Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'd Like to See Magic Users Use More Magic

Magic is a very powerful thing but in warcraft it never really seems that way.  Magic in warcraft is a very watered down and boring version of what magic could or should be.  From having to stand still to cast, which makes no sense, to having line of sight break a cast, which is illogical, to having the things cast have no impact on the surroundings, which is not realistic, magic just does not play out as I believe it should, or could, in the game.

Lets start with the whole standing still while casting.  Why?  It really makes no sense.  In any form of fantasy when someone casts a spell they are either concentrating on a target and casting their spell or speaking an incantation to get the spell to happen.  If a caster, at least of the stature that we as players as supposed to be, which is very highly skilled, can not continue to concentrate while moving or can not spit out a few words of an incantation while moving they probably would have died well before they reached max level.

For some spells, ones that require items, so to speak, it makes sense that someone would need to stand still while mixing the ingredients needed to call upon the spell.  So there is some sense to why certain things you need to stand still for.  A warlock calling a demon, calling a summoning portal, or a mage channeling a portal or conjuring a table all make sense to stand still doing.  Even if they do not need items to be done, they feel like spells that needs them.  So it makes sense that they should not be capable of doing them while moving.  But a chaos bolt for a warlock?  During their lives they must have called upon that ability a million times, if not more.  If they can not concentrate enough to summon a chaos bolt while moving after all that practice, they need to quit their day job of being a warlock because they really suck at it.  If you do anything in life a million times it is a pretty safe bet that you can do it with your eyes closed while sleeping so you sure as hell can do it while moving, awake, and motivated to do so while in the heat of battle.

So not being able to cast on the move really breaks the magic feel of casters.  Master casters as they should be at level 100.  They just do not feel very magic user like the way they are portrayed in game.

Lets move on to line of sight breaking a cast. It is illogical that line of sight should ever break a cast, or moving out of range should ever break a cast.  The logic of magic is that it does not need to see a target to target it.  It just needs to be in mind.  Magic is harnessing the power of the mind.

If I imagine myself hitting you with a fireball and then summon a fireball and send it your way I do not need to, now or ever, see you.  You breaking line of sight should not stop my cast.  You are still you even if you are out of line of sight.  So me releasing my power at you should not change based on where you are standing.

No matter how you believe magic works you should still be able to cast even without a target in line of sight, that is just common sense.  Heck, you should be able to summon a fireball even if you do not have a target at all.

This next part here is where we can break into different ideas of how magic works.  So while you should be able to summon a fireball regardless of line of sight issue, where the fireball goes can be left up to how you personally believe magic to work.

1) Would the fireball go after the target no matter where they go?  As if you focused on the target and then sent the summoned ball of fire their way.  It would be like a heat seeking missile and would follow the person around obstacles, at least until it went so long it fizzled out.

2) Would the fireball take the most direct route and hit the tree you are hiding behind?  This make a great deal of sense really as the fireball would be heading directly for you and if there was something in its way it would hit it.  Kind of the same as if I threw a baseball at you but you are on the other side of the fence, it would hit the fence and never make it to you, even if I threw it perfectly to you.  This is how magic should work.

Then that brings me to part three of what makes me wish that magic users actually used more magic.  Environmental effects.  Using the example I posted above if you ran behind a tree while I was throwing a fireball at you, it should not break my fireball cast but it should show my fireball hitting the tree and setting it on fire.  The spell should not break, it should not fizzle, it should set the tree on fire.

You should be able to target and effect your surroundings with magic.  I understand the huge amount of work that would need to be done to allow this to happen in the world in game, but it would make magic feel more like magic if it did so.

Could you imagine a hunter and mage chasing after a warrior and the warrior hiding behind a tree.  Instead of them needing to run around the tree to try to chase him the mage should just be able to freeze the tree into a giant block of ice and then the hunter would hit the frozen tree with an explosive arrow shattering it into a million pieces raining down the frozen wood shards on the unsuspecting warrior that was seeking cover.  Ladies and gentlemen, now that is freaking cool and that is exactly how magic should work in the game.

Some of these things you can not really change in game like the omg how awesome would it be to blow up a tree on top of your enemy, but there is one thing that blizzard could change to make magic users feel more magic like and that is addressing the cast on the move situation.

Over all I think blizzard has casters and casting on the move ass backwards.  They allow people to cast instants on the move but cast time spells they make them stand still for.  There really is no logic to that with how magic has been portrayed throughout the history of the genre.

If anything you should need to stand still for instants and be able to move for cast time spells.  The reason for this is with a cast time spell you are summoning something, speaking some special incantation, something of that sort.  All things that even a low skilled caster would be able to do while moving.  For instants however, they are powerful direct targeted spells that need a moments concentration, hence the reason they are instant.

So I would like to see them change casters to be more magic like.  Make them have to stutter step to cast an instant, it would still be instant, but they should not be allowed to use it while moving, they should need to stop a second to cast it, but at the same time let them summon their chaos blot or fireball while moving.  It would most definitely seem more caster like that way, in my opinion.

Then, in the future they can add the interaction between magic and the world in ways that would be very exciting.  Such as the frozen tree.  But that does not mean that only casters should be able to interact with objects in the world, physical characters should as well.  A warrior should be able to pick up a chair or table and throw it at someone from range.  A rogue should be able to sneak behind a bunch of barrels and push then toward someone knocking them down.

This post might be titled making magic users more magic like and it might push for casters to be able to cast on the move, but the main reason for it is I would like to see us be able to use the world we play in.  And no other type of class would be able to take such huge advantage of that like the magic users would.  If a caster, like a shaman, wants to make an earthquake and have it lift the spot of ground it is on 20 feet into the air, they should be able to.  Because that is how magic is supposed to work.  And that is a damn cool thing I would love to see in the game.  It would also really make magic users feel, for once, like they are using magic.


  1. Gonna have to disagree with you on your first two point's There's a pretty well set precedent that you have to stop to cast a spell. Lets Look at D & D the grand daddy of all of this. Right now you have 3 actions in a turn standard (where you cast magic) movement and a minor. You can cast a spell and then move or move and then cast a spell but you can't move a little cast a spell and keep moving after that. You have to stop and when you stop you are done.

    Your other point of line of sight is even more ingrained in most table top games and wow and D & D almost match each other to a T if some one is manages to line of sight you you simply can't cast a spell on them you might be able to target the ground with an AOE near where they are and clip them but you most certainly need line of sight on them.

    I'm guessing you don't play a lot of pen and paper games? both of these rules hold pretty firm for the ones I've played there are a few outliers but none come to my mind.

    I'm pro blowing up tree's tho and It seems that's the way games are heading so that's cool!

    1. Apparently you have not been reading or watching or playing any sort of fantasy I have.

      Nearly ever single form of fantasy that has ever been made had casters creating a spell while moving. Nearly every single form of fantasy has had casters creating an ability without a target and then slinging it in which ever direction they choose even if there is nothing it is particularity meant to hit. That is a fact of fantasy.

      You can disagree with how it works saying it should not work that way, but you can not say it does not work that way in fantasy because it always has. Go watch any movie, pick one, I bet you that you will see some casting on the move and someone conjuring a spell without an intended target or line of sight to an intended target.

      Play pen and paper? I wrote them and DMed them back in my day. And while what you say is true that is a completely different type of game. It was designed to be standing still and not constantly moving like warcraft is. If a game is designed to stand still then of course you stand still. But warcraft never had been designed to stand still, except for casters, and they should not need to stand still either.

    2. Oh really? You are full of it again you can't even name an example. How about Gandalf "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" I bet he would have liked to cast that spell on the run!

      Wow was a game that was designed to stand still when you cast spells that's the whole issue. In vanilla casters were not mobile at all. Gradually we moved away from that until it got muddled. Now we've had a course correction back to the original design.

      D&D is a different game but the first MUD's were based on D&D and MMO's are based on the the MUD's and hell D & D took inspiration from LOTR's and Gandalf stood still to cast!

    3. LOTR barely had any magic in it at all, so it's not really a good example. Gandalf used what like 3 spells in all the books. And I only remember one of them where he was standing still; the "you shall not pass" one. And that made sense because he used his staff to break the bridge at the point he was standing.

      The Harry Potter world is clearly different though. They typically cast on the move and as they become more skilled they can even cast spells even faster by skipping the incantations (or even without a wand...).

      I'm trying to think of other fantasy "worlds", but they are either based off D&D or the magic they do have is extremely powerful but extremely rare.

      WoW is simply based off D&D rules as most games are.

      In the Elder Scrolls world you can cast while moving. Actually, in those games you had reduced accuracy with a bow when you were moving, which makes sense. Unlike WoW, where hunters can shoot while doing flips.

      I think the problem comes down to balance. Magic has to have a weakness in a game; otherwise, it would always be the strongest skill.

      In the ESO MMO, melee classes have lots of closers with CC (charge+stun and death grip like abilities) to get up on ranged classes which are extremely mobile. Also, even melee classes have some ranged abilities. They also balance it by armor type. Light armor is better for casters so they are squishier than melee who prefer heavy armor.

      WoW has that to a certain extent but not nearly as much. They went the D&D route instead where casters are glass cannons (although I'd consider them glass turrets instead because they're not that powerful).

    4. @Tiggi

      WoW "was" designed as a game of stand still. The game has changed, it is not the same game it was 10 years ago where you just stood there and DPSed and healed. It is all about movement now and continues to become more so with each expansion.

      As for naming movies, I do not need to. "every" kind of covers it. That means all. Do you want me to name all fantasy movies every made? Sorry, I can not do that because I do not know every one ever made.

      As Jaeger said, Gandalf does not do a lot of casting and the little he does he did not need to stand still to do. So you gave yourself an example that supported what I said.


      Never really watched the harry potter ones, think I saw one of them, but thanks for pointing them out. If anything they are the perfect example of "modern" fantasy even if I might not be a fan of it.


      I think the old version of KJC warlocks had would be perfect for casting on the move. You could cast while moving but you moved a little slower. Now that fits, or is damn close to what most fantasy shows us. Unless it is some huge "destroy the entire building" sort of magic that needs massive planning and time, it never requires standing still.

    5. Well grumpy the game has changed again back to where we stand still now like in most magical fiction (see what I did there) based off D&D and no Gandalf didn't cast many spells but I can't think of one spell he cast on the move. decursing the king nope stood still casting light on his staff stood still.

      Re:harry potter most of the time they are casting standing still they do cast a few on the move but they aren't your big spells they are your ice lance or scorch.

    6. Back when I was young, watching Sailor Moon cartoons, they cast spells dancing around, bending odd angles and twirling, while yelling the name of the spells. That's what I want.
      OK, I was trying to lighten the mood :)

    7. @Tiggi

      The game is currently in a state of flux. The "magic" is handled like it was in vanilla where you never needed to move. The fights however are designed around complete movement. Something needs to change. Either fights need to go back to vanillas stand in one place and do your job or casters need to be able to move. As it is now it is using two forms of magic. Pen and paper logic for ability, modern fights for design. While I like both ways they do not mix together well.


      Not exactly what I had in mind, but it does prove the point I was getting at. That is how magic has been handled in fantasy for a very long time. Movement does not restrict basic actions, like casting simple spells.

  2. Not sure you can appeal to "realism". Almost nothing in WoW or any other MMO can stand up to that kind of analysis. Swimming in plate armor? Carrying half a dozen backpacks at once with half of them filled with items larger than the space that contains them and which weigh more than the person carrying them? Never, ever going to the bathroom?

    About the most you can hope for is internal consistency. If in-game logic says you have to stand still to cast then you should always have to stand still to cast unless you're given a clear reason for the exception. These days WoW is kind of a hold-out in this respect anyway. Most MMOs made in the last five years that I've played allow casting on the move - in fact many of them virtually require it since they expect you to dodge and roll almost non-stop.

    Having played both, on balance I'd rather stand still.

    1. Hey! I log into all my toons to let them use the outhouse every day!

    2. Well the realism needs to be taken with a grain of salt. More so fantasy realism and not real life realism. As in fantasy as we know it. Consistency might be a good word for it. And in all forms of fantasy casters or any sort have been able to call a spell while moving and then hold it and release it when ready. That is the "realism" I was speaking of. Magic being magic we are used to in the genre. But there is one bit of beauty about fantasy. You can do anything you want with it because it is fantasy such as swim with plate on or carry thousands of pounds of supplies with you every where you go.

    3. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

      There is a way to get the best of both worlds on this. A spell cast from a stand still costs half the price of mana expended as a spell cast on the move, regardless of the cost of the spell otherwise. Basically that means all the old NPCs do not have to have running spellcasting re-figured in, but rather they are assumed to always choose to cast from a stand still. This would effectively double the mana pools of such NPCs, but truthfully that should matter little to any leveling character.

      For Line of Sight, it is necessary for game play reasons. Otherwise magic would be to powerful on any given situation. If targeting at out of sight, location unknown, range would be permitted the mana cost would have to be overwhelming or otherwise why play anyone but a spellcaster. Example, you get off one fireball at the unknown target, at unknown range, at an unknown distance for your entire mana pool. Guessing that character class was there and it was not would cost the whole of the mana pool also. So yes, such a thing is possible but the game play results would not be as beneficial as you think in my opinion.

      I for one, would rather see more spells of all sorts available for spellcasters. As a mage, priest, warlock, druid, paladin or monk my spell-book looks mighty thin. I think they should have all the spells ever in the game possible at once. However they should also have a limited number of spells that may be active at any given time, and those should be largely a players choice beyond certain class/spec defining spells. Dammit, I want my starshard that cost no mana back...but someone else might well want to use a different spell in that slot instead.

    4. With the exception of an arcane mage, where mana is a huge factor in game play, mana is a non issue for casters now. They never need mana so penalizing them mana wise, unless they completely redesigned them, would not work.

      It seems like they are looking to trim even more spells so that spell book will get even smaller soon. Blizzard is trying to simplify by removing flavor. Not sure it is the best course of action, but it is the one they are using.