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TES VI: Magic

    • 8 posts
    February 28, 2016 10:07 AM EST

    Okay, hi. So nearer the start of February ( I think) I made a post about the setting of ES VI where I was under the idea that every week or so, depending on how often I felt like it, I would make a new post on my ideas for Elder Scrolls Six. Well, I never got round to making the second installment.

    So, now that I explained my hiatus, I will make the second part about the magic in elder scrolls place, looking at the mechanical side and the in game aspects.

    So mechanics:

    As I brought up in part one about setting, I will only be using Morrowind, Oblivon and Skyrim as examples for (hopefully) obvious reasons. You will probably know that each one of the modern tes games use a different magical system for the way spells are cast. In morrowind a button for bringing up your spells and weapons was used, in oblivion a button cast the spell you had equiped and in Skyrim spells took the place of weapons.

    First, let's talk about the benefits and flaws of Morrowind's system: I do like morrowinds system, it allowed for blending magic and weapons into a play style but it made being a battlemage feel strange as you were either using magic or a sword but never both at the same time. And I do recognise that sounds stupid as I said it allowed blending of magic and combat but the system lends it's self well to being a worrior that used magic on the side to help him in battle but did not fit a nearly 50/50 split of the two systems.

    Oblivion handled magic in the worst way of the 3 games, I think. It made magic feel necessary to every character. It made playing an orc who believed magic was weak or simpleton Nord who viewed magic as dishonourable on the battlefield feel pointless and as though you wre missing out on part of the game. It also didn't help someone who wanted to play a pure mage, making magic seem like something on the side to help you, rather than be a primary focus for a character, especially if you didn't want to use a staff.

    Skyrim, now here's an interesting take on magic that's relatively strange as far as magic systems go (or at least it was 4 and a 1/2 years ago). Having either magic or a weapon or a combination of both assisted the feel of character freedom Bethesda boasted (or at least up until Fallout 4) feel real. I liked this system, it allowed for a pure warrior, a pure mage or a combanation of the two.

    I'm not sure which of these I would rather honestly. I'll leave that up to you.

    So now the way magic affects the game:

    first off, we need a load more spells. I mean A LOT. However, these spells shouldn't be boring in order to make as many as possible. We need spells that mix elements as well. I want to have a spell that when it hits an enemy freezes them then calls down the wrath of the nine and uses sun magic to melt the poor bastard.

    Spell crafting was an interesting mechanic from Oblivion that allowed for making a mage playthrough feel more unique. oblivion's spell crafting didn't come without it's problems though. It allowed for you to make incredibly powerful nuke-esque spells. This said, I still think an incredibly powerful mage should be able to make equally as powerful spells and maybe even be able to write and sells tomes to make some sweet green....I mean gold.... or septims or fucking whatever.

    leaving spell crafting behind, the inclusion of more types of spells or elements for destruction spells could be cool, imagine playing a geomancer who can control the land around him, blocking his foes from filling him with a few extra holes by raising the land in front of him to form a barricade, or using a similar spell to surround the opponent's feet to with rock. Or a sailor who during his time at sea, learned to control the water to defeat his enemy.

    I think I covered everything I wanted to here, but I probably forgot to do something due to having to go deal with real life things, I mean who needs a real life? Anyway, I think I'll do skills or classes next time.

  • February 28, 2016 12:20 PM EST

    Interesting topic Callum. I never played Morrowind but I think you are a bit harsh on Oblivion magic system. While I agree that magic was basically used in every character (now that I think about it, but most only used restoration magic), I've never felt it was forced or wasted in any of my characters, but this is my personal opinion and battlemages have always been my favourite characters so I kinda liked being able to use magic and weapons without having to switch.

    Now with your suggestions as to be basically an earth/water bender, I don't think we will see anything to that extent in TES VI. I for myself would be happy with the ability to summon more different creatures (I miss Oblivions Daedroth especially) and different forms of Draining spells (again, a bit like in Oblivion but I would not mind some tweaks and improvements).

    On another note, have you ever played Two Worls 2 or had a chance to look at its magic system? I think it is one of the best in modern gaming and I would be interested to hear your opinion on it, especially because it gives you the ability to use mixed spells ("I want to have a spell that when it hits an enemy freezes them then calls down the wrath of the nine and uses sun magic to melt the poor bastard.")

    • 489 posts
    February 28, 2016 12:44 PM EST
    I like your thoughts but I totally disagree.

    Oblivion had it right. I absolutely hate how a spell "takes up a hand" slot. Morrowind I guess was restricted with mechanics or just the concept not being in the game, but spellcasting and weapons being separate was indeed annoying.

    Oblivion had the right idea. Of course someone holding a two handed sword or shield or whatever could just cast a spell ... Either just let go with one hand or cast with the shield on. ESO had this concept down as well and makes combat much smoother.

    Skyrim just seemed to want to introduce the "new cool" thing by having flames or illusion or an oblivion portal in your hand. Great way to show off some graphics and the UI interesting but makes no sense. I have to completely put my greatsword away to sling a firebolt? Lame.

    I also think that spellcrafting should come back. There WAS a hinted spellcrafting/spell combos that would come into Skyrim with that game jam video. One hand each with a different spell would result in a new spell or one of another school that you did not know. Cool concept, even though it would poop in the face of lore.

    I am really hoping that TES6 will bring back casting spells as a separate button. No matter what is equipped you should still be able to sling an "equipped" spell.
    • 585 posts
    February 28, 2016 1:01 PM EST

    Even though I love the idea of nature magic, it would be very hard to incorporate them into a game. Permanantly changing the map could result in quests being locked and glitches galore. It just wouldn't be practical.

    What I would like to see is a combination of spells, ie combining Fire Bolt and Lightning Bolt to make an awesome combination of the two, perhaps at 75% of the two spells combined, but keeps the full power of the burn and magicka drain from both.

    Oblivion and Skyrim both had very different ways of handling magic, both of which I enjoy. So it would be ideal for me to have both in the next game. So using Oblivions casting could be weaker or require more magicka as they have to concentrate on holding a weapon, but this could be offset with perks etc.

    What I'm trying to get at is that I want options. Lots and lots of options.

    • 8 posts
    February 28, 2016 1:08 PM EST

    I'm glad you disagree =). Creating a dialect was my main goal.

    You make some strong points here. I do think this issue boils down to subjective opinions though and really I wasn't sure what I would like in ES6 when I wrote this earlier and I'm still not sure. I completely missed out ESO (likely because I subconsciously try to block it out, I think) but I don't think that system would suit a single player experience because it has a lot to do with unlocking new abilities as you level so your character is objectively stronger than some one of a significantly lower level.

    You make a point about being able to cast a spell with your great sword out, which I will concede makes sense. But my issue with oblivion's system lay in the fact that it encouraged weapon use on mage characters and magic use on warrior/thief characters, which is great for creating a unique character, (Nightblades and magical arches are something I have a particular affinity for) but sometimes I do want a pure mage/warrior/thief character.

    I'm glad we agree about spell crafting and I think the mixing multiple spells mechanic sounds fun, however it wouldn't work as fluidly if we reverted back to the oblivion system like you suggest, or even the morrowind system. It could mix with weapon enchantments as well which you be even cooler.

    I repeat again, I'm open to any system in the next game (except eso's).

    • 8 posts
    February 28, 2016 1:17 PM EST

    You should play morrowind, it provides the most immersive RPG experience that the modern Elder Scrolls games can offer, in my opinion and as a general consensus. Looking back, maybe I was harsh on Oblivion's casting system. It's not that I dislike it, just it is my least favourite of the 3. I like the ability to have restoration magic at a button's touch on every character made restoration a (sort of) crutch for characters and removed most of the need for alchemy unless you wanted your character to use it heavily.

    I don't think the new elements I suggested are likely anyway, honestly. I used these as an example to highlight how interesting more variety in spells good be though.

    You are 100% right, conjuration was incredibly mundane in Skyrim, which leads me back to the point that we need more spell variety in every school. As for draining spells, same thing again, more unique and interesting spells (like draining).

    I've not Played Two Worlds 2, I'll make sure to give it a try. 

    • 489 posts
    February 28, 2016 1:22 PM EST
    No, I didn't bring up ESO as a character system. ESO simply has the similar Oblivion mechanic of casting spells without having to assign them to a hand or slot.
    • 8 posts
    February 28, 2016 1:23 PM EST

    I don't think a perminate change in the map would be viable at all, you're quite right. It would likely just fade after you enter a load screen (persuming the game is not seamless) or after a few hours. 

    Yes, there would need to be limitations but on spell mixing to keep the game challenging.

    I never even thought of mixing two spell casting system, infact that would be a great idea! However, if I were to mix two, it would be Oblivion and Morrowind's systems. If you had oblivion's and skyrim's you could essentially wield 2 spells and a sword but with Bblivion and Morrowind it would be sword and weak spell or powerful spell.

    I agree totally, options are vital for a good RPG experience.

    • 8 posts
    February 28, 2016 1:32 PM EST

    Oh I see, my bad.

    I thought you meant the way you had multiple magical abilities and had to have them equipped and were (basically) your main attacks.

    • 54 posts
    February 28, 2016 1:38 PM EST

    The whole magic system is flawed. I mean, you can become defenseless, while the knight will never not be able to attack, and he's meant to be played in full heavy armor, while Bethesda says that a traditional mage should have to give up a chunk of offensive power for any protection at all! I think that the only way to fix this is to rework the magic system. Example, when my magic becomes three-quarters empty, I do less damage. When it's half empty, I can't cast some spells. When it's completely empty, I can only cast a few bottom-ish ones. Now, this would scale with level, meaning that the reductions get less and less limiting as time goes on, and if you have, say, 100 destruction magic, then even if you have no magika, you can cast adept or apprentice spells, depending on the difficulty and perks. But, that's just my thoughts.

  • February 28, 2016 3:04 PM EST

    Yes, I have often read that Morrowind would give the best RPG experience in Elder Scrolls, but I have never been able to be immersed in it. I own it, I've tried to play it (even with graphic enhancement mods) but not more than 3 hours I guess. Wish I had started to play TES when Morrowind came out but I was too young back then I guess.

    Yes, I absolutely agree that we need a lot more spell variety. Again, Two Worlds 2 has a lot of different magic effects, I found a video that explains the magic system a bit if you are interested.

    With a bit of creativity, you can make hilarious spells like having anvils whirl around your character and hitting every one who gets too close :D

    I really hope TES VI features spell crafting once again.