Hooked - against my expectations

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JPNotADragon, Apr 1, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JPNotADragon

    JPNotADragon Avatar

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    3
    When launch arrived, I decided to give the offline game a serious try, and after a few hours, I'm surprised to find that I'm hooked.

    I mean, there are so many areas in which SotA is lacking: its looks are dated, there is no spoken dialogue, the interface is cumbersome, and there is a metric ton of detail polish that simply wasn't done.

    But, on the other hand - and that was my big surprise - there are *so many* things that SotA gets right.

    In spite of looking dated, the visuals are sometimes stunning (for example, looking out over the plain from the monastery of Highvale Outskirts when the sun is rising or setting); the "outdoors" feeling is near perfect, underscored nicely by the odd godrays and a bit of HDR (I think) sprinkled in. And the artists have done a really great job translating the intents of the locations - I remember feeling decidedly cold in the monastery's mirror room, then feeling actually warmed when stepping out into the sunlight. No mean feat, that!

    The sound effects, once I had turned off the music [but please Portalarium, give us a better solution! https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/f...y-and-filter-for-ambience.116465/#post-982319] and cranked up the speaker volume, were suddenly THERE (though you'll have to remember to turn the volume back down after exiting the game or you'll have a heart attack next time Skype rings). And boy, what an effect when I stepped out of the tavern of Resolute and the crack of lightning nearly threw me off my chair!

    SotA suffers from the same problem(s) with quest-giving that many CRPGs have, one of them being that it's too easy to miss the important points, which is made worse by the immature conversation system. But the quests themselves, from what I've seen so far, are quite up to RG's standard.

    All in all, this is a game that has definite worth right now, and fantastic potential for the future. My perhaps greatest wish is that Portalarium open the game up for modding, and possibly other forms of fan contribution, both artistic and technical. This game world, impressive by its sheer size, cries out for active care, and deserves nothing less.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  2. Earl Atogrim von Draken

    Earl Atogrim von Draken Avatar

    Messages:
    6,364
    Likes Received:
    12,168
    Trophy Points:
    165
    Gender:
    Male
    Heh just talked to someone two days ago about the visual topic. Some things look clumsy and outdated, others are extremely detailed and polished. Port should really squeeze in a quarter where they focus their efforts to get the visuals on par with the good visuals we have already.
    That being said: glad you like the game so far.
     
  3. Elwyn

    Elwyn Avatar

    Messages:
    3,563
    Likes Received:
    4,748
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    It's definitely got a lot of scenery porn. If they've got nothing else, they've got good art. And Scottie, wow he's just an amazing guy.

    I also turn off BGM. I guess it's one of those things they needed to check off because most people would feel lost without it. But some for some of us, it makes things feel more like a theme park. And yeah, it covers up the subtlety of some of the sound effects.

    You know that the BGMs came about because some of the players basically got together and convinced Port to let them make some? And it turned out well.

    As for modding, they talk about that they want to make the UI more customizeable, so there's that. But it may still be a bit away from happening.
     
    K1000, Cordelayne and JPNotADragon like this.
  4. MasterWan

    MasterWan Avatar

    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    372
    Trophy Points:
    30
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hotlanta
    Updates come fast. Port has been great about monthly updates and communication. It’s only going to get better and more detailed.
     
  5. JPNotADragon

    JPNotADragon Avatar

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    3
    The BGM would be quite ok if it were not playing in a continuous loop, and got turned off automatically when inappropriate (https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/f...y-and-filter-for-ambience.116465/#post-982319).
    What I really miss are the musical themes for noteworthy locations. I actually found myself making up and humming something to myself up in the monastery.

    I was thinking deeper than that - really let amateur programmers (aka modders) try out things like AI scripting, path finding, etc. (Edited - first version was too far-fetched)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
    K1000 likes this.
  6. Irrehaare

    Irrehaare Avatar

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    3
    This is the usual honeymoon period, I'm experiencing it myself. The question is what is to do in the long run. Killing mobs over and over again, gathering and crafting over and over again won't cut it for me if the game offers no game mechanics which are engaging you in some more complex activities. It took them over 5 years to deliver the present offering so I have no big hopes for introduction of sizeable game features.
     
    K1000 and Weins201 like this.
  7. Beaumaris

    Beaumaris Avatar

    Messages:
    4,233
    Likes Received:
    7,348
    Trophy Points:
    165
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Caladruin
    Welcome to SOTA!
     
    K1000 and JPNotADragon like this.
  8. JPNotADragon

    JPNotADragon Avatar

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    3
    My comments were about the offline mode. But yes, in online mode, I hate pretty much everything that has established itself as MMORPG standards over the years: instances, spawning, farming. I hope that Portalarium can break those tired and tiresome formulas, but that would be a revolution in itself.
     
  9. CrandalltheFoole

    CrandalltheFoole Avatar

    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    578
    Trophy Points:
    75
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Actually Port is open to suggestions, and also examples of ideas to make the game a better place to play.
    Contact them through the forum Wishlist. https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?forums/wishlist-requests.32/
    The devs are also very active in Discord and often join in with direct and quick answers.
     
    Hornpipe and JPNotADragon like this.
  10. Hornpipe

    Hornpipe Avatar

    Messages:
    1,492
    Likes Received:
    3,519
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    It took them 5 years to flesh out the game, visually but also with all the basic systems that both online and offline games need. With only a small team. Without even mentioning this feat, it seems obvious to me that it will be easier for them to develop sandbox mechanisms now, with the basis done. And by the way, they already announced repeatable quests, new type of monsters, castle defense scenarios, and even new pvp features for the coming months.

    My honeymoon with Portalarium lasted for two years, now.
     
    K1000, Manerd, Nikko and 5 others like this.
  11. FrostII

    FrostII Bug Hunter

    Messages:
    5,502
    Likes Received:
    10,608
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    I agree, for the most part.
    There are, however, lingering issues that really need some love so we can move forward.
     
    K1000, Weins201, Numa and 1 other person like this.
  12. Irrehaare

    Irrehaare Avatar

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I suspect we will agree to disagree here, but judging from the present development time and what Q1 and Q2 2018 are planned to deliver, the speed they are delivering new features might be too slow. The game is barebones, similar way as Darkfall was/is years after the release.
     
    K1000 and Weins201 like this.
  13. FrostII

    FrostII Bug Hunter

    Messages:
    5,502
    Likes Received:
    10,608
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    There are issues, but we're FAR from barebones - oh thou with 6 posts.......;)

    Waits for it.................:eek:
     
    K1000, CrandalltheFoole and Weins201 like this.
  14. Irrehaare

    Irrehaare Avatar

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    3
    As I said, I'm sure we can agree to disagree.

    Meanwhile let me go back to killing wolves, bears, bandits and skeletons. Where is a deeper purpose beyond levelling and using resources for crafting? Oh, but there are player run towns, assuming you want to give up on life to farm the gold for them or spend few hundred $. You can run them you know...to what deeper purpose? Feel free to correct me. If any of these features I missed actually provide fun, repeatable game time I will be more than happy to change my mind. The game has its charm and I like it, but I'm far from mesmerised.

    Sandbox can be fun if more complex, interconnected game systems are in place. Right now too many present mechanics are disconnected or simply don't exist to fuel replayability. There is a reason why the only successful sandbox MMO out there is EVE Online.
     
  15. FrostII

    FrostII Bug Hunter

    Messages:
    5,502
    Likes Received:
    10,608
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    No way to agree or disagree, without specifics .
    Get specific.
     
    CrandalltheFoole likes this.
  16. Irrehaare

    Irrehaare Avatar

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I already did. I said the game is barebones in terms of features. I understand SotA is to be a sandbox, so I don't mind that players don't get bombarded by quests. In fact I would prefer if instead of quests we got complex and fun game features which offer replayability. Killing a limited number of PvE creatures (some zones I have visited had literally only 3 types of mobs ie. wolves, bears and skeletons), whilst levelling your combat, gathering and crafting skills are not features which will make the game look any different from other MMOs or retain the playerbase. Players need more ways of affecting the game world and interacting with each other in meaninful ways, whatever that means PvE, PVP content, trade and territory control. Look at EVE Online if you are still confused on this point. Its a game with hundred of thousand of players. I would rather SotA be there than at few hundred.
     
    JPNotADragon likes this.
  17. 2112Starman

    2112Starman Avatar

    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    8,010
    Trophy Points:
    165
    Heres the skinny about the game. Since they actually developed it while people played it, early on (5 years ago) they started building zones. They had some base templates for zones and cloned them throughout the map. Then over the next 5 years they uncloned them. At the same time, they did a dozen upgrades to Unity and each one added new features. Then they developed new technologies like traps and moving platforms (more recently) and the new zones got those. So what you have is a set of really super nice zones created in the past 2 years and then some dated zones created going back 5 years. For example, the zones also actually started getting bigger and bigger too. So basically as time went on development, the zones got better and better (and more refined by some people they hired to specifically build zones).
     
    K1000, Numa and Thwip like this.
  18. JPNotADragon

    JPNotADragon Avatar

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I started this thread talking about offline mode, but regarding online mode - though I do not know Eve Online at all - I couldn't agree more. The idea that an MMO should try to make every player or group of players feel like THE hero(es) by sending them to kill the Lich King for the 100 millionth time feels incredibly bland and shallow to me.

    (More or less on the same subject, I strongly object to the use of the word "quest" for every little errand that an NPC sends you on. That term should be strictly reserved for long-term commitments, as in "Quest of the Avatar" - a great goal in the development of your character.)
     
  19. Daxxe Diggler

    Daxxe Diggler Avatar

    Messages:
    2,704
    Likes Received:
    5,741
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Virtue Oasis - Hidden Vale
    Welcome to SOTA @JPNotADragon .

    I hear a lot of reviews saying the graphics in SOTA are outdated. While I agree there are some much better graphics engines in other games, SOTA has something that many of them do not... interactive objects. There are many objects in this game (mostly lighting) that a player can interact with and change the appearance of the scene - FOR EVERYONE.

    A player can turn on some lights at night to brighten up the area, or turn off to darken if they prefer.

    A player can interact with other objects too, like cross a bridge and have old boards break away or set off a trap that impales you with spikes or sets you on fire.

    These kinds of interactive objects are very cool, but they are taxing on performance because their status change needs to be relayed to every player in the scene.

    So, while they need to dull down the detail a bit on the ground textures and leaves and flowers, etc... they make up for it (at least in my opinion) in the interactivity of the world.
     
  20. JPNotADragon

    JPNotADragon Avatar

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thank you!

    Well, as someone else has pointed out, the extent to which this is true is the not same everywhere. Character models are certainly behind current standards, though - this is certainly an area where the relatively small team and budget are making themselves felt.

    This is a good point, and there's a technical challenge there. It seems that so far, game engines have made a clear distinction between static and dynamic lighting, the former being "baked" into light maps, the latter being computed at runtime and thus more taxing on the hardware. I seem to have watched parts of a video though that showed how Unity is introducing some kind of middle way between the two.
     
    FrostII, Daxxe Diggler and Berek like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.