Fire Magic is very weak


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Lair Larrikin

Posts: 22

Joined: Saturday, 3rd September 2011, 07:10

Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 00:46

Fire Magic is very weak

Summary - Fire Magic does less damage that other elemental schools and has less utility. Even conjurations has more utility and more damage then Fire Magic. The exception is Fire Storm, but a school should not be based around 1 spell.

I won my first game as a KeFE of Vehumet. While I did use most of the fire spells at the beginning I quickly unmemorized them for superior conjuration spells from Vehumet. When I entered zot my only fire magic spells were fire storm, and ring of flames. Out of those ring of flames was only marginally usefully. I sort of had delayed fireball, because I used to have it, but then forgot it. The problem with fire magic is that it only does damage. For flavor damage only is not a problem, but it is a balance problem. If it does too little damage it is useless.

Currently it seems like the role of fire magic is to get firestorm. The other skills help you get to the mid game where you can find conjuration based spells. You then replace fire spells with superior conjuration based spells. This maintains training towards firestorm while improving your character's power. In other words fire magic is an all or nothing deal. You either gain a lot of fire magic so you can cast fire storm, or you have a negligible amount so you can use spells like evaporate or fire brand. The spells weaker than fire storm have no utility and are strictly weaker than conjuration nukes. Furthermore conjuration nukes avoid the damage resistance problems that fire magic has.

Disclaimer: It was a three rune win (Shoals, Snake, Vault). I had Spriggan speed for most of the game (fly + swift). I caught beserkitis early on so I completely avoided melee. I caught carnivore 1 early on which helped with hunger problems. Here's the morgue file in case there's anything in it that biases me that I didn't notice: http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/0.9/ryz ... 012827.txt

Here is a list of every fire magic spell and my thoughts on their power:
    Flame Tongue - Good early on, but worse than magic dart. Forget when you find magic dart.

    Throw Flame - Good early on. Makes flame tongue obsolete. Magic dart might be better.

    Inner Flame - An interesting idea that is poorly implemented. Using this spell almost always hurt more than it helped. A monster charging you down, whom if you kill will explode in your face is very bad. If I had not been able to out run the monsters this spell would have killed me. This is only useful if you have a way to confuse the monster, OR the monster will retreat when wounded. This spell is suited a long range attacker who knows mephitic cloud. I propose changing it so it is smite targeted. This way a FE can choose a mob in the middle of the pack which makes the spell effective and safer.

    Conjure Flame - As far as I know this spell was deleted. This is unfortunate because it is the only low level defensive spell a fire elementalist has.

    Sticky Flame - An interesting spell. Worth keeping for a while, does good damage. Best for melee hybrids or fast casters. Very mana efficient for killing normal speed tough single monsters. Eventually you will want to forget this spell.

    Bolt of Fire - I never learned this spell. Would be more useful if Inner Flame was smite targetted. Training evocations a little provides the same thing, with varied damage types and other utility. Bolts are more useful for other schools because they lack an aoe spell like fireball.

    Fireball - Seems good, but isn't. It's most useful trait is that it always hits. However, the monsters that have high EV are typically things like bees and bees are best killed with Ignite Poison. Even against multiple opponents fireball is inferior to poison arrow. Against a pack of slime creatures it was faster to use poison arrow than fireball even if fireball hit 3-4 slime creatures per cast. Furthermore, FB is much louder than poison arrow, which makes it a more dangerous spell to use. My suggestion is for Fireball to leave flame clouds behind that dissapate fast like mephitic cloud. This gives the spell some extra power, and gives fire magic some utility.

    Delayed Fireball - I guess it's worth it for 1 SL if you have Fireball. I only used this ability once or twice the entire game. Both times I used it I could have ran off and rested for mana. I only used delayed fireball to kill things slightly faster.

    Ring of Flames - One of the few fire magic spells that provides any utility. It's main use is that it lets you stand in flame clouds and provides rF++. It is not a good escape spell. By the time you could cast RoF you could cast Summon Butterflies which is a superior escape spell. RoF is basically useless without Fire Storm. This is okay given that Fire Storm is the entire point of being a FE. If there become reasons to be a FE besides Fire Storm then RoF should change. As is, I think RoF should have some sort of SL synergy with Fire Storm the same way Fireball and Delayed fireball cost 7 SL total.

    Fire Storm - This spell is the reason to be a FE. Does huge damage, is smite targetable. Just a great nuke.

    Evaporate - A strong skill with a low SL. Can be cast well with very little Fire Magic.

    Fire Brand - Only used by hybrids. Irrelevant for FE.

    Ignite Poison - An amazing spell. For certain parts of the game this is by far the single best skill to have. It trivializes hives, lair, snake, spider dens, and probably swamp. However, further in the game poisonous monsters stop existing so this spell should be forgotten. If you are not a FE this spell could be worth keeping for its synergy with poisonous clouds.

    Bolt of Magma - No reason for a FE to learn this.

    Dragon Form - Never used this so can't comment too much. It seems like a FE will either learn Fire Storm + Ring of Flames, or Fire Storm + Dragon Form. Given RoF's synergy with Haste I doubt many FE will ever use Dragon Form.

The big problem with Fire Magic is that only 1-3 spells are worth keeping for the end game. Compare this to Air, Ice and Earth which all have a large amount of useful utility spells. Fire Magic is the "damage" school, but doesn't have the strongest damage spells until Fire Storm. Magic dart does more consistent damage than Flame Tongue. Shock does more damage than Throw Flame AND shock is a bolt. Sandblast does huge damage with components even near end game. For a school that has the least utility Fire Magic also has the least damage with the exception of Fire Storm.

Fire Magic can be improved 2 ways: BIG damage, or more utility. Damage can be increased directly, or indirectly by changing monster resistances. However, the problem with making a school focused on damage is that most spells will become obsolete. Casters need a handful of nukes, and a large amount of utility spells. Because of this any approach that ONLY improves the damage of Fire Magic will still result in casters forgetting most lower level spells. This is why Fire Magic needs to gain 1-3 utility spells.

Utility Spell Suggestions:
    Make Inner Flame smite targetted.

    Have a spell weaker than RoF leave flame clouds. This could mean bringing back Conjure Flame, or adding a flame cloud effect to Fireball.

    Let FE set walls on fire so adjacent monsters take damage. This would be similar to the slime pits.

    Let FE swim through lava with an increased movement rate and an increase to the power of their FE spells.

    Let FE create lava, but not on top of a monster.

    Give FE an enchantment where monsters take damage for hitting the caster. Make this self targetted only or it would be absurd with summoners.

    Let FE light corpses on fire similar to Corpse Rot. Ignite Poison already does this with poisonous corpses.

    Let FE explode corpses.

    Make Bolts of Fire and Fireballs ignite corpses.

    Give FE an enchantment that defects projectiles similar to repel missiles. This enchantment works differently by attempting to burn the missile in mid air before it reaches the caster. It would only work thrown items and items from launchers, but not spells. All missiles that this spell does not outright destroy gain the flame ego.


Note that these are only suggestions and FE should only gain a subset of these. If FE gain many ways to create flame clouds then monster AI may need changing so an entire horde is not stopped by a single flame cloud. Note that the more ways FE can create flame clouds the more useful RoF becomes.
Last edited by ryzol on Sunday, 4th September 2011, 01:14, edited 1 time in total.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 01:10

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Admitting you never used Bolt of Fire kind of damaged my ability to take this thread seriously. Bolt of Fire is the bread-and-butter midgame spell of fire magic. It burns through whole packs of monsters at once with no real drawback, and it currently has range completely unmatched by any other spell in its weight class.

I believe Conjure Flame was put back in the FE book. Or maybe that's still just scheduled to happen. It was initially supplanted by Inner Flame, but later on it got swapped back in.

One issue that does come up for fire users is the fact that monster resistances are biased against them. I haven't taken a monster-by-monster poll of the resistances, but in the post-endgame there are only a few demons that are worthy of immediate attention. Fire magic is better against ice fiends and shadow fiends, while ice magic is better against tormentors, hellions, and fiends. The fiend-class monsters rarely come in multiples, but there are frequently cases where multiple tormentors and hellions are on the field at the same time and being able to drop them in one attack instead of two makes quite a difference. I have the distinct impression that more mid-game uniques are fire-resistant than cold-resistant, too. Additionally, cold-resistant monsters include a lot of undead, so the cheap and available Dispel Undead spell covers ice magic's elemental rock-paper-scissors woes exceptionally well. A solution would be to add more dangerous monsters, preferably ones that are not simply immune to things.

More utility would be nice, but fire's already doing reasonably well in the direct damage race, and it would be easy to push it over the top.

Dungeon Master

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 01:40

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

FE has conjure flame again now, yes. Fireball was recently reduced to level 5. Bolt of magma is also pretty good, especially with Vehumet - I'm not sure why you'd say there's no reason to ever use it. Bolt of fire is even better, and has full-LOS range even without Vehumet (which bolt of cold doesn't). Ring of flames is also excellent for FE hybrids. And sticky flame is, of course, still amazing pretty much all the way through a three-rune game.

Fire magic probably isn't the strongest elemental school, but it's nowhere near "very weak". (Making inner flame smite-targeted might be worth trying, though).

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pratamawirya

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 01:46

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

I believe the OP's report has two problems:
a) Why should one school solve everything? (Yes, there are much more versatile schools -- but Fire is better at what it does. Everything comes with a prize.)
b) Why should an FE religiously stick with fire? There is no problem to branch out, just like for VM. I think the OP's opinion can be roughly summarised as "if you want to play a pure Fire game, you have to use Fire Storm or it won't work" (and many would say that no such statement can be made for Poison at all).

KoboldLord: Thanks for pointing out the bias in resistances. This should be investigated.

Lair Larrikin

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Joined: Saturday, 3rd September 2011, 07:10

Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 02:25

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Okay very weak is hyperbole. That said I still think it's inferior to Ice, Earth, Air, and Conjurations.

You're right Throw Flame and Flame Tongue don't obsolete each other as fast as I made it sound. Other schools have similar weak beginning spells. My basic problem is that eventually you will forget both of those spells. I guess this goes to the developers. Is it working as is intended that players learn all the low level spells they find and then forget them as they become useless? I ended the game with 5-8 scrolls of amnesia left. I was able to forget almost every spell I wanted to from destroying books.


...Evocations? Please elaborate.

By training evocations I mean wand usage. By mid game I had plenty of wands. I think I used 4 recharging scrolls total. They were on wands of digging, teleportation, and healing. Offensive wands drop often enough that I never felt the need for a bolt spell. I was also Summoning cross specced, so in general my character wanted to fight in the open and not in corridors where bolts are best.



dpeg wrote:a) Why should one school solve everything? (Yes, there are much more versatile schools -- but Fire is better at what it does. Everything comes with a prize.)

One school shouldn't solve everything. Essentially Fire only has damage. However, Fire doesn't have the best damage. Conjurations has better single target damage, better aoe damage (exception of Fire Storm), and better utility. Poison Arrow, Orb of Destruction, Freezing Cloud, Poisonous Cloud, Mephitic Cloud, and Crystal Spear all do great damage. If you train almost exclusively conjurations and dabble in the other schools you have a character with great damage and good utility. They won't have the extreme aoe damage of firestorm, but they're better in every other aspect. A conjurations specced character has multiple damage types and cloud spells. If they want to they then have the option of going for something like Ice Storm or Fire Storm.

On the other hand a Fire specced character has fewer options as Fire is overall weaker than conjurations. A FE is typically cross trained in conjurations, but it seems odd for a FE to switch from fire spells to conjuration spells simply because conjuration spells are better. A character who makes Fire their primary focus and supplements it with other schools is significantly weaker than a character who makes Conjurations their primary focus and supplements it with other schools.

Maybe the problem is Conjurations is too versatile.

b) Why should an FE religiously stick with fire? There is no problem to branch out, just like for VM. I think the OP's opinion can be roughly summarised as "if you want to play a pure Fire game, you have to use Fire Storm or it won't work" (and many would say that no such statement can be made for Poison at all).

That is an option, and that is exactly what I did. But when I branched out I forgot my fire spells because they were inferior to the conjuration and summoning spells Vehumet provided.

On the other hand Ice, Earth, and Air casters have good spells that are worth keeping as they branch out. Fire needs spells that are worth keeping in end game besides Fire Storm.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 02:45

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

A character with only conjurations skill will not be able to cast all these fantastic spells. You pretty much need to sink xp into conjurations AND your choice of elemental skill if you want to be a blaster. Mystic Blast and OoD don't really have the versatility you need, and trying to cast most of these other spells you mention off conjurations alone is 1) impossible and 2) way more expensive in xp than off-loading some of the skill levels onto the elemental skills. Seriously, there's no way you're casting Freezing or Poisonous Clouds without at least two skills at high levels and probably the third at middling levels.

And really, the range advantage of fire magic is extremely useful. There's something to be said for having a staple mid-level burst damage spell that reaches exactly as far as a yaktaur's crossbow bolts or a stone giant's rocks. Of all the elemental skills, only air magic and fire magic have that capability without some significant drawback, and Bolt of Fire will out-damage a non-bounced Lightning Bolt or an Airstrike. Point once, and those yaktaurs die one after another, just as they step out onto the screen and before they can get a shot off.

Yes, fire is still the weakest of the four, but the gap is not so large.

Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 04:06

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

KoboldLord wrote:Admitting you never used Bolt of Fire kind of damaged my ability to take this thread seriously. Bolt of Fire is the bread-and-butter midgame spell of fire magic. It burns through whole packs of monsters at once with no real drawback, and it currently has range completely unmatched by any other spell in its weight class.

I believe Conjure Flame was put back in the FE book. Or maybe that's still just scheduled to happen. It was initially supplanted by Inner Flame, but later on it got swapped back in.

One issue that does come up for fire users is the fact that monster resistances are biased against them. I haven't taken a monster-by-monster poll of the resistances, but in the post-endgame there are only a few demons that are worthy of immediate attention. Fire magic is better against ice fiends and shadow fiends, while ice magic is better against tormentors, hellions, and fiends. The fiend-class monsters rarely come in multiples, but there are frequently cases where multiple tormentors and hellions are on the field at the same time and being able to drop them in one attack instead of two makes quite a difference. I have the distinct impression that more mid-game uniques are fire-resistant than cold-resistant, too. Additionally, cold-resistant monsters include a lot of undead, so the cheap and available Dispel Undead spell covers ice magic's elemental rock-paper-scissors woes exceptionally well. A solution would be to add more dangerous monsters, preferably ones that are not simply immune to things.

More utility would be nice, but fire's already doing reasonably well in the direct damage race, and it would be easy to push it over the top.

Tormentors and hellions are only have 24-52 hp and rF, though, so fire storm is fine against them. Whereas ice fiends with 79-121hp and rC+++ and shadow fiends with the same hp and rC++ are tough kills for an ice elementalist. Overall I think the distribution of resistances is balanced.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 05:58

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

lazorexplosion wrote:Tormentors and hellions are only have 24-52 hp and rF, though, so fire storm is fine against them. Whereas ice fiends with 79-121hp and rC+++ and shadow fiends with the same hp and rC++ are tough kills for an ice elementalist. Overall I think the distribution of resistances is balanced.


I don't know about you, but I don't typically throw a honeycomb spell that costs almost 20% of my max mp and wakes up the entire level at everything I see when I'm clearing Hell. Bolt of Fire and Bolt of Cold are both reasonably cheap and quiet way to snipe something from across the screen. Tormentors and hellions go down in one Bolt of Cold, but take two Bolts of Fire, at least unless I'm stacking some unwarranted numbers of spell enhancers. This is a fairly important difference.

If you're at a point where you can throw Fire Storm willy-nilly and never have to worry about running out of nutrition or mp because you have literally everything you could possibly ever need, then it doesn't matter which you're using because Fire and Ice Storm both kill everything regardless of resistances.

Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 10:42

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

KoboldLord wrote:
lazorexplosion wrote:Tormentors and hellions are only have 24-52 hp and rF, though, so fire storm is fine against them. Whereas ice fiends with 79-121hp and rC+++ and shadow fiends with the same hp and rC++ are tough kills for an ice elementalist. Overall I think the distribution of resistances is balanced.


I don't know about you, but I don't typically throw a honeycomb spell that costs almost 20% of my max mp and wakes up the entire level at everything I see when I'm clearing Hell. Bolt of Fire and Bolt of Cold are both reasonably cheap and quiet way to snipe something from across the screen. Tormentors and hellions go down in one Bolt of Cold, but take two Bolts of Fire, at least unless I'm stacking some unwarranted numbers of spell enhancers. This is a fairly important difference.

If you're at a point where you can throw Fire Storm willy-nilly and never have to worry about running out of nutrition or mp because you have literally everything you could possibly ever need, then it doesn't matter which you're using because Fire and Ice Storm both kill everything regardless of resistances.

Firestorming threats like tormentors and hellions definitely isn't the same thing as firestorming willy-nilly...

Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 11:25

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

The only real gripe I have with FE is that Vehemut's gifts are biased against them in favour of IE. Ice elementalists get both freezing cloud and bolt of cold as well as ice storm in his gifted books, while fire elementalists don't get conjure flame or bolt of fire.

Lair Larrikin

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 12:32

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

I didn't know the Fire Magic has more range than other schools. This makes Fire better than I thought and shows my ignorance regarding other schools. However, does Fire Magic have more range than other elemental schools if both worship Vehumet?

A character with only conjurations skill will not be able to cast all these fantastic spells. You pretty much need to sink xp into conjurations AND your choice of elemental skill if you want to be a blaster.

I agree it takes a considerable skill investment to able to cast all the wonderful conjuration spells. However, compare the skill investment to what is required to cast Fire Storm well. By end game with 23 Int, 19 Spell Casting, 24 Conjurations, 21 Fire, and Vehumet worship I could reliably cast Fire Storm (I think at great). I also had 5 Air Magic, 10 Poison Magic, 11 Charms, 17 Summoning, and 15 Translocations. If I had ignore Fire Magic, I could have easily had 10 to 18 Air Magic due to +3 aptitude and 5 to 10 Ice Magic.

I suspect that if I had 19 Spell Casting, 24 Conjurations, 10 Air, 10 Ice, 10 Poison I could cast Freezing Cloud, and Poisonous Cloud well. Without going into wizard mode I can't test this. I also suspect 10 Air, 10 Ice and 10 Poison take fewer skill points than 21 Fire with neutral aptitudes although I am not sure. However, races have positive aptitudes for a few of those skills which makes this more feasible than going for Fire Storm and provides higher utility.

A build with High conjurations and high spell casting with medium Air, Ice and Poison has high utility and high damage. On top of those clouds you have great single target damage with Orb of Destruction and Poison Arrow. Poisonous Cloud and Ignite Poison gives you a ghetto Fire Storm. So this build would have aoe ice damage, aoe fire damage, aoe damage against poisonous monsters, and at least 1 good single target damage spell. For utility spells it could have Mephitic Cloud, Swiftness, Levitate, Rmsl, Dmsl, Ozocubu's Armour, Insulation, Flight, Cure Poison, Alistair's Intoxication, and Summon Scorpions.

Granted no caster will have all those spells, and a caster would have to train Charms or Summonings for some of these spells. However, Charms is a very popular branch that most characters train. Summoning is also worth training a bit on most characters due to Summon Butterflies and Abjuration. A caster with Ice spells, Poisonous Cloud, and Ignite Poison is an edge case. It's would require the right aptitudes for Air, Spell Casting, and Transmutations. So it's unlikely that the High Conjurations, medium Air, Ice and Poison would also have Fire damage, but it is possible.

My point is a caster that ignores Fire Magic has significantly more utility, creates less noise, has more varied damage types, and does almost as much or more damage. Even if Fire Magic had spells with higher base damage the ability to choose between damage types could/does result in higher effective damage.
Last edited by ryzol on Sunday, 4th September 2011, 12:41, edited 1 time in total.

Dungeon Master

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 12:36

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

lazorexplosion wrote:The only real gripe I have with FE is that Vehemut's gifts are biased against them in favour of IE. Ice elementalists get both freezing cloud and bolt of cold as well as ice storm in his gifted books, while fire elementalists don't get conjure flame or bolt of fire.


I could be wrong, but I don't think Vehumet gifts RoF either.

I think this thread seriously underrates RoF, it's my favourite fire spell; great combination of utility and damage, and it's a lot more interesting than just "point and kill". It can be almost as effective as Tornado for shutting down melee threats (and actually in some situations even better).
Last edited by mumra on Sunday, 4th September 2011, 12:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Roderic

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 12:40

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Regarding the OP; some of the ideas about lava are quite interesting. It'd be nice to see lava have some tactical purpose other than "you have to fly over this" (with a very limited number of threats hiding in it); clearly Fire Magic would be the school to take advantage of it.

Lair Larrikin

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 12:45

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

mumra wrote:
lazorexplosion wrote:The only real gripe I have with FE is that Vehemut's gifts are biased against them in favour of IE. Ice elementalists get both freezing cloud and bolt of cold as well as ice storm in his gifted books, while fire elementalists don't get conjure flame or bolt of fire.


I could be wrong, but I don't think Vehumet gifts RoF either.

I think this thread seriously underrates RoF, it's my favourite fire spell; great combination of utility and damage, and it's a lot more interesting than just "point and kill". It can be almost as effective as Tornado for shutting down melee threats (and actually in some situations even better).

This could be true. I had a high movement rate so I could always outrun monsters. However, I found that many mobs would charge into the flame clouds. By the time I had RoF useable most enemies could live through 10+ turns of flame clouds which is plenty of time for a melee monster to kill a caster.

Also, Summon Butterflies is IMO superior to RoF for keeping out melee threats. It requires little investment in summonings, costs 1 mana, and protects you from ranged attacks. With bolts or other aoe attacks it doesn't matter that Butterflies obscure monsters. You can cast through them and then summon more. If you have smite targeted spells like Air Strike, LRD or targetless spells like Ignite Poison, and Olgreb's Radiation then Summon Butterflies becomes even stronger than RoF for melee threats.

Finally, I believe you are correct that Vehumet does not gift RoF. It's worth considering adding RoF to Vehumet's gifting considering its synergy with Fire Storm. RoF is also worth considering being a Vehumet supported spell.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 13:03

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

I think one of the most important points to be made in this thread is not whether fire magic is actually weak, but that it appears weaker because some of the best spells are harder to find compared to the good spells in other schools

Ice - Throw Icicle in starting book, guaranteed Freezing Cloud + Bolt of Cold from Vehumet
Air - Lightning Bolt in starting book, Freezing Cloud, Poisonous Cloud, from Vehumet (and Chain Lightning if you need it.)
Poison - guaranteed Poisonous Cloud & Poison Arrow from Vehumet
Earth - LRD in starting book, Iron Shot from Vehumet (+ Crystal Spear if needed.)
Conjurers - get both Freezing Cloud and Bolt of Cold in starting book, guaranteed OOD from Vehumet.

Fire - Sticky Flame in starting book, but your "midgame staple" spell, Bolt of Fire is not guaranteed, and is often very hard to find.

I know this probably puts excessive emphasis on spells gained from Vehumet, but then (s)he is a fairly common and sensible choice of god for many elemental spellcasters, though perhaps less so for earth and air.

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 13:24

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

ryzol wrote:This could be true. I had a high movement rate so I could always outrun monsters. However, I found that many mobs would charge into the flame clouds. By the time I had RoF useable most enemies could live through 10+ turns of flame clouds which is plenty of time for a melee monster to kill a caster.


It's no good for individual tough enemies, but it slices through weaker ones (making it very MP-efficient in the right situation). It also wears down harder targets so you can finish them off with BoF. And don't forget rF++ is extremely useful to have available in a spell (meaning your equipment can focus on other resistances). And of course the synergy with Fire Storm only makes it more powerful.

But that's why it's an interesting spell; it's not just "kill everything", you have to think about when and where to use it.

ryzol wrote:Also, Summon Butterflies is IMO superior to RoF for keeping out melee threats. It requires little investment in summonings, costs 1 mana, and protects you from ranged attacks. With bolts or other aoe attacks it doesn't matter that Butterflies obscure monsters. You can cast through them and then summon more. If you have smite targeted spells like Air Strike, LRD or targetless spells like Ignite Poison, and Olgreb's Radiation then Summon Butterflies becomes even stronger than RoF for melee threats.


Of course butterflies are great, but they don't do any damage by themselves :)

ryzol wrote:Finally, I believe you are correct that Vehumet does not gift RoF. It's worth considering adding RoF to Vehumet's gifting considering its synergy with Fire Storm. RoF is also worth considering being a Vehumet supported spell.


There are relatively few spells that aren't Vehumet-supported; but yes, it'd be nice if Vehumet guaranteed RoF (from my experience it's one of the harder spells to find in books).

ryzol wrote:You're right Throw Flame and Flame Tongue don't obsolete each other as fast as I made it sound. Other schools have similar weak beginning spells. My basic problem is that eventually you will forget both of those spells. I guess this goes to the developers. Is it working as is intended that players learn all the low level spells they find and then forget them as they become useless? I ended the game with 5-8 scrolls of amnesia left. I was able to forget almost every spell I wanted to from destroying books.


I meant to comment on this; you've actually hit on two of the reasons why I never go Sif Muna anymore (I know some disagree!)
a) Forgetting spells for piety is merely a convenience; with good spell slot and book management you should always have spare amnesia scrolls by the late game (it's only because of Sif hating books getting destroyed that you'll even need the ability)
b) Books are very common by a certain stage of the game and you typically need Sif for literally one or two spells that are nice to have but not even essential. By the time Sif has gifted you everything you need, you'll have 99% of spells anyway.

Anyway, Sif discussion is drifting seriously OT so I'll stop there ;)

But yeah I'm sure it's intentional that lot of low level spells become obsolete later on; you need to free up a lot of slots for the more cool stuff. However there are definitely some low-level spells that you'll want to keep around into the extended endgame; this is good balance in my opinion.

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ryzol

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 13:41

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

mumra wrote:But yeah I'm sure it's intentional that lot of low level spells become obsolete later on; you need to free up a lot of slots for the more cool stuff. However there are definitely some low-level spells that you'll want to keep around into the extended endgame; this is good balance in my opinion.

I think this is my biggest problem with Fire Magic. There are no low level Fire skills worth keeping. Inner Flame might be the exception, but as is it is not useful for FE. If/when Conjure Flame is brought back this will no longer be the case. However, I would like to see more than 1 Fire spell that is worth keeping into the end game.
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 13:51

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

sticky flame and ignite poison are useful for quite a while.

the vehumet problem stems from the removal of the earth+fire conjurer, so that he now only gifts the (ice+air) book of conjurations. maybe the book should be dropped in favor of something more school-neutral. if reavers come back he could gift their book instead, but it wouldn't contain bolt of fire.

fire is stronger now after the range swap and fireball at level 5, but other schools are just as strong, and from the start. conjurers have two 6-level spells in their starting book, and ice elementalists have freezing cloud. the only other level-6 spell currently available from the start, unless i've missed any, is invisibility, which is a special case given the issues with hexes. i wouldn't mind if freezing cloud, at least, was removed from starting books (if you want it, worship vehumet).
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 13:56

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Maybe the Vehumet proposal for replacing book gifts with individual spells gifted directly into memory would help here, in that fire mages would be more likely to get the mid/high-level spells that they want (and other elementalists would no longer have specific spells absolutely guaranteed, which is probably a good thing).

(IE doesn't start with Freezing cloud anymore, incidentally).

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 13:58

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

absolutego wrote:sticky flame and ignite poison are useful for quite a while.

Sticky flame is much more useful for a hybrid than for a FE. However, I am not going to say Sticky Flame is useless for a FE.

My problem with the entire Fire Magic school which includes Sticky Flame and Ignite Poison is that you WILL* forget them** around late game. This is untrue of other spells like Swift and Stoneskin.

*A hybrid might keep Sticky Flame into the late game.

**Them being everything but Fire Storm, possibly Ring of Flames, possibly Bolt of Fire.
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 14:13

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

(IE doesn't start with Freezing cloud anymore, incidentally).


i missed the commit, then (holidays!).
still in the conjurations book? i'll have to do some more ranting then!
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 15:21

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

minmay wrote:Fire doesn't have better range than other schools. Bolt of Fire isn't actually full-LOS range unless you have nightstalker or Vehumet. Airstrike, Refrigeration, and Lee's Rapid Deconstruction can all hit anything on the screen.


Vehumet's range bonus pushes Bolt of Fire's range to full LOS. Bolt of Cold lags one square behind it in range, with or without Vehumet. Throw Flame and Throw Frost have a similar relationship.

The other elements have spells that can reach that far, but none of them are completely free of drawbacks. Airstrike doesn't do nearly as much damage. Lightning Bolt is noisy, and you won't usually be able to bounce it when you're trying to hit something at maximum range. Rapid Deconstruction requires that the target happen to be standing next to a wall before it notices you, which isn't always the case. Refrigeration deals self-damage and will eventually destroy potions if you use it constantly. None of these drawbacks are serious problems, but over the course of an entire game they will come up from time to time. Bolt of Fire just kills things. One shot, and the problem is resolved without creating other problems.

Vehumet does have a little problem for fire elementalists now, though. She's currently offering only Mystic Blast, Orb of Destruction, and Fire Storm, which is markedly less than she offers any other elementalist. My preference would be to axe conjurors as a starting background and have all four elemental spell skills representing in the book of conjurations, but that's probably less easy to do than swapping spells from the book of power.

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 15:45

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

I have no idea why Conjurations(Fire) was removed. The background, sure, but why the book? Removing it from the list of Vehumet gifts is a pretty big nerf to fire casters and only causes problems. And finding it early is nice for branching out into conjurations for backgrounds that don't start with any or FEs or EEs that want to expand their spell pool. Usually not as nice as finding Conjurations(Ice), but nice. So why is the book gone? A name change would have been better IMO, and maybe some spell changes to fit better with the new FE book.

Also Conjure Flame isn't gone, it just got more rare. It's in the book of clouds and maybe others. Also it's back in the FE book in trunk.

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 15:46

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

I'd like to see some spells that make fire's role as destruction-oriented clear, such as a high damage spell that also hurts the user.

Since there was talk of lava playing a part, what if bolt of magma gained a nice power boost if cast while above or adjacent to lava? The lava is probably hotter than what a mage can conjure, so why not just make a bolt of what's already there?

Here's another spell I was thinking of, a utility spell that actually fits fire's theme:
Burning Blood (Fire/Transmutation, level 3): Grants the user rC+, and acts like an enhancer for all spells except ice (or I guess just fire if that's too overpowered), but costs the player a percentage of his health every turn that it's active.

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 16:00

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Spells that hurt the user should be Necromancy's perk. (And I think all, or at least almost all, Nec spell should affect the caster in some way.)
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 17:00

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

ryzol wrote:I think this is my biggest problem with Fire Magic. There are no low level Fire skills worth keeping.

I don't see how it's a problem. It's also a property shared by other schools too (any low level poison, tmut or hexes spell worth keeping in the endgame?). Low level spells useful in the endgame are usually overpowered and problematic. They should be the exception, not the rule.
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 17:04

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

galehar wrote:any low level poison, tmut or hexes spell worth keeping in the endgame?

Spider Form (swiftness, EV) and Evaporate (miasma) can be quite useful even in Zot.

I agree that low level spells becoming useless is not a problem, but tmut is not the best example.

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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 19:20

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

galehar wrote:
ryzol wrote:I think this is my biggest problem with Fire Magic. There are no low level Fire skills worth keeping.

I don't see how it's a problem. It's also a property shared by other schools too (any low level poison, tmut or hexes spell worth keeping in the endgame?). Low level spells useful in the endgame are usually overpowered and problematic. They should be the exception, not the rule.

There are many low level spells which are situationally useful in the end game and are worth keeping for some characters. A few examples: apportation, blink, summon butterflies, abjuration, stoneskin, sandblast, passwall, mephitic cloud (yaktaurs), evaporate (degeneration, and steam clouds), corpse rot, regeneration, swift, levitate, confusing touch and conjure flame.
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 19:56

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

ryzol wrote:There are many low level spells which are situationally useful in the end game and are worth keeping for some characters.

Of course, I don't deny that. I'm just saying that the presence of such spells are not necessary to make a school balanced.
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 19:59

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

dpeg wrote:Spells that hurt the user should be Necromancy's perk. (And I think all, or at least almost all, Nec spell should affect the caster in some way.)


There's already Ozocubu's Refrigeration and Olgreb's Toxic Radiance. And Burning Blood could be Fire/Necromancy too (you're essentially burning away your own life force for power).
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Post Sunday, 4th September 2011, 20:10

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

I've split the Vehumet discussion in another thread.
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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 11:19

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

I think the only real problem with fire magic is that fireball has to compete for spell slots with freezing cloud and orb of destruction and comes up short. If fireball left some weak fire clouds (that would become stronger with more fireballs!) and/or if it's range was increased to 7 i think it would be a fair alternative but as it is even with delayed fireball i still think fireball+delayed is not good enough vs freezing or orb as i need to be able to do damage at range 8 but i don't want to worship vehumet everytime. And once freezing cloud becomes an option then the rest of the fire school takes a break until fire storm.

I guess my ideal fireball spell would be sorta like ice storm. But i really dont think there's a real problem with the rest of the spells, just freezing cloud too much better than fireball.

edit: i guess i should clarify that orb of destruction is great for range 8 warfare in the open while freezing cloud is great for range 8 fights in corridors, and as a fire guy i have conjurations too, and since those non fire spells have priority in my loadout since i'm not worshipping vehumet right now, that means most fire spells have been unlearned until firestorm.

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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 11:38

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Nobody yet mentioned the huge perk of Delayed Fireball, which is that releasing it doesn't cost any actions (so I believe). This means it's effectively a bonus free turn in a battle, something that no other spell provides.

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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 11:57

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

mumra wrote:Nobody yet mentioned the huge perk of Delayed Fireball, which is that releasing it doesn't cost any actions (so I believe). This means it's effectively a bonus free turn in a battle, something that no other spell provides.


Yes i know, it is really nice, but i'd argue that presently, delayed+fireball is so inferior to freezing cloud, that most fire is unlearned once freezing is castable and until fire storm. Or at least i unlearn, and spend about 1/3 of my FE of Sif games with almost no fire spells memorized.
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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 12:08

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Isn't Fireball level 5 in trunk, like marvin said? It sounds very nice and reasonable.

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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 12:38

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

That indeed sounds good but doesnt address the facts that:
- without delayed fireball, if i have the choice i will always choose bolt of fire over fireball (edit: actually this level 5 change addresses just that, forget about this line right here!)
- as a fireman i know my conjurations, and i do very significantly better if:
- early i use throw flame / conjure flame / sticky flame / (fireball/bolt of fire) ----> raise conjurations
- middle i use freeze cloud / orb of destruction / mystic blast ----> raise fire
- end i use fire storm / orb of destruction / (delayed fireball / bolt of fire) / mystic blast ----> explode everything

I do so much better with this plan than if i stick to fire the whole way. I don't think it's really a problem since this is fun too, but it looks like the other elements don't have a slump when it would be optimal not to use them.
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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 13:06

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

freezing cloud as a fire user is just weird. i'd rather have poisonous cloud, in combination with fireball (especially now).
but yes, there's a gap, the one filled by freezing cloud in ice. you can do something similar with poisonous cloud and ignite poison, but you need to find the spells and invest in many schools. i nearly proposed a direct fire counterpart to freezing cloud, but it seems redundant. in any case, something actually strong might replace, say, delayed fireball. can't say what, though.
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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 13:09

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

The tendency of FEs to focus on conjurations is a side effect of fire being focused on damage, and damage being mostly tied to conjurations. There are few fire spells that are not conjurations, and no mid-level ones that aren't. So unlike for the other elements conjurations actually has a far wider spell pool and offers more utility and versatility than fire. For other elements it is viable to train the element highest and branch out into other schools. For fire this is strictly worse than using conjurations as the main school and putting fire on the sideline.

Because of that I would really like to see fire get some utility spells. Sure, being very focused on damage sets it apart from the other elements. But there is a bit of a divide between schools, many are mostly about flavor (elements, poison, necromancy, transmutations, translocations), but some are strongly tied to a certain playstyle or certain mechanics (conjurations, charms, hexes, summoning). Fire currently fits into both groups, which is a bit of an odd spot. I would prefer fire being only about the fire flavor, because there already is a direct damage school. The distinction from other elements can be mostly thematic, there doesn't need to be such a strong mechanical distinction.

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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 13:14

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

The same is true (maybe to a lesser extent) with the other elementalists: Just about anyone using offensive magic needs something that does high, unresistable damage from the midgame onwards, and is likely to make good use of OOD and maybe IMB. I wouldn't like to take on an ice dragon or lich using only ice magic, and an earth elementalist may well want something with longer range than Iron Shot.

Similarly, freezing Cloud and Poisonous Cloud are very attractive to everyone because they are so efficient in dealing damage over time to many enemies with a single cast.

There are also reasons for non-fire casters to branch out into fire magic - as an earth elementalist, I've found it quite useful to learn Conjure Flame and Sticky Flame to give some damage-over-time capability I would otherwise lack. Casting a line of Conjure Flames in a corridor is not quite as neat as a single casting of Poisonous/Freezing Cloud, but it can still be very effective against a group of ugly things, skeletal warriors or death yaks, and be much more efficient (and quieter) than repeatedly casting LRD.
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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 14:40

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

It'd be nice to see lava have some tactical purpose other than "you have to fly over this" (with a very limited number of threats hiding in it); clearly Fire Magic would be the school to take advantage of it.


Very interesting because lava would be useful to place a barrier for melee-attacking monsters and to gain distance to use the fire magic against them.

Something like "create lava" (conj/fire) - instantaneous-, "melt ground" (fire/earth) -delayed?- or "lava-trap" (hex/fire), -activated when stepped in-. Utility spells yet having damage.
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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 14:50

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Roderic wrote:
It'd be nice to see lava have some tactical purpose other than "you have to fly over this" (with a very limited number of threats hiding in it); clearly Fire Magic would be the school to take advantage of it.


Very interesting because lava would be useful to place a barrier for melee-attacking monsters and to gain distance to use the fire magic against them.

Something like "create lava" (conj/fire) - instantaneous-, "melt ground" (fire/earth) -delayed?- or "lava-trap" (hex/fire), -activated when stepped in-. Utility spells yet having damage.


I wasn't really thinking like that; changing the environment in such an extreme way would be highly abusable, it would literally shut down a massive number of threats with nothing they can do about it, or monster AI would need improving so they know to retreat (and maybe pathfind a different route).

What I was more thinking were ways to take for a fire elementalist to take advantage of existing lava (much the same as swimming races can take advantage of water); but actually it probably isn't a common enough part of the environment for this to be worth it. But something like "Lava Form" (Fire/Tmut) where you'd get a bonus (perhaps a fire enhancer) whilst in lava. So for the rare environments where lava is present, you'd be "in your element".
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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 14:57

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

I wasn't really thinking like that; changing the environment in such an extreme way would be highly abusable, it would literally shut down a massive number of threats with nothing they can do about it, or monster AI would need improving so they know to retreat (and maybe pathfind a different route).


Hmm ,what if only temporarily affected and then the ground turns to stone again ?
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Post Monday, 5th September 2011, 15:00

Re: Fire Magic is very weak

Random idea: fire skill of 15 allows walking on lava, but you don't regen any MP while doing it. The same thing could be done for ice magic and water walking, but it might intrude on beogh's territory. Also water is much more common than lava and ice magic doesn't need a buff, plus there is shallow water.

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