January 7, 2017 at 12:31 am #9632
I want to start off by saying I’ve only played the game for a few hours but I already love what I see. I can tell (or rather hope) this is still VERY early alpha and took that into consideration when I took notes on areas for improvement. I’m no game dev or critic, just a game junkie looking for that next big thing. So far I can see the inspiration this game draws from both Path of Exile and Original Sin, and I admire the way you have taken some of the best elements while leaving behind most of the weak ones. That said, there is still a lot of room for improvement, at least in my eyes. I’m going to break my list of notes into two sections: UI and Quality of Life, which I think most players will agree with and you might already be in the midst of implementing, and Gameplay, which more or less comes down to my personal preference and should not be seen as criticism.
UI and Quality of Life
- Attack/Move Priority
- This is sort of a no brainer and I am REALLY hoping this has just not been worked into the current build yet. The character I created is a glass canon type mage, which requires a lot of repositioning. A huge issue I have run into during this is when I want to move away from an enemy without wasting too much time running and the game misinterprets my click nearish to him as wanting to melee, which I never do in my rotation. I could not find any key option for “move” nor any way to swap the click with Move instead of attack like in PoE and D2 and 3
- Body Blocking / Dodge Timing / Movement issues
- Body blocking is important, I won’t deny that. This game, in ways similar to League and any RTS, relies as much on strategy and positioning as it does skill and raw character power. That said, no one likes getting stuck in a monster bukkake fest with no way to escape, and this has happened to me several times already, causing what I felt was an unwarranted death. Perhaps the dodge could pass through enemies or the AI pathing could prevent this from happening. While I understand the view point that this scenario is a punishment for poor positioning, it can happen so fast, especially when you’re stunned by a Stalker, that you really have no way to prevent it.
- It may just be a bug, poor optimization, or input lag, but it seems to me the dodge timing is too slow. While far from a world class gamer, I do have decent reflexes and like to use them to the best of their potential, but the delay when I attempt to dodge makes it a little hard to dodge some of the faster moving projectiles and sometimes even the Ghouls when they tunnel.
- This probably belongs in Bug reports but I’d figure I’d leave it in here in case it was intentional. I’ve had several times when I began casting a spell while moving and my character slid along the ground as if on ice until I gave him another move command. I only noticed this occured on ice once but wasn’t looking for it the first couple times as I had dismissed it as bug. Another one, which I know is a bug, is I have had Stalkers teleport inside of me and essentially body block me from all directions until I killed them. A final one which happens occasionally is a rubber-banding bug where my character will continually run to a position then sort of teleport a very small distance back and do it again until I move him away from the location it occurs in.
- I do not have a top of the line PC, but it is fairly beefy and up to date. I have no issues running most modern games at max graphics, yet even High settings on this game will give me framerate spikes and stuttering the likes of which I haven’t seen since spawning 50 dragons in Skyrim. It’s likely, I know, that this is not a high priority at the moment and will come at a later stage in development. I love the animations and the scenery so it’s just a shame I have to turn them down to play properly, and I think it would behoove visuals debugging to at least improve, if not perfect, this sooner rather than later.
- My biggest frustration while playing was the lack of long range interaction / command queuing or whatever it is that prevents me from clicking on an item, chest, NPC, etc, while out of range and running to it then interacting instead of having to click again once I reach the location. This seems small, and is probably just a symptom of my time playing D3 and PoE but it’s a huge quality of life improvement I don’t see any reason not to add.
- Name stacking is a big issue as well, and should be addressed ASAP in my opinion. Your item names will overlap instead of stacking, preventing you from seeing what some items are, which has actually caused me to miss a few magic items because I couldn’t even see the blue of its name behind the white one in front of it.
- This one I’m not sure if it’s a bug or what, but while in the endless dungeon thing the portal in town takes you to, I would enter new levels to find what looked to be loot I had left in previous levels scattered across the ground before I even killed anything, some of it even suspended in walls.
- I chose to go with the Elementalist path, because I love character builds with high potential for utility and stack abuse, and so at first evenly distributed my points across the Fire, Frost, and Lightning thinking it wouldn’t be long before I got something besides Frost Nova and Unlimited Power. At 6 I found Lightning Bolt, and it wasn’t until 11 when I found Blizzard, Chain Lightning, and Fire Bolt. While it hardly took me very long to reach this level (which is another topic I’ll discuss in the Gameplay section) it felt odd it took so long to find even a single fire spell. I think either an assortment of base-level simple spells from each school, or possibly targeted book loot (based around how many points you have put into what talents) would improve this feeling of pointless skill books. Most of the time I got a skill book my reaction would either be “Well I already have 4 of these and know the spell so I guess it’s more gold” or “Well this is useless since I don’t do melee/ranged/non-elemental.” I worry skill books in this game will end up like Legendaries in D3 right now, where you aren’t exactly excited to see them anymore unless it’s that one you’ve been looking for.
- Spell Stacks and Duration
- Again, you are probably already working on this, but I think the UI needs a display of buff/debuff durations for any relevant spells as well as their stacks. Take Storms for instance. I’ve taken the passives which will increase my damage by a % based on how many times the Storm I’m standing in has stacked up. It would be nice to see the number of stacks, so I can know which Storm would be best to stand in, which I need to keep stacking, and which are about to expire. A similar issue is the duration of the earth shield spell (I don’t remember what it’s called), it would be good to see how many stacks (idk if it runs off of stacks or damage taken?) are remaining and the duration left.
- This didn’t really fit into any of the other categories, but I felt that Unlimited Power’s targeting was a little jacked up. I had difficulty actually hitting the elite mob right in front of me that I was trying to, or sometimes it would even start firing the opposite direction I was clicking at absolutely nothing.
January 7, 2017 at 7:55 am #9634
- This is my biggest point by far. I felt I scaled way out of control. When the game first started it felt challenging, although not as punishing as I personally prefer. As I leveled up I feel like I outpaced the enemies to the point of breaking the game in my eyes. Around level 7 or 8, I began shredding enemies so quickly and was able to stun lock or kite them so easily that there was no difficulty whatsoever. Even rares and the occasional boss like enemy were too easy, their larger health pools made it harder to take them down for sure but even when they did catch me and their hits miraculously landed it was like a wet noodle. I would blame this almost entirely to the fact that I get 3 talent points every time I level. The talents are powerful and game-changing, and I honestly don’t feel like I should have all 3 Storms, Power and Resistance stacking in Storms, AND the 30% Elemental damage buff at level 11. My solution would be to either add smaller filler nodes to slow down progress and de-centralize the major nodes, or preferably decrease the points given each level. I feel like I already have end game levels of customization to my character, and I struggle to see room for growth in a meaningful way beyond simple damage buffs from where I am now.
- This one is entirely subjective, but feel the flask system is recycled and redundant with the Health globe system. The only times I ever had to touch my flask was when I was in an aforementioned monster gangbang and unable to reach a nearby globe, or when the globe spawn rate seemed to tank for several minutes and I could not find one at all. Both circumstances it didn’t feel like using the flask was appropriate, skillful, or fluid. It felt more like a last resort and a panic button. As a veteran of WoW pvp, I detest panic buttons with all my heart. While I can’t tell your exact intentions for the flask system, as I was only given one, a health potion, and given the similarity to PoE’s system, I can infer the direction you are taking with it. I would urge you replace this feature, and instead add more depth to the already vastly improved globe system. Instead of flasks I would suggest perhaps a bar of trinkets (hopefully always rare drops you’re excited to see) with unique effects both active and passive, one of which could even be something similar to a health flask.
- Monster variety / Enemy Creation intent
- This is likely a symptom of alpha, but I found the variety of monsters simultaneously intriguing and lackluster. While I appreciate there were no two enemies that did the same thing just with different skins, it felt that sometimes I would just be wading through oceans of the same monster with an occasional elite mixed in. I think randomized packs of different monsters with some space inbetween would be a bit less monotonous and less of an aoe-fest like D3 has become.
- What I mean by enemy creation intent is essentially that each enemy has a role to play in combat, beyond “the necromancer summons undead, the charger charges at you.” One thing both PoE and D3 did exceedingly well was create a variety of monsters which would either be neither easy or difficult to defeat based on your class, as well as one which would either counter you with their moves (Phase Beasts vs Demons Hunters/ Glass Cannon Wizards) or you could more easily counter with your move sets. I have seen little of that in this game, apart from perhaps the ability for Ghouls and Stalkers to quickly close a gap to a ranged character. I would also like to see, although I understand it would likely be difficult to implement, some sort of synergy system between monsters, allowing them to cooperate and form new threats based on pack composition.
- Passive Mutual Exclusion
- I feel this is the one most people will disagree with, but it fits into my earlier topic of scaling and growing too quickly. I don’t think certain passives (30% elemental damage buff, Conversion of all non-elemental magic damage to elemental) should be able to stack. This allows for certain insane and game-breaking builds which will form a strong meta in this game. Some people love metas, but personally I find they take much of the joy and individuality out of your character.
I couldn’t find any way to edit the original post, so I’m going to add this reply as a quick post scriptum. While I see the I potential this game has to usurp Path of Exile with its innovation, I see it falling prey to the shortcomings of past hack and slash dungeon crawlers, namely the godlike power players are given. Not in a direct sense, but in relation to the monsters they fight. Each individual monster becomes faceless, their unique traits irrelevant once they only spend a few seconds on screen as you unleash destruction on their endless ranks, wading through rabble with such ease it’s almost as boring as simply walking from boss to boss without anything in-between. Of course this game is nowhere near as bad as a certain blockbuster title, but I can definitely see how it might fall into that trap and would earn against it. Each monster should be important and meaningful, I should have the time to understand what I’m fighting and have the opportunity, if not necessarily, to adjust my play style accordingly.January 9, 2017 at 10:46 am #9640
Hi Ross, thank you for taking to share detailed feedback.
I will say that I do agree with most of the points you are raising. We are still developing some core features of the game, and this means the overall balance of the game is changing on a daily basis. You should see a big improvement in overall balance when all weapon and armor types are integrated with proper stat requirements. At the moment mages and ranged characters can equip heavy armor with no restriction or penalty, so that doesn’t help in the “glass canon” department. I will post on the forums all the changes that are coming to the game from a pure gameplay perspective, to give players an insight as to why some things work the way they do at the moment.
A few notes : you can dodge-roll through enemies thanks to the Spectral-Dodge passive in the Thief section.
The flask system is being improved as we speak, with many new offensive and support potions, and globes will refill potions too.
- Attack/Move Priority
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