An extraordinary core weighed down by constant busywork and friction. Feedback after 25 hours

Hello everyone,

I’ve registered on the forum, and I’m writing this because “No rest for the wicked” is a project I’m passionate about, and I hope it reaches its full potential. Additionally, the Ori saga, especially “Will of the Wisps,” is one of my all-time favorite games.

Since its release on Thursday, I’ve played for over 25 hours. The good news is that the core of the game is exceptional: the art direction, animations, combat, game feel, and level design are top-notch, a true delight.

The main issue I find with the game in its current state is that there are too many decisions, small and not so small, that detract from that impeccable core and hinder the experience in one way or another. Whether it’s unnecessary penalties or a need for grinding that adds nothing, it turns what should be a constant enjoyment into a tedious experience, one you might not want to return to. I’ll list them to make the discussion easier to follow:

Daily and weekly challenges and tasks, or rather, their approach. In itself, a system of daily and weekly tasks may evoke the classic mechanics of mobile markets and free-to-play games, which inevitably end up feeling like chores rather than genuinely fun activities. In this case, the main issue with how the system is set up is that there’s too much friction for completing them to be a casual, enjoyable, or interesting endeavor. Three main reasons: the objectives are unclear, especially at first, it can be difficult to know exactly which specific area they refer to. Furthermore, the lack of a proper teleportation system means reaching them requires constant backtracking, which, despite the smart and appreciated shortcuts, still becomes tedious (even just after three days) and feels like a routine, like commuting to work. And lastly, the lack of indications about how many enemies need to be killed or where they are: it’s not even necessary to highlight them all, but spending 10 minutes finding the last crab you need to kill is anything but enjoyable.
The absence of fast travel. Let me elaborate a bit more on this: in an action RPG, the absence of a fast travel system to any previously discovered area is unimaginable. But in the vast majority of Soulslike games, this can be done (maybe by going to a hub to travel to the rest of the fast travel points, but it’s possible). If the game were a linear adventure with some backtracking elements, I could understand this approach. But in a game centered around revisiting the same areas over and over again, not including a more convenient and direct fast travel ends up making the long walks (which start to feel tedious and repetitive after 15-20 hours) a burden.
Town building. It’s a mechanic I usually love in these types of games, for the sense of progress and belonging to a place you always return to and make your own. But again, the need to wait hours in real-time seems like a mechanic inherited from free-to-play games that encourage you to pay to shorten those times or want you to log back into the game regularly. Here, it seems like a way to artificially “stretch” the gameplay hours and doesn’t add anything to the player. And it goes hand in hand with another main mechanic that leads in that direction, as I mentioned, of “pulling” the player away from the essence of the game.
Material farming. Having to search for trees, ores, or excavation sites. The small amount of materials obtained in each case. The possibility of not finding what you’re looking for (especially in terms of excavations). The fact that tools break so quickly, and you can end up without the possibility of obtaining materials without returning to town. The slow process of chopping, mining, or excavating. All these inconveniences add to the need to move away from the main focus, combat.
World level. I’m not particularly a fan of autoleveling in RPGs, but for a game focused on replayability, it makes a bit more sense. And it’s worth noting that beyond buffing crabs or basic enemies, the areas present slight changes, and the enemies change completely. However, this brings associated problems: in my case, I finished the story mode content at level 18. And I did it without major blocks or problems. Smooth sailing. But then came the Crucible to break my bones. Two hits and dead. Clearly, I needed to continue farming equipment and materials to improve my character. The problem? For some reason, the world level had increased, and suddenly, all the enemies were much tougher, and, to make matters worse, the loot they dropped was level 21. Or, in other words, it was much harder to farm, and the reward I got was unusable for the next 3 levels.

And this goes hand in hand with other strange problems that, honestly, surprise me that they made it to the release version without anyone on the team noticing when completing the content. Materials like clay practically stopped appearing as the world level increased. Therefore, a material needed in practically all city upgrades was impossible to find without resorting to entering other worlds and farming there. Again, more typical of a free-to-play game that requires you to “fight” for every material (to again, encourage you to spend money and make things easier) rather than a game inspired by Soulslike and action RPGs like Diablo or Path of Exile.

Feeling “locked” into a build or character type. This, again, is a culmination of things: the initial imperative need to invest points in stamina or concentration because, otherwise, the lack of both makes combat much less enjoyable and more cumbersome than it really is; weapons with very high stat requirements (46 faith in a relatively low-level weapon, for example) or weapons that you can’t even equip to try out their moveset (even if, as in Souls games, they did no damage in combat) and decide if it’s worth investing points to use them.

And, of course, the lack of options to redistribute your skill points. The absence of any kind of respec (paying a certain amount of money, getting X items, unlocking an NPC, etc.) I don’t think benefits the player in any way. Again, it may lead to certain players creating new characters from scratch and increasing retention, but beyond that, I struggle to find a compelling reason not to include such an option in a game built on a random loot system. Or, in other words, if I’ve invested 10 or 15 hours in my DEX character and I find a fantastic greatsword that requires 40 STRENGTH, the options are to forget about that weapon and remain “locked” in my initial build, invest many points in the required stat and have a build that’s far from optimal and may hinder my progress, or create a new character and play until I have the necessary stats to use it. Again, from the player’s point of view, it seems evident that integrating a respec system would be the best. I love how players’ characters look with dual daggers or magic staves, and I have some weapons that look fantastic, but I can’t see their moves or spend hours and hours (with all the grinding of town building, daily quests, and so on) creating different characters. In my case, instead of generating retention and wanting to play more, it generates some repulsion. The opposite of being able to redistribute and try out new options.

Inventory management. A constant struggle from the beginning. Constantly discarding items or leaving others uncollected due to lack of space is not something that adds to the experience. Rather the opposite. That the chest you have access to in the game also has relatively limited space. That there are no quality-of-life options like being able to transfer all the items you have on you and are also in the chest with the press of a button. That adding an item to a chest (or your inventory) causes the rest of the items to rearrange in strange and random ways. That object stacks are so limited.

Or that increasing the available space in the inventory becomes a primary element of progression associated with defeating bosses. That killing a final boss guarantees you 5 spaces in the inventory doesn’t feel like a satisfying reward. It’s, as in many other cases, trying to turn the solution to a self-imposed problem into a prize that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. A problem for which alternative solutions have already been found and found, such as farming the initial icors in new worlds to increase space. Again, players having to resort to these techniques seems to me sufficient evidence that it’s a source of totally unnecessary friction. And as a final note: having to choose between increasing your inventory spaces or the rings you can equip (or, although less important than the rings, being able to carry a second weapon or one more tool) is equating an improvement with a direct impact on gameplay with alleviating a problem that shouldn’t exist. And being forced to choose the latter isn’t a good feeling.

As I said, there are many layers of tedium, more or less thick, that overshadow the game’s extraordinary core. However, I trust that, over time, you’ll be able to solve and eliminate most of these problems. And it’s commendable that you’ve already started to improve several of them.

Thank you for your work, congratulations on having a highly promising video game on your hands, and good luck with what’s to come.

PS: Sorry, I don’t know how to leave spaces between paragraphs.