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Virilneus’ GS4 Idea Book » 2009 » May

Virilneus’ GS4 Idea Book

May 14, 2009

Sorcerer Training Costs

Filed under: Game Balance, Sorcery — Virilneus @ 7:38 pm

I believe sorcerers (and wizards) should have training costs changed. I have no idea how the current situation we have was created, but it is obviously unbalanced, and should be rectified.

It is my belief that professions that hunt in equivalent ways should have equivalent training costs. This is not the case. Among the 4 pure professions there are serious differences in training costs where some pure professions have cheap skills and thus can train in them more, or pick up more hobby skills, and others have far less flexibility. I won’t even try to add in non-hunting experience gain 2 pure professions have. That is a balance issue unto itself.

PHYSICAL TRAINING COSTS
Aggregate Total for all weapon/armor/cm/dodge/moc skills

Cleric: 128/57
Wizard: 158/66
Empath: 159/68
Sorcerer: 160/68

Remember as well, that clerics and empaths need less overall ranks in armor use to wear heavier armor, thus, it is a double bonus (or double penalty for wizards and sorcerers).
UTILITY TRAINING COSTS
Aggregate Total for all pt, first aid, survival, climb, swim

Empath: 13/2
Cleric: 18/3
Wizard: 21/3
Sorcerer: 21/3

MAGICAL TRAINING COSTS
Aggregate total for HP, Spell Aiming, MIU, AS.

Wizard: 2/7
Empath: 3/9
Sorcerer: 3/9
Cleric: 3/10

MANA CONTROL TRAINING COSTS
This one is harder to calculate, because of hybrid status. Mana control can function as a lore skill, so a wizard can train in 1 control and get benefit (after the lore review) to 3 circles. Same with clerics. Empaths to two circles, a sorcerer to one each, or one and a half each. As such, on that sorcerers pay the most for the least benefit. But ignoring that. Looking at mana return benefit…

Cleric: 900 MTPS for +15 mana return per pulse.
Wizard: 1200 MTPS for +15 mana return per pulse.
Sorcerer: 1200 MTPS for +15 mana return per pulse.
Empath: 1200 MTPS for +15 mana return per pulse.

Anyone surprised clerics actually have 25% less mana control training costs for the same mana return benefit? Are they really the most mana returning profession? The mana control portion of alchemy further tilts it towards clerics (and wizards) by existence of a hybrid penalty.

LORE TRAINING COSTS
On this one you can’t just look at cost, you have to look at cost benefit. A wizard spends 0/6 to benefit 3 circles. A cleric spends 0/6 to benefit 3 circles. An empath spend 0/12 to benefit 3 circles. A sorcerer spends 0/20 to benefit 3 circles.

What is further ridiculous with this, is sorcerers as well spend more on spiritual lore than empaths, AND WE’RE BOTH SUPPOSED TO BE HYBRIDS! A sorcerer spends 0/7 for each minor circle he is a part of, an empath spends 0/6 for each.

THE CHALLENGE

I challenge any GM to post a reasonable justification for this disparity. I did not make these numbers up. These are not my opinion. This is basic math that does not add up. Balance, by definition, is would mean that if you take from one area, you give to another. There is no give here, not for sorcerers. What benefit do we get for these much higher costs? We get to hunt in guarded? Please, almost every profession does that now, including bards and rangers. Such an excuse might have flown 12 years ago when we were the only profession (outside of clerics on undead) that could reliably hunt like that, but that was 12 years ago, things have changed, why have all these restraints on our profession not changed? We’re hindered because from-guarded CS hunting is so overpowered? Wake up and smell the dead ithzir, everyone hunts like that now. Have you seen bane/smite, boneshatter, immolation?

But go ahead, explain to me why sorcerers should have such higher costs. Tell me what we are getting in exchange.

THE SOLUTION

I will not ask you to nerf clerics or empaths. It won’t happen, I know it won’t happen. I will not ask for it. Instead, I ask you to help wizards and sorcerers BY LOWERING OUR TRAINING COSTS (mostly sorcerers, a little wizards). Since you are only lowering costs this doesn’t really require reallocation. You’d simply log in, and get free TPs from the adjusted costs. Well, not really “free” TPs. That is a bad word to use. Reimbursed TPs, reimbursement for the equivalent hunting you did compared to other pure professions.

Wizards first. Wizards should have 0/1 in MIU and BE ABLE TO TRIPLE (currently 0/1 and only double). Wizards should have 0/2 in AS. Currently 0/1. This is for consistency, and I’m making up for this by asking you lower wizard HP costs to 0/3, and EMC to 0/3. This should offset the ridiculously cheap physical skills of the two spiritual pures.

Now sorcerers. IT IS WRONG THAT WE SHOULD HAVE THE HIGHEST PHYSICAL AND HIGHEST MAGICAL AND HIGHEST UTILITY TRAINING COSTS. There needs to be sufficient adjustment so we’re not the worst in every category. Either that or, our spells all need big uptweaks as a tradeoff for what we pay for them. It is horrible game design to have a profession have universally higher training costs with no trade off.

So, here is what I propose.

1. Lower AS to 0/1 and let us triple. (making us the best in AS, something we deserve)
2. Lower HP to 0/3 (tying us with wizards here as best, which we both deserve, considering the shafting we get on physical stuff)
3. Lower Elemental lore to 0/6 and spiritual lore to 0/6 (a decrease of one, to give parity to what empaths pay)
4. Lower sorcerer lore to 0/5 (minus 1, it sucks enough, might as well make it cheaper, and we only get 1 circle of benefit out of it, which means it is the least beneficial lore in the entire game, no other lore, NO OTHER LORE, affects only 1 circle). I think I could even justify this going to 0/4 or 0/3 but I’d accept 0/5.
Would this make sorcerers the best in any one area? NO. Clerics would still be the best in physical skills, we’d be the worst. Empaths would still wipe the floor on utility skills. We’d be the worst. Wizards would still edge us out on core magical skills (thanks to a 1 PTP edge on spell aiming, fair enough), but we’d be 2nd, and ahead of empaths and clerics as a tradeoff for their leads in the aforementioned areas. We’d still have the worst cost/benefit lore ratio, but it’d not be _as_ bad. And mana controls, on the proxy-lore benefit scale, we’d STILL have the worst cost/benefit ratio. On the mana return scale, clerics & wizards would be tied for first, us and empaths would be tied for second (or last, as it were).

But what this would do, outside of course of letting the players of sorcerers know we’re not red headed step children, is allow more diversity in our profession by freeing up TPs for hobby skills that most of us, quite frankly, cannot afford.

AN ADDENDUM

I hope you guys are thinking about these issues when you lay out the costs for Savants. If you just do it based on “how you visual the profession” without looking at balance, you’re only going to upset more players. A new profession that not only diverts needed coding resources from us, but also has cheaper costs than us (and they’re bound to have cheapo brawling anyways, so its probably going to happen)… ya, that’d probably drive more sorcerers to quit.

May 5, 2009

Animate Dead & Alchemy, Fixin’ What’s Broken

Filed under: Sorcery — Virilneus @ 2:47 pm

Animate Dead needs a lot of improvement, the improvements to combat systems are one side of the equation, such as allowing us to tell our stupid magical animates how to attack to be more effective, or how to spell us up. I classify these as command improvements, and I’m not addressing them today.

Instead I’m going to talk about other improvements that thusfar alchemy has tried to address and failed.

I speak on this as someone who can already do most of what I ask be made available. Making these changes will make my soulstone wand far less valuable. I care not. They need to be done.

1. Animate Healing

Animate Dead is already the most component intensive spell in the game, dwarfing even spells that permanently enhancive items. And far be it a one time use spell, animate dead with it’s duration is an almost per hunt spell. A heavy player would want to cast it multiple times a day. The component load is overbearing.

To add insult to injury, if your animate is wounded, like a horse it must be put down. You also must be very careful in killing the creature, for if it has severed limbs, it’ll make a poor animate. This means a mana intensive killing process, which is a further drain on usefulness.

To add torture to injury, alchemy was supposed to address this, and we’re presented with a ridiculously difficult to make potion requiring 4 deathstones, a somewhat rare teras only drop, and a screaming elf child. This alchemy solution is an abject failure and has inspired a few sorcerers to quit. It is wrong with a capital W for a healing potion to cost more than it would cost just to kill it and get a new one.

To fix this. Have the initial cast of 730 heal wounds based on the value of the gem used. Let it be in direct relation to duration. IF you use a cheaper gem you might heal all the wounds but your duration will stink. If you carefully kill the critter you’ll get a longer duration out of it. I am not seeking to nerf the duration of the spell, god no, it needs to be increased or a method devised to refresh it. The baseline duration for an average wounded animate should be the same before and after this change. Extremely wounded animates would result in a lower duration (more gem mojo used for healing) less wounded animates would result in a longer duration (less/no gem mojo needed for healing).

Secondly, let a second cast of the spell on a creature already animated while holding a gem heal it again in proportion to the gem value, a cheap gem for minor wounds, a nice gem for major wounds. Plus of course 30 mana. If you want you could also have this manuever add to duration like the above, and if you did so you’d have a lot of happy sorcerers. Thus, it is slightly cheaper (no crystals) to heal an animate as it is to make one.

2. Animate Duration

This needs to be redone. Either do as above and let a gem cast both heal and extend the duration, OR allow a second treatment with crystals, AND a gem cast, extend the duration. Because of the myriad limitations placed on AD many hunting areas do not have suitable animates. So a sorcerer wanting to use this spell has to hunt twice, once to get the animate they can use, then another time to do their actual hunting. Not being able to refresh the animate places an undue burden on these sorcerers in regards to mana and hunting time. This method would make a refresh cost as much as an initial cast, minus the time/mana cost to find and kill the animate originally. I find this fair.

3. Alchemy Potions

So, we want to make that alchemy healing potion useless, should we do away with them? No, lets change them.

I propose the lesser potion add 4 BCS levels to your animate. This makes it unique and useful, and not altogether too powerful (we’re talking 12 AS bonus, less than just casting strength on the beast). I think it’d make the cost more realistic in turning it into a special occassion potion rather than a every time potion. You use it only when you really need it, like a ruby amulet. Assuming there is a greater potion I propose letting it add 8 BCS levels to your animate (you could also do 5/10), not to be stacked with the lesser.

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