Elemental: Spell Book

By on July 5, 2010 4:23:53 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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The Beta 3 series begins the actual “game phase” of Elemental’s public beta process.  This is where the game starts to come together as an actual game rather than a piece of software.

Beta 3 will include the rough draft of the user manual as well as the game launcher.

I still recommend people to NOT join the beta unless your primary goal is to help mold game play.  At beta 3, we can make game play changes as long as they do not require new assets to be created (art, 3D models, etc.) or new systems to be developed (“Wouldn’t it be great if you could switch into first person mode?).

Here is the v1.0 Spell Book.

Latest Update: 07.05.2010 16:22 EST

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The values are still subject to tweaking based on play testing.  In addition to the 90+ spells in the core 11 spell books (10 + the Spell book of Mastery) there are an additional 7 books of magic that are scattered across the world to be found which I won’t get into (but inevitably, once the modders get started they’ll find them). Amongst the lost 7 books of Magic are the Book of Curses, Book of Valor, and the Book of Vengeance.

Most of these spells should be in the Beta 3 build (“they work on my machine!”) but if they’re not checked into the public tree they should be soon.

We plan to release a lot more spells after the game comes out (lest we get shamed by modders) which we’ll add in based on beta tester feedback.

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June 30, 2010 11:04:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Interesting read; does this mean that only one player can posess the spells in the "lost" spellbooks?  Or is it that once unleashed on the world (by someone completing a quest, say), the book becomes available to all players?

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June 30, 2010 11:09:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What's the Book of Valar for? Curses do curses, Vengeance makes you...well, vengeful. But Valar?

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June 30, 2010 11:12:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Time to bust open the spell book! Me want!

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July 1, 2010 12:01:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Valar is a typo probably. Thinking he meant "Book of Valor".

The cast once spell limitation is kinda a downer. Wish there was some other method to allow for powerful, neat spells but not have them ruin the game.

Perhaps have these types of spell as a one-use artifact found in game through a quest or something.

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July 1, 2010 12:21:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think it would add much more interest to make shard types not have exact overlap or duplication with spell book types. Ie when you capture a Fire Shard, it unlocks fire-themed spells from a variety of books: Fireball (Combat), Brilliance (Enchantment), Summon Fire Elemental (Summoning), Create Desert (Ruin), Thaw Tundra (Revival), etc.

This way the set of spells you can use is potentially different with each game, depending on the interplay between what books you have and what shard types you managed to access. Kind of like the system in Dominions 3, where the combination between levels of magic power (Fire, Air, Earth, Death, etc) and research in magic schools (Enchantment, Evocation, Summoning etc) determines what combinations and subsets of spells you gain access to.

Otherwise, if you have a Fire Book you're pretty much screwed if you don't get the Fire Shard, then when you do you always just unlock the exact same set of spells that were in the book all at once.

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July 1, 2010 12:39:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hehe... Wreak Havoc vaguely reminds me of Zombie Mastery from MoM.

"Can only be cast once" -- per player, or per game? I'm hoping it's the latter. The spell equivalent of World Wonders in Civ.

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July 1, 2010 12:56:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm looking forward to the new version of the beta. And then seeing what these spells do, and how the whole magic system functions now.

To be honest, now we'll really be able to start the "Gameplay" testing. The stuff that drives the fun of the game. Should be a good ride.

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July 1, 2010 1:01:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hooray! Been waiting for the spellbook for a loooooong time!

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July 1, 2010 1:13:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

OOoooo good idea dryman! though im not sure if frogboy and co are dead set on having the shard specific books or not. your idea seems to solve many issues people (including me) have with the shards and having to have the corresponding books. maybe there could be a way to research the shard specific books as more of a mid magic tree tech. either way, shards would still be of strategic importance, gotta collect them all! if for no other reason than to keep em from my enemies..

man i cant wait for this game!

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July 1, 2010 1:35:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

dryman's idea is freaking genius, Frogboy. That will make all shards valuable to everyone and it will be far more interesting to choose which shards you want to go after if you only have a couple spell books.  

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July 1, 2010 2:22:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A set of stun spells would be useful or paralysis/hold person as higher end versions of slow.

 

If some creatures end up being resistant to normal weapons you could have an enchant weapon so your mundane creatures could fight them without penalty and without the need to be equipped with magical weapons.

 

Or a storm/wind spell that made arrows and siege weapons inaccurate or ineffective.

 

Magical diseases would be pretty messed up. Imagine if the "sloth disease/curse" spread outside of a city and ended up spreading through a trade network. Or like in Wizard's First Rule when the ancient mages made it so all red fruit became poisonous in the entire midlands region thus ruining much of their food supply.

Then maybe your herbalists would have to come up with a cure before you unleashed your biomagical weapon of mass destruction so you could defend yourself...and sell off the formula to those "accidentally" afflicted.

 

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July 1, 2010 2:25:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Like your idea Dryman.

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July 1, 2010 3:01:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If find it strange that the revive land spell cost only 1 essence while the ruin land spell cost 1 essence + 5 mana.

 

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July 1, 2010 3:06:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Needs a domination spell of some sort. "Ogre, obey me!"

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July 1, 2010 3:13:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So what's the deal with shards now? Do we only care about them for the big spells or do they give bonuses for all spells as well? It doesn't seem like there are very many shard-requiring spells... 

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July 1, 2010 3:23:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

(Take 3, forums need a defibrillator...)

Pitching in with Dryman... or at least, with the idea that having spellbooks require shards is a bad design, and Dryman's suggestion is one way of fixing it. Others options should be examined too, keeping in mind the core issue: you have to pick your books before the game starts, but you can't know what shards you'll have access to until later. There's no calculated risk because there's nothing to calculate; it devolves into a mere gamble.

And on top of that, it simply makes no sense from a lore-continuity perspective. What budding sovereign is going to say, "Hey, there's rumors of an earth shard nearby. But I'm going to study ice magic even though that shard's deep in enemy territory." Real cultures, and their successful leaders, build on what's available. Decisions which depend on knowledge of the map should not be made before the map is even generated.

This is basically identical to something that maddens me about Civilization 4: let's say I want to play Persia. Their unique unit is the Immortal, a mounted replacement to the chariot. I start the game, and... oh, the nearest horses are half a continent away. (Adding insult to injury, they're not even revealed until I research a couple of technologies!) So why the hell would my culture, which has never even seen a horse, decide to create a specialized cavalry unit?

Now, the setting and theme of Elemental must be taken into account. Procipinee probably just stumbled upon an ancient library, got fascinated, and henceforth devoured all the magical knowledge she could find. Perfectly reasonable for her to start with all those books. The queen of Tarth, a seafaring nation, knows air and water magic? Yep, I buy it. So the mechanic of starting with spellbooks is thematically solid, and I think it should stay. Therefore the problem has to be solved at the other end: all books (or at least, those available at game start) must be useful without the corresponding shards.

The inverse is not necessarily true... shards being useless to those with no books is reasonable, because books can be researched later, whereas sovereign build points can't be refunded. But spreading their effects out a little would definitely make things interesting.

 

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July 1, 2010 4:54:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Your magic could definitely use some magic...

A little creativity would be nice with the spells, I'd rather have spells that allow subtle control over the flow of battle then 15 different ways to do direct damage. The strategic spells arn't bad, but your tactical spells need serious inspiration. Spells shouldn't just be "Hey, I'm gonna blast that guy with Ice... Nah Fire... Wait Darkness!!" It should be about controlling the flow of combat, attempting to force your enemy to dance to your tune. Magic should be more deep a battle between Spell-casters should be like a game within the game.

Also I don't like the idea of one shot spells... Isn't mana there for the whole sake of deciding how much pain a mage can dish out before running out of juice? If I want to throw 15 magic blasts and have enough mana to do it then I should damn well be able to. I'd rather see you adjust the mana costs of spells to be higher then enforce arbitrary limits on how many times you can cast a spell in combat, the very idea is... Lame.

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July 1, 2010 5:11:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Keep in mind that this is version 1.0 of the spell list, and will more than likely be ammended several times before it reaches the point where it's ready for release.

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July 1, 2010 5:13:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Saije,
Your magic could definitely use some magic...

A little creativity would be nice with the spells, I'd rather have spells that allow subtle control over the flow of battle then 15 different ways to do direct damage. The strategic spells arn't bad, but your tactical spells need serious inspiration. Spells shouldn't just be "Hey, I'm gonna blast that guy with Ice... Nah Fire... Wait Darkness!!" It should be about controlling the flow of combat, attempting to force your enemy to dance to your tune. Magic should be more deep a battle between Spell-casters should be like a game within the game.

Also I don't like the idea of one shot spells... Isn't mana there for the whole sake of deciding how much pain a mage can dish out before running out of juice? If I want to throw 15 magic blasts and have enough mana to do it then I should damn well be able to. I'd rather see you adjust the mana costs of spells to be higher then enforce arbitrary limits on how many times you can cast a spell in combat, the very idea is... Lame.

I'm sure in some future expansion pack we can dive deeply into "subtle" spells.  It would be great if you could provide some concrete examples of spells you would like. We're all ears.

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July 1, 2010 5:13:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting SavageBananaMan34,
So what's the deal with shards now? Do we only care about them for the big spells or do they give bonuses for all spells as well? It doesn't seem like there are very many shard-requiring spells... 

 

Shards increase the essence of spell casters (essence is the life force of the caster which is their maximum mana).

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July 1, 2010 5:16:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just realized that the table doesn't list the book of summoning. 

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July 1, 2010 5:27:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

I'm sure in some future expansion pack we can dive deeply into "subtle" spells.  It would be great if you could provide some concrete examples of spells you would like. We're all ears.

You don't have to break new ground here, just mix it up a little. You've played war3/wow right? Maybe throw in some spells inspired by mana burn (saps mana and does damage proportional to that mana), immolation (creates a fire shield around a unit that hurts anything adjacent to it every turn - you could even have this be self-destructive!), mana shield, chain-lightning, magic-mine setting (puts a X invisible traps on the map in random spots), reanimate dead (bring back nearby units as undead to fight for you temporarily), mind control, polymorph (turn a unit into a harmless animal), etc., etc. 

Really, just steal cool spells from your favorite games. There isn't that much more you can do that hasn't been done without making the game totally convoluted. Should be easy to pop in some HoMM or WoW and pick your favorite hero's spells to use. 

edit: upon further inspection of all your spells, it seems like you really do have an overabundance of single target damage spells that don't do much of interest. Come on Frogboy, lightning strikes have to hit multiple targets - it's one of fantasy's great unwritten rules! An easy easy way to increase the coolness of your spells fast is to combine the ones you have. Combine an ice debuff and an ice bolt - BAM instantly interesting spell. Combine your earth DD spell with the slowing effect spell - BAM another interesting spell. 

how about this for a rule of thumb - no spell in the game only does damage without any other effect. Follow that and most people will be happy as clams with your spell selection. 

edit #2: sorry based on your other post I think I might know why your spells seem to be relatively simple... is it to make it easier for the AI to deal with? God knows if that's what's needed for a good AI it's a compromise I'll take, but if you can pull this off with cooler, meatier spells that would be awesome!

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July 1, 2010 5:32:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Hawawaa,
Time to bust open the spell book! Me want!

Yep!

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July 1, 2010 5:45:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
I'm sure in some future expansion pack we can dive deeply into "subtle" spells.  It would be great if you could provide some concrete examples of spells you would like. We're all ears.

There are many different spell type kinds still missing.

Spells that effect the position of units like knockbacks (e.g. an PBAoE knockback to give your hero some breathing space) or combat teleports.

Spells that effect the entire battlefield like enduring spells slowly boosting moral or having some spell weaking all small enemy units. Best would be some counter spells for such things as well.

Combat summons that disappear again after combat (so lower mana cost than normal summons and no enchantment slot usage).

Bomb type of spells that force your enemy to retreat from a spot or unit or destroy it before the bomb explodes.

Spells that counter enemy spells or weaken them or dispel them.

Spells that are not entirely reliable or have random effects.

Spells that effect the control a player has over a certain unit (Mind Control, Madness, Confusion).

Pure DD spells are boring. They should have at least some interesting side effects that make them different.

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July 1, 2010 6:01:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One time usage only? Only 20 mana to cast "Spell of making"?

What?

I mean, wouldnt it make more sense for ´"Spell of making" to cost like, 40, maybe even 50 mana?

It wins you the game instantly, it should damn well be a spell that only the most powerfull magicians of all time can cast, and what about all those spells that can only be cast once? For gods sake, just make their mana usage higher, or make them consume an apropriate magic shard, spells that can only be used once just make things boring, well for me atleast.....

Also, you havent actually made that many spells, and as the guy above me said, you need a lot more different spells and such.

Ofcourse, thats just my oppinion..

Also, to savagebananaman, some spells should be just direct damage, but i agree that most of them should have some side effect, but usually a quite weak one, like a very, very small reduction from combat speed.

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