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Virilneus’ GS4 Idea Book » 2007 » December

Virilneus’ GS4 Idea Book

December 31, 2007

Maximum Possible Enchant, Forging, and Metals

Filed under: Game Balance, Skills, Spells — Virilneus @ 6:25 pm

There is a problem with enchant and how it relates to forging, namely, thanks to the change with enchant to allow wizard enchanted weapons to be blessable, it is now cheaper and easier to forge perfect steel weapons and enchant them to 4x than to forge a perfect vultite weapon.

 It makes no sense that more common metals should be more desirable, but they are, and that is a problem.

 Some would say this is a forging problem and should have a solution found within that system. I think however that since an enchant change caused this issue, maybe another enchant change could fix this. Futhermore, the idea I have come up with I feel helps the enchant system in many other ways as well.

 The concept is the same that is found in almost all other magical item manipulation based spells or abilities in the game, namely that materials have a quality and that that quality determines how much magic they can hold. You find this with scrolls, and all imbeddables. You find this system in place in the Scroll Infusion, Imbue, and Recharge Item spells. However, this is not the case with metals for the enchant system. All metals, no matter of base quality, can be enchanted to the same 10x limit by players (with the right, rare, potions of course).

 Why is it, that this system alone, the system that perhaps generates the most benefit, places so little importance on the base material quality? It goes against the grain of all other magical systems, and it should be changed.

I propose that all metals should be given a maximum possible enchant, not unlike their current minimum enchant (aka starting enchant aka natural bonus). This enchant being the maximum possible level a player would be able to enchant the item to.

The easiest formula I can think of for this would be a +20 or 2x(base enchant) whichever is higher. So Golvern & Veil Iron would have a max of +50. Vultite, Rolaren, etc would have a max of +40. Glaes, Mithglin, etc would have a max of + 30. Imflass +24, Mithril, Steel, Ora, and anything else +10 or lower would have a max of +20.

Or, it could be a set amount + the initial enchant. Say metals under +20 base enchant would have a max enchant of +20 over their base. So imflass at +32, mithril at +25, Ora at +30, steel still at +20. Then metals above 4x would have +25 added to their base (so that a theoretical 10x is still possible).

The third option would be for GMs to just go through and assign maximum enchant values for each metal and wood type, so they would be able to make unique considerations for each.

 Some may see this is a nerf to enchant, it is not. This doesn’t change the power of enchant, the demand of enchant, or the value of enchant. All this does, really, is change which metals a customer is likely to hire a wizard to enchant with.

Some may see this as “unfair” because they have a say mithril themed outfit and now they won’t be able to use mithril without taking a loss on the enchant value. Firstly, this system would of course grandfather in all existing gear, secondly, you can always use your “rp metal” as the hilt, as embellishments, as spikes, cross guards, trim, edging, and all the other nifty ways you can add secondary materials to your item’s description. It just will not be the base metal.

In addition to fixing the little forging problem I think this would also help enchant in that it would create an additional restriction on high level (8x+) enchants. The creation of a new restriction, metal types, should logically lead to a lessening of the existing restriction, potion availability. In other words, I feel that this change would result in more high level enchanting potions being released.

Finally, this would also help the game and enchant by likely lessening restrictions on other metal types or enchant methods. GMs may not want players to be able to enchant razern to 7x or 10x, but if razern had a maximum possible enchant of +25 maybe GMs would allow it to be enchanted, in spite of the natural crit weighting it has. The same goes for Rhimar, Drakar, Coraesine, Zorchar, Gornar, and all the other special property metals. All these metals that are currently not enchantable might be made enchantable so long as they have a maximum enchant built in.

 If you do not want to simply outright put a hard limit on enchanting certain metals beyond a theoretical maximum amount, then a compromise could be those metals simply gaining exponential increases in failure rates beyond a certain point, so that they are still possible, if very risky, to enchant further.

 Irregardless, metal (and wood I guess) quality should play a larger role in enchant, and perhaps other magical systems. It adds more depth to the game, and supports the official documentation on material rarity and desirability.

December 10, 2007

Flesh Golems

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 10:51 am

Someone proposed a skill that would involve us taking parts from slain creatures and using those parts to create something, Frankenstein’s monster like. Well… I like it.

Now lets talk about golems. All in game history says that golems were created by wizards, which I think is just laziness. The word “wizard” the default when talking about anything magical and I think the GMs who wrote such information simply did not think things through.

Golems are a much more sorcerous creation than wizardly.

Golems are humanoid in nature, which profession has more to do with the first aid skill (which really should be called the anatomy skill)? Sorcerers. Which profession has animate dead? Sorcerers. Which profession deals in body parts (and I don’t mean healing them)? Sorcerers.

Wizards I’m sure had something to do with elementals, glacei, things of that nature. Golems however are definitely sorcerish.

So, lets say that sorcerers a long time ago created golems, perhaps in their experiments leading up to the discovery of animate dead. Why not “rediscover” that practice?

Imagine how fun this would be. You could go hunting for body parts, of course limb disrupt will get you the limbs but then there could be a guild skill (and first aid) involved in cutting off heads and other parts and bringing them back to the guild.

Then there is a room in the guild with a strange looking table where you can lay the parts down and stitch them together. Then through a process involving some of our spells, perhaps a combination of ensorcell, animate dead, and call lightning, the flesh golem comes to life.

What would be the purpose of this? Well what if the golem could be a permanent type companion like animal companion? Where a sorcerer could store it in the guild’s dungeon and take it out when wanted. Additionally the golem could be trained and taught some skills, rudimentary to be sure. The training itself should also be long and involved, requiring a significant investment of time. Also the golems could fight but I think the process of making one should be involved enough that if they die you feel it, kinda like an enchanting project exploding.

The fun part comes when picking out body parts. Your golem will have the strength of the critter that donated the arms, the health/constitution/weight of the critter that donated the torso, the speed of the critter that donated the legs, and the intelligence of the critter that donated the head. The critters would look like “A hideously disfigured flesh golem with the head of a Ithzir, the legs of a griffin, the arms of a pyrothag, and the body of a troll king, all stitched together with a coarse metal wire.”

I’m not entirely sure what kind of data you store on each critter, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to get this kind of information.

So there you go, a fun guild skill that would create endless variety and would increase intra-realm travel and exploration, and that doesn’t give a direct benefit to hunting.

Foraging, and Double Dip Penalties

Filed under: Game Balance — Virilneus @ 10:50 am

The foraging system is broke. Unlike any other major system in the game there exists an antiquated large professional bias system that is unneeded in today’s game. This system was created well over 15 years ago to suit a much different environment than what GS4 is today.

HISTORY OF THE PROBLEM

Originally way back when there was no primary mangler skill that affected foraging results. Instead things like level, perception, and first aid are what mattered. However level is not professionally biased at all. First Aid was the domain of empaths mostly, and perception was the realm of rogues. So there was no way for rangers to gain an appropriate foraging (or even skinning) advantage through the use of the mangler, when they were supposed to become the most apt profession at both.

Compounding the problem was that the game way back in the 1980’s or early 1990’s was a 20 level game, and 20 levels did not provide enough of a time for significant differentiation in a 1d100 system whereas people of different training paths could become significantly differently skilled. For those who do not grasp this concept, an example would be that with a 1 rank per level difference in skill the total ranks of difference after 20 levels would be only 20 and in a 1d100 system you need differences of 100 before skill diversity really becomes visible. This concept is of course why Gemstone has a system of ranks and skill points so that a greater difference in skill levels can be created at lower trainings.

The PTBs at the time, of which I really doubt any are still around save David Whatley, decided that the best way to accomplish diversity in foraging abilities would be to assign arbitrary professional bonuses and penalties based on how skilled they thought your profession should be. So rangers got a bonus, sorcerers & wizards a penalty, etc. This solution was perfectly fine for the time. The problem is that in the 15-20 years since no one has thought to change it.

Eventually, through a series of changes, we come to a point today where these biases are completely unnecessary and also significantly larger than other similar profession bonuses that exist in today’s game (and they’re rare).

THE PURPOSE OF THE MANGLER

Before anyone tells me these bonuses are fine, especially any GMs, please answer one question. What is the purpose of variable training costs in skills in the mangler?

Maybe I’m crazy, but to me the purpose of rangers having 1/1 in survival in the mangler, which is half as much as the next lowest profession, is to ensure they become the most proficient profession at things like foraging.

The fact is, sorcerers & wizards have to spend nearly 3x as many TPs for our survival ranks. Bards, Rogues, warriors, etc a solid 2x as many TPs. Rangers have a sizeable lead here. Survival is so cheap for them to train in almost all train in it heavily, making them great foragers.

As I stated above, when the foraging biases were created there was no such mangler skill as survival. However now that there is, how can anyone justify the biases when the mangler so handily already takes care of things?

OTHER RANGERLY BONUSES

After the foraging skill was created and the biases set, eventually along came the foraging spell (603). Without this spell it’d already be nearly impossible for many penalized professions to even complete Adventurer’s Guild foraging tasks. However, rangers have additional bonuses through their spell training that professions using it off scrolls or through items do not receive. As such, even without the professional bias, even if rangers had no better TP costs in survival than anyone else, this spell alone would be enough to ensure rangers would remain the preeminent foragers in Elanthia.

It does not stop there though. Rangers also have the ability to SENSE terrain which gives them an indicator of which plants grow there, whereas other professions need to rely on time consuming experimentation to figure such things out.

Finally, for that extra boost, an older ranger can use 650 and achieve the Yierka form and get even better at foraging. No other profession has access to such an ability.

SIZE MATTERS

One of the most discouraging things about these biases is the sheer weight of them. By weight I mean how many ranks of skills or TPs spent does it take to overcome a bias. How would squares feel if, for no good reason, they started 20 ranks in the hole for invoking scrolls with their AS skill or 20 ranks in the hole for using magic items with their MIU skill? How would anyone who isn’t a rogue feel if they needed 40 ranks to use a rolaren lockpick instead of the standard 20?

This is how it feels to be a wizard or sorcerer trying to forage. With each rank helping so little and with such a large bias it takes a substantial effort just to get as good as a level 0 ranger, and at that point you still have a long way to go.

If the bonuses were just a shift of the endroll required to a measly 5 points in either direction, hardly anyone would notice and no one would complain. But that 5 point shift wouldn’t have accomplished their goal 15+ years ago, with no skill backing them up they needed big biases, and no one has of yet changed them since.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Foraging should be a system like picking locks. Rogues do not get a professional bonus to picking locks. However they have the lowest TP costs for perception, picking locks, and disarming traps. They also can triple in these skills when other professions cannot. Their skill training allows them more benefit from the 403/404 spells than other professions, their guild gives them additional lockpicking abilities not available to other professions. As such, even without an arbitrary bonus, they’re easily the best lockpickers in Elanthia.

Rangers likewise have the lowest training costs in survival, they have 3 additional professional abilities that grant them bonuses. They do not need an arbitrary positive bias and other professions certainly do not need arbitrary negative biases.

If GMs really feel this system is so great then perhaps we need more such redundant biases to double up the effect of mangler biases. I would propose that it is only equitable for the changes in regards to AS, MIU, and lockpicking that I mentioned above as hypothetical examples be implemented post haste. After all, if the foraging system is so perfectly balanced as many would have you believe then certainly that same bonus/reward structure deserves, nay demands, to be ported to other skills.

Or maybe.. just maybe… Simutronics can collectively come to the realization that a system that was designed before many current players were even born is probably do to be examined with a critical eye.

Scrap or drastically shrink the foraging biases, they aren’t needed anymore.

December 8, 2007

My Sorcerer Spell List Review

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 11:00 am

I am not asking for work on other aspects of the game to be dropped to help sorcerers, but neither do I sit on my hands when I think of ideas. These are suggestions, not demands, my aim is only to organize ideas and help GMs achieve their circle review when the time comes.

701 - no changes

702 - Add Damage Modifiers.

703 - Increase Duration

704 - Minor Change, Prevent Fast-Decay

705 - Damage Modifiers, AS Based Version

706 - No Change

707 - No Change

708 - Extra damage on really high endrolls

709 - No change, but please make sure it is working properly.

710 - SHIFTing and messaging updates

711 - No change, ignore Herod.

712 - Good spell, but maybe an AS buff

713 - Get rid of Nightmare, roll into curse and then Major Disruption or Essence Ball

714 - Allow more control over unlocking, oh, and release that 25 rune already

715 - Make Curse Verb Based, Roll in Nightmare and Disease and then add Curse Buffs see also Updated Curse Proposal.

716 - Get rid of Disease, roll into curse and then Major Disruption or Essence Ball

717 - No changes

718 - No changes

719 - Allow us to pick damage types, and Chain Reactions.

720 - Add disarming ability. Also flying critters should be more susceptible to a vacuum (duh).

725 - Demon Lore Bonuses and maybe make major demon summoning use this same spell slot (saves a slot).

730 - Usability Improvements, Bug Fixes and fixing healing and durations and alchemy.

740 - Teleporting into restricted areas

NEW SPELLS:

750 or 735 - Lich Form

Also, a different high level spell idea would be a player-unsafe mass target CS spell, 735 possibly.

Corrupt Essence Changes

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 10:49 am

Sorcerers got the short end of the stick when Forget was taken for Savant reasons and we got corrupt essence instead.

Forget stopped spells from being prepped, Corrupt Essence stops spells from being cast. Obviously Forget is much more useful as, after the duration is over, the critter still needs to prep a spell before they can cast.  With Corrupt Essence the critter can prep during the duration and cast the spell the instant it is over.

What was gained by the lessening of functionality? Nothing.

 I would ask that the duration of this spell be increased from 15 seconds to 30 seconds (or 25) to make up for the usefulness we lost when it was taken by Savants. Or, increase the base duration to 20 seconds with an increase of 1 second for each 10 ranks of mana control skill.

Planar Shift Changes

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 10:43 am

This is already a great spell, however a point was recently brought up on the boards that makes a lot of sense.

 For intra-realm teleporting the sorcerer is still leaving the realm, going to another plane, then coming back. So why do terrestrial barriers matter? Why can a sorcerer not 740 into Darkstone, or the broken lands? They can open a rift in both places, so the magic isn’t blocked on the Elanthia side of things, and it makes no sense that the barriers preventing teleporting should extend into other planes.

Something to chew on.

Lich Form (aka Self Animation)

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 10:40 am

Lich Form

Sorcery currently has an imbalance in planned high level spells. We know 2 different lores and yet, adding planned and existing spells together, 3 of our post level 20 spells use demonology whereas only 1 uses necromancy. As such it is necessary for us to gain atleast one spell post level 20 that uses necromancy.

We already know animate dead, so what could we learn more? The natural progression of animating someone else, is animating yourself. I have been asking for this spell for years, and now that 350 was just released it appears the time is right to get this spell idea approved and implemented. This spell could be 750, 735, 775, an add-on to 730, or even a guild skill (please, not a guild skill).

There are two ways this spell could be achieved (leaving it up to the GM to decide which to implement), the first is that it is worn as a defensive spell like any other defensive spell and when the sorcerer dies while the spell is active it activates. The second method is that the spell is infused into an artifact of sometype that the sorcerer must keep on their person, when they die the artifact activates and casts the spell upon them. I feel the artifact method is superior.

The spell would temporarily bind the sorcerer’s wounds using necromancy magic (nice messaging here, magic sticking wounds together and all that) and provide the sorcerer with the ability to control his animated self.

Balance and Mechanical Benefit

The main mechanical benefit of this spell would be avoiding decay and item loss and having quicker rescues. The professions are already very well balanced for hunting prowess, asking for a super powerful attack or defense spell for a high level slot, asking for anything that helps you avoid death, is going to be difficult. This spell, with it’s requirement that you die every time you use it, makes it unique in the game (or, was unique until 350) and that requirement of death also ensures it doesn’t help prevent death, and so should also justify a good deal of power (like 350 now).

So, the main benefit to a sorcerer will be in preventing post-death item loss & decay. Other professions may (typically) cry foul at this unique ability (no longer unique), however it isn’t really unique (heh). All voln members can self-lk, thereby preventing decay (if not providing for expedient rescue). Additionally anyone who knows 217 also has access to self LK. Finally, anyone can avoid item loss by decaying and paying a couple 100k to the priestess. So in reality all this does is save the sorcerer time and money on priestess potions. Not unlike how 740 saves money on chronomages, everyone can travel, we just do it for less with a little added convenience.

Also, this spell would have a duration so it wouldn’t be 100% fool proof. If you died in some very far away place you may still end up decaying because you couldn’t get out in time.

I would propose a duration based on necromancy lore ranks, the formula of which can be figured out later. I would estimate a user with no necromancy ranks having a 2 minute duration whereas a user with 100 might max out at 15-20 minutes.

Issues

How do you ensure that a sorcerer who just died in an area as a person fully spelled and alive doesn’t get torn to pieces as a lich just risen? We cannot make a sanct like clerics do, sancting isn’t our thing. Currently critters ignore animated players. This would be alright, but if you think about it it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense considering critters do not ignore animated critters. Still, if you want the easy way out, continuing this ignore feature is the way to go and the rest of this post is mostly unnecessary.

However… another option is to simply have the magic of the spell provide the lich-form sorcerer with unique abilities and the strength of a corpse.

The same artifact used to cast the spell upon the sorcerer could also be used to recast other defensive spells.

Then you could award physical traits to the sorcerer based on necromancy lore. Ranks in CM, Dodge, all weapon abilities, moc, physical fitness, maybe even dfredux.

This would allow the sorcerer to then defend himself and fight critters still (perhaps exacting revenge on what killed him) while in lich form. Thus critters wouldn’t have to just ignore the corpse, they could engage it.

This opens up a whole slew of other possibilities:

LICH ATTACKS: While in lich form there are 3 attack verbs you may use, none use mana, but all cause a hard RT. All attack damages are based on a level comparison manuever roll.

Slap/punch: If barehanded you may slap/punch, causing slashing/crushing damage and possibly disease.
Scream: A player friendly area-affect fear attack.
Stare: Like 717

LICH IMMUNITES: While a lich you are immune to:
Bloodloss (you’re already dead).
Stuns (you’re already dead).
Fear Attacks (Things are afraid of you, not the other way around, plus you’re already dead, what is left to fear?)

Additionally while in lich form I would say you could drag others, eat & drink herbs & lk.

However, I would put the following limits if all this were done:

1. No Experience from anything killed.
2. No searching any corpses.
3. No casting spells.

So, yes, it has a lot of power, and some might even say that they’re “undead” powers, but no, they’re necromancy powers. All those special abilities are powered by the necromancy magic of the spell, not by unholy life. All that power is justified by the spell restrictions, the fact that you can gain no benefit from the creatures you kill while in that form, and the fact that you have to die first to even use the form.

So ya, lich form would be close to god form if it did everything I suggest, and that kind of power is beyond anything found elsewhere in the game right now, but all the limitations and requirements are also beyond what is out there currently, I think it is justified, sure, 350 doesn’t do all that, but it raises you, this merely lets you walk your corpse out by yourself, you’d still need a raise from a cleric or paladin or NPC or scroll-bearing-friend.

Or… the easy way out of continuing the way critters ignore animated PCs is also an option and just forget about all the combat mechanics.

Scroll Infusion Improvements

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 10:28 am

Just figured I’d ask again.

I’d just like to be able to pick which spell on a scroll I unlock. Thats all, relatively small thing, would make it much easier to use though. I wouldn’t mind also being about to do the same with when charging as well.

I know similar functionality exists to pick spells off a scroll.

You glance down to see an illuminated scroll in your right hand and a runestone in your left hand.
>tap runestone
You tap your illuminated scroll with your runestone. The runes of the Interference spell glow brightly for a brief moment before fading. They still feel warm to the touch though.
>tap runestone
You tap your illuminated scroll with your runestone. The runes of the Spirit Warding II spell glow brightly for a brief moment before fading. They still feel warm to the touch though.

Just something like that. Please

Dark Catalyst Improvements

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 10:24 am

Dark Catalyst current uses elemental lores in a small way for damage improvements, I do not know if these lores are worth it in a cost/benefit ratio.  I think it could possibly use mana controls instead for damage improvements.

 However, someone posted a very nice idea on the boards, what if damage was controlled by mana controls, but what lores gave us was the option to make all crits from the same element? Or even still have lores do the damage, mana controls the mana return, and add the all same element feature still.

 So, with a certain amount of lore, a sorcerer can cast 719 with fire to have all the criticals be fire based. It makes sense, if the spell has within it the ability to do any elemental type of damage, surely with enough lore a skilled sorcerer can direct the type of damage he desires.

If you gave us this kind of flexibility with the spell I don’t think it’d need any damage upgrades from what it already has. This would also prevent sorcerers with 4 choices to pursue in regards to lore, and those choices will foster more intra-profession diversity, which is a very good thing.

704, small changes.

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 10:19 am

Someone, I forget who, posted that 704 should stop “rapid-decaying” creatures from decaying so rapidly. I agree, it should, lets make it so.

 Also, the manuever based aspect of 704 is still waiting to be implemented.

 Otherwise, great spell.

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