Change the spellpower display


Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

Blades Runner

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Post Sunday, 20th May 2018, 21:51

Change the spellpower display

[16:27] <Xiongnu> Pips are log curved. That's like, 45% max power, not 70%.
[16:27] <eb> also you probably don't need any more spellcasting skill ever
[16:27] <collin38> oh.... I thought they were linear

[16:27] <Sequell> spell power[4/5]: Got bars (#)? You have at least 0, 10, 15, 25, 35, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200.

It's impossible to know what the spellpower pips mean unless you're spoiled. Leaving aside that it's hard to know what spellpower actually does, many players wrongly assume that the pips are linear and that 7/10 pips = 70% max power. You can already calculate your exact spellpower for any spell if you are spoiled. I do not think it's necessary to hide the numerical spellpower, but even if you think it is, the current display is actively misleading and worse than useless. You could make the pips linear, but it would be really awkward to do that without having a ton of pips or a pip size that's too large. Display spellpower numerically instead.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 15:11

Re: Change the spellpower display

This is already implemented in wizmode, so it would just involve changing the normal spellpower display to the wizmode one.

Dungeon Master

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 15:57

Re: Change the spellpower display

I'm all for giving players better information, and I agree that the log-based spellpower display is weird, but I think the real problem is this and can't actually be left aside if any improvement is to be made:

Leaving aside that it's hard to know what spellpower actually does


Honestly, I tend to think that actual numbers would just make this fundamental problem worse.

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 17:56

Re: Change the spellpower display

I agree that some spells are weird and this could be more universally applied, but "spell power makes spells more powerful" is mostly true... isn't it?

Melee mechanics are also complicated, but I don't think showing weapon delay made it worse.
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Lair Larrikin

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 21:30

Re: Change the spellpower display

Maybe the spell power should be displayed as a percentage? That means hiding the spell's power cap, but this number is not very useful anyway (please correct me if I'm wrong).

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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 21:53

Re: Change the spellpower display

Ge0ff wrote:Maybe the spell power should be displayed as a percentage? That means hiding the spell's power cap, but this number is not very useful anyway (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Do you mean a percentage relative to the spell power cap ? I may be wrong but I think this would be misleading : as an uninformed player I would assume that a 50% power Fireball is half as damaging as a 100% power Fireball which is false.
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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 22:54

Re: Change the spellpower display

Fingolfin wrote:
Ge0ff wrote:Maybe the spell power should be displayed as a percentage? That means hiding the spell's power cap, but this number is not very useful anyway (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Do you mean a percentage relative to the spell power cap ? I may be wrong but I think this would be misleading : as an uninformed player I would assume that a 50% power Fireball is half as damaging as a 100% power Fireball which is false.

Well, an uniformed player has the same false perception of a ### fireball vs ######. The question is would it be *more* or *less* misleading (The same would be true of showing 100 spellpower fireball vs a 200 spellpower fireball, as that also doesn't imply a doubling of damage)

I think "What is the least unintuitive way to display spellpower" is a good question to ask, but I think the actual answer is 'it depends on the spell' which is an unfortunate position to be in.

An ideal would probably show both some representative of how far along you are in the spellpower progress for that spell, and would also give you an idea of how much spellpower effects each spell. Probably I would put the effect of spellpower in the spell description, like "Maximum spellpower increases the damage done by this spell by 75%" or something, so you could say "Oh I'm at 50% of the max spellpower, and max spellpower increases the spell's damage by 75%, so I'm at +37.5% damage)

It would also be nice to put the effect of spellpower in the description of each spell, so you can describe when spellpower has an effect on different things (or when it effects more than one variable)

Strictly speaking it's probably not super important to know *why* some spells get to max spellpower more quickly than others if you know what the effects of spellpower are, but if it's actually considered to be important to know that one spell takes half the spellpower to get to max as another, then that should probably be represented alongside a percentage as either a bar or just a number.
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Post Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 23:45

Re: Change the spellpower display

Siegurt wrote:Probably I would put the effect of spellpower in the spell description, like "Maximum spellpower increases the damage done by this spell by 75%" or something, so you could say "Oh I'm at 50% of the max spellpower, and max spellpower increases the spell's damage by 75%, so I'm at +37.5% damage)
...if the relationship between power and damage is linear, which for e.g. IOOD it is not.

Showing spellpower numbers would make it easier for unspoiled players to see, to some extent, the impact of skills/intelligence/enhancers, but knowing how spell power actually helps you requires knowing a bunch of other numbers too. It's the same problem that accuracy, base damage, and enchantment have; players are shown those numbers (or just parts of them, in the case of accuracy) but you cannot possibly correctly guess what they do. You have to source dive or be told by someone who has.

But showing accuracy, base damage, and enchantment as bars or chokos or whatever wouldn't improve that at all; it'd make it worse. When a formula is too complicated to show to players, you need to either simplify the formula, or admit that you don't actually care that much about clarity.

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Post Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 08:34

Re: Change the spellpower display

duvessa wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Probably I would put the effect of spellpower in the spell description, like "Maximum spellpower increases the damage done by this spell by 75%" or something, so you could say "Oh I'm at 50% of the max spellpower, and max spellpower increases the spell's damage by 75%, so I'm at +37.5% damage)
...if the relationship between power and damage is linear, which for e.g. IOOD it is not.

Showing spellpower numbers would make it easier for unspoiled players to see, to some extent, the impact of skills/intelligence/enhancers, but knowing how spell power actually helps you requires knowing a bunch of other numbers too. It's the same problem that accuracy, base damage, and enchantment have; players are shown those numbers (or just parts of them, in the case of accuracy) but you cannot possibly correctly guess what they do. You have to source dive or be told by someone who has.

But showing accuracy, base damage, and enchantment as bars or chokos or whatever wouldn't improve that at all; it'd make it worse. When a formula is too complicated to show to players, you need to either simplify the formula, or admit that you don't actually care that much about clarity.

Yes, I agree it wouldn't be good to put things like "max spellpower increases your damage by X%" if the relationship is not linear, spells with a sufficiently convoluted relationship to spellpower that it's misleading (or incomprehensible) to give a succinct number probably just shouldn't get one, my suggestion was to just add some text to the body of the description of some spells, if there's no useful text to add there, it probably just shouldn't be added.

As for the OP, I guess my expectation was not that you want to see "how much more spellpower you get by changing X variable" but rather that you'd want to have some kind of estimation of "how much more effective your spells are when you change variable X" which, by itself, showing spellpower numbers doesn't do.

If the actual desire is to see the numbers with no context for what they mean, then the OP would accomplish that result, but I personally don't see the point, without some correlation between spellpower and effectiveness, it really just doesn't matter how you represent it, other than letting the player know that "things are improving"

I think it'd be worthwhile to add such spellpower effectiveness descriptors even if we can't do so for all spells in a reasonable way, and some get them and some do not, and even if we don't change the way that spellpower itself is represented.
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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 19:02

Re: Change the spellpower display

Independenly from thsi feature request, I do agree that the meaning of "power" depends on the spell and is often not obvious (e.g. I only recently discovered that higher powered conjuration affects aim too). The best solution imho would be to include a mention in the spell description (e.g. "Aim depends on power", or "Duration depends on power") the same way the description for the god's abilities explain which depend on invocation and which don't.

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 19:07

Re: Change the spellpower display

Hellmonk wrote:Leaving aside that it's hard to know what spellpower actually does, many players wrongly assume that the pips are linear and that 7/10 pips = 70% max power

Rather than changing the way it currently works, this specific issue could be make clear by using a different form of display, such as the "connection bars" in a phone. Similarly the pips could increase in size: e.g.
Power: ++++..
(but with a better vertical alignment :) )

Thoughts?

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 20:12

Re: Change the spellpower display

duvessa wrote:...if the relationship between power and damage is linear, which for e.g. IOOD it is not.


I mean... sure, but OOD (and maybe Tornado?) is the only spell that doesn't scale linearly, right? Everything else is Xd(Y + power/Z), or a close enough approximation to that that the difference is insignificant. That makes it trivial to calculate max damage. And sure, the max of 4d10 isn't the same as the max of 1d40, and precisely judging the risks of one vs. the other would necessitate understanding the difference... But at its core, spellpower is usually linear (for damage, durations, and even weird things like "how many arcs discharge gets.") And why not put damage numbers on spell descriptions, while we're at it? While I get that it's complicated, surely the knowledge that a crystal spear from a lich could take out 100 HP (or whatever the exact number is) is useful, as is the knowledge that Throw Flame at 50 power does up to 18 damage, while Bolt of Fire does up to 51.3 (however it winds up being rounded)? Why shouldn't I know that Throw Flame is slightly more mana efficient than Bolt of Fire at (my current spellpower)? Sure, Bolt of Fire tends toward average damage more heavily than Throw Flame, so it's less likely to "roll high" or "roll low," but that really feels like splitting hairs versus trying to provide SOME apples to apples comparison.

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 20:46

Re: Change the spellpower display

Indeed, knowing spellpower as a number doesn't do much. A player is interested in how much damage a fireball does, not that the fireball has 70 spellpower.

I proposed a few months ago that all (or most) spell damage be "standardized". There's no need for complicated spellpower formulae -- what you really need is some idea of the mean and variation, together with dependence on spellpower. As mentioned in the previous post, something like W + Xd(Y + power/Z) would probably work for most, if not all spells.

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 20:54

Re: Change the spellpower display

Stonar wrote:
duvessa wrote:...if the relationship between power and damage is linear, which for e.g. IOOD it is not.


I mean... sure, but OOD (and maybe Tornado?) is the only spell that doesn't scale linearly, right?
No.

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Post Thursday, 24th May 2018, 21:06

Re: Change the spellpower display

Sorry - I was specifically talking about direct damage. OOD and maybe Tornado are the only spells that don't scale damage linearly. (Or are unscaled.)

And if there are further exceptions, could you please point them out explicitly? I'd like to understand this issue further if it's more complicated than I'm making it out to be, and I'd like to understand why. If the problem is "This shit is too complicated," understanding why is the first step to fixing it.

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Post Friday, 25th May 2018, 03:59

Re: Change the spellpower display

Stonar wrote:Sorry - I was specifically talking about direct damage. OOD and maybe Tornado are the only spells that don't scale damage linearly. (Or are unscaled.)
I know, and I was saying no, they aren't the only spells. Static Discharge, Conjure Ball Lightning, and Chain Lightning all improve their damage nonlinearly with power due to the increases in number of arcs/balls.

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 23:00

Re: Change the spellpower display

duvessa wrote:
Stonar wrote:Sorry - I was specifically talking about direct damage. OOD and maybe Tornado are the only spells that don't scale damage linearly. (Or are unscaled.)
I know, and I was saying no, they aren't the only spells. Static Discharge, Conjure Ball Lightning, and Chain Lightning all improve their damage nonlinearly with power due to the increases in number of arcs/balls.

In a theoretical solution where we showed either spellpower or showed average spell damage, couldn't these be handled by saying "average 15 damage per bounce" whereas something which only hits once, say iron shot, says "average 50 damage". Something like fireball could say "Average 30 damage per target", etc. Would need enough space to fit in short phrases like "per bounce/target/ball" etc but it isn't too much space; if the column was called "average damage" you could leave out the initial "average". Overly simple 2 column chart:
  Code:
Spell                           Average damage
Fireball                        30 per target
Iron shot                       50
Tornado                         25 per turn
Conjure Ball Lightning          30 per ball

You could have a column for "hits per cast" or something which could show that CBL creates 4 balls now, and then after they train more skills, it would show 5 instead. But honestly even if you don't display that at all, just the phrase "per ball" is a pretty good indication of how much damage you'll do, and hints that the number of balls isn't fixed.

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 23:22

Re: Change the spellpower display

Good luck communicating the average damage of Static Discharge or Chain Lightning. The number of arcs (and therefore average damage they deal to each target) changes depending on how many targets are around and on their positions relative to each other.

Seriously, if you want to show spell damage, simplify spells like that instead of even trying to deal with that wackiness.

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 23:45

Re: Change the spellpower display

I'm all for changing the outlier spells like static discharge to be more predictable, but imho "10 damage per arc" is more than clear enough for the current version. It does lead to the question of "well how much does this thing arc anyways?" but that's something you can usually see in the message log if you want to count how much it bounces.

Something that I think would be really useful would be to show your current damage and also damage at cap - ie, ironshot does 50 damage now, at cap it's 75 damage, you could tell you're 2/3 of the way to the max damage. The issue with this is spells with 150 or 200 cap are basically unreachable, but oh well.

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Post Thursday, 31st May 2018, 01:57

Re: Change the spellpower display

tasonir wrote:I'm all for changing the outlier spells like static discharge to be more predictable, but imho "10 damage per arc" is more than clear enough for the current version.
This would be a flat out lie, because the mean damage of every arc is different. Spell power diminishes randomly with each arc. Same for Chain Lightning.

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Post Thursday, 31st May 2018, 16:59

Re: Change the spellpower display

To be clear - I think BOTH things are useful. If "It's impossible to determine how much damage a spell does in the current interface" and "Some spells have wacky damage numbers for largely no reason" are both true and both bad for the game (which I personally think they are,) then shouldn't we be designing in that direction? Surely the damage curve of OoD can be flattened and bouncing spells can deal damage more deterministically without ruining them.

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