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Butabee

Are cast times necessary?

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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?

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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.

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


You pretty much answer that your self:


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.


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

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Some thoughts:
  • 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.

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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.

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[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.


You pretty much answer that your self:


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.


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.

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[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.


You pretty much answer that your self:


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.


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?

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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. You know, like how Megaman does it?

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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. You know, like how Megaman does it?



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.

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