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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Balancing Spells
      #812641 - 10/08/02 05:32 PM

Turning my attention to the spell effects available in Morrowind I was struck by the plethora of available effects and the paucity of use I could find for them. For instance, Disintegrate Armor - a nice concept, but it costs more magicka to disintegrate 100 points of armor health than it does to cause 100 points of fire damage. Similar disparities can be found throughout all the spell effects: It costs the same per second to cast jump as it does to cast levitate, poison damage is almost twice the spell cost per point of harm inflicted as fire damage, damaging fatigue costs virtually the same as damaging health and critters have more fatigue than health (as a rule).

Thinking that I must be missing something, before I retune the costs of the available spell effects in the hope of finding use for such things as burden and feather, I wanted to solicit opinions from others who may have caught a circumstance, use, or value to a spell effect that I may have overlooked.

Here is a short list of what I consider to be questionable effects and why. Please offer any opinions that you may have.

Burden: Useless against creatures due to their lack of encumberance from armor. Limited value
against NPCs: only heavy armor types. Spell cost for a decent duration prohibitive to use.

Detect Enchantment: Spell cost for range of effect prohibitive.
Detect Animal: Spell cost for range of effect prohibitive.
Detect Key: Spell cost for range of effect prohibitive.
Damage Health: 50% more costly than Fire or Cold damage.
Damage Fatigue: Virtually the same cost as doing damage to health from Fire, does not cause creatures to fall
unconscious as advertised (at lower fatigues they just become less effective).
Damage Magicka: 50% more costly than inflicting Fire or Cold damage, not as useful as silence and costs more.
Damage Skill: 50% more costly than inflicting Fire or Cold damage, only hampers critters.
Disintegrate Armor: Attacks armor (and if an NPC has armor, odds are he has alot of it, with a total armor health
value in the 1000s) and costs more than Fire/Cold damage.
Disintegrate Weapon: Reduces the effectivness of opponent's weapons, but as an example daedric weapons
can have healths of 4000+, but the creature's real health will be lower and Fire/Cold damage
is 50% cheaper to inflict.
Drain Fatigue: See Damage Fatigue above, and drains are only temporary.
Drain Magicka: See Damage Magicka above, and drains are only temporary.
Feather: One of the worst offenders. Feather costs the same magicka as fortify attribute - strength.
One point of strength will allow you to carry five additional pounds. One point of Feather
allows you to carry one additional pound, and strength allows you to do more melee damage.
Fire Shield: Does anyone actually use these? Hundreds of magicka for a few seconds of a small increase
in armor rating, a slight increase in fire resist, and a tiny amount of fire damage inflicted
when someone hits you. Great concept, too expensive to cast.
Frost Shield: See above.
Jump: Same cost as levitate.
Lightning Shield: See Fire Shield.
Poison: Almost twice as much magicka per point of damage inflicted as Fire or Cold. The worst
choice for doing damage to an opponent.
Shock Damage: About 40% higher cost than Fire or Cold damage.
Slowfall: Only useful if you chose to Jump rather than Levitate.
Sound: Nice effect, but the cost prevents it from being used.
Swift Swim: If you use this rather than water breathing or water walk then you have more Magicka than
you know what to do with.
Blind: High cost, slight impact on critters.
Shield: High cost, slight effect on armor class.
Weakness to XXXX: This line can cause your spells to do more damage, but it costs more to double your spell
damage by casting weakness first than to simply cast a fire/cold damage spell twice.
Command Humanoid: If you can cast this spell without fizzling it to affect a creature higher than level 5, then
you have a character above level 60 with maxed conjuration skills.
Command Creature: See above.
Resist Common Disease: It is cheaper in magicka to cure it than to try and resist it.
Resist Blight Disease: See above.
Weakness to Disease: Someone would want to cast this?
Summon Golden Saint: You'll be sleeping for 12 hours after you cast this, if you don't fizzle it with about a 50 percent
chance at conjuration skill 95.
Summon Winged Twilight: Sleep for 8 hours after fizzling this one.
Spell Absorption: You can get 25% absorption for 5 seconds. Better hope that you absorb that incoming
spell or you are out of Magicka for an offensive attack.
Resist Fire/Cold/etc.: Cheaper in Magicka to heal the damage than to try and resist it.



I have a feeling that alot of these effects could find a niche for use if the casting costs were properly adjusted.

As it stands now one is better off with a three spell line-up: Fire damage, Cold damage (incase your opponent is resistant to fire, such as a Dark Elf), and Heal self. Oh, and for utility: Levitate, Open, and Invisibility. I would say that some spells are over-powered, such as Open, Bound Weapon, Frenzy, and Calm, but perhaps that would be best left for another thread (ever notice that a bound dagger does more damage than a non-summoned daedric dagger?).

If anyone actually uses any of the spells I listed above, if you could briefly explain to me the situational value that I missed I would greatly appreciate it. Conversely, if I missed a spell that you feel is useless in its current incarnation, please post as well. Ideally I would wish that the spell effects would be balanced such that every spell was an efficacious tactic in its proper time and place.







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Horatio
Disciple

Reged: 06/04/02
Posts: 1159
Re: Balancing Spells
      #812729 - 10/08/02 06:05 PM

certain balancing plugins (adventurer's plugin off the top of my head) have attempted to rectify the poorly balanced spell situation. i find the overpowered spells (calm especially) to be a bigger problem than the underpowered ones.

anyway, i think that certain effects, such as spell absorb/reflect are meant only meant to be available for powerful enchanted items and not for casual casting (the fact that enchantment makes spellcasting a total waste of time is a topic for another thread).

i agree with most of your points except:

Damage Health: 50% more costly than Fire or Cold damage.
as it should be since magicka resistance fairly rare amongst crits.

Command Humanoid/Creature : it's too powerful an effect to make it easily cast. reserve for powerful enchants like reflect/absorb.

also, you seem to missing out on the fact that some spell effects are meant only to be cast on the PC rather than used by the PC (damage stat/skill, damage magicka, weakness to disease ).

i'd like to see any spell balancing mod you create. looking at your work on Flee AI, i have every confidence that it will be great.

also, since you seem to have a keen interest in improving gameplay/balance, one change i've been using is disabling recharge (except via soul gems) on all enchanted items. it makes spellcasting less of a waste of time.

cheers

h





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Balor NG
Adept

Reged: 07/28/02
Posts: 224
Loc: Russia
Re: Balancing Spells
      #812738 - 10/08/02 06:09 PM

Well, lightning damage is harder to resist then other ones ( really few races posses one, and not much of it anyway).
Damage health - the same, only bretons possess resistance, and only 50%.
While fire damage - Dunmer has 75% res, and its majority of Mor, and Frost - Nords are Immune to it!
Poison - remeber Argonian and Redguard.

--------------------
NG Balor. One of a kind

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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Are you a Wizard?
      #812850 - 10/08/02 07:01 PM

Let me relate an anecdote about a friend of mine (no, really it wasn't me) who started playing Morrowind a few months ago. He wanted to play as a wizard. He choose his Majors and Minors, got himself a robe and bought a few spells (probably including Burden of Sin, since about every spell vendor sells some form of the useless Burden spells). He played for some weeks, made it to about level 10 or 13 and came upon an NPC named Umbra. Now, as he related to me, he took about fifteen or twenty tries to beat Umbra, but beat him he did and Umbra's sword he now carried.

Off our brave hero went, still wanting to be a wizard, but he encountered a critter and decided to hit the critter with the sword. The critter died and our wizard's life wasn't ever the same. You see, our wizard then thought to himself, "Hey, this works pretty well!" and he proceeded to smack more critters with the sword. Soon the wizard wasn't a wizard anymore as he had discovered that in Morrowind magic is a second tier skill and cold steel (or cold ebony, or cold daedric ....umm... daedric stuff) is the weapon of choice for those who want to kill stuff.

Offering a brief analysis reflecting my experience with spells: the highest damaging spell I can make and cast at 100 Destruction is about like this: Fire damage 10-40 for 10 sec on target, radius 20. This costs about 120 magicka. NPC's do sell a better version called God's Fire which is 11-60 fire damage for 10 sec on target, radius 10. This costs slightly less. Let me err on the conservative side and call it 100 magicka to do an average of 35 points of fire damage for ten seconds, or 350 points of damage. The most magicka that a PC can have (without intelligence enhancing items) is 100 (base for intelligence), 200 added for Atronach sign, and 150 added for High Elf. This is a total of 450 magicka. Let's add in the Necromancers Amulet (+25 int) and Drake's Pride robe (+10 int) and Mentor's ring (+10 int). That yields 653 magicka.

A wizard can therefore do a maximum of 2100 damage over a time period of six casts, generally taking one minute (spell stacking is possible if you make slightly different versions of the same spell). During the same sixty seconds a warrior wielding sunder (10-70 damage) with a strength of 100 (2x damage) swinging at less than once per second (sunder speed 1.35 (higher is faster)), but assuming once per second to be conservative, will do 4800 damage.

Steel does more than twice the damage of magicka, and I neglected such things as spell resists, items that add a strength bonus (2 percent increased damage per point), critters that reflect (Dremora, Winged Twilight, etc.) or dispell (Golden Saints). Not to mention that our warrior friend is collecting the items off the dead critter and moving on while our poor wizard is now fast asleep for 10-20 hours to regain his magicka (oops, he is Atronach sign, he is now gathering herbs and wondering where he put his alembic). To me, this is a situation that cries out for improvement.

And I suspect others see this as well. Almost every mod that attempts to improve the gameplay in Morrowind tries to address this spell disparity; either by adding more magicka to starting characters (fPCBaseMagickaMult), or by adding script for magicka regen, or in whatever inventive way it can be done.

Let me pause to address one point that may be in some people's minds: "Hey, I was able to play through the game, kill Dagoth Ur and had no trouble. Besides, what creature has 2000 hit points that I need to dish out that type of damage?" I would respond that the ability disparity between wizards and warriors exists at all levels (see my introductory anecdote) and that with the growing number of high quality mods that are seeking to challenge players of the 40+ level, and to extend the gameplay value (and often employ creature hitpoints in the 1k+ range), that the game will soon wither if it is reduced to a Diablo style click fest.

Improving the opportunity of players to apply novel and inventive tactics through the application of the myriad of available, yet unused due to correctable flaws, spells I think would bring alot of diversity to the game, and the styles of effective gameplay that it can support.

Okay, now you know my motives for seeking to improve magic in Morrowind.

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Horatio
Disciple

Reged: 06/04/02
Posts: 1159
Re: Are you a Wizard?
      #812879 - 10/08/02 07:13 PM

well, i don't think anyone was really questioning your motivation. everyone is well aware of the fact the spellcasting is a total joke compared to melee. and if that weren't bad enough, spell effect costs, as you have pointed out, are fairly arbitrary given their strength.

yet at the same time, certain spell effects such as calm are MASSIVELY overpowered. you can pretty much kill anything in the game with a calm 1 duration 120 spell. 'open' makes security a waste of time (or we could point out that having a security skill > 50 is also a waste of time).

anyway, try throwing together a nifty magic balancing plugin. use a mixture of effect revaluing, base magicka tweaking, enchantment nerfing and other more esoteric things (like using a global script to make high level chameleon - aka permanent invisibility - impossible).

cheers

h

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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Re: Balancing Spells
      #812904 - 10/08/02 07:24 PM

Yeah, the overpowered spells are a problem too, but aside from the calm line I think that most can be rectified by adjusting the cost. Calm may need removing, however I simply choose not to exploit it as a no magicka cost paralyze. It is incredibly useful if you pursue a less violent gameplay style. However, if the fatigue damaging spells are adjusted to be magicka efficient, it then becomes a viable tactic to drain a creatures fatigue, punch him once and move on as he lies unconscious on the floor. My feeling is that it should be more efficient (or at least equally so) to disable a critter as to kill him. Currently that isn't the case.

Command is a powerful line of spells, however I feel that it is unusable in its current form. The best that you can do with 100 conjuration is to command a level 5 or so critter for perhaps 30 seconds. At the level you are when you have 100 conjuration you don't care about commanding a level 5 critter, and don't even try to enchant this effect into an item. With about 1000 intelligence I can relibly enchant an effect cost of about 60-80. Command demands over 120 in item enchantment capacity to work.

I agree that typical creature resistance should be considered when evaluating spell casting costs. Damage Health, being resisted by magic tends to be a more effective spell line. However, it is rare to see a creature resistant to both Fire and Cold lines, generally allowing one to pick one of these rather than Damage Health. Damage Health costing exactly 60 percent more per point of damage inflicted than Fire/Cold seems excessive to me.

The Absorb/Reflect lines are strong effects also, but currently both uncastable and un-enchantable by PCs. Actually, to my mind, any sort of defensive play style in Morrowind is almost unthinkable. Best defense is a good offense. Cold steel wins again. I would think that defense should be encouraged as a viable option, seeing as it naturally provides poorer returns if it is effective (critter is still alive and a threat, even if you are temporarily invulnerable).

Reducing enchantment recharge speed is a great idea. I recall seeing an entry for it in the gameplay settings. I'll play around with that immediately. 50% seems like a good starting point for that, although I can see the appeal of disabling it entirely.



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SC_Wolf
Disciple

Reged: 08/11/02
Posts: 1140
Re: Balancing Spells
      #812938 - 10/08/02 07:34 PM

Then of course, there's the fact that using Levetate to get yourself off the ground confuses the game AI no end, and you can simply rain down spells or ranged weapons upon them.


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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Balanced Spell Effects
      #815582 - 10/10/02 01:48 AM

My goal was to balance the relative power of the spell effects: to allow for a wider diversity of effective strategies, to expand the flexability of gameplay, to balance the existing effects in such a way that all those spell effects no one ever uses become valid alternatives. All without eliminating any effective current stratagies or unbalancing any aspect of the game. Since I don't have a web site to post stuff at, and since I assume that anyone interested in balancing spells in Morrowind will want to deconstruct the changes anyway; here are the values. I'll follow up with a brief post on the effects of these changes.



Absorb Attribute: From 2.00 to 1.35
Absorb Fatigue: From 4.00 to 2.75
Absorb Health: From 8.00 to 8.00 (unchanged)
Absorb Magicka: From 8.00 to 8.00 (unchanged)
Absorb Skill: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Almsivi Intervention: From 150.00 to 150.00 (unchanged)
Blind: From 1.00 to 0.54
Bound Battle Axe: From 2.00 to 4.50
Bound Boots: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Bound Cuirass: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Bound Dagger: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Gloves: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Bound Helm: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Bound Longbow: From 2.00 to 4.00
Bound Longsword: From 2.00 to 4.50
Bound Mace: From 2.00 to 4.50
Bound Shield: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Bound Spear: From 2.00 to 4.50
Burden: From 1.00 to 0.18
Calm Creature: From 1.00 to 3.50
Calm Humanoid: From 1.00 to 3.50
Chameleon: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Charm: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Command Creature: From 15.00 to 10.00
Command Humanoid: From 15.00 to 10.50
Corpus: From 2500.00 to 2500.00 (unchanged)
Cure Blight Disease: From 2000.00 to 2000.00 (unchanged)
Cure Common Disease: From 300.00 to 300.00 (unchanged)
Cure Corpus Disease: From 2500.00 to 2500.00 (unchanged)
Cure Paralyzation: From 100.00 to 100.00 (unchanged)
Cure Poison: From 100.00 to 100.00 (unchanged)
Damage Attribute: From 8.00 to 9.25
Damage Fatigue: From 4.00 to 2.00
Damage Health: From 8.00 to 6.00
Damage Magicka: From 8.00 to 2.50
Damage Skill: From 8.00 to 4.00
Demoralize Creature: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Demoralize Humanoid: From 1.00 to 1.00 Changed school to Illusion (error in original file)
Detect Animal: From 0.75 to 0.35
Detect Enchantment: From 1.00 to 0.50
Detect Key: From 1.00 to 0.50
Disintegrate Armor: From 6.00 to 1.50
Disintegrate Weapon: From 6.00 to 2.00
Dispel: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Divine Intervention: From 150.00 to 150.00 (unchanged)
Drain Attribute: From 1.00 to 0.36
Drain Fatigue: From 2.00 to 0.25
Drain Health: From 4.00 to 3.25
Drain Magicka: From 4.00 to 0.25
Drain Skill: From 1.00 to 0.75
Feather: From 1.00 to 0.17
Fire Damage: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Fire Shield: From 3.00 to 1.25
Fortify Attack: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Fortify Attribute: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Fortify Fatigue: From 0.50 to 0.50 (unchanged)
Fortify Health: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Fortify Magicka: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Fortify Maximum Magicka: From 4.00 to 4.00 (unchanged)
Fortify Skill: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Frenzy Creature: From 1.00 to 2.25
Frenzy Humanoid: From 1.00 to 3.50
Frost Damage: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Frost Shield: From 3.00 to 1.25
Invisibility: From 20.00 to 20.00 (unchanged)
Jump: From 3.00 to 2.00
Levitate: From 3.00 to 3.00 (unchanged)
Light: From 0.20 to 0.20 (unchanged)
Lightning Shield: From 3.00 to 1.25
Lock: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Mark: From 350.00 to 350.00 (unchanged)
Night Eye: From 0.20 to 0.20 (unchanged)
Open: From 6.00 to 8.75
Paralyze: From 40.00 to 40.00 (unchanged)
Poison: From 9.00 to 6.50
Rally Creature: From 0.20 to 0.20 (unchanged)
Rally Humanoid: From 0.20 to 0.20 (unchanged)
Recall: From 350.00 to 350.00 (unchanged)
Reflect: From 10.00 to 4.00
Remove Curse: From 15.00 to 15.00 (unchanged)
Resist Blight Disease: From 15.00 to 2.00
Resist Common Disease: From 2.00 to 0.25
Resist Corpus Disease: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Resist Fire: From 2.00 to 1.00
Resist Frost: From 2.00 to 1.00
Resist Magicka: From 2.00 to 1.50
Resist Normal Weapons: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Resist Paralysis: From 0.20 to 2.00 (decimal point error in original)
Resist Poison: From 2.00 to 1.00
Resist Shock: From 2.00 to 1.00
Restore Attribute: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Restore Fatigue: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Restore Health: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Restore Magicka: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Restore Skill: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Sanctuary: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Shield: From 2.00 to 0.80
Shock Damage: From 7.00 to 5.75
Silence: From 40.00 to 35.00
SlowFall: From 3.00 to 2.00
Soultrap: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Sound: From 3.00 to 0.78
Spell Absorption: From 10.00 to 7.30
Stunted Magicka: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Summon Various Stuff: Unchanged
Summon Golden Saint: From 55.00 to 52.00
Summon Winged Twilight: From 52.00 to 48.00
Sun Damage: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Swift Swim: From 2.00 to 0.50
Telekinesis: From 1.00 to 1.00 (unchanged)
Turn Undead: From 0.20 to 0.20 (unchanged), (currently does not work)
Vampirism: From 5.00 to 5.00 (unchanged)
Water Breathing: From 3.00 to 3.00 (unchanged)
Water Walking: From 3.00 to 3.00 (unchanged)
Weakness to Blight Disease: From 4.00 to 3.00
Weakness to Common Disease: From 2.00 to 1.50
Weakness to Corpus Disease: From 4.00 to 4.00 (unchanged)
Weakness to Fire: From 2.00 to 1.50
Weakness to Frost: From 2.00 to 1.50
Weakness to Magicka: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Weakness to Normal Weapons: From 2.00 to 2.00 (unchanged)
Weakness to Poison: From 2.00 to 1.50
Weakness to Shock: From 2.00 to 1.50





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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Relative Power of Spell Effects
      #815635 - 10/10/02 02:45 AM

Here are what spell effects cost after applying the changes in the above post, grouped by effective result:



Spell Name Magnitude Duration Magicka Cost

Spells that prevent creatures from moving:

Absorb Attribute 100 for 20 203
Damage Attribute 10 for 10 69
Drain Attribute 100 for 20 54
Paralyze * for 20 60
Burden 100 for 20 27
Fortify Attribute * 100 for 20 100

Spells that incapacitate:

Absorb Fatigue 50 for 10 103
Damage Fatigue 50 for 10 75
Drain Fatigue 100 for 20 38
Fortify Fatigue * 100 for 20 50
Restore Fatigue * 50 for 20 25

Absorb Skill 100 for 20 300 (N/A as a castable spell)
Damage Skill 10 for 10 30 (N/A as a castable spell)
Drain Skill 100 for 20 113
Fortify Skill * 100 for 20 100 (N/A as a castable spell after patch)

Spells that Damage:

Absorb Health * 50 for 10 300
Damage Health 50 for 10 225
Drain Health 100 for 20 488
Fire Damage * 50 for 10 188
Frost Damage * 50 for 10 188
Restore Health * 50 for 10 125
Shock Damage 50 for 10 216
Poison 50 for 10 244
Weakness to xxxxx 100 for 10 113
Fortify Health * 100 for 20 100

Spells that prevent spell damage:

Absorb Magicka * 50 for 10 300 (N/A as a castable spell)
Damage Magicka 50 for 10 94
Drain Magicka 100 for 20 38
Fortify Magicka * 100 for 10 100
Reflect 100 for 20 400
Resist Fire, etc. 100 for 20 100
Resist Magicka 100 for 20 150
Resist Paralysis 100 for 20 200
Silence for 20 53
Sound 100 for 20 117
Spell Absorption 100 for 20 730

Disease affecting Spells:

Cure Common Disease * 15
Resist Common Disease 100 for 20 25
Cure Blight Disease * 100
Resist Blight Disease 100 for 20 200

Weight carrying/Movement Spells:

Fortify Attribute * 20 for 20 20
Feather 100 for 20 17

Levitate * for 20 30
Jump 10 for 20 20
Slowfall 10 for 20 20

Spells that prevent damage:

Fire/Frost/etc. Shield 100 for 20 125
Shield 100 for 20 80
Sanctuary * 100 for 20 100
Complete Set of All 5 Bound Armor Pieces *
for 20 11
Blind 100 for 20 81

Spells that do other stuff:

Command Creature 10 for 20 150
Command Humanoid 10 for 20 158
Demoralize Creature * 100 for 20 150
Demoralize Humanoid * 100 for 20 150
Summon Winged Twilight for 20 51



* Means that spell is unchanged and can be used as a reference for Magicka cost.

The groups are presented in categories that lend themselves to the easiest comparison, and with spell effects set at comprable levels. If you want to stop an opponent from casting, you can Silence him, Drain his Magicka, Damage his Magicka, use Sound, Damage his Intelligence, etc. If you want to carry 100 pounds of equipment you can fortify your strength by 20 or feather for 100. Note, that Drains, unlike Damage spells, are not cumulative; viz. Damaging Fatigue 50 points for 10 seconds results in your opponent losing 500 Fatigue, Draining Fatigue 100 points for 20 seconds results in your opponent losing 100 total Fatigue for 20 seconds - at which point he will recover it. Absorbtion spells I felt should be comparable with the cost of casting both a Restore on yourself and a Damage on your opponent.

Also, obviously, spells that do less should cost less. It should cost less to resist a commoon disease than to cure it, less to damage fatigue than to damage health, resisting damage should be equivalent to restoring it. ANd where I had any doubt, I tried to err on the conservative side. I also spent time testing the spell costs on enchantment values, specifically constant effect items, to check for unbalancing possibilities, and I don't think that any are egregious.



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qwert_44643
Disciple

Reged: 04/30/02
Posts: 1240
Re: Relative Power of Spell Effects
      #815701 - 10/10/02 03:38 AM

Umm whats the best way to do this in the editor?
qwert

--------------------
My Mods:

http://thelys.free.fr/qwert.htm
http://angelfire.lycos.com/games5/qwert_44643



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qwert_44643
Disciple

Reged: 04/30/02
Posts: 1240
Re: Relative Power of Spell Effects
      #815706 - 10/10/02 03:42 AM

are you saying go in the editor make an esp call it balanced spells and then just change the cost values?
man you should make a mod of all your work its really good.
If you dont want to il do it but when you update your work could ya send it to:

qwert_44643@mybluelight.com
qwert
so far ive cut and pasted the above and your ai settings ,is it cool to release a mod called wakims improvements?

--------------------
My Mods:

http://thelys.free.fr/qwert.htm
http://angelfire.lycos.com/games5/qwert_44643



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Leadfoot
Curate

Reged: 06/01/00
Posts: 496
Loc: Raleigh, NC, USA
Re: Relative Power of Spell Effects
      #815770 - 10/10/02 04:30 AM

I don't mind a little work. Let me go into TES:CS and input these.

Thanks, wakim. I really love the work you've done in testing and tweaking things that seemed daunting or impossible to other people. You must do this kind of thing for a living. If not, you REALLY should. Bethesda, you need to snatch this guy up. Really!

--------------------
[green]So Sayeth Leadfoot, Professor of Thaumaturgy
Center of Thaumaturgical Studies
Solitude, Cyrodill[/green]

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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Re: Relative Power of Spell Effects
      #815795 - 10/10/02 04:42 AM

Yes, open the construction set, click the Gameplay tab, click Magic Effects and enter in the twenty or so changed values, click save and it will prompt you for a mod name, enter Balanced Spells (or whatever) and you are done. All the auto caluclated spell in the game will have their effects updated, as will the auto calculated spells you have bought (but not spells you have custom created from an in-game spellmaker). Some non-auto calculated spells that specific NPCs use will remain as aberrations, but the effect should be minimal (i.e. The big six Ash-Vampires all have custom spells, most of which they weren't given enough magicka to cast by the designers).

By all means, try out these settings and see if you like the diversity of spell effects that are now possible, if you can develop new tactics based on drains and burdens and whathaveyou that wasn't possible before; and most importantly, give some feedback if some spell cost change adversly affects the game or is overpowered. I did my best, but I could have easily overlooked some spell side effect that lets one walk all over every challenge. The goal is to enchance the fun, improve the gameplay, give players the tools within the game to be inventive and develop unique (and balanced) idomatic methods of conquering challenges.

I'll send the above posted changes in a .zip to the e-mail you listed. If you want to post the file on a web page you are welcome to do so, however I would ask that you test the changes and see if they are copacetic first. Consider this a "beta".


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Horatio
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Re: Relative Power of Spell Effects
      #816401 - 10/10/02 12:22 PM

the changes look excellent. just wondering if you've checked constant effect enchantments to make sure that none of the lowered spell effect values can result in uber enchanted items. looking briefly at the changes, i'd say no, but i could be missing something.

cheers

h

edit:

also, you may want to increase the power of some of the basic spells to compensate for the decreased effect cost (e.g. default disintegrate armor/weapon are so weak as to be totally ineffective, making hungers an essentially useless opponent since you'll probably kill them before they're finished casting pointless disintegrate spells at you).

also stuff like the default burden (i think it's 20) and whatnot should be amped up.


Edited by Horatio (10/10/02 12:27 PM)

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qwert_44643
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Re: Relative Power of Spell Effects
      #816456 - 10/10/02 12:55 PM

Hey Wakim,
Is it cool to release the plugin with your flee ai settings combined with the spell balancing as well?
qwert

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Re: Balancing Spells
      #816458 - 10/10/02 12:56 PM

Just for the record, several of the effects you question are present mainly to provide racial bonuses or birthsign bonuses, particularly the "Weakness to XXX" and "Resistance to XXX" effects, and for use in artifacts. As far as the different elemental damage types go (Fire, Frost, Shock, Poison), the costs are related to the percentage of races and creatures who are resistant to that elemental type. You can kill almost anything with poison. But Dunmer are 75% resistant to Fire, and they're the most abundant race on Vvardenfell. Not to say that everything is perfectly balanced, but in many cases there are reasons for effect types and/or costs that you may not have accounted for.

But please, feel free to make your mod. I'd be very interested to get peoples' impressions having played with it for a while.

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Horatio
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Re: Balancing Spells
      #816498 - 10/10/02 01:16 PM

>You can kill almost anything with poison<

...except for maybe argonians, redguards (i think) and almost anything you'd meet in a tomb or dwemer ruin. which is a good chunk of the encounters in the unmodded game.

you CAN kill almost anything with shock, which is strangely cheaper than poison.

>Just for the record, several of the effects you question are present mainly to provide racial bonuses or birthsign bonuses, particularly the "Weakness to XXX" and "Resistance to XXX" effects, and for use in artifacts. <

i don't understand. why not balance them for both spellcasting and birthsigns? it's not like they're mutually exclusive.

cheers

h

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wakim
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Re: Balancing Spells
      #816614 - 10/10/02 02:11 PM

For the record, a short sampling of Morrowind critters and races:



Name Immunities Resistances

Ancestor Ghost poison, frost, disease
Fire Atronach fire
Forst Atronach frost
Storm Atronach shock poison 75
Bonelord shock 75, poison 75, frost 75
Bonewalkers shock 75, poison 75, frost 75
Centurian Spider poison
Centurian, Steam fire 75, shock 75, poison 75, frost 75
Golden Saint fire 75, frost 75, shock 75
Hunger shock, poison, frost, fire
Scamp fire 50, frost 50. shock 50, poison 75
Skeletons frost, poison shock 50
Winged Twilight shock 50, fire 50, frost 50, poison 75

Argonian poison
Breton magicka 50
Dark Elf fire 75
Nord frost shock 50
Orc magicka 25
Redguard poison 75



As for the weakness and resist line of spells:

Note the plethora of versions of these spells sold at vendors with such names as weakness to xxxx or resist xxxxx which are prefaced with variant names such as: Greater, Dire, Wild, Lesser, Weak, and what have you. These spells are in the game and available to a great extent, just that there hasn't been a reason to either buy or use them at their current costs.

Looking at the critter list, I would say that Poison is actually one of the weakest lines of spells for inflicting damage, despite Morrowind pricing it as the most costly. Just about everything is resistant to it. The Damage Health line, being resisted by Magicka, seems the most unresisted. I currently have Damage Health being about 20% more costly than Fire or Cold, which seems right to me, but Poison being 30% more costly seems unjustified (do recall that the original value has Poison being 80% more costly than fire (almost twice as much) - I did try to err on the conservative side when adjusting values).

On the basis of this feedback I would recommend dropping Poison cost from its original 9.00 past my earlier value of 6.50 and lower yet to 5.50. This puts it lower than shock, but above fire and cold (which are unchanged and serve as my baseline). Considering how much stuff is resistant to it, or immune to it, it could be argued for an even lower value.

This would leave Fire and Cold as the cheapest damaging spells, with Drain Health as the situational king, Damage Health as the most expensive (but most blindly effective if you don't know what your fighting), and Shock and Poison inbetween (and good for spell effect stacking).




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Horatio
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Re: Balancing Spells
      #816621 - 10/10/02 02:15 PM

wakim:

nice refutation. far more thorough and elegant than my own.

cheers

h

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wakim
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Balancing balance
      #816665 - 10/10/02 02:31 PM

I liked the brevity of your refutation, though. And, I value any and all feedback. It is impossible for me to consider every application of every spell in every situation. If a change can't be reasonably argued for, then it shouldn't be done. "First, do no harm" is a wonderful maxim for modding.

With the spell value changes I have suggested, I am quite fond of Drain Health. It is, situationally, the most damaging spell. It works like this: You create a spell that drains 100 health for 1 second on target. This is the most magicka efficient way to deal 100 damage, but, if the critter has more than 100 hit points then the spell has no effect, as the spell will wear off in 1 second and the critter regains the 100 hit points. If it had less than 100 hit points then the critter dies.

To my mind, this is a balanced effect as it allows Magic centered characters to deal with annoying pests like Cliffracers efficiently, yet has no effect on tougher encounters. And, remember, that one hit from Sunder by a character with 100 strength does about 140 points of damage. Balance maintained and a diversity of tactics encouraged.

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Horatio
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Re: Balancing balance
      #816748 - 10/10/02 03:20 PM

wakim:

while your effects balancing is admirable, i still find that enchanting is so overwhelmingly powerful compared to magicka based spellcasting as to render the whole aspect of the game essentially pointless. there are no spells you cannot replicate in a more efficient manner using enchanting. the only barrier is cost, and given how easy it is to accumulate huge sums of money (even w/o cheap play), is it nowhere near enough of a disincentive.

furthermore, in the early parts of the game almost all restoration and alteration effects are available through cheap, commonly available enchanted items. these items also recharge constantly (6 charge/hour) as opposed to only when resting. as a result, only destruction/conjuration is actually useful at this point in the game. later on it is rendered obsolete due to the reasons outlined above.

so essentially what i am saying is no spell balance mod would be complete w/o corresponding changes to the enchantment system.

cheers

h


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wakim
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One enchanted evening
      #816840 - 10/10/02 04:01 PM

Believe it or not I haven't turned my attention to enchanting yet. It is so easy to refrain from exploiting the balance issues in enchanting that I haven't bothered with it (yet), i.e. just don't put chameleon on all your armor pieces, just don't make a ring of 10,000 fire balls. With the spell effect magicka cost values this isn't the case (spell balancing); you didn't have a choice of using, for example, poison to do damage, or resist fire in deference to restore health. Although the flip side is that I tend not to enchant anything when I play, since it is a game killing skill. I normally throw night eye and restore stamina on a couple of pieces and call my enchanting endeavors finished.

I considered internal equilibrium of the spell effects to be a prior requirement to tackling enchanting. However, having said that, I do think enchanting is fixable. Off the top of my head I would consider these ideas:

1) severely limiting or eliminating natural recharging of enchanted items (although this does hurt cast when strikes items hardest, and I think unfairly so).

2) Reducing the soul value of all creatures so that player created items don't have a seemingly infinite number of charges. In conjunction with soul value changes the soul value required for constant effect would have to be lowered proportionally.

3) Reducing the ability of powerful (unbalancingly powerful to the exclusion of other strategies) effects to be placed in enchanted items. No one wants to play a game where you just click a key and everything dies. Well, maybe someone does, but my recommendations for gameplay improvements aren't intended for them (player->ModHealth 10000. Player->additem "Sword_of_kill_everything"1).

I can recall seeing a myriad of gameplay settings that affect enchanting: all sorts of multipliers for all types of enchanting effects, including (from memory) multipliers for chance to create constant effect items, multipliers that affect cast once, cast when strikes, cast when used, multipliers for recharge time, multipliers for the amount of enchantment an item can hold, and so on. I just haven't taken the time to experiment to determine the effects of all these elements.

TESCS, sadly, didn't come with a .doc file to explain what these settings do, nor what formulas these values plug into. Altering them intelligently requires much trial and error. And, unfortunately, the zero cast time of enchanted items is something that is hard coded and has to be worked around.

Would changes to the enchantment system improve gameplay? Undoubtably.

Are balanced changes to enchanting possible? I think so.

Will I do it? Probably. I had intended to turn my attention to rebalancing existing NPCs next, then existing creatures, but I may turn to enchanting instead. I am anticipating more feedback on the spell balancing adjustments, as people try them out and get a feel for them, before calling that project completed.


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Horatio
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Re: One enchanted evening
      #816878 - 10/10/02 04:21 PM

>I had intended to turn my attention to rebalancing existing NPCs next, then existing creatures<

NPCs are a very difficult undertaking since you're more or less guaranteed to conflict with mods. it also takes forever - although you could accelerate the process by writing simple applications to say...multiply all NPC magicka by 3.

Existing creatures have been done in various mods (although not terribly well i might add). this would be easier than NPC rebalancing. i would stay away from altering too many physical stats (although more HP would be nice for a lot of creatures) in favour of adding more interesting spells and abilities. Mods like GIANTS 2 and MW_Advanced (although the latter's high level additions are rather unimpressive) do a good job of fleshing out the creatures. i'd also like to see more creatures that use marksman style weapons.

anyway, i'd recommend rebalancing enchanting, because a) it only involves manipulating gameplay settings and perhaps altering effect availability, b) no one has really tried it yet (other than my coarse, turn off recharge solution) and c) IMHO you'd do a better job of it than anyone else.

and disabling recharging doesn't really nerf cast-on-strike that much. you just have to remember to maintain a steady supply of soul gems. furthermore, your enchanting skill increases incredibly fast if you're recharging a lot of items w/ soul gems (even failing counts towards it) - which means less charges are used when you strike and your recharging improves. it makes the enchant skill useful rather than a total waste of time.

cheers

h



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wakim
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Termites in the walls
      #816985 - 10/10/02 05:18 PM

Actually, I already re-balanced all the NPCs once. I simply started a new character, played through the game by doing all the quests for all the guilds and noted every NPC I encountered who was pathetic (who wasn't meant to be pathetic). I then opened TESCS and changed each of those NPCs, adjusting level, hit points, stats, and/or spell selection as required. Then I replayed the encounter to test them. I was often surprised that some encounter I blithely walked through was meant to be entertaining (like your story with Chrysemere). However, that was months ago, and I learned alot from that experience and feel I could do it better this time around.

I also did all the critters as well, but again, using what I learned I can improve on that (and with inspiration from many of the other mods that are addressing this). It took me a while to realize that, when given the choice, critters will cast spells that "debuff" first and damage second; viz. a critter, if it can, will cast weakness to fire before casting a fire ball. Having learned how critters use their magic allows me to tailor-make spells that they can employ effectively (and aids in making them look smarter). I even designed a few critters that have surprised me (using custom designed spells, critters can effectively employ those "useless spells" such as blindness, burden, and various other effects rather well).

As a further aside, I had amusement to no end when I saw a Dremora Lord I had altered blind a player who was using my mod. One second the player is joyously hacking away at this demon, and the next he was stumbling blindly and fell off the stairs. The encounter was decided against the player not by beefing up the amount of damage the Dremora did, but by an effect that did no harm to him at all (and could have been dispelled, had the player decided to buy that "useless" spell or carry those useless potions). I still get a kick out of walking through a Daedric Shrine and suddenly "the lights go out".

One thing I have noticed by changing the spell costs is that most NPCs now seem more intelligent. Before, I suspect, they were wasting all their magicka by casting that 5 second 10% reflect spell they had. Now they seem to be acting a bit more wisely in their spell choices.

Oh, and as an aside, I think everyone should be aware of this item, "daedric_dagger_mtas". Although I use Sunder as an example of the ultimate weapon in Morrowind, it actually isn't. The Black Hands Dagger (given as an early Morag Tong quest reward) is the most powerful weapon in the game, doing 300-750 damage (and healing the user for the same) per strike. It will, in one hit, kill anything but Vivec, who requires about four hits. Try changing the enchantment on it to 5-15 duration 5 seconds instead of 10-25 duration 30.

Yeah, I've played with weapon balancing as well (anyone ever use a Daedric Club, Mace, or Spear? Anyone? Bueller?). Ever notice that a Daedric Staff does the same damage as an Ebony staff? That an Ebony Staff has a decimal point error in the enchantment value? That a Daedric Dagger does less damage than a summoned Daedric Dagger? That they forgot to put enchantments on Auriel's Shield and Auriel's Bow? That Mehunes Razor does less damage than an Ebony Short Sword? That the durability of bows is so low that a lightly armored marksman is required to carry 50 lbs. of armorer's hammers?

And, as a further, further aside; in Daggerfall (if I recall) I think that enchanted items did not recharge, that they used the caster's magicka to cause an effect, and only when the caster was out of magicka did they use their own charges. Despite Daggerfall's virtually unplayable amount of bugs, the game concept may have many ideas that are worth emulating.

But anyway, spell balancing is the issue at hand. A firm foundation is required to build a solid structure. Spell effects are a core element of Morrowind.

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Horatio
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Re: Termites in the walls
      #817028 - 10/10/02 05:46 PM

blind is indeed a very fun effect to play with.

here's some other spell stuff:

Damage Armor & Damage Weapon before Paralyze - from hungers.

casters will almost never cast a spell you are already being affected by (even though the effects will generally stack). this is generally a "good thing (tm)" since it means Dremora Lords will melee you while you are being affected by Fire Storm (5 seconds). as a result you should avoid 1 second duration spells if you want the opponent to engage in melee.

NPCs will NEVER use fortify attribute spells.

Bound item spells take priority over everything. this has been used to fairly good effect in MW Advanced - Dremoras, Dremora Lords and Golden Saints use bound weapons with a backup silver weapon. this deprives the PC of unlimited expensive weapons.

poison seems to be favored by NPCs over other effects (perhaps because it costs more?), which provides endless amusement for my argonian.

cheers

h






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wakim
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Re: Termites in the walls
      #817081 - 10/10/02 06:11 PM

To everyone who sent me direct messages: I just discovered what the flashing envelope on the top of the screen means. I wasn't ignoring anyone, just ignorant. My apologies.

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Re: Are you a Wizard?
      #817390 - 10/10/02 10:14 PM

Hi folks,

Just a few thoughts to the discussion regarding the relative merits of battle magic vs hacking away with a sword.
As far as I can see, the two skill sets are like apples and oranges, even taking the pure damage spells into consideration only. They are both just as powerful as each other (maybe with magic having an advantage even) when used to their fullest potential; A spells fullest potential is not against a single target, it's against a room full of critters.
Bear in mind that the cost to give a damage spell full Area Effect (50 ft) only raises the difficulty by 10, and the spells cost by not much more.
Yes, against a single critter that doesn't matter, but when you can take out ten Dremora Lords in the time it takes a warrior just to walk into the room, you know you're onto something a little bit special...
So, to change the example of a wizards damage vs a warriors damage, let's throw a group of critters into the room. Say 10 for ease of multiplication.
In the given sixty seconds, the warrior has still only managed to do a (paltry) 4,800 damage; he can only hit 1 thing with each swing after all.
The wizard on the other hand (I lowered the damage a little to take the AoE cost into consideration) has hit each and every monster with his spells, for a ridiculous 20,000 damage distributed amongst those critters: 4x the warriors effort.
Looking at things this way, it's easy to say that magic is Waay over-powered and close combat isn't worth bothering with. But, like I said at the beginning, it's comparing apples and oranges.
The rest of it though, I agree with completely; the spell costs are completely off the wall when compared to their effects. I'll definitely be giving your alterations a bit of a try

- J

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Horatio
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Re: Are you a Wizard?
      #817409 - 10/10/02 10:25 PM

true. but after the wizard finishes clearing out the room, he/she has to rest for 48 hours or drink several restore magicka potions. the warrior can keep on hacking until his sword breaks (i.e. a long time). also, large group encounters in morrowind are rare and even then it's very rarely more than 3 or 4 at once.

anyway, you do raise a good point.

cheers

h

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LDones
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Re: Balancing Spells
      #817498 - 10/10/02 11:17 PM

Wakim - I hate to bother anyone for time, but I have yet to aActually play through the game an entire time - I've been too busy searching for the 'perfect' Morrowind experience and modding and tweaking and revising, etc. I'm in the uinque position of trying to do all this without ruining anything for myself - (HA).

Would you be kind enough to post some lists of your changes to weapons and creatures, for those of us with a not-quite-so-broad view of the big Morrowind picture? If it's easier to post mods of it, I've got webspace to put them up, but I'd love it if you'd be willing to post lists of changes so we can nitpick and add to existing mods (like Morrowind Advanced, etc.) as we can. You've obviously got a lot of research information on this. If you've got the patience, I'm sure many of us would be hugely thankful, not least of all me.

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LDones
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Re: Termites in the walls
      #817523 - 10/10/02 11:26 PM

One more thing - Horatio - What's the setting for Enchantment recharges? - There's a few in the Game settings menu, but they all seem to be for enchantment chance and cost, etc.

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Horatio
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Re: Termites in the walls
      #817607 - 10/11/02 12:15 AM

LDones:

'fMagicItemRechargePerSecond' is probably the one you're looking for.

cheers

h

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wakim
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Blinded by the glare
      #817621 - 10/11/02 12:20 AM

fEffectCostMult = 0.5 is the setting for all magicka costs for all spell effects. Changing this will change what all spells and enchantments cost. Everything. Linear change. Doubling this makes all spells cost twice as much magicka, all enchanted items cost twice as many charges.

fEnchantmentValueMult = 1000.00 is the setting for the price you pay at an enchanter to enchant an item. Linear.

fEnchantmentMult = 0.1 is the setting for how much enchantment an item can hold based upon the value set in each individual item's property file. Linear, if an item in TESCS shows an enchantment value of 1200 (i.e. an equisite ring) multiply it by fEnchantmentMult to get the actual enchantment you'll see in the make an enchanted item window.

iMagicItemChargeOnce = 1.0 is the setting for the number of charges an automatically calculated cast once effect enchanted item will have. Formula is BaseSpellEffectCost x iMagicItemChargeOnce. Linear. This way an item with a cast once effect will have exactly the number of charges needed to cast the effect upon it.

iMagicItemChargeStrike = 10 is the setting for the multiplier for automatically calculated charges for cast when strikes effect enchanted items. Same formula as above. This setting means that a cast when strikes item should have enough charges to strike 10 times (at enchant skill 50) before it is out of charges.

iMagicItemChargeUse = 5 is the setting for the multiplier for charges for automatically calculated cast when used effect enchanted items. See above for explaination.

iSoulAmountForConstantEffect = 400 is the setting for the minimum soul value to toggle the constant effect button in the enchantment creation window.

fMagicItemRechargePerSecond = 0.05 is the setting for the amount of charges restored to a charged magic item per second of game play. Linear. 0.05 x 20 seconds = 1 charge restored.



Currently unknown gameplay settings:

fEnchantmentChanceMult = 3.00 I assume this a multipler to your base chance to succeed at making an item.

fEnchantmentConstantChanceMult = 0.50 I assume this reduces your chance to successfully create a constant effect item by 50 percent.

fEnchantmentConstantDurationMult = 100 I assume this sets constant effect items to duration 100 percent.

iMagicItemChangeConst = 10.0 I assume this sets the auto calculated charge value for constant effect items. Probably used for internal game mechanics book keeping.

fMagicItemConstantMult = 1.0 On all of these I don't even have assumptions, yet.
fMagicItemCostMult = 1.0
fMagicItemOnceMult = 1.0
fMagicItemPriceMult = 1.0
fMagicItemStrikeMult = 1.0
fMagicItemUsedMult = 1.0




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LDones
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Re: Termites in the walls
      #817652 - 10/11/02 12:48 AM

Horatio, thanks. Again, you're the man. This whole thread kicks ass....



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LDones
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Re: Blinded by the glare
      #817654 - 10/11/02 12:51 AM

In reply to:


fMagicItemConstantMult = 1.0 On all of these I don't even have assumptions, yet.
fMagicItemCostMult = 1.0
fMagicItemOnceMult = 1.0
fMagicItemPriceMult = 1.0
fMagicItemStrikeMult = 1.0
fMagicItemUsedMult = 1.0




I'm assuming that each of these multiplies the individual enchantment cost PER USE of an enchanted item, but I can't be sure (The PriceMult figure is the one that throws me. I'm going to fiddle with this right now and see...

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Balancing Weapons
      #817660 - 10/11/02 12:56 AM

I'll keep this really brief. In summary, I downgraded bound weapons by ten percent in their damage to allow for "real" daedric weapons to be superior (also considering that bound weapons are always full health and do full damage, while "real"weapons degrade and do less damage). I upgraded the daedric dagger to make it better than ebony but worse than a daedric tanto. I suspect this was just an oversight, as some enchanted daedric daggers have vastly different base damages. I upgraded the unused daedric weapons, corrected the daedric staff being the same damage as an ebony staff, tried to hit the enchanted weapons that use daedric weapons as a base (i.e. Boethiah's Walking Stick) for consistancy, added enchantments to Volendrung al la what it says in Tamrielic Lore (in game book) and based on the item's effects in Daggerfall and Arena. I also tried to consider a weapon's speed when comparing damage done... Okay, in brief:

Bound Longsword damage from 2-32, 1-44, 4-40 to 2-28, 1-40, 4-36
Bound Battle Axe from 1-80,1-60,1-8 to 1-72,1-54,1-7
Bound Mace from 5-30,5-30,2-4 to 5-29, 5-30, 1-4
Daedric Mace from 5-30,5-30,2-4 to 5-32,5-34,2-4
Daedric Spear from 2-9,2-9,6-40 to 2-9,2-10,6-44
Bound Longbow from 2-50 to 2-45
Bound Dagger from 9-20,9-20,10-20 to 8-12,8-12,8-12 (this is a starting spell, remember)
Daedric Dagger from 8-12,8-12,8-12 to 8-15,8-16,8-18
Daedric Staff from 2-16,3-16,1-12 to 3-20,4-22,2-15
Ebony Staff, enchantment from 900 to 150
Boethiah's Walking Stick to same base damage as daedric staff
Daedric club from 10-12,4-8,4-8 to 10-20,8-18,4-12 (I still don't think anyone would ever use this)
Daedric Dagger Soultrap from 8-12,8-12,8-12 to same damage as daedric dagger.
Daedric club tgdc increased to same damage as daedric club
Dwarven Warhammer Volendrung from 1-39,1-33,1-2 (this is an artifact? It is exactly the same as a regular Dwarven Hammer. Someone overlooked this) to 1-50,1-42,1-3. Health to 6000 from 5000, value from 600 to 50000. Added enchantment: Absorb Strength 15-15 for 30, paralyze for 2, absorb health 1-2 for 10, charge 250.
Ebony Tower Shield exactly the same as ebony round shield, changed AR from 60 to 65, weight from 30 to 35, health from 1200 to 1400.

You know, this is getting longer than I thought. Give me your e-mail and I'll send ya the file. I really haven't had enough time to test out all these changes, so most are pretty conservative, a 10 percent addition or a ten percent subtraction, except where I see an obvious error or inconsistancy.


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Horatio
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Re: Balancing Weapons
      #817686 - 10/11/02 01:16 AM

>fEnchantmentConstantDurationMult = 100 I assume this sets constant effect items to duration 100 percent.<

you assume incorrectly, wakim.

this wonderful setting is the multiplier for constant effect cast cost as compared to a 0 duration spell. so restore health 2-2 for 0 secs, which costs 0.50 to cast as a spell, costs 0.5 x 100 = 50 as a constant effect.

so changing this value would radically alter the balance of enchanting. i changed it to 10 and enchanted a ring with constant effect restore health 40. quite amusing.

cheers

h

Edited by Horatio (10/11/02 01:18 AM)

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LDones
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Re: Blinded by the glare
      #817731 - 10/11/02 01:50 AM

In reply to:

fMagicItemConstantMult = 1.0
fMagicItemCostMult = 1.0
fMagicItemOnceMult = 1.0
fMagicItemPriceMult = 1.0
fMagicItemStrikeMult = 1.0
fMagicItemUsedMult = 1.0




I was dreadfully wrong about the above settings. Tried multiple
enchant runs on a daedric dai-katana using a 50 sec./5 area Soul Trap enchantment, different mixes of Cast When Strikes/Cast When Used - Stuck w/ Touch as effect setting.

Tried it un-modified and the item charge cost was between 1 & 2 each time for both strikes and Used. - Did it again with the above settings at 10.0, and then 100.0, each time the same.

So I'm stumped for the moment...

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wakim
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Enchanting is hijacking this thread!
      #817774 - 10/11/02 02:50 AM

Ohhhhh, that fEnchantmentConstantMult is a nice setting! I can see this one is begging for tweaking. Raising this just slightly would have a large impact on the overpowering constant effects that can be stacked on the ten or fifteen different wearable armor/clothing pieces (such as regenerate 30+ health a second, or chameleon 100%, or spell absorb 25% (stacked with atronach and necro's amulet = 100%)), and possibly let me move the values of reflect and spell absorption down a mite further to make them valid as castable spells.


I think I have discovered a very unpleasant fact about enchanting, and very disturbing since I can't seem to affect or alter it.

Go into the TESCS and call up the enchanting tab. Select new enchantment and choose:

Fire Damage on Target duration 3 seconds magnitude 100 to 100, cast when used. The cost is: 112

Now, open the spell making tab. Select new spell and choose:

Fire Damage on Target duration 3 seconds magnitude 100 to 100. The cost is: 112

Okay, that seems copacetic. Don't save anything, exit TESCS and fire up the game. Go to any mage's guild and visit the enchanter (or drag a soul gem over your character). Select these options:

Fire Damage on Target duration 3 seconds magnitude 100 to 100, cast when used. The cost is: 112

Now go to a spellmaker, have them make a spell for you with these options:

Fire Damage on Target duration 3 seconds magnitude 100 to 100. The cost is: 150!

Is it just me, or are identical spell effects 1/3rd more costly to cast than to enchant, and then only reflected in the game and not in the construction set? This would mean that not only do enchanters have about an infinite supply of magicka as supplied through items, but lower casting costs for the same spell.

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Re: Blinded by the glare
      #817799 - 10/11/02 03:16 AM

fMagicItemConstantMult = 1.0
fMagicItemCostMult = 1.0
fMagicItemOnceMult = 1.0
fMagicItemPriceMult = 1.0
fMagicItemStrikeMult = 1.0
fMagicItemUsedMult = 1.0

These are still baffling me after another few hours of playing with 'em. Nor can I find the skill effect variable for enchanting; I'll post about that tomorrow when I am clearer headed, but it is giving an exponential increase in enchanted item charge cost reduction due to its linear scaling factor. I was hoping there would be a variable for it, like there is for weapon damage due to strength, but it too is eluding me. I hope it isn't hard coded.

Oh, to add more fun to the mix, don't forget these variables which may, or may not, have a bearing:

fTrapCostMult = 0
fSoulGemMult = 3.0
fConstantEffectMult = 15.0


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LDones
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Re: Enchanting is hijacking this thread!
      #817812 - 10/11/02 03:32 AM

In reply to:

Is it just me, or are identical spell effects 1/3rd more costly to cast than to enchant, and then only reflected in the game and not in the construction set? This would mean that not only do enchanters have about an infinite supply of magicka as supplied through items, but lower casting costs for the same spell.



The above may be true, unless there's a setting no one's noticed that's causing that to happen (though I've no idea where to even begin on that). If there isn't a way to bring the spellcasting cost down, then I'm inclined to think there IS a way to bring enchanting cast-cost up.

If not, then it seems to me the intelligent thing to do to balance out enchanting is to take Horatio's example and remove recharges - or drastically reduce it (Say, 10 pts. (fMagicItemRechargePerSecond = .007, roughly, I think...) per game day, or even lower, though at that rate, might as well cut it off totally). It'd make enchanting a damn useful skill, rather than an overpowering one.

To counterbalance that, one could bump up the autocalc settings in iMagicItemChargeStrike, iMagicItemChargeUse. Don't know if there's a way to make CastOnce items cheaper for Service-Enchanters as a result....

Just saw that last post about the fSoulGemMult, etc. and my head's starting to hurt. I'll check back in tomorrow night...

Wakim and Horatio, you guys are awesome, by the way. I can't add much but my observations, but you two are certainly moving the understanding of this whole game along at a rapid pace. Yeeha.

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Enchanting is now flying this plane.
      #818693 - 10/11/02 02:12 PM

Enchanting is an unbalanced ability included in Morrowind. I have a wonderful proof of this, however the margin is too small to contain it. Levity aside, here are the difficulties as I perceive them:

1) Identical magic effects cost 1/3rd more to cast than when placed in enchanted items. For example: 100 magnitude fire damage for 3 seconds on target costs 150 magicka when cast, but only 112 magicka when placed in an enchanted item. In other words, the in-game spellmakers artificially inflate the cost of casting player make spells.

2) Enchanted items carry their own pools of magicka, rather than using the caster's (I believe this was not the case in Daggerfall). This allows enchanted items to increase the user's store of magical effects, and effective magicka, only bounded by how many items he wishes to carry, and at 0.1 average weight for a ring or amulet this is quite vast.

3) Enchanted effects have no cast or re-cast time - they can be "spammed", resulting in damage amounts that are only limited by how fast the user can click the mouse.

4) Enchanted items re-charge at a default value of one charge every 20 seconds, unlike a caster's magicka which only recharges when he sleeps (unless Atronach birth-sign, when it doesn't recharge at all).

5) Player enchanted items derive their total charges from the value of the soul gem used to create them (default capped at 400 as highest soul value). This gives each player enchanted item an effective magicka pool of 400. Contrast this to a player's intrinsic magicka pool of, by default, a value equal to their intelligence or approximately 100 (before racial and birthsign modifiers). Each enchanted item therefore has the capacity to be four times more effective for casting a spell than a player.

6) Enchanted items cannot "fizzle" when used, unlike a player casting a spell. This makes them more reliable when the chips are down.

7) The ability to save and load games means that a failure rate when creating an enchanted item is about meaningless, the process can simply be repeated until the item is enchanted.

8) The ability of the inventory menu to effectively stop game time means that players can use enchanted items to briefly, but effectively, increase their intelligence to astronomical levels to allow them to enchant any item to the maximum capacity it can hold.

9) Enchanted spell effects do not check the caster's skill in the effect's appropriate school of magic, either when cast, or when created. This allows one school of magic (enchanting) to effectively "trump" all the other schools. If you know enchanting, you know it all.

10) Azura's Star eliminates any type of effective limitation on how many or how often an item can be recharged or enchanted with a soul gem through a finite supply of gems, since it can be used to turn every creature's death into a usable soul.

11) The enchantment skill exponentially decreases the charge cost of using enchanted items. A magic caster always has the same magicka cost for a spell, his skill affects his ability to cast it successfully. The exponential decrease in charge cost is shown in the table below using the Ring of Equity as an example:


Enchant Skill Value Charge Cost per Use

100 152
90 305
80 458
70 611
60 764
50 917
40 1070
30 1223
20 1376
10 1529


Note that from enchantment skill 10 to enchantment skill 60 the same magical item can now be cast twice as much as before. Increasing one's enchanting skill by the first 50 points doubles the efficency of enchanted items. However, the next doubling takes place in only 25 points, from 60 to 85. And doubles again in the next 12 points.

Note that at skill level 100 an enchanted item is twice as effective as at skill level 90 - a doubling in only ten points. If one increased their enchanting skill to 110, theoretically the increase would be infinite: that it would be free to cast an enchanted item. I assume that the skill reduction would be capped at a minimum of 1 charge, so that would only be a reduction of 152 times, rather than infinite. There are currently, in game, a few items that increase enchanting skill. I'll test this out to verify the result of enchanting values above 100.

Now, the down side of enchanting that balances out all these bonuses:

1) Items now glow with a hideous plastic sheen that will be pink if the enchantment comes from the school of alteration.





Edit: Using Akatosh's ring to boost my enchanting skill to 110, all enchanted items now cost 0-1 charge to cast, regardless of their spell effects.


Edited by wakim (10/11/02 02:22 PM)

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Horatio
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Re: Enchanting is now flying this plane.
      #818788 - 10/11/02 02:52 PM

wakim,

well, most of that i already knew or suspected, but it is nice to have it methodically laid out like that. the whole save/reload thing with enchanting is a bit of a non-issue, since it's effectively impossible to enchant powerful items no matter how potent your enchant or intelligence. besides, IMO the real use of enchant is in recharging and minimizing charge use.

the fact that 110 enchanting results in 0 or 1 charges being used is interesting, though.

i'm curious, for comparison, how fast does magicka recharge while sleeping? is it dependent on anything?

as i mentioned above, i use 0 recharge per second in my game. i find it does compensate to some degree for the overwhelming power of enchanting.

another improvement might be to reduce the value of soul gems and perhaps remove the ability from all enchanters to barter for weapons. this would reduce the option of using an enchanter to make an incredibly expensive enchanted item and then selling him/her a whole bunch filled soul gems or excess daedric weapons to recoup your cash.

cheers

h





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wakim
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Re: Enchanting is now flying this plane.
      #818887 - 10/11/02 03:48 PM

I suspect that the only way to balance enchanting is to make everything that is player enchanted glow pink, irrespective of the school of magic that the enchantment derives from.

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Horatio
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Re: Enchanting is now flying this plane.
      #818917 - 10/11/02 04:13 PM

sadly this would not work as most people use glow eliminating or reducing plugins to remove the whole "christmas tree wrapped in plastic bags" effect.

cheers

h

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wakim
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Re: Enchanting is now flying this plane.
      #818938 - 10/11/02 04:25 PM

Glow reducing plug-ins then seriously unbalance the game! That is the only thing holding enchanting in check!


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Horatio
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Re: Enchanting is now flying this plane.
      #818973 - 10/11/02 04:39 PM

i think i'm gonna redo the enchant glow textures with an animated paisley motif. psychadelic enchanting, baby!

now if only someone could do an afro mod.

AFRO MOD!

cheers

h

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wakim
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The FAA needs to crack down on enchanting abuse.
      #819133 - 10/11/02 05:53 PM

The solution to enchanting.

The only thing that I can see worth manipulating for game play settings that affect enchanting is fEnchantmentConstantDurationMult and fMagicItemRechargePerSecond. Toying with these variables will potentially reduce the amount of constant effect enchantment that can be placed in any given item and the amount of charges items regain per second (currently 1 charge per 20 seconds) respectively. The ConstantDurationMult will prevent abuses like Chameleon 100 percent constantly.

Sadly, this is a poor Band-aid. Reducing charges regained per second is easily off set by creating an item of summon <insert creature name> and soul trapping it in Azura's Star and recharging your items. Infinite magicka through enchanting returns.

The real solution to this problem is hard coding. My recommendations are simple and easily coded. They are:

1) Add the spell casting animation to effects cast through enchanted items. This prevents both Uzi-like spamming of enchanted effects and the ability to enhance one's intelligence into the thousands in order to be able to enchant anything to its highest value. The spell casting animation duration means that items cannot be effectively created that boost one's intelligence 100 points for 3 sec, and then stacking them through the time stopping device of the inventory menu. Each enchanted item cast would cost about 1 second, capping artificial intelligence fortifying to about 300. This stops the worst cases of the most powerful (and unbalancing) player enchanted items.

2) Change the coded value that reduces the "spell cost" value of enchanted effects to be significantly less than normally cast spells. There is no valid reason why the same spell should cost 1/3 more to cast than to enchant. If anything, it could be argued that it should be the other way around.

3) Change the formula for charge use reduction based on enchanting skill. I suspect that currently the formula is:

Charge Cost = (Spell Effect Cost x (110 - Enchant Skill))/100

If this formula is worth saving, then change it to:

Charge Cost = (Spell Effect Cost x (150 - Enchant Skill))/100

This would make enchanted spell effect's charge cost 1.4 times the spell effects actual value at skill level 10, the spell effects actual value at skill level 50, and half its value at skill level 100.

Being able to cast a spell effect from an enchanted item (with its own magicka pool independent from, and probably greater than the caster's own) at one thirteenth (1/13) the charge cost of the spell effect as when cast by a player in the form of a spell is absurd. The difference is over an order of magnitude. Increasing the charge cost per use of enchanted items also addresses the error of having them recharge faster than a caster's magicka, as they would, at best, be using five times as many charges per cast. This also addresses the enormous magicka pools the items have, as again, they would be using five times more charges per cast.

In other words, a fireball that "should" cost a caster 112 points to cast (but actually costs 150), an enchanter (100 skill) can currently trigger off an enchanted exquisite ring at a charge cost of 11 points. The ring will have 400 total changes. The enchanter can cast this spell 36 times in less than two seconds (only bounded by how fast he can click). With these three changes the caster remains constant, but now the same enchanter has the same fireball costing 75 charges and he can only cast it 5 times from this item and it would take normal casting times (about 5 seconds for 5 casts, I assume). To express in damage per second, the enchanter has gone from 5400 dps to 300 dps. A change of an order of magnitude.

Three easy coded changes. To summarize:

1) Add spell casting animation to "cast when used" and "cast once" effects cast through enchanted items.
2) Remove the hidden penalty from the in-game spell maker, or add it to the in game enchanting window.
3) Change the constant value in the charge per use reduction formula based on the player's enchant skill from 110 to 150.


Now, those are probably the easiest steps to bringing enchanting from being so far out of line that it is unbalancing to a point where it can be argued what should be done to fine tune it. For instance, should enchanting check your skill in an appropriate school of magic when you use or perhaps when you enchant an item? Should enchanting check against its own skill value to successfully use an enchanted effect? But fine tuning questions are the fun points to argue. Enchanting needs to first be brought back into the ball park before it can play the game.

These three changes, along with the values that can be edited in TESCS for constant effect items and recharge rate (or no recharge rate) should allow enchanting to be an enjoyable, and not a game killing, skill to practice.

Until then, just say no to enchanting (excepting minor constant effects on items, such as restore stamina four points, night eye 20%, and possibly water breathing... oh, and fortify strength 10 points for the heavy armor types). Currently, I don't see how enchanting can be used without being abused.


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Horatio
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Re: The FAA needs to crack down on enchanting abuse.
      #819210 - 10/11/02 06:21 PM

i think the gameplay settings need to be examined in more detail.

perhaps there is one that corresponds to the "inflation factor" for creating spells through spellmaking. also, the amount that enchanting reduces charge use or the base charge use for enchanted items maybe be tied to yet another obscure gameplay setting.

not abusing the 0 cast time for enchanted objects is fairly easy through self-discipline. i believe it's just the result of an oversight on the part of the developers. if they had intended for instantaneous enchanted item use, they wouldn't have included the casting animation.

cheers

h

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Re: The FAA needs to crack down on enchanting abuse.
      #819311 - 10/11/02 07:03 PM

I'd be willing to bet that, in coding, all enchanted effects were lumped into the same category, and to avoid a casting animation on 'cast when strikes' and 'constant effect' items they just pulled the animation. But this is pure speculation and not constructive.

If you can find a player alterable gameplay setting I'd be happy to tinker more. As it now stands I can't see any value in it, as TESCS is not giving me the tools I need to address the core issues of enchanting, nor can I Band-Aid it sufficiently with what I have. All it needs is two values changed and an animation flagged for it. This is too easy to fix in coding for me to tinker for hours trying to wrap gauze on a wound that simply needs three stitches to close. My mantra is add forty to the charge cost skill reduction constant, flag the animation, remove the hidden spell maker penalty multiplier of 1.33.

In the meantime I'll consider it unrepairable, unless shown otherwise, and simply not use enchanting. If you have any luck finding a value in TESCS that can affect the core issues of enchanting I'll change my tune quickly. But 400 charges on a ring that can cast a 100 point fireball at a cost of 3 charges in zero effective time is too absurd to even consider. It makes a mockery of ever bothering to cast a spell from one's own magicka reserves. If I want a click fest I'll play Diablo.

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LDones
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Re: The FAA needs to crack down on enchanting abuse.
      #819485 - 10/11/02 08:30 PM

You know, this may be a good thing to send to the devs - either for a request on clarification of settings, or as a possible request for an .exe/.esm update to jam into Tribunal before it's released.

Last minute, to be sure, but it's a pretty serious game balance issue that MANY folks would like to see addressed - and with a great deal of hard data behind it...

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Re: Blinded by the glare
      #833668 - 10/18/02 10:29 AM

fMagicItemConstantMult
fMagicItemCostMult
fMagicItemOnceMult
fMagicItemPriceMult
fMagicItemStrikeMult
fMagicItemUsedMult

The above are all unused.

fTrapCostMult -- multiplied by the spell cost of a trap and then added to your chance of disarming it. Since it's set to zero, the trap spell's cost is not incorporated into the chance. So basically it's also unused.

fSoulGemMult -- a soul gem's monetary value is multiplied by this value to determine the soul capacity of a soul gem. Creatures with a soul value less than or equal to that capacity can "fit" in the gem.

fConstantEffectMult -- unused.



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**DONOTDELETE**

Re: Blinded by the glare
      #833712 - 10/18/02 10:49 AM

Thanks for the clarifications Mr.SmileyFaceDude. I hope these and other game mechanics you are privy to will help in the adjustments being made by Wakim and others!

Cheers,
Simon

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Horatio
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Re: Blinded by the glare
      #833994 - 10/18/02 01:22 PM

MSFD:

thanks for clarifying the purpose (or lack of purpose) of those settings. i was wondering if you could perhaps elaborate a little more on the fTrapCostMult setting.

you said:

"fTrapCostMult -- multiplied by the spell cost of a trap and then added to your chance of disarming it. Since it's set to zero, the trap spell's cost is not incorporated into the chance. So basically it's also unused."

does that mean that if we set this setting to a positive value traps with strong spells would be easier to disarm? so we should set it to a negative value if we want powerful traps to be harder to disarm?

also, in general, is trap disarming difficultly currently identical to the lock difficulty on the container? or is it always the same?

btw, is there a setting that controls how much spellmaking inflates the magicka cost of spells?

cheers

h









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wakim
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Mysteries of the Cheshire Cat
      #834041 - 10/18/02 01:51 PM

Many thanks for clarifying a few of the obscure mysteries of the Construction Set.



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LDones
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Re: Blinded by the glare
      #834818 - 10/18/02 08:15 PM

In reply to:

"fTrapCostMult -- multiplied by the spell cost of a trap and then added to your chance of disarming it. Since it's set to zero, the trap spell's cost is not incorporated into the chance. So basically it's also unused."

does that mean that if we set this setting to a positive value traps with strong spells would be easier to disarm? so we should set it to a negative value if we want powerful traps to be harder to disarm?



After a quick test-run on a 100-lock door w/ a Hand of Dagoth Trap (39 mana), and an fTrapCost Mult of 1000, it's very obvious that the higher the fTrapCost value, the harder it is to disarm a trap, something that I've always found far too easy.

I'm still unsure whether normal Trap disarm chance is based off of Lock Level or Trap Spell Cost (I'm going to test that in a minute).

Now, there's a setting called fPickLockMult, set to -1.0000 - I'm wondering if this is what accounts for the lack of necessity of a Security skill higher than 50. Gonna play with that now, too...


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Re: Blinded by the glare
      #834861 - 10/18/02 08:40 PM

Okay, real quick follow-up/recap of what my findings are telling me.

- fTrapCostMult - Initially set at 0.00 - The higher the number the harder it is to disarm a trap.

- Chance to disarm a trap is based off of the Trap Spell Cost in the editor, NOT off of the lock's level, which I and many others had previously thought.

- fPickLockMult - Initially set at -1.000 - The lower the number the harder it is to pick a lock (Strange disparity with the above, but it's concrete.) - The multiplier sensitivity is on a per-skill-point basis (I think, could use more testing...) - (example - with an fPickLockMult value of -1000.0000, a 100-Level Lock requires a 100,000 level security to unlock on the first try.) - However, now that I think about it, it might be on a Lock Level value multiplier rather than skill, which would make more sense - Though I'm not sure how to test that...

What this reveals, is that the rather unelegant previous method of making locks and traps more difficult (simply decreasing their effectiveness) is unnecessary, although the detailed, incremental specifics of these changes are still up in the air.

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Astromarine
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Re: Enchanting is hijacking this thread!
      #834874 - 10/18/02 08:49 PM

Actually, I once played around (and was extremely satisfied with the "feel" of it) with *negative* recharges. Really small values, like -0.0005, meaning that all those items you have in your inventory while bartering in balmora are veeeery slooowly losing magical charge. Meaning that the player would have to guarantee he is fully charged up before going on long expeditions, and that he takes a supply of empty sould gems with him

willing to try something like this?

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wakim
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The key to knowledge
      #834891 - 10/18/02 08:59 PM

Although I admit to more than a passing interest in both traps and locks, telekinesis and open spells almost make it a moot point. If telekinesis casting cost is severly increased to make disarming a trap by hand worthwile, then it eliminates its usefulness in picking things up at a distance: which I assume many classes and play styles use in a reasonable way. Open spells I keep bumping the casting cost upwards, but still I find myself almost never prefering to pick a lock by hand (and have to dig in inventory for a pick, and have to worry about another skill, and have to carry picks in all their different qualities and "charges").

However, I do like the idea of having tougher traps and locks, but I think the ideal implementation would to have had both mechanical locks (which are not affected by spells) and magical locks (which are only affected by spells). This would differentiate the two abilities and make them both erstwile.

By the way, TESCS help file states that a lock level of 100 will require a security skill of 100 to open it (I believe they describe a 100 level lock as "unopenable". Since this is in error, yet probably what was intended (and makes sense - "Oh, Hi Mr. Vivec... you live here?"), what value of fPickLockMult would address this? I can see bumping open spell casting costs higher if there was a parity with the difficulty of using a pick to open a similar lock. In other words, what value of fPickLockMult gives a message of "This lock too complex" on a lock level 100 door at a 90 skill level, but not a 91 skill level?

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wakim
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Re: Enchanting has hijacked this thread!
      #834911 - 10/18/02 09:11 PM

Negative enchanted item recharging, that is novel! Like a leaky battery! I like the idea. Do items make that little "tinging" noise when they discharge, like they do when they recharge? Although I suspect that this will again "hit cast when strikes" items the hardest. This is something that I may play around with, although I haven't set my own enchanted item recharge rate to zero yet, as I haven't had the opportunity to "play" Morrowind in a few weeks. My time has been spent in the Construction Set - only loading Morrowind to test a change. Long term affects such as re-charge rates I haven't got around to playing with on my own to get a feel for... you really can't spot test a recharge rate, ya just gotta play for a while and see how it feels. The version of WGI that is released has that rate decreased, but it is something that I haven't spent enough time tweaking to have really gotten a handle on the value that feels right to me. But I like the idea. Or, does it just turn into an inventory management nightmare as you sort through all your items to see what your Azura's star gets to recharge next?

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Autumnfox
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Re: Enchanting has hijacked this thread!
      #834939 - 10/18/02 09:29 PM

Locks - As I typically play a roguish type, I'm looking forward to whatever this research leads to. I'd love to see locks and traps a little more difficult, but at the same time the open and telekinesis spells make it pointless. I do understand the need for the latter two, as not every one plays a character with roguish abilities, but I still feel they downplay the rogue's skills. My initial solution to this was to double the number of uses on lockpicks and probes, and also increase the spell effect costs of Open and Telekinesis by 2.5x or so.

Enchantments - My solution here was to reduce the rate of recharge to 1/3 normal (meaning you'll only recharge 1 charge per minute), while changing the iMagicItemChargeStrike setting to 25 (2.5x normal).

Negative recharging - An intriguing idea, although this would make enchanted items useless rather quickly. Perhaps if this was balanced by the addition of a vendor selling only low-quality soulgems (for recharging purposes, mainly)? Although again, this would still hit hardest those items with "cast on strikes". I suppose you could stop recharging entirely, and then add scripts to all enchanted items with "cast on strike" effects so they'll slowly recharge. You might run into some problems with some legendary items whcih already have scripts, though, not to mention player-enchanted items. Hrmm...

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wakim
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Enchanting has hijacked this thread!
      #834974 - 10/18/02 09:53 PM

The WGI I am testing now has recharge rates at down by 60%, and open spells increased by 60%. I tend to get conservative once I get close to doubling or halving an established value. My thought is that I must be missing something if I am tweaking a value that much. But with values at these levels I really haven't noticed a difference, to be honest, so I am inclined to go further, but I would like to play more at these values before doing so.

I have never had a play style that relied on enchanted items, mainly because I hate going to the inventory window, then scrolling down to the bottom of the spell list to find what I wanted. I have played thief-types, and I enjoyed using telekinesis with its low magicka cost for my low magicka character. But low magicka types should naturally gravitate towards picks and probes rather than spells, no?

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Coen
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Spells done, how about weapons?
      #835054 - 10/18/02 10:22 PM

Just dropped in to say hello and 'thanks for your work' Mr. Wakim

One sugestion - seeing how you manged spell balancing, how about some weapon balance? Not the damage actually, but range... seems silly that dagger has the same range as longsword...

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Autumnfox
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Weapon modifications
      #835084 - 10/18/02 10:35 PM

Yes, all weapons have the same range. Weird, isn't it?

There's actually two mods that do balance weapons (including range), although how well I cannot say. One just modifies the range, speed and damage, while another goes much further modifying names, types, and, in my opinion, too much. Like Wakim, I much prefer more subtle tweaking unless I can't find a better alternative. Then again, I haven't tried the latter, so who knows, it may be good. I would like to see Wakim's suggestion on this sort of thing eventually, though.

For the life of me, I can't remember the name of either mod...

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Re: Weapon modifications
      #835130 - 10/18/02 11:03 PM

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wakim
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Re: Weapon modifications
      #835135 - 10/18/02 11:06 PM

Say it aint so, Joe! Seriously? I thought I saw (and I admit to being more concerned with weapon speeds (when I was looking at skill increase rates) and weapon damage (when I was laughing at the daedric club and staff)) that spears had a substantially greater range than other weapons. I can't recall any of the others... but really? I was watching a wizard ealrier today who had Burdened me past my encumberance limit, while I was testing some spell changes, melee me with a glass staff and I couldn't touch him with my katana. I'll take a look.


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wakim
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When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #835183 - 10/18/02 11:46 PM

I looked at Daedric types only, as representative of their class. Spears and staves have a range of 1.80, warhammers 1.50, and umm...everything else from a claymore to a dagger is 1.00.

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**DONOTDELETE**

Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #835330 - 10/19/02 01:55 AM

I just wanted to compliment horatio, MSFD, and wakim for all their work in this subject, and i had something to add.

I do think that telekinesis should perhaps be rebalanced but not completely, i play a warrior/mysticism/illusion sort of type...i basically tried to model my race class etc. after myself in real life in a sort of symbolic way...willpower is basically me..
i dont know if any of that made sense
but just to add an angle to the discussion...

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maxpublic
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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #835401 - 10/19/02 02:52 AM

While it's true that the magicka system as implemented in the game is very much out of whack, a good chunk of the problem is dependent on how other, non-magical systems are implemented. No matter how much you change the spells you're still going to run into problems based upon these other systems.

An example: hit points increase markedly with each advance in level, and leveling up is way too easy in the game. Find a few daedric weapons, hunt down Creeper, and soon you're training so fast your main problem is running back to a bed before having another go with your local trainers. In my first game I took quite some time to reach level 14, then discovered the islands off of Hla Oad with their string of ruins. The cash gains here were so great I went from level 14 to level 30-something purely through training, and after this point I had so many hit points (and goodies) that no mage in Morrowind could seriously threaten me.

Furthermore, I found that using the game's spell-making system I couldn't create a spell that could do more than 100 points of damage in a go, much less cast it more than once or twice before running out of magicka. Even if the NPC mages were packing my super-fireballs and super-shockbolts and so forth, they had no chance of surviving long enough to take me out before I hacked them to itty-bitty pieces. And they weren't using my spells, they were using much weaker versions which barely did anything to my health bar - assuming I failed to resist the spell in the first place.

So, the magic problem is compounded by a) super-expensive items you can sell to get cash for training, and b) big increases in hit points. In order to make magic truly powerful you not only have to change the spell system but also these two things as well. I'd suggest the following as examples:

- eliminate creeper and reduce the worth of all enchanted/ebony/daedric/glass/whatever items by a huge amount. A factor of 10 in the case of daedric items wouldn't be too much (that longsword is still worth 4 or 5 thousand gold, even if the price is cut to a tenth, and that's a nice bit of training). If your Mercantile is low then that sword is worth quite a bit less, even doing the buy-sell routine with your local merchant (the side effect being that Mercantile now becomes a far more useful skill than it currently is).

A counter-argument would be that these weapons would be too easy to buy. Well, that would be a counter-argument assuming you could actually buy them anywhere, but you can't - except from merchants you sell them to. If you buy them back later, so what? You've just used the merchant as an expensive storage system, nothing more. Next time try a crate. If you want to rationalize it, the mere weight of the daedric weaponry would make them virtually worthless except as the conversation pieces of rich merchants and nobles.

- reduce hit point gains for leveling up. Once you've got 250-300 hit points the odds of anything doing enough damage to kill you are extremely small. No spell-caster is going to take you out, that's for certain. If the system were reduced to, say, Endurance + 2 points/level then spell-casters with an altered spell-using system suddenly become dangerous again. Even at level 25 with an Endurance of 100 (not very likely unless you've pumped up your endurance at every level-up) you'd have 150 hit points. A couple of good damage inducing spells and you'll soon be seeing the 'would you like to load your last saved game?' message. Mages become nasty critters and you suddenly see value in spells that resist magic, fire, frost, and shock - assuming these spells are altered so you could actually cast them, of course.

This is just all one very long way to say that the spells are only part of the problem. To truly fix magic you have to fix the other elements it's dependent on, at the very least the overblown hit point gains per level.

Max

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wakim
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Weapons
      #835547 - 10/19/02 01:42 PM

I set up a test dummy: a permanently paralyzed Dremora with 9000 hit points, and did some testing on weapon ranges. Here are my results:

-Any weapon whose range is set to less than 1.00 defaults back to 1.00. This means that no weapon in Morrowind can have a range less than 1.00. I tested this by setting the ranges of bound weapons to various amounts (0.10 to 1.80), summoning the various weapons and stepping closer or farther from my test dummy to determine the weapon's range.

-Visually, a range of 1.80 is about twice the range of 1.00 (maybe exactly 1.80 times the range, hard to tell by eye-balling it).

-Visually, from first person perspective, the range difference of a spear (1.80) and a katana (1.00) look/feel about right.

-Visually, from third person perspective, a spear looks like it is hitting something from a mile away.

Since a range of 1.00 feels about right for katanas and swords, it would seem ideal to reduce the range of daggers and shortswords. This cannot be done. However, the larger two handed weapons (dia-katanas, claymores, battleaxes) can be increased in range to allow them to fit between spears and staves (1.80 range) and regular swords.

A formula I developed to gauge the "value" of a weapon is this:

2/3*(avg damage*weapon speed) + 1/3*(avg damage * weapon speed * weapon reach)

This formula weighs the raw damage of a weapon (avg damage * speed) as being two thirds more valuable than the reach, which is of use only in certain situations - since most enemies will close to short range most of the time. Also, weapon speed seems to be a direct proportional multiplier in a weapon's damage, in that a weapon of speed 2 is twice as fast (strikes twice as often) as a weapon of speed 1 and hence does twice the damage (although the value of a fast weapon can be considered situationally better or worse, I will neglect that aspect for this assumption).

In summary: there are no "short ranged" weapons in Morrowind, nor can there be, there can only be medium and long ranged weapons.


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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #835589 - 10/19/02 02:12 PM

"... a good chunk of the problem is dependent on how other, non-magical systems are implemented." Yup. I agree. My goal in magicial effect balancing is to make the magic system balanced within itself. When it is (by default) almost 10x easier to heal damage than it is to resist damage, when it is more expensive to damage fatigue than to damage health, when it is more expensive to burden than to paralyze, then there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Once the magic system is consistant and rational, then it can be adjusted to be on par with other elements of the game simply by throwing some multiplier at the whole thing: say by increasing total magicka, or overall reduced casting costs.

While the in-game spell maker will not let you increase magnitudes beyond 100, you can easily, in the case of raw damage, multiply this by the duration to get increased damage beyond 100 (but over a period of time). Or, you can multiply it by a weakness to xxxx effect to do the same. Also, TESCS allows one to increase effects well beyond 100 - something I took advantage of in WGI to create a purchasable burden series that exceeds 100 magnitude and thusly be effective beyond what a player could create in game (and since one needs 250 burden to stop an unarmored 50 strength mage, this is a required alteration to make that line useful).

The selling value of weapons being so high (120,000 for a daedric dia-katana) really means that they can't be sold for cash, unless you are willing to hold the mouse button on the decrease offer value for minutes on end. However, the ease of obtaining very high damage weapons in the game is a problem. One gets the feeling that Morrowind was designed so that no matter what you did you couldn't fail to become god-exceeding in power. Correcting these elements are also possible. Removing the dremora's daedric weapons is a large step towards this, and one that quite a few mods do.

Really, Morrowind was not designed for challenging play after level 20, yet the game was set up so that you couldn't help but exceed level 20 before you "completed" the game, let alone 10% of all the content it offers. Many mods address this by introducing new critters for post 20 challenge (Giants 2.0) or by slowing advancement (see "more morrowind" thread for the Turtlewind mod), some remove Creeper (MW-Advanced). You are not alone in seeing the problems, the question is what is the best means of correcting them?

Ultimately can Morrowind be made perfect? Naw. Can it be made better? Yup. Without access to the hard coded formulas of Morrwind the changes that can be made are finite in scope, but they can make a difference.

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LDones
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Re: The key to knowledge
      #835667 - 10/19/02 03:05 PM

In reply to:

In other words, what value of fPickLockMult gives a message of "This lock too complex" on a lock level 100 door at a 90 skill level, but not a 91 skill level?




After more than a bit of testing and general arse-ing about with the fPickLockMult setting, I've come to some key conclusions about making Security a skill worth pumping above 50.

- An fPickLock value of -1.3000 APPEARS to be ideal.
- At this value:
- With a lockpick quality of 1.00, it requires a Security skill of 91 to even attempt to pick a 100 Lock Level door. (i.e. to not get a 'Lock Too Complex' message) - A lockpick quality of 1.30 can attempt it at Security skill level 67. Thus making a thief with a Security skill of 100 a very cool guy.
- Starting characters with a Security skill of 15 and a lockpick quality of 1.00 can still open locked doors in towns with a Lock Level of 25 or lower (though with some effort).

The problems I think are inherent in this kind of change:

1. There is a distinct lack of under Lock level 20-25 locks in the game. There are some, but they are very few in number. With any major tweak to the fPickLockMult setting, one runs the risk of making Security a useless skill unless chosen as a Primary/Major Skill. With an fPickLockMult value of -1.3000, you can't open a level 20 lock unless Security is chosen as a minor skill. Which would require characters that didn't do so to train their skill up to 10-15 to open just about anything at all.

2. While these changes make the security skill far more satisfying to develop, they make magic unlocking/probing significantly more desirable than they already are. I'm of the opnion that anyone seeking to tweak their lockpicking settings like this would find it in their interest to up the cost of open spells and decrease the quality/increase the cost of available open spells/scrolls significantly. I think it should cost a point of magicka per Lock Level door to open, at LEAST (not counting area effect mult's on the spell, though I'm not sure how to tweak the cast cost of that), and a 100 lock-level opening spell should only be available through personal spellmaking.

3. There are a lot of very important things behind heavily locked doors with no keys, the designer and even modmaker's assumption being that unlocking a door is essentially child's play. This could conceivably be a problem, especially for melee characters, who are unable to bash down doors in Morrowind as they were in Daggerfall.

I'm interested in the long term repercussions of a change like this, and will more than likely play through the entire game with it at some point, to see what happens.

As for the fTrapCostMult setting, and making trap disarming more difficult, I'm still a tad conflicted. As stated previously the Trap disarming difficulty is based on spell cost, not lock level, and there are a number of disabling/offensive spells w/ casting costs well over 100, essentially making them completely undisarmable. They are, however, in the minority. So in other words, compensating for them makes other traps too easy to disarm, ignoring them makes a small percentage of traps completely untouchable, and I'm not sure how to remedy that at all, or even if it should be remedied.

It seems like the most intelligent move in that area is to just decrease the quality of low-end probes and increase the quality of high-end ones, but I don't have any hard data. I'll get to that soon.

I think all of this will end up in some sort of Thief-experience overhauling/enhancing mod, with all of these changes and considerations put together. My only worry is that it cripples melee characters in the long-run (amusingly enough).

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wakim
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Re: The key to knowledge
      #835780 - 10/19/02 04:14 PM

Don't forget to try it with variable values of agility. Although Intelligence is the "governing" attribute for security, the value of your agility stat is actually more important than your security skill. Agility of 160 (Ring of Wind, and umm.. Marara's ring?) allows me to pick a 100 lock with an apprentice probe (quality 1.00) at security skill 50. At agility 50 I was able to pick a 50 lock at security 25.

I like fPickLockMult -1.300. I can't see a reason not to change to this setting, pending further testing for finer tuning. Also, in the latest WGI Open spells are set to yield a magicka cost of 97 for an open 100 (as made from an in-game spellmaker), and 47 for an open 50 (as made from in-game spell maker). This value is 9.75 in the magic effects file, up from default of 6.00. Currently no NPCs sell an open above magnitude 50, except for wild open 1-100 (which has only a 1% chance of opening a 100 door).

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LDones
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Re: The key to knowledge
      #836551 - 10/19/02 10:36 PM

All above tests were done w/ an Agility of 50.

With fPickLockMult at -1.300:

At 100 Agility w/ a 1.00 quality pick, it requires a Security skill of 80 to attempt a 100 lock.

At 160 Agility w/ a 1.00 quality pick, it requires a Security skill of 69 to attempt a 100 lock.

Intelligence values curiously seem to have no effect on these numbers.
I think that's the biz. I'm going to stick w/ -1.300. And the

On the traps end, Adventurer's mod seems to decrease the quality of probes to a satisfying level, but I'll investigate that a bit more. I'm still a bit thrown by the discovery that MW seems to disable traps above a certain spell cost or effect magnitude. I'll arse with that right now.

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Re: The key to knowledge
      #836566 - 10/19/02 10:43 PM

Odd that our numbers don't jibe. I wonder.... if Luck has something to do with it...


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LDones
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Re: The key to knowledge
      #836661 - 10/19/02 11:29 PM

Forgot to take Luck into consideration. I didn't tweak with it at all.

All of my tests were done with a Luck value of 40. I know most folks dont think it does much, but it has a dramatic effect on gameplay.

In my game, with fpicklockmult at -1.300:

At Luck 100 and Agility 50, a 1.00 quality pick requires a Security skill of 85 to attempt a 100 lock-level door.

At Agility 100 it takes a Security skill of 75.

At Agility 160 it takes a Security skill of 63.

Maybe something's weird with my game. I'm going to have to take a crack at this with a fresh save, wonder if any stray settings have found their way into my lockpick testing save...

Be back with more numbers in a minute...

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LDones
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Re: The key to knowledge
      #836687 - 10/19/02 11:43 PM

Just double-checked and retested all my above numbers - They seem to hold true - I thought trapped doors might mess with a lock's level, but no, still the same numbers over here.

With coinciding Luck level's are you still getting different numbers?

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Re: The key to knowledge
      #836706 - 10/19/02 11:49 PM

I see that luck did decrease the security skill required, but not enough to account for our difference, I'll retest my numbers as well.

By the way, I made three Lock spells at a spell maker which I am using to lock the doors (25, 50,100), not doors that are locked as set in game to a default value.

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wakim
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Re: The key to knowledge
      #836828 - 10/20/02 01:43 PM

I can verify your numbers, LD. I blame sloppy testing on my part, I suspect that I lost track of one of the variables that affect lockpick (luck, agility, security, pick quality, fPickLockMult, door lock value) when I did my quick run through.

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LDones
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Re: The key to knowledge
      #838935 - 10/21/02 04:49 AM

Just to nip this topic in the bud on one last point for myself:

Looked at the trap-disarming settings & situation, and I don't feel I've an elegant way to tackle the relative ease with which most traps are disarmed.

The main reason for this is that there is no easy way to see what spells have been used on doors or containers as traps (checking references in 'Info' doesn't show Ref Data, which means it doesn't show if a spells been assigned to a door or chest) and therefore no way to see the 'spread' of low to high cost spells assigned as traps, (though, from playing experience, we can assume there aren't too many high-cost spells assigned as traps). Therefore, I'm unable to get a good, big picture of the the potential benefits/problems with altering the fTrapCostMult setting.

The Adventurer's Mod reduces the quality of Bent Probes to 0.15, Apprentice's Probes to .3, and Journeyman's Probes to .65 (Master (@ 1.00) and upward are left alone). I don't know if I agree w/ the values implicitly, but it's on the right track.

To summarize - If someone's looking to make trap disarming more difficult (since the system doesn't appear to be tweakable on any logistical level), editing probe quality looks to be the 'cleanest'/safest way to do so, at least with the information I have.

It's always kind of deflating when you hit a dead-end & can't problem-solve your way through tweaking something like you want to. <sigh>

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Crawling Chaos
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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #839188 - 10/21/02 06:54 AM

>>reduce hit point gains for leveling up. Once you've got 250-300 hit points the odds of anything doing enough damage to kill you are extremely small. No spell-caster is going to take you out, that's for certain. If the system were reduced to, say, Endurance + 2 points/level then spell-casters with an altered spell-using system suddenly become dangerous again. Even at level 25 with an Endurance of 100 (not very likely unless you've pumped up your endurance at every level-up) you'd have 150 hit points.<<

True. The hit point system is too powerful.
"Endurance + 2 points/level" is a good idea but a hit point system similar to the magic point system can be better:
Hit point= ("Actual" Endurance*Racial Endurance Modificator)+("Actual" Endurance/50)*Level.

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KaliMagdalene
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Re: Enchanting has hijacked this thread!
      #839379 - 10/21/02 10:13 AM

<<<But low magicka types should naturally gravitate towards picks and probes rather than spells, no? >>>

I'm playing an Atronach-Breton-Battlemage with 300 Magicka who *never* uses spells to disarm traps or open locks. She always uses picks and probes.

What does that mean? I have no idea.

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reBew
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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #839381 - 10/21/02 10:14 AM

Using that formula, my lvl 9 argonian should have 2990.3 hitpoints... unless I'm doing something wrong here:

Racial endurance: 35
Actual Endurance: 85
lvl: 9

The formula: ("Actual" Endurance*Racial Endurance Modificator)+("Actual" Endurance/50)*Level

With my numbers it looks like this: (85+35)+(85/50)*9 = 2990,3

Don't know if I misunderstood your formula?

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MrSmileyFaceDudeModerator
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Re: The key to knowledge
      #839426 - 10/21/02 11:00 AM

Wakim said " telekinesis and open spells almost make it a moot point."

For Telekinesis, there's a list of items that can be activated within the "bonus range" -- that is, the range beyond the default reach distance but within the total telekinetic range. Originally you could only pick up items, but I thought it'd be useful for those with low security skill to be able to telekinetically activate containers and interior doors, so they could disarm traps from a safe distance.

This is a great thread, I have it bookmarked. I forwarded it to Todd Howard, and he said "This has renewed my love of fans. Awesome thread." So keep it up, I'm taking notes

By the way, just for background if you're not aware, I programmed much of the magic system. Designers were responsible for all the TESCS work -- that is, setting the magic effect costs in the Magic Effect window, creating all the spells, enchantments, items, etc. I'll keep checking this thread so let me know if you have more questions. I cannot get TOO specific on the exact formulas, but I'll help where I can.

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Crawling Chaos
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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #839496 - 10/21/02 12:09 PM

>>Using that formula, my lvl 9 argonian should have 2990.3 hitpoints... unless I'm doing something wrong here: <<
Well It's "Racial Endurance Modificator" not "Racial mininum Endurance".
I was thinking of something like the Int Multiplicator used for Magika.
With a "Racial Endurance Modificator" of (let's say)1.5, your argonian should have near 143 hit points:
85*1.5+(85/50)*9= 142.8
With 100 in Endurance the formula will be 150+2*Level
The "Racial Endurance Modificator" values are totally debatable but for example:
Orc, Red Guard= 2.0
Dark Elf, Breton,Imperial,Argonian = 1.5
Kajhit, Wood Elf= 1.25
High Elf= 1.0

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wakim
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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #839666 - 10/21/02 01:35 PM

Traps:

"...it'd be useful for those with low security skill to be able to telekinetically activate containers and interior doors, so they could disarm traps from a safe distance." It is very useful, and anything that increases the diversity of tactics and options available is always welcome. The problem with telekinesis is that it is an appropriate costing spell for picking up those little objects, but when it is used to trigger traps is has just defeated the usefulness of an entire other skill. To price the casting cost of telekinesis to be appropriate for one activity is almost exclusive of the other.

To toss an idea out for LD to play with: rather than decrease the quality of probes to make traps more difficult (since there is a fear that by playing with the global traps variable may make some traps un-disarmable), why not change the eight or so spells listed as "trap_xxxxxxx01" in the spell file to have a magicka cost appropriate to the difficulty to disarm them? Also, if these trap spell effects were given an area of affect, then telekinesing them from a low magicka cost short range telekinesis spell may result in setting them off while the player is in range. This would encourage players to use higher costing longer range telekinesis spells, or to value disarming them with probes more.

Have you played with the trap's magicka cost vs. the security skill needed to disarm them to draw a relationship to trap spell cost and security skill needed? I would think that the only side-effect of AoE traps would be that perhaps a monster or two might die...or perhaps enrage the shopkeeper in the building where some chest was trapped... I think I could live with these side effects.

Hitpoints:

Yeah, players quickly reach a point where they have just too many hitpoints. This is a general failing in most RPG genre games. It is often rationalized by saying that hit points reflect a character's ability to avoid damage, or somesuch; but it never plays out that way because our expectations of reality say that no matter who you are - a WWF wrestler or Woody Allen - you should be just as dead when you jump off that 100 foot cliff. Massive hitpoints, while allowing for a simple approach to approximating increased acumen in combat, always have undesirable side effects. I would think that an exponentially decreasing formula would be the best application: viz. a player quickly gains hitpoints to reflect that he is a rough and tumble sorta guy who has become inured to hardships and used to pain, but beyond that he has to rely on other avoidance skills to prevent damage within his field of speciality (i.e. shield blocking, arcane magicks that resist, weapon skill for parrying, etc.).

Furthermore, dropping maximum hitpoints may have an effect that the creature type mods that address level 20+ difficulty may suddenly become overwhelming for low hitpoint characters, again leaving players without challenges past level 20.

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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #839719 - 10/21/02 01:56 PM

"...our expectations of reality say that no matter who you are - a WWF wrestler or Woody Allen - you should be just as dead when you jump off that 100 foot cliff."

LOL! Agreed, and excellent discussion. But remember, John Rambo jumped from a cliff taller than 100ft in First Blood and survived with only a gash on his arm, so it must be possible, at least with trees to cushion your fall. And guess what? It works in Morrowind--I fell off the lighthouse in Seyda Neen once and didn't hurt myself too much due to the tree nearby breaking my fall!

-Simon

PS: No, I'm not insane, I just thing Rambo is great comedy--the man throws brick-sized rocks at helicopters for goodness' sake!

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LDones
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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #840100 - 10/21/02 05:08 PM

In reply to:

rather than decrease the quality of probes to make traps more difficult (since there is a fear that by playing with the global traps variable may make some traps un-disarmable), why not change the eight or so spells listed as "trap_xxxxxxx01" in the spell file to have a magicka cost appropriate to the difficulty to disarm them? Also, if these trap spell effects were given an area of affect, then telekinesing them from a low magicka cost short range telekinesis spell may result in setting them off while the player is in range. This would encourage players to use higher costing longer range telekinesis spells, or to value disarming them with probes more.



My only reservation about the effectiveness of this is, again, that I don't actually know how often/where the trap-specific spells are used. It probably wouldn't hurt to mess around w/ them as area-effect, but I wouldn't have a way to really know what effect it had in-game.
In reply to:

Have you played with the trap's magicka cost vs. the security skill needed to disarm them to draw a relationship to trap spell cost and security skill needed?



Not to the extent of lockpicking, as above, but marginally, pretty much solely to test the "Does lock level dictate trap difficulty or not?" hypothesis. I'll probably mess around with that tonight, but I'll have to do a lot of potentially tedious in-editor trap checking to get a picture of different values. I'll more than likely have some numbers tomorrow on different trap difficulty variables.

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Re: The key to knowledge
      #840110 - 10/21/02 05:13 PM

MrSMileyFaceDude: That's awesome that you're checking in here and offering info - You've helped raise a damn fine, brilliant, growing young game. Fine parenting.

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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #840134 - 10/21/02 05:20 PM

Wakim, do these spell value modifications appear in WGI 6, or do I need to follow your instructions for modifying it in the editor myself? I would love to try them out, so let me know if I can do it easier with your WGI 6.

Thank you!



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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #840190 - 10/21/02 05:38 PM

Back to the spells for a sec....

I like your changes to the spells, although I think I'm going to tweak them a bit more and remove some spells from the game altogether (e.g., anything Calm-based).

My question: have you seen the Spellmaker mod? I used it in one game and rather liked how it reduced the magicka-cost of many made spells to be comparable to bought spells. The only problem is that it didn't accurately reflect certain spell types (e.g., restore attribute). It seems to me that a combination of your changes with an updated Spellmaker would put magic back in the running as something to be feared.

I'm also toying with (in my test mod) giving every PC and NPC a x4 magicka, again to make magic more than a nuisance. Things seem to work nicely so far - mage NPCs are quite deadly if you aren't protected by Resistance, especially in combination with my HealthMod script. And with a 4x magicka they toss costly spells with impunity, making it harder to 'dodge' spells until the NPC runs out of magicka. Of course, with a 4x magicka the PC actually has a chance of casting a decent Resist spell without running completely dry, which lends a bit of balance.

Max


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LDones
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Morrowind Is (The Tender Trap)
      #841177 - 10/22/02 02:58 AM

AAARGH! Either I'm insane and my game is behaving the same, or I've just learned that there is NO variation in trap difficulty - regardless of spell cost or lock level - the chance to disarm a trap is always the same, only varying w/ probe quality and Security Skill (give or take agility and/or Luck).

Trapping 6 doors, w/ varying states of Lock Level, trapped w/ Thunder Fist (Cost: 0), Hand of Dagoth (Cost: 39), or Charming Tough (Cost: 225) yielded precisely the same results: Even with a Security skill of 1, using a 0.50 quality probe, it took between 1 and 15 tries to disarm any of these doors.

They were all in_velothismall_ndoor's - I'm not positive that the type of trapped door/container has no effect on trap disarm chance, though that seems drastically unlikely.

At first I thought this meant it would probably be safe to modify fTrapCostMult (which, as stated above, takes spell cost and adds it to the chance of disarming a trap - NOTE: My above post stating that the higher the value on this the harder to disarm a trap was WRONG. I am a dumbass. It functions like fPickLockMult - the lower/more negative the number, the harder to disarm.)

But then I got a look at the spread of spell cost values (thank small gods for TESCS export to Excel):

Spell Cost/Number of Spells
---------------------------------------
1-4 pts - 272 spells
5-9 pts - 105 spells
10-15 pts - 94 spells
16-20 pts - 72 spells
21-29 pts - 40 spells
30-39 pts - 151 spells
40-49 pts - 61 spells
50-59 pts - 48 spells
60-69 pts - 13 spells
70-79 pts - 44 spells
80-99 pts - 24 spells

100-124 pts - 17 spells
125-149 pts - 11 spells
150-200 pts - 15 spells
200-720 pts - 13 spells
Ridiculously high cost - 10 spells

Bear in mind that these are raw spellmaking figures - many of these spells are not available as traps, OR to the PC - but I figured it would give a fair picture of spell costs across the board.

SO - with the bulk of all stock, castable spells lying under a 40 spell point cost, any alteration to fTrapCostMult would more than likely be arbitrary or/and unbalancing in some fashion.

Wakim or anybody - Any thoughts?

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LDones
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Re: Morrowind Is (The Tender Trap)
      #841181 - 10/22/02 02:59 AM

OH! - One more thing:
Does anyone know what fSeriousWoundMult does? - It sounds snazzy and it's set to 0.0000.
Also, I wonder what the iFlee setting does in reference to fAIFleeMult and fAIFleeHealthMult - It, too, is set to 0.00. Hmmmm....

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Animation
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Re: Magic / Weapon changes
      #842322 - 10/22/02 03:30 PM

Guys,

Thanks for the great thread. I will soon play a mage, and I'd love to see a more balanced magic system in place before I start. Feel free to slap me if I have missed it, but are Wakim's (and everybody else's) changes available for download or playtesting? Sorry if I have missed the link.

Thanks,

Lewis


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MrSmileyFaceDudeModerator
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Re: Morrowind Is (The Tender Trap)
      #842341 - 10/22/02 03:41 PM

fSeriousWoundMult -- unused. probably replaced with critical strike stuff.

iFlee is also unused.

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Horatio
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Re: Morrowind Is (The Tender Trap)
      #842367 - 10/22/02 03:50 PM

LDones:

was this occuring with fTrapCostMult at 0? because spell cost isn't supposed to affect lock difficulty unless fTrapCostMult is set to a non-zero value.

i'm surprised to hear that the lock level has no effect on traps. so i guess they're all the same difficulty to disarm...that's a pretty lame implementation you should probably test more to make sure that this is the case.

i'd just start trying out various fTrapCostMult values and seeing what kinda results you get. i could write a quick program to scan morrowind.esm and build a list of traps used on doors/containers if you're interested.

cheers

h


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LDones
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Re: Morrowind Is (The Tender Trap)
      #842453 - 10/22/02 04:17 PM

Yes, all of the above numbers are with an fTrapCostMult of 0.000.

I loaded and re-loaded the test save a number of times to check everything out, and neither Lock Level, nor spell cost appeared to have anything to do w/ trap difficulty (As in the above results, it's possible to disarm a 225-cost spell on a Lock Level 100 door in one try - with a Security skill of 1, and a probe quality of .5). It's the same all across the board, unless, as stated above, I or my game have gone insane. It is possible that PlayerLevel has something to do with it...
In reply to:

i could write a quick program to scan morrowind.esm and build a list of traps used on doors/containers if you're interested.



If you were willing to do something like that, and it's not a hassle for you, that would be awesome as hell. Just the info on spellname/trap and # of instances would allow a much better picture of the potential effects of an fTrapCostMult alteration. Again, if it's not a hassle, it'd be a fun tool to have.

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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #842468 - 10/22/02 04:24 PM

"...John Rambo jumped from a cliff taller than 100ft in First Blood and survived with only a gash on his arm...". Yes, but his skill in doing that was balanced since his speechcraft was zero...



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wakim
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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #842485 - 10/22/02 04:30 PM

"...do these spell value modifications appear in WGI 6...?" Yes, they are available on TheLys site and also Dragonsight. TheLys hosts WGI as a complete package, Dragonsight has it as six packages. Choose which ever suits your preference. Both are small downloads. The spell cost changes, posted much, much earlier on this thread, appear in both of them (the download content is identical, just presented differently).

The spell cost changes are slightly different than those posted earlier, as I have updated the .esp files as a result of more tweaking and testing and feedback, but I can no longer edit that original post. That post does give you a good idea of the direction I have been headed with the magic effects balancing. The .txt files included will detail the changes. Enjoy.


Edited by wakim (10/22/02 04:51 PM)

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Horatio
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Re: Morrowind Is (The Tender Trap)
      #842487 - 10/22/02 04:30 PM

ldones:

cool. time permitting i'll throw it together tonight. should just be a matter of searching for one specific tag, recording the spell name next to it and then spitting out the results into a text file.

i just can't believe that all traps have the same disarm difficulty. how spectacularly pitiful. well, at least we know it can be fixed.

MSFD:

many thanks for the continuing clarifications. do you think you could just list all the settings that don't do anything? it'd probably save a lot of frustration.

cheers

h



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Re: Morrowind Is (The Tender Trap)
      #842492 - 10/22/02 04:34 PM

Well I have to search the code for each specific setting & just see if it comes up in the search or not, and there are so many game settings... so I'll do it piecemeal if you don't mind

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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #842493 - 10/22/02 04:35 PM

Thanks, Wakim! I am already using WGI 6, but was just curious if this was in addition to that. You have done some fine work. It makes everything much more interesting.

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wakim
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Spellmaker Mod
      #842517 - 10/22/02 04:47 PM

Max,

I am unaware of any way of changing spell maker costs without also changing enchanting costs. To my knowledge, any change in the cost of a spell from a spell maker will also mean that it is also changed at the enchanter. Consulting my scribbled notes, I believe the variable is fEffectCostMultiplier and I have it noted that it defaults to 0.5. So any global reduction in spell maker spell magicka costs will mean a corresponding reduction at the enchanter.

WGI does address some purchasable spell deficiencies by re-tooling certain whole unused or unusable lines (i.e. Burden, Resist, Sound-type lines (earwig, noise), Demoralize, etc.) to be more appealing spells. Hopefully that means you won't be buying a spell for an effect to take to a spellmaker, rather than because you'd like to buy the spell.

WGI also increases the base NPC Magicka by about 75% (fNPCBaseMagickaMult, default 2.00). Default is that they have 2x magicka, WGI increases that to 3.50. The rational for this is just that they use it so poorly they need more of it to squander. WGI also increases PC base magicka by 50% (from 1.0 x Int to 1.5 x Int).

The combination of the reduced casting costs of spells, the re-tooled spell lines (which NPCs can cast at you also - no more Burden 10pts for 10 secs.), and the increased PC and NPC magicka I think has improved the feel of the game for me. I tend to try to err on the conservative side, as it is generally easier to tweak something a bit more than to over compensate and then try to bring it back in line.

Also, any change can have an iterative effect that can cascade: viz. any change to spell costs affect which spells NPCs will choose to cast, as they tend to pick spells based heavily on magicka cost alone (higher being better, in their little minds), so if one reduced, say the cost of a fireball, then it can quickly turn out that NPCs just stop casting those spells.

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wakim
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Unused variables
      #842542 - 10/22/02 04:57 PM

MSFD, you have no idea how much of a boon it is to know the unused variables. I played with iFlee for hours before I concluded I couldn't determine what it affected. It doesn't take much testing to figure out a variable that has an effect, but one which does nothing makes one keep testing, and testing, and testing, and even then the best one can say is that they don't know what it does, not that it does nothing.

It makes my mind rest easier to know that I didn't miss anything with iFlee.

Edited by wakim (10/22/02 05:05 PM)

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wakim
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A better mouse trap?
      #842557 - 10/22/02 05:02 PM

LD, if I understand correctly, you imply that nothing, so far, has any affect upon disarming traps? Not spell cost, not lock value, not fTrapCostMult? That any trap can be disarmed by anyone with any probe?

Edit: Just re-read you post(s), you are meaning at an fTrapCostMult of 0.00 all traps are the same. Don't mind me.

Edited by wakim (10/22/02 05:08 PM)

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MrSmileyFaceDudeModerator
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Re: Unused variables
      #842571 - 10/22/02 05:08 PM

Oh, believe me, I have a pretty good idea wakim! Just list ones you have questions about and I'll let you know -- but there are far too many for me to check every game setting -- 1460, in fact!

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Re: When your reach exceeds your grasp
      #842586 - 10/22/02 05:17 PM

"Yes, but his skill in doing that was balanced since his speechcraft was zero..."



I keep discovering the effects of your modifications all the time Wakim. Recently I ventured into a mage's cave near tel branora (sp?) and was thoroughly decimated by a combination of drain strength and endurance, summon bonewalker and a large enchanted sword : )

I managed to get him on my fourth (and final) try--it was great fun!

I wonder if Bethesda has any plans to include some of the best 'purist' mods that have been released in the Tribunal CD, along with authors' credits. It would be a good way to publicize the value of the game's modular nature to most of the general public, who might not find this site.

Cheers,
Simon


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LDones
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Re: A better mouse trap?
      #842590 - 10/22/02 05:18 PM

In reply to:

LD, if I understand correctly, you imply that nothing, so far, has any affect upon disarming traps? Not spell cost, not lock value, not fTrapCostMult? That any trap can be disarmed by anyone with any probe?



As the game stands, in 'vanilla-mode', trap difficulty is a fixed value.

Any trap can be disarmed by anyone with any probe (except perhaps a Bent Probe, didn't test with those), though the higher the security skill, the easier it is (a skill of 100 disarmed all traps on the first try) - That is, unless there is an unseen variable in my tests that I have not taken into account (such as different container or door types having invisible difficulty modifiers - which, again, seems unlikely). All my tests were performed with 50 Agility and 40 Luck, w/ a Security skill of 1 or 100, and a probe quality of 0.50.

fTrapCostMult DOES indeed have an effect, a very similar one to fPickLockMult with different dependent variables - I haven't tested many values with it yet because I'm unsure where to even begin.

Setting it to -1.000 seems to be about fine, but as I stated above, most spells (and traps, from the look of it) are 40 cost or under, and it takes a Security skill of only 21 to attempt to disarm a trap w/ a 39 spell cost - so I'm unsure of the effectiveness of this value without a better picture of in-game trap use.

Apologies for the jumbled and/or confusing nature of my above posts, my mental faculties are somewhat scattered this week.

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How are you gentleman?
      #842797 - 10/22/02 06:57 PM

"...and was thoroughly decimated by a combination of drain strength and endurance, summon bonewalker and a large enchanted sword..."

It pleases me to no end that those usless drain spells are finally being put to good use! Now try blasting a few back at him and see how fast you can cripple an opponent with a well placed (and I hope a now magicka-efficient) drain. Drain Int works well against casters, Str against most others, and of course drain agility makes em flop onto the ground like a fish when you hit em. Unlike fireball that can face an opponent's health of 100+, drains are nearly always facing an opponent of less than 100 in a particular stat. Used wisely I hope that they can be efficacious in allowing for "combo" attacks, where you cripple em for 20 seconds and use something else to finish 'em off.

"I wonder if Bethesda has any plans to include some of the best 'purist' mods that have been released in the Tribunal CD, along with authors' credits. It would be a good way to publicize the value of the game's modular nature to most of the general public, who might not find this site."

No one has approached me with any offers, but I haven't brought the mail in yet today. Besides, the modular aspect of the game allows it to be tailored to specific audiences. As is readily appearant from a different, but recent, forum topic: some people enjoy very different aspects of the game. What you or I may find to be un-balancing another may enjoy. I am always surprised by the variety of approaches people take to Morrowind. I know someone who plays MW who would be aghast at any idea that it is "un-balanced" at all. 67th level and he still enjoys watching a Guar die with one swipe of his sword. Quot homines tot sententiae. Personally, I still enjoy just looking at the landscape with its regional and reasoned variation in flora, fauna, and architecture.

LD, no apologies are necessary, my mental faculties are more than a bit scrambled after wrestling with my PCI bus for a day. I was ready to call tech-support (a thing which anyone whom has ever dealt with anyone's tech-support knows is to be avoided) when I looked in the product manual and saw this: "Please also remember that for many of our technical support team English is a second language, you will have a better chance of getting a helpful answer if your question can be understood in the first place. Be sure to use very, simple, concise language that clearly states the problem, avoid rambling or flowery language..." Needless to say I couldn't call for support after reading that.

I eagerly await the results of your testing. In the meantime I'm going to return to a bit of TESCS dialogue wrestling. I wrote a little mod that I've been testing the last few days and it is really causing me much joy. However, when I wrote it I was forced to copy dialogue to get the dialogue entries to accept the modifications I wanted, and I deleted the old dialogues. Although it works perfectly, I understand that to be a modder's no-no. I am enjoying it so much I thought I'd see if I could re-write it to be more publically palatable so others could enjoy it too.


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Astromarine
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Re: How are you gentleman?
      #842824 - 10/22/02 07:09 PM

oh no you don't. Hinting and other such underhanded tactics are anathema to me. Go right ahead and explain whatever it is that brought you joy, from what I've seen with WGI I will probably be similarly affected

Astro

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LDones
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Re: How are you gentleman?
      #842993 - 10/22/02 08:27 PM

In reply to:

Go right ahead and explain whatever it is that brought you joy, from what I've seen with WGI I will probably be similarly affected



I second that. What's this dialogue wackiness of which you speak?


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Re: How are you gentleman?
      #843246 - 10/22/02 10:34 PM

Well, it's always bothered me that NPCs could be so capricious. They tell you one thing, then do another. NPC dialogues often run like this:

NPC: "No, I won't speak to your kind!"
Player: "Services"
NPC: "I'd be happy to tell you of the services available in Balmora..."

or

NPC: "Curse you Vampire, away!"
Player: "Latest Rumors"
NPC "Have you ever wondered, for all its proclaimations about slavery..."

or

Trebonius: "Why yes, you meet our pre-requisites to be Arch-Mage of Vvardenfall, since you have met our requirements of 35 intelligence and 35 willpower. Yes, I know those are below most character's starting stats, but times are tough here..."

or

Master Ayron: "I know you are a member of House Hlaalu and I'm House Telvanni, but let me show you some spells for sale, or maybe a nice robe, after all, that talk about us being rivals...Bah! Who believes it? So you freed a few slaves and we keep slaves, can't we all just get along?"

or

Seyda Neen Resident: "Get away from me, you have Corprus! That can't be cured! Get away!"
Player: "Latest Rumor"
Seyda Neen Resident: "Yes, Processus Vitellius has been missing for several days, perhaps you could help me find him?"

or

Balmora Caravaner: "You're a notorious outlaw, I want nothing to do with you!"
Player: "Travel"
Balmora Caravaner: "Yes, we make a special trip, just for you, same low price."

So I have a little mod that addresses these dialogue issues by not changing the dialogue, but by making NPCs react; live, die, fight, or flee, by their words. The problem is that some dialogue entries simply ignore the script placed in the "result" box. This is true with some default dialogue, where what is scripted to happen, doesn't.

I, originally, had deleted dialogues because I had had to copy these dialogues (often exactly), whereupon they would suddenly work. There were only a handfull of dialogues that TES wasn't executing the script for (that I have come across). I deleted the old entry, since I had made a new, often identical one above it. But, as has been pointed out, dialogue is sorted in a descending manner, so when a dialogue condition is met the search stops, so the old dialogues can remain in their original inactive state without deleting them, which modders object to. However, I don't know how to edit a mod: TESCS seems to like to save every change ever made to a plug-in, so I'm re-writing it. And with thanks to LD for pointing out the Excel export function, it is going fairly fast.

So soon, vampires can terrorize towns, criminals will garner appropriate disdain, lepers will become pariahs, the mentally infirm will not be wizards, and Poindexter will not be ruling as his Highness, Head Nerd in a guild of brawling fighters (all dependant on race, faction, and level of course). Oh, and I threw in 24 rumors for Dark Elves to occasionally recite when asked about "latest rumors" that reference the traditional festivals and holidays of Tamriel (dependant upon the proper month and day, of course).

But it I figured it would be good for a kick to see a townsperson, when confronted with a vampire, not only say, "Curse you vampire, get away from me!", but to actually run away. The settings were mostly there, but since a combination of NPCs not actually fleeing based upon their AIFlee, and some unexecuted dialogue script, it wasn't happening.



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LDones
Curate

Reged: 10/09/02
Posts: 880
Re: How are you gentleman?
      #843288 - 10/22/02 11:05 PM

Jesus, that sounds cool. All of this is so cool...

You know, I'm almost tempted to wander away for two months, come back and observe the state of Morrowind alterations and just be blown away.

I have a personal Laundry List of stuff for the game I'm waiting for or working on before I turtle up and play like crazy until my eyes bleed. This whole dialogue tune-up and other awesome things I keep encountering just make my list longer and longer. At this rate I should sit down and play MW all the way through sometime in 2005.

--------------------
-LDones
http://www.hiredgoons.net/MWFiles

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Autumnfox
Initiate

Reged: 09/15/02
Posts: 74
Re: How are you gentleman?
      #843314 - 10/22/02 11:21 PM

Absolutely amazing, Wakim! Yes, I'm sure many folks here would love to see this -- I know I would. I recall something Qwert said a short time ago, about how adding your game modifications make Morrowind feel brand new again. Those words come to mind for me, thinking about this NPC modification.

As for the changes TESCS makes, which you can't delete -- You do know about TESAME, right? (As a mod-maker, I couldn't live without it!) Just making sure. Of course, I think I heard someone say that it's common for folks to delete the wrong dialogs by accident.

In any case, I can't wait to see this when you finish the rework.

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DarkDragon
Curate

Reged: 08/01/02
Posts: 519
Re: How are you gentleman?
      #843480 - 10/23/02 01:18 AM

I love the changes in the drains as well. Ordinators (who hate me... damn armor of theirs...) used to be relatively easy picking for me.. just run through their useless spells and attack them before they draw their deadly mace.

But now... no such thing as 'running through spells'... Oh no now if they hit you with that spell, you're on the ground begging for mercy... that is if you were awake! LOL I've died twice now by having ordinators beat on my unconcious body.

--------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------
"No don't play in the muddled, you'll get a dirty mind!" - Din

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Astromarine
Acolyte

Reged: 04/30/02
Posts: 125
Re: How are you gentleman?
      #843530 - 10/23/02 01:52 AM

nice nice nice nice

I can see one problem with it, tho: if it is so easy to make NPCs flee, won't that make thieving a bit easier? I mean, the placement of some NPCs is all that stands between you and aaaaaaall that armor and weapons...

Astro

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Shogakusha
Adept

Reged: 05/30/02
Posts: 218
Re: How are you gentleman?
      #843534 - 10/23/02 01:55 AM

I just wanted to speak up and say I have had the same experiences, NPCs who I used to think were way to easy for a character to kill are suddenly not very easy to kill at all. I started up a new character a couple days back and let me say that a level 2 character of the thiefish/assassinish persuasion may want to wait a while before joining the Morag Tong, that first victim, who I used to feel sorry for, now soundly stomps me flat I went and spent a nice some of gold on the best fire shield, absorption, reflection, and health fortification potions I could find and managed to kill him, barely, on my fourth or sixth try. I'm loving this, can't wait to see your dialogue changes.

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Astromarine
Acolyte

Reged: 04/30/02
Posts: 125
Re: How are you gentleman?
      #843557 - 10/23/02 02:04 AM

hehe yep. Hell, I'm being trounced horribly by Foryn Gilnith!!!

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LDones
Curate

Reged: 10/09/02
Posts: 880
Re: How are you gentleman?
      #843615 - 10/23/02 02:52 AM

Ugh. Gonna be off the boards for a week. Moving.

Horatio - If you do whip up that report/utility, toss it at goons@hiredgoons.net. I'll test trapness over the next week if I see it.

Wakim and Horatio and MSFD and everybody else: You guys rock.

--------------------
-LDones
http://www.hiredgoons.net/MWFiles

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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 448
Re: Unused variables
      #843758 - 10/23/02 05:02 AM

Wakim,

I believe you're right in that the enchantment cost decreases, but as is it's rather difficult to enchant anything useful in the game without loading a third-player plugin - especially with respect to the almost-useless pieces of armor, like pauldrons and greaves. The logic behind this baffles me but there you have it.

So I actually don't see this as a problem. Reduce the cost of making spells until they are roughly the same as casting spells and this is goodness for the player; if it also reduces enchantment costs somewhat then enchanting actually becomes useful (note: I don't use 'cheat' enchantments like Uzi fireballs or whatnot, so I can't address any of these issues).

For the NPCs the fix would be something along the lines of what you've done right now: create a class of NPC spells and replace what the NPCs currently have. I've done a bit of this in testing (e.g., fireball 50-50, area 50) and lord, does it change the effectiveness of NPC mages. Try dodging *that* spell.

It would be a massive undertaking to go about checking every NPC, erasing useless spells, and adding in NPC-only spells. But I actually don't see any other way to *really* fix the NPC problem with magic other than doing this. And this is, in fact, a step in my current project to revamp the game from the ground up (right now I'm tweaking stats).

The only problem I see with the current Spellmaker mod is that while it's highly accurate for certain classes of spells (Fire, etc.) it's highly inaccurate for certain other classes (Restore, etc.). But the combination of that mod with yours seems to me to be the best of both worlds, the side effect being that enchantment is also more useful.

Max


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**DONOTDELETE**

Re: How are you gentleman?
      #844117 - 10/23/02 09:18 AM

By the Gods Wakim, you never fail to impress in your game-improvements! The NPC response idea is inspired and I can't wait to see this joy for myself. Though I agree that the beauty of Morrowind is in its adaptability to diverse playing styles, I am happy and grateful for your sound insights of the game mechanics and the wonderful mods they produce.

I'll keep playing and relating interesting findings--I wish I had more time to play, there never seems to be enough time to do all you want. Also, good luck with your hardware wrestling--I've had my share which is why I now use a Macintosh for work, though the PC is obviously needed for Morrowind!

Cheers,
Simon

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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Commentary and replies
      #844543 - 10/23/02 01:22 PM

I'm glad that the spell changes are working out well for everyone, and providing fresh challenges, and I hope fresh tactics to overcome those challenges.



LD: you can't wander away for two months for trap reform will wait for that two months also. While you're moving, be wary of traps on those boxes. Keep your probe handy.

Fox: I have heard of TESAME, but I haven't downloaded it. I check my mods by hand and double check with the details tab. Since I am not a programer I tend to trust my own eyes (which I know how they work) instead of a program (which I may not know how it works). I'm just a skeptical guy.

Astro: Fleeing NPCs really doesn't make thieving easier. Most NPCs that are set to run from combat require combat to be initiated first, so you now have the crime of attacking someone instead of the crime of theft. Crime is crime. If you are refering to NPCs fleeing from players with corprus and vampirism and bounties; NPCs fleeing doesn't negate their ability to become "alarmed" over theft. If you wish to use your festering sores as a way to drive shopkeepers far away from their wares, you can. I don't see anything wrong with that. The NPCs who will flee from the outcast and the contagious are based upon race, level, disposition, occupation, and faction. You may be able to to grab something by clever use of your infirmities to frighten others. I kinda think that is a good thing (it encourages diversity of tactics and rewards clever play styles), but I don't think the advantage will outweigh the disadvantages. Play with it and let me know what you think. If there is some side-effects from these changes I didn't foresee I'll see about correcting it.

SG: a Mac? You N'wah!

Max: I don't understand: "Reduce the cost of making spells until they are roughly the same as casting spells..." Do you mean the price in gold, or the casting cost in magicka?

About enchanting: It would be nice if magic effect could have seperate fields for their spell "base cost" (the number that determines the magicka requirement for casting or the enchantment value required to place in an item) so that they could have different values depending upon their use. To explain by example; a magic effect such as reflect could be an incredibly useful spell, but it has a base cost set very high to prevent someone from enchanting all their armor and clothes with variable levels of reflect which could then sum to exceed 100% (and hence make the person immune to spells). Having just one base cost for a magic effect means that spell absorption, which could be a useful spell to cast, isn't; only so as to prevent enchanting abuses. If you peruse the message boards you will see the enchanting abuses that lead to invincible characters, such as 100% chameleon and so forth.

As for replacing useless NPC spells, any NPC marked as "auto-calc" stats will choose their own spells, so by introducing those NPC_xxxxx spell lines I used the games existing AI to hand them out, without having to go through and change every NPC by hand. Some NPCs I have hand modified (not a released mod), such as those that guard artifacts. But it can quickly become overwhelming to do this and test every one. Often NPCs will not emply the spells you think they should be casting, and the result can be a weaker opponent, rather than a stronger one.

Area effect spells I try not to go overboard on, except on hand placed NPCs. There is always a risk of a 50 foot fireball wiping out an entire guild or shop if you inadvertantly anger the wrong NPC. But yeah, NPC spells are too easy to dodge. They do try and predict your motion, but they aren't great at it.

Where can I find the spellmaker mod? I'd like to have a gander at it.

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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 448
Re: Commentary and replies
      #845597 - 10/23/02 09:22 PM

Wakim:

I'm referring to the magicka cost, not the gold cost. The gold cost is fairly irrelevant since gold is so easy to acquire in the game.

As for enchantment I have no easy answer since it's so easy to cheat in Morrowind. Most enchantments with the current system are useless; others are game-breaking. There is no happy medium, nor can there be one without a major overhaul of the system. My hope is that there's a way to cobble together just such an overhaul through kludgy setting alterations and scripting.

Spellmaker can be found at: http://www.rpgplanet.com/morrowind/mods/mods.asp

The author is someone named Blackmoon. He released the beta but never anything after that.

Max


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Horatio
Disciple

Reged: 06/04/02
Posts: 1159
Entrapment
      #845899 - 10/23/02 11:52 PM

here's the trap distribution ( # of occurences || spell name ):

TOTAL TRAPS: 457
TOTAL TYPES: 82

48 || trap_shock00
42 || trap_fire00
38 || trap_frost00
35 || trap_health00
35 || trap_poison00
21 || trap_paralyze00
17 || potent poison
15 || deadly poison
15 || trap_silence00
11 || five fingers of pain
9 || blind
8 || burning touch
7 || ironhand
7 || armor eater
6 || shockbite
6 || wounding touch
6 || shocking touch
5 || curse fatigue
4 || thunder fist
4 || exhausting touch
4 || paralysis
4 || spider touch
4 || dread curse: health
4 || black hand
4 || fire bite
4 || sting
4 || dread curse: strength
4 || SP_HVaultTrap
3 || misfortunate touch
3 || curse health
3 || curse strength
3 || flay spirit
3 || magicka leech
3 || hornhand
2 || stormhand
2 || curse intelligence
2 || woe
2 || burden touch
2 || touchdrain security
2 || curse agility
2 || sp_glyphofweakness
2 || clumsy touch
2 || spite touch
2 || weapon eater
2 || fuddle
2 || dread curse: fatigue
2 || Ghost Curse
2 || freezing touch
2 || firefist
2 || dread curse: speed
2 || blood sacrifice
2 || heartbite
2 || dread curse: intelligence
2 || crushing burden touch
1 || drain blood
1 || tempting touch
1 || weakening touch
1 || curse luck
1 || flame
1 || touchdrain mercantile
1 || hand of decay
1 || alit bite
1 || heavy burden touch
1 || dread curse: willpower
1 || alad's caliginy
1 || viper
1 || frostbite
1 || strength leech
1 || hand of sleep
1 || poisonous touch
1 || burden of sin
1 || gash spirit
1 || touchdrain block
1 || doze
1 || soul trap
1 || cruel noise
1 || curse willpower
1 || spirit knife
1 || curse speed
1 || noise
1 || soulpinch
1 || curse spell points

really i think only a few of these are interesting traps (the poison and damage attribute ones are ok). stuff like trap_silence00 (silence for 30 secs) are pretty useless unless you're a mage opening a chest in the middle of a fight. silence for 3600 secs would be far more interesting.

anyway i'm gonna leave it up to ldones to do the trap work.

cheers

h

Edited by Horatio (10/23/02 11:53 PM)

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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 448
Re: Entrapment
      #846516 - 10/24/02 06:50 AM

Wakim (and others):

I went over your changes to magic effects and tweaked them, with reasoning below. I'm looking for anyone who's interested in the topic to attack my changes and point out potential flaws, e.g., why Wakim's values are more useful than my own. If my values are different then Wakim's are listed to the right in parentheses.

Absorb Attribute: From 2.00 to 2.00 (1.35)
Absorb Fatigue: From 4.00 to 0.50 (2.75)
Absorb Health: From 8.00 to 5.00 (8.00)
Absorb Magicka: From 8.00 to 1.00 (8.00)
Absorb Skill: From 2.00 to 1.00 (2.00)
Almsivi Intervention: From 150.00 to 200.00 (150.00)
Blind: From 1.00 to 0.50 (0.54)
Bound Battle Axe: From 2.00 to 4.00 (4.50)
Bound Boots: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Cuirass: From 2.00 to 3.00 (3.50)
Bound Dagger: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Gloves: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Helm: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Longbow: From 2.00 to 4.00
Bound Longsword: From 2.00 to 4.00 (4.50)
Bound Mace: From 2.00 to 4.00 (4.50)
Bound Shield: From 2.00 to 4.00 (3.00)
Bound Spear: From 2.00 to 4.00 (4.50)
Burden: From 1.00 to 0.10
Calm Creature: From 1.00 to 3.50
Calm Humanoid: From 1.00 to 3.50
Chameleon: From 1.00 to 1.00
Charm: From 5.00 to 2.50 (5.00)
Command Creature: From 15.00 to 5.00 (6.00)
Command Humanoid: From 15.00 to 5.00 (7.50)
Corpus: From 2500.00 to 2500.00
Cure Blight Disease: From 2000.00 to 2000.00
Cure Common Disease: From 300.00 to 500.00 (300.00)
Cure Corpus Disease: From 2500.00 to 2500.00
Cure Paralyzation: From 100.00 to 100.00
Cure Poison: From 100.00 to 250.00 (100.00)
Damage Attribute: From 8.00 to 8.00 (9.25)
Damage Fatigue: From 4.00 to 2.00
Damage Health: From 8.00 to 10.00 (6.00)
Damage Magicka: From 8.00 to 4.00 (2.50)
Damage Skill: From 8.00 to 4.00
Demoralize Creature: From 1.00 to 0.50 (0.65)
Demoralize Humanoid: From 1.00 to 0.75
Detect Animal: From 0.75 to 0.25 (0.35)
Detect Enchantment: From 1.00 to 0.50
Detect Key: From 1.00 to 0.50
Disintegrate Armor: From 6.00 to 1.00
Disintegrate Weapon: From 6.00 to 1.50
Dispel: From 5.00 to 2.50 (5.00)
Divine Intervention: From 150.00 to 200.00 (150.00)
Drain Attribute: From 1.00 to 0.50 (0.36)
Drain Fatigue: From 2.00 to 0.10 (0.13)
Drain Health: From 4.00 to 2.00 (3.25)
Drain Magicka: From 4.00 to 0.25
Drain Skill: From 1.00 to 0.25 (0.75)
Feather: From 1.00 to 0.10 (0.17)
Fire Damage: From 5.00 to 4.00 (5.00)
Fire Shield: From 3.00 to 1.00
Fortify Attack: From 1.00 to 1.00
Fortify Attribute: From 1.00 to 1.00
Fortify Fatigue: From 0.50 to 0.25 (0.50)
Fortify Health: From 1.00 to 1.00
Fortify Magicka: From 1.00 to 1.00
Fortify Max Magicka: From 4.00 to 4.00
Fortify Skill: From 1.00 to 1.00
Frenzy Creature: From 1.00 to 2.25
Frenzy Humanoid: From 1.00 to 3.50
Frost Damage: From 5.00 to 4.00 (5.00)
Frost Shield: From 3.00 to 1.00
Invisibility: From 20.00 to 20.00
Jump: From 3.00 to 2.00
Levitate: From 3.00 to 8.00 (3.00)
Light: From 0.20 to 0.10 (0.20)
Lightning Shield: From 3.00 to 1.00
Lock: From 2.00 to 2.00
Mark: From 350.00 to 400.00 (350.00)
Night Eye: From 0.20 to 0.20
Open: From 6.00 to 10.00 (9.75)
Paralyze: From 40.00 to 40.00
Poison: From 9.00 to 5.00 (5.50)
Rally Creature: From 0.20 to 0.20
Rally Humanoid: From 0.20 to 0.20
Recall: From 350.00 to 400.00 (350.00)
Reflect: From 10.00 to 4.00
Remove Curse: From 15.00 to 15.00
Resist Blight Disease: From 5.00 to 0.50 (2.00)
Resist Common Disease: From 2.00 to 0.25
Resist Corpus Disease: From 5.00 to 5.00
Resist Fire: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.66)
Resist Frost: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.66)
Resist Magicka: From 2.00 to 1.50 (1.25)
Resist Normal Weapons: From 5.00 to 5.00
Resist Paralysis: From 0.20 to 0.50 (2.00)
Resist Poison: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.66)
Resist Shock: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.66)
Restore Attribute: From 1.00 to 1.00
Restore Fatigue: From 1.00 to 0.25 (1.00)
Restore Health: From 5.00 to 5.00
Restore Magicka: From 5.00 to 5.00
Restore Skill: From 1.00 to 1.00
Sanctuary: From 1.00 to 0.75 (1.00)
Shield: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.80)
Shock Damage: From 7.00 to 5.00 (5.75)
Silence: From 40.00 to 50.00 (35.00)
SlowFall: From 3.00 to 1.00 (2.00)
Soultrap: From 2.00 to 5.00 (2.00)
Sound: From 3.00 to 1.00 (0.60)
Spell Absorption: From 10.00 to 7.50 (7.30)
Stunted Magicka: From 1.00 to 1.00
Summon
- Ancestral Ghost: From 7.00 to 5.00
- Skeletal Minion: From 13.00 to 10.00
- Scamp: From 12.00 to 10.00
- Bonewalker: From 13.00 to 15.00
- Greater Bonewalker: From 15.00 to 20.00
- Bonelord: From 25.00 to 20.00
- Clannfear: From 22.00 to 25.00
- Flame Atronach: From 23.00 to 25.00
- Frost Atronach: From 27.00 to 30.00
- Dremora: From 28.00 to 30.00
- Hunger: From 29.00 to 30.00
- Daedroth: From 32.00 to 35.00
- Storm Atronach: From 38.00 to 35.00
- Winged Twilight: From 52.00 to 40.00
- Golden Saint: From 55.00 to 50.00
Sun Damage: From 1.00 to 1.00
Swift Swim: From 2.00 to 0.25 (0.50)
Telekinesis: From 1.00 to 2.50 (1.00)
Turn Undead: From 0.20 to 0.20
Vampirism: From 5.00 to 5.00
Water Breathing: From 3.00 to 2.00 (3.00)
Water Walking: From 3.00 to 4.00 (3.00)
Weakness to Blight: From 4.00 to 2.00 (3.00)
Weakness to Common: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
Weakness to Corpus: From 4.00 to 4.00
Weakness to Fire: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
Weakness to Frost: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
Weakness to Magicka: From 2.00 to 2.00
Weakness to Weapons: From 2.00 to 2.00
Weakness to Poison: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
Weakness to Shock: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)

Absorb Fatigue: fatigue values tend to be large in the game, so these spells have to be cheap to be at all effective.

Absorb Magicka: if the value is returned to the target at the end of the spell, then I assume that the full value is subtracted from the caster's pool. I've never used this spell but if that's the case then it's of limited value since if you don't kill your enemy then he'll suddenly have all of his magicka back while you'll be tapped out when the expires.

The various teleportation spells: personal preference, I think it's too easy to teleport about once you get the spells, especially as a quick escape from danger. I think I'll probably set these even higher.

Charm: too expensive to cast for it's limited duration and usefulness, lowered the cost so you could use it in lieu of Speechcraft when pumping sources for information.

Calm: I'm going to remove these spells entirely from my game. They're cheats.

Cure Poison: thought this should be closer to curing a disease.

Damage Health: since this is the hardest of the damage-causing spells to resist I thought it should also be the most expensive. It makes elemental/poison spells the primary choice.

Dispel: lowered cost to make it more useful, especially in combat. As is it's rarely used in a fight.

Drain Health: this is a 'cheap kill' spell. I'm definitely removing it from my game. The cost is meaningless except in comparison to absorb/damage.

Elemental damage spells: reduced cost slightly to make for less costly, more powerful NPC spells, especially since characters can dodge slow missiles relatively effortlessly.

Levitate: another too-cheap spell which allows the average character to easily escape danger. Jacked up the price so that mages can cast it and still have spell points left over, but non-mages may find it of limited usefulness (as it should be).

Light: Night Eye is more useful than light, so cut the cost of light to half that of Night Eye. It should now be the preference for low-magicka characters in dark environments.

Resist Blight Disease: as it stands you have no idea if a creature is blighted or not until it's on top of you, which makes this spell too expensive without modification.

Resist Paralysis: with the exception of the scrib you have no idea if an enemy is using paralyzing weapons until they attack. Lowering the cost makes it somewhat more worthwhile to cast when entering combat if you suspect such weapons might be used.

Silence: this spell is a mage-killer, hence the increased cost.

Jump/Slowfall: an attempt to make these more cost effective than levitating.

Soul trap: I think this spell is too easy to cast for long periods of time. Really, only mage characters should be able to soul trap regularly.

Sound: another mage-killer at high values.

Various Summons: I changed the costs slightly to reflect my perceived value of those creatures in combat. Some have the same summons cost because they seem to me to be of equal value depending on what kind of creature you're up against. That is, if fighting a choose x, if fighting b choose y.

Swift swim: of limited value, overly expensive

Telekinesis: too cheap, makes Security valueless when it comes to traps.

Water breathing: useful only in limited circumstances.

Water walking: too easy to cast for long periods of time, makes swift swim valueless in most circumstances (e.g., traveling between islands).

Various Weakness spells: really only useful in combination with other spells, lowered the cost so that the weakness could reasonably be combined with the effect.

And a final note: frankly, I think summoning spells are too powerful given that you generally only fight one opponent at a time. It's too bad that scripts can't be attached to spells so that, for example, a mage would have to 'beat' his summoned creature in a willpower battle before that creature would fight for him.

Critical comments most welcome.

Max

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wakim
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Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Re: Entrapment
      #847315 - 10/24/02 03:26 PM

This is quite a bit to reply to. I almost don't know where to begin. First, let me thank you for taking the time to look at the spell costs and to respond with criticism. Allow me to start alphabetically.

"Absorb Fatigue: fatigue values tend to be large in the game, so these spells have to be cheap to be at all effective." I agree, this is also true because fatigue damage does not kill an opponent and fatigue is regained every second. Fatigue spells are useful as deabilitators. A fatigue damaged opponent will not successfully cast spells or successfully make a melee attack. A very useful spell line, when magicka appropriate. However:

"...if the value is returned to the target at the end of the spell...", absorb spells do not work like this. An absorb spell is like a damage spell and a heal spell combined (sometimes, note: attributes can exceed their maximum value (so it is a fortify spell then), health and fatigue do not exceed base maximums). Absorb spells must be balanced against the casting cost of casting a damage spell on the enemy and a restore spell on yourself (or drain and fortify, as the case may be). Also, Absorb Magicka isn't in the game as a player usable spell. So (with WGI values in parenthesis):

Absorb Attribute: From 2.00 to 2.00 (1.35) - I can't comment on this one at the moment, my notes imply it acts as a drain spell, in which case it should be balanced against drain spells in cost.

Absorb Fatigue: From 4.00 to 0.50 (2.75) - you have restore fatigue at a cost of 0.25 and damage fatigue at 2.00. Again, this very low value for absorb fatigue negates the efficacy of those two spells, which this is a combination of.

Absorb Health: From 8.00 to 5.00 (8.00) - reducing this to 5.00 makes restore health, at value 5.00 a useless spell to cast, since this will damage and restore health all in one. Restore health is one of my baseline spells, which I use to measure other spells against.

Absorb Magicka: From 8.00 to 1.00 (8.00) - not in game as a player castable spell, number should therefore be balanced for enchanted items which use this effect. Or just ignored, really makes no difference.

Almsivi Intervention: From 150.00 to 200.00 (150.00) - I didn't play with these values. Is it too easy to escape from danger? Hard to say. I tend to use this spell for travel, and not as an escape, since I would then have a long walk ahead of me to get back to whatever I needed to escape from and now wanted to try again to successfully over come.

Blind: From 1.00 to 0.50 (0.54) - nothing to argue about here.

Bound Battle Axe: From 2.00 to 4.00 (4.50)
Bound Boots: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Cuirass: From 2.00 to 3.00 (3.50)
Bound Dagger: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Gloves: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Helm: From 2.00 to 3.00
Bound Longbow: From 2.00 to 4.00
Bound Longsword: From 2.00 to 4.00 (4.50)
Bound Mace: From 2.00 to 4.00 (4.50)
Bound Shield: From 2.00 to 4.00 (3.00)
Bound Spear: From 2.00 to 4.00 (4.50)
- bound cuirass at slightly higher that other bound armors? I can see that. They are all still very low for their usefulness, and cuirass is the most useful piece (although gloves are very good too). The bound weapons I would say you and I are still undervaluing. These are damn damaging spells. A bound battle axe does about 1-80 pts per hit, hitting once per second.

"Charm: too expensive to cast for it's limited duration and usefulness, lowered the cost so you could use it in lieu of Speechcraft when pumping sources for information". Charm only has to have a duration of 1 second to be useful, since the NPC interaction menu stops time. Consider this spell's casting cost when cast at a 1 or 2 second duration at a useable magnitude when evaluating it.

"Calm: I'm going to remove these spells entirely from my game. They're cheats." - Yes, they are currently broken. I upped the magicka cost on them, but no matter what is done, they are still broken. Your choice to exploit them or not, no casting cost is gonna change that. It is a fair choice to remove them from the game.

Command Creature: From 15.00 to 5.00 (6.00)
Command Humanoid: From 15.00 to 5.00 (7.50)
- I would argue that command humanoid is more useful since it works as a charm (for disposition), a calm (for melee), and a summons (NPC fights for you). Against a creature, instead of a humanoid, the charm component is not pertinent. This should be balanced against the cost of summoning an appropriate creature of that level vs. what you can command of equal level, bearing in mind that it also works as a charm spell for disposition. My values may still be a touch high, but I hadn't lowered them further barring more testing.

Cure Common Disease: From 300.00 to 500.00 (300.00) - common diseases are just nuisances. At 300.00 it costs 15 points to cure 'em: within the realm of a non-magic specialized character to cast. At value 500.00 it costs 25. Not much difference, really.

Cure Poison: From 100.00 to 250.00 (100.00) - Well, this spell doesn't do what it should do. The spell descriptions imply that poison cannot be dispelled, only cured. But, it can be dispelled, so this spell I consider useless. I'd have to look at it more to figure out the appropriate use for it.

Damage Attribute: From 8.00 to 8.00 (9.25) - If anything, I am too low on this value, not too high. Damage Strength at magnitude 10 for 10 seconds will leave any opponent unable to move. Permanantly. It costs 69 magicka to do this. Paralysis costs only 60 points to hold an opponent for 20 seconds.

Damage Health: From 8.00 to 10.00 (6.00) - Yes, this is the hardest to resist, which is why I have it priced as the highest damage spell. However, Absorb Health is just as hard to resist, and costs 8.00 magicka to cast and acts as a restore health spell, too. Also, absorb health cannot be reflected back at the caster (it can, but it does no harm, as you absorb your own health). Also, when balancing damaging spells, consider their usefulness against melee weapons. Don't make it preferable to use a daedric (or bound) longsword over a spell. They should, ideally, be equal.


Damage Magicka: From 8.00 to 4.00 (2.50) - This is balanced against spells like sound and silence and damage/drain attribute, since both prevent casting. Damage Magicka at magnitude 25 for 10 seconds will drain about any caster's magicka pool: this costs 47 magicka at base cost 2.50 - less than paralyzation, which also prevents spell casting, and also prevents everything else. I could be argued even lower on this cost, but I want to test more before doing so.


Demoralize Creature: From 1.00 to 0.50 (0.65) - I may agree, I stopped at 0.65 to do more testing. Demoralize currently can cause strange things. Sometimes whole cells become immune to this spell; viz. you cast this once and a creature runs, when it wears off every creature in the current cell becomes immune to demoralize affects. Buggy coding causes great difficulty in testing this one.


Detect Animal: From 0.75 to 0.25 (0.35) - Maybe, I don't know why anyone would use this spell, you can hear creatures for miles. Not sure the application for this.


Dispel: From 5.00 to 2.50 (5.00) - This spell is very very very very useful at its current cost of 5.00. I would never lower this cost. Any spell effect on you (except diseases) is instantly eliminated. Most high damage spells have a damage over time component, dispel prevents that. 5.00 is just right for this one, balanced against restore health at 5.00. Costing about 60 magicka to cast, this really prevents all damage that has a duration over 1 second.


Drain Attribute: From 1.00 to 0.50 (0.36) - Drains are temporary, victim recovers quickly. Drain attribute should be balanced against paralysis. Draining 100 strength for 20 seconds costs 54 (at 0.36), paralysis costs 60 for 20 seconds.

Drain Fatigue: From 2.00 to 0.10 (0.13) - No real difference.

Drain Health: From 4.00 to 2.00 (3.25) - My note to myself next to 3.25 for this spell reads as this: "Do Not Lower!". The reason is that this is the most damaging way to deal up to 100 damage. Try this spell at magnitude 100, duration 1 second and see the results on cliff racers. This spell should not be used at any greater duration than 1 second. Balance it appropriately against a character with a daedric weapon doing average 80 damage in two seconds at no magicka cost. A great nuisance (read cliffracer) handler. Exactly zero use against high hit point creatures, maybe as a finisher.

And I'm only at "D" so far....

Drain Skill: From 1.00 to 0.25 (0.75) - I could be persuaded to lower this one more. I would tend towards 0.38 as the next step.

Feather: From 1.00 to 0.10 (0.17) - At values less than 0.20 this spell is useful. Why go to 0.10?

Fire Damage: From 5.00 to 4.00 (5.00) This is my baseline spell, against which all other damage spells are compared. I would be interested in your rational for lowering the cost of it. Note; that at your value of 4.00, against a creature with 50% fire resistance, this is still more magicka efficient to cast than damage health at your value of 10.00. See Frost Damage also.

Fortify Fatigue: From 0.50 to 0.25 (0.50) - I can't think of the application for this, so I left it be.

Frost Damage: From 5.00 to 4.00 (5.00) - Same question as fire damage, this is my baseline spell. Why lower this? Is it only for NPCs? And if so, then why not give them more magicka if you want NPC casters to nuke more, rather than change a baseline player spell for magicial damage.

Levitate: From 3.00 to 8.00 (3.00) - Well, this is really a question of exploitatory use versus normal use. The magicka cost for 20 seconds at magnitude 10 is 30 magicka. A good cost for a utility spell. If you are pricing it to avoid exploitation for its AI defeating characteristics, then you are right. But if I am going to exploit this it is much easier to grab a Wizard's Staff, so pricing to prevent exploitation doesn't make a difference here. Price it for utility and leave it to the player to choose not to exploit.

Light: From 0.20 to 0.10 (0.20) - I'd have to experiment more, you make a good point.

Open: From 6.00 to 10.00 (9.75) - umm..I can't argue about a 2.5% difference.

Poison: From 9.00 to 5.00 (5.50) - See Fire and Frost damage.

Resist Blight Disease: From 5.00 to 0.50 (2.00) - It costs 100 to cure a blight disease, 200 to resist it... hmmm, 2.00 is probably still too high.

Resist Fire: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.66)
Resist Frost: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.66)
Resist Magicka: From 2.00 to 1.50 (1.25)
Resist Normal Weapons: From 5.00 to 5.00
Resist Paralysis: From 0.20 to 0.50 (2.00)
Resist Poison: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.66)
Resist Shock: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.66)
- 0.66 or 0.50, I don't know. I have dropped these spells four times (after testing), down to a quarter of their previous values, and started to get conservative in my changes. Maybe further is better. I disagree in resist paralysis. Paralysis is one of the few spell attacks that a high level character fears. I didn't want to give the shop away here, so to speak.

Restore Fatigue: From 1.00 to 0.25 (1.00) - at 1.00 it only costs 25 magicka to restore 500 fatigue. Dropping it further makes it almost free.

Sanctuary: From 1.00 to 0.75 (1.00) - After some testing, I still don't know what this spell does. However, I feel about invulnerable with sanctuary 50 at a magicka cost of 50 points for 20 seconds. I don't think it needs to be lowered to encourage its use.

Shield: From 2.00 to 0.50 (0.80) - Maybe, need to test more. Alot of the shield type spells fall into the category that would require statistical testing to evaluate the effectiveness - hence I got conservative in the changes.

Shock Damage: From 7.00 to 5.00 (5.75) - See Fire/Frost damage comments

Silence: From 40.00 to 50.00 (35.00) - paralyze costs 60 magicka for 20 seconds, Silence at 35.00 costs 53 points for 20 seconds. Which is better? I would argue that silence could be dropped slightly more.

SlowFall: From 3.00 to 1.00 (2.00) - Maybe.

Soultrap: From 2.00 to 5.00 (2.00) - Good point. I'll look at the casting costs of different types of traps.

Sound: From 3.00 to 1.00 (0.60) - Costs (at 0.60) 90 points for 20 seconds. This is a tricky one. Mages will still try to cast when sounded (under the influence of sound), thus wasting their magicka. This is better than silence, where they stop trying to cast and preserve their magicka. But, it is still more costly than paralyze. I can see lowering this, but that means re-tweaking drains, silence, damage magicka, etc. A large iterative process to re-balance all these. Also, sound can be very effective at levels lower than 100, so Sound 50 for 20 seconds only costs 45 magicka. 0.60 I am comfortable with, but I could see slightly lower.

Summon
- Ancestral Ghost: From 7.00 to 5.00
- Skeletal Minion: From 13.00 to 10.00
- Scamp: From 12.00 to 10.00
- Bonewalker: From 13.00 to 15.00
- Greater Bonewalker: From 15.00 to 20.00
- Bonelord: From 25.00 to 20.00
- Clannfear: From 22.00 to 25.00
- Flame Atronach: From 23.00 to 25.00
- Frost Atronach: From 27.00 to 30.00
- Dremora: From 28.00 to 30.00
- Hunger: From 29.00 to 30.00
- Daedroth: From 32.00 to 35.00
- Storm Atronach: From 38.00 to 35.00
- Winged Twilight: From 52.00 to 40.00
- Golden Saint: From 55.00 to 50.00
- well..... I'd have to re-look at these to speak on them.


Swift Swim: From 2.00 to 0.25 (0.50) - maybe, you didn't think putting it at 1/4 of its original value went far enough?

Telekinesis: From 1.00 to 2.50 (1.00) - maybe, again, I'd have to re-evaluate the range, duration, use sorta thing. I haven't really played with this too much, since a bent probe will disarm any trap at skill level 1. Really waiting on LD to do more trap research to look at this.

Water Breathing: From 3.00 to 2.00 (3.00)
Water Walking: From 3.00 to 4.00 (3.00)
- Water breating I thought was a good cost for its duration at 3.00. great utility spell, not replacable with anyother spell when diving. Walking, well, maybe, again, I need to look at it again to speak on it.

Weakness to Blight: From 4.00 to 2.00 (3.00)
Weakness to Common: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
Weakness to Corpus: From 4.00 to 4.00
Weakness to Fire: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
Weakness to Frost: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
Weakness to Magicka: From 2.00 to 2.00
Weakness to Weapons: From 2.00 to 2.00
Weakness to Poison: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
Weakness to Shock: From 2.00 to 1.00 (1.50)
- at value 1.50 I was balancing the spell's ability to increase the damage of the parent spell. At 2.00 it was never useful to cast weakness. At 1.50 it became a situationally useful spell. I would be worried that at 1.00 it would always be better to cast weakness before casting an elemental spell.


Okay. End of list! Just when I thought it was safe to play Morrowind again you send me back to the Construction Set. Let me add this: please consider my comments in the spirit of engendering dialogue, devil's advocate and all that.






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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 448
Re: Entrapment
      #847599 - 10/24/02 05:35 PM

Thanks for the quick response. I was specifically hoping for critical comments so I could find flaws in my logic. My testing has been limited so far, but I've added more observations today based upon some problems I've run into trying out the spells.

The Absorb line: I think this line is broken. At the very least it's hard to balance. The spells seem to veer wildly from useless to overpowering. My thought at the moment is simply to remove them altogether.

Bound items: the weapons are too low-cost, I think. I'm also not certain at this point whether NPCs actually use them as I've never seen one cast the spell. I think this is because the cost is so low in comparison to other spells, although immensely useful for mages who otherwise lack fighting skills.

Damage attributes: I agree. The values are too low. I changed the base to 12.00.

Damage health: I reset this 8.00, which is twice the cost of fire to counter the lack of resistance. In game I used to enchant my weapons with this spell rather than elemental spells because so very few creatures could resist it.

Dispel: again agree here. I changed it back this morning.

Drain Attribute: changed that to .25 this morning. It now seems to be somewhat useful.

Drain Health: I think I indicated earlier I put in a point cost just for reference to the whole drain/absorb/damage progression. This spell type no longer exists in my game because, like Calm, it's a cheat.

Drain Skill: I actually removed this series as well. The effect is either too specific (and other spells are better in combat), or far too effective.

Feather: I set this to 1/10th the cost of boosting Strength. I never used Feather because temporarily boosting strength was so easy. With this low cost it's now possible for a non-mage character to cast the spell for an effective period of time.

Jump/Slowfall: with the current ease of casting Levitation these spells fall by the wayside. In upping Levitation I lowered these two to make them more attractive to non-mage characters (e.g., to reach otherwise unreachable heights, like those damned mushroom towers).

Elemental changes: I don't really see them as that big; I use 4.00 for a baseline for other effects while you use 5.00. And yep, they're to make NPCs slightly more effective *without* boosting spell points beyond what a player could achieve. I'm trying to make NPCs more deadly without using too many NPC-only hacks, like raising spell points past normal values.

Resist Disease (Common and Blight): in testing I still found the spells to be useless since you didn't know if the creature attacking you was diseased until it was already up close and personal. I lowered the values yet again, this time to 0.25 for Blight and 0.10 for Common (which are the only values I'd consider casting these prior to combat). At these values getting a 100 resist to blight for 30 seconds still costs 38 magicka - and I'd still prefer just to enchant an amulet with the same effect and forget about casting altogether.

Resist Paralysis: the only reason I lowered the value is because, like disease, you have no idea if an opponent is using a paralyzing weapon until he actually starts beating you with it. To be effective you have to cast it before he closes - and there are other spells that could be considerably more useful (e.g., demonic armor and axe). This is another spell I'd just rather enchant an item with and forget about.

Sanctuary and Shield: both seem somewhat effective, although not as effective as I thought they'd be. The algorithm is either screwy or I'm getting some odd effects.

Silence: I never compared this to paralyze - good point. Although I'm inclined to remove this spell as well and let Paralyze take its place. Frankly, mages have a tough enough time without having to deal with two spells specifically aimed at their spell-casting abilities (Silence and Sound). The fact that a non-mage could get an item enchanted with these and then go to town also makes me leery of keeping them.

Swift Swim: nope, I didn't think 1/4 of the value was enough. The spell is extremely situational; there are very few areas you actually need to swim through at any speed (especially when you can levitate or water walk or take a boat....). It wasn't the spell but the fact that there are so many alternatives of broader value. Perhaps now a non-mage character might actually be inclined to swim rather than water-walk or levitate.

Telekinesis: without the changes even non-mage characters can stand back and open trapped items with impunity. Kinda defeats the purpose of getting up close and personal. But then, the only time I've ever 'accidentally' set off a trap is when I clicked on a container without bothering to see if a trap was present, so whether this spell is useful or not is unclear. If there's no penalty for disarm failure then the spell is moot so long as you're packing enough probes.

Water breathing: this spell is very useful and generally one of the first things I permanently enchant. I wanted to lower the cost so that non-mage characters would be more inclined to cast it when needed rather than enchant a ring and just swap it out when the situation required it.

Water walking: to encourage non-mages to swim, combined with swift-swim.

Weakness to X: at 1.00 it is better to cast the weakness before casting the element. Assuming that you have the time to do so before the enemy closes, of course, and that he doesn't resist your spell.

Don't worry about damaging my ego; it's large enough to withstand any amount of critical commentary. :-)

As an aside, I decided to entirely revamp the available spells to make them all useful and also easier to identify. I got tired of trying to remember which spell did what and how effective it was. The names are cute, I guess, but after a couple hundred hours of play I'm no longer interested in 'cute'.

For example:

Blindness is separated into two categories: Blindness (which is ranged) and Blinding Touch (which is not). Each set has four different versions - Minor, Lesser, Major, and Greater, like so:

Minor - dur 30, mag 25-25
Lesser - dur 30, mag 50-50
Major - dur 30, mag 75-75
Greater - dur 30, mag 100-100

Now, instead of hunting through my spell list trying to find the various blind spells and their effects they're all in the same place and if I know the dur/mag for one I know the dur/mag for them all based on the progression above. No doubt this will kill the mood for some players but it's sure nice to be able to scroll quickly through the list, look at one spell, and know how all the others work based on that one spell (and they're all together alphabetically, thank the gods).

Even better for me I also know what my NPCs are grabbing when I autocalc them.

Max


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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
More Spell Balancing
      #847632 - 10/24/02 05:48 PM

After review of a few spell effects, I am agreed on the logic of, or diagree because:

Bound Cuirass to 3.50, agreed (I had already had it set to this).

Bound Shield to 3.50, agreed, this allows you to block in addition to its armor protection, so more valuable than, say, bound boots.

Command Creature to 5.00, agreed. Note: This now costs 50 magicka to command a level 10 creature for 20 seconds. It costs 28 magicka (default) to summon a dremora (level 9) for 20 seconds. But, since command both removes one opponent from combat (like paralyze) and provides you with an ally, I would not see the logic in going lower. Situationally it can be better than paralyze, sometimes it won't be. This is a big boost to conjuration-style players. (note: TESCS values used for magicka cost)

Also, on Command Creature, this spell can fail; since you may have misjudged the creature's level, you may have to lead your new ally into battle; eating up the spell's duaration for travel time, you may not be able to use it for any effect if you are only facing one opponent (quite common). Situationally, better than a summons. Situationally not. Depends. It would be cheaper to summon than to command against one opponent, cheaper to command against two. 50 magicka is the equivalent to about 150 fire damage. A level 10 opponent should have (real rough approximation of 50 + 5/level) 100 hit points, so perhaps not as good as just blasting 'em, but more competitive now.

Command Humanoid to 6.50, note: this is more useful than command creature so hence the higher cost (due to the charm component).

Cure Poison. It cost about 9 points to cure poison, 25 points to dispel the same effect (TESCS values, not in game spell maker). Cure poison is over twice as efficient, but only against one type of damage. 9 points is almost a freebie. Against a spell like poison bloom, cheaper than healing the damage, which costs 12.5 to heal 50 points. Against any other damage type - useless. I agree that it shouldn't be free to avoid damage, but with dispel so cheap, and healing cheaper, I wouldn't open the inventory screen to pick it. I can't see increasing this cost.

Light to 0.15, note: this is brighter than night-eye at cost 0.20, but when configured to be a targetable spell rather than self, it quickly costs much much more magicka to cast. I agree with a reduction, but feel that 0.10 is too low, since it is brighter at equivalent magnitudes.

Resist Blight to 1.00. Agreed. It now costs 100 magicka to cure or 100 magicka to resist blight (100% for 20 seconds).

Soultrap to 5.00. Agreed. At duration 30 seconds, even at 5.00 effect cost, it only costs 7 magicka to soul trap (TESCS value). Still very very cheap to cast.

Swift Swim to 0.20. Agreed. Unlike Water Walking, Swift Swim needs a high magnitude to be effective, the further reduced cost makes these spells more competitive now.

Water walking to 4.00. Agreed. You can water walk about anywhere and you avoid nearly all critter encounters. It is free travel, it should be higher than water breating.



Further notes on weakness spells. 1.50 is perfect for their cost. At 1.50 it costs exactly the same magicka to double the damage of an elemental spell. This means that under certain circumstance it is cheaper to cast weakness to xxxx than to cast an elemental spell twice for the same damage effect. It depends on how the elemental damge spell is configured - for initial damage, or damage over time.


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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Balancing spells, redux
      #847695 - 10/24/02 06:16 PM

Bound items: Yes, NPCs do use them, but they stop picking them after the NPC gets past about level 10 due to the spell's low magicka cost.

Drain Health: You feel that this spell over powers mages? I felt that it was a great equalizer between mages (with limited magicka pools) against fighters (at no cost damage), especially in the nusicance critter department.

Slowfall: At slowfall magnitude 0 or 1 the player takes no damage from any fall of any distance. The cost for casting this, based on singular magnitudes seems in line. You don't need this spell to have a magnitude to be effective, just duration.

NPC Magicka pools: By default NPCs have 2x Int as a magicka pool, players have 1x Int. NPCs already have a boost in magicka to make up for their poor AI (and lack of birthsigns). I increased this to 3.5x Int to make up for NPCs wasting their magicka on initial casts of, say reflect duration 5 sec, rather than useful spells.

Resist Blight Disease: Now don't go changing your values after we agree!

Spell naming conventions: I too went through and re-valued the spells for consistancy in naming, but I kept the exotic names like cruel, dire, wild, etc. I just wanted to know that dire was always better than cruel. The capriciousness in naming bothered me as well.

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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #847908 - 10/24/02 07:21 PM

Command line was bothering me, now I remember why I had it set as I did: Commanded creatures will often continue to attack your opponent after the duration has exipred. I returned those two spells to higher values. They are effective at much shorter duartions. A Command for ten seconds is comparable to a summons for twenty seconds (or longer) as your ex-commanded creature continues to fight for you (if it was attacked by your opponent). Evaluating Command level 9 for ten seconds compared to summon dremora (level 9) for 20 seconds is a better comparison.

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DarkDragon
Curate

Reged: 08/01/02
Posts: 519
Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #848820 - 10/25/02 01:08 AM

*bump* Hey wakim, can't wait for those NPC improvements. But a bit of warning, be careful with the dialogue... you can screw up the entire game if you're not careful.

But I trust you. As I am willing to bet alot of people do.

--------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------
"No don't play in the muddled, you'll get a dirty mind!" - Din

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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 448
Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #848909 - 10/25/02 01:59 AM

Um, I tested command and see your point. Cast once and let the NPC's duke it out while you sit back and take bets. I reset this back to 7.50 (though I left creatures at 5.00).

I wasn't aware that Slowfall counteracted all damage at any magnitude. Another spell I haven't tested or used (why Slowfall when you can levitate?). Blast it then, what's the point of having magnitude for the spell???

For my own testing I've set all NPCs to have a magicka value of 4x INT. To counter this I've developed a character mod which also allows a character to (eventually) get 4 x INT in magicka as well (the NPCs have this as a default, the PCs do not - I base my magicka calculations on Willpower and not birthsigns).

This is just my personal preference as I've an aversion to trying to make things 'challenging' for a player by throwing uber-monsters at him. It doesn't concern me that NPCs have 4 x magicka so long as a PC can eventually acquire that as well. But if I were to set magicka to 10 x INT for NPCs then the game would lose interest for me - then I'd wonder why I just didn't give all fighter NPCs a 200 STR and AGI? To me this smacks of lack of imagination on the developer's end, and since I'm now a developer with respect to my plugins I need to come up with something better than just jacking stats.

One of the problems is that it doesn't appear to be possible to give NPCs 'preferences' for spell casting, e.g., cast a then b then c. I have a spell - Demonic Armor (Lesser) - which'll equip the NPC with the bound armor set, and in conjunction with say Demonic Sword (Lesser) the NPC could become a nice little engine of destruction once his spell points run down to the point where it's time to engage in hand-to-hand. The only way to simulate this, I think, is to non-autocalc NPCs (or to autocalc them and then add/subtract spells by hand). Even then it might be necessary to combine the two spells above and then eliminate any spell which might drive spell points below the cost of casting it and hope the NPC actually uses the set instead of blowing his remaining points on something else.

It's rather too bad the AI is so brain-dead when it comes to combat. It makes balance all that much harder to achieve.

Max


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wakim
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #849017 - 10/25/02 03:12 AM

DarkDragon, my NPC dialogue and Faction mod is available on TheLys and Dragonsight. I haven't heard of any problems with it yet. No one even complained about the guide guides being faction tied...

Max, NPCs are fairly stupid, but they do exhibit prefrences that can be exploited to make them seem smarter. I don't know the specifics of what you are trying to get the NPCs to do, but here are some trial and error observations I have noted with regard to their behavior (presented as rules, but probably not verities):

1) NPCs tend to favor spells from their top school. Different classes of casters (Battlemage, sorcerer, necromancer) have different rankings in their various magical schools.

2) When picking spells NPCs will pick spells that are the highest magicka cost they can cast with a 50% chance or better of casting. This means that they often auto pick spells they cannot cast, such as command humanoid, simply 'cuz it is a high magicka cost spell.

3) NPCs will begin by "buffing" themselves with resists and reflects and absorptions. Normally this is just a waste of their magicka.

4) After the buffing spells, NPCs will lead with summoning spells - creatures and bound items. (3 and 4 may vary in order with an NPC's class)

5) When spell casting on the player, NPCs will always start with weakness spells and debilitaters (sound, silence, blind) then they favor destruction school spells, including disintegrate weapons, drains, and damage. They will stop casting damaging spells to re-apply weakness type effects if possible.

6) NPCs will not re-cast the same spell at an opponent if that spell is still affecting the opponent.

7) NPCs will dispel themselves if a deleterious spell is affecting them.

8) NPCs do not prefer casting paralyzation, but will cast it if left with limited choices.

9) NPCs will not use defensive spells, unless they are wounded, this includes sanctuary and shields.

10) NPCs will not engage in melee unless they are out of magicka, or so low that they can't cast offensive of defense spells.

11) NPCs will not heal themselves unless they are wounded down to 20% life remaining (generally they have no magicka left at this point).

12) NPCs will use some potions (restore health) and enchanted items. They will not spam enchanted items, but tend to cast them once.

One of the tactics I used to make NPCs seem smarter was to write a few simply spells for them to auto select based upon magicka cost. Quite often higher level NPCs stop picking "good" spells because the pre-written spells that are useful in combat cap out at about 30 magicka cost. This is the point where the player goes to a spell maker and creates his own fireballs or what have you. NPCs don't have this oprion, so they start to grab high magicka cost spells with "questionable" or situational use, that they can't use well. Since spellsellers are not marked as auto-calc, the player never gets these spells, but by throwing in some 40-60 magicka cost spells marked as auto-calc cost into the spell list the NPCs can grab them. You may want to experiment with this to see if you can achieve the effect you want.

A tactic I've seen used is to attach a script to NPCs to add and remove items and/or magicka based on various factors (player's distance, player's resists, etc.). This style script could be used to add and remove spells from an NPC's spell list as well.



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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #849253 - 10/25/02 05:16 AM

Wakim,

I pretty much came to the same conclusions by writing some spells and testing the autocalc on a variety of NPC mages. Since I'm revamping the spell list and throwing out all the 'useless' spells I'm now seeing NPCs pick spells which are functional in combat.

However, it seems as if the best way to simulate intelligent tactics is to write several different spellcaster scripts based upon the primary magic schools of the various mages. The generic script you outlined would work decently with some and not-so-decently with others. E.g., it would be of little value to cast 'demonic arms (axe)', which equips a mage with bound armor and axe, unless that mage intended to enter combat. This is where a script would be useful (if magicka < 70, try to cast demonic arms (axe), otherwise exclude spell from choices).

On another note I've played around a bit with various damage attribute spells with the cost set to 12.00 (yours is 9.75, I believe). For a measly 60 magicka I can lower any attribute of the target 100 points, permanently. If applied to strength this is a death sentence for any humanoid NPC and most creatures. A spell of half this value will freeze most regular NPCs (even if STR is greater than zero, they become overburdened).

Drain I don't have a problem with since it's timed; but the damage attribute spells are incredibly effective if the target doesn't resist. I'm thinking an even higher cost would be appropriate here since very few creatures have STR's near 100, much less higher than 100. An equivalent paralyze spell only lasts 30 seconds for the same magicka cost.

Over the next couple of days I'm going to experiment with removing the entire damage attribute spell class and seeing how drain attribute works in its place. Diseases and certain creature attacks would keep the ability to damage attributes (non-autocalced), I'm just removing the ability to do this as a spell.

So far, though, I've been surprised at the test outcomes. In some cases the NPCs are downright devious; in others almost comical. I think this has more to do with their school and class than anything else, a situation would could at least partially be remedied by making sure that there are a few deadly spells associated with each school of magic. Oh, and by *not* adding high-cost spells to the spell list which are overkill or not useful in combat (which I did and have now undone).

Max


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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #849331 - 10/25/02 06:06 AM

An additional note:

The 'demoralize' class of spells don't seem to be balanced considering their limited usefulness. Even with my values a 30-second demoralize creature with a magnitude of 25 costs 28 magicka. Assuming the creature doesn't resist, and assuming that the creature is affected enough to actually run, the spell wears off in 30 seconds. Using your fire damage values I can craft a spell that does 75-75 fire damage which I think is of far greater value.

And after testing disintegrate....

Disintegrate armor works for light armors, but isn't cost-effective for anything heavier. Disintegrate weapon turns out to be valueless as even small weapons like daggers have high health ratings. I'm not sure why anyone would use these spells, actually, as the magicka could be better spent on other activities.

Of the drain spells, drain strength seems to be the most potent of the lot. If you set the cost too high, then it's better to use paralyze; too low and it's better to drain. It also makes the burden line less than useful as draining strength is more cost-effective and has a broader impact; damage fatigue is also affected adversely as a spell of choice.

The whole 'mess with attribute' concept, regardless of drain/absorb/damage, seems to upset the worth of other spells if set too low, and become worthless if set too high.

Max


Edited by maxpublic (10/25/02 07:15 AM)

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wakim
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #850190 - 10/25/02 01:14 PM

Most creatures have strengths of either 50 or 100, so damage attribute can be very effective at less than 100 magnitudes. This is one of those spells that I wanted to test more before changing the value even higher. Most NPCs carry about zero weight: a robe, shoes, and a sword or perhaps twenty pounds of light armor. If your opponent has a strength of 50, then damage attribute costs less than paralyze, but it also does less, in that your opponent can still cast spells or use items or defend himself (albeit poorly). If your opponent has a 100 strength, then it costs more than paralyze, and also does less (since they can cast, etc.). I assume that this spell would be most effective when used against strength, but it can also attack intelligence and therefore act as a sound/silence style spell. It can be effective at values less than 100, it might require values of 100 on some creatures. I don't know if it can be dispelled or not. I would tend to think that 9.75 is too low, but at least it is moving in the right direction.

I am just a tad conflicted on where to place this spell compared to paralyze. Paralyze stops 'em dead for a limited time. Damage attribute will stop one aspect of their abilities, forever. If one assumes that combat lasts approximately 20 seconds against any given opponent, then the added duration of damage attribute is meaningless. If you aren't the sort of guy who has to kill everything, then why not encourage just dropping their strength to zero and leaving the NPC? Is this spell more powerful than an equivalent health damage spell? Is it really better than paralyze? If I had strong opinion about what the most effective way to use damage attribute is, then I'd know where to set the cost. I don't know. It is a powerful spell, but alone it won't kill anything. If directed at strength: NPC can still cast, if directed at intelligence: NPC can still melee, if directed at agility: much slap-stick comic relief ensues.

Demoralize I may still have too high. Demoralize should never need a magnitude of higher than 60 to be effective. A running opponent isn't as easy a target as a paralyzed one, so it should cost less. Off-hand I can't think of a way to exploit demoralize that makes it better than paralyze, so I would agree it should be less. However, demoralize should be effective against most humaniods at lesser magnitudes - 30 or 40. Lowering the values of demoralize to 0.50 for creatures (doesn't affect daedra, undead, or dwarven machines - the really tough stuff) means that it would cost 45 magicka to make anything run for 20 seconds, and 23 magicka to make most stuff run: always cheaper than paralyze. And, since most things flagged as "creatures" are fairly low level, this is an excellent way to deal with cliff racers without worrying that some 1000 hitpoint behemoth will become trivial at 1/3rd the cost of paralyze.

At values of 0.65 for humanoid, it would be 59 to make anyone run, and 29 to make most run. Still just slightly preferable to paralyze (1 point), and situationally one-half the cost. Demoralize also can't be reflected back at a player. Also note, that demoralize requires smaller and smaller values to cause fleeing behavior the more damaged an opponent is. If an opponent is damaged to 50% health, demoralize of magnitude 20 is almost always enough. However, uness you have memorized every AI Flee setting for every creature in the game, you will never know how much is needed, so this is the type of spell where you will generally cast too much of, rather than too little. Also, in my opinion, more non-violent solutions should be presented in MW. It shouldn't always be the easiest to simply blast and hack away at everything. I feel that these values should now be fairly close to optimum. It can cost only 1/3rd as much as paralyze to remove an opponent from combat, it can cost about the same. Situationally better or worse dependent upon opponent type, health, and individual AI settings.

Distintegrates I have at about 16% of their original values. That seems like a large reduction. A steel long sword has 900 health. To disintegrate that weapon would require disintegrate at 100 magnitude for 9 seconds at a cost of... 101. This clearly needs to go lower. A steel suit of armor is health 1650 (including shield), but I believe disintegrate armor attacks (randomly) one piece only per cast; a steel cuirass is health 450. Bumping disintegrate weapon down to 0.50 and armor to 0.40 would then cost 34 and 48 magicka respectively (or 15 magicka to attack only the cuirass). These values are 8.3% or less of the spell's original cost. 34 magicka to remove a steel long sword may still be high, let's not talk about attacking a daedric weapon of health 3000+. Chopping a spell's cost by over 90% makes me think I must be missing something.

And finally, I do agree that it is tough to value all the similar spells such as burdens, drains, damages, absorbs; attribute or fatigue or skill or magicka, silences, sounds, and so on. I have a table I've set up (similar to the one posted many pages earlier on this thread) where I have spells grouped by effect type and listed by effective magnitudes and durations to their magicka cost to compare. This way I can quickly see that burden at magnitude 250 for 20 seconds costs 38 magicka and drain strength at magnitude 50 for 20 seconds costs 27 magicka (similar effect). However, drain intelligence at 50 for 20 is still 27, and drain magicka at 175 for 20 costs 32. I don't expect the results to be perfect, I do want them to be better than before. And, I would rather err onto the conservative side when making changes than go too far and have to back up.



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**DONOTDELETE**

Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #850245 - 10/25/02 01:53 PM

"Also, in my opinion, more non-violent solutions should be presented in MW. It shouldn't always be the easiest to simply blast and hack away at everything."

Completely agree. We have to keep in mind that Morrowind must provide for a wide variety of characters, including 'peaceful' and 'sneaky' types. So far my experiences with Wakim's mod show a vast improvement over the original game. I'm sorry I can't elaborate further right now, I will when I have more time.

Cheers and keep the discussion going Wakim, Max et al!

-Simon

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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #850451 - 10/25/02 03:39 PM

I've removed the entire 'affect attribute' line of spells from my mod and am fairly sure, after testing, that this will be my ultimate solution to the problem. As is it doesn't adversely affect the behavior of spellcaster NPCs (in fact, if anything I'd say it improves some of them); the only real result, I think, is removing options from the player when spell-making. I can live with this as the useful effects can be simulated with other spells (burden, paralyze) and the cheats/uberspells are eliminated in the process.

Plus, it makes balancing the remaining effects against each other a heck of alot easier.

The effect still exists as creature powers/diseases, but not as a castable spell.

I've also done the same with Silence/Sound (mage-specific spells in a world that seems hell-bent on penalizing mages) and the damage weapon/armor line. The last I could easily live with leaving in, but I see no practical value in it's use unless set so low it's almost a gimme.

Demoralize I'm testing at a value of 0.25 now. For a 30 second magnitude 50-50 terror spell it costs 28 magicka, which will send most PCs running if they fail to resist. Now, if you're a thiefish type looking to bypass the guards so you can loot the bandit cave this is effective at achieving your goals without slaughtering everyone and their brother; but if you're using this as a combat tactic get ready for some Three Stooges action. I've tried this and it's more frustrating than anything else; the target takes off at full speed zigging this way and zagging that way, making it damned near impossible to run him down and get in a good swing unless in very close quarters. In several cases the fleeing enemy ran into other areas with non-affected NPCs and triggered them into combat as my breathless PC charged after him.

Demoralize - good for the thief. Good if you want to make an escape. Bad for combat unless you feel the need to jog all over the landscape roaring in helpless frustration until the spell runs out.

Overall, rather balanced and a nice alternative to becoming the biggest mass murderer Morrowind has ever produced. I wonder if the spell can be used against a PC?

I also removed 'detect key', mainly because I can see using magic as a radar for living objects and for sources of magic (enchantments) but not as a search tool for...what? Key-shaped objects? Why not another spell that searches for pantaloon-shaped objects? Or things that look like blue pots? What, is magic intelligent now? Hey, while you're looking for the key tell me how many folks are in the next room and what kind of weapons they're carrying, eh?

The more I thought about it, the more ridiculous this spell seemed. End of spell. Next.

My approach isn't as minimal as your own. As you can see I've no problem eliminating spell lines which I see as too powerful, too useless, or too ridiculous. My end goals are to

a) make NPC spell casters something to be feared *without* giving them uberstats, special powers, or band-aid bonuses;

b) eliminate PC cheats; and

c) streamline the spell powers by modifying or deleting those things which offend my sensibilities.

So far, so good.

I do have one question. Up to this point I've been keeping the original Morrowind spells for reference on the primary spell list and just removing them as NPC choices. Now I'm trying to delete them and, well, the 'delete' function doesn't actually seem to be a delete function. It simply marks the spell as deleted but in reality it keeps it on the list and uses the 'delete' tag as an 'ignore' tag. Exiting the CS and restarting it with the save mod makes no difference, nor did it in a test mod where the only thing I did was 'delete' one spell.

Any idea what I'm doing wrong? I want to clean the list of all the old spells and marking them as ignored isn't what I had in mind.

Thanks,
Max



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wakim
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #850747 - 10/25/02 05:34 PM

Demoralize Humanoid: I do have a concern that this spell can be overpowered in certain unique circumstances. The best example I can think of is Dviyth Fyr (sp). Here is someone with 1k health and an AI Flee rating of 0. He will run for 20 seconds at demoralize 60 at 59 magicka. I assume then he will run back to you for 20 seconds. Demoralize has, in this case, "deactivated" an NPC for 40 seconds for very modest magicka. No, it hasn't hurt him; No, it hasn't weakened him; but it has by-passed 999 hit points and 150 strength and full daedric armor and a level 65 NPC by hitting him where he is weakest: his AI. Also, sometimes fleeing creatures will do really strange things: try to run into walls, just stand there one step out of weapon range, fall into water, fall off cliffs...

What I envision for this spell is exactly what you describe: NPCs zig-zagging off into the gloom while the Nightblade slips by them and grabs their loot. What I fear is that there is some unforeseen side-effect that makes this a freebie hack-on-his-back-while-the-NPC-tries-to-climb-a-sheer-cliff spell. It should be cheaper than paralyze, but how much so depends on how buggy NPCs get when they are demoralized. I don't want to see all the Telvanni counselers die from falling to their deaths while trying to leap from their towers. Actually, I sorta do, but it is just that demoralize doesn't distinguish between a lvl 1 humanoid or a lvl 40 humanoid, it only cares about the individual's AI Flee setting. Let me know how your demoralize setting plays out for you as you get the chance to wander the lands spreading fear and terror.

Removing detect blue pots from the game would seriously upset the balance of blue pot collector classes. The ability to find and collect blue pots is an integral part of this class and should not be taken in jest. Blue pots are particularly important to House Redoran faction members, as they have limited access to anything but "redware" - which causes very drab surroundings. I can't see changing the cost of detect blue pots. Detect pantaloons is not a very balanced spell as alot of NPCs are female and hence favor dresses or skirts. This should be considered when looking at the balance of that spell. And, don't forget beast races who are often found without benefit of pantaloons at all. Look at Donald Duck, he hasn't worn pants for over 40 years. Think how a spell of this nature could benefit him.

Marking as "ignored" is probably the only solution available to you, since deleting would imply changing the master .esm file. And yes, I recognize we have different goals. Mine is to make every spell fit into this equation; whereby in some specific situation m cost in magicka = k value in result, where m and k are constants. So that in the appropriate situation some spell, inventively applied, will yield the desired effect at a magicka appropriate cost, and, that no spell is left without some circumstance where it is preferred. Turn Undead is the exception to this rule, since it is hardcoded to not do anything to anyone at anytime. Magic is suppose to be the thinking man's game, but the smart man quickly realizes that hacking and slashing is where it's at in Morrowind. I wanna see NPCs burdened and blinded, silenced and sounded, drained and damaged, reflected and resisted, fortified and feathered, paralyzed and poisoned, shielded and summoned, dispelled and demoralized.

The first time I played through Morrowind I had these hotkeys: 1) Heal, 2) Fireball, 3) Frostball, 4) Paralyze, 5) Levitate, 6) Chameleon, 7) Invisibility, 8) Open, 9) Almsivi Intervention. Wow, what a diverse selection! I toyed with about all the spells, but for one reason or another nothing measured up to these. I'd like to be able to play through Morrowind again and have an equally valid line up filled with Demoralize, Drains, Sound, Command, Shield... Does anyone even know what effect the elemental shield spells have? Frost Shield, Fire Shield, Shock Shield? They have a damage return component when struck in melee, is it based on damage done or shield strength? Do they really add to resists? They don't seem to add to armor rating as advertised...

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Alastor Grimwald
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #851490 - 10/25/02 09:56 PM

I have been following this post for awhile now and I really like what has been discussed. I've had problems with the magic system ever since I first played it. I have one idea that may shed some light on the balancing aspect of spell casting within morrowind.

First the casting of spells should be more level specific. What I mean by this is as a character goes up in levels he should be able to do more damage with the same spells, and also use less magicka to cast them. A wizard with a destruction of 100 should be able to do the maximum amount of damage with a basic fireball and only use one magicka to cast it, where as a begining char with a 35 in destruction should do the least amount and have to use five magicka to cast it. Basicly I suggest that the spell casting system have a minimum and a maximum magicka cost and also have spells that do more damage for less. This would in effect cut down on the number of spells in a spellbook as well, as the spell fireball will be used all throughout the characters adventures simply because the spell increases in strength each time he increases his skill with it. Other such spells like 'Greater Fireball' would become unneeded as the greater your caster gets the greater the fireball. This would also work for durations as well, for an invisibility spell would last longer for someone who is a master of illusion, not simply because he bought the longer lasting spell from the spell vendor down the road.

Another point is in the type of spells available. Any wanna be spellcaster can pick up the best spells in the world and use them given time. This is utterly stupid. It is well known that making spells require a lot of time and effort, and in my opinion so much time and effort that many wizards would be reluctant to just give them up to any would be buyer. There should be rudamentary spells that many people know and use, but some of the more insidious spells should be kept tightly under wraps by high level npc's, including commands and other assorted 'overpowered' spells.

My last problem with spell casting is the arbituary use of utility spells like open, levitate, telekinisis, recall, etc. These types of spells shouldn't use magicka, it should be used a number of times per 24 hours equivalent to how high your skill in the school is, like many of the ability spells work for races. Say for instance you have a 100 in mysticisim and you have mark and recall, you could use both spells 10 times per day. Whereas a charater with a 50 could use them 5 times per day,etc. this would give more of a reason to increase the mysticisim skill beyond what is needed to cast them. I found myself only needing about a 55 in mysticisim to cast the spells I wanted without worrying about percentage loss due to fatigue. If you do not use the spells in that 24 hour period they do not stack. The same should go with open, levitate and all the others. Only having a number of times to use levitate and other spells make characters think twice about when to use them, even at high levels.

There are many other things I could go on about but I will end this for now and maybe I have given some good thought on this subject for all you to think about. Even though I know its not possible to do what I suggest without totally reworking the game mechanics. Any comments are welcome.

KC

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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #851693 - 10/25/02 11:13 PM

I could've used spells like 'detect blue pots', 'detect tankards', and detect 'silverware'. At one point one of my characters was running all over Morrowind collecting this stuff to decorate her house with. She had crates and crates of it...somehow she never got around to actually doing the decorating part. ;-)

I upped demoralize a bit and searched in vain for any way to either a) make it level dependent, or b) to exempt certain NPCs the way Daedra are exempt. Nope, no such animal. I'm starting to wonder just how much actual playtesting there was when it came to the magic system.

As for the fire shield, sanctuary, and shield spells I'm having difficulty determining if they actually work as intended. Anyone who wants to chime in with their own experiments concerning these spells is most welcome.

The inability to edit object lists (or actually, just a plugin's ability to reference object lists) is baffling. Plugins don't change the .esm file anyway, so there's no reason a 'delete' command couldn't delete the .esp file's ability to add a now-unreferenced object to a list. Ah, well. I'm rebuilding my magic changes file by overwriting existing spells - if I can't delete the references, I can instead replace current objects with my modified spells (which has the same effect, when all is said and done).

Overall I don't see the difference between many of the magical effects, other than their potential for exploit or abuse. Sure, there are certain very discreet circumstances where spell x might be useful, but does that justify keeping an entire line of spells that don't play nice with others? Not for me it doesn't. So out the window they go.

I doubt many other folks would agree with me (players seem fascinated by shiny things with neat names) but ultimately my mod is for me - if anyone else wants to use it fine, if not then that works just as well. Either way the changes I want will be in my game and in the end that's all I really care about.

Max




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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #851703 - 10/25/02 11:18 PM

Alastor,

I can't say I agree with any of your suggestions. One of the things I like about Morrowind is that it doesn't use some idiotic D&D-like system dependent on levels. I depise D&D and the stupidity inherent in such a poorly-designed game system and would be appalled to see anything like it brought to the Morrowind universe.

Of course, to each his own. If you want to build a more D&D-like system, go right ahead. But this puppy won't help you build it and won't use your mod when it's released.

Max


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Alastor Grimwald
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #852016 - 10/26/02 01:03 AM

I heartly agree with you Max that morrowind should never become like D&D, but I do not see any reason for the level increase in morrowind. I could just raise all of my skills and attributes and those have effects on the things I can cast, use, etc., but level is nothing but a label in morrowind because it has no relevent bearing on anything. I was proposing that morrowind be a little more level dependant on certain things, like demoralize and what have you. Maybe if the command spells were a little more useful in the magicka department character level would matter to some degree, but other than that what does level really have to do with the game? I think making level something that factors in certain spells would solve most of the problems with certain spells.
On another note I hate the enchanting and spellmaking services. Why cant I enchant anything I want with an enchant skill of 100? I can't even make something worth my time with my skill all the way up, and I think its a bit stupid and combersome to have to use intellegence increase and luck increase just to make a worthy item. Spellmaking is utterly useless as well. Anything you create will incur alot more magicka than a regular bought spell, even with the requisit high skill in the school of magic your using to create the spell. Why so many useless spellcasting utilities and so many useful melee combat utilities?

I think someone hates mages, and they sure do make it evident! (Or they didn't put enough time and effort into it.)

KC

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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #852120 - 10/26/02 02:06 AM

Alastor,

Leveling is actually very relevant in two ways:

- it increases your hit points (often to ridiculous levels, just like D&D)
- it increases your stat points (*very* important)

Actually, in my game it only does the second thing now as I have a plugin which makes health 2 x Endurance. So leveling doesn't add health per se, but it does do so indirectly because leveling allows you to increase Endurance - which increases Health.

If I had my druthers I'd get rid of the concept of leveling for spell use altogether. Instead I'd base the effectiveness of command/charm/demoralize/etc. on the target's Willpower. E.g., cast the spell and if your Willpower + the spell's effectiveness fail to defeat the target's Willpower, then the spell fails. Unfortunately it doesn't appear possible to add a script to a spell so this is merely wishful thinking. The same thing means that it's not possible to incorporate level as a modifier just as it isn't possible to incorporate Willpower as a modifier.

Now if we actually had access to the spellcasting functions this wouldn't be a problem, but Bethesda in it's wisdom has decided not to provide us with this ability. Just as we can't modify the leveling-up function or the mercantile function or the combat-related functions or...you get the picture.

The only work-around I currently see is to come at it from the other direction: modify effective willpower based on level in a script, much the same way I've done with health. Unfortunately this affects *all* resistable spells, which means that beyond a certain point characters would almost automatically resist everything that could be resisted.

If you can think of some other scriptable alternative I'd be eager to hear it. So far I've run into a brick wall.

Max


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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #852206 - 10/26/02 02:54 AM

Well, just a note on modifying the spell list:

The replacement of spells seems to work until you reload the mod. At that point it simply appends the original Morrowind list to your own, essentially adding all the spells you 'overwrote' back into the master list.

So there is no way to remove the spells from the spell list, either by delete (an operation which doesn't work) or by replacement. It also appears you can't rename Morrowind spells with something like a 'zzz' prefix in order to get your spells to sort alphabetically apart from the game spells.

I'm starting to feel like my character chasing after a demoralized opponent, rushing about the landscape in pursuit of the target, screaming in frustration at my inability to actually hit the bugger. Time to whip out Carmaggeddon and pretend all the little pedestrians are Morrowind programmers....

Max


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wakim
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #852251 - 10/26/02 03:26 AM

Max, I'd encourage you to try out the values for some of the spell lines you have altered. I wasn't implying that demoralize at lower values would upset the game, just that I had a concern that such a possibility may exist; I don't know if that possibility would be borne out in gameplay. I'd really like to see demoralize be set alot lower that I current have mine set at, but me terrorizing Balmora or some guars isn't the same as trying it out (and I hate to use this phrase in this context) in a real world circumstance. I'm the conservative guy here, erring on the side of caution - trying to think up the worst possible case scenario.

Alastor, We share a gripe with MW in the area of magic versus melee balance. I tend to think of it as the sleepy mage syndrome. Conan comes charging in swinging his daedric blade and clears a room grabs his loot and marches off. Gandalf unleashes his fireballs clears the room, then sleeps for 18 hours. Conan has his abilities enchanced by increasing his stats: strength increases his damage, agility his ability to hit, endurance his ability to sustain damage. He picks up a new bigger badder sword and is now more potent. He gains skills in his weapon, his defense, his blocking. On the otherhand, Gandalf can cast higher powered spells when his skills go up, but that is checked by his available magicka, which only increases as his intelligence goes up, and then only one point per point of intelligence (modified by race and birthsigns). After Gandalf has 100 intelligence he can never be more potent than he is now. Also, it can be argued that casting higher powered spells (higher magicka cost spells) is actually a detriment, as multiple casts of a lower powered spell do the exact same amount of damage (per magicka) and increase the caster's skill more.

The magic system is bounded by alot of checks and balances. Gandalf quickly reaches a point where he cannot be any better than he is. He has 100 intelligence so he has his maximum magicka (this can be reached at level ten). His spells never get any better, he just gets to cast fewer of them as a reward for being higher level (or more experienced, or whatever term is suitable). Some spells are an exception to this, but they are few (the fixed cost summoning spells) and the exception, not the rule.

Morrowind allows a character to diversify, to pick up a sword if they want, to change mid-stream and decide that the stealthy occupations are preferable, or whatever suits the player's taste. However the game mechanics tend to encourage players towards melee due to its effectiveness in overcoming obstacles. As a player, there is no mandate thrust upon you to succumb to this temptation, but the game mechanics do make it so very tempting. Greater supported diversity of efficacious tactics within the game will extend its longevity, for the same reason that players in Diablo II will start a new game and character to try a new skill tree. People will grow tired of downloading new Morrowind mods and creatures if the gameplay devolves to just clicking the same mouse button and getting the same results.

I tried to play a non-violent thief-type, based on stealth and avoidance, but it is just so much easier to kill 'em than to avoid 'em, especially when they are smacking you around. At the time I did this, demoralize was not an option since AI Flee was not working, command cost 225 magicka to cast, distintegrate weapon cost more than fireball so neutering my opponents wasn't an option either. As I saw it, if I wanted to succeed at stealth and avoidance, I had better be prepared for a plethora of tedious saves and loads. The choice was chameleon 100% (which I won't do) or change tactics. I chose neither.

Still, Gandalf is languishing a bit. 1000-year old Telvanni wizards just don't strike the fear into a player that one would imagine they should. Their arcane magicks are used up in ten seconds and they pull out a fearsome glass dagger and melee without armor. A player is little better off. Conan can swing his blade through anything and perhaps quaff a few potions out of the fighter's guild equipment chest. Gandalf is generally either conserving his magicka and relying on his blade, or sleeping. Maybe that's how the Telvanni wizards live to be so old, they sleep alot.

I don't have any answers here. I've seen mods that add real-time magicka regeneration to the game, but that I think is more akin to recognizing that the imbalance exists rather than solving it. Ideas for consideration might be (as you mentioned) reduced magicka casting cost based on skill in a particular magic school, magicka pool increase bonus based on level to give mages something to look forward to after level ten, more efficient spell results based on skill - sorta like how luck works now - but only affecting spells and proportional to skill. Also note that I am using the term mages here to define a play style, not a class. I don't want to see a rigid class frame work in Morrowind: that is what has always been defining of this series. But I do think that within Morrowind's current system a little hardcode tweaking could bridge the gap between magic skills and melee, and bring magic from a great utility skill for opening doors and levitating and teleporting to something equal to just grabbing a daedric weapon and going to town. The Construction Set can only go so far, and the alternative is desine fata deum fiecti sperare precando.

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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #852290 - 10/26/02 03:51 AM

Wakim,

No, your point about demoralize was right. I still haven't tested it against luminaries like ol' Divith but if he runs like a frightened kagouti then that line, too, becomes a game breaker. Wizards, of all folks, should be the least susceptible to any magic.

If I had some clear idea how willpower is used to resist spells, and exactly what spells are resistable, I *might* be able to script a work-around to give mages an effective higher willpower score when resisting magic. Maybe. Perhaps. But I can't even begin to guess what the algorithm is and Bethesda doesn't seem inclined to provide the formula. My only experience has been that my starting characters get knocked around by all and sundry while my later-game characters seem able to resist everything under the sun.

And does demoralize even work on player characters? If it doesn't then all it does is add yet another mage-breaker to the game since pcs can use it against mages, but mages can't use it against pcs. If so it's a cheap trick, a good idea too poorly implemented to keep around.

My (partial) solution to the pc mage inability to increase magic points was to remove the birth sign nonsense altogether and script adds based on Willpower. So you increase in level, which allows you to add points to Willpower, which increases the multiplier used to determine magicka. Since non-mages are likely to choose to boost Willpower last while mages consider this a primary ability the mage-like pc will go up in magicka faster than the fighter - at least until you reach the mythical levels where everyone shoots for jack-of-all-trades (and at this point there are no class differences anymore).

I'm now starting to consider 'messy' fixes for existing mages in the game. Most of these mages have few enchanted devices and a good many of these are relatively useless; perhaps creating a few decent items and adding them to the NPCs would be of some value. For example, why isn't that master wizard wearing a ring which boosts his Unarmored by a constant 25 points? Why doesn't he have an amulet which allows him to cast Sanctuary 50 for 60 seconds? He is a mage after all - what do they do in their spare time? Stand around and yak magical philosophy? Read copies of 'Bound Vixen Elf Maidens'?

The downside to this is that the player can collect these items if he kills the mage. Fortunately items can have attached scripts so perhaps mages can make 'personal' items which only function as designed when they're wearing them and become useless for anyone else. Maybe 'Divith's Ring' and 'Divith's Staff' only work for Divith and are simply curiosities to anyone else.

Dunno about this. I think it'd require alot of testing to get this right and I'm not sure I want to put quite that much effort into trying to balance the system.

I don't even want to think about enchanting. That system is so broken I'm not sure what to do about it.

Max


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Alastor Grimwald
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #854644 - 10/27/02 02:54 PM

I think your efforts in spell balancing is fruitless. Not to say it can't be done, its just I think the whole(and I do mean WHOLE) system needs to be redone and rethought out. Mages just seem to be unable to go any further than a certain level to me, and I don't expect the system to be forgiving. I personally beleive that mages should be the most powerful of characters in morrowind(remember this is my opinion, not complete truth) once they reach a certain point, and when it seems I have reached that point, I come to find that I still can be beaten by anything out there.

Its things like going to the grazelands and not even being able to kill a golden saint at 50th level with a gods fire or gods frost simply because it gets reflected at me everytime, but a 20th level warrior can kill it in little less than 5 hits without even getting a scratch. Whats wrong with this picture?

I think the D&D system is great, and maybe the morrowind developers can learn a thing or two from it. But overall I don't think morrowind was created with the magic user in mind, I think the warrior type is dominant and any other charater is second best no matter how higher in level he is. All you need is a 10th level warrior a stout skill in longblade, and goldbrand and your set to destroy the Island of morrowind and all its inhabitants within the year.

Excuse me if I am missing something...like a wizard taking out whole armies with but a word and gesture, turning people to stone, destroying items within seconds by disintigration, and lets not forget; controlling the weather and other assorted 'Wizardly" like acts of Magick.

I see only one solution to the magic system:

More Flashy High-Damaging 'cool as [censored]' spells

More LEVEL_DEPENDANT Spellcasting

More Efficiant Ways to Deal with a situation then deciding to use either Fire or Frost.

KC

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Fuzzy
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Re: Balancing Spells
      #854729 - 10/27/02 03:34 PM

Excellent work, Wakim.

Under the items that can't be implemented on the editor, does anyone else wish that Bethesda had incorporated the magical negative effect compensations? Back in the interviews, they were making comments about how one could create a powerful fireball, but compensate by perhaps casting a silence spell upon the caster for 15 seconds as a result. Similarly, I personally find it rather annoying that one can sell Potions of Paralyze, Burden, Drain Fatigue, etc for the same price one might get for potions that actually increased stats.

They probably either ran out of time to implement it or ran into abuse issues (Cast the spell of fireball/silence, then immediately drink a potion of Dispell) but it would have been nice.

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Shogakusha
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #854741 - 10/27/02 03:39 PM

The solution to me would seem to be an almost exponential increase in the magicka pool, by level. I was thinking something like
magicka=(Int x racial modifier)+(lvl^2)
in this way, low level mages maintain a relatively similar magicka pool to what they currently have, but by the time they start to hit level 10 you see a real upturn in the magicka pool increase with level. Think about the pool your 1000 year old telvanni(with appropriate level) will have now. Also, you can make the high level mages do more impressive things simply by adding multiple spell effects to one spell, if you want a buff spell that they will actually use, put several different buff effects in one spell all with the same duration. Go ahead and give the telvanni mage a huge area effect huge duration huge magnitude fire spell, what the hell does he care if he burns some people. Any spells you wanted to be careful with you'd obviously have to add to NPCs by hand rather than autocalc, but I'm thinking you'd only want to give them to some of the really high level really impressive ones anyways(like the previously mentioned telvanni) On another note, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe any effect that the NPC can't use on a PC shouldn't just be taken out entirely. It just doesn't seem fair to me at all.

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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #855697 - 10/28/02 01:00 AM

Once again, I *do not* want to see Morrowind turned into a D&D wannabe. The D&D system is downright horrible, based upon onion-like layers of silliness in a vain attempt to 'balance' a game which was awful from the get-go, and exists today only because it was the first such RPG to catch on.

No, a 50th level mage *should not* be able to cream any other 50th level character without breaking a sweat. Forget that. Any system which makes one 'class' (although there really isn't such a thing in Morrowind) that much more powerful than all the others is broken. What is needed is a way to make the outcome of such a battle uncertain.

And let's put aside all this talk of level, shall we? Level doesn't mean much in Morrowind, nor should it; what counts are your stats and skills and how you use them. If I could I'd get rid of leveling altogether and focus on skill/stat improvement without the drawbacks of such an archaic concept.

If you want an example of an RPG that worked incredibly well without levels and experience - much, much better than D&D ever did - take a good look at RuneQuest. That system had no need whatsoever for levels and functioned nearly flawlessly. Morrowind is far more like RuneQuest than like D&D (although Morrowind isn't nearly as well balanced as RQ).

I believe you can bring some balance to the mage vs fighter equation and have already taken steps in that regard (as has Wakim). By making substantial alterations to magic effects, crafting new spells, deleting old worthless ones, and changing creature/NPC powers/spell picks you can turn a laughable magical opponent into something to be feared.

The remaining problem, once you make magical spells worthwhile and NPCs more fearsome, is that magic points don't increase over level while hit points do. There are only two ways to fix this: either make spell points increase with level as well (an easy fix, but ultimately resulting in ridiculous spell point totals), or cap hit points. I've done the latter; now your maximum health is 2 x Endurance, forever, unless you're wearing some sort of constant effect Endurance or Health boosting enchantment.

This means that my spell fire lance (minor), which does 100-100 damage over 2 seconds, will kill any character in the game that fails to resist and who is stupid enough to go up against a mage without some sort of elemental or magical protection. Seems pretty fair to me.

But that, I think, is the solution. Pump up the mage within current game constraints, but don't do silly D&D god-like things. Balance the mage against the fighter by capping Health just like spell points are capped. Life is good, and no matter what your 'level' parts of Morrowind are still going to be challenging. Take the golden saint and give it the very same fire lance spell and see how long you last against it without protection.

Max


Edited by maxpublic (10/28/02 01:02 AM)

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wakim
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Balancing the poor casters
      #855721 - 10/28/02 01:20 AM

"...and not even being able to kill a golden saint at 50th level with a gods fire or gods frost simply because it gets reflected at me everytime..."

One of the things I keep bumping up against as I have continued to tweak magic effect costs is the limitations of MW's AI. The AI can handle standing and hacking away; it even puts the NPC through a little avoidance dance circling around your character. Contrast that to the great difficulty the AI has in handling even the simplest of magical effects; viz. levitate and the game is befuddled. I finally had disintegrate weapon at a magicka cost I thought was perfect and what do I find? It confuses the hell out of the AI. Distintegrate the weapon of a guard and he is utterly offenseless. Now, go off doing Nereverine-type things and come back to that guard a month later and guess what? He still hasn't repaired his weapon. Distintegrate weapon turns out to be better than paralyze. This guard, for the rest of his life, will be trying to hit me with his bare fists at an unarmored skill of probably 5 or 10. In a whole month he hasn't stopped by the armorer shop next to him and repaired his weapon, nor does he carry a back up. This is just one example of one spell used to typify a difficulty in MW.

The problem isn't the magic system so much as the AI. The magic system being shackled prevents the AI from looking confused. However the magic effects in MW are quite diverse and inventive, and can be used to great effect, using only the existing AI and the tools of TESCS. To give you an example: Using WGI as a plug-in I had the pleasant explerience of seeing a random Ashlander witch-woman type, whom I encountered while roaming on the East coast, open combat by stacking two types of burdens on me. Being a heavy armor wearing character I had no choice but to stand hopelessly over-encumbered while she finished up her casting. I could not close the range to simply swing goldbrand (or whatever) a couple times and finish her off. I've been affected by sounds, so I could not cast heals; hit with weakness to frost and then attacked by frost so many times that I went and bought resist spells - same with poison. I had a wonderful firefight with the challenging wizard and her band of retainers outside of Therana's tower: must have lasted five minutes, and the last retainer I had to chase down all the way to the boat (I think he was planning on booking passage out of there). If it weren't for the ability to drink an infinite amount of potions in an infinitesimal amount of time I'd of lost that battle.

My intention isn't to "plug" WGI, but to provide examples of how the magic system in MW can be better. I recognize that no tweaking of spell values will overcome the limitations of hardcoding. I too would like to see a hardcoded change in the magic system. My preference would be a reduction in the magicka cost of spells based upon the caster's appropriate skill - but nothing to the extreme that enchanting currently reduces item charge cost based upon enchanting skill. A magicka cost reduction would simply eliminate my largest concern in MW's magic system: that a sorcerer's apprentice, fresh off the boat, can do the exact same amount of magical damage as a Telvanni magister if given equal amounts of magicka (or restore magicka potions).

And to reply to the opening quote: Saints are only vulnerable to poison or magic attacks. Try some of these spells next time you see one: Burden (if carrying daedric weapon and shield), disintegrate weapon (if carrying glass), or damage attribute strength, absorb health, weakness to posion, poison, and don't forget to have dispel hotkeyed for those reflects. If you are a conjuration expert forget all that and summon a Saint to fight the Saint. The Saint should be dead and you should never have been touched. Of course, you will be sleeping after that, but that is why mages live so long.

Oh, and I always liked the idea of adding negatives to balance out poistives in total cost (like fire damage on enemy, silence on self). Problem was it was always too easy to choose things like "weakness to were-rats" or something that made the negative meaningless. But it did make the spellmaker and enchanting windows alot of fun.

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KaliMagdalene
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #855760 - 10/28/02 01:55 AM

<<< Once again, I *do not* want to see Morrowind turned into a D&D wannabe. The D&D system is downright horrible, based upon onion-like layers of silliness in a vain attempt to 'balance' a game which was awful from the get-go, and exists today only because it was the first such RPG to catch on.>>>

So, is this thread really an excuse to toss out comments like this willy-nilly?

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Shogakusha
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #855802 - 10/28/02 02:47 AM

A warning that I am entering into this as a friendly debate, and while I may state things as being facts, I am indeed stating my opinions.
Ok, the anti level thing I can understand, and the health cap thing would seem to make sense, but why a set 2 multiplier? Wouldn't it make more sense to use a racial multiplier? IE with the same amount of training and work, shouldn't an Orc still be able to take more punishment than a Bosmer? I'm not talking about a huge multiplier difference, .25 would seem to be about right to me. 1.75 for frail races, 2 for typical human types, and 2.25 for strong races, or are you adverse to this idea for some reason as well? I just can't imagine my little lady wood elf assassin ever being able to take as much damage as a Redgaurd, or an Orc. I can see yes, there are men weaker than elves, elves stronger than orcs, etc, but at the pinacle there should be a difference, IMHO. There's only one problem I see with your idea, low level spells become much more dangerous, a relatively weak poison spell with a fair duration will kill just about anything that doesn't have some kind of racial defence against poison, or carries around tons of the too heavy potions. I'm not saying that your idea is not an elegant solution, especially compared to my sledgehammer of a solution, but altering it in the way you suggest suddenly makes a mid level mage character potentially much nastier than warrior style characters, it's only at high levels with more magical resistances and magical armor, etc. that warriors start to regain ground. In effect, once your mage character can cast damage health 100-100 duration 2 what's the point of learning any other offensive spells? You say it seems fair to you but shouldn't balance occur at all levels? All I'm saying is that my idea gives high level(i know you hate that word, so let's say experienced) a chance to cast more spells before they have to resort to something other than magic, your idea makes magic much more deadly, wich kind of makes advancing in magic past a certain point pointless. Your thoughts?

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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #855813 - 10/28/02 03:01 AM

The comment wasn't willy-nilly but right on target. The original poster wanted to see a more D&D-like Morrowind magic system and I do not; I made my opinion on that idea quite clear.

That is just my opinion but in the context of this thread - improving the morrowind magic system - I don't think that making it more 'D&D-like' is an improvement, but rather a huge step backwards. Morrowind is defined by *not* being D&D, a concept Bethesda gambled on and, for all of my criticism over their decisions not to release certain game functions to the public, I'm quite happy to *finally* have a system which isn't predicated on an ancient RPG that's always struck me as one of the worst designs one could possibly come up with. I haven't seen a game even remotely like this since Betrayal at Krondor.

Willy-nilly? Nope. Perfectly in context. If I ranted a bit on my loathing over D&D well, to each his own. I would point out, however, that attacking a game system isn't at all the same as attacking a person who likes that game system. Saying "I hate golf" (true) is not the same as saying "I hate Tiger Woods" (not true, I don't even know the guy).

Max


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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #855829 - 10/28/02 03:38 AM

I'm not at all averse to using a racial multiplier, but in order to do that and keep things balanced that means the races who get something other than the highest multiplier need compensation of some sort for having a lower hit point total. So, what do humans get to balance against the Orc advantage? What do elves get to even them out against both humans and orcs?

The way I have the system implemented now is that Orcs start out with a higher endurance than humans or elves. Which means early game they have a definite edge in personal combat. The breakdown as I've got it set goes something like this:

Argonian - END 40 (80 health)
Breton - END 30 (60 health)
Dark Elf - END 40 (80 health)
High Elf - END 40 (80 health)
Imperial - END 40 (80 health)
Khajit - END 40 (80 health)
Nord - END 50 (100 health)
Orc - END 60 (120 health)
Redguard - END 50 (100 health)
Wood Elf - END 30 (60 health)

So if you pick the two extremes - the brute Orc fighter and the Breton mage - the Orc starts out with twice as much health.

In Morrowind you can start as a certain 'class' but as time goes on everyone advances to 'jack of all trades'. Once you get past level 50 or so the mage is maxed out in magic skills and is now rapidly advancing in combat skills, while the Orc is doing the opposite. Eventually there's no difference between the two. This is true both in the unmodified version of Morrowind and my version; my version only attempts to make magic more powerful.

And sure, a good spell that gets past resistance is going to kill someone without magical protection. But you can do the very same thing in the unmodified Morrowind game to anyone of less than level 25 - that is, with 200 hp or less. Using the spellmaker you can build the very spell we're talking about and it'll cream almost every NPC in the game. Take a look at the CS stats for the NPCs and you'll see this is so.

Why should this be true for a player vs NPC but not the other way around? If you can make such a spell and use it with abandon, why can't a master mage? Part of the problem in the current game is that NPC mages pick bad, high-cost spells that have little effect on PCs and don't have any really powerful magic available to them for use - even though the game allows PCs to create just this kind of magic. And the number of NPCs past level 25 is tiny, while PCs advance well beyond this in a very short period of time. PC hit points climb to astounding levels while NPC hit points do not, with a very few exceptions.

Fortunately there is a built-in game mechanism for controlling the use of these kinds of spells: skill level. Unless your Destruction is quite high you'll find that casting the fire lance spell has a low chance of success, or none at all. Only mages with high skill levels can use this spell effectively. In essence, you have your 'level requirements' expressed through skill stats, since advancing skill stats also advances level.

But even if your fighter-type decides to brazenly charge the master mage without a thought for protection against the magical hell that's about to be unleashed in his direction, you also have the effects of resistance to deal with. I have no clear idea how resistance works but it seems to be primarily based on Willpower; and the higher your level, the higher your willpower (unless you invest nothing in it). In my own games low-level low-willpower characters resist practically nothing, while high-level high-willpower characters are rarely affected by magic at all. So if your level 30 fighter charges that mage, the mage is gonna sweat bullets while he waits to see if the fire lance skewers you with magical doom or you just shrug it off and beat him to death with your daedric axe. This would be the equivalent of 'making a saving throw' in a D&D system.

But if I were that fighter I'd get something enchanted that upped my resistance for the length of the battle. Gold is easy to come by and enchantments take nothing more than money and a decent soul gem. With cash and a little foresight you can dramatically reduce the chance that the fire lance is going to kill you outright before you close the distance with your opponent. Your NPC opponent, on the other hand, almost never has any decent enchantments to protect *him* from *you*.

So far, in my tests, this has worked rather well, and sometimes quite brutally. Even my Navarine character has been killed in battle, a big surprise the first time it happened. Now my adrenaline starts pumping every time the sh*t hits the fan, something that stopped happening in the original game once I shot past level 25.

And this is what I, personally, want. If the battle has no other outcome than I meander on up to the nasty, whack it once or twice, watch it die, and then loot it, this is boring. Why play? Might as well invoke 'god mode' from the console. It's only interesting if you can *lose*.

Max


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Shogakusha
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #857506 - 10/28/02 10:01 PM

So, have you released a plugin with your new health stuff in it. I'd like to try it out since as I said my side was all conjecture. I still have a feeling that it may make mid level mage characters too nasty, but I'd like to try it out. Actually, I'd pretty much like to play Morrowind at all, but it would seem that my Radeon 9700pro hates it at this point...

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wakim
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The spellmaker is cooking the books.
      #857609 - 10/28/02 11:01 PM

Comparing: The magicka cost of the following auto-calculated spells as they appear for purchase in-game (with WGI magic effect plug-in mod) versus the magicka cost of making the same spell from an in-game spell maker in the same game (i.e. all magic effect costs are constant). Purchased pre-made spells are in yellow, purchased spellmaker spells in red, the percentage difference is in white when aberrant:

Cure common disease on self (restoration)

Rilm's Cure: 15
Spellmaker Cure: 37
difference: 247%

Restore health 20-80 for 1 second on self (restoration)

Hearth Heal: 13
Spellmaker heal: 25
difference: 192%

Restore fatigue 10-30 for 30 seconds on self (restoration)

Stamina: 30
Spellmaker stamina: 31
difference: negligible

Resist fire 75% for 30 seconds on self (restoration)

Strong resist fire: 51
Spellmaler resist: 52
difference: negligible

Invisibility for 30 seconds (illusion)

Hide: 30
Spellmaker Hide: 31
difference: negligible

Fire or Frost damage 2-40 for 1 second in 10 feet on target (destruction)

Greater Frost or Fireball: 10
Spellmaker Fireball: 17
difference: 170%

Drain Fatigue 20-80 for 60 seconds on touch (destruction)

Exhausting Touch: 20
Spellmaker drain: 19
difference: negligible

Dispel 100% on self (mysticism)

Dispel: 25
Spellmaker dispel: 50
difference: 200%

Almsivi intervention (mysticism)

Almsivi Intervention: 8
Spellmaker intervention: 18
difference: 225%

Burden 100 for 10 seconds on target (alteration)

Burden: 6
Spellmaker burden: 6
difference: negligible

Open 50pts on touch (alteration)

Ondusi's Open Door: 24
Spellmaker open: 48
difference: 200%

Levitate 1-50 points for 30 seconds on self (alteration)

Wild levitate: 115
Spellmaker levitate: 118
difference: negligible

Summon skeletal minion for 60 seconds (conjuration)

Summon Skeletal Minion: 39
Spellmaker summons: 39
difference: negligible

Bound longsword for 60 seconds (conjuration)

Bound Longsword: 14
Spellmaker longsword: 13
difference: negligible

Conclusion: there exist hidden spell effect multipliers for each specific spell effect for use by the in-game spellmaker.

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wakim
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reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857656 - 10/28/02 11:24 PM

I was actually looking at something else when I stumbled upon the spellmaker's inconsistancy. A quick formula to support the idea of re-calculated magicka cost of spells based upon skill:

New magicka cost = 1+Current magicka cost formula^(1.215/(skill in spell's school^0.05))

This yields an 18% increase in magicka cost at skill 25, identical magicaka cost at skill 50, 14% reduction in magicka cost at skill 100, and a 47% reduction in magicka cost at skill 1000 (unlike the current enchanting charge reduction formula which makes all enchanted items cost zero or 1 at skill 110).

The only thing that magical skills currently do is to reduce failure rate by 2% per skill level. So not only would this formula be a reduction in magicka cost at higher skill levels, but also increase the maximum amount of magicka that could be cast without failure. Of course, the constants could be played with to change the curve as desired.

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Alastor Grimwald
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857746 - 10/29/02 12:19 AM

Wakim I am starting to really like what your coming up with...but I have something else I'd like to throw at all you guys coming to see the next step in spellcasting in morrowind.

I really and truly think the only problem I have with morrowind is the lack of spell 'effects' and not the spells themselves. I know that the developers intentionally made the effects we see now, but I think my whole problem is based around not being able to do more than cast something on myself or shoot a bolt like magicka attack. This obviously should be considered for another elder scrolls game if (in my opinion) they are to truly make spellcasting worth while.

Now that I have said my peace I think I would love to download the mod you are doing wakim, can you tell me where to get it, if it is done?

I'm not sure if Max is entirly certain on which D&D I speak of. I am not advocating a system like second edition, I am going on third edition done by Wizards of the Coast. But if indeed he is speaking of third ed, then I must say the system cant be 'that' bad now can it? The system it is based on is called the d20 system and many different generes of games have been done on this system, including star wars and modern. But of course it is done with dice and imagination, not on a computer. Therein lies the restriction to morrowind.

If anyone would be willing to tell me how to make magicka go up like health does even with my intellegence at 100 please let me know, I would so love to have that as a plugin, not to mention wakims modification.

By the way, I know there are more than two ways to defeat a golden saint, I merely used it for effect. Besides reflection dosen't really matter when your immune to what your casting at it.

KC

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maxpublic
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857759 - 10/29/02 12:36 AM

Except, how do you script an alteration to a spell's cost? This seems to be set via a hidden function that's dependent on a manipulation of each individual spell line (the guy who originally made the Spellmaker mod said just this, but wasn't interested in the extensive testing required to come up with the actual formula for each line). I can't even think of a way to script such a change.

In fact, the only way I can think of getting even close to what you want (more effective magicka as skill in a school increases) is to average the skill levels in all five schools and then apply the inverse of your formula to increase spell points. This is quite crude, though, and doesn't actually differentiate on any particular school or spell.

Max


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maxpublic
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Re: Balancing spells, redux
      #857768 - 10/29/02 12:46 AM

Re a health mod....

I was thinking of releasing it as-is, but in order for it to be effective I had to also tweak the health of all in-game creatures and NPCs. I finished the creatures and am working on the NPCs now, but as this project is quite comprehensive I decided to add in my magical changes while I was doing it (new spells, altered spell points for PCs, cleaned up spell lists for NPC mages who don't sell spells).

So there is no longer just a 'health' mod. It's graduated into the beginnings of a complete Morrowind overhaul and even now is probably incompatible with at least half of the mods out there. If you combined it with other mods it'd probably ruin your game, or wouldn't make the necessary changes, depending on how things loaded.

However, if you just want to add in the health modifications for your PC, personally, without making any changes elsewhere you can do this and it'll conflict with virtually nothing (maybe the fatigue/mana regeneration mods, depending on how they work). My test works off the main script, but you can initialize the script from an object placed just about anywhere you please. Below is how to modify the main script to make it active:

In the main script where it says:

;if ( GetPCSleep == 1 )

;endif

change this to:

if ( GetPCSleep == 1 )

StartScript, HealthMod

endif

Now make a new script and cut and paste the following into it:

begin HealthMod

short CurrentHealth
float CurrentHealthRatio
short NewHealth
short DamagedHealth

if ( GetPCSleep == 1 )

set CurrentHealthRatio to ( Player->GetHealthGetRatio )
set NewHealth to ( Player->GetEndurance * 2 )
Player->setHealth, NewHealth
set CurrentHealth to (NewHealth * CurrentHealthRatio)
set DamagedHealth to ( CurrentHealth - NewHealth )
Player->ModCurrentHealth, DamagedHealth

endif

end HealthMod

save that script out with the name: HealthMod

Now save the changes as a new plugin (like 'healthmod') and make sure to load the plugin the next time you start the game. The changes should be immediate; if not, rest for 1 hour and they should take effect from that point on.

I have no idea if this will permanently muck up a saved game, especially if you're running other mods. I'm not working for compatibility but my own personal satisfaction.

Max


Edited by maxpublic (10/29/02 12:51 AM)

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maxpublic
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857773 - 10/29/02 12:51 AM

Scripting a spell point change dependent on intelligence, willpower, level, whatever is easy. It just depends on the formula you want to use. The process would only be slightly more complicated that what I've outlined for my healthmod script which I posted elsewhere in this thread.

Max


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wakim
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857781 - 10/29/02 12:57 AM

"...the lack of spell 'effects' ...". I think I understand what you are implying, and I agree that more choices is more interesting. It was my hope when I started altering the spell costs to create more viable options from the existing effects, as I had more hotkeys than spells I wanted to cast. However, I think alot of people (myself included) would cast more spells regardless of their cost if there were more nifty graphics - hurricanes, flying boulders, rains of fire, lingering clouds of poison... It is the sizzle that sells the steak. Put me down for desiring "damage" skins on critters to indicate their state of health, too.

My mods are available at TheLys and Dragonsight. They may also be available elsewhere, as I have bumped into them on other site's download sections. If you can't find them on the web, give me your e-mail and I'll send 'em out to you. The .txt files listing the contents of my mods are listed in this forum, if you search, as Qwerty has posted those when he (she? Qwerty, if you read this, which pronoun do you prefer?) sends them out.

As for additional magicka per level, that sounds like something very doable in the realm of scripting, but I readily confess to not being a scriptor, beyond cutting and pasting existing examples. Horatio's dodging mod is an excellent example of tackling and creatively solving the enormous imbalance in the unarmored skill by concise scripting.

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wakim
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857821 - 10/29/02 01:22 AM

The formula is just an idea. I know of no way to implement it using TESCS.

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Shogakusha
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857844 - 10/29/02 01:55 AM

Well Wakim, I'm curious as to your opinion. Which is a better solution, to increase the volume of magic by increasing magicka, or to increase the strength of magic by decreasing health? Maybe a combination of both?

max: Thanks for the script, I'll probably just tag it onto the dodge script, since I figure fewer scripts looping cuts down on cpu usage. So NPCs all have to be altered by hand? No writing a script to change their health on the fly?

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wakim
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Re: Spellmaker Mod
      #857846 - 10/29/02 01:55 AM

Max,

About the spellmaker mod you mentioned four pages back (sorry for the delay in responding, I downloaded it and lost it when I changed hard drives): The spellmaker mod recognizes the problem, but doesn't correct it. From the readme.txt file in the spellmaker mod, where the author is explaining his solution, "...I selected all the auto-calculated spells in spellmaking and turned off auto-calc." I doubt the author realized that this would have the effect of depriving all the auto-calculated NPCs in the game (about 90% of all NPCs) of being able to cast any spells whatsoever, since they draw their spells from the auto-calculated spell list. "...I changed the fEffectCostMult variable in the gameplay settings window." In my testing fEffectCostMult has the effect of reducing the cost of every spell effect used at a spell maker and an enchanter - everything. The author's lowering of this value would exacerbate the already awful window called enchanting.

The author's presented solution will actually cause more problems than it solves, especially since many spell effects aren't inflated in the spellmaker's window. However he does deserve enormous credit for recognizing the capriciousness of the spellmaker window way back in June.

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wakim
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857869 - 10/29/02 02:25 AM

Shogakusha, I have to admit my preference for non-linear things. A linear system is not self regulating and is difficult to keep in equilibrium. One of the reasons that high level Morrowind lacks challenge is due in no small part to the enormous pool of hitpoints that characters can have. The rate of hitpoint gain actually increases if you build your endurance. That Flame Atronach that did 50 points of fire damage when you were level 10 probably represented damage of half of your health. That hurt. At level 20 that is closer to one-third your health, at level 30 only 25% of your health (assuming you never put a single point in endurance). Couple the increasing health with the aquisition of shiny trinkets that add resistance, regeneration, reflection (not to mention your resitance based on willpower) and there is no challenge. The Flame Atronach is now a mosquito. Magic, represented by an Atronach's fireball, has remained constant. The amount of relative damage it is doing has decreased dramatically.

For magic to remain effective past level 10 or so either it must keep pace in damage (represented by reduced magicka cost per point of damage inflicted - not implementable or by increasing the total magicka pool to simulate this) or not face ever increasing hitpoint pools. There is a third alternative: it can be valued for its secondary effects; the non-damage causing effects, viz. burdens, sounds, resists, drains, and so on.

If you are using mods such as Giants, then reducing your hitpoints might prevent you from effectively facing critters designed to challenge those massive hitpoint pools. If you are playing more-or-less normal MW, then I would guess that around two times endurance would be all the hitpoints you'd ever need. I don't think there is a better solution, just one that may be appropriate for the style you are in the mood to play. I think I'd be more interested in seeing how reduced hitpoints work out, as increased magicka pools tend to make mages sleep for days on end. Heck, try 'em both and post back about how they make the game feel to you.

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maxpublic
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857887 - 10/29/02 02:48 AM

I haven't tested this; I just whipped it up in response to the 'how to' discussion. I've commented the script so you can see how it works. You can set this to begin from an inserted object or from the main script (like my test health mod).


begin SpellPointMod
; start the running script, then initialize all the variables we're going to be using.

short CurrentMagicka
float CurrentMagickaRatio
short NewMagicka
short DamagedMagicka
short PlayerLevel
short PlayerIntelligence
short CurrentSpellPoints

; this script runs during sleep, which is when magicka is regenerated or when leveling up occurs.

if ( GetPCSleep == 1 )

; here as an example I set player spell points to be equal to INT plus
; 4 additional points per level. You could modify the third line down
; in any fashion you please, or base it off any stat you want, or any
; combination, or any formula, etc.

set PlayerLevel to ( Player->GetLevel )
set PlayerIntelligence to ( Player->GetIntelligence )
set NewMagicka to (( PlayerIntelligence + ( PlayerLevel *4 ))

; next up we find out if the pc has less than his full spell points

set CurrentSpellPoints to ( Player->GetMagicka )
set CurrentMagickaRatio to ( NewMagicka / CurrentSpellPoints )

; now we apply the formula, then reduce magicka by the number
; of spell points the character has used for spells. Following the
; application of this formula regeneration during rest will occur.

Player->setMagicka, NewMagicka
set CurrentMagicka to ( NewMagicka * CurrentMagickaRatio )
set DamagedMagicka to ( CurrentMagicka - NewMagicka )
Player->ModCurrentMagicka, DamagedMagicka

endif

; and now we end the script!

end SpellPointMod

Max


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maxpublic
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #857893 - 10/29/02 02:58 AM

Nope, the NPCs use the autocalc function to figure out their health (based upon how they'd distribute their stat points with each level-up depending on their class). We have no access to the autocalc function so there's no way to change all the NPC health ratings en masse, at least not within the game. You might be able to do some kind of hack using hex editing but that's far beyond my interest level.

In any event my race changes have resulted in discrepancies with some of the autocalced NPCs (e.g., they no longer have a high proficiency with the weapon they're carrying) so going over them by hand is necessary anyway. Add to this the fact that I've set all minimum armor skill ratings to 50 and that I'm making the trainers have a max skill score of 80 (no more training up to 100) and I have to do it the hard way regardless.

As for using my health mod script it has *not* been extensively tested. I've run it with my Navarine, pre-Navarine, and several beginning characters and everything seems kosher, but that doesn't mean it won't irreparably break down under certain circumstances I've yet to encounter. Once I have my overhaul complete I plan to start a brand new character and play the game through all over again for more thorough testing but just be aware that terrible things could happen, and you have no warranty. :-)

Max


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maxpublic
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Re: Spellmaker Mod
      #857903 - 10/29/02 03:20 AM

Wakim,

You are indeed correct that the spellmaker mod was a crude hack for a broken system. My intention here was to show how one mod maker approached the problem. You could, for instance, calculate the disparity in bought vs made spells (as you did in your example), change the magicka costs of bought spells, un-autocalc them, and then alter the NPCs by hand to give them a decent spell selection. From this point on the game would be relatively normal except that any made spell would have roughly the same cost as an equivalent bought spell. It's a lousy way to solve the problem (and breaks almost instantly if you apply another mod that affects NPCs or magic), but it might be the only way to set made spells to the same magicka cost as bought spells.

The author essentially took a step in that direction and said 'screw it, it's too much work'. I agree. The brilliance lies in the fact that way back he recognized what might be the *only* solution to the spellmaker problem before there was any real discussion on the issue, and showed how it could be done.

Other than getting Bethesda to release the functions as part of a patch to the CS, that is. But I'm convinced that will never happen, under any circumstances, no matter the player demand.

Max


Edited by maxpublic (10/29/02 03:42 AM)

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Alastor Grimwald
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #859248 - 10/29/02 08:13 PM

Thanks wakim, and maybe in the next elder scrolls series we will see some more interesting spells effects.

Perhaps some different spell effects were a part of what was left out of the game do to system specs, and maybe they will implement them later. I remember seeing something as simple as rain not falling through the roofs as something that was intentionaly left out, and I think they are keeping many things secret that could have been possible in the game for another time and game considering the advancment of the 'average' gaming PC.

KC

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MrSmileyFaceDudeModerator
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #859391 - 10/29/02 09:41 PM

Do you mean visual effects, or actual spell effects, like "Levitate" and "Fire Damage", when you say you want to see "more interesting spell effects"?

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wakim
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Feast of eyes
      #859566 - 10/29/02 11:04 PM

Fond memories I have of Wizardry 8 were Death Cloud (that flying screaming spinning red-eyed skull), Tsunami (the vivid blue frothing wave filling the screen), Quicksand (the waves of dirt pouring over and encompassing the opponents), Terror (more flying skulls), Nuclear Blast (don't look at the light!), and so many more. I found myself casting spells just to admire the visual effects. Oh, and Crush (giant boulder falling on opponent, always good for laughs), Boiling Blood (the languid sizzling bolt ever so casually seeking out its foe), Whipping Rocks (flying spinning rocks), Slow (the giant pocket watch spinning backwards like an old Twilight Zone), Earthquake (don't adjust the horizontal hold on your monitor), all the cloud and fume-type spells (although they could have lingered a touch more for my taste), Ego Whip (a whole new meaning to "being whipped"), Insanity (hope you're not afraid of clowns), and my all time favorite: Eye for an Eye (Death Cloud goes confidently streaking towards your opponent when suddenly the screaming flying spinning red-eyed skull trailing a dark cloud comes streaking back at ya).

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Horatio
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Re: Feast of eyes
      #859680 - 10/29/02 11:56 PM

insanity and crush were my all time personal favorites from that game. i'd love an insanity effect in morrowind.

i think that game was the only one i've ever played where defensive spells were actually more important than offensive.

cheers

h


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Shogakusha
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #859879 - 10/30/02 02:04 AM

I think it's a combination of both, we would all always like more speel effects. I would personally have liked to see command, etc work on the PC. NPC casts charm on you and you find that you just can't seem to make yourself attack them for a while, etc. Visual effects would help to make the magic less boring. A fireball 5-15 damage should be far less impressive than a 100-100 fireball, and area effect should have a visual effect all it's own. I'd like to see more ways of delivering spells too. Now we have touch and ranged. I'd like to see spontaneous ranged, energy bolt, fall from sky, charge weapon(ie, effect will be used the next time you swing your weapon, like a oneshot enchantment that doesn't destroy the weapon) etc. All with their own advantages and disadvantages. A huge area effect rain of fire spell would be something truly awesome to see.

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Hoghead
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #861092 - 10/30/02 03:55 PM

Ala Final Fantasy, that sounds to me. Those games always had great magic systems, with tons of totally unique spells. Of course you can't really compare FF and MW, but having played so much FF I can't help but feel that MW has only second rate magic VFX and that the magic system, while complex, is not as well thought-out as it may initially seem to be. I thought that a lot of magic effects would guarantee diverse spallcasting, when I first started playing MW, but it turned out rather differently. I think these spell-cost changes will definitely improve the situation though.

One spell I'd like to see (one that always made FF games very challenging towards the end) is a spell or family of spells that damage the PC's health by a percentage of their current health - like the 'demi' spells in FF where you could stand to lose 6666 of your 9999 hitpoints in one attack. Never lethal, unless you only have 1 hp left, but great for getting hurt and putting hurt on monsters/NPCs quickly.

--------------------
__________
Read a review of the Vivec Expansion mod at:
http://www.rpgplanet.com/morrowind/mods/motw.asp
Screen-shots:
http://thelys.free.fr/vivec_expansion_screens.htm
Get the mod here:
http://www.rpgplanet.com/morrowind/mods/mods_sql.asp

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MrSmileyFaceDudeModerator
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #861140 - 10/30/02 04:23 PM

The main difference with Morrowind is that spells are made up of combinations of spell effects, and new spells could be created in-game and in plug-ins. Everything had to be written for the general case. Plus, there are a LOT of spell effects in Morrowind, and combining that with the delivery types (self, target, touch), area & duration & magnitude variations, a virtually limitless variety of spells is available.

Balance is achieved as described in this thread, by tweaking effect costs, tweaking autocalc'd spells, modified racial bonus & birthsign spells, that sort of thing. And before you say "We shouldn't have to do that", remember that "balance" is in many cases in the eye of the beholder, which is why Wakim's mods have several variants, and which is why many people consider the game to be balanced already. If you're not one of those people, more power to you -- have at the TESCS and enjoy.

There's nothing stopping people from replacing the visual effects, either.

Of course, you can't add new spell delivery types, and you can't add new spell effects, but I think the game presents plenty of variety as it is. Also, the problem with Final Fantasy-type spell effects is that you have to watch them, every time you cast. Pretty, but repetitive. So while gorgeous effects are desireable (and I'd like to see more unique and cool visuals for each effect too), it's still important to balance that with not having to sit & watch a 10 second spell 1000 times during a game.

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Horatio
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #861237 - 10/30/02 05:03 PM

i've never actually played any FF games, but from watching my friend play them, i noticed the only ridiculously drawn out spell things were the summons. i believe they allowed you to skip the movies in FFX.

it'd be nice if some of the broken spell effects - turn undead, calm and demoralize ( or does it work now with Wakim's flee AI changes? i haven't tested extensively ) were fixed in tribunal or something.

cheers

h



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maxpublic
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #861511 - 10/30/02 06:55 PM

While there appears to be a variety of spell effects in Morrowind I'd say that this isn't really the case. As the game stands most are, for all practical purposes, quite useless; and some are completely outclassed by other spells, so they never get used.

I can think of quite a few effects that aren't incorporated into the game. Here are just a few examples off the top of my head:

- a spell to steal health/fatigue/mana from the target. And no, absorb isn't what I'm talking about. Absorb only does so temporarily, then gives it back.

- common spells in other games like 'speed' and 'slow'. Increasing/reducing the speed attribute in Morrowind does *not* have the same effect.

- any spell which affects a specific type of creature, like the broken 'turn undead' spell.

- a 'homing' version of elemental spells, for all those poor NPCs that can't hit the broadside of a barn.

- spells which confuse the target or drive the target temporarily insane.

- a 'mask' illusion spell which allows you to travel in crowded areas without being recognized by NPCs, or speak to NPCs without being recognized.

- any spell which targets on sight without having to be thrown like some magical rock.

- a spell which affects the weather, at least locally.

- a real magical lock spell, one that can't be picked (how do you 'pick' magic, anyway).

- any sort of 'wall spell', like 'wall of fire'

- any sort of force effect spell, e.g., something which prevents movement or the passage of missiles.

I could go on here for quite some time. My point is, however that there definitely is not "a virtually limitless variety of spells available." Anything but, actually.

In Morrowind 'balance' has very little to do with the eye of the beholder. Without tweaking many of the spell effects are either completely worthless or aren't worth the cost in comparison to other, more effective spells. The system unmodified is terribly out of balance and desperately in need of a fix. If it weren't this wouldn't be a persistent topic which has been explored in a number of threads since the game was released.

And yes, more visual effects would be dandy as well. If I cast a fire 100-100 50' radius I rather expect to see the target area and everything within 50 feet consumed in flame. All I see now are little zaps of flame hitting the enemy and that's it. For a game that has such a visually stunning environment it's rather odd that the magic is on par with games put out years ago (even Betrayal at Krondor had some more interesting visuals than Morrowind does).

Max


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Alastor Grimwald
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Reged: 10/25/02
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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #861715 - 10/30/02 08:36 PM

Here Here Max,

I agree that the lack of spell 'effects'(as in the effect produced besides a magickal bolt) is a real pinch on the atmosphere of spellcasting in morrowind.

Really that is my only annoyance with the system, I would like to have more options. Of course this is impossible to change, as the designers must implement these things.

Perhaps always using a magick 'bolt' wouldn't be so bad, as long as something happens when it contacts with a barrier besides blasting in a radius. casting a 'wall' spell could at first be a bolt and then change into the wall when it contacts something excluding vertical walls, otherwise it fizzles.

I think this thread has long went past 'balancing' spells and into a total re-modification. Which I think is cool, cause it shows some possiblities for the elder scrolls games in the future.

But perhaps we should still be thinking on terms of the already existant spell system.Maybe they should think about a different type of targeting system for the spells, or even keep the ones they have now, just make it to where a different 'effect' happens when it contacts something. I could see shooting a bolt and as the bolt hits it's target instead of blossoming into an orb a lightning bolt strikes from the sky and hits its target doing damage in a radius that way. the same could be done for many other 'types' of effects, but the overall targeting for all of them could use the 'bolts'.

KC

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Hoghead
Curate

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Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #861798 - 10/30/02 09:21 PM

MrSmileyFaceDude:

I think I may have sounded a bit harsh in my last post. I know you worked on game, so I think you should know that MW is my favorite game of all time!

While I have my own ideas about the perfect magic system, I'm not at all dissatisfied with TES magic. It has had the potential for great gaming all along. Some people, as you said, already found it to be a balanced system anyway. Personally, I want a real challenge from NPCs and from the game in general, having kicked the crap out of just about every RPG I ever played, except Daggerfall =). I look for a tactical AND strategic challenge. By making it easier for NPCs to cast more spells, I feel that the game has greatly improved. Not everyone wants what I want of course.

I also realize that you can't compare FF to the layered system MW uses. The layering is one of the real strengths anyway, and something I would hate to find removed from the series.

I really only have one major issue with MW magic, and that is that the game has been styled so as to allow you to do most everything WITHOUT really focusing on magic. I think you ought to pay the price for not picking a magic-oriented character, just as I think there should be a steep price for not picking a stealth-oriented or combat-oriented character. As it stands, the discrepancies fade away after you hit level 20. Again, this is my personal preference speaking, and I think that I can achieve what I want sooner or later through the TESCS, which you all so thoughtfully provided us with.

Horatio:

I hated FF summoning spells. REALLY repetitive. Also, it's a genre that is more directed at younger players, and I have grown rather tired of it lately. It was however one of the first really successful and playable console RPGs there was (the original Finall Fantasy for NES), and it has had it's impact on me and my expectations.

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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 448
Re: reduced magicka cost at high skills
      #861827 - 10/30/02 09:38 PM

Alastor,

The only problem is that you can't change how spells behave. Spells can't have attached scripts so even attempting to script a work-around is out of the question. Just about the only thing you can change at the moment is the graphic exhibited by the spell when it's cast (and this graphic still has to work the same way as the graphic it replaces).

An example would be the replacement shield fx posted on this forum sometime in the last couple of days. Note that the graphic for the spell is different but all it really is is a different 'skin' of the spell. Though a very nice skin and one I'm going to use to replace the Bethesda version in my game.

Combination spell effects can be made which are different from current spells but they're only useful if you pretty much disable PC spell-making altogether. For example, I could craft a spell that does 50 points of damage to the caster and in return increases his magic points by 100 for 60 seconds (call it 'blood magic'). But this only works if I disable the player's ability to make spells using the 'damage health' effect and the 'fortify magicka' effect. Otherwise the player will just go out and buy a spell that has the 'fortify magicka' effect without the 'damage health: self' effect.

There are some interesting things you can do with the combinations, as limited as they are - at the expense of depriving the player of making his own spells.

Max


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Fuzzy
Layman

Reged: 06/05/02
Posts: 2
Loc: Newark, OH
Magic Tricks
      #861864 - 10/30/02 10:00 PM

> The only problem is that you can't change how spells behave. Spells
> can't have attached scripts so even attempting to script a work-
> around is out of the question. Just about the only thing you can
> change at the moment is the graphic exhibited by the spell when it's
> cast (and this graphic still has to work the same way as the graphic
> it replaces).
Eh... I'm going to have to beg to differ here. I know that there were mods that ran a script with a spell, such as the Bound Shortsword / Bound Arrows mod. Cult of the Clouds at least supposedly had spells to wind up changing the weather.

I regard to combination effects:
IIRC, only the first effect in a spell can be used in the spellmaker / enchanting. So long as the Fortify Magicka is not the first effect, the player can't exploit it.
Secondly, there's some kind of flag as to whether an effect can be used in a spellmaker or enchantment, right? Within the editor?

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Hoghead
Curate

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Re: Magic Tricks
      #861901 - 10/30/02 10:22 PM

Yeah, there's an option to have effects available for enchanting and/or spellmaking under 'GamePlay' -> "Magic Effects".

Changing weather has nothing to do with spell effects. Weather is a completely different thing altogether for which there ARE some script functions/commands. There is also some TESCS script functionality for placing objects into the game and for checking whether the PC has certain objects equipped, etc. These functions/commands were used, if anything, for making new bound weapons. There is, however, nothing that could really change the way spells work in the game. Effects like targeting can't be scripted and can't be created by replacing existing VFX, and are pretty much out of the question without actually knowing what's hard-coded. Maybe Bethesda can do some stuff like that next time around, but TES3 isn't gonna see it.

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Soralis
Curate

Reged: 07/09/00
Posts: 707
Re: Magic Tricks
      #861916 - 10/30/02 10:30 PM

Yeah, I've done some of those spells as well to change the weather. The key is that while spells can't run scripts, scripts can check if spells are cast on something (such as casting a specific spell that has a self target, and have a script change the weather if it detects the spell is cast on you).

- a spell to steal health/fatigue/mana from the target. And no, absorb isn't what I'm talking about. Absorb only does so temporarily, then gives it back.

No it doesn't, it's permanent. One of my spells that I really like is an AOE absorb health over time, cast it in a large group of enemies, and you continously get health from all of them while the spell is in effect, and it's certainly not temporary from any of my experience.

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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #861943 - 10/30/02 10:40 PM

It is very understandable that what MSFD refers to as "the general case" for spell effects is one of the developmental guidlines for determining how graphic intensive the spell effects would be. This isn't a situation where the game can "know" what graphic to assign to a specific spell since, in theory, the spellmaker gives the player access to a myriad of permutations of effects. Therefore the game was built around fairly generic effects that could be used to represent both "Firebite" and "God's Fire". If it is desired, one who has sufficient computer graphic skills could replace any spell effect in game. I lack those skills so I can't speak on whether there exist limitations to what is possible for a person to achieve graphic-wise for spell effects. The recent screenshot I saw of a new graphic for the "shield" spell effect was quite visually impressive.

Referencing the concept of balance: I would be reticent to say "we shouldn't have to do that". I played through Morrowind and had fun, and I can say that I did get much more than my $40 worth from it. For enjoyment per dollar Morrowind has to be one of the best computer games released. And to go one step further, I have immensely enjoyed playing with the Construction Set: something that was included virtually gratis. I have no complaints about the product and wouldn't hestitate to plunk down money for future TES titles.

However, balance is not in "the eye of the beholder". Beauty may be termed as such with poetic license, but only existing in the most egalitarian of concepts can one say that five grams in one pan of a scale and ten grams in the other pan qualifies as balance. A confusion of semantics is occurring. The substitution here is the term balance and the term fun. It is true that many people consider the game fun already. I doubt that anyone who takes the time to post in this forum would disagree. However, it would be erroneous to say that many people consider the game balanced already.

The firing of passions over the confusion of these two terms can be readily seen by posting in a general Morrowind forum the topic of "camp a scamp". Creeper is not a balanced addition to Morrowind. Yet once the term fun and balance are confused people will read that "Creeper is not a fun addition" to Morrowind and disagree vehemently. There can be no argument that Creeper is unbalanced, but there can be much disagreement about whether Creeper is fun. The former is empirical, the latter is not. The availability of the .esp files I have created in modular format is simply recognition that fun is a very subjective thing, not that balance is whimsical.

Morrowind lacks parity between the abilities of magic effects compared to their cost. Similarly, there is a vast disparity between the abilities of what is termed the combat arts and the efficacy of the magic arts. While I started this thread with the hope of engendering discussion on the former topic, it quickly progressed to the latter. The former is within the purview of TESCS to correct (with exception to hardcoding, i.e. Turn Undead). The latter is not. As a result there has been alot of velleities posted; some have expressed frustration, some even call for an ombudsman. This is understandable, although a touch fanciful. There are hardcoded formulae which simply beg examination under the auspice of balance. The fact that there is enough enthusiasm on the part of Bethesda customers to care about such triavlities as magicka cost speaks volumes about the admiration we hold for the product.

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Hoghead
Curate

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Re: I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #862058 - 10/30/02 11:38 PM

Just because I want to argue right now (please don't take me too seriously):

Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't you a little off in asserting that 'balance' is an empirical...thingy. I mean, balance seems to me to be almost more subjective than fun.

We could say that balance in this case corresponds directly to what is most fun. If it isn't fun, it isn't balanced is it? And fun is, in turn, is dependant on style of play, personality, etc. I think it is too much to say that there exist 'disparities' in MW's systems. The objective of the creators was, after all, to provide the highest level of entertainment possible to the largest number of potential players/buyers possible. That means they chose a middle path of making it not-that-tough for some of us who might desire a more challenging game. Sure, some things were not given as much consideration as they deserved and there were some plain old oversights, but by and large I think it came out the way they wanted it to.

If we call the game unbalanced, and then go on to say that this is fact and not opinion, we are overlooking something: the relationship between 'balance' and our own unique expectations and desires. Balance then is a perceived thing just as fun is.

Personally, I have some issues with balance in MW and greatly appreciate your knack for detail and the efforts you have put into creating a different sort of game experience. I will not say that balance does not exist for others though. Inversely, there are people who don't like MW at all, and will never find a balance that suits them.

MW was definitely worth the money for me, not least because the TESCS gives me the ability to alter a lot of things to suit my wants and to create the balance that I desire.

--------------------
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http://www.rpgplanet.com/morrowind/mods/motw.asp
Screen-shots:
http://thelys.free.fr/vivec_expansion_screens.htm
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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Re: I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #862211 - 10/31/02 01:19 AM

Balance is not subjective because it is not defined to be a subjective term. Balance is defined as an equilibrium, an equality, or if you wish, a symmetry. An equality cannot be subjective measurement; it must be objective. Mathematically 2 = 1+1 is an equality, monetarily a quarter and two dimes plus a nickel are equivalent quantities. Within the framework of what is being measured this is balance. If I choose to measure mass then perhaps two pennies and three dimes are balanced.

Balance does not correspond in any way to fun. A quarter and two dimes plus a nickel isn't fun, yet they are monetarily balanced. Morrowind is fun, yet it isn't balanced within the game's defined framework. To provide a simplified Morrowind example; if Feather costs 10 magicka to cast and allows one to carry 10 pounds more, yet Fortify Strength costs 10 magicka to cast and allows one to carry 50 pounds more and to increase melee damage and to increase total fatigue, then there is no balance between these effects. This is not subjective.

The framework one chooses to measure within can be allowed to be subjective. If one chooses to weigh the fun value of Morrowind against the internal inconsistancies and decide that the scales are weighted onto the side of fun, then I will agree with you. I think Morrowind is fun, but that is a subjective opinion since I cannot measure fun; there are no units applied to fun. One cannot have sixteen grams of fun or twelve ergs of fun (although perhaps the unit of monkey barrels could be introduced). I can measure magicka cost. This is an objective unit and therefore something that can be measured and compared to its value. I can measure, say, damage output per second of a daedric katana under certain circumstances, this also is objective. Something that is provable by experiment is empirical. Balance is empirical since equivalence can be experimentally shown. Fun is not empirical because is cannot be measured and thus cannot be experimentally shown.

It is not my intent to imply that a balanced game is a fun game. Nor to imply that Morrowind must be balanced to be fun, as that isn't the case. Playing chess against yourself is a balanced game, but not something widely considered fun. The error I see is the confusion of the two terms. Balance is not synonymous with fun. Oft people will complain about blood sports because they are not "fair" or balanced: The bull does not have a lance to match the picador, the deer does not have a thirty-aught-six to match the hunter. These are games - sports and not intended to be balanced. If they were balanced then it would not be sport, but rather survival.

Games are trivialities and should be viewed in that perspective. The goal of a game is fun, not balance. The relationship between the internal consistancy of a game and what an individual requires to find fun in that game is dependant upon that individual's unique expectations and desires. That is subjective. The internal inconsistancy is not.

I agree that any game creator, if they are responsible about their work, has the goal of providing "the highest level of entertainment possible to the largest number of potential players/buyers possible." I am just one guy in that large number and I feel that I have been thoroughly entertained. Having balance or internal consistancy does not equate to entertainment, but they need not be mutually exclusive.

However, when all is said and done, balance is an empirical thingy.

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qwert_44643
Disciple

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Re: I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #862229 - 10/31/02 01:29 AM

ummmm,yeah what wakim said.
qwert

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Horatio
Disciple

Reged: 06/04/02
Posts: 1159
Re: I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #862235 - 10/31/02 01:34 AM

yeah, i agree with qwert. this semantic hair-splitting is getting to be a trifle excessive. but wakim, your writing style is so entertaining that i forgive you.

cheers

h

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wakim
Adept

Reged: 10/02/02
Posts: 245
Re: I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #862248 - 10/31/02 01:50 AM

Aww... shucks. Thank ya'll.

If "brevity is the soul of wit", then I aint got none.





(My shortest post, ever.)

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qwert_44643
Disciple

Reged: 04/30/02
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Re: I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #862262 - 10/31/02 02:05 AM

Oh yeah hey wakim you compiled enough for another update yet.....if so get in touch.
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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 448
Re: I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #862266 - 10/31/02 02:10 AM

So much to reply to....

I'm willing to bet that part of the objection to what I've said in my posts lies in Wakim's observation that 'balanced' and 'fun' are confused. The magic system is not balanced, nor is magic balanced against the alternative of simply hacking one's way through a combat situation. This can be shown in an objective fashion to the satisfaction of all but the most rabid fans. And for those folks this thread isn't for them anyway as fans are, by their very nature, irrational about whatever they happen to be fans over.

The game, while wildly unbalanced, is quite fun - at least until you get to level 25 or so. After this point for some the fun decreases; to them a game that presents no challenge becomes boring. To others, specifically those who invoke 'god mode' whenever they load up a new game, their fun increases. They like the fact that nothing can, nor ever will, challenge them and can spend hour after endless hour playing through combats that have only one outcome.

I admit I do not understand the second class of folks. The rationale behind playing a fixed game that you're always going to win is beyond my comprehension. I can't even begin to imagine why they'd bother in the first place. No doubt the fact that the magic system is broken and that they can tear right through the likes of Divith Fyr without breaking a sweat is a source of great joy to them. For me it's an utter disappointment.

But as I said before, this thread isn't for them. If that's the way they like it then this entire discussion isn't directed towards their satisfaction. They're already satisfied so they should just move on and leave the first class of people to pore over the details to see what changes they can make to the game to increase *their* enjoyment. To each his own.

I have been quite critical of Bethesda at times, but over two very specific things:

- the decision not to release critical in-game functions as part of the TES, a decision which has zero to do with copyright, law, or protecting 'intellectual property'; and

- the fact that a very specific part of the game - the magic system - seems to have been 'rushed out the door', indicated by the utter lack of balance and the less-than-impressive spell effects. You can tell that the design team spent *years* on the environment, while the magic system and effects seem like a hacked add-on that some poor programmer was tasked to do all by himself 6 months before release. I pity the guy or guys this was dumped on (having been there myself I can feel their pain).

As for the rest of Morrowind I got more than my money's worth. Heck, it was worth the $50 I paid for it just for the initial walk through Seyda Neen thinking to myself "holy sh*t! this is amazing!" And the first half of the game was quite enjoyable, even if the second half devolved into 'hack this, take its loot, next' without there ever being a chance that something would hack back sufficiently hard to kill my character.

So my $50 was well-spent, especially in comparison to some of the dreck I've plunked money down on in the past. But by no means does that require me to stifle my criticism of the broken game elements or Bethesda's decisions re game functions. My accolades have been expressed in concrete monetary terms far more valuable than the words 'good job!' already.

And if I want to work to fix that broken system to increase *my* enjoyment - and I do - then no one can gainsay me. So long as I do not insist that *you* use my system as well then everyone is happy.

If anything Bethesda should see long threads like this, as well as detailed critical commentary, as a positive thing. After all, if I didn't care about the game at all it'd be gathering dust in a corner some place until I decided to give it to some kid who might find it enjoyable. Neverwinter Nights suffered just such a fate and you won't see trying to 'fix' that game system because I simply do not care about it enough to waste any more time on that 'game' than I already have. The fact that I've wasted *so* much time on a trivial pursuit of no real-world value speaks volumes about how entertaining I find it in the first place.

But that still doesn't mean that the magic system is balanced, nor that efforts shouldn't be undertaken to fix it.

Max


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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 448
Re: Magic Tricks
      #862273 - 10/31/02 02:18 AM

Fuzzy: open up the CS and take a look at both magic effects and spellmaking. There is no way to attach a script to either one. The best you can do is run a global script which attempts to simulate this by constantly checking to see if the character casts spell 'x'. And even so, there are a number of things this simply doesn't work for, and it's extremely difficult to apply to NPC spell-casting.

Your mod might *look* like there's a new spell or spell effect, or that some effect has been changed, but this isn't the case. Someone did a clever bit of sleight-of-hand, and under very particular circumstances.

Soralis: according to the magic effects listing for absorb fatigue:

"This effect transfers fatigue from the victim to the caster, wearying the victim and invigorating the caster. The caster may exceed his maximum fatigue for the duration. When the effect ends, the caster loses the borrowed fatigue, and the victim regains drained fatigue."

and for absorb health:

"This effect transfers health from the victim to the caster, injuring the victim and vitalizing the caster. The caster may exceed his maximum health for the duration. When the effect ends, the caster loses the borrowed health, and the victim regains lost health."

This is listed for all absorb effects: at the end of the spell, the absorbed points are given back to the target.

I do not use absorb and have eliminated the line entirely from my mod. I suppose I could go test it out to see if absorb works differently but if it does work as you describe it then the description for the effect is clearly wrong. Worse, absorb now becomes more useful than the 'damage' line since in essence you're applying damage while fortifying your own attributes, at a lesser cost. If so, then the absorb line is way out of whack with the rest of the system.

Max


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maxpublic
Curate

Reged: 09/28/02
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Re: Magic Tricks
      #862305 - 10/31/02 02:58 AM

But back to balancing spells....

In testing I can see no point to graded damage spells. That is, a spell which does 100 points of damage in 1 second costs the same amount of magicka as a spell which does 10 points of damage each second for 10 seconds, and has the same chance of being cast successfully. The graded version of the spell is actually worse since it leaves your enemy alive for an extra 10 seconds. My test mod now includes no graded damage spells of any kind (except for those that cause more than 100 points of damage, to comply with the PC spellmaker).

I thought that perhaps I'd been a bit over-zealous in giving all of my NPCs 4 x INT in magicka. After all, using my spell effects a fire lance (100-100 for 2 seconds) costs 75 magicka and will kill any PC or NPC who isn't a special case (e.g., Divith Fyr or Vivec). However, my initial suspicions were correct:

- since spells are either bolt or touch effect, dodging bolts is easy unless you're up close and personal. If you are, you have a fair chance of interrupting the mage's casting by clouting him repeatedly with your weapon even if you take no defensive measures against his spell casting.

- high level characters (or high willpower characters) often resist spells entirely.

- the application of defensive spells or enchantments reduces the success of enemy spell casting significantly. The mage, on the other hand, is less likely to resist the effects of being gutted like a fish (I'm still not sure about the sanctuary/shield spells - sometimes they seem to work, and sometimes not).

In other words, even the dumb, rash warrior has better than even odds of winning the battle against an equal-level opponent at mid to high levels. At low levels the NPC mage wins more often if you're in an enclosed area that makes dodging difficult, but usually 'runs dry' in open areas.

And then there's the consideration of why any group of folks should fear a mage. After all, it takes something like the fire lance to assure death assuming you get past the enchantments/resistance/dodges. That means that even the most feared wizard can kill exactly six people before he runs out of juice. Hardly the stuff of legends.

And if those six people are all using bows, the mage will never, ever get a spell off. If you want a taste of why, load up the Firemoth plug and charge willy-nilly into the groups of bow-using skeletons and see what happens.

The blast effect spells are good at reducing the ability to 'dodge' spells, but they're of extremely limited usefulness (primarily bandit cave complexes where all the guards are strung out so far from one another they don't even know their buddies are being hacked to pieces). These spells *cannot* be applied to a mage that's in any crowded area; the NPC mage completely ignores everyone else and casts the spell, killing everyone in the area (except, usually, the PC).

In my game I've made the top blast spell a 50-50 deal over 25 feet, and have only given it to mages who aren't likely to butcher their friends with wanton casts. So, oddly enough, none of the premiere wizards in Wolverine Hall have a blast effect spell - I think you can imagine why.

Overall, though, I can honestly say that my test games are much more interesting. I have been killed, repeatedly, for acting like an ass and charging into battle confident that my sheer heroism would carry the day. The magic effects changes combined with the new spell list at least give NPC mages a chance, and require the player to actually think before acting like a berserk Orc on PCP.

The only problem now is that to tweak the NPCs I have to change them all, by hand. Except for the test NPCs I've already changed, I'm currently on the F's....

Max


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MrSmileyFaceDudeModerator
Disciple

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Re: I'll give you a five dollar bill for that ten dollar bill.
      #862731 - 10/31/02 10:06 AM

wakim and maxpublic both said that "balance" is not subjective. wakim even said that it is erroneous of me to say that many people consider the game balanced. This is not erroneous, because I have seen and heard many people say that exact same thing. But it IS semantics -- because it's clear that different people have different ideas of what "balanced" means. Personally I think that "fun" must be part of the equation -- it's not entirely empirical. But that's just my opinion. 'Nuff said about that.

Some background for you. I am the magic system programmer. I joined the Morrowind team in April of 2001 (although I've worked for ZeniMax since June '99), joining with another programmer who had written most of the system already (that person has since left the company). A third programmer also helped out a bit with it. The visual effects were created by one person. For future games I will be in charge of programming all things magical, so believe me I find this thread in particular VERY valuable.

But let's get something straight -- the programming of the magic system has very little to do with how it is balanced, or not. Yes, the formulas themselves are hardcoded, but many of the variables that go into them are either game settings or are modified by game settings. The formulas have a long pedigree -- they've evolved since Arena was first developed. I really don't think there's any need to modify them, except perhaps to provide additional game settings to modify their parameters. No, balance in Morrowind's magic system is primarily governed by how those game settings are set in the TESCS. How spell costs are set. If that wasn't the case, Wakim's mods wouldn't do any good. Anyway, I have this thread marked as a favorite, and am going to make sure the designers all take a good long, hard look at it.

As to the other suggestions -- new types of spell delivery, new effects like homing projectiles, weather alteration, etc. -- that's all great stuff, and I have been thinking along similar lines with much of it. Keep it coming, I -AM- taking notes. And I would also like to see hugely better visual effects, stuff that takes more advantage of the latest graphical hardware too.

So keep making your mods, keep making suggestions, keep the thread going. I read it every day.


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{TES Russia} My loved-fayrboll with a radius of 2km dies everyone

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