| >>Any chance the paradigm on full prep teaching more could change? Casting before full prep is more difficult, and there are some really good reasons I might need to cast before full prep anyway (once I can). It would be a boon to playability (and learning, probably) if casting as fast as possible at a given mana level taught more.|
Definitely not. Hindering yourself should never teach you better - It's an absurdity that we've still got instances of littered throughout the game, but we're slowly stamping them out. That's like using a pike to skin a goblin - Yes, it's harder, but it doesn't mean you're learning more about skinning than if you used the right tools. Or like trying to ski down a gravel hill. Challenging yourself (By adding more mana, for instance), which is subtly but distinctly different than hindering yourself, should and does train you more.
It definitely is a boon to playability but it hinders game balance (As we saw in 2.0). If you can shorten your cast time for bonus experience, then everybody just snaps at their lowest possible mana level at all times to train, and mana is basically meaningless. Besides, the amount of experience you get scales with how long the action took (for instance, a full cast of a Non-Battle spell gives more experience than a full cast of a Battle spell, all else being equal). This means you're not reducing your bits/minute for longer preps.
As noted in other places, RESEARCH should help close the gaps where you can't or don't want to use a spell for training.
>>Spells are akin to Weapons not Critters.
Spells are actually akin to neither of them. They're a separate system entirely, so drawing a parallel between one or the other can only go so far.
>>If a critter that trains my defenses cast a TM spell at me while I have Lay Ward up, I get some Warding experience.
Yeah... That's an awesome idea, but the technical limits of it are enormous. It would require adding a lot of code and updating every single place a skill check is made (again..).
>>Unles your in the above 1200 ranks crowd...
Patience, we've already said we're working on this.