I believe that magic should be an alternate way of doing things, just with a little bit of flair. For example, a gun requires bullets, it's hit scan, and requires maintenance with resources.
Magic could be it requires reagents or mana, certain spells have different characteristics, and only requires the crafting of a spell book or maintenance of wands, staves, etc.
But the thing is, magic should be a skill that requires you to be far into the skill to get the most effect out of it. Also I feel it should be either a tad bit more expensive or use expensive reagents to give the players magic abilities that are powerful, but hard to make.
Magic should feel like pure power pulsing through your veins.
I believe that magic should be introduced through a skill tree and cost a lot of points for more variety in the tree. I'm not opposed to finding powerful spells or upgrades or reagents inside places like powerstone islands or boss fights. Would give more challenge to be the ultimate Arch Mage .
I feel like the main part of magic in this game should be elemental magic. Fire, water/ice, wind/electrical, earth.
And I feel the skill tree should require a ton of points, so only the most dedicated mages can be all four. This would also limit the amount of magic you see in the world, so not everyone is a mage.
Also this would give people the power of choice, "Do I want to be a fire mage, or a water mage? What about both? " More variety will keep the game feeling fresh and fun for times to come.
Now for the power scale. I believe that magic should scale quite similar to guns in the game, just with their own pros and cons.
For example, Fire sets the victim on fire (duh) in which fire should be short range, or a slow projectile with medium range.
And ice could send out fast spikes that deal low to moderate damage. All of which each spell will cost either mana that regenerates only with either a mana pool or some sort of magic field that slowly regenerates mana with the consumption of a certain resource at a steady rate to generate mana, or link mana to the consumption of certain foods / items.
Or spells can run off of reagents. For instance, a fireball would use a certain amount of resources just for one cast. Just as an example it would be something like 5 blasting powder for one cast.
In my opinion, I would prefer reagents as it would better allow for more powerful spells as to cast it would require REALLY RARE materials. I love the idea of mana pools or regenerative fields, but that, in my opinion, would make magic less capable for more powerful spells as it would be too easy to acquire the ability to cast them, unless casting them was locked behind a higher skill in the tree or the cast would cost an extremely high amount of mana, in which your mana capacity would have to be upgraded to cast.
In the end, it will still end up being buff this, nerf that until you find a balanced middle ground to that of every other skill in the game.
Now I also want to talk about what could be inside of each tree, because it wont be just damaging spells.
Certain things that affect other players should never be anything more than a debuff. No mind controlling, or stunning or rooting, this isn't the place for that in my opinion.
Things like summoning would be fun as long as they're implemented right as for summoning, you don't want it to be a clone of the taming tree, we don't want a redundant skill.
Summoning would be a very long cool down and at the very most summon up to 5 things, all have to be weaker in health than that of the player, but can deal excessive amounts of damage, but only melee. I'm all for summoning you're own raid boss, it's just gotta be SUPER expensive, like a spell dropped from the kraken and takes 20,000 mythos to cast sort of expensive and lasts for like 4 hours.
I heard people mentioning illusory magic, but in my opinion that would be either super annoying and not really provide anything, or just straight up useless. The power to go invisible would be just downright broken unless it's like translucent, not completely transparent. Or making your ship to look like a SOTD would only cause problems in my opinion, seeing as how much diplomacy is in this game no matter the server it would only cause problems and would also make people not want to fight SOTDs even more.
I've also heard people wanting magic to control the weather. I don't think changing the weather in an entire server should be a thing just for the factor that there will most likely be more than one mage and that could lead to conflicting weather wants, also not to mention the ability to annoy the sh*t out of everyone and their mother in the server.
Although with that said, I do feel like magic for on the seas to increase the wind you are getting behind your sails could be implemented quite nicely. It could be an expensive spell that costs a lot to cast, but can only effect you wind to better get away from either SOTD or players alike.
All magic should be on the ground, or on a boat. No gliders / flyers or spells to make you fly. We don't need another ARK meta.
Now with all that said. Magic should strike both awe and fear into your enemies. It shouldn't be annoying to do or watch either.
No mini-games involved with casting most spells please. I'm fine with maybe a really short mini-game for certain things that are cast in non-combat related situations or for the more powerful spells or AoE spells. I'm okay with long mini-games that are used for casting big spells like maybe summoning 5 soldiers of the damned or something like that. I just don't want a mini-game for most spells as that is already implemented with weapons to keep them balanced. An the balancing act for magic is the reagents and the cost to learn them also the damage won't be as high for spells with no mini-game.
I understand that this game's core is a pirate game, so if you added in most or all of what was said here, it might end up a little bit bloated with magic.
These are just my ideas and my wants for the magic tree.
The main thing I want is multiple elemental trees inside of one big magic tree that takes a lot of points so only the most dedicated to magic can master all four trees.
Thanks for reading this!
Please reply with any ideas you have on magic, I would love to hear them!