Category talk:Spellcasting Gear

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While we're re-evaluating the structure of the wiki I want to spend some time working on this category. First of all, it seems like we're getting strict about the "only put articles in the most specific category" rule again. So, this category would no longer contain every single spellcasting object, instead it would contain subcategories for pill, staves, wands, etc (yes I know it already does that).

In the early days you could search for "heal" or "water breathing" and get a list of all the items that would cast that spell on you. Now that we have individual articles for all these spells (good thing, don't get me wrong) this trick doesn't work any more. I don't think it's fair to ask our users to wade through the list of spellcasting objects, clicking on each one until they find the spell they want. This probably won't come as a surprise to anyone, but I think we should use categories to regain this functionality.

So, we'll use categories, but how?

At first I was thinking of making categories like:
objects that cast offensive spells
objects that cast defensive spells
objects that cast healing spells
objects that cast curative spells

But the more I thought about it, I realized there are problems with this approach. There's some spells that don't fit into this kind of layout. You could lump refresh in with healing spells, but it doesn't quite fit. Where are you gonna put a pill that gives you fly: defense, curative, or another category altogether?

Instead of this, I think we should just make a category for each spell that can be cast by using an object: "Objects That Cast Cure Light", "Objects That Cast Acid Blast", etc. Each of these categories would be a subcategory of "Spellcasting Objects". We would also link to "Objects That Cast Water Breathing" from the Water Breathing article.

I would say not to operate under our usual strategy of "create a bunch of categories and eventually they'll be populated". The main reason for this is that you can't distinguish between a empty category and a populated one, and I don't want to reduce the usefulness of "spellcasting objects" by filling it with empty categories. Also, there's a ton of spells that can't be cast by using an object, so those categories would never get populated.

Sound like a good plan? --Waite 14:37, 14 February 2006 (EST)

On second thought, the categories should probably be called "Water Breathing Casting Objects", "Heal Casting Objects", etc, just so they don't all start with the same letter. Makes the automatic category layout work better.

Sounds OK to me. Another way to solve the problem could be to have a series of tables on the main spellcasting objects page which would be seperated into the aforementioned categories of defensive, offensive, healing, miscellaneous, etc.. with columns for name, level, spell, and charges. It requires a bit more overhead, but that could be done by the "regulars" whenever a new spellcasting item is added by someone else if they don't know the convention. I'm rather fond of tables I suppose :). Definitely not adverse to them being filed in a categorical system either. JonDooger 15:03, 14 February 2006 (EST)

Great thinking, you two! I love your idea, Waite, for not filing any pages here but, instead, providing some means for players to easily find objects that cast whichever spell they want. That would be far more convenient than clicking through every object page below one-by-one in this growing list to pick out those items that are most relevant. I agree that some spells are very hard to categorize; I made a rather primitive attempt to do this same thing in the Skills & Spells section, which could probably use further revision and refinement at some point. I'm not sure whether I like categories or tables better for this function, myself. Perhaps spell-by-spell categories below plus either tables or sections-&-lists or some other such thing above for easy access to only the most-demanded spells (like HEALING SPELLS: * Cure Light: ... * Cure Serious: ... * Cure Critical: ... * Heal: ... ). Hmmm. As for category names, Waite, your "second thought" would spread names out more, yes, but their titles also also sound a bit unwieldy (well, to me, at least); offhand, my vote would be for a system more like your "first thought" and similar to that in our Gear category where object-type categories are spread out while Gear In... categories are consolidated. In any case, I promise that, at least in this instance, I won't go ahead and make categories to cover every possibility that might arise--just ones that we already have items for, if we decide to go ahead with this plan. --Dave Garber 16:02, 14 February 2006 (EST)

Oooo! Looks like you've already started. Cool. Hmmm. I still have my reservations on that category-name format but, of course, nothing here is set in stone. And I may yet have second thoughts. Heck, on at least a few occasions, I've plunged ahead with something, looked over the final product, played around with it for a bit, and then reconsidered my decision and immediately undid it all. I enjoy experimenting and trying stuff out. Will be nice to see how this turns out. Anyway... Go, Waite, go!!! You the man. --Dave Garber 16:12, 14 February 2006 (EST)

Wow! So, we have two different types of items here now, then? Both objects that cast spells on you when you consume (either quaff or brandish) them and objects that affect you (via their affect flags) when you wear them. Interesting. If that's how we're gonna do it then we may have to find a more accurate name for this category... --Dave Garber 17:49, 14 February 2006 (EST)

Yeah, adding items like exquisite diamond and ring of the rat to these categories was an afterthought, but I think it makes a lot of sense. If you want sanctuary and you can't cast it yourself, then you probably don't care if you get it from a potion, a staff, or a light source. I think the category name is still pretty appropriate, since the aforementioned items seem to cast their spell(s) on you when you wear them. Hence when you wear your second enchanted bangle you see "Enchanted bangle sparkles as its enchantment fails" (or whatever the message is). I guess one case where you could be nit-picky is the displacer cloak. Along with pass door, it gives you movehidden, which is technically a skill, not a spell. In any event I'm not too worried about people getting confused by the name of this category. --Waite 10:12, 15 February 2006 (EST)

It was a good afterthought to add these items, in my opinion, and I agree with your reasoning on why you added them. And I suppose that what these objects do could be considered casting, also. At least for now, I'm quite satisfied. Well done, Waite, and thanks for your work on this. --Dave Garber 15:03, 15 February 2006 (EST)

Well, Waite, it looks like you made the rest of the changes that you wanted to these categories. Those interested in following our discussion about these changes may find it here. My inclination is still to categorize these things as follows:

* Gear:
 * Blah, blah, blah...
 * Gear That Applies Skills & Spells:
  * Gear That Applies A:                see also A and Gear That Casts A
  * Gear That Applies C:                see also C and Gear That Casts C
  * Gear That Applies E:                see also E
 * Gear That Casts Spells:
  * Gear That Casts A:                  see also A and Gear That Applies A
  * Gear That Casts B:                  see also B
  * Gear That Casts C:                  see also C and Gear That Applies C
  * Gear That Casts D:                  see also D
 * Yada, yada, yada...

Instead of, according to your plan:

* Gear:
 * Blah, blah, blah...
 * Spellcasting Gear:
  * Gear That Applies Skills & Spells:
   * Gear That Applies A:              see also A and A Gear
   * Gear That Applies C:              see also C and C Gear
   * Gear That Applies E:              see also E and E Gear
  * A Gear:                            see also A and Gear That Applies A
   * Gear That Applies A:              see also A and A Gear
  * B Gear:                            see also B
  * C Gear:                            see also C and Gear That Applies C
   * Gear That Applies C:              see also C and C Gear
  * D Gear:                            see also D
  * E Gear:                            see also E and Gear That Applies E
   * Gear That Applies E:              see also E and E Gear
 * Yada, yada, yada...

Hmmm. Anyone else care to contribute their thoughts on this matter? Anyone? Or are Waite and I the only two who care at all about this? Which format do you prefer, if either? Why? Or do you have a better structure in mind than either Waite or I have thought of yet? Please let us know. --Dave Garber 17:40, 10 March 2006 (EST)

Hi Dave,

Thanks for finishing up my transition from "Spellname Objects" to "Spellname Gear".

I think that we both agree on the fundamental layout of this section. We both like the idea of splitting up these pages into categories based on the following:

  • level
  • object type
  • spells provided
  • temporary vs permanent

Where we differ in opinion is when to use categories, and when to use links. At the end of the day, this is a very small difference that most people will never notice. Both our categorization methods provide ample connections between relevant articles.

I don't see a need to divorce Gear That Applies Skills And Spells from Spellcasting Gear to such a point that their only common denominator is Gear. There is something more similar about these two categories than the fact that they're both "gear". Essentially, I consider Spellcasting Gear to be synonomous with "ways I can get around not knowing a spell". Both "consumables" and Gear That Applies Skills And Spells provide you with a way of getting a spell that you couldn't otherwise cast. Whether or not that's a good thing varies case to case :). That's why I made Gear That Applies Skills And Spells a subcategory of Spellcasting Gear.

I understand the differences between Gear That Applies Skills And Spells and "consumables", and I've conceded that we should categorize them separately. But there's always more ways of carving up a section. We could differentiate between pill/pots/applies and wands/staves. Nobody's gonna want a faerie fire potion, so we could list the "useful" faerie fire objects from the crappy ones. But I don't propose we further separate this section into "gear that casts spells on you (pill/pot/applies)" and "gear whose spells can affect someone other than yourself (wand/staff)". I think at some point we have to count on our users being able to figure out that difference for themselves.

I'll agree with you that the current category names aren't perfect. For instances, I think Poison Gear versus Poisons is pretty damned confusing. But as I've said before, I like starting the category name with the name of the spell, simply for the reason that it leaves the automatically generated "articles in..." list better sorted. So yeah, in general I'm not horribly attached to the current category names for this section.

--Waite 18:27, 10 March 2006 (EST)

You're welcome. :) I saw the affects list without any apostophes and felt entirely satisfied with it; heck, I think that I may even like it slightly better that way after seeing it like that. And, yeah, we could certainly easily make Level 1-10 Potions That Cast Faerie Fire (*lol*) but I agree with you 100% that there comes a certain reasonable limit and I believe that we have currently achieved it. And you forgot Poisioning Kits; becuase Poison Gear presumably poisons things, right? Hee hee, just kiddin'... :) So, yeah, it seems that our only remaining disagreement is in (1) how best to name these categories and (2) how best to structure them all in relation to one other.

As for putting these categories in parallel and tied together via links, I didn't really see this as "divorcing" these categories (any more than I divorced, say, Stat Gear from Level Gear or Gnomes from Deep Gnomes) but simply joining them arm-in-arm as closely-tied equals within the Wiki heirarchy. Though their purpose is essentially identical, I don't see either one as a subset of the other, conceptually, nor anything wrong with putting both immediately under Gear; in fact, using my recommended category names, they'd be found right next to one other on Gear's big alphabetical list. And I do see those advantages that you see to putting the spell name first in these spellcasting-gear category names. This can potentially look nicer when they're all listed together. Then again, I don't think that the Gear That Applies Skills & Spells category list looks too shabby. Or even the Gear category, although its G section is pretty darn enormous; using Gear In AreaName rather than AreaName Gear does have one advantage in that it lets non-area-gear categories like Ticket Quest Rewards stand out more rather than being lost somewhere amidst all of the zillion area-gear categories. Then again, I made links to all of these non-area-gear categories at the top of the Gear page so this advantage is negligible. Another advantage that I see in my preference is that it makes these category names a bit more consistent with each other. An object that casts a spell would go under Gear That Casts Whatever and an object that applies this same spell to its wearer would go under Gear That Applies Whatever; this might make things slightly simpler for folks trying to remember how to file new pages. Or, then again, it might not matter a hoot. I dunno.

In any case, thanks much for your input on all of this! I think that I understand all of your points and I hope that you understand mine, too. Two heads are certainly better than one. And I'm curious to hear comments from some other folks on these matters, as well. Thanks for all of your effort here! --Dave Garber 20:01, 10 March 2006 (EST)

Here's the problem as I see it:

If I'm someone who wants to look up gear that I would use to cast curing spells on others, I am going to search for "brandies" or "brandishes" as this is what they are actually called on the mud. The first will lead me to a non-existant page, but I can see a link to the brandishes category down below, and then I'll click that. This takes me to a page with two links in it, one for wands, and one for staves. I hesitantly click staves, because I guess that's what I want. This takes me to a page with several items, but I don't know what spell any of these things cast, really. So I have to click them one by one to find out. Really irritating for me. What would I like instead? The first page I get to, broken into sections by what kind of spell is cast; not a specific spell, but kind.. like healing. and then a list of the items that do that.

I'm all for the easiest way to find what I'm looking for. So I think the best way to organize things would be to think of how the average user is going to search for things. They aren't going to be searching for "Gear that casts cure light" or "cure light gear" or even for "cure light" they will be searching for "brandies" or "healing potions".

This is not to say that a good category structure is a bad thing. On the contrary, I beleive it is very important. Once I get to a page for an item, I would like to be able to see a category for other items like it, in case I can't get an item or it's too high of a level for me. For this use of categories, Gear that Casts Fly or Fly Gear amount to the same thing.

I think category structure is less important, however, than being able to find what you are looking for in an easy way. In your examples above, looking for an object that casts ANY curing spell (which is more likely desired than any object that casts cure light), is not possible. You would have to look in the categories for each different healing spell one at a time. So look at the most effectively organized spaces on the wiki(the Main page and the Gear pages in my opinion) and you will find what I think is the most effective solution to the problem: A well designed table on an easy to find page. -JonDooger 16:09, 12 March 2006 (EST)

I think JonDooger has some good points. I propose we create four new articles, named something like Table Of Gear That Restores HP, Table Of Gear That Restores Movement Points, Table Of Gear That Casts Offensive Spells, and Table Of Gear That Gives Affects. As usual I'm flexible on the actual names. Each of these pages will contain (surprise!) a table. Each row of the table will correspond to one piece of gear. These tables will have columns such as:

  • name of gear
  • level
  • object type
  • number of uses
  • spells provided

For the healing objects we could also have a column for amount of hp restored, so people don't have to calculate whether cure crit x3 is better than heal x2. These tables should probably be sorted by level, similar to the layout of Treasure-Hunting. Also, I think these four articles should all be categorized under Spellcasting Gear. Sound good? --Waite 11:29, 13 March 2006 (EST)

I agree that a few tables would be very helpful. Offhand, I'm not sure if I favor using separate pages or sections for each table or not. If put in sections, then using grey boxes for these tables might minimize the amount of space that they consume. I'd like to give this matter a bit more thought but I'm pretty preoccupied today with things related to the contest areas. --Dave Garber 15:03, 13 March 2006 (EST)

Good points. My first instinct was to make a few tables and insert them onto the main page of Spellcasting Gear but this would make that page too busy and bloated. Instead of having a different article for each table we could try putting all them all on a single article, named something like Suggested Spellcasting Gear. --Waite 10:33, 14 March 2006 (EST)