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Heroes Community > Heroes 7 - Falcon's Last Flight > Thread: H7: Salvaging the Broken Wreckage (of Magic Skills)
Thread: H7: Salvaging the Broken Wreckage (of Magic Skills) This thread is 4 pages long: 1 2 3 4 · NEXT»
TDL
TDL


Honorable
Supreme Hero
The weak suffer. I endure.
posted June 24, 2015 02:30 PM bonus applied by Elvin on 24 Jun 2015.

H7: Salvaging the Broken Wreckage (of Magic Skills)


Hey. I couldn't come up with a more fitting catchphrase, knowing that in a few minutes time I will present to you some ideas me and Elvin came up while having a conversation a week ago (was due to say "yesterday", but I grew lazy). Even though everyone has already long since known it, I will try to highlight how unimaginative the Ubi team was concerning certain major parts of the incarnation. Even more ironic is the fact that the blueprint for success was already there. Forget Ashan for a second. Forget its broken world and the issues it brought up. Ubi promised that they would try to carry over the best features from the former games into H7, yet they failed to utilize the vast resources that were available to them, starting from Nival's H5 and ending with MM Duel of Champions highly expansive system. I will try to tie up everything from our discussion into what seems a coherent system to use in a Heroes game.

NB: This is not a full overhaul, this is not a complete proposal. It's a detailed idea on how the current world could be improved. I will try to highlight what they could have altered which which would, in the end, please the majority of fans.


"Abracadabra."

In pretty much every installment Magic was the one simple most important aspect of the game. Lately we were discussing the balancing of the current spell system, but mostly we refrained from discussing potential overhauls. There had already been multiple attempts to reach a conclusion what kind of system would be the best in the past, whether to include something from the former installments which worked, or come up with a new system altogether. Ironically, by piecing together bits and bobs from every version, we came up with a way the current system could work.

One of H7's major faults was the dissemination of magic into 7 different spell schools. The problems arose from the over-saturation of magic skills. Subsequently, it all led to certain skills being locked out on skillwheels based on subclasses to sustain balance. Instead of having an increased (magic) skill pool, we actually got restricted to very limited choices. Furthermore, factions became increasingly limited in terms of their magic choices.

All things considered, they only needed to look back. While H6 was a flop, both previous incarnations delivered acclaimed magic systems. While H4 tried to bring innovation, by bringing unique magic skills and spell schools tied to factions, albeit allowed for any hero, H5 rounded up spells based around a certain type of magic, simplifying the process of learning and improving them by picking the basic skills.

By bringing in the latter we solve the problem of over-saturation. In H5, we had Light which was largely comprised of blessings and healing spells, destructive had direct damage spells, summoning had summons and dark had mostly curses. The same could be applied to the current system, even if Light and Dark have been retconned into elements of Ashan. There could subsequently be an indefinite amount of schools, so as long as the skills in question specialize in a certain aspect of how spells are handled.

As is, we could group up the spells from various schools. Take, for example, direct damage spells such as Ice Bolt, Earth Spikes, Implosion, etc. While they would initially fall under distinct spell schools, to learn them you would only need one appropriate skill - Destructive Magic. To bring a sense of specialisation upon taking the skill, the basic perks could subsequently branch off into Masteries of Elemental Magic, area-of-effect battlefield (for example, Fire Wall, Stone Spikes), damage-over-time or just basic Masteries of Elements (air, earth, etc.). Skills dealing with blessings would further offer specialisations in offensive (Cat Reflexes, Retribution), defensive (Stone Skin, Celestial Armor) and passive/healing spells (Heal, Cure, Cleansing Light), while summoning magic could have creature summoning (Conjuration -> Summon Elementals, Raise Dead), combat map alterations (Invocation -> Cyclone, Gust of Wind), etc.



This would enable more specialisations within the skills without having to deal with the current limitations of the 7-magic-skill system. One notable difference, however, would be prime magic which would constitute a skill in and of itself due to how unique its spells are in dealing with space-time manipulation.

Alas, this system necessitates an expansion of the current skill system to be used to its utmost extent. As of now, we have the dreaded 3-2-1 approach. At the very least, we'd need a 3-3-1 (as per Elvin's suggestion) or 4-3(4)-2-1 (as per mine). As well, some masteries would need to potentially skip a level, so that the way is paved for more unique perks and spell progressions (which was actually a good idea in H6).

Speaking of which... in spite of some interesting ideas, the ability trees seem rather stale, as do the spells themselves. With the limited amount of magic we have at the moment and rather repetitive spells altogether (Purge->dispel, Agony->Poison, Lots of Direct Damage spells), it would not hurt us to see some more unique ideas integrated. Interestingly enough, Ubi had them directly in front of their eyes in the form of Duel of Champions.



These are but a few examples which could be transformed into either abilities, or spells. Not only is the list nearly endless, it contains so many imaginative concepts that even without conforming to the given description, it does not take much creativity to turn them into successful spells. Ironically, even with the limited budget and restricted timeframe, surely by owning access to such a vast database the developers could have easily dabbled in it.



For example, based on Elvin's suggestion, the "Wind Arrows" would be a perfect counterpart to Storm Arrows or its replacement. It could be either a spell or an ability to improve a spells (such as the said Storm Arrows). The DOC shockwave mechanic could actually be easily adapted for HOMM games (deals some air damage to units adjacent to the target attacked by the unit blessed with wind arrows).

The increased pool would pave way for another long sought-after feature: faction-restricted abilities. Not only would there be no need to work on creating such perks from scratch, you'd have a basis to rely on during the creation process (as there was a practical application in the DOC game, albeit different). Take every skill, remove a basic perk, add a unique one and it's done.


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Galaad
Galaad

Hero of Order
Li mort as morz, li vif as vis
posted June 24, 2015 02:37 PM

You guys have my full support on this.
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Sleeping_Sun
Sleeping_Sun


Promising
Famous Hero
Townscreen Architect
posted June 24, 2015 02:48 PM

Quote:
blueprint for success was already there
This also applies to skill wheel, and not just to spells.

I really like this proposal. It seems to be the natural evolution of a magic system.

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Wellplay
Wellplay


Famous Hero
Poland Stronk
posted June 24, 2015 02:54 PM
Edited by Wellplay at 14:56, 24 Jun 2015.

If you guys can still implement it into the game, than go ahead.

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jhb
jhb


Famous Hero
posted June 24, 2015 03:03 PM

Magic schools could freely take their thematic approaches, while skills would go for a more functional approach. Interesting.

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TDL
TDL


Honorable
Supreme Hero
The weak suffer. I endure.
posted June 24, 2015 03:11 PM

I sincerely hope that the extensive modding tools supposedly included upon the game's release will allow the system to be reworked. Alas, so far, this is but the outcome of a random discussion we had... and it's even more painful, because it took us half an hour to decide what would improve the general direction of the game.
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Sleeping_Sun
Sleeping_Sun


Promising
Famous Hero
Townscreen Architect
posted June 24, 2015 07:37 PM

The problem is that they are making A Heroes game, not THE Heroes game. TDL, you are right that this should have been a logical step in perfecting the magic system. But unfortunately, they are not upgrading the game as NWC did (H1>H2>H3). They like to reinvent the wheel, over and over again, in hope that it is going to be good.
Hopefully, the magic system is going to be modable.

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted June 24, 2015 08:16 PM
Edited by JollyJoker at 20:16, 24 Jun 2015.

Lost cause.

Number of magic schools shouldn't matter at all.

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EnergyZ
EnergyZ


Legendary Hero
President of MM Wiki
posted June 24, 2015 08:21 PM

JollyJoker said:
Lost cause.

Number of magic schools shouldn't matter at all.


Actually, it does matter, else we would have better (and more) spells. Per school. To improve.

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TDL
TDL


Honorable
Supreme Hero
The weak suffer. I endure.
posted June 24, 2015 08:22 PM

Sleeping_Sun said:
The problem is that they are making A Heroes game, not THE Heroes game. TDL, you are right that this should have been a logical step in perfecting the magic system. But unfortunately, they are not upgrading the game as NWC did (H1>H2>H3). They like to reinvent the wheel, over and over again, in hope that it is going to be good.
Hopefully, the magic system is going to be modable.


Heroes won't ever be perfect. But I do believe they overlooked some important aspects they could have managed to squeeze into the game. Actually, if Ubi didn't force them into these time constraints, we'd actually get what we want.

But I agree with you about reinventing the wheel. It feels so weird that their own creation, Ashan, seems to be undergoing versions 1, 2, 3 + all the betas and alphas. They try to sell this artificial feeling of 'coherence' which is actually absent. They poured so much creativity into DOC and failed to utilize which at this point seems like a waste of IP.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted June 24, 2015 08:23 PM

Wrong conclusion. HoMM 4 had over 100 spells for 5 schools, not counting Mass spells.
Number of schools SHOULDN'T matter - on the contrary. No one complains about too many might skills...

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Stevie
Stevie


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted June 24, 2015 09:08 PM
Edited by Stevie at 21:21, 24 Jun 2015.

When you think about it, this idea is nothing but rehashed Heroes 5 magic system. Spell distribution would be according to Elements, but spell acquisition would be based on utility/role? What does that accomplish more than just making it even harder to get spells? And not only that, but spells that have only one role? What was Destruction in Heroes 5? It was 50 ways of dealing damage. Still only limited at dealing damage. No, I'll stick with elemental through and through, where there's a healthy mix of everything.

I do agree however that they should take DoC as inspiration. Lots of good ideas there.

JollyJoker said:
Wrong conclusion. HoMM 4 had over 100 spells for 5 schools, not counting Mass spells.
Number of schools SHOULDN'T matter - on the contrary. No one complains about too many might skills...


I've been saying this for a very long time now, even argued with Elvin about it (naturally, he disagrees). Number of schools means nothing when you balance distribution of spells in the magic guild and acquisition via hero skills. Literally nothing.
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Guide to a Great Heroes Game
The Young Traveler

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted June 24, 2015 09:58 PM

Yup, agreed.

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TDL
TDL


Honorable
Supreme Hero
The weak suffer. I endure.
posted June 24, 2015 10:12 PM

Which is exactly what we are trying to push forward here. Skills matter, not the amount of spell schools >.>
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Stevie
Stevie


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
posted June 24, 2015 10:56 PM
Edited by Stevie at 23:02, 24 Jun 2015.

Which is exactly why this will never happen, no matter how much theorycrafting you do, because skills are set in stone. Besides, if need be, insiders can provide the devs with much more well thought out and consistent input than we could, if that ever made any difference. So we're in good hands. I'm not about to write anything exhaustive on the subject while there's no guarantee that change can be implemented. I did so in the past and it proved fruitless and the cause of great frustration for me.
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The Young Traveler

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted June 24, 2015 11:01 PM

Stevie said:
When you think about it, this idea is nothing but rehashed Heroes 5 magic system. Spell distribution would be according to Elements, but spell acquisition would be based on utility/role? What does that accomplish more than just making it even harder to get spells? And not only that, but spells that have only one role? What was Destruction in Heroes 5? It was 50 ways of dealing damage. Still only limited at dealing damage.

That's rather obvious. For one, you can pick your magic skills based on your gameplay preference. Two, you are not at the mercy of the mage guild because the spells of your preference would average out. A look at doc reveals that all the elements have enough spells to fit 4 general categories so picking a magic school would be more or less safe. Three, you do not have to ban magic skills to prevent them from cluttering your random level ups. Four, it allows a greater pool of spells without significant level investment and therefore more combinations. Five, greater replayability in any given magic skill due to the greater spell variety per guild level - that would otherwise be limited under numerous magic schools. Six, the same magic skill would offer a different gameplay experience for each faction due to element availability. Seven, easier to set up elemental combos for more exotic scenarios.

You say that H5 destructive was only limited to dealing damage. That is correct in a sense but you are likely missing the greater picture. For one, this system would allow you to have more spell variety than the current one, with the same amount of levels. You would be limited only if you picked one magic school and actually, it is the H7 system that does not support picking numerous schools. Two, I'm pretty sure you are missing the subtlety behind H5 destructiuve spellcasting. Hundreds of dungeon games can tell you that it makes a world of difference whether you cast implosion, deep freeze, fireball, frost ring, chain lightning or meteor shower at the right time, at the right target, with the right setup. It is not JUST dealing damage but rather controlling the flow of battle and enemy placement. The secondary effects are not to be overlooked either as there is a lot of room for creative tactics.

Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea but the benefits are plain to see.
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Maurice
Maurice

Hero of Order
Part of the furniture
posted June 24, 2015 11:15 PM

Wouldn't it simply be better to have the various Magic Schools and then provide a specialisation prefered by the player? What I mean is, a player can choose Destructive and suddenly all damage spells across all Magic Schools are enhanced. Non-damage spells may suddenly get a damaging component (like "Entangling Roots" not only slowing the victim down, but actually crushing it slowly too). Or when choosing Summoning, all known spells of the Hero get boosted in that direction (extra creatures, and to return to the "Entangling Roots" example, so many roots get summoned that the target isn't slowed but stopped in its tracks completely). In essence, the category distribution in Heroes5 no longer has any spells, but they are simply affecting and/or altering spells from the standard schools.

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted June 24, 2015 11:39 PM

That is not easy to apply in all spell effects, too much headache. A mage guild specialization that manipulates the odds of getting specific spell types on the other hand..
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You are truly a monster, Blizz. Truly
-Gnomes2169

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Malax83
Malax83


Famous Hero
Game ranger, HotA Player
posted June 25, 2015 12:04 AM
Edited by Malax83 at 00:40, 25 Jun 2015.

i m going to the link  



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TDL
TDL


Honorable
Supreme Hero
The weak suffer. I endure.
posted June 25, 2015 12:35 AM
Edited by TDL at 00:36, 25 Jun 2015.

@Malax

this thread is more concerning the spell vs skill system and their potential distribution. Spell school balancing is discussed here: link
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