Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Attack Magic Missile With My Darkness

The forthcoming post on building economic systems is still in R&D mode but I decided not to let that stop me from posting about something which has recently raised a red flag for me.

In the 4e rules update from July 6, 2010, Magic Missile gets a major revision:

"Page 159: Replace the Attack, Hit, and Special
entries with the Effect and Special entries in the
power below. This update reflects an effort to restore
the power to its classical form.


Effect: 2 + Intelligence modifier force damage.
Level 11: 3 + Intelligence modifier force damage.
Level 21: 5 + Intelligence modifier force damage.
Special: If the implement used with this power has an
enhancement bonus, add that bonus to the damage. In
addition, you can use this power as a ranged basic attack."

To me, this sounds like an extraordinarily bad idea for several reasons. The stated thinking of restoring the spell to its "classical" form seems flawed. While granting the traditional "automatic" and "unerring" aspects to the spell with one hand, the other hand removes the just as iconic d4 damage dice. More importantly are the game balance aspects which didn't feel particularly broken in the first place. Pre-4th edition, it had limited availability in accordance with the number of spell slots the caster wished to devote to the memorizing the spell. In 4e, Magic Missile is an at-will spell that can be cast without limit at first level. No other character class has anything approaching this general guarantee of combat effectiveness. It certainly steps on the turf of the ranged attack based strikers. It also indirectly nerfs the threat of minions who will be dropped in a steady manner like clockwork. Is the archetypal image of the mage really akin to this?:

But of course with MM, the ammo never runs out.

I suspect this is one rules "fix" I'll ignore.

No comments:

Post a Comment