AoD combat demo feedback:
Annie Carlson's comments (scroll down)Gareth Fouche's impressionsBrian Mitsoda's feedback
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NOTE: I understand this is for the hardcore and I know combat needs to be balanced. I definitely play my share of hardcore games and know that the audience likes to be challenged. That said, impressions follow.
* pointer seems to be too big – a little unwieldy with the haft of the spear in there. Reduce to 50%, maybe 75% at least?
* If possible, do subset illustrations of body part under where item is supposed to go (light outline of torso under Body, head under Head, an open pouch under Belt Pouch, etc)
* Maybe make HP have more screen real estate, or change color (as per Fallout) when it gets really low?
* Iffy on the grid disappearing and reappearing all the time – jarring at first, but I did get a little more used to it (was like “whuh?” when it appeared during my Attacks of Opportunity)
* Not sure where to put arrows/bolts in character screen
* Scroll is omg so fidgety – in battle it doesn’t want to move down, but otherwise one nudge and it’ll move all over the place (implement screen scroll lock to a certain character boundary?)
* Store scrollbar is too small
* BUG: when I used the net, the sword I’d been using didn’t reappear in my hand (and I attacked thereafter with Amazing Invisible Blade)
* Loot spot currently locked to feet – difficult to follow when body has fallen. Is there a way to move this?
* If possible, would like different color placed on item when there isn’t enough AP for an attack
* Store could use a min/max button for quick sales of multiple items (like throwing knives)
* Animations are really nice. I like the death anims and the careful backstepping from backing up.
* The trade window is nice, although I’d really like to be able to actively compare what I have equipped with what I’m planning on buying.
* Options screen needs to visually define what the high and low boundaries are (I dunno if I’m turning shadows up or down right now L) You probably already know this but I’ma BAWWWW about it just in case.
PLAYTHROUGH (played hammer & shield, dagger & shield [but mainly dodge], spear, bow, crossbow, axe & shield)
* I like the different attack options. By and large those seem to work out nicely and be well-balanced with AP.
* I feel like even with a very high skill, I’m missing all the time, and enemies are making a pincushion out of me even with a ton of points in Dodge or Block
* I swear to god that crossbow guy needs to die. Like for reals, and for all time, forever, in every single game ever. Chasing around his bitch ass is a killer.
* Having ranged stuff cause knockdown seems kind of insane – putting it essentially on the same footing as getting smacked in the chest with a sledgehammer seems really weird. I know IRL a heavy crossbow round can nearly bowl you over, but it seems insanely frustrating to be knocked over with one measly arrow or bolt – especially when you’re using so much AP just to get close to the guy.
* Speaking of ranged, it does way too much damage 4 reelz. When it can compare to a sturdy weapon like an axe that I put a kajillion points in I feel confused, like I did something wrong.
* A lot of combat – with ranged in particular – tends to feel more like luck than skill. It’s like looking at a rock that’s JUUUUUST underwater. I can see the influence there and it’s solid, it just feels like it’s obfuscated too much by a lot of missing and not knowing really how much value I’m actually getting from the points I put into a skill.
* I really like the net. I was all TOSS and then like MUAHAHA FUCK YOU CROSSBOW GUY and I like that weapon. It’s very much worth the money it costs.
* Having my shield destroyed feels like I just want to scream and reload. Sometimes that’s precious coinage wasted there, and if you’ve poured your points into Block instead of Dodge, you are basically proper fucked. If they could even just be repaired (and/or damaged so it only provides 75-50% of the cover) that would be at least a marginal comfort rather than a straight-up loss.
* If crossbows automatically switched to the “reload” option after you fired them that would be helpful and awesome. Even if you didn’t select it, it would be something reminding you that you needed to, and saving you the time of switching to it. (This would be to the last ammo you were using, as if you wanted a different type you could opt to manually select it)
* I worry that if you don’t put all your points into one thing, it seems like you’re kind of screwed, that you can’t diversify your skills. I’ve seen other skills go up as certain ones do, but I’m not sure how that equation works out.
* Would love it if Range was listed in Weapon Properties – and DEFINITELY if the weapon was 1 or 2-handed: not all of the descriptions make that clear.
* Is there a shield bash?
* BUG: dori (spear) says it can be used 1-handed but won’t allow me to use it with a shield
* I wish I got more money L Especially early on.
* More HP?
* BUG: blocking seems to make my character turn 180-degrees for some weird reason
* QUESTION: what role will potions play in the combat in AoD? Are they a quickslotted thing, is it expected that the player will have them as a common disposable item and use them a lot, or are they super-dee-dooper rare?
* DR seems to be very carefully metered – almost to the point where a 1 point gain doesn’t seem worth it for some of the associated penalties.
* There are lots of examples of better armor, but none of better shields L
* Aimed Strike for Torso almost doesn’t seem worth it sometimes, as the reflected damage doesn’t seem worth the AP – better to just risk a Power Attack
* Is the DR for the helms only for head attacks? It seems like the AI never uses those
* Argh the polearm guy keeps backing up and I don’t get my Attacks of Opportunity on him, what the crap
* I can’t stand crits on the player – you get 2 of those and you’re absolutely screwed. Will there be an option/mode to not allow that? (I know, I know, BAWWWW. But it seems less like “Argh I knew that would happen I left myself open there” and more like “wtf that lucky son of a bitch I will KILL THE WHOLE WORLD”)
Overall, please don’t let this tone mislead you. The base format of the combat I find very fun and interesting, the world looks great, and I’m impressed with the dialogue (the fight barks get a little repetitive and Brian said that they had good curses in the HBO series Rome that mostly apparently had to do with dogs, pigs, and people’s mothers, and I suggested the phrase “a sweaty swine’s foreskin” as a fun little starter curse. Hee. I like to say bad things). I wanted to run around and check out a larger world, and the demo made me crave this experience keenly. I think there are a lot of things that need to be worked out with the combat to make it more challenging than frustrating, difficult but not overly punishing. But I think those are definitely easily within the realm of possibility, and I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.