Darkvision is so prevalent among races that the spell Darkvision rarely sees use. Even with casters who do not have darkvision, it still seems unlikely to be taken, as a cantrip is able to provide light, and the situations where the caster without darkvision cannot use light sources are rare enough that it does not justify the spell slot or even having the spell prepared/on their spell list. To add more value to the spell, I’d propose the following changes (bolded below):
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S, M (either a pinch of dried carrot or an agate)
Duration: 1 hour
You touch a willing creature to grant it the ability to see in the dark. For the duration, that creature has darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. This darkvision is able to see through magical darkness.
There are 2 changes present:
- Duration: With the other proposed changes, if this spell remained an 8 hour spell it would become a must have, basically ensuring multiple allies (Through multiple castings) can see through any darkness for a full adventuring day. Keeping this down to 1 hour puts pressure on using it at the right time, and the spell will not remain active through a short rest.
- Magical Darkness: This is the big change, that I think gives the spell appeal. If you are expecting magical darkness you can be prepared, or if you are planning on using magical darkness you can ensure you and maybe some allies are still able to function within it.
Does this appear balanced as a second level spell? Would it be better suited at a higher level? I think second level is still viable, as the other methods of obtaining darkvision in magical darkness are available to the Warlock at 2nd level (Devil’s Sight), and the Sorcerer at 3rd level (though only through their own Darkness spell).