Wishlist For Future Heroes Games: Magic

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Kristo
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Wishlist For Future Heroes Games: Magic

Postby Kristo » Oct 18 2008, 12:41

The discussion about signature spells for H3 prompted me to start this topic. What would you like to see magic-wise in a future HOMM game? First, a bit of history:

H1: Mage Guilds gave a number of spell "scrolls" equal to your Knowledge. Only one spell per creature is allowed in combat; casting another removes the first spell's effects.
H2: Added the concept of spell points and adventure objects for refilling/doubling them. You may now stack spell effects in combat.
H3: Divided spells into the four elements. Gave the player some control over creatures that could cast spells (e.g., Archangel's Resurrect).
H4: Mage Guilds became cheap to build but spells required the right skill at the right level to cast. Each faction had its own spell set.
H5: Similar to H3. Added non-magic abilities that are used like spells.

Magic is another area of Heroes that is difficult to balance. The right spell cast at the right time can enable a small army to defeat a much larger force with ease. As the game wears on, a hero may have two dozen spells in his spellbook but generally only uses three or four. Endgame magic heroes have an almost unlimited mana pool. Often a simple spell like Slow is far more effective than its mana cost implies. The list goes on.

So which features did I like? I thought H1's one spell per creature was interesting. It makes Dispel less useful but OTOH I rarely cast Dispel anyway. I liked dividing magic into schools so that you could be better at casting certain spells than others. I also liked having to earn my spells via skills in H4. Instead of simply drawing one round (or no rounds!) of Wisdom, you needed a good bit of leveling to unlock the really powerful spells.

The problem I have with magic in most games (Heroes included) is that it isn't mystical enough. It's merely a different and often more effective way to manipulate the battlefield than normal attacks AND it comes with its own (usually unbalanced) economy. With that said, in a future Heroes game I would like to see every spell affect the entire battlefield. You can still have your direct damage spells but they will all come at a cost to your own army. Also, one spell at a time per hero. If you're going to Slow everybody, you've got to stay focused on it to make it work. You can cast something else but it'll cancel the Slow. Just like the skills discussion, it's important that no spell be either totally awesome or totally worthless.
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Postby Asheera » Oct 18 2008, 13:25

I like the skill system in H5, only that I'd like to see each faction with its own magic school(s).
No matter how powerful one becomes, there is always someone stronger. That's why I'm in a constant pursuit of power, so I can be prepared when an enemy tries to take advantage of me.

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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 18 2008, 14:13

As I already explained in another thread I would like each creature having a magic attack and defense that would be modified mainly by the Hero's Power attribute (that could of course be splitted for the occasion, but I don't think it's necessary.

As I envision it, each spell had its own magic attack value, whether it was slow or a damage spell which would be modified by the hero's magic skill. This would simply make sure that the spells of "magic" hero would have more of an effect than the spells of a Might hero. It wouldn't matter whether the spell would be cast on your own or on enemy troops: casting on your own would still be modified with the hero difference.
So if the Haste spell would add 25% Initiative, for example, a might Hero might only get 20 or 15% against a Magic hero, while that one would get 30 or even 35% against a Might hero.

For the "system", I always liked HoMM 1's way that Knowledge would determine the number of times you'd be able to cast each spell because that would lead to lots of spells actually being used. It was a bit more complex that way. I don't know, though, whether that is really practical in a more complex magic system.

About schools I toyed with the idea of having 4 schools and 4 Elements plus 5 mage guild levels and ONE spell in each cross section or 80 possible spells, with each spell being defined by Level, Element, and School. I'd envision it that way that the Schools, that might be those of Homm 5 would be the Skills, while the Elements would be abilities of those skills. For each School, you'd have an easy element, 2 moderate ones and one "difficult" (in terms of the ability to get): For example, for Light Magic the easy element was Water, the difficult one, obviously Fire. An example For a Light/Fire spell would be the old Bloodlust.
The easy abilities for the schools would be (the difficult ones are the opposing elements then).
Light/Water
Dark/Earth
Destructive/Fire
Summoning/Air

It would be practical to link a resource to an element as well.
For the Mage Guild, then you'd have to build not only the levels, but the "Elemental Annexes" as well, where I'd imagine costs like 1 of the precious resources for that element, for the second one 4, for the third one 9 and for the 4th one 16. Something like that. For schools the system would work as in Homm 5. So basically in Haven, when you'd still have Dark and Light there, after you'd build the first level AND a first Elemental Annex, if it was Water, you'd get Divine Strength, umm, Rusted Steel, a Dark spell that would reduce attack and defense a tad, and for example either Ice Rain, a Water Destructive area spell or Summon Pool, which would place a small water pool onto the Battlefield for a certain time.

Thse system would enable full spell control but be sufficiently complex to make it difficult to get all the spells you wanted, obviously.
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Postby Asheera » Oct 18 2008, 14:21

That's very interesting JJ :tsup:

So when you build Mage Guild level 2 but have only one elemental building, you'll get the second level spells only with the first element? And if after that you upgrade the elemental building once, you get spells with the second element for both level 1 and 2?
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Postby Elvin » Oct 18 2008, 14:38

Hehe a long time ago I had posted on the evolution of magic as the series progressed. In the last post of this thread I have posted my thoughts on what I'd like to see in a future heroes.

I like the idea of some spells being tied to a specific element so that an elemental mastery can modify certain aspects of a spell. Like an earth specialty improving entangle effects, water giving a temporary lightning vulnerability, wind imbuing a spell with initiative boost etc. I like elemental spells but on a universal role, not just damaging.
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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 18 2008, 14:39

Exactly.
On the other side of the equation you'd have the hero who'd have to learn the skill of the school, for example Light Magic and get an ability for that school.

One possibility would be to allow the EASY ability for the school as a consequence of gaining the skill which would leave 3 abilities for each school to learn, the two "normal" ones and the complex one.
So if a hero would Learn Light Magic, Water Affinity FOR LIGHT MAGIC (only) might come with the skill, while Earth and Air were simple skills and Fire an advanced skill where you'd need other prerequisites for.
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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 18 2008, 15:02

Elvin wrote:Hehe a long time ago I had posted on the evolution of magic as the series progressed. In the last post of this thread I have posted my thoughts on what I'd like to see in a future heroes.

I like the idea of some spells being tied to a specific element so that an elemental mastery can modify certain aspects of a spell. Like an earth specialty improving entangle effects, water giving a temporary lightning vulnerability, wind imbuing a spell with initiative boost etc. I like elemental spells but on a universal role, not just damaging.


Yes. There were a lot of advantages coupled with it. For example, Artifacts like the "Gem of the Undying Flame" or something might just add strength to all spells of the element Fire.

Skills like Sorcery or Enlightenment could allow "Elemental" abilities that might add Power for spells of that Element (which would automatically decrease the power of the opponent's spells of that element), while the SCHOOL skills would still hand out mass spells or add specific effects to spells (I don't like the Master of... abilities for Summoning Magic in H5).
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Postby Asheera » Oct 18 2008, 15:08

Jolly Joker wrote:(I don't like the Master of... abilities for Summoning Magic in H5).
Agreed. The effect they provide is just dumb and shows a lack of imagination from Nival.
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Postby Chai26 » Oct 19 2008, 9:55

Asheera wrote:
Jolly Joker wrote:(I don't like the Master of... abilities for Summoning Magic in H5).
Agreed. The effect they provide is just dumb and shows a lack of imagination from Nival.


with the global recession going on now, we can expect more of "lack of imagination" comments from heroes VI.............
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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 19 2008, 11:30

I don't see the connecton here.

However, for me Summoning Magic has been work under construction from the beginning, and if there is an area Heroes V has problems then it's Summoning Magic and the connected issues.

1) Raise Dead has been a problem from the start - if the Necro game is standing or falling with the spell, so it was argued, then it's better to give them the spell right from the start. While that's not wrong, if a town starts with a spell that is basically of no strategic value for everyone else (except tactically in a battle that's very tight), then it simply makes no sense to make it a spell at all.
Raise Dead should have been an ability then, Necromancy based.
2) Phantom forces was imba from beginning to end, still being a lot better than Summon Elemental
3) The counterpart Earthquake is useless most of the time. An easy way to make it better would have been to make it work on obstacles as well (on normal maps).
4) The abilities suck and result from a time when Summoning had a very different concept. They should have been changed.
ZZZzzzz....

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Postby danhvo » Oct 21 2008, 1:01

Jolly Joker wrote:Raise Dead should have been an ability then, Necromancy based.


I think you forget that any hero can have Undead in his army, not just Necromancers.

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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 21 2008, 6:29

Yeah, so? Everyone can have Orcs in their army as well. But rage levels they reach only with Barbarians.

I will repeat that it makes no sense to let each hero of a faction start with a certain spell that seemingly makes such a big difference for that faction. It should have been a hero ability like Mark of the Necro. It might even be a Summoning based ability (which is true for Eternal Servitude as well), and it might even be a spell, but one you'd get with the ability only (which would enable other heroes to get it as well, for Necro it might be a basic ability, for the others an advanced one).

I think that this is true for all situational spells: Earthquale; Word of Light; Curse of the Netherworld. All those would have been wonderful abilities NOT cluttering the mage guild when you don't need them, but pickable as an ability in case they would suggest themselves
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Postby Grumpy Old Wizard » Oct 21 2008, 6:39

1) Agreed. When Raise Dead was given to the necormancers it should have been removed frm the mage guild and replaced with something else.

2) Well, phantom forces is probably the best summoning spell once you get a good army. Summon Elemntals has had little use since the stacking was taken away. Summon Hives was a neat idea but too many restrictions were placed on it. It uses the mana of the heroe, autotargets thst closest enemy stack and is ealily destroyed.

3) Earthquake could have been made a selectable area effect spell. Make it a chosable area similar to the fire trap spell, but maybe more narrow instead of square. Then let one of the abilities add damage to creatures and a bit of chance to stun them , knocking them back on the ATB bar a little. The same ability could boost the damage of wasp swarm a bit.

4) Yep. Since there is supposedly going to be another patch one could hope that something might be done for the summoning abilities.

If you're going to Slow everybody, you've got to stay focused on it to make it work. You can cast something else but it'll cancel the Slow


Having some spells that require continual concentration could work but a maigc hero is going to need to cast a lot of spells in a battle. The might heroe boosts his creatures from his attack and defence attributes without taking any action wheras the spell power and knowledge of a magic heroe does not benefit his creatues at all. A magic heroe's creatures are very dependant on their heroe casting spells.

I hope the battlefield is larger in HOMM6.

Having some form of faction based magic would be good. If not a full school for each faction then at least a few unique spells for each faction. Or make different factions be able to cast certain spells better in some way. A warlock might cast all fire spells with a highter effective spell power. A wizard might cast cold spells more quickly. Ect. Kind of like metamagic effects that can alter spells in D&D.

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Postby Kristo » Oct 21 2008, 11:33

Jolly Joker wrote:About schools I toyed with the idea of having 4 schools and 4 Elements plus 5 mage guild levels and ONE spell in each cross section or 80 possible spells, with each spell being defined by Level, Element, and School.

While mathematically sound, I worry that this plan is a top-heavy. If I understand you correctly, there would be 16 spells at level 5! I don't know what H5 was like, but in H2-4 it was very rare that I casted a level 5 spell (level 4 for H1) at all. You could go many games without ever seeing some of the spells. With 16 spells available at level 5, you could possibly go your whole career without seeing one or two of them. It seems like wasted creative effort to me. I'd gladly give up some level 4's and 5's in exchange for more variety at level 1 and 2.

Grumpy Old Wizard wrote:Having some spells that require continual concentration could work but a maigc hero is going to need to cast a lot of spells in a battle. The might heroe boosts his creatures from his attack and defence attributes without taking any action wheras the spell power and knowledge of a magic heroe does not benefit his creatues at all. A magic heroe's creatures are very dependant on their heroe casting spells.

Any magic system has to be balanced against the creature set. My idea is no exception. Currently a magic hero is expected to be lobbing spells left and right. But mathematically, he might as well toss sticks and arrows and achieve the same outcome. My goal was to have magic be more mysterious and have broader effects that maybe you can't control perfectly.
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Postby Asheera » Oct 21 2008, 11:55

Kristo wrote:I'd gladly give up some level 4's and 5's in exchange for more variety at level 1 and 2.
But having more high level spells doesn't mean necessarily less creativity at lower levels. After all, the high level spells are very powerful so they can't really be compared with low level ones.
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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 21 2008, 12:46

Well, I would definitely like it if the high level spells would be more powerful than the low level ones, they way it was in Heroes 2, and while I agree that Blind was a low level spell at least Paralyze was a better version on a higher level.

What I dislike is the extreme potential of the low level spells when they become mass spells. I'm not even sure that enabling a spell to affect all creatures of a side is a good idea.

Moreover I would like more adventure spells (again). Spells that would reduce movement post coints of difficult terrain, for example. Spells that would enable you to see opposing heroes and so on.
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Postby Asheera » Oct 21 2008, 12:53

Maybe also Adventure spells that would have the effect of some adventure map objects?

Like:

- a spell that reveals the area around your hero (Redwood Observatory)
- a spell that allows you to change the current week's effect (Astrologer's Tower)
- a spell that allows you to unlearn abilities and learn new ones in their place (Memory Mentor) - to make it not abuseable, it will still cost gold like the Mentor

and maybe also:

- a spell that would increase your current day's movement points. So it's a trade off between mana and moving more.
No matter how powerful one becomes, there is always someone stronger. That's why I'm in a constant pursuit of power, so I can be prepared when an enemy tries to take advantage of me.

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Postby Jolly Joker » Oct 21 2008, 13:14

Sure, there is no limit here.
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Postby Ironblade » Oct 29 2008, 22:13

Would like to see if you have a mage type hero with all 5 skill ranks of spell casting abilities (for example, your hero has: summaning, sorcery, enlightment, dark magic & destructive magic) and all are maxxed out to expert level(i.e. no additional upgrades available), then your hero would be classified as an "archmage" and be capable of casting all spells available from all of the spell casting skill areas (I thing there are 6 total). Of course, this would mean your hero was level 30 or above and would be nearly un-stoppable :D :D

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Postby Asheera » Oct 30 2008, 11:47

There already is Academy's Ultimate Ability, Arcane Omniscience, which gives you ALL spells on Expert level, regardless of your magic schools learned. :P
No matter how powerful one becomes, there is always someone stronger. That's why I'm in a constant pursuit of power, so I can be prepared when an enemy tries to take advantage of me.


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