I’ll chime in here since I was a rather vocal petitioner for Sorcery for quite some time.
I agree. Not with everything you said, but in total spirit. The implementation ultimately missed the mark for a couple of reasons for me.
First off, yes, the thought process was cool. I love the way the casting happens and the preparation, but here’s my problem: being a sorcerer should fundamentally change the way you approach the entire gameplay loop.
Uncorrupted exiles fight with the full extent of their vitality and stamina, whereas a Sorcerer must sacrifice their very being for a tradeoff in power.
But what defines “power”?
Is it the ability to hit harder? The ability to sway others more easily to your cause? Manipulation of the elements? Manipulation of the profane? The game does touch on this in a few ways with corrupted attributes but the extent of the power they provide is dubious at best (especially the Demon Lord perk, which is a clear downgrade for any character who takes it). In terms of gameplay however, again these corrupted attributes don’t change your fundamental approach to the game. As a sorcerous exile, you’re still basically charging into the fray, weapons swinging and trying to slaughter enemies by the hundreds. And that part is what disappoints me the most.
My vision of a sorcerer in CE is one who uses others to do his bidding, who draws upon extranormal or profane sources of power to augment his minions. My involvement in physical combat should be limited to the killing blow only, where my sadistic nature lets the foe know that it was I in the end who laid them low through my machinations. I can do this currently, but it takes forever and often I find myself worrying about if my minions will survive confrontations without my physical intervention. And there’s the problem for me. I’m required to physically intervene. I have barely any active abilities that allow me to effect the success of my minions. 1 passive buff. That’s it. Can I draw upon vines or conjure pools of blood to slow enemies? Can I infuse them with the spirit of a demon to augment their strength at the potential cost of their life once the spell ends? What do I actually do, other than option a: sit back and watch or option b: act like I did before I was a sorcerer and jump in and do the work myself.
Second, yep, our spell selection consists largely of little-used, situational, and poorly thought-out parlor tricks.
I CANNOT REITERATE THIS ENOUGH. I AM NOT ADVOCATING FOR DND/WOW STYLE MAGIC DAMAGE SPELLS. I HAVE NOT AND WILL NOT EVER ADVOCATE FOR THAT
That does not mean we should have a complete lack of options to actively affect the single most important pillar of gameplay: combat.
We have almost no spells that can be used while our minions administer our version of sinister justice, and that is a travesty. I’m not asking for active healing spells (and even then, I’ve given suggestions before for thematically appropriate healing), but seriously, we can’t even get a spell that gives our minions a temporary version of the golem damage shrug? Makes them immune to knockdown or other negative effects? Gives them a sickening aura that chokes or corrupts others around them? What is the point of fire wall? Why is it called fire wall if it doesn’t act like one? I’d trade the current implementation of the zombie horde for one that summons 4 effective zombies over 50 one-shot weaklings. Instead of nerfing lightning storm, how about implementing passive measures to combat it like placeable lightning rods? You have the foundations of spellcasting in, but this cannot be all we get. And now, you’re nerfing our utility spells more with this asinine light aura at night. C’mon FC.
But here’s the thing: At least those sorcerers tasted true power. Even if it was for a fleeting moment before meeting the point of Conan’s blade, they had real effective power. In-game, sorcerers don’t feel any more powerful or advantageous over uncorrupted exiles. The OP’s point is that the tradeoff is pointless and I can’t disagree. Darkness spell? Worthless. Mass Cull? BB tools are better Fire wall? Laughable. Wisp? Patched into uselessness. Illusion Clone? Doesn’t work against the mobs you need it to work on. Call of the Dead? Neat party trick. The four spells that are useful? Bat-Demon, Invisibility, Slow-Fall, and Ice Bridge. Those can’t be worth sacrificing your very being for.
So in the end, if you’re FC and reading this, the question becomes “Well what exactly were you expecting from sorcery then?”
I was expecting a new way to experience each fundamental pillar of the gameplay loop. You nailed the exploration bit through bat-demon and invisibility. Building/Survival were almost completely unaffected (which you could have affected through more corrupted perks, which again I already provided starter suggestions for), and Combat as a Sorcerer has been a nearly complete failure. You gave us options to experience existing gameplay as corruption-juiced “death knight” (basically, more of the same), but gave us no effective alternative for those who wished to influence combat from behind the scenes.
Here FC, I’ll even give you an example of how I envision my Sorcerer in the Exiled Lands.
Imagine a withered, emaciated being, staring at a camp of exiles while his demonic minion stands menacingly beside him. He needs a new earthly cohort to accompany him into a dungeon to do his bidding. Before approaching, he chants words of power and shortly after, a swarm of locusts descends upon the camp, distracting the inhabitants. He commands his demon to keep the lesser exiles busy as he focuses his attention on the strongest of them all. While the demon rampages for blood, the sorcerer steps forward and whispers more words of power, this time entrancing the largest exile into a deep sleep. With the other exiles disposed of, the sorcerer moves claims his prize but before he can, another exile appears and unlike the others, this one is not weak of mind but is like him, another wanderer. He orders his demon to attack, and it throws a large boulder at the interloper, knocking him down long enough for the sorcerer to call forth the elements to turn the ground into a debilitating quicksand. His enemy now slowed, the sorcerer tries to invoke more powers while the demon presses its attack. Will the Sorcerer elect to bind the elements again? Summoning roots to restrain his foe and press the attack? Or does he notice this particular foe seems less affected by this spell than others, having trained himself to shrug off effects that limit his movement? Does he cut his losses and run? He has enough time to utter one more spell before the foe breaks free of the quicksand and closes the distance. Unbowed, the Sorcerer deems this foe an annoyance and wishes to teach him a lesson. He uses the words to surround himself in a circle of molten rock, preventing the foe’s pitiful blows from even coming near him. From his sanctuary he calls upon more profane powers imbue his demon with a portion of his own essence, greatly increasing its power as he orders it to attack the enemy. He then calls forth a shroud of darkness that no light can pierce to confound and slow his foe. From behind his walls he hears the sounds battle for a few moments before all goes silent. The circle of fire falls, and it seems that the foe chose a more cowardly route: the entranced thrall is now gone, seemingly taken by the foe who is now retreating in the distance. Does the Sorcerer pursue his prize or does he go home and replenish the valuable reagents wasted in the confrontation…
As it stands now? Most people do it for the portals. Thats. It.