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Re: CF: Alternate proposal: MARK the power crystals

    This Glowing Crystal thing has become the biggest debate I've seen here
since I joined the list.  I'm not entirely sure where I stand any more, so
please bear with me while I try to identify the seperate issues.

How much should they be weakened?

    One thing we do have a consensus on is that mages, especially at low
levels, are significantly harder to play than warriors.  Warriors can take a
beating and keep fighting back, while mages have to do their best not to get
hit at all and can deal enough damage to do that only as long as they have
enough spell points to destroy their enemies before they can get too close.
    Glowing Crystals effectively increase a mage's spell point reservoir,
which goes a long way toward evening out that initial disadvantage.  On the
other hand, having a large number of crystals at your disposal means having
as many spell points as you have patience to charge.

How should the limit be enforced?

    There have been suggestions to limit crystals by blowing them up if
there are too many, making them drain each other, making them drain their
owner, or making them simply not function if they're too busy arguing with
each other.
    Incompatible objects immediately destroying each other is almost
certainly going too far, especially if an unsuspecting player would be
harmed or killed in the explosion.  The rest of the suggestions seem pretty
reasonable, though.

How should incompatible crystals be identified?

    Keycodes have been suggested as a way to allow up to one crystal of each
type without conflict, with those types to be determined by map designers as
the new crystals are placed.  Others have suggested that incompatible
crystal types could be detected by comparing their attributes and causing
problems if they are too similar.
    Both of these methods can carry over to other artifacts to allow various
kinds of powerful items to misbehave if they don't approve of their owner's
taste in equipment.

    Have I left anything out?

    My personal preference would be to limit crystals to one per category,
where those categories are specified by a keycode *list*.  Making it a list
allows one powerful crystal to conflict with two different kinds of smaller
crystals that would otherwise work fine together.  I feel the automatic
detection method would be unnecessarily restrictive, since the categories
would have to be specified in the detection code.
    As for the effect of a conflict, I suggest that the stronger of the two
conflicting crystals should drain the energy from the weaker crystal(s) that
it conflicts with.  The rate of drain could be determined by the difference
in their power, but the energy gained by the greater crystal should be
significantly less than what is lost by the lesser.  Perhaps 20% or so.  In
the case of equal crystals, they would both gradually drain each other.  A
large number of identical crystals would be simply unchargable, since any
energy given to one would be leeched away by each of the others.
    Compatible crystals would be the ones that are different enough that
they would be unable to absorb each other's energy.  A small fire-attuned
crystal might be perfectly compatible with a small frost-attuned crystal,
while a large fire-attuned, frost-repelled crystal might be incompatible
with other crystals attuned to any element.  And a crystal attuned to
information would simply ignore them.  An unattuned crystal on the other
hand, would work well with any but the most powerful attuned crystals.
    Crystals that are more powerful, have more benefits and penalties, or
have fewer conflicts, should be high-level quest items.  A Glowing Diamond
for example, that wasn't attuned but only conflicted with other
diamond-based crystals, attuned or not.  They would be very difficult to
obtain, but there would be no point in having more than one, since they're
so powerful they're empty each other almost immediately.  They might even
cause a few hit points of fire damage as they overheat in the process.
    Smaller crystals, or ones that are somehow flawed, could be made even
easier to obtain than the current crystals, to help out the lower level
mages a bit.  Those would be the ones that have a capacity of only 100, or
are attuned to only one path, but repel several.  Or perhaps a normal sized
crystal with no special powers that conflicts with almost every other type. 
While that one is sufficient, it works great, but soon you'll have to decide
between the large crystal and a whole set of small ones.

    The attunement I'm referring to need not be a continual effect, like
wearing a ring of Fire.  Attuned crystals could insert a temporary "force"
in their user every time energy is taken from them, which would grant that
attunement temporarily.  The duration could perhaps be based on the power of
the crystal, and attunement granted by one crystal could be made to cancel
out any attunement previously granted by an incompatible crystal.

            -Dave Noelle,       
            -the Villa Straylight,
Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email  ==

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