From Kickstarter comments Q&A (linked from Known Information sticky):
Q: In the last Tim Cain update, something he said could be interpreted as that there will be per-ability cool-downs a la WoW. Could you confirm/deny this? I personally feel they are bad design, and just a cheap way to nerf overpowered skills.
A: What we are moving forward with right now is a system that does not require a pure round system. In the IE games, each person was running their own six second round and spells were based on whether they were memorzied. How we look at it, rather than going with a memorization system for spells, in particular, we can use a cool down system. It's a similar balancing system without requireing the whole resting for spells. As for ablities being on that timer, D&D also had certain abilities that could only be used a certain number of times per day - again we want to mimic that with a cool down system.
Q: Cool-downs are not real disadvantages that you take into account when deciding what to do next. They are artificial limitations. Each ability should come with real disadvantages (long execution time while you're locked in place, huge mana cost, etc).
A: Gotcha. Personally, I think that cool downs can be used for both good and evil. We would try to stay on the path of good.
I'm not going to rule out cooldowns and I'm not going to design the entire magic system on the fly over the course of three weeks. Both Tim and I want the magic system to feel expansive, powerful, and flexible. We want the player to have to make prep choices when selecting spells for active use. These things do not require a Vancian system, nor do they require the absence of cooldowns as a mechanic. As I wrote in one of the class threads, our goal with class design is not to limit the role of classes but to ensure that every class does have at least one combat role they can clearly excel in. This does not mean that wizards won't be able to cast protective spells, transformative spells, etc. It is likely that they will not be able to select from all of those things in the moment but unlikely that we will require the player to rest to change what he or she has access to.
In tabletop games, the "Vancian" systems do make strategic gameplay more important, but a lot of that is lost in a game with reloading. Especially if the choice of spells has a dramatic effect on efficacy (e.g. did you memorize dimensional anchor before fighting creatures that are constantly teleporting all over the battlefield), failure to select the "right" ones can result in catastrophic failure. In the absence of information required to make informed decisions, those choices aren't strategic; they're just guesses. After a reload, they're meta-strategic, but I doubt most players feel clever for making a retrospectively obvious choice.
I think it's possible to still make prep meaningful by allowing the player to switch between pre-built (by the player) suites of spells at a frequency that is less than "per rest". I.e. if the player can only use a subset of spells at any given time, but can switch between those subsets with a time penalty (or only outside of combat), that still makes the choices important without the system strictly being Vancian.
(Geez, it's a fair bit of work to quote things when a thread is locked. )
Edited by Ieo, 01 October 2012 - 07:16 PM.