Iron Tower Studio ForumsRPGDungeon RatsMy thoughts, suggesions/Review
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NewAgeOfPower
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« on: November 09, 2016, 03:51:36 pm »

Dungeon Rats is a pure combat game set in the universe of Age of Decadence. Like it's predecessor, it promises to force players to make hard decisions and weigh every tradeoff.

The first thing you'll notice when playing the game is the excellent, atmospheric music, almost perfectly complementing the game's main menu screen. Most of the in game scenes, however, err towards too dark for easy visibility, even somewhat hindering playability.

While shallow in comparison, the conversation trees are highly reminiscent of Age of Decadence's conversations; detailed, lore-heavy, full of unsaid implications, which were one of the best qualities of AoD. Unfortunately, as Dungeon Rats is extremely linear, it could not embrace the full scope of these conversations.

Some issues of balance and design become obvious at the end of my first playthrough:

-As this is a highly combat-centric game, players will find Dexterity to be one of the most critical statistics; having less than 8 Dex is practically unjustifiable.

-There is far too much food available; this not only discourages investing into Alchemy (as healing is too easy) but completely ruins the feel of a band of half-starved prisoners. Given that three of the starting companions have trash-tier health totals, even using all your food is difficult as heavy injuries would kill these companions in the first place.

-Crafting has a weird progression, Iron is available immediately after the first arc, but remains the highest tier of craftable material until the midpoint of the game.

-While there is enough Blue Steel to equip at least two members of your party (potentially four if you don't go nuts with super-heavy armor and kill the Praetor's guards) the shortage of Meteoric Steel makes investing more than Crafting 8 a fairly questionable decision.

These things being said, the game perfectly lives up to it's core concept; difficult combat where dying is easy. I'm uncertain it's even possible for a solo high intelligence build (which I believe should be necessary to use the healing machine) to clear the Meteoric constructs guarding the healing machine. Like wise, the Emperor and final battles reward viable builds and punish unviable builds, exactly as promised.

One thing I liked most about this game (and not about Age of Decadence) was the fun in crafting master-tier gear and equipping multiple party members with said gear.

Some suggestions:

-It would be better if food were consumed by each companion each level, with temporary stat penalties setting in if food were not available. Some skill/stat/party member checks to find/open more food caches would be available for not only flavor text but to reward players who used certain combinations of skills.

Players without alchemy would also have to weigh healing vs consumption needs.

-A better progression would be allowing Bronze immediately after defeating Barca and Iron after the Dregers, with Steel being available at the abandoned forge. At least 5 (and preferably 10) more lbs of Meteor being available would be necessary to justify Crafting 10.

-I missed the detailed Age of Decadence style ending cards (after each arc of AoD) explaining what happened in the aftermath. While perhaps outside the scope of Dungeon Rats, perhaps a sequel to DR with your actions and choices explaining what occured after DR could be in order. Does your player settle down in an outlying village with his hardened crew, or take to banditry themselves? How much of the crew sticks with the player, and how much go off to seek their own fortunes? Does Marcus get his revenge, as would be implied by Cado's dissapearance? Do Ismail and Roxana get together?

Starting the sequel with gear you've acquired in DR (with those equipped to those who leave dissapearing vanishing) would be awesome if perhaps a little difficult to balance.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2016, 04:03:22 pm by NewAgeOfPower » Logged
agris
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2016, 03:57:43 pm »

Your post gave me an idea. AoD is getting one more update, right? It would be a nice nod to AoD fans if it had a NG+ mode after you beat it once, letting you import your DR character's gear and/or skills. It would be unbalanced as hell, but a cool reward for supporting ITS and playing both games. Maybe require the DR character to have finished the game as well? Just an idea.

Hah, or another twist on that: make your DR character who finished the game an optional Arena fight.
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Purple Eyestabber
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2016, 08:51:21 pm »


If only there was a way to fix that...



 Roll Eyes


Some issues of balance and design become obvious at the end of my first playthrough:

-As this is a highly combat-centric game, players will find Dexterity to be one of the most critical statistics; having less than 8 Dex is practically unjustifiable.

So on a combat-centric game a combat centric stat is essential? Sounds like a serious issue to me!  Panic  Panic  Panic

-There is far too much food available; this not only discourages investing into Alchemy (as healing is too easy) but completely ruins the feel of a band of half-starved prisoners. Given that three of the starting companions have trash-tier health totals, even using all your food is difficult as heavy injuries would kill these companions in the first place.

Do you even know what alchemy does? Healing is the least of its benefits. Also, what is this about food? There is no "hunger" resource, rations are simply healing supplies. As for the companions by the fire, they are meant to be crappy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

-While there is enough Blue Steel to equip at least two members of your party (potentially four if you don't go nuts with super-heavy armor and kill the Praetor's guards) the shortage of Meteoric Steel makes investing more than Crafting 8 a fairly questionable decision.

 Haha, no

Crafting 10 is a decent investment even without the proper metal, since you're getting bonus base damage via sharpening, an extra technique slot and improvements to your techniques. I usually have crafting 10 on Hieron before reaching the forge. Besides, Bows, crossbows and leather armors are 100% unaffected by scarcity of Meteorite Ore.

-It would be better if food were consumed by each companion each level, with temporary stat penalties setting in if food were not available. Some skill/stat/party member checks to find/open more food caches would be available for not only flavor text but to reward players who used certain combinations of skills.

Players without alchemy would also have to weigh healing vs consumption needs.

No.

Hah, or another twist on that: make your DR character who finished the game an optional Arena fight.

Hey, now THIS is an amazingly cool idea. I agree 100%!
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NewAgeOfPower
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2016, 10:05:30 pm »

-snip-

Does the sound of your breathing drown out higher thoughts, or is your reading comprehension just that bad?

My suggestion was to make 'Food' feel more like a core resource (that is in short supply due to being, you know, in a hellhole that you must manage carefully rather than 'lolol healing potions'. Yes, as an AoD veteran, I am aware how powerful high level Alchemy is. Beserk Potions with almost no downside. Firebombs let you cheese everything. Neurostim for +6 AP for five turns.

Look, even if you decrease the availability of food in the next patch, you will need to make food feel more central to survival.
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Dewey_Master
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2016, 07:53:20 am »

Look, even if you decrease the availability of food in the next patch, you will need to make food feel more central to survival.

On my 4-CON solo run, which was my first playthrough, food was an unlimited resource, because I couldn't lose more than 29 health on the most grueling of fights. After beating my head against my monitor trying to start a 10 CON block build, I was running out of food before getting to the Fire Ant Warriors fight. This was less of an issue in my current 10 CHA playthrough, but I still ended up taking a point in alchemy with Ardomir to supplement rations.

I don't think they can make any changes to food-as-attrition until they fix block-as-attrition in the early no-armor-exists phase of the game. Seriously, block mechanics (shields add DR instead of nullify damage) balanced around heavy armor in AoD are rage-inducing when even 10 AP armor is almost impossible to get a hold of.
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Vince
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2016, 08:44:07 am »

This isn't a survival game, so we didn't want to limit food. The focus was always on combat and we didn't want anyone losing fights because they couldn't heal themselves before a fight. If I could, I'd add a survival mode with limited rations, limited ingredients, and limited weapons/armor.
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NewAgeOfPower
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2016, 10:15:59 am »

@Agris

Excellent idea.

This isn't a survival game, so we didn't want to limit food. The focus was always on combat and we didn't want anyone losing fights because they couldn't heal themselves before a fight. If I could, I'd add a survival mode with limited rations, limited ingredients, and limited weapons/armor.

I suppose sales aren't justifying a sequel? ;_;
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Goral
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2016, 10:55:12 am »

@Agris
Yeah, I love your ideas, especially fighting with "myself" on the arena.
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Vince
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2016, 01:19:33 pm »

@Agris

Excellent idea.

This isn't a survival game, so we didn't want to limit food. The focus was always on combat and we didn't want anyone losing fights because they couldn't heal themselves before a fight. If I could, I'd add a survival mode with limited rations, limited ingredients, and limited weapons/armor.

I suppose sales aren't justifying a sequel? ;_;
A sequel was never planned (as that's not what we're after) and the game was never expected to be a strong seller. We sold 5,000 copies so far, which is neither good nor bad as I've seen indie tactical games selling more and I've seen them selling less.
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Goral
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2016, 01:27:16 pm »

The problem is that there is absolutely no exposure, no reviews, no news. Maybe you should rethink that interview/podcast. I've tried advertising it on Polish gaming sites but that gives you like 10 more views.
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Vince
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2016, 01:40:57 pm »

The problem is that there is absolutely no exposure, no reviews, no news. Maybe you should rethink that interview/podcast. I've tried advertising it on Polish gaming sites but that gives you like 10 more views.
It's not the kind of game that people talk about (unlike AoD which offered something new and different). It's hard to review it too; as someone who reviewed games in the past, I wouldn't even know where to start. I mean, what do you say? Same system as in AoD, but party-based, you fight 50 fights and go home?
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Goral
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2016, 01:43:31 pm »

It's not the kind of game that people talk about (unlike AoD which offered something new and different). It's hard to review it too; as someone who reviewed games in the past, I wouldn't even know where to start. I mean, what do you say? Same system as in AoD, but party-based, you fight 50 fights and go home?
Look at some opinions on Steam/GOG, some of them could be considered reviews. And I see much less complicated games being reviewed quite extensively.
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agris
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2016, 01:55:41 pm »

Vince,

What about the possibility of importing your DR character into AoD/the arena?
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Vince
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2016, 01:59:35 pm »

Vince,

What about the possibility of importing your DR character into AoD/the arena?
The games aren't really compatible. Your character would be insanely powerful by AoD's standards.
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NewAgeOfPower
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2016, 02:19:57 pm »

The games aren't really compatible. Your character would be insanely powerful by AoD's standards.

That's the point, though. Fighting a 9/10/8 blue steel juggernaut with 10 defense, 10 offense and quite a few points in crit would be *quite* a challenge. The best part would be knowing I brought this on myself ;p
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