The channels themselves also don't do much. Their only effect right now is increased damage on raw casts. Nothing at all for the other combat abilities or any non-combat abilities.
My suggestion: lean harder into channels as the source of sorcerous power.
Apart from the familiar, make nothing scale on sorcery skill. Instead, add more channels either naturally as skill increases or by spending ability points limited by skill thresholds. Then, any abilities that require a channel to be open can scale step-wise on the number of channels open. This gives sorcerers a more fine-grained choice between damage and energy/RT costs for dropped channels. It also adds more flavor and sense of progression as sorcery skill increases, along with a great way to flex your skill by rolling up and opening all of your channels at once. There would need to be some tweaking to the channel drop rate to be proportional to one's open vs maximum channels rather than static per-channel, but it could probably be made to feel more or less like it does today.
So what should the scaling look like? Should the existing scaling simply be divided up among the newly enlarged pool of channels? That makes each channel feel less impactful, since you'd end up with around 0.1 DF/channel. What about continuing the increase linearly(ish)? That's just ridiculous. Nether blobs getting 200-damage endrolls seems excessive.
Instead, cap the scaling at ~3 channels and leave it mostly as-is.
But... why have the extra channels above the scaling cap? This is the really fun part. Rather than have a single channel "type" that governs all aspects of scaling for sorcery spells, add additional channel "types" that scale spells in different ways. For example, some ideas:
- Raw: Increase the damage factor of combat spells. Raw casts, eleech damage/drainage, etc.
- Lingering: Increase duration for spell effects. Binding tendril duration, shadow cloak duration, echoing whisper duration, etc.
- Resilient: Reduce the roundtime and cool down of spells.
- Accurate: Increase combat rolls by some percentage. This keeps ranged skill a pretty hard requirement rather than letting sorcery simply replace it.
- Precise: Add an extra reroll per channel. Max roll potential stays the same, you just get more consistency.
- Protective: Some sort of defensive channel, maybe like the cryosorcerous disc I've read about in the Other Game? Or an actively maintained "blur" effect that improves dodge?
How many channels should there be? I like five "extra" channels - one every 150 sorcery ranks, and one at 700 (150, 300, 450, 600, 700), for a total of six channels and six RT to open them all, assuming maximum quickchannel. This also leaves nightblades with their 2-channel maximum.
Syntax/display? SORCERY <channel type> seems like it should work pretty well. Would also need an indicator as to which type got dropped due to armor interference. Could maybe also have different colors/symbols for the channel indicator in the prompt line?
How do you get all of these channels? I kinda like getting "basic capacity" directly from sorcery skill, but having to spend an ability point for each channel of each type. That way you could potentially buy enough of each type of channel to get every possible combo, but it would take far more points than the bare minimum to fill your capacity. That way you can choose to sacrifice general flexibility for sorcerous flexibility and vice-versa.
Bonus crazy idea: Do away with "fire and forget" sorcery buffs altogether and make them just another channel type. Shadow cloak now has to be maintained and will drain a bit of energy (or reduce your maximum or regen rate) while you've got it on, and it'll be subject to armor interference. Same deal with echoing whisper, which could be held open as long as you have blood, energy, and lack of interference.
Thank you for attending my long-winded 'lock talk