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Overdrive is a passive utility program which reduces the cooldowns of other programs by 2 turns down to a minimum of 1 turn, but increases their PWR costs by 1. Program cooldowns of 1 turn (or 0 turns) are not reduced by Overdrive, but their PWR cost is still increased by 1. It has no effect on passive programs, except Emergency Reserve. Overdrive can be bought from some Server Terminals for 700 credits.

Overdrive's effect always applies while it is installed, and cannot be enabled or disabled at will. Overdrive only reduces other programs' cooldowns at the time they are used, so if Overdrive is installed while another program is already on cooldown, it does not reduce that program's cooldown timer. If Overdrive is sold while another program is on cooldown, it also does not increase that program's cooldown timer.

If Overdrive and Charge are both installed, their effects stack, so that other programs' PWR costs are reduced by 1 down to a minimum of 0, and their cooldowns are reduced by 1 turn down to a minimum of 1 turn. However, every active program will have a cooldown of at least 1 turn, even if it would normally have no cooldown.


Overdrive is a bad program, which hurts more often than it helps. For the cost of 700 credits and a program slot, it lets you use programs with longer cooldowns more often, but it is actively harmful to any program with no cooldown or a cooldown of 1 turn, as it increases their PWR costs by 1 with no upside. This includes most breakers.

The main problem with Overdrive is that reducing programs' cooldowns is only worthwhile if you can afford to use them more frequently; but the increased PWR costs make it less likely that you actually can. So Overdrive can only be worthwhile in specific combinations, and generally only works in builds which generate a lot of PWR.

For many programs, Overdrive either has no benefit or makes them strictly worse:

  • Any program with a cooldown of 1 turn, or no cooldown, is made strictly worse by the increased PWR cost.
  • Overdrive has no effect on passive programs, except for Emergency Reserve.
  • Fusion with Overdrive becomes completely useless, because the reduced cooldown means it only generates PWR for 2 turns instead of 4, only generating enough to pay the 6 PWR it now costs to use Fusion, with no net gain.

There are a few specific programs which do synergize with Overdrive, all of which are generators:

  • Overdrive reduces Burst's cooldown to 1 turn, so the -3 AP penalty applies only on the next turn, and can be cancelled out by using Burst again. If used consistently, Burst with Overdrive generates a very efficient +2 PWR per turn for the whole mission, and also gives +3 AP on the first turn of each mission with no net penalty on later turns, unless Paradox or Modulate prevent it from being used.
  • Overdrive reduces the cooldown of Emergency Reserve to 1 turn, allowing it to be triggered every turn for +5 PWR per turn in the best case.
  • Overdrive reduces Root's cooldown to 4 turns, so it generates a small net PWR gain, though it is still a poor program overall. The small gain is more than offset by the higher PWR cost of the programs you want to use Root's PWR for.
  • If you are using Aces as a pseudo-generator with Central's Antiviral Proxy augment, then Overdrive lets you use it every turn, for a net +2 PWR per turn, compared to a net +1 PWR per turn without Overdrive.

Other programs with longer cooldowns become different when combined with Overdrive, but whether they are better or worse depends on your loadout and strategy:

  • Dagger with Overdrive breaks 3 firewalls for 2 PWR, with a 3 turn cooldown.
  • Dagger 2.0 with Overdrive breaks 5 firewalls for 4 PWR, with a 2 turn cooldown.
  • Flare can be used every turn for 1 PWR, though this is rarely sensible.
  • Hammer with Overdrive breaks 5 firewalls for 6 PWR, with a 1 turn cooldown.
  • Turing can be used every turn for 6 PWR, although it's usually unnecessary to use Turing more than once or twice.
  • Aces, Daemon Sniffer, Hunter, Rogue, Shade and Wings can be used every turn.
  • Ping can be used every 2 turns.

Overall, the vast majority of loadouts have at least one program harmed by Overdrive; there is almost always a better program you could install instead of Overdrive. It is very rarely worth 700 credits, and even if you find it for free in a Program Compile side-mission, an empty program slot is usually preferable (though you could install it just long enough to sell it for 350 credits).

programs/overdrive.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/28 00:02 by andrew