Jump to content
Double Fine Action Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Silly Wizard

The Case for Another Class

Recommended Posts

On completing the game as it exists for the first time, the other day -- I'll be posting my endgame thoughts elsewhere -- several things occurred to me. These are they:

The game requires players to manage two resources: People, and Time. Each resource is equally important, as without either, the other loses all meaning and purpose. Careful management of the latter -- ever-dwindling Time -- allows for the production of excessive quantities of the former by mid/late game.

No amount of Time management allows for the research of most of the available items and upgrades. Once the player has built a minimum of 6 Keeps -- 2 each for every currently available class -- a Crucible, and a Sagewrights' Guild ... even assuming the most efficient build possible, there is time for only a small handful of upgrades to be made. The fact that some of these upgrades are absolutely vital compounds the issue -- the importance of the Vitaliband and Steady-Hander cannot be overstated; the Cadence-based armors are effective to the point where I can't be bothered to waste time on the standard armor upgrades; etc. The weapon upgrades seem superfluous, as by the time I get to a point where I can start researching them, I've already produced enough relics to render any standard weapons unnecessary.

I've completed the game once, and have made it just about to the final battle in a second game, and have researched none of these items like Health Vials, Magic Underwear, Swift Socks, whatever they're called. They're clearly not necessary for victory. There are well over a dozen various items and technologies which can be researched and employed -- by replacing a Vitaliband or Steady-Hander, which is a serious opportunity cost -- most of which appear to be designed to render People more survivable in battle.

The thing is, I can't wrap my head around why I would want my heroes to be that much more survivable. I produce so many new heroes -- frequently with Trait/Personality improvements over the current crop, and with higher EXP at a younger age than their predecessors. And knowing what happens in the final battle -- of which I am a huge fan -- there's really no reason to go out of my way and waste time on some items which might (undeservedly) extend the short lifespan of a hero, when instead I could be equipping him or her with something designed to improve his or her combat effectiveness for the brief, glorious moment when he or she is alive.

Which isn't to say I wouldn't like to play around with some of the abilities that these items offer. Fortunately, I have a solution. And really, this solution basically writes itself:

(And, caveat, I understand this is pretty late in development and I expect the resources to produce this may no longer be available, so I don't have any expectation to see it any time soon, though a DLC add-on would be welcome.)

Assuming one concedes the validity of the above argument: that researching any or all of these various items/techs would be a self-defeating endeavor -- I propose an elegant solution to replacing these items with an alternative, while keeping the abilities they provide in the game, hence rendering the work put into their creation still worthwhile:

The game would benefit from the inclusion of a Wizard class.

I've seen it posted elsewhere that there was some sort of arbitrary decision to remove the planned Time Mage from the human side, as they either couldn't figure out how to make it work, or, for "thematic" reasons, they wanted humanity not to be magic-users. Thematically, that doesn't make any sense to me: there's a giant magic goblet giving orders throughout the game, made by a mad wizard. So clearly, some people in this world are magic-adept, and it makes just as much sense for the Chalice to enhance these people's abilities as it does for the thing to increase their strength and endurance.

Furthermore, such a class's details pretty much write themselves, once you get going. For argument's sake, let's call the class the Mage.

Mage + Mage = Mage -- a glass cannon class with spells that damage/inconvenience Cadence in various ways. Chain-lightning, maybe some damage-over-time stuff. Different ways to deliver damage than we currently have. You get the idea.

Mage + Caberjack = BattleMage -- a heartier version of the class with self-targeting offensive/defensive buffs, designed to fight on the front-lines.

Mage + Hunter = Sorcerer -- a class that buffs the abilities of other heroes, granting invisibility, teleporting, basically providing options to totally re-arrange the battlefield when things start getting out of control.

Mage + Alchemist = Cleric -- a healing class that basically provides the effects of the Health Potion and Sponge Stone etc, through spells. Provide protection against Wrinkler-aging, perhaps perform the occasional resurrection mid-battle. That kind of thing.

Caberjack + Mage = Paladin -- super-high DEF caberjack who offers some basic healing.

Hunter + Mage = Ranger(?) -- perhaps a self-teleporting hunter, maybe with either some basic healing ability and/or a skill to Mark Target and give him/herself increased damage/evasion bonuses vs that target?

Alchemist + Mage = Philosopher -- I don't even know what this class should be, but it should definitely be the most OP thing in the game. An alchemist who can equip 4 items and unlocks Mad Bomber at level 6 or something. And has extra wide blast radii and inflicts burning damage-over-time with each flask. Something along those lines. Maybe with a lightning-bolt tossed in. Or resurrection.

I don't envision them having any kind of effective direct-combat weapon (which would be problematic both in terms of relic-generation and for how BattleMages would function). I guess some sort of naturally low-damage wizard-staff would be in order.

Anyway, these are all off the top of my head. I'm sure professionals could come up with something better. The upshot is that a new, Magic-focused class would allow for the inclusion of most/all of the stuff players currently need items to access, while streamlining the research aspect of the game, which is frankly crowded enough as it is without offering all the items as distractions.

Thanks for reading!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh you Silly, silly Wizard. Well, at least you're honest about where your preferences lie.

As a guy who's also done a bunch of write-ups about expansion/DLC material, I don't exactly want to discourage anyone from throwing their ideas on the forum wall. That said, I do think that you've correctly indentified a problem with the game's item system, but your solution goes more torwards the things that you'd like to see than what actually fits the game's theme.

First of all, yeah. The current item system's proggression isn't exactly smooth. The devs have gone for a sort democratic system, with most of the items and gear being around the same powerlevel, and only a few strict upgrades. On one hand, this leads to freedom of choice in setting up your squad, but on the other the item's effects are so minor and the inventory space so limited, that most items don't get to impact the player's playstyle, and it's perfectly viable for the player to use the same item setup from the early game all the way to the end. Add to that that many items are "boring" single stat buffs, and that some don't have an actual gameplay need at all (Perilous core, Age n' Rage) and the items and gear seem like an afterthough, at least compared to the importance of levels. the devs know this though, and it'll be interesting to see whether they ar going to make changes to the item system before the game launches.

...But enough about dissing the game, and on to dissing your suggestion: magic users are not thematically appropriate for the game!

Sure, I can see why they were considered, and I can see that a "Time Wizard" would open up some interesting mechanical possibilities, but fireballs, lightning bolts or healing spells this game does not need. We're talking about subjective opinions here, but that's how it feels to me.

What it comes down to, for me, is that in games magic is almost always a power fantasy, especially when it's the player character who uses magic. Now, although I wouldn't say that the game succeedes in it 100%, I would argue that the "story" of Massive Chalice is about powerlessness. The cadence surrounds you on all sides, each decade they enroach a little further, in the endgame their advance is already impossible to stop. Your heroes keep dying, over and over, and you're never in a position to attack, only to fight back. Even your heroes's weapons and armor have a makeshift feel to them: They aren't a bunch of knights in shining armor with gleaming magical swords, they're a ragtag bunch of folks with leather and iron armor, wielding weapons that are simple enough for a community to produce: small throwers, mechanical crossbows and big sticks. You're supposed to be facing an enemy more powerful than you, scarier than you and endless in numbers. Now, granted the enemies are both surprisingly manageable and kinda dumb, but I can still remember going "Ooooh, sh*t" every time I turn around a corner in a keep defence to reveal a horde of Ruptures saying hello. The chalice isn't something the people built, it's something they cobbled together from ancient pieces and are using as their last ditch hope to save themselves, and by the opening cinematic, they seem to regard it with a certain ammount of... awe.

If that still feels kinda flimsy, ask yourself this: if you had a guy next to you flinging lightning and fire on the minions of evil, would you honestly be there, throwing jars of bees at the enemies with a straight face? I don't think so. The only time you bring bees to battle is when you've worked with bees your whole life, and have this fantastic idea to do something you couldn't accomplish any other way. Because there is no magic in the game, the current skills focus on the heroes using their training, ingenuity and strength to find ways to fight back. (Flarrow, Bees, Knockback, the throwers...) Magic is about posessing power.

+ If they had a bunch of people with flames coming out of their fingers, couldn't the kingdom just line all of them up in front of the corruption and burninate it until it goes away? Magic has a way of solving unsolvable problems very quickly.

Now, the only way I can see magic working, is with a class similar to the scrapped Archeologist which I don't know much about. You would be using magical artifacts and spells from long ago, but the hero him/herself wouldn't have the ability to create magic. Magic should be so dangerous that it carries a huge risk to it's wielder as well, and carry the same "cobbled together" feel as the weaponry of other classes. If magic was in this game, it should not feel empowering, and that is a contradiction worthy of making another kind of class althogether instead.

Fourth class in an expansion though? It's possible, but I'm actually content with the current number of classes in the game. The game could be expanded in enemies, campaign types, maps, story and mechanics, but Classes, at the moment, are not the part where the game feels in any way lacking. Unfinished, yes, but not lacking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Apex; the Alchemist is our Wizard, feature is working as intended. (Though I'd be totally okay with their skills being refocused on more weird throwables like the bees or fertilizer.) Would I like another base class? Yeah, absolutely. But then, I'm also in favor of abandoning hybrid classes entirely to make room for them. Even if the team did go that route though, a generic Wizard doesn't really fit the game world or the game system, and it would need a tremendous amount of iteration on art & design to close that gap. I'd be shocked if anything besides the Vanguard is on the table, whether for last-minute inclusion or first-pass DLC. (And that's cool, because whooooo Vanguard!)

Honestly, I'm more interested in some of your dismissive asides about research and the game's difficulty. You mention "a minimum of 6 Keeps," which as far as I can tell is WAAAAY on the high end of what people have been using since building times got extended. I myself like 5, though even that yields a lot of surplus heroes. I'm right with you on the Steady Hander, to the point that I would consider researching no accessories besides it, but the Vitaliband? I don't think I've bothered with it since the initial release, where research was trivial anyway. Likewise, I don't think that I've seen the Alchemist's or Caberjack's cadence armor be cited as a strength before. Veil Armor is shnazzy and saves you 30-odd years of Hunter Armor research, but the others' utility seems suspect unless your guys are getting wailed on. I've never regretted using the standard armor for them.

This is getting way off topic, so in short, my own two cents are: boooooo Wizards, and you should participate in the other threads involving the Strategy layer because your plan of attack seems markedly different in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 thoughts:

I'm entirely uninterested in the idea of a wizard as an extra class...

...though I'm not opposed to the idea of an extra class in general...

...still, I really don't think it's necessary, especially with the hybrid classes which while they have their problems right now, should be refined in the coming months...

...and besides, I think it's an impractical amount of work to focus on in comparison with the value it would add. I'd rather see it in an expansion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...and besides, I think it's an impractical amount of work to focus on in comparison with the value it would add. I'd rather see it in an expansion.

Agreed. This is a cool idea for an expansion. It's impossible for the Spring release, however. I think only suggestions about balance and maybe minor feature adds/tweaks (especially UI stuff) are likely to be taken too seriously at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't mind a 4th class -- the Battlesmith -- but I think the amount of work involved with this sort of post release dlc -- I would rather see diverted to focuses like:

* Relics imbuing traits onto owners

* Hall of fallen heroes and limited family tree

* A few additional enemies

* A few additional scenarios to balance search and destroy

I think the game would probably be better served with those than with another class. But I still like another class idea.

Smiles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If they had a bunch of people with flames coming out of their fingers, couldn't the kingdom just line all of them up in front of the corruption and burninate it until it goes away?

Presumably they couldn't do the above with wizards for the same reason they can't do the above with the existing classes -- the chalice only feeds its power to a select few people who can benefit from its influence. The exact same rules apply.

There are plenty of ways to hamstring a magic class, e.g. making them very fragile, limiting the frequency with which casting can occur, limiting the context in which certain spells are effective, etc. I'm not suggesting the introduction of a more powerful class than currently exists: I'm literally suggesting that they take the items, turn them into spell-skills, and spread them out among several new Mage classes/hybrids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are plenty of ways to hamstring a magic class, e.g. making them very fragile, limiting the frequency with which casting can occur, limiting the context in which certain spells are effective, etc. I'm not suggesting the introduction of a more powerful class than currently exists: I'm literally suggesting that they take the items, turn them into spell-skills, and spread them out among several new Mage classes/hybrids.

The answer isn't magic, it's Battlesmithing! That would be a sweet sort of magic. ;-)

Smiles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You mention "a minimum of 6 Keeps," which as far as I can tell is WAAAAY on the high end of what people have been using since building times got extended.

I may adjust this for future plays-through. I wanted to build a lot of keeps in my 2nd game due to losing at least two in the previous game, and things being pretty tight by the end game. The issue was compounded by my starting group of heroes, and my first two or three recruitments, all yielding just terrible heroes. I mean, simply awful. I still haven't managed to breed out the asthma, dimwittedness, heart disease, slowness, and sundry other poor traits. So I kept building keeps in order to start new breeding lines with hopefully better stock.

... but the Vitaliband? I don't think I've bothered with it since the initial release, where research was trivial anyway.

For Brewtalists (my favorite class so far) equipping two Vitalibands, at a certain point you can slightly more than double their starting HP. You're probably right, though -- I've learned a lot about the combat in the game this time around, and am not taking nearly as many hits as I did in my first playthrough. I'll likely forego the Vitaliband for something else next time around. Maybe I'll finally check out the Refined armors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I've built five in my last play through. It's a mite frustrating because I think I'd have been better off researching items / armors, alternating with recruitment. I'm sure I'd least have a more interesting game. But I had a relic bow for the first time and I was doing my best not to have it or the bloodline disappear.

Alas. The Bloodline is gone now. *sigh*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alchemist + Mage = Philosopher -- I don't even know what this class should be, but it should definitely be the most OP thing in the game.

Make it so.

But seriously. How about we just move past the Mage Idea and go with Philosopher. The abilities should have the best names EVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But seriously. How about we just move past the Mage Idea and go with Philosopher. The abilities should have the best names EVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR.

I would be okay with this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But seriously. How about we just move past the Mage Idea and go with Philosopher. The abilities should have the best names EVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR.

I would be okay with this.

First pass with ideas taken straight from my... bass.

Philosopher's are the true support class of Massive Chalice.

[A] = Aura, a boost which lasts one (the current player's turn and the next enemy) turn's rotation. The range is that of the perilous core, usually centered on the Philosopher.

[T] = Thesis, an ability that targets one other Hero - the disadvantagse of a Philosophy is being somewhat immune to you're own rhetoric.

C:cooldown

2 -[A]C:3 Kant*: Cadence can only take one move or attack action.

4 - Tao: Movement and Dodge boost from an understanding of the way.

4 - [T]C:3 Stoic: The next attack against a Hero has an increased chance to miss (+25% evade) but does less damage (+ 5 resistance).

6 - Prime Target.

6 - [T]C:3 Occam's Razor: Target's attack will hit the next enemy in a line from the first target.

8 - [A]C:3 Rhetorical Hammer: All Cadance take knockback damage based on intellegence, Heroes can be knocked back by this but only take slam damage.

8 - [A]C:0 Wu Wei: The philosopher may once per battle heal himself and anyone in the [A] to full health.

10 - [A] Ascendant: The philosopher may use [A] abilities at a distance of squares equal to his intuition - 15! In addition the philosopher gains a large resitance bonus.

*alternate title: Existential Mire

Rejected ideas.

6 - [T] Ring of Gyges: Target is Hidden.

6 - [T]C:3 Hobbes: 3 turn tick.

Nasty: Adds acid buff.

Brutish: Adds strength bonus.

Short: Adds movement penalty.

8 - [T]C:3 Jedi Perfection: Target may take an extra action this turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Once the player has built a minimum of 6 Keeps -- 2 each for every currently available class -- a Crucible, and a Sagewrights' Guild[...]

The thing is, I can't wrap my head around why I would want my heroes to be that much more survivable. I produce so many new heroes -- frequently with Trait/Personality improvements over the current crop, and with higher EXP at a younger age than their predecessors.

I think the answer lies in different strategies. I've never gone above 3 keeps, so I have fewer heroes and like the traits Longevity, Spry and Young at Heart :)

Of course, that means I can research more items, get a second crucible, that sort of thing. As you put it well there's a huge element of Time management, and it really comes down to what you decide to spend your scarce resources on. Ain't economics great :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...