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Mana vs skill cooldown


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How important is skills using Mana to you?

 

I watched the Sword Coast Legends stream today and the skills were cooldown based on not mana based. There was some discussion during the stream on this feature and a lot of people did not like it. The plus side is you don't need to sleep after healing twice like in BG, but the bad side is some people will feel like they are playing WoW and not BG type games *shrug*

 

So what's your thinklng on the mana vs cooldown? (not specifically for that game, in general).

 

By the way it plays differently than Pillars but it doesn't look bad.

Edited by kryadan
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In practically every implementation I've seen, cooldowns are the lazy solution to "balancing" a class or an ability. Half the time they make no sense (why does a warrior need to wait 45 seconds between two instances of bashing an enemy with a shield?) and in general they're designed to force the player to use abilities that are sub-optimal in a specific scenario. Cooldowns are a terrible idea and practically any other solution (mana, spellbooks like in Baldur's Gate, PoE's system) is probably better.

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There are a lot of slices possible.

 

Does the mana regenerate? Or need potions or sleep to regain mana?

 

I go with this angle, as much as some want the real hardcore, I'd try to appease them with options, like Perma-Death, Markers on/off, Highlight Objects on/off, where toggles make sense and aren't dastardly hard to do.

 

But if hardcore isn't you and I am a bit torn myself (why I suggest toggles) many are conditioned to what some call dumbing down, where another could say "advancing design".

 

In the case of sleeping for stats back, I never liked it because to me it was cheesy and a chore. On top of that it is harder to game balance since the designer doesn't know stat-wsie where the players vitals are at going in to battle.

 

If you regain after battle automatically, then you can balance knowing that each fight the players are going in 100% ready.

 

Personally I like auto-stuff like this for the most part.

 

I think all these classic games need to take pieces from the past and UI/gameplay enhancements as we've progressed. I think we shouldn't rake them over the coals on these 50-50 decisions.

 

D:OS, no markers. Hardcore YAY! Lots of players who bought it not knowing... Where do I go? Too much talking up front. Game is too hard, they didn't realize you needed to leave town from a certain gate to fight level mobs. Or didn't know you needed to get the two henches in town.

 

Toggle. Toggle. Toggle. It servers budding worlds.

Edited by Horrorscope
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In practically every implementation I've seen, cooldowns are the lazy solution to "balancing" a class or an ability. Half the time they make no sense (why does a warrior need to wait 45 seconds between two instances of bashing an enemy with a shield?) and in general they're designed to force the player to use abilities that are sub-optimal in a specific scenario. Cooldowns are a terrible idea and practically any other solution (mana, spellbooks like in Baldur's Gate, PoE's system) is probably better.

I agree, but it's not really cooldowns' fault that they get used crappily.

 

An interesting way to use cooldowns would be in conjunction with some kind of stamina/fatigue/strain mechanic.

 

For example, imagine your characters had a stamina bar, with 10 points of stamina. Every ability you use takes up 1 point of stamina, and you regenerate 1 point of stamina back every 3 seconds.

 

Now, at any given point in time, if you use an ability, it has a base cooldown that's really fast. It could still vary, but maybe between like 1 and 3 seconds or something, depending on what it is (it's as silly to be able to shield bash someone 7 times in one second as it is to not be able to do so for 45 seconds...). Anywho, when you use an ability, its cooldown is modified by how much missing stamina you have at the time. So, say for every point of missing stamina, the cooldown goes up 1 second.

 

That example works more for a global cooldown (like PoE's Recovery Time) -- the cooldown between being able to act, and being able to act again, regardless of which action you choose. BUT, it could work on an individual basis. Maybe for casters. Maybe the more fire spells you cast in a short time, the more tired you become at weaving fire spells, or maybe the less fire mana there is in the area to draw from or something?

 

Anywho, the sheer idea of cooldowns isn't bad at all. They're very useful in a plethora of ways. They just hardly ever get used in interesting ways. So, yeah, the way developers choose to use them is kind of the lazy design.

 

Ooh! Another idea I just had is for healing. Similar thing to the above examples. Maybe every time you get healed by a spell, you get some kind of "debuff" on you that sort of acts as an effectiveness cooldown. For every point of "mending" (we'll call the debuff that -- you're currently still mending from that heal), the next heal that's cast on you gets reduced effectiveness. That sort of general idea could be kind of interesting. If that person's about to die, then obviously you have to heal them again. But, it could lend a little more thought-requirement to relying on tactics such as simply spamming heals on people, AND it would no longer require as strict of a limitation on the number of heal spells you can cast or how often you can cast them, because you're limited by simply not being able to knit people's wounds, magically, as often as you please.

 

Pretty much anything that is feasibly affected by the passage of time can benefit in some manner by a cooldown. Just not a "let's just make it all about time, and you can't do this thing until this time, and boom!"

 

Oooh! Another quick one with spells! Imagine the generic cooldowns we always see. You cast Fireball, and now you can't cast it again for 15 seconds. OR CAN YOU?! You can, but for every second left on the cooldown when you cast it again, you lose health or stamina or otherwise suffer some negative thing. Boom. Instant much-more-interesting-than-just-a-cooldown limitation. Sure, you can spam Fireballs all day... until you die from it. :)

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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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How important is skills using Mana to you?

 

I watched the Sword Coast Legends stream today and the skills were cooldown based on not mana based. There was some discussion during the stream on this feature and a lot of people did not like it. The plus side is you don't need to sleep after healing twice like in BG, but the bad side is some people will feel like they are playing WoW and not BG type games *shrug*

 

So what's your thinklng on the mana vs cooldown? (not specifically for that game, in general).

 

By the way it plays differently than Pillars but it doesn't look bad.

 

If the choice is mana vs cooldowns I'm going to be unhappy with either solution for different reasons.  Mana costs are gibberish numbers that basically boil down to 'use abilities at the rate that designers want you to use them.'  Cooldowns are entirely gamey constructions based on nothing at all that artificially draw out combat because the basic attacks are almost inevitably utter pants.  You're just stuck waiting around until you can do real things again. 

 

Both are pretty miserable and miserly game design.  That said spell or ability per day is also a frankly horrible way to approach things.

 

Personally I prefer building some sort of skill (or momentum) up through combat and using it to unleash abilities (or starting with the pool at some appropriate level, burning it down through use, and building it back up).  Like the chanters and ciphers in PoE. Though having it side by side with per day abilities is also pretty miserable and mind-boggling.  In the sense of hey, these two classes have jet fighters, but you, you and you have to fly bi-planes for no reason.  

Edited by Voss
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There are indeed a lot of ways to make cooldowns dynamic and interesting as a combat element. Only thing I don't like about cooldowns is that they're very often systematic and have an immuable length. Although I've some problems with cooldowns while managing several characters, but that's mine to deal with. I blame my brain.

Although not fond of mana/energy/ap in any form, but that's a bit less awful imo that determined cd durations which kinda makes combat a routine.

Edited by CaptainMace

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There are indeed a lot of ways to make cooldowns dynamic and interesting as a combat element. Only thing I don't like about cooldowns is that they're very often systematic and have an immuable length.

Examples of the first, please.

 

As for immutable (I think that is what you were going for)- they aren't.  They can be set for anything. From fractions of a second to minutes, to 24 hours, or even weekly.  Various games do all of the above, sometimes simultaneously for different abilities.   Sometimes they're even combined with mana or another power system, which is even more annoying, or with cast times, or something even more obscure.  Heck, World of Warcraft's horrible deathknight class uses cooldowns, a build-then-use mana pool and rune unlocks simultaneously for some abilities. 

 

The big flaw with them is there is no point that it feels like anything other than a metagame system.  Whatever is going on functions purely on metagame design logic, not something inherent to the setting or the ability.

Edited by Voss
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Cooldowns are a terrible idea and practically any other solution (mana, spellbooks like in Baldur's Gate, PoE's system) is probably better.

 

How is N-time/day ability uses (kind of D&D legacy, present in every single edition from Advanced to 5th) used in IE games is different from extremely long cooldown?

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I don't like cooldowns (generally speaking). They promote dull and rote gameplay. I prefer a mix of tactical and strategic resources.

 

@Nortar the difference is that you can wait out a cooldown but you can't wait out a per-encounter or per-day limit. You have to end the encounter or find somewhere to rest. That's qualitatively different.

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There are indeed a lot of ways to make cooldowns dynamic and interesting as a combat element. Only thing I don't like about cooldowns is that they're very often systematic and have an immuable length.

Examples of the first, please.

 

Lephys gave a lot of em. There's although the idea of setting cd duration depending on several factors.

But if you want examples in games, I have none, I'm not sure anybody did that, but I never claimed so anyway.

There's just a lot of possibilities with cooldowns once you try, as you design a game, to make them dependant on circonstances, terrain, time of the day etc.

So you'd choose to do something that would decrease some cd's at the cost of something else... it's like the logic behind attack speed after all. Attacks have cooldowns in PoE, but several things affect their duration. I'd like to see the same for abilities.

 

Edit : By immuable i meant unchangeable. Sorry for the mistranslation, I was somehow sure it was the same in english. Basically meant cds often, if not always, have a definite duration and that's what designers should try to play with.

Edited by CaptainMace

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Cooldowns are a terrible idea and practically any other solution (mana, spellbooks like in Baldur's Gate, PoE's system) is probably better.

How is N-time/day ability uses (kind of D&D legacy, present in every single edition from Advanced to 5th) used in IE games is different from extremely long cooldown?

 

As mentioned earlier in the paragraph you quoted, I was referring to the "usual" implementation of cooldowns -- the one seen in World of Warcraft and its followers (e.g. SWTOR), Dragon Age: Origins, the game in the original post and many others. The hallmarks of this system are that the player is forced to use abilities that are sub-optimal for the task at hand and gameplay consists of finding what in MMOs is referred to as a "rotation" of powers to be used in the proper order.

 

As PrimeJunta pointed out, the abilities per day in the IE games are fundamentally different from this and although you can argue that the IE games did have a "global cooldown" of 6 seconds for all spells and abilities, this does not result in any of the implausibilities or typical gameplay associated with cooldowns.

 

I agree, but it's not really cooldowns' fault that they get used crappily.

This is true. It's possible to create a system with cooldowns that is neither implausible nor susceptible to the usual problems, but nobody does that. Almost every system out there (including even Dragon Age where I honestly expected something better) is lightly modified version of WoW.
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The hallmarks of this system are that the player is forced to use abilities that are sub-optimal for the task at hand and gameplay consists of finding what in MMOs is referred to as a "rotation" of powers to be used in the proper order.

 

Now I see where you're coming from.
 
Well, in my opinion, rotation, as any routine, is only possible when your actions are not affected by situations.
Just like if your only instrument is a hammer, then everything starts looking like nails.
 
If your goal is to deal maximum ammount of damage per second no matter what, then you chain attacks in the same "most effecient way" way all the time to make use of the timers or make the best of your resources - so not much difference between cooldowns and mana-pools from that point of view.
 
I hope that PoE would provide enough tactical challenges to make us want to use abilities other then the ones with "maximum damage".
 
Personally I don't mind cooldowns (although, I prefer to call it recharge) as long as it makes sense. 
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Mana, cooldown, scrolls or daily spells... I dont really care as long as game is challenging within Its own ruleset.

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