Diablo® III

Losing actions when spamming Frost Nova on CD

I noticed something potentially interesting tonight (at least to me)! When Frost Nova is on cool down and not available to cast, spamming the skill key appears to takeup some sort of action (at least if you're channeling). This seems to be a global skill mechanic involving any skill that takes an action (ie not free) and is on cooldown. So skills like Frost Nova, Teleport, or Big Bad Voodoo, but not skills like Diamond Skin or Explosive Blast. I had gotten curious about this, since I play WD a lot. I noticed if I clicked Big Bad Voodoo accidentally, even if the skill was on CD, I would interupt my Firebats channeling.

I can see that it impacts Wizard spells like Electrocute, Ray of Frost (like Sleet Storm), Disintegrate, and it causes Intensify+Snow Blast to reset. Visually you can see a slight flicker, as the skill animation is interupted when you click Frost Nova (when it's on cooldown). I have no idea if this impacts other skills. It's really subtle to see even on channeling skills, so I can't tell if it impacts non-channeling spells or not (ie if it's relevant to CM/WW wizards).

Has anyone noticed this before? And if so, if there's been a past discussion on this topic? I know it's new for me for me at least. :)
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Very interesting. At what rate can you cause those disruptions?
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Seems new to me. I was always curious if mashing FN had any impact on WW casts but never bothered to check. It'd be interesting to try and quantify it a bit by using a low dps weapon and all +min damage, basically see how much damage you do over a couple seconds, then repeat while mashing a skill on CD (just remove CM so it's on CD for longer).
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06/05/2013 10:38 PMPosted by apo
Very interesting. At what rate can you cause those disruptions?
So I don't use a macro, but my impression was every time I pressed the key for the skill on cooldown. And the emphasis should be its only skills that normally take an action (like Frost Nova) that cause the disruption in channeling, but not skills like Explosive Blast. It's really weird. :lol

06/05/2013 10:38 PMPosted by Loroese
Seems new to me. I was always curious if mashing FN had any impact on WW casts but never bothered to check. It'd be interesting to try and quantify it a bit by using a low dps weapon and all +min damage, basically see how much damage you do over a couple seconds, then repeat while mashing a skill on CD (just remove CM so it's on CD for longer).
Yep, me too! I was thinking the same thing. I'd like to try it when I get a chance. And I have no idea if it impacts anything other than channeling skills. I'm suspecting it does, but it's just very hard to see. It's very subtle to see with channeling skills. But if you're watching for it, it's clear as day that there's some kind of interuption.

I could put up a video if anyone really wants, but anyone can test this in like 5 seconds. Just cast frost nova in town, then start channeling a skill like Ray of Frost, and start spamming your skill key for Frost Nova. You should see it! :)
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Yeah, probably will be most visible with something like LL or Lightning Blast. That should be the same as WW, but doesn't cost AP and is easier to see. I can't test now because I'm running code, heh.
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So I already tried LL and it was hard to tell. It's already subtle enough to tell if there's a difference with channeling skills. That's why I can't be sure if this phenomena has practical relevance to anyone that isn't using channeling skills.

I think only a damage test would be conclusive for non-channeling skill. It'd be also interesting to see what impact this has on damage too for channeling skills. There's a definite animation "interuption" for channeling skills, but whether it actually disrupts damage is a different story (and if so how much).
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This is relevant for channeling builds.
The only skills I know of that don't interrupt channeling when spammed even if they are on cooldown are Explosive Blast, Diamond Skin and Armor spells.

For witch doctors, Horrify, Spirit Walk, Hex and Soul Harvest will not interrupt channeling even when spammed on cooldown.
Edited by DomonKassui#1611 on 6/6/2013 12:25 AM PDT
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I stepped through a few recordings of magic missile. Once while spamming FN at 25ms intervals, once without FN.
I didn't see any additional frames, MM animation ran equally fast in both cases. So I'm gonna say there is no impact on non-channeling skills.

Oddly, there doesn't seem to be one for channeling either. LoH was definitely the same for Disintegrate with and without FN spam. It should be very noticeable if it was skipping LoH ticks during those interrupts.

It could be that it's just skipping one of the much more frequent damage ticks. That's enough to cancel Arcane Dynamo/Intensify/Snow Blast and cause the animation to flicker, but it doesn't impact LoH ticks and it's likely impossible to detect in a damage test.

I did a few tests on the Disintegrate animation with different macro settings:
25ms intervals: Flickers occured roughly after 17-19 frames of channeling and lasted 1-3 frames each. During those 1-3 frames there was no beam visible. In total that's ~1/3 of a second for each "chunk" of channeling.
100ms intervals: Same as above
333ms intervals: The chunk size stayed the same, but the breaks were much less clear. The beam was just abruptly changing intensity, but never disappeared completely.
500ms intervals: Chunks grew to ~30 frames each. Beam still mostly just abruptly changing intensity, but a few clear breaks with no beam visible.

So it does interrupt roughly at the rate of you spamming the skill, but not faster than once in 0.3333 seconds.
Did we just find the actual value of a D3 input limit?

Also, I don't know if anyone noticed: If you hold down the skill that's on cooldown, you stop casting until you release that button.
Edited by apo#2677 on 6/6/2013 3:09 PM PDT
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06/06/2013 12:16 PMPosted by apo
Also, I don't know if anyone noticed: If you hold down the skill that's on cooldown, you stop casting until you release that button.
Confirmed. Very apparent in my Illusionist Sleet Storm wizard. Arcane lasers tend to hit sooner than I expect, so I once tried to hold down Teleport in anticipation of a laser resetting my cooldown. When I did this, channeling stopped completely so I stopped doing that.

So, the verdict is that spamming a skill on cooldown will reset charged abilities, and perhaps even displace damage ticks?
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Good stuff apo! It does make me wonder exactly what's going on. And that's interesting on maybe they're being an input limit of 333ms!
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