Post:Test Instance: Barrier Review Open for Testing & Tune Discussion - 07/11/2021 - 17:49

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Test Instance: Barrier Review Open for Testing & Tune Discussion · on 07/11/2021 17:49 1879
The long-awaited barrier review is now in Test to go through a testing and tuning phase prior to general release. In addition, to help facilitate testing the magic system is currently on global preview in Test.

What this means is that while we consider these spells ready enough to be poked at by the playerbase, we fully admit that practical testing has been limited and most of the tuning of these abilities have been based on spreadsheets rather than live fire. While the ability to see the actual numbers goes a long way, it does not fully bridge the gap between theory and practice.

That's where you can come in. We are looking for input, both on the forums and in Discord, about the feel and functionality of the new scheme. To do so, please keep two things in mind.

  1. Read the entire post, including the explanation below, so that you are aware of the scope of changes.
  2. Remember that while you do not need to like or agree with us, you do need to remain civil. To use a turn of phrase I break out in Discord regularly, I moderate for tone rather than content. Work with us to make sure criticism remains constructive and it'll be more readily heard and easily digested.

With that, on to the details.

This review has focused on "damage reactive" warding abilities. Specifically, these are abilities that directly interact with the target being hit in combat. There are three ways that an ability can react to damage.

  1. The most common and standard route is to take a percentage of that damage off.
  2. Rarer, but still common enough, a spell may take a flat amount of damage off.
  3. An attack may trigger some unique utility that helps the person getting whacked over the head or hinder his attacker.

This review *did not* include abilities that protect the user from spells directly, such as integrity and potency barriers. For example, Manifest Force (which directly protects from damage) was reviewed, but Lay Ward (which directly tries to stop spells from firing) was not.

The guiding intention of this review was to reduce the number of damage barriers in play at any given time, but with the aim that each ability should by itself be noticeable. Further, we wished for all players to have a wide enough selection of abilities that they would have to make a choice about which ones to use based on preference.

The main way we've approached this is with buffing spells and putting a limit on how many damage reactive spells can be on a player at once. There are a handful of cases where an ability was already considered well tuned, and only two cases where an ability was nerfed (the Empath spell "Iron Constitution" and the Necromancer spell "Calcified Hide"). All other abilities are new or improved.

The limiter we chose to go with is the creation of "reactive slots." You may have up to two slots of reactive spells on your character at any time, and excess spells will either be displaced or stop you from casting further reactives. How many slots a spell takes is variable, but use the following guidelines.

  1. The vast majority of abilities use one slot if they are used by the guild they originate from. Some cost zero, which mean they are a "freebie" (insofar as this mechanic is concerned) for use.
  2. Spells outside your guild cost +1, meaning a standard ability outside your guild's wheelhouse now costs two slots and consumes your entire allotment, while zero-slot abilities from outside your guild now cost one, and can be used in conjunction with one from your guild.
  3. AP spells are considered "in guild" by everybody.

In addition, every guild has three reactive slots worth of spells to pick from (this includes MAF for magic-using guilds, but not for NMUs). So, in summary, you can either pick two out of three abilities within your guild, or a single ability from outside it at any time.

Specifically for spells and devious magical combat stuff, reactive spells can be subject to displacement. If someone else casts a reactive spell on you, it costs the full amount relative to your own guild (with one exception: the Bard spell "Naming of Tears" does not cost anything to party members). If you try to cast beyond the cap afterward, you will automatically displace the other player's spell to make room for your own. Likewise, even if you are at cap you can replace like-spells on yourself without effort.


  1. Necrobob casts a weak ward on Pallysally in the hopes of disrupting her ability to ward herself. Alas, it does not work like that. Pallysally's first reactive displaces Necrobob's spell effortlessly.
  2. Cleric Kent is at cap and tries to refresh one of the reactives that are already on him. It works exactly as he expects, and the spell refreshes.
  3. Marvin the Moon Mage has both of his guild-specific wards up, then tries to cast Manifest Force on top of it. Since both slots are filled with spells he himself cast, and this does not constitute a refresh of either, the Manifest Force spell fails.

All that said, we hope you enjoy this labor of love from the development team. While I've been the main voice of this review, it would have been impossible for me to get it done alone. In particular, I would like to thank GMs Grejuva, Haros, Javac, Koror, and Zadraes as having intergal parts to play in this project's development.

Specific ability changes follow below, sorted by guild in alphabetical order.

New berserk. Basic difficulty, requires two abilities in Path of the Flame, and two ability slots. A portion of incoming damage will be dealt to the next foe struck by the Barbarian. If the Barbarian is severely wounded, this damage will be increased further. In PvP, only damage dealt by the character being struck will be added to the attack. Fills 1 reactor slot.

Behavior unchanged. Fills 1 reactor slot.

Behavior unchanged. Fills 1 reactor slot.

Behavior unchanged. Does not fill a reactor slot.

Failure of the Forge:
New spell. No damage reduction to the caster, but instead any weapon held by the aggressor (whether or not it was actually used in the assault) will be debuffed for a short time, similar in concept to the Cleric spell Curse of Zachriedek. Costs 2 spell slots.

Naming of Tears:
Significant changes. For the Bard, slightly buffed, takes less skill, and costs one less spell slot to learn. For anyone else in the Bard's party, a substantially reduced (half of what the caster gets) damage barrier, but it costs no barrier slots for them (in effect, the Bard can give anyone an extra freebie amount of damage reduction).

Ghost Shroud:
No longer provides damage resistance, instead returned to original design where it increases the difficulty of being aimed at by ranged attacks.

Minor Physical Protection:
Substantially buffed. Also due for a facelift and namechange (along with MaPP) but those did not happen in time for this release cycle.

Protection from Evil:
No change other than compatibility with the new stacking system. Note this spell defaults to 0 warding slots, making it a freebie for Clerics and 1 slot for cross-guild casting.

(General note: Empaths are the only guild that sees a complete nerf in this round of changes. Both because they already had enough damage reducers to meet the threshold for this build, and because regardless of IC's individual performance, its performance combined with the rest of the Empath toolkit was excessive. If I swung the nerfbat too hard we can tune it back a bit.)

Iron Constitution:
Nerfed a bit. Threshold raised for how big an attack can be before IC stops further mitigation.

Perseverance of Peri'el:
No change other than compatibility with the new stacking system.

Cage of Light:
Significant rewrite, tantamount to a new spell. Now works as a "reverse IC," nullifying small hits but doing nothing to larger ones. Scope of damage the spell will nullify increases with Potency. Spell slot costs reduced from 3 to 2.

Telekinetic Shield:
New spell. Main function of TKSH is a bog-standard percentage-based damage resistance effect, albeit a relatively weak one (the synergy with CoL is handy, though, and TKSH should be contested first). In addition to damage resistance based on Potency, TKSH will reduce the target time of Telekinetic Storm by up to 50% based on TKSH's Integrity.

(General note: there are more spells here than usual due to the split-path nature of the guild. For both paths, the full suite accounts for 2 warding slots.)

Calcified Hide (Forsaken only):
Number juggling. As a regular old damage reducer this is now weaker, but it still has all of its bells and whistles: baked in stamina bonus, a flat reduction to physical damage on top of everything else, and a small immunity chance. Spellslots were reduced from 4 to 3.

Emuin's Candlelight (Redeemed only):
No change other than compatibility with the new stacking system.

Ghoulflesh (Forsaken only):
New spell in the Animation spellbook. Requires than the caster have an active Call From Beyond zombie in the room. Has a chance (based on Potency, reasonably high likelihood up to 100% at max Potency) that any wound the Necromancer takes gets halved, with the other half going to the zombie.

Siphon Vitality (EBotS mod -- Redeemed only):
Substantially buffed. Note this only takes a slot when cast in conjunction with Ebon Blood, and even if maxed out in slots the TM portion of the spell still fires.

Solace (Redeemed only):
No change other than compatibility with the new stacking system. Note that this takes zero warding slots, making it a freebie for Redeemed.

Aspirant's Aegis:
Buffed a bit, but it is still fairly weak compared to most "main" damage barriers, on account of alternative sources of damage reduction and shenangins in the Paladin kit.

Glyph of Dueling:
Not a warding spell, but being released with this round of changes. New glyph available at 1st circle, gives +Parry on a Short duration based on Conviction, and enables using the parry defense against TM spells. Will be watching this one closely for tuning.

Tamsine's Kiss:
New spell in the Sacrifice spellbook off of Aspirant's Aegis. Has a chance (based on Potency, high likelihood up to 100% at max Potency) that half of any wound the Paladin takes is converted into a scar instead.

(General notes: Rangers had no spells that qualified as damage reactive for this review, so they got an entirely new suite of them. Since there was virgin ground here, we decided to go both lore-wise and mechanically with fairly unique effects. Also this is a good time to remember that MAF does exist in un-nerfed form and is meant to be a solid choice to substitution in if a more conventional defense is desired.)

New signature spell, costs 3 spell slots. Ritual spell that has a chance to proc a tiny amount of damage to the aggressor and a "true healing" (ala the spell Heal) effect on the caster on melee hit. Chance of proc is based on the size of the weapon; coming at a Ranger with a dagger is much more likely to get you poked than with a halberd. Number of pulses of healing per proc is determined by Potency.

Please note this is likely going to be the hardest spell of the lot to tune correctly, so bear with us as we make adjustments over the testing period.

River in the Sky:
New spell, costs 2 spell slots. While active, will cause the first hit registered in X seconds to be completely negated, where X ranges from half a minute to exactly one minute based on Potency of the spell. Also it looks a little creepy.

New Khri. Basic difficulty, requires Hasten, and one ability slot. Reduces damage from multiple strikes in a short period of time. Each subsequent strike within the time frame is reduced more than the last. Fills 1 reactor slot.

Behavior unchanged. Fills 1 reactor slot.

Behavior unchanged. Fills 1 reactor slot.

Much the same, but now offers an activation toggle. Traders can SHIFT INERT to stop the spell from firing while still keeping the spell on them, and SHIFT ACTIVE to let it resume function.

Trabe Chalice:
The penalty non-Traders received while using the spell has been removed.

Ethereal Shield:
Buffed a bit. Only affects elemental damage, but affects it very strongly. No longer a group-cast spell, but can still be cast upon others individually.

Gam Irnan ("Salt Wall"):
New spell. Only affects physical damage, with a few quirks. Flat damage resistance over percentage, and fairly beefy at that. In exchange, it ablates and regenerates in a unique manner: after taking a hit, that specific body part is no longer protected from the spell for a number of seconds determined by the spell's Potency. All other body parts are still protected (unless they, in turn, take hits). After the ablation cooldown expires, the relevant body part is protected once again (until the next hit).

Grounding Field:
Rewrite, tantamount to a new spell. Does not resist damage, but instead converts incoming damage into Elemental Charge. Does not occupy a warding slot, and spell slot cost is reduced to one slot.

Manifest Force:
The PvE nerf has been reverted, otherwise the same.

Temporal Eddy:
For those with access to TE, the chance for it to proc has been buffed.

This message was originally posted in Discussions with DragonRealms Staff and Players / Game Master and Official Announcements, by DR-ARMIFER on the forums.

Subsequent Updates


Armifer — 07/27/2021 at 9:47 AM

The following changes are now in Test:

Emunin's Candlelight:
Okay, kinda big one. Bug that allowed incoming damage to be magnified by the damage storage mechanic has been squashed. Damage is now capped based on Potency and once capped will not accept more damage until some has drained away (note: Evasion buff still works in this state). Letting the spell drop or having it dispelled no longer causes all the damage to hit immediately, instead you'll get an "enhanced" damage burst (equivalent to a few drain pulses in a row), and then after that the remainder of the damage will drain away at a normal rate.

Ghoulflesh now accepts Risen as a valid option for transference.


Armifer — 07/27/2021 at 9:30 AM

The following changes are now in Test:

Aspirant's Aegis:
AA now provides a resistance to vitality damage. Note that this starts at 0% at min prep, so prep well if you wish to see it.

Tamsine's Kiss:
Messaging redone a bit to make it more "Paladiny."

Armifer — 07/27/2021 at 9:32 AM
A number of barriers are gonna gain some vitality damage resistance, but yeah it should make AA more desirable.

Armifer — 07/27/2021 at 9:35 AM
Ranges from 0% (min prep) to 10% (max prep).

Armifer — 07/27/2021 at 9:36 AM
Might tweak those numbers after seeing it in action a bit, but wanted to start there.


Armifer — 07/27/2021 at 12:27 PM

The follow changes are now in Test:

Natural attacks now have a 50% chance to proc Bloodthorns (this is a compromise position since we have no idea at the spell's end what the attack is meant to represent). In a slight nerf, the damage potential of Bloodthorns on each body part has been tuned pretty low to account for it being a thorn and not a gaping chest wound.

River in the Sky:
RITS now can be adjusted to trigger on any/low/medium/hard hits, instead of always triggering on any hit. Note that due to complications we probably have not dialed in the ranges super well yet and feedback on how to tweak them is greatly appreciated. In addition, it now provides resistance to vitality damage scaling from 0% at min prep to 10% at full prep.

Zadraes — 07/27/2021 at 1:16 PM
It should tell you the syntax when you try casting without proper syntax, but it's looking for ANY, LOW, MID, or HIGH.

Warrior Mage

Armifer — 07/27/2021 at 11:17 AM

The following changes are now in Test:

Ethereal Shield:
The bug that was preventing self-cast from functioning has been fixed.

Grounding Field:
The revised version of the spell is now actually live (cough). To recap: no longer provides any damage resistance, but instead generates elemental charge based on taking damage. Elemental damage types (fire/cold/electric) are more efficient than kinetic (slice/pierce/impact) at generating charge. Does not use warding slot.

Gam Irnan:
Some significant revisions. Hitting the same damage location before the spell has fully reformed there now provides a percentage of the possible defense relative to the amount of time it had been reforming. Quick example: if it takes 10 seconds to reform completely and got hit 7 seconds in, you get 70% of the defensive value of the spell. In addition, the spell now provides resistance to vitality damage scaling from 0% at min prep to 10% at full prep.