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Old December 11, 2009, 20:24   #1
PowerDiver
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feature discussion - halve mage damage mana

I know that some day mage spells will be overhauled, but until then I suggest a band-aid.

The main problem is that mages cannot kill any strong monsters with spells. Consider a CL 40 mage with max int and MB6. He has about 300+ mana, and can do about 8 points of damage per mana. If the opp has more than 3000 hp, even if the mage casts no other spells but damage, he simply cannot kill it. The important foes all have over 3000 hp. OTOH, a suitable stack of branded ammo even hitting only half the time can kill anything susceptible to the brand. So mages play as archers.

I don't know much about mages, playing them only rarely, so I don't want to suggest tweaking one thing versus another. I suppose the relative strengths of the various spells, and the time to kill things using spells, has been balanced by people with better understanding than I have. But it is clear to me that mages need to be able to do more total damage.

I wouldn't muck with magic missile or lightning beam, but I think it would help to cut the mana cost of every other attack spell in half. Nothing changes relatively except that in a long fight the mage can do twice as much total damage, and might actually be able to kill tough uniques and wyrms using magic.

I'm not suggesting this as a long term solution, but the current situation is broken and I think this would be a substantial improvement.

OTOH, I don't play mages much. Do any mage players think this would make mages overpowered?
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Old December 11, 2009, 21:17   #2
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I'd like to see mages have to choose their targets and spells carefully to deal out high damage. So there could be spells that target particular monsters, for example a beam that does large damage to monsters sensitive to light and another one that effects dragons.

(As an aside I think light spells/devices should do % damage to monsters rather than an absolute value. I laugh when I see a monster with thousands of HP which is sensitive to light.)

I'd also like to see spells which cover different areas, like a surround damage spell which affects the 8 squares around the player and a surround teleport other.

I think an addition of a few higher power damage magic devices would be good for mages as well.

Someone mentioned a while ago that mages could get extra magic missiles as they go up levels and I thought that would be a good idea. Of course that would still be a low damage spell, so not much good for the higher HP monsters.

By the way I've just had a look at the mana storm spell in the spoilers. Isn't that high enough damage, or is the point that the book arrives too late on in the game?

PS I'm completely rubbish at mages so I don't really understand how to play them anyway.
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Old December 11, 2009, 21:20   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
I know that some day mage spells will be overhauled, but until then I suggest a band-aid.

The main problem is that mages cannot kill any strong monsters with spells. Consider a CL 40 mage with max int and MB6. He has about 300+ mana, and can do about 8 points of damage per mana. If the opp has more than 3000 hp, even if the mage casts no other spells but damage, he simply cannot kill it. The important foes all have over 3000 hp. OTOH, a suitable stack of branded ammo even hitting only half the time can kill anything susceptible to the brand. So mages play as archers.

I don't know much about mages, playing them only rarely, so I don't want to suggest tweaking one thing versus another. I suppose the relative strengths of the various spells, and the time to kill things using spells, has been balanced by people with better understanding than I have. But it is clear to me that mages need to be able to do more total damage.

I wouldn't muck with magic missile or lightning beam, but I think it would help to cut the mana cost of every other attack spell in half. Nothing changes relatively except that in a long fight the mage can do twice as much total damage, and might actually be able to kill tough uniques and wyrms using magic.

I'm not suggesting this as a long term solution, but the current situation is broken and I think this would be a substantial improvement.

OTOH, I don't play mages much. Do any mage players think this would make mages overpowered?
The DJA character I played (war mage, on the ladder) cut a lot of the mana costs for the elemental bolt spells. These were my primary mode of damage until the endgame. The top uniques required branded ammo though (there was no branding spell, so it was just stuff I found). I could have taken them out with manastorms had I found a staff of the magi or something to replenish mana. But my damage output wasn't enough. Halving casting costs might be a good idea, and it's trivially easy to try out.

However, if I was to make one major change to mages and casting costs (and I think this is already in the pipeline) I would set a minimum SP/level that is independent of INT.
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Old December 11, 2009, 21:20   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
I wouldn't muck with magic missile or lightning beam, but I think it would help to cut the mana cost of every other attack spell in half. Nothing changes relatively except that in a long fight the mage can do twice as much total damage, and might actually be able to kill tough uniques and wyrms using magic.
This is very similar to what I did with the war mage in DaJAngband. War mages get 1.5x the normal mana for their INT and the mana cost for combat spells is the same or slightly less than a mage. (Their non-combat spells cost about 1.5x the mana or more.)
As for how well it works, you can ask fizzix. (..who posted 1 second before I did)
http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=9604
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Old December 11, 2009, 21:24   #5
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Well even though the mana use would go down, the length of the battle would still be very long. However, what would you say to a mana restore spell? If it succeeds you gain more mana then you spent, but the fail rate is rather high.
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Old December 11, 2009, 21:27   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJS View Post
I'd like to see mages have to choose their targets and spells carefully to deal out high damage. So there could be spells that target particular monsters, for example a beam that does large damage to monsters sensitive to light and another one that effects dragons.
This doesn't do much for 'careful' choosing of spells, since it's "oh a dragon, I use the dragon spell." Unless I'm not understanding.
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Old December 11, 2009, 21:36   #7
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In short, I agree the mage arsenal needs an overhaul. I also agree this would be a simple band-aid that could go a long way towards addressing the problem, and would be easy to implement.

May I re-direct your attention to some pretty graphs in: http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=2391

I will prepare an alternate set of graphs to display the effect of reducing the mana cost on various attack spells.
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Old December 11, 2009, 21:41   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tummychow View Post
However, what would you say to a mana restore spell? If it succeeds you gain more mana then you spent, but the fail rate is rather high.
The first spell in the last necromancer book in DaJAngband is Draw Mana. It's mana cost is 1 and it's fail rate is low. It allows you to convert HP into mana. It has two versions of the spell which you chose from whenever you cast it. The weaker version gives 1 mana for each 1 HP drained (+1 mana to pay the cost of the spell), but it stops and does nothing if you don't have enough HP. The stronger version gives slightly more than twice as much mana per HP, but it may kill you if you don't have enough HP.
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Old December 11, 2009, 21:58   #9
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
This doesn't do much for 'careful' choosing of spells, since it's "oh a dragon, I use the dragon spell." Unless I'm not understanding.
Well if the various spells are spread around different spellbooks then you'd have to decide whether to chuck spellbook 5 with the dragon spell after you've found a magic device that hurts dragons or some bolts of slay dragon.

But yeah I see what you're getting at, so maybe some spells could have some drawbacks, such as being very powerful, but aggravating monsters nearby (as in equipment that aggravates and not haste monsters).
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Old December 11, 2009, 22:31   #10
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Originally Posted by TJS View Post
By the way I've just had a look at the mana storm spell in the spoilers. Isn't that high enough damage, or is the point that the book arrives too late on in the game?
Please keep in mind. that my suggestion is a band-aid until spells are redone. Please discuss redoing the spells in a different thread. The question I am asking is whether it is a good idea to apply this particular band-aid in the interim.

As to your point quoted above
(1) MB9 comes too late
(2) Even manastorm doesn't do enough.

Call manastorm 11 dam/mana counting failure rate, and consider the maximum case of a CL50 mage with 400 mana. Total damage is 4400. You cannot even kill Saruman with that, and he's only DL60. My mages also occasionally like to cast other spells, and CL40 is a lot more reasonable at DL60 than CL50, and MB9 is typically not available at DL60, so the practical total is much lower. I'm not sure you can kill him even with 1/2 cost on the mana, but I thought proposing 1/3 cost was going too far.

And the worst uniques get tougher than Saruman as you descend.
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