Changes for Problematic
Spell changes are a pretty common topic all across the Wizard101 PvP community. There is always a lot of debate about which spells should be buffed and which ones should be nerfed. With Kingsisle hinting about a complete PvP rework , I’ll try to share an opinion about the following three spells that are among the most problematic in the current PvP meta:
- Burning Rampage
- Guardian Spirit
You’ve probably noticed the polls on our official twitter account. I was curious as to what people thought about the initial ideas before I dug into the details. Although results were mixed, I’m still standing behind my original ideas. Eric already shared his thoughts about spell changes, but today we’ll focus on the three most problematic ones.
Let’s start with a little theory
I’ll try to be short here, because I’m quite aware the theory isn’t always a popular subject. However, it’s a base for understanding the thoughts behind the changes. It’s also a solid starting point for you to learn as much as you can when it comes to rebalancing.
An idea might be great for a spell itself, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for the game on a macro level. The first thing you need to watch out for is to not over-nerf spells: AKA making them useless. This might be fine for game balance, but it’s not the right way to adress the problems.
Next, one must pay attention to all levels. A certain change might solve a problem at max levels, but it might not do much at mid ones for example. Then, there are also the effects on other spells from the same school. Making a slight adjustment could cause other spells to become obsolete.
Maybe I’m still missing some key points, or maybe i’m overthinking the situation a bit. But I’m trying to give a complete picture to spell changes by looking at the situation from all angles and not just one.
- Damage: 390-470
- Effects: -20% damage, -35% accuracy to opponent
- Damage: 400-440
- Effects: -25% damage to opponent
Let’s start with the the first proposed spell change – Loremaster. Yes, I was completely aware that this would turn into Luminous Weaver on steroids. There’s nothing wrong with this, since there are already a lot of other duplicates among Lore spells. Getting rid of mantle was an easy decision, since 2 after effects are still too strong for this game. You can somewhat handle them at max level PvP, but they’re really problematic at low and mid levels, especially when they’re on a spell that is easily spammable.
This brings us to our next point: Why not simply make it 5 pips? That’s where looking at the issue from all angles comes into play. Firstly, it wouldn’t solve the “being spamable” issue. One nice example is using it with Shadow Trickster. 5 pips is still somewhat in spammable range. Keep in mind, that Loremaster is available to all levels, so Legendary Balance wizards could still cast it 3 times in a row, which is pretty devastating at that level.
Next reason why it would be better to nerf damage+effects and keep it at 4 pips is other lore spells. With this change, balance wizards have nice and useful diversity in lore spells instead of making them predominantly cost 5 pips. On top of that, neither of these are too overpowered:
- Loremaster: 4 pips with decent damage + after effect
- Ninja Piglets: 4 pips with higher damage
- Savage Paw: 5 pips with higher damage + after effect
Without this change, there isn’t a good reason to use anything other then Loremaster. This would remain exactly the same if the only change to spell was 4 -> 5 pips. Piglets would merely become a situational finisher but that’s about it.
Guardian Spirit Changes
This one was a bit harder to balance, since the impact of this spell can make a difference between a 30 minute or a 5 hour fight. In addition, if you try to keep it relevant (by not nerfing it into the ground), it makes your job a little bit harder.
- Value: 15% (+ external stats) regain after death
- Value: 40% flat (without any external stats) regain after death
- Effects: Amount decreases by 10% for each consecuitive revive (incoming, not outgoing – for team matches), stoping at 10%
It looks like that this idea was perceived really well, except that 40% is bit too high in my opinion. But as much as I hate angels myself, we still need to allow this spell to be used as a strategy. The big problem lies in lower levels where the amount of total health isn’t really high. For example, making it 40% instead of 30% would make the spell much worse for grandmaster wizards.
40% is enough to give the receiving player some room to bounce back into a fight, while progressively making it harder for each next cast on the target. On the other hand, 40% is a manageable amount of health to deal with and chunk down, should you choose the correct approach.
Another thing mentioned in the poll’s comments was limiting the spell to being cast 1x per match. Which is a nice idea and could work if it was implemented properly – as it was mentioned. This means limiting the spell to one cast per match and not just slapping 1x mark on the card (which would only allow each copy to be cast once).
Burning Rampage Changes
I had the hardest time deciding changes for this spell. This one is screaming, “I need to be nerfed!”, but it’s still quite hard to come up with a balanced option. A big part of that lies in the original design, which is basically a delayed double hit (a fairly unique concept).
- Damage: 70+700 2 rounds later
- Damage: 500+270 3 rounds later
Let’s start with duration before moving to the damage values. Changing from “after 2” to “after 3” rounds was made with the assumption that the core mechanic won’t change. The problem with this right now is that game deals damage 2 ticks later rather than 2 rounds later, which brings us to the first problem. If you start from 1st, you do the tick in the same round already. Meaning 2 tick when damage is dealt comes 1 round later. If the mechanic can be changed to actual rounds instead of ticks then the duration can stay as it is. Otherwise it should be increased to give an option to counter it when facing it from second.
The only concern addressing the spell changes for Burning Rampage was damage distribution. I made it heavily front loaded, while other suggestions used a more evenly distributed approach. I wouldn’t want to make it a back loaded hit, so the initial strike should represent at least 50% of the total damage. There is no doubt that even 40/60 would be a major nerf to Burning Rampage, but fire has simply way too many available tools to make this work.
On the other hand, a heavily front loaded hit would nerf the spell and force people to strategize and use it wisely. The mechanic would stay the same; only the purpose would change. Right now it’s purpose is pretty simple. Hit into whatever shields the enemy has and let the backload do the job by itself (perhaps backing it up with a Fire Beetle or similar spell the next round). Swaping up things would make players search for opportunities to hit. You would need to find the open hit for spike damage which would leave a small dot afterwards. This dot wouldn’t only deal some damage to the opponent, it’d also serve as shield prevention.
How would you address the Spell Changes?