The Super Serious Wandlore overhaul thread

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Ruigi, May 3, 2012.

  1. Ruigi

    Ruigi Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Wandlore is a rubbish craft skill, but you already knew that:
    The new free DLC added a new sixth level to all of the crafting skills. That's Great-- if you're a tinker or a smith. Alchemy doesn't really benefit because it has few level six recipes, and wandlore doesn't get anything except for a few points of aetherial damage and some magic resist.

    To say that wandlore is unpopular would be an understatement. compared to the other craft skills, wand lore is the biggest inventory management headache, and it provides the weakest benefits. The number of cross class skills that are required to exploit wandlore is a bit tough, only supassed by the inventory headaches the player has to deal with to get any benefit from crafting wands.

    The goal of this thread is to provide real, implementable solutions for improving wandlore; the scope of this thread includes overall design goals as well as specifics, such as wand recipe recommendations and new wand ideas. The end product of this discussion should be .xml data that Gaslamp developers can paste directly into dredmor or possibly a community wandlore improvement mod.

    What should be in the Wand Lore overhaul?:

    1. Fix wands so they act exactly like abilities and can use any spell type (targetfloor, item, etc)
    The most limiting factor with wands is that they can only target monsters or players. This means that wands can only be used for applications like hostile missiles,targeted template spells, buffs, and healing effects. There is a lot of potential for new, different kinds of wands if the code was changed to allow wands to target the floor and walls. This would greatly expand the list of things that modders and developers could do with a wand item.

    2. Simplify wand recipes.
    Simply put, there is way too much variety in the required ingredients for wandlore recipes. No other craft skill has to deal with the intricate demands of the wandlore skill. While this aspect of wandlore could be finely tuned to offer different options based on the player's other skills, some recipes are simply ridiculous in what the require the player to produce. Rock Wand and Deciduous Wands are notorious examples of recipes that are simply too complicated for most players to get, and the payoff for making them is simply not worth it.

    3. Make min-max charges less random for wandcrafters
    Some of the best wands can be obtained at wandcrafting level 2. There is little benefit to having more than one or two points invested in the wandlore skill (and you don't even need to take wandlore if you have a skill like rogue scientist). There ought to be a benefit to wand crafters having a higher wandlore skill, even if they take the skill only to produce the lower tier wands. One proposed solution to this problem would be to add duplicate wands of the same type flagged with special="1", that can only be produced by using the craft recipe at a certain skill level. These higher tier wands will have the same name (perhaps modified by a +1, 2 ,3 etc or some other naming convention) and will have a larger number of availiable charges.

    NOTE: for this recommendation to work, the code dealing with how wands randomly spawn in the dungeon needs to be fixed so that wands flagged with special="1" don't spawn in the dungeon. This was a problem with potions too, as i recall.

    4. Add more varieties of wands
    Simply put, there aren't enough wands in the game to make wandlore a worthwhile skill. Perhaps once the coding limitations are removed from wands, it would be possible to make wands that do different kinds of effects, like digging, teleportation, and summoning creatures. Furthermore, the wand lore crafting recipes can be tailored to offer good synergies with a variety of other skills, like game hunter (wands that require meats), fungal arts (wands that require mushrooms), alchemy (wands that require potions) and tinkering (wands that require tinkering components). Obviously there should be some debate over the relative strength of the wand versus the resource cost to produce it, and this point requires lots of specific brainstorming (recipes, spell effects, spritework, etc)

    Hopefully I've laid out the big ideas that everybody agrees with. Once there are some concrete Ideas we can start writing xml for spell effects and recipes.
  2. onesandzeroes

    onesandzeroes Member

    Am I wrong in thinking that wands scale to your magic power, just like their matching spells do? It seems like wands are pretty useless for that reason unless you're already playing a mage. They should do a fixed amount of damage, or one that scales to the dungeon level or something.
  3. Ruigi

    Ruigi Will Mod for Digglebucks

    wands do scale with your magic power, but you don't have to be a mage to use them. Mage spells require lots of mana whereas wands do not. Rogues that aren't wearing heavy armor can use wands just as easily as mages.
  4. onesandzeroes

    onesandzeroes Member

    At least a couple of the wands, particularly Arcane Wand, are just straight damage dealers, but they do barely any damage if you're a melee character with no magic power. I guess you could argue either way on whether the power of the wand should be inherent in the wand or something that mages are better at drawing out, but I think it's a factor that contributes to the current weakness of wands.
  5. r_b_bergstrom

    r_b_bergstrom Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Given the "certain abilities" that dbaumgart ascribed to my hat, I have a vested interest in seeing Wandcrafting become more potent. :)

    Of your four main proposals, Ruigi, I think #2 is the most vital. Coincidentally, it's also the easiest for Gaslamp to implement, as it requires only minor xml tweaks not major new lines of code. The existing recipes just don't make me want to take wandcrafting at all, because it looks like a terrible inventory headache for honestly not that much gain. Simplifying the recipes would do wonders.

    #1 and #4 would be, as I see it, the next most important parts after #2. Opening up new ways to use wands, such as targeting walls or items, would be really good, and it's something the modding community would embrace whole-heartedly. Gaslamp could get away just making two or three new wands on their own, one for each major class of target.

    The one part of your proposal that I'm not sold on is #3. It actually seems at odds with #2. If the recipes were simplified and achievable, there'd be a lot less need for wand charge control. Or so I think, but I'll admit I don't have a lot of experience with wandcrafting.

    More important than proposal #3, I think, would be making wands more useful to non-wizards. Especially now that the DLC increases the odds of playing a rogue with a few points of wandcrafting.

    Towards that end, here's proposal #5:

    Change all (damaging) wands to use slightly alternate versions of the spells they do currently. Alternate versions that, instead of scaling to Magic Power, have a slightly higher base damage, and then scale very aggressively to Wandcrafting. So wands would only be good if you take some levels of wandcrafting.

    It would be an improvement over how things stand at the moment: which is that most wands are useless to most characters. As onesandzeroes pointed out, many of the wands are very dependent on your magic power, which makes them a bad choice for rogues and warriors. In my experience, wizards don't really care too much about wands either, because they usually have enough mana to fuel spells of their own that are every bit as effective. I suppose with Dredmor himself now doing mana drains and antimagic, perhaps some wands are more useful late game backup item then they once were. Just the same, they're certainly not improved enough to justify taking an entire tree that you'll really only use to prep for the final battle.
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  6. Ruigi

    Ruigi Will Mod for Digglebucks

    The issue that point #3 is attempting to address has to do with the issue of players not needing more than a small amount of wandlore skill for most applications. The most important wands can be crafted at levels 2 and 3, and you don't really get much benefit from investing more skill points than that. Your idea to enhance wand damage with the wandlore skill is actually something that I implement in the new expansion wands.
    Kazeto and r_b_bergstrom like this.
  7. r_b_bergstrom

    r_b_bergstrom Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Oh. That makes sense. Somehow, I didn't get that. Looking back, it seems really clear now. Did you edit the post, or did I just read it way too fast this morning?

    Still not 100% sold that charges are the way to get that emphasis, since making the recipes simpler will also give you access to more of each wand. It would be a step in the right direction, though, and at this point clearly wandcrafting needs whatever we can give it.

    EDIT: Just wanted to make it crystal clear that I am completely in agreement with your central thesis in this thread. I think your points # 1, 2 and 4 are excellent and would be a huge help to the game. The one I disagree with a tiny bit (#3) certainly wouldn't be bad for the game if it were implemented, so I'm not really trying to argue against it. I just consider it somewhat lower priority than the others.

    For the record, I think this problem has been over-stated. Not by you, and certainly not here in this thread, just in general by the modding community.

    When I complained to someone nameless about how their potions were coming up too often and disrupting game balance, they replied to me that there was nothing they could do about it because special="1" doesn't work on potions. So I opened up the files and added it to every one of their potions in my copy of the mod. The number of times these potions spawned dropped by about 80% or so. I can't quite rule out the RNG messing with me, but it seems to me like special="1" is more functional on potions than the prevailing modder wisdom expects it to be.

    Haemetic Phylactery is a great example of how subtle the problem is. It shows up in starting inventories from time to time, and on the dungeon floor once in a blue moon, but over the course of the multiple runs the Phylactery shows up maybe 10% as often as the other potion types. Clearly special="1" does something in the Phylactery's case, but it's not fool-proof.

    I've never actually tested if the same thing happens with wands, but since I know there's a misperception re: potions and special="1", I suspect the same thing goes for wands and special. If you can prove me wrong, I'd be excited to hear the details.

    Great! Glad we're on the same page, there.
    I'm sure I would have noticed that, too, if only there were a functional Mac version of the DLC RC. :rolleyes:
    **ducks the Mac Mini that Nicholas is no doubt sorely tempted to throw**
    Kazeto likes this.
  8. madcow

    madcow Member

    Maybe wandlore could use an ability similar to what fungal arts and alchemy has, letting you zap crafting ingredients into others? If you really want to get crazy, a new type of reagent - maybe elemental essence for instance. There could be one for each of the element types, perhaps they can be extracted from gems/ores/powders, and then wandlore has an ability to zap one elemental essence into another. Then wand crafting recipes could be changed to use different amounts of elemental essences (plus possibly other ingredients for the rarer more powerful wands). Though maybe that is getting a little too complex, it would make wand crafting more viable by focusing it on one type of reagent instead of a hodgepodge of different reagents, including gems which are hard to get the one you want (which might be the point). If its meant to be hard to find wand ingredients, they should be made powerful so that while wands are harder to make, they have very strong effects to compensate their rarity.

    I would love if there was a combination of abilities that don't scale with magic power along with those that do. If wands were more worthwhile, I would totally pick up wandlore on warrior/rogue builds for some fun casting utility without having to be an actual caster. I like the idea of it scaling to wandlore actually.

    As for a specific wand suggestion, how about one to put up an anti-magic field. Could be useful to make yourself immune/resistant to magic for awhile. Or maybe a wand-only buff that adds resistances, or other nice stats/buffs.

    I take it based on this thread that wandlore hasn't been greatly improved with the upcoming expansion?

    Edit: added a lot more to the first paragraph on wand crafting ideas

    Second Edit: I guess a question that should be answered is: should wands be rare/hard to craft with very powerful effects, or easier to craft with more normal effects. And then tune wands from there. Either sounds good to me really. As it is, they seem a pain to craft without being particularly strong.
  9. J-Factor

    J-Factor Member

    Back in ye olde days Wand Lore was the ultimate 'utility' skill. With no points invested it gave you an 80 turn cooldown:

    • Heal (Coral Wand)
    • Decurse (Zodiac Wand)
    • Boss Killer (Tentacle Wand)
    • Wall (Stony Wand)
    • Melee Buff (Tesla's Wand, also lasts for 80 turns so you could keep it up permanently)
    ...and then came the expansion, the stylish-yet-silly recipes and a host of new, underwhelming 'damage' wands.

    If you want to fix Wand Lore, bring it back to its roots. Stop adding slightly-different 'damage' wands that can never compete with thrown / bolts. Think of every utility ability that you'd love to have and turn it into a wand. Go all out:
    • It Belongs in A Museum
    • This Translation is All Wrong
    • Ancient Kronian Ritual
    • Flames of The Heckforge
    • Xeuclid's Translation
    • Petrification
    • Unconditional Love
    • Nerve Staple
    • The Mortal Machine
    • Gem Transmutation
    • Lucky Pick
    • Love Will Teleport Us Apart
    You might think this will dilute the value of the skills these abilities are poached from, but I think that's just an issue of resource requirements. For example, the Ancient Kronian Ritual wand could potentially require a rare artifact hammer as an ingredient, limiting its use to only a few anvils per game. These wands would need to be limited to crafting-only and not be able to spawn.

    Oh and maybe make it so some wand effects are unresistable so they're more appealing than their spell versions.


    When you craft a wand it starts with a random number of charges between min and max. For example, the Tentacle Wand has 1-4 charges - resulting in ridiculous cases of swapping a Bolt of Squid for a 1 charge Tentacle Wand.
    Kazeto and Essence like this.
  10. Nicholas

    Nicholas Technology Director Staff Member

    Of these wands: I'm in favour of Nerve Staple, Unconditional Love (or whatever the Animal Friend one is in the Vegan Skill Tree), and Love Will Teleport Us Apart being added to the game. Xeuclid would be good, too. I'm not sold on having any of the Archaeology tree in wand form, nor am I comfortable with Heckforge being in wand form. These are fairly strong game abilities, and I don't want to undercut Archaeology/Demonology by having all its good perks in wand form. Sleep and the anti-magic field are both good candidates for wands as well.

    Anyhow, I have some ideas; I just don't know when we'll be able to get to them. We're also doing something goofy immediately after Expansion #2 that kind of changes the core mechanics, and so we'll have to rebalance everything. Gahhhh.
    Kazeto and Essence like this.
  11. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    You're doing what!? These people never tell me anything :p
  12. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    You guys seem to love making more work for yourselves. That said, if there's anything we can do to help, I'm sure you'd get plenty of volunteers. :)
    Kazeto likes this.
  13. FaxCelestis

    FaxCelestis Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Unfortunately, these effects don't work on a wand due to targeting issues.
  14. mining

    mining Member

    Point #1: 1. Fix wands so they act exactly like abilities and can use any spell type (targetfloor, item, etc)
  15. FaxCelestis

    FaxCelestis Will Mod for Digglebucks

    All well and good, but even existing spells have trouble targeting activateable items in your inventory via right-click (as generally they end up activating those items or making them the ready spell instead).
  16. r_b_bergstrom

    r_b_bergstrom Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Admittedly, using up a bolt of squid to make a tentacular wand is silly, but I still don't think that's an issue with Wand Crafting needing to create more charges than the wand otherwise comes with, it's an issue with the recipe sucking. Bolt of Squid triggers a level 6 skill, and Tentacle Wand triggers a level 5 skill. Why the heck does the recipe use the stronger item to make the weaker item?

    I strongly agreed with Ruigi that the recipes need to be made easier. I just don't agree (or at least not very strongly) that the wandcrafting also needs to grant extra charges on top of that. Fix the recipes to something manageable, and that part of the problem is solved without having to fiddle with a lot of game code (just a bit of xml).

    Tentacular Wand, for example, should not use Squid Bolts and Offal, as both are really hard to get in quantity. It should use Potions of Dire Empowerment (easily crafted by a Rogue Scientist or Alchemist/Wandcrafter) and Ground Meat (easily crafted by anyone). Or heck, Fell Truffle plus Lutefisk.
  17. Ruigi

    Ruigi Will Mod for Digglebucks

    offal is easy to get if you have big game hunter.

    also you can use a meat wand to produce offal.
  18. r_b_bergstrom

    r_b_bergstrom Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Disregard the Offal part, then. It was sorta beside the point, and only clutters up the message.

    The real point was that Squid Bolt should only ever be a component to a crafting recipe if the end result is something amazing.

    How many Tentacular Wand charges would it take to make up for even 1 squid bolt being lost in the process? Probably at least 10. The squid bolt will kill half a dozen monsters in 2 or 3 turns from a single action, and if the stars are right it'll kill dozens at once. The wand kills just slightly more than one per activation under the best of circumstances, and time between activation and death is also about a turn and a half longer on average than with the squid bolt. So even if you add +1 charge per wandcrafting level, you'd still sometimes get 6 or 7 charges on the wand with the current recipe, and usually feel it wasn't worth using up the squid bolt.
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  19. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Now if you could use a Tentacular Wand to craft a Squid Bolt, that would totally be a thing.
    r_b_bergstrom likes this.
  20. Mr_Strange

    Mr_Strange Member

    I'm very interested in fixing Wandlore, but I haven't yet seen that magic suggestion that I can really get behind.

    I love the fact that wand-crafting uses weird ingredients - especially ingots! And I love burnt-out-wands as the basis for new wands.

    So there are two areas we can mess with - the recipes, and the skills.

    Here are some ideas for changing how the wandlore skills work:

    1 - Give a skill which causes recipes to consume less than all of the components. 3 ingots to make a Rock Wand -> 2 ingots left over, plus the wand. That means fewer components to find, overall, and allows for interesting power-swings like the bolt of squid / tentacle wand.

    2 - Give a skill which allows us to burn out a wand immediately, and turn it into crafting components based on the number of charges it still held. This makes wands a resource for wandlore masters.

    3 - Give a skill which adds charges to a wand, in exchange for something significant. 50 mana might be good enough, or an iron ingot, or a weapon, or something. Transforming your other resources into charges is something that really should be possible. Eating weapons for charges sounds really appealing, actually.

    4 - Give a passive skill such that wands don't always expend a charge when you fire them. This returns some of the old wand feel, but in a predictable way. It also increases the effective charges of your crafted wands. 50/50 would be a fun starting number.

    Here are some ideas for changing the recipes:

    1 - Allow some flexibility in the recipes, based on item quality rather than the specific item used. For example 1 iron ingot + 1 class 7 item = wand of fireball. "De-Enchanting" artifacts to create wands is awesome, and very thematic.

    2 - Give us some wandlore-fueled recipes which change components into other components. Mushing ingots into ore would be nice - or creating offal, or any of the other weird components. I'm a big fan of grinding pearls, so I like the idea of the game moving more in that direction.

    3 - Give us a "charge up" recipe - which lets us add charges to an existing wand directly.

    4 - Give us a recall wand, which teleports us to a nearby shop!

    5 -