But isn't the point of randomized resistances the fact that you _cannot_ know ahead of time and plan for a boss being resistant to your spells?
Right, so you will need enough distinct spells to cover the different situations. As Chris noted in the OP a certain basic set of spells would always be available, including at least 1 damage spell per color, so you'd never be completely unable to damage a boss. Some bosses would be harder than others based on your choices, but I see that as a good thing as long as it isn't too brutal.
Plus, what if the boss's attack patterns make it extremely difficult to fight with your current spell types?
I don't have a concrete situation in mind, but accepting the premise for the sake of argument: go back and either spend some of your saved crafting resources to unlock a spell that will do the job, or if you're out of those pick missions with listed rewards that include the materials you need. But I don't think you would frequently find yourself fighting a boss that you simply couldn't beat due to your spell selection, or if that was happening frequently it's probably a problem significantly deeper than any of the "tier replacement" ideas could fix.
Just to comment before I head to bed, I think my main problem with this is I really want to be able to make my character unique, and forcing me to use a small set of spells is like making me be a different character.
It wouldn't be a small set, it would start smallish and grow as you progressed through the continent. Presumably it'd be fairly broad by the time you got to the overlord, or just very specialized towards getting the really powerful ones you want.
Also, is this an objection to the OP or to the variant I'm going for the last several posts? With:
1) Missions reward crafting materials (you know which and how much before you pick a mission).
2) Nothing else gives crafting materials.
3) Crafting materials are stored in the settlement/continent and can't be carried to other continents.
4) Once you craft a spell that spell is "enabled" on that continent and is free to craft on that continent if you need more copies.
There wouldn't be any spells you couldn't get, you would just need to choose which ones you wanted. And there wouldn't necessarily always be a mission that rewards the material you want, but the more core ones (the 6 raw gem types particularly) would presumably not take more than a mission cycle or two for one to turn up that does. If you want to be a lightning and fire master, go after the missions that reward those gems and relevant rare materials.
Part of the problem is elemental immunities actually. If I want to be a lightning and fire master, I can't.
I agree that resistances can mess with that, though I think that's going to be the case regardless of which "tier replacement" we pick.
Just thinking off-the-top-of-my-head my suggestion for resistances would be:
1) For a normal boss:
-- Can only have 1 element 99% resistant against, 1 element 50% resistant against, and 1 element 33% resistant against.
2) For a lieutenant:
-- Can only have 2 elements 99% resistant against, 1 element 50% resistant against, and 1 element 33% resistant against.
3) For an overlord:
-- Can only have 3 elements 99% resistant against, 1 element 50% resistant against, and 1 element 33% resistant against.
And in fact there's probably already something like that in there. Basically normal bosses would never "shut you down" unless you literally only have one viable dps color. If you have only one viable dps color you are doing it wrong. Lieutenants and especially overlords could be major pains in the rear-end but I think that's kind of their calling in life. Having to retreat from a lieutenant or overlord fight isn't that bad of a thing.
Anyway, I think that specialization is allowed, possibly even encouraged by what I'm proposing, so I think that answers this particular concern. If I've missed your point please let me know
Anyways, the tide might have moved on past this system in general, but I think a few tweaks like this might overcome the major pitfalls.
I'm not willing to let the tide move on yet
Not saying that this is the best solution, but it's the best one I'm aware of for the time being. Most of the objections I'm seeing now seem to be in response to the OP idea, rather than what I've been contending for more recently. If someone has objections to that I'm happy to see if they're right and/or how it can be solved. If I can't solve it, then the tide is welcome to proceed. Otherwise I'm probably going to keep bothering people about it
I think part of what might hurt that is any sort of random application of elemental buffs. They should be by area type or by dungeon type, or something. (Maybe elemental resistances could be assigned randomly at the point a Tower is generated, for example, and displayed above the door or something - then everything inside could have degrees of those same resistances.)
If it's not already somewhat predictable then yes, it should be. I dunno about the overlord posting "this is the element I'm weak against!" next to the lair front door, but if it's the dude in the volcano then maybe that should inform resistances.
And another one came in while I wrote:
Chris: Yeah, that just adds complexity and the need to save-scum. Players want to try a spell before they buy it
Ok, that could be done by having a "try" button on the crafting screen that gives you a "trial" spellgem that only works in a settlement (with no enemies present, if there are still attacks on settlements). It's a bit more work but really not much, and I think any system's going to need it if there's a cost to getting/switching-to a spellgem.
1) players can't decide on what to unlock because they don't know exactly what they need and they only even know what they previously unlocked even does
There's a number of approaches they could use:
a) Just spend the crafting materials as they get them, on the stuff they want, and if they run into something where they need a different tool they can do missions to get those materials. And how commonly will they absolutely need a specific spell? If one particular spell is just that essential they should start with it, or if they need 1 of a particular set they should start with 1.
2) anything that delays huge amounts of content from the game for 20-40 hours is a Really Bad Thing at this stage.
Any of the spells would be available to craft, they just couldn't have all of them at the same time. Or if they really want all of them they can keep doing missions to get the materials for it.
Right now we need to have players making interesting choices and customizing
That's exactly my point
it's not yet remotely into the AI War territory of needing the bonus ship types (and even that is only a limitation for about 9-13 hours in most cases, AND it only affects maybe 30% of the total kinds of ships in the game thanks to all the turrets, defensive units, starships, etc, etc, etc)
Right, which is why I moved from an ARS-type model to a sort of hybrid between knowledge and crafting: most of those turrets, support units, and starships are not available right at the start (above mkI, anyhow, which could correspond to our "basic set" that you always start with) and you have to spend a finite resource to get them and/or specialize in them. That's a good thing. Not without issues (try-before-you-buy, etc), but a good thing.
If each continent is meant to be "playing the entire game" or close, we need to have a whole game's worth of content there.
And will this not have that? It's all there, you just need to prioritize. In AIW you don't generally unlock everything (if that's even possible, I forget) in a single game but you get a fairly wide selection unless you're playing really low planet-count (corresponding, perhaps, to an AVWW player that does only the core missions and only gets the crafting material rewards from those). A continent corresponding roughly to a galaxy seems ok, though I do agree that 20 hours is perhaps too long for a single "galaxy" in the analogy, but I think that's a wider issue than this.
And then when the content on the next continent is randomized, you run into compounding problems with repeats, etc.
Repeats within the set of stuff chosen for that continent, or continent n+1 picking some of the same randoms as continent n? Both could be solved by relatively simple logic. But more fundamentally: what's getting randomly chosen again? Just the initial set of what's unlocked when you first enter the continent, all the other choices after that are player-directed and only bounded by the materials they've managed to gather (which should be pretty broad except for maybe really rare materials).
If the randomization were really a problem it could be entirely removed from that initial set of unlocks per continent: here's the basic set and go. Or maybe just have one fairly beefy spell thrown in on top as a homewarming gift.
Not to mention that there is just no way to do without huge swathes of the spells in the game. It's kind of like in AI War: you couldn't randomly take away engineers, or turrets, or tractors, or starships, and have it still be the same game.
Right, I'm not suggesting that.
Moreover, I really do feel like Hearteater is right that it reduces the ability for players to specialize
I believe I already answered that concern in responding to him, let me know if I missed something.
That's part of why some form of limitations by-spell-class on what you can carry (as in suggestion #3) is attractive to me, because that allows you to specialize even more.
I like the limitation-by-spell-class too, and specializing in certain classes, but I think that could be added to this too if we really wanted to add a new system like that and had time.
This thread smacks of making the players meet the same challenges in different ways for somewhat arbitrary reasons.
If the continents themselves and missions themselves present the same challenges, yes, perhaps. What I'm going for here would do is give them a different set of raw materials from which to make the tools to meet those challenges, and let their choices determine which particular bits of raw materials they wind up getting and thus perhaps tip the balance of those decisions (of which missions to pick).
Anyhow, lots of stuff going on, did I miss any objections?