I’ve been meaning to post my thoughts on this for quite awhile, but the inspiration on how to potentially address this current gameplay flaw to warrant this post escaped me until yesterday.
A couple of important concepts to speak of first,
PQ3 is a game of diminishing returns. This means that in general, the higher the level something is raised, the more difficult and more expensive reaching that next level is while receiving continually smaller and smaller benefits for each new level achieved.
PQ3 is a game of intentional resource scarcities and conflicts. Often, the same extremely scarce and expensive resources is used to fuel multiple different ascensions, creating intentional conflicts on how to deploy those resources.
With that out of the way, I’ve posted this picture before about the potential issues that the game presents with high level spell ascensions.
In the screengrab, the player would obtain 10 spell damage, 5 armor healing, 8 poison mastery, and 1 additional turn of regeneration.
Quite underwhelming, absurdly so even in the face of expected strong diminishing returns and the extreme costs of that transaction (14 Glyphs + 4 T4 Relics).
In one of the later Early Access updates, the devs added mana mastery to spells to give them an additional boost. This was a very good idea, IMO. The problem broadly with spells is that the numerical spell output generated by the game is a function of quite a few factors (player level, spell level, mana mastery, various boost types, etc.), which generally require base spell damage and its expandable range via leveling up the spell to be low to accommodate all of those potential boosts. Adding a mana mastery boosting component to spells gave another way to boost the effectiveness of spells.
And this is where I was stuck at for quite awhile on this issue and let this issue drop, until yesterday.
Darn those random shower thoughts out of nowhere.
When this issue is looked at from another perspective, a potential solution becomes apparent.
As noted in the second bullet point above, the game is full of intentionally created scarcities and resource conflicts. So, let’s look at the situation of the above proposed spell ascension from a perspective of a scarce resource commonality, and what else could be done with that scarce resource. In the transaction, the common scarce resource is the Mythic Control Panels, which are used to ascend any thing associated with the Dwarven Set to Mythic.
In the proposed transaction, the level 50 spell would yield 75 mana mastery (across all spells, mana mastery ranges from 50 to 100 for a level 50 spell based upon the commonness or nicheness of that spell).
Okay, but that reveals a problem. If I wanted to pursue mana mastery,
A level 45 Legendary Dwarven Hammer already generates more mana mastery at 80, without expending any of the scarce resources.
The problem gets worse once Mythic ascensions are considered.
A Mythic 45 piece of gear generates 140 mana mastery. That’s +60 mana mastery from the gear ascension alone.
While, ascending that spell from Legendary 45 to Mythic 45…
… yields no mana mastery at all.
And Mythic 50?
+20 more mana mastery for the piece of gear, while only receiving +8 for the spell ( various spells will range from +5 to +10).
Again, advantage goes to the gear over the spell.
All of this leads to a very unfortunate, yet inescapable conclusion.
In instances where the output effectiveness of a spell is measured in a numerical value which is affected by a player’s mana mastery, optimization of spell output effectiveness through maximizing mana mastery is achieved by prioritizing and investing in a player’s gear and NOT in the spell itself.
In less complex wording, investing in high rarity gear to generate high mana mastery totals to boost spell damage is GOOD, investing in spells (with numerical output, not percentage-based) is BAD (or very inefficient).
Pretty sure, that’s not working as likely designed/intended.
However, the wheel does not need to be reinvented here. All that needs to be done is an adjustment of mana mastery numbers on spells to make them be the superior source of mana mastery over gear. This is likely the intended design, given that Spell Glyphs are priced similarly to Weapon Glyphs and are meant to be their equivalent in offensive potentness.
Mana Mastery awarded by spells should be higher than the mana mastery awarded by secondary gear sources. This change would incentivize players to prioritize ascending spells with numerical outputs to higher rarities to improve their effectiveness over ascending other gear pieces. If the mana mastery mechanic for spells is tied to the same locked system that spell damage is over a 50 level range, then the issue can addressed by adding one-time mana mastery bonuses to the spell at each ascension.