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Cooldown Manipulation

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Cooldown refers to how abilities are given "time intervals" before they can 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. Chain Lethality Enabler effects often reduce or reset cooldowns after a kill to allow the killer to quickly act again.

Compare Attack Speed Buff and Reduced Mana Cost for other ways in which abilities in games can be managed.


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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, Cold Snap, and Vigilant Strike have cooldowns that can be bypassed by using a Frenzy, Power, or Endurance charge. Some effects give increased cooldown recovery speed, which doesn't directly reduce the cooldown timer, just how fast the cooldown recoversnote .
  • Reduced recharge is an uncommon and prized equipment bonus in Titan Quest. Keeping it low allows the player character to constantly cast spells with impunity, buff themselves, and/or debuff enemies. The Nature mastery additionally has a skill that reduces recharge time on all other (non-item-granted) skills, making it potent on skill-heavy builds.
  • Grim Dawn interacts with cooldowns in several ways:
    • A percentage-based Skill Cooldown Reduction stat found on equipment that applies to all skills
    • Some equipment and passive skills give a flat adjustment to cooldown time for a specific skill
    • Other modifiers give a skill a chance to not go on cooldown when used
    • Lastly, some passives or items will add a cooldown to a skill that does not have one in exchange for greater effect, or completely remove the cooldown time in exchange for lesser effect.
  • Titan Quest: Each activated skill's "Recharge" is how long it takes before it can be activated again, so reduction effects like Defense Mastery's Resilience, for reducing Adrenaline Rush's Recharge, is cooldown reduction.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: Every offensive spell has to be charged for several seconds before you can release it. The base charging speed depends on the spell in question, but there are passive Status Buff spells that can increase it and harmful Status Effects from enemy spells that can decrease it.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • Imperials in Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan and Etrian Odyssey Nexus are built around this trope. Their massive drive blades are capable of doing thousands of damage points to a single target, but the blade then overheats and they need to wait out several turns before they can unleash that attack again. In the meantime, several other skills help them reduce the turns spent overheated to increase their overall DPS.
  • Even For Eternia: Amalia has two skills, Aura: Deftones and Two to Tango, that reduce the cooldown of all her other skills. This is to balance how almost all of her skills have long cooldowns.
  • 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 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.
    • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Roca's Limit Burst reduces the cooldown time for all allies' applicable abilities. Dragoon Kain's single use ability also lets him reuse his cooldown ability in the next turn (it normally has a 10-turn cooldown).
  • 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, and each of them operate exactly as their names describe:
    • 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 Optional 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.
  • Nocturne: Rebirth: The Accelerate passive skill can randomly cool down a skill instantly. Some sorceries and gear, such as the Full Moon Sword, have a stackable SCT reduction effect.
  • Eternal Twilight: The Need-for-speed accessory can reduce the cooldown of all of the wielder's skills. The drawback is that this accessory doesn't have powerful stat boosts like other late-game accessories, but it can still be useful if the player needs to spam a specific support skill.

    First Person Shooters 
  • Apex Legends:
    • Ultimate Accelerant is an item that grants 35% ultimate charge after going through a use animation; best used for characters with long ult cooldowns (such as Lifeline and Gibraltar) than ones with short cooldowns (Mirage and Octane).
      • Wattson's passive lets her carry twice as many in addition to always getting a full charge from accelerants.
      • On the other hand, Loba has an Obvious Rule Patch applied that reduces the effectiveness of ult accelerants that she uses, to make chaining her loot-grabbing ultimate a lot harder.
    • Pathfinder's ultimate Zipline ability recharges instantly if he scans a survey beacon, which also permanently reduces its cooldown.
    • Bloodhound's tactical ability "Eye of the Allfather" charges way faster if their ultimate, "Beast of the Hunt", is active.
    • King's Canyon has Charge Towers, large white-and-yellow columns that grant an instant ult charge for anyone in its effect if the panel is activated.
  • Primal Carnage: The dinosaurs each have secondary attacks which require stamina to perform, which is also used when running and jumping. Stamina will gradually recharge on its own, but some dinosaurs have the ability to speed up the process.
    • Both Spitter class dinosaurs, the Dilophosaurus and Cryolophosaurus, have a roar which will instantly refill their stamina bar back to full. This is crucial, as Spitters are a Long-Range Fighter class and spitting uses chunks of stamina.
    • The Ceratosaurus has a stamina "leech" ability. When the ability is active, the Ceratosaurus is able to steal the stamina of its targets by attacking them, refilling its own stamina in the process.
    • The Tupandactylus has a screech which will mark all nearby humans (making them visible as glowing outlines to the dinosaur players), and also refill a portion of its stamina. This is important because its powerful dive-bomb attack requires a large amount of stamina to perform.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the recharge duration for Jarate and Mad Milk can be reduced by 20% if they're used to extinguish burning teammates.
  • In the multiplayer for Titanfall 2, the Monarch-class Titan has an ability called "Rearm", which immediately cancels the cooldown on two of her other abilities, Rocket Salvo and Energy Syphon. Naturally, Rearm has a longer cooldown than either of those abilities, and fortunately, you cannot activate Rearm if neither ability is on cooldown.

    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.

  • 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 Granblue Fantasy, some characters (such as Arriet) and enemies have access to skills that manipulate the "Skill Intervals" or cooldowns of your skills, either raising them or lowering them.
  • GrandChaseDimensionalChaser:
    • Myung Hwarin has Supernatural Power, which decreases the skill cooldown of up to two targets by 60%, alongside their SP cost. This comes with the cost of the skill itself not being affected by cooldown reduction, though.
    • Dio has Sun Eater, which inflicts a curse which if removed, pushes back the target's skill cooldowns by up to 10 seconds.
  • The "Leadership" skill in Pirates of the Caribbean Online is a temporary buff that reduces the cooldown on yours and your shipmate's other skills, including cannon reload times. Those under the effects of it receive a glowing effect on their skill bar, alerting them that they can open fire to their hearts content for the next few seconds.
  • 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 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 have the ability to reduce cooldowns. The "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).

  • The Binding of Isaac features a handful of items that recharge active items faster, usually batteries.
    • Starting in Rebirth, there are battery consumables that instantly recharge your item. Repentance expanded on it, introducing mini-batteries that only fill two bars, mega batteries that recharge the item fully then overcharge it once, and golden batteries that can be used an unlimited number of times but hurt Isaac to pick up.
    • The Habit gives Isaac one charge every time he takes damage, with no restrictions. It's one of the best Game-Breaker items if you have the right run for it.
    • 9 Volt reduces the charge time of all items by 1 room, and turns 1-charge items into timed recharges. Similarly, AAA Battery recharges Isaac's active item whenever it's brought to its penultimate charge, acting like a weaker 9 Volt.
    • Sharp Plug lets Isaac instantly recharge his active item, but is Cast From Hitpoints. In Rebirth it cost a flat two full hearts, but was reworked in Repentance to cost half a heart per bar recharged.
    • 4.5 Volt (called Assault Battery in the game files) prevents active items from recharging normally, and instead causes them to charge by dealing damage. Great for extended boss fights, but usually much worse for clearing normal rooms. Jumper Cables is similar, granting one charge for every 15 enemies killed, but not disabling the normal recharge.
  • Risk of Rain 2 has the Alien Head item, which gives all abilities a 25% faster cooldown recovery speed. The Fuel Cell does this for items for 15% while also holding an additional item use charge. There are also some Lunar items that does this, but with downsides. Gesture of the Drowned gives 50% cooldown reduction on items, but forces you to use the item whenever it's off cooldown, and Purity reduces all ability cooldowns by a flat 2 seconds, but causes any chance-based procs to roll again and take unfavorable outcomes.
  • In Sipho, some of the Mutations that can be unlocked during the New Game Plus increase or decrease the cooldown timer of various zooids.

  • League of Legends and Wild Rift: "Ability haste" is a character stat that reduces the amount of time for skills to refresh, with the given amount representing an increase of speed to burn a cooldown withnote . 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:
    • One of Faceless Void's skill, Time Dilation, creates a field that makes enemy skills that are on cooldown cool down slower. It deals more damage and has a stronger slow effect the more cooldowns it affects.
    • 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 Newerth: The Grimoire of Power item gives a 25% cooldown reduction to abilities. Warchief's ultimate creates an aura that makes allies recover their cooldowns twice as fast (3.5x to himself).
  • Heroes of the Storm:
    • Hogger gains Rage when he deals and takes damage, which lowers the time on his normally lengthy cooldowns the higher it is, but rapidly falls off if he leaves combat. Since his skills have no resource cost, this encourages him to get stuck in and stay stuck in.
    • 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. Mephisto has a similar mechanic, but lowers them while landing spells instead of AAs.
    • Ana's Nano-boost gives an ally massively increased 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. Alarak gets Hasty Bargain, a variation that lets him refresh his powerful abilities at the cost of permanently lowering his damage each time he uses it.
    • 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.
  • Battlerite has cooldown management as a core part of its gameplay, so this trope naturally comes into play often:
    • In general, many characters have Battlerites that reduce their cooldowns, either all the time or when certain conditions are met.
    • Oldur has this among his Time Master abilities. His Ultimate reduces the target's cooldowns by 25%. His heal spell has a cooldown that's reduced for each nearby ally, and an optional Battlerite causes the target of his heals to have their cooldowns reduced by 6%.
  • Dawngate had the Haste stat, which gave basic attack speed, cooldown reduction, and movement speed depending on what class your Shaper was. The Zeal item allowed you to lower your cooldowns slightly by basic attacking.
    • Kindra had the ability to reset her ability cooldowns on takedowns.

    Simulation Games 
  • The Matron in Evil Genius can bestow a buff upon your other henchmen that lets them regenerate their special abilities quickly.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light
    • Weapons' charging time can be shortened by posting a crew member in weapon system room. There is also a ship augment which further reduces the delay and another which makes every weapon active at the time of FTL jump charged up right after the jump. Charge time for artillery weapons can be shortened by pumping more power into them.
    • Putting more power into teleporters doesn't make them more or less effective, it simply reduces the amount of ionization after each use.
    • One augment, an aptly-named "battery charger", halves the time a back-up battery remains unusable after running out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Eldritch Horror: The Player Character Marie Lambeau has the unique ability that she can perform the same action twice in one turn, whereas other characters need to do two different actions.
  • In Pathfinder Second Edition, dragons usually have a one to four round cooldown period between uses of their Breath Weapon. But they also have an ability called "Draconic Momentum", which instantly recharges it if they get a Critical Hit with one of their melee attacks.

    Tower Defense 
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time:
    • 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 times such as Wall-Nut or Cherry Bomb.
    • The Plant Food effect on plants themselves tend to effectively override the action cooldown as well, and sometimes otherwise behave in a way that bascially counteracts the planting cooldown (healing and reinforcing nuts, spawning additional plants of the same type, etc).
    • The Imitater allows you to take two of the same plants, effectively halving its cooldown.

    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 
  • Divinity: Original Sin II:
    • The "Skin Graft" Polymorph skill is only usable once per battle but clears all of the user's active cooldowns.
    • Undead player characters gain the "Play Dead" skill, which has the side effect of pausing all of their cooldowns while it's active.
    • Part of the Set Bonus for the Devourer's Armour is an ability that clears all the wearer's active cooldowns when a specific target, chosen at random at the beginning of combat, is killed.
  • 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.
    • Rogues can become Artificers to get the "Opportunity Knocks" passive, reducing cooldowns for every critical hit the whole parry lands.
  • Mass Effect
  • 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.