Issues using Cooldowns to balance skill power

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Wavelength, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Veteran

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    I've come upon a really interesting design issue while creating a magic-centric battle system that doesn't require the player to spend any resources (such as MP) to use skills.

    The design so far has used Cooldowns as a way to gate the frequent use of powerful skills, rather than MP costs. The more powerful the skill, the longer its Cooldown (the number of turns before you can use that skill again). This approach offers a lot of benefits - for example, it allows the player to use skills without worrying about saving resources for later battles, and the use of Cooldowns (even short Cooldowns for weaker skills) also prevents spamming the same action over and over, which would be boring.

    This seems to work well for extended Boss battles which generally take 10-20 turns to complete, but normal Encounters need to be much quicker to avoid the feeling they are "dragging on" - I've often heard 3 turns as a good length for challenging normal Encounters.

    Longer Cooldowns become kind of irrelevant when the battle lasts just 3 turns - a 6-turn Cooldown might as well be a 3-turn Cooldown (and therefore doesn't serve to balance out its higher power). For skills used near the end of the battle, the Cooldown becomes completely irrelevant. I've thought about having Cooldowns persist between battles, but that might serve to encourage the player to draw out battles that are already decided by spending turns doing nothing before finishing off the final enemy.

    Can you think of any way to design Cooldowns as a balance against skill power that still serves its purpose in shorter battles?

    And do you feel that Cooldowns can be used as a "cost" for skill use in the complete absence of MP and other resources, or is the entire concept broken?
     
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  2. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    Things can get interesting in longer battle, yes. But maybe you need to think about why you even need a short mob battle.

    In Granblue Fantasy, the skills are designed to only use cooldown as the cost. And when on your turn, you're free to spam skill as much as you like, but you will be unable to use it for several turns next. It sort of creating a puzzle in which order that the skill needs to be performed or maybe you need to save some combo later. However, the entire game is about a boss battle. Do you know what is lacking? the "playground". In Granblue Fantasy, there is a gameplay extra that basically let you hit the "training doll" with an unlimited amount of HP so they don't die. You're free to test stuff there that you can't during the boss battle because things are hectic and you may have no chance to test stuff because of various reason.

    The point is? back to those short battle. Why do you even have them? is it solely as a purpose of EXP surges? or something else? Why not just creating a boss rush game in that case? I thought about it once, and the answer I got is "They serves as a playground to test stuff".

    Or are you having a different goal in a shorter battle? Like, you want it to be more challenging?
     
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  3. caethyril

    caethyril ^_^ Veteran

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    Maybe also consider implementing skill "warmups", i.e. skill cannot be used for the first x turns. That way you could make bigger skills exclusive to longer battles. :)
     
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  4. Doktor_Q

    Doktor_Q I'm not a real doktor, but I am a real Q Veteran

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    As @TheoAllen brought up Granblue Fantasy, it's worth mentioning that aside from longer boss battles, most of that type of game use wave-based battles.

    If your normal encounters are too short for cooldowns to matter, you can try throwing them several battles in a row. And if you aren't a fan of fights taking that long, you could make the cooldowns persist between battles in the same area- effectively, wave-based battles, but with breaks between the waves.
     
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  5. Soryuju

    Soryuju Combat Balance Enthusiast Veteran

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    I’ve got a project in drafting stages which may also implement cooldowns as the primary form of skill management in combat, so I’ve put a fair amount of thought into this problem, and hopefully some of my brainstorming will be useful to you. I’ll start with the assumption that cooldowns will reset between battles, and then move onto ways you could theoretically implement non-resetting cooldowns without running into the stalling issue you mentioned. And fair warning, I’m going to ramble some to start. Please humor me.


    [Ramble]

    One of the benefits you mention about the cooldown system is that it circumvents the need for long-term resource management in combat. On one hand, I think you’re right that this can be a desirable outcome. When the optimal dungeon strategy involves spamming Attack as often as possible simply because it doesn’t consume any of your resources, your game’s fun factor will eventually take a hit. People have come to expect this formula from JRPGs, and I think that’s where we start to see guidelines like “fun regular encounters usually take < 3 rounds” emerge.

    On the other hand, there are reasons why long-term resource management has always been part of the foundation of typical JRPG combat systems, and as you’ve already seen for yourself, certain game mechanics can stop working properly when you remove it.

    In the ideal model of classic turn-based combat, regular encounters challenge players to win while minimizing their resource consumption (but require more than just Attack spam), and battles play out like little puzzles because players want to avoid the expense of using their full power. There can be a large power differential between regular enemies and bosses because players can use their flashy skills and heal more liberally against bosses, as well as scale their power up further via buffs and debuffs. If you’re going to use cooldowns to replace resource systems like MP, you have to make some sort of fundamental change to the design of standard encounters, because this classic dynamic stops working.

    So I think you’re at an impasse right now because you simultaneously want to add and remove some method of resource management to your combat. You initially describe the removal of long-term resource management as a benefit of the cooldown system, but the rest of your post is dedicated to the problems it causes.

    [/Ramble]

    Encounter Length:

    For resetting cooldowns, I think @TheoAllen is correct that one of the first things you should consider is the length of your regular encounters. As you’ve mentioned, lots of people express a preference for shorter battles, but I think it’s also important to consider what assumptions are being made about JRPG combat when people say this. I think the common idea of JRPG combat involves lots of grinding through very frequent, relatively straightforward battles for the sake of farming rewards. In this conception, increasing the battle duration lengthens the cycle between rewards and forces players to spend more time repeating patterns which they know will lead them to victory. There’s not much tension involved, encounters are too quick to allow for a wide variety of strategies, and you’re just trying to finish as quickly as possible so you don’t waste resources. If the player doesn’t have many options for character customization or ways to switch up how their party plays, then increasing encounter duration will lead to boredom even more quickly.

    So the question is, does this describe your regular encounters? If you cut down the frequency, jack up the rewards, and make the fights themselves more diverse and dangerous, does the extra time required still detract from your fun factor? Consider tactical games like Final Fantasy Tactics, where even a basic encounter might take 5-10 minutes to complete. Doesn’t seem to have hurt that game’s popularity much, though.

    Chaining Battles:

    @Doktor_Q covered this one, but enemy waves are definitely a way to extend regular encounters without just making enemies HP sponges. I’ve seen a couple of interesting takes on this system.

    One is from The World Ends With You. TWEWY features real-time combat, but I think the ideas carry over. You could see encounters on the map and select a certain number of battles to fight prior to the start of combat. Enemies would get a stat boost with each consecutive battle, making them progressively harder to defeat as you chained more battles, and you were typically limited to a fixed number of heals throughout the entire chain. Chaining higher numbers of battles would increase your rewards multiplicatively, though. As such, there was a risk-reward assessment when you were setting up each chain - how much can you handle before you burn out? This allowed regular encounters to be dangerous specifically for players who were looking for bigger challenges and rewards, while keeping them friendly for those who weren’t.

    Another interesting take was in Bravely Second, which would let you chain together regular encounters each time you managed to clear a battle on the first turn. The BP you needed to take actions wouldn’t regenerate between fights, however, so chaining multiple battles required you to plan out your actions thoroughly. You couldn’t just blast enemies with everything you had, because you’d be helpless during the next fight. On the other hand, you couldn’t stall in any fight to build up tons of buffs, because the chain would break if you didn’t wipe all enemies in one turn. BS also featured significant reward scaling for chaining more battles, but let you tap out after each fight.

    Gating Skill Usage:

    Similar to the idea of skill “warmups” which @caethyril mentioned above, my planned project has a mechanic where characters need to have a certain state active on them before they can use their most powerful, high-cooldown skills, and they have a resource meter they need to fill up before they can enter that state. This naturally delays the activation of these skills in short fights, but players can speed up the time needed if they’re clever with their skills and abilities. Once they’ve achieved that special state, however, the long cooldowns keep them from just spamming those abilities throughout the fight. The state has other benefits as well for when those skills are on cooldown, but the skill-specific aspects help me create and balance these flashy, tide-turning skills while making them really feel like special attacks.

    “Break” Systems:

    I think cooldowns have an interesting interaction with “Break” or “Stagger” mechanics, where you have to fulfill some condition to remove an enemy’s guard before you can kill it efficiently (e.g. Octopath Traveler). Break systems can encourage players to utilize their low-cooldown abilities in the initial stages of a fight and set up for a big swing later, when the enemies are exposed and skills will do maximum damage.

    You mentioned that you were concerned about there being no drawback to players using a skill with a long cooldown on the final rounds of a regular fight, but I think that if you’ve discouraged players from dumping all of their powerful, high-cooldown skills on turn 1 or 2, you’ve already succeeded in a number of ways. If they’ve held those skills for a while to ensure they get maximum benefit, they’ve basically just inverted the cooldown anyways.

    Now, moving on to non-resetting cooldowns:

    Enemy Scaling:

    As you’ve already stated, the main concern when cooldowns don’t reset is players stalling out fights they’ve basically already won. One way to work around this would be to have the majority of enemies scale up in some way as the fight goes on, and to not give players the tools required to stun-lock enemies. If you have an enemy whose damage output increases every turn, for instance, or which starts to use deadly new skills after a certain amount of time, or which spawns more enemies, players may reconsider the benefits of delaying the fight. The only caveat is that you would need to make sure players still have plenty of effective skills they can use when their best abilities are on cooldown. Otherwise, the system could go bad by slowing down how quickly players can kill enemies in the next fight, and then they could suffer when the scaling starts to kick in again.

    As mentioned above, having waves of increasingly difficult enemies could also work as a form of scaling battles. You’d want to make sure that it wasn’t possible to stall between waves to prepare for each new group, though.

    Scored Rewards:

    This one is pretty simple - discourage stalling by giving out rewards based on how many turns/actions the battle took to complete. A player can deliberately drag out fights if they want to, but the refreshed cooldowns will become their reward for that fight instead of a big chunk of gold/EXP.

    End of Combat Cooldown Reduction:

    This is one I’ve never actually seen implemented before, so take it with a grain of salt. However, as a compromise between resetting and non-resetting cooldowns, you could instead have all skill cooldowns automatically reduced by a certain amount at the end of each battle. The amount reduced could potentially be the same for all skills, or proportional to the length of each cooldown, or even dependent on the difficulty of the battle (though I’d personally favor the first option for simplicity and clarity). The basic idea, however, would be to diminish the value of stalling by directly rewarding players with cooldown reductions when they end each fight.

    I don’t think this method would solve the problem on its own, but if used in combination with some of the systems described above, it could potentially get you to a happy middle ground. It may sometimes still be valuable for players to stall a battle, but they might only need to do so for 1 turn instead of 3-4, which I think is significantly less of a design issue.

    Well, that’s all I’ve got for right now. I’ll check back in if I remember more of the ideas I’ve explored recently, but hopefully some of this helps!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  6. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    I don't see the issue with skill cool-downs being irrelevant in short encounters, because that's just how it's going to be in a basic system. If you still don't want players to spam their most powerful skills every encounter, you're just going to have to put an MP cost on them as well. Alternatively, maybe consider a warm-up period, which requires a set amount of turns from the start of battle before skills become available for use (cool-down in reverse).
    Or, maybe the issue doesn't lie with cool-downs, but rather the design of your skills. You could consider putting conditions on your powerful skills in order for them to be effective against enemies, so they aren't as spammable, even if you took away their cool-down periods.
     
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  7. DJK1NG_Gaming

    DJK1NG_Gaming Villager Member

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    I do it the same way by having all non-magic skills not cost anything. But the strongest skills learned have cooldown and warmup ranging from 2-4.
    Because of the damage output and the amount of hit delivered.

    My normal battles usually last 1-5 minutes if just attacking.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  8. jade_angel

    jade_angel Villager Member

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    Good insights on cooldowns here. I had initially rejected the idea of using only cooldowns in a turn-based game specifically because of the dual issues of "just spam your ultimate skills every fight" versus "everything with a cooldown beyond 2 turns is too awesome to use", but the comments here - Soryuju's especially - have made me rethink this somewhat.

    For my current project, I have cooldowns on some skills, but most of my balancing is via Mana costs (MP, for skills where I think the breakage comes from being able to use it an unlimited number of times) and TP costs to balance skills where using it every fight is OK, but using it every single turn is probably too much. (But I use TP as a constantly-regenerating resource that starts out full, rather than as a limit break or a rage/combo-points mechanic.)
     
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  9. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    I have a few ideas I've been toying with, because at some point, I plan on making an MP-free game:
    1. As you said, having the cooldowns persist across battles does encourage the same type of issue as games with readily-available MP regen--players will draw out the battle to fill up MP or reset cooldowns. Epic Battle Fantasy 5 uses this approach, but with a bit of a twist--cooldowns also seem to reduce outside of combat over time. I'm not sure if it's every X steps or just over time in general, but I find that 3-turn cooldowns tend to be readily available at the start of every fight, while longer 9 turn cooldowns...not so much. Still, not the approach I'd take.
    2. You could just reset cooldowns at the start of every right, but balance your battles around having those cooldowns available. Unfortunately, this invites in the pattern of, "cast ultima at the start of every fight, then meteor, then whatever other OP cooldown-based spell you have."
    3. Starting the cooldown at the beginning of the battle might be the way to go. What I mean is that a powerful spell with a cooldown of 5 turns wouldn't actually be available until turn 5. So in a quick 2-3 turn battle, you'd rely on other skills with shorter cooldowns or no cooldowns at all, but in longer fights, players would get that exciting feeling of, "yes, ultramegaflare is available to use now!"
     
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  10. lianderson

    lianderson Veteran Veteran

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    Yeah, as others have said, warm ups are the way to go. (and for reducing them, you can create equipment that does just that)
     
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  11. kairi_key

    kairi_key Veteran Veteran

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    This aren't much but I just wanna say...

    I like the idea of having skill cooldown at the start rather than having the word "warmup." It feels very nice and simple and uniformed so it's easy to understand. It's 1 concept of "cooldown" and player can understand most of it.
     
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  12. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    I didn't read through the thread, but here's my approach: I was suffering from a similar problem to Wavelength, one-shot victories due to powerful exploitable skills, so I tied it to the calendar system, and the party management system, partially based on D&D systems.
    -one whole round of battle is the equivalent of 6 seconds in world time.
    -there's a clock regulating the global time.
    -upon use of a skill, the battle system takes note of that skill's reuse delay.
    -after each round, the reuse table is updated with -6 seconds across the board.
    -reuse delays <= 0 are deleted.
    -party members not in the active lineup get double recovery speed, so the player can change the order of battle to manage reuse delays.
    -sleeping and resting also increases the recovery speed, but time-jumps forward, potentially risking to fail quests or meetings.

    I still have to fine tune that... the final number will probably not be 6 seconds, but the system as it is, works. It does what it's designed to do, which is *THAT*
     
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  13. Chaos Avian

    Chaos Avian Abyssal Wing Restaff

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    One way I think you utilise cooldowns is possibly having a recoil of sorts after using stronger skills. For example, using Meteor puts all skills on a global cooldown, lets say -2. The idea is that after using a powerful spell, you'd be a bit winded from the cast. Think of it like firing off a chamber of bullets, you unload all six shots and you need to reload, even if one more shot will finish the job.

    Part of the idea comes from Etrian Odyssey's Imperial class. They have ridiculously powerful skills, but they overheat their drive blade causing all their skills to go on a heavy cooldown. However, they have non-affected skill to reduce the cooldown as the battle progresses. Like a tactical nuke. Though this example is an extreme one, the concept is there.
     
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  14. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I'm just spitballing here, I'm not sure if it'll help you. For me, my immediate thought on the matter as I was reading was, "I'll just blow the most powerful skills on all the weak enemies as I'd get them back the next battle" and yep, that's what ended up being your problem. As I read your problem, my next thought was, "I'd make a secondary cooldown system on the most powerful skills".

    I'm not sure that will solve your issue... But, it might be worth considering. I've seen it used in a lot of MMO's or other RPG's. I'm not personally a fan of it, but it probably makes sense for your. So, a "secondary cooldown" is basically a different kind of cooldown. You've got your baseline cooldowns that wear off every so many turns and are refreshed when you step into combat. But, what about cooldowns based on an actual timer? Why not use both?

    Here's my pitch, I don't know if it will help. Have a cooldown timer for in combat, and one for outside of combat. So, let's say a 6 turn recharge skill will recharge after the sixth turn... But, it will take 5 minutes outside of combat to refresh. So, your basic skills would have such a minimal timer that it'd be rare to get into another fight without having them already refreshed for you... but your powerful stuff might still be "on cooldown" from the last battle.

    I'm not sure I'm explaining it right.

    So, let's say you have four basic skills that refresh every 2 turns or 3 turns. The player is meant to use these all the time, or rotate through them. So, they cooldown quickly. Then, they've got two "medium" refresh skills that come back up every 4 or 5 turns. Then, they've got 1 "powerful" refresh skill that only ever comes back every 6 turns.

    Okay, so outside of combat, you would have it take x amount of seconds to refresh, depending on how far along you are to already refreshing.

    I'd probably do 30-45 seconds per "turn" of refresh left. So, if you have the full 6 turns to wait because it was the last skill you used, you have to wait 3 to 4.5 minutes for a refresh of that skill. Baseline skills would probably be refreshed in the time it took you to get into another battle (depending on encounter rate, or encounter spacing), so you'd need to worry about them very little. But, your bigger skills might still be "on cooldown".

    Using this, the player could decide to "wait" for the skills to refresh out of combat... Or... they could get bored with having to wait 4 and a half minutes, and just press on, using combat to refresh the skills much faster.

    I'd also have it work the other direction as well. For every 30 or 45 seconds waited outside of combat, that's one less turn to refresh the skill INSIDE of combat.

    Players may still use this to "optimize the fun out" of the game, but it's really up to them to do this. Ultimately, it's probably more trouble than it's worth. Extend combat by another 6 turns to get the cooldown finished, or wait outside of combat for a few minutes? Neither sounds "fun" or like something the player would do all the time. Especially since it's not optimizing gameplay and isn't very efficient in either direction. Players tend to gravitate towards the most efficient thing they can do at any given time.

    Since you'd have this secondary timer outside of combat, players may decide that these "big skills" are to be used in emergencies or only for boss fights... which sounds like the way you've designed your combat anyway.

    The only other option I could think of to maybe limit the "spam" of these and circumventing the cooldown is maybe adding a "secondary cost" to some of the skills... namely the ones you want that have the very long cooldowns. Though, now you're using something akin to MP on top of the cooldowns, and it may discourage (or heavily encourage, depending on how plentiful and easy it is to restore your MP) people from using the powerful skills at all.

    I think cooldowns can work, if used properly. Though, I should probably tell you that I'm not really a fan of them in general, so I have little experience dealing with them outside of MMO's (I tend not to play games that use them, as I don't like the agency they take away from me, despite the strategy they promote). I think just like any other system or idea, it can be implemented well, if all the proper precautions are taken and there are places where you view certain breaks of the system as "acceptable".
     
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  15. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    ^ Timer-based cooldowns will only encourage "afk for a coffee break so I can have Ultrameganuke available for the next boss fight." The only time this would really be a proper limiting factor is vs speedrunners or if your game has mechanics that otherwise encourage players to not stall, such as giving players X minutes to escape a castle/dungeon/etc before it blows up and causes an instant game over.
     
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  16. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Well, I mean, if a player WANTS to wait 5 minutes between every battle to spam their Nuke... I'd say let them. They're only hurting themselves.

    If a player would rather waste their time than play the game in a quicker and more natural way... there's very little you can do about it as a dev. I'm not sure how you design that out of a game at all.

    I mean, in Skyrim, you can stand still, not use a healing skill or consumable at all and slowly regen your health... but players don't do it. Because it takes forever. And... well... you're here to play a game. Who honestly wants to wait 5 minutes between every combat just to end the combat in a single turn? Well, I'm sure there are some people... But, designing around the minority of players... Seems... silly?
     
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  17. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    While I don't like that they're using XCOM as an example, but this video has a good point.
     
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  18. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I've seen that video. :D Probably even left a comment under it somewhere.

    The point of the video is "players will efficient the fun out of a game if you let them". The problem here is... It's not efficient to wait 5 minutes between combat in a normal RPG just to get your skills back. Most players will win standard combat without a Nuke. They want to end standard combat as quickly as possible in order to keep moving forward. To keep actually playing the game.

    In the case of X-Com here, it's a case of the devs not actually understanding their own game and their own audience. A Turn-Based Strategy draws a crowd that wants to be patient, take their time, minimize resource losses, and not feel "rushed". They implemented "Timers" in nearly every mission of X-Com 2 and then went, "why don't people like these? They were meant to make the game fun!". Well, I'm sorry, but your audience has never found those timers to be fun. They are Turn-Based Strategy players. Imagine putting timers like that in a Civ game (If you don't research pottery in 12 turns, you lose the game! FIGURE OUT HOW TO!). It doesn't work, because you're aiming it at the wrong audience and doing something absolutely silly. Putting in a system that runs 100% contradictory to the audience who plays those sorts of games.

    What they did is like creating an RPG, but you only get XP from taking damage, the more damage you take in a hit, the more XP you'd get for that hit. It runs completely contrary to what those players expect from a game, and completely contrary to everything they play an RPG to do (namely, not sit in combat to farm XP and spend a buttload of money to keep healing themselves in order to farm that money... and equipment wouldn't be all that useful as the less equipment you have on, other than a weapon, the more damage you take, and the more XP you'd gain).

    You need to understand your audience when designing a game. Their common behaviors. Their expectations from your genre of game.

    In this case, when I'm talking about adding in a second cooldown timer, it's simply there to limit the amount of "Nuke spam" that would take place with a cooldown system. Would there be people who wait the 5 minutes before moving to the next combat? Sure. But, these people are trading efficiency (something RPG players pretty much universally try to get... complete combat in as few turns as possible... skip as many pointless battles as they can... obtain all the best equipment they can... keep moving forward because of the story or characters...) for power. In general, the player of an RPG won't wait 5 minutes every battle to get their cooldown back. It takes too much time. It interrupts the natural flow of the game too much. Players don't pick up an RPG to "wait around doing nothing". This is not the audience you are designing for (the audiences who want this, typically play Simulation type games). Will a player wait for this cooldown before each boss fight? Sure. But, why are you allowing them to do so? Why doesn't the boss fight start the moment you enter their Lair? Why doesn't the text screens pause the cooldowns?

    As game devs, we need to realize that some exploits of our system are "okay". We can't 100% idiot proof a game. We can't spend all our time trying to do so. At some point, we just need to go, "the players found and exploit and are willing to engage in it, so let's let them have it, since they're really only hurting themselves as a result". Players will efficient the fun out of your game if you let them. All you have to do is ensure that the most efficient path the game has, is also the most fun. Ensure that the unfun paths are the least efficient. The least desirable. You allow the player to engage in the unfun paths, but the advantage they're getting is negligible when compared to the disadvantages (in the case of my idea... you're wasting time you could be spending playing a game... nobody plays an RPG so casually that they'll wait 5 minutes constantly, between each combat. Because the drawback of not actually playing the game rears its ugly head. You've deliberately turned your game experience into a crappy mobile game with "energy" if you're doing that every combat. It isn't fun, it takes too long, and you're here to actually play the game). You accept that some will exploit this advantage. But, you also accept that you know they are deliberately making themselves not have fun. You've done everything you can at that point.

    And once more to touch on X-Com 2 before I end this long post... I was one of those people that hated the timers. I hated the timers in every level and the "rush" to complete them. I found the gameplay of "rush, take risks, make mistakes" to not be fun. Not for that genre. I don't know where the devs got the idea that this was fun, but I do not find it fun. It's Turn-Based Strategy. The game inherently has risks all on its own. I might move over here thinking that I'm getting an advantage, but nope, it's not an advantage, I find I've over-extended myself, or didn't scout properly and everything targeted my unit. What they should have done is added in an "aggro" system and removed the "enemies get a free turn to grab cover and act/react once you see them" nonsense. With an "aggro" meter, you would have to space out kills between your units or risk everyone targeting that unit and killing it, no matter how tactical you were playing. This would've promoted "taking chances" in a better way that players wouldn't have balked at. Why? Because you're asking them to be careful and use strategy. You're not asking them to play like Rambo and run and gun their way haphazardly across the map without a chance to carefully consider movement, because they have to cross 50 guarded squares to the objective in 6 turns and each unit only move 5-8 spaces at a time.

    The X-COM 2 devs did not understand their audience at all. So their timers are universally hated. It is important to remember who your audience is when designing a game and creating systems around enforcing the behaviors that they already engage in.
     
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  19. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Maybe not in between every battle, but will they wait until everything's ready to go before taking on a boss so they can have the best possible advantage? You bet they will. In EBF5 (mentioned above in one of my previous posts) I have absolutely spent time dragging on turns in combat just to make sure I could engage a boss with all my big cooldown skills ready to go.

    No player really wants to wait 5 minutes so they can unload Nuke on turn one against a boss, but if doing so makes the battle easier, then they will anyway. it's our job as developers to cut that kind of unfun cheese down as much as possible. Protect players from themselves, basically.
     
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  20. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Yep, they may do that. And who cares if they do? What's the problem? As devs, we design Boss Encounters with the expectation that a player arrives with full health, full MP, and about half a dozen versions of equipment in order to "maintain the challenge". It's something you've already planned for as a dev.

    It's something the OP Dev has already planned for (by saying that their original system works well for boss combat, but doesn't work well for standard combat).

    I fail to see the issue.

    Other than, every so often, if the player hasn't planned their cooldowns effectively, they sit around and wait before a boss fight.

    The only difference between a cooldown system and a regular MP based system is that players will blow their nukes every single turn in an MP system and just regen the MP as necessary to continue dumping the nuke every turn... With a cooldown system, a player may dump the nuke on the first turn, but now they've gotta wait several turns to dump it again. In that time, Defense can go up on the boss, it can heal your damage (and as a dev, why wouldn't you program in the boss to spend the first or second action it has to heal up and undo the damage of a player dropping their nuke the first turn? I WOULD!), it can drop its own nuke to keep you busy while yours recharges... It can give itself invulnerability... or any number of a hundred other things to keep pressure on the player after taking a damage spike. Because, the cooldown system actively prevents the player from keeping the pressure on the boss and keeping damage spikes to a minimum.

    The question of the thread was how to make the Cooldown System work for standard encounters as simply refreshing everything between each battle will just let the player drop all their nukes, all the time, on every random mook, and remove all challenge and strategy from baseline combat, which makes up over 90% of the combat in the game.

    A secondary cooldown system that exists between combat in the form of a real-time timer... well... it prevents players from doing just that, while also communicating that you probably shouldn't be dropping your nukes on baseline enemies as its more trouble than its worth. Basically, it's the same system as Tabletops use to keep you from casting all your nukes on everything in a dungeon. You only get so many casts in a day. Then, you gotta wait and take extended rests if you want more.
     
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