April 29, 2008

Age of Conan spellweaving revealed

Fellow Mages rejoice: the moment we have all been waiting for has come! Info about the spellweaving system has been revealed by Funcom's lovey-dovey partner IGN, and it's sure to give that warm, tingly feeling (like when you set someone on fire) for spellcasters and bring fear to the melee classes. The article isn't very detailed but it explains the essentials of spellweaving quite well. There's also a short 15 second video demonstrating spellweaving that you can watch on IGN or YouTube:

There still are quite a few things I'd like to know about spellweaving, although now that we learned about the basics, I don't mind waiting till the launch to find out. Here are some of the parts I found interesting for one reason or another. First of all, the apparent dependence on random chances which I don't think I'm going to like much:

After the state is enabled, spellweaving progresses through six stages, with transition between stages occurring around every ten seconds and occasionally when an offensive spell is cast. Each stage increases a passive spell damage buff, which will max out at around 25 percent <...> Once stage six is reached, the progression cycles back to stage one and repeats all over again, retaining the passive damage bonus. Additionally, each stage transition is accompanied by a chance to gain helpful or harmful effects. While the positive effects will be short duration, the negative side-effects will last until even after you've stopped spellweaving, leaving you vulnerable to attack.
If I understand correctly, the buffs (or debuffs) will be completely random and will not depend on things like your casting performance, timing the spells and such. Also, if you get debuffed, it stays "on" for the rest of the spellweave, and even after it. If you read the article you probably remember that among the listed debuffs there's also one which minimizes your spell damage. I'm guessing that if you get debuffed with that one, you have no other choice but to cancel your spellweave as you will be pretty much useless with your weakened spells. I guess it's all about keeping your fingers crossed that the nastiest debuffs don't kick in right from the beginning - since you don't have any control over this.

The other thing I would like to know is whether stamina/health drain is percentage-based or fixed. I suppose percentage-based would make classes with different health equally good at spellweaving; on the other hand, it would not reward those who try to buff their mages and priests up a little by acquiring +health gear.

One piece of info that surprised me is that according to IGN, the only classes who will be able to spellweave are Demonologist, Necromancer, Tempest of Set and Priest of Mitra. Miss anyone? Yep, apparently, Heralds of Xotli won't get spellweaving. I suppose it makes sense that more melee-based caster classes, such as Herald and Bear Shaman do not get spellweaving - they do get full 5-direction melee attacks after all. It was surprising only because I'm pretty sure I read from an official source some time ago that Heralds of Xotli would be able to spellweave their offensive spells.

I also have to say that I love the amount of control they are giving you in spellweaving (the chance-based buffs/debuffs aside). Towards the end of IGN's article I read something really promising:
During spellweaving the caster can activate a special power that turns the 1, 2, 3, Q, and E keys into ability keys that control the ebb and flow of the phase, pushing it into overdrive for increased damage or slowing it down to prolong the process. <...> And as a bonus, every class gets specific graphical animations for spellweaving.
Sounds great - looks like you can power up faster, at the higher cost of stamina or health. Now that's the "dark and dangerous" magic I excepted in Age of Conan!

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