Community Viewpoint: Bard
Ton Hammer reported on May 8
, the Turbine developers behind
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach (DDO) are closer to a final
plan that will allow bards to swap spells. The pen-and-paper (PnP)
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) on which DDO is based allows bards to
swap one spell for another of the same level upon training for a new
character level. The PnP system introduces the option at Level 4 and
allows for another swap at each even level thereafter. The design aims
to prevent players from abusing gameplay mechanic. The Turbine plan to
implement spell-swapping in DDO works as follows:
First, we are going to allow only one spell exchange every
We do not want...Bards exchanging spells freely and we understand that
gold cost alone is not an effective limiting factor for all
characters....Secondly we decided to make the gold cost for a spell
exchange dependent on both character level and spell level. It only
costs 100gp for a Level 1 character to switch a level 1 spell but it
would cost 50,000gp for a level 10 character to exchange a level 5
spell...bards should give some serious thought to the spells they pick.
Completely free, unlimited spell exchanges reduces that need.
In case you missed the decision process that brought Turbine to this
point, I'm going to recount the idea of spell-swapping from the moment
Turbine put it out for discussion until present. What follows are
comments made from DDO players who spoke up on the official DDO forums.
The Original Proposal
On April 24, Community
Relations Specialist Samera
posted the original
proposal to allow spell-swapping for bard:
This is a new feature that
would allow Sorcerers and Bards to swap
spells from their spellbooks for a new spell of the same level.
How will it work?
All...Bard trainers will have a new option added to their dialogue box:
“I would like to exchange one of my spells for a different one.”
Selecting this option brings up the Spell Exchange panel. Spell
exchange works in the same way as the Action Point system - select the
spell you would like to get rid of on the left, and select the desired
spell on the right. There is a cash price for each spell swap and you
can only swap a spell for another spell of the same level. You can swap
as many spells as you like, at any time you like, the only limit is how
much money you have in your coin purse....
How much will it cost?
The following is an example of the pricing scheme. THIS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Level 1 Spells = 1,000 gp per spell
Level 2 Spells = 4,000 gp per spell
Level 3 Spells = 9,000 gp per spell
Level 4 Spells = 16,000 gp per spell
Level 5 Spells = 25,000 gp per spell
The DDO community was quick to react and make suggestions.
Can you explain the rationale for the departure
from the 3.5e rules? That is, why "Any spell, any time, for a cash
cost..." instead of only when leveling up?
Ziegler Von Strahn:
I am pretty
sure that the PnP rules dont require a Sorc to spend gold in any way to
swap out spells at leveling....This just adds more fuel to the fire of
moving farther from DnD...and more towards generic
[massively-multiplayer online game].
NO NO NO!!! This is just
wrong...Bards should be very careful of the spells they pick, they
shouldnt be allowed to swap them anytime they want.
The pricing has to be
alot more. Unless you are trying to make warforge alot more common and
wand buying obsolete for them.
If the cost
model goes in, there should be a either a finite number of times you
can do it at your current level (so that number gets reset when you
level up) or there should be a real world timed restriction before you
can do it again.
[responding to Wulf Ratbane]: There are two reasons [we departed from
the D&D rules] actually. First, we do not want to punish people who
have already hit the level cap. Second, Stormreach is an ever-evolving
world. We don't want to punish people if we change a spell (for
instance the recent changes to Web) or if we add a new spell into the
you could put a
timer on it, keep costs the same, but say you could only do it every 48
hours or so.
I would like
to keep the following separate, if at all possible:
- Functionality to account for MMO dynamic changes to spells.
- Money sinks.
- Incentives to farm/grind.
[with the debate
hinging on whether the pricing proposed in Samera's first post is
adequate]: Levels are a finite resource. Action Points are a finite
resource. Quests that cannot be abandoned and repeated are a finite
Gold is not a finite resource. It is an essentially limitless resource.
In order to predict what effect this spell swap system will have
game-wide, you have assume that some player somewhere will have more
than enough gold to swap out as often as he likes. (And that assumption
is not much of a stretch.)
[13 pages into the thread]:
The main purpose of adding the ability for Bards and Sorcerers to
exchange spells is to allow us to add new spells and to make changes to
old spells without severely penalizing these two classes that have
static spell lists. The MMO genre is dynamic and ever changing compared
to a PnP D&D campaign so the system has to be more flexible than
the 3.5 D&D rules.
We want a mechanism in place that will always allow Bards and Sorcerers
a way to exchange spells. Any system that limits exchanges to a finite
number (however that number is calculated) would have to have so many
exceptions and special cases that it is highly unlikely we will
implement it. On the other hand we do not want Sorcerers and Bards to
exchange spells on a whim. The trick is to pick a mechanism that
balances these two requirements.
I am listening to your concerns...I am going to take all of your
feedback into account and there will most likely be some further
restrictions on spell exchange. Basing exchange cost on character level
rather than spell level and requiring some kind of time delay between
exchanges are two of the better ideas we will be looking at.
Graal's post indicated that the
developers had received the message: the original proposal was too
forgiving and would lead to exploits. That brings us to the current