Feedback from a fellow dev

Hello. I’d like to share my feedback. I’ll do my best to avoid beating dead horses.

First some context. I’m 39 years old and have played every Diablo since Diablo 1. I’ve also played and beaten all of Soulsbornekerioring. I happen to be a fellow game dev (gameplay/systems programmer). My first game in the industry was a very mediocre ARPG called Space Siege way back in 2008. There’s a decent chance some of y’all have read my gamedev programming blog posts. I’ve “finished” the story in NRFTW after about 9 hours of game time.

I love that y’all are making a genuine Diablo/Souls blend. From the trailers I thought “Elden Ring but top-down”. This caused me to make some poor choices like not sell any weapons! It took me post-Sacrament to realize my error. The more I played the more I realized it was much more Diablo than Souls.

I love what y’all have done with movement. I’ve never played a top-down game with such expansive movement. Diablo feels like flat, uninspired rectangles. It’s a huge step forward for the genre! The “curved perspective” camera is super clever and a big win.

The pre-Sacrament zone is spectacular. I loved exploring different directions. I was disappointed that everything else was linear. Cave, Sewers, and Nameless Passage had an effectively linear path. I want to see more “open world” of pre-Sacrament.

Combat is basically great. I wish basic combos could interrupt basic enemy attacks. Feels “off” that they can’t. Otherwise great.

I wish weapons had lower stat requirements. I found like 5 cool weapons I could never try. A legendary bow and a cool scythe. Stats should maybe not be a limit until tier 3? Not sure.

I wish there were tooltips. I still don’t know what some of the little icons in inventory mean. Nor do I know what runes do!

I rocked the Legendary 2H plague sword. It felt a bit OP. The charge attack wrecked bosses. Other weapons felt undertuned. That said it was very very fun! I wish other weapons were buffed rather than it nerfed.

Intro soon needs some tuning to help ramp new players. Force spawn a few weapons very early to provide some variety. Definitely give the player more healing. That horse has been beaten dead, but it is a problem.

The game needs more enemy variety. I was getting bored by quarry.

I love the concept of going back to zones for quests. Very neat. The daily/weekly missions feels out of place in a narrative story RPG. Until end-game I’d probably make the side missions refresh on narrative beats rather than time. Give the player a constant choice to “move forward” to “fight backwards”.

Durability just isn’t an interesting mechanic. It’s a resource sink for complex MMO economies. You don’t need it. It doesn’t provide user value.

Unlimited food trivializes boss fights. Demon’s Souls has this issue. Carefully limited Flasks lets you fine tune boss fights much more precisely. Farming for health potions is bad. Buying unlimited potions is better but kinda meh. I think you need to innovate here. Current solution isn’t quite right.

Healing Idea: limited slots, regens when dealing damage (Lies of P, kinda), filled with different food types of various effect. It’s like deciding between health/mana flasks but a step further. Maybe bad idea. Do something novel!

I love the “enemies don’t respawn at bonfires but do respawn much later”. Very clever. Feels like an advancement.

I have a friend who LOVED Ori 1 but found it very very hard. She wanted to love Ori 2 but could never get past the first boss fight. Dark Souls games are notoriously difficult, but deceptively easy. You can overlevel and summon for bosses. Elden Ring goes a step further and adds single player summons. Lies of P has SP only summons. Hardcore players, like me, pride themselves on winning without summons. Most players use summons and have a great time! NRFTW should add boss fight summons. It will increase your accessibility and sales a SIGNIFICANT portion.

Game ran basically great on my 4090. Quarry perf was bad and dipped below 60. Other zones over 100. I imagine quarry perf terrible for most people.

Night + rain makes climbing walls impossible to see. I had to resort to YouTube to find the way forward in quarry twice. Both times there was a climbable wall I couldn’t see. Both times my game was in rain + night.

I hope the full game has some “pretty” zones. Dark, dreary, and rainy is tough. Ori was so pretty, so bright, so hopeful. I’ll be disappointed if this entire game is plague. I would disable rain if I could. It’s too dark.

Upgrading town and vendors is neat. 10 lumber cost per is impossible. I’m old and don’t have friends with time for games. If upgrading town requires a multiplayer realm with friends I’ll never do it. Consider the solo player!!

I was successfully disappointed when the game “ended”. I was having a blast. I don’t know how long the full story will be. I suspect it will be short. This much game took me 8 hours. The main story probably needs to be ~40 hours to get 90%. 30 hours bare minimum. It doesn’t need to be 120 hours ala Elden Ring. But 20 hours is too short.

I’m not convinced the end game will be compelling. I’m not sure I care. I want a 40 to 60 hour campaign. I’d be interested in NG+ and I’d definitely be interested in rolling new “classes”. Treadmill grinding is meh. You’ll need a significant innovation here beyond Diablo style Rifts.

Inventory management sucks. There are way more crafting materials than slots. Upgrading inventory slots for crafting feels bad. Materials should be unlimited and not take space, imho.

Legendary weapons should also be unlimited imho. I never want to sell any legendary weapon either. I want to collect them all!! Lean into this. Give them a special UI.

I love love that this is a Diablo/Souls hybrid. There are several big innovations. Expectations management is crucial. Marketing likely needs to lean into this fact. Otherwise both Diablo fans and Souls fans will be disappointed. The goal is to attact both Diablo and Souls fans by convincing them this is something novel they’ll love. I’d argue you’re making a NEW genre and not just making a great ARPG. ActionSouls? Naming things is hard.

In conclusion: this is an 85%+ game if the narrative is 40+ hours, more open and explorable / less linear areas, more enemy variety, and bosses can be made easier with summons. If you can cleanup a few pain points with a few more innovations it’s 90%+, GOTY material, and will invent a new genre that is a hybrid of ARPG and Souls.


Thank you for writing up all that feedback, lots of good input here! :+1: :heart:

Goal is to reach that 90+ perfection. We’ll get there.


I said this in discord and got absolutely blasted. However, my hypothesis is that the current tuning of Warrick is optimized for Steam refunds:

  • you reach him within 2 hours
  • you can’t skip him
  • it’s not clear how you can farm exp/loot as all monsters stay dead in this realm, and making a new realm isn’t suggested (eg after x deaths)
  • there very little copper available, so even though they added more weapons to Fillmore (awesome change!) a player can’t try them all

Adding this up, my hypothesis is that many players will:

  • reach Warrick
  • try it with 1-3 weapon combinations
  • run out of food
  • don’t want to farm
  • refund the game

There’s many ways to solve for this, including

  • summon a coop
  • summon an NPC
  • replenish up to 3 food upon death (needs to be explained before person reaches this low, as people anticipate running out)
  • Fillmore let you try weapons for free for the fight (as help in clearing his path)
  • somehow boss becomes skippable
  • add explanation how to farm, or make farming within this realm easier

I’m sure there’s more ideas, but the summon coop / npc + replenishing food feels like the right/most fun solution to me (maybe biased, as that’s how ER does it)


I mean the Elden Ring community debates to this day whether summons are “cheating” or not. The facts are that ER is significantly more popular and accessible than any prior FromSoft game. We can debate whether those two things are related or not. I certainly think they are!

Sekiro is the only FromSoft game that has a hard “git gud” design. You can’t overlevel and can’t summon. All the others have summons and overleveling. Sekiro is also the least popular of Soulsbornekerioring. (Sword Saint = best video game boss fight ever)

Yeah running out of food for Warrick is tough. I had that issue and barely scraped by. I don’t know if it needs a “starter zone solution” or a “long term solution”. But I think they definitely don’t want the first boss to be a “refund and leave a bad review” moment.

As my team always likes to say, making games is hard!

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