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Old April 27, 2012, 00:30   #1
Therem Harth
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Suggestion: leveling spells

Back before ToME 2, Pernangband (and maybe Zangband before it) had a magic system where you could learn a spell twice, or sometimes more.

Basically, different spellcasting classes would get a maximum number of learnable spells, and also a maximum level for each spell. Most casting classes could learn every available spell at level 1... Or they could sacrifice flexibility for power, and pump some spells while neglecting others.

Likewise, classes that would be "half casters" in V would in Pern get maximum spell selection smaller than the number of spells available in their chosen realm. Instead of having some spells denied them, they would have a choice between smaller or larger degrees of specialization.

I suggest something similar for future versions of V, or at least for V4...
- Let full casters study any specified spell up to three times, and half casters twice
- Give full casters the full 64 spell slots, and half casters 48
- Boost spell effects such as damage, healing, duration, etc. based on whether they are level 1, 2, or 3. For already (excessively?) powerful spells like Clairvoyance, reduce the effects of the spell at level 1 and 2 (e.g. by removing object detection from Clairvoyance).

Does this sound like a good idea? Or too unbalanced/complicated/un-Vanilla-like?
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Old April 27, 2012, 00:45   #2
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It's certainly an interesting idea. I'm overhauling spellcasting for Beleriand, and will keep this in mind.
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Old April 27, 2012, 01:36   #3
Daniel Fishman
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Z+ certainly has this; I don't think it inherited it from Z, but I'm not sure. Whilst a fun idea in principle, it meant that Mage-types became even harder for beginners: in addition to all the other difficulties associated with Mages, you had to know what low level spells were worth using up spell slots on, without knowing (a) how well they scaled or (b) what spells would become available later on.
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Old April 27, 2012, 01:44   #4
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I agree that it's a neat idea, but balancing this kind of thing is very difficult. Take a look at Diablo 2 for example -- there you can invest into skills to make them more effective (typically increasing damage, reducing cost/cooldown time, or the like). For years the most effective characters were those who picked one or two skills and boosted them to the exclusion of all others. In a hack&slash game (which Angband is basically a more thoughtful form of), damage is king -- so you need to set up a system where maximally investing in your damage spells is not automatically the best approach, while also ensuring that it's not never the best approach either.

Now, Angband has utility spells in addition to damage spells, and they're often very useful -- but they also can usually be replaced by items, so what's to stop a mage from picking the one or two spellbooks with the spells he really cares about in them, and filling in the gaps that he never bothered investing in with items? Easy answer: just make the items terrible. But now warriors are hosed, through no fault of their own.
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Old April 27, 2012, 13:31   #5
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Derakon: That's why the spells are limited to 3 power levels; I don't know how many levels the Diablo spells had, but from what you're saying about the game, I'm guessing more than three, if players are able to put all their skill points into just a few spells!
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Old April 27, 2012, 15:12   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekolis View Post
Derakon: That's why the spells are limited to 3 power levels; I don't know how many levels the Diablo spells had, but from what you're saying about the game, I'm guessing more than three, if players are able to put all their skill points into just a few spells!
Yes, each skill/spell could have up to 20 'hard' points, plus any number of additional points (e.g. from items granting "+1 to all skills"). I think you're right that limiting this kind of specialisation to a small number of power levels is an important balancing tool. It's worth noting that all the specialisation of skills in WoW (which was essentially the successor to D2's gameplay) are limited to three levels (though they're being further simplified in the next expansion).
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Old April 27, 2012, 22:14   #7
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And a further extension of the leveling spell idea... How about changing spell effects with level?

For instance, level 3 Fireball might become GF_PLASMA, more damaging to a greater variety of monsters.

I don't think Vanilla has enough exotic damage types for this to be very effective though... Some spells are probably going to end up being pretty lame no matter what. Probably a better overall solution is to improve spells that don't pass muster, and replace ones that cannot be improved.
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Old April 28, 2012, 07:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therem Harth View Post
I don't think Vanilla has enough exotic damage types for this to be very effective though... Some spells are probably going to end up being pretty lame no matter what.
I think V has plenty of exotic damage types, it's just that many of them aren't used in player spells.

Used:

acid / elec / fire / cold
poison (but is there a high-damage poison spell?)
sound (only one spell I think)
mana
ice

Not used:

light (as a high-damage spell)
dark
plasma
water
gravity
inertia
force
time
shards
nexus
nether
chaos
disenchantment


... that should be plenty for anyone wanting to jazz up the spell lists ...
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Old April 28, 2012, 10:30   #9
Djabanete
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Chengband has the "leveling spells" system left over from Zang or Pern or whatever, and I don't think it adds much to the game.

I think that strategic depth would benefit more from a cross-indexing of spells by School or Realm (Conjuration, Healing, Fire, whatever) and an addition of items that enhance spells of one Realm. For example, carrying a Talisman of Fire in your inventory could reduce the cost of Fire spells. (For the record, I believe that Antoine created this idea and implemented it in Ironband.)

Or perhaps Spell Power could be imported from the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise. If you find gloves that give you +10% spell power, your damage spells would deal 10% more damage and your healing spells would heal 10% more HP.

Magic Device Mastery can work the same way, or it can reduce fail rates on magic items.

I believe these systems are more transparent and useful than an "invest multiple points into one spell" system. There are already a lot of dead spells in Angband, and allowing allocation of surplus spell points to Magic Missile, Mana Storm, or Orb of Draining would just make those spells even more dead.

Edit: That said, I think the proposed system works reasonably well in Diablo, since the skills are pretty balanced. But you need to encourage breadth, since depth is automatically encouraged (damage is king, as mentioned above).

Last edited by Djabanete; April 28, 2012 at 10:40.
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Old April 28, 2012, 11:02   #10
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All interesting ideas. This thread is turning out to be quite similar to this one.
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