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Magic or No Magic

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I implemented a MMORTS game with a lot of realistic elements, for example, traveling will take time, moving resources require a mule, effects of weather, and units require food to live.

To make combat interesting, I added abilities. The question is, should I have magic in the game, with spells like Blizzard or Fireball? Or, can I come up with 30 different realistic abilities that include buffs and damage, such as, use Fire Arrow or Boost Army Morale with a drum.

My problem is, it could be difficult to come up with a lot of realistic abilities than magic abilities. This decision also affect the type of units I would have. With magic, I can have Necromancer, Mage, or Wizard. Without magic, I'd have Archer, Footmen, and Horsemen. With magic I can have tons of different type of mob.

If you prefer with magic, would the game make sense with the realistic elements I mentioned above?

Thank you.

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I don't see why magic wouldn't fit into a medieval fantasy setting, it'd probably be seen as the norm. I think you could easily do without magic if you have a specific reason for not wanting it, but I don't see any thematic problems with having it. Do you have a link or documentation for it?

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I don't see why it has to have a medieval earth setting at all. You could make the humans dog-like aliens, give them alien versions of elephants and horses to ride, or maybe dinosaurs, and write about the low-tech portion of their history; no connection with earth or humans at all, and you could be original without using magic if you don't want magic.

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I see, thank you for your reply.

What about abilities? My heroes have skill tree. The abilities can be direct damage, buff, and pbaoe. Could it be hard to come up with these abilities that are realistic?

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I would try to do it without magic if I were you, but depending on your game you might end up resorting to adding magic. If so the best way is to add only one kind of magic.

So if you decide to go with necromancy you could add Necromancer, a Death Knight, a Shadow Assassin. Or if you go with elemental magic you could make a class for each element. You could make it so that magic relates to people's bloodline, perhaps magic works better if you know someone's lineage, and you would have magic related to blood, maybe Veins of Fire would be spell or something. You could make all magic relate to the sun, the moon, and the stars. That would be pretty amazing actually. You could have combos (called constellations).

Anyway if all magic comes from one source (or maybe two) it makes it much easier to integrate the flavor into your world. Think of the classic fantasy novels. Magic is mystical and comes from something. It isn't just a bunch of class abilities.

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Being realistic in one way does not necessitate being realistic in every way.

For instance, lets look at a well known game, Oblivion. Lets just say you had to buy food and eat when you got hungry or your fatigue would drop till empty, same with sleeping, and lets say you couldn't carry more than is realistic without loading it up on a pack animal, say, your horse. Does any of that make throwing fireballs more unreasonable than it already is? Does having a pack mule make it harder to suspend your disbelief when meeting an imp throwing fireballs as big as he is?


I say add magic if you want magic and if it feels right for your game, or don't if it doesn't. There are a lot of things to consider and a lot of reasons you could come up with one way or another. The use of pack mules and having to eat are not those reasons though.

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Magic is just a form of a "black box" to let you do stuff you need in the design. If you need a counter to lots of small units/discourage standing/other and a magic AoE attack is what you want to use, use it.

You can do a lot of things without magic:

For instance a "flag bearer" Buff-1: nearby units move X faster(organization benefits) Buff-2: when an adjacent unit would take a ranged attack it has a 20% chance to hit this unit instead(easy/distracting target) A3: this unit becomes a footman Passive-1: this unit has a 10% chance to have range hits miss Passive-2: this unit can't attack.

LongbowMan: Mode 1: fires an arrow at a specific target Mode 2: for every archer near this one it fires .3 arrows at target area.

Cross Bow: Mode 1: this unit becomes a melee unit that does short sword damage Mode 2: this unit becomes a ranged unit that stuns heavy armor units or does large damage to unarmored units.

Scout: Mode 1: fast mounted unite Mode 2: slow stealth unit.

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Quote:
Original post by JasRonq
Lets just say you had to buy food and eat when you got hungry or your fatigue would drop till empty, same with sleeping, and lets say you couldn't carry more than is realistic without loading it up on a pack animal, say, your horse. Does any of that make throwing fireballs more unreasonable than it already is? Does having a pack mule make it harder to suspend your disbelief when meeting an imp throwing fireballs as big as he is?


That game lets me summon creatures and fire. I should not have to buy food :) Game worlds should be internally consistent. That means if you allow something, then you should consider what effects it has on the rest of the game world.

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Quote:
My problem is, it could be difficult to come up with a lot of realistic abilities than magic abilities. This decision also affect the type of units I would have. With magic, I can have Necromancer, Mage, or Wizard. Without magic, I'd have Archer, Footmen, and Horsemen. With magic I can have tons of different type of mob.

In terms of game development, reralistic abilities and magic abilities are pretty much the same thing.

For instance: A Standard bearer could provide a "morale" boost to nearby allies, or you could have a Priest that prays to their God to bolster the wills of their nearby allies. Both effects are exactly the same, but one is realistic (morale) and the other is magic (praying/incantation).

A fire ball could be a magic spell, or it could be a glass vial containing alcohol with a lit rag shoved in the open end and thrown. In both cases it would have the exact same gameplay and code behind it, but you just name them differently and come up with some reasonable explaination for the non magic ability.

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