This thread is taking over from this original one
, so I'm locking the original one and moving it to the main AVWW forum. If you have further thoughts or want to quote something from the original thread here, feel free -- the locking is about trying to keep the current conversation all in one place, not about trying to stifle any opinions.
THE POLL RESULTS ARE IN
We had 22 voters, and there was a clear preference for the "Hybrid Mana Recharge And Mana-As-Ammo" mana redesign, which was also my favorite when I made the OP in the original thread. However, despite almost half of the votes going to that specific design: 1) over half of them did NOT go to that design, and 2) a great many people voted for that design and then wrote in with changes and tweaks that they thought it should have for actual implementation.
The poll was still hugely good feedback for me, though, as were the comments on the poll thread. Now it's time to codify all that feedback, and my own thoughts, into a concrete design to implement, though, and hence this thread.
Some form of ammo system recieved a vote in 14 out of the 22 votes. However, I think the reason a lot of people voted for that was because they -- like I -- wanted to be able to see spells that were extremely powerful but yet which come with an extremely high cost. That said, a lot of other folks pointed out how cumbersome (and psychologically difficult in terms of hoarding, etc) an ammo system would be.
I felt like that was still the lesser of two evils, though, until Olreich pointed out a much better broad alternative which lets us get those mega-spells (with appropriate opportunity costs) without having to have ammo. His comments are spread out over several posts, starting with this one, and are well worth a read if you were wanting ammo and want to know why we're dropping it: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9531.msg87881.html#msg87881
THE ACTUAL DESIGN (DIFFERENCES FROM CURRENT DESIGN)
Mana potions and mana scrolls are completely removed from the game. Any mana potions or scrolls currently in your inventory (or which were previously seeded into the world) will still remain, but they will have only a very small temporary boosting effect on your mana and won't be very worthwhile. And you won't be finding (or able to craft) any more after those are used up. Nor will you really care, really, I don't think.
Any form of mana potions that you'd collect in the world, or periodically craft, are something I want to stay away from now, I should note. The reason for this is that it's Yet Another Thing To Collect And Keep Track Of, and players who want to min/max will view them as required, not optional. Having interesting things to collect is fine, but having things that are a pain to collect, or even just monotonous to repeatedly collect, while in the interest of min/maxing, is not a good thing in my book. Once again I'll trot out the Knowledge Raiding example from AI War.
Mana fully recharges from 0 mana to full mana over the course of maybe 30 seconds for an average character (but character stats would cause this rate to vary). Mana recharges constantly, NOT just when your character isn't using spells that cost mana. Thus there's never a period where you just have to sit around and wait to get more mana because you've been casting too many spells. But at the same time you definitely have a max throughput, so you're unable to just spam the really powerful spells and might have some downtime if you're trying to use a lot of them in a sequence.
You'll note that the time period of recharge increased since the recharge is always happening rather than just when you're not firing. And the idea of standing still to recharge faster is also gone, for much the same reason.
Uber-powerful spells that would be implemented will have a really long cooldown to offset their being constantly spammed. BUT, spells in general are able to have multiple cooldown types simultaneously, as you might have noticed. So not only would an Uber Powerful spell have a longer-than-average cooldown that affects other offensive spells of its same color, it would also have an Uber Powerful type of cooldown that would be EVEN LONGER (perhaps minutes at a time, even) and which would affect other uber powerful spells -- offensive, defensive, whatever.
The design there is really flexible, so we can come up with really interesting cooldown intersections that can be really specific to groups of spells, or really broad to various classes of spells, or even both at once. That really gets into individual spell design, but there's a really healthy amount of flexibility there to add a lot of opportunity costs in whatever ways we later see fit to, in other words.
BUT that's not enough for all kinds of uber-powerful (or even very-high-powerful) spells to be balanced. This just would encourage waiting around. Go in, attack the boss with Uber-X, leave for a while until the cooldown is gone, then come back, attack with Uber-X, go away and do something else (get a coke even)... yuck. So the cooldown stuff for uber-powerful spells is mostly just a mild deterrent, and if playtesting reveals that we should just stick with regular cooldowns for them then we might even do that.
But I think that cooldowns that are heavier for the uber spells will prevent them from being spammed against smaller enemies -- though higher MP costs that make the mana recharge take longer might already accomplish that on their own, making the cooldowns on that part moot.
Also? Currently cooldowns aren't saved when you save and then reload your game, which would of course have to change.
Other Consequences For Powerful Spells:
This will vary by spell to spell, from light consequences to heavier ones. And these are entirely tactical consequences in the main, adding flavor to boss fights in particular, rather than adding prep time in the form of ammo collection.
For example, if you use Uber Entropy Spell on an enemy, the consequence might be that they then get full immunity to further entropy attacks. Or it might be that you get some sort of entropy drain effect applied to you. Or it might kill a random NPC from your last town, sucking out their life to attack the boss. Or some piece of land from your current continent might sink into the sea from the magical strain.
Here again, the name of the game is flexibility: whatever the powerful spell does, there can be some sort of equally powerful opportunity cost that is custom to it and really unique and interesting for that spell. Which, when it comes to uber powerful spells, that's what it should be, right? Unique and interesting, and something that makes you think about the unique consequences rather than just spamming it and then chugging an elixer.
Spell scrolls are going to be removed for the sake of simplicity, instead becoming spell scrolls, and they would be balanced like any other spellgems in terms of having cooldowns and mana costs that make them quicker or slower to use repeatedly. Gem dust also would be removed, going along with this.
Vaguely related to this, so I'll mention it here: the Outfitter crafting is also going to go away. The sorts of consumable things that you'd craft there will instead be things that you'll be able to collect out in the world. That keeps the crafting simpler for new players, gives you some (optional, interesting) things to go out and collect in the world and find in stashes instead of mana/health potions, and so on. Stuff that was at the outfitter, like snowsuits or heatsuits, you'll now have to scavenge or find through side-quests instead. This gives us another way to set up interesting incentives for growing your personal power instead of he
Elemental Combo System:
Next to the current mana indicator on the HUD, there would be three different elemental icons that represent the last three spell elements that you've used. Each spell has one and only one element associated with it.
The order of the three elemental icons wouldn't matter, but how many match the element of your current spell would have a big effect:
- If zero of the icons match your spell, there's no effect.
- If one of the icons match your spell, your spell gets something like a 10% bonus, but also a 5% increase to cooldown time.
- If two of the icons match your spell, your spell gets something like a 40% bonus, but also a 20% increase to cooldown time.
- If all three of the icons match your spell, your spell gets something like a 40% bonus, but also a 100% increase to cooldown time, and all the icons in the bar get cleared.
- If all three of the icons are different, but one of them matches the spell, then you get a 50% bonus to the spell and 0% extra increase to cooldown time on it.
Thus you're encouraged to do two or three hits with one element before switching to another one, or to do chains of three elements with a "finisher" that is matching one of the three in the chain. But it's not a hugely complex system, or something that new players would neccessarily have to understand instantly.
Update: Cutting the elemental combo system for now, as it has a few flaws and exploits that need to be figured out before we are able to implement something along these lines.
Credits for various parts of this idea: Keith LaMothe, Josh Knapp, Toll, Penumbra, Hearteater, TNSe, Olreich, Martyn van Buren
So... further thoughts? What is this missing, if anything?