Spells That Pack a Punch
Published on November 17, 2010 By ScottTykoski In Elemental Dev Journals

Since launch, one of the major complaints about Elemental: War of Magic was that the last bit of our title (the "Magic" part) was found to be...lacking (to put it gently). Global mana addresses areas of cheese, but without a significant overhaul to the Spellbooks and Spells you’re casting, that side of the game would still feel weak.  We’ve taken the following steps to rectify this in 1.1....

1. Spellbook Re-evaluation: There were several problems with the way spells have been organized in Elemental thus far, the most damning being the selection of Elemental based spells when designing your Sovereign. We’ve now moved these out of customization and into the tech tree, so you can make the choice to grab those books as shards are discovered. In their place, players can select books specific to a given strategy. The “Mobility” book has movement and teleportation spells, “Enchantment” gives the players city buffs, “Combat” does damage and protects friendly units relative to the caster’s INT, and “Terraforming” gives players the ability to sculpt the landscape in interesting ways.

2. No two spells should feel the same: Spellbooks in v1.0 through v1.09  were filled with tons of spells that all felt the same: Lightning, Fireball, Hurl Boulder, etc.  They were various tweaks on the formula, but the end result was a magic system that lacked interesting (and cool) choices.  Our motto going into 1.1 was that each and every spell (and each spellbook, for that matter) should feel unique and tempting over the use of another.

3. Bigger, badder, more ballsy high level spells: When I get a level 5 spell, it better not be a ‘slightly stronger version’ of a level 1-4 spell, ‘cause that would be lame.  Instead, I demand serious L5 muscle to my magical might - uniquely awesome options as I conquer the world.  For example...

L5 Mobility - Call of the Titans
A unstoppable spell that gathers ALL friendly unstationed troops and lets you target them directly into enemy territory.

L5 Air - Tornado
Cast upon the army of your foe, this spell will scatter all units in the stack, making them easy targets to pick off.

L5 Life - Death Ward
Taking 250 mp and 1mp/turn maint., Death Ward will allow any champion unit to escape death at the end of a losing battle (even if the battle is fought on enemy soil).

At the end of every spellbook the player will be greeted by a spell that was worth the effort to learn it.

Most of the old spells have been stripped out, and the v1.1 beta will have 68 new and improved spells. While the final 1.1 build will have around 75 spells to help your rise to power, we’ll continue taking suggestions on how to best make the ‘Magic’ half of our subtitle really shine!




Comments (Page 8)
on Nov 19, 2010

... From what I have read, there are only 5 spell levels.

But it's a "Magic Overhaul". There is supposed to be improvement.
What if there are only 5 levels because they could only think of "Stab of Ice 1, 2, and 3 are now the first three water spells...with Ultimate Stab of Ice 1 & 2 the last two".
That's a problem we can help with!

Stab of Ice Age
Freezing Stab (this might spawn an entirely new spell line)
Freezyassov (that was the planet where the story of Demoniak took place - a game I never finished)
Stab of Ice in the Sunshine (I'm melting awaaaay)
Ice and Dice (a hailstorm with d20-sized hail can be nasty)

(at around this time - if not sooner - BoogieBac starts regreting that remark =P)

on Nov 21, 2010

Looking through the spell files for 1.09n, hardly anything has been added and a whole lot has been taken away.

on Nov 23, 2010

I disagree with removing the whole 'fireball, lightning bolt, hurl boulder'. They feel the same because they've been to made the feel the same. True they do similar damage ranges, but to me one of the things really lacking in the tactical spell department has been using different areas of effect to make the spells feel different. ex. Fireball effects a 2x2 square, Lightning bolt effects 6x1 square, Hurl Boulder effects 1x1 and knocks target back 1 square, Wall of Fire effects 1x6 squares + % chance to light on fire

All these spells could do the same damage, but how a battle plays out changes their usefulness and that makes them statistically different and adds dimension to the spell book. I always thought having most entry level damage spells always 1x1 with a big jump to AOE 3x3 at level 4 with nothing in between kind of unimaginative and a big miss. You could also implement cone type areas of effects, play more with ranges, and effects like chance to light on fire for residual damage. Its the nice thing about having your tactical battles on a grid. I would use lightning bolt on a flame elemental before I'd use fireball, I thought creature resistances would be a factor.

My point is there's alot you could do to make spells that today feel the same alot different and significant

on Nov 23, 2010

Good point.

Best regards,

on Nov 25, 2010

"Fireball effects a 2x2 square, Lightning bolt effects 6x1 square, Hurl Boulder effects 1x1 and knocks target back 1 square, Wall of Fire effects 1x6 squares + % chance to light on fire"

Have to wonder if the Particle editor + .XML would allow this type of setup.

It would quite be neat to watch a Lighting Bolt, cast into a 3x3 grid full of enemies, randomly zigzag through that 3x3 grid, hitting it allowed max enemy units before dissipating.

P.S. I would guess the Particle Editor could do it graphically, from what little I have seen done with it to this point.

The related .XML may be another thing though...