Blizzard Calms the Masses on Skill Cooldowns

Bashiok made a quick forum post in response to the continued unrest and debate caused by his hit and run info bomb the other day, when he said that the Tier Seven Barbarian skills all had 2 minute cooldown times between each use.

Well let’s not get too caught up on still pre-beta balancing. A lot can and probably will change, but the moral of the story for all class skills is that as you move toward the ‘higher level’ skills is that there’s either progressively longer cooldowns, resource costs, or both, and that’s indicative of the power and effect of the skill.

This long cooldown info has proven quite controversial, and our main forum thread about it is well over 100 replies, quite a few of which are from people who are not at all happy about the change. In that light I was surprised that neither Neinball or The Eliminator were necessarily opposed to the concept, as you can hear in today’s Diablo Podcast.

Their reasoning basically matched my own—there are plenty of skills per class and it’ll be up to players to mix spamable attacks with the higher level mega-spells that come with hefty cooldowns. So long as there’s a good variety of attacks, and so long as big spells with big cooldowns do something impressive enough to warrant their cooldown time, it’s not a bad design feature.

As with everything else in the game, it’ll be a lot easier to debate this once we know what all of the skills do and can put the various cooldowns in their proper perspective. Most of the argument at this point stems largely from Bashiok’s airdrop of very limited info, in which he mentioned just the highest level Barbarian skills. Once we know comparative details about the Barb’s mid and low level skills, or the cooldown times for the high level attacks possessed by the other classes, this will all make more sense in context. (And perhaps further enrage the “no cooldown!” advocates.)
Update: Bashiok added a couple of more replies to the thread, making much the same arguments other defenders of the concept of lengthy skill cooldowns have been arguing for. But since he used blue words to do so, they’re extra-convincing!

So teleport has an 8 second cooldown, what about it? For all we know, a Golden rune will decrease the cooldown by 1 second a level, leaving it with a 1 second cooldown with a level 7 rune.Or delay the cooldown from triggering for X seconds…
…Diablo II had a single resource mechanic (mana), and the biggest end game skills in Diablo II are low-to-mid tier skills in Diablo III. The big “end-tier” skills we have are more complex and usually wouldn’t make sense as spammable skills, or would likely outright have to be pulled from the game if it turned out they ever could be spammable. And we have varied resource systems that we can’t just throw a problem-solver at, like Diablo II could with mana potions.

For instance Call of the Ancients literally calls down the four barbarian ancients to fight alongside you. How would that work if it was spammable? Should we make it cost 100% resource to keep you from being able to spam it, and then leave you drained to Cleave back enough Fury to follow it up with anything? That doesn’t sound like something *I* would take. Maybe someone could find a build for it, I don’t know.

Bottom line is that cooldowns allow for skill complexity or power by limiting them in a meaningful way because it can mean long-term balance even as stats inflate. We do want to make sure we’re only using them where appropriate, though.

A ‘cooldown’ as a game mechanic has literally existed for millennia. A basic idea of “you can’t use that multiple times in succession” is not something new, it’s definitely nothing specific to World of Warcraft, and by spending time to make that comparison and belittle others you move further and further away from what could be a meaningful and interesting discussion of game mechanics.

Now if you instead want to state that abilities shouldn’t be as big and complex as to require cooldowns, or there should be one resource system and spammable potions, I think those are completely valid viewpoints to take, they’re just not ones we agree with.

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7 thoughts on “Blizzard Calms the Masses on Skill Cooldowns

  1. “I think those are completely valid viewpoints to take, they’re just not ones we agree with.”

    Well, this is really the best way of finishing such a discussion hehe.

  2. Somehow I think that if they weren’t defensive about the wowification implied here, we wouldn’t need an official wall-of-text on the subject.

  3. Wherz my postz hmz ? I have to repeat myself for future generations… And where is option to queue Blue posts ?

    “Or delay the cooldown from triggering for X seconds…”
    New runestone effect revealed ?

    “For instance Call of the Ancients literally calls down the four barbarian ancients to fight alongside you.”
    Bashiok’s mistake, or they added another Ancient ? 

  4. i think its interesting how he hinted at that rune bonus for teleport. “delay cooldown by X seconds”… so, burst-fire teleports? sounds pretty cool. isn’t that new news? i don’t think i’ve read about that rune bonus before.

  5. Comments from news items posted in the last day before the server move didn’t make it over. Sorry to everyone who got snipped.

    • Flux, I actually don’t see more than 1 comment per post at all from before the switch…

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