Spell Balancing in Wizard101
Modeling the Spell Audit
In my most recent article, I talked about the spell balancing system that the Wizard101 Devs have used, and will continue to use, when auditing old spells and creating new spells. If you haven’t read that article yet, I highly suggest you do, as this article will assume you’ve read that one (or at least understand the balancing system). Click here to go to that article. Also, make sure to check out what has already happened during the audit by checking out what spells have already changed here.
EDIT: Note that this entire article was written before 8/5/2020, and the content has not been changed since. This note is irrelevant to most readers, so please carry on.
Though my previous article contains an excellent approximation of the function the Devs use to calculate damage, I recently figured out the exact function they use (as well as some rounding and order of operations standards). This was not something I could be sure of in the last article, though the explicit function and calculation methods I talk about in it are both an excellent approximation of what they do and easier to perform quick calculations with.
My hope is that this article will serve as both an informational guide for players on what to expect out of the rest of the spell audit, and also as a way to give some suggestions to the Devs on how to deal with certain specific spells (looking at you, Pigsie).
Standard DPP Spells
Without further ado, take a look at the below tabs to see how the rest of the spells could change. First, check out the tab below to see what Standard DPP spells are likely to change in the near future (all of my audit versions of these cards were made using Legends of the Spiral’s card maker – thanks to them!):
Comments: Heck Hound should be affected by a damage reduction given to X-pip spells. Here, it sits at slightly below base Fire DPP. Note that what the X-pip devaluation will be (numerically) has not been decided; therefore, this balancing (and my balancing for all other X-pip spells) is both a suggestion and a prediction.
Comments: Fire Elf should be pushed down to the curve. The original Devs balanced properly it when the game was released, but the spell was later pushed up to 100 initial damage.
Comments: The Links in these spell balancings are adjusted to put 75% of their Rank towards damage, and 25% towards healing at Life’s heal DPP. I didn’t price in the heals as utilities (based on keeping the numbers similar to what they are currently).
Comments: In this spell balancing, Immolate is adjusted to deal 2 Ranks of damage to the user and 6 Ranks to the target. I didn’t price in the self damage as a negative effect.
Comments: Scald should be pushed up to the curve. This spell balancing rounds to the nearest 15 instead of 5 to account for the 3 round DoT.
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Comments: Frostbite and Colossus were already changed. No other Ice spells seem to need adjusting.
Comments: No Storm spells need adjusting. If anything, Tempest may get a slight buff (to 85 per pip), but it isn’t necessary.
Comments: This spell balancing pushes Dryad down to the Life heal curve, and then factors in an X-pip reduction.
Comments: This spell balancing pushes Sprite down to the curve. Minor Blessing could also get a slight buff, but it isn’t necessary and I probably wouldn’t buff it. Pixie and Fairy likely won’t (and shouldn’t) change since they’re more of a baseline spell given to all schools. Either way, they’re very close to the curve (though their accuracy is higher at 100%).
Comments: Unicorn’s healing should be pushed up to the standard Life heal curve. As a result, it should also pushed down to standard Life accuracy.
Comments: Satyr should be pushed down to match the curve.
Comments: Regenerate should be pushed up to match the curve.
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Comments: Poison is currently very slightly above the curve, though this could easily go unchanged.
Comments: These old drains are slightly off-curve, with Vampire especially being noticeably above. These spell balancings also round to the nearest 10 instead of 5.
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Comments: Earthquake was already changed, and no other Myth spells need adjusting.
Comments: Judgement should be adjusted to account for an X-pip reduction. I could see it going down to 80, but 85 seems reasonable considering context.
Comments: This spell balancing would put Helping Hands in line with Availing Hands. I would probably reduce both of the Hands’ accuracies to 85%. The other option is to nerf Availing Hands, but I think the DPP of Availing Hands makes more sense than that of Helping Hands.
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Enhanced DPP (Lore) Spells
Next, take a look at the below tab to see how Enhanced DPP Lore and dropped spells are likely to change. Note that I put all of these spells on Enhanced DPP, and reduced accuracy where needed
If I didn’t include a Lore or dropped spell in this section, that’s because it’s balanced as is. This doesn’t mean they can’t be reworked; however, they are mathematically balanced and have no obvious rework. The spells that fall into this category include the Grizzleheim Lore spells and the Celestian Spellemental spells.
Comments: The original Brimstone Revenant that did 440 without an effect was correctly balanced on the Standard Curve. The current version, however, is far above the curve. This spell balancing reduces the accuracy, a standard trait of Enhanced DPP spells and reduces damage to put it correctly on the curve.
Comments: Krampus doesn’t need to be changed at all, as it’s currently perfectly balanced on the standard DPP track. However, this change would reduce the accuracy and increase the damage to put it on the Enhanced DPP track in line with other Lore spells.
Comments: This spell balancing reduces the damage on Hephaestus to account for the Rank 2 value of the effect.
Comments: This spell balancing reduces the accuracy of Burning Rampage to put it on the Enhanced Curve. Its current form gets slightly above a 10% boost from Standard DPP. This could be intentional given that the Devs looked at the spell relatively recently, but in this balancing I assume the extra boost is unintentional.
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Comments: This change likely will not happen. Angry Snowpigs is currently valuing the Steal Ward at half a rank instead of a full rank. This is probably to compensate for the fact that stealing a ward after attacking is a very niche utility. However, I figured I’d put up what auditing this spell would look like when considering only the quantitative and not the qualitative value of the effect. They could rework the utility and/or pip cost.
Comments: This spell balancing reduces accuracy to put Handsome Fomori on the Enhanced Curve, and buffs the utility so it values at 0 Ranks.
Comments: Similarly to Brimstone Revenant, Winter Moon is significantly above the curve. This spell balancing reduces accuracy to put the spell on Enhanced DPP, and lowers damage to match the curve.
Comments: Like Krampus, this may not be changed (they’ve already put out a spellement path for it). However, unlike Krampus, it is significantly over the curve and probably should be changed.
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Comments: Queen Calypso is a tough spell to analyze. What I’ve done in this spell balancing is treat it as a single target spell that puts a 20% trap on all non-targeted opponents. Considering this, I put 1 Rank towards tempo, and only half a rank for the effect being “semi AoE” (since there is no effect on the target themselves). This gives it 2.5 Ranks of damage, which is then divided by 1.2 to account for the trap. This feels to me like the most useful way to balance it.
Comments: This spell balancing reduces accuracy to put Catalan on the Enhanced Curve. Then, it improves the effect to value at 0 Ranks, and reduces the damage as necessary.
Comments: This spell balancing reduces accuracy to put Catch of the Day on the Enhanced Curve and reduces damage as needed.
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Comments: This spell balancing reduces accuracy to put Luminous Weaver on the Enhanced Curve and reduces damage as needed.
Comments: Pigsie is tough to balance because it’s currently mathematically underpowered, but qualitatively very powerful. Based on Wings of Fate, there’s no difference between Standard and Enhanced DPP for healing, so Pigsie would use the same DPP as other Life heals. I would like to see it give a 70% Guiding Light to the caster. This utility would take away enough healing to make Unicorn and Rebirth viable, but still give Pigsie a useful niche. A 70% Guiding Light would value at 1 Rank, and that’s reflected in this spell balancing. (Note that the second consecutive Pigsie cast would be marginally weaker than the current Pigsie if unenchanted, but if it was enchanted, it would be marginally better than a currently enchanted version)
Comments: This spell balancing treats the absorb on Sacred Charge as a Rank 1 utility, and reduces the accuracy and damage as needed to put it on the Enhanced Curve. The Devs have been somewhat ambiguous with how they view absorbs; Hungry Caterpillar gets its absorb for free (valued at Rank 0) and Rebirth pays full price. The damage will almost certainly end up at either 210, 325, or 440 if the absorb stays at 250. I would say 325 is the safest bet.
Comments: Goat Monk can’t be balanced on the Enhanced Curve without an effect because it would be the same as Centaur. This spell balancing puts 3.67 Ranks towards damage and 1.33 Ranks towards the self heal. I didn’t price the heal in as an effect (similar to the Links and the Deckathalon Goat Monk treasure card).
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Comments: Headless Horseman is very high above the curve, likely because it was based off of an item card. This is similar to Ninja Pigs, which was based off of a popular treasure card.
Comments: This spell balancing reduces accuracy to put Deer Knight on the Enhanced Curve and reduces damage as needed.
Comments: This spell balancing balancing pushes the utility on Lord of Night up to 0 Ranks of value. Then, accuracy is reduced to put in on the Enhanced curve, and damage is reduced as needed.
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Comments: This spell balancing reduces accuracy to put Keeper of the Flame on the Enhanced Curve, and reduces damage as needed.
Comments: Ninja Pigs is very close to being on-curve, but it’s slightly above. This is probably because it was created based on a treasure card, as mentioned earlier.
Comments: This spell balancing of Athena Battle Sight treats the shield as a Rank 0 effect and reduces damage accordingly. This makes some sense given that it’s an off-school effect. It might also be reasonable to expect either 505 damage and 50% shield or 570 damage and 30% shield. I would think it would make sense to try to avoid giving Myth a Tower Shield utility.
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Comments: Ninja Piglets seems to be very slightly above the curve.
Comments: Like Krampus, Loremaster is currently perfectly balanced on Standard DPP, and so this change isn’t necessary. I would like to see this spell balancing, though, to put Loremaster on the Enhanced DPP Curve with the others.
Comments: This spell balancing drops accuracy and increases damage to put Samoorai on the Enhanced Curve. The current version is actually overpowered for the Standard Curve.
Comments: This spell balancing drops accuracy to put Savage Paw on the Enhanced Curve, and reduces damage as needed.
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Finally, take a look at some utility spells that either will change, are likely to change, or that I think should change:
Comments: Steal Ward is likely going to go down to 1 pip to be in line with Steal Charm, and this spell balancing does that. 80% accuracy seems to be a baseline for the stealing utilities.
Comments: Disarm is essentially confirmed to be changing to 0 pips to be in line with Pierce, Cleanse Charm, and Cleanse Ward. This spell balancing reflects that.
While I’m talking about removal spells, Enfeeble and Shatter are worth mentioning. I think these spells could go either way between being 3 or 4 pips. Given the both the current PvP meta and the current PvE boss AI, I think 3 pips is where it should probably stay. However, I could understand why the pip cost might go up; theoretically, it’s a subjective issue regarding how quickly diminishing returns takes effect with infinite removal spells.
Comments: Though I understand why the original Devs valued an accuracy blade as more valuable than a damage blade of the same percentage, that practice doesn’t make functional sense in the game today. Based on the Lightning Bats upgrade path, the current Devs seem to agree.
Comments: Mass Infection should be put in line with Brilliant Light, and I think they both make sense at 2 pips when considering the effect I discuss below.
Theory of AoE Utilities
Now I’ll take a moment to talk about AoE utility spells. Based on how the Devs treat utilities attached to spells, one might expect many AoE utilities to go down in pip cost. However, there’s a big difference between a pure utility spell and a utility attached to damage, especially with AoE utilities.
Specifically, with a pure AoE utility spell, say Choke or Blinding Light, the caster has the luxury of only needing to use it when there’s significant value (i.e., when there are multiple stun-able opponents present), whereas if it’s attached to a damage spell, you’re still forced to pay for the utility even if isn’t useful in order to use the spell for its damage. Therefore, since you’re getting extra value for them being pure utility spells, AoE utility spells are probably good where they are.
The list of specific spells that are affected by this is below:
- Choke/Blinding Light
- Mass Prisms
- Mass Triage (The pip cost might seem high even when accounting for the qualitative idea above, but consider that no trained AoE DoT spell in the game costs less than 5 pips and that this spell is only going to be efficient in the first place when countering an AoE DoT.)
- Cooldown (similar idea to Mass Triage)
- Virulent Plague
- Brilliant Light
- Mass Infection
AoE Utility Pip Cost
This isn’t to say that the listed spells won’t or shouldn’t be changed to reflect the lower pip values one might expect. My point is that there’s a potential reason for them to stay at their current pip values. Keep in mind that this applies more to AoE utility spells than single target utility spells. This is because AoE utilities have a much higher maximum value than single target utilities.
Of course, there are other utilities that could be reworked in terms of pip cost, like Shift, Detonate, and Dimension Shift, but there isn’t any obvious precedent for those spells.
Any questions or thoughts about the changes?
Let me know in the comments!