I'll second this. And to add to the list of useful information threads, also check this, which helped me a lot: https://www.gog.com/forum/master_of_magic/good_difficulty_level_to_start_with
Especially Bookwyrm's posts starting here: https://www.gog.com/forum/master_of_magic/good_difficulty_level_to_start_with/post18
I was thinking about digging out previously written explanations. You've saved me the work. Thanks!
Now, I am the kind of gamer who likes to understand and know the rules and mechanics when I play. And as such, there are a couple of things that puzzle me about this game:
Then you've come to the right place. Ask questions, get answers!
1. I have 0 MP in stock. I scale MP production to 1, and a spell with 14 MP left takes 14 turns to complete - understood. Then I set it to 2 pts: Still takes 14 turns to complete, and at 3 points it takes 7 turns. Another spell costs 30MP. I set the MP production to 5, it takes 7 urns to complete. How is this calculated? It seems I loose 1MP if I set the production to more than 1, but I can't see I have anything that has Mana upkeep.
There are two limiting factors on your ability to cast spells. One is mana, which seems to be what you are talking about here. If you don't have the mana, then you don't cast anything. The Mana wand in the Magic screen is one way of increasing your mana. Mana works similarly to gold, in that you will gain and spend it over the course of the game.
The second limiting factor is your spell skill. The more spell skill you have, the more mana you can channel into casting spells each turn. The Skill wand in the Magic screen is how you increase your spell skill. You can get a temporary boost by stationing heroes with casting ability in the city with your Wizard Tower (basically your capital), but the only way to permanently gain spell skill once the game starts is by spending power via the Skill wand. Spell skill earned is generally permanent, though there is a spell that can lower it.
2. I have a warlock (Tlaloc), who according to the manual starts with 15 in Magic Skill, but I start with 18. I won't complain, but why?
Tlaloc is one of the Wizard portraits available for you to use as your player avatar (for lack of a better term). I'm not sure what you mean by starting with 15 or 18 magic skill, though. Can you take a screen shot of where you are getting that number? Also, can you provide the page number in the manual?
Do you mean casting skill (aka spell skill)? If so, the manual is somewhat outdated. You start with 2 spell skill per spell book you had when starting the game. Default Tlaloc has 9 spell books, so he'd have 18 spell skill at start.
Additionally, a warlock is a particular dark elf unit. Do you mean warlord (a wizard retort (wizard skill))? Default Tlaloc has the Warlord retort.
3. I have kind of managed to get my head around the notion that Magic Skill is a magic points usage cap, which you have to pay magic points to increase. But If I set the balance to create only Magic skill, I see no changes anywhere from one turn to the next. Where do they go, or where can I see their effect?
When spending the Power that you earn each turn, it can be allocated to Mana (straight mana income), Research (research to learn new spells), or Spell Skill (ability to channel mana into casting spells).
Behind the scenes, all power points spent on Spell Skill go into a single pool, and your spell skill is calculated based on the size of that pool. In practice, the rule is basically that you need to spend 2x+1 points in the Skill wand to increase your spell skill by 1, where x = your current spell skill. So if you have 18 spell skill, you need to spend 2(18) + 1 = 37 points on Spell Skill to reach 19 spell skill. Everything you spend is cumulative, so don't worry about losing your progress if you need to lower your spending for awhile. Spell skill will take time to build to high levels, so don't neglect it too much if you plan to do any serious casting.
4. In the manual it says that if I change to another spell during casting any already spent MP will carry over. I started casting war bears, and having already spent 16 points on that, I changed to Magic Spirit (30 MP). But Magic spiirit still costs 30 MP. Why?
I have no idea what the manual was trying to convey. If you provide a page number, I'll take a look.
When casting a spell, if you cancel it before it completes, then all mana you've already spent on it is gone. You'll never get back those 16 mana points you already spent on War Bears if you change to Magic Spirit. Note that any mana you haven't channeled into the spell is not lost; if you've spent 20 out of the 30 total mana needed to cast Magic Spirit, then you suddenly need to change to a different spell, then that 20 mana is gone, but the 10 needed to finish the Magic Spirit has not been spent.
If a spell takes multiple turns to cast, then the casting skill is "used" at the end of the turn; if you cancel a spell halfway, then you'll have that turn's full allotment of casting skill to start the next spell.
If you complete a spell, then any casting skill used on the turn you completed the spell will already be used for that turn; you can start a new spell with whatever casting skill you have left.
I have 20 casting skill and 1000 mana. Lets say I need 100 mana to cast Sprites. It will take me 5 turns to cast Sprites, and I won't have any casting skill left on the 5th turn (all 20 was needed to finish the Sprite spell). I'll spend the 100 mana in 20 point chunks, since my casting skill is the limiting factor.
Change scenario to 20 skill and 40 mana, with 10 mana income, again casting 100 mana Sprites. For the first few turns, I'll channel 20 mana into the spell. After the first turn, I've spent 20 mana, leaving me with a reserve of 20. After turn 2, I've spent 40 mana total, but my income of 10 offsets some of the cost, so my reserve is down to 10. After the third turn, I've spent 60 mana total, and now my mana reserve is 0. After the fourth turn, I'll only be able to spend the 10 mana I got from income (I don't have enough mana to use all my casting skill potential), so I'll have spent 70 total on the spell. Eventually the spell will finish casting, once I've spent enough mana. (I might be a little off with when mana income is spent on casting spells, but I think you get the idea I'm trying to convey here)
If I cancel the spell after spending 70 mana, then that 70 mana is gone. I'll have my full allotment of spell skill to spend on the current turn (regardless of whether I have the mana crystals to fund it).
Change the scenario to 40 skill and 1000 mana, again casting 100 mana Sprites. After 2 turns, I've spent 80 of the needed mana. I'll finish the spell on the 3rd turn by channeling 20 mana into it. For that turn, I still have 20 casting skill available which can be used to cast something else.