35 Hrs - Feedback - the Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly

In the tradition of a feedback sandwich:

TLDR: I love the game, but critical (even subjective) feedback is why you’ve chosen early access (isn’t it?).

The Downright Ugly:

  1. Progress blocked in Quarry due to crane not turning 360 degrees - locked off from the final section of the map. I know this is true for myself and many others (based on external sources) - looks like it was introduced in the last patch. Yes, you can cheese your way to the final boss, but it locks you out of an area that would be helpful for farming Spruce.
  2. The current implementation of the ‘free form’ house items placement system does not work on either M/K or controller. You have zero ‘finesse’ due to the terrible character controls (see POE’s hideout system for comparison). It’s the equivalent of throwing your furniture across the space and living with where it lands.
  3. Where is all the clay? Its early access, why make people grind that hard for tier 2 upgrades? It makes me wonder how much of a time sinc you intend in the future. I (speaking only for myself ofc) play ARPGs for the grind, for the gear, for the upgrades and ‘feeling’ of progression - but there’s a cadence that needs to be set to ensure the grind falls on the side of fun, rather than tedium. For the little amount of content you have, you are erring too close to tedium with the clay requirement.

The Bad:

  1. I can imagine durability (a none issue right now in my opinion, after the patch) will become an issue down the line, when gear is worth far more. But the 0% item completely broken that’s in the game right now… come on. Remember your marketing PR - revolutionising APRPs? This is where your ‘Souls-like’ and ARPG fusion stutters. In a ‘Souls-like’, I expect to die, over and over and over, because I suck. In an ARPG, I try my damndest not to die, because it annoys me, because I have 5000 hrs in POE and it costs me 10% XP, and if I’m pushing 100 that is literally hours of my valuable time down the drain. Yes, time is valuable to gamers. There seems to a be a misconception that gamers have a bottomless well of time to spend on their hobby. We don’t. We are already penalised for death by the time it takes us to get back to where we were (Bosses not withstanding). Please - do something different, something new.
  2. Inventory management is appalling, but I guess for a tier 1 implementation its serviceable. But, forcing boss grind’s to unlock inventory spaces by limiting item stacks feels like a ‘free-to-play’ ‘engagement’ tactic.
  3. Why is ‘sidle’ an action (why is it in the game at all)? There are perhaps 2 places I’ve found where it can be used. The starting zone, and one in the quarry. Trouble is, the one in the quarry does not work. But every time I try to enter my house, guess what… I sidle instead.
  4. There is a risk of there being too much stun/knockdown-locking. It’s manageable later into character development, but is annoying as hell early on when you have to face off against more than one trash mob at a time. No, it’s not a skill issue (I hear you out there ‘git gud bro’). Too often you are knocked down and wacked with no time to dodge. I guess over time things like this will be tweaked. Who designed the plague wolves? Do they not like gamers at all? Fun: games need to be fun, that’s the only metric that will keep me coming back for more (other than a slight masochistic tendency I trying to deal with). Something needs to be tweaked here is all I’m sayin’.
  5. 1 unique legendary drop across 35 hrs of game time? Seems a bit punitive to fight the final boss 3 times and only get a ‘hand’ as a reward? I suppose you got the ARPG feel right here, but you have a clean slate to make meaningful design choices that aren’t cooky cutter choices. The first boss seems to rain down his 2 handed sword 85% of the time, even in his baby form. It kinda feels to me like you set an expectation in the players’ mind that legendaries can be farmed; but then slap them in the face. Which is really an odd choice for early access - I would have expected you would want the players to have access to cool toys early and often. Or maybe it’s just RNG, and I’ve been unlucky thus far…
  6. Why all the consumables? I don’t use anything but food - because the way of accessing anything not on your ‘hot bar’ gets you killed more often than not. Why stamina or pois pots? Why have you filled the shops - ergo our inventories - with stuff that’s of next to no use in the current state of the game?
  7. Talking about food: I’m Ok with it being the major source of healing, but I’m not Ok with zero regeneration outside of combat, or the fact that there is no way to get health back other than food, a rune, or some passive regen you might be lucky to get on a useable item. Surely it would make sense to have the act of clicking on an echo also heal us?
  8. I think I’ve spent most of my time out in the world at night - must have mixed up my character’s circadian rhythm because I bounced between realms so much. Why can I not sleep (in game) and move time forward? Hopefully this is a planned feature?
  9. Plague items, your idea of epics. It’s a great idea in principle, but the implementation is for most part too annoying. Great, its cheap to gamble items, but why bother unless you want to add additional difficulty because all of a sudden you have less health, take more damage, can’t generate enough focus to use a rune and your stuff breaks twice as fast. TBF I can live with the last one: it’s the only negative mod I’m ‘happy’ to see roll. The entire system misses the point of the loot grind in ARPGs.

The Good.

  1. The world/Art/Design – breathtaking. I can’t overstate what a joy it is to be ‘in’ the world you’ve created. I’ve grown to love my quirky, oddly proportioned character dressed in circus clothes and wearing a hat there’s no way they can see out of.
  2. The combat is for the most part constantly engaging. Trying out different weapon movesets is great fun - although there are plenty of balance issues I imagine you will address (just don’t bring the nerf hammer down on stuff, please, ok?).
  3. The musical score is splendid, if a little sparse. You seem to want to use music to enhance the reveal of certain areas/events etc, which is great, because it sets the tone. But, a little ambient music in the other places wouldn’t go a miss for me personally.
  4. Gathering is chill enough (other than the clay, and the stupid number of useless items given the current state of the game). I’m sure that the crafting down the line will be great - IF you can implement enough ‘gear’ and create enough options that allow discussions about meta to have a range, rather than a fixed absolute.

To Wrap Up.

I’ve been critical for a reason - I absolutely love what you are doing here. Everyone will be screaming at you to do this, that, or the other. Don’t water down the experience - enhance it. Don’t add yellow markers to climbable surfaces, create engagement-metric-time-sink loops, make fast travel too accessible or even listen to someone like me who doesn’t like durability in games. Keep to your design philosophy, avoid all the crap that comes with games nowadays (micro’s, battle passes, PTW, content gated by cost of purchase - basically everything Ubisoft). Keep a steady update rhythm going forward (content and QoL). BE transparent. BE quick to fix issues like the quarry crane bug (really a bad look for week 1). You may have been inspired by the success of Baldur’s Gate 3. Dunno, just guessing. Do it right. Nowadays, that’s how you revolutionise, not with odd systems and weird design choices.

1 Like

I think this is solid feedback across the board! I’d echo pretty much everything with 25 hrs in myself. I didn’t get the Quarry issue, as far as I can tell- and I played that area after the last patch ? dunno.

I think a lot of this gets naturally balanced through EA (furniture placement, inventory woes, knock-down balancing)

I’d much rather that durability hit your power level after X damage, rather than risk breaking at some point.

I guess I don’t agree on the Blood Ichor unlocking extra rows and off-hand ‘stuff-’ I like that, BUT, I do agree that a balancing of certain elements is needed - E.G we probably need on more starter row of Resources, and there are too many damn poise potions and status bombs/oils taking up space.