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Sandro

My feedback after finishing the game

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So, I just finished the game, and thought I would put down my thoughts while they are still fresh. This is a bit of a wall of text, so please be patient with me:

What I liked

Chaotic rush at the beginning to get my bloodlines started

The fact that I could not seek quality in my bloodlines at first, until I first had sufficient quantity to be picky about breeding

Early game balance. Enemies were challenging to kill, but not too difficult

Early game xp consequences. Ruptures deny xp. Lapses remove it. There were very strong incentives to kill both quickly. Created a sense of urgency.

That we are never locked in to a particular build for a character. The next generation can just choose different skills.

Shell armor enabled some fun situations where I could just throw my caberjack at the horde.

Synergy between hunter sound detection and alchemist flasks that go over obstacles.

What could have been better

Some of the skill tree decisions just seemed to be no brainers.

Eg. The hunter ability that increases damage if the enemy is less than half health is only useful if the hunter damage is less than half of the enemy’s max hp, which didn’t happen to me.

Hunters got too much xp

Since Ruptures and lapses need to be killed fast, hunters are frequently the only ones able to get into position fast enough to finish them off. That meant that my hunters got a disproportionate amount of xp. Having some mechanism to help caberjacks and alchemists with positioning would be helpful.

On my second playthrough, I am now skilled enough to get my low level caberjacks and alchemists kills, but it is still far easier to do with the hunters

Replacing Sagewrights very frequently

Since I would typically appoint my oldest heroes to be sagewrights, and I had 3 sagewrights guilds, I ended up replacing a sagewright on average once a year. This ended up being very repetitive, and could use some streamlining.

Not enough research options

I finished all “free” research around year 160

After that point, I had to confirm, “yes, I know my sagewright are wandering the halls” every time I moved the timeline, it was tedious.

When my sagewrights died, it wasn’t worth the effort to replace them.

No use for xp after hitting level 10

I got all heroes and relics to max level 10 around year 200

At that point, one of the more enjoyable aspects of the game stopped being relevant.

End game seemed to have very little advancement

After maxing hp and technology, there was only 1 goal remaining, and that was to reach year 300, and there was nothing I could do to work towards that goal other than kill everything as fast as possible and ignore all of the message prompts and interruptions.

Hero sort order when sorting by experience messed up at level 10

When all heroes have exactly the same xp, they appear to be sorted in descending order by age. I think sorted in ascending order by age makes more sense.

Lack of any mechanism to find relic/traits/personality on people

I think some sort of sort order/filter/symbol would have been helpful to deal with the organizational aspects of my characters

I appreciated that the Bountiful trait was easy to find when it was relevant

Impact of armor could have been better explained.

What does “armor”, “evasion”, “resistance” mean?

Lapse could remove level 10 too easily

This mechanic wasn’t fun to deal with, just tedious

Wrinklers are not affected at all by armor or evasion

The fact that the shell armor, flarrow, alchemist grass had no impact on the effectiveness of the wrinkler was frustrating

Yes, I could have used wonderwear, but then I couldn’t use sponge stone.

Sending in a sponge stone/shell armor caberjack into a huge horde and having everyone take a swing was super fun, and the bigger the horde the better. When wrinklers were in the mix, I had to use my hunters to kill them first, and that thinned out the horde. That decreased the awesomeness of the experience.

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Have you kept saves from your playthrough? Because several things about it seem pretty unusual:

1) 3 Sagewrights guilds???? No wonder you finished research around year 160, that's a ... lot of sagewrights.

2) Getting everyone to level 10 around year 200 - I would say that isn't most people's experience.

I think those two things in combo lead to a very unconventional playthrough where I can see how the end game might have been pretty rote. So you may have actually stumbled upon a dominant strategy that DF need to balance against somehow. It would be useful to them I think to be able to inspect your saves to get an idea of what you were doing to be so successful.

I agree with a lot of your general UI/other comments, btw.

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Yeah this is fantastic data! I think that you were doubling (tripling!) down on the Sagewright's Guild and it sounds like that is HELLA OVERPOWERED right now. :D

I'll have to look at the numbers, but keeping 3 Sagewright's Guilds fully staffed sounds almost impossible to me! How were you able to get enough heroes for that? Did you have a lot of Bountiful heroes? Were you using the Recruiting a lot? I'm curious! :D

Similarly it sounds like you found a way to completely destroy the XP curve. A lot of players aren't even getting a single hero to level 10 by year 300. So I'm curious about this too! Did you use Crucibles a lot? How many?

It would be so great if you could send your save game into us! If you could just zip up your save directory and email it to support@doublefine.com that would be great! Your folder is right here:

C:\Users\brad\AppData\Roaming\Doublefine\MassiveChalice\76561197964165126

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I'll check to see if I still have my save file. I'm pretty sure I got one in mid 200s.

I had 4 keeps, 3 sagewrights and 3 crucibles. I was able to keep all 3 sagewrights populated. I only ever lost 1 territory, and it was a sagewrights guild, but that was after I was maxed out, so it made very little difference.

When picking regents, I focused on fertility over most everything else. At the end, about half my heroes had the bountiful trait. There was one point where I had 15 trainees at once. I used very few adoptions.

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So this really seems to bear out the idea in the recent Rock Paper Shotgun article that the traits aren't making enough difference. If you can do this well at the game through sheer force of BABIES then why consider anything else?

This suggests to me that more of the negative traits need to be a threat, that the birth rate needs some tweaking, and to complement this as discussed in other recent threads, let's improve the way adoption works so that going for infertile or otherwise unable to reproduce couples is occasionally an interesting strategic choice.

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Also, a key element of my strategy was that I started focusing on giving my stardards the "rebel" personality around year 60, so that I would gain access to some new traits.

Also, almost all of my regents were 15-25 years old when appointed.

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I haven't been paying attention to traits at all. I notice little differences in battle, but it's more neat than significant.

I'm year 200, and all my guys are level eight. XP in battle has been trivial for a while. Have five Crucibles because no reason to build anything else when I have more than enough keeps to keep my army going. I only have one Sagewright guild, but since I'm only really fielding hunters, I don't need many upgrades. I actually got a caberjack upgrade even though I've only been able to field that class once in two hundred years. Might be too late for this, but another building type would be nice.

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Maybe the game needs to have a cap on how much XP additional standards can give trainees, or perhaps the opportunity costs to building crucibles should be higher (more research needed so more reason to build guilds, lower birthrate so more reason to build keeps, etc.)

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Maybe the game needs to have a cap on how much XP additional standards can give trainees, or perhaps the opportunity costs to building crucibles should be higher (more research needed so more reason to build guilds, lower birthrate so more reason to build keeps, etc.)

I think lowering the birthrate is probably a good idea for multiple reasons:

- Makes adoption slightly less unattractive as an alternative

- Makes building up bloodlines a bit harder, so you can't just coast on past glories

- Makes each birth matter more

- Encourages more building of keeps

- You can buy upgrades to increase birth rate right now, but it already feels pretty fast enough from the start

etc etc.

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All good points. I think the tough part is keeping the early game pretty much the same, since to me (and most feedback I've seen) it plays really nicely. Very frantic, just like early XCOM where you are scrambling to get satellite coverage. Lowering the birthrate might make the early game even more difficult and focused on setting up bloodlines. But keeping it the same seems to create a hero glut in the mid to late game. Maybe a solution would be to lower the birth rate but slightly increase the number of available heroes at the beginning to make it easier to fully staff keeps and get the ball rolling.

Arrgh, balancing is tough. Lots of respect to the team for making it feel so good already, and also letting us in while the sausage is still getting made.

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I see what you mean with maxing the exp, in my play through I was getting everyone to level 10 by about the same time too if not sooner, maybe about 180.

It felt like focusing on experience was more important than research and often keeps too...

I had 3 crucibles, one of them was on a double exp bonus country, and once I started getting higher and higher levels, the exp bonus increased so it ramped up very quickly by about half way through the game. Exp scarf was also useful. It got to a point when I'd always have about 10-15 max level hunters to choose from, and I was just going based on their attributes for battle.

Keeping 4 keeps with bountiful partners gave an unending supply of heroes so that I never had to adopt.

actually, I didn't use a sagewright, since I was maining hunters, once I researched their bows, and a few items, and veil armour, no further research was really needed.

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i think i have struck a parrallel point. i have 5 keeps. now at year 130. i all houses are produceing lvl, 6-7 heros and the amount of babies i have is stupid. little 5th lvl superhero babies all over the place. i only have 1 sagewrite guild and 1 standard but is is always stocked with the best of the best. i feel like i just have the manpower to stomp the cadence, it dosnt matter if hero A is asthmatic he comes from a family of dozens, i will just use the one that doged the bullet and let the others sit and be lazy.

if i had a penalty to haveing so many heros... like feeding all these jobless aristocrats? that would reduce the benifit

if familyies were a little more consistant with the traits they developed. that would make bountifle less awsomely powerful. becuase as it is you can just breed and hope for a good egg or seven

if heros had a babie quota... like no more then four babies max in a lifetime, and lower chance to have babies in the first place. you would get better desisions cus right now it is like... "which oone of these thirty siblings should i take on a walk today" it should be "you, your sister or... oh ya your uncle just died.... i guss it is you jimmy!"

i think the "babies everywhere strat" is op and i think that the "buildings on every square" may be op (havent tried all sagewrites but seems possible, i mean you could buy new heros like wild)

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Cool strategy guys! Never would have thought of sagewrights/standard research/xp heavy, fertility build.

Balance possibilities:

1. fertility rate in general

2. bountiful trait

3. sagewright research rate or building time

4. crucible XP rate or building time

5. only 1 sagewrights guild and only 1 crucible

I assumed before actually getting the beta that sagewright guilds and standard crucibles were unique, one-time only buildings. I like the current flexibility of being able to build multiples of anything, but perhaps limiting those buildings to 1 each would make the game easier to balance. It would put a cap on the research/xp growth rate and make balancing the game way easier since you'd be balancing for only 0 or 1 crucibles and 0 or 1 sagewrights guilds, as opposed to now where every possible combination has to be balanced.

---

wrt RPS, I am super into bloodline management as it is, but I wouldn't mind say a flat doubling of all genetic and personality effects next patch, so they really stand out and then balance from there. This would tie the strategic and tactical layers together a bit more tightly. Maybe couple this with a little less randomness in genetic effects, so you can really feel it when your bloodlines are getting better.

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I don't think doubling them ALL would work, I just think certain ones are clearly more effective than others. Like if you're a reveler, it's only when hungover that I really notice it, because that suuucks, but otherwise the only thing I really feel is the wobbly pathfinding.

And slow is already pretty punishing, hawkeye is already noticeably good, and so on. It's not across the board, but I honestly only routinely 'notice' a few traits in combat.

Anyway, I agree that a lowered fertility rate especially among the particularly fertile, would be good. I also agree that it might be good to limit the number of special buildings you can build, otherwise this is gonna get pretty tricky to balance.

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No use for xp after hitting level 10

I got all heroes and relics to max level 10 around year 200

At that point, one of the more enjoyab e aspects of the game stopped being relevant.

Yes! Very annoying. At about year 240 all my heroes are level 10 too.

I used 2 Sagewright Guilds, 2 Crucibles, lost 1 territory about year 200, and 2 very close to year 300.

End game seemed to have very little advancement

After maxing hp and technology, there was only 1 goal remaining, and that was to reach year 300, and there was nothing I could do to work towards that goal other than kill everything as fast as possible and ignore all of the message prompts and interruptions.

Exactly the same experience... and this is probably the worst threat to the game, since it ceases to become fun.

Lapse could remove level 10 too easily

This mechanic wasn’t fun to deal with, just tedious

Wrinklers are not affected at all by armor or evasion

The fact that the shell armor, flarrow, alchemist grass had no impact on the effectiveness of the wrinkler was frustrating

Yes, I could have used wonderwear, but then I couldn’t use sponge stone.

Sending in a sponge stone/shell armor caberjack into a huge horde and having everyone take a swing was super fun, and the bigger the horde the better. When wrinklers were in the mix, I had to use my hunters to kill them first, and that thinned out the horde. That decreased the awesomeness of the experience.

Agreed on both.

On the Lapses... I believe if they are killed, the heroes should gain back (a portion of) their lost XP.

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Hmmmm... I think balancing the different buildings is going to decently tough. Ideally a balanced build should be best, with advantages and drawbacks for over producing any of the given types.

If you have too many keeps you should be hurting for experience and be behind on research.

If you have too many crucibles you should be hurting for heroes and be behind on research.

If you have too many Sagewrights you should be hurting for experience and heroes.

I think nerfing the birth rates and increasing the utility of Caberjacks/Alchemists would probably be the best way to see this happen. In the game I just finished I was routinely seeing families with 10+ kids in them.

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Yeah this is fantastic data! I think that you were doubling (tripling!) down on the Sagewright's Guild and it sounds like that is HELLA OVERPOWERED right now. :D

I'll have to look at the numbers, but keeping 3 Sagewright's Guilds fully staffed sounds almost impossible to me! How were you able to get enough heroes for that? Did you have a lot of Bountiful heroes? Were you using the Recruiting a lot? I'm curious! :D

Similarly it sounds like you found a way to completely destroy the XP curve. A lot of players aren't even getting a single hero to level 10 by year 300. So I'm curious about this too! Did you use Crucibles a lot? How many?

It would be so great if you could send your save game into us! If you could just zip up your save directory and email it to support@doublefine.com that would be great! Your folder is right here:

C:\Users\brad\AppData\Roaming\Doublefine\MassiveChalice\76561197964165126

I have also had the experience that all my heroes are level 10 by the time they are 15 (in my current game they hit level 10 at around 11 years old :D). So I suspect it isn't as rare as you think. I think you can hit the point where all new heroes are lvl 10 somewhere between years 150-200 fairly easily.

My typical approach is two crucibles, two sagewrights, and the rest keeps.

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Thanks for the feedback you guys! Now that the Mac/Linux builds are up and running we're going to be focusing a lot more on raw number balancing!

Stay tuneeeeeeeeeeed! :D!

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