CobeSlice

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Hey all!

I'm looking into a non-traditional leveling system. The game premise is basically this: You are one in a group of magicians (wizards/witches/etc) but instead of leveling up normally (EXP to increase from 1 - infinity) you will have a book of spells. In order to unlock the spells, you need to gather components to "cast them." Most of the components would be usual stuff you find while adventuring. Herbs, alchemical stuff, etc, but the big ones you'll have to fight mini (or major) bosses. You'd still be able to find increasingly powerful gear as you progress through the story, but overall this was the idea. The components would be wasted once the spell was unlocked, but the spell would remain forever unlocked at that point. Of course there would still be an MP usage requirement, so there wouldn't be any concern about being over-powered.

Anyway, I was looking for other people's thoughts and opinions to tweak the system and perfect it. Or trash it all together if it's crap! :)
 

Uzuki

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Actually I like it. Although I suggest making the item depletion thing for the spells permanent. Bigger spells will require rarer or hard to get items. This prevents spamming and gives spells a weight to them. And I would suggest Item limits too, so they aren't just laying around and can prevent the player from hoarding. 
 

CobeSlice

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That's the general idea... The bigger spells would require that you defeat rare monsters/mini-bosses to obtain the necessary "ingredient". The items wouldn't be needed to cast the spell every time... that becomes daunting to try and balance. But I would keep the MP gauge so that the player can't just go slinging the hard-hitting spells all the time.

I'm glad to hear that you like! The real trouble is starting to implement something like that and what kinds of ingredients I'll have to create!!
 

Uzuki

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But that's why I suggested the item usage with each use. If the player unlocks the spell after one use then gathering the items becomes pointless after awhile. Plus once it jumps back to the "Don't run out of mana", then it just becomes a chore to play. especially if just a party of mages. If you still want to keep the item idea why not have the items be tied to quests and rare monster drops and instead of just learning the spells the players trades for them. You can have a system where low level spell item are easy enough to get, but some mid-tier and high-tier spells can only be learned once or twice. Maybe have one of the mages has a natural talent for inflicting status ailments or another has an affinity for elemental spells.  
 

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One idea might be to have multiple spells all require the same increasingly hard to get item. Put some pressure on the player to prioritize.

For example: You have three mid-level spells “Fireball”, “Heal All”, and “Paralysis”. All three require a “Cyclops Eye”.

The first “Cyclops Eye” is given out for free as part of the plot to make sure players have at least one good spell by the midpoint of the game.

Then there's a sidequest to hunt down an actual cyclops mini-boss to get a second “Cyclops Eye” so that more ambitious players can unlock a second mid-level spell.

But if they want to get the third spell they have to find and fight a Cyclops King that will require either a very good strategy or returning later on the game after they've leveled up a lot (but at that point an extra mid-level spell might not be so useful...)
 

CobeSlice

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The biggest issue I'm having right now is that I want each "wizard" character to specialize in a "school" of magic. So one character is an elementalist - They're spells specifically deal with the elements. They'll get increasingly more powerful spells like Fire, Ice, Thunder, but also have access to things like Wind and Earth. Possibly even controlling Light/Dark as they level. But those are generic wizard spells, so then their would be a support class wizard with healing magics and buffs. It's really daunting to try and sort it all out, so I dont want too many of the classes competing for the same items. I dont want the Elementalist to need a Cyclops eye to unlock "Nova" while the Healer needs it for "Revive" and the player is going "Which is most important to me?" To me, that kind of sounds ****ty... but I see what you mean about it potentially opening up some great strategy-based combat if you dont have a healer than can dish out it's mid-tier spell.
 

Uzuki

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 It's really daunting to try and sort it all out, so I dont want too many of the classes competing for the same items. I dont want the Elementalist to need a Cyclops eye to unlock "Nova" while the Healer needs it for "Revive" and the player is going "Which is most important to me?" To me, that kind of sounds ****ty... but I see what you mean about it potentially opening up some great strategy-based combat if you dont have a healer than can dish out it's mid-tier spell.
But see that's what you want. You want the player to prioritize what fits their individual play-style. Once the player has the Cyclops Eye it's best if the player has to choose whether if they want to learn Nova or Revive. This gives each item and the learning of a spell weight. This will help keep the player engaged, because every decision has meaning.

As for the classes there are various things you can pull from: Mageknight/Swordmage, Geomancer, Necromancer, Wiccan, Liches, Sorcerer,etc. One example that I'm using is a Lichador, a Lich and Luchador combination that uses devastating magic with wrestling techniques. If it's a character driven narrative, I would look at the character and see what kind of class that fits their personality. There's nothing wrong with sticking to good ol' fire slinging mages. 
 

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If there are certain spells you think are so important that every player needs them you could always give them unique ingredients that aren't used for anything else.

Maybe halfway through the game a mandatory cut scene gives you an "Angel Feather" that's only good for learning "Revive". No need for trade-offs, the player just learns the spell.

You could even give every character three "free" spells that are learned from plot related items unique to them: a starter spell, a useful mid-level spell and a useful end-game spell. That way no character is ever useless and you can design the game around the assumption that certain basic spells will always be available.

But then the rest of the spells use the tradeoff system. "Do I use this Dragon Claw to teach my white mage a better healing spell than the default the plot gave me after the last dungeon, or do I use it to upgrade my blaster so he can hit multiple enemies with "Fire Burst" instead of just the one enemy that his default "Fire Strike" normally targets? Or maybe I should hold off on using it on either of them until I at least figure out where to find the game's second dragon claw..."
 
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captainproton

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Check out Secret of Evermore's alchemy system. All the spells were alchemy formulae and you had to have specific ingredients for each spell. Most were purchaseable in shops throughout the world, many were random spawns your dog could sniff out, others were more event specific.

Yanfly has a skill requirements script which can allow you to spend items instead of just mp.
 

Ramiro

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If you like te idea, you just may prefer the idea of different schools having different requeriments,

Elementalist may need runes to channel their mana

Alchemy uses resources from the place to create one time use spells

Clerics may need to visit shrines to learn holy magic from other priests,

etc
 

Wavelength

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The idea is neat but (especially if each character is going to specialize in one type of magic and especially if characters don't level up in the traditional sense) you need to think about whether it's necessary for the player to unlock more than a couple of spells for each character.  Why will your party need more than, for example, a few bread-and-butter damage spells, a healing spell, a revive spell, and maybe one or two useful status-inflicting spells?  If there's no real gain from growing your characters, it doesn't feel rewarding.

There are lots of good answers to this, usually revolving around very careful skill design or added mechanics (such as skill cooldowns), so let me know what you have to make this system relevant and I can probably give you some more advice starting from there.
 

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