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Making Skills Feel More Responsive

We are in the process of updating skills to make them feel more responsive. This work has included changes to their animations - so before we explain the adjustments we’ll be making, we’ll be taking a brief look at the different phases of skill animations.

Table of Contents
1. A Skill Animations Primer
  1.1 Anticipation
  1.2 Impact
  1.3 Follow Through
2. The Changes We’re Making
3. The Skills Being Adjusted
  3.1 Acolyte
  3.2 Mage
  3.3 Primalist
  3.4 Sentinel


A Skill Animations Primer

Each skill animation has three phases, which are;

  • Anticipation
  • Impact
  • Follow Through

When looking at each of these, there’ll be a GIF of my Mage - he’s called Meatier, because of course he is - casting Fireball with the name shown during that phase of the animation. We’ve slowed down the GIFs so that each distinct phase of the animation is easier to see.



Anticipation is the part of the animation which occurs before the skill takes effect - which in the majority of cases is when a skill deals damage to an enemy or heals an ally.

This is often used in boss fights as a visual cue for dangerous abilities. An example of this featuring a player-controlled character is when the Mage pulls his hand behind his head, before dramatically throwing it forwards as he conjures Fireballs to unleash upon his foes.




Impact is the moment during the animation in which the skill takes effect; for example, the moment in which the Fireball skill’s projectiles are created and begin moving forwards.



Follow Through

Follow Through consists of the character transitioning back to their regular standing pose. It is sometimes partially skipped so that characters can move sooner after activating a skill.



The Changes We're Making

In Patch 0.7.6 we are updating many skills with some of the following changes;

  • Some skills are having the duration of their anticipation reduced, and the duration of their follow through increased. What this does is allow the impact - usually when a skill deals damage or heals - to occur sooner, without changing the total animation time.
  • The follow through part of an animation can be partially skipped, allowing characters to move (but not use skills) sooner after that skill is used. The proportion of follow through which allows you to move is different for each skill. We are reviewing the proportions for every skill, and many skills will allow you to begin moving sooner after their use. This prevents a character from being trapped in place for too long.
  • Each skill has an ‘ability time’ which dictates how long a character must wait before using the next skill. We are shortening this for some abilities so there is less of a pause between skills. This change is being made to fewer skills than the previous two.


The Skills Being Adjusted

Here are the skills we will be updating;



  • Hungering Souls
  • Mark For Death
  • Marrow Shards
  • Rip Blood
  • Sacrifice
  • Summon Bone Golem
  • Summon Skeleton


  • Summon Skeleton Mage
  • Summon Wraith



  • Elemental Nova
  • Fireball
  • Focus
  • Glacier
  • Lightning Blast
  • Mana Strike
  • Snap Freeze
  • Static Orb


  • Black Hole
  • Meteor
  • Volcanic Orb


  • Flame Reave
  • Shatter Strike



  • Maelstrom
  • Summon Thorn Totem


  • Summon Frenzy Totem


  • Entangling Roots
  • Spriggan Form abilities
    • Root Wall
    • Vale Blast


  • Avalanche
  • Summon Storm Totem
  • Tornado



  • Shield Throw

 Forge Guard

  • Forge Strike


  • Healing Hands
  • Judgement
  • Sigils of Hope
  • Smite

 Void Knight

  • Abyssal Echoes
  • Devouring Orb

If there are skills not on the above list which you would like us to review, post their names below and we’ll look at them. We may not be able to change them in time for our next patch.


My boy. Shield throw! Can’t wait to see how the new animation would feel <3

I feel that Reaper form could be fine tuned. When I activate it I feel like it either bugs out a bit or just takes way to long. I don’t know if this is because of it not being polished when activating, or if it was intentionally designed this way. Looking forward to all the changes either way!


Reaper Form. Make it a faster transition or insta cast. Its too slow right now.


I agree with Reaper form but im not sure that this kind of change will do it for Reaper. I just feel like the overall animation time is too long. You basically have to run away from any mobs to cast reaper and then run back into the fight.

Take a look at Soul Feast on the Acolyte. I think this could use just a little tuning. It doesn’t feel too bad, but there is a bit of delay. I think this is important because soul feast can give ward so if that hits just a fraction sooner, then that would help with some spike dmg for the acolyte.

Also, is there any way to see a side by side comparison of one of the skills to show the impact of the changes. Was hoping to see that with the fireballs above. Will be interesting to see how much sooner the fireballs spit out.

I like this idea, there are some skills out there that have either too long of a wind-up or follow-through that makes them difficult to use at higher levels of play.
I agree with Danklebs, it would be cool to see a comparison of the changes. As it stands by itself, it’s hard to see the differences.

Also, check out teleport on mage. That is pretty slow to actually move on screen. Unless that is intentional.

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Hi Sarno,
This sounds great. Can’t wait to see these changes in game :grin:!

Making the skills feel more responsive is a good thing to improve the overall feel of combat. I’d like to know if you already have plans to make skills feel more impactful, too. In the past there were improvements with animations and sound of skills. But at the moment the game is lacking some nice dying animations and sounds of enemies. A skill can look badass as hell. But when the result looks weak the whole skill feels weak.

Keep up the good work!


A good read, thanks

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@Korimoor @danklebs I’ll make sure we look at Reaper Form. Thanks for the suggestion!


@danklebs @Vulkan I had discussed the possibility of doing ‘before & after’ comparisons with Sam from our Art Team. Our concern was that most of the changes likely wouldn’t translate to a non-interactive medium such as video very well. Even if we tried imposing keyboard input over the video, adjustments of less than a second here, less than a second there wouldn’t necessarily look very impactful. The improvements are mostly compelling due to the sense of urgency you can feel while playing - and without that, it’s hard to appreciate their significance.

If you look at the Impact GIF above, it was created after I had slowed down the video to make things easier to see - and even then the word ‘Impact’ was probably on the screen longer than was entirely warranted to ensure that it would be visible long enough to be readable.


@danklebs Heh, I seem to be pinging you a lot! I’ll pass that on, too. Appreciate it. :slightly_smiling_face:


@RawSuicide We’ve been periodically addressing how impactful combat feels in concentrated bursts such as when we implemented Screen Shake and its related settings, as well as when doing a pass on combat-related sound effects. It can be hard to prioritize this work over a new feature or other addition to the game, but we do make improvements here as and when we find the time. Last year we recruited an Audio Engineer who has been doing great work improving the sound of combat (and destroying fruit & vegetables in the process).

If you notice any particular abilities you feel are a bit lacking, it would be very helpful if you could post in #feedback-and-suggestions to bring these to our attention. If you can be specific about which aspect of them in particular feels bad then that would be excellent - but please don’t worry if not; we can play with it internally to try to isolate specific problems.


Thank you .

Looks good and sounds good. Excited to see how this plays. Doing a glacier sorcerer build now. Will be interesting to see how it feels after next patch. I’m in hardcore so hopefully i won’t die and have to relevel to test hah.

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I don’t know if this fits the topic. Just something I think of very often when I test out skills that have a specific proc.

I find it very hard to see whether a proc really works or not. Most of the proc effects are poorly visible and very short. For example am I not able to see if the Sentinels Iron Blade proc happens or when the Sorcerers Lightning Nova procs overload. Would be nice to make procs more noticeable.

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This is such an important element that it cannot be overstated. How a game sounds and looks when you kill an enemy is so strong from a psychological element that it can make and break games from being fun to play or just being off.

Oh wow. :laughing: My post is over 1 year old :sweat_smile:

While the statement still stands, LE also has made big improvements in that regard. They added a lot of stuff like this. As an example take the new spider sounds. These are soooooo nice! Also new skills feel a lot more impactful. Warcry feels very impactful.

It’s always a combination of visuals and sound. Both is shaping very nicely.