Great Mage Again

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beetlenaut
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Great Mage Again

Post by beetlenaut » November 27th, 2018, 4:34 am

Problem
The Great Mage is arguably the least powerful level-4 unit, and is not usually worth the extra upkeep. I actually want my Arch Mages not to level up. It's a rather boring advancement, too, as it doesn't add any extra abilities or attacks. Not only that, but "Arch-" means something like "the most-extreme member of its class," so putting the Great Mage after the Arch Mage is simply a mistake in English.

Proposal
The flavor text would explain that these mages have enchanted all of their gear.
* Their cloak would be enchanted to give them a resistance to physical damage:
10% resistance to impact, pierce, and blade.
* Their staff would be enchanted so it can drain life force as well as bludgeon, and it usually hits:
9x2 impact, magical and
9x2 arcane, magical
* Their boots would be enchanted to give them better movement on some kinds of rough terrain:
Cave: 2 MP to 1 MP
Forest: 2 to 1
Sand: 2 to 1
Frozen: 3 to 2
Mountains: 3 to 2
* The name would be changed to Legendary Mage or Firestorm Mage.

Feedback
Based on feedback, it's not a workable idea.
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shadowm
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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by shadowm » November 27th, 2018, 5:37 am

This belongs in Ideas instead. Moved.
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The_Gnat
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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by The_Gnat » November 27th, 2018, 5:56 am

I agree with the the premise that the Great Mage is under powered. I also agree that 'great' is a rather uninspired name.

However, I don't know if I can support the proposal entirely.

Firstly, the proposal is thematically interesting but I don't know if it is the best change. The elvish enchantress line has a change in the units movement so there isn't really any precedent against giving the advanced mage better movement. However, arcane seems out of place for a unit which is for 3 lvls a fire mage. Particularly considering the alternate white mage line is clearly arcane focused. Perhaps the fire mage could have a fire staff instead?

Secondly I recognise it is a bit under powered but was surprised that you said you prefer your mages don't level up because the significance of 16-4 magical fire is massive. Sense the unit has magical the additional damage is amplified because it is of a higher likelihood to hit. Furthermore fire is very powerful against undead who you usually fight against the made in many campaigns. That further amplifies the damage such that the unit deals an average of over 50 damage every time it fights. The additional bonus from the lower level is very much worth while IMO (unless you are fighting scorpions ;) ).

Thirdly unless it has been changed since I last looked the Grand Marshal is IMO the worst level 4 unit. Even though leadership is valuable compared to the Elvish Marshal the Grand Marshal is a bit pathetic for level 4.

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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by BTIsaac » November 27th, 2018, 11:12 am

I say leadership on a lvl4 is pretty OP on it's own.

The name "Legendary mage" sounds good. The fire staff sounds pointless, and I'm not a big fan of redundancy. I believe giving their melee attack a bigger damage boost (up to 11 or 12 instead of 9) and adding something like first strike and making it magical could make them better at defending themselves, but drain doesn't seem to fit.

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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by Bitron » November 27th, 2018, 11:33 am

Why not just changing the names of L3 and L4? So: Mage -> Red Mage -> Great Mage -> Arch Mage

As of buffs, I'd definitely have it be something with fire. There would be some auras that come to mind. A fire aura that deals, say, 2 damage everytime the mage gets hit by a melee attack.
Or give him the ability to enflame weapons, wich turns any attacks of adjacent allies into fire damage.
Or some heat aura, then heatens the terrain around him, reducing fire resistance of any unit nearby by 10 or 20%.

I know it's nothing that exists directly in mainline, but hey: It's a freaking L4 Fire Mage. Why not do something special.

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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by Caladbolg » November 27th, 2018, 1:11 pm

I agree the Great Mage is pretty lackluster for a lvl4 unit. While its 16-4 is extremely powerful, by the time you manage to level a Great Mage, you usually already have much more useful units. Basically, the only two roles Great Mage has is killing high hp enemies, and whittling down hp off high lvl units to feed xp to lower lvl units. As it is at max lvl, you usually don't want him to be killing stuff, except if you're really pressed for firepower and you have no leeway to feed xp to someone else. And feeding xp to others is hard due to low movement and a high chance to kill.

I think a case could be made that having an Arch Mage plus a few lvl2 utility units is a better trade than having just a Great Mage for the same xp. Arch Mage fills the same roles as a Great Mage. The lower ctk is a drawback if you want to kill, and an upside if you want to weaken, but keep in mind that the xp is not wasted on the Arch Mage.

So, I'm definitely in favor of giving the Great Mage something a bit special. That said, I don't really like beetlenaut's proposed changes. Arcane attacks and good movement are White and Silver Mages niches respectively. Giving arcane attacks or better movement to a lvl4 whose line until that point has been fire only and normal movement seems a bit of a stretch. I'm not that opposed to increase in physical resistances, but that would also be a bit underwhelming as resistances are a part of the game that is not as flavorful as abilities or weapon specials.

If lvl3 stays Arch Mage, then Legendary Mage is good for lvl4. But I always thought that it would make a lot of sense to just switch the current lvl3 and lvl4 names as Bitron suggested.

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beetlenaut
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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by beetlenaut » November 28th, 2018, 9:14 am

Okay, I guess not. In my defense, I was trying to figure out how a Great Mage was as great as the text says when all he does is throw fireballs. Can he really be better than a mage who teleports, heals, or raises dead and throws fire of some kind? That was where the enchantment idea came from. The arcane staff was to give him better retaliation against trolls, drakes, and ghosts which kill level-3 mages pretty easily. If changing the name of both units is on the table, we should change them both to something totally different that makes you think of fire. Throwing fire is cool and all, but doesn't put them in a better class than other mages. We have things like Mage of Flame, Firestorm Mage, Inferno Mage, Fireball Mage. We still need to do something to make the level-4 mage better. Would being able to summon fire guardians be an option?
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Bitron
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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by Bitron » November 28th, 2018, 9:30 am

Fire guardians? That sounds interesting.
I was thinking how it would be to give the mage a fire melee attack in addition, instead of the proposed arcane.
the fire guardian/s could be melee then.

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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by BTIsaac » November 28th, 2018, 11:49 am

I'd like to point out that something like a summoning abbility is far too format breaking for mainline. Maybe if the attack is given a special like Plague, but instead of zombies, it makes fire guardians, that would work better.

The melee attack should still remain impact, because both attacks being fire based would render the mage useless against enemies with high fire resistance. Making it magical, with a higher damage sounds like a more reasonable option.

I believe there was no argument against the increased physical resistance, so his melee attacks could be used to reduce the health of enemies, and if his fireballs also create fire guardians, then him striking the killing blow means the kill isn't completely wasted.

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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by Whiskeyjack » November 28th, 2018, 11:53 am

I also liked the fire aura idea (like: 2 fire damage to adjacent enemy units at the start of your turn) - seem's fitting to me.

Regarding the name:

I have to say, I really like the name Arch Mage and wouldn't take it away - it fits well for the people described: The leading circle of the academy and other mages of such status, that they become advisors of kings and the like.
The unit description for the Great Mage implies that it is indeed a title bestowed by the leadership of Alduin. This aspect could be built upon so that it becomes more of an honorary title applied to mages that surpass their peers - but in a political sense these special mages could remain what is known as Arch Mages. Because of their special prowess it would still be reasonable for this to be an advancement unit of the Arch Mage. (Seeing as the sprites are obviously related and both units use the same portrait, this would be even more fitting.)
Now, when developing the identity of the unit, one can ask the question: Why would the Arch Mages bestow a title that elevates someone from their ranks? This is probably not only about the persons abilities but also about their deeds. It could, therefore, be applied to people that proved themselves against the darkness, invading forces, evil dictators, or what have you. I think for such a person a title like Watcher, Guardian, Warden would be fitting. The adjective could then either be Flame, as suggested, or something like Crimson to retain the naming scheme going on with the mage units. The only problem I can see here is that the name could become too similar to Fire Guardian.

So Crimson Watcher? Warden of the Flame? I'm not sure about the actual title but I'd like to vote to retain Arch Mage and build upon the new title as an elevation from those ranks that does not take that title away but rather expands it.

Edit: BTIsaac has a point - Fire Guardian plague on the fire balls sounds like a cool theme, however, I think this is too powerful. It basically equals a free 19 gold unit every combat turn. The melee attack wouldn't need to be fire or impact - he could simply have two attacks for one of which he wreathes his staff in magical fire...
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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by BTIsaac » November 28th, 2018, 1:41 pm

Whiskeyjack wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 11:53 am
Edit: BTIsaac has a point - Fire Guardian plague on the fire balls sounds like a cool theme, however, I think this is too powerful. It basically equals a free 19 gold unit every combat turn. The melee attack wouldn't need to be fire or impact - he could simply have two attacks for one of which he wreathes his staff in magical fire...
I don't think that cost means too much.
Fire guardians are pretty weak. They're easy to kill and hardly do any damage, especially late game. They also incur upkeep, which can be taxing.
Also consider that any unit killed that way to make a fire guardian is wasted XP, which could otherwise be used to level up fresh troops.
Imagine a situation where the mage and a low level unit with some XP but little health are standing next to an enemy. The mage could reduce it's health with the improved melee attack, and giving the low level unit the killing blow, which will bring it close to leveling up, but could leave it vulnerable to attacks from other neemy units, OR the mage can kilk the enemy with fireballs the XP is wasted but the other unit has a bettet chance at surviving.

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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by Caladbolg » November 28th, 2018, 4:42 pm

Fire Guardians would still be pretty OP against skellies, no? That kind of ability might be gamebreaking in Northern Rebirth or in Rise of Wesnoth, and more generally in any decently sized campaign where you get access to mages early and have undead as enemies. Once you get a Fire Guardian, I don't think the upkeep is a big issue. You'd probably want to use them for kamikaze attacks to weaken enemies anyways so that upkeep would persist for maybe 2 turns, and you probably won't ever have more than 3 at the time.

If we want lvl4 mage to be purely focused on fire magic, fire aura idea is cool but I'm not sure what damage would be appropriate. 2 seems quite low, but 4 seems quite high considering it would affect several units. In any case, that damage shouldn't kill.

Another idea would be some kind of protective aura, like +10% to all resistances to surrounding allies. That's if we want lvl4 mage to have some knowledge of non-fire magic.

What about beetlenaut's original proposal minus the movement upgrade and arcane attack? I'm thinking at the very least +10% to physical resistances and magical special to melee. Potentially +10% to cold as well and +1/+2 damage per hit on melee. Nothing too flashy, but it'd make him more tanky and that magical on melee would give him some flavor (only Sylph and Mer Siren currently have magical on melee; Sylph has 3x6 so it'd be nice if Great Mage had more total damage there, so 2x10 or 2x11).

And another weird idea, what about some bonus that scales with # of AMLAs (max xp would be slightly lowered). E.g. +10% to all resistances with each amla? This way, the newly leveled lvl4 mage would be slightly uninteresting and underwhelming as he currently is, but feeding him xp wouldn't necessarily be a waste (though it'd still be a bad idea), and you could theoretically make him into a one-man army. This cumulative effect could be done with some other ability, like with fire aura. Start with +1 dmg to all adjacent allies, and increase by one with each amla. And it'd be a pretty unique :D (Note that cumulative bonuses themselves already exist in mainline with Necrophage's feeding ability.)

As for names, I'm not a fan of proposed fire-related names and I think the existing ones would serve just fine if only we switched them.

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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by Pentarctagon » November 29th, 2018, 1:13 am

What about an Incendiary weapon special? It would do some amount of damage per turn for either X numbers, until the unit entered a water hex, or until it was healed on a village/etc.
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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by The_Gnat » November 30th, 2018, 11:50 pm

Pentarctagon wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 1:13 am
What about an Incendiary weapon special? It would do some amount of damage per turn for either X numbers, until the unit entered a water hex, or until it was healed on a village/etc.
That would be really cool buy potentially not that valuable because the great mage kills almost every unit it attacks and so they wouldn't survive to get burned further.
Caladbolg wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 4:42 pm
Fire Guardians would still be pretty OP against skellies, no?
I personally am against spawning units from other dead units because of the implications into the necromanicerial arts. I do also believe it would be OP if I was on the ranged attack which is almost gaurentees to kill. Fire guardians would also probably be OP as Caladbolg's pointed out. Potentially we could see an introduction of lvl 0 flame wiffs (I believe a sprite has been animated in another addon) but I still think that spawning units is more of an undead type of activity.

I would be interested in having the great mage gain another attack potentially a single strike or half hitting attack to add strategy. Maybe a special Weapon on a new attack that says 'cannot kill'. That would help spread the xp as well.

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Re: Great Mage Again

Post by Spirit_of_Currents » December 1st, 2018, 11:59 am

I think Legendary Mage could be made not underpowered by giving them a new fire spell with more strikes and less damage-per-strike. It would make low level units more likely to score a kill.
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