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View Full Version : Archmages need more SLA choices



Mr.Delightful
07-02-2011, 12:06 AM
Because some of them just are not very good :(

For example, a necro speced archmage (AM) can select: lvl 6: Chill Touch, lvl 9: Command Undead,lvl 12: Halt Undead, lvl 15 Enervation, lvl 18 Waves of Fatigue.

As you can see, they are not very tempting. Chill Touch is good, and a cheaper Enervation isn't bad, but both the lvl 9 and lvl 12 SLAs are of such limited usefulness in most content that they function as a sp dump. The worse offender is the "should be awesome but isn't" lvl 18 ability. Getting Waves of Fatigue for 15 sp instead of 30sp, after spending 375sp to get there, is a huge letdown.


Compare the above to transmutation AM options: lvl 6: Jump, lvl 9: Knock, lvl 12: Haste, lvl 15: Stone to Flesh, lvl 18: Flesh to Stone.

Notice how there are 2 actually good SLAs there; Haste and Flesh to Stone. Of course, there's a turd in the mix as well, (looking at you Stone to Flesh) but the rest of the abilities are useful spells that would otherwise be carried anyway.

Contrast those SLAs with Command Undead (useless outside of Undead content) Halt Undead, (Web is a better spell for dealing with Undead; will is their strong save) or Waves of Fatigue (Waves of Exhaustion blows it out of the water) and it becomes clear that Necromancers are getting the very short end of the stick :(

I would like to see a choice between 2 spells for many of the AM tiers; especially in cases where the spells are of severely limited application.

Here is what I would suggest:

A Delightful speced AM Necro can select either: lvl 6: Chill Touch,lvl 9: Command Undead / False Life , lvl 12: Halt Undead / Ray of Exhaustion, lvl 15: Enervation / Fear, lvl 18: Waves of Exhaustion / Undead to Death .

What do people think? Would this improve AMs? Would a change like this make you take a second look at underpowered SLAs, and maybe even consider taking them?

DragonTroy
07-02-2011, 12:10 AM
admittedly, you have a valid arguments. some of those sla's stink, quite badly. but,theres something im not understanding....









why cant you just be a pale master?

shortdevils
07-02-2011, 12:21 AM
admittedly, you have a valid arguments. some of those sla's stink, quite badly. but,theres something im not understanding....









why cant you just be a pale master?

because archmages and pale masters are two completely different game play styles?

Mr.Delightful
07-02-2011, 12:22 AM
I could, but some people might not want to. The AM offers greater control and versility, while the PM offers self-healing and immunites.

To me, PMs always come across as soloers, possible zergers, who with their solid self-healing, develop the impression that they don't need the rest of the group. Besides, the idea of having burn sp to drop/enter form when encountering serious aggro (Wails, bursts)
to get the heal just doesn't appeal to me. Besides, I want to be Gandolf :)

Xenostrata
07-02-2011, 12:24 AM
The reason this is an issue is because the DDO spell book is not yet complete. I hope that when newer spells are added, Turbine will realize which ones suck and should not be included as "benefits" to an arguably underpowered PrE (when compared to PMs)

Jaid314
07-02-2011, 12:30 AM
i would agree on a case-by-case basis. some of the schools are great in parts, and those parts don't need improving.

so, for example, i don't think enchanters need an alternate choice to hypnotism or resistible dance. i do think hold person could be better used for, say, deep slumber, charm could be better off as crushing despair, and hold monster could be replaced with mind fog... *but* in order for anything even remotely like that to happen, every other school of archmage would have to be made significantly better. honestly, even what i've suggested is probably too much.

the first step, in any case, is to add new spells in general. the second thing is to re-examine what would make a good SLA... a good SLA should be something that you're going to want to cast over and over and over as you quest (not all at once at the beginning of a quest; nobody wants to wait 3 minutes while you pass around resist energy to everyone in the raid)

the second step is to add in regular spells for each school that make the school desirable to begin with; illusion isn't a bad school to be an archmage because of the SLAs (at least not only), it's a bad school in general because you're never casting illusion spells (that have a DC) to begin with. add in color spray, the shadow conjuration/evocation spells (just have it deal lesser amounts of untyped damage with a reflex save allowed for half and it's a halfway-decent kludge for evocation, for example), and so forth, you'd have a much more appealing school.

in short, the schools of archmage you're seeing people take are in general the same as the schools people specialised in before there was such a thing as an archmage... because those are the schools with useful spells in them.

Mr.Delightful
07-02-2011, 12:33 AM
The reason this is an issue is because the DDO spell book is not yet complete. I hope that when newer spells are added, Turbine will realize which ones suck and should not be included as "benefits" to an arguably underpowered PrE (when compared to PMs)

I certainly hope so! :)

But in the meantime, why not offer less crappy spells options for the SLAs that are of severely limited application, like choosing between Command Undead or False Life for 3 sp?

Definitely seems like a quick and easy option to implement while Turbine fluffs our books :)

Bodic
07-02-2011, 12:41 AM
The Spell book is Incomplete sure I will agree with that neglecting the game breaking spells and the one that have no purpose in the MMO version of this list (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spellLists/sorcererWizardSpells.htm)what is so desperatly needed to fix the Archmage which was boned due to the Echo's of Power among other things.

Musouka
07-02-2011, 12:41 AM
Bring in the Divination Archmages... and give them all the Divination spells to them as SLAs... I don't even think there's 5.

Mr.Delightful
07-02-2011, 12:49 AM
the first step, in any case, is to add new spells in general. the second thing is to re-examine what would make a good SLA... a good SLA should be something that you're going to want to cast over and over and over as you quest (not all at once at the beginning of a quest; nobody wants to wait 3 minutes while you pass around resist energy to everyone in the raid)

I made a sugestion a while ago that could make the "buff specs" like Abjuration and Illusion less painful to utilize. http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=313141 (ideas was for an additional cost you could cast a "Mass" version of the buffs as a bonus of the spec.)


the second step is to add in regular spells for each school that make the school desirable to begin with; illusion isn't a bad school to be an archmage because of the SLAs (at least not only), it's a bad school in general because you're never casting illusion spells (that have a DC) to begin with. add in color spray, the shadow conjuration/evocation spells (just have it deal lesser amounts of untyped damage with a reflex save allowed for half and it's a halfway-decent kludge for evocation, for example), and so forth, you'd have a much more appealing school.

Well, Hyponotic Pattern is ok for CC; no additional saves like web/disco ball, but need people to NOT hit em :) But ya, illusion could be so much more.


in short, the schools of archmage you're seeing people take are in general the same as the schools people specialised in before there was such a thing as an archmage... because those are the schools with useful spells in them.

Too true Jaid :( Most Ams are Enchanters with either Conjuration (Web) for additional control, or Evocation for the pew-pew. Not that either are bad, but would like to see Abjuration in general , and Necromancy SLAs to not suck so bad :(

sirgog
07-02-2011, 01:41 AM
Enervation SLA is so good that deep necro is quite viable. Not everyone's cup of tea, but it does work.

Enervation SLA, Enervation spell and Energy Drain spells are all on separate cooldowns, so you can really rip apart a lot of mobs with them.


I still think that when we get Vampiric Touch, it should be an SLA, however.

varusso
07-02-2011, 02:29 AM
Take it one step further. Put ALL of the spells of each school into the pool and let the AM choose which ones they want as SLAs from that pool (for the school(s) they spec into). Obviously it would require some thought as to which ones would go into each tier, and how much each one would cost AS an SLA. But that would eliminate the current problem of having craptastic choices in several tiers of several schools. It would also head off the debate as to which spells SHOULD have been chosen as the SLAs. Let the player pick from the full list for their school(s), grouped into tiers.

And before anyone starts griping about cheap firewalls, etc. in Evo -- so what. Its an archmage. Its SUPPOSED to be the ultimate mage. Let it have some teeth if the player wants to be mr. nuker in an Evo spec.

I specced out of archmage and into PM cos it was better in just about every way. The idea behind the archmage was good; the implementation was...meh.

And for the love of GOD drop the cooldown on the buffs. 6 seconds cooldown on resist energy SLAs? REALLY??? Its just a buff. Lose the ridiculous cooldown and give players a reason to actually want it. The cooldowns should be LESS than the standard spell cooldown on these (think sorc speed). If a mage can cast something as an "innate ability', then they should certainly be able to do it faster than a normal mage bumbling through his spellbook.

Think of it as the difference between the students and the adults in Harry Potter. The kids have to use verbal and articulate somatic components to cast their spells, whereas the adults typically just flick their wands and stuff happens. Or Elminster/Gandolf, etc. vs. joe-the-mage. The powerhouse mages just DO something, while everyone else is still waving their hands in the air.

Jaid314
07-02-2011, 01:08 PM
as i said, the first step to fixing the crappy AM specialties is to figure out what makes something a worthwhile SLA to begin with.

the second step is adding enough spells that would be worthwhile SLAs.

once you've got those figured out, *then* you can actually fix the problem with archmage quite easily.

Aashrym
07-02-2011, 01:45 PM
as i said, the first step to fixing the crappy AM specialties is to figure out what makes something a worthwhile SLA to begin with.

the second step is adding enough spells that would be worthwhile SLAs.

once you've got those figured out, *then* you can actually fix the problem with archmage quite easily.

This right here.

The issue is the lack of spells in some schools worth taking. The solution is to add more spells in those schools worth taking. Then looking at 2 or 3 spells that could be taken per tier which exclude the other spells in that tier.

I'd rather see ray of enfeeblement as a first tier necromancer regardless. That would be a better 1 SP ability.

Mr.Delightful
07-02-2011, 02:22 PM
Take it one step further. Put ALL of the spells of each school into the pool and let the AM choose which ones they want as SLAs from that pool (for the school(s) they spec into). Obviously it would require some thought as to which ones would go into each tier, and how much each one would cost AS an SLA. But that would eliminate the current problem of having craptastic choices in several tiers of several schools. It would also head off the debate as to which spells SHOULD have been chosen as the SLAs. Let the player pick from the full list for their school(s), grouped into tiers.

And before anyone starts griping about cheap firewalls, etc. in Evo -- so what. Its an archmage. Its SUPPOSED to be the ultimate mage. Let it have some teeth if the player wants to be mr. nuker in an Evo spec..

This could be a nightmare to balance, and in the end would just result in groups expecting all wizards to be firewall spamming bots. Update 9 helped end that; I really don't want to go back there :(


And for the love of GOD drop the cooldown on the buffs. 6 seconds cooldown on resist energy SLAs? REALLY??? Its just a buff. Lose the ridiculous cooldown and give players a reason to actually want it. The cooldowns should be LESS than the standard spell cooldown on these (think sorc speed). If a mage can cast something as an "innate ability', then they should certainly be able to do it faster than a normal mage bumbling through his spellbook.

Think of it as the difference between the students and the adults in Harry Potter. The kids have to use verbal and articulate somatic components to cast their spells, whereas the adults typically just flick their wands and stuff happens. Or Elminster/Gandolf, etc. vs. joe-the-mage. The powerhouse mages just DO something, while everyone else is still waving their hands in the air..

I like your second suggestion though; buffing SLAs take forever to use. Buff specs should at least be faster buffers :)

Mr.Delightful
07-02-2011, 02:26 PM
Enervation SLA is so good that deep necro is quite viable. Not everyone's cup of tea, but it does work.

Enervation SLA, Enervation spell and Energy Drain spells are all on separate cooldowns, so you can really rip apart a lot of mobs with them.


I still think that when we get Vampiric Touch, it should be an SLA, however.

I suppose Enervation is good vs targets with SR, but vs everything else, scroll casting it is the way to go :)

Rakian_Knight
07-02-2011, 03:00 PM
You say necromancy and transmutation are hurting because of the unfinished spellbook but look at illusion. There really isn't anything in it but they have a PrE based on it (Archmage) and named items that boost illusion spells. I had a post a while ago about the lack of illusion spells and how I think some of them should be implemented (link in my signature if you are interested.) Illusion isn't really an option for archmage even thought they have epic illusion items that work with a single spell that requires a DC (Phantasmal Killer.) This is a spell from Player's Handbook called Shadow Evocation that really don't require too much coding other then copy and paste a couple other spells and maybe even editing the graphics by increasing the transparency.



Shadow Evocation
List: Shadow Force Missile, Shadow Fireball, Shadow Lightning Bolt, Shadow Frost Lance
You replicate the effects of the spell by the same name however the target is allowed a will save to disbelieve before the effect takes place. If they make their will save, they only suffer 20% of the damage that the spell would of normally dealt. Stuff like spell resistance and additional saves like reflex saves are allowed to the target of the spell whether they make the will save or not using any bonuses you have to illusion spells.

Aashrym
07-02-2011, 03:10 PM
You say necromancy and transmutation are hurting because of the unfinished spellbook but look at illusion. There really isn't anything in it but they have a PrE based on it (Archmage) and named items that boost illusion spells. I had a post a while ago about the lack of illusion spells and how I think some of them should be implemented (link in my signature if you are interested.) Illusion isn't really an option for archmage even thought they have epic illusion items that work with a single spell that requires a DC (Phantasmal Killer.) This is a spell from Player's Handbook called Shadow Evocation that really don't require too much coding other then copy and paste a couple other spells and maybe even editing the graphics by increasing the transparency.

It's not a single spell. There's also hypnotic pattern. :D

I'm a fan of more illusions too. I would hope that is the next focus for spell development as an option for AM illusionists and bards.

Futility
07-02-2011, 03:30 PM
Take it one step further. Put ALL of the spells of each school into the pool and let the AM choose which ones they want as SLAs from that pool (for the school(s) they spec into). Obviously it would require some thought as to which ones would go into each tier, and how much each one would cost AS an SLA. But that would eliminate the current problem of having craptastic choices in several tiers of several schools. It would also head off the debate as to which spells SHOULD have been chosen as the SLAs. Let the player pick from the full list for their school(s), grouped into tiers.

I like this idea, and, in turn, I'd take it EVEN further.

How about this: instead of forcing an archmage to specialize in 1-2 schools, let's untie Archmage prestige class from any particular school altogether. What I mean by that is, leave Spell Focus: School requirements for archmage but DO NOT require specialization in anything particular.

This way, an Archmage can pick any SLA from any school he wants, e.g.:
* Archmage I SLA - Invisibility
* Archmage II SLA - Web
* Archmage III SLA - Haste
* Archmage IV SLA - Enervation
* Archmage V SLA - Phantasmal Killer

Before you shout "Foul!" or "Imba", make SLA' s REQUIRE a Spell Focus: School (and Greater Spell Focus: School for higher tiers) in order to be selected as SLA's. So, a player would have to have GSF: Illusion, GSF: Necro, SF:Conjure and SF: Transmute to pick all of the above SLA's.

Now, the trickier part is how to work in Primary and Secondary Spell Masteries into the mix.

One thing that might work is separating Spell Mastery ties to being able to pick a School SLAs and tying them to Tiers of Archmage, i.e.:
* Archmage I allows a player to pick a Primary Spell Mastery I: Any school (without affecting the choice of SLA's)
* Archmage III allows a player to pick a Secondary Spell Mastery I: Any school
* Archmage V allows a player to pick a Primary Spell Mastery II.

Alternatively, if it's not too game-breaking, allow 5 total Spell Masteries, tying them to Archmage tiers and SF/GSF's:
* AMI alows a choice of SMI for one school
* AMII - a choice of another School SMI
* AMIII - a choice of another School SMI
* AMIV - a choice of SMII for a School with SMI and a GSF
* AMV - a choice of SMII for another School with SMI and a GSF

Yes, this will potentially improve Archmage DC's in quite a few schools, but, please, remember, it comes at a cost of a lot of feats and action points.

Feel free to change/improve my idea. It's through community ideas, critique and changes that that best way to make a class more fun develops.

Rakian_Knight
07-02-2011, 03:34 PM
It's not a single spell. There's also hypnotic pattern. :D

I'm a fan of more illusions too. I would hope that is the next focus for spell development as an option for AM illusionists and bards.

Sorry missed that one, +1 for pointing it out.

Aashrym
07-02-2011, 05:04 PM
Sorry missed that one, +1 for pointing it out.

The funny thing is, I'll cast hypnotic pattern for the debuff field sometimes. And when I do people are asking me what that spell is. I wouldn't exactly call it common place use.

varusso
07-03-2011, 11:04 AM
This could be a nightmare to balance...<snip>:)
Its really no different, fundamentally, than "expecting" sorcs to be nuk-masters and nothing else. In reality, though, any players who really understand how the classes each work will still "expect" wizards to be the CC and instant-death masters FIRST and anything else AFTER. They are just better suited to it.

And yes it would definitely need to be balanced -- hence my comment about determining which tier to put each spell in and what they should cost if they became an SLA. There is alot of latitude for adjustments here; they can tweak each one until it feels comfortable. In any case, its only ONE spell per tier, and they are all spells that can be cast anyway. It really only comes down to being a cheaper version of the spell, and essentially becoming an "extra" spell slot at certain levels. For damage spells, they would have to rethink whether or not metas should continue to affect the SLAs for free, or whether it should be at a reduced (or full cost), given that limited selection would not longer be a balancing factor.


I like this idea, and, in turn, I'd take it EVEN further... <snip>

Its not necessarily a bad thing to open it up in this manner, but I believe the intention was to require players to make significant choices and to "specialize" in only one or two schools of magic -- thereby allowing for more variety in what we make/see, rather than the same spec in every AM. Being able to take from every school as you please (even with required feat support) could get problematical, especially with an unlocked spell list. It would of course be limited by not being able to get all the feats to get all the schools, but its something they would have to really play around with and make sure they dont accidentally allow us to make frankenstein's mage, then end up having to nerf it back down again.

Of course, the flip side to the way AMs are CURRENTLY implemented is that we HAVE ended up with only a few choices that are really considered viable in general. The Evoker is a fun toy, but -- its a wannabe sorc. The necro is cool, but we have PMs, which are better in almost every aspect. The Enchanter is a nice one, but again we have PMs, which get similar DCs and alot of other cool toys. The AM necro + Enchanter is really just a poor imitation of a PM. The Abjurerer would be nice if the buffs didnt take forever to cast, such that the party doesnt bother waiting for them (and ship buffs pretty well negate the appeal for the resist line). Conjurer is nice for bonus web DCs, but really -- meh.

I really dont want to get into a scool-by-school breakdown of how each set of choices just sucks or is worth getting. Suffice it to say that there are just way too many duds along the way to get to the useful stuff, with only a few exceptions. Each school should be an attractive choice that brings a real benefit to choosing it.

Honestly, in almost every aspect, the PM is better than any AM spec. At cap, once you get lich form, you have similar DCs to anything you spec into in AM, and you get alot of other benefits with it. In terms of real use, the PM just performs better in nearly every situation, and the AM feels more like a "flavor" alternative. This is not an indication, BTW, that PMs need nerfing. It is an indication that AMs simply do not measure up as well as they COULD.

Aradaine
07-03-2011, 03:21 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with varusso's idea of adjusting Archmages. For the significant sacrifices we make in order to acquire the SLAs (particularly the higher level ones), we see little benefit from most of them. Right now I have only one, and that is Magic Missile (and honestly, I'll probably drop that too as I get rid of my Spell Focus: Evocation for Necromancy).

As an example, Cyclonic Blast is actually a really good spell. I don't see the problem between allowing Evocation Archmages (who, I repeat, have made significant feat and spell point sacrifices in what most consider their primary class purpose to get to this tier of SLA) choose between Cyclonic Blast, Cone of Cold or Ball Lightning. Adding Force Missiles as my tier IV SLA would also be sweet. ;)

Oh and more illusion spells would be great, while we're wishing. I remember my old 1st edition AD&D Illusionist having some really powerful spells like Spectral Force, Phantasmal Force, Improved Phantasmal Force and Shadow Magic (something along those lines). I know DDO isn't AD&D and only loosely based on it, but I think a lot of those spell ideas would fit nicely into the game.

Hobgoblin
07-03-2011, 03:36 PM
not sure if this was posted, but for sla's couldnt we just have the option to pick one spell from that level as the sla?

hob

varusso
07-03-2011, 04:54 PM
not sure if this was posted, but for sla's couldnt we just have the option to pick one spell from that level as the sla?

hob

There are more spell levels (9) than SLA tiers (5). They would have to all be grouped into the current tiers first (or else expand the number of tiers and re-balance the PRE with that in mind -- which actually inst necessarily a bad thing, other than finding useful spells in every school in every spell level to go with those additional tiers). After that, it falls in line with my suggestion to make all of the spells available for each school, with adjusted SP cost as SLAs.

On the bright side, the u9 'spell re-balance' already set a precedence for SP vs usefulness ratio on all spells, so all the devs would have to do for THAT is to decide how they want it to scale for SLAs, then use THAT as the base for the SP cost on an SLA and tweak it a bit from there as needed.