Morrowind
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HotFusion4 - edits by Greywander Joao Almeida and p4r4digm

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p4r4digm

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About this mod

This mod makes magical skill progression based on the amount of magicka used, instead of number of spells cast.
This is an edit of the Modding-OpenMW upload of Greywander's compatibility version. While incorporating the fix for Better Sound compatibility, it also fixes issues with the leveling curve introduced in the ncgdMW version w/improved

Permissions and credits
Magicka Based Skill Progression - Better Sounds / ncgdMW Compatible + Class-Spec Benefit Fix

This is as edit of an edit of an edit: These changes are based on MBSP - Better Sounds/ncgdMW Compatible, uploaded by Joao Almeida

Total ChangeLog:

    - XP Algorithm has been repaired/renewed to its originally-intended functionality: utilizing Major/Minor/Class-Spec properly for gains
    - Refund amount is no longer subtracted for the cost-value used in XP gain (XP gains are driven by the base cost of the spell)
    - MBSP now requests the player to fill in their Major/Minor and Class Specialization Info
    - The Class-Spec Quiz can now be accessed from the Spellbook
    - The Magicka-per-XP value is now configurable from the Spellbook allowing options between the default 15, 5, 10, and 32
    - All MessageBox UI have been rewritten and reformatted to look nicer and be more understandable

Requirements to Run (In Order):

    1. OpenMW!
    2. Better Sounds, by JEKA and TJ (do NOT include the plugin from this, use the patch)
    3. Better Sounds 1.1 Patch 2, by Darklocq (Read the notes on this page about cache size)
    4. Natural Character Growth and Decay OpenMW, by Greywander (Either regular or alt_start w the start potion)


Compatibility issues and conflicts:
You'll need to refer to the other mods for potential conflict issues, this change shouldn't introduce any new ones.
If you are following the modding-openmw total overhaul list: There are notes that say these dont work with ncgdMW and that you cant level up your destruction. Everything is working as of the above build order and this mod. Read below for specific info about the hows and whys.
If you are using Magic Diversity, use Vanilla Sounds. Any mods that change what sound files play when spells are cast or fail can break this mod!

Existing Saves:
This works with existing saves. Just read the spellbook in your inventory (youll get a popup after a few seconds if you've never had mbsp before) and enter your class specifications.

What About Better Sounds??
MBSP has a funny way of detecting when a spell was cast in order to award experience, it keeps watch for the sound-effect of the spell being cast to play, and then cancels the experience gain if it hears the failed-to-cast sound within 1.5s of casting. This worked great until any mod decided to change those sound effects to have different names or files. Thus when Better Sounds added support for a Poison Destruction Sound Effect, the script listening for a spell didnt recognize it and wouldnt award experience for it. The Modding-OpenMW.com upload fixes this is issue by updating to the appropriate names from the BetterSounds patch.

What does it do? First, some history:
The original MBSP mod from 2013, by HotFusion4.
The original mod changed how skill experience is gained for magic skills while preserving the original game's linear growth pattern.  Magicka-points spent on a successful spell cast awarded exp individually rather than every single cast awarding the same exp regardless of power. It also implemented a skyrim-style magicka-cost mitigation system where you would be refunded an amount of magicka after your cast based on your skill level.

From the 2.1 ReadMe:
This mod makes magical skill progression based on the amount of magicka used, instead of number of spells cast.
In theory, the player should be able to make meaningful advancement in any skill simply being using that skill on a regular basis. The player should never be forced to engage in repetitive clicky tasks to sustain a reasonable level of growth.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what the default settings require. Ever tried to play a conjuror? It's a really fun character concept. You fight all of your battles by summoning monsters and supporting them with missile fire. You go through a ton of magicka, but you don't actually cast a whole lot of spells.
I tried this concept once. Almost every battle was fought exclusively with summonings. Over the course of several game weeks, I only gained a single point in Conjuration! The only way to build the skill was to make a cheap "practice" spell and left click over and over!
I also dislike how you are encouraged to use weaker spells, even when more efficient alternatives are available. I mean, sure, you can use that custom made 100 point healing spell of yours, but if want to actually improve your Restoration skill, you're better off casting Hearth Heal thirty times instead. Barf!

How do skills normally level up in Morrowind?
All skills follow a simple linear formula for determining XP gain from skill use and XP requirement for leveling. I made a spreadsheet to help show how many successful spell casts it takes to level up.
The equations for this come from here.

As you can see, the game levels your Major and Minor skills faster and you also get a boost if the skill is a part of your class Specialization.

How does MBSP do it
MBSP disables the natural growth of magic skills and tracks them separately within a Spellbook in your inventory. It then closely replicates the above formula for XP growth with a key difference: Instead of every spell cast giving 1XP regardless of cost, every 15 magicka spent on casting spells gives 1XP. This effectively makes every magicka spent worth 6.7% of an experience point. The scripts are unable to see what you set as your major, minor, and specialization so you are asked after character creation to set these values so that the proper bonuses match the normal game.

Unfortunately I found some inconsistencies and errors around how the Major/Minor/Spec bonuses were being applied. Additionally, the original mod would subtract the refunded magicka from the cost before sending that cost to calculate XP gain. This I believe to be a mistake because this turned the linear growth rate to a very punishing curve as the higher your skill got, the less magicka you were able to use per cast, crippling your exp gain.

Here's my spreadsheet that I used to test and confirm the different configurations for spell growth: Google Sheet

Enter ncgdMW
Natural Character Growth/Decay is a wonderful mod that replaces the existing character leveling system with a more natural attribute growth based skill increases. For making MBSP compatible with ncgdMW, the mods new book system was removed and a handful of other changes were made. Unfortunately, because ncgdMW has no use for Major and Minor skills from a Character Leveling perspective, the Major/Minor/Spec code for MBSP was removed in the compatibility version. I believe this to be a mistake given the data I've provided above, although I would love to hear from Greywarden regarding my findings. By removing this major/minor/spec awareness from MBSP, ALL magic was Treated as having no modifiers, which would be the same as having no specialization on a Minor Skill. The growth rate for that category of skill is roughly half of what a specialized Major Skill would get. This severely crippled skill growth when using that version of the mod.

How Fast Do I Level in the Current Version
The ncgdMW compatibility version is beset with the issue of refund affecting XP gain from the original mod and the lack of Major/Minor/Spec benefit.
Some fun stats that are true about that version of MBSP:

    - My Atronach Altmer Pure-Mage entered Seyda Neen with 61 Intelligence, 274 Magicka, 45 points in Destruction and a 5-magicka Fireball spell
    - He would need to cast that fireball spell 198 times. to get to destruction level 46
    - By comparison, in Vanilla the same spell would need to be cast 28 times for a skill-up.
    - In my first 8 hours of the game, I never swung a weapon once, and leveled up my destruction exactly 0 times.
    - But it's based on Magicka, so if I spent more magicka it would level up faster right?
    - If, by Vivec, my altmer came into possession of God's Fire, the most costly purchasable Fire spell in the game at 135 Magicka, he would need to cast that spell 8 times for a single skill-up.


How Fast SHOULD the gains be?? OPINIONS follow
This is the hardest question of all and something that's been bugging me since the start of all of this. This version of the mod fixes the issues described above and gets us to where we need to be I think. But there is still an issue, to me, in the original default Magicka-Value from 2.1. 15 magicka-per-XP is patently ridiculous. It supposes that if all spell casts averaged 15-cost across the whole playthrough, then you would level as fast as you do in the base game, which really isn't sustainable given the average min/max magicka pools. After doing a lot of navel gazing, I chose 10 for my current playthrough, and I'll see how that feels. It was important to me to add the option for people to set it to what they want. There is probably a decent argument to be made about not using a static number for all levels and attempting to quantify magicka-worth at different character levels.
Skyrim does a cool thing there each school of magic has a different exp scalar because it assume high-conjuration spells are going to be cast way less often than destruction fireballs so they're weighted to make them rise at even rates based on bethesda's guess of how often people will use the spells. Something like that here may be worth looking into.
I also want to potentially revisit the current algorithm for magicka refund. I like it in theory but need to see how it plays out in my current playthrough. Right now its about a 67% decrease in cost at level 100, which is about on par with skyrim's magicka-cost/skill perk system.

Opinions Addendum, updated with play-testing
Ok, I've been playing my game with this mod for going on 40 hours and have some perspective. I played with the 10mpxp (magicka-per-xp) setting described above. My character is an Altmer Atronach which has an enormous magicka pool. Around the 50-ish skill level I was leveling up at a regular rate that felt natural, a level or two per dungeon/adventure, and it felt good. However, my magicka pool eventually allowed me to, in the late game, regular cast 80-120-cost spells. This lead to me just blowing through the final upper destruction levels. It feels like I went from 90-100 in just a few play sessions from normal play, it definitely felt abnormally fast.

At first I thought that maybe 15x is the actual correct choice after all! But, in truth, the limiting factor is a character's magicka pool. A non-magicka-specialized character (meaning classes/races/birthsigns that dont give you the magicka INT multipliers) may be severely hindered by this mod. A character with 30 magicka total is not going to be regularly casting 15-magicka spells which is needed for 1 XP point, as opposed to the old system of 1 point per cast. The whole system, while interesting and novel, is flawed by the original design of the leveling curve, which is meant to reward all character builds evenly, boosted/lowered by specialization.

What all this means is that you should be cognizant of the implications of the magicka-per-xp setting! At this point I'm leaning toward a suggestion that you set it based on your desired build. 15x for pure mages, 5x for non-mages, and somewhere in between for hybrid.