Warning: post isn't as bit as it looks. It's mostly quotes.

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[color:"orange"]I'd rather see a fire bolt grow into a flaming inferno over 20 skill levels (some perhaps from augmenting passive skills) than have to dump the fire bolt in favour of a fire ball, then a flaming inferno. Any spell can potentially be the most powerful spell.[/color]

In this case, it would be nice if you were still able to cast the lower level spell even after it gets upgraded, to conserve mana fighting weaker opponents. This could be done by putting skill points into a category (ie Fire) to activate each spell at the appropriate level.

More flexible, and more original, would be to do a straight upgrade of the spell, but to allow it to be cast at partial strength (which could also shorten the casting time). Perhaps casting a spell at higher than full strength could do more damage, but also do physical damage to the caster, and add a time penalty before mana would start regenerating (or another spell could be cast). Depending on the proficiency with that particular spell (perhaps based on the number of times it has been cast), the higher a mage tries to overreach their skill level the higher the chance the spell will misfire (doing damage to the caster, but not the enemy).

Okay. Hold the button to charge the spell and release to cast it. You can release the button early to cast the spell at a lower level. Each level exponentially increases the mana cost and effect of the spell.

Level 1 fireball 0.5 sec 1 mana 5 fire damage 1 target
Level 4 fireball 2.0 sec 16 mana 64 fire damage 4 meter explosion
Level 7 fireball 3.5 sec 49 mana 147 fire damage 7 meter explosion
Level 10 fireball 5.0 sec 100 mana 200 fire damage 10 meter explosion

So high levels of this spell are great at defeating multiple opponents, but against a single powerful boss, you'd want a more focused spell like a Lightning Bolt. The lightning bolt would have better damage-per-mana each level, but would only ever hit one target.

If you want a delay (charge now, cast later), hold SHIFT as you charge it, let go of the button when it's charged and let go of SHIFT when you want to cast it.

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That said, spells should overall be more powerfull, but more consuming in time/mana. A meteor strike should either instant kill, or leave the target stunned, knocked down. Giving the mage a chance to finish him off. With melee combat or maybe a less powerfull spell. There should be a reasonable mana regeneration for this to work. Also to make it little more challenging, some spells would not be able to perform while moving, casting an powerfull meteorstrike wouldn't but a firebolt would. Having the mage to use the right skills in the right time.

I like that!

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I like the idea of proficiency (based on the number of times it has been cast).

While it makes sense, I've rarely seen this done well in a game. It seems to either force the player to specialise or gives them too much freedom. I remember spending hours in Quest For Glory simply throwing rocks so I could get perfect throwing skill. Proficiency gives players the opportunity to specialise in everything, which is an oxymoron.

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But I would use that to let the fire bolt grow into a flaming inferno. (And you spend more points in the fire attribute the attack will get stronger.
And for example 20 points in the fire attribute will allow you to go to skill lvl 1 but not to lvl 2.

To make proficiency work, you cannot gain more than 20 points (maybe 30) until you buy skill level 1, after which the cap increases another 20 points. This forces you to use what you have learned before you can gain the next level, and also prevents lower level character simply training to become demi-gods by requiring them to gain levels to gain the skills needed to continue their training.

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I would still want to see more as one fire skill.
for example 4 skills (a minimum) that you get as you become a
-rookie (fire bolt->fire inferno)
-apprentice(maybe a fire shield, and a mana reduction bonus for the rookie skill)
-fire mage(meteor that grows into a fire rain that grows into a meteor storm)
-fire master (ability to let an enemy burst into flames and as you get more proficient at it the enemys within a certain range of your target and for a longer time)

I like that!

One thing I found silly in Diablo II is that you only need 1 level of a lower skill to open unlimited training in a higher skill. How can a scorcer learn to rain fire from the heveans, yet she can barely warm a kettle to make a cup of tea?

So a character can have several proficiencies, each with a maximum. Every skill requires you have a certain score in one or more proficiencies, and it increases the maximum of those proficiencies. For example:

Fire Bolt
Level 1 requires 20 fire proficiency +20 fire limit
Level 2 requires 40 fire proficiency +20 fire limit
Level 3 requires 60 fire proficiency +20 fire limit
...
Wall of Fire
Level 1 requires 50 fire proficiency +30 fire limit
Level 2 requires 100 fire proficiency +30 fire limit
Level 3 requires 150 fire proficiency +30 fire limit
...
Immolate
Level 1 requires 200 fire proficiency +150 fire limit
...

Say the fire limit starts at 30. If you train all the way, you can learn Fire Bolt 1, increasing the limit to 50. At next level-up, further training could get you Wall of Fire 1 or Fire Bolt 2. If you take Wall of Fire 1, the limit isn't increased enough to learn Wall of Fire 2. You require further study in lesser fire spells before this is an option.

In the case of Immoate 1, this can be learned after extensive training in just Fire Bolt 9, or training over a wider range of fire spells.

Have I just forced people to specialise? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/suspicion.gif" alt="" />