Lots has happened with spellcasting, and I've spent a great deal of time doing it during the various stages of the playthrough, and during the recent vicious badge pruning from the sub-vicious dungeons, and I came to the following conclusions:
1) Codex + Earthmother is brutaly unbalanced. It's also really, really fun, and one half of it is a vicious reward item. So I don't mind and people principaly seem to find anything less than wtf god mode stuff not worth bothering, so whatever.
If it gets out of hand and people start talking about it as a "default solution" to various stuff and it turns out into another dragonshield - who cares, Namtar's Ward is probably a stronger item anyway. And I don't have time for Paplaukes. And I like the way it lets me breeze through tricky priest and monk badges. And as FDru said - it's fun in moderation. On to the next point.
2) The fireball retaliation changes did 2 things, one of them good, one of them bad. Good one was opening the field for different strats in various places, which is awesome. Bad one was it kind of, sort of, effectively removed 50% of the purely logical reasons you wouldn't want to take a spellcaster on every run. Not really sure what to think, but it's both there.
3) Mysterea is, for anyone who bothers to figure it out, way too self sufficent. I don't know what's the exact psych/experience barrier which keeps people from realizing this, but weakening removes the other 50% of factual reasons for not taking a spellcaster on any run. And everything else but flames is either really good, or worth it, and flames is simply situational. I've done a round around everything with a straight Mysterea Sorcerer Goblin, with the token, and it beat/destroyed everything. Mysterea was prepped, too, so piety gain simply isn't an issue. Whether anything's to be done about this - no clue, but it would be interesting to see Refreshment working better if you were worshiping someone else, and worse if worshiping her.
4) What it does mean, however, is that nothing really fazes spellcasters once you know what you're doing, and the game used to at least try to challenge them with stuff you couldn't fireball, and stuff you had to mix it up with PISSORF for. It's not doing that at the moment, and any arguments about it being too easy for me because I'm a vet can ** **** **********, because a wiki entry or a guide to "how to play a spellcaster" can boil down to 5 minutes of a vid, or a paragraph of text. Which once you know and practice a little gets you where you need to be. Again, whether something's to be done - no clue, game's fun...
EDIT: And having bosses in subdungeons puts a cramp in it, ofc, but it still works really efficently on sub-vicious token runs, and is probably applicable in naga city.
5) Earthmothers clearance only giving 10 mana makes her have more synergy with the Wizard than anyone else, and wizard allready has his distinct and unique advantages. I never bothered to really think about what would happen exactly if it gave back 12 mana max so everyone could use it, but some sort of compromise there would probably be a good thing. Ok, so the Warlord also has distinct synergy with 10 mana refills, but warlord is so unbelievably cheezy that I don't remember when was the last time anyone even tried to take advantage of this or anything other than trying to make his mana pool go boom.
5) Wizard - Recent changes to the Wizard have made him overloaded for an introductory class, as well as really powerful. He was no slouch before, it was just that the penalty required people to realize it doesn't really hose PISSORF use (that had to be confusing), and his early kingdom development was a bit terrible. With his spell spam capacity, I think he could stand to lose the "faster burning", especially since the current Bloodmage has serious issues with generating burning.
6) Bloodmage - as has been mentioned, could probably use a buff to his burning generation, or even better, maintanance - having to chew on popcorn for every fireball kills his burning stacks which puts him below other spellcasters. Another thing to note is that he went from "really blatantly overpowered like nothing you could believe in a fashion that anyone can use and feel proud of themsleves but can't really understand what is in fact going on" to "plays very differently than other spellcasters yet shares a building with much more straightforward guys and has worse synergy with dings and CB than the fighter". He could really use a buff to his "mana on bloodpool" ability to 2 or 3 and if that "takes him over the edge" - who cares? He'd be overpowered in a fun, obvious and unique way, much like the Assasin has always been, or the Warlord would be if he was severely nerfed, but wouldn't be so prep reliant to get there, so he would be more newbie friendly.
7) The blue bead - has an issue that it's use gets you both mana and XP. This means you can "waste" resources rather easily by trying to get to 5 or 6 and dinging in the process. Trying to pick up less often makes simply pickin up a square of blackspace easier. I have interesting ideas but I'm saving them for a more serious thread, as I'm expecting tons of hate on this one, but hoping potential haters would give up before getting to here.
8) Sorceror - has the "can unintentionaly screw up specialist runs" problem with his mana shield, or so it seems. If corrosion is allready doing "goes through everything damage" than maybe something in that vein could be applied to mana shield? It looks like a bit of a throwaway ability, considering that the huge mana pool in conjunction with mysterea beats vicious on it's own, and the health regen is nice, too.
9) What else? Oh, err, please, please, please don't be angry at the non-serious and bombastic tone of the thread. It boils/TLDR's down to: Spellcasting's really strong ATM, I don't really mind too much, Wizard doesn't need faster burn stacking anymore, Sorceror and the Blue Bead could use a tweak towards user friendly, Bloodmage needs faster burn stacking and could use a buff in one specific direction. And I'm sort of tired of trying to explain stuff to people and am expecting to be curtly, politicaly and politely flamed for wrong reasons whatever I do, so I might as well have some fun with it.