Hello everyone, I got access to the beta this week and dove in headfirst. After finishing my first game, I thought I'd post some observations and feedback.
Grand Strategy concerns:
It took me a while to find a balance between keeping up a steady supply of heroes and powering my research. I ended up landing on 4 keeps, 3 crucibles, and 3 sagewrights, though, which meant that by year 200 I was pretty much done with research and was generating fresh level 10 heroes. This made the final third of the game rather tedious as I was just going through the motions waiting for the end.
Some more feedback on the impact of parents on trainees would be nice; it wasn't until I lost a crucible to the Cadence and still kept pumping out level 10 heroes that I realized that the Regent/Partner were also providing experience. Some kind of notification of this would be handy, as it's a rather important consideration when picking a regent (also, does anyone know off hand if the experience provided is equal or lesser to that of an equivalent Standard in a Crucible?).
More information about how Relics are generated would be very useful. In my playthrough, I got a couple of Hunter relics early, no Caberjack relics (because I swiched them to Ramcaps early and that bloodline had issues with Asthma and Slowness anyway), and an avalanche of Alchemist relics about halfway through. It wasn't until around that point that I discovered that you can gain relics when sending a hero to the Sagewright's.
Also, keep attacks were something of a rude awakening. It's not a bad thing by any means to catch the player off-guard with a sucker punch, but at the very least allowing the player to unlock skills and change equipment on whoever's chilling in the targeted zone would be good. I was dealing with such a deluge of heroes that I wasn't inclined to spend the time clicking on their skills and adjusting their equipment before packing them off to their posting.
Hunters are really good, but I dislike both of their weapon upgrade options. The Bone Barb Bow has a damage penalty relative to the standard crossbow and is potentially as dangerous to your heroes as to your enemies. The Blunder Bow's lack of range is painful after using your Hunters as long range snipers, and I found it hard to predict where the kickback on it was going to send my hero, meaning I would often inadvertently launch them into obstacles and stun them. Basically, if I could use a relic with a Hunter, I always would.
Alchemists are a bit lackluster in the early game (though this might speak more to my issues with Asthma cropping up everywhere in my bloodlines than any real problems) but really come into their own in the second half of the game when Cadence swarm more and are harder to put down. In contrast to Hunters, I had hard time choosing between Relics and Anarchy Launchers for my Alchemists. Anarchy Launchers give you better flask AoEs and seem to throw more powerful flasks, while the Relics would have much better melee damage. There's an actual trade off there that makes for interesting decision making.
I need to play another game to give Caberjacks another chance, because they were just not doing it for me. By the end of the game I had abandoned my Caberjacks completely and was just using teams of Hunters and Alchemists. Part of that was no doubt because of my aforementioned bloodline issues, but the movement penalty traits unmistakably hurt Caberjacks a lot worse than the other classes. I feel like they need some method of getting into the fight more easily. I never generated any Caber Relics this game, but it's hard to imagine them outperforming Ramcaps, which are amazing. I experimented a little with the Timefists, but never saw their special ability trigger.
A couple of thoughts on the final battle: The feeling of "Oh crap, can I actually hold off all these Cadence" is good, but some kind of progress indicator would be nice, as that feeling eventually turned into "Ugh, how much longer am I going to have to keep putting down enemies?" Some kind of indication of what's going on when your heroes die and are replaced by ancestors would also be useful, because that's really a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment right now, when it should be a lot more significant. Finally, at one point I misclicked and made an Alchemist attack the Chalice instead of refilling his flasks (incidentally doing a lot more damage to it than the Cadence could manage up until that point). That's all on me for being careless, but I have to wonder if it's a good idea to allow the player to attack the Chalice at all. Especially considering that it took me a bit to figure out exactly what I had to do to refill flasks in the first place.
That's all I've got right now. I'll probably start up a second game shortly and refine my strategy to see what happens. I'm thinking 5 keeps, 2 crucibles, 3 sagewrights, and I'll make two of the keeps Caberjack bloodlines to ensure that I actually have usable Caberjacks more often.