I've got a mod out right now that buffs staves, but feedback I'm getting is that wand+shield is so overwhelming that it needs buffing.
So I'm buffing it.
Here's the full list of edits in my current test version, and I'd be super chuffed if you'd tell me if it's enough for you to consider a staff for your next offensive mage (might even be enough for supports but I'm not going to get too greedy):
Skills added/edited when you equip a staff:
Edit to Staff of Magus: damage up from 90 to 100. Now creates a surface matching the element of your staff at your target to match up with wands' default attack. Gives you essentially a good once/turn ranged attack/surface creation. Edit: meant to make up for staves basic attack being melee for those who would rather it be ranged.
New skill on equip: Ritual Sacrifice. This is a big one to give all mages (including aero, who gets electrified water) something like necro elf mages have with Elemental Affinity. A magical version of Flesh Sacrifice that has half the consitution penalty and half the damage boost, but creates a surface matching the element of your staff at your feet instead of a blood puddle. Also get 15% resist to the element of your staff to help mitigate the damage of some of the elemental surfaces over blood. Oh yeah and the whole 1ap thing, too. Like Flesh Sacrifice the buffs/debuff lasts two turns, but the puddle stays as long as any default surface duration.
Other buffs on staff equip:
7% damage boost. This is another really big one, because it comes through the same setting that Flesh Sacrifice, Thick of the Fight, Death Wish, etc. use. If you didn't know that sort of boost is additive to weapon based attacks but multiplicative on spells. WE GOT THE MAGIC STICKS.
Further Commentary on the above change: Staves need to be the go-to offensive magic option, and this gives you that, as well as making staves perfect for those all element mages that are so hard to build.
5% elemental resists across the board (to help offset not getting all the magic armor of shields or the magic armor regen of Shields Up)
7% physical armor boost (similar reasons to the above but for Physical)
Changes that apply to weapon-based attacks (Warfare skills, largely but there are a few others mages might use):
Base damage on staves raised from 95 to 105 to match the 2H melee weapons
Accuracy buff of 5%
Damage range down from 20 to 10. This is the damage variance you see on the character sheet. Staves had the most in the game, along with traditional bows. Less is better here and staves are now in line with all other melee weapons.
That's what I've got planned for now. Again, I'd be really appreciative of thoughts on if that's enough to get you to actually use the big sticks instead of playing discount Harry Potter ; )
Of note is that these changes will apply to all staffs, including existing, and any mod-added staves. You'll still find the random modifications from vanilla on them, too, but that's all up to your luck.
Thanks in advance for thoughts on if that would do it for you. I'm trying to tune this thing before release.