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Heroes Community > Heroes 7+ Altar of Wishes > Thread: Magic System Ideas
Thread: Magic System Ideas This thread is 2 pages long: 1 2 · NEXT»
MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted October 10, 2020 04:15 AM

Magic System Ideas

Okay, after a bit of thought, I've come to the conclusion that the magic system in the HoMM series is in need of improvement. Heroes 3 is perhaps the most egregious offender in this regard, mixing mass spells with regular ones, but all of the games are flawed to some degree. Some of the big flaws are a fixed cost, and fixed effect. So here are my ideas for fixing them:

Variable Cost
Instead of spells now having a fixed cost to affect a stack, the total cost of the spell would now be based on the number of creatures in the stack, as so:

Total Cost = Base Cost + (number of creatures in stack / X)

'X' in this case would be a fixed number based on the hero's expertise (or otherwise) with the Intelligence skill. At first it would be, say, 20, but Intelligence would raise it to, say 30 (Basic), 40 (Advanced), 50 (Expert). This means that casting the spell on a larger stack makes it more expensive.

Variable Effect
Instead of a spell having a fixed effect the effect is now dependent on how much magic you're willing to throw at it. So looking at say, the Haste spell, you get +1 speed (+1 movement) per 2 Mana, so the Base Cost (see above section) of a Haste spell that gives you +3 movement would be 6 Mana.

Multi-Casting
This replaces mass spells. Dependent on the hero's expertise with the Sourcery skill a hero may cast a chosen spell an extra 1/2/3 (Basic/Advanced/Expert) times in a round.

Mana Reserves
Instead of your Mana Reserves simply being Knowledge * 10, it's now dependent on a number of other factors, including your hero level, your secondary skills, etc. The formula is:

Mana pool = Hero level * (3 + Y)

'Y' in this case is cumulation of your magical secondary skills (Wisdom, Sourcery, Intelligence,etc. with each skill adding +1), artefacts, and Knowledge (each point of knowledge adds +1/2).


So what do you guys think of these ideas?

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Rimgrabber
Rimgrabber


Known Hero
It's a fixer-upper
posted October 10, 2020 04:21 AM

I agree with a lot of this. Something I would say though in regards to the multi-casting is that I like Heroes 5's initiative system a lot, where the Hero is treated as a unit for the purpose of turns, and the Sorcery skill makes them spend less than a full turn casting a spell. There's also the Mark of the Wizard ability that allows you to cast a spell on an additional target, or cast it twice on the target that received the mark. As a racial ability, this was IMO overpowered but in H5.5, where it's just a perk in the sorcery skill tree, I think it works quite well.

I like your idea for mana pools especially, as it gives a much-needed buff to magic heroes. I don't necessarily want to replace mass spells, but I do think they should cost at least double what the base spell costs, if not more, and most of them should be area based instead of truly "mass."

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted October 10, 2020 04:59 AM

I've not played a lot of Heroes 5 (my computer doesn't have a graphics card, so I can't run any game that's too fancy), so I'll take your word on it.

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PandaTar
PandaTar


Responsible
Supreme Hero
Celestial Heavens Mascot
posted October 10, 2020 05:37 AM

How would it work with creature's spell casting?
____________
"Okay. Look. We both said a lot of things that you're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster."
GlaDOS Portal 2

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted October 10, 2020 06:12 AM
Edited by MattII at 06:14, 10 Oct 2020.

Ah. I hadn't thought about how creature casting would work TBH. I mean, it'd be fairly simple for direct-damage spells, but I'll have to think about the other types.

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Baronus
Baronus


Promising
Supreme Hero
posted October 10, 2020 09:59 AM

1. Learning spell should cost money and resources. I dont know why its free??
2. No more 'all hero can learn all spells'. Absurdally omnipotence especially if its knight or barbarian.
As Heroes IV city has own school. And you must have ability.
As Heroes III elemental skill gives better spell effects.
So you must know eg. life spell lvl 1-5 and eg. mysticism to have 1-5 lvl power life spells.
So you can have 5lvl power 1lvl spell or 1 lvl power of 5lvl spell.
...

Creature spells if its eg firebolt its easy single creature power x number of creatures =. Worst if its slow or haste. Hard to calculate it. Maybe mana. If its 100 creatures x 5 mana it means you can cast 10 times but if its 1 creature you cant cast nothing because only 5 mana but spell needs 50.

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted October 10, 2020 11:59 AM

Baronus said:
1. Learning spell should cost money and resources. I dont know why its free??
Witches Huts are free too though. Mind you, if you recruit a creature that knows a spell, you should definitely get that spell free.

Quote:
2. No more 'all hero can learn all spells'. Absurdally omnipotence especially if its knight or barbarian.
See 'Variable Cost' and 'Mana Reserves', Knight and Barbarians won't have the mana pools to cast very many spells in the late game.

Quote:
Creature spells if its eg firebolt its easy single creature power x number of creatures =. Worst if its slow or haste. Hard to calculate it. Maybe mana. If its 100 creatures x 5 mana it means you can cast 10 times but if its 1 creature you cant cast nothing because only 5 mana but spell needs 50.
That's something like I'm considering.

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Jiriki9
Jiriki9


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Altar Dweller
posted October 10, 2020 11:44 PM

Yeah, the system definitely needs reconsidering, in all the aspects you mentioned. I do like your ideas here, though I personally would maybe go other ways. I especially liek that your ideas could work. I am not sure on the mass spell / multicast solution. I am not sure mass casting should be out completely, but it should definitely be harder to obtain. AoE Buff/Debuff spells could also work.

Quote:
1. Learning spell should cost money and resources. I dont know why its free??

Because you allready build the mage guild and now its yours?! ... on a more serious note, I'd rather see it take time, instead of being just directly written into the hero spell book.

I think that any hero should be theoretically able to learn any spell - but only if you skill them that way. Also I think the sheer number of spells a hero can learn should be limited as well.

Both these aspects combined, I think spell learning needs a revision.

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted October 11, 2020 12:52 AM
Edited by MattII at 02:28, 11 Oct 2020.

Jiriki9 said:
Because you allready build the mage guild and now its yours?! ... on a more serious note, I'd rather see it take time, instead of being just directly written into the hero spell book.
I think he was referring to Shrines on the map, not spells from Mage Guilds. Still, losing a bit of movement to get a spell copied into your spell book sounds interesting.

Quote:
I think that any hero should be theoretically able to learn any spell - but only if you skill them that way. Also I think the sheer number of spells a hero can learn should be limited as well.
Well limiting which spells a hero can learn could be as simple as doing away with Wisdom, and simply requiring the relevant spell school secondary to learn any spell over level 2. I'm not sure hard-restricting the total number of spells a hero can learn would work, but doing so for the number of spells he can use during any one battle could be done.

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Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted October 11, 2020 01:51 AM

Thanks for this thread!

I think of this in terms of two questions:

1. What is the purpose of spells?
2. What is the purpose of heroes?

To me, the answer to 1 is to create more interesting choices than just attacking. This includes micro, i.e. which action each unit should take, but also some macro, i.e. which spells to prepare. The preparation can take a few forms: a choice of what to learn (common in a lot of indie RPGs), or a random offer that requires you to design your army and type of engagement around it, or some kind of rationed mechanism with finite spell points. H3 has aspects of all three, but it doesn't really have unit spellcasting, which H4+ fixes.

The answer to 2 is that heroes are like commanders and leaders of an army. Might heroes don't fight, they just raise troops' attack and defense rates and have supplementary skills like leadership and tactics. So it should be like that with magic too: maybe heroes have a special action they can take, which can be might- or magic-oriented, but mostly they support the spellcasting troops. So maybe spellpower is actually a bonus to spell effect, like attack for might, and knowledge is either magic resistance like defense or the mana for all spellcasting units.

Another thing: I don't like the D&D idea that might = you can only attack, magic = you have infinite choice of spells. Magic should work more like unit spellcasting in H5 - there are a couple choices, and then magic heroes should also have a couple choices. This way there can also be different spell lists for different towns.

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted October 11, 2020 04:06 AM
Edited by MattII at 04:30, 11 Oct 2020.

An interesting point about the difference between might and magic heroes, but I don't think removing hero spellcasting is the way to go about it, better to make might heroes more active than magic ones less. Of course, there are issues with that, namely:
1) What sort of actions a might hero could actually take.
2) How you do that without it coming across as 'magicless spellcasting'.

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Baronus
Baronus


Promising
Supreme Hero
posted October 11, 2020 12:10 PM

You build creature dwelling. It doesnt mean that creatures are free. Spell needs work to invent so must be buyed. But its good to have alternative. Spent money for spell or foor unit?! Its better city development system.
Alternative is one guild witn one spell not 5lvls but you must invest to have each next spell. It will be better.

...

Better is if eg. might heroes can learn only 1-2 lvl spells. Never 3-5. Of course it should be calibrate to remove nonsenses when eg. might hero has blinded 5 creatures ano no move no solution.
Should be a big difference between might and magic. Present H3 system gives you one type of hero with small differences in fact. All can do all.

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MattII
MattII


Legendary Hero
posted October 11, 2020 01:03 PM

Baronus said:
You build creature dwelling. It doesnt mean that creatures are free. Spell needs work to invent so must be buyed. But its good to have alternative. Spent money for spell or foor unit?! Its better city development system.
Alternative is one guild witn one spell not 5lvls but you must invest to have each next spell. It will be better.
An interesting idea. But if you have to pay for each spell, why are you paying rare resources for the Mage Guild? IMO, the cost of the spells is included in the building, given that it costs increasing amounts of rare resources as you go up levels.

Quote:
Better is if eg. might heroes can learn only 1-2 lvl spells. Never 3-5. Of course it should be calibrate to remove nonsenses when eg. might hero has blinded 5 creatures ano no move no solution.
Should be a big difference between might and magic. Present H3 system gives you one type of hero with small differences in fact. All can do all.
The difference between a might and magic hero are based on which skills (both primary and secondary) they're likely to receive at each level-up. And I'm fine with that, I don't think heroes should be pigeonholed into just 'might' or just 'magic'. That's like saying an artist should only be able to get a job as an artist, or a lawyer a job as a lawyer.

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Rimgrabber
Rimgrabber


Known Hero
It's a fixer-upper
posted October 11, 2020 03:21 PM

MattII said:
An interesting point about the difference between might and magic heroes, but I don't think removing hero spellcasting is the way to go about it, better to make might heroes more active than magic ones less. Of course, there are issues with that, namely:
1) What sort of actions a might hero could actually take.
2) How you do that without it coming across as 'magicless spellcasting'.


Once again H5.5 does a good job with this with the "combat" skill. The skill itself increases troop retaliation damage, but the perks are all centered around the hero's default attack. In H5 the hero's basic attack deals damage based on the hero's level and the target's tier, in H5.5 there's a perk that lets them deal double damage 70% of the time. Other perks include the hero's attack stunning the target, pushing their turn back, and activated abilities that "link" your hero to a target creature on the map. For example, the "chain attack" ability lets you select a friendly creature and have the hero attack anything that friendly creature attacks, the "retaliation strike" ability is similar but makes the hero retaliate against whatever attacks that friendly creature, and "avenging strike" allows you to mark an enemy creature and attack them whenever they attack somethihng.

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PandaTar
PandaTar


Responsible
Supreme Hero
Celestial Heavens Mascot
posted October 11, 2020 06:33 PM
Edited by PandaTar at 18:44, 11 Oct 2020.

I'll comment a bit now. I just won't delve into what a might or a magic hero should do on battlefield, because I think that would require another thread on its own; as I think that heroes are not might or magic, but rather might and magic.

MattII said:

Variable Cost
Instead of spells now having a fixed cost to affect a stack, the total cost of the spell would now be based on the number of creatures in the stack.

Multi-Casting
This replaces mass spells. Dependent on the hero's expertise with the Sourcery skill a hero may cast a chosen spell an extra 1/2/3 (Basic/Advanced/Expert) times in a round.


I am ok with the overall idea. I do think and agree with those who suggest Mass casting as something more of a AoE effect, rather than pinpointing other units spread around the battlefield. Unless you start to tinker with turn-system, it would be more reasonable that a hero spends time focusing, charging and casting a spell and it would make sense that the effort made would focus on an area instead of three different vectors and variables. The cost would multiply the maximum single target by the number of additional hexes (or squares) affected, because the hero would be focusing on a single spell, and not using different values for every single stack it will hit; and that causes a hero to use spells with higher power than intended upon weaker targets in the blast radius. This situation raises another question: be as it may, can a hero invest more power than necessary to affect a stack of creatures for stronger effectiveness or not? Which is, then, explained by your next suggestion, 'Variable Effect'. So I think these three systems you suggested should work together, and not be alternatives upon a same thing.

Another thing to keep in mind is if Tier makes any difference upon that system as well. Will it be just similar to cast a spell on 20 peasants or on 20 archangels? If not, a Tier layer should be considered in that proposition of yours.

Quote:
Mana Reserves
Instead of your Mana Reserves simply being Knowledge * 10, it's now dependent on a number of other factors, including your hero level, your secondary skills, etc.

I feel like this is a complimentary thing, not much as an alternative for the whole system.



As for who can learn a spell or not, as far as these games go, you write down spells in a book. It does not guarantee you can cast it, either for lack of spell points, or proficiency, or skill, or knowledge, or whatever.

Regarding what Baronus said, you can make a hero have to be trained or taught properly that spell in a Guild (paid for in resources, time, or something else). It is somehow like I was envisioning in my proposals. An untrained hero has a number of variables that could be wrong if attempting casting a spell that one has no dominion over yet. I think that would cover the problem with 'too easy to learn':

*    Hero fails at casting, losing turn and spell points;
*    Hero spends more spell points than normally required;
*    Spell effect is lower than it normally would;
*    Spell effect can burst uncontrolable, affecting an adjacent location instead (even hitting allied units), or having a mass abrangence draining much more mana;
*    Buffing and debuffing have exotic effects.

Something of that ilk.

And there is, of course, the creature spell casting.
____________
"Okay. Look. We both said a lot of things that you're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster."
GlaDOS Portal 2

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted October 11, 2020 07:32 PM

Variable Cost: Eh disagree about creature numbers. I'd say it's much clearer to base on area of effect: Like single, 4x4, mass. I'd have a sorcery-themed skill that gives access to extended aoe, for the spells that can get it. I'd also make higher aoe have less effect than the previous one, so that there is an element of choice. Otherwise, get enough mana and only spam mass, rest obsolete.

Veriable Effect: Yes but in predetermined variants, H5 empowered spells double cost for +50% effect was good. Being able to choose whether you can spend an extra 4, 15 or 123 mana is not only annoying but abusable when there is an abundance of mana. And having a weaker scaling the more mana you spend is just bleh.

Multi-Casting: As a mass replacement, definitely not. As an alternative mode sure. Personally, I far prefer the H5 mark of the wizard way. What would be an interesting addition is have higher tier spells take more casting time. So you could for instance cast 3 t1 spells at the same time you could cast 1 t5 spell. That would achieve a similar effect and also allow you to manipulate atb order between heroes.

Mana Reserves: Kind of agree, when tied to knowledge only you can grab a knowledge relic and get ridiculous amounts of mana just like that. Though class already decides the amount of knowledge you will get so the system is not fundamentally bad. But if level also factors in, you are less subject to artifacts and bad stat luck.
____________
A sea without waves is no longer a sea. It's a pond.

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted October 11, 2020 07:39 PM

Baronus said:
1. Learning spell should cost money and resources. I dont know why its free??
2. No more 'all hero can learn all spells'. Absurdally omnipotence especially if its knight or barbarian.

You build a mage guild, that costs. Learning costing resources is bad because might heroes get their advantages for free while spellcasting comes with numerous disadvantages.

Being able to learn everything is good. Just needs to have the right skills and obviously some classes are worse at getting them. I'd be fine if barbarians had zero access to sorcery/wisdom kind of skills but I see no issue with them learning lower tiers like everyone else. The problem is when spells are good regardless of magic stats, like H3 mass spells.
____________
A sea without waves is no longer a sea. It's a pond.

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Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted October 11, 2020 07:53 PM

MattII said:
An interesting point about the difference between might and magic heroes, but I don't think removing hero spellcasting is the way to go about it, better to make might heroes more active than magic ones less. Of course, there are issues with that, namely:
1) What sort of actions a might hero could actually take.
2) How you do that without it coming across as 'magicless spellcasting'.


Excellent questions!

There are a lot of special actions for might heroes:

- Inspiring units to act a second time.
- Using tactical acumen to merge and split stacks mid-battle.
- Controlling siege engines.
- Directing one stack to charge for extra damage, or to strike-and-return.
- Expanding the map on the edges to flank enemy units hiding in a corner.

These can be readily distinguished from magic heroes by the lack of a mana pool and the focus on your own side's strength and not on direct damage or debuffs. It's similar to how you can have units with a special ability without them turning into caster units - I'm thinking of chargelots and stimmed marines in Starcraft, but one can equally bring up cyclopes' attacks on walls in H3 or many special abilities in H4-5.

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted October 11, 2020 08:01 PM

Having some tactical maneuvers like pressed attack, divine guidance etc is good but heroes should typically have access to both might and magic, in various degrees. Otherwise, magic stats would be useless. Instead, we could have more might-friendly spells at lower tiers and the occasional combat maneuver for when you run out of mana.
____________
A sea without waves is no longer a sea. It's a pond.

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Alon
Alon


Known Hero
posted October 11, 2020 08:19 PM

You can still use magic stats for caster units, in the same way attack and defense apply to units in the hero's army.

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