Thoughts on beta issues

Discussion in 'Beta Discussion' started by direstorm, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. direstorm

    direstorm New Member

    So, steam says I've invested 22 hours in this game, which is quite a lot by any objective standard. Certainly it should be enough to have a first impression of the game. In summary, my first impression is that the game has some strengths, but it also has a lot of areas that need work, especially in the areas of design and game balance.

    As a player with 22 hours in the game, I am still kicking around in a T3 newb ship. I have some LP, but since my first efforts to get a cheap T4 met with quick and brutal deaths, I've decided to wait and simply pool Lp for now. I'm playing Sol faction and I've given the new shields a try. For obvious reasons my critique is going to focus on tiers 3 and 4. I've only experienced tier 5 by being shot at by tier 5's.

    My first issue with the game is that, despite all the hours I've spent playing it, I've got nothing to show for it. I was, as I said, able to buy an Oslo, but I promptly got swarmed and destroyed as soon as I tried to deploy it. While this is supposed to be a gritty hard-science game, the emphasis at present is on grinding for literally hundreds of hours in order to gain a ship that you can then lose to a quirk of unlucky battlefield placement.

    My suggestion here is twofold: first, fix it so you don't lose ten+ hours of game progress every time you lose a battle. The current grind is simply a bad game mechanic, it's not fun and it's going to lose you players and lose you money. I strongly urge you to reconsider the current mechanic. A good candidate to address this fix is to refund half of any ship LP that is destroyed.

    Second, you might consider implementing a tech tree. Reduce all ship prices by 90% to be in line with what the current tier 3 prices are. Have players pay the full value (for instance, 1000 LP) to research a tier. You could even have tech unlocks, such as 3x shields, plasma guns, and improved engines, and allow players to upgrade purchased ships with one-off tech upgrades. All of this will contribute to a sense of progression for the player.

    My second issue with the game is the balance issue. I appreciate that the devs are keeping an eye on this and have already rebalanced tier 3 in particular so that Sol is more competitive. I understand that Gen is intended to dominate at tier 3 (and possibly tier 4) but I urge the devs to reconsider this intention. Giving Gen a 10% bump in HP and damage is fine. Giving them a 50% bump in HP and damage relative to Sol is a bad idea, and it's going to drive players away as fast as they can download the game and enter a map. Players are going to enter the game, see that their enemies have better stats across the board, and then they are going to uninstall the game.

    You've already improved Sol shields and power and nerfed Gen power across the board, and I'd definitely take a wait and see approach for a bit to determine whether that was enough to bring the game back into balance. Right now it's a little hard for me to tell because I keep running into Gen t4 and t5 ships in my newbie cruiser and then I get one-shotted before I can fight anyone.

    IF (and we don't know yet, so this is a big if) the game needs further rebalancing, I suggest giving all Sol ships one free unit of shields across all arcs. This would take the sting off their very low HP and the relatively higher damage from Gen ships. With the shield buff you already implemented I don't know if this is necessary.

    My third issue with the game is the tier system. As someone who has *only* played the game for 22 hours and is still in the free newbie ship, it's a little frustrating for me to see tier 4 and tier 5 enemies on literally every map I enter, because it completely shuts down my ability to play the game. Players who are unable to compete because they are low tier are going to get frustrated and leave.

    My suggestion here is twofold: first, I really like the idea of missions that let new players learn the game and earn XP, but it would be nice if it granted more than a very minor amount of XP. I would love to see missions with multiple T2's, multiple t3's, and even t4 ship tenders available to tier 3 ships, and maybe more than 1 xp per hit for these ships. I understand that this isn't intended to be a player vs environment game and missions are a low priority.

    Second, some sort of balance system in contested sectors would be nice. For defensive sectors, it might make sense to spawn high-level AI's when high-level player ships appear, who can at least give low-level player ships a fighting chance against the invaders. Alternately, some deployable structures that are tier-4 and tier-5 equivalent might make a lot of sense. I would guess that players would gladly drop a few hundred LP to gain a static repair structure that was able to contribute a couple of plasma lasers and some shields to a fight. I understand that players are already able to spend a captain point to have an AI fleet tender accompany them; this would be a different, related defense mechanic.
  2. direstorm

    direstorm New Member

    Bought a T5 Klondike. Lost it when a Gen T5 destroyer warped in and destroyed me before I could warp out. This is a problem and needs to be addressed, because tactically there was nothing I could do except either attempt to retreat, and be destroyed, or attempt to stay and fight, and be destroyed. About ready to cuss out the developers right now. Thought the balance was supposed to be better at higher tiers but this is not the case.

    Suggest that retreating ships get automatic full power to shields. This at least gives them a fighting chance and negates the "Gen can 1-shot retreating Sol ships" issue. Note that the reverse (Sol 1-shotting retreating Gen ships) is rarely a problem because Gen tier 5 ships have in excess of 100 hp while my Klondike has 60.

    Left a review on steam. I can't recommend this game at this time. There's just too many stupid, wrongheaded design decisions. And by the way, those cheap, pay-to-win ships are not your ticket to early retirement. They are going to seriously damage your product and company image.
  3. Vesuvius_SWIE

    Vesuvius_SWIE Administrator Staff Member

    Unfortunate you think that. I wish you knew more about the product, and that my life savings went to this game, there is no chance to even break even.... not even in 2 years. This was a labor of love, not a money grab. I wish you would have reconsidered your negative review until AFTER the reset and rebalance. It is not a pay-to-win, I really don't see how you got that.
  4. direstorm

    direstorm New Member

    Hardcore, crunchy sci-fi games are hard to fund and make a profit on. Look at Eve Online compared to World of Warcraft. More than a decade later they're both going strong but WoW has orders of magnitude more players.

    I notice you had a kick-starter that funded up to $32,500 out of $40,000 when you shut it down just before Thanksgiving. You've got in-game purchases including special ships that let people beat the power curve. You've got everything in place to make this game a commercial success except a game environment that isn't actively hostile to your players. One way or another, this game is poised to explode, but the issues I outlined above are likely the only things holding it back from exploding into a profitable success.

    If you can figure out how to make a game that's actually fun for players to play, you won't have to worry so much about the money. You're taking a huge risk gambling your life savings in a market that historically is very hostile to newcomers and has a negative expected return on investment. But your project isn't that far away from being the sort of lucky score that keeps people pouring money into the field.
  5. Yuka-san

    Yuka-san New Member

    I think that being able to positionally place your incoming ship around the borders of the map whilst viewing where your allies (potentially scanned enemies as well) and waiting for the transit phase would eliminate that newly arrived despair-filled destruction, as you can regroup with them easily to make those concentrated battles people love...or realize that everyone is on the verge of destruction and go towards the corners of the map so you don't have to add your ship to the fireworks.

    I think allowing a single unit of power towards shields whilst warping for sol ships wouldn't be a stretch for right now.

    I do think that prices for higher ships need to be re-negotiated, or at least make it so once you buy it, subsequent costs are 25-50% off OR go with his idea and make a marginal refund for your lost ship. But since this makes it easier for people to keep high-end ships, it makes it harder for noobs to integrate in PVP with their puny free ships. Making missions a viable alternative for XP and LP points would balance this as noobs could farm missions. And expanding them as I believe you were already planning to, like easy/medium/hard (you have medium currently, though it is more easy than medium). You could make missions play a more prominent role as well rather than a side feature, frequency of mission completeness could mean increase or decrease of structures for the front lines and at stations, and influencing the rate of AI reinforcements. This would be similar to Galactic Readiness in Mass Effect 3 (if you are familiar with it). An empire that takes care of itself spells prosperity and this would allow noobs to get the feel of the game before they PVP if they so choose while influencing the state of the war integrally and being compatible with all factions.

    Iffy about the tech-system but it could overlap with above improvements and allow for procedural progression. The increase of frequency in regards to rewards do make players happier, but it needs to be just right. Otherwise players either feel like everything's too easy to obtain and it's a loot fest, or they can't get anything without strenuous heavy grinding. In the current state of the game, it's leaning to the latter. In addition to the above, though optional, the tech system could allow for players to customize/tweak ships on their own rather than buying variants. These improvements could range from anywhere from an improved scanner, more engine power, more hull, customize-able weapon loadout though damage can be a set maximum on a ship-by-ship casing and could cost credits (allowing for transaction to continue). Take this under advisement and allow player feedback on the idea, at this stage of the game, it still has adaptability of framework! :)

    AI had a huge improvement after the reset compared to what it used to be and I'm proud. It's by no means a priority for you currently.

    XP & LP distribution is smoother.

    I DO have fun playing.

    The plasticity of your game is great, mistakes can be revised and learned from. This game can be a great success, do not lose hope. :D
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  6. Eidolon

    Eidolon New Member

    Another suggestion would be capping the amount of XP can be gained in a single day. It would prevent people that play this game 16 hours a day to advance insanely high just a couple days after server reset. Don't cap LP/HP, just exp gained.
  7. Zer0CoolAZ

    Zer0CoolAZ Administrator Staff Member

    I can understand that not everyone has the same amount of time to play, but there is no justification really to essentially locking players out of gaining EXP for a certain window of time. To bring it back to WoW as mentioned earlier in this post, it would be like telling players that you can only get 10 levels a day. Those who can only achieve that amount will rejoice, but the hardcore players or the ones who take a vacation day to enjoy their favorite game, etc., would be livid. (Rightfully so IMO).
    Yuka-san likes this.
  8. infested

    infested Member

    No this is a very bad solution. It will only decrease the population of people playing the game (especially the more experienced dedicated ones) because they will hit the cap and then they will have nothing to do.

    Here is my suggestion for a quick and easy solution to all these balance problems.

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