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The Wids Profile
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A Word on Reskinning Spells


I've noticed that one of the changes in the most recent update is that the Shadow Shield spell has lost its effect appearance (the oily black skin which Braweann once used to masquerade as "The Black Witch of the North"). Thus has Shadow Shield joined the ranks of Barkskin, the Stoneskins and any other spells which traditionally reskin the character's appearance yet have had that skin removed.

And it got me to thinking on how these spells receive similar treatment on other servers. And that, in turn, led me to ask, "Why?"

I've never had any problem with reskinning spells; on the contrary, considering that most or all of those spells are protective spells, I find that the reskins play the same role as any other visible spell effect: they let you know that your spell is still active, just as their disappearance lets you know that the spell has ended.

And in the thick of battle, seeing that spell expire gives you the opportunity to plan accordingly, whether that means immediately recasting the spell, changing your tactics to compensate for its loss (ie. foregoing melee and switching to hit-and-run ranged attacks) or getting the hell out of Dodge.

Braweann typically has Ghostly Visage and Greater Stoneskin on at the same time, and both spells share the same Damage Reduction icon at the top edge of the screen. Without the appearance of stony skin, and if the battle spam is racing by too quickly for me to read, I have no way of telling whether or not my Stoneskin protection has been broken by too much damage...at least, not until those damage numbers jump back up from around 5 points a hit to around 25. And that's damage which a prompt recasting of Greater Stoneskin could have averted, had I had any prompt indicator that my spell was no longer in effect.

So why do so many servers remove the skins from these spells? Are people truly so fixated on their characters' costumes and appearances that they can't bear to part with these appearances for a while, or is there another reason that I'm overlooking here?

Last edited by The Wids, 1/25/2013, 7:43 pm
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Arknin Profile
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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


I was actually wondering the exact same thing. ^^ I prefer seeing spell effects myself.

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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


I personally like being able to see my characters. The reskins are sometimes a bit ugly. But perhaps some sort of configurable version might be doable? Make the spell effects visible or invisible in the spellbook conversation?

---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

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everf Profile
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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


#drivebylore

Morphothaumatic Variations of Aolyth

Chapter 14: Dermal Transfiguration

As with all spells imported from Faerun there has been a long process of adaptation, however this sub set of variants (barkskin, coralskin, stoneskin, steelskin etc) were some of the first put under scrutiny. Such is their necessity to mages.

In the process of making the spells workable in the anomalous magical environment of Aolyth and it's surrounding archipelago an important lesson was learned about the nature of these isles.

While the Faerun variants physically alter the casters skin to develop a sur-dermal layer of the noted material.
It was found through experimentation that it was possible to use existing rune structures to alter the target's skin to the same effect without amending their skin.

The nature of magics in these lands lends itself to the acquisition of aspects. Just as the Fey lords represent aspects of nature it is possible for a mage to take the aspect of a natural material unto to their skin without physically altering its structure.

It may be possible to redevelop the old methods for modern usage. However By comparison the Farrun canon of dermal transfiguration spells seem crude and obvious.

------------

Excerpt from the banned treatise "The Socio-Political Impact of Magical Innovation"

.... The early experiments which Developed a paradigm of sub-visible enchantments was a vital step in developing the defacto control of the Magical class over centralised Imperial Power.

Without any obvious signs a warrior of strength or skill is unable to accurately gauge the power and extent of a Mage's protections. 

An old man wearing nothing but pyjamas may be senile enough to have forgotten to dress or he may well be as fortified as Castle Asheland.

This uncertainty is fostered by Mages giving them leverage and  a form of social armor which often far outstrips their actual abilities at any given moment.



Last edited by everf, 1/26/2013, 7:33 am


---
Kedri Senderthen- The Spring Storm
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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


That is certainly interesting lore, though I had guessed as much.
I'm guessing the lore was added afterwards as an explanation to what was at first more of a mechanical change? In that case, what was the reason for it? That's what I'm curious about. ^^
Maybe all those fancy spell effects strain the server and removing them reduce the chances of crashing? Or am I looking too far here?

---

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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


That's Ever_fresh doing what he does best- sudden neat little stories out if nowhere for every situation emoticon

I prefer to see my character too, some of the spell effects get strange after awhile. (High level casters tend to resemble fully decorated Christmas trees from time to time) and I think toned down effects work with the setting. That said, I'm not at all opposed to a toggle on the effect.

---
Characters:
Isania Jalitana- The Huntress (and Mistress Egofantastic.)
Calisto - Gryphonrider
Nyx Talonbite- Amazon Crystal Champion of Death By Snu Snu
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everf Profile
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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


Haha yeah, academic papers are particularly unreliable on Aolyth so the truth quotient is debatable emoticon

Personally thevisual effects always gave me cognitive dissonance strain. The urge to Roleplay being made of bark or glowing like a Christmas tree is too strong and you can only emote the repercussions of being covered in bark so many before I start annoying those around me. Having it off soothes my poor crazy brain.

But I would be all for a switch I such a thing was possible

---
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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


Well, there's a lot of mechanics and things we have to ignore when roleplaying, I simply see the visible spell effects as one more of them and I won't go into how it's OOCly useful, as Wids already did that. ^^

---

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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


Maybe I'm missing something about this argument...but aren't their little glowing symbols in the upper right corner telling you if spells are in affect?

That's what I use.

Bark-skin is ugly.

---
"Opiferque Per Orbem Dicor"
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Re: A Word on Reskinning Spells


quote:

Ortlindegal wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something about this argument...but aren't their little glowing symbols in the upper right corner telling you if spells are in affect?


Yes. But, as I mentioned, the problem with those icons is that one icon can represent multiple spells. Ghostly Visage provides 5 points of Damage Resistance that's constant for the duration of the spell. Greater Stoneskin provides 20 points of Damage Resistance, but the spell can collapse well before its duration ends if it negates a total of 150 Damage or less (depending on your spellcaster Level). Yet they both use the same icon for Damage Resistance, whether you're running Ghostly Visage, Stoneskin or both. You can tell when Ghostly Visage ends; just look for the disappearance of the glowing, translucent blue skin. But without that visible stony skin, you have very little indication if Stoneskin ends before Ghostly Visage does.

Barkskin, Shield and Mage Armor raise various types of Armor Class, yet they all use the same AC Increased icon. Shield still has its visible spell effect, so the moment that Shield ends, we immediately know about it. But if you're running both Barkskin and Mage Armor, and one of those spells ends before the other, how can you tell? Your dropping AC score alone won't cut it; I can't tell you how many times I've downed another Barkskin potion only to find that it was my Armoring potion which needed to be rechugged instead.

It would be nice if Bioware had thought to add spell terminations to the battle spam; it has colorful notes for when a spell gets dispelled, but it would be nice to have a uniquely colored "Such-and-such spell is ending" blurb for when a spell ends naturally.

And your only indication that Stoneskin, Greater Stoneskin, the Resist/Endure Elements spells, etcetera are collapsing from too much damage is a less-than-noticeable "x damage absorbed/0 points remaining" blurb made completely from the same old dark orange text that permeates the vast majority of the battle spam. It blends in with the rest of the "I hit you, you hit me" battle spam quite well, and thus it sucks at upholding its own purpose: letting you know that your spell just collapsed so you can take action and avoid getting clobbered. emoticon

Last edited by The Wids, 1/28/2013, 7:24 pm
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