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WIP Early-Game Mage and Summoner Changes and Additions

Dreadnautilus5000

Brain of Cthulhu
In my opinion, pre-boss mages and summoners are pretty lacklustre. They aren't particularly powerful until you defeat Skeletron and the evil biome bosses, and their weapons at this stage are pretty difficult and/or time consuming to get, whereas melee and ranger have weapons that can be obtained relatively quickly. 1.4 and 1.4.1 have helped out summoner a lot, but not much at the start of the game. Here are my suggestions to make these classes viable throughout Pre-Hardmode.

Changes:
This weapon is decently powerful, but it is too rare. Wooden Chests are very limited, and if you're unlucky there won't be enough near spawn, meaning that you'll have to cross very dangerous biomes such as the Corruption/Crimson or the Jungle, for a weapon that might not be there. I think that it should instead be crafted with 15 Wood and 5 Torches, because that would allow you to make it quite quickly.
The issue with this is similar to the Wand of Sparking's issue, except more extreme. Living Trees are rarer and much more limited than Wooden Chests. To make it easy to get, Living Trees should always generate close to spawn and at least one Finch Staff should be guaranteed in every world.
This is way too rare to be useful. So that it doesn't have to compete with the Flinx Staff, it should become a King Slime drop, like how the the Blade Staff was moved to Queen Slime's loot pool, and have a big DPS increase to make it better than the Flinx Staff.
This is too expensive for its stage of the game, so it's usually faster to just get the Snapthorn. Its price should be lowered to 5 Gold, so that it can actually be useful.
This was probably intended to be a crowd control weapon, but because of the minion's AI it doesn't reliably hit multiple enemies in one shot. The minion should align itself horizontally before firing. It should also get a damage nerf. This way, it would become a great choice for tier one Old One's Army, and would compete less with the Hornet Staff.

Additions:

This would be a very weak whip that would exist to give you a way to tag enemies at the very start of the game, and help with completing 10% of the Bestiary to get the Leather Whip. It would be crafted with 6 Iron/Lead Bars and 5 Chains.
This staff would summon an Antlion Swarmer minion that would be a flying melee minion that serves as an upgrade to the Finch Staff. It would be crafted with 5 Antlion Mandibles and 15 Sturdy Fossils.
This would be a sentry-summoning staff that would summon an Antlion that fires balls of sand at enemies. It would be crafted from 5 Antlion Mandibles and 10 Sturdy Fossils.
Icefall would be a spell tome that would drop from Ice Bats and Spiked Ice Slimes in the Underground Snow biome. It would spawn icicles above the cursor that would fall onto enemies, dealing damage.
This would be a magic gun that would inaccurately fire high-velocity spores that would be unaffected by gravity and burst upon hitting an enemy. Upon colliding with a solid block, the spores would bounce back and drift downwards. If an enemy is nearby, any drifting spores will home in to them and burst on impact, similar to what the spores fired by Giant Fungi Bulbs and Plantera do. The Spore Spewer would be crafted with 8 Jungle Spores and 10 Gold/Platinum Bars.
This would be a summon weapon that would summon a small Eater of Souls. Similar to the Blade Staff, the Eater would deal damage at a fast rate. This would be dropped by Shadow Orbs.
This summon weapon would summon a Face Monster that would function similarly to the Pirate Staff. This would be dropped by Crimson Hearts.
The Vile Scepter would be a magic weapon crafted with 10 Demonite Bars. It would fire homing non-piercing Vile Spit projectiles in a similar fashion to the Spectre Staff.
This magic weapon would be crafted with 10 Crimtane Bars. It would fire a red projectile that would travel in a straight line until it hits something. If it hits an enemy, they would get a debuff that reduces their damage and their movement speed by increasing amounts the lower their health gets. Bosses would be immune to this debuff.
Black Lash would be a whip crafted with 10 Demonite Bars. It would apply a special debuff on enemies that would make them able to take damage from other enemies.
This whip would apply a unique tag effect that would make minions reduce tagged enemies' stats by a small amount every time they deal damage to them. The reduction in stats would depend on how much damage is dealt. It would be crafted with 10 Crimtane Bars.
The Inferno Burst, a magic weapon crafted from 15 Hellstone Bars, would be a Pre-Hardmode version of the Resonance Scepter. It would act almost identical to the Resonace Scepter, however it would create bursts of fire instead of glowing pink circles.
 
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whoneedsnamestbh

Eater of Worlds
The issue with this is similar to the Wand of Sparking's issue, except more extreme. Living Trees are rarer and much more limited than Wooden Chests. It should either be craftable with 15 Wood and a Bird, or Living Trees should always generate close to spawn.
The one thing about this is that getting a Bird first requires getting a Mechant, aka 50 silver, and likely the mobility items to catch a Bird to begin with.

I’d make the Slime Staff the craftable one from Gel and Wood because it’s about the same as Finch in use most of the time, and maybe just bump up the chance to find a Finch Staff.

Summoner and Mage also just need more *options* leading up to the first boss. Like maybe an Antlion sentry from the desert for summoners and a freeze ray from the ice biome for mages, and maybe another whip made with iron and chains with 1-2 tag damage before Leather Whip. Stuff like that.

Definitely agree though, Mage and Summoner could definitely use a bit more oomph at the very start, and crafting starter weapons for mage and summoner makes a lot of sense.
 
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Dreadnautilus5000

Brain of Cthulhu
Summoner and Mage also just need more *options* leading up to the first boss. Like maybe an Antlion sentry from the desert for summoners and a freeze ray from the ice biome for mages, and maybe another whip made with iron and chains with 1-2 tag damage before Leather Whip. Stuff like that.

Definitely agree though, Mage and Summoner could definitely use a bit more oomph at the very start, and crafting starter weapons for mage and summoner makes a lot of sense.
That's what I'm planning to do.
 

Xurkitree1

Terrarian
ideally, finch staves should always generate in one of the living wood chests, guaranteed. Then the finch staff can be used to farm for the Flinx set and staff, which is more than enough progress for the Zoologist to arrive with the Leather Whip. Following that one can head towards the Jungle for the Snapthorn and summoning potion materials, which then directly leads to a BoC/EoW fight which unlocks Obsidian Armor and Imp Staff.

Summoner progression is actually buttery smooth at this point
 

J Bame

Terrarian
This is way too rare to be useful. I think that its drop chance should be increased to 1% for most Slimes, and that tougher Slimes should drop at a higher chance.
I don't think increasing the drop rate of this will do anything. 1% is still super low considering it's the very start of the game. People will still get Finch and then the Flinx Staves, because obtaining them is much more entertaining and has many more side rewards than just sitting in the surface killing every slime that spawns.

One interesting way to make this thing relevant for progression and not a glorified easter egg would be to give it a great DPS buff but turn it into a King Slime drop, this way we have another reason to fight that boss early on and it'd make a nice parallel with Queen Slime's Blade Staff.
 
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Storm Diver

Skeletron Prime
One interesting way to make this thing relevant for progression and not a glorified easter egg would be to give it a great DPS buff but turn it into a King Slime drop, this way we have another reason to fight that boss early on and it'd make a nice parallel with Queen Slime's Blade Staff.
I was going to suggest the same thing.
 

Dreadnautilus5000

Brain of Cthulhu
Summoner and Mage also just need more *options* leading up to the first boss. Like maybe an Antlion sentry from the desert for summoners and a freeze ray from the ice biome for mages, and maybe another whip made with iron and chains with 1-2 tag damage before Leather Whip. Stuff like that.
Do you have any ideas for the name of that whip you suggested? The one made from Iron and Chains? I couldn't think of one because I'm not very good at thinking up names.
 

whoneedsnamestbh

Eater of Worlds
Do you have any ideas for the name of that whip you suggested? The one made from Iron and Chains? I couldn't think of one because I'm not very good at thinking up names.
I mean, considering it’s a beginner game weapon and most items of the same caliber are straight to the point (blowpipe, iron sword, amethyst staff), you could probably just call it Chain Whip or something and nobody would bat an eye.
 

qwerty3.14

Terrarian
This staff would summon an Antlion Swarmer minion that would be a flying melee minion that serves as an upgrade to the Finch Staff. It would be crafted with 20 Antlion Mandibles and 10 Sturdy Fossils.
20 mandibles is just excessive, those mandibles could have made at least 20 mining potions. 5 mandibles seems more appropriate thats the same as the sand gun, and maybe throw in an amber gem.
 
In my opinion, pre-boss mages and summoners are pretty lacklustre. They aren't particularly powerful until you defeat Skeletron...

The issue with this is similar to the Wand of Sparking's issue, except more extreme. Living Trees are rarer and much more limited than Wooden Chests. To make it easy to get, Living Trees should always generate close to spawn and at least one Finch Staff should be guaranteed in every world.
Keep in mind that the Finch Staff is also a possible Stater Item, depending on the Mode the player is in (Journey Mode). Also, if I recall correctly, it was given a shadow buff, with a small chance of dropping from Overworld Trees when you shake them (I still can't be sure, as it's still not posted on the Wiki & I haven't had one drop for me personally in this manner).

Another thing I think should be considered, is that Flinx Gear is about equal to Gold Tier items, which isn't much to ask of a player for a pre-Boss Armor Set. I find most all the Classes to be pretty "lack-luster" with nearly-all items below Gold Tier. In addition, Summoner's Potions are still available pre-Boss... as well a some pretty cool "Guns". Even if the player plans to do a "Pure Summoner" run, I still fail to see any faults, seeing as how 3+ Flinx Minions are pretty busted (you can fight Hardcode Enemies with Flinx Minions). 🧐🥤

...turn it into a King Slime drop, this way we have another reason to fight that boss early on and it'd make a nice parallel with Queen Slime's Blade Staff.
There's already enough really good reasons to kill King Slime, he doesn't need any more OP drops.
  • Ninja Set
  • Slime Mount
  • Slime Hook
  • Royal Gel (Super OP)
  • Royal Delight is super cute, so it counts too!
 

MagicasquirrelTMT

Official Terrarian
Also, if I recall correctly, it was given a shadow buff, with a small chance of dropping from Overworld Trees when you shake them
Sadly, that is only true for the living wood and leaf wands, which are used for building. The finch staff is still locked in living wood chests.

And as for the overall thread, it's really good! I especially like the icefall spell tome - mage is the only class that doesn't have a weapon in the ice biome early game (altough the ice biome does have a lot of gems, so it's still worth checking), and it could also make a magic tome only run a lot simpler.

From personal experience, I can say two things that would need some adjustments for early game mages:

First, lower tier ore staves. I don't think that every weapon should have unique effects, the staves are simple weapons that are fine as they are, but the low tier (copper/tin) are outright unusable, whilst middle tier (silver/tungsten) are quite questionable. I mean, if the WoS can pretty much kill 5/6 pre-hardmode bosses on it's own with minimal buffs on classic mode (yes, I tried, still testing WoF, and it can probably kill EoC on expert), then the amethyst and topaz staves should at least be able to handle regular foes - perhaps a reduction to their mana cost and increase in attack speed could work. Sapphire and emerald should just be able to pierce 2 foes, and maybe a small buff to some other stats. This would also consequentially make copper and tin actually useful, since right now there is no reason to ever mine these ores - if you could at least get 1 viable early weapon from them, it would already be something.

Second of all - there aren't that many piercing options pre-evil boss. This isn't that big of a problem on crimson, since you can probably handle the brain and it's creepers with a ruby/diamond staff, but with the eater of worlds, if you don't get a vilethorn, you have 3 options: dance around it for a looooong time with the aforementioned staves, try to kill skeletron and raid the dungeon for some weapons (with pre-evil boss gear, mind you), or farm demons for a demon scythe. Icefall could perhaps fix this issue depending on how good it is against worms/crowds, but that depends on whether it's even capable of bossing.
 
Sadly, that is only true for the living wood and leaf wands, which are used for building. The finch staff is still locked in living wood chests.
This one, I was pretty sure about, I'm gonna have to go & do some testing now... 🤔🥤

From personal experience, I can say two things that would need some adjustments for early game mages:

First, lower tier ore staves. I don't think that every weapon should have unique effects, the staves are simple weapons that are fine as they are, but the low tier (copper/tin) are outright unusable, whilst middle tier (silver/tungsten) are quite questionable.
Keep in mind that both Thunder Zapper & Vilethorn are pre-Boss & don't require any crafting to make. In addition, if you're lucky, the Traveling Merchant can sometimes sell you a complete Mage set & important Mage item. It's also important to note that both the Vilethorn & Thunder Zapper can be obtained by Fishing & speed-running.

As far as the lower-tier Staff Weapons are concerned, both Magic Power & Mana Regen Potions are extremely easy to craft (especially in 1.4 with the Meteor Shower Events). I all-too-often see Terrarians forgetting that designated Potion Buffs are also an important part of a Classes Kit, especially in the more difficult maps.

Any major reduction in DPS, or lack of overall power, is easily made-up-for with Potions.

Second of all - there aren't that many piercing options pre-evil boss. This isn't that big of a problem on crimson, since you can probably handle the brain and it's creepers with a ruby/diamond staff, but with the eater of worlds, if you don't get a vilethorn, you have 3 options: dance around it for a looooong time with the aforementioned staves, try to kill skeletron and raid the dungeon for some weapons (with pre-evil boss gear, mind you), or farm demons for a demon scythe. Icefall could perhaps fix this issue depending on how good it is against worms/crowds, but that depends on whether it's even capable of bossing.
I also consider Crimson Rod to be a part of a Mages Kit, but I do recognize that many players prefer a "pure build run", so I'm not sure what the general consists is about Minions, Sentries & Sentry-like Weaponry (i.e. Clinger Staff, Nimbus Rod) are.
 
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MagicasquirrelTMT

Official Terrarian
Keep in mind that both Thunder Zapper & Vilethorn are pre-Boss & don't require any crafting to make. In addition, if you're lucky, the Traveling Merchant can sometimes sell you a complete Mage set & important Mage item. It's also important to note that both the Vilethorn & Thunder Zapper can be obtained by Fishing & speed-running.

As far as the lower-tier Staff Weapons are concerned, both Magic Power & Mana Regen Potions are extremely easy to craft (especially in 1.4 with the Meteor Shower Events). I all-too-often see Terrarians forgetting that designated Potion Buffs are also an important part of a Classes Kit, especially in the more difficult maps.
I don't think you understood what I mean - the problem is the fact that the weapons themselves are atrociously weak, even for a starter weapon. By crafting an amethyst or tin staff, you get a weapon that uses up half your mana for a slow traveling, non-piercing projectile that barely deals any damage, and the fire speed is extremely sluggish. The argument that "potions and armor make setups good" falls flat on it's face, since weapons are usually good on their own, but become even better with armor and potions; for example, vilethorn is good even without mage armor - yes, it eats even more mana than the staves, but it's actually worth it because the damage it deals is actually noticable and reliable, it passes through walls, and can stun-lock most enemies in place. If you boost it with armor and potions, you don't get a slightly mediocre weapon, since the vilethorn by itself isn't mediocre, it's really good - if you boost it, you get a monster that rips everything in your path. If you boost the lower tier staves, you don't even make them decent - the only thing you'll probably fix is the mana issue, but the weapons will still be completely trash.

Also, thunder zapper is also pretty weak, and it's probably even more offensive than the staves considering you have to dive into an extremely dangerous biome to get it. As for fishing - it's not a good choice. I tried. It can take virtually anywhere between half an hour to an entire day to get a single biome crate, and even then the weapon in question isn't even guaranteed.

As for the vilethorn - the entire reason I talked about it is because it's RNG. If you get it - good for you! If you don't - welcome to suffering town.

I also consider Crimson Rod to be a part of a Mages Kit, but I do recognize that many players prefer a "pure build run", so I'm not sure what the general consists is about Minions, Sentries & Sentry-like Weaponry (i.e. Clinger Staff, Nimbus Rod)

Crimson rod is a mage weapon - the reason I didn't mention it is because, like I said, if you're playing crimson then the brain shouldn't be a problem, ruby/diamond staves can handle it just fine, crimson rod or not. Eater of worlds, however, will be quite harder to defeat if you don't get lucky enough to get a vilethorn, since there aren't that many other piercing options that early on, and if you have a corruption world then the crimson rod is off limits (unless it's a drunk world)
 
I don't think you understood what I mean - the problem is the fact that the weapons themselves are atrociously weak, even for a starter weapon...Also, thunder zapper is also pretty weak, and it's probably even more offensive than the staves considering you have to dive into an extremely dangerous biome to get it.
This felt off, so I went to one of my Hardmode Maps (Master Mode difficulty) to do some tests... even with the weakest Staff of the bunch, & without any accessories, I was able to contend with some of the lesser Hardmode enemies. I'm not saying you're wrong, but obtaining lesser ore & lesser gems is nothing like it used to be in 1.3.5, & for as early as you can obtain them, this seems reasonably powerful. 🤔🥤

20210406033057_1a.jpg
20210406033057_1b.jpg

This is with no accessories or Potion Buffs. I will test the DPS with Buffs if necessary, but I find the DPS to be reasonable.
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Updated: 04/06/2021

I went ahead & ran a few more tests to see if there was something I missed & I'm pretty convinced that Mage is just fine as is, in fact, I'd argue that the Class is a tad bit OP if you get lucky early enough. Even with the higher-tiered Staves, I'd still recommend holding onto the Thunder Zapper as an alt, it's pretty frickin' gnarly! 🤔🥤
20210406033057_1c.jpg
 
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Dreadnautilus5000

Brain of Cthulhu
I also consider Crimson Rod to be a part of a Mages Kit, but I do recognize that many players prefer a "pure build run", so I'm not sure what the general consists is about Minions, Sentries & Sentry-like Weaponry (i.e. Clinger Staff, Nimbus Rod) are.
The Crimson Rod is basically impossible to use as a primary weapon. Enemies and bosses move around too much for the blood rain to hit them. However it is a good support weapon that can contribute some DPS against bosses that you can circle such as Queen Bee and Skeletron and against grounded enemies when you're grappled above them. So yes you can consider it part of a mage loadout, but it is far from necessary.
 
The Crimson Rod is basically impossible to use as a primary weapon. Enemies and bosses move around too much for the blood rain to hit them. However it is a good support weapon that can contribute some DPS against bosses that you can circle such as Queen Bee and Skeletron and against grounded enemies when you're grappled above them. So yes you can consider it part of a mage loadout, but it is far from necessary.
I'd never suggest that any support items for early-Mage Class are "necessary", but from what I'm seeing, there seems to be a suggestion that the Mage Class is lacking in effectiveness & DPS in early-game, which I disagree with (even more-so after testing). That being the case, I wonder why anyone who believes the Class needs help, would then leave DPS on the table. This all confuses the heck outta me. 🤔🥤

But yeah, after doing some testing... I think most Mage support Weapons/ Items in early-game are generally unnecessary, but I don't see a reason NOT to be using them if somehow your DPS is lacking.
 

whoneedsnamestbh

Eater of Worlds
The thing is that you seem to be testing early prehardmode weapons on... hardmode night enemies, and not prehardmode bosses, and don’t have anything to compare them to. You’d see what we mean if you propped up Emerald Staff against a bow of the same caliber against the Eye of Cthulhu. Also, Thunder Zapper has a lower DPS and worse mana economy, and a worse range than Amber Staff from the same environment, so there’s that.

From my personal experience with the class (mage is my most common playthrough), the mage weapons are weaker overall compared to other classes, where mages can fall behind compared to say a bow with frostburn. The tier 3 gem staves and vilethorn are the best options, and *those* are very powerful weapons, but the other half of the issue is that that’s only 2 different types of weapons, a lot less than Melee’s maces and boomerangs, or Ranged’s bows and guns, etc.
 
The thing is that you seem to be testing early prehardmode weapons on... hardmode night enemies, and not prehardmode bosses, and don’t have anything to compare them to. You’d see what we mean if you propped up Emerald Staff against a bow of the same caliber against the Eye of Cthulhu. Also, Thunder Zapper has a lower DPS and worse mana economy, and a worse range than Amber Staff from the same environment, so there’s that.
20210406132746_1.jpg

It's admittedly an awkward fight, but for the most part, range will always be your greatest asset. The main issue with Mage Class in early-game is the inability to leash Bosses effectively, but as long as you have the space & runway, they simply can't touch you. 🤷‍♂️🥤

I'd argue that this set-up is very similar to Meteorite Gear, only... slightly more tedious because of the slow-moving-projectile. On the other hand, IMHO, Thunder Zapper is just a weaker Space Gun. The fight feels about the same, but it's only slightly more dangerous because EoC lives a bit longer during Berserk Mode. It's certainly a close fight, but I'm not even using the best pre-Boss Gear.

From my personal experience with the class (mage is my most common playthrough), the mage weapons are weaker overall compared to other classes, where mages can fall behind compared to say a bow with frostburn. The tier 3 gem staves and vilethorn are the best options, and *those* are very powerful weapons, but the other half of the issue is that that’s only 2 different types of weapons, a lot less than Melee’s maces and boomerangs, or Ranged’s bows and guns, etc.
I'd say that the tradeoff is likely the range. Bows have limited range, but it appears that Rods don't, or if they do, it's hard to tell. This seems more like a power-swap than it does falling behind to me.
 

Dreadnautilus5000

Brain of Cthulhu
I'm curious about whether anyone knows of any issues with any mage and summoner specific things I haven't covered yet that I could potentially fix in the OP.
 
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