Sunday, March 25, 2007

Skill Cooldown

Typical MMORPG behavior includes cool-down periods for skills, particularly spells, which means those skills cannot be used for a period of time after being used, presumably because the character is tired, and to prevent over-usage of a single, powerful skill. This cooldown period also exists for some items, for example potions, and is sometimes shared between skills and potions - fireball 17 has the same cooldown has fireball 1 through 16, but not as firebolt 21 or lightning ball 14. While this principle is based on a good principle, that is, to presume that casting spells tires the caster, I believe that simple cooldown does not accurately depicts exhaustion.

To more properly represent fatigue, it should be stats, not skills, which are on a cooldown. For example, we could decide that the Willpower stat is the base for short-term fatigue, with certain skills being able to increase that. For example, Gerad has an willpower of 14, and took an Arcane Lore sub-skill to increase his short-term magic pool by two. If he decides to cast a spell with an associated short-term cost of 6, he will have 10 more power points immediately available for casting more spells. Those 6 points he expended will start regenerating as soon as he's done casting, so if his regeneration isn't too low (Intelligence? Wisdom?), he will get a few more points available before the end of the fight.

To this you could add long-term fatigue, which few spells use, but regenerates slower, and perhaps some form of meditation, or cheap item buffs for regeneration (Hey, Cooking!). So with this system, you can keep lobbing fireballs as fast as you want, but you'll eventually be too exhausted to cast; it wouldn't hurt if you were ready to give those bad guys a good whack upside down the head, either. As long as you still have mana points, short- and long-term fatigue available, you'll be good enough to win another fight.

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