Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

RPG Superstar 2015

An Aesthetic Request: Combat & Magic Animations


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

This is not a high order concern--on screen representations are not what will make or break a gaming experience. But this is something that has always bothered me in games: over the top animations for low level characters. There's something that really bugs me about a 1st level spell like cure light wounds having a spell animation that is comparable to a ninth level spell. I'd much prefer a minimal to maximal graduated scale where CLW has something very subtle, say a light blue glow from the hands, to something pretty awesome for like Heal, wherein there is like some mazing, from the heavens golden rain of healing goodness.

Or something like that. Scaled animations for abilities and spells would make progression more meaningful, for me at least :)

Goblin Squad Member

Personally, I think less is more here. The fancy light shows usually leave me bored. I want just enough to let me know what my character should know about what the other guy is doing.

But this is purely a personal preference. I'm kind of a low-magic guy, and I've always thought one of the penalties to being a Magic User should be the very real danger of having villagers come 'round with pitchforks and torches and burn down your tower. I would love a system where there was a risk to conspicuously using magic.


Heh, I think Final Fantasy is the most over the top example of what you describe. Where the low level limit break parts the clouds, zooms out into space, parts the seas, cracks the ground, and ultimately hits for 150 damage.

Goblin Squad Member

Marou_ wrote:
Heh, I think Final Fantasy is the most over the top example of what you describe. Where the low level limit break parts the clouds, zooms out into space, parts the seas, cracks the ground, and ultimately hits for 150 damage.

Heh, yeah, I'd rather not see that :)

Goblin Squad Member

Marou_ wrote:
Heh, I think Final Fantasy is the most over the top example of what you describe. Where the low level limit break parts the clouds, zooms out into space, parts the seas, cracks the ground, and ultimately hits for 150 damage.

Reminds me of this Adventurers comic.

Goblin Squad Member

I would like to see the light shows saved for equivalent of level 15+...if not being what capstones do.

Goblin Squad Member , Star Voter 2013

There should be a light show involved in casting, that's obviously part of the look and feel of the setting. Otherwise, it will look incomplete.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I agree that there should be some kind of visual indication that a caster is casting, and it would probably be best for the color of the light in their hands to give an indication of the type of magic they're casting.

What I am generally objecting to, and I think Forencith is referring to the same thing, is when there is a Light Show.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Perhaps different types of spellcasting should have different flashiness of effects. Nothing so flashy as to obscure what's going on, in any case. (That's one of the minor complaints I have about DCUO- Sometimes it's hard to see the combat through all the hard light Apache helicopters in the way.)

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There are reasonable spell animations.

And then there's this.

Goblin Squad Member

One Request: Don't bow down to the masses and make every different type of character and ability extremely obvious to identify. SW:TOR just shaved off another layer of depth from PvP by painting your class above your head. So, don't go out of your way to make things different, if they happen to look similar, leave it at that.

NWN2 had a good system for identification, if you where skilled enough to know what the spell was, it would tell you in a chat log.

I should be able to run around in wizards robes carrying a big stick with a shiny rock glued to it, then when someone lowers their physical defenses and raises magical ones, i whip out my bow and take them down.

You can't tell if it hurts unless it hits you.

The more you are hit with a specific ability, the easier it should be for you to identify it. This would be part of character development and open up a door for 'practicing' on each-other to strengthen your spell knowledge. There would of course be some barrier to this skill subset so everyone can't easily do it. If you are training skills for it, it should take a shorter amount of time to learn the effect on you, if you aren't training the skill, it should take around 10,000 hits to learn the effect.

This falls in line with the: "No nameplates unless the person has identified them selves to you, or you have purchased/been-given advanced information on the character, and they are not wearing a disguise you can see through." request

Goblin Squad Member

What? A use for the spellcraft skill?

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Valkenr wrote:
I should be able to run around in wizards robes carrying a big stick with a shiny rock glued to it, then when someone lowers their physical defenses and raises magical ones, i whip out my bow and take them down.

Where did the bow come from? If you are going to be running around in wizard robes with a staff, you should have to either have a bow slung across your back or summon one via spell if you want to use one. If there is a "summon bow" spell then I am all for it. The trickery might be one of the upsides to playing an arcane archer... But I really don't want to see people in tattered rags pulling giant warhammers out of their non-existent pockets.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

I could see having several weapons in slots considered "Equipped", and displayed on the model. Show the model holding a wand, but with a bow strung over his back and a sword sheathed.

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
Valkenr wrote:
I should be able to run around in wizards robes carrying a big stick with a shiny rock glued to it, then when someone lowers their physical defenses and raises magical ones, i whip out my bow and take them down.
Where did the bow come from? If you are going to be running around in wizard robes with a staff, you should have to either have a bow slung across your back or summon one via spell if you want to use one. If there is a "summon bow" spell then I am all for it. The trickery might be one of the upsides to playing an arcane archer... But I really don't want to see people in tattered rags pulling giant warhammers out of their non-existent pockets.

Unless you have a bow that is taller than your chest height, you could conceal it under your robes. The key in the example is 'robes', you can't pull something out of your 'muscle-shirt'

With proper harnessing, you could carry most weapons that are shorter than your chest height and of reasonable thickness under your robes.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Well, to be fair, in PnP one could carry a few dozen longswords with a moderately strong character. In reality, where the devil do you store them? I believe that the inventory system is going to be like most MMOs, equipped items are visible, but the rest of your inventory is effectively a giant bag of holding, just waiting to have stuff swapped in.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

I was suggesting a number of slots that count as equipped for loot purposes, are visibly modeled, and the only things that can be used in combat. Outside of combat, you would be free to change them, but inside combat you would only choose from among them. That would add a couple of tactical elements.

Goblin Squad Member

@Decius, I like that a lot. Kind of like the Belt slots from Diablo.

Although, I'm kind of leaning towards a Skill to give you more Ready Slots.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
I was suggesting a number of slots that count as equipped for loot purposes, are visibly modeled, and the only things that can be used in combat. Outside of combat, you would be free to change them, but inside combat you would only choose from among them. That would add a couple of tactical elements.

I like this option. Especially because of the loot aspect. People are going to be afraid to carry around items that aren't equipped. Yet I know in D&D my barbarian had a bow that he used on occasion even though he primarily used a battleaxe. If equip items only allow your currently equipped weapon, and any non-equipped item is lost on death, that is really going to hurt classes that have reasons to switch their weapon, and hand a heavy advantage to classes such as a wizard or cleric that likely only have one weapon setup.

While I don't mind having some concealing effects it needs to work logically based of your clothes and the size of the weapon. Concealing a shortbow somewhere on your person might be feasible. It also would likely give a small dexterity penalty as you aren't going to be doing any backflips or somersaults with a shortbow on your back. If you had something like a longbow or greatsword concealed under your robes even running might be a difficult task. If you had 20 daggers and throwing knives concealed strategically all over your person, you might not take any penalty at all. Especially if you are a rouge who is adept at those kind of things.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Nihimon wrote:

@Decius, I like that a lot. Kind of like the Belt slots from Diablo.

Although, I'm kind of leaning towards a Skill to give you more Ready Slots.

s/Skill/Ability

I agree, and it should be hard enough to get that ability that only a few people bother to get the highest level of it.

Goblin Squad Member

The example of the Barbarian with a Battleaxe and a Bow may not be illustrative. Most games allow you to have separate slots for up to two Melee weapons as well as a Ranged weapon.

Perhaps a better example would be a Paladin who uses a Two Handed Sword sometimes, but switches to a Sword and Shield others, and maybe even has a Flail for special occasions.

Thinking about it now, I'm not 100% sure that GW wants us to be able to consider those "equipped" and immune from destruction if we're looted. Maybe they'll tell us (hint hint nudge nudge wink wink).

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I hate over the top spell animations. All the blinking, flashing, and other animations from 10 poeple casting at the same guy clog up my screen, making it really hard to see what the target is doing. Gestures and motion are alot better. Less is more

Goblinworks Founder

Switching to other weapons would have a delay as you have to put the weapon back in it's spot and reach for the other one, unless you did the drop weapon (free action so it would speed up things) and hopefully pick it up later (thinking when playing the PnP version).

Reason you would see wizards/clerics with one setup as it's usually the wand/staff/1-handed mace since you needed one hand free to cast some spells unless you were using the item to cast it. They could use a shield but it had to be a buckler since any bigger constricted with the hand motions.

I think identifying what a spell was would be involved with perception, you especially needed to know what was being cast if you going to try and counter it.

Goblin Squad Member

Brady Blankemeyer wrote:

Switching to other weapons would have a delay as you have to put the weapon back in it's spot and reach for the other one, unless you did the drop weapon (free action so it would speed up things) and hopefully pick it up later (thinking when playing the PnP version).

Reason you would see wizards/clerics with one setup as it's usually the wand/staff/1-handed mace since you needed one hand free to cast some spells unless you were using the item to cast it. They could use a shield but it had to be a buckler since any bigger constricted with the hand motions.

I think identifying what a spell was would be involved with perception, you especially needed to know what was being cast if you going to try and counter it.

Spellcraft skill imho

Goblin Squad Member

I like some flashiness myself.

I played Everquest (Kunark era) when I was really young (i.e. 9), and I remember that one of my primary motivations for getting my enchanter to Level 24 was so that my spell animations would change. My shield spells, which had formerly been a simple green sparkle animation, started to cast in a few different colors. I believe the animations evolved again at a later level.

Now, I don't remember exactly if the spells themselves were what changed, or if my character level was the deciding factor (i.e. if I cast the level 1 shield spell, would it look less awesome?). But I think a system that scales the flashiness of the spell animations themselves could work either way.

I think it'd be disappointing to spend 2.5 years working toward Level 20 as a magic-user, only to find that your spells look more or less the same as they did at Level 1. MMOs are graphical for a reason - if we don't take advantage of that, we might as well be playing a MUD of PnP game instead.

As folks have pointed out though, some games have a few too many sparkles. I'm a fan of EQClassic's effects, but would be interested to see them updated and a little less particle dense

Goblin Squad Member

Caladyn wrote:

I like some flashiness myself.

I think it'd be disappointing to spend 2.5 years working toward Level 20 as a magic-user, only to find that your spells look more or less the same as they did at Level 1. MMOs are graphical for a reason - if we don't take advantage of that, we might as well be playing a MUD of PnP game instead.

That's the point of the thread--if 1st level spell animations are similar to 9th level animations, it takes away from your sense of character development.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mbando wrote:
Caladyn wrote:

I like some flashiness myself.

I think it'd be disappointing to spend 2.5 years working toward Level 20 as a magic-user, only to find that your spells look more or less the same as they did at Level 1. MMOs are graphical for a reason - if we don't take advantage of that, we might as well be playing a MUD of PnP game instead.
That's the point of the thread--if 1st level spell animations are similar to 9th level animations, it takes away from your sense of character development.

Yup! You have my full support!

I guess my point was to emphasize that while it's important to keep animations reasonable in scope (i.e. no world-destroying limit breaks), that it's also important to give a sense of development as you describe.

Or in other words, in terms of spell animations, more is more, until you have too much.

Goblin Squad Member

There's a lot to be said to be slowly building up towards something visually impressive [correlated with how significant it is] than have it handed to you on day 1.

Obviously skills need to visually recognisable but atst the inflation of visual effects in most mmorpgs devalues all of their visual impact & impressiveness just becomes the mundane, 2-'a-pop.

I like the idea that additionally early Level Skills towards any Archetype seriously start with the common and mundane basics and variety of such, but are still useful before upping the Amps with flashier/uncommon skills/higher magics vs hedge wizardry. Ie start low and simple allows space for progression as well as change of frequency of powerful/visually impressive skills/spells are rarer/associated with higher level abilities. eg if everyone is turning into tornados of destruction quickly ends up looking like a bunch of dust devils in no time.

Goblin Squad Member

I prefer simpler animations myself. Please get to the point without making it a fancy Broadway dance number.


I have to agree with simple animations. I want SOME progression to show that I'm more powerful, but nothing crazy. I'm all for Pathfinder The Musical, but not on my screen during gameplay.


i have to agree with most posters on this.I do enjoy some casting animations as long as they are not too fancy.it should be easy to identify which spell the enemy is using but i do not want my screen turn into a disco in every fight

Goblin Squad Member

I personally love the feeling of starting with a character who looks and feels like he would lose a battle to anything bigger than a cat.

I would personally see magic use at the lower levels look low key and void of a disco, but something quite epic at later levels. By epic, I mean everyday Baldur's Gate 2 animations.

Less is always more. I know we're used to wielding the hand of god upon character creation, but having the privilege doesn't necessarily mean it's just or appropriate. Take the power away from the lower levels, then give it back to us, slowly.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

3 people marked this as a favorite.

While many of the comments here have been quite insightful, I'd like to say that perhaps the flashiness of a spell should not always be proportional to its power.

Let's use the pen and paper game to bring up a point. Fireball is a dramatic spell - it's a big damn ball of fire! It dwarfs a firework and should be visible for miles at night.

The far more devastating Horrid Wilting is much less obvious. At a distance greater than a hundred meters, it might not be possible to see exactly what killed those on the receiving end of the spell. If the victims are wearing a significant amount of clothing, it may be near-impossible to see the resulting trauma until the body is inspected at close distance.

By having the "flare" of spells vary considerably, they can have even more game-world interactions. For example, highly visible spells could be more likely to bring friends/mobs over to investigate, stealth-using casters may have some spells which are easier to get away with before the enemy is tipped off.

Wouldn't it be something if a player had to worry that the fireball he blasted some orcs with might just attract the attention of nearby ogres, while Sleep would have not?

As far as the original question: I am with Coldman that BG2 set a good level for "flare." Less would be more in trying to capture the rough and tumble of the River Kingdoms.

Goblinworks Founder

Simple particle effects would serve multiple positives. It would allow more players on screen at once for starters, as the client/server will not be passing so many rainbow effects back and forth.

Liberty's Edge

Mbando wrote:

This is not a high order concern--on screen representations are not what will make or break a gaming experience. But this is something that has always bothered me in games: over the top animations for low level characters. There's something that really bugs me about a 1st level spell like cure light wounds having a spell animation that is comparable to a ninth level spell. I'd much prefer a minimal to maximal graduated scale where CLW has something very subtle, say a light blue glow from the hands, to something pretty awesome for like Heal, wherein there is like some mazing, from the heavens golden rain of healing goodness.

Or something like that. Scaled animations for abilities and spells would make progression more meaningful, for me at least :)

seconded.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Here's a personal desire that I would love to see addressed, though I am quite aware that developing this animation is usually cost-prohibitive and given very low priority with the millions of other things that devs must do. This would take research as well as crucial time which is rarely ever available.

It would be amazing if it were possible to animate the fighting so it looks like the characters are actually using their weapons correctly, using proper technique for their weapon and their opponent. Characters fighting with a rapier-like sword (smallsword, rapier, etc) never slash. Arming/long swords should occasionally be used in half-sword and similar techniques. Scimitars (kilic, shamishir, sabre - whatever, same class) should be used bent-armed. Spears are not just pointy sticks, and the technique of every weapon changes dramatically if a shield is used. Daggers should not be swung like a baseball bat; an individual using a dagger should be forcibly trying to step into their enemy's longer reach, and maybe even deliver some attacks from what amounts to a boxer's clinch (in the animation - though wouldn't adding grappling also be nice?)

I can dream.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Paizo Licensed Products / Pathfinder Online / An Aesthetic Request: Combat & Magic Animations All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.