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Subject: Too many pets? rss

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Joe Clementz
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A friend and I were debating the other day about the number of mages that have pets in the game, and how it was an over-used mechanic. At fist I was arguing that there weren't many, and that each pet fit the theme of the mages. Then I saw the Druid Vs Necromancer spoilers and they too have a pet. I'm starting to see agree it is over-used.

Does anyone else think there are too many pets? What are some non-pet options people would like to see when designing mages?
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Donny Behne
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jclem82 wrote:
A friend and I were debating the other day about the number of mages that have pets in the game, and how it was an over-used mechanic. At fist I was arguing that there weren't many, and that each pet fit the theme of the mages. Then I saw the Druid Vs Necromancer spoilers and they too have a pet. I'm starting to see agree it is over-used.

Does anyone else think there are too many pets? What are some non-pet options people would like to see when designing mages?


Familiars are common with mages. No reason not to expect them in a game called Mage Wars. Neither the Warlord nor the Forcemage have "pets". I don't think the Wizard or the Priestess does either. That's four out of eight. Pretty low ratio considering how common a characteristic is of mages.
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Joe Clementz
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Sixty percent of the mages use the exact same mechanic. Seventy if you expand your definition of "pet" to include the warlord's veteran markers. It feels like they designed these concepts for mages then struggled to find powers to distinguish them.

"I don't know what makes a druid special, but how about we give her a pet tree!"

"I don't know what makes a necromancer special, but how about we give him a pet zombie!"


"I don't know what makes a [mage] special, but how about we give [pronoun] a pet [noun]!"
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Donny Behne
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jclem82 wrote:
Sixty percent of the mages use the exact same mechanic. Seventy if you expand your definition of "pet" to include the warlord's veteran markers. It feels like they designed these concepts for mages then struggled to find powers to distinguish them.

"I don't know what makes a druid special, but how about we give her a pet tree!"

"I don't know what makes a necromancer special, but how about we give him a pet zombie!"


"I don't know what makes a [mage] special, but how about we give [pronoun] a pet [noun]!"


Are there mage types I am unaware of?

No Pet
Wizard
Forcemage
Warlord (no, I don't count veterans)
Priestess

Pet
Warlock
Druid
Necromancer
Beastmaster


The four types with pets are archetypes which traditionally feature companions of some kind. A warlock with an enslaved demon, a druid with a nature buddy, a necromancer with a skeleton or zombie and a beastmaster with a...beast...of some kind.

Doesn't seem over used to me at all. Seems like it falls right in line with the archetypes.
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Joe Clementz
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Priest and the other beastmaster. The priest has a pet. I may have miscounted slightly. 50% with pets 60% with the warlord.
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Mike Beiter
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I did notice there are a fair amount of "pets" out there.
I do not really use them much myself when playing. Some mages definitely make better use out of them than others. So I could take them or leave them.

They are just a stylized version of a familiar. Instead of summoning "Jushi the pet fox" you get to pick and choose your pet.

I look forward to seeing if the Siren has a "swimming buddy" as her token pet.
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Alex Martinez
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Now that I think about it, they all tend to use spells too! What a ripoff!

Actually, I think each pet functions differently enough that I don't feel they're the exact same game mechanism. Unless you're just boiling it down to its most basic idea, in which case my original statement seems like a valid complaint.

It's one thematic element (of many) for several mages. I fail to see this as a negative unless you're against mages using creatures and giving those creatures enchantments. In which case, why is a "pet" all that different than a creature with a buff? It's just a built in mechanism.
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Joe Clementz
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This is the basic pet template.


"When a friendly non-legendary [Creature Type] creature comes into play you may make it your [Type of Pet]. [Cost to make it your pet] and/then place the [Pet Type] marker on it. It gains [ability list]. [Some game trigger like the first attack of the round], it gains [secondary ability]

If it is destroyed [You may or may not replace the marker]"


The druid and necromancer change it up a little, but mainly only on the last line where it tells you if you can bring your pet back to life. Expanding the pet title to the warlord is a bit of a reach, but the others are nearly identical.



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Alex Martinez
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The template is much the same, but that seems to be ignoring the differences in abilities that each pet has.

By your logic, all damage spells are basically the same thing, all weapon equipment, all enchantments, etc., all boil down to the same thing.

Heck, why bother with different damaging spells at ell? Why not just have one fireball spell every mage casts over and over again? Because the effects are what makes the spell different, not the template.

It'd be like claiming Thor and Superman are the same character because they're both superpowerful aliens who are superheroes. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Yes, the template is the same, but the execution is different. If you don't think there's an entirely different flavor to the Warlock's pet versus the Beastmaster's pet versus the Necromancer's pet ability than you're just not paying attention.

Apologies if I'm sounding belligerent, but if you dismiss the effects of an ability and only pay attention to the template, you seem to be missing out on why each mage might get a pet and what style those pets might best serve thematically.

And the template is used repeatedly because it works well. The mage invests some extra power into a creature and that creature becomes more thematically linked to that mage's identity. Would you rather they reinvented the wheel with every single version? Sorry, just having trouble with someone having trouble with pets and not seeing the rest of the game as equally flawed.

Not that I think the game is flawed, myself. I think it's crackerjack. But just a puzzling perception from my perspective, I suppose.
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Ed Bradley
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I do not think there are too many Pets.
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Dean Adam
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In response to KingCroc's comments, I guess I'd like to say that some different templates would be cool. I think that was whats semi exciting about DvsN, it feels a little new. I think this is a great game, but from a distance it can feel like some of the mechanics for each mage are just a variant of what you call the same template.

I don't think its big deal so far, but it would be cool to see something quite new...
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Mike Beiter
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Upon doing some brainstorming for non "pet" abilities that break up the template...

When you summon a creature: pay x=to its level to give it +1 armor.

Or: pay 3x and creature gets to take an immediate action.

Or: all your living creatures gain regenerate 1.

Or: when you summon a creature from the arcane school it costs 1 less mana.

Those are just some quick ideas that affect creatures without making them "pets".
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Joe Clementz
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Quote:
Upon doing some brainstorming for non "pet" abilities that break up the template...When you summon a creature: pay x=to its level to give it +1 armor.Or: pay 3x and creature gets to take an immediate action.Or: all your living creatures gain regenerate 1.Or: when you summon a creature from the arcane school it costs 1 less mana.Those are just some quick ideas that affect creatures without making them "pets".


I was thinking it would be nice to have abilities like these on the mage that functioned as low level mage specific cantrips. I really like the warlord's battle commands for instance.
Another idea I like would be a fear aura. For some mana each turn you could enable a fear marker. Enemy monsters in the zone could roll the d12 with a chance to be forced to flee the zone.
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Alex Martinez
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I don't see how that is remarkably different. The original rule is just marking a single creature on the battlefield as a little bit more powerful. Your proposal is just a blanket enhancement to all the creatures.

I don't see why you dislike the "pet" idea though. It's just a rule to enhance a single creature on the battlefield. It's not even as if you can't do it again once that creature dies. Just can't have more than one of this type of enhancement on the field at a time.

Obviously though some are against the choices the game has already made. There are no spells which grant universal regeneration, for example. All abilities and spells can be countered, versus simply having a mage grant all his creatures a potent ability seems blander to me. But that's just a matter of opinion.

Basically though, I think the spirit of Mage Wars is one of decision making and of limited use. You can cast any spell in your spellbook, but you only have so many copies, and no mage has unlimited enhancement available to him. In other words, a "pet" (as you define it) is an enhanced creature. But you can only have one at a time, and it costs you a little more to create, so you should consider how you use the ability.

Also, almost everything a mage does is through their spellbook. The category of mage is mostly another template, and I don't believe the designers wanted to have the most potent abilities on the mages themselves, but on the spells they might choose.

It's not that your suggestions are bad. It's just they seem to be for a different game than Mage Wars, which has a pretty clear cut game philosophy at play.
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Joe Clementz
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I guess my main complaint about pets is this. Using out of faction cards is so easy for every mage. The only thing that really sets each mage apart and gives them life are their class specific cards and the mage's ability card. If half of the mages all have the same ability and they all have access to the same set of key cards each mage loses its identity.
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Aaron Morgan
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jclem82 wrote:
"I don't know what makes a necromancer special, but how about we give him a pet zombie!"


What kind of necromancer doesn't have undead minions? That's part of the job description.

jclem82 wrote:
"When a friendly non-legendary [Creature Type] creature comes into play you may make it your [Type of Pet]. [Cost to make it your pet] and/then place the [Pet Type] marker on it. It gains [ability list]. [Some game trigger like the first attack of the round], it gains [secondary ability]

If it is destroyed [You may or may not replace the marker]"


You're absolutely right! They all use "use the exact same mechanic". zombie
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Alex Martinez
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jclem82 wrote:
I guess my main complaint about pets is this. Using out of faction cards is so easy for every mage. The only thing that really sets each mage apart and gives them life are their class specific cards and the mage's ability card. If half of the mages all have the same ability and they all have access to the same set of key cards each mage loses its identity.


Ah, here's where I think the heart of the complaint comes from.

I see what you want is that each mage be mostly identified by a unique ability only they possess. But I don't believe that is the point of Mage Wars.

It's true that every Mage has access to nearly ever spell available, but that is kind of the point. The game isn't trying to shoehorn you into a specific style of play, regardless of the choice of mage you want to play. Instead, it gives you a framework to work with that is fairly flexible.

True, a mage can choose even spells he isn't associated with, but that cost in spell points means that he will have fewer options as the game progresses. So, yes, a beastmaster could choose to go into battle with a lot of fire spells, but it isn't necessarily a wise choice to do so.

If the game wanted to limit your options so severely, it would've given each mage a preset spell list and just worked from there. But it isn't meant to be that type of game. And just because it allows a mage to take spells they aren't associated with, it doesn't mean all the mages are the same.

Basically, it seems that your complaint is one of core game philosophy, and not the notion of "pets". But the game is all about customization (even sub-optimal customization) and that the mages are not entirely predetermined by their type is by design, not by accident.
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Joe Clementz
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I think the mage should provide strengths and weaknesses you need to build around. I think every mage having very similar abilities leads to LESS choices when building. I don't mind that you can use any spell at a cost. I mind that your mage is partly irrelevant.

If I choose the wizard I may choose it because it has voltaric shield, The forcemaster has a defense available, and the priestess has the ability to remove conditions. I don't think the pets are unique or powerful enough to cause me to choose them specificly.
The mage shouldn't build the deck for you it should provide an ability you would want to use the mage for.
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Tom Cannon
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jclem82 wrote:
I think the mage should provide strengths and weaknesses you need to build around. I think every mage having very similar abilities leads to LESS choices when building. I don't mind that you can use any spell at a cost. I mind that your mage is partly irrelevant.

If I choose the wizard I may choose it because it has voltaric shield, The forcemaster has a defense available, and the priestess has the ability to remove conditions. I don't think the pets are unique or powerful enough to cause me to choose them specificly.
The mage shouldn't build the deck for you it should provide an ability you would want to use the mage for.


Well I take in to account the Mage specific and school specific spells in this evaluation. If you lay them all out on a table, you will see some of the nuances inherent in each Mage. I see the Mage specific spells as an extension of the Mage abilities and further define the strengths and weaknesses you are looking for.
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Alex Martinez
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jclem82 wrote:
I think the mage should provide strengths and weaknesses you need to build around. I think every mage having very similar abilities leads to LESS choices when building. I don't mind that you can use any spell at a cost. I mind that your mage is partly irrelevant.

If I choose the wizard I may choose it because it has voltaric shield, The forcemaster has a defense available, and the priestess has the ability to remove conditions. I don't think the pets are unique or powerful enough to cause me to choose them specificly.
The mage shouldn't build the deck for you it should provide an ability you would want to use the mage for.


I disagree. I much prefer a system where the mage gives a framework rather than a central ability.

Each school of magic has its own strengths and weaknesses. So I think you are really underestimating how the current system allows a players to create thematic spell books without binding them to a preset path.

For instance, I may not pick the beastmaster specifically for his pet ability, but if I want to be able to summon hordes of animals and enhancements, he is my go to guy. If I want to summon demons, inflict powerful curses, or weild fire, the warlock is my guy.

The mage type is a huge influence on your spell book and that a beast master has consistent strengths and weaknesses with a flexible spell book is undoubtedly the games biggest strength.
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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jclem82 wrote:
I think the mage should provide strengths and weaknesses you need to build around. I think every mage having very similar abilities leads to LESS choices when building. I don't mind that you can use any spell at a cost. I mind that your mage is partly irrelevant.

If I choose the wizard I may choose it because it has voltaric shield, The forcemaster has a defense available, and the priestess has the ability to remove conditions. I don't think the pets are unique or powerful enough to cause me to choose them specificly.
The mage shouldn't build the deck for you it should provide an ability you would want to use the mage for.


Every mage abilities are nothing more than a spell that you can cast over and over. Their is an equivalent spell that does more or less the samething.

It just happens that 4 mages have an infinite-spell that buff a creature.
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Mike Beiter
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Personally when I make my spell books, they are almost always based on the schools the mage has over their special abilities or mage specific spells. This is why I stay away from pets and mage specific abilities in general. They do not interest me.

If I play a Priest it is because I feel like making a holy heavy spell book and that mage is the most economical way to achieve it.

The last game that I was a Beastmaster, I made 1 pet, and only quick cast 1 creature spell. I won due to my in play use of spells, not his abilities.

So In the end, pet or no pet, abilities or no, it is the schools that make the mage for me. Their card could be blank save for channel value starting life and schools and I would be happy.
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Alex Martinez
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I think the unique ability of each mage is meant to be a little unique touch, but I don't think they're meant to define them. They're just a little extra something to differentiate them.

My primary reason for picking a mage is always their schools of magic. Clearly, that is the intent. And if the special power they possess comes in handy, so much the better. But it is, and has always been meant to be, a perk, not a driving force of choice.
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Ed Bradley
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In a game of creature summoning and tactical maneouvering I don't find it strange that a lot of these abilities are creature-centric.
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Daniel Ladd
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I want to add to this, I'm the friend the op was referring to.

Just for a hypothetical, let's take one of the abilities mentioned earlier: The necromancer with the fear aura.

Now, what if he had that ability.
Then the druid had and aura that made plants grow quicker.
The Beastmaster had an aura that made animals regenerate +1
The Priest had aura that made knights have and extra +2 HP
The warlock had an aura that gave demons the ability to steal life.

Five mages five slightly different abilities that alter the game differently and mage appropriate, but basically the same. I would be saying the game had too many auras.

I'm not saying the pet mechanic is bad in any way, and I'm not saying its inappropriate at times. I'm just saying its unoriginal, with each mage they have the chance to advance the game in some way, but they seem to keep coming back to this mechanic.

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