What do I want? I'll tell you.
Right now, that level of magic is impossible, because it's too easy to take an expert mage and give him expert fight skills, or take an expert fighter and give him expert magic. This ensures that fight skills will always be necessary and magic is merely a cool add-on.
In order to provide for the kind of character I want, first the code has to separate fighters and mages to a large extent. This can be accomplished the way Legend separates skills now -- using levels, stats and rent.
1. The stats necessary for 3c magic are too low. It's far too easy to get a high combat stat and still have 3c spells. At minimum, 3c spells should require 80 mind. 60 mind for 3c is ridiculous, and unfair considering that expert fight skills require 80 in their stats. The more stat points (and rent) spent on magic, the fewer available for combat stats.
2. Mana should be calculated with a formula that also uses spirit. The more stat points (and rent) spent on spirit, the fewer available for combat stats. My pet formula uses (mind + spirit) - 2/3 instead of just mind. A 100 mind/spirit mage would have an equivalent to a 133 mind, which would get them about 900 mana.
3. Charmed mobs should have their hp dependent on their master's mana, according to a percentage. For instance, greater summonings could have hp equal to 70% of their masters mana. For 750 mana, that would be about 525 hp. For 900 mana, it would be 630 hp. Is that too high? Not considering that you'd have to have 100 mind and spirit to have that much mana, or invest in +mana gear (which means still less rent for combat stats -- this wizard is getting weaker and weaker, combat-wise).
4. Spells should do more damage, and cost correspondingly more mana. Legend briefly had immolates that did 100 hp and cost that much in mana. Given the two-round spell lag, that was 50 hp per round, which seems like a good start for a puny mage. Stronger, more expensive damage spells would drain the mana of any puny half-mage, making them the province of mages that are puny at combat. 5. I also like the idea of allowing weaponless mages to cast spells every round. If this was adopted, spells wouldn't have to have their damage increased so much. 6. I want spell tools that augment spell casting in different ways -- more duration, more damage, less mana cost, less spell lag, etc. Perhaps even spells that aren't available without a spell tool. However, these spell tools would cost still more rent. Steps like these will let fighters be fighters and mages be mages. You'll still have fighter/mages, but they won't be as powerful as they are now. Using steps like these would let the coders balance magic on its own terms, with less worry about what someone with 100 dex, str or con will use it for.
Here's another thought: what about simply taking expert fight skills away from those born in Agrabah?
Supposedly Agrabah gives us master thieves (whatever a 'thief' in Legend is)
Wouldn't that allow them expert dex fight skills at least?
Thieves most certainly would need to know how to fight.
I would say the presence of any 3rd circle words would negate expert fight status.
Or raising 3c to 80 mind would probably do the trick.
If say, I have 10 c3 mages, all of whom have expert fight skills, and I don't like mages who don't have expert fight skills, it doesn't seem terribly fair to make 10 characters whose personalities I might like totally un-fun for me to play anymore.
It's not the idea itself I object to, mind. It's having it implemented without any alternatives for the c3 mages who _do_ have expert skills (more than half the mud?)
It's a little like Lima. -giggle- I still have a bone to pick with the way Lima's been made obsolete in terms of its surgeons!
I stopped playing an innately social character because of the combination of factors that made liman surgeons obsolete. I think that I'm not the only person who had/has a liman surgeon who's done the same thing. Some characters just aren't fun if they can't make any real contribution. Or if whoever is playing them feels like they can't. I stopped playing my liman because on big runs, with a level 50 liman surgeon, I felt like a level 50 leech.
So, well. The idea itself is an interesting one, but please let it not be implemented in a way that makes it so that I either have to turn all my c3 mages into "pure" mages or quit playing them.
Why should expert thieves have expert fighting skills? Just as a mage concentrates on her magecraft studies and thus learns less of fighting, a thief concentrates on learning thievery and doesn't know how to fight well. In most rpgs I know, the 'thief' char is not as good a fighter as the 'fighter' type: she has less attacks/round, can use a smaller variety of weapons and armor, and other ways. The difference is that here we only have a few skills that make a thief, and those don't have very high stat reqs so most chars have them. Perhaps this is something that will change with skilltrees.... In the meantime, are there any chars out there that consider themselves thieves, or at least aren't mages with the hometown Agrabah?
Nanna's suggestion makes sense, but I'm guessing that the code isn't really set up for anti-prereqs. Taking away expert fight skills for Agrabah is a simple solution, or better yet, add a fourth level of weapon proficiencies--master--and make it only available for med and indust hometowns.
On the side issue of Lima, I think it is a good thing for Lima to be a good hometown for jack of all trades, but the lowered surgery abilities is a little too much. I would like to see either more skill added for only Lima (perhaps bardic skills?) or make the heals for Lima and London be the same, but give more specialist surgery skills to Londoners.
The points about the trickiness of it being implemented are good ones though. I would think removing expert fight skills from 3c mages would be accompanied by something to augment 3c spellcasting along the lines of things Skar has suggested. This would make it worth your while to continue to play the 3c mages you already have. It's definitely a radical idea. But I think it's worth tossing around in the interest of magic actually being the method of battle for a mage, rather than just an addition to the melee combat skills everybody else has. How cool would that be?
As for thieves, I believe that thieves are worse off than mages. It would take a lot more effort to make a specialized thief competitive. You'd not only need new code, but new areas. The whole mud would have to be re-examined from a thief's perspective, providing sneaky ways of getting xp and eq.
I'd love to see quests that require what I think of as 'second-story' skills -- sneak, climb, pick lock, hide -- that let you break into homes or fortresses to carry out an assassination or burglary. Legend has a cool skill set for thieves, but the areas make them useless. For instance, far too many mobs react to characters that sneak or hide, reducing their effectiveness.
It has always annoyed me that I can have a high-perc and high-dex thief and have a hit-or-miss hide, but my low-level mage gets an automatic, no-fail hide with a simple spell using one 1c word. And why do mages have the sneak spell? Sure, it's useful, but not in character. These spells make thieves less attractive. Why not play a mage? Oh, excuse me -- fighter/mage!
Finally, I agree that with our current options, creates aren't strong enough to remain competitive if my suggestions are implemented piecemeal. You have to give with one hand as you're taking away with the other. That means stronger minions and spells, which is why those suggestions were also part of my list.
I think that most of Jade's spell ideas have merit, but you're not going to get significant upgrades so long as mages are also kick-ass fighters. In my opinion, fight skills are holding mages back from their true potential.
As for tumble and dodge, I would expect that the stat reqs for expert magic would preclude having the dex for those skills. I mentioned 80 mind as my opinion of a minimum stat req for 3c magic, but I think other word reqs should be increased as well -- whatever it takes to tone down the mages' combat ability.
In addition, a new reliance on spirit for spell potency and the inclusion of attractive, but renty, spell tools would also reduce the rent available for dex eq -- meaning no tumble or dodge.