Author Topic: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages  (Read 22171 times)

musashi

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Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« on: September 09, 2015, 11:59:48 PM »
Just some thoughts I've had recently about mages that I felt like sharing.

For context, in the 7 years I've been playing Armageddon, I've played about 7 memorable, long lived characters. 4 have been mages. I like playing mages. I think they're awesome. I left Harshlands MUD and came to Armageddon specifically because Armageddon had playable mages.

Having said that, there are two issues where I feel like the people spreading mage-hate have a valid point.



The Nil Reach

I've used the nil reach for training purposes on every mage I've had, and compared to skilling up a mundane ... I think the mage-haters are right: it's too easy.

As a warrior I have to find people to spar with, they need to be equal/better than I am, or I need to go risk my life fighting things in the wild that will kill me if something goes wrong, etc.
As a merchant I have to find the materials I need to practice crafting, if I don't have them, I can't train my skills. It doesn't have to be risky, but it does require effort to grind my skills.
As a ranger, I have to do all the stuff I just said for those first two because arrows don't make themselves and things you haven't killed don't let you practice skinning on them.
The city stealth guilds all have to face the perils of the crime code to skill their abilities up, that has unique perils all its own.

Mages are the only guilds that can sit in the comfort of whatever safe space they've found be it an isolated forest clearing, an elemental temple, or an apartment and practice their entire skill set sans component crafting without need of risk or effort. They don't have to acquire any materials, they don't have to face life threatening dangers, they just have to solo RP with themselves, and cast "practice" spells until things branch.

And given how powerful magick is, the ease and safety of acquiring it seems all the more grief worthy.

Imagine if other guilds could do this. If a merchant could "craft practice armor into practice" without needing any materials, or if warriors could just type "train bash", "train slashing weapons" over and over to grind their skills up ... it would be idiotic and cringe worthy in any other context but for reasons I honestly can't justify, people are ok with it if it's a mage.

Maybe we're just used to it. Maybe I'm missing something. But man ... I would not mind at all if the nil reach was removed and mages had to actually use their magick in order to master it.



The Economics Of Component Crafting

The very first mage I ever played was a spec-app vivaduan who was part of someone else's family role call way back in 2008. It was brand new territory for me, and I was worried that as a "not ranger" I was gonna starve to death. So in a PM I voiced some of those viability concerns to my soon to be family member's player, and the reply I got back was:

Quote
Don't worry. You'll branch a thing that'll get you all the money you need.

That player was not lying. The amount of profit one can make from the component crafting skill is in my opinion ... unjustifiable. I won't get into any IG details but I'm positive everyone who has ever played a mage long enough to branch component crafting knows exactly what I'm talking about. And if you happen to be playing a mage of the variety who can travel quickly between settlements (and thus NPC vendors), it's ... wow.

This makes no sense to me. I can see how these things would have economic value to other mages, so in a limited sense (like a merchant in the elementalist quarter of Allanak for example) I could envision an NPC shopkeeper who knows about magickal components, and is willing to pay more for something that's already attuned vs the same thing but mundane.

But why/how would a mundane shop keeper in a magick hating society do that? Before Tuluk closed you could even sell components there! Why are their spell component vendors in (I believe) every city and settlement of the game world offering top dollar for magickal trinkets?

I remember back in the day Nyr fixing some of the most egregious of these. IIRC he knocked the price of a particular component's sell value down from about 1,000 coins to whatever the much much much lower value of the raw material happened to be. But I can still find plenty of examples of inexplicably valuable components.



I think these two things together; the ease of skilling up and the ease of acquiring money; are two points on which I sympathize with people who complain about mages being "over powered". Despite the fact that I adore playing mages.

Anyway, that's my brain dump for the day.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2015, 12:04:00 AM by musashi »
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CodeMaster

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2015, 02:50:27 AM »
I can't comment with any great depth, but the elemental mages seem to me to be "arcade easy mode" by design, due to the RP/social drawbacks they face: ostracization and fear, unwelcomeness in taverns, limited clan opportunities, and regular encounters with people who would rather kill you than talk to you.

I find my mundane characters making more money than they need as well, and I can ratchet up the wealth generator whenever I feel like it.

Nevertheless, you make a really good point about shopkeepers being willing to buy and sell these weird trinkets or poo-stained boots for absurd amounts of money, from the perspective of in-game consistency.  I agree there could be some adjustments there.  But NPCs do stupid shit all the time, shopkeepers especially -- even when the goods aren't (obvious) magickal artifacts.  At the end of the day, the responsibility is partly on us as players to make sure we don't exploit them like the robotic morons they are.
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musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2015, 03:26:10 AM »
I can't comment with any great depth, but the elemental mages seem to me to be "arcade easy mode" by design, due to the RP/social drawbacks they face: ostracization and fear, unwelcomeness in taverns, limited clan opportunities, and regular encounters with people who would rather kill you than talk to you.

That may well be. But I think removing the nil reach would add more depth to mages as a guild.

A ranger for example, has some skills that are very easy to train, like forage, or hunt. But they also have some other skills that more difficult. Or skills that, while not difficult, require you to be in certain situations or get help for, and these requirements create role play possibilities.

In much the same way, it seems to me that without the nil reach, mages would have some spells that they can still cast alone in an elemental temple or in their apartment, but others that would be more difficult, or require a buddy, materials ... etc.

In my mind, needing to get out there and be part of the world in order to develop your character would add value to being a mage.

I find my mundane characters making more money than they need as well, and I can ratchet up the wealth generator whenever I feel like it. ... At the end of the day, the responsibility is partly on us as players to make sure we don't exploit them like the robotic morons they are.

I agree, and it's not like I haven't used the money making power of that craft skill before. I really took advantage of the component economy with my 2nd long lived mage, and when it was all said and done, I just had a bad taste in my mouth about it in retrospect. My 3rd mage never sold a single component, and I enjoyed that route far more.
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Lizzie

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2015, 08:08:29 AM »
My rebuttal:

Mages in and of themselves have no other function in the game, codedly. They have no coded weapon skills, little in the way of coded defense skills, no non-magickal perception or manipulation skills and as you pointed out - the only moneymaking skill they have, they don't start with. They have to branch it. This of course doesn't include their subguild, which might be a moneymaker but that can be said for any guild/subguild combo in the game.

There are skills that a mage -cannot- use even in the safety of their own apartment, without creating enough destruction to raise the ire of animated NPCs or even alert the PC templarate. You've said yourself, Musashi, that this is the first time you've ever played based in Allanak.

So your experience playing mages north of Allanak is really all you have to go by. The weather code in the south is certainly conducive to life outside the city if you're one particular type of mage, but not for ANY of the other types. Plus the incredibly limited number of quit-safe rooms outside the city makes it doubly difficult to play a mage who lives in the south but avoids the city, just so they can practice their skills safely.

As for that component crafting issue - it's only money-making if you happen to be the lucky PC who happens to show up at the NPC when they happen to a) not already have 5 of each of the things you're trying to sell them and b) coins to pay you for the things you're trying to sell them. Obviously someone is that lucky - but the rest of us are not. I've played mages who have walked around with 30-sid items in my pockets for real-life WEEKS trying to unload just one of them off one of those NPCs, only to be told "We already have enough of those" or "Sorry, out of sids this week, try another time."

And if you do happen to be the lucky one to show up at the right time you'll unbalance the economy among mages in such a way that it basically breaks it - because you unload your 400-sid items, are able to "game the system" in a way to make over 2000 sids in a single RL day, while everyone else making a valiant attempt has nothing.

Nil is a way players can try to cast certain spells that, when cast upon themselves, will show visible results that might last a good long while - without making that happen. Imagine having to wait outside the city for over a RL hour, just waiting for the spell to drop, all because they took the nil reach away.

Then there are the destructive spells - if you have no one to cast them on, then you can't cast them at all. And - you aren't going to impose that kind of destruction on a friend in sparring, because there are no "sparring spells". You're either trying to hurt them badly or you're not.

I wouldn't mind seeing some tweaks to the nil reach, but it has its place and it'd be a significant problem if it were removed.
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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2015, 09:04:52 AM »
Honestly, I'd prefer to have mages just hiding away solo-RPing in their camps or caves or temples or whatever, because it means 99.9% of the time I can go out and do my mundane shit without worrying about tripping over some goddamn magicker.
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Desertman

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2015, 10:51:09 AM »
It wouldn't bother me at all if magick was entirely moved into the realm of "staff event only situations and very specific role calls for specific reasons".

In my experience having that sort of power in the hands of players has added very little to the game beyond the ability to insta-gank long-lived (several months to RL years) mundane PC's after a month or two of playing your magicker.

I can think of three or four times in almost 20 years of playing that magick not in the hands of staff has added a fun element to the game for me. One of those times the PC in question was staff ran but not part of a staff event. That may or may not qualify.

I can think of a few dozens times it was used to wipe out long-lived PCs instantly with a couple of those being mine. Most of the time the magickers have been in the game for less than two RL months. Woohoo for them being the one to "put the raid boss down", but that is entirely their full contribution to the game in most cases. They seem made almost with the purpose of killing long-lived PC's and that's it.

I don't see why they are needed.

They are fun for some people and I understand that. They aren't fun for me and in my experience they serve more often to destroy the fun of others rather than add to the fun of others.

When I can count on one hand the number of "meaningful long-term interactions" I have had with PC magickers in 20 years...but I can't count on all of my fingers and toes the number of "I only ever heard about this magicker once or twice, and it was always only when they killed long-lived characters.", I think there is an issue personally.

That's my very biased and possibly entirely wrong opinion, but it is my opinion.
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musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2015, 10:56:21 AM »
I wouldn't mind seeing some tweaks to the nil reach, but it has its place and it'd be a significant problem if it were removed.

In what way would you like to see it tweaked? I wanted to ask that first so it didn't get pushed the way side in the rest of the back and forth that might follow. Anyway here's my thoughts on your rebuttal:

Nil is a way players can try to cast certain spells that, when cast upon themselves, will show visible results that might last a good long while - without making that happen. Imagine having to wait outside the city for over a RL hour, just waiting for the spell to drop, all because they took the nil reach away.

I put this one first because I thought it was the most compelling. That does suck. I've always wished there was an option for mages to cancel their own spells at will instead of having to wait out the timer.

There are skills that a mage -cannot- use even in the safety of their own apartment, without creating enough destruction to raise the ire of animated NPCs or even alert the PC templarate. You've said yourself, Musashi, that this is the first time you've ever played based in Allanak.

Not sure exactly what you mean here. Thought it could be one of 3 things, so I replied to them all:

1. There are spells a mage cannot use discreetly even with nil reach?  I've ever seen any spell not be completely safe and innocuous at nil. This would be surprising news to me.

2. You're talking about things like a sorcerer's gather? It is possible to employ skills like that inside the city states without being noticed. I have played secret sorcerers before.

3. There are spells a mage cannot use discreetly at un reach? Yes. That's my point. If the spell comes with a blast radius, why not have to go out and be somewhere with a blast radius?

The weather code in the south is certainly conducive to life outside the city if you're one particular type of mage, but not for ANY of the other types. Plus the incredibly limited number of quit-safe rooms outside the city makes it doubly difficult to play a mage who lives in the south but avoids the city, just so they can practice their skills safely.

I agree that the desert is very harsh compared to the northern landscape, for mundanes and mages alike. But Allanak has the gemmed who are allowed to do magick inside their quarter of the city. And secret mages are not without settlement options to weather out the storms. If you are choosing to play a character who never leaves the southern deserts and never goes into the settlements because that's the type of character you want to play then yes things will be more difficult given that self imposed handicap, but that would be true of a mundane guild as well wouldn't it? Even a newbie ranger would be struggling under those constraints.

As for that component crafting issue - it's only money-making if you happen to be the lucky PC who happens to show up at the NPC when they happen to a) not already have 5 of each of the things you're trying to sell them and b) coins to pay you for the things you're trying to sell them. Obviously someone is that lucky - but the rest of us are not. I've played mages who have walked around with 30-sid items in my pockets for real-life WEEKS trying to unload just one of them off one of those NPCs, only to be told "We already have enough of those" or "Sorry, out of sids this week, try another time."

And if you do happen to be the lucky one to show up at the right time you'll unbalance the economy among mages in such a way that it basically breaks it - because you unload your 400-sid items, are able to "game the system" in a way to make over 2000 sids in a single RL day, while everyone else making a valiant attempt has nothing.

It's true your mileage may vary, but my experience hasn't been a result of good timing.

I've seen certain easy to greb, easy to craft items sold out as you describe, but my answer to that was always to sell them something else they didn't have a lot of at the moment. There are so many spell component recipes available that I've always been able to get coins out of a vendor when I wanted. But I've also acquired a lot of recipes over my years of play and that no doubt makes it easier.

With the new shopkeeper code in place though wherein they restock their coins by selling to passerbys, I've found it easier, not harder, to make money off them from a more limited selection of offerings. Their coins keep going up and their stock keeps going down without the need of a reboot.

Then there are the destructive spells - if you have no one to cast them on, then you can't cast them at all. And - you aren't going to impose that kind of destruction on a friend in sparring, because there are no "sparring spells". You're either trying to hurt them badly or you're not.

True. But how is this any different from playing a mul or a half-giant? You can't spar with anyone then either, but we wouldn't support special training commands to let them safely train up their destructive potential would we? We tell them: meh you just gotta go skill in up in actual combat then. I feel like the same answer applies.
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Delirium

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2015, 10:58:32 AM »
I agree with removing the ability to learn from "nil" casting and that the cost of components should be lowered significantly.

Desertman, I get that you wanna rule the roost with mundanes, but the fact is, magick is a huge part of Zalanthas and should rightfully be feared. It won't be feared if we don't have people representing it on a daily basis, something the staff just can't commit to on top of everything else they need to run and do.

You seem to keep forgetting that "instagank" options of the past are no longer an option and anything left over has defenses and ways to be circumvented. Is there still danger? Yes. Which is GOOD. Nobody should ever feel completely "safe", whether they are inside the city or outside it. Ever. The more dangerous a mage is, the higher their karma req.

I get that people don't like "losing" but honestly? Deal with it. The game will go on without your awesome long-lived PC and others will eventually rise to take their place.

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musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2015, 11:01:30 AM »
Honestly, I'd prefer to have mages just hiding away solo-RPing in their camps or caves or temples or whatever, because it means 99.9% of the time I can go out and do my mundane shit without worrying about tripping over some goddamn magicker.

... fair enough  :D
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musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2015, 11:09:14 AM »
It wouldn't bother me at all if magick was entirely moved into the realm of "staff event only situations and very specific role calls for specific reasons".

This would bother me immensely. As I said, I left Harshlands and came to Armageddon to play mages, and for no other reason. I've grown to love other aspects of the game since then, but that was the one and only draw that brought me here to begin with, and it remains a strong one.

In my experience having that sort of power in the hands of players has added very little to the game beyond the ability to insta-gank long-lived (several months to RL years) mundane PC's after a month or two of playing your magicker.

But this, is the part that I sympathize with. I feel like the nil reach providing that ability to safely and effortlessly max out your spell tree is one of the driving factors of this experience. You simply cannot max out a mundane class in two months of play the way you can with a mage. At least not without running high risks of dying while trying.

If you would have issues with a long lived mage being able to insta-gank your long lived mundane ... then I'd basically give you Delirum's "deal with it" reply, because I think maxed out mages should be frightening. And they are.

But I think maxing out a mage should be a lot more involved and risky than it currently is. I'd like to see more parity with mundanes in that regard. It takes time, effort, and luck to max out a mundane guild. Why not mages as well?
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AdamBlue

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2015, 11:32:57 AM »
The grind sucks.
The Mundane grind sucks.
The Magicker grind still sucks. It's relatively shorter, but it sucks.
I don't think magickers should be nerfed by removing nil or the ability to learn from it. Someone who gets good at hitting baseballs goes to the batting cage to practice form and swing. A warrior can toss throwing knives at a training dummy until he can nail it blindfolded in the forehead. Magickers who want to get buff are going to get buff. They'd just take a longer time if you put in that they gotta blow something up or make a bazillion fruits while they're at it that are totally useless.

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2015, 11:33:47 AM »
Initially, I was going to reply to musashi's points with the same arguments I've always had (based solely on my own opinion, so take it with a crystal of salt((not purplish! friggin' freeloaders)), but they've already been brought up.  I like the Nil reach, I think it's necessary for magickers due to isolation, lack of mundane skills, etc, etc.

I do, on the other hand, understand the complaints.  It is a way of skilling up that mundane guilds do not get, one that is exceptionally safe and free, two things that are worth their weight in gold no matter what the setting let alone a place like Zalanthas.

I, too, agree that the price set by NPCs for magickal trinkets is absurd.  I view it as a hold over from days-gone-by when there was not as many (or any) common methods of making cash for any guild.

musashi (or anyone else) what do you think of the idea of making magickers work for the Nil reach?  Turn it into a branchable skill that pops up only after a certain overall level of skill is gained in various spells?  Sort of a way for a magicker to know when they are attaining a more familiar understanding/better control over their abilities.
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musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2015, 11:37:07 AM »
The grind sucks.
The Mundane grind sucks.
The Magicker grind still sucks. It's relatively shorter, but it sucks.
I don't think magickers should be nerfed by removing nil or the ability to learn from it. Someone who gets good at hitting baseballs goes to the batting cage to practice form and swing. A warrior can toss throwing knives at a training dummy until he can nail it blindfolded in the forehead. Magickers who want to get buff are going to get buff. They'd just take a longer time if you put in that they gotta blow something up or make a bazillion fruits while they're at it that are totally useless.

I just want to note for the record that staff will smack you hard for training throw on a training dummy outside of the few specially designed archery range dummies provided by some clans.

Grinding ranged weaponry on the sand filled dummy most clans have is a no no.

But aside from that, you seem to be of the opinion that every guild should be able to easily max their skills out. Fair enough. I disagree because I feel like that cheapens the accomplishment of achieving it ... but that's just like ... my opinion man.

At least you're consistent.
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Pale Horse

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2015, 11:39:22 AM »
Magickers who want to get buff are going to get buff. They'd just take a longer time if you put in that they gotta blow something up or make a bazillion fruits while they're at it that are totally useless.

Another worry of mine, this.

People already complain about mage griefers instagibbing.  We expect it from the mundane guilds (to a point) because we feel on the same level and have to go through the same thing.  If we remove the Nil reach and force a krathi to actually have to "cast 'wek un fireball' at someone to skill it up, wouldn't this just encourage more griefing from those players who are inclined to do so?

Yes, it adds a level of danger to the grind that "everyone else" (not really) faces, but to hijack a phrase and alter it for my own purposes: "with great power comes great temptation."  "Power corrupts."  Do we want to introduce/provide a path that would encourage easier mage on mundane ganking?
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Desertman

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2015, 11:39:44 AM »
I agree with removing the ability to learn from "nil" casting and that the cost of components should be lowered significantly.

Desertman, I get that you wanna rule the roost with mundanes, but the fact is, magick is a huge part of Zalanthas and should rightfully be feared. It won't be feared if we don't have people representing it on a daily basis, something the staff just can't commit to on top of everything else they need to run and do.

You seem to keep forgetting that "instagank" options of the past are no longer an option and anything left over has defenses and ways to be circumvented. Is there still danger? Yes. Which is GOOD. Nobody should ever feel completely "safe", whether they are inside the city or outside it. Ever. The more dangerous a mage is, the higher their karma req.

I get that people don't like "losing" but honestly? Deal with it. The game will go on without your awesome long-lived PC and others will eventually rise to take their place.

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She who was instaganked by a Krathi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2015, 11:53:30 AM »
The grind sucks.
The Mundane grind sucks.
The Magicker grind still sucks. It's relatively shorter, but it sucks.
I don't think magickers should be nerfed by removing nil or the ability to learn from it. Someone who gets good at hitting baseballs goes to the batting cage to practice form and swing. A warrior can toss throwing knives at a training dummy until he can nail it blindfolded in the forehead. Magickers who want to get buff are going to get buff. They'd just take a longer time if you put in that they gotta blow something up or make a bazillion fruits while they're at it that are totally useless.

I just want to note for the record that staff will smack you hard for training throw on a training dummy outside of the few specially designed archery range dummies provided by some clans.

Grinding ranged weaponry on the sand filled dummy most clans have is a no no.


Was just an example. I prefer to train my skills by brutally murdering every creature in a ten mile radius and then devouring their still-beating hearts.

I understand where you're coming from. You want to increase the gap between 'weak baby nerd' and 'swole buff dude'.
And I can totally understand that from an OOC level, because obvs new characters are gonna be weaker then older ones.
From an IC standpoint, though, some of these characters would be much better then they are. The 30 year old gruff warrior that is fresh-made ICly would have years of experience under his belt. But that 20 year old who has 50 days played would kill that gruff warrior in a split fucking second. So would the 10 days played 20 year old, or the 25 year old who's been playing for a week if the gruff guy got bad rolls.
The game is inconsistent and random in all aspects. From your character's starting stats to if you're going to survive that chance encounter with that raptor in the desert, to who in your group is gonna get royally wrecked by the incoming blindside mek.

What grinding does is lower the chances of failure and increase the chances of success, which is what makes a character live longer and ultimately have a more rich story, which is hopefully the main objective of someone playing, is to live and make a story and then die in a beautiful tragedy.
Let me tell you a story.
I had a super warrior. He was awesome and fantastic and I loved him in every way. I was hungry and I went to go get popcorn for a brief moment. When I returned, all that graced me was three seconds of my character being attacked by a dozen monsters and then the mantis screen. I was gone for about ten seconds when I trusted someone to not lead me into a deathtrap, and they did, even though they had no idea they were doing it. If I didn't decide to get popcorn at that instant, I am certain they would of lived.
My first mage, I didn't know that 'nil' raised skills. I did everything hard as hell, and it took a long time to get to even a decent level. I decided to go on a trip with another magic friend.
Reel-locked by a carru. Dead in three hits.
We all want good stories. Those stories can get stolen away in a second, ripped out of our control. The grind is the attempt to prevent the inevitable, to make a life for these characters, to improve them so that their story becomes longer, richer, and more exciting.
Would you rather have a story about a mage who got reel-locked by a carru or one who died fighting the templarite in a blaze of glory years after he arrived?

...I'm rambling, probably.

musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2015, 11:53:42 AM »
musashi (or anyone else) what do you think of the idea of making magickers work for the Nil reach?  Turn it into a branchable skill that pops up only after a certain overall level of skill is gained in various spells?  Sort of a way for a magicker to know when they are attaining a more familiar understanding/better control over their abilities.

I guess I feel ambivalent about it. I think that would make playing a newbie mage more like how I'd like to see them handled. But once they branched nil they'd finish maxing out their skill tree immediately, which I still wouldn't feel very good about.

Initially, I was going to reply to musashi's points with the same arguments I've always had (based solely on my own opinion, so take it with a crystal of salt((not purplish! friggin' freeloaders)), but they've already been brought up.  I like the Nil reach, I think it's necessary for magickers due to isolation, lack of mundane skills, etc, etc.

I don't feel like the isolations and RP constraint argument holds water because you can say all of that about breeds and city elves, and we don't give them an exceptionally safe and free way to max out their skill tree (unless they're also a mage, obviously).

The lack of mundane skills point seems more solvent to me but even with that ... the game has plenty of coded jobs you don't need skills to do to keep you from starving. Yes you suck at combat but so do non-combat mundane guilds. Yes you can't craft without a subguild but neither can most mundane guilds ... I'm friendly to the idea of mages having more mundane skills but I've never felt like their absence was character breaking for me. I just played Joe Blow suck at everything commoners till they became mages.

Another worry of mine, this.

People already complain about mage griefers instagibbing.  We expect it from the mundane guilds (to a point) because we feel on the same level and have to go through the same thing.  If we remove the Nil reach and force a krathi to actually have to "cast 'wek un fireball' at someone to skill it up, wouldn't this just encourage more griefing from those players who are inclined to do so?

Yes, it adds a level of danger to the grind that "everyone else" (not really) faces, but to hijack a phrase and alter it for my own purposes: "with great power comes great temptation."  "Power corrupts."  Do we want to introduce/provide a path that would encourage easier mage on mundane ganking?

Well let me put it another way ...

If you have a griefer who wants to instagib everyone which would you prefer?

Do you want him to have to grind his skills up on aggro mobs in the desert like most people, risking life and limb and possibly dying off before he gets skilled up enough to be able to rain on anyone's parade?

Or do you want him to be able to hide in a grove somewhere and spam cast till he's maxed out then go out and start laying waste to everyone he sees, already maxed before ever needing to join the rest of the game world?
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musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2015, 12:03:36 PM »
The game is inconsistent and random in all aspects.

It is yes. But I think the onus is on us as players to not create those situations.
For example, I've only played an old character once. I knew as a starting character he would suck at everything so in his background ... I said he used to be a fighting type. But he suffered an injury, couldn't do it anymore, and now he had to learn something else hence why he was not a fighting guild. And thus ... him sucking despite his age and experience made sense.

If I had wanted him to be amazing at combat because he was still on top of his game after all his years, I'd have special app'd that.

Anyway though I get what you're saying. You're in the camp of: Less skill grind = more time RP'ing and making stories.
And it seems like you wish mundanes could skill up as easily as mages can.

While I disagree, I don't think there's anything inconsistent with your opinion. Just different preferences between us.
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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2015, 12:03:47 PM »
Nil is a way players can try to cast certain spells that, when cast upon themselves, will show visible results that might last a good long while - without making that happen. Imagine having to wait outside the city for over a RL hour, just waiting for the spell to drop, all because they took the nil reach away.

I put this one first because I thought it was the most compelling. That does suck. I've always wished there was an option for mages to cancel their own spells at will instead of having to wait out the timer.

100/100ma> cast 'sul un vivadu psiak fred'
Shazam!
You become wet and glowing.
50/75ma> affects
 <-- max mana reduced by 1/2 the casting cost
You are affected by:
  glowing wetness
52/75ma> cease glowing wetness
You release the spell.
The glowing wetness around you dissipates.
54/100ma>


Huge impractical change, obvsly, with the coding and the rebalancing.
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musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2015, 12:07:52 PM »
Nil is a way players can try to cast certain spells that, when cast upon themselves, will show visible results that might last a good long while - without making that happen. Imagine having to wait outside the city for over a RL hour, just waiting for the spell to drop, all because they took the nil reach away.

I put this one first because I thought it was the most compelling. That does suck. I've always wished there was an option for mages to cancel their own spells at will instead of having to wait out the timer.

100/100ma> cast 'sul un vivadu psiak fred'
Shazam!
You become wet and glowing.
50/75ma> affects
 <-- max mana reduced by 1/2 the casting cost
You are affected by:
  glowing wetness
52/75ma> cease glowing wetness
You release the spell.
The glowing wetness around you dissipates.
54/100ma>


Huge impractical change, obvsly, with the coding and the rebalancing.

Maybe so yes ... but I do like it in principle  :)

If it worked like scan and listen work now where your proficiency in the spell made it less costly on your max mana to maintain ... that would also be awesome.
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catchall

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2015, 12:07:59 PM »
Sounds like you had some vets nudging you in the right direction.  If you've ever trained a true newbie mage, you will know that many of them have a frequent and frustrating tendency to get stuck in their progression.  The difference in speed of progress between someone who knows the mechanics of the magick skillgain system and someone who does not is truly drastic, far more with magick than with mundane skills (excepting weapon skills, where only the most advanced twinkery reigns).   Knowledge of the skill trees also makes a huge difference.

You also presume some things that are not correct.  Not all elements can hole up in an apartment and hope to advance at a remotely reasonable pace.  Yes, temples are easy mode, but gemmed are easy mode, so we can't exactly base everything around the gemmed.  Apartments and the wild also both have substantial risks involved.  I mean, these guys aren't sitting in the scar room.  They're in game, with no combat skills, and some piddly pea-shooter spells.  If they're progressing quickly, they are burning through a lot of mana.  You are the risk, go squish 'em.

Skilling a solo mage in the wild is, frankly, far riskier than training up a competent thief in the rinth, and the latter can be done by a newbie with only the knowledge of the skills on their starting skill list.  I know, I did it as a newbie over and over.  Successfully training a mage in the wild requires enormous amounts of vet knowledge and the good fortune not to get murdered or eaten. With a decent hide skill, the stealthy can protect themselves better than any tier-1 spell in the game can and less cost, and they can get to that level faster than most mages can get a comparably useful spell castable, without even mana as a bottleneck.  For a skilled player (the same kind that can skill up a mage), crim code is basically a complete non-threat.  I should also point out again that progression takes mana, mana that you may like to have handy in order to not die.


I'm not saying there's nothing wrong with magick progression.  It could definitely be improved.  The reason I belabor this point is that the perception that the problem is that magick is too "easy," will lead to the wrong solutions that will just make the problem worse, like slowing the rate of progress, which would just further favor effective metagamers.

Advancing magick is not "easy."  Something "easy" is painless.  "Easy" is when progression happens by going about the normal course of satisfying your character's needs.  This is how it works for mundanes.  Most of their starting skills have functional, practical, socially acceptable applications, and raise quite nicely over the course of roleplay and adventure.  That is why mundanes are generally so much more enjoyable to play.

Despite GDB posturing to the contrary, mages can rarely develop just by using magick realistically as they need to.  For many elements, the spells they do need are hidden behind spells they don't need.  'Nil' exists precisely because advancing a mage would be far too difficult to do realistically without it.  Even as is, branching a single spell can take hundreds of casts.  Full progression takes thousands, and if you don't have knowledge of the spell trees, you have no idea where best to spend them, and you can waste many hours and thousands of mana in vain, all while potentially having to deal with NPC or PC threats.  

The problem is not that training mages is insufficiently time-consuming or risky.  In my experience, the total development time is similar to stealthy development (by which I mean all the utility skills, not combat skills for assassins).  Stealthy development also requires a lot less specialized knowledge of skill trees.  It is also plenty risky, as evidenced by the legions of dead newbie mages.  In the case of non-wilderness-bound mages, that risk mostly comes from PCs, but wouldn't you prefer it that way?

The problem is that advancing magick is tedious.  It's not especially "easy" (ultimately all classes on Arm are easy to advance), it's boring.  The minigame is not particularly interesting compared to mundane skills, so to compensate the system requires you to cast a lot to make any progress.  That is what needs to be addressed.

musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2015, 12:40:42 PM »
Sounds like you had some vets nudging you in the right direction.

I didn't. I've played my share of mages who died early due to newbie mistakes. Not every mage I've played has been long lived. I have never been stuck in my progression as a mage though. I just kept casting spells at nil until they maxed out. I didn't know the skill trees, but that didn't mattter. I just maxed everything.

You also presume some things that are not correct.  Not all elements can hole up in an apartment and hope to advance at a remotely reasonable pace.

I um ... didn't say that. I said they can hole up in whatever safe space they decide upon. Sometimes it's an apartment yes, sometimes it's somewhere else.

Successfully training a mage in the wild requires enormous amounts of vet knowledge and the good fortune not to get murdered or eaten.

True, vet knowledge will make it a lot easier. But this applies equally to mundane guilds as well.

I'm not saying there's nothing wrong with magick progression.  It could definitely be improved.  The reason I belabor this point is that the perception that the problem is that magick is too "easy," will lead to the wrong solutions that will just make the problem worse, like slowing the rate of progress, which would just further favor effective metagamers.

If by slowing the rate of progress you mean slowing the rate the skills improve per failure ... then I am also not advocating for that.

Advancing magick is not "easy."  Something "easy" is painless.  "Easy" is when progression happens by going about the normal course of satisfying your character's needs.  This is how it works for mundanes.

I don't think easy has to mean painless, I disagree with your definition there. It's easy to shoot yourself in the foot. Or write "I will be good in class." 500 hundred times on the teacher's black board. Easy just means it's not difficult to do. And training magick with nil reach ... while possibly time consuming ... is not difficult.

Despite GDB posturing to the contrary, mages can rarely develop just by using magick realistically as they need to.

I'm not familiar with people positing this but I've never thought magick was there to be realistically used just when needed. I've never thought that about mundane skills either.

If I am playing an assassin, I will put effort into training backstab so that when I need to realistically use it, it works.
Same if I am playing a mage.

The problem is not that training mages is insufficiently time-consuming or risky.  In my experience, the total development time is similar to stealthy development (by which I mean all the utility skills, not combat skills for assassins).  Stealthy development also requires a lot less specialized knowledge of skill trees.  It is also plenty risky, as evidenced by the legions of dead newbie mages.  In the case of non-wilderness-bound mages, that risk mostly comes from PCs, but wouldn't you prefer it that way?

I'm fine with the rate of skill progression per fail on mage spells. That is, as you point out, about parity with other mundane skills sans the weapon categories.

My point is that they require no risk or effort. Only time, which as you point out again, can be tedious ... and I agree.

I think it would be less tedious if they had to use their magick out in the world though.
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bardlyone

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2015, 01:01:42 PM »
Nil is a way players can try to cast certain spells that, when cast upon themselves, will show visible results that might last a good long while - without making that happen. Imagine having to wait outside the city for over a RL hour, just waiting for the spell to drop, all because they took the nil reach away.

I put this one first because I thought it was the most compelling. That does suck. I've always wished there was an option for mages to cancel their own spells at will instead of having to wait out the timer.

100/100ma> cast 'sul un vivadu psiak fred'
Shazam!
You become wet and glowing.
50/75ma> affects
 <-- max mana reduced by 1/2 the casting cost
You are affected by:
  glowing wetness
52/75ma> cease glowing wetness
You release the spell.
The glowing wetness around you dissipates.
54/100ma>


Huge impractical change, obvsly, with the coding and the rebalancing.

I've probably played about 150 magickers, including about 4 sorcerers in the years I've played, and I think this is probably my favorite suggestion as to how to change magick guilds. Un is usually preferable to nil for training anyhow, and not only allowing that more with something like this instead of a normal duration spell, it would not only encourage use of un over nil with some skills you can't currently practice that way for playability and practicality both. Not to mention being easier on casual players who might have RL weeks of playtime taken up by waiting on a mon level spell to wear off.
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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2015, 01:04:35 PM »
Desert elves and <redacted> everywhere are snickering at the idea that practicing magick over and over again in the same little hidey hole is "safe".
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musashi

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Re: Some Recent Thoughts Of Mine About Mages
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2015, 01:23:18 PM »
Nil is a way players can try to cast certain spells that, when cast upon themselves, will show visible results that might last a good long while - without making that happen. Imagine having to wait outside the city for over a RL hour, just waiting for the spell to drop, all because they took the nil reach away.

I put this one first because I thought it was the most compelling. That does suck. I've always wished there was an option for mages to cancel their own spells at will instead of having to wait out the timer.

100/100ma> cast 'sul un vivadu psiak fred'
Shazam!
You become wet and glowing.
50/75ma> affects
 <-- max mana reduced by 1/2 the casting cost
You are affected by:
  glowing wetness
52/75ma> cease glowing wetness
You release the spell.
The glowing wetness around you dissipates.
54/100ma>


Huge impractical change, obvsly, with the coding and the rebalancing.

I've probably played about 150 magickers, including about 4 sorcerers in the years I've played, and I think this is probably my favorite suggestion as to how to change magick guilds. Un is usually preferable to nil for training anyhow, and not only allowing that more with something like this instead of a normal duration spell, it would not only encourage use of un over nil with some skills you can't currently practice that way for playability and practicality both. Not to mention being easier on casual players who might have RL weeks of playtime taken up by waiting on a mon level spell to wear off.

Word. This made my brain dump worth while.
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