Monday, 23 July 2018

The Global Cooldown

The pre-patch has hit and numerous changes have been made to the game. One of those changes is an increase in the number of abilities/actions being added to the global cooldown (GCD) list. I believe so far that this is a good change, even from just a few hours on the pre-patch; to feel the effects and ponder their significance. Let's discuss.

The most evident effect of adding more actions to the GCD list is the change in gameplay pace. Specifically the slowing down of combat actions, such as offensive abilities and buffs. In my case, for example, the Fury Warrior ability Recklessness has added to the GCD. Whereas prior to 8.0 this buff could be cast at any time during combat, unhindered by cool downs, it now requires me to find a specific slot in my rotation to cast it. At first this felt quite alien. 

Although that feeling soon faded for me. In fact I very quickly grew fond of the alteration for it allowed me to exchange multiple instant combat actions, that felt rather un-special, to more strategic noticeable actions. I quite like the idea of seeing my ability brew and take affect before the next comes crashing down. It also means that I would be able to make more sense of, in PVP, what my enemy was doing so that I could react accordingly. Strategically. Being able to see the impact of more abilities rather than a spaghetti mess of actions is something I deem positive. 

Yes, it 'slows down' how much you can do in an instant and I imagine it does (currently) slow the game pace down from start to finish of any encounter, however isn't the point of a each and every fight; to enjoy and feel that your action process i.e. order/choice of abilities cast, is important?

For as long as I can remember, many buffs, such as Recklessness, could be used in conjunction with multiple other abilities and pots (usually in the form of a macro) to form a huge spike in damage or healing. Especially when pulling a boss or engaging with an enemy in PVP. It became the norm to have a pre-set macros with abilities that would all be cast simultaneously to maximise the desired effect, be it damage, healing or survivability. Which would then be used again at pre-timed points of the fight, such as burn phases. To an extent I do agree that macros like these have their place, but I do feel they take away from the fun of actually playing the game. Let me explain my thoughts behind this further.

Swift one shot macro anyone?

If the whole reason for making a macro is to be as efficient as possible to defeat a boss and ultimately enjoy the game, because casting all of those 'special' abilities individually would be too slow, then there seems to be a bigger problem. Despite what your goals are, shouldn't every aspect of the game, especially the core features i.e. casting spells, form an enjoyable and strategic part of it? That is where I believe these GCD design changes are intended to affect. 

Personally, I really enjoy fast and reactionary gameplay, but where it's appropriate. Not condensing combat into tiny windows of burst, following by a standard monotonous rotation. I feel that having that pause give as action more intent and allows the next to be considered more carefully. This also means mistakes are more evident! After all, isn't that at the heart of RPGs like WoW. I'm not for one moment suggesting that the game veers towards turn based combat, far from it, but it would be nice to really appreciate each action we do in game more than we do currently. Not just button mashing until the bar hits zero. It may lay space more more interesting boss fights, given that more attention can be spared for movement and such...

What do you think about this change?

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