Recommend a good spellcasting simulation game
August 26, 2009 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Recommend some PC games that have in-depth spell-casting/spell creation systems.

I'm in love with the concept of a wizard piecing together the knowledge to create a spell and then doing the scientific testing to perfect it. I also love when you can tell what spell someone is casting by the words they say and the gestures they make.

That said, I'm really disappointed with the spell-casting systems in most video games and could use some recommendations for new ones...preference here would be for MMOs although single-player games are fine. I'm not looking for systems that are pure guessing games--but ones that have scientific logic applied, like, hey, sulfur might be useful for fire-based spells... Games where you simply customize the spell and click a button to cast it *cough*Morrowwind*cough* don't interest me that much.

Examples of things I liked in other games are...
- The spell creation system in Asheron's call where you literally had to test different combinations to create different spells. This was great until someone posted every combination online and then if you wanted to be competitive, you had to just grab it there versus waste time and money figuring it out yourself.

- Avencast was fun for its twitch-based casting but it felt more like making the guy run in circles than actually doing gestures that resembled what one typically things of spell casting.

- I currently have Magic Wars on my iPhone and while the concept is cool, the execution is piss poor with gestures not reading your hand movements properly and the mic not picking up your words properly. Plus, the actual spells and such don't really make any difference on duel outcomes.

Any great magic simulation games would be fantastic. I recently asked for recos on survival simulations and received some great results (which included Stranded II--my new addiction) and I'd be absolutely thrilled if I came away from this with something as good.
posted by Elminster24 to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Arx Fatalis had a very rad gesture and rune based magic system, which encouraged experimentation. It's a great game in its own right, as well.
posted by ellF at 8:31 PM on August 26, 2009

The Witcher has an alchemy system. So complicated, I didn't bother to learn.
posted by Sully at 8:46 PM on August 26, 2009

This is probably going back way way further back than anything you're thinking of but Ultima IV, released in 1985 and now incarnate open-source as xu4, had a nifty alchemy-based spellcasting system incorporating some of the discovery and experimentation you're talking about including some very rare and key reagents you had to figure out how to find and harvest. It regularly makes it into "Top Games of All Time" lists.
posted by XMLicious at 11:03 PM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you can scare up an Amiga emulator, Dungeon Master had a pretty cool spell system.
posted by @troy at 1:31 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding Arx Fatailis.
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:58 AM on August 27, 2009

Dragon Lord has the most in-depth spell creation system I've seen. It was alchemy-based, and the travelling merchants had a somewhat random selection of reagents, so the fun part was trying to balance positive and negative effects to create a spell that did basically what you wanted with the materials at hand.

If you can get an Amiga emulator, and find the disk images somewhere, I'd highly recommend it.
posted by fnerg at 3:18 AM on August 27, 2009

Oh, it's somewhat inventive copy-protection scheme was that it came with a poster-sized piece of paper listing the reagents, their effects, and ways to mitigate them, positive and negative. It's almost impossible to play without it.
posted by fnerg at 3:20 AM on August 27, 2009

I came here to mention Dungeon Master as well, looks like I was beaten to the punch. I used to play it on the Apple IIGS. A sequel came out for PC back in '95.
posted by reptile at 4:48 AM on August 27, 2009


though this is another case of mining the early nineties.
posted by 256 at 8:14 AM on August 27, 2009

I haven't played it in a while, but Warlocks plays quite a bit like what you described.

Opponents duel each other by entering a series of gestures with both hands that chain together to form spells. The game is really strategic because you can see every gesture your opponent enters so you can anticipate what spells they are casting or try to fake them out. Quite satisfying really.

Sadly, you may need to find a friend to play with , the community seems to be almost empty.
posted by cirrostratus at 9:16 AM on August 27, 2009

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