I have seen the proposal that follows before, in various forms, and even (I think) replied to the author on the feasability of one of them. Anyway, since it seems that the proposal is being submitted via the CoD magic forum for mass cut-and-paste spamming, I might as well reply to it here. Okay, I actually replied to it on the forum… and in my character name! Please don’t hate me.

Based on the fact that the author’s name is italicized, I can only assume she took over board moderation after the stupid “Risq Is A Nazi!” scuffle. (Don’t ask. It’s very stupid.) I wonder if criticizing this oft-submitted magery powerup proposal will cause any problems. I guess I’ll know when I see a “404 – Forbidden” error pop up when I try to submit my next post in… oh, a month.

Compile list to file – Zerena 9/28/99 at 1:26 pm

AS I mentioned yesterday, I would compile a list of suggestions we could all use to submit to DEV from under the bug page to get changed. You can just cut and paste.

Things that need changing to make Magery Usable and enjoyable in AC:

1. Scrap Spell Economy. Posting to internet makes this useless.
2. Fix the second/third taper bug that shows the wrong taper in the display.
3. Make the Black Fire wand usable only by mages with high skill. Please change mana use back to 1-10 per use.
4. Tune down Arcane lore requirements for scrolls.
5. Make Creature/item spells last longer.
6. Please allow us to cast from the spellbook again.
7. Help make scrolls easier to find for mages. Perhaps Mage Quests for scrolls?
8. Please lower the resist rate on undead.
9. Tune down component burn rate in life magic and during spell research.
10. Make Volley/Blast spells do some decent damage for the amount of mana they require.

These are the ten things I compiled from yesterday and today. If we all get together and post these perhaps some changes can be made. I know some wanted new spells, but this close to release I don’t think that will happen.

Zerena
Archmage Silver Citadel
*Working for a bigger, better, more magical Dereth*

*grins*

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am personally kinda happy about ONE MMORPG (except The Realm, which doesn’t count) that isn’t totally and exclusively focussed on magic, where everyone in the world isn’t a mage. I would actually not mind seeing a “less magical Dereth”, as far as the population of twinky mages goes. Fortunately, so far in the beta, most people hop on with their k3wl list of free spells in hand, make a mage, run around for a while, figure out that even with cheating magery is hard work, and go grab a bow or start taking karate lessons.There were a number of replies, mostly along the lines of “Add this thing here which is a part of the magic system I haven’t figured out yet so I can do it easily”. If you are interested or a “context Nazi”, you can go here. My reply (with annotations) follows.

Hmm – Sashi Mu 9/28/99 at 3:35 pm

1. Spell economy is bugged, sure. Scrapping it completely without changing to a more randomized formula system = no reason NOT to be a mage. Too many mages.

In case anyone hasn’t gotten this from previous rants and my brilliant proposal *coughcough*, the spell economy was a good idea, a system that was introduced as an incentive to keep researchers secretive. It should be now apparent to everyone, including the dev team, that many people who will play their game are utter retards who, paraphrased from Dr. TwisTer’s site, “have already ruined the economy of several games in the past, and will do so again.” (I really wish I could find this quote, but it’s been erased due to their k3wl malfunctioning posting cgi.) A random system encoded by player (so each player has his own mathematics of spells) would mean that any dork can post everything he knew about the system, and the only good it would do would be to mages who were lost on some of the basic tenets and concepts of the system, leaving twinks out in the cold.Yes, there needs to be a way to prevent everyone from being a mage with all formulae. No, they will not be discouraged by something like a mana pool. You have to make it impossible to screw things up.

2. This is annoying, esp if it’s random anyway.

3. Uhh no way. Why even bother going for high war magic if you can just sit somewhere with the BFW and cast about 90 Flame Bolt VI’s for the cost of a few charges? The BFW is yet another static god quest item which is already a problem. I can’t possibly see a reason to unbalance it further and limit its use to one “class” of character, even (maybe ESPECIALLY) if that class is mine.

For the uninformed: the Black Fire Wand was a device that popped merrily into the game a few weeks ago, mostly in the hands of high-level archers and tank fighters who could do the quest for it. It cast Flame Bolt VI (that’s somewhere around 90+ damage per shot, folks), at a cost of ONE mana per shot, with a stored mana pool of 450. Requirements to use it? Go do the quest (usually with a bunch of others who also wanted to camp for it, so you didn’t die), and have an arcane lore skill of 120. Arcane Lore of 120 is pretty much par for the course for most high level types, not just mages.

The imbalance the BFW produces should be immediately evident to anyone who isn’t an idiot, especially in a PvP environment, the most exacting crucible of game balance and design. The wand has since been changed to require 50 mana a shot… still powerful, still potentially a game-breaker as a static and available superweapon, but on the level of the SoLL as opposed to the level of a warehouse full of tactical nuclear devices. The author proposes that this device be re-empowered, but only usable by mages. I don’t want any device like that to be usable by ANYBODY. Why bother playing then? Go dupe some King’s Swords in Diablo.

4. I actually like the high arcane lore requirements. I finally managed to read a V with arcane buffed to about 162, and that’s about where is should be… I can’t even cast V well enough to use it as a regular part of my arsenal anyway. Lower arcane = less reason to get arcane for mages = highest arcane characters in the game will be fighters for item use.

5. Item needs help with the bane spells especially. The only reason so many people are suddenly now getting Item is for portal. Spell duration might be figured from the caster’s skill, but then you run into the problem of (1) low level mages having durations of 2 minutes, and (3) high level mages having durations of hours.

6. Casting from spellbook makes sense, or at least a better interface.

7. Scrolls are easy enough to find now, depending on where and what you hunt. If scrolls appeared too frequently, all the hoopla about mage research and trying to get more spells is meaningless, as everyone would just run out and fire FB I until they got enough scrolls to pick and choose.

Learning from scrolls is a bit cheesy, until you get to the point of circle V, since you should be able to figure out the research methods from I-IV, and they aren’t all that expensive really. V may not be either, depending on whether or not the current super-random taper system is in place in final.

8. I haven’t seen this as a huge problem unless I was trying to attack undead that were significantly higher level than myself, and that just meant it was time to go raise focus, self, and skill before trying again. However, casting high resist creatures like liches and lich lords (which people avoid because of the danger vs the experience gained) should receive some sort of an xp bonus to their value.

Two things: First, there really is an xp imbalance between creatures. Why does everyone go for high-level melee fighters like Lugians, higher Drudges, and Banderling Captains? They have a ton of hit points, and don’t cast spells. XP is currently determined by level and hit points only (according to Zashi Watta, blame him if this is wrong, but it seems to pan out). The result is that the Lich Lord who kills you with repeated castings of War V, but with a few less hit points, is going to be worth way less than the Drudge Stalker who doesn’t hit all that hard, has no magic, can be cheesed from high ground, and is overall an easier target. Why does everyone hate Phyntos Wasps so much, do you think?

Second, I groan inwardly when a patch changes something, and people who have been using a cheese tactic to kill enemies about 4 times their level start whining that they can’t kill them anymore. For instance, the guy who wrote that great article on “Make AC Like EQ So I can Kick Everyone’s Ass” (featured later) was annoyed that his level 15 mage was having problems with a monster his level 15 archer could kill easily… a level 49 Drudge Ravener. Will someone please wake the hell up? If you use an unbalanced method of play to kill things, then suddenly the balance is returned or you try something else that doesn’t have the same cheese factor, the answer is NOT to make everything as powerful as your cheese tactic! I hope that guy died a lot to banderlings while slamming his fists onto the keyboard.

By the way, you can and should be able to kill things of higher level than yourself, at great personal risk and through intelligent play.

9. I live with the component burn. Part of the expense and trouble you accept when you become a mage. It’s also a good cash sink, especially when you’re forking out for gold scarabs, let alone pyreal.

10. Volley and Blast are pretty useless, especially Blast. Volley has some very limited applications, but really is not a feasable part of an arsenal before, say circle V or VI. However, they might be changed anyway. At least it targets now.

In conclusion, many of these proposals seem to be in the best interests of mages at low to mid levels (below 20-25), who probably feel that they are not competitive with other character types, and rightly so. This changes beyond the 28-30 point, though, as it should. In contrast to most players of mages, I want it to be HARDER to be a low to mid level mage, not in terms of damage or advancement, but in terms of freebie formulas and similar cheeses. Otherwise, the game will be filled with nothing but mages who have no concern about an economy, no worries about researching since all the formulas are on a website and are the same for everyone, no frustration and expense trying to move through the teen levels, and nothing but the glamour of higher level empowerment ahead of them. A person who plays a mage should be ready to sweat in a shop doing expensive research no one else can duplicate, grit his teeth through the teens and keep pounding away, and reap the benefits of such study late in life, without feeling like he is “just another” grandmaster mage in a world full of them. Might as well play UO then.

Sashi Mu
Lv 29 Red Target Mage

In other news, today Zashi Watta pointed out to me an essay on AC Vault that I had read and quickly erased from my memory. I was going to comment on it, but I think you can tell what I would say just by reading it. Summary: Make Asheron’s Call just like Everquest with class limitations, damage over time spells, paralysis, summons, charms, etc. Also reduce the skill costs for magic schools (hellooooooo tank mage!) and basically let mages kick ass from, oh, level 1 to about 122. I don’t know about you, but I sure am looking forward to the day that AC becomes a world full of red mages walking around with their pet Olthoi guarding their backs, paralyzing a Revenant, and having his summoned Obsidian Golem do the work for him, followed by a relaxing evening at the Virindi Castle poisoning wave after wave of Tusker Guards.

If that doesn’t sound all that bad to you, then you are (1) a loser, or (2) not thinking of the ramifications, especially in the PvP realm. This is am important perspective to have as a beta tester, since PvP will be the ultimate tell-all about bad design decisions. When every PK in the game is designed exactly the same way and battles are decided by nothing except level and loot, you know you’ve overlooked something. And believe me… when an imbalance or stupid trick appears, the PvPers know it first, and it doesn’t take all that long for it to filter into the non-PvP populace, which starts using the same crap against the AI. It never fails. I would encourage high level testers to try it out, al least for a while, even if you have no interest in being red in final. It may change your perspective on a number of issues.

Oh, and Dr. TwisTer’s AC Alert posted the changes to the vitae system mere days after regular run-of-the-mill non-1337 sites did. Kudos for the news flash!

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