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You know, it's a debatable design decision. It's actually a fairly "realistic" type of magic system and creates a depth that is hard to capture in a videogame otherwise. I can see how it's annoying, just like having to eat is annoying.
I agree with Matt. The rune system is extremely frustrating during combat, especially when you're fighting off multiple attackers. The problem is that while you're fumbling around trying to select the proper runes, your other party members are helpless, unable to attack or move! The frustration is especially felt when enemies are coming at you in multiple directions. In a game like this, where sidestepping is crucial, having your party "frozen" while you frantically fumble with the runes panel is not only suicidal, it's not particularly realistic concerning your other party members either.
Am I on a rant here!??!? The magic system needs macros, as Matt said. I'm still having trouble fumbling around with the movement system as it is, and the clunky magic system on top of that is making combat an aggravating experience, to say the least.
By the way, I consider the auto map (with the ability to enter your own notes) a critical update. I know there's an old school graph paper option where you can record each tile yourself, but I couldn't possibly imagine wanting to do that on my own these days...
The automap is a crucial feature for me, too. I don't at all miss whipping out the graph paper for playing CRPG's. However, I'm not so sure I wouldn't trade the automap for a better spellcasting system! That's how bad I'm hating the spell system.
Still, great game overall! Right now, I'm stuck on level 3, where I'm trapped in a room with undead soldiers coming at me from all sides. (The room with the pit trap in the center, you'll know what I'm talking about if you've been to the room.) Yes, the spell system is a major pain in this room!
Spell macros and automap. I want them both!
Update: made it past the "undead soldier trap" room. Turns out I figured out how to fight the soldiers without going into the room, picking them off one by one. Now I'm stuck on a "Teleport" puzzle room. :-(
Don't fall into pits on this level!
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