  Lots of options for how I use my one and only channeller.  I want having a powerful combatant, or even a combatant at all, to be an option, but one of many.  I want it to be offset by the other options, so there is a legitimate choice for channeller use, essence expenditure, and exactly what kind of kingdom you want to have." - lwarmonger  


My only 'good reason' for seriously wanting ways for channelers to gain essence is that I think it would be more fun. It could add variety to quests, diplomacy, evil spell design, and more. And it's also great fun to be able to recover in mid-game from what you only belatedly understood was a bad mistake in the early game." - GW Swicord  


"Small empires need to be as viable as large ones.  I understand that sort of balance isn't easy and may take time to perfect, but it's important." - Nick-Danger  


"Limited essence makes essence more valuable and the decisions of when to spend it critical. If you are worries about running out, then I have no problem with being able to "level up" your channeler to get more essence. But I would hate for it to recharge your "essence battery" rather you could access inner reserves that you didn't know you had. It may seem a slim distinction, but it is a significant one. The "trickle/recharge" means that you can just hole up and hide and wait for a recharge - again this trivializes it imho." - Denryu  


"I still feel a player should be able to take the Sauron approach: horde all their Essence and grow their personal power to the point where they could individually lay waste to a thousand soldiers. The only way it's reasonable to do this is if they paid a big price for having this kind of power (economically or otherwise)." - TCores  


"I see that, unless I want to risk my soverign and an instant game over, I can never get more essence. And as a turn based game, games tend to last a long time. So what's my initial instinct? To hoard all of the essence, and never ever spend any of it. Which, of course, means that some cool spells I'd never actually get to use except in the first five minutes when I'm assured to win." - NullAshton  


"The level leads me to wish for all sovereigns to slowly gain essence over time, like +1 essence every 5 turns. Everyone slowly gains essence over time, at a fixed rate, with no way to change this ... and the difference is only in how you spend said essence." - Tasunke  


"Personally, I think essence should be used in a completely different fashion.  Imbuing heroes and such is a great idea, but instead of essence being used to directly improve land, I think it should be used to create unique city improvements that would not otherwise be buildable without essence (with expendable mana being used to restore land).  For instance: Well of Life: Use 5 essence and commit your sovereign for five turns, double growth rates in that city. Your sovereign reaches out to an untouched source of water from the cataclysm and purifies it for the people to drink." - Demiansky  


"The current system is not that bad, but it should be tweaked. IE. If the only way to gain essence won't be changed [IE. gain essence @ lvl up], the XP system should be tweaked. Give XP for completing quests. Add some special sites or buildings like Arenas. The Sovereigns can participate in arena battles / turn in order to get XP. You got the picture.  
"I don't like the 'get X number of XP / turn while the Sov is sitting in his tower and doing nothing' idea." - Tormy-

 "I do agree that essence should not be trivialized but I also think if Elemental did implement some kind of limited and slow regeneration of essence it wouldn’t cause it to be irrelevant. The key balance as I see it in this discussion is making essence vital and strategic without it becoming a quagmire that ruins the fun factor of long games." - Darkodinplus

 


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May 29, 2010 6:44:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A note: please don't start a new debate over whether X idea is good or bad! Each of these have their own threads already and there's no point in rehashing the pages of arguments over them. Instead this thread should be about refining ideas or coming up with new onesYou will almost certainly dislike some or perhaps even all ideas presented on the thread, but let's refrain from bashing them no matter how much they deserve it.

It's okay if you want to say that you like an idea, but let's leave it at that. Hopefully, if stardock is still deciding how to handle essence, this thread is useful to them.

I intend to make use of many of these excellent ideas in my mods, so let's try and keep it as a reference thread and a source of good (and some bad) ideas.

Lastly: I'm aware some of the ideas here are already in the game. : )

 

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May 29, 2010 6:56:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Essence should be 'special'.  It should do things

1-that can't otherwise be done (like Demiansky's Well of Life)

2-that can be otherwise done but done in a 'special' way (like Magic Items)

Demainsky provides good examples of #1, as did Dr Franknfurter.  An example of 2 would be:

-we can make a magic sword without essence (say a flaming longsword that does extra damage vs fire-vulnerables and less damage vs fire-resistants).  Say we make a flaming longsword with essence -- it would do extra damage vs all creatures/things, it would be indestructible, and it would always be available to the Sov who created it (as an aside, when a Sov dies they appear in the nearest town with all items -- maybe their items should be left behind as a penalty to dying, but essence-created items would stay with the Sov -- always available).

-An essence-created familiar/pet/mount would be different from a summoned f/p/m in that it could gain xp/levels, and if it dies it reappears (with 0 xp) in the Sov's capitol (whereas a normally summoned f/p/m would not gain xp/levles and death would be permanent).

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May 29, 2010 7:29:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Shortly before we had our hands on beta builds, I wrote a chunk on my hopes for essence and the thread was pretty lively for a few days. Some of the things in my OP & the replies are clearly moot at this point, but newer folks interested in the subject might enjoy the 'historical' perspective.

My new biggest hope for essence is that it NOT be a factor for some sort of mana pool cap. Details of spells & other 'investments' aside, I believe that the derived stat for essence should be casting time, not a cap on mana accumulation. Nothing would distinguish mana and essence more clearly than having one of them effectively unlimited while the other one remains difficult to obtain throughout the game. If anything, the raw essence number should feed a formula for a penalty on the next essence increase--i.e. the more essence you have, the harder it should be to gain essence.

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May 29, 2010 9:09:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I added in some suggestions and comments from your posting. I had much the same thoughts on the manacap as you did.

I'm rather fond of Demiansky's Well of Life (and the descriptions) and would like to see an artifact creator done up in the Daggerfall style, adding in advantages and disadvantages with a net essence cost.

Some essence spell suggestions, for things that shouldn't necessarily be possible with regular magic:

  • Reanimate Champion - use essence to reanimate a fallen champion's corpse, even those of enemies. Force it to serve you. If there's necromancy in the game, this spell should raise them back with most of their attributes and equipment (if you haven't looted it)
  • Corrupt Forest - permanently corrupt a forest to your ends, twisting the trees themselves into defenders of the fallen. Travelling through the forest has 1 hex visibility, takes double movement points. Periodically travellers going through the forest run the risk of waking a terrible, fell beast from slumber that will attack them. If they flee, the beast has a chance to leave the forest and start attacking the countryside (confound those adventurerers!)

Just a couple since I don't want to flood my thread. : )

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May 30, 2010 9:40:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like the idea of being able to use Essence points to improve the stats and abilities of your Sovereign and Heroes. But how would you separate the 'normal' leveling up and the corresponding improvement in stats and abilities from the improvement caused by spending Essence points (I'm assuming that most heroes won't have Essence points to start with, and will only be able to get them after the Sovereign invests some of his own into them)? I propose that the improvement in stats through normal leveling will be moderate (but noticeable), while the gain by using an Essence point should be huge. And the difference between normally gained abilities and those gained by spending Essence should be that the first are natural, and the later supernatural, for instance the ability to dodge the blows of the average human vs. the ability to dodge bullets.

I have an idea a bit along the lines of what GW Swicord said above; how about making Essence determine how much mana you can spend in one turn?  Then it would function a bit like the 'casting points' from the AoW games. And, as in AoW, if you want to cast a spell that costs more mana than you have essence points, it will take several turns to cast that spell, until you have used the amount of mana necessary. So for instance a sovereign with 3 essence points could (providing he has enough mana) each turn cast 3 Magic Missiles or 1 Fireball, take two turns to cast Rain of Fire, or three turns to summon an lesser Fire Elemental. This way the Sovereign that hoards his Essence mightbe able to cast multiple powerfull spells each turn, and the Sovereign that used his Essence in other ways is still able to cast the same spells, but it takes more time for him. It also makes you think more about spending Essence, because it will hurt your spell casting abilities, at least in the short term. 

If you combine the two ideas above, I think you have a neat system for using Essence on your Sovereign and Heroes. If you invest an Essence point into a Hero, that Hero could then use it to improve his abilities, or keep it to become a spell caster himself. At first he would only be able to cast cheap spells, but as he gains more Essence (Frogboy said somewhere that heroes with Essence would be able to gain more like the Sovereign does) he becomes more powerful.

Your thoughts?

 

BTW, I think you should add Stmorpheus's idea from yourother thread of 'mana boost' (although I'd call it 'Essence Burn') to your list of 'What players want to do with essence'. I thinks it's a great idea. When you are all out of mana and you really need to cast a spell, you can tap into your inner reserves, but it comes at the cost of your spell casting abilities.

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May 30, 2010 9:59:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,
. If anything, the raw essence number should feed a formula for a penalty on the next essence increase--i.e. the more essence you have, the harder it should be to gain essence.

I don't know about this part. It seems to me one of the viable play styles was being an Essence hoarder to have massive magic power. With this in place it seems like you'd be unfairly gimping that particular play style. Encouraging players to spend their essence rather then hoard it for greater spell power. Other then that I agree with separating mana from essence... However, Essence should still have a massive effect on the potency of your magic (perhaps more massive then anything else.)

What you could do instead is have a system of diminishing returns on the effect of essence towards spell power. This wouldn't gimp a player for playing the hoarding style but would make sure his magic didn't become "Too" overpowerful.

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May 30, 2010 10:38:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Added, if I got the idea right.

Satharn: it could be an idea to outright replace the sovereign levelling system with an essence one, "the essence is the points," and just give him the normal "hero" levelling system the other units in the game get in regards to combat. Not saying it has to be that, just that's also an idea as well. : )

 

We've got three different schools of thought on how to make essence related to spellcasting.

The "attribute" way:

  • Spell power directly increased by total essence (damage * ( 1 + essence/20) for + 25% damage for every 5 points etc
  • Spell casting time directly affected by essence: more essence, shorter casting time
  • Total mana = essence * 10 I don't think anyone actually likes this
  • Total essence determines number of spells you can cast (regardless of mana) in a turn

The "strategic" way:

  • Essence is required to access mana nodes, essence opens them up and allows the mana to flow to you
  • Essence determines the number of active mana nodes you can have at a given time

The "levelling" way:

  • Essence is the points. You can buy strength or increased spellcasting ability through essence points. Unspent points are raw essence
  • Essence can be used to create/purchase spells for your use, taking them from the books into something you can cast for a set cost

Each way of dealing with it obviously can work with different ways together, the goal being to stick to the lore but still make it playable. I also feel it's important to distinguish Mana from Essence, so that's one of my goals in the ideas I suggest.

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July 17, 2010 11:01:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Didn't see this thread the first time, but I've been talking about essence lately and saw it linked elsewhere. So here's a post that explains what I want Essence to be like. Short version: a limited pool of power that you use to activate certain "fun" special powers that isn't tied to anything else and that you don't hoard except maybe to spend later. Generally speaking, a stat like essence is more fun when the game lets you spend it and where the decision is on what cool things you want to do, not on if you dare spend it and gimp your spellcasting by doing so. That encourages hoarding, and hoarding isn't fun.

 

As for the details:

- Decouple essence from other stats entirely. It's not max mana, not tied to Int/Wis, not affecting spell power, or anything. All sovereigns get a pool, say 10.

- You can't buy it at level up or character creation. MAYBE you can get it by levelling (0.25 per level), and from some rare effects or global wonders.

- It's spent pretty much on everything everybody else has already mentioned. One thing in particular I'd like to see is a potential quest reward that's an old legendary item that has lost its power, where you can spend essence to recharge it. (Frogboy mentioned in another thread that item creation is a potential expansion feature, so I don't expect to see it soon.)

- Caster stats are handled like this: Intellect boosts spell effectiveness (damage, duration, and resistance to being dispelled), and Wisdom controls both max mana and mana regen.

Thus, Wisdom becomes a pretty good stat, caster sovereigns can spend essence with the exact same consideration as melee sovereigns, and most importantly every player gets a pool of special powers they can blow and get to decide what great things they want to do every game with it. IMO that's a lot more fun then any system where activating your really cool abilities penalizes your normal combat abilities.

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July 18, 2010 7:30:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like the ideas that you have been refining here. It seems to me that essence should be the stuff that makes a channeler so powerful--whether wizard or warrior. It should be the potential for power in undefined form, and when used for certain things, it is temporarily diverted to whatever that is (ie: stat boosting, item enchantment, retainer imbuing).

Please consider these points in light of what we have been talking about here:

  • First: What is a sovereign--leader of the realm and only with the ability to "channel"--doing running about in a dangerous land where they could get themselves killed? While there are times for it to be called for (game start, key battles, etc.) There should be far more reasons for them to hang back at the city and imbue a couple of heroes to cast spells.
  • Second: They are super unique, of a very rare few who can channel, right? But what exactly are they channeling? If they are channelers, then:
    • They simply invest a point of essence in order to make a particular hero a conduit of their own magic. This lets them sit back in safety and cast spells through that retainer.
    • They channel the energy all around them to gain their mana and augment their essence (mana=gasoline; essence=engine size).
      • The Light channels the power of life. This will slowly and steadily increase in bits as they revive the land.
      • The Dark channels the power of death and destruction. They will quickly gain a surge of power when they destroy life (kill citizens; corrupt the earth).
      • Both sides channel the power of the crystals. All types of crystals provide both mana and augment essence.
    • They can channel better at home, but can also cast better at certain places of power throughout the world (such as crystals).
    • They channel that essence into order to augment themselves and others, imbue items, the land, etc.
    • What else do they channel, guys and gals?
  • Therefore: Sovereigns should have a starting "base" essence (casting potential) and mana pool (the fuel inside themselves) based on their starting stats, but all sovereigns should have the potential to increase these based on shaping the world in their own predilection.
  • How will we have an Elemental War of Magic if the sovereigns do not focus on using magic?
  • Finally, essence, as a raw undefined potential for power, should work as a temporary investment of your magical tasking ability.
    • If you imbue your retainer with your essence so that (s)he is a conduit of your power, you must continue to maintain that spell.
    • Therefore, it is only logical that your overall potential would be reduced--how can you cast a really complex spell when you're also busy maintaining five minor spells at the same time? Either get a bigger essence or cancel some of those spells that are eating up your essence.
    • That means there would need to be a screen in the magic menu where you could see what is eating up your essence and have the open to cancel.
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July 18, 2010 10:14:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting CHiZZoPs,
First: What is a sovereign--leader of the realm and only with the ability to "channel"--doing running about in a dangerous land where they could get themselves killed? While there are times for it to be called for (game start, key battles, etc.) There should be far more reasons for them to hang back at the city and imbue a couple of heroes to cast spells.

That's kind of up for debate, TBH. AoW 2 used that kind of model of a stay at home leader, and some people like it more then others. I think it worked for that game (and would like to make an AoW style casting mod at some point), but there's something to be said for the fun of having your avatar right out there on the front line personally leading the charge. Plus, you're pretty badass.

The other issue with a stay at home sovereign is that imbuing someone at first creates a very weak caster due to essence = mana cap. They require a lot of levels to get around that. (Changing that mechanic would fix the problem.)

Second: They are super unique, of a very rare few who can channel, right? But what exactly are they channeling? If they are channelers, then:

They simply invest a point of essence in order to make a particular hero a conduit of their own magic. This lets them sit back in safety and cast spells through that retainer.
They channel the energy all around them to gain their mana and augment their essence (mana=gasoline; essence=engine size).

The Light channels the power of life. This will slowly and steadily increase in bits as they revive the land.
The Dark channels the power of death and destruction. They will quickly gain a surge of power when they destroy life (kill citizens; corrupt the earth).
Both sides channel the power of the crystals. All types of crystals provide both mana and augment essence.


They can channel better at home, but can also cast better at certain places of power throughout the world (such as crystals).
They channel that essence into order to augment themselves and others, imbue items, the land, etc.
What else do they channel, guys and gals?

From the early versions of the lore I read (there were some dev journals on it a long time ago), the shards are pieces of a bigger crystal that was shattered at the start of the cataclysm. Channelers are people with the ability to draw on that power source. "Essence" in that is... something. A piece of the channeler's life force, or some such. By imbuing it into someone else, that person gains access to the power of the shards too.


Therefore: Sovereigns should have a starting "base" essence (casting potential) and mana pool (the fuel inside themselves) based on their starting stats, but all sovereigns should have the potential to increase these based on shaping the world in their own predilection.
How will we have an Elemental War of Magic if the sovereigns do not focus on using magic?

Theoretically even melee sovereigns will be using some spells. Not as many obviously, but I don't think you'll see people in big games with zero magic.   (Of course divorcing Essence from mana cap would allow for more magic, as you can burn your essence on magical effects and still maintain your normal magical power.)

Finally, essence, as a raw undefined potential for power, should work as a temporary investment of your magical tasking ability.


If you imbue your retainer with your essence so that (s)he is a conduit of your power, you must continue to maintain that spell.
Therefore, it is only logical that your overall potential would be reduced--how can you cast a really complex spell when you're also busy maintaining five minor spells at the same time? Either get a bigger essence or cancel some of those spells that are eating up your essence.
That means there would need to be a screen in the magic menu where you could see what is eating up your essence and have the open to cancel.

That's an interesting idea. If mainteinance put a tax on your casting ability, it would be pretty interesting. Something to think about.

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July 19, 2010 1:42:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I thought of another way to gain essence.

 

Lets say you give one of your essence to your champion, bob.  He gains a few levels.  You raise his essence up.  He has maybe 5 now.  If you are able to channel it into another unit, you should be able to absorb whatever they have.  If this was thought to be too strong, it could be made to where you take it all, and they die in the process.  Losing a champion after spending the time and energy to level him is a big trade off.

 

It would keep your Sov safe and still allow you to gain some essence.

It would would giving up some essence shortterm for some longerm.

Its not the safest, if they die, you would lose your initial essence.

If you acquired a champion who already had essence, you could absorb his as well.

 

Just something i thought of a couple days ago.

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July 19, 2010 2:28:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Gargammel,
I thought of another way to gain essence.



Lets say you give one of your essence to your champion, bob.  He gains a few levels.  You raise his essence up.  He has maybe 5 now.  If you are able to channel it into another unit, you should be able to absorb whatever they have.  If this was thought to be too strong, it could be made to where you take it all, and they die in the process.  Losing a champion after spending the time and energy to level him is a big trade off.


Just something i thought of a couple days ago.

 

Exactly! This is exactly the kind of power that the Dark side should have. They have a quick road to power but at the high cost of sacrificing lives be it retainers, citizens, or through corrupting the land.

The Light side meanwhile should have a slow and steady way to gain essence through cultivating the land, etc.

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July 19, 2010 4:44:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

More exceptional ideas in this thread.  Want to throw out a concept that hatched based on all the threads I've read, linking Essence and Crystal Shards to bring about that Epic feel for Elemental: War of Magic.  First, a few points that have to be bought in to for this to fly. 

ESSENCE

  • Essence is a UNIQUE and DISTINGUISHING Resource where only a few world characters possess this chacteristic.  It provides EPIC abilities (that can only be used sparingly due to its rarity) and whose use results in obvious tactical/strategic outcomes.
  • Essence would likely be DE-LINKED from all other character attributes (e.g. Wisdom, INT, etc.). It could initially be a small fixed amount based upon... (?- see shards below).

SHARDS

  • Elemental Shards (Fire, Ice, etc.) are unique STRATEGIC locales, potential resources of the utmost importance, that are the ONLY locations that generate Essence; they also generate the Shard's unique potential (e.g. "fire.").
  • Possession of a shard provides that shard's Essence source and that shard's unique potential.
  • Just as Essence has rare abilities linked to its use, so too is the acquisition of Essence from other than shards a rare event (e.g. major quest, small % upon level up, etc.)

It is my thought by LINKING Essence and Elemental shards you provide a unique game mechanic whereby there is a reason to have an ELEMENTAL WAR of MAGIC.  In fact, I would submit another game victory condition could be control of all world shards by one Sovereign ends the game.  Further, many interesting game mechanics (without new "features") such as controlling shards reduces the Essence of other Sovereigns, Shards become a strategic strongpoint worth fighting for, etc. could be implemented.

I could elaborate on this basic concept but won't unless asked

 

 

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July 19, 2010 5:14:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Interesting. That would really boost the importance of shards.

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July 19, 2010 9:20:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have updated this thread with suggestions from everyone and changed the format a little. As you guys know I add the suggestions whether or not I agree with them: so long as they have some merit I think they belong up there.

I still do not feel satisfied with Essence as it currently works, but (understandably) Stardock may not be willing to change the mechanics at this point. However, there are a ton of "little" suggestions that I think make worthwhile additions.

Also hopefully this thread will be useful to modders in the future, because honestly there are *many* good ideas here, even ones that are completely opposite of each other.

 

 

LeBlaque, by all means, do go on. Bonus points if you are succinct and come up with original things. : )
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July 20, 2010 5:22:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting LeBlaque,

Elemental Shards (Fire, Ice, etc.) are unique STRATEGIC locales, potential resources of the utmost importance, that are the ONLY locations that generate Essence; they also generate the Shard's unique potential (e.g. "fire.").
Possession of a shard provides that shard's Essence source and that shard's unique potential.
Just as Essence has rare abilities linked to its use, so too is the acquisition of Essence from other than shards a rare event (e.g. major quest, small % upon level up, etc.)
It is my thought by LINKING Essence and Elemental shards you provide a unique game mechanic whereby there is a reason to have an ELEMENTAL WAR of MAGIC.  In fact, I would submit another game victory condition could be control of all world shards by one Sovereign ends the game.  Further, many interesting game mechanics (without new "features") such as controlling shards reduces the Essence of other Sovereigns, Shards become a strategic strongpoint worth fighting for, etc. could be implemented.

I could elaborate on this basic concept but won't unless asked

 

 

LeBlaque, I'm with you on the shards. They should produce essence. If I had the choice, I would want them to generate small amounts of essence over time (maybe 0.1 per turn), and only for your sovereign. I'd also like for a hero's wisdom to not only be his starting essence, but also his essence "cap." Why cap essence? Well, if you have a resource that is producing essence on a consistent basis, like a shard, you could theoretically just sit and build your essence up to epic levels, unless, of course, you had a maximum amount that your essence could reach, which is why I favor the essence "cap" (but only when essence is generated by shards or in some other renewable-reource type of fashion). 

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July 20, 2010 6:44:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Very nice idea on the capping of shards, leonach2, LeBlaque. I agree completely on making them more important/strategic to winning. The augmenting of essence is right in line with what I wrote above. I like your idea about an essence cap, however I think only wisdom would be too low; perhaps a combination of two stats such as (wisdom + constitution) or something. This slow generation of essence combined with what I suggested about ways for light and dark sides to gain essence above would add the element ( ) missing to this game.

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July 20, 2010 7:11:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So many ideas on essences and they all have one thing in common. They're all better than the current model, imo anyway. I don't see another great idea which I read somewhere in these forums. This idea was based around the model that casting certain spells would weaken the caster.

While I do believe some spells should actually lower your max essence (these would have to be extremely powerful and ubber) I dont like how theres many that just flat out gimp your caster permanently. The idea was to "temporarly" gimp your caster by having spells lower your maximum essence, but in this case you wouldn't lose it forever because you would recover that essence gradually. Furthermore you could increase the rate at which you recovered your max essence by staying in your city resting, possesing shards or even constructing special buildings (wonders, national wonders like civ4).

Ahh digging through my replies I found where I got my idea from, it was a post from Toonz and you can find it here.

PS: Talents and traits could also make certain champions improve essence regeneration and stuff, I've been making several posts regarding talents for champions!

 Edit: This was a suggestion when Essence was same as Mana i think. It could lower your max mana maybe to keep it in line with temporarly weakening the caster.

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July 20, 2010 7:17:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Civfreak,


While I do believe some spells should actually lower your max essence (these would have to be extremely powerful and ubber) I dont like how theres many that just flat out gimp your caster permanently.

 

i dont agree even on the first part

frogboy want sauron like and casters do cast 23124124 times in a single turn

 

and then you put a bit of grass on the ground and lose essence forever?

doesnt make sense

 

also there is the problem of other champions, how to make them cast?

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July 20, 2010 7:18:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

also there is the problem of other champions, how to make them cast?

use spell imbue hero to make others casters...

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July 20, 2010 7:39:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums



i dont agree even on the first part

frogboy want sauron like and casters do cast 23124124 times in a single turn



and then you put a bit of grass on the ground and lose essence forever?

doesnt make sense



also there is the problem of other champions, how to make them cast?

The point of this idea is to avoid losing mana forever in most cases. I say "some spells" should permanently lower max essence because thats the vision the developers started with. How much spells should lower essence forever? 1 per faction? That I don't know but I believe that (going in line with this idea) they should be really really good and worth the loss. Which spell should weaken the caster is also something that would have to be taken care of during balancing.

As for imbuing heroes I don't think you should lose essence permanently, and that weakening the sovereign (temporarly lowering max essence) would work just fine and "make sense" since you just gave some of your life force to someone else and that sounds tiring. And if you decided to imbue several heroes in one turn it would certainly weaken you but you would have 2 casters and a longer time to recover from imbue'ing (spelling) them.

Of course everyone has their own ideas and point of views and I just thought this had its own merits, there are lots of great ideas in this thread and on the forums and I'm just trying to add to them. Worse case scenario is someone might get an idea from this

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July 20, 2010 7:48:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One area with respect to Essence that is confounding our situation, even for me as I frankly switch my opinion back and forth between Essence being a re-chargeable resource versus a "one-shot" usage, is what should Essence be USED for?  Bottom line, if it is used for UBER-related feats then it should be one-shot, if it used for anything less than UBER it should be rechargeable.   I think MANA should serve as the power-source for all things non-UBER, while Essence should be involved in those strategic/tactical game-changing situations.  Consequently, I'm now in the "Essence does NOT recharge like mana" camp and is a resource truly difficult to acquire/increase.

With regard to the existing game mechanics, right now I only see the Sovereign fleeing the battle and imbuing your heroes as a viable use of 1 Essence point.  Certainly the wolf quest that took 5 Essence would be ridiculous in the model I propose-- indeed, this would take no Essence.

For sake of example only, in the LOTR movies I only saw two instances where Gandalf would have "used Essence" 1) During his re-birth as Gandalf the White and 2) Defeating the Balrog (after he fell with him) by super-boosting his combat stats to defeat the demon.

In sum, we need to find some real good uses for Essence that you'd only use approximately 10 times an entire game. There have been some good ideas in this and other threads for such use. That's my feeling on it, anyway.

More later on how crystal shards and essence fit in to this whole concept.

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July 20, 2010 8:03:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting LeBlaque,
For sake of example only, in the LOTR movies I only saw two instances where Gandalf would have "used Essence" 1) During his re-birth as Gandalf the White and 2) Defeating the Balrog (after he fell with him) by super-boosting his combat stats to defeat the demon.

In sum, we need to find some real good uses for Essence that you'd only use approximately 10 times an entire game. There have been some good ideas in this and other threads for such use. That's my feeling on it, anyway.

Now that would be interesting - not a permanent stat gain, but instead a very temporary yet insanely powerful buff at the cost of essence, able to put your sovereign on the same level as a dragon (or balrog or whatever) for just a few turns within a battle, just long enough to slay a single uber foe for example.

May seem like a poor use of essence when most of the other uses give permanent benefits, but then again if it allows you to slay a dragon, that's a permanent irreplaceable loss for your enemy and well worth spending essence on - it could also save your sovereign from death, which would cost essence anyway. Also creates a great "oh crap" moment, allowing a smart human opponent to completely turn a battle around unexpectedly. It'd give melees more of a reason to save up their essence for sure.

Edit: I've been thinking about it more, and the gandalf-beats-the-balrog essence expending buff would also be a great way to create Sauron-like moments, where a sovereign can slaughter dozens of regular units as if they were nothing. Imagine, your dragon and supporting death knights are moving in for the kill against an enemy sovereign and his pitiful bodyguard, his defeat is certain. At a critical moment he expends 5 essence on the "Avatar of Death" spell, becoming near impossible to kill with a massive strength boost and sweeping through several enemies with every stroke - for 3 combat turns. By the time the spell wears off, the dragon is ripped to shreds along with half your death knights, but the enemy is again vulnerable and now critically low on essence, and the battle continues as they desperately attempt to fight off the remnants of your forces - a sure thing gets turned into a close fight in an instant. If some kind of ridiculous essence buff can create such a moment one game in a hundred, it's worth adding I think.

It even explains how Sauron could scatter a dozen men with a single swing one moment, and then get defeated by a guy with a broken sword the next, obviously his buffs wore out!

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July 21, 2010 4:37:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Twohawks,

also there is the problem of other champions, how to make them cast?
use spell imbue hero to make others casters...

 

yeah and whats the point is you lose the same power than other championg gain?

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July 21, 2010 4:41:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Civfreak,


As for imbuing heroes I don't think you should lose essence permanently, and that weakening the sovereign (temporarly lowering max essence) would work just fine

 

imo it would lead to neverending cheating

 

in agame there are a lot of dead times

 

if the loss is temporarty it would end with some time of the game where you charge champions and some cool down where your sov returns strong

 

i cant really think asolution without flaws nearly the actual imbue system

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