Tactical "Spellcasting"

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HousePet

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I expect we need to wait for a Dev Diary to find out if, what and how, but I'd like to raise this anyway with a comparison of the last two games.

AoW:SM - I send heroes into battle and they all cast Great Hail on their first turn. Not ideal, as its a bit hard for anyone to counter that sort of bombardment.

AoW3 - I don't bother using spellcasting on heroes because only one spell can be used per turn, and my leader is the only one with the good spells. This is because to get a hero with something worth casting I need to level up their casting ability and level them up to give them a good spell. (Okay, I do occasionally do it when they get really high level.) The spells they start with the ability to cast are usually not worth using their turn up for either.

Without knowing what AoW:pF is going to be like I can't really say what a solution would be, so I'm going to dropship in a few possible suggestions:

Keep the 1 per turn limit, otherwise its too much about the "Spells" not the combat. However a support hero could get an upgrade that allows them to ignore the 1 per turn limit, once per combat.
Reduce the number of "Spells" and tiers of them. Have some of the researchables upgrade the "Spells" instead. You currently end up with a couple of pages of not that different options.
Using a "Spell" shouldn't use up action points if they are doing something like calling in an airstrike or backup. Unless you are going to make the "Spells" of comparable effectiveness to a hero unit attacking, just allow them to do both in one turn.
Remove hero "Spells" entirely, and just give them activatable abilities.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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Glad someone remembers the SM mass spell system.


There are many ways to make in battle spells (or abilities, as it's sci fi, not magic) more tactically interesting.


An obvious one, using AoW 3 spells, is to make them take multiple turns, dependent on your casting level.


Therefore, if you know great hail, and it costs 50 cp, but you have 10 CP, well then you make that tactical decision of locking your caster in place for the time (5turns ) it takes to unleash it.


That way you *can* have several spells per turn, but very rarely would you be able to start a battle with 6 great hails on turn one.


Maybe towards the late game, in which case your opponent probably has t3 and 4 units en masse so not such an issue.

Plus this way you can build in some extremely powerful and expensive spells, like super super great hail of frogs, costs 300 mana, involves frogs.


Next, have this casting ability come at great opportunity cost.

As mentioned above, not being to move whole casting a spell would be an immediate tactical cost.

Add in things like it costing gold or mana or research (as in combinations of the above , not just research) to unlock new casting point levels, or spells themselves and you have a strategic tradeoff.


In planetfall, there's an as yet un named global resource which could very well act as the limiter for abilities.


Imho I'd love for there to be a requisitions and a munitions resources, munitions acting as mana in this instance, so if you have the munitions you can call in the air strike)

Back to AoW 3 spells , adding in other things like range limitations and friendly fire would have made them more tactical, and more flavoursome.
 

Thrake

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I felt like hero spells in AOW3 were potent enough, kind of too good at times because there's no range so you could just run away, spam spells and do evil things with no mean to counter it. The fact that there is also always a side-effect even on a failed spell really helped too so that it's never a wasted attempt if you choose the right spell.

Of course it's outright easier to build a hero which will be a killing machine or provides army-wide buff, but there were really handy spells adding to tactical flexibility, well worth investing a few level up worth of points at least I think. True spell caster I'm not convinced and never tried since each extra spell means a weaker hero/army while the limit to one spell/turn means there's a finite amount of spells that can be cast and then mana is a finite ressource anyway.
 

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I'd rather have multiple spells per turn, but limited range from heroes.

That said, i think it might be more sensible to have the "spells" be leader only in planetfall. If it's like a long range artillery in your capitol, that just makes more sense.
 

NINJEW

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in AoW3 investing in spellcasting heroes was very good, mostly because you'd get access to spells that you otherwise would not be able to. for example: a dreadnought player (a class with outrageously powerful ranged options) with an archdruid hero that can cast "wild growth," a spell that halves all non-flying movement. this is well worth the investment, as casting that essentially wins you the fight (unless you're fighting an army full of fliers or floaters, obviously)

another example of a powerful hero spell option would be dreadnoughts. for the price of 2 hero level ups, you can have your dreadnought hero cast "summon siege engine" and get a free T3 unit for the fight. a T3 unit is almost certainly worth more than 2 levels on a hero, and you might get a T4.

a warlord army with a theocrat hero that casts blessing of health, or a necromancer hero that casts dark gift. rogue hero gets sadism. anyone with a sorcerer hero can cast mass stasis, the most broken spell in the entire game. any hero specialized into spellcasting is an extremely powerful asset, honestly at higher levels much more so than a hero specialized in much anything else.

the system works as is imo
 

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I've spend levels on Dark Gift and Sadism in the past. Those are great spells to have. Sometimes I even did the Dark Gift one while my leader was Necro, just to save the 25 CP when I cast it.
 

Bob5

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Choking Fumes is an amazing Dreadnought spell if you're playing Necromancer. It's like a cheaper Mass Curse that also lowers enemy damage and movement.
 

Thrake

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What I don't like with multiple spells per turn is that you end up spamming them mindlessly. The only limit becomes mana. I could see spells using up action points and strongest spells using up all 3 points so nothing else can be done while (relatively) weak, cheap spells using only 1 AP so you can still do other things in the same turn.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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What I don't like with multiple spells per turn is that you end up spamming them mindlessly.

An obvious one, using AoW 3 spells, is to make them take multiple turns, dependent on your casting level.


Therefore, if you know great hail, and it costs 50 cp, but you have 10 CP, well then you make that tactical decision of locking your caster in place for the time (5turns ) it takes to unleash it.


That way you *can* have several spells per turn, but very rarely would you be able to start a battle with 6 great hails on turn one.

Under my proposed system, you wouldn't be able to spam them mindlessly, until the very late game with highly upgraded, specialist hero spellcasters.
 

Jolly Joker

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Guys, there won't be any spellcasting.

So say there's "calling command in orbit" instead. Since there's just one command, the problem isn't heroes ordering something, the problem is command doing what is ordered. So for PF the solution may look like each hero CAN order something each turn - but command can fulfill just one per turn.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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call it what you like but it'll be spellcasting as a mechanic.

Orbital command or whatever, the basic issue it to avoid starting every fight with a massive alpha strike of spells or abilities.

The solution in AoW3 was one spell per turn, and it works well enough. the gold standard solution (what was proposed earlier, I.e.using action points, range restrictions, multiple turns to cast) would have been awesome but imho the game would need to have been designed from the ground up to make it work.

For the new games maybe it will be a "delay to fulfil command," etc, or maybe they'll use action points too, or maybe the equivalent of mana will be in very very short supply?
 

Jolly Joker

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I think, you are making a mistake here. Te problem with "magic" is, that it's an ability of a unit - so no reason every owner should be able to use it at the same time. "Comnmand Strikes" - or whatever else the equivalent will be called - is an ability of an UNSEEN unit. This would be comparable, if magic was what would happen if you prayed to your God.

Now, I expect that there will be only ONE command per faction - probably your ship in orbit - and I don't see any reason to allow more than one command action per turn and faction.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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Magic was an ability of a hero.

I would have liked a system personally where non hero units could tap into the magic. For example, all those support units could have actively used mana when healing, or throwing fire, or throwing curses etc.

My point was that, at its core, stripping away the chrome (labelling etc) a "magic" system, or mechanic , serves as a way to use out of battlefield abilities.

It was called magic because AoW has been a fantasy series until now.


In the new game there will be, I certainly hope and am pretty sure, a way to use out of battle field abilities.

In fact the rationales for limiting them actually make alot more sense in a sci do environment than in a fantasy one imho.

Here's an example:

AoW3 hellfire. That's a spell.

in PF that could be an "orbital bombardment."

Functionally, they're the same and therefore, and this was my real point I think, whatever system is used, needs to be very aware of the danger that combat will start, and on the very first turn, the defender calls in 6 hellfires, or orbital bombardments.


My proposals are too complicated to shoehorn into AoW3 or PF, but I think I have a simple solution:

Every spell starts on a cooldown, relative to it's mana cost.

So every "command ability" starts on a cooldown, relative to it's cost.

example:

combat round 1- no spells.
combat round 2- heal, last stand etc possible (note that leader casting spells in other combats would double the starting cooldown)
combat round 5- you can use great rift.


It's a simple and elegant way to allow several spells per turn whilst keeping some strategy around their use.

At least I think it's simple and elegant, coding wise.


In a sci fi situation it's easier to justify, just say the artillery needs time to load.


Another potential limiter is having max spells per day.

So you can have as many fights as you want, but if your cp is 20, you're limited to 20 mana worth of spells per strategic turn.

Harder to communicate this though.


Anyway, I do think there at better solutions than one spell per turn, that respect the intent of one spell per turn.
 

Jolly Joker

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My point is, that in AoW 3 you can have as many spellcasting heroes as you like, and every single one of them (hero) has their own Mana Pool and therefore independent spellcasting abilities.
In PF, however, there is no "magic" to tap into, but quite probably the "High Command" only, that is, the spaceship you have been flying to the planet you are currently on. So technically, a hero radios High Command and orders an action (which will probably cost command points) - but how many actions is the High Command to resolve each turn, since it will be the same High Command doing the action, not different heroes who could in theory do everything at the same time.

Which means, the situation is naturally a lot more limited.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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I think we're driving at the same points?

1.It's easier to justify limitations.

2. We will need some limitations.
 

NINJEW

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JJ can't understand the difference between gameplay being an abstraction of potentially real events, and gameplay being a system handcrafted by real humans to make an interesting experiience, with a coat of "looks like actual objects" paint blanketed over it.

there is not actually a planet floating around where heroes are making calls to some satellite that can only do one thing at a time. what happens in the game is fictional, and does not need to actually conform to any rules you might arbitrarily put down on it in the name of "making sense for the setting." if the game designers decide that different heroes can each call down their own "orbital bombardment" in the same turn, then that's what will happen. nothing is actually stopping that from being in the game, outside of the designers saying "actually, that's not a very fun mechanic."
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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JJ can't understand the difference between gameplay being an abstraction of potentially real events, and gameplay being a system handcrafted by real humans to make an interesting experiience, with a coat of "looks like actual objects" paint blanketed over it.


Err...ouch? :(