Is Magic Shield becoming an essential skill a good thing?
*I know it is not the time for Mr. Raptis to do balancing skills and stats but I think it wouldn't hurt to discuss some balance issues within the old solomon game for now.
We all know that Magic Shield a must-have spell for any wizard in Keep, Boneyard, and Dark. Now here are my questions: Why is it necessary to magic shield and is a good thing for a game like Solomon's Keep to have an essential spell like magic shield?
The main reason why we must have magic shield is that the some attacks are impossible to dodge. In the late game, enemies' damage become so high that you can just die by two shot. If all attacks are dodge-able in some way, you can just believe in your skill or get phasing and completely ignore magic shield. However, some attacks like lightning, Unholy's charge attack, and first few seconds of laser attack, are 100% impossible to dodge what so ever. Also, because poison damage becomes so powerful that one hit completely reduce health into 1 no matter how much health you have. Because of these two problems, magic shield have become the necessity for beating late game levels.
So, is this phenomenon wrong? In my opinion, yes. Solomon games are about the random choices given each run and how to overcome the obstacle given by the gods of random number generators. If for some "series of unfortunate events" you get no magic shield, you can never overcome your fate because things like Unholy and mass lightning mages will kill you not matter what you do. Of course if stoneskin was in the Keep you would have a slight chance with at least lightning mages but due to the terribly long cooldown of stoneskin, it would still be impossible to beat the game. My general philosophy of randomly generated dungeon crawl game is this: no matter how unlucky you are, there must be at least a chance to overcome the obstacle. The current Solomon game, by forcing players to get Magic Shield, is not only fixing the builds but also making the game un-fun in some way.
Then how can we solve this thing in SKHD? Here are the list of things can be done to deal this phenomenon:
1. All attacks by enemies has to be dodge-able in some way. The best example of this would be bullet hell games like Touhou project or Binding of Issac: Rebirth (it sort of is when you fight final bosses). In these game, you get overwhelmed by shower of projectiles that it seems almost impossible to dodge. However, if you look closely and understand the attack pattern, you can learn how to maneuver through the stream of projectiles and even complete the game unharmed if you are good enough. Solomon games, on the other hand, are not like that. It just send enemies with simple movement and simple attack patterns that has little to no solutions other than just soaking the damage with Magic Shield. It is possible to use walls and objects to block some but certain attacks like lightning are completely impossible to dodge. To make all the attacks dodge-able in some way, lightning mages must be shooting lightning like Dire Aliss does (no homing, straight line) and Unholy series' charge skill must be replaced with something more dodge-able. Though I am not really liking the monotony of most enemies attack pattern, they are all manageable in some way and decent for now.
2. Poison damage system needs change. There are two ways to fix poison damage. First is to make Resist poison not only reduce % of poison damgage but also deduct fixed amount of damage as well. For example, if you have level 3 resist poison and get posion damage of 50 per second, you will reduce 10(20% of 50) and 15(fixed amount) thus resulting 25 damage per second. This way, you can make resist poison more useful and make a way to counter poison without the need of Magic Shield. The another way to fix poison damage is fixing how poison work. Instead of poison damage dealing x amount of damage per second, you can change it to deal x% of max health per second. This way, you make sure that the poison damage to be a threatening in some way but not as devastating as it is right now (turning full health into 1 hp in a second is too much).
3. There should be more defensive options for other mages except frost mage. I know mages are suppose to be a glass cannon of some sort but there has to be some sort of defensive ability to deal with tough situations. Frost has no problem with that for its defensive nature and lightning is sort of okay with it too. The problem is the earth, fire, and ether users. Other than Magic Shield and stoneskin, they have no ways to protect themselves what so ever. Of course, I have an idea for each of them having unique defensive ability.
Fire should have a life steal(regain health as you deal damage). Because fire is a very aggressive element and require skill to hit enemies, it would be very fitting to have a life steal passive skill for fire attacks. This way, not only we make fire element more reliable but also remove their dependency for Magic Shield. This can also promote more use of health up. How would a fire mage get life steal? You basically consume the heat of enemies and use it to your own health.
Ether should have a skill that give you x% chance to become invulnerable for 1 second when hit by an attack. Considering the fact that ether is involved with phasing and portals, we can say that you instinctively transform into an ethereal form for a short period of time when you feel danger.
Earth should make the boulder to block projectiles and magic at the cost of it's durability. First, it just make sense. Second, if you know how to use earth mage, you know that your secondary spells are more important than your primary spell. So having weaker boulder as a result would be fine.
What are your thoughts about Magic Shield being essential skill in game? Is this a serious problem that must be fixed in SKHD? Or is this just fine as it is right now? Let me know you guys think about this phenomenon on the comment section.
And as always
Live long and prosper Mr. Raptis