New Player Feedback Alpha 2 Test 2
I am new player to this game. I was able to obtain a key via an external promotion, and as such I was able to play the current (4/11/20) Alpha test. I am very much aware of what Alpha is supposed to mean (Feature Lock not yet in place). As such, I am only looking at the high level view of the game, as I have an expectation that things can still change dramatically before the launch. As such, here is my feedback.
I was able to run the game well on on what would be considered an older (2012) laptop with decent specs. (i7 16G RAM, SSD, GT 650 Video). I did turn the graphics down a bit, but the performance and appearance was still good. I did have multiple people on screen at the same time (with combat animations) and never noticed any issues. I did experience some server side (not connection) lag in specific areas. Others in the area were experiencing the same issues at the same time. Overall the game looked and performed well.
I know that this was a stress test (of sorts) and I did see and interact with other players... but it would have helped if there was a bit more coordination to try to get us into the same spot (even the starter town) at one time to try to create more stress. I will say that both the community, and the staff were very patient, and helpful. They also had a lot of patience for everyone asking the same questions every 5 minutes. This says a lot about the positive future for this game, as you can always improve the coding after launch, but you cant improve the quality of the human interaction... which is really why people actually play with each other online.
I know that the tutorial is new. I believe that it does a reasonable job of walking new players through many of the tasks that are necessary to play this game. Some minor improvements could be made in how the information is conveyed, for example, add an early task to go to the waypoint marked by the blue star on your minimap. This seemed like something commonly overlooked that slowed down the rest of the tutorial needlessly. I know that this is going to be a work in progress as you continue to add features/content to the game, but the new player experience is huge asset to this game, and should constantly improved. Most people form an opinion about a game within the first few minutes, and it is important to both give the players a feel for how the game actually plays, as well as avoiding unnecessary frustration. Other areas that should be touched on are how your location appears on the map (people seem to miss this a lot), how open/taken plots appear on the minimap, and how enchanting works (at least make the table in the starting town functional). Overall you are on the right track (you have already done better than some games that have launched).
Now as for some of my personal opinions on the game. Let me give a disclaimer, I am a gaming professional. I have been in/out/consulting for the industry for almost two decades and have more experience with online games than most. I am going to give my personal/professional opinions... and you can take them or leave them, up to you.
While I was playing, I ran around most of the map... several times. I went to the places that you have developed, and to those that you have not yet finished. I did this by running, and using two abilities: enrage, and relocate. It often took me 20 minutes to get somewhere.. and without those abilities, it would have taken me longer. This meant that I had a lot of time to read/interact via global chat. There were a lot of comments made by the players about their similar experiences, and there were two common requests: faster running/mounts and autorun. I totally understand why these requests were made, but I also think that they may not be a good fit for this game.
Lets start with faster running/mounts. I know that you have at least promised donkeys (+cart). I am not sure if you have promised ride able mounts (with faster movement). If you have not made this promise... dont. If you have, you may want to re-consider. At this time, most of the one continent we have is empty. There are not enough players, not enough points of interest, and not enough cities to fill the gaps. This is something that is going to drastically change going forward. If we had all of these things right now, the travel time would not seem so empty. There is also the issue of locality. If you can quickly/easily/safely travel between two points, then those two points lose a lot of their distinctive value. Places that are quick/easily accessible blend together. If you there is no time/effort separation between places, then instead of going to the south of the continent, and travelling to key points of interest, players travel to the content, and ALL the points of interest. Lastly, let me say that downtime is a GREAT way to socially bond players. It is more important to have time where players interact with each other, than time when they only interact with the environment. I mentioned that I read/interacted in global chat while travelling. So did others. If we were not expecting downtime while travelling, we would not have bothered.. and the game would be less because of this.
The second request was for an autorun. It does get a bit tiring to hold down/click the mouse button for 20-30 mins at a time. I am not sure that an autorun is a good idea for this game. As much as it sounds like a good idea, it encourages a less interactive gameplay. I know that you have discussed a way to turn off interaction with trees/rocks/corpse etc. I think that this would be a good first step, and help with movement. If you really wanted to try to add an autorun, you could try something very limited. Such as it only working while on roads (and not in towns). This could make it easier to travel in those set routes. However, even that I would recommend wait until much closer to launch (if at all).
The only other issue that I think is valid (for this point in the development) is memory points. I primarily played as a caster (INT based). With 18 INT I had 28 points. However, as many of the more powerful abilities use 6 points each, this quickly became limiting. I understand and appreciate the need for these limits, in order to provide some balance. However, when I looked at the cost of abilities, based on what their primary stat, I feel that the way that the formula works is a bit punitive to INT based skills. The current formula is 10 +INT (16-28 for Human). I feel that this is a bit simplistic. I feel that changing it to something like 3 +INT*1.5 (12-30 for Human) would better reflect usage. This provides more benefit for the higher INT, as they are also those more likely to take the higher value abilities, and provides more benefit for raising INT via enchantments.
I guess that this is enough feedback for one post, so I will stop here (for now). I do think that this game has good potential, and that the developers have done a good job so far. I also think it has a good community (most important thing in a social game) and I look forward to seeing where this goes.
Interesting feedback, thanks for posting.
Mounts are due tom come soon we have been told. OR maybe ports for easy transportation.