When you balance enemies for the WotR have something in comment.
In both real time combat and turn based combat, spellcasters are underwhelming as they require of much more micromanagement than fighters. I think that many people here, we use spellcaster either for healing or haste/slow.
There are few ways to go around that, one of them is making less combat but more challenging.
But what does not help at all, is the fact that the “bosses” have a ultra high spell resistance/savign throw. This makes sense in tabletop as in tabletop the micromanagement of speelcasters is not an issue, but it is an issue in the main game.
Now i am fighting the boss of the dungeon DLC and octavia is like … well, anyone has a beer? because it will never surpass the saving throws of the enemy,
@Steppenwolf speaks the truth. Casters aren’t blasters. There’s a lot of history behind this, but the short version is that Pathfinder is based on DND 3rd edition. One of the biggest changes made in DND 3rd edition vs 2nd edition is that it increased the hit die of monsters by far more than it increased damage due on spells and the growth rate of damage die on spells. Whereas blasters mages were extremely powerful in 2nd edition, their fireball did less damage in 3rd edition as a percentage of a monsters health and that fireball’s damage grew at a slower rate than monster health (ie, fireball would gain an extra d6 in damage for a level up, but the monsters would gain on average another 10-20 health, so the fireball became “worse” in comparison to the monsters it had to kill.
In comparison, your buff spells would add a percentage in hit and damage to your melee, who would grow stronger every level and gain attacks and crit chance and better weapons/gear, your cc spells would “grow” in strength each level because they were cc’ing stronger monsters, and your 1 hit die lvl 1 summon “grows” in strength because it’s still absorbing 1 attack or road blocking 1 monster, but that attack is coming from a stronger monster.
It is part of the strategy of a TTRPG spellcaster to plan in advance, and if you are up against something with high checks, then the winning strategy is to attune different spells like 1/2-damage-on-save or buffs, etc. in order to mitigate that.
Its the same with a fighter and an enemy with a very high AC. Instead of attacking you change your equipment or stance to be defensive.
Spellcasters are absolutely needed in your party.
There are tons of buffs that make the game much easier or they enable you to win some fights at all.
I agree that casters are NOT mostly damage dealers in pathfinder. Each spell costs a spell slot and you have only a limited amount of them. Your party is a team. You can attack with weapons infinite times.
So casting haste or enlarge on your party causes a higher damage gain than casting one fireball. Communal delay poison or communal immunety to some kind of energy make many things much easier. Some combos like delay poison on you and stinking cloud on the enemy or freedom of movement plus grease or web can make some encounters a cakewalk. Summons are always nice, enemies use their deadly attacks on something that disappears in a few seconds anyway. A tank with mirror image and displacement will live much longer. This list could go on forever.
summary: Casters can enable your party to be great.
They are not the best damage dealers with spells most of the time.
Often many casters just attack during combat, but what they do before combat can make a world of a difference.
Just to be sure, there are moments when it totally makes sense to cast during combat.
And I admit that buffing before combat can be very boring after you did it 100 times.
Can’t speak for WotR but in Kingmaker they’re simply… Passable.
A bard may be of use to a party for chants and some cheap buffs (though the majority of buffs can be covered by potions, scrolls or a divine caster). But if you rolled a sorc or a wiz as a main, you’re going to have a bad time justifying your pick throught the game. There’s a good reason most ideal parties involve phisical melee or ranged chars. Casters simply suck. Mostly due to enemy types, saves and stats bloats.
My point is to make it so you don’t feel useless 90% of the time if you picked the “wrong” class.
I had this experience as well. I almost always play any RPG as the equivalent to what Arcane casters like Wizards are for Pathfinder, but in the latter it feels just wrong.
I have to empty my arsenal of attack spells in a few encounters and do the same or worse damage than both melee and ranged fighters but now am cut off from buffing or summoning to help my party.
If I cast just 1 summoning spell for every 10 attack spells, it helps my party vastly more because it ups flanking and reduces damage suffered and thus also healing spells that need to be cast.
I think that attack spells should be much more deadly. It feels wrong if arcane casters are just buffers and summoners. Attack spells should be cast with a penalty to saving throws, most spells including AoE spells should be given a debuff on top of dealing damage and any damage dice should be doubled.
There should be a reason to take out casters first and as fast as possible.
Edit: Damage die should be doubled for AoE spells and quadrupled for ST spells which dont yet use 2d’s, like Disintegrate, which I would double.
A 15d6 L5 Cone of Cold does an average of 52 damage while a level 15 enemy fighter has 15x ~15+ HP, meaning upwards of 200 HP. Id need 4 successful spell casts to kill that enemy. Successful spell casts ! Id change the damage to 30d6 AND add a freeze effect that paralyzed the victims for at least 2 rounds unless they make a save or are ice elementals.
A 40d6 L6 Disintegrate does an average of 140 damage while a Level 20 enemy fighter has 20x ~15+ HP, meaning upwards of 300 HP. Id need 3 successful spell casts to kill that enemy. Id change the damage to 80d6 and add a Constitution debuff with no save.
The problem isn’t that spell casters are weak - the problem is the number of encounters. Since Kingmaker and WotR are designed as RTwP games, a lot of fights are over very quickly when a tabletop or turn-based version of the fight would take a lot longer. This means that the designers add in a bunch of extra small trash fights throughout the game, so spell casters are taught to hoard their spells and mostly use long-lasting buffs or save their spells for the really big and important fights. When you do cast a spell, many of those buffs or control spells or summons can be incredibly useful - but because this game is based on the rules of Pathfinder, using spell slots to just cause a bunch of damage tends to be less useful than other types of spells.
We’re not going to see any huge buffs to spell damage - this game is clearly designed to mimic the tabletop rules as much as possible, and a huge buff to spell damage has two problems. The first is that it’s a huge change from the tabletop game - and if you are familiar with 1st Edition Pathfinder rules, spell casters are already considered really powerful in that game, so giving them a huge buff in the video game is kind of insulting to martial characters who actually get a chance to shine here. The second issue is that it makes spell casters so strong that on top of powerful buffs and spells that can already do good damage at range and with extra accuracy, letting them do even more damage just encourages players to load up a party full of casters and use those spells to slaughter their enemies very quickly and then rest to recover their spells.
I haven’t played the Alpha for WotR, so I don’t know if there have been any big changes in that game. But the core problem is not about the math behind the spells, but the math of how many encounters and enemies players are expected to fight in between resting and recovering spells.
I think there’s several layers to it. One, as you’ve pointed out, is the frequency of encounters which makes managing spells more of a pain.
Another would be enemies with immunities. I don’t remember the name of the area but there was one in which ALL of the enemies were basically magic immune… I think it was the fey world. Long slog and, as you can imagine, not fun. At all.
This is why the mechanic metamagics such as Toppling, Rime, Entangling are great in pnp and sorely missing in KM. I’m hoping they eventually make it to WOTR. Selective, Bouncing and Persistent spells would be nice adds as well.
IMHO in a RTWPC, (real time or real time with pause combat) a spellcaster wont be very effective, especially for AoE damage/nerf type of caster, but also for buffers.
In tabletop spellcasters are balanced because when the player playing a caster cast an spell he/she can know where to center the spell to maximize how many enemies/allies will affect. In RtWPC there is no way to do that becaise there is a delay between the click and casting the spell.
Besides, casting a spell requires some level of micromanaging. at higher levels it becames a nightmare, and at certain point, i only use casters for haste. it difficult and boring to micromanage them.
So, IMHO the issue is the rtwpc, not casters itself.
I, for one, am just happy that fighter types are good for something as well. A wizard has staggering number of things they can do compared to a fighter, the last thing they need is a buff to outperform the fighter in dealing single-target damage, too.
I think people are forgetting that Wrath has much more enemies per encounter than typically found in tabletop, and AOEs can hit an unlimited number of targets in their range. If you hit two enemies, your damage just doubled. Three, tripled, and so forth.
Sure, wizards/sorcs are not primarily blasters (we have kine’s for that), but they can do more damage in a single round than other classes, if they can catch enough targets in an AOE spell. This is ontop of everything else they bring to the table.
There’s also lots of mythic feats that boost spellcasting in various ways, and relatively fewer for melee characters.
Casters are great when you don’t treat them as DPS machines. They’re terrible at that role in PF.
I hard focused Octavia in kingmaker into conjuration magic and made her just spam create pit on combats.
Suddenly 3-5 enemies were just taken out of a fight while i destroyed everything else. Big entangle spells were the same, “oh a bunch of melee guys, I’m not going to deal with that”.
As they go up also your lower spell slots can become more dedicated to those blaster options as you tend to use your highest levels on your big DC spells, and lower spells can be more dedicated to buffs/damage.
Long story short, you’re seriously limiting your power by only using a caster as a haste bot…