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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Where Our Spells Are Headed


Recently, I've been asking myself a few questions. After doing an analysis of the level 68 spells, reading Kevin Battleblood's Post, and The Friendly Necromancer's Post, I've been considering the "combo moves," or "fusion magic." They would provide a new need for teammates and teamwork and add an exciting touch to the game that would be much more difficult to figure out than something like hatching combinations that have a set system. I began thinking.

And with that I posted the following on Wizard101 Central:

Today I'm doing a blog post on where our spells will be headed. What do I mean? If you haven't noticed, each time we get spells, they might be more powerful, but they cost another pip, too. Take Sirens for example. It does 880 damage or so. Storm Lord did 690 damage and stunned. There's a different of 190 there, and for the most part, Storm is capable of doing this much damage per pip, so why the seemingly lousy increase in damage here? Kingsisle has to keep our spells from going too over the top, even at higher pip costs, and they do that by adding effects of all sorts - just look at Sirens!

In this way, they're making us more powerful by giving us different spell combinations and possibilities, and more base damage to power up for a big hit, without giving that spell that simply "takes the cake" every time.

And so I'd like to ask you, where do you think our spells are headed?


To prove my point, I did some averaging. These are the average damage per pip amounts on spells as they increase in rank. AoEs, DoTs, and Steal spells are not included due to varying damage, but they would follow this same pattern.


Let's go back to my Storm Lord example. The difference in damage between it and Sirens in 190, and that's two pips. There is NO case in single hit spells in which the damage per pip is less than 125, so they should be 250 damage away, right? Originally, they actually were 225 damage away. Now, Storm Lord does 98.6 damage per pip to all enemies, and Sirens does only 97.8 damage per pip. While there isn't a lot of change her, it goes down because there are many more effects. Kingsisle is adding effects onto various spells to keep them from going too far above and beyond. Even Dr. Von's Monster, a steal spell, has an added effect.

A few weeks ago, Kevin Battleblood proposed a new idea - Fusion Magic. He talked about how, with our great variety of spells, soloing the game was easier and easier, and that teamwork was beginning to become a thing of the past. I usually quest alone... although my alone is with two or three accounts. When I first began playing, I'd accept anyone as my friend. At the time, it was customary to teleport to friends to see what they were doing and help them if they needed it, at least with my friends. I didn't know all them very well, though. So, when one teleported in to help me, at the time, I was all for the fun of having another user join me, but we never strategized together or planned spell combination, we simply threw what we had, which, in retrospect, wasn't the greatest idea - two completely different strategies going at the same time.

Fusion Magic suggest that two spells, when cast one after another, would produce an alternate effect. Kevin provides this example:

Let's say one mechanic would require a new spell called "Fusion," which is a pair of Universal Prisms, meaning any school will affect them. Two Prisms are placed upon one target.

To use "Fusion," two attacks of opposite schools must damage the target consecutively (one right after another, without any other school in between). In other words once the Prisms are placed, a Fire-then-Ice or Ice-then-Fire combo must take place -- it can be on the same OR different turns (under the condition that no other school's spell uses up the second Prism). Thus, DoTs like Fire Dragon and Snow Angel must be timed correctly, or else one of the ticks from one school will remove the second Prism, nullifying the "Fusion" spell.

If a "Fusion" is used correctly, the following events can occur:

If Fire Dragon followed after Snow Angel, for example, it'd create a spell/effect called "Steam Wall."

(The Snow Angel tick is removed, only to be replaced by a tick that's silver/grey. This tick would not do any damage, but it will last for two rounds after it has been placed, and not allow the victim to cast any magic upon anyone else but themselves. It is almost like a "blindness" effect, where self-target spells do not fizzle, but anything else that targets allies or enemies WILL fizzle. Enemies and allies, however, can still target the afflicted creature/player.)

If Snow Angel were to follow Fire Dragon, "Freezer Burn" would take place.

(The Fire Dragon's tick is removed, replaced by a tick that's pearl white. This tick would do very little Astral damage (50 per turn) for two rounds, and act as a Stun per tick. Of course, if a Stun Shield is present, then a Stun is avoided while the shield is removed. So, someone with 3 Stun Shields under Freezer Burn would have only 1 Stun Shield after the spell is exhausted.)



And follows up with another idea:

Or, what if any school could "fuse" with any school (except with its own), and what if the order the spells were used in didn't matter, as long as they were casted consecutively?

Death and Myth could fuse to create "Shattered Dreams," which removes all charms on the target, and adds a 10% Weakness spell for every unique* charm on them (*though Elemental and Spiritual blades consist of three different charms, they will be counted as one single charm, as a whole).

Storm and Fire could fuse to create "Acid Rain," which creates a personal bubble around the target (similar to Star magic) for three rounds, which imbues an additional 15% Armor Piercing to any incoming attack. Thus, if an attacker already has 20% Armor Piercing on their spell, this bubble will increase it to 35% Armor Piercing onto the victim. (Of course, the victim could always play another Star Magic spell to cut off its normal duration!)


While I love these ideas, I wouldn't want to see the usefulness of a character go down the drain because everyone can buy a Mastery Amulet. I'd love these new mechanics, but think that they ought to require, perhaps, spells to be cast consecutively. This means that if your battle order is Fire, Balance, then Ice, then "Freezer Burn" would be impossible to achieve due to the fact that Balance would create a "down turn" in between the two. This way, it truly promotes teamwork and team unity, as opposed to "how many spells can I cast in a row to create an effect" with amulets and treasure cards and such. It also requires wizards to strategically plan who enters a battle when, and whether or not they'll all be able to enter on the first turn a question. Some cheating bosses could then randomly pull in all wizards in no specific order to make things more challenging. Fusion could also exist in three and four card combinations, too. I'm glad that these are for additional effects, and not increased damage, though. The more ideas like this I hear, the better retraining sounds, but it's getting so expensive now. KI, can I get a few free Training Point Buybacks for Christmas?

To summarize - if a Balance, Fire, and Ice character enter a battle in that order, a combination of a Balance and Ice spell is impossible because the Fire creates a "down turn," yet a combination of the three would be sufficient. And while you might initially say that they could use an Ice-Fire-Balance combination, all three are present, and therefore it is possible, just as an Ice-Fire can be reversed to Fire-Ice.

In Kevin's example, the effect is in exchange for the usual damage, but happens for certain each time. What if I simply wanted the damage?

Today, actually, The Friendly Necromancer posted a similar idea called "Combo Moves." He gives this example:

Let's pretend the developers have coded it so when you cast an ice snake, a fire shield, and a storm shark in that order, you will then spark a chance at a combo move (it doesn't have to work 100% of the time). BOOM! You've made the right combination of cards and the words "Combo Move!" flash above your character's head (similar to the critical message). Because you threw these three cards in this order and successfully made your percentage chance to cast a combo, this releases a meteor strike spell upon all opponents directly after that last storm shark is played. It'd give more reason to go for the boss over the minion first for sure. The boss would have been whittled down a bit from the storm shark and the ice snake and the meteor strike then hits both the minion and the boss. Right?

The words flashing above your character's heads is a great addition to either of the ideas. Anyway, this does provide more strategy to play and would allow Kingsisle to make bosses more challenging, because there would now be added effects when the correct combinations were used. If a desirable effect was added, it would make old, low level cards more desirable and you'd see them more often, instead of the same, old, rank 7, 8, or 9 spell.

With these ideas in mind, I set out to put together my own version of them.

Beginning at level 5, a reasonable level even for nonmembers, Merle Ambrose will call you to his office. He's been researching a new bit of magic, and has asked some of his old friends to help. The new magic is called Fusion Magic and with the right spells, it gives wizards the ability to use Combo Moves in battles to aid them with difficult bosses of the Spiral and promote teamwork. In Ambrose's tower, there are three new NPCs, and the first is ready to teach you Dual-Fusion - the ability to use two spells in combination with each other. This first NPC explains that while Dual-Fusion combines only two spells, it will be used at both low and high levels with various spells. You set out to do a few tasks for this NPC and you then have the ability to create combo moves using Dual-Fusion. 

This gives nonmembers something to do, as well as provides members with exclusive benefits of this type of Fusion, seeing as higher level spells also create effects. These effect are ADDED; they do not replace the initial damage type. The rank of the spells in the combination determine the effect, and you may find an effect not only with two rank one spells, but with a rank one and rank six spell. The spell combinations have no particular system or set way, they are fairly random, and yet work well. While Efreet and Dark Sprite may create a double 25% infection effect, this doesn't necessarily mean that all rank eight and rank one spells create effects. This keeps wizards guessing at who-know-how-many combinations - there are literally thousands! Because Combo Moves and Fusion can only work properly with no "down turns" in between, it is impossible for one character to create a Combo Move using Fusion by his or herself. Again, a Fire and Ice character cannot create a Combo Move if there is a Balance in between them, even if he or she passes. Now, teamwork is promoted more than ever, and there won't be a guide for everything that's new created five minutes after everything is released, wizards will always be after different combinations.

At level 35, wizards are called back to the tower to talk to the second NPC about Tri-Fusion. Tri-Fusion is the ability to use a Combo Move with three spells. They do not have to be in any order, so a Balance-Fire-Ice combination will also work with Fire-Balance-Ice, but not if there is a wizard in between the three. Now this type of fusion makes thousands and thousands of more possibilities, while maybe only one hundred combinations actually create combinations, and they aren't all damage spells, either.

Finally, at level 75, you can learn about Quad-Fusion. Quad-Fusion is the ability to use combo moves with four spells! These, while certainly the most complex, create the most magnificent effects, and the higher rank the spells used in the particular combination, the better the added effect.

Spell cast by pets, even consecutive to the owner's spell, will not trigger Combo Moves. 

In order to promote combinations of characters of all types, schools like Life and Storm will not often find their spells used together in a Combo Move.

In future worlds, Kingsisle can implement harder bosses that are nearly impossible to solo, or even that have cheats that make them so. Perhaps the combo move of Wraith, Triton, Basilisk, and Gnomes! creates an effect that makes it impossible for the enemy to heal and adds two universal traps. Think of the PvP possibilities. 

If you made it through this entire post, you're either a blogger or a diligent reader. So what do you think? What will Kingsisle do to our spells in the future? And what are your opinions of Fusion Magic and Combo Moves?

4 comments:

  1. Great job with this post! (Made me wish I could write something like this).

    I love the way that you took both Kevins and Friendly's ideas and mixed them to make the 'all powerful' idea. I think that all these ideas are great. It would also have to include a ton of new Menu Chat so that you could say what spell to cast, but in the long run, it would be worth the time it took.

    Thanks for your great additions! I really hope KI includes this... except for the fact that, I like you, am very sadly a solo person. (Never can find anyone to help me. :\ )

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  2. Though this idea sounds amazing (and not to mention fun), I can't imagine the confused wizards and the ones who trigger combo moves 'unintentionally'. Also, would I need to worry about packing my deck to 'work with' the said combo moves? I like the idea of lower levels being able to trigger them, but sometimes, all I'll want is my good ol' Ice Wyvern, Skeletal Pirate, etc.
    On another note, the PvP possibilities made me grin maniacally and then get a little nervous. I think that's just me, though.
    Des

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  3. While I would think this would be a GREAT addition to Wizard101, I'd also have to think that it would probably take a lot of effort and server space. If KI were to implement this idea, they would probably have to tackle those problems head on. Otherwise, I would love to see this idea ingame!

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  4. @Morgrim Trollfriend - I didn't think about that! It would require some number of Menu Chat options. Then again, wouldn't "Cast [Insert Spell Here]" be a great option as it is?

    @Destiny Soultamer - That would be part of the beauty, however, and this is why I stuck with Friendly's ideas on how the effect works - that it's an addition and not a replacement effect. This means that you could still have your good old Ice Wyvern, which is certainly something that I was also worried about, but you just might get an additional effect in there. And for those times where you aren't as interested in using Combo Moves, you can swap decks or discard the cards that you don't need. Or, if you know you're going solo, simply set up your deck the way you normally would. And yes, anything new in PvP tends to throw everything into utter chaos, we'd just have to see how that works. The example, as hard as it would be to produce (everyone casting the exact spell on the same turn without fizzling or having dispels or Smokescreens), was interesting.

    @Elijah Stormheart - It would take quite a lot of potential space, but while there are thousands of POSSIBLE combinations, there might be one hundred or so that actually work. It would take much effort, yes. I don't know much about game coding, so I have no idea about the space it would take. What I do know is that, while it might take up a bit of room, it would also keep wizards guessing and therefore entertained far beyond the time that another world would keep them interested.

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