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Deioth

Super, Ultimate, and otherwise high-cooldown abilities

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I've become quite convinced over my time playing MMOs that if there is one thing that is some baaaad design it's when an ability is deemed so good that the only counter balance is a large cooldown.  For any active, in-combat skill, I'd say, to require more than a 60 second cooldown to feel balanced is a bad skill.

 

The key problem with these sorts of skills is that they wind up being balanced around, I'd say rather unfairly, because the fact that they exist means some other aspect of that class or build needs to be lesser or weaker.  In my personal experience, they either wind up never being used to the point that suddenly remembering their existence often results in their potential being completely undercut (using in the wrong situation or at the wrong time), they become such a staple that you time your combat around it meaning you are nigh on useless if you can't pop it when you must, or they become a crutch to such a point that they're treated like a bread-and-butter skill when it's supposed to be the "Oh, schnit" or "I win" button.

 

They are often overpowered by default which is why they wind up being given 10, 20, 30 minutes, even hour long cooldowns (and may then share that cooldown with other similar skills).  Being then balanced around being overpowered on purpose, it harms the class or build in every other aspect, or at least risks it, leading to the crutch or being timed around like I detailed, and quite often wind up being a get-out-of-losing free card.  These abilities have no place in proper game design.  Nothing should be so good it can only be balanced by massive cooldowns such that it becomes a crutch, a skill-less I Win button, or forgotten because the rarity of opportunity.

 

For any kind of combat focused ability, certainly anything you'd actively use while in combat or to engage combat, should never have more than a one minute cooldown.  If that one minute cooldown feels too good, the skill itself is probably too good, or its use given the rest of your kit makes it too good.  Something needs to give and quite frankly it shouldn't be "Let's just give it a 5 minute cooldown."  That simply screams lazy design.  Instead, if it really is deemed that good, but it still feels thematically necessary or crucial to the class's overall kit, then it needs to be integrated in another way.

 

We've seen lots of different systems and different implementations of these sorts of skills over time.  Most often, it's a tertiary resource of some kind.  We also have combos in Crowfall.  Such skills could require the use of the right kind of and properly executed combo.  They could also require certain criteria be met, as well.  Maybe a certain skill requires you to be knocked down, stunned, slowed, or otherwise CC'd at least 3 times by 3 different people in the span of 20 seconds.  If it happens, you can pop the skill, and Crowfall has the added advantage of having an aim-based combat system meaning there is another layer of strategy that can be exploited to prevent these from just being I Win buttons.  All of these aspects can be used, as well.  Maybe a certain ultimate can only be used while under 50% health, however it requires you to completely execute a difficult combo, one that will absolutely require the enemy except in matters of good luck to be locked down by a slow or other CC.  Getting it off means your ultimate is available.  You now need to spend 200 ult points within the window of opportunity or you'll need to execute the combo again after getting enough points.  This could be a beautifully powerful ability, enough to really help turn the tide of the battle, or press an advantage, but it should absolutely require the player's direct involvement and the strategy and thought that must go into anticipating and predicting its use.  Obviously, the more difficult to pull off ultimates should be the most powerful, the kind that you'd give a 30 or 60 minute cooldown to, but anything you'd give more than 60 seconds cooldown should require some of this extra thought and extra mechanic.

 

We do see less of this nowadays (certainly compared to vanilla WoW... LAY ON HANDS BUR BUR BUR BUBBLE BUR BUR BUR) but I really want to make sure this is nipped in the bud.  I can't stand that sort of balance.  I can often appreciate the skill itself, but it's the freedom of its use or the fact that it's purposefully made OP as an I Win button once every hour (or both) that ruins it, especially when the class is forced to be balanced around it.  Require effort, skill, tactic, and thought to go into being able to use such abilities, and keep our hotbars under 1 minute cooldowns.

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I agree, max cooldowns on combat abilities should be 1 or 1:30 mins, if your waiting any longer to use abilities it just becomes something you have to wait for, the time still depends on how long it takes to kill a person and we dont know that yet. Other abilities that are not directly in combat could have a longer cooldown f.x. buffs so you have to choose when you want your buffs up and when you do not really need them, a buff becomes pointless if it´s always there and just becomes annoying to forget about it, boost your endurance for 4 minutes on a 20 minute cooldown is something I think could work (or something similar).


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Why have cooldowns at all? This is a combo based system after all! Keep everything resource dependent and remove all cooldowns.

The danger there is how do you keep the gameplay interesting and varied enough?  And, you really risk forcing TOO much weighing on which skills to take, leaving many to be mostly useless in favor or something that just functions better or to feel a lack a sense of self sufficiency given how much must be given up (or lack of viable hybrid options).  As varied as TSW was, for example, it felt so bland and stiff, because everything essentially functioned the same and you could never quite feel like you had a "full" kit.  Nothing really felt like it was significantly different than anything else, at least to me, and they could have turned their like 100+ skills into about 13.  ESO is the same way but with a different execution, still making you feel deeply limited but only because you feel locked out of so many abilities with its miniscule hotbar.  TSW did a better job with resources as you were always using a builder or a finisher at least, in ESO you spend 70-80% of the time in any fight longer than 5 seconds spamming left click.  Neither system felt engaging and ESO's weapon switching felt clunky (especially how arbitrary it felt that I needed another kit of the same weapon if that's all I cared to use just for access to a couple other skills).

 

The variety is important, otherwise they need to make sure abilities are distinct, valuable, and consistent.  It needs to feel more engaging than TSW and more expansive than ESO.  I shouldn't have to put up with dozens of samey skills that offer nothing better than they could have had with one skill like with TSW.  I don't want fights to feel front loaded or forced to "conserve" like in ESO where I spend entirely too much time doing essentially auto attacks.  And I shouldn't feel like I just don't have enough skills because both games gave far too little playdough for the size of the bucket.

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Why have cooldowns at all? This is a combo based system after all! Keep everything resource dependent and remove all cooldowns.

 

It's entirely possible that they make the combo system a cool down by itself. 

 

For example, use Onslaught 1 and you you have 10 seconds to use Onslaught 2. Onslaught 1 - 3 through animations take a minimum of 8 secs or so to use so it prevents spamming of Onslaught 1 over and over again.

 

But I think they do need some abilities with cooldowns because what about stunning and the support abilities like their shielding / slight healing. If they are allowed to spam those abilities you get the same type of combat problems that ESO had where everything becomes instantaneous and spammy. Not only does this destroy skilled combat of having to time abilities and use combinations and variations of skills, but you also put a huge toll of the server when you have 40 people trying to spam their super AoE ability against another 40 people doing the same. 

 

Ultimately I agree that there shouldn't be a ton of cooldowns but there needs to be some like stuns and such in order to keep it more of a skill / timing battle system, or at least put in some natural cooldowns between the combinations so that you can't spam the more powerful version of the combo over and over again.

Edited by Varius

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Completely agree OP.

 

I've played quite a few games where I've waited in hiding just to use that one special skill on an unsuspecting person(s). Combat felt like it hung on me having that skill, especially in open-world pvp where you have no idea what's around the corner, or worse, someone with their 'special skill' on tap and yours is still on cool down.


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Agree too.

 

Honestly, anything over 30 seconds is too much for me. Anything more than that becomes a little too game changing.

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I pretty much agree, overpowered skills with huge cooldowns is not something that should be in a PvP game.Having to wait for 10 minutes before your character build is fully functional is not terribly fun either.

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I'm not really sure how I stand on this.  It's not "overpowered" if both teams have it.  You can consider these types of skills a "once every fight" type of skill.  Consider it like the NOS charge in Fast and Furious...  too soon Junior.  With these types of skills timing is everything, which means discipline and teamwork. 

 

I really don't like generalizations either, some skills may be on a long cooldown without being class defining while others might be.  The thought of throwing out options doesn't appeal to me.


Maj, Keeper of Da Plank - The Shipwrecked Pirates

 

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I'd rather see "big hitter" style abilities either at the end of longer combo chains or simply massive resource sinks. In both cases it makes those abilities a gamble. Do you blow 80% of your stamina on "massive strike" at the beginning of the fight, knowing that it's going to leave you without much opportunity to block if it doesn't connect properly, or do you engage with lighter skills and play conservatively so you can use it as a fight shifter, or do you simply go with your mid-tier damage skills and forget it for this fight because it allows to to play more reactively and rely less on advanced planning strategies that might not work?


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Rub rock on face and say "Yes food is eaten now time for fight"

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I'd rather see "big hitter" style abilities either at the end of longer combo chains or simply massive resource sinks. In both cases it makes those abilities a gamble. Do you blow 80% of your stamina on "massive strike" at the beginning of the fight, knowing that it's going to leave you without much opportunity to block if it doesn't connect properly, or do you engage with lighter skills and play conservatively so you can use it as a fight shifter, or do you simply go with your mid-tier damage skills and forget it for this fight because it allows to to play more reactively and rely less on advanced planning strategies that might not work?

 

Im not a fan of "combo chains" in an mmo.  Although I know they talked about having them in CF.  I saw them in DAOC and Age of Conan and I didn't find them enjoyable in either.  I think its because its so scripted.  From this move you will do this move to unlock this move...

Edited by tsp_maj

Maj, Keeper of Da Plank - The Shipwrecked Pirates

 

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Im not a fan of "combo chains" in an mmo.  Although I know they talked about having them in DF.  I saw them in DAOC and Age of Conan and I didn't find them enjoyable in either.  I think its because its so scripted.  From this move you will do this move to unlock this move...

 

Well you're getting them. ACE has already been pretty clear that they like combo chains. Think less like the AOC system (combos were too long, required MORE buttons than simple hotkeys, and worthless until the last hit) and more like the primary weapon skills in GW2 (each hit is still meaty, one buttons is used to execute all the moves in a single chain, and each hit escalates in power or effect so it's not a waste of time to hit with just the first two hits of a 3 hit combo)

Edited by PopeUrban

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Rub rock on face and say "Yes food is eaten now time for fight"

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Im not a fan of "combo chains" in an mmo.  Although I know they talked about having them in CF.  I saw them in DAOC and Age of Conan and I didn't find them enjoyable in either.  I think its because its so scripted.  From this move you will do this move to unlock this move...

Well if they are like how it is in Tera then you can make your own Combo's as well. Its not all Rank 1, Rank 2 etc. In Tera you can mix and match your abilities to build your own Combo's.

 

Personal preference though really. I just think an action and/or combo based is much better than action bar bloat type games.

Edited by pang

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I'm not really sure how I stand on this. It's not "overpowered" if both teams have it. You can consider these types of skills a "once every fight" type of skill. Consider it like the NOS charge in Fast and Furious... too soon Junior. With these types of skills timing is everything, which means discipline and teamwork.

 

I really don't like generalizations either, some skills may be on a long cooldown without being class defining while others might be. The thought of throwing out options doesn't appeal to me.

The point of cooldown is to limit the choices of the player such that the opponent has opportunities to exploit the player's inability to make those choices. Long cooldowns make perfect sense in MOBAs where the players have full knowledge of the history of their opponents--skills on cooldown present windows of opportunity to take objectives or resources.

 

When MMORPG skill cooldown extends beyond the duration of one encounter--one opponent--the next opponent does not have the knowledge that the skill is unavailable. This might not matter in high level play because the threat of the skill is enough to affect choices, but as pointed out typically the character is "balanced" to account for a powerful ability.

 

Long cooldowns belong in longer fights. By all means, give the wall-breaking fireblast a 5 min cd. But don't make characters auto-win one skirmish and then be ineffectual the next two.

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The point of cooldown is to limit the choices of the player such that the opponent has opportunities to exploit the player's inability to make those choices. Long cooldowns make perfect sense in MOBAs where the players have full knowledge of the history of their opponents--skills on cooldown present windows of opportunity to take objectives or resources.

 

When MMORPG skill cooldown extends beyond the duration of one encounter--one opponent--the next opponent does not have the knowledge that the skill is unavailable. This might not matter in high level play because the threat of the skill is enough to affect choices, but as pointed out typically the character is "balanced" to account for a powerful ability.

 

Long cooldowns belong in longer fights. By all means, give the wall-breaking fireblast a 5 min cd. But don't make characters auto-win one skirmish and then be ineffectual the next two.

 

What's funny is that I almost posted this exact statement as a "the only thing I don't like about long cool downs" ending to my post.  Basically if you blow your load in one fight and you're immediately engaged with another you are in a weakened state.  The reason I decided not to make that statement was that if the game was like that then it'd just have to be something you had to take into consideration each time you engaged. 

 

I don't agree with the "fits better in MOBA" argument.  Long cooldowns existed long before MOBA was even a thing.

 

Keep in mind that I'm speaking only of long cool down items which could be of any "power" from minimal to substantial.  An item that's overpowered is overpowered regardless if its on a long cool down or not.  An item that is too class defining is too class defining regardless as well.


Maj, Keeper of Da Plank - The Shipwrecked Pirates

 

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