Evaluation of the 2.5 Spell Rework

The 2.5 Spell Rework has been a big one. We have been giving a lot of feedback through the comments in the 2.5 Spell Rework and 2.5 Update Patch notes threads, but I wanted to make a new thread to focus on a thorough evaluation of the main goals behind the Spell Rework and how well they have been addressed. The 2.5 Spell Rework post clearly describes the main problems that wanted to be fixed, so I will first analyse them, to then evaluate the solutions the devs have implemented and finally offer some suggestions of my own.

PROBLEMS

I wouldn’t say this was a big issue, but I do understand it. Some spells have better rarity-related effects and others better level-related effects. So, not only thematically, but even mechanically it would help being able to choose whether you want to upgrade and/or evolve the spell, instead of being force to do one to be able to do the other.

I completely agree, unless you got a lucky epic or legendary drop most of the duplicates were just nearly worthless.

To be honest, I had never thought it was particulary difficult to Upgrade and Evolve Spells. Maybe this is due to me focusing for a long time on just a few ones, so by the time I started to try other spells I have enough resources to get them at least to epic, which usually is good enough.

However, thinking objectively it is true that it could be considered to be difficult in the sense that it was not possible to upgrade and evolve more than just a few spells. Epic scrolls are quite scarce and being used for minions too makes this worse. Requiring spell glyphs made getting spells to legendary quite difficult indeed and we had to choose between evolving several spells to legendary or a few ones to mythic. Which was even worse due to the need of mythic relics that are also needed to upgrade gear. And better not to talk about leveling up a spell to lvl 50, spending 10 spell glyphs for a minimal effect…

So yes, I agree that regarding players being able to upgrade and evolve a lot of spells to be able to experiment and play with all of them, the previous system made it too difficult.

SOLUTIONS
1) Separating Upgrading and Evolution through the Spellbook system

I find the Spellbook system a neat solution to separate Upgrading and Evolution. Now we no longer need to evolve a spell whose rarity-related effect isn’t needed, or can use a spell whose level-related effect we don’t like without having to bother about leveling it up.

However, it has raised a new issue, harming our ability to freely swap characters without penalty. I believe this issue is a more psychological than mechanical one. I highly doubt that most players who used different classes had a full 4x legendary or above spell set for each of them, so probably changing classes already did have a small decrease in power when having to use lower level spells. Even if using several high level generic spells, since the rarity is kept we are only losing a bit of the level-related effects which in a lot of cases (such as damage) is clearly unnoticeable. Psychologically, though, knowing that changing to a character with a lower level spellbook will make you weaker will probably make you reluctant to do so, even if the difference is low enough to not really matter, leaving a bad feeling.

So if we add the true decrease in secondary classes performance with the decrease enjoyment of playing them due to the psychological impact and the spellbooks not being class-dependent but character-dependent, I do believe this solution has generated a negative impact that should be evaluated.

2) Spell duplicates change into spell pages

The goal of not getting useless resources as spell duplicates has been reached. Now, all spell drops have a value. Good.

However, I wonder if you have realized something. At the beginnings of the game upgrading any item required duplicates of that item. This was then changed 2 years and half ago to a generic resource (relics) instead. This is the explanation from the 0.35 Patch update:

We had noticed that players were having difficulty acquiring the resources and duplicate items needed for upgrades and evolution; this problem was going to get worse as the game expands in the future, so we’ve made significant changes here. As a part of this, we have introduced a new system for evolution, with new resources (Relics)

However, you have just gone back 2 years and a half to require “duplicates” of a spell for evolving it! Worst still now that we have 152 different spells… How is it possible than nobody has seen this?

3) Upgrading spells through the spellbook

To upgrade the current spellbooks to a certain spell we require the same amount of shards and gold needed to previously upgrade 4 spells to that same level. I believe this is something great, that truly helps making upgrading spells easier as it was intended. At least until lvl 35, since from then on it gets trickier. Previously we needed 8 spell glyphs to be able to get 4 spells to lvl 45. Now we need 23 to get all of them. Does affecting all spells compensate the 3x increase in spell needed? Well, we 8 glyphs allows us to get the spellbook to lvl 41 which isn’t that bad and they aren’t need for evolving anymore… However, it is only for a single character, with all the related issues I have already mentioned previously.

The spellbook has also created another new issue, spell shards will be eventually worthless. Right now I have nearly 400k spell shards. However, the spell shard amount I would need to upgrade all my spellbooks to lvl 50 is just a bit less than 200k. That means that half of my spell shards and all the ones I get from now on will have 0 value. So you have solved one problem of worthless resources (spell duplicates) only to create a new one (spell shards).

Personally I like the spellbook and I do think it has made leveling up one character’s spells easier. Previously I would have never upgraded my spells to lvl 50, whereas now I do find it interesting to upgrade my main classes spellbook levels to lvl 50. However, players that liked to play with different classes using the same generic spells can find this worse. Therefore, even if I believe that the goal of making upgrading a spell easier has been reached, the new issues that has arisen needs to be addressed.

4) Evolving spells through spell pages

I believe this is the worst part of the Spell Rework, making evolving spells much more difficult than it was before and therefore making all the nice improvements of the update insignificant compared to the huge issue we have right now.

So, you make evolving be independent of upgrading. You change relics with spell pages. You said you wanted to make evolving a spell easier. Therefore, I assume that when calculating how many spell pages were needed to upgrade spells you did some quick math to make sure that it was easier than before, meaning that the effort/time needed to get the spell pages required for a certain rarity is less than the one needed to get the gold, spell shards and relics required for the same rarity before… Or maybe you didn’t, because it doesn’t even come close.

Before, you just needed to play “normally” to gather enough gold, spell shards and relics to evolve the spells. But now, spell pages for a certain spell can only be obtained through dedicated farming of its dungeon. So playing “normally”, forget about evolving your spells past uncommon rarity. Congratulations, you have just prevented casual players from evolving their spells.

Now, let’s see what happens with the players ready to farm dungeons. I will give some numbers. Last 2 days I have opened around 270 lvl 100 specific chests and I have gotten 213 spell pages for my spell (at mythic), meaning 0.79 pages per chest opened. That means that I would need 8,860 chests to get to ancient mythic. That means that if I kept playing as last two days (average of 11 hours and 135 chests each day ) I would need 66 days (over 2 months) of playing only at a certain dungeon to get my spell to ancient mythic. But let’s forget about us veteran players that already have most spells at a high rarity. I am ok with ancient mythic spells being a luxury.

Let’s try now a daily active players that dedicates a couple hours a day to specifically farm for a spell. I assume that you goal was helping this kind of players get a good amount of epic and legendary spells by the time they have been playing some months.

I will assume they can farm fast and can open around 20 chests. I will even use my own numbers taken from lvl 100 chests, to see the ceiling they can aspire to. According to my numbers they would get 16 spell pages every day. 3 days to get a spell to rare, 15 days to epic and 78 days to legendary… After 6 months playing they will either have 12 epic spells or a couple of legendary spells (and nothing else!)… And this is using my lvl 100 chest numbers, so the reality would probably be even worse. And don’t disregard this as me being unlucky or using a low sample size, every player is complaining of their ridiculously low spell page rate drop and most of them seem to be worse than mine.

The idea was great, the intention superb, but the execution… It has been just terrible. Right now you have made it even harder to evolve spells, so forget about the shifting your Spell Loadout around, new players won’t even be able to decently evolve their favorite 4 spells!

SUGGESTIONS
1) Do the math to match your goals

So you want to change the way spells are evolved and decide to go with spell pages. Now the big question comes: how many pages will be needed for each rarity? You decide that the spell drops will give a number of spell pages equal to the number needed to reach that rarity. And you also decide to keep the spell drop rate the same. It seems fair, but that was your biggest error, because then our ability to evolve our spells gets tied to the spell drop rate, which is… Terrible.

Why not trying to work out the numbers from your goal? You see, you have a clear goal: make upgrading and evolving spells easier. Great, let’s define it. Let’s say I want the average daily active player to be able to get 4 legendary spells and 10 epic spells with 2 months of playing so that they can play a bit with them. Now we estimate how many chests will they open daily, let’s say 20 chest as in my previous example, 1200 during the 2 months. The rest is easy, and it can be done in 3 different ways:

  • Currently they will require a total of 7500 spell pages for that. That means they should be getting 6.25 relevant spell pages per chest (only counting the spells you really want to use). Since you know which are the spell drops rate in chests you just have to do calculations to determine how many spell pages should spell drops give on average and tweak the numbers from there.
  • Currently you know what is the relevant average spell page drop on chests (let’s take my previous example of 0.79). Then that would mean you get 948 spell pages in those 2 months. Use this knowledge to make it so that this amount of spell pages can evolve 4 legendary spells and 10 epic spells.
  • Keep the number of spell pages needed to evolve spells and gotten from chest spell drops, but tweak chest spell drops so that the average number of spell pages per chest goes up to 6.25.

Of course, the exact definition of the target player, how long they play, how many chest they get, how many evolved spells you want them to have in what time… All that is for you to decide. But once you have it, making sure your numbers allow reaching that goal should be relatively easy and even if reality then doesn’t exactly match the simulation, it should still be close enough to not be a big problem.

2) Increase spell pages/spell drops or decrease spell pages requirement

This is related to the previous one, but I wanted to emphasise how terrible the current numbers are and the need to improve them. Changing spell drops may be a problem, since it would require to change other drops and could lead to further issues, so I believe the key should be either increasing the number of spell pages obtained per spell drop or decrease the number of spell pages needed for evolution. I know this will mean that the number of spell pages obtained from a certain spell drop will be higher than the ones needed to get a spell to that rarity, but as long as the spell drops keep being so low it is necessary if you really want evolving spells to be easy.

This would surely help in reaching the goal of making evolving spells easier, but I am sure it wouldn’t be enough, because there is another really big issue that should be solved: my next suggestion.

3) Make spell pages universal

The evolution of the game has clearly shown a healthy trend to go from specific resources to universal ones. Why go back then? Specific spell pages only make everything more difficult, since it forces you to farm for you the spell pages you need instead of just getting them through everyday gameplay. Let’s take my previous example, with specific spell pages it means that those 20 daily chests have to be all from specific dungeon… Which then would force the player to focus solely on that for evolving the spell, adding the time of this farming to the time needed for playing (and enjoying) the rest of the content. Right now even my previous suggestion of color spell pages seems too weak.

Therefore, I strongly suggest to also make spell pages universal as part of the solution. Again, only part of it, because I am quite sure that as the previous suggestions just by itself it would still not be enough. All of them together, on the contrary, could very well solve the problem.

4) Increase the ability of Xione to craft pages

As it has already been discussed in another post by @00h00m, Xione currently gives very little help. This would be more a boost than a solution, but increasing the number of spell pages she can give us or the amount of spell dust she creates would surely help.

5) Give use to excess spell shards

Make it so that spell shards can be used for evolution too, maybe through Xione (converting spell shards to dust, for example)…I understand you don’t want players to have to decide between different uses for a single resource (although there are such cases, as scrolls and relics) but as I have said above a point is reached when further spell shards have no value at all. As with Xione, this is more a small help than a solution, but every bit counts.

CONCLUSION

The update had the potential to be great, some of the problems have been well solved… But the new spell evolution system has created a huge problem that in my opinion needs to be urgently addressed: the vast increase in difficulty of spell evolution. This clearly overshadows any other benefit from the update and requires a drastic improvement. It becomes even more critical when realizing that the most hurted are newer players, which can be quickly lose all their motivation if they find themselves unable to evolve their spells while enjoying the game, the only alternative being heavy joyless farming.

So, please devs, we really need something to be done as quickly as possible about this. I love the idea behind the Spell Reworks and I am sure that with the right execution it can be absolutely great and loved by the players. But right now it is just too tough on us.

We are really grateful that you changed your initial plans and including spell glyphs and T3 and T4 relics in the compensation. It really made us happy knowing that our feedback is being seriously considered and our worries addressed. Once again we ask you to listen to our concerns. We love the game and want it to be as enjoyable as possible. So we really hope this issue is resolved so that we can enjoy the 2.5 Spell Rework as you intended.

Thanks for hearing us out.

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If you make spell pages universal, you effectively invented spell shards again under a different name.

Otherwise very good analysis, thank you for calculating all the key numbers. Great work.

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Well, they have added spell dust as a resource. Why not use it instead of spell pages to evolve spells? You get spell dust instead of spell drops and you directly use it to evolve spells. Then make Xione another Brie/Adhakus that gives regular spelldust or back to a crafter that gives spells or the equivalent amount of spell dust. True, we would again have no use for Xione crystals but right now I would prefer that by far.

Thanks to you for your feedback :slightly_smiling_face:

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Great post! To me the biggest issue with the spell rework is the page system because you can’t really farm for a spell because there are multiple spells in one dungeon, my personal experience so far:
I want pages for a class spell from a dungeon that also drops two generic ones, well so far I’ve gotten 42 pages of my desired class spell while getting hundreds of pages for the two generic spells I don’t use on any characters… This is bad because even if I’m willing to put in the effort of farming a dungeon intensely like I did with T4 relics the likelihood of getting what I want is way, way too low compared with the amount of pages required for upgrading beyond mythic quality.

I also have suggestions:

  • remove the possibility to get only one page which is like getting a drop at common quality, it’s just petty and everybody likes round numbers when you need thousands of something.

  • find a solution to be able to target your farming, I think Higure’s idea about generic pages is good, maybe a common ground would be to have all the non class exclusive spells use generic pages while class spells would get their own ones you could only get at a specific place. I don’t know how the loot system works if when you get a spell dices are rolled again to decide which one you get or if each spell has a chance to drop separately from the others but in the case of class spell pages VS generic spell pages they should definitely be distinct.

  • Xione currently sucks, 4000 dust to get anything between 100 to 200 pages is way too low. Also she could have more crafting options; just an idea, break unwanted T4s into spell pages or dust (very large amount), we’ll most likely get many T4s before getting our spells to the desired rarity so might as well do something with them that don’t involve glyphs. I don’t know if others would like this idea if they do they can tell if they’d prefer having specific T4s for specific spells or just being able to break one to get XXXX amount of pages/dust.

I appreciate the game evolving but I hope we’ll see better iterations of this new system before jumping to the next rework, gear or minion whichever comes first because right now I’m kinda losing my motivation and farming xp in archives isn’t how I like to spend time playing.

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Wow … wow … first game in the 50 years I play now. where the Players for free put much more time, brain and effort in well design then the Devs ever did.
But we have to get used to the fact that this Dev just is not clever enough to use his resources (and a com like this here and ppl like Higure are a maximal valuable resource) in an at least bit senseful way and that the only solution they ever did state possible for their problems is and will stay to try to get more money out of the whales.
They will never learn that a million casuals in an average sucessful match 3 will generate much more income, then 100 whales in something like this.
They proofed now for the feeled 100th time that they are learning resistent, they even are not clever enough to try it with a new trick, the trick is always the same. Split resources, highen the grind, make things nearly impossible, some edicted idiots will pay then. Even if we give them nearly nothing at all for their money. We just have to find them and make them pay more.

I give it up now.
Sadly did throw some money at them lately again for some Xione crystals, renewing my VIP (even so its not a good deal, just to support them) and my quest passes, cause I wanted them to show that I did like that they this time at least did react a bit to our concerns, but now … I see it was peanuts for the monkeys to keep them calm, otherwise the forum would had been burned to the ground meanwhile.
But ok, will not make that mistake again.

If they want whales only, they shall get whales only.
I am no whale and never will get one.
But even if I would be a whale, I wont spent money on a Dev that calls me an idiot with every single flashsale he offers.
Sorry for being very open again … but I still hope most ppl arent that edicted and that stupid, that this attitude will ever make the Dev rich.

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:person_facepalming:

And now I loot more Relics than spell pages!

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Just wanted to chime in from a newer players prospective.

I play games. A lot. It’s what I choose to do with my time. I’ve put thousands of US dollars into several different games over years and enjoyed doing it and will keep doing it.

But with what game/s ?

From a new player standpoint who has been spending most of my time playing this game this last month, and by that I mean 10+ hours a day, I can’t even fathom one day being an older player with these kind of drop rates, I was hoping it would get better, and it just got worse with this spell drop rate.

Spending money on a game should be a force multiplier. Speed up progress based also on hours put into playing. Then actually seeing and enjoying that spent money making a difference, or why do it?

I have some preliminary math numbers coming in that I have been working on.

Being human with hopefully at least an average human lifespan, already 40 years old, and playing puzzle quest for more hours than I work to make money, OR working more hours just to spend money on puzzle quest, (not counting gear / minions / ECT) I should be able to farm all of the spells up and get enough glyphs for my 7 classes by the ripe old age of…

Dead.

What I mean to say is, as a person (customer) who spends most of their time and also spends a lot of their money on video games, even this is too much.

And this is a thread about ‘one’ aspect of this game, let alone the others.

Please listen to the OP if you want to even have people like him that have stuck with the game for that long to even keep happening.

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A quick update. A fairly new member of our kingdom did some numbers too: 100 dungeons gave them 31 spell pages of the one they were farming for. This would be 0.31 pages per chest, much worse than the 0.79 I estimated for me. Under the 20 chest a day assumption that would be over a week to get it to rate and over a month to get it to epic…

Again the sample size is small, but most of the numbers players are obtaining are similarly poor.

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I am finally getting a feel for the new patch. It does some really nice things with the spellbook.

The patch feels very unfinished. It seems like any analysis of spell page drop rates for the new system were just cut out and pages simply swapped in for spell drops. Of course that may be my naviete thinking that such a significant change in the game came with the analysis of how spell page drops would need to be adjusted.

Since the patch, I have been farming for Healing Word pages. I’ve received 50 of the 1,000 I need to take the spell from Epic to Legendary. This is farming one specific dungeon and ignoring the rest of the game. At this rate, it will take me 80 days farming just this one dungeon for one spell, and then only to Legendary.

I’m not sure what your plans were for balancing out the new system to make it simpler and more fun, but you really need to look at it. Part of me thinks spell dust was going to be added to all chests along with adjusting spell drop rates.

So the new method to gain spell pages to evolve spells seems unfinished and it is NOT FUN!

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Good idea. Food, Ore and Gold are generated by a follower, and part of the basic loot. Why not Spell dust?

Also once, and only once I got spell dust from a chest. I have probably farmed for Legion of Doom, but it is only mythic, not Ancient Mythic, so I don’t know why it came, but I definitely saw it.
Was it a bug? Was it something else (very rare)?
Next time if it happens, I’ll definitely make a screenshot.

Dust is chests would be a bandage on a hemorrhaging wound at this point. As with all good ideas it is the implementation that makes it good or bad.

Chests are already the worst itemized part of the game. The fact that they charge real currency for keys and don’t publish the chest odds is shady and predatory. In many games the highest level chests are considerably better, but that is not the case in PQ3.

Make chest loot level appropriate and most of these problems go away. Publish the odds as well. Spells can stay rare as a drop item if a Diamond 100 chest has only rare and higher drops. Getting food, ore, common loot, etc. in a 100 chests makes me wonder what these dragons were guarding under lock and key.

Time in game should have value, especially when you are focusing that time on a specific task. The problem right now is that even the most dedicated players are making shockingly little progress when throwing a HUGE amount of effort at the new spell upgrade method.
If it is this hard for players with 100s of keys of every type, how is it possible to expect casual players to feel any level of progress.

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This is an excellent post (and I really appreciate the formatting).
Since we’re just coming back in from the long weekend now I’ve only had a scan so far, but I’m just jumping in to let you know we’ve got a pin in this to go through it properly (along with the comments in this thread).

As always, I am really grateful that you folks take the time to do this. Spells was a big change and I’ve got no doubt there’s adjustments that’ll be needed.

Thank you!

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Sorry for the loooooooooooong post, but I didn’t want to miss anything. The credit for the formatting should go to @peachykeen , whose recent post showed me how to format a long post to make it easier and more confortable for the reader :slightly_smiling_face:

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Nicely laid out. Im glad I was able to provide a small contribution!

And truly —— this IS the bottom line:

Fun adjacency sucks

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I have been thinking about the suggestion to have the spell pages consolidated to just colors and some questions start to pop up.

  • How would you get the spell in the first place?
  • What happens with the dungeon chest rewards that indicate a specific spell can drop?
  • How do you grind for spell pages of specific color?

There might be other affected areas that I didn’t think about.

  1. You would just get it, as it is now, no change.
  2. They would drop the specific colours of spell pages of the specific spells (This will be easy, cause you only have to change the spellpages into the colour the spell has, instead of changing them into spell specific ones)
  3. Same way as now, you choose the dungeon where the spell drops or any other where spells of your colour drop, no change

It just would change 2 things, you wont get, even more then before the update, so many “rewards” you dont want and you cant use, cause their related spells are absolute useless (the majority) and which only make you rage when they drop, what for sure is not what a “reward” should do
and it would be possible then to upgrade the spells you want and use within a reasonable time and without running the same content for month again, cause you can farm your spells res then again in many dungeons and content , as it was before.
So this way, you would have made 5 res out of one and not 152 (to date, getting more with every new spell), which is just insane and … well, ok, Joker … calm down.

As Joker said, it would be easy. You just would need to convert specific spell pages into spell pages of the corresponding color, no need for anything else. The dungeon chest reward would remain the same, so that you can still get the spell in the corresponding dungeon and you can use that info for farming pages of specific color.

I like this option because thematically it makes sense to at least have spell pages of different element. However, right now it wouldn’t be enough to fix the issue we are having. For example, most of people reporting their spell page drops upon specific farming of a certain dungeon are getting more pages for the spells they don’t need than for the spell they are farming for. Making elemental spell pages wouldn’t completely solve the previous issue, although it would help as long as you use spells that share a color with those extra spell pages you get.

I believe that universal spell pages, using spell dust instead, or just going back to spell shards would be mechanically much more satisfying. We already have too many “dead” resources to add another new one (spell pages of spells/elements you don’t care about). As I said in my post, the evolution of this game’s upgrading system has developed from specific resources to universal ones (first needing duplicates of the items, then specific dungeon relics and finally universal relics). If those changes were made because it made the game better… Why have we gone back?

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Somebody once said to me, a Developer who does not use his own software a lot will never be a good one, no matter how skilled he is. He never will be dedicated to what he does nor will he ever get the consequences of his designs and work.
100% true, for a game even 1000%.

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the only solution to this madness is simple: MAKE IT SO YOU CAN ONLY FIND PAGES TO -=EQUIPPED=- SPELLS. finding pages to spells youll never use,is just as useless as finding duplicate spells ever was!

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No, they are even more useless then before, cause before you got at least spellshards and gold for them to level up the spells you wanted … now most of them are just … useless and annoying crap.

I would not say a word, if not most of the spells just were … season fillers, content from “genius” designers, unbalanced as hell and good for nothing, even some of them are still bugged, some of them since month or even years. As at least half of the items ingame are too (edit: Not bugged, but useless).
And that was said in the most possible friendly way.

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