Virilneus’ GS4 Idea Book

July 20, 2009

Demon Lore Bonuses

Filed under: Sorcery, Spells — Virilneus @ 10:51 am

Sorcerers have the most expensive training costs of any pure, especially in the lore category.

Wizards get bonuses to casting some spells when their familiars are present, why not allow sorcerers to do the same with demons?

Let having a demon summoned provide a enhancive +20 demon lore ranks (plus or minus X depending on demon type, but let 20 lore be the baseline) like some Assume Aspect functions. As if the demon were giving us pointers on keeping our cloaks in line, or summoning a presence for torment, perhaps holding our hands as we shift between planes. It makes perfect sense.

 Since you cannot summon a demon without another demon being present, you couldn’t use this to boost your own demon summoning directly. Also, by adding enhancive lore ranks you’re making implementation easier by just making the spell produce an enhancive effect, rather than coding in new hooks in all demonology using skills or spells.

 I would also consider grouping bonuses. You gain have the ranks of the bonus of any sorcerer you are grouped with. This would encourage player interaction, and help when people are teaching others how to use demons. If a young sorcerer is having trouble summoning, joining with an older sorcerer with an existing demon (who would be, conceptally, providing pointers or assistance to the sorcerer) would help them summon.

 You could also add new uncommon runes that require ungodly amounts of summoning to use, such as say 300 or 400 ranks. The only way then to complete that summoning would be to have many sorcerers join together with helper demons.  Another neat group RP application.

Chain Reaction DC

Filed under: Sorcery, Spells — Virilneus @ 10:29 am

If 409 and 415 are going to get multi target additions added, these being minor circle spells. I think time is right to revisit chain reaction DC as an improvement to our supposedly superior professional circle.

The concept behind DC is that it is a a chain reaction within the target’s body that makes their mana explode, with any extra mana shooting out to the sorcerer as a refund.

The concept behind chain reaction DC is that instead of the extra mana going to the sorcerer, it goes to another critter in the room, runs through DC again, and if there is still mana remaining, a third, a fourth, etc.

DC, being a mana manipulation spell, doesn’t lend itself to sorcery lores, instead, like _mana_ disruption, it lends itself to mana controls.

I favor mathematical systems as opposed to arbitarily set boundaries, I would not want to see a seed chart for mana control bonuses defining X number of critters to be hit. Rather I’d like the spell to work as close to the concept as possible where the chance for extra targets is directly related to the mana returned from the cast, which is itself directly related to the mana the critter has. So the more mana a critter has the more susceptible it is to this effect. Furthermore, the more mana the second critter has, the greater chance a third will be hit. So for instance if you DC an ithzir seer and it jumps to an ithzir adept there is a chance it’ll jump to a third target (perhaps back to the seer if it still lives). But if you DC an ithzir seer and it jumps to an ithzir janissary, well, it’ll probably stop there.

What I would so propose then is have mana control act as a modifier the efficiency of the spell in converting critter mana.

The formula would be simple. Total_ranks_mana_control_caster/targets_level = modifier. Assuming you are hunting like level that means a sorcerer with 2x in mana control would have a 200% modifier on critter mana efficiency. A sorcerer 4x in mana control would have a 400% modifier, and a sorcerer 6x in mana control would have a 600% modifier.

A typical pre-cap training is 1x in mana control, or no modifier. Some may do 2x if they’re really dedicated runestaff users and sacrifice training in other areas. Post cap most eventually get up to 2x, 3x or 4x possible near 15 million experience. 6x would only be possible if the sorcerer also got 200 ranks in MMC, which would be highly unlikely to happen unless they were around 30 million experience or higher (and I don’t think any sorcerer is even close to that).

A sorcerer can also trigger this affect by infusing more mana into their initial cast of DC, to make up for any shortage in their mana control training or in the mana refund of the initial target.

Critter base mana returns may need to be tweaked for balance issues.

If we pick a number like say, 12 mana, to spawn a subsequent DC, and the critter returns 6 normally, you’d need to be 2x in mana controls to do it without extra mana, or you’d need to infuse 6 with the initial cast.

If the critter returns 4 mana normally you’d need 3x in mana controls or infuse 8 with the initial cast, or a combination thereof.

Finally, the sorcerer may decide to go all out and infuse very large amounts of mana, 100 mana perhaps, to try to get his DC to be strong enough to destroy the whole room.

This idea is balanced and appropriate to the profession. Other pures indeed have multi-target spells near the 19th slot, one even with unlimited targets at no extra cost.

 The use of elemental lores for boosting damage otherwise could stay with the spell.

July 5, 2009

Give Sorcerers Minor Mental

Filed under: Game Balance, Sorcery — Virilneus @ 4:59 pm

Sorcery sucks.

There are deep faults running through the profession that go to the design of GS4 at it’s core. Keep the utter lack of improvements and GM attention, and the very very sparse development over the last decade, going so bad that Melissa, then PM, had to apologize to us for forgetting us, forgetting an entire profession, hah, keep all that aside.

The main problems with sorcery is that it is the games only true hybrid profession, and the various unique trappings of it being a hybrid cause it to be second class compared to others.

We have two minor circles, the only such profession with two minor circles. Minor circles are by definition less powerful than major circles. This is a penalty.

Because of the way CS calculations work from spell ranks 33-66 we develop penalties to our CS in the 400 and 100 circles.

Because of the way lore training works our cost/benefit ratio is 300% that of wizards or clerics. Training in ANY lore for our minor circles is usually only doable postcap. We even spend more on spiritual lore than empaths do, the non-hybrid profession.

Add those two things together and we pay more, for less. We’re mediocre at 2/3rds of our spells, and no one seems to care to fix that. This is intrinsic to our definition as a hybrid.

Hybrids are supposed to be defined as having weak secondary circles, but their unique multi-sphere knowledge allowing them to have a more powerful primary circle. Unfortunately we only have the former, our primary circle has been nerfed and neglected. For our secondary circle suckiness to be justified our primary circle needs to be made the most powerful spell circle in the game. I do not say this out of professional patriotism, this is a fundamental fact if you care at all about balance. We don’t need parity with now-far-better other pure professions, we need superiority. Otherwise we’re getting the penalty of being a hybrid without the benefit, and that is wrong.

Many sorcerers would much rather have a situation like a wizard or a cleric and have 3 good circles you can easily lore modify and that you’re supposed to be good at. Especially wizards with their 2 full circles of exclusiveness.  But that is not how we’re defined, and by our definition and balance needs the 700 circle is supposed to be the most powerful in the game.

The problem is players fixate on such issues and if all is not equal they complain. If we got our old DC back, for instance, people would be in an uproar because they’re too shortsighted to realize that is the reward we get for our crappy secondary circles and our highest-among-pures training costs.

The second option would be to drastically reduce our training costs so we’re paying less for the less power. Not only reducing our costs for parity (as should be done anyways), but reducing them below parity. Paying less for spell ranks, less for lore, less for arcane symbols, all down the line. This is probably unlikely.

What is perhaps the best option though is giving us access to a third secondary circle.

In an argument on the forums it was repeatedly insisted we’re not allowed to be good at 2/3rds of our spells because we’re hybrids, we get breadth. This is false currently because 700/100/400 is no more breadth than 400/500/900 or 100/200/300. It is all a different range of the spectrum, but it is the same amount of spells.

If our all challenges are to have a reward, and breadth is it, give us a third secondary circle, minor mental.

Did you fall out of your chair? It really isn’t as drastic as you think.

1. It fits, do you know sorcery was once the mental class? We still have ithzir penalties to prove it. Additionally we’ve had some of our spells taken away for the mental sphere, replaced with clones with different descriptions, and some of our older spells are still mental in description because they haven’t been updated in forever.

2. It would fix the CS penalty. The additional secondary circle CS from the first 33 ranks in MnM spell training would make up for the CS penalty exactly. Exactly.

3. We would be even more mediocre at the 100s, 400s, and the new minor mental sphere as well. Sorcerers would not be getting more points, nor the ability to quadruple spells. We’d simply have more choices to make, in spell training, lore training, and mana control training.

4. Another downside of sorcery is a relative lack of utility & buffs in the 700s, this is a throwback to when we were “masters of destruction” and not allowed utility.  MnM would give us more of such, making up for that lack.

5. The one buff we do have, 712, could be downtweaked if there are self-cast-only spells in MnM (like 1109) that were not designed with the idea that sorcerers would wear them every hunt. For instance if we’d be gaining DS boosters, the DS bonus from 712 could be lessened. It’d be a wash.

Some TP costs would have to change, of course, to reflect us as native mentalists. You could do two things.

1. Remove sorcerer lore entirely, achieve sorcerer lore effects with existing elemental, spiritual, and mental lores & mana controls (best option)

2. Keep it sorcerer lore, maybe reduce the cost, reduce cost of mental lore to 0/7 or 0/6 (I think 0/6, its still a ton of TPs to spend on lore for 1 circle)  so it matches the other ones, and of course reduce mental mana control as well.

Empaths were supposed to get MnM, they said no.  Let us have it. It would slide in perfectly, fix a lot of what is broken (though, not everything,our spell list still needs an overhaul, it’ll be the only one that hasn’thad a review), and you could do this quickly, since MnM is almost done. Thus maybe getting all those sorcerers who cancelled accounts to come back, and stop others from doing the same.

I know, this sounds drastic, think about it though, the more you think about it the more sense it makes. Sorcerers will have a professional circle on par with the professional circle of other pures (after some upgrades), but we’ll have three minor circles (instead of one minor and one major like every other pure) and be mediocre at all three in comparison. Still, having 4 circle access will finally be a unique benefit not found elsewhere and will make up for 3 of those circles being mediocre.

(ps, when I say a circle is mediocre, it means two things: the circle is minor, so designed to be less powerful than major, and because of how training and CS calculations work, and it is mediocre for sorcerers. a wizard is not mediocre with the 400s, they do not have the same penalties, etc The mediocrity is specific to sorcerers using the circle.).

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