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Gamasutra - Why I Hate Cooldowns

by Dhruin, 2012-05-04 23:13:56

GameBanshee's Eric Schwarz writes a piece at Gamasutra titled Why I Hate Cooldowns:

If there is one design convention that you can count on being included in almost every modern game (and especially modern RPGs), it's the cooldown.  Conceptually, cooldowns sound great - they allow for easy regulation of a player's abilities through the use of a second meta-game resource, time.  Perhaps it's no surprise that cooldowns have summarily been worked into just about every single type of game out there, both real-time and turn-based.  In fact, cooldowns have become pretty much the de-facto standard for balancing games and designing combat interactions.

I have to be up-front about this: I think cooldowns are, as they are implemented in most titles, bad design.  While they allow for a few upsides, not the least of which is quick and relatively easy balancing, they also have some major drawbacks, often which end up hurting the rest of the game mechanics they interact with.  In this article, I'll be discussing why I think cooldowns aren't compelling as a mechanic, and why they are in most cases simply unnecessary in the first place.

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