So, is magic imbalanced?

#1 Posted by Alo81 (79 posts) -

I've been playing as a pure magic user throughout, and I'm currently level 75 in destruction magic. I'm tearing through most lower level character, ripping them to shreds in a matter of seconds.

Mid-level characters come, and I have to actually think about my strategy as I fight, but I can still fight them off with a bit of effort.

But now, almost any high level enemy is just a huge hassle, and almost impossible to face. I was just doing the Black Star quest and got to the final encounter, and it wasn't possible. All of their attacks either one or two shotted me, and it took about 6-8 dual launched fireballs to take down any one enemy. And also, there are 4 enemies that spawn in this small corridor, all incredibly strong and difficult.

So I looked online, and apparently as you level, the strength of the spells doesn't increase at all, so they're all stuck at their fixed rates. Had I not figured a way to cheese the fight, it would have been completely impossible for my character with over 45 hours of play-time put into it to surpass those odds, without putting 20 more hours into some other discipline that could be used for the fight.

In the end I had to really weasel around with shouts a bunch to barely squeeze by.

So basically I'm asking, does anyone think that with Magic's strength not scaling with your destruction level, that it's overpowered early game, but gets incredibly underpowered late game?

#2 Posted by Phoenix778m (233 posts) -

I'll find out soon.

#3 Posted by Skytylz (4015 posts) -

I haven't really been min maxing abilities at all, I was gonna go all out magic but I realized early on it didn't scale and none of the perks were for more damage, just cheaper spells.

#4 Posted by animathias (1077 posts) -

I haven't seen expert or master level destruction spells, but I imagined them being pretty devastating. Am I wrong? That seems like it would be a huge oversight.

#5 Posted by Alo81 (79 posts) -

Yeah honestly, after coming across a dungeon that was made incredibly frustrating due to the magic feeling underpowered, and the quest I mentioned in the OP, I don't think I would recommend a pure magic character to others.

Almost all one on one battles can be easily cheesed with a pure magic character, but if there's more than one strong enemy actively coming after you, you're liable to get totally fucked.

#6 Posted by takayamasama (434 posts) -

Damage of the spells doesn't go up with destro levels, but the ability to buy new, more powerful spells, is kinda the way it does. As a mage, as soon as you hit the level able to get the next tear of spell (which is always 5 levels lower then the perk for that, for example buying expert destro spells at 70 destro, where the perk for them is 75) is crucial, otherwise the difference in enemy levels and damage you do will be more and more noticeable. Another way that I personally justify magic damage not increasing is the fact that after you get the perk where duel cast spells stagger the opponent, you can pretty much stagger chain any enemy to death. Yeah sometimes it takes a lot of spell casts to kill the stronger enemies, but you can still stagger them, and chain staggers to where you will take no damage. it does require a large mana pool (or 100% reduced destro cost enchants) but that's just what you have to pay.

I haven't finished the quest myself, but I'm working on the 100 destro master spell quest, and after I finish that I'm assuming the spells I learn will do major damage (since Incinerate still seems to be more then fine for my 47 mage and corresponding enemies)

#7 Edited by wolf_blitzer85 (5236 posts) -

I've found that as a pure mage, a melee companion is pretty handy to have around, especially for pulling aggro. I've been using destruction, but mostly focusing on conjuration and restoration. Healing Hands on my companion to keep their health and stamina up, while I cast a flame/frost astronarch behind the enemy to chip away health from the rear. Right now in Destruction, I have adept spells like Ice storm and Fireball, and when used at the right times (using chain lightning a bunch in Dwemer ruins), can be pretty damn powerful, but yes there are moments when I come across a boss character that can completely murder me in one hit. That's when I know that I need to keep out of sight, and let my dudes do the fighting for me.
 
I guess the real thing is if you are going mage, you can't just focus on one particular school. It's been a slower leveling process for me, but I feel I have the right spell on hand for any situation while still not spreading myself too thin.
 
@Skytylz said:

I haven't really been min maxing abilities at all, I was gonna go all out magic but I realized early on it didn't scale and none of the perks were for more damage, just cheaper spells.


Sure there are perks for more damage. In the destruction tree, there are perks for 25 then 50 percent damage increases for each type of destruction magic.
#8 Posted by Spoonman671 (4378 posts) -

I fight almost exclusively with magic, and I find that you sometimes just have to find the right spell.  I was having a tough time with Blood Dragons until I tried hitting them with Ice Storm.  Dwemer automata will go down much easier if you hit them with lightning magic.

#9 Posted by Turambar (6489 posts) -

Magic isn't what's overpowered, enchanting is.  Whether it be making all spells cost a fraction of their normal casting cost or doubling the base attack of your weapon, enchanting makes combat in the game one giant power trip.

#10 Edited by wolf_blitzer85 (5236 posts) -
@Spoonman671 said:

I fight almost exclusively with magic, and I find that you sometimes just have to find the right spell.  I was having a tough time with Blood Dragons until I tried hitting them with Ice Storm.  Dwemer automata will go down much easier if you hit them with lightning magic.

In general I've learned: When in doubt, shoot lightning at it, unless it shoots lightning at you.
#11 Posted by pubbles (136 posts) -

Yeah, get okay enough enchanting and you ca pretty much cast spells for free, boost your damage resist to elements/magic and just be ridiculous.

#12 Posted by Spoonman671 (4378 posts) -
@Turambar said:
Magic isn't what's overpowered, enchanting is.  Whether it be making all spells cost a fraction of their normal casting cost or doubling the base attack of your weapon, enchanting makes combat in the game one giant power trip.
You should read the first post.
#13 Posted by Turambar (6489 posts) -
@Spoonman671 said:
@Turambar said:
Magic isn't what's overpowered, enchanting is.  Whether it be making all spells cost a fraction of their normal casting cost or doubling the base attack of your weapon, enchanting makes combat in the game one giant power trip.
You should read the first post.
Touche, my cheeks be red.
#14 Posted by Spoonman671 (4378 posts) -
@Turambar said:
@Spoonman671 said:
@Turambar said:
Magic isn't what's overpowered, enchanting is.  Whether it be making all spells cost a fraction of their normal casting cost or doubling the base attack of your weapon, enchanting makes combat in the game one giant power trip.
You should read the first post.
Touche, my cheeks be red.
Just do what I usually do.  Delete the post and refuse to acknowledge that it ever existed.
#15 Edited by Whitehat (29 posts) -

At 75 destruction you should be using incinerate, not fireball. If you are going to make a "pure magic character" at least buy the spells for your level.

#16 Posted by outerabiz (640 posts) -

@Alo81 said:

I've been playing as a pure magic user throughout, and I'm currently level 75 in destruction magic. I'm tearing through most lower level character, ripping them to shreds in a matter of seconds.

Mid-level characters come, and I have to actually think about my strategy as I fight, but I can still fight them off with a bit of effort.

But now, almost any high level enemy is just a huge hassle, and almost impossible to face. I was just doing the Black Star quest and got to the final encounter, and it wasn't possible. All of their attacks either one or two shotted me, and it took about 6-8 dual launched fireballs to take down any one enemy. And also, there are 4 enemies that spawn in this small corridor, all incredibly strong and difficult.

So I looked online, and apparently as you level, the strength of the spells doesn't increase at all, so they're all stuck at their fixed rates. Had I not figured a way to cheese the fight, it would have been completely impossible for my character with over 45 hours of play-time put into it to surpass those odds, without putting 20 more hours into some other discipline that could be used for the fight.

In the end I had to really weasel around with shouts a bunch to barely squeeze by.

So basically I'm asking, does anyone think that with Magic's strength not scaling with your destruction level, that it's overpowered early game, but gets incredibly underpowered late game?

at 75 destruction you should be using Incinerate and wall of flames, not fireball.

#17 Posted by ShadowConqueror (2997 posts) -

As someone who has 100 Destruction and is about level 40, yes magic seems a little weak towards the endgame, and I have resorted to going 1h/shield to deal with some tougher enemies. That's not to say you can't beat them using only magic, but it tends to take much longer than the alternative.

#18 Edited by project343 (2807 posts) -

Magic seems to be balanced to be used together. If you plan on going Destruction, you'll need Restoration, Alteration, and maybe even Conjuration to help you out. Or supplement Destruction with One-Handed + Heavy Armor. That works wonders for me.

*Edit: also, as others have pointed out, make sure you're using the best spells available to you. They don't entirely scale too well to your level. For example, I'm 65 Destro, using Chain Lightning. And I'm laughing.

#19 Posted by SSully (4060 posts) -

I dont play as a magic character, but from seeing my brother play he seems to spawn guys(conjure?), and attack the enemy while they are focusing on his minions. It seems to go well. When getting attacked by tougher guys, especially magic/ranged guys he uses that shield pretty effectively to take off some of the heat. I think Magic involves more strategy when it comes to harder encounters and less brute force. As I said, I am not a magic player, this is just an observation.

#20 Edited by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

I find magic completely overpowered but does too little damage - It's over powered because of 100% stagger chance when you duel cast (to say nothing of combining with with Enchanting for free spells. I only did enough to get 60% off because otherwise it's just too easy and boring.)

I recommend this mod : http://skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=611

It doesn't overpower destruction, but it does make the damage to a bit more at higher levels. I find the game more enjoyable - having to spam 4324324 spells to kill something gets tedius and boring. But like I said, it's not drastic enough that you're unkillable.

It also adds another perk to all the improved damage specs. You get 20% more but it costs a perk. Way better imo.

#21 Posted by DirtyEagles (273 posts) -

Ive got the same issue

#22 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

@ShadowConqueror: As I put in a post under yours, I recommend getting http://skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=611. It balances high level Destruction a lot better, and adds a few perks to increase damage a bit (1 more rank to each of the damage increasers). Makes the game more fun late game imo.

#23 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

Playing as a pure mage is underpowered, absolutely. Since you can't create custom spells like in Morrowind and the poor scaling in comparison to weapon damage, it's the weakest option. Although once you get enchanting to 100 and make it so your spells cost nothing it won't matter.

#24 Posted by makari (590 posts) -

Magic is the easiest way to kill big guys like dragons and mammoths and giants in the very early game. It loses its punch later because it doesn't scale as exponentially as weapon damage at high level smithing and enchanting.

#25 Edited by bbot23 (16 posts) -

Am I playing a different game or something?

I'm level 41 with 100 destro and 100 enchanting and I put all my points into Magicka until I made the spells free. I had no issues leveling up to level 36-37 while spamming dual Firebolts even when Destro was at 70 because I had no enchanting (incinerate and fireballs were just too damn expensive to dual cast)

It only took maximum 6-7 dual firebolts to kill anything iirc. I mean, are you guys dual casting? That's all I've been doing, and shit has just been dropping ever since I started.

Frankly I was expecting the OP to complain about destro being over-powered. I was actually meaning to re-roll because I thought it was boring even before enchanting. The only times I actually die is when my aiming sucks.

#26 Posted by Shadow (4966 posts) -

As someone who enchanted armor to make destruction spells free to cast...do that

#27 Posted by ikaruga (190 posts) -

where do you buy better spell? I'm only 11 hrs in

#28 Posted by AlKusanagi (851 posts) -

The new spells should just appear in the inventories of the characters that sold you spells previously.

#29 Posted by MayorMikeAckbar (28 posts) -

I am at level 71 with destruction and I have had problems killing the tougher enemies till I started playing more long ranged and mixing with the spells of other categories. The problem I have now is my magicka is running out too quickly even with the perks I have put into my destruction and the gear that regenerates my magicka by 100% (though I have not put any in the enchanting so that maybe my real problem). My solution so far has been is just keeping a blade with me which takes down the enemies I find surprisingly easier.

#30 Edited by Alo81 (79 posts) -

@outerabiz: You see diminishing returns on the upgrades though. Firebolt costs 11 magic and does 30 damage, Fireball costs 32 and does 60 damage, Incinerate costs 60 and does 90 damage.

I have all the 75 level spells, but they suck your magicka dry way too quickly and just aren't really a viable option.

I currently have my magicka regen rate at probably close to if not exceeding 200% more than normal, and I believe 50 or 60 extra points of magicka from my equipped items. Incinerate isn't really a viable option because I could cast it one handed, and have it do a sort of decent amount of damage with no stagger, or I could cast it two handed and get the stagger but have next to 0 mana left over.

And like I said in the OP, against single enemies, being a pure magic user is fine because of the dual attack stagger, but if you're going up against a group of powerful enemies like the black star quest, it's next to impossible.

#31 Posted by wefwefasdf (6729 posts) -

@Pinworm45: Thanks for linking that. Gonna try it out on my next playthrough.

#32 Posted by outerabiz (640 posts) -

@Alo81 said:

@outerabiz: You see diminishing returns on the upgrades though. Firebolt costs 11 magic and does 30 damage, Fireball costs 32 and does 60 damage, Incinerate costs 60 and does 90 damage.

I have all the 75 level spells, but they suck your magicka dry way too quickly and just aren't really a viable option.

I currently have my magicka regen rate at probably close to if not exceeding 200% more than normal, and I believe 50 or 60 extra points of magicka from my equipped items. Incinerate isn't really a viable option because I could cast it one handed, and have it do a sort of decent amount of damage with no stagger, or I could cast it two handed and get the stagger but have next to 0 mana left over.

And like I said in the OP, against single enemies, being a pure magic user is fine because of the dual attack stagger, but if you're going up against a group of powerful enemies like the black star quest, it's next to impossible.

ah well if you only use destro, you should prioritize gear that reduces destruction magic spell cost even over stuff such as mana regen and magica, with a good set of gear you should be able to get destro spell cost down to 0, and be able to infinitely cast high level destruction spells.

You should also use frost spells against melee opponents and lightning against mages. That way you should be able to easily kill anything but the hardest of hardcore pretty easily.

#33 Posted by Manatassi (791 posts) -

Playing as a pure Magic user you need to either dump some points into Conjuring and summon yourself up some bodyguards or simply pick up a decent tank companion and dump heavy into high DPS spells.

My second character is a pure magic user and I'm finding the game completely manageable with summoned bodyguards, I can imagine trying to tank as a magic user would be frigging annoying unless you go the heavy armour and restoration destruction combo ignoring stamina and boosting Magic and health, which I should work fine. I prefer playing with bodyguards and worst case scenario they go down i use invisibility for a few seconds to get myself sorted and summon up another minion.

#34 Edited by Adamsons (877 posts) -

The real strength of destruction as previously mentioned is that it pretty much always staggers targets on overcharge.
 
You really need to go into enchanting or luck out with item drops because mana regen is terrible in combat. Else you will just expend your mana bar and have to chain equilibrium or run around regening.

#35 Edited by lusence (345 posts) -

few awesome things about the magic user are you can level up destruction pretty dang fast if you just use your own fire aurach summon, i was doing a lvl every 3 mins or so, then with your destruction maxed out just have to worry about not getting too many extra lvls by staying focused on your skills your developing. anyways so far so good im only lvl 18 but havnt had many problems with power and im still under 75 destruction. i use my companion and a summon, if all goes well and i dont kill them or get cornered no problems. im paranoid though, but i bet the higher lvl spells should scale it out evenlyt, thats my bet neways, people dont seem to think so though?

not to mention the elemental factor that alot of enemies have elemental weaknessess and destruction does the best element dmg...

#36 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

So I got ebony flesh and triple armor bonus from the alteration tree. 300 armor. Doesn't seem to matter much at all at level 32.

#37 Posted by BasketSnake (1114 posts) -

I have a chef's outfit with the destruction magic enchantments and I have no problem taking out out enemies.

#38 Posted by emem (1955 posts) -

Are there enemies in the game that are immune to magic?

I don't really want to pick up a melee weapon and so far I didn't have a problem as a destruction mage. It's all about kiting... when there is enough room you can kill anything.

#39 Posted by Subjugation (4694 posts) -

@ikaruga: The Winterhold mages college has a trainer/vendor for pretty much every school of magic.

#40 Posted by Alo81 (79 posts) -

@BasketSnake: Like I said, most enemies I breeze through. I can take out frost trolls in seconds, giants only take a minute maybe, dragons are cake as well as mammoths. But then I get to spots like the end of the Black Star quest, and against mages who heal themselves when their health is whittled, and it becomes a nuisance.

Against big groups of high strength enemies, you're really just kind of screwed.

#41 Posted by BasketSnake (1114 posts) -

I didn't have an easy time on the black star myself. Died three times. I had to really spam some potions and run around avoiding the spells. That was tough but I made it.

#42 Edited by Crash_Happy (637 posts) -

@Alo81: I'm level 35 pure mage. No armour and only put points into Magic and I'm not having an issue tbh. It's a high risk strategy I'll grant you, I have to keep an eagle eye on my health as I just don't have a buffer (I've carried a Health enchant almost the whole game). Usually it's about control, pull too much agro and I'm done for although I'm sure that's true with any class.

Most of my skilling went into Destruction magic although I did do some conjuring as thats useful to distract and draw fire, these days though I'm carrying a staff for that. For the most part though I don't use it. Get in and hit hard, dual cast like a Mof'fo and have them on the floor before they realise what's happening. Probably accounts for my assaults stat being so high. It's true that the damage done by your spells does not go up as your skill does, but the cost of casting does. So low level you can't cast many Firebolts but at mine I can spam them like a machinegun. I added recoil too so even if a spell isn't doing much damage it's usually interupting them.

All in all when things go bad they go very very bad, usually though it's me handing out the bad.

@outerabiz:Oh yes, you saying about matching offensive spell to the target is so very true.

#43 Posted by MsAtheism (35 posts) -

Yeah, magic totally depends on what spells you are casting and your strategy. I always conjure something for enemies to fight if there are more than one and then used restoration in one hand and a destruction one in the other (whatever is appropriate for level). I have resorted to one-handed in some situations due to enemies getting in close and I not having enough magika. (because I haven't done much enchanting yet... d'oh!). I think the key is to switch things up and never rely on one type of attack. Use multiple! Runes can be useful also if you lure enemies into them.

This doesn't change the fact that magic is awesome!

#44 Posted by Veektarius (4157 posts) -

It's worthy pointing out that those guys hurt even on a melee character unless you've got your fire resistance way up. I cheesed it also by making them come around a corner and then slowing time.

#45 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6077 posts) -

Depends on your build. I have a dual wielding warrior with...sigh 666 armor rating and 480 something damage + the 62 fire and shock damage on one of the swords (80% one handed damage increase).  I have 420 hit points (+50) and 70 magic resistance (an amulet and ring that give me 40 and Otar that gives me 30 fire,damage and shock resistance). I can pretty much kill most stuff with one attack, and if not then one power attack. Maybe my dude isn't as badass as Shadow's battlemage, but he gets the job done.

#46 Posted by BigChickenDinner (766 posts) -

Wabbajack.... AH HAHA!!! WAAAABBAJACK! Ahhh... yes!

#47 Posted by Tennmuerti (7726 posts) -

Is it viable? - yes
Getting the higher tier spells and some proper gear to zero the spell cost magic is a perfectly fine way to play.
 
Is it unbalanced? -  yes
When compared to other combat skills anyway. Why sling spells at a dragon when you can just one shot the fucker without even sneaking.

#48 Posted by wubb (277 posts) -

I've been playing a pure magic user and haven't hit this problem yet. Level 25 overall and I just hit 75 on Destruction.

There was one enemy at the end of a long dungeon who seemed to resist any spell that got past his ward. But luckily I had a random bow and some arrows from earlier I used to take him down. That guy made me rethink my strategy of carrying just a dagger for non-spell offensive weaponry.

#49 Posted by Crash_Happy (637 posts) -

@wubb: I ditched the dagger fairly early on, usually have a Staff of Atronach.

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