Hello again. Title is self explanatory, so I'll skip the intro and get straight into the meat of this discussion: how and why to do a dispel system.
I realize that a dispel system has been discussed before (Ephraim did a post on it a year back, and there are a few other posts on the subject as far back as 2016), with the proposed systems being based on the concept of spending a certain amount of mana for a chance to dispel a spell (the mana scaling with the mana of the enemy spell). While this system seems to be trying to remain true/faithful to the table top, I think there are 2 reasons why this system is fundamentally flawed:
1) RNG: While not all RNG is bad, having it play a major role in dispelling undermines the system. When the enemy casts the spell, they spend the mana and it is always guaranteed to go off; this makes it so one can plan strategy around the spells they bring, which is what makes magic fun and interesting in the game. Having the dispel system by heavily RNG prevents dispelling from being a strategically important decision, as there is no guarantee that it will generate any value (unlike something like the flamespire pheonix or Hellpit abom, which can still easily pay for themselves without the rng ability being used). As such, Dispelling must have some degree of guarantee that it can produce value, meaning that RNG cannot be the primary factor for determining if the mechanic works or not.
2) Mechanics and Systems: Basically, the commonly proposed system requires that CA creates and entirely new system within the game specifically for dispelling, which, while not impossible, is unlikely to happen. Even looking in the steam workshop (which can finagle the systems and mechanics to do some things that CA itself can't, like respecing lords/heroes and region trading), there isn't much for specifically dispelling magic: closest thing is a "dispel magic" stance for the HE in campaign that lowers enemy WoM pool and adds magic resistance. If the modding community cannot produce an effective dispel system, there is not much chance that CA could do so without significant investment time and resources (which, due to the current balance of the magic in the game not being horrendous, seems unlikely). As such, I think that dispelling must be made in a way that doesn't require the introduction of completely new mechanics or systems, thus allowing for CA to implement it easily.
As such, I believe that the only way to have a chance at having a dispel system incorporated into the game is to have one that is not RNG based and uses mechanics and systems that are already present within the game. This is my proposal for implementing dispel:Dispel Implementation
Dispel is added as a spell that all casters have automatically (i.e. it cannot be removed). Because this is being added to all casters, it shouldn't result in a cost increase (as, ideally, it will only affect other casters, rendering any cost increase moot). Hero mages will only be able to access the non-overcast version of the spell, whereas Lord Mages will be able to access an overcast version of the spell (Subject to the normal miscast, ironically, but I don't know if overcasts can have 0% chance of miscast so I'm going to assume that they must have at least some miscast chance). The dispel spell's layout would be as such:Normal
: 15 WoM to cast. Single target only, 100m range. Either typed as hex or augment. Can affect allies and enemies. 3 second cast time, 90 second duration. 60 second cool down. The targeted unit has any spell, bound spell, and rune effects negated, and any further spells or runes targeted on them are likewise negated for the duration (this would just be represented by an indicator on the unit card). Overcast
: 20 WoM to cast. adds AoE of 20m (still typed as hex or augment).Dawi
: To prevent them from being able to use all of their WoM on just dispelling (which would make magic almost worthless against them), what will instead happen for dwarfs is that their runesmiths will get 3 runes of spell breaking (equivalent to the normal dispel magic) and the runesmith will get 2 Runes of Spell Eating (equivalent to overcasted dispel magic).Viability
Insofar as balance is concerned, 15-20 WoM cost along side the effective 150 second cooldown (the spell does not go on cool down until the duration has finished, meaning that its cooldown insofar as affecting multiple targets is really 150 seconds, rather than 60) prevents the spell from being spammed to negate the opponent's attempt to use their own magic (furthermore, doing this would prevent beneficial spells from affecting the unit as well, meaning that spamming it would result in not being able to support that unit). It would be more expensive than most spells, but makes up for this with a long duration (90 seconds was chosen because the longest duration spell, overcasted flesh to stone, lasts 88 seconds, so dispel would completely negate even the longest duration spell) and the potential to counter game winning spells (i.e. can remove regrowth from the enemy lord/SEM to ensure the final kill, save some of one's units from a devastating Final Transmutation, or negate an Arcane Unforging being used on a GS Lord). Thus, I think dispel would see use, but it would not be OP or make magic worthless to bring. If I'm wrong about some of the particulars in terms of numbers, though, feel free to suggest corrections (off the top of my head, I could see arguments for a shorter duration closer to 60 seconds, +1 or 2 WoM to dispel's cost, or a slight increase in cast time).
As far as the ability for CA to do this, they have already established that one effect canceling out another class of effects is something they are capable of doing: the cold blooded changes demonstrate this, as it not only cancels the rampage of the normal feral units and the primal instincts, but also the witch elf rampage (although this does also require that dispel also dispels beneficial effects on the unit, as I don't know if the game can differentiate how the dispel would work based on which player used it and on what units it was used). Because it is a spell, the most they may have to do is put it on a separate tab from the main spells if they don't want to break the 6 spells on the wheel limit (the separate tabs being possible, as proven by Manfred). Finally, with Delilverance of Itza they've demonstrated that they can make AoE damage spells (vortexes, explosions, winds, bombardments) not damage certain units.
The only part of this system that I wish could be added but I don't think can be would be the ability to dispel summoned units; the problem is the unbinding mechanic is a unit ability, so dispel as proposed here wouldn't affect it at all (the result would be that the unit would be affected as though it were a normal unit). I do suppose they could hard code it so that if the spell is cast on a unit with unbinding it immediately starts the second phase of unbinding (i.e. where the unit dies), but I kept it out of the main proposal as I don't believe it is possible given the current mechanics and systems within the game (basically, unbinding on the tool tip has a duration of 5 seconds longer than the active icon on the unit card because, after the initial duration is over, the second phase begins during which the unit takes massive damage until death. Thus, it seems both stages of unbinding are part of the same effect, and so I don't believe it is currently possible to have the 1st phase be "skipped" in some fashion by an effect).
If I'm wrong or misinformed on any of these things, let me know @CA_Duck Why Dispel should be a thing
Now then, the arguments for why there should be a dispel system in the game at all:
1) TT and Lore: this one is kind of the weakest of the lot, but it is the first precedence for having dispelling in the game. Basically, this game is uses the TT and lore for its base and, though some things cannot translate over due to the mechanical and systemic differences between the table top and the game, if it's possible to implement something from the TT in a fun and balanced way then it should be done.
2) Strategic counter play: As it stands, when a spell goes off the only way to counter it is with another spell that negates the effects (i.e. Harmonic Convergance countering Enfeebling foe), dodge out of the way (a fairly micro-intensive option that is sometimes effective and other times not even an option), use items/abilities to lower WoM regen/pool (which are somewhat uncommon and don't actually prevent the effects of spells at the time), or, in the case of damaging spells, use a very small number of items/abilities to improve the magic resistance of the unit (most of which are single use and only partially effective, baring a few exceptions). While the first option is fairly strategic (i.e. you have to consider what you should bring and if you should use resources in that manner) it is rare due to the lack of directly opposing spell effects (or in the case of direct damage, equal value between them and healing spells), the remainder are basically point and click with little thought and similarly lackluster effects (again, baring a few abilities like the arch lector's 90% MR in an aoe). Having a system like the one proposed would allow for a much more strategic choice to counter enemy spell casting, as there is a significant trade off for an effect that, while it can be game changing, can also be easily wasted/crippling if misused. (see the first paragraph under viability for the details on that).
3) Balance: Simply put, this helps spells overall be more balanced because they would no longer be guaranteed to have the intended effect. When building the army, there is not guarantee any individual unit will have the intended effect on the battle; one can bring several large monsters with the intent to smash the front line quickly, only to find the front line filled with elite halberds/flagellates or find that the enemy has gone with a kiting build. Spells should be in a similar place: bringing enfeebling foe should not ensure that the enemy cannot fight you with his kited out lord or big monster when he needs to, or else that bringing healing spells will allow you to keep your lord healthy throughout the whole game. (note that, in these scenarios, bringing those spells would still be valuable: in either case, a dispel costing 15 WoM is more expensive than enfeebling foe's 6 WoM [10 overcasted] or earthblood's 6 WoM [11 overcasted], and even regrowth is less expensive at 13 WoM [though the overcast is slightly more expensive at 17 WoM]; if your opponent chooses to use WoM to negate you spells, then you will have a net gain over your opponent through the interaction, thus your spells will still generate value).
Long story short, the idea for how to implement dispelling has been talked about for a while, but it hasn't gone anywhere because the systems proposed were heavily RNG based or not possible with the game's current mechanics and systems. I think I've proposed a way to implement it that does not rely on RNG, is possible within the game's current mechanical and systemic limitations, and would be strategic, balanced, and dynamic if implemented. Also, just in case people are opposed to changing the system currently, I've argued why it should be implemented separate from its viability.
Let me know what you think.
Edit: added Runes to the effects negated by dispel (as they appear to be a separate category of abilities)