First of all, what is the problem, pre-renewal? Instant cast is now... simply just too easy to obtain. On top of that, with certain buffs and support abilities, the effectiveness of certain skills seem to skyrocket exponentially. Obviously if mechanics for casting were not changed in SOME form for renewal, it would be even EASIER to get instant cast with increased level and stat caps. But the problem after renewal? Fixed casts are too harsh and rely on certain buffs/special undetermined gears, and seem to not only undermine efforts to achieve fast cast times, but also the classes that typically always had instant cast (like snipers, minstrels, gypsies).
The suggestion is in two parts: first, modifying the cast formula itself. There will be no "fixed" cast times, only purely variable cast times. The big difference is the formula for the cast reduction. The second part involves the nerfing of certain buffs that virtually eliminate all after-cast delay. For right now, the only thing I can think of that fits into this category is magic strings. There are other items which ALSO decrease cast delay... generally they are not too significant. Keil-D-01 Card reduces it by 30%, but it IS a mvp card. The equips which might need some smallish nerfs are the elite sniper/gunslinger suits, sniping suit, and sprint mail.
Ok, first part: the formula.
Cast time = BASE TIME * 0.992^DEX * 0.996^INT
This means that for each point of dex, .8% of the cast time is shaved off in a negative exponential manner. Or rather, for the first point of dex, you have 99.2% cast time. For the second point of dex, you have 99.2% of 99.2% of the cast time. For the third, 99.2% of 99.2% of 99.2%. Int works the same way, except it is very slightly less than half as effective, as it takes off 0.4% of cast time.
This sort of system also gives benefits for using gear, buffs, and cards that reduce cast time, because they are not rendered obsolete. For example, using the the "Magic Eyes" headgear, which reduces cast time by 10%, that is equivalent to about 13 dex or 26 int no matter how big or small your stats are. A beelzebub card will be extremely valuable, first because there will be no instant cast, and second because it would be equivalent to 44 dex or 89 int, no matter how much dex or int you already have.
Now, the above numbers -- .8% off and .4% off sound really weaksauce. Well, to try to make some sort of a compromise, that is how they are supposed to start off as. Remember, we can't just let instant (or near instant) cast be achievable just like that. Even then, by seeing the graph below, you should already be able to tell that the new formula is faster.
Also, notice the curves. The current renewal system has a really clunky line. First it starts off abnormally fast, giving you huge bang for you buck with lowish int and dex scores. But then it more or less becomes unproductive, and you eventually hit a brick wall and abruptly stop casting faster. The new curve starts off a bit slower, but it ultimately surpasses the old formula at about 50 int/dex. It is completely smooth and also features diminishing returns, but the effect takes longer to become a nuisance and technically, cast time could continue shrinking without bounds. Putting in just a few stats doesn't give you a boatload of effectiveness. But investing a lot of stats still could give satisfying returns, if you are up for the trade-offs.
Alright, now every time someone complains about a ridiculously long fixed cast time, some other guy has to bring up "Sacraments". In renewal, sacraments currently reduces fixed cast time by 10% per level. At level 5, it reduces the fixed cast time by 50%. The issue is, since the new system does NOT have fixed cast time, we will have to come up with a new function for sacraments. So I'd propose, to go along with this new formula that doesn't have fixed cast time, make sacraments then reduce cast time by 5% per level. At level 5, that means it reduces cast time by 25%. I know, that probably does not seem too great. You might think it is worse than suffragium, EXCEPT, I take it sacraments works for all spells cast during its duration, and the duration is very suitable. Plus it should stack with suffragium. Below is a graph showing the results when we include sacraments: renewal effects on old formula, and proposed effects on the new formula.
As you should be able to see... basically the renewal line is just shifted down by 1.5 seconds. The new formula, however, is reduced by 25% all throughout. It is interesting to see that in both systems where the caster has sacraments, they become much closer, although the new system is still a bit faster.
Now, here is where things should really become interesting. How about Sacraments + Magic Strings + Magic Eyes + Glorious Arcwand + Sprint Mail combo with 2x Sprint Rings? Sacraments would reduce cast time by 25%. The equips would reduce cast time by 38%. And a good stringer would reduce cast time by 50%. Ignoring how things MAY HAVE worked before, I am saying right now that gear can stack additively, but that's it. Strings, sacraments, and the gear total will have to multiply with these mechanics, giving a 23.25% cast time. I'd believe this would also have to work with renewal mechanics as well though... But let's see how the cast times fare now.
Is it any wonder players are so peeved at how things are now? The fixed cast time, which is supposedly all peaches n cream with sacraments STILL completely shafts players who wish to go for fast cast times. At first this new formula is hardly even half as fast with low dex and int. But then as you increase stats, the gap increasingly widens as more and more of the renewal cast time is taken up by the fixed cast time which has already been cut in half by sacraments. And think about it... you MIGHT want to lean towards thinking the cast time is way too fast now, but this IS a lot of cheese being piled on the caster. You should expect significant results.
Adjustment to Magic Strings
Alright, now seemingly the only problem with the fast cast times is the possibility of getting nearly zero after-cast delay. This is because magic strings is too imbalanced with fast cast times. Currently you get 3% reduction of after-cast per level, but then it suddenly jump up to 50% on the last level. The effects of music lessons are also quite large. So when strings and music lessons are maxed and you have around 110 int on a a minstrel, you only have 8% of the after-cast delay. This is completely borked, and is the reason why everything seems to increase exponentially because of cast times.
What we should do is the following: Each level of magic strings reduces cast delay by 2% per level. Every level. No random jumps. That brings the song, when maxed down to 80% after-cast delay. Now with music lessons? Make it 1% per level, so with maxed music lessons, we are now down to 70% after-cast delay. For INT, half the current effects. Even with 150 INT, this will then bring the after-cast delay down to 55%.
This should be far more reasonable mechanics and prevent exponential effectiveness. Also, have after-cast gear stack additively, but this total must multiply with other effects. With the glorious arcwand and sprint mail combo (2x rings), we have 70% after-cast delay. With the maxed out strings, we have 55%, for an end result of 38.5% after-cast. With 150 of dex and int, all these gears, buffs, and cheese, we'd have a .6 sec cast for meteor storm, and a 2.695 sec cooldown. So, instead of having ridiculous precasts where Hwizes unleash MS after MS in rapid succession, we would still pretty much have, at the very least, 3.295 seconds between each meteor storm. Problem solved?
Another thing I would like to propose: certain archer specific skills such as FAS, Arrow Repel, Arrow Vulcan, and Falcon Assault need a different cast formula just for these classes. Make it:
Cast Time = BASE TIME * .985^DEX
50 dex - FAS: .939 sec, AR: .705 sec, AV: 1.785 sec, FA: .470 sec
100 dex - FAS: .441 sec, AR: .331 sec, AV: .838 sec, FA: .221 sec
150 dex - FAS: .207 sec, AR: .155 sec, AV: .394 sec, FA: .104 sec
200 dex - FAS: .097 sec, AR: .073 sec, AV: .185 sec, FA: .049 sec
The reason is pretty simple for this: these skills were made for classes that usually got extremely high dex, and were probably even expected to be used with NO CAST, typically. Now, well... practically everyone has cast time, but I believe certain skills like these deserve special consideration for their classes, and an enhanced cast formula.
Other Misc Nerfs
For all these other skills, the new cast formula will apply. But to balance stuff for much needed nerfs, some cast times are just made longer.
Revert to original cast times:
Chemical Protect (single)
Endow (all elements)
Lengthened Cast times:
Acid Bomb: 2 secs
Devotion: 5 secs
Full Chemical Protect: 4 sec, just because it does all slots.
Gfist: 10 - SkillLv seconds
Slim potion pitcher: 1.8 sec
Soul Change: 5 sec
Soul Links: 2 sec
Zen: 4 sec
Ok, the idea with the lengthened cast times is: first, you would kind of expect most classes to still have reasonable cast times. However, for the most part you still want the cast time nerfed so it is more difficult to get off and balanced. However, things still cannot be as bad as they were before, as instant cast is still impossible.
Edited by LethalJokeChar, 20 September 2010 - 10:06 PM.