In the Magic Tables document, most of the data there is used to define palettes and frame data for all 42 spells, at least if I understand kethinov's Herbal Boost patch correctly. Only the last 8 bytes of a 4-address 16-offset Block are used for changing things like Spell Power, Spell Accuracy, Element, MP Cost, and a few other things.
At the moment, the document only says:
- animation/graphics for Elemental sprite
- bytes 0x08-17 = animation/graphics for low-level spell
- bytes 0x18-27 = animation/graphics for mid-level spell
- bytes 0x28-37 = animation/graphics for high-level spell
Where it says all of that is at least part of what needs to be shifted around in blocks of data, in order to, eg. put the tangling-vines of Speed Down in another slot, so that casting a Salamando spell would show the tangling-vines animation, instead of the fast bursts of flame whirling around clockwise and anti-clockwise. It is not the complete list of things to swap, but that data is included in what would need to change.
From what I know about software, it has always been the case that drawing stuff on a screen ("graphics", in other words), takes up more raw data and opcodes than anything else a program (like a video game) does. Even added up together. The implication is that more complex code is needed to link the use of that data up, in every way necessary, to draw what a video game looks like when you play it.
I think it would be nice for the Magic Tables document (or a separate one for Graphics) to eventually have all of that explained in it. I would, eg. give Energy Absorb, including its animation, to Shade instead of Undine. Because draining the lifeforce of another living creature sounds a lot more like... Evil magic, than Water magic. Of course, none of Shade's spells would fit into the Water Element either. So a straight swap between two spells wouldn't make any more sense, in that example.
All of what you want to do is possible. Especially since Turbo expands the ROM-space to 4MB, instead of the piddling 2MB Vanilla had. With the graphics, it'll just take... quiiiite a while to prove everything it would take to change those.
I can't give an estimate of how much time it would take. But we'll all be able to do it... someday.
And no, unfortunately not yet for the two unknown bytes in the Drop table. Got stuck with somebody who talked endlessly to me last night, and NOTHING got done with the tables. It was almost like listening to "The Song That Doesn't End"! Jeeeezuuuus Chriiiist. It's still on the cards to check that, though.
I've loved this game since I was a teenager, almost like it was my first crush! It wasn't, but anyway... that's the reason I'm looking into this sort of thing. I presume it's also why other members like Queue, kethinov and yourself do this sort of thing. Great place to be, this forum. Really great...
When it comes to figuring stuff out, sometimes somebody else got there before me, and sometimes they were on the right track, but didn't have the full picture, or the completely accurate one, etc... in the case of SoM, mostly it's the former. More generally, sometimes I'm able to add to what is already known. Not always, though... i-it depends.
I agree when you say that Luna and Dryad are the two oddball Elements of the game, and the whole World of Mana series. I reeeeally don't know what Square's logic was, if they even know what "logic" is, but the best way I've come up with to explain Luna and Dryad being opposing Elements, is this:
- Cosmic forces (from up amongst the stars, distant and enchanting). From beyond the bright blue sky of the day, mysterious and sometimes miraculous things reside. Things that... cannot be fully explained, or not yet. The Moon was once, in real-life mythology, believed to cause insanity in people. During it's "full" phase. EDIT:
Also, even now people are known to joke/sing/talk seriously about "wishing upon a star", in the hopes of good fortune. Isn't that what Disney once raved on about in Pinocchio? Pretty sure of it...VERSUS
- Terrestrial forces, residing on a planet that can sustain life as we know it. With trees, fish, birds, that strange Pumpkin that blows up in y'face <BOOM!>, some yellow fluffy thing with a single tooth that bites, all sorts. Within all life there is the power of Mana, whether that term means Magic Energy, or Life Energy, not sure. The Mana Tree is possibly meant to represent the "Mother of All Life" on the Mana World, whatever it's called. Sorta makes a change from Daenerys Targaryen being the "Mother of All Dragons", which only bring Death and Calamity to Westeros! Yeesh... that's kinda dangerous, you know?
Not much of an explanation, but... that's what I've got. If the Elements are useful, then we will use them when possible. That at least is logical...
Your idea about making each type of equipment specialize in granting an additional effect, besides Defence/MagDef, sounds like great stuff to me.
Okay! Back to my "investigation" for a while...