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Perhaps some people don't like activated abilities because they are not an accurate representation of reality? For example, in real life one could presumably use a "called shot" whenever one wanted. By giving it a fixed number of uses, it makes the player aware of the designer's manipulation. There's a similar issue with cool downs for repeatable physical actions. I understand why the game designers use these tools, but they do possess a certain element of artificiality.

I can see both sides of this.  But consider that a guy trying for a shield bash is going to to do exactly that: try for one. I understand what you mean about the cool down being an artificial limitation on how often a guy can do a shield bash, but consider the alternative: you can shield bash at any time, but the odds for success would go way down (as they would realistically) since using a shield bash -- to knock someone over, move their shield aside, push them back, etc -- would only work if it were timed perfectly.  And, yes, doing it too much could be exhausting.

 

So cool downs act as approximations of these two limitations: stamina and timing.  Instead, the chance for success is driven way up, but the ability's usefulness is now regulated by scarcity (instead of just stamina, or just timing, or both).

 

90% of the time an activated ability shouldn't be an ability, you shield bash is a perfect example.  slapping someone with your shield doesn't work well when their guard is up, in fact moving your shield out of position when they are ready to hit you is pretty stupid.  pretty much if you can't do something constantly you should wait until an opening presents itself then do it, which means shield bash would be a set ability rather than an instant fire.  this means that the different types of abilities would be charged up/channeled, set, modal, and instant.  using an arrow of slaying would be a charged/channeled as you tell them to do it and they then take the time to do it.  sunder weapon would be a set ability as you tell the character to do it and they wait until the enemy lets them.  modal are things that are constantly done so long as they are able, like attack an enemy, or use your shield offensively.  instant actions would be things like throw a readied grenade, so pretty much anything charged/channeled that you might what control of when to commit, and doesn't rely on the enemy doing something (like making a mistake).  most rpgs try to be more active by having you determine when to swing your sword (or some other mundane task), which is what most people think of with cooldowns on abilities.  the justification devs often give is that it is something you can't do all the time, and so it has to be limited.  DnD bullrush is what most people consider shield bash, which actually doesn't need a shield in real life, and you should just do it whenever somebody tells you to do it, unless it is part of a coordinated plan, and even then it should be done within a window of time, so setting a bullrush to be done when there is an opening in say the next round would be a better way to do abilities instead of the DA/WoW method, in essence CD on basic attacks (like shield bash) and special attacks (like bullrush) is only useful if they don't already have stamina.  CD on being subject to various things is another animal all together, as if someone has tried to bullrush you, then you'll be weary of such things in the near future.

 

as for combat being boring if you aren't telling everyone when to do things, think of it like this:  if you are losing a battle, don't you do something to change that?  like run away, or try to flank or somesuch?  so why doesn't the enemy ai do such things when you have the upper hand, forcing you to counter them, and then they counter your counter, so on and so forth.  and it doesn't have to be positioning that changes, it could be stances, or targets, or even items being used.  if done right the only time you don't have something to do would be if you were either losing or the enemy thought you were losing.

 

of course magic is something else entirely, as it is some weird nebulous thing that works via magic.

 

and ya, CD is in some ways better than 'per day' stuff, but both are flawed, and yet games can be very good with either of them, so in the end all that matters is that things are fun.

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^ I dare say something between "set" and "instant" might be needed to describe abilities which are instantly begun, but that require a casting time of sorts. Unless that's what you meant to cover with "charged up/channeled," in which case, my apologies.

 

I agree with you about typically active abilities such as Shield Bash, btw, and how they should be "set" abilities, as you call them. I've always found it a bit strange that you could typically have JUST swung your sword (via auto-attack that's pretty standard in RPGs), and, mere milliseconds afterward, pommel strike someone.

 

I think Dragon Age actually kind of did the set abilities thing with this, although it STILL wasn't extremely well-executed, mainly just because of the timing between attacks (you sort of had that "swing, then stand about for a couple of seconds, even after the animation has you being fully recovered from the swing and back into your stance, then finally perform another action).

 

Anywho, it might also be interesting if such things were potentially treated as counters. A minor difference, I know, but it could be a significant distinction, depending on the specifics of combat flow/mechanics in P:E. As just a "wait until you can actually effectively attack again" ability, you don't necessarily wait for any specific action on the enemy's part. You just don't magically insta-attack in the middle of whatever movement you're already performing. But then, with a counter, you'd actually wait for something specific (be it an attack, a certain type of swing, a stance change, movement, a miss, etc.).

 

I believe the Rogue's Reversal ability in P:E will function as a prepared/counter ability, though I don't know if your Rogue will simply stand there waiting until the next attack from his foe, or if he'll keep auto-attacking (or whathaveyou) until the next attack, at which point the ability will activate regardless of whether or not the Rogue's mid-swing or mid-dodge or what. *shrug*

 

Also, very good point about the enemy changing tactics in response to combat factors. As long as it's not the DA2 thing where commander-type enemies downed essentially Potions of Full Health whenever they got a bit low, up to about 4 or 5 times in a single battle. Not that P:E will have those types of potions, I don't think, :)

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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^ I dare say something between "set" and "instant" might be needed to describe abilities which are instantly begun, but that require a casting time of sorts. Unless that's what you meant to cover with "charged up/channeled," in which case, my apologies.

 

I agree with you about typically active abilities such as Shield Bash, btw, and how they should be "set" abilities, as you call them. I've always found it a bit strange that you could typically have JUST swung your sword (via auto-attack that's pretty standard in RPGs), and, mere milliseconds afterward, pommel strike someone.

 

I think Dragon Age actually kind of did the set abilities thing with this, although it STILL wasn't extremely well-executed, mainly just because of the timing between attacks (you sort of had that "swing, then stand about for a couple of seconds, even after the animation has you being fully recovered from the swing and back into your stance, then finally perform another action).

 

Anywho, it might also be interesting if such things were potentially treated as counters. A minor difference, I know, but it could be a significant distinction, depending on the specifics of combat flow/mechanics in P:E. As just a "wait until you can actually effectively attack again" ability, you don't necessarily wait for any specific action on the enemy's part. You just don't magically insta-attack in the middle of whatever movement you're already performing. But then, with a counter, you'd actually wait for something specific (be it an attack, a certain type of swing, a stance change, movement, a miss, etc.).

 

I believe the Rogue's Reversal ability in P:E will function as a prepared/counter ability, though I don't know if your Rogue will simply stand there waiting until the next attack from his foe, or if he'll keep auto-attacking (or whathaveyou) until the next attack, at which point the ability will activate regardless of whether or not the Rogue's mid-swing or mid-dodge or what. *shrug*

 

Also, very good point about the enemy changing tactics in response to combat factors. As long as it's not the DA2 thing where commander-type enemies downed essentially Potions of Full Health whenever they got a bit low, up to about 4 or 5 times in a single battle. Not that P:E will have those types of potions, I don't think, :)

no they had channeled, instant and modal, but not set.  channeled is pretty much anything that takes time to do.  set is anything you ready in preparation for an enemy action.  instant is something that happens instantly (like the dog's howl).  and you know what modal is, DA even had channels so that you could have multiple modals on so long as they aren't exclusive to each other.

 

a simple example of set would be DnD's readying of an action, only it probably would mean that you don't sat there and did nothing until the enemy does what you were expecting, kinda like AoO.  fighting spellcasters should have been easier if you could reach them had they had set abilities so that you could interrupt their castings, archers would be more useful as you could automatically stun people charging you instead of hovering over the pause button, or stick to controlling them and only pausing every so often to que up new orders for everyone else.

 

my previous post comes off as a little angry i think, it is just frustrating to see both sides of this age old argument knowing that smart combat is about adapting and countering, and that the old school method for this has always been readied actions, and yet both sides completely forget about when it tends to be the answer to both of their arguments, but instead opt for some sort of dumbed down alternative solution that makes little sense.

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No no, not at all. I apologize. I was only trying to contribute to what I thought was a valuable breakdown, but I wasn't fully clear on exactly what you meant by your specific terminology. For example, I think I understand you clearly now, but I've always seen "channeled" to represent something that is actively cast, but must be maintained in order for the effect to be maintained. You know, like "This fires a stream of lightning for up to 5 seconds, dealing 10 damage per second." It may even have a cast time before it actually fires, but AFTER it fires, your caster is standing there, maintaining a stream of lightning from his/her hand. So, if 1 second passes, and it strikes an enemy for 10 damage, then you click a button to cast something else, the stream stops (the channeling stops) and the spell's effect is over, since you failed to maintain it for 4 more seconds. Or, basically, the cast time and the spell's effect duration are one in the same.

 

But, as I said, I now know what you mean by "channeled." Sorry about that.

 

Regarding set abilities, I think that's one reason I liked the Dragon Age games' Tactics settings so much. I just wish they weren't as lacking as they had been. When you're controlling a whole party, everything definitely should not come down to manual-control click-timing. "Wait for that guy to get really close to you, then use Shield Bash!" Both the timing and the amount of expected manual-control effort are a bit unreasonable, all to get one effective ability use. I very much like the idea of set abilities.

 

I do think there should probably be some sort of trade-off to setting them, though. I mean, if your character's going to instantly shield bash or perform some maneuver on someone as soon as they get within range/attack/do something to trigger it, perhaps your character who's waiting for that trigger loses a little bit of offensive capability in order to focus on effectively timing/using that set ability? *shrug*. Or, maybe if a character can only set one ability at a time, that might be perfectly sufficient without any trade-off being in effect for the duration that it's set.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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ya, it has been in DnD for quite some time (readying and action).  i can see why they didn't have it back in the day, with times per day you could just dump all of your abilities out at once without a need for rationing, once they fixed that it became obvious that they were lacking in that area.

 

as for balance, your right either having some trade off and/or limited set 'channels' would keep it from being OP.

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Changing what units are doing based on the circumstances of combat is the essence of tactics.

pausing is the essence of tactics? :p (IOW you have a real time game, not a turn based one)

 

Pausing is the top hat of tactics? :p

 

See. I can blatantly misrepresent people's quotes by arbitrarily changing out words, too. ^_^

 

You think that pausing and assessing/ changing tactics don't go together in real time with pause. I see.

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You think that pausing and assessing/ changing tactics don't go together in real time with pause. I see.

You think pausing the game is required for assessment/tactical alteration to occur. I see.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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bad trolling is bad

 

For the reasons I mentioned, yes, I'm skeptical about micromanaging your characters' tactical roles in P:E.

Call it what you will. I try to follow the Golden Rule, so I assumed you wanted me to respond with equal snarkiness.

 

Also, being skeptical AND acknowledging the fact that pausing an entire game isn't mandatory to observe and react to the developments within that game's gameplay are not mutually exclusive. Which is exactly why your substitution of the word "pausing" into Josh's quote was utterly unnecessary, since he made it clear he's in no way advocating "reaction = pausing."

 

Expressing your hopes that the game's design won't mandate consta-pausing just to not suffer an extreme loss of effectiveness in combat is one thing. Willing tactical reaction to inherently equal pausing and participating in the discussion as if it simply does, and pretending everyone's just meaning "pausing the game" whenever they talk about tactical reaction is another thing, entirely, and isn't very constructive. Totally your prerogative, though.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Which is exactly why your substitution of the word "pausing" into Josh's quote was utterly unnecessary, since he made it clear he's in no way advocating "reaction = pausing."

 

What you're advocating and what ends up being the reality of the finished product may easily be two different things.

 

Maybe a character who has both "Power Attack" and "Rapid Shot" active will be visually distinct compared to someone who doesn't. Maybe.

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What you're advocating and what ends up being the reality of the finished product may easily be two different things.

... "May." I think they're paying a lot of attention to the effects of pausing on combat, and the need to pause to assess tactics, considering the amount of effort they've mentioned putting into testing variations of the "slow-mo" pseudo-pausing. There might even be a speed adjustment on that.

 

For what it's worth, in BG, I sometimes feel the need to pause when setting up actual tactical placement (usually for the start of a battle), so that I don't just colorspray my entire party, and ranged attackers aren't unnecessarily scrambling around to get out of people's ways, etc. But, I don't really feel the need to pause much after that, unless extreme things happen (someone dies, three people get paralyzed, etc.). Even that's mainly because it's tricky for me to re-assign targets and placement to account for some such event without wasting time making sure I, the player, don't click on the wrong thing (when, for the character, it wouldn't actually require any precision to decide which target to attack and/or which ability to use).

 

If BG serves as any indicator of the general style of combat, I don't think ultra-precise placements and extremely well-timed spells and abilities will demand much pausing for the majority of combat. I don't think anyone will gain anything from keeping things paused 90% of the time, and making a 15-second combat take 5 minutes.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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If BG serves as any indicator of the general style of combat, I don't think ultra-precise placements and extremely well-timed spells and abilities will demand much pausing for the majority of combat. I don't think anyone will gain anything from keeping things paused 90% of the time, and making a 15-second combat take 5 minutes.

Considering there are even multiple "channels" for modal abilities, my guess is you'll want to have those active all the time/ as soon as combat may be coming up. Of course, there's the compromise of allowing players to build relatively low-maintenance characters, but I don't think that'll be a real (desirable) alternative for all characters, every time.

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If BG serves as any indicator of the general style of combat, I don't think ultra-precise placements and extremely well-timed spells and abilities will demand much pausing for the majority of combat. I don't think anyone will gain anything from keeping things paused 90% of the time, and making a 15-second combat take 5 minutes.

Considering there are even multiple "channels" for modal abilities, my guess is you'll want to have those active all the time/ as soon as combat may be coming up. Of course, there's the compromise of allowing players to build relatively low-maintenance characters, but I don't think that'll be a real (desirable) alternative for all characters, every time.

 

as long as the desired method isn't using an attack the second it comes off cooldown i doubt it won't be that bad.

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regarding genesis query--

 

there is an argument that role-play shouldn't have no activated abilities. is not you fighting, is your character. you create character-- give abilities, skills, whatever, but once things like combat starts, behind the scenes mechanics resolve encounters leaving player free to actual role-play rather than being bogged down in minutiae. is a very good argument for doing things this way when you got a dm/gm and folks is actually role-playing.  if you is in character, it is tough to justify min/max and +/- considerations that go into even simple game encounters. the thing is, most folks don't get into character with a single-player crpg enough to justify complete hiding of mechanics.  oh sure, no doubt some of us has howl'd in anguish at our monitor as a wyvern stabs us mercilessly with its poisoned tail, but is not the kinda immersive role-play you get with 5 geeks sitting around a gaming table. most of us just don't buy enough... probably 'cause it seems a bit creepy to genuine identify too serious with a crpg avatar. whatever, gonna leave that between you and your psychiatrist. without geeky group gestalt, we gots a role-play Game more than a Role-Play game. game aspect becomes more important. games got rules and players wanna win, even if winning seems a little wacky in a crpg.

 

there is also the non-negligible % of players of crpgs who simply hate crpg combat. is more than a few folks we has met over the years who would skip every combat encounter if they could. they likes the settings and stories and characters and romances (*groan*) and dressing up their paper doll, but they hate combat. sneer if you want, but those folks is out there and they buy these games.

 

well, Gromnir likes crpg combat. yeah, we ain't talking 'bout chess v. Deep Blue or any such challenge, but am enjoying overcoming well-crafted combat encounters. for us, increasing micromanagement is a good thing. we likes loads of abilities and choices... just so long as is turn-based or RTwP. loads o' choices that we gots to time perfectly and hit 9 different buttons in right sequence within a 5 second window is not fun.  give us pause or turn-based and then bury us with abilities and stats and rules.  

 

nevertheless, there is people who legit not wanna deal with activated abilities. we could make some snarky remark about japanese dating sims as an alternative for those folks, but it would be wrong. very wrong.

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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nevertheless, there is people who legit not wanna deal with activated abilities. we could make some snarky remark about japanese dating sims as an alternative for those folks, but it would be wrong. very wrong.

 

HA! Good Fun!

 

No, it isn't wrong. At all. Such people should go and play dating sims. It's like Flight Sim fans having to suffer casuals who don't want to land the plane, fly the plane or in fact do anything with the plane but enjoy the view. Seriously, these people are playing a game they don't really like and need to be encouraged to play one they do.

 

They need to be called out at every opportunity and sent back to the Bioware social thingie where they belong.

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I've read some vociferous condemnations over this issue.  Some people feel like activated abilities don't belong in a game like P:E, but why?  Is it an aesthetic choice?  I've always felt that it allows for a more tactical approach to combat.  Out of every mechanic that BioWare used in Dragon Age, I liked the proliferation of activated abilities the best. I especially liked how they were used to varying degrees -- Sword and Shield tanks had Shield Wall and other modes as their bread and butter, whereas a good Two Hander basically had to use abilities to be effective.  Taking the hands off approach you could use with a Sword and Shield tank would get you killed with a Two Hander.  

 

So what exactly is wrong with this?  It is one of the innovations in the CRPG field that I actually like.  It requires strategic character building, tactical approaches to combat, and it requires you to pay attention.  Do people not like it because of it cuts too close to WoW?  

 

Anyways I'd like to hear your thoughts. 

it's a matter of taste. I find the activated abilities from a game like Dragon Age silly and contrived. If my charcter is a great leader and champion, then that isnt't something that should be "activated". It's something he/she is.

 

The "modes" are in my opinion often so absurd that they deduct from my immersion. Furthermore, I dislike the whole tactical idea of rpg combat. The game shouldn't be about my combat abilities, as I see it.. It should not be wargame. it's should be about my character's abilities, and even if I'm a poor tactician, I should be able to roleplay a great tactician.

 

My two cent.

 

P.S. The idea that you could push in an arrow that is "stuck" in an opponent is a brillant example of what I consider absurd and contrived. If you've ever done archery you know why.

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it's a matter of taste. I find the activated abilities from a game like Dragon Age silly and contrived. If my charcter is a great leader and champion, then that isnt't something that should be "activated". It's something he/she is.

I'm pretty sure not taking leadership abilities (Shout at your troops and rally for a +2 benefit) doesn't really mean you're a poor leader without those skills.

 

The "modes" are in my opinion often so absurd that they deduct from my immersion. Furthermore, I dislike the whole tactical idea of rpg combat. The game shouldn't be about my combat abilities, as I see it.. It should not be wargame. it's should be about my character's abilities, and even if I'm a poor tactician, I should be able to roleplay a great tactician.

It also has to be about how you choose to use your character's abilities, or at some point you're watching a movie not playing a game. There has to be some balance between what the player expects to do and what the avatar on screen can accomplish.

 

Note that the "ability" to wield a sword or to activate a parry mode or activate a stinging strike aren't distinct; all are inherent abilities your character owns. They're not dependent on your ability to accomplish those. But if your character chooses not to use parry mode...they're not a better or worse sword fighter, just one who isn't about parrying. The questions should be about the validity of the abilities not that you have to choose to use them.

 

I suspect what you're really getting at is less the verisimilitude of the abilities but rather the utility of the abilities and your own dislike for micromanaging; I'd be very surprised if lower difficulty setting required much micromanaging of ability.

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Maybe it's just the logic of some activated abilities that its wrong, parry mode its an example of it (although one could argue that it signifies a change in stance and intent in the character  towards defense) but on the other hand I would think spells are definitively activated (since they're cast) I get the feeling that some of those abilities were made into activated to counter an overall lack of activated abilities in a class.
Also, they are a good way to engage the player in combat since their input determines the outcome. 

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Is it just me, or when someone says "immersion" they just want something but don't know how to explain it?

 

Anyways, the problem with activated abilities in most games is that they are tied to a cool down that often doesn't make sense. There is no reason why a Warrior has to wait 15 seconds between shield bashes or a Mage can't toss out all of their spells at once.

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Is it just me, or when someone says "immersion" they just want something but don't know how to explain it?

Your question broke my immersion in this thread.

 

Also if you want to shield bash more than every 15 seconds, you should make your shield your primary weapon. Can you see it, wading into battle a shield strapped on each arm and ready for battle...?

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[sarcasm] Oh my. We are attacking peoples choice of words, rather than debating what is being said... That is rich. Well done. [/sarcasm]

 

That aside... The problem about abilities is that they are quite often stupid. Pure and simple. That was especially true for Dragon Age. Take a look at a few of the two-handed talents:

 

"Indomitable - Through sheer force of will, the character remains in control on the battlefield, gaining a slight increase to attack and damage while being immune to stun or knock down effects for the duration of this mode."

 

So, through sheer willpower, I make myself immune to knockdowns? Right.

 

"Powerful - While in this mode, the character puts extra muscle behind each swing, gaining a bonus to damage but suffering penalties to attack and defense"

 

Yes, because that's just the way to use a sword. Swing it so hard that you reduce your own chance of connecting. Very believable.

 

How about the champion talents?

 

"War cry - The champion lets out a fearsome cry that gives nearby enemies a penalty to attack. With Superiority, nearby enemies are also knocked down unless they pass a physical resistance check."

 

Riiiight.... Some lunges our champion has, mhm? Maybe that's what the All blacks are attempting to do with their haka here?  :grin: 

 

Joke aside, these invented "talents" or "skills" or "abilities", whatever you wish to call them, are absurd and unbelievable, and therefore subtract from my immersion. Oh, I said it again. Immersion! But well, they do!

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The whole "Should you be doing this, or your character?" question/debate in a nutshell:

 

You don't control your character's capabilities (not directly; you control character creation, and thus the determination of their capability values), but you control their decisions in using them.

 

You can't actively make your character be able to swing better or do more damage, but you CAN choose the less-agile enemy or weaker enemy as a target, and let your character do the rest. You don't formulate words and decide what your character can and cannot say, but you decide what he/she DOES say.

 

Regarding the Dragon Age activated abilities, and being a good leader or not being one: Just because your inherent ability to lead fluctuates from person to person doesn't mean there isn't a range between actively employing that ability and actively employing nothing but other abilities. For every incoming blow you expertly dodge, you weren't looking around and deciding what orders to give your party next; you were looking at the incoming blow.

 

There is no reason why a Warrior has to wait 15 seconds between shield bashes or a Mage can't toss out all of their spells at once.

There actually is. Sure, it's an abstraction, so it's not literally that a Warrior is physically incapable of shield bashing again for 15 seconds. But, try shield-bashing 20 times in a row, and see how well that works. And, as for magic, all non-fictitious effort-requiring tasks require time and take a toll on a person. Why should magic be any different? Can you fire an arrow AND throw an axe AND swing a sword AND shield bash a man AND issue orders AND dodge an attack all at once? No... then why should a Mage be able to do so?

 

If he could, then Mages would rule the world, because their limitations would be SO far beyond anyone else's. That guy can fireball you AND teleport AND shield himself AND heal himself AND summon demons AND fire magic missiles at everyone in a 3 mile radius, all at once.

 

The idea of cooldowns is very unsilly. However, their exact durations and applications might be a little silly at times.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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My immersion was ruined when I got out of the bath.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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