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Thread: Magic in games

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    Magic in games

    I've recently been thinking why I didn't like Guild Wars 2 more. It was good and it was well done, but still I had problems sticking to it. While I'm not a fan of the tank, dps & heal school, I came to the conclusion that my problem with GW2 was the lack of classes. There's basically just one: the damage dealer. There is almost a complete lack of utility skills and spells, and what I most like playing in games like this is the utility caster. So there's my problem.

    Magic users that just "click a button and something awesome happens" are dreadfully boring. Magic should be mysterious and exciting and not just throwing a bunch of fireballs around like a different looking firearm. I began to wonder what games are there where magic and wizards are actually interesting. Magicka for one, the casting mechanic is superb. Same goes for Legend of Grimrock. D&D games have a great deal of variety and allow for very "indirect" wizardry.

    Can you come up with something that I haven't played that has fun wizarding?

    *thoughts inspired by Harry Potter movies. Seriously, they are way cooler than anything in games. Of course it all comes down to fireballs being a lot easier than environment manipulation etc. Bleh.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    Arx Fatalis has you drawing runes on the screen to cast spells. Not sure if that counts as fun or simply frustrating, and I don't remember whether any of the specific spells are interesting. The developers went on to make Dark Messiah and Dishonoured, which allow you to be fairly creative with your magic, e.g. ice spells on stairs to send orcs flying down them. Not a huge amount of variety in those games, though.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus LTK's Avatar
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    You could always play the Harry Potter games. The one that I played years back wasn't half bad. Took every spell and magical item from the book and made a puzzle about it.

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    Believe it or not, moba style games are very good at this.

    HoN in particular has vector based spells that allow for a very physical interaction with the map and allied/enemy heroes. And in terms of direct support and utility spells that require placement and or single/aoe targeting they excel as well but that's common to all mobas and most fantasy games. Vector targeting seems to be unique to HoN but I don't play LoL so someone correct me on this if the game has them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PC3YKuFCql0 - the hero's called Rally and his primary use is around his compel spell. He can vector target himself or allies and push them a certain range in a 360 degree radius. And any enemy in the path of the pushed target is stunned for a short duration. Its an incredibly beautiful ability and has a multitude of uses; initiation, escape, saving an ally, dodging, etc. The video also explains vector targeting too.
    Last edited by khaz; 25-03-2013 at 09:56 AM.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mickygor's Avatar
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    It's not PC, but The World Ends With You had some pretty awesome mechanics for games, somehow they managed to make something which could quickly interpret gestures which in reality were quite similar from a computational perspective.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    As someone mentioned you might enjoy some MOBA games. They've got casters who are entirely support based or control based as opposed to hurl fireball based (they've them too). The only issue with MOBAs though are they can have steep learning curves made worse by some of the worst communities around.

    If you like Skyrim I'd recommend Midas Magic mod. It adds completely new spells to the game, like polymorphs and the ability to make walls of thorns grow so you can put up a barrier between you and that wolf.
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    Two Worlds 2 has some pretty interesting magic effects. And the system to create the spells is even more fun, defining up to three "stages", like a missile that, on contact, enchants everyone within 5m with fire damage over time. Or creates earthquakes.
    It also has some utility, like healing, restoring run energy, jump height...

    As Khaz said, MOBA games often have some interesting effects.
    (Viktor in LoL has a robo-arm laser beam that is targeted with vector, sweeping across the line drawn.)

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    I agree with the MOBA assesment. I've played a couple of hundred hours of DOTA2 and it's rather great from this perspective. Especially the Invoker. Might try the midas magic once I get to my second run of Skyrim, it's great as a pure illusionist btw. A couple of years ago I tried to enjoy Two Worlds Two but it was just too awkward. The magic had potential there but it felt like melee was the only proper way to play the game, at least at the beginning.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelron View Post
    Arx Fatalis has you drawing runes on the screen to cast spells. Not sure if that counts as fun or simply frustrating, and I don't remember whether any of the specific spells are interesting.
    Was a nightmare. Turns out it's hard waving your hands in the air to do some awfully precise drawing while an ogre lands on you like a sumo wrestler.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    I don't like magic in most games, usually it's an uninspired run of the mill generic fireball-healing-teleport-stun whatever idiocy. However, I had a lot of fun in VtmB as a Tremere mage. Some really fun spells.
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    Really? I can't imagine playing Two Worlds 2 without magic now.

    It really picks up once you get a few spell cards under you. Summoning especially.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickygor View Post
    It's not PC, but The World Ends With You had some pretty awesome mechanics for games, somehow they managed to make something which could quickly interpret gestures which in reality were quite similar from a computational perspective.
    World Ends with You and Knight in the Nightmare are brilliant games with very unique magic and control systems. The latter in particular is initially mind boggling but once you get it, its just amazing what you can do with it.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    It just so happens that I have a very little used DS lite here somewhere. I'll need to look into those.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I only played GW1, primarily as a mesmer/monk. I didn't have a single direct attack spell, but I was deadly, I would hex enemies, spread the hexes and then detonate the hexes and all the while siphoning energy off enemies and converting it into buffs and heals.

    Fireballs who?
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus DaftPunk's Avatar
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    I only played with magic in Dragons Age:Origins,and it was fun,having baddies explode was good to look at :D

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Hypernetic's Avatar
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    I think the real problem is that magic often shows up in games with other things like swords and physical ranged classes and requires balancing. A game that focused solely on being some sort of uber wizard wouldn't need to worry about balancing the different combat classes and could instead focus on all kinds of original and probably over powered wizardy.

    There are aspects of it in games though, most recently Dishonored had some pretty cool magic like possession.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    Was a nightmare. Turns out it's hard waving your hands in the air to do some awfully precise drawing while an ogre lands on you like a sumo wrestler.
    I actually liked it a lot once I realized I could pre-cast. Made me feel like a proper wizard in that I would prep a few spells berfore combat, blast those, then frantically try and prep a new one. Fortunately I found that most of the damage-dealing spells used pretty simple runes. It was just the utility spells that had complex runes that were way too easy to screw up.

    And by "Wizard" I mean "Harry Dresden". Of course, at the time I didn't know Dresden existed, but now it makes it even more fun.

    Hmm, I may need to reinstall that. Been meaning to try out Arx Libertalis anyway.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypernetic View Post
    I think the real problem is that magic often shows up in games with other things like swords and physical ranged classes and requires balancing. A game that focused solely on being some sort of uber wizard wouldn't need to worry about balancing the different combat classes and could instead focus on all kinds of original and probably over powered wizardy.

    There are aspects of it in games though, most recently Dishonored had some pretty cool magic like possession.
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    I strongly agree with the OP. In many games it's taken so far that magic is far, far stronger than bows and crossbows - devices manufactured for warfare. In DCSS and ToME4 bows feel like waterguns compared to common offensive spells. And when you have direct damage spells as strong as that, there's no need to use any other kind of spell.

    But I can recommend some games with more interesting spells:

    Trine 1, 2
    In Trine, the Wizard character can't harm anyone directly, and spawning crates and planks over enemies to crush them is slow and awkward. For bonus points, try not to use the Thief class at all. That will force you to be creative, because Thief's rope can get you almost anywhere and makes your brain atrophy. Even boulders rolling downhill can be evaded with the Wizard.

    Nox - make no mistake, it's an ARPG game, but spells are wonderfully creative. There are around 50 for Wizard and 30ish for Conjurer. Wizard can create traps with any 3 spells in them, create a shield that reflects projectiles, switch positions with an enemy (a form of teleportation), teleport randomly, teleport to specific target, temporarily lock doors, create walls, cast many spells on friendly targets rather than himself, pull or push objects with telekinesis. And the damage spells are very varied with no obvious choice like in Diablo:
    - Missiles of Magic may hit up to 3 targets, are homing, and deal decent damage. But they're quite inefficient in terms of mana used.
    - Lightning is very efficient and easy to hit, and jumps to multiple targets. But it requires you to stand still and that's a big deal in this game.
    - Fireball is very damaging, but requires good aim and can hurt or kill the caster if used up close.
    - Shock deals high damage, but only to 1 target that hits you in melee.
    - area spells are nice against groups, but otherwise cost too much

    Spells are not limited by cooldowns, you use whatever you prefer for the situation.
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  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
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    Yeah, I 've played all of those b0rsuk. And I also agree with Hypernetic. Wasn't there a kickstarter or an indie game or something about dueling wizards some way back that seemed interesting? Am I making this up or can someone recall what it was? Think I read about it on RPS. It's understandable that the game play for a wizard class can't be all that complicated if there are other classes present too. Think the world is due for a WIZARD SIMULATOR or something. May need to pitch the idea to Wolfire games as they seem to know what I like :D
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