[0.914 - SUGGESTION] Thoughts on the current Magic system and moving forward

By on May 13, 2012 7:36:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Malsqueek

Join Date 09/2009
+38

So, at this point, I think the game is getting pretty well dialed in, is very stable, moderately well balanced, and pretty close to fun.

 

Aside from the consistently weak starting points (widely discussed), and the city leveling system (being addressed in Beta 4), the currently implemented Magic system is still very bland and dis-interesting. There are a handful of reasons why.

 

  • The current Magic system lacks information - Even in the Hierge-whatever, the giant list of all spells doesn't say word one about WHICH level of WHICH elements of magic you need to have to be able to cast it. Additionally, when you level up it tells you "Choosing Apprentice level Fire talent gives you Flame Dart and some other stuff". That doesn't even SOUND interesting.
  • The current Magic system lacks Choice - Every single time you choose Apprentice level Fire talent, you get exactly the same set of spells. I can't tell you which of these exactly they are, because I have no way of knowing aside from creating a sovereign with only fire and levelling them up to catalog the information. Regardless, the closest thing that the Magic system currently has regarding magic choices is IF you want to level your spell talent, and IF you want to research one of the magic tree's apparently random "Book of [Insert Noun Here]" to gain 3 more spells.
  •  The current Magic system lacks Exclusivity - When creating your sovereign, your spell choices aren't really all that indicative of what sort of game you are going to play. Your champions have every bit the same capacity to become as good of casters as your sovereign, and because they can just as easily come with Air, Earth, and Fire as anything else, the only reason to put a particular school on your sovereign is because it has spells your playstyle can't live without.
  • The current Magic system lacks logical limitations on strategic spells - This is a pretty broad category, but briefly listed; Strategic spells can be cast either in your ZoC or wherever you have previously seen before. Enemy sovereigns appear to be able to cast Strategic spells wherever they like, even if you have never before met them (let alone are currently at war). Strategic spells seem to have no limitation on how many you can cast a turn, except for some spells which you just can't cast more than once. These spells don't appear to have any indication that is the case, it simply is.
  • The current Magic system lacks meaningful spells at every level - Depending upon the type of game you are playing, and the type of caster who is learning the talent, there may not be any purpose to even choosing to level up a spell skill, and if you do, you are not always rewarded with anything.
  • Your Sovereign is "just another caster" under the current rules - These are the people who are the movers and shakers. The ones who are able to shape destiny to their will. How is it that unless you choose to make them more powerful casters BY DESIGN, they are not one jot different from government-issue-1-H-champion-schmoe that they picked up on the roadside for 100 Gold? Why are those champions not out there pulling together factions and waging a holy war? Really dilutes the impact of having a sovereign per game story.
  • The current Elemental Shard system waters down the early game spell skill choices - So your sovereign is a Master fire mage? Doesn't matter if you only find Air shards. The number of spells whose overall impact relies largely upon what kind of shards you find, and the inability to actually do anything to change the shards you do have help to work against playing the "be a badass caster" game.
  • There are very few "You can use magic so you can cast these" spells - There should be a good set of general Utility spells available to your caster regardless of what schools they choose. I know that 3/4 of the way up the magic tree there are a small handful, but if you aren't playing the magic game then you will never see them except by accident.
  • Levelling up magic is Random - How can you plan to play the "My sovereign is an awesome caster" game if they don't start getting any opportunities to improve their caster rank until Level 5, and then when they do it is for the wrong school?

 

Proposals: Some of the below will be indicative of the current system, but inform how I feel the system could be improved overall. If the Devs see fit to use any and all of these suggestions they are welcome to without payment or acknowledgement to me.

 

  • There need to be Five general types of spells.
    • Tactical Spells - Spells cast while in combat with effects that end when combat does. This includes Tactical Summoning spells where the summoned create vanishes after combat whether it is killed or not.
    • Unit Enchantments - Spells cast upon units in Strategic mode to enhance units. These spells come with a maintenance cost and remain active while the cost is paid.
    • City Enchantments - Spells cast upon cities to buff or debuff.
    • Overland Spells - Powerful Enchantments that effect the entire world, or have a one-time impact on the game world in Strategic mode.
    • Overland summoning - These spells bring units into play to be used over the course of many turns with a mana upkeep cost.
  • In order to properly distinguish Sovereigns as the significant magical creatures they are, Overland Summoning (except in some specific Champion-Unique-Ability cases), Overland Spells, and City Enchantments should be made Sovereign Only. That way, the spell skills you choose at the beginning of the game have meaning beyond your initial ability to use Flame Dart or Heal. Champions with magic should be limited to Tactical and Unit Enchantments to show that while they can cast spells, they don;t have the World-Bending power of the Sovereigns.
  • In order to make the above work properly, Every single level of spell skill needs to have something interesting and useful from a Unit Enchantment or Tactical impact standpoint. Currently, that isn't really the case, and I often find that despite having a level in Earth, my champions can't do anything really useful except "Hit them with their Hammer". Why would I care enough to work on their magic if I have to waste three or more levels hoping to have the consecutive opportunity to improve the school(s) you want to improve?
  • Spells need to be CHOSEN, and not given. Because this game focuses on researching Tech and not Spells (Because the Dual Research system of EWoM was cumbersome, and I am glad it is gone), Spells need to be chosen a different way. Why not utilize the tried-and-true skill tree method?
    • For instance; Sovereigns get 2 Spell points to spend every level, plus more if they choose the "Research Spells" level improvement. Champions only get spell points if they choose the level up which gives them points (they aren't natural casters, after all). 
    • You need to have X number of spells chosen in Fire before you gain the ability to choose Apprentice level spells, but you may continue learning Novice level spells to improve your ability if there are no Apprentice spells which interest you.
    • This system would enable you to craft the Sovereign and Champions that you WANT to play instead of hoping you get to play a caster and having to choose talents which do not support your choice of play style.
    • This system would also clearly indicate to the player EXACTLY what types of spells they will have available to them, and EXACTLY how to get there in terms of Magic Tech research and Spell Point spending.
  • There should be a set of basic "Arcane" spells available to all casters, which include basic Dispels, +Resist enchantments, Transmute Shard (at a very high level), and other such.
  • Elemental Shards should do something other than just +1 to [insert spell effect here] per shard - Depending upon the spell, they should reduce the casting cost (overland spells), reduce the per-turn maintenance (Overland Summoning spells), Add to the Damage OR reduce the Cost of tactical combat spells, depending upon the type. They could also add 1 Spell Skill of the appropriate type to the Sovereign when they level (or 1 for every 2 shards) to indicate the sovereigns drawing power from their shards. Because Elemental Shards are random, and you are not guaranteed to even SEE they types of shards for the schools you are playing with while they would matter, Spells ought to be plenty good without them, and receive benefits indicative of what type of spell they are (Tactical, Overland, Etc) instead of just making their effects stronger.
    • As an aside, this system enables there to be Tactical damage spells which without shards are essentially the same, but become diverse based upon how many shards you have (One gets stronger while the other gets cheaper).

 

I could go into more detail about specifically what types of new spells need made, but really, it is more important to focus on making the fundamentals of the system strong than it is to highlight which Earth spell does what in particular and for what cost.

Locked Post 55 Replies +7
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 13, 2012 8:23:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree on most of the problem points identified above. One of the issues I'd like to expand a bit on is the difficulty in adapting to your conditions: the mix of shards you get each game is highly variable, but the way spell lines are acquired means you'll often be out of sync with your resources. The random nature of level-ups further complicates the matter, you may wait for your desired upgrade for several levels before it finally appears. Especially now that levelling speed has been reduced, it is even more difficult to plan out your magic progression, set goals and reach them. Seems like there's too much luck and uncertainty in the process.  

The skill-talent tree idea is interesting, MMOs have made a science out of it. Is it perhaps possible to take the core idea and bring it into the levelling system? You could upgrade spells you use a lot or open up new spells progressively, but make it a choice rather than rely on luck. 

In general the levelling system seems lacking - the idea is great in principle, but all too often the choices available are uninspired. Instead of having difficult choices between several great abilities, many times you pick the "least crap" option, hoping that perhaps next level you'll get something worthwhile. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 13, 2012 9:29:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
The current Magic system lacks information - Even in the Hierge-whatever, the giant list of all spells doesn't say word one about WHICH level of WHICH elements of magic you need to have to be able to cast it.

 

What's the little symbol/text under "Prerequisites" then?


The current Magic system lacks Choice - Every single time you choose Apprentice level Fire talent, you get exactly the same set of spells. I can't tell you which of these exactly they are, because I have no way of knowing aside from creating a sovereign with only fire and levelling them up to catalog the information. Regardless, the closest thing that the Magic system currently has regarding magic choices is IF you want to level your spell talent, and IF you want to research one of the magic tree's apparently random "Book of [Insert Noun Here]" to gain 3 more spells.

 

The choice primarily comes from selecting your element. While selecting spells individually does provide more user options this does not necessarily mean the new choices are better for gameplay. Rather, player choices should have enough impact to be meaningful. I feel the current system does this adequately.


The current Magic system lacks Exclusivity - When creating your sovereign, your spell choices aren't really all that indicative of what sort of game you are going to play. Your champions have every bit the same capacity to become as good of casters as your sovereign, and because they can just as easily come with Air, Earth, and Fire as anything else, the only reason to put a particular school on your sovereign is because it has spells your playstyle can't live without.

 

Some of the champions can become as good at casting as your sovereign, others can't. You won't always get champions whose spells you need or who would reach the levels of power a properly built sovereign can.


The current Magic system lacks logical limitations on strategic spells - This is a pretty broad category, but briefly listed; Strategic spells can be cast either in your ZoC or wherever you have previously seen before. Enemy sovereigns appear to be able to cast Strategic spells wherever they like, even if you have never before met them (let alone are currently at war). Strategic spells seem to have no limitation on how many you can cast a turn, except for some spells which you just can't cast more than once. These spells don't appear to have any indication that is the case, it simply is.

 

I agree that there are a lack of limitations. Limits to strategic spells beyond mana cost would cause the player to put more thought into using them.

The current Magic system lacks meaningful spells at every level - Depending upon the type of game you are playing, and the type of caster who is learning the talent, there may not be any purpose to even choosing to level up a spell skill, and if you do, you are not always rewarded with anything.

 

Don't really agree. Certainly some tiers of magic power possess uninteresting choices (I'm looking at you, Water T2) but at least Fire and Earth each have a nice selection from what I've seen so far.


Your Sovereign is "just another caster" under the current rules - These are the people who are the movers and shakers. The ones who are able to shape destiny to their will. How is it that unless you choose to make them more powerful casters BY DESIGN, they are not one jot different from government-issue-1-H-champion-schmoe that they picked up on the roadside for 100 Gold? Why are those champions not out there pulling together factions and waging a holy war? Really dilutes the impact of having a sovereign per game story.


Being a "mover and shaker" is more about the will to do so than natural talent. Champions in general aren't "schmoes", they're the elite few who are capable of great things. I could maybe support strategic spells being limited to either characters with Path of the Governor or the Sovereign, but otherwise feel that one shouldn't inherently be better unless designed for that.


The current Elemental Shard system waters down the early game spell skill choices - So your sovereign is a Master fire mage? Doesn't matter if you only find Air shards. The number of spells whose overall impact relies largely upon what kind of shards you find, and the inability to actually do anything to change the shards you do have help to work against playing the "be a badass caster" game.

 

Which is why I feel that elemental shard modification should be implemented in some form. Allowing for the specialization would provide choice that carries with it impact as the player must decide between incredibly powerful spells of a single element or a broader spread in their shards which allows them to adapt when their normal tactics wouldn't perform adequately.



There are very few "You can use magic so you can cast these" spells - There should be a good set of general Utility spells available to your caster regardless of what schools they choose. I know that 3/4 of the way up the magic tree there are a small handful, but if you aren't playing the magic game then you will never see them except by accident.

 

I can't really agree that simply being able to cast spells should give universal abilities. If the player doesn't want to invest in the magic tree then they shouldn't get access to magical abilities. /That/ is Choice, with a capital 'C'.


Levelling up magic is Random - How can you plan to play the "My sovereign is an awesome caster" game if they don't start getting any opportunities to improve their caster rank until Level 5, and then when they do it is for the wrong school?

 

It's only somewhat random. This is more of a problem for default sovereigns, as with custom versions you simply give your character the schools he or she will use the most and you can be pretty certain that you'll get an upgrade option every 1 or 2 levels (so long as the level requirement is met). Many of the early options are general enough that they can also help you play an awesome caster, so it's not really an issue to me. If nothing else you can pick up the XP boost talents, which will make future improvements much easier to acquire.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 13, 2012 9:35:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think this is my biggest stickler right now.  I love the pool mechanic, having 1000 mana feels epic but it can get trashed quickly leaving your next battle a little leaner than you would like.  I enjoy the management.

Quick note about the spell organization, yeah I know this is going to be addressed so I'll wait and see.  I don't have a problem with it since I consider it a known issue.  And right now it's clumsy but after playing with it long enough you learn how it works.  So I can ignore this problem to focus more on the 'feel' of my casters.  So, it needs work but I wait to see what is done internally first.

Variety.  Hmmm, more is better but only to a degree.  Right now I like the variety, I mean WoW's spells are very well done (now).  Everything scales, no more lvl x this and that, and they are streamlining the spells somewhat and also giving each spec more character.  That said, Elemental is a real time action RPG and does not use combos and situational spells.  But what it does need is specialization, and it does that to a degree...which leads to a major point in the OP.

Shards / levels / learning / books etc.

As much as I have learned the magic system from trial and error I still haven't tested everything.  That's a good thing it's hard to get everything, the problem is I'm not sure what everything does so an specialization I think I'm going to choose is a shot in the dark.  But, that has more to do with the organization problem.  Having picked various specializations and tailoring my sovereign I find that the current mechanics are too random early on.

Example -

I wanted a 'fire mage' and for the first few levels I tailored him as such and it worked ok.  I focused on the mage path and fire and damage and it works fine.  That is until I got past lvl 5 or so.  After finding 5 shards, none of which were fire I found that my grunt champions who I had specialized in either assassins or warriors were outpacing me in the magic field.  I was doing ok damage, and was more efficient but their simple 1st tier spells were becoming far more efficient per mana.  I found 'myself' sitting in the back with my weak but cheap flame darts. 

Later in the game when I started getting fire shards, everything changed.  I still had more shards of other elements but since I had a specialized fire mage his 'talents' and gear focus tipped the scales.  So to me the shard / specialization problem is more of an issue early game if you have slightly bad luck.

The problem seems to be that shards provide increased power disproportionate to the level of expertise of the casters.  And a shard (if it exists) I would argue is easier to obtain than a spell tier.  And finding a shard only makes its element more powerful.  I like having random resources and the idea of potential shortages, but the problem is if you are focus on weapons, armor, arcane gear, gold, food, or crafting you can force your way around shortages.  As far as I know the only way to purposefully increase the power of your spells is though building the correct tower after the Book of Mastery.  Otherwise it is lucky drops or lucky leveling.

 

So I also think the shards need to be more universal (but only slightly).  It just seems that given a certain focus that is resource dependent, like entire plate clad army or exclusively enchanted gear...the odds of you not finding a mine or crystals is far less likely than not finding the right shard.  Also, these resources can be traded for and looted.  Shard bonuses cannot.  A large mana pool is great, but too generic of a power source for a specialization.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 13, 2012 10:27:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good post. I hope developers read these ideas and that they do address some of the concerns regarding the current magic system. 

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 13, 2012 11:50:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NoxAscensa,
In general the leveling system seems lacking - the idea is great in principle, but all too often the choices available are uninspired. Instead of having difficult choices between several great abilities, many times you pick the "least crap" option, hoping that perhaps next level you'll get something worthwhile. 

 

That is pretty much my only issue with the entire Champion system in general. At least half the time the choice is "Well, I guess helping other units heal faster is a good enough choice".

 

 

Quoting Madcatter,

Don't really agree. Certainly some tiers of magic power possess uninteresting choices (I'm looking at you, Water T2) but at least Fire and Earth each have a nice selection from what I've seen so far.

Based upon what I've seen, Fire is pretty much the only Spell School whose Tiers 1-5 are all useful. Earth 1 is pretty well worthless Early game because of Mana requirements, Water in general until T5. Air T1 is great, and then not again until T4.

I would like a reason to play with all the schools, and not "Fire and one other after T4"


Quoting Madcatter,

It's only somewhat random. This is more of a problem for default sovereigns, as with custom versions you simply give your character the schools he or she will use the most and you can be pretty certain that you'll get an upgrade option every 1 or 2 levels (so long as the level requirement is met). Many of the early options are general enough that they can also help you play an awesome caster, so it's not really an issue to me. If nothing else you can pick up the XP boost talents, which will make future improvements much easier to acquire.

 

But it's that extreme randomness that really waters down Sovereigns with more than 2 schools. Yay! I levelled! Life again? ok... Maybe next level. It is even worse when you're trying to create a caster and all you get are warrior or generic traits. I'm all for a bit of randomness, but if you are marketing a game as a 4x with the ability to create your own characters, why make it difficult to impossible to envision them properly by having warriors only get magic and spell resist traits, or casters only get warrior traits?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 14, 2012 2:14:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Malsqueek,
Based upon what I've seen, Fire is pretty much the only Spell School whose Tiers 1-5 are all useful. Earth 1 is pretty well worthless Early game because of Mana requirements, Water in general until T5. Air T1 is great, and then not again until T4.

I would like a reason to play with all the schools, and not "Fire and one other after T4"

 

Earth 1 provides an elemental resistance buff and city production buff, as well limited world shaping magic. While it can't be used in battle like burning hands it can be useful. Nature's Cloak is unfortunately underutilized but that's because very few creature in the early game use elemental attacks. I feel the Earth 1 spells themselves are rather good for the school's combat focus: Buffing. The later spells ain't too bad either.

 

I still need to play with Water and Air more to get a better idea for how they work before I can comment on the rest. The Air/Water Disciple +20% food buff seems like it could be great for vertical growth to unlock the top-end buildings earlier.

 

What I do feel could be done better is incorporating spell power boosts. When the primary advantage of the Mage class is a spell damage boost, it does tend to limit true casters to the Fire School unless the Prodigy talent can be combined with multiple shard debuffs. I'm not sure, would it be too weak to change the Evoker bonus to a universal "shard count" bonus for that character's spells? Depends on the number of shards added I suppose.

 

Otherwise, the only real reason I see for non-Fire casters to be suffering is indirectly related to spells: the multiple hero xp penalty. Casters which rely on improving other characters are penalized for not being one-(wo)man armies and level slower for it, which is turn results in them not getting access to the higher level spells they need to be more effective.



But it's that extreme randomness that really waters down Sovereigns with more than 2 schools. Yay! I levelled! Life again? ok... Maybe next level. It is even worse when you're trying to create a caster and all you get are warrior or generic traits. I'm all for a bit of randomness, but if you are marketing a game as a 4x with the ability to create your own characters, why make it difficult to impossible to envision them properly by having warriors only get magic and spell resist traits, or casters only get warrior traits?

 

A fair point about multiple school mages, but as for getting mage buffs on warriors and warrior buffs on mages, I really haven't had that problem. Perhaps I've just been lucky so far, but the selection always seems to give me /something/ that I'd like on the character.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 14, 2012 3:45:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also the risk reward scale seems off.  You can send a pioneer to grab a shard in a few turns (meaning it can happen, not saying it's extremely likely) and that will near double your strength.  Whereas if you were to double your strength by leveling, it would take several levels and new equipment which requires your champion to be put at risk repeatedly.

 

Not too much of a complaint, but it does seem a little bit backwards that the sharpest increase in focused power comes from not the sovereign but the easiest to make troops.  Granted, the pay-off is you can lose that shard by just a lowly wolf walking over it and power gained through leveling feeds itself.  Still, the balance of tiers, +shard bonuses, mana gathering seems to need the most work to me as far as resourcing goes.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 14, 2012 5:37:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here's a list of spells that you currently get going down each path (and my comments on them), gotten from data file digging:

 

Air 1:

 Evade (has been nerfed hard, but still okay to use on core units/champions)

 Haste (great buff)

 

Air 2:

 Aura of Grace (great city enchantment - units with more initiative is bad? come on...)

 Guardian Wind (too situational, and archers aren't that powerful that you'd need it)

 Gentle Rain (also requires Water 2) (great city enchantment - more food = more people, more tax, more research, more production)

 Battle Cry (also requires Life 2) (a decent spell, but I don't use it much)

 Contagion (also requires Death 2) (very powerful poison spell)

 

Air 3:

 Storm (a meh spell... I would only use if you don't have fire or death)

 Thunderstorm (it's an okay teleport to the front line kind of skill... I only use it when I can't move there fast or something)

 

Air 4:

 Cloud Walk (godly)

 Titan's Breath (broken? doesn't seem to knock down anyone at all.)

 

Air 5:

 Celerity (decent, but too mana consuming...)

 Tornado (it's okay... wouldn't be my first choice on a strategic spell, but if you've got nothing else...)

 

 

 

Earth 1:

 Nature's Cloak (good resistance spell, but not used alot until very late when units starts fielding lots of magical weapons... or against fire elementals)

 Enchanted Hammer (great city enchantment - faster production? yes please)

 Raise and Lower land (situational, but handy sometimes)

 

Earth 2:

 Stoneskin (good defensive spell)

 Tremor (sometimes even more useful than a pillar of fire... it gives you two turns to bring your army back to beat it down... can stop a drake from leveling your city, where as pillar might not)

 Sunder (also requires Fire2) (too situational... and sometimes doesn't work?)

 Stinking Mud (also requires Water 2) (one of those odd battlefield enchantment - I don't use it much)

 Nature's Call (also requires Life 2) (could be useful early, I don't use it much though)

 Syphon Strength (also requires Death 2) (situational, not used often as a result)

 

Earth 3:

 Create Mountain (expensive situational, but shutting down your empire is quite useful)

 Shockwave (costly, but okay for an aoe touch range spell)

 

Earth 4:

 Destroy Land (cheaper than Create Mountain)

 Summon Earth Elemental (a good summon)

 Fracture (only useful on super high HP units... and there aren't too many, so not used much)

 

Earth 5:

 Earthquake (would be more useful if you couldn't take and destroy the city so easily)

 Giantform (pretty godly for noncaster champions)

 Birth of Summer (needs the research) (expensive terraform spell to turn arid land into fertile ones, too hard to get)

 Bloom of Twilight (needs the research) (expensive terraform spell to turn arid land into fertile ones, too hard to get)

 

 

Fire 1:

 Burning Hands (eh, has to start somewhere... right?)

 Pillar of Flame (good overland spell)

 Candlecloak (needs special ability) (a weaker mantle of fire for all your units)

 Protection for Fire (needs the research) (okay, not used much)

 

Fire 2:

 Burning Blade (great enchantment for heroes only)

 Flame Dart (Bread and butter?)

 Sunder (also requires Earth2) (too situational... and sometimes doesn't work?)

 Devotion (also requires Life 2) (a decent unrest reduction enchantment, you pay the mana over time instead of upfront like bless city)

 Soul burning (also requires Death 2) (Wickedly powerful tactical direct damage spell)

 

Fire 3:

 Focus (better than wait)

 Fireball (Boom!)

 Feedback (a resistable counterspell that hurts the enemy caster if you succeed... I don't counterspell)

 

Fire 4:

 Summon Fire Elemental (decent summon)

 Mantle of Fire (okay, but barely ever used)

 

Fire 5:

 Firestorm (been avoiding it 'cause of the remaining fire bug... not sure if they fixed it)

 Wall of Fire (would be more useful if the AI ever makes it to my cities... I like my outposts and improvements too much to turtle behind the city walls)

 

 

 

Water 1:

 Mediation (I don't use it much, but it can be handy for mana... particularly if you spam cities)

 Slow (good debuff, can be completely crippling with enough water shards)

 Protection from Cold (needs the research) (okay, not used often)

 

Water 2:

 Chaos (I'm not even sure what this is suppose to do... most of the time it just fizzles? No idea.)

 Freeze (an okay army debuff to use overland...)

 Gentle Rain (also requires Air 2) (great city enchantment - more food = more people, more tax, more research, more production) 

 Stinking Mud (also requires Earth 2) (one of those odd battlefield enchantment - I don't use it much)

 Mantle of Oceans (also requires Life 2) (Really useful enchantment. No maint and reduce spell cost? Yes please.)

 Horrific Wail (also requires Death 2) (meh... does double the caster level to all units, but takes a while to cast)

 

Water 3:

 Pandemonium (It's an okay spell, but the effects are too random to be used effectively)

 Summon Ice Elemental (Okay summon)

 Spell leech (a resistable counterspell that gives you 40 mana if it succeed... I don't counterspell)

 

Water 4:

 Blizzard (not quite as good as fireball if you have lots of shards... but still, a good spell... no boom though)

 Tidal Wave (it's kind of fun... oh, and it doesn't say, but it does [(3 x water shard) + 3]  x 3 the number of troops in target army...)

 

Water 5:

 Grip of Winter (would be more useful if it was worthwhile against the AI... right now though... not needed)

 Vetrar's Howl (OW! No really, OW! It's like a super pillar of flame... costs quite super too)

 

 

 

Life 1:

 Courage (decent, extra hp is always good, spell res is nice too... sometimes)

 Regeneration (good spell early on, even better if you abuse it to heal by running around)

 

Life 2:

 Aura of Vitality (great city enchantment... more HP on units produced... that almost feels like OP)

 Heal (I think it's good, but apparently there are some who thinks it's OP)

 Battle Cry (also requires Air 2) (a decent spell, but I don't use it much)

 Nature's Call (also requires Earth 2) (could be useful early, I don't use it much though) 

 Devotion (also requires Fire 2) (a decent unrest reduction enchantment, you pay the mana over time instead of upfront like bless city)

 Mantle of Oceans (also requires water 2) (Really useful enchantment. No maint and reduce spell cost? Yes please.)

 

Life 3:

 Growth (situational, useful most of the times)

 Shrink (good on those strong mobs if you can land it)

 

Life 4:

 Call to Arms (40 Mana for a unit that might cost thousands of gold to rush? ... )

 Wellspring (now THIS is an OP healing spell. Jeez... complain about the right one.)

 

Life 5:

 Crusade (OP - seriously, 1 level for ALL your units... toss on some +per level traits, weapon and champion gear... *sigh* I cast it just about every time the cooldown is off.)

 Death Ward (not too useful by the time you get it, because your stack of doom tend to never die at that point anyways)

 

 

 

Death 1:

 Berserk (I don't like it much, but it can be powerful in the right situations)

 Wither (godly... expecially since you can cast it twice... once on strategic and one in tactical... and they'd stack)

 

Death 2:

 Blindness (a nice debuff, often makes powerful creatures useless if it lands)

 Curse (also a nice debuff... if it lands)

 Corruption (needs special ability) (transform shards into death shard)

 Contagion (also requires Air 2) (very powerful poison spell)

 Syphon Strength (also requires Earth 2) (situational, not used often as a result)

 Soul burning (also requires Fire 2) (Wickedly powerful tactical direct damage spell)

 Horrific Wail (also requires Water 2) (meh... does double the caster level to all units, but takes a while to cast)

 

Death 3:

 Antipathy (Bleh spell, increasing unrest in opponent cities? w/e just take and destroy it)

 Drain Life (good damage + self healing)

 Graveseal (needs special ability) (completely OP, just as its name says, you're about to die if you don't resist.)

 

Death 4:

 Mass Curse (curse everyone... just more costly mana wise... depends on the situation)

 Touch of Entropy (powerful touch range spell)

 Dirge of Ceresa (needs special ability) (Contagion + Front side damage makes it really powerful)

 

Death 5:

 Blood Rage (decent, but again, too mana consuming...)

 Sacrifice (good if you're going to raze the city anyways)

 

Not sure why there's no Fire 2 Air 2 spell, but I think they just didn't put in a requirement for Falling Star (from Third Book of the Magi). Hope that helps. To be honest, I think they did fairly well with the list. While some aren't quite as useful as others, if you don't have access to others, or if you have more shards ... etc, they might be worth it.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 14, 2012 6:36:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good post; and its another indicator of how much more work the magic system in its current state needs.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 14, 2012 6:39:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good post, hope it sparks some thought.  It's more artful than me just saying "Magick Sucks Fix It! "  I also don't think what there is so far is horrible but it could use major work added all around.  I also think that perhaps certain choices when picking Sovs should grant access to some certain spells.  IE warlock or summoner.  Some things that either choice would get you and by its design 'not for everyone' only those who picked summoner or warlock get those.  Which would be better summons in case of summoner.  Shadow warg is nice but the thing has no defence.  Can't always count on getting a sand golem magic item -  nor can you count on living long enough to get an elemental summons..  In the mid to late game they could use something a bit stronger than elementals is what also is lacking.  I know since its a leap of firepower, some say could be not needed.  I say it is needed.

If a warlock could get his shards straight he/she would be in business.  The way things are now, you have to be lucky or psychic or have a way to edit the map to have the shards you want instead of a crap ton that ain't your color..  I can see one of two ways to tackle this issue - first would be changing the shard to desired element.  The other would be some kind of enchantment that lets x type count as y type.  Or a more powerful version where all the players shards count as the needed type.  

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 14, 2012 2:31:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kalin,
Guardian Wind (too situational, and archers aren't that powerful that you'd need it)

It isn't their power, it's the number you can encounter during a siege.  And in the presence of a sovereign they can be hard to take out quickly.  They will focus fire on soft targets, so every bit of dodge helps.

Quoting Kalin,
Titan's Breath (broken? doesn't seem to knock down anyone at all.)

It works, near 100% for me.  Maybe even too well.  I've never had any creatures resist except those which are immune...even then I think they all got pushed back. 

There are some animation issues, double click the enemy units and check their defense.  It will show "prone" there even if they don't look it.  I use it quite often, and while it kind of seems over powered...it does chew through mana.

As for tornado, situational -yes.  But far far more powerful than the others if you have more than one army available to pounce on them.  It can be a double edged sword.  I didn't realize how far it actually tosses them.  It sent one unit too far away for me to mop up and he promptly retreated to his city, but that makes sense.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 14, 2012 8:55:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Some very good points. I'm fairly happy with how shards work because I think there should be some luck and having to adapt to the map BUT I agree that not being able to control which magic elements you level up in makes it a bit of a problem.

Back to the general points, I agree with many of them. Stepping back and thinking about it I feel the Master of Magic spell system is more cohesive and better thought out - in MoM the sovereign determines spells available but spell casting heroes allow casting more spells in combat, the per turn channeling limit prevents someone from casting dozens of overland spells in a turn, being able to select spells to learn allows the player to direct their magic development, etc.

That's not to say I think FE should use the MoM system (and in fact I prefer some of the features of FE magic over MoM) but coming up with FE versions of some of the MoM limits could really help balance magic and allow it to be both powerful BUT not overpowered.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 14, 2012 10:12:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For, I dunno, maybe the 8th time...

http://forums.elementalgame.com/402583

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 15, 2012 8:49:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Posts like this are common and have being popping up since WOM. 

But sadly developers don't seem to acknowledge it's a issue. 

 

Agree with 100% everything but in particular

In order to properly distinguish Sovereigns as the significant magical creatures they are, Overland Summoning (except in some specific Champion-Unique-Ability cases), Overland Spells, and City Enchantments should be made Sovereign Only. That way, the spell skills you choose at the beginning of the game have meaning beyond your initial ability to use Flame Dart or Heal. Champions with magic should be limited to Tactical and Unit Enchantments to show that while they can cast spells, they don;t have the World-Bending power of the Sovereigns.

 

Spells need to be CHOSEN, and not given. Because this game focuses on researching Tech and not Spells (Because the Dual Research system of EWoM was cumbersome, and I am glad it is gone), Spells need to be chosen a different way. Why not utilize the tried-and-true skill tree method?
For instance; Sovereigns get 2 Spell points to spend every level, plus more if they choose the "Research Spells" level improvement. Champions only get spell points if they choose the level up which gives them points (they aren't natural casters, after all).
You need to have X number of spells chosen in Fire before you gain the ability to choose Apprentice level spells, but you may continue learning Novice level spells to improve your ability if there are no Apprentice spells which interest you.
This system would enable you to craft the Sovereign and Champions that you WANT to play instead of hoping you get to play a caster and having to choose talents which do not support your choice of play style.

There could be some amount of randomness in the sense that the spells they can choose their points on may be different each time (depending on the spell ranks they have at the start) but.. you still retain some choice...

the whole.... all Fire apprentices are alike with exactly the same spells is boring... Compare to MOM where 2 wizards with 3 books in Sorcery might have quite different spells..

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 15, 2012 5:03:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That's a hell of a post, also there Winni.  

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 16, 2012 4:33:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting luketan,
Posts like this are common and have being popping up since WOM. 

But sadly developers don't seem to acknowledge it's a issue. 

Could we please hear something from the development / design teams about these points we've raised?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 16, 2012 6:46:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Even just some sort of spell (in say, rank 2 of each of the schools) that allow a shard without a shrine attached to it, to be turned into the element of that school. It would have to be balanced with the seed ratio of shards, but it could give players an option to avoid excessively missing out on their desired shard colour.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 16, 2012 9:45:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just one remark: 

freeze, water spell, can be really deadly if used together with a spell that creates an outpost.

you cast outpost so enemy is in your control zone, then you cast a freeze, which enemy cannot resist and you have an enemy army's movement reduced to 1. Last step - attack . Actually it is totally overpowered combination, with a decent army and a strategy - hit and run - you can beat way stronger enemy 

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 16, 2012 10:10:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Heh. I did that precise thing in my AAR yesterday - a broken spirited Karavox was shlepping gear across the map, and a lair popped a ravenous harridan.  Freeze+slow+regeneration, and Karavox wiped the army out, despite his glorious 20hps.  

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 4, 2012 1:28:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting momosa,
Good post; and its another indicator of how much more work the magic system in its current state needs.

Looks like still no love for the magic system. I guess it's a lost cause ..maybe the next expansion

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 5, 2012 12:53:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You just perfectly summed up all of the problems with the spell system. That was great. I don't even have anything to add, I just want to comment on how much I agree with you. Devs, please listen to this post. The magic system is the system that needs the next big tune up, and this post tells you what needs to be worked on.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 7, 2012 10:20:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would love to hear that the developers have some changes to the magic system in store, but from what I read they seem to be happy with it, moving on.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 8, 2012 3:03:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, let's move on. If you don't like the magic system now, this isn't the game for you. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 8, 2012 4:41:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's a damn 4X Master of Magic clone, why shouldn't it be a game for me?

Magic sucks.

There is only a handful of spells, half of which is completely useless, and part of the rest completely OP. 

Your power is restricted by shards. You are a might 5 lvl fire mage, yet haven't found any fire shards? Well, tough luck, enjoy your powerful spells.

You want to play as a conjurer and flood the world with magical armies? No can do, you can only cast a summoning spell once.

You always keep upkeep less city enchantment up, that's a no-brainer. No-brainers are bad.

There are no overland enchantments.

Magic is boring. You cast a spell, it's instantaneous, puff. There's no thrill to it, crossing your fingers that those chimeras won't reach your city before casting Summon Great Wyrm is finished.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 8, 2012 7:00:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree, the magic system need lot of work.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108433  walnut3   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000656   Page Render Time: