Cooldown Manipulation

Cooldown refers to how abilities are given "time intervals" to be used again to prevent the players from spamming them over and over. Some video games, however, give ways for players to manipulate the cooldown for tactical uses.

This can take the form of, but is not limited to, extending the enemy's ability cooldown (so they can attack less often), or speeding up or negating one's ability cooldown (so one can attack more often). This kind of ability can be a Game-Breaker if not regulated fairly.

In a Combatant Cooldown System, an ability like this can be used to achieve an equivalent of a Stun Lock.

Compare Reduced Mana Cost for another way abilities in games can be managed.

Examples:

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     Action RPG 
  • In Diablo III, Cooldown Reduction is a prized property in the game's Randomly Generated Loot for certain character builds, especially in the late game. Many characters have abilities that give them massive buffs for a limited time; it is possible to bring the cooldowns low enough that they can stay in a perpetual buffed-up state.
  • In Path of Exile, Flicker Strike and Cold Snap have cooldowns that can be bypassed by using a Frenzy or Power Charge, respectively. Cue builds based around spamming these skills.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • Grandia II uses a Combatant Cooldown System and every character has access to a "special" basic attack, which deals far less damage than the "combo" attack and the spells, but resets the target's global cooldown, potentially preventing them from acting at all.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Many titles, beginning with Final Fantasy IV, use an Active Time Battle system in which characters cool down at different rates. Several Standard Status Effects speed, slow, or stop the rate of cooldown: namely, Haste, Slow, and Stop.
    • Final Fantasy X has the attacks Delay Attack and Delay Buster, which increase the amount of time until the targeted enemy can take its next action, and Quick Hit, which has a much faster cooldown than a standard attack.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: Here, cooldowns appear in form of the Custom Gauge, the gauge that will fill itself and, when full, lets you access the Custom Screen to load Battle Chips, after which the gauge will be reset to 0 and fill itself again. There exist chips that lets you manipulate this gauge:
    • Slow Gauge slows down the filling of the gauge. Commonly used when you just like to take your time for your tactics, or, if you use Custom Sword or Custom Volt, chips that get stronger as the gauge fills and, when used, reset the gauge to 0.
    • Fast Gauge makes the gauge fill faster, allowing you to get chips faster. Full Custom is its stronger counterpart; using it instantly fills the gauge to full.
  • Golden Sun:
    • After Djinn are used to summon a spirit, they need to recover and are unavailable for use, becoming available one at a time per turn, in the order they were used. The Mercury Djinni Eddy resets one Djinn per character in a single turn.
    • The Jupiter Djinni Kite gives one character an extra turn on the turn after it's used.
    • The Bonus Boss Valukar can use your own summons against you, after which your Djinn will need to recover. Thankfully he often uses this ability without waiting for strong, multi-Djinn summons to be available.
    • In the second and third games, some enemies have abilities that put Djinn in the recovery state one or two at a time. One of the (many) reasons the Dullahan is so feared is because he can force every Djinn on every character into recovery (an ability shared with the Final Boss), not only massively lowering their stats, but also depriving them of Summon Magic, group healing and revive spells.
  • In Child of Light, every character in combat enters a "preparation phase" between them selecting a move and using it, and if they are attacked during this phase, the attack is interrupted and they are moved further down the cooldown meter. A lot of the tactical elements of combat arise from attacking enemies in their preparation phase to interrupt them, and knowing when to defend instead of attack if you think an enemy will interrupt you before you can finish preparing.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time's Fury Gauge denotes how many actions they can take in battle, with the character needing to stand still for it to refill (attacking expends Fury, moving prevents it from refilling). Some skills allow the player to limit Fury use by certain percentages and amounts to pile on more hits.

    First Person Shooters 

    Idle Games 
  • Zombidle: Each skill's cooldown starts as soon as the skill is triggered, counting down at the same time the skill duration counts down. The cooldown is initially far longer than the duration time, but crafting Pearl Necklaces increases the skill duration time, and amassing enough will eventually cause the skill's duration to surpass the cooldown time. This is by far no easy task, since Pearl Necklaces require nine of a rather rare item to create, and you need at least 108 Pearl Necklaces in order to extend all skill timers past their cooldowns.

    MMORPGs 
  • Elsword:
    • Add's skill EMP Shock can induce cooldown extension on his enemies' skills.
    • Time Tracer's buff skill Seal of Time can shorten the cooldown of his and his allies' skills by a few seconds when used. It is limited in that it can't shorten the cooldown of other buff skills, including itself.
      • As Diabolic Esper (Time Tracer's advancement), he can learn a passive skill Time Control that gives him the chance of reducing the cooldown time of his skills whenever he uses his skills.
    • Blade Master's skill Giga Drive: Limiter is a Super Mode that lets him spam active-level skills (those that don't dim the screen) by turning the cooldowns of those skills into 1 second.
    • Part of Elesis' Chivalry system is that, one of its modes, Knight of Gale, affects all of the Gale-specific skills, reducing their MP cost and cooldown drastically.
    • Deadly Chaser's passive Intense Showtime lets him having decreased cooldown time and MP on his skills when he enters his Berserk Mode.
    • Elemental Master's Element Study passive skill lowers general cooldown for all her skills.
    • Lord Knight's Intense Strike passive strengthen his active skills at the cost of increasing their cooldown time.
    • Code Empress' Nasod Recharge passive skill gives her a chance to reset all of her skills' cooldowns by using a skill.
    • Do note that all of the above have no effect on Hyper Active skills, which are very strong but have 3 minute cooldown.
  • In World of Warcraft, in addition to cancelling the current casting, all Counter Spell type abilities also place the spell on cooldown for 5 seconds to prevent the target from simply trying to cast it again.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • The tactical captain ability "Tactical Initiative" halves the remaining cooldown on any tactical bridge officer ("boff") powers.
    • The science captain ability "Subnucleonic Beam" increases the target's boff power cooldowns, in addition to wiping out active buffs. Intelligence boffs can use a variant of this power with an Area of Effect.
    • Certain duty officers ("doffs") have the ability to reduce cooldowns. The popular "aux2batt build" uses three Technician doffs to reduce all currently active cooldowns to the global minimum each time Auxiliary Power to the Emergency Battery is triggered, effectively doubling the rate at which you can trigger boff powers.
  • Dragon Nest has a few buffs (such as the Acrobat's Spirit Boost or the Mystic's Fast Forward) that shorten party members' cooldowns while they're active. In addition, some skills can be crested for cooldown reduction, and a few can even be crested for cooldown reset chance. In addition, both Acrobat specialisations can shorten or reset their ultimate skill's cooldown.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has the Astrologian, Which sometimes has the ability to make the cooldowns of an ally shorter provided they aren't cast till the buff lands. Several enemies also have the slow debuff, which uses Warmup Manipulation to lengthen cast times.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2:
    • The Plant Food item can be given to seed packs that are still in cooldown to quickly reset the cooldown. Best used for those plants with long cooldown time such as Wall-Nut or Cherry Bomb.
    • Downplayed with Imitater; its main function is to have 2 of the same plant in your plant slots so you can plant a certain plant more quickly, not directly interfering with the plant's actual cooldown but effectively halving your cooldown time.
    • A variant can be done with Grapeshot and Cherry Bomb. Both of them explode a 3x3 area for an instant kill (with the former producing 8 damaging bouncy projectiles), so having both of them also halves the cooldown time for a devastating 3x3 area attack. If combined with Imitater, the recharge time becomes a third of the usual.
  • Dawn of War: Most hero units' ability cooldowns can be reduced by around 20 percent with the Veteran and Hero upgrades.
    • The Imperial Command Squad has a variation: it can have one general and up to four Psykers/Priests/Commissars (five if the general dies and is replaced), having multiples of the same unit doesn't affect the global cooldown (so you can cast the same ability up to five times in a row before the actual cooldown sets in).
    • If an Eldar Farseer is attached to a Seer Council, her cooldowns are shortened (stacking with the Hero and Veteran upgrades).
    • Every Incubus added to a Dark Eldar Archon's retinue reduces his abilities' cooldowns by 10%.
    • The Dark Eldar have the Rekindle Rage soul power, which resets a single unit's cooldowns (does not work with the soul powers' cooldowns, obviously).
    • Some characters in Dawn of War II have abilities that completely negate the cooldown of others for a short period.
    • In Dawn of War III, Ronahn's Long Shot ability recharges faster while he is inside a patch of stealth cover.
  • Warcraft III: The Tauren Chieftain's Reincarnation ability brings him back to life every 4 minutes. The expansion's campaign gives Cairne Bloodhoof an improved version that lowers it to 2 minutes (if you felt it worthwhile instead of his other, equally empowered abilities).

     MOBAs 
  • League of Legends: Cooldown Reduction is a character stat provided by some items in the game that reduces the amount of time your skills take to refresh. It's capped at 40%. Various champions also have additional cooldown mechanics tied into their skills, oftentimes assassins refreshing an ability on a kill.
  • Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars and Dota 2:
    • The item "Refresher Orb" can be used to instantly set most cooldowns to zero, albeit with a few exceptions (for example, you can't get refresh another Refresher). It's most often used by heroes with powerful, long-cooldown ultimate abilities so they can use them twice.
    • Boush the Tinker's ultimate ability, Rearm, resets his cooldowns similarly to the Refresher Orb above after a short channelling time. For this reason, he most often builds items that have powerful active abilities, which he can use a lot more often than other heroes. This is balanced by its hefty mana cost.
    • Dota 2 adds the Octarine Core, which among other things grants a 25% reduction on cooldowns.
  • Heroes of the Storm:
    • Gazlowe's trait allows him to collect scrap from destroyed structures and his own turrets. The scrap restores some of his mana and lowers all of his cooldowns.
    • Illidan lowers all of his cooldowns every time he lands a basic attack. He has a set of medium-cooldown skills that are actually supposed to be spammed. Playing him correctly involves sticking to your target and adding as many AAs as possible between your abilities.
    • Ana's Nano-boost gives an ally massively reduced cooldown speed for its duration. It also boosts ability damage and restores mana, making it most effective when used on Mages.
    • Some characters have access to Rewind, a level 20 talent that instantly resets the cooldowns of your basic abilities.
    • A few heroes have cooldown resets on some abilities. Li-Ming is based entirely around this, resetting all of her cooldowns (including her Heroic) whenever she scores a kill or assist.
  • Awesomenauts: Many 'Nauts have access to cooldown reduction items. Some even have conditional ones that can massively lower or even remove the cooldown.

    Simulation Games 
  • The Matron in Evil Genius can bestow a buff upon your other henchmen that lets them regenerate their special abilities quickly.

    Turn-Based Tactics 
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown's Enemy Within expansion lets you gene-splice soldiers with a neural feedback gene; if an alien attacks them with psionic powers, all of the alien's abilities are put on cooldown. A different variation of this exists in form of MEC Trooper conversations: taking too much damage during a mission causes a soldier to be wounded, which can result in lenghty hospital stays that can last up to 8+ days. However, you can still put any wounded soldiers through a MEC conversion, which only lasts 3 days, allowing you to get them back to action much quicker if you don't mind losing their genemods. This can be especially useful on harder difficulty levels where high-ranked soldiers are hard to come by due to their vastly lowered survivability.

    Western RPGs 
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition offers each class a way to lower cooldowns for abilites using certain passives.
    • Warrior have the "Flow of Battle" passive to reduce cooldowns for each of their critical hits.
    • Mages have the "Clean Burn" passive that lowers cooldowns for each spell they cast, or Gathering Storm which lowers cooldowns each time they start a basic attack combo. Clean Burn is noted to be a massive Game-Breaker when combined with a Knight Enchanter's Spirit Blade ability, which has no cooldown of its own, and Gathering Storm can also be potent when used with some form of attack cancelling.
    • Rouges can become Artificers to get the "Opportunity Knocks" passive, reducing cooldowns for every critical hit the whole parry lands.
  • Mass Effect 3 has a version of Limited Loadout that provides either a buff or penalty to your power cooldowns depending on how much weight in weapons you're lugging around.
    • Also, in the first game the soldier class has an ability that refreshes all ability cooldowns. Unfortunately, your companions like to use it at the beginning of combat before they've down anything.
  • Fallout 3: The Level 20 Perk Grim Reaper's Sprint refreshes your Action Points fully after a kill in VATS. In effect, combined with a powerful weapon, this became an endless kill chain until everything around you was dead. This Game-Breaker was thus Nerfed in Fallout: New Vegas to a flat amount instead of a full refresh.
  • Tales of Maj'Eyal has a number of ways to manipulate cooldowns. The Stun and Brainlock status effects put random talents onto cooldown and prevent cooldowns from counting down while the effect lasts. There are a number of skills and effects that will make cooldowns decrement faster, others that will instantly refresh coolsdowns of certain skills, and artifacts and item properties that reduce the normal cooldown time of specific skills.
  • Pillars of Eternity has a number of feats that reduce cooldowns on the character, as well as some offensive spells to increase cooldowns on the enemy.

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