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Why are so many abilities non-recastable?


(XBOX)KayAitch
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There are a lot of non-recastable abilities, ones where you cannot recast until the previous has timed-out/been depleted.

In every case of this I've come across so far it would be objectively more fun to be able to cast the ability again, lose whatever was left over of the previous cast and start again.

Valkyr could recast Warcry to catch more allies in its range, instead of waiting for it to expire.

Rhino could recast Iron Skin when it has 3 points left instead of looking for an isolated weak enemy to deplete it for him so he won't get one-shotted during the gap before the next cast (and then be too far away from the high DPS that can boost it on cast).

Mesa wouldn't have to run away and hide while the last few seconds of Shattershield tick down.

And so on. I can't think of any abilities where gameplay was improved by having to stall to recast them. Maybe it's a mechanic that made more sense when content was lower level, but too many abilities are critical in the top tiers of sorties, arbitrations, ESO, etc. You can't survive at that level without the ability being up, 

It's notable that this mechanic tends to not be on more recently designed and reworked frames.

Can we just make all abilities recastable?

Edited by (XB1)KayAitch
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If I have to guess I´d say they don´t want you to have them active all the time because it would essentially be an aura without the toggle disadvantage.

Since the energy management is an unreliable restriction for ability spam and they don´t want cooldown timer this is one way to do it.

Feels kinda clunky and there are better solutions for sure. I think the question is whether they are prioritizing those things or have time to work on them. The solution isn´t simple and probably needs a bigger systematic approach if you want to do it right.

For example your idea for Rhino wouldn´t really change anything. There are very few cases where it matters whether you have 0 or 3 points left before you can recast Iron Skin. However if this value is just slightly higher this ability becomes always active again. Depends on your setup though which is one reason you can´t just add a fix number.

Edited by Arcira
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It gives a window of vulnerability to frames forcing the player to pay attention or suffer the consequences.

Take Chroma for example. Before you could re-cast Vex there was a notable difference between playing Chroma well and poorly.

Now that players can cast Vex whenever they want and don't have to watch their shields at the same time Chroma is far less... dare I say? Skillful to play. Some abilities warrant refresh like Valkyr's Warcry and some should be deactivated then reactivated like Nova's Null Star and Rhino's Iron Skin but Defense abilities shouldn't be simple refresh things. It removes a lot of the needed attention to play them well.

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There's probably more, but the only ones I can think of that really bother me are Warcry and, to a less extent, Null Star.  In both cases, because their effects are unpredictable.  (Null Star because its behavior is unpredictable, Warcry, because -squads- are unpredictable.)

But in a lot of cases I think have to develop a feel for timers isn't a bad thing.

Actually, I guess one  thing is we can deactivate and refresh by jumping off the map.  So I suppose I couldn't object to  manual deactivation  if that janky workaround is never going to get fixed.  Things like the invuln at the end of  Nezha's halo would need dealt with, obviously.

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It's probably because they make you think about the abilities and actively manage your combat. You want to not die as a Zephyr player? You have to ensure that when Turbulence runs out you're at a point where the downtime between ability end and re-cast taking effect doesn't get you killed by a random sniper or shotgun crewman that you weren't paying attention to before.

Same with Warcry or any of the others. If you want to ensure that you're getting the best out of the ability you need to be aware of the state of the ability in a more active fashion.

Putting recast on an ability that you have to actively build up, like Chroma's Vex Armour, is sensible because you're trying to maintain that buff for as long as possible and you're penalised for not having recast it in time to maintain it. But for others the effect doesn't get any better, it stays the same or even decays, so you have to be aware of your timers and ready to do the required little shuffles that refresh them when it's necessary.

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4 hours ago, (XB1)KayAitch said:

Can we just make all abilities recastable?

Given it is part of some abilities balance to leave a window of vulnerability, this would not leave these abilities unchanged. Expect survival and buff abilities to get nerfs. Utility to get less... utility.

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34 minutes ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

If you want to ensure that you're getting the best out of the ability you need to be aware of the state of the ability in a more active fashion

 

57 minutes ago, Tiltskillet said:

But in a lot of cases I think have to develop a feel for timers isn't a bad thing

Making them recastable doesn't change that. It's not the need to recast I'm taking about, it's the fact that you have to let them drop first. 

The spinning plates mechanic is great, it's that you have to let them smash that I don't like.

So, for instance, it's not that knowing Shatter Shield is about to run out and timing the next cast that's the problem, it's that I have to leave the current combat to do so or risk getting one shot in the gap. That doesn't feel like balance, it just feels annoying.

38 minutes ago, peterc3 said:

Given it is part of some abilities balance to leave a window of vulnerability, this would not leave these abilities unchanged

I'm not so sure. Never mind that Warframe isn't really about balance, most of these only really become an issue in the very late game, and there only a subset of frames survive anyway.

3 hours ago, Xzorn said:

Now that players can cast Vex whenever they want and don't have to watch their shields at the same time Chroma is far less... dare I say? Skillful to play. Some abilities warrant refresh like Valkyr's Warcry and some should be deactivated then reactivated like Nova's Null Star and Rhino's Iron Skin but Defense abilities shouldn't be simple refresh things. It removes a lot of the needed attention to play them well.

Maybe, but I found him more fun to play. I totally agree that some abilities would be better with a toggle.

In some newer designed frames they have great synergies - take Gara: her 2 is not recastable, but her 4 refreshes it and using her 1 on her 4 stacks damage to ludicrous levels. You can run round doing millions of damage to anything that gets close, but you're constantly keeping that spinning plate timer up. That's a fun defence ability with a timer thay's engaging to play. 

I don't think it's a problem for defence abilities to be recastable, especially as most should cancel the previous.

4 hours ago, Arcira said:

For example your idea for Rhino wouldn´t really change anything. There are very few cases where it matters whether you have 0 or 3 points left before you can recast Iron Skin.

Except with 3 left you can't recast it, and with 0 you can. So, knowing you're about to dive into a pitched battle where you can expect to lose 15-30 or so what do you do? It's not a problem with most of the star chart, but deep into arbitration or when carrying Index points? 

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1 minute ago, (XB1)KayAitch said:

Making them recastable doesn't change that. It's not the need to recast I'm taking about, it's the fact that you have to let them drop first.

That's what I specifically was talking about, though, were you not on the same page there?

The effect ending is so that you are actively managing your state based on that timer.

PvP games manage this by putting cool-downs on abilities, so you use them, get the effect, the effect ends, and you then have to wait to use it again. Since Warframe is a PvE game, though, the balance doesn't need to be so harsh. It still needs to have that balance of when you cast, the effect lasts a certain amount of time, and then you have to recast, but the difference here is that the duration of the effect lasts the entire time a cool-down would in a PvP game.

It's a game design choice so that you can't maintain a permanent state of benefit to yourself without consequence. So there is the risk in every cast of your abilities that you might be in a non-desirable situation when the ability, when the effect, ends, this then forces you to be aware of when the ability ends and to ensure that you aren't in a bad place when it does.

Otherwise you would have no other limitation on the cast than 'oh, I have to remember to press a button some time in the next 40 seconds'. When the game Devs want you to think 'oh, I need to make sure I'm out of direct line of sight when my Invisibility/Defense/Enemy Debuff cast ends so that I don't get killed'.

It makes you take strategic courses of action, moving when you wouldn't normally move, disengaging from combat when you would normally just plow on through. Not to mention it even keeps your Energy Economy in a better state, because you're not constantly re-casting during the cast and wasting part of your initial cast.

It's subtle, true, because Warframe is a fast-paced horde-based shooter, but it's there. An in-built system where many abilities have a deliberate weak-point in them by making sure the effect ends before you can refresh it, to ensure you're actually active in managing your abilities.

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45 minutes ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

It's a game design choice so that you can't maintain a permanent state of benefit to yourself without consequence

These abilities cost energy, they're not free. Like you go on to say

50 minutes ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

it even keeps your Energy Economy in a better state, because you're not constantly re-casting during the cast and wasting part of your initial cast.

That's the cost when you can recast - you need to get the most out of your energy you can't just spam them.

47 minutes ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

Otherwise you would have no other limitation on the cast than 'oh, I have to remember to press a button some time in the next 40 seconds'.

About the same number of abilities again work exactly like that. Another group just reset/restart or allow you to turn them off.

54 minutes ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

When the game Devs want you to think 'oh, I need to make sure I'm out of direct line of sight when my Invisibility/Defense/Enemy Debuff cast ends so that I don't get killed

I think they did, back when Warframe was much more of a cover shooter, but that's not the content they're adding now. That's not how they design new frames, and it's the same reason shields are so weak at higher levels. Running and hiding just isn't the fun part of Warframe.

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14 minutes ago, (XB1)KayAitch said:

These abilities cost energy, they're not free. Like you go on to say

I think you're missing the point of me saying that there's a cost beyond the energy. The 'consequence' I mentioned is the time of not having the buff as part of the cost in addition to the energy.

15 minutes ago, (XB1)KayAitch said:

About the same number of abilities again work exactly like that. Another group just reset/restart or allow you to turn them off.

Well, give me examples of which ones don't fit the parameters I've already given. Abilities that are cast, but don't get the full benefits until you build them up, are usually recastable, while abilities that provide exactly the same effect throughout or decay over time as part of their cost are not.

Part of the cost of abilities like Iron Skin is that you cannot recast it until you deplete it, simply because it would allow you to provide yourself with total damage and status immunity for an entire mission with no drawbacks. Even the augment doesn't do that, you have to actually break your Iron Skin, leaving yourself vulnerable, and then re-apply it to get the most benefit to the ability. If you time that poorly, or if you don't manage to catch all the enemies you thought you would in the stun from the de-cast, you can die just as easily as if you waited for it to drain normally, plus you're losing a mod slot for that effect.

20 minutes ago, (XB1)KayAitch said:

I think they did, back when Warframe was much more of a cover shooter, but that's not the content they're adding now. That's not how they design new frames, and it's the same reason shields are so weak at higher levels. Running and hiding just isn't the fun part of Warframe.

The most effective way of reducing damage, for any and every frame, is to not be taking it in the first place. True before, true now. Cover is just as important now as it's always been. One of the main things I teach new players when they start is to actually take cover when they need to. Even the tanks in Warframe aren't actually tanks, they have limited DR and you never want to actually draw Aggro even if you have DR. When you can literally duck behind a pillar, or around a corner, while you reload, while you recast an ability or when you just need to not get knocked down by a rocket, why would you not?

Takes less than a second with how mobile we are, and a corner is even better than a defense ability without costing a single bit of energy.

But that's kind of off-topic.

Besides, the reason shields are weak at higher levels is because of the damage system, they're weak at all levels and never worth modding for individually. You'd be better off taking any of the health mods than you are a shield mod, even the Gladiator health mod if it comes to that, because of the way Status works too.

Again, off topic.

The game is designed with everything having a cost, almost nothing comes for free, and what people think of as 'free' actually comes with more than a bit of investment and time.

Energy is not the only cost to consider when creating a Warframe. One of them is how to make sure that a powerful defensive ability has a weakness to it. Like the difference between Vex Armour and Shatter Shield. Both of them can cause the frame to reach 95% Damage reduction, however in Chroma's case this has to be built up and in Mesa's it's instantaneous. For Chroma, however, there is an actual penalty for not re-casting the ability in that he loses all of the damage reduction (and the damage boosting) and has to start again from scratch. In Mesa's case there is no penalty other than having to re-cast over a time of a single second and instantly have that back.

But thinking of Mesa, have you ever wondered why she has Shatter Shield with a base of 25 seconds, but Shooting Gallery has a base of 30? It's exactly the same thing as I said earlier; you can't sync up the times, modding for duration only makes the disparity more pronounced. Very, very rarely will these two abilities ever align in recast time, and so you have to be consistently aware of two different timers if you want to maintain your best survivability. 

It's the cost beyond Energy. Energy in Warframe is no different than Ammo. So there has to be some small drawbacks that make sure that something so easy to come by as Energy (especially for players that have more time in the game thanks to Zenurik, investment into Energy Restores and so on) is not the only factor on how Warframes have to be handled.

You see?

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54 minutes ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

Well, give me examples of which ones don't fit the parameters I've already given

Octavia's Mallet, Gara's glass wall, in fact I think most of the static effect ones do. Fixed duration abilities that reset on recast are fairly common.

58 minutes ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

Like the difference between Vex Armour and Shatter Shield. Both of them can cause the frame to reach 95% Damage reduction, however in Chroma's case this has to be built up and in Mesa's it's instantaneous.

Vex armour is a more flexible and general ability than Mesa's, which only blocks projectiles and can't buff damage. Making Mesa's ability recastable wouldn't make her better than Chroma in the places where he's good - he's still going to be good at Eidolon hunting, while she's still useless at it, for instance.

1 hour ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

But thinking of Mesa, have you ever wondered why she has Shatter Shield with a base of 25 seconds, but Shooting Gallery has a base of 30?

I know. That was what I was trying to get at with the spinning plates analogy. Mesa's a great frame, but her abilities are clunky and juggling timers is a poor substitute for well designed synergies between abilities. She remains good because the abilities are all individually good (except her 1) they just don't really work together (yeah, it's useful to fire them at the same time, but that's not the same thing).

Compare those mismatched timers to Harrow, Nidus, Gara, etc - you can see how far DE have come in game design. I'd far rather have abilities that played off each other, but in lieu of a rework like that (and a successful frame like Mesa is very far down anyone's rework list) just making her 2 & 3 recastable would be a big QoL fix.

And I don't disagree, you're right: maybe it takes a little bit more skill to keep those plates spinning, but it's not a hard thing to deal with, it's an annoying thing to deal with. All the non-recastable abilities are. I've played enough Mesa that those timers are second nature, but that doesn't stop them being an annoyance.

1 hour ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

You see?

I do. I agree that some cost balance other than energy can add a fun dynamic, I just don't think waiting out of combat should ever be one of those additional costs.

 

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20 hours ago, (XB1)KayAitch said:

Octavia's Mallet, Gara's glass wall, in fact I think most of the static effect ones do

These are outliers, it's true, well found. Gara's wall is far less so, because it features the recast specifically because it breaks in partitions, is a weak ability that only scales up with enemies in range, and because it's the way to specifically refresh her Splinter Storm and use the hidden infinite damage scaling inherent in that synergy.

But then again, Mallet isn't even a defense cast, it's an Aggro Damage cast, and most of those have a recast, like Magnetise... so we're kind of even on that.

20 hours ago, (XB1)KayAitch said:

I do. I agree that some cost balance other than energy can add a fun dynamic, I just don't think waiting out of combat should ever be one of those additional costs.

But here's where you're kind of making mountains out of molehills.

Knowing that there's a one or, at most, two second down-time in your ability does not make you spend time waiting out of combat. If you know it's there and you're aware of your timers, Warframes are so incredibly mobile that moving behind cover or disengaging from a fight takes less than a second, you recast, and you're immediately back in the fight.

The difference is that to be actively playing the frame and able to cover for its weaknesses is not a laborious task. Warframe is so fast-paced that you can compensate for casting time in the blink of an eye.

It's purely there to make sure that you are experiencing weaknesses where appropriate and not some unstoppable mission-stomping force that has absolutely no drawbacks to their powerful defense abilities.

Four seconds, total, is the most you should ever be out of combat, with any recast-needing ability, but it's important to note that those seconds are built in to make you think about them, be aware of them, and not play stupid with your amazing Tenno-driven power.

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22 hours ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

But here's where you're kind of making mountains out of molehills

Meh, I'm groping about an annoyance, it's what forums are for.

22 hours ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

Knowing that there's a one or, at most, two second down-time in your ability does not make you spend time waiting out of combat

2s during which high level enemies or with Index nerfs you can easily be one shot. You're not waiting for that 2s, you're waiting for however long you think the combat will last. So if you have 8s left but you know the noxes and bombards in that room will take 10s to kill you're left either rolling the dice (which is fine in the star chart, but not what you want to be doing deep in arbitration or index), or waiting 8s so that you're not recasting mid fight.

22 hours ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

If you know it's there and you're aware of your timers

I have the timings down, that isn't the issue. I can totally pop that ability the instant it goes down, and I've been one-shotted mid casting animation, so itcs definitely something I want to about 

I think we'll have to agree to disagree in this one. I find it annoying and unnecessary, you find it a rewarding challenge.

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