[.11] Channeling Playtest Experiences

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Channeling needs help to be competitive, unless it’s not supposed to be competitive.
It depends on what you mean by "competitive".

Channeling was originally designed to be a replacement for Celestial wands. Wands were NOT intended to be a primary focus of Celestial casters, they were designed to be an addition that gave casters more to do throughout a day albeit at a lower level.

Channeling allows more flexibility than that, but its ultimate goal is to be there to allow casters to do more throughout the day, just like Wands originally were. Don't get me wrong- Channeling absolutely gives way more flexibility and focus opportunity than Wands ever did, since you can specialize in Channeling if you really want to - but the primary purpose of Channeling is to give casters more to do throughout the day, primarily in terms of "quantity of packets to throw and interact with combat".

My personal expectation is that a few purchases of Channeling will give casters a satisfying mechanism with which to throw some 5s or 10s (which are significantly more potent in 2.0 than the same number would be in 1.3) and help contribute to the combat while waiting for the right opening to use their spells. One or two purchases of Channeling per column of spells "feels" right to me, but YMMV. Spells will absolutely be more impactful on a fight than a single Channeling packet will be in the huge majority of cases, and that's OK. But for the purpose of giving players a mechanism whereby they can make regular, useful contributions to a battle without expending their limited spells, Channeling provides an additional outlet that may not be duplicated in pure spell memorization.

So: In terms of "pure power" in a vacuum, you're best off memorizing nothing but Storms all day long, sitting in a chair, and waiting for the fights to come to you. In the Real World (or at least at events), however, Channeling is intended to provide a useful supplement to spells so players have more to do in a day than what they would be limited to with their spell slots. At this purpose, IMO, it excels, and gives something that spell slots just can't duplicate - sustained small plinking for an extended period of time while having complete freedom of movement and ability to swap to spells in between charges when you need to. Storms can't do that. Spell slots alone can't compare for that purpose, either.

-Bryan
 

Feldor

Scholar
It sounds like the tension here is between Polare's state goal of channelling being a secondary thing that you do as a filler between your spells, and Alvatar|DiscOH|MaxIron|Tantarus's desire to have it be rational as a primary focus for a character.
 

Lurin

Duke
On a side note, I was very sad to see wands changed to channel and hope that won't be the final solution, I much preferred the flexibility of wands, especially if it went to XP in scholarly skills to give scroll makers a boost. (with a relic version for healers if it's needed I guess on a smaller number of charges since pick ups are so powerful.)
 

Tantarus

Squire
On a side note, I was very sad to see wands changed to channel and hope that won't be the final solution, I much preferred the flexibility of wands, especially if it went to XP in scholarly skills to give scroll makers a boost. (with a relic version for healers if it's needed I guess on a smaller number of charges since pick ups are so powerful.)
Not super clear on what you mean here, how where wands more flexible then channeling? Do you mean how you got 100s of free throwable damage for zero build?
 

Lurin

Duke
Not super clear on what you mean here, how where wands more flexible then channeling? Do you mean how you got 100s of free throwable damage for zero build?
Yes that is largely what I meant, although I believe that particular proposal significantly reduced the damage rate to meet with the new standards but allowed for productionists or formalists to gain wand charges and damage to increase flexibility in build paths while still being able to participate in combat at a reduced, but still meaningful level.
 

norman b

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
Yes that is largely what I meant, although I believe that particular proposal significantly reduced the damage rate to meet with the new standards but allowed for productionists or formalists to gain wand charges and damage to increase flexibility in build paths while still being able to participate in combat at a reduced, but still meaningful level.
No. I am sorry to be so blunt but giving ONE class a free thing is stupid. It's bad design. Channeling fixes that by allowing people to spend xp to utilize a skill. Giving Earth a lesser version breaks the ''limited exceptions" paradign 2.0 is about. It also leaves a bad taste in Earth casters mouths.

Channeling may not be as good as spell columns, but it fixes the wand issues; Earth gets it too and it's the same progression. Channeling is better than getting rid of wands all together. It allows for some versatility and I think it's great at that.
 

Muir

Fighter
I think it would be especially bad design for 2.0, where celestial casters are the burst damage specialists par excellence and overall damage numbers for repeatable damage have decreased sharply. They do not in any way need a free Better Archery skill on top of that.

That said, I'd definitely like to see straight channeling as a caster build be viable, and not lock players out of end-game Formal because they opted for that instead of spell slots.
 

Feldor

Scholar
Playing a small bit of devils advocate here. We let archers throw infinite damage packets (starting at 4 for heavy xbow), that they can pay build to increase the value of (at roughly 10 build per point, scaling up). I have a hard time seeing why it'd be bad to let celestial casters do the same thing. Admittedly, I'd want them to spend build to increase that damage when it increased, not just get it for free...
 

Alavatar

Baron
  • Currently, a Column translated directly to Signature Spells gives 225 damage for 25xp. (5+10+15+20+25+30+35+40+45 = 225)
    • Conclusion: 9 damage per point of xp spent.
  • Currently: 1 purchase of Channeling for 3xp gives a pool of 25 damage.
    • Conclusion: 8.33 damage per point of xp spent.
  • Question: How much should the Channeling Pool be raised per purchase to make it numerically greater than a Column of Signature Spells?
    • Answer: 27 damage pool per purchase equals 9 damage per xp spent. Therefore, greater than 27 per purchase would be required.
    • Hypothetical: Raising Channeling to 30 damage pool per purchase increases the ratio to 10 damage per xp spent, numerically superior to a column of Signature Spells, but no opportunity for utility spells

  • Currently, a Column translated directly to Maximum Damage of memorizing Storms where there is opportunity provides 520 damage for 25xp.
    • Conclusion: 20.8 damage per xp
Comparables:
  • Channeling can modulate it's damage output while a Column of Signature Spells cannot. For the same XP, Channeling could have between 20 packets of 10 damage to 40 packets of 5 damage, but the Column would only have 9 packets. Assuming a hit rate of 70% (rough guess for a good caster), Channeling would result in ~140 damage inflicted, while a Column would be anywhere from 105 to 210 damage inflicted, depending on which spells landed.
    • If fighting 4 monsters each with 20 body and 1 dumb spell/elemental defense each, chances are good the Channeler would be able to kill them, but it is questionable if the Signature Spells would.
    • However, Spells can be Meditated back. Channeling cannot. So while the Column Caster would only hit 70% of the time, they would get those spells back after Meditating and, in theory, would get 100% use out of them. Channelers do not have that luxury.
  • Assuming Storms may be misleading.
    • In order for a Storm to be Mobile it needs Storm Augmentation. If you assume all Storms are so Augmented you would need to assume at least 10 Formal (+30xp) per Column. Since Storm Augmentation also adds +5 packets, that should also be taken into account.
      • 1 Column costs 25xp and provides 520 damage in spells over 51 packets, assuming maximum Storm
      • 10 Formal for 5 Storm Augmentations costs 30xp and adds 25 packets of 10 each
      • Total Damage Output opportunity of 770 damage for 55xp over 76 packets. (Equivalent Channeling would be ~40 to ~80 packets)
      • Conclusion: 14 damage per point of xp spent. Roughly the same ratio as a straight column, but spread over more packets.
        • Note that Meditate may not get all of the missed packets back. In order to Meditate a Storm spell, I believe it was said all of the packets would have to miss? So if you land even 1 packet on a target then the entire Storm is considered spent. This makes it a more apples to apples comparison to Channeling since Channeling Pool cannot be Meditated back.
        • Even if you do miss all of the packets for a Storm and Meditate it back, Storm Augmentation would not be available.
  • The Ritual Effect "Potency" affects spells, including Storms. It does not affect Channeling. This gives Spells, especially using the Maximum Storm strategy, a significant increased benefit over Channeling for a 10 minute duration. Celestial casters get 4x the benefit since they can utilize Potency 4 times in a Logistics Period without consequence (an Earth Caster may have some legal battles if they use Necromantic Potency ...)
    • +5 damage per packet over Maximum Storm strategy would yield up to +380 damage. Total Damage Output opportunity of 1150 for 55xp over 76 packets.
    • Conclusion: 20.9 damage per xp spent.
    • Assumes all 76 packets can be chucked in 10 minutes. Might want to ice that arm afterwards.

Recommendation:
Raise Channeling Pool to 30 per purchase. Allow Potency to affect Channeling. This would make Channeling comparable, if slightly better, than Column casting either Signature Spells. Column casting would then have Meditate and Utility with the option to Flexible Cast for some damage, or Storm without Augmentation for more damage efficiency at the expense of mobility.
 
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jwconvery

Spellsword
It sounds like the tension here is between Polare's state goal of channelling being a secondary thing that you do as a filler between your spells, and Alvatar|DiscOH|MaxIron|Tantarus's desire to have it be rational as a primary focus for a character.
I agree. The mathematical argument is only viable 'if' the goal is for channeling to be an equally efficient primary choice for casters. If it's designed to be a slightly less efficient option/supplement, as Polare says, I think it's very difficult to argue with math.

Perhaps that should be the discussion.

"Should channeling be designed as an optional primary path for Scholars to spend their build?"

If the answer is no, we can add some QoL stuff like meditating it back, or spell swords delivering it via combined strike. To better line it up as a supplement to many classes.

If the answer is yes, then it needs to be beefed up in both raw numbers (per the math) and it's ability to unlock other higher level scholar things, like Formal.

I don't think it's worth arguing until both sides agree on what the goal is.
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
I think Channeling does exactly what it was supposed to do very well, be a build cost replacement for wands. It does this well and I want to commend the ARC team for the implementation. That we're talking about the "rough edges" of the idea rather than the idea itself tells me it's been well received and well liked. The idea is _so_ well liked that some people want to do Channeling only builds, because it's interesting and a different way of playing the scholar game. When channeling came out, there were a lot of people, myself included who went were thrilled with the idea of playing a true damage/healing focused character.

One of the goals of 2.0 seems to be allowing builds to flesh out and be different, it has traction and people want to do this, I understand that it might be beyond ARC's owner agreed upon scope to do the things that we're talking about, but I do believe it would be beneficial to 2.0.
 

Feldor

Scholar
I think the channelling vs spellcasting thoughts are very similar to some of the discussions I've heard people have about rogue & fighter -- specifically, do you do a build for maximum sustained damage, or do you buy lots of varied per use skills and take-downs. I think we are starting from a rules system where melee-dps basically were forced to buy for sustained damage and where casters were forced to buy per use. And now we are seeing people at least test-play melee-dps focused around per use skills; and some casters are requesting to have sustained damage(/healing). And I think this increased variety is really good for the game.

Personally, I'd be interested in seeing there be a 'DnD sorceror-esque' caster style be supported -- much less variety in effects, but more sustained casting, aka a channeller. I think it makes for a less complex caster, and would be something that'd definitely have some curb appeal for players looking to play a caster and being intimidated by learning all the incants and the complexity of spell memorization.

------
Ideas for developing the channeler:
Add "Spell Channel; 6xp, buyable once per 60xp in scholar skills. Choose a spell at logistics; you may expend 10+10_x_the_spelllevel in channel points, to cast the spell from your channel pool." (Fixes the "healers must have Purify|Life" to count as a real healer problem; lets channelers vary without adding much complexity - any channeler who finds lesser storm to be more efficient can just cast a lesser storm; also opens up channelers to using formal magic that requires specific spells.)
For the purposes of Combined Strike, Unified Blow and Enhanced Strike, channels count as a signature spell of level 1/5 of the damage being channeled to a maximum of 9.
Make abilities that have prerequisites of X level spell, instead be X level spell or 50 x X channel pool; and allow channels to be used with them.
Make Formal Magic available to sufficiently committed channelers - maybe 450 point channel pool in the appropriate school.
Since channeling is so single resource driven and flexibility increases with the more you have, make that resource increase in cost -- specifically for every 8 purchases of Channeling, the cost of future purchases increases by 1; calculated separately per school. (I know this will be unpopular with channelers; but it significantly decreases the high end scaling weirdness. The increase should probably be every 6-12; I chose 8 since it caused channeling to start getting inefficient enough you probably want to start buying spells at around 150-200 build in channeling.)

Some optional ideas:
Decrease the benefit from improved channel to only +5 per purchase.
Add a celestial-only high magic to give +5 max channel to a single element, usable up to 3 times. Can stack on one element, or split across elements.
Add an earth-only high magic to give +10/+20 max channel when touch casting.
Add a necromancy-only high magic to give +10; channels are free when used to death strike, and if successful on a living person increases max channel by 10 for the next 10 minutes, or until affected by an earth healing effect.
Add a way for earth channelers to consume potions and celestial channelers to consume scrolls to refill their channeling pool, at a rate of 5 pool per spell level, as a meditation ability. Can consume their max channel pool per meditation.
 

Alavatar

Baron
My math was off. 10 Formal for a Scholar is 30xp, not 60xp. For Maximum Storm with all Storms Augmented is actually 770 damage for 55xp, for a ratio of 14 damage per xp spent. My post has been updated.
 

Captnb

Newbie
The more I see these discussions on the mechanics of channeling, the more I question what the whole point of it is. As it exists currently in 2.0, it is just an alternative form of the signature spells. Yea, it can be a bit more flexible in how it's dealt out, and it goes against a different defense, but it's just damage/healing in amounts and delivery not dissimilar to spells.

To contrast:
In 1.3 the point of wands was to give celestial casters (particularly low-to-mid level ones) something to do when they are out of, or conserving spells. That does not exist in 2.0, as they would have to give up buying spells to get channeling (which is not as efficient, as show above).
Also in 1.3 the point of Elemental Burst and Healer Resolve (as I see it, at least - I don't think this one was ever flat out stated) was to allow formalists who were not using their high magic for other things to get back some of the healing/damage capacity that they gave up to invest into formal magic, though in a fairly inefficient way.
 

Spaz

Newbie
Chicago Staff
I completely agree that channeling builds should have the opportunity to open up specific formal/high magic effects that uniquely and specifically apply to channeling. As well as channeling being 30dmg, instead of 25.

As it stands, even if you want to be a "good" channel PC (which is likely to be common for spellswords just due to the versatility impact). In order to make your channeling powerful, you must spend build to reach formal and then 10 ranks of formal. Which is a very steep investment which takes away from the spell sword aspect, as they are now scholars with some weapons and martial skills.

Formal being required for everything "end game" also make Scholar "less valuable" because the spellsword has to -also- achieve formal magic, even though they may not want to - but now since they have it, they dont need the scholar anymore.

The difference being the scholar is cheaper build. Which encourages players to make character choices due to build constraints & effencency and not because of game or character development.

Such a change gives channeling characters access (eventually) to the channeling high magic and ritual enhancements. But wouldn't give blanket access to any formal ritual and high magic they feel like. Equally keeping dedicated scholars important.
 

Muir

Fighter
Eh. I'd rather see straight channeling instead of buying spell slots as a way to get to formal. Just gate it on build spent on scholarly skills rather than 9th level spell slots.

From a balance perspective, it's equivalent, and lets people play different takes on spellcasters without gating them out of the end-game. If that means someone buys enough Scribe Scroll or Brew Potion to learn to cast formal, I'm all for it, because that would be a hilariously cool and likely unique character concept.
 

Alkalin3

Administrator
Chief Technology Officer
South Michigan Staff
Marshal
After spending more time with the monster manual and running plot during 2.0 for a second time I have a few more nuggets to add here.

Channeling on paper looks much worse then it is. A lot of things have spell defenses. Elemental is a top notch qualifier. The only defenses this weekend (which had a wide berth of monsters) were things that had phases. Where as Resist Spell is a really really common defense. A lot of undead have it for example, as do elementals.

Where as only a single card in the database resist elements. (Granted hand rolled Oathsworn are likely to have it).

Given that, the channeling packets that land are very likely to be taken or you're blowing a very good defense on them. That makes it much more attractive to me.
 

jwconvery

Spellsword
that's an interesting point.

Do you think balance choices should take monster stats into account? I don't feel monster stats are consistent enough for that.
 

Alkalin3

Administrator
Chief Technology Officer
South Michigan Staff
Marshal
that's an interesting point.

Do you think balance choices should take monster stats into account? I don't feel monster stats are consistent enough for that.
I do not know. In a perfect world yes. I hope every chapter if they don't use the monster manual, at least learns lessons from it.

I think we can encourage this by doing constant upkeep, include wider representation of chapters, and making it easy to make your own cards that get folded into the monster manual.

It's a really really good starting point.

Soo uhhh. I guess? I don't know. Optimistically yes. But, I think regardless, the chapter you're playing in affects optimal builds, even beyond channeling.

I can tell you, that I think this helps channeling and we'll keep it in mind with any stats we make that aren't from the monster manual.
 

Kitaruen

Squire
Owner
Chicago Staff
I will second channeling is much stronger in game then it is on paper the elemental delivery is top notch.

I as a player during a playtest went column heavy with some channeling and found myself wanting much more channeling then I had. It was really great.

Every chapter is always going to have a unique flavor so I agree with Alkalin it's hard to tell for sure about standardization. But it's a process in evolution and all we can do is work together.
 
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