I've put my TLDR in the Cooldown 2.0 thread but i really want to expand a bit.
Seeing as there is much discussion around this cooldown thing i would like to propose a mechanic that seems pretty good to me (or course it does, duh!, i'm proposing it lol).
Ok, let's get to the point.
Each ability or spell has two components: Proficiency and Efficiency.
Proficiency is gained (points) through the use of abilities/spells or combos, and starts to decay naturally (percentage of the current number of points) after a fixed amount or time. It stops decaying once you use the ability/spell or a combo that uses that ability/spell.
Efficiency is lost (percentage of the current number of points) through the use of abilities/spells or combos and starts to regenerate naturally (points) after a fixed amount of time. It stops regenerating once you use the ability/spell or a combo that uses that ability/spell.
1.a. - Proficiency is measuring how skilled is the PC in using that ability/spell. It goes up each time you use an ability/spell against and enemy that is not below a certain level compared to yours and scales with that level difference. For example if you use an ability on a target that is 3 level below you (or more), you will get no Proficiency points, if you use the ability/spell against a target that is the same level as you, you get 5 Proficiency points and if you use the ability/spell against a target that is 3 levels above you (or more), you get 10 Proficiency points.
Of course, some other game mechanics (like the ability/spell is saved against or blocked completely) might be used when fighting against targets way above your level.
Proficiency is used to advance your ability, either by directly applying a buff to the effects of that ability/spell, or by simply moving towards the next tier (so using Bash will slowly gain you Proficiency points towards Improved Bash). The latter would mean that the PC only learns the most basic spells/abilities from external sources, and the more improved abilities/spells he discovers by actually using the related lower tiered ones.
Also, Proficiency slowly decays (at the same time as the Efficiency goes up) but it will never reach 0 (it decays by a fixed percentage of the total points that you have, so the more time passes the less it decays).
1.b - Efficiency is measuring how that ability/spell is performing, considering on how many times it has been used, successfully, over a certain period of time. The Efficiency is regenerating naturally (or through other means like drinking from a well, whatever), slowly, over the course of time. Each time you use an ability/spell however, it drops by a percentage (let's say 5%) so that if you use it 5 times in a row it will only be at 77% Efficiency.
This translates into reduced effects (for the sake of simplicity only direct damage or damage over time, or direct protection/healing or protection/healing over time). So if a certain ability does, let's say, 10-20 damage, after it's first use it will drop to 9-18 damage, after the second use it will again drop to 8-17 damage (rounded up) and so on. As you can see, it's not going to be a liniar drop so you don't get to use it only 20 times before reaching 0. You will actually never reach 0 as it will always go down by 5% (of the total Efficiency points).
The first time you use it it will drop by 5 points, the second time again by 5 points, by the time you reach 80 points (out of 100) it will only drop by 4 points. All numbers are rounded up, so if it drops by 4.6 it actually drops by 5 points, as opposed to 4.2 that would translate into 4 points.
There might be game mechanics or skills/perks that either reduce this decay per usage or rise your maximum Efficiency to more than 100 points. It's really open to any kind of tweaking, just like the Proficiency.
EDIT: I forgot. Just like Proficiency, the Efficiency percentage that decays with each use should be calculated using the same rules, related to the level difference between the attacker and the target.
I know that this is not really related to the system, but it would work great with it.
The system lets the PC combine any previously learned ability/spell. At first you will be able to only combine 2 of them, but maybe as you get better and better you might combine more than 2. The effects of the combo are the added effects of the basic constituent abilities/spells calculated at their current level of Proficiency and Efficiency. The Proficiency and Efficiency system works in the following way for combos:
- Each time you use a combo you will gain some proficiency points just like using an individual spell/ability but those points are divided equally towards each basic constituent ability/spell.
- Each time you use a combo you will lose 5% (again just as an example) from the Efficiency of each constituent ability/spell.
Such a system, at least in my intention, would do away with resting and cooldowns, mana or stamina.
Every PC will only have those two resources (when talking about abilities/spells or combos), the stats only adding the the effects of those.
The complexity of it comes from the two diverging directions.
PCs are free to use whatever ability/spell or even combo in their arsenal. The advantage is that the more you use an ability/spell or combo you will slowly advance towards better abilities/spells and of course combos, the drawback being that if you abuse the system you will soon find yourself with really weak abilities/spells and combos.
Moreover, the PC must decide weather to use a "strong" combo (strong because it has the added effects of the base constituent abilities/spells) or a more basic ability/spell. You wouldn't want to get caught with your pants down (low Efficiency) when encountering a strong hostile NPC because in your last encounter you "wasted" your best combos on some low level critters.
The system could be tweaked and tested, and those numbers that i threw here are definitely not the best, they are only used as an example. The beauty of this system is that it no longer requires a cooldown, no longer requires a rest (or maybe you could regain the Efficiency but lose Profficiency through rest).
Such a system means that the player really needs to use an ability/spell in order to advance (so encourages him to abuse it) but also means that the more it abuses it the weaker that ability/spell it will get (for the moment).
Such a system would mean that the PC will have overpowered combos, but it also means that the player will surely not want to "waste" those OP combos on critters and will always try to save them for when it matters. This would add so much complexity to any fight (imho) as you will always try to "balance" the rewards of killing the opponents as fast as you can with the risk of not having your best combo at top efficiency for the next encounter.
Also, in longer fight this would mean that the PC must rely on a well rounded and diversified arsenal, because if he uses the same abilities/spells and well as combos that use those abilities/spells as basic constituents he will soon lose all of those due to them being weaker because of low Efficiency. On the other hand he is encouraged to use them as often as possible in order to make them better (gain Proficiency).
I'm pretty sure this is not perfect, some of you might just think it's rubbish (and by the way it's somewhat inspired from Rage of Mages 2, the Proficiency part at least) but i like it (again duh!) and with some tweaking and/or refinement i really think it would work. There's at least one person here that would, in theory at least, be excited to see it implemented.
The game could play with such a system, by adding skills that lower your Efficiency decay but also lower the Proficiency gained (you get a PC or companion that is able to use the preferred abilities/spells more often while not being able to advance that fast), or by adding items that will tweak any of those components (or by adding Max. Efficiency points).
You could get abilities (non PC, or even PC) that would temporarily raise your Efficiency (PC) or temporarily lower your Efficiency (hostile NPC).
And probably much, much more than that.
P.S. Oh darn... lvl 10 Fire Dragon... where's my Ice Shard + Stun combo? Oh sh!t, Ice shard is at 65 Efficiency... what do i do, what do i do. Why did i used Ice Shard on those lvl 7 Rogues?!?!
Edited by cealicu_ca, 03 October 2012 - 01:04 AM.