View Full Forums : The History of Caster Balancing

07-11-2002, 10:51 AM
Approximately one year prior to the current Caster Balancing Verant was asked by Druids to look at a few issues. Keep in mind that Scars of Velious had just come out.

February 16, 2001

About these lists:
First and foremost, understand that this is only a list of concerns to be brought to the Live Team. This is not a list of promises, and I'm certainly not telling you that any or all of these items will be changed or implemented.

Also, there are three types of items that I don't have listed here. Epic Quests, Magic Resistances in Velious and Mid-level quests. Those three items were mentioned by enough classes that I've pulled them out for separate examination.

All items are currently marked with NONE for status. Obviously we've already started working on some items, you've seen the lists from the patch messages on the Test Server. I will be updating the status for items early next week to reflect those potential changes and with any responses from the team. I just wanted to get these lists out to you fresh.

I want these lists to be final as you see them now, but I know there will need to be changes made. So this list is not final. But if you want something added to or removed from the list, please be convincing about the change. At this point I don't want to tack on too many more items, since the team is already reviewing the original list.

Thanks for the input so far.



ITEM: Healing.

DESCRIPTION: There is a general consensus that clerics are the only useful healers past 50th level. Shamans and Druids are supposed to be secondary healers. But post 50 their spells are too inferior and fizzle too often to be effective as healers at all. Some suggestions are to move Superior Heal to level 51 (and reduce its fizzle rate) and/or add in a new one at 56th. Where shamans might be able to use Torpor to fulfill their healing needs, we may need to make a new spell for druids at that level. We also need to be careful not to make them too good at healing. Thatís the clericís turf. Whatever is done here should also be done with shaman, in some similar fashion (though probably not the same way).



ITEM: Charm Animals.

DESCRIPTION: Druids like the idea of being able to charm pets without making them angry. But this has a ton of gameplay issues attached to it. Keep in mind that the main drawback to charm is the fact that the animal will be angry at the caster after the spell fades. Taking that aggro factor out would require some other serious drawbacks or limitations to the spell, even more than the fact that it is limited to animals. The idea of making them act like enchanter pets might be a worthwhile idea for a limitation (no ability to command the pet). From one player: "How about a High level charm animal spell that only works on animals that con kindly or amiable. If the spell works, it says "The wooly mammoth decides to join you", if it fails it says "The wooly mammoth declines your offer". That would seem to be the spirit of a druid charm animal spell.



ITEM: New Druid Rings.

DESCRIPTION: New rings would require redoing whole zones to get graphics in for them. But some of these ideas might be feasible, especially if we consider a high concentration of trees enough of a nature focus for a druid to travel to. Perhaps giving druids access to rings in Surefall Glade, Greater Fay (both of which are druid starting cities, and G Fay already has a ring), Warslik Woods, or perhaps Lesser Fay would make travel easier for them. These locations make a lot of sense from a story integrity standpoint, the issue here is does it make sense from a gameplay viewpoint.



ITEM: Spirit of Wolf Ė II.

DESCRIPTION: A faster Spirit of the Wolf.



ITEM: New Appearances.

DESCRIPTION: Druids are one of those classes that are often stuck looking like newbies until fairly late in their careers. Nobody is expecting new armors and textures to be made up right away, but it should be considered when the next set of new textures is made.



ITEM: Vermiculated Armor.

DESCRIPTION: The claim is that this armor is too heavy for druid specific armor.



ITEM: Elder Spiritist Boots.

DESCRIPTION: These boots require a component to use their effect. It's certainly not traditional that items should require a component ( unless it is supposed to be a severely limited item), and it partially negates the utility of the item.



ITEM: Quad Kiting.

DESCRIPTION: Because this is a balance issue, it should be looked at. Is this something that characters should be able to do? The two classes that seem to be able to do this are wizards and druids. Perhaps the tactic is hard and time consuming and should be left as is.



ITEM: Emotes for Wolf Form.

DESCRIPTION: It would be very cool if there were some animated emotes for characters in wolf form. Wag, sit, howlÖ stuff like that.



ITEM: The 55th level pet.

DESCRIPTION: Assuming that this pet is primarily just for looks and has little combat value, perhaps we could reduce the casting cost a bit. 600 mana seems like a lot.



ITEM: Succor and Egress.

DESCRIPTION: It appears that these spells do not clear aggro properly. The main problem seems to be with continuing damage effects (like DoTs) that cause the creature to re-aggro on someone after they have escaped across the zone.



ITEM: Tunareís Request.

DESCRIPTION: Players seem to think that this spell should also clear the aggro list, and that it does not. If it does not, then it seems to be a worse spell than the lower level version.



ITEM: Fizzling Spells.

DESCRIPTION: These are the spells that seem to fizzle too much: Breath of Ro, Circle of Summer, Circle of Winter and Superior Heal.



ITEM: Beguile Plants.

DESCRIPTION: In a fashion similar to Defoliate, this spell is highly limited by the small number of creatures that are actually labeled as plants.



ITEM: Scale of Wolf and Spirit of Scale.

DESCRIPTION: These spells drops pretty easily and very few people ever use it.



ITEM: Roís Fiery Sundering.

DESCRIPTION: Players don't think the scroll for this spell drops frequently enough.



ITEM: Group Treeform.

STATUS: A group version of the Treeform spell.

STATUS: N/A Ė This is an idea for future use, no action is expected on this item.

Healing was addressed by moving Superior Heal from 53 to 51 and adding Chloroblast at 55 and Natures Touch at 60

Succor and Egress were fixed to erase aggro.

Charm Animals left unchanged

New Port Rings - Surefall Glade was added

Ro's Sundering had it's drops adjusted (I think)

Pet Emotes left unchanged (seems silly now that we even asked for this)

Verm Planes Armor left unchanged (this was one of the most reasonable and logical requests and easiest to fix)

SOW II not added

Quadding was left unchanged

Begule Plants left unchanged

Tunares Request was fixed (I think)

ES Boots left unchanged (I think)

Boo Boo Pet left unchanged

New appearances left unchanged

Scale of Wolf and Spirit of Scale left unchanged


Source: Developers Corner.

Caster Balance

It's been clear for awhile now that priests and casters haven't been as well balanced as we'd all like them to be. Balance is a delicate issue and any major changes to overall class power are always researched, debated, and taken slowly. There are some really big improvements in the works now for helping out with that balance, and we expect those to be on the Test server in the near future. These changes won't all come in one huge patch, but will show up a bit at a time until casting classes are right where they should be in relative power.

We are taking the needs and issues of casters seriously, and we think you'll be very happy with the results you see after we finish our caster balance effort. We hope you'll be patient just a bit longer, while we take the time to get everything implemented, balanced, and tested.

Rich Waters
Lead Designer, Systems
Sony Online Entertainment


Changed on March, 19th. Changes were:

- Fizzle time reduced from 3.0 seconds to 2.7 seconds
- Changed Recast time from 0.0 seconds to 2.7 seconds
- Changed Casting time from 6.5 seconds to 5.8 seconds


Also changed on March, 19th. Changes were:

- Changed damage done from 1100 to 1150
- Changed Fizzle time from 3.0 to 2.5 seconds
- Changed Recast time from 0.0 to 2.5 seconds
- Changed Casting time from 6.8 to 6.2 seconds
- Changed Mana cost from 450 mana to 320 mana



The last item we'd like to mention is a brief update on caster and priest rebalancing. (Please note that the balancing act is still going on, across the board. We wanted to update you on the progress we've made so far.)

Expect to see the first of the Focus Items for spell casters and spell-casting hybrids soon. We will leave the specifics to you to discover, but rest assured that useful and exciting focus items are making their way into the game as we speak.

Enchanters' Memory Blur line, and aspects of Rapture and Glamour of Kintaz have been improved.

The grouping requirement for the Translocate series of spells has been removed.

Clerics' Smite line has been improved.

The Post-50 Lich line for Necromancers has been redistributed.

Necromancers' Levant and Skin of the Shadow have been changed to allow them to be used any time of the day.

Necromancers' Quivering Veil of Xarn has been improved.
Many of the caster balance changes to date have been made with feedback from the dedicated players of these classes, both from E-Mails and message boards. We're grateful for the time and effort that has been put into many well-reasoned comments we've received.




The new Cleric and Paladin Resurrection line of spells are now available on vendors
The new corpse summoning spell is now available on vendors, as are the appropriate coffins
The new Evacuate spells are now available on vendors
Memory Blur, Mind Wipe, Blanket of Forgetfulness, Memory Flux, Glamour of Kintaz and Rapture have been given a greater chance of clearing the 'hate list'
Glamour of Kintaz and Rapture also have longer durations
Egress and Abscond have a reduced mana cost and a lesser chance to fizzle
Judgement has been improved to make it a better upgrade from the previous spell in the spell line
Shaman group buff spells (Tumultuous Strength and the Talisman spells - Cat, Brute, Rhino, and Raptor) have been improved to be more in line with the single target versions of those spells.
Added a new line of spells for Magicians that summons focus items
/pet get lost will now kill the buff as well as the familiar
Marzin's Mark now stack with Protection of the Glades
Improved the way that Abolish Disease/Poison and Counteract Disease/Poison work
Fixed it so that whenever a player loses the chance to click on a resurrection dialogue box (such as entering the inventory screen), the game will react as if the user had clicked "no". This should prevent cases where the player can not be resurrected unless they logged out
"Sense" spells should now work while on a horse
Shield of Auras effect has had a stacking issue with Clarity fixed and the component removed
Skin of Shadow has had its night only restriction removed
Demi Lich is now a level 56 spell
Arch Lich has been improved
Translocate spells no longer require that the target be grouped with the caster. Also, the dialog box for this spell will remain longer
Added Sicken and Tainted Breath to a merchant in Shar Vahl
Levitation spells now check to see if you have a second Levitation type spell when it wears off before hurling you to the ground
Eye of Tallon has a longer duration
Spell memorization speed should now take +Meditate% skill items into account


April 8, 2002


The Druids Grove is seeking the attention of SOE to address a number of concerns with their class.
Primarily this is to deal with their lack of healing power (even as secondary healers), but a number of important issues with the class are also highlighted.

If you are a Druid and wish to voice your support you can visit their campaign here.

There has been no official response from Sony yet about the topic




Casters of slow spells recently given a disease component (such as Shiftless Deeds and Turgur's Insects) should no longer attract undue attention to themselves.
Raised the price to purchase Phantom Plate scroll to be more in line with others of that spell line
The following Spells are now usable by Beastlords: Serpent Sight(19), Enduring Breath(29), Levitate(39) and Talisman of Tnarg(53)
Changed the way Circle of Summer stacks with other spells
Changed Torrent of Fatigue so that it actually replenishes stamina for the caster instead of taking it away
Cure Blindness should work now
Changed Koadic's Heightened Focus to better stack with other mana regeneration spells


Source: Developers Corner.

For as long as Iíve been involved with EverQuest, as a player and as an employee, petitions have been a popular practice. Someone will write out a list of ideas that they think should be implemented. Theyíll post those ideas to a message board, usually one that caters to members of a certain class. Usually these ideas will be discussed and refined. Eventually someone starts a new thread and asks people to post to the thread in order to Ďsigní the petition. Then someone (or everyone) sends a copy to us.

This is a natural thing for a community to do. And often this is a very good way to generate conversation and can result in some good ideas.


For us as a team there are several problems with Ďpetitionsí. Unfortunately these problems make it so that petitions often end up being harmful to the production of useful ideas and they hamper good communication between the players and the company. A good idea is a good idea. Having four hundred people send in a good idea doesnít make that idea a better idea. Yes, weíve missed a few good ideas in the past, but there are better methods for getting those ideas across. We think that the Dev Corner is one of those methods.

Weíd much rather have one person send in a good idea than a thousand people send in a list of ideas. The single idea is easier to recognize, easier to discuss, easier to reply to. Itís going to be clearer and far less cluttered. A laundry list of ideas is very hard to respond to. A petition that has a dozen suggestions basically requires a reasoned argument in response to each of those suggestions, even if some of the suggestions are obviously bad. The problem here is two-fold. First, we have to spend the time replying to the whole petition rather than just the good ideas. So just about any reply to a petition is going to sound negative, and this makes it generally a bad idea to reply to them. It makes us look mean, when weíre really a bunch of teddy bears.

Also, by their very nature these petitions are extremely long. Itís not uncommon to see a petition with a few thousand words or more. A very time-consuming thing to read. I know, Iíve read every petition written about EverQuest over the last 16 months or so. Petitions end up being bloated because of their create-by-committee nature.

Itís also hard to believe that a petition accurately represents the desires of a community. Itís probably fair to say that for most of these petitions any given member of the community will agree with some part of it and not other parts. But because they can only agree or disagree with the entire petition they will often sign it as a nod in agreement to the parts that they like. By itís very nature, a petition canít represent the individuals of a community very well.

And then thereís the ďwell they did it, so should weĒ problem. The moment we reply to one petition it gives people the impression that they need to use petitions to get an idea across. The truth is that ideas get across much more readily by just about any other method. And despite the fact that we respond to far more individual ideas than to petitions, any response to a petition seems to strengthen the perception that an idea has to flood into our email boxes in order for us to see it.

So hereís the problem. The discussions that take place during the creation of a petition are great. Some very interesting ideas come from those discussions, and we really donít want to discourage them. But I do want to discourage the use of petitions as a tool for sending us ideas (for the reasons given in wordy form above).

All this leads to one comment, and one question.

Comment: Please, if you have an idea about EverQuest that you think will make the game better, send it to us through the Dev Corner.

Question: How can the community foster the discussion that produces good ideas without also creating the petitions that seem to be the natural conclusion from those discussions?

- Alan


Source: Developers Corner.

First off have to say thank you for the changes to hyrbrids combat tables, 2h weap changes, Healing Wave of Prexus, etc (over last several months) that have put Paladins squarely back into a desireable category for both raids and exp grinding. Sincerely appreciated.

Was wondering if you can say anything about the status of fixing Thunder of Karana back to something useful (as the change to a 100 pt mana drain for was touted as a temp fix for the balance problems created with the original silence spell).

Also, Divine Stun was changed to a clickable AA ability with a 30 second reuse (rather than being passive being on all the time); and one of the developers/designers had come on a Paladin board and implied that this too more of a temporary change while something better could be come up with.

Any update, status, anything on either or both of these issues would be greatly appreciated by myself and all of the Paladin community.

For now I wouldnít expect any changes to hybrid spells or abilities that arenít directly related to pure caster spells or abilities (or bug fixes). The team is concentrating on caster balance right now. When thatís complete weíll decide if a pass over hybrids is needed (considering that many changes to casters will likely affect hybrids as well). Fiddling with hybrids and casters at the same time is just not a wise idea.

- Alan


Source: Developers Corner.

Question: How can the community foster the discussion that produces good ideas...

Easy! Just let us know you are listening.

Encourage posts on message boards by Verant employees. Simple responses like

'Ah, that's a good idea -- Absor'

'Hmmm... We'll at least mention that to the development team -- Alan'

at least let us know that you are around, and that we've been heard.

Vaslin Slickfinger
The Safehouse

Itís not as easy as that sounds.

There is an understandable desire from people to speak where they think they will be heard. The old Gameplay message boards went away simply because of the confusion that so many voices brings.

How comfortable would you be if you suddenly found the Safehouse message boards as crowded and unruly as the old Gameplay boards were at one time?

The very last thing that any of us wants is for the community of these independent message boards to be ruined by the presence of EQ Dev team members.

That being said, I plan to post more on message boards. But you should expect one-shot posts, not lengthy discussions. Thatís really the only way that I know of to avoid the clamor for attention that can really ruin some of the communities that the fan sites have built. I know that as a team we get a lot from sneaking through these communities and seeing how people think when they donít know weíre watching.

I guess I shouldnít have pointed that outÖ

From Stunhyde :

Ok, for starters I completely agree with the transformation of a list of suggestions into a petition is a silly thing. But I certainly hope that you are not suggesting that it is the list itself that is bad?

One of the biggest complaints we get from the EQ team when ideas are submitted is that we have failed to look at the thing from the "Big Picture" perspective. Someone has an good idea, and from the perspective of the change alone it is a good change. But when that change is looked at within the bigger context it obviously is not a good idea.

The idea of the having multiple ideas on a single submission is the communities attempt to put good ideas in the "Big Picture" context that so commonly shoots down narrowly defined good idea.

Now you tell us in this post that you don't want us to look at the bigger context when giving suggests. Do you see the conflict here?

The dev team is frustrated that we give suggestions without considering the bigger perspective, and now we're told that it just makes things worse when we look at changes from that bigger perspective.

This is a community of people that are looking at the many ideas that players have, and trying to balance them against a whole. Not just flinging ideas off the wall, but actually trying to look at the whole picture. How is that worse then sorting through the shotgun blast of individual (ranging from reasonable to completely off the wall) ideas peppering your poor email box?

I wouldnít characterize our concern over folks not seeing the big picture as a complaint. But, yes, thatís certainly something that comes up sometimes. Some ideas that seem good from one perspective end up being really bad from another. And, heck, we donít see all the angles either, so Iím not going to complain if others donít.

I see what you mean. But itís not really a conflict. An idea can encompass the big picture without being a petition or a laundry list. If an idea includes adding a spell, changing an NPC and maybe revising a skill to include the big picture, thatís great.

I guess my concern about laundry lists has something to do with the way people approach them. Often weíll see a petition that has a ton of items listed for improvements to a class. But when I visit the threads to read about how these ideas were come up with by the community, I sometimes find that a lot of it is padding, stuff that they donít really want but have tossed in under the assumption that weíll axe 80% of the ideas (regardless of value) and that if they ask for enough stuff theyíll get the small amount that they really think they need or want.

As for the difference between sorting the shotgun blast of individual ideas rather than the list of the petition, itís not really different. Consider that the ideas in the petition are going to be sent by individuals that havenít read about the petition. And the ideas that get dropped from the petition are still going to be sent in by the folks that liked them. The volume of text to read is pretty much the same. Itís the format that becomes unwieldy. Just as I donít like to cut up comments for posting here, I donít like the idea of cutting up petitions. I can, but is that fair to those that have put all their time into it? But at the same time, is it fair to the folks that have to read it on our end?

/em shrugs

ZaerZ wrote:

Give me a break. You should be lucky to have so much feedback from your fans.

Take it any way you can get it, don't make people jump through more hoops to get heard.

Iím not talking about hoops here. In fact, itís just the opposite. I know what kind of work goes into building a petition. What worries me is that people get so invested in their petition after all that work that I canít come out and tell them, no, those ideas wonít work. And regardless of our time pressures here, people feel that after all that work we should be obligated to answer a petition. While weíd certainly love to answer every petition, email, feedback or whatever, thatís just not possible.

Iíd much rather people jot off ideas, or discuss them over coffee, than have them sweat over a hot petition for days. Iím actually worried that people are putting themselves through too many hoops as it is.

Then from Draekkul:

I find it offensive in the extreme that the community relations manager, the most visible conduit of communication between the player base (customers of a product) and the developers (manufacturers of a product), would presume to limit or curtail in any fashion the avenues of communication available between the two sides. Whether intended or not, and regardless of what scant assurances you provided in this post to the contrary, the overall aim of your missive is to discourage productive communication.

I feel differently.

I think itís my job to let you all know what works best when it comes to communicating with us. For example, if someone were to begin sending comments and suggestions using white text on a white background, I would feel that it was my job to suggest that they use black text.

This doesnít mean that I wonít read their message. Iíll make sure to highlight the text and if I pass it on to the team Iíll change the text color myself. But it just happens that white on white messages arenít really a good idea.

While I agree petitions in of the themselves don't always represent the feelings of a community as a whole, often the conversation and debate that goes into making them represents it very well. I know for a fact that many of the designers/developers/etc. at VI stop into these forums whenever they have the opportunity. Maybe it would be a good idea to have people send in pointers to forums in their communties where they feel really good information/issues are being discussed.

I think the designers would get far more from reading the discussions that lead to the creation of a 'petition' then from the actual petition itself, and they would definitely get a better idea as to the true feelings of the community because in that thread people would be discussing both consenting and dissenting opinions.

I agree. And thatís a lot of what I do. I poke around the message boards and try to find interesting stuff for the team to read. Sending in links to good conversations is always appreciated. There is a lot to be gained from reading the discussion as it progresses.

One problem I see with the points you've made...

You're assuming that the Dev team has the immaculate ability to determine a 'good' idea.

I think the point of all the signatures is to convey that many people think this is a good idea, and want the Dev team to take it seriously. If the Dev team thinks it is, in fact, a bad idea... well, perhaps the Dev team is wrong. And hopefully all the signatures will lead to a close enough examination that you guys realize it.

I hate to, but I feel the need to point out again -- you guys have been very wrong in the past while being adamant in your rightness.

As a solution -- perhaps you could ask for smaller petitions. If a petition made one strong point... for example 'Pets are too weak in melee in the 55+ game'... and had 1000 "signatures", it seems to me that it makes the same point as one person saying it but with the weight of a community behind it, asking the Dev team to check into this one a little more closely than someone saying 'no, that's a bad idea'.

As a secondary question -- would 1000 different people independently asking the same question increase the weight of that question in the minds of the Dev team? A petition isn't quite the same thing... but if your answer is yes, perhaps you should think about the importance of those thousand signatures.

Iíve said this before, and it usually gains me a few unhappy responses, but Iíll say it again.

In the end, the decisions we make have to be what we think is a good idea. Sure, weíll be wrong at times. But at the end of the day, we have to decide good or not. Thatís what you pay us to do.

All I can say about the past is that youíre talking about pretty far past. Yes, we all remember the whole Alchemy thing. That was pretty much before anyoneís time. All I can say about things like that is that we will always try to keep those in the past. I sure look forward to the day when the majority of players have forgotten about the past and are willing to look at the recent past and the present when judging us about what weíll do in the future.

Actually, Iíd rather not get 1,000 separate emails on one topic either. And the reality is that I donít. The only time I get a whole bunch of people making the same comment is when there is a petition running around or someone posts to a major site with an opinion piece and asks people to email me. Yes, we understand that a wide reaction means that people are concerned. No problem, I get it.

But I also have to tell you that the majority of the ideas that work in the game come from some guy or girl that has an inspiration while playing, mentions it to some friends and with their encouragement posts it to the Dev Corner.

My answer is a suggestion. Open up the Dev Corner forums in a MODERATED manner. So that people can DISCUSS (or at least participate) in a discussion that is somewhat moderated by Sony (to keep out the negativity).

Basically, I have no idea what's been sent to you and what has not. I have no idea what you are looking to discuss with the player base this week, and what you are not. I feel a moderated forum would allow such an avenue to work.

Right now, the Dev Corner is basically only material you want to "release". You can not see, nor participate, in the discussion behind it. Of course, if you get 10,000 posts per day, this idea won't work.

Perhaps some alternative idea can be worked out?

You must be new here.

If you missed the days of General Discussion, then you missed out on something amazing. Amazing and really, really frightening. Iíd say that 10,000 posts a day would be a very low estimate.

Weíre not going there again. Iím not really willing to suggest to my bosses that we hire three people to moderate a message board so that we can ban a few people every day. Iím sorry, but right now there are just too many people that donít feel the need to be polite on message boards and who might not think far enough ahead to understand that theyíre fixing to lose their EverQuest account.

Right now, the fan sites are the best place for such discussions. The community size is far more manageable. The community has a far tighter focus. While this tight focus can be a hindrance at times, for the most part it is a good thing.

As I mentioned at the start of this novel, our presence in a community can really destroy it.

Someone suggested a board that only allows one post a day. While Iím sure that would reduce the clutter, it would effectively destroy the conversation, which is the point of the board in the first place.

Thanks for sending in more than 100 comments. Hopefully I responded to all the areas brought up.

- Alan



Spell Stacking

General stacking changes: Some buffs were not being allowed to stack which now will stack, and other buffs were being allowed to stack which should not have.

For example, many stacking problems with spells that have a See Invisible or Levitate component are now gone (e.g. Dead Man Floating), while a number of stacking exploits that granted too much regeneration, too much offense (ATK), too large of a damage shield, or too many hit points have been fixed. Here are some of the details:

Vision abilities (natural or spell-granted) should no longer cause spells to fail to take hold
Bard songs should in general overwrite fewer spells
Harness of Spirit no longer stacks with spells that grant Strength or Dexterity boosts. It was never intended to do so
Harness of Spirit and Avatar should now stack properly
Call of the Predator and Warder's Protection should no longer stack
Arch Lich should no longer overwrite innate racial vision abilities
Levitate and Dead Man Floating should no longer conflict
Dead Man Floating should no longer conflict with any vision abilities (natural or spell granted)
Spirit of Eagle should no longer cancel Levitation/Levitate spells
Fixed a stacking exploit with Armor of Protection and Armor of the Risen
Focus of Spirit should no longer overwrite Visions of Grandeur
Focus of Spirit should now stack with the Whistling Fists effect
"Circle of" Druid spells should no longer stack with their Resist counterparts.
Shroud of Spirits and the Cloak of the Akheva should stack properly now
Cantata of Soothing should no longer overwrite Clarity spells
Cantata and Chorus of Replenishment should no longer overwrite Acumen
Bladecoat no longer overwrites Clarity II
Lower level druid group buffs should now be less likely to overwrite higher level buffs
Avatar and Force of Nature will no longer stack
Ancient Feral Avatar should now stack properly


Source: The Magicians Compendium.

[With the clean-up patch] Necro pets won't be nerfed, and mage pets will be seeing some damage improvements in tonight's patch. These changes are the first wave of pet rebalancing, and we'll be putting up additional changes to pets in the near future for both mages and necros.
We're examining several other ways to improve pets, including greatly increased resists, higher levels and attack values so they'll hit raid mobs more easily, making pets ignore mezzed targets, and improving the amount of hit points pets have when summoned. We understand there are issues with pet usefulness and we're working to improve them.

Please keep in mind that this is the first bit of pet changes, and we're going to observe how it works out on live servers for a bit before deciding what additional improvements pets need to have. Major pet classes (necro and mage) will be addressed first, and then we'll take a look at minor pet classes (everyone else with a pet) when we wrap up this stage.

Thanks for playing...

- Rich


May 19, 2002


A few days ago the Druid spell Protection of the Cabbage was located.
The spell was only available via a long and arduous quest which was completed by Xanthe Ravenwolf of the Bertox server.

Following this, the spell will be made available more easily as of the next patch, here's what Jahaar had to say on the issue:

Congratulations, Xanthe!
With the first completion of this quest, a new spell was brought into the world, and I'd like to thank the many druids and tradesfolk who participated in this event.

This quest is unusual in EverQuest, as it was intended to be done once and then change after it was solved. In the next patch, Xanthe will reap the rewards of finishing the quest first, and all druids will find the scroll much easier to attain now that the quest has been completed.

The quest will stay in game, for people who enjoy tradeskills and anyone who completes the full quest will find the final reward is quite suitable for the effort.

Thank's for playing.

Way to go Xanthe!


Source: Developers Corner.

"In the coming weeks, we'll be adding more focus items to the game as quest rewards, trade skill items, and as loot off of monsters. There is a high chance that we'll be upgrading many existing caster items to include focus effects, to keep casters from needing to start from scratch with their gear selections."

That was posted upon 3/21/02, it is now 5/22/02. The question that begs to be asked is where are these 'other' focus items? To date the only non summoned focus item found is the 8th Shawl quest.

You started off strong with caster balancing but lately...

Sorry about that. Itís no excuse, but the reality is that we have a lot going on here, E3 not the least of them. Itís one rather complicated balancing act.

But I assure you that the work on balancing continues, as does the work on the new interface and the bazaar. Iím not going to be able to give you any solid dates, but hopefully weíll have more for you on all these items soonô.

I have heard that the next steps in caster balance will be to finish up with pets, then probably move on to the priest classes for a bit.

Our desire is to do it properly, and for that weíll just need more time. All I can do is ask for your understanding and sympathize with your frustration. We all want this to be done so we can move on to the next thing, and the team is working very hard to make that happen.

About the balancing, bazaar, interface, and such "issues"... what I'm seeing a rather small company (Verant is still a small company, even with the backing of Sony) trying to do too many things at once. I think you'd have a better chance at getting things out on time if you'd make less "promises" and just started working on one project or 2 at a time. I understand research and development must go on for future projects, but I personally don't care if the bazaar and new interface come out late, but as yet they haven't come out at all. If you really have 2 full teams, one working on each project, why not merge the 2, bust out ONE project, then focus on the next?

I thought of this as a distraction to cleaning my apartment, and thinking "why do I waste all my time trying to clean 4 rooms at once, when I should just clean one to completion, then hit the next?"

Consider it. I'm sure you all have a lot more business training than I do, but I've run a quite successful company on my own for over 5 years now and I cannot understand the logic of spreading your resources (programmers) so thin.

Iím not going to E3 this year. They didnít need me for the booth so I figured Iíd stay here.

As for resources, thereís a reason we canít just drop everyone on one project at a time. A lot of it has to do with job skills. You donít really want our designers doing PoP art, and our programmers donít do class balancing (though they do have their opinionsÖ). So we just canít toss everyone at each project.

And, using your example, it wouldnít be all the useful to have 20 people cleaning your kitchen. With any project thereís a point where more people donít add to the speed the work gets done, and more than that often slow things down. Heh, just picture a gaggle of artists (thatís the official term for a bunch of artists, I think) trying to model the same characterÖ

And a lot of project timing is out of our hands. We just canít ask them to hold off E3 for a month or two while we do other things.

I canít wait to hear the feedback from E3. I think weíll impress at least a few people.

- Alan


Source: The Druids Grove.

Caster balancing isn't done, far from it in fact. We're very aware of it, and it's a priority of ours to finish. I understand that it's taking more time than players would like, and it's definately taking more time than I hoped to get it out to live servers.

I see a lot of posts saying how easy caster balance would be to do, or "here's one thing that would help us a lot and is quick to do!". Honestly, I wish that were true. I'd be very happy to have caster balance done and get on to the next improvements and additions to the game.

The fact is though, while small changes for each class are pretty obvious and easy to do, the bigger picture has to be maintained all the time. I've learned from the process so far that it's not good to release things bit by bit - the average player wants to know the big picture for each change as it happens. How does this change affect me? What do other classes get out of it? Will my class see more changes? Is caster balancing done now? I get these questions every day, and see them posted on community boards all over when any small change is made.

For example, we've got some plans to improve healing versatility for the priest classes. To do that correctly, all classes that can heal need to be looked at to see how they'll be impacted. Give one class a better heal and all the other healing classes look at how it affects them. The new heal spell may make perfect sense when looking at the class that got it, but any class that didn't get it has immediate concern about why they didn't also get it, how it makes them less wanted in a given situation, and how they now need something to make up for the other class getting a new heal. This means that before we can alter a single small part of healing, we need to have answers for players about the plans for healing across every class.

This gets more complex because no class has just one single ability. So, say (hypothetically) that we add a better heal to druids. Clerics are immediately concerned because druids are now healing better- what do clerics get? Wizards grow concerned because now not only can druids nuke pretty well, they also can heal even better than previously, making them a potentially better deal for a group or raid looking for members. No matter how small a change is, it causes ripples throughout the game, the player base, and all the community message boards. When it comes to class balancing, no change is really a small change.

So, on to the point - We're still working on caster balance, and intend to make the necessary improvements. We expect the additional changes to pets to be done soon, and then intend to focus on priests for a bit. We've been keeping up with the message boards and community feedback, so we've got a good handle on the concerns of various classes. Thanks for the continued interest and patience as we try to get this implemented in the best way possible.

Rich Waters
Lead Designer, EverQuest

Then a follow-up:

Firemynd said:

I know it seems logical to "compare" the abilities of various classes in order to balance them. However, some people are far too obsessed with the assumption that improvements to one class must always be matched or offset by similar improvements to a sister class, otherwise it has to be an indirect nerf.

I hope my original post didn't imply that every time we make a change to address class balance that we intend to give something new to all classes. That wouldn't make much sense, as it would contribute to a constant increase in all classes power, and wouldn't necessarily address the balance issue that caused the original change. If a particular class is lacking in some critical area, than it makes sense to do something to address that class and not all of the others.

There will certainly be parts of class balancing that change the relative power of one class when compared to another. Class balancing happens because a given class is underpowered or overpowered when compared to where we feel they should be. This obviously will change relative power as we improve a weaker class and leave the others where they should be.

Also, class balance isn't always dictated by comparing different classes. A large part of getting the balance right is looking at a class individually. Does the class provide reasonable value to a group? Does the class adequately fill a number of roles? Does the class have sufficient power to deal with the situations we expect them to face? These questions are as important to getting the balance right as the more common concerns that class A is "better" than class B.

Firemynd said:

I don't envy VI. What we refer to simply as "caster balancing" is a heck of a lot more complex than it appears on the surface. But I sincerely hope VI's developers won't allow themselves to be too heavily influenced by complaints made by the three caster classes who are already the most desirable casters for raiding.

Honestly, the dev team tries to be objective about all of the feedback we get. There are some excellent ideas we see from players every day, and there are just as many ideas that sound like good changes but would make EverQuest much less fun to play in the long run. We try to seek out and listen to many sources of information, but when it comes to making a change we go with what we think is best for the game, understanding that it will make some people unhappy.

I'm not sure it's possible to make a change that every player will love. Changes that seem entirely favorable to most people always seem to make someone sad. We'd love to have changes go in and know that every player will love them, but with our huge and diverse player base, there's just no way to please everyone with a given change. As an example, we recently improved pets for mages and necromancers. I was surprised to see at least one player post that he was angry that his pet was better because now it was harder to outdamage it.

So, the point is - we're working to make EverQuest the best game it can be, and we want players to have a fun and rewarding time, no matter what class they choose to play. We weigh the feedback we get from different groups carefully, but in the end we're going to make the best decision we can for the game as a whole, knowing that it won't be the change some players hoped for.

Thanks for playing,

- Rich


Source: Magicians Tower.


I wanted to take a minute to let you know about some pet upgrades that we've just completed. The changes are fairly significant, and we think they address a lot of concerns that have been brought up by players.

Here are the changes we've made -

Pets will not attack mesmerized creatures
All pets now think of mesmerized creatures as being dead. Pets will not break mez, will not attack mesmerized creatures, and will forget any hate they had towards a mesmerized creature.

In short, if a monster gets mesmerized, your pet will forget about it and stop attacking it. This is good for all pet classes, and especially handy for Enchanters, who can now trust their pets to not break every mez as soon as it lands.

Pets are neutral to monsters

Monsters will not attack your pet first. All monsters see your pet as a neutral creature, and will leave it alone unless your pet attacks something. This means if your pet wanders off, it won't bring a train of monsters back with it.

Keep in mind, if your pet chases a fleeing monster, other monsters may still attack it. Your pet is only treated as neutral while it is not acting in a hostile manner.

Pets no longer take experience in most situations

In the past, pets would take a full share of experience if they did the most damage to a creature. We've changed this rule as follows -

* Pets take ZERO experience from a creature, unless no player does damage to that creature.

* Pets take 75% of the experience from a creature - if no player does damage to that creature.

This means that your pet takes no experience from you or your group unless your pet kills a monster with no help from players. As long as you or your groupmates do damage to a monster, your pet will take ZERO experience.

Due to the high potential power of dire charmed pets, they will continue to take a share of the experience. In the worst case, dire charmed pets will take a full share of experience - this is the same as it's always been.

The amount of experience taken by a dire charmed pet scales based on how much damage the pet does. If the dire charmed pet is doing the majority of the damage, it's experience share gets larger. If you or your group are doing reasonable damage to a monster, a dire charmed pet will not take much experience. The more damage you do, the less experience a dire charmed pet will take. In most situations, dire charmed pets will take less experience than they did previously.

As with all pets, if a dire charmed pet does the majority of damage, and no player does any damage, the dire charmed pet will take 75% of the experience from the kill.

Overall, these changes are a significant boost to pet classes. The dev team has been hard at work on finding and implementing the right solutions, and we hope you'll enjoy these changes. Thanks for your patience as caster balancing continues, and thanks for playing.

Rich Waters
Lead Designer, EverQuest



This patch has a large selection of focus effects added to existing items. This is the first round of non-summoned focus items, and the goal is to get a decent amount of them into the hands of players without creating a bottleneck camp for new items. This round of focus items includes over 150 items with focus effects being added retroactively, and should provide a good foundation for moving forward with new focus items in the future.

Additional focus effects and items will be added in the next round, specifically to higher end content as we create more specialized effects to use on these items.

- Rich


Update on balance - July 15, 2001

This isn't going to be news - it was when I started working on this Friday...

I wanted to make a brief comment about caster balance. Unfortunately for those that are anxious to see the changes completed, weíre going to insist that this be a slow process. Introducing a lot of balance changes at one time isnít a good idea. We want to keep the number of changes at one time small so that we can judge their effect without too much overlap.

So while everyone, including us, wants to see the ďendĒ of this caster balancing thing, we donít want to rush to get there without careful evaluation of each change. Please be patient with the process.

We certainly havenít forgotten to look at the priest classes. With the next patch to Test we will be removing the 10% penalty to healing from non-clerics. Clerics will still get the 5% bonus at all levels, and will still get their heal spells many levels earlier that the other priests.

We want to see how this plays out on Test, obviously, before we consider moving it Live, and before we consider other changes to the priest classes. This is the Test server, so you should neither expect the change to go Live, nor assume that it wonít. Right now itís there to be tested, and whether it does or does not go Live will be dependent on what we discover on Test.

We are also looking at some changes to help to make clerics be a little more well-rounded, along with addressing some concerns put forth by druids and shamans. Those ideas are still in the development stage, and weíll talk more about them when we get done looking at the healing changes.

Thanks for your patience with us on this.




Removed the reduction in damage to Damage over Time spells when used on NPCs that are moving.

Beastlords now get Endure Disease at level 24 and Resist Disease at 51


Pet Resistance Changes: Pets will now use their master's level and resistances when saving against spells cast by NPCs (against PCs pets will use their own resistances and level as they always have) - unless the pet has special resistances, in which case it will use that resistance.
Altered pet summoning spells so that they always summon the most powerful pet possible, instead of pets within a 5 level range.
/pet report health now uses the same user defined color as spell text.
/pet report health will now display a list of the effects on the pet.
Mage fire pets should now cast their damage shields more often.
Wizard, Druid and Cleric pets and familiars can now be buffed by characters other than their owner.

NPCs no longer have a chance to break root when being healed or buffed.


We DID remove the non-cleric healing penalty, it just didn't make it into the patch message.


Just checking to see if you were still paying attention... yeah, that's it...


August 14, 2002 3:00 am

** Spells **

- Changed Luclin port spells to be usable from anywhere
- Added new Druid and Wizard transportation spells for locations in Luclin

** Alternate Advancement **

- Priests and intelligence casters now have the Combat Stability and Natural Durability Alternate Advancement abilities in their Archetype

- Moved the safe point in Marus Seru to a somewhat safer spot

Name: Combat Stability
Level Requirement: 55
Ability Type: Passive
Max Training: 3 Levels
Point Cost: Level 1: 2 points
Level 2: 4 points
Level 3: 6 points
Description: This reduces damage taken from every blow which lands on the player.
It is especially useful to warriors and other main tank classes.

The first point reduces all damage taken by 2%, the second by 5% and the third by 10%.

As an example of this in a given raid if this skill is maxed it would reduce every blow that would land for 500 by 50. Over the course of 100 of these blows that is 5000hp worth of damage that never lands (and hence doesn't need to be healed).

Name: Improved Natural Durability
Level Requirement: 55
Ability Type: Passive
Max Training: 3 Levels
Point Cost: Level 1: 2 points
Level 2: 4 points
Level 3: 6 points
Description: This spell increases the hitpoints of a player by a base percentage.
The first point increases their hitpoints by 2%, the second by 5%, and the third by 10%.

This impacts the players base hitpoints (determined by class, level and stamina).

07-11-2002, 11:09 AM
Excellent post.

07-11-2002, 11:13 AM
/cheer Cassea

Psst Rich? You listening? ;)

Aidon Rufflefuzz
07-11-2002, 11:16 AM
Nice post...

Unfortunately I don't think there is a way to dig up the Class Balance posts by Absor on the old Whineplay board...since that should be considered the Start Date for all of this.

07-11-2002, 11:23 AM
Wow, how long did that take you, how exactly did you do it, and will you be my hero?

07-11-2002, 11:26 AM
It's sad that it has gone so long now that there is actually a "history".

Love some of the phrases:

Adding more focus items in a couple weeks.

You'll love them.

heh. ya melee sure love those focus effects. Sure wish there was some focus effects on stuff that a PRIEST would use. Perhaps more in a couple weeks. DOH.

Saurin CoTG
07-11-2002, 11:33 AM
Wow . . . that took some effort, nice work.

07-11-2002, 11:58 AM
Yeah, nice job Cassea :)

Lets add to it, and keep this updated!

07-11-2002, 01:47 PM
It took as long or longer for 'melee balancing'. Melee classes about gave up on being tuned. Give it time

07-11-2002, 03:00 PM
That really helped put things in perspective, thankyou. We got a lesser mana evac, ummmmm I know there has to be more?

07-11-2002, 04:59 PM
I know they changed Wildfire and Moonfire to have slightly lower cast times and slightly more damage sometime in the past few months but I cannot find the post with the specifics.

If anyone remembers what they were (I think Wizards had a similar change) can you please post it here. I want to be as fair as possible. I'm not sure if this was a part of caster balancing or happened prior to this.


07-12-2002, 06:42 AM
It's funny that you dug this up and posted it (nice work btw). I was thinking about as I drove in to work day, recalling the date was Feb 15, not March --- and thus sneaking up on 5 months since the announcement but it's ONLY been four months. :/ ONLY four months. Bet they wish they could take that load of crap back.

07-12-2002, 09:12 AM
It actually started "unofficially" before February 27, 2002 but the "official" announcement did not come until later.

If you remember the main cause of all of this was not Druids in any way shape or form. The Magicians were raising hell (justifiably) and had been for quite some time. Shortly after SOL came out many in the Druid community had had enough and talk about a petition started (someone with better history of the petition please fill this in if you could).

Well Mages were already balanced or at least some significant changes occured first for them with focus items really being a part of the original mage fix. Verant then stated that the "Priest" classes would be balanced next but that was months ago with no word about Druids except the infamous "yeah we read your petition now don't do that again!" response from Verant which was very unprofessional (IMHO) on their part but we held out hope that changes would come soon and that at least they admitted publically that "casters" were unbalanced and that "priests" would be fixed next.

now the long long long long wait

all the talk (if you can call a few line post once a week) is about the new interface and bazaar which (as was pointed out by a few) has nothing to do at all with caster balancing and in fact is being done by different people.

I only bring this up as using the bazaar or new interface or even POP as an excuse to make people wait for something that should have occured months ago is not valid.

07-12-2002, 11:30 AM
They also fixed stacking with SoE/Levitate, "corrected" Circle of Summer Stacking, and !oh!, lowered the fizzle rate on Egress. And they changed the "safe spots"" in ME, KK, and i think some other zones to where they should have been.

Aidon Rufflefuzz
07-13-2002, 07:25 AM
<shrug> The petition started like like this.

The community was upset at the ridiculous lack of upgrading the Druid class got with Luclin and with the inability for us to port to or within Luclin. The arguments raged hard between those who wanted to enumerate what was wrong with the Druid class and those who wanted to tow the Verant line and insisted our class was fine. Granted, most of the people who were towing the line and claiming we're fine hadn't levelled their Druid up past the low 50's to see where the problems with the Druid class where.

After a few months of discussion of what level of power druids had vs what we had 3 years ago vs what we wanted vs how we were balanced with other classes vs what we though Verant could reasonably get us, with alot of testing by members such as RTFM and Scirocco, we finally had a reasonable idea of what we wanted, what we thought was reasonable, etc etc. Sobe suggested that someone actually write all this junk out in a legible format so that anyone from Verant coming to the boards didn't have to search through 10-15 threads of arguments and discussion. I volunteered to draft the State of the Druid since I'd be pretty vocal about how Druids had been takin the shaft (surprise surprise). First couple of drafts were messy and the VAKs almost succeeded in hijacking the threads..but ultimatley I was able to get final suggestions on content and with the help our of resisdent literary hottie, MF, copy edit it. The third draft of the State of the Druid...had minor changes and was then recopied clean and stickied to the top of the board by MF and we watched the ensuing ****storm of pre-emptive class envy by Necros, Mages, Clerics, and Shaman hit our boards.

07-14-2002, 12:30 PM
They also added focus items that do help out many druids. They added luclin spells, which may predate this but did help some. PoTC was found! People are just generally too negative about verant. This game has changed a lot over the last couple years, and almost all of the class changes have been for the better. It is a lot easier to hunt these days and more classes are useful in more situations than they used to be. I no longer always feel I need a cleric/enchanter/warrior to do anything in the game. There is still a ways to go but things are getting better, regardless of how much you want to flame them.

07-14-2002, 01:44 PM
This is just a listing of all the changes put in in regard to Caster Balancing. This is not a debate thread.

Please add comments to the many other threads and leave this thread open for reference.

The focus items are listed if you read it. Spells predating Caster Balance have nothing to do with such.

Verant themselves stated (read first post from them in this thread) that casters are NOT balanced.

Kaysha Soulsinger
07-15-2002, 04:23 AM

Changed on March, 19th. Changes were:

- Fizzle time reduced from 3.0 seconds to 2.7 seconds
- Changed Recast time from 0.0 seconds to 2.7 seconds
- Changed Casting time from 6.5 seconds to 5.8 seconds


Also changed on March, 19th. Changes were:

- Changed damage done from 1100 to 1150
- Changed Fizzle time from 3.0 to 2.5 seconds
- Changed Recast time from 0.0 to 2.5 seconds
- Changed Casting time from 6.8 to 6.2 seconds
- Changed Mana cost from 450 mana to 320 mana

07-15-2002, 05:07 AM
Thank you Kaysha.

Is it me or does adding a recast time "hurt" the spell?

I see the slight reduction in cast time but the recast time actually hurts on raids as it makes it take longer to chain cast.

Adding a +50 damage to Moonfire does not seem to be the killer nuke that many have made it out to be but the reduction in mana is nice. Now *IF* people could get Moonfire then maybe it would be nice :)

Help me here :)

Check my math:

To chain cast (like we do on raids)


was: 6.5 seconds

now: 5.8 + 2.7 = 8.5 seconds


was: 6.8 seconds

now: 6.2 + 2.5 = 7.7 seconds

One step forward - Two steps back :(

Am I missing something?

Edit: 7/17/02 Moonfire had it's mana cost dropped by 100 making it one sweet spell *IF* (you knew there would be an if LOL) you could find this spell *smiles*

07-15-2002, 10:45 AM
when you cast a spell, you know all your gems grey out for 2.5 sec right?

well, if you click an insta click item, they pop back. a 0 recast time means that you can cast, click an insta click item and cast again with just about 0 time between

with 2.5 second recast, means you have to wait that 2.5 sec to cast the spell again

so adding that fixed something (clicking an item to ungrey the spell gems) and doesn't really change the way 'things are supposed to be' whatever that means.

Kaysha Soulsinger
07-16-2002, 12:20 AM
By reducing the cast time, it will be more difficult for creatures to interrupt your spellcasting. Clerics saw similar changes to their spells around the same time.

So it's a bit easier to channel your spell through by virtue of shorter cast time, but the penalty is a longer recast time. /shrug ... dunno if it's a good tradeoff or not.

07-17-2002, 03:41 AM
Hi, I saw you asking for copies from the Gameplay forums back when the original Class Talk lists were around.

A nice site named has archives of those posts, but unfortunately only those made by official Verant representatives, not the full debates.

For example, the druid item list part 2 ( is currently on page 49 ( today.

/Addo (not a druid, but stopping by).

07-17-2002, 03:56 AM
Oh, btw, ran across the top-level post from the Druid thread also, last seen on page 52 but will probably be pushed back further soon ;) : (


07-17-2002, 08:20 AM
Archiving the content of the Druid Talks would be a good thing.

History is history.

Gimli fan
07-17-2002, 11:41 AM
You missed the fact that it cost more than 100 less mana to cast in you analysis of cast - re-cast delay.

Sweet post btw.