Sign in to follow this  

Are cast times necessary?

This topic is 2322 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I find cast times in games really annoying and find that they really don't serve much purpose than to give melee a bigger advantage. I know it might be nice to macro "IMMA CHARGIN MAH FIREBALL!" to spells but I don't think cast times are really needed. It's even more annoying when a player can't move while they're casting and I think some new games are taking the right steps in this regard(Guild Wars 2/The Secret World), where players can move while casting. There's nothing more annoying than trying to cast while a melee is up in your face running literal circles around you and when the cast bar is finally full you get "must be facing target". I don't know maybe I'm missing something but I think a game could do completely fine without having cast times.


What are some design reasons that spells have cast times? Because I can't really think of any.


Sorry, that was kind of a rant. I think all spells should be instant cast with damage based on it's cooldown.

Anyways, as the title says, do you think cast times are really necessary?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One reason to have cast times is to hide latency and to balance the game. In some games you can interrupt spells that are casting, and in many games they add or subtract cast-time based on latency to hide the delay. Other than that, I have no opinion on it. Anarchy Online (an older MMO) did it well and I really liked it especially as a healer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Butabee' timestamp='1312612662' post='4845345']
What are some design reasons that spells have cast times? Because I can't really think of any.
[/quote]

You pretty much answer that your self:

[quote name='Butabee' timestamp='1312612662' post='4845345']
I find cast times in games really annoying and find that they really don't serve much purpose than to give melee a bigger advantage.
[/quote]

Casting time is, to give melee a chance vs ranged, to balance the combat. Due to the fact that ranged can start attacking you while you are still far away, they get a significant upper hand by the time you reach to them, most of the cases (unless you see them first). And by time you reach them, I doubt you'd want them being able to continue instant nuking you with fire balls of doom. That is just a different playstyle.

If you were to remove cast times, you would need to redesign ranged classes from the core imho, giving them more survive ability buecause they would have lower damage, etc etc.

Another aspect of cast times, at least for me is that it gives you bigger immersion of you charging that powerful spell, rather then just summoning it out of no where in an instant. Bigger satisfaction? I duno.

I would suggest you trying to play a melee class for a change in a MMO, and every time you attack a caster you ask your self, "What would this be like if he could throw all his fireballs at me without any casting time", since I get a feeling you are a pure caster your self :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some thoughts:[list][*]Cast times adds more depth to combat, imo. For example, it allows you to read your opponent actions before they happen. Imagine not having cast time on crowd controls. You wouldn't be able to interrupt them, LoS (line of sight) them or use defensive cooldowns to minimise damage.[*]Cool little features like countering a Polymorph with SW:Death (WoW) wouldn't be possible either. If you don't know what it means, it basically involves casting a spell that damages yourself if it doesn't kill the target but if timed correctly, that damage will break the Polymorph which is a spell that turns you into an cute critter.[*]In addition it would completely remove the "fake cast" aspect of PvP combat, which I think is pretty cool.[*]If abilities didn't have cast time, they would all have to be equally powerful since all can be used equally fast. Optionally have long cooldown on the more powerful ones. This could end up as a cooldown management nightmare.[*]If introduced to an existing game with cast times, it would involve major healing balancing because healing in PvP would be much more potent (given that the game features some kind of interrupts, which at this point would be pointless) but it wouldn't affect PvE healing much.[*]EDIT: Come to think of it, high damage spells would have to be greatly nerfed and casters wouldn't be allowed to have anything high burst. Long cooldown wouldn't justify it either. Here why: Since there's no cast time, there no way to pre-emptively see it nor interrupt it. It's easy to sync up high-burst abilities if you're using some kind of VoIP. Bottom-line: Casters could easily sync up a very high burst that could potentially instantly kill someone and it would't be noticeable in any way which means that it can't be avoided.[/list]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rather than eliminating cast times you should look to improve the casting system.

All spells being instant is not the answer. Perhaps you can add "chants" to a spell so that there is an audible/written tip on what is being cast and a reason for the spell to take time to cast. I remember fighting in UO as any character being able to see what the enemies were thinking of landing, it displayed the spell words above the caster, on me so I could react accordingly.

I think that casters need more utility added to their repertoire rather than just damage spells. Bring back the diversity in spells! Give them some more fight altering capabilities that aren't limited to targeting a player. Why not bring back abilities that provide function to the players outside of purely killing enemies? Wall of Stone/Fire/etc. If you are uphill from your enemy... an Avalanche ability that knocks players back and damages them slightly. Options, but provide requirements other than just mana.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Cronnix' timestamp='1312625984' post='4845375']
[quote name='Butabee' timestamp='1312612662' post='4845345']
What are some design reasons that spells have cast times? Because I can't really think of any.
[/quote]

You pretty much answer that your self:

[quote name='Butabee' timestamp='1312612662' post='4845345']
I find cast times in games really annoying and find that they really don't serve much purpose than to give melee a bigger advantage.
[/quote]

Casting time is, to give melee a chance vs ranged, to balance the combat. Due to the fact that ranged can start attacking you while you are still far away, they get a significant upper hand by the time you reach to them, most of the cases (unless you see them first). And by time you reach them, I doubt you'd want them being able to continue instant nuking you with fire balls of doom. That is just a different playstyle.

If you were to remove cast times, you would need to redesign ranged classes from the core imho, giving them more survive ability buecause they would have lower damage, etc etc.

Another aspect of cast times, at least for me is that it gives you bigger immersion of you charging that powerful spell, rather then just summoning it out of no where in an instant. Bigger satisfaction? I duno.

I would suggest you trying to play a melee class for a change in a MMO, and every time you attack a caster you ask your self, "What would this be like if he could throw all his fireballs at me without any casting time", since I get a feeling you are a pure caster your self :P
[/quote]

Actually, I mostly play melee because I hate the casting mechanics. If they were improved I'd play more casters though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Butabee' timestamp='1312661906' post='4845526']
[quote name='Cronnix' timestamp='1312625984' post='4845375']
[quote name='Butabee' timestamp='1312612662' post='4845345']
What are some design reasons that spells have cast times? Because I can't really think of any.
[/quote]

You pretty much answer that your self:

[quote name='Butabee' timestamp='1312612662' post='4845345']
I find cast times in games really annoying and find that they really don't serve much purpose than to give melee a bigger advantage.
[/quote]

Casting time is, to give melee a chance vs ranged, to balance the combat. Due to the fact that ranged can start attacking you while you are still far away, they get a significant upper hand by the time you reach to them, most of the cases (unless you see them first). And by time you reach them, I doubt you'd want them being able to continue instant nuking you with fire balls of doom. That is just a different playstyle.

If you were to remove cast times, you would need to redesign ranged classes from the core imho, giving them more survive ability buecause they would have lower damage, etc etc.

Another aspect of cast times, at least for me is that it gives you bigger immersion of you charging that powerful spell, rather then just summoning it out of no where in an instant. Bigger satisfaction? I duno.

I would suggest you trying to play a melee class for a change in a MMO, and every time you attack a caster you ask your self, "What would this be like if he could throw all his fireballs at me without any casting time", since I get a feeling you are a pure caster your self :P
[/quote]

Actually, I mostly play melee because I hate the casting mechanics. If they were improved I'd play more casters though.
[/quote]

What improvements, other than making spells instant cast, would you like to see made in order to make casters more appealing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One of the reasons for spell cast time is because you can One-Hit-Kill any other characters with your spells. If casters had no cast time, they'd be broken due to their damage out put, so yes, they are necessary.

The problem here is the damage output is always X, so in turn the cast time must always be Y to make sure you cannot do X damage too frequently for balance issues and such.

If you use cooldown instead of cast time to justify spell power, you'll see alot of mages doing nothing for a few minutes after unleashing their full combo. You do not want this to happen, especially if the fight lasts for more than a few minutes.
Remove "Cast Time" and replace it with "Charge Time". Release the "Charge" whenever you want. If your spell is fully "Charged", you do 100% damage. Scale spellpower according to how much the spell have been "Charged" before release. [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx-iLArPDPU&playnext=1&list=PL2AE19B52158F8704"]You know, like how Megaman does it?[/url]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='taneugene' timestamp='1312664464' post='4845537']
One of the reasons for spell cast time is because you can One-Hit-Kill any other characters with your spells. If casters had no cast time, they'd be broken due to their damage out put, so yes, they are necessary.

The problem here is the damage output is always X, so in turn the cast time must always be Y to make sure you cannot do X damage too frequently for balance issues and such.

If you use cooldown instead of cast time to justify spell power, you'll see alot of mages doing nothing for a few minutes after unleashing their full combo. You do not want this to happen, especially if the fight lasts for more than a few minutes.
Remove "Cast Time" and replace it with "Charge Time". Release the "Charge" whenever you want. If your spell is fully "Charged", you do 100% damage. Scale spellpower according to how much the spell have been "Charged" before release. [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx-iLArPDPU&playnext=1&list=PL2AE19B52158F8704"]You know, like how Megaman does it?[/url]
[/quote]


This is actually a good idea but it's kinda like just having spammable low damage spells. But thanks for the idea, best one I've heard so far. At least this way a caster with a melee in their face can output some damage without nuking the melees ass off with a powerful instant cast.

Are you talking about DND with one shot spells? That's the only game I've played where spells can one shot, most other games that isn't the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There's a million ways to make a game. Cast time is absolutely not necessary. The above posters make an excellent case that it has a role in many games, but you have to make this decision in light of other aspects of the game. You wrote:

"There's nothing more annoying than trying to cast while a melee is up in your face"

This is a game with a spatial mechanic in battles. You have to perform combat maneuvering; you have to get into a position where you can cast while the melee character is [i]not in your face[/i].

Mario RPG has no spatial mechanics. You have some characters standing in a line on a board and they attack in turns. There is no "cast time" but there's also no "in your face" and so on. It's a different game.

Old Final Fantasy has a light spatial mechanic; you have front and back rows. Melee and "ranged" attacks then have an advantage depending on what row a character is in and the row of the character he's interacting with (attacking, being attacked by). There is a charge time but it's decoupled from the rest of it and magic spell charging is only [i]theatrics[/i].

Legend of Mana has a slight spell charging and different spells cast on different ranges (spatially). An enemy may maneuver out of their way. You should maneuver to a position that puts your enemy deepest into your cast zone, and [i]mind the actions of other characters as it may stall the enemy's maneuvering.

[/i]These are the things you're thinking about here. Understand? The games your playing have cast time in a certain context; it affects the actions you're taking, the short and long term goals, the tactics and strategies, etc.

If you remove it, all of that can [i]break[/i] and may need to be [i]changed[/i]. Nothing uniquely special about cast times, but it is a gameplay element and [i]it has to jive with elements around it[/i]. You cannot look at it in isolation. You might as well ask "can I play Chess if I don't have movement restrictions?" It's not Chess anymore and such a change can break the game. You can, however, make up a different game that doesn't have movement restrictions (or movement at all).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='JoeCooper' timestamp='1312688063' post='4845648']
There's a million ways to make a game. Cast time is absolutely not necessary. The above posters make an excellent case that it has a role in many games, but you have to make this decision in light of other aspects of the game. You wrote:

"There's nothing more annoying than trying to cast while a melee is up in your face"

This is a game with a spatial mechanic in battles. You have to perform combat maneuvering; you have to get into a position where you can cast while the melee character is [i]not in your face[/i].

Mario RPG has no spatial mechanics. You have some characters standing in a line on a board and they attack in turns. There is no "cast time" but there's also no "in your face" and so on. It's a different game.

Old Final Fantasy has a light spatial mechanic; you have front and back rows. Melee and "ranged" attacks then have an advantage depending on what row a character is in and the row of the character he's interacting with (attacking, being attacked by). There is a charge time but it's decoupled from the rest of it and magic spell charging is only [i]theatrics[/i].

Legend of Mana has a slight spell charging and different spells cast on different ranges (spatially). An enemy may maneuver out of their way. You should maneuver to a position that puts your enemy deepest into your cast zone, and [i]mind the actions of other characters as it may stall the enemy's maneuvering.

[/i]These are the things you're thinking about here. Understand? The games your playing have cast time in a certain context; it affects the actions you're taking, the short and long term goals, the tactics and strategies, etc.

If you remove it, all of that can [i]break[/i] and may need to be [i]changed[/i]. Nothing uniquely special about cast times, but it is a gameplay element and [i]it has to jive with elements around it[/i]. You cannot look at it in isolation. You might as well ask "can I play Chess if I don't have movement restrictions?" It's not Chess anymore and such a change can break the game. You can, however, make up a different game that doesn't have movement restrictions (or movement at all).
[/quote]

JoeCooper, I dig this post.

You clarified it excellently.

Providing spells that give the caster a means to keep their target at a distance or defensive measures to counter the target in another form is also something to keep in mind. Spells can be more than just damage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Caldenfor' timestamp='1312689360' post='4845652']
Providing spells that give the caster a means to keep their target at a distance or defensive measures to counter the target in another form is also something to keep in mind. Spells can be more than just damage.
[/quote]

That's pretty much what your generic caster is about in modern MMOs, keeping target away from yourself with crowd control spells in order to be able to cast spells. One can see an increasing trend in instant spells added to those classes lately thou.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You don't need cast and cool down times. You can work around destroying latency. Cast time is just to provide challenge to the game in the form of strategy. To bad it was the only thing they can come up with instead of layering spell strengths and weakness in a advanced infrastructure. you cast ice, fire hits you, you die. You cast fire, water hits you, bolt of lightning strikes, you die. No depth in current mmog today, don't expect much depth from much else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You want to see how it would be if casters had 0 cast time ? play league of legends.
You have 100% hp. Annie kills you at lv 6 with her blink 0.17sec (depending latency) auto-hotkey macro. Too bad you were under tower, annie lost 240 hp from the tower, she doesnt care. gg now she will proceed to get her pentakills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As has been mentioned a few times already, it's part of balance and more importantly the underlying game system. I think the Mario RPG example is a good one, it's a completely different mechanic.

In MMOs like WoW and Everquest, it's just a means to justify an end: that players do X DPS. Developers can adjust casting times and damage to make X whatever they want. Anything else is secondary.

It's the secondary stuff that I'd like to see developers play around with a bit more myself. In both WoW and Everquest, it was possible to interrupt most spells by either using a special interrupt ability or stunning the NPC. I'd like to see more options for dealing with it though. In WoW for example, fireballs chase you down. It's all but impossible to actually dodge them (only once or twice did I manage to outrange the spell, and it will fly through walls or whatever it needs to do to hit you). In EQ, I don't think it's possible to outrun spells at all once the NPC begins to cast it, since they hit instantly.

Why not make it possible to dodge magic, or use terrain to help? If you do things like that, then it's not necessary to roll all of the balance into spell cast timers and reuse timers. Faster casting spells that are easier to see coming and avoid might spice things up a bit.

I suspect the real answer to that is that it makes the game more skill based, like an FPS or a related game. I don't really see that as a problem myself, because otherwise people demand that skill be incorporated in other ways that are far more artificial (i.e. "He's using firebolt, I have 1.5 seconds to cast Mind Freeze, except I just used up my last Frost Rune!"). It also makes the AI more abusable though...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Telgin' timestamp='1312821867' post='4846243']
As has been mentioned a few times already, it's part of balance and more importantly the underlying game system. I think the Mario RPG example is a good one, it's a completely different mechanic.

In MMOs like WoW and Everquest, it's just a means to justify an end: that players do X DPS. Developers can adjust casting times and damage to make X whatever they want. Anything else is secondary.

It's the secondary stuff that I'd like to see developers play around with a bit more myself. In both WoW and Everquest, it was possible to interrupt most spells by either using a special interrupt ability or stunning the NPC. I'd like to see more options for dealing with it though. In WoW for example, fireballs chase you down. It's all but impossible to actually dodge them (only once or twice did I manage to outrange the spell, and it will fly through walls or whatever it needs to do to hit you). In EQ, I don't think it's possible to outrun spells at all once the NPC begins to cast it, since they hit instantly.

Why not make it possible to dodge magic, or use terrain to help? If you do things like that, then it's not necessary to roll all of the balance into spell cast timers and reuse timers. Faster casting spells that are easier to see coming and avoid might spice things up a bit.

I suspect the real answer to that is that it makes the game more skill based, like an FPS or a related game. I don't really see that as a problem myself, because otherwise people demand that skill be incorporated in other ways that are far more artificial (i.e. "He's using firebolt, I have 1.5 seconds to cast Mind Freeze, except I just used up my last Frost Rune!"). It also makes the AI more abusable though...
[/quote]

If I recall correctly, bolt spells in Dark Age of Camelot could "miss" their targets. They were treated more like an arrow than a magical spell.

What you are discussing needs to also include Resist Rates. Resist rates can help fill the void of "dodging" spells so to speak.

If a spell goes from point A to point B, caster to target, I feel that an accuracy roll should be required. If a spell does not travel, but is cast directly on the target, dodging shouldn't be an option. Latency is also a factor to keep in mind. Generally the hit or miss is determined upon casting, not upon hitting, the target as a work around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Telgin' timestamp='1312821867' post='4846243']
As has been mentioned a few times already, it's part of balance and more importantly the underlying game system. I think the Mario RPG example is a good one, it's a completely different mechanic.

In MMOs like WoW and Everquest, it's just a means to justify an end: that players do X DPS. Developers can adjust casting times and damage to make X whatever they want. Anything else is secondary.

It's the secondary stuff that I'd like to see developers play around with a bit more myself. In both WoW and Everquest, it was possible to interrupt most spells by either using a special interrupt ability or stunning the NPC. I'd like to see more options for dealing with it though. In WoW for example, fireballs chase you down. It's all but impossible to actually dodge them (only once or twice did I manage to outrange the spell, and it will fly through walls or whatever it needs to do to hit you). In EQ, I don't think it's possible to outrun spells at all once the NPC begins to cast it, since they hit instantly.

Why not make it possible to dodge magic, or use terrain to help? If you do things like that, then it's not necessary to roll all of the balance into spell cast timers and reuse timers. Faster casting spells that are easier to see coming and avoid might spice things up a bit.

I suspect the real answer to that is that it makes the game more skill based, like an FPS or a related game. I don't really see that as a problem myself, because otherwise people demand that skill be incorporated in other ways that are far more artificial (i.e. "He's using firebolt, I have 1.5 seconds to cast Mind Freeze, except I just used up my last Frost Rune!"). It also makes the AI more abusable though...
[/quote]

I was actually planning on making a game where most spells have a travel time and can be manually dodged instead of making all spells have homing devices.

I'm not %100 percent on how I'm gonna handle casting but I was thinking of giving them a charge mechanic as mentioned earlier, and players also can move while casting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This topic is 2322 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this