New Player Feedback (Highvale Track)

Discussion in 'New Player Experience Feedback' started by Bedawyn, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Bedawyn

    Bedawyn Avatar

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    Hi, folks,

    I'll get into my new user experience later on, but first I wanted to give you a glimpse at the expectations I'm coming in with.

    I am NOT an avid gamer. I wish I could be, I've spent the past 30 years designing gameworlds in my mind, and enviously pining after the new games I hear other people playing. But I live on a low income, have never had access to a fancy gaming computer, and have rarely had the budget to play subscription games. On the other hand, when I do occasionally have the money for nonessentials, I'd rather spend it on gaming than anything else, so I'm happy with the free-to-play/pay-for-add-ons model.

    Nor do I have the hours a day to spend on recreation that seem to be necessary to succeed in so many online games. Any thing that requires me to log in every day, or even consistently a few times a week, is not going to work for me -- real life has to come first, and while designing game worlds is at the top of my dream list, recreation has to be at the bottom of the actual-doing list. And I come to gaming for fun, creativity, and relaxation -- not more stress about paying in-game bills on a constant tight turnaround or people (other players or NPCs with quests) constantly wanting my attention. I get more than enough of both of those things in real life, thanks.

    I did get a new computer in December -- not one designed for gaming, but a perfectly decent 2018 laptop, running Linux. So of course one of the first things I did was set out to see what free games were out there that I might be able to try now and couldn't on my older computers. I ran across Shroud of the Avatar during that bout of Googling, but didn't look deeply into it -- the "Shroud" led me to believe it was darker-themed than I'm interested in, and the other brief bits I saw implied it was more fighting-based, more religious-based, and more heroic-savior story than I'd like.

    It was coincidence that I happened to be looking again, on Steam this time, the day Release 63 came out. This time, it seemed incredibly appealing. And the thing that was MOST appealing was the single-player option -- the ability to live in a shared persistent world, interact indirectly with other players via vendors, have the option to uncloak and interact directly when I choose, but still spend most of my time safely in single-player.

    I live in the mountains with old phone lines and a flaky Internet connection -- I could have the most high-end gaming computer in the world, and having multiple players moving and chatting around me would still make me lag. And I'm an introvert; my job takes all my social energy and then some. A gameworld with only multiplayer mode is going to be more hassle than its worth to me.

    But SotA promised I could do single-player online. And it was free-to-play, with the promise that even free players could get housing and many of the paid cosmetic options. Even if it takes steady work and a bit of luck to get there, that's fine, as long as I know it's possible.

    So I delved in. My primary goal was to have a beautiful, persistent, nature-heavy, semi-social world with a well-designed backstory and unique culture, where I could build and decorate a comfortable house, craft and make neat things to earn money, occasionally socialize, and gradually learn more about the world -- all activities that wouldn't take a lot of energy or brain cells, so I could use the game to give my eyes and hands something to do while I listen to podcasts for an hour here, an hour there, when I'm too tired to do anything useful.

    And then, my secondary goal -- which I'd be lucky to indulge in for a few hours a month, since it requires free time when I'm not already exhausted -- would be quests and adventuring. Being able to do the quests and adventuring in the same world with the same character as my dollhouse-veg time made the game sound much more appealing than any environment where I can only do one or the other. I do want the ability to do both minor and major quests. But I don't want to be railroaded into a storyline where I'll be penalized for not being able to quest several hours a week.

    So that's where I was, coming in. And although I have been drawn in and do want to keep playing (more than is good for me), I'm sure plenty of you have already identified lots of ways that the game and my expectations are not compatible.
     
  2. Bedawyn

    Bedawyn Avatar

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    Yes, I'm going into way more detail than most people probably want to read. But if I were a developer, I'd want to know all the little details of a new player's experience, so I didn't overlook anything that could be fixed. Also, I never know when to shut up. :)

    I was experimenting with Steam for the first time, so I tried to install SotA through Steam. Big mistake! It spent 20 hours downloading. After the first several hours, I finally realized it was the first day of Release 63, so I figured, well, maybe it's just taking this long because their servers are overloaded. But when it was still downloading the next morning, I came close to giving up. BUT I'd spent the download time looking at SotA videos, reviews, and other instructional material -- trying to avoid spoilers, but still managing to get myself hooked on the game before ever playing it. And during that time, I'd run across a few mentions that most people didn't use Steam but played directly from the launcher. So when that 20-hour download finally crashed and started up again from 0% -- I bailed and when straight to the SotA website. No more Steam for me.

    Finally, I was up and running! I find having the launcher and the game itself as separate apps a little off-putting, but it's less so since I found the option to auto-quit the launcher.

    The intro video was intriguing on its own, but darker and gloomier than I'd hoped for. I found myself hoping that the visuals were not representative of the game itself (a hope I'm happy to say bore out). I wasn't impressed with the destined-savior tone, and unfortunately that does seem to be representative of the storyline. The calligraphic font when it first opens is a bit difficult to read. I also wasn't impressed that in 2019, when you could have easily just shown the player's hands, the video instead fell back on the stereotype that gamers are always white guys.

    The bigger problem was that I'm a roleplayer, and this is billed as an RPG. But the intro video creates a backstory and destiny for your character, instead of letting you create your own. During all that downloading time, I'd already come up with three character personas, and neither the video nor the following conversations with Arabella are appropriate for any of those characters. I want to be able to create native characters who were born into this world!

    Since players can have multiple characters per account -- if I were running the show, I'd make it so that the first character per account is an Outlander, but free players can only have one Outlander character at a time. Any additional characters are natives. Backers and paid accounts can choose whether to play natives or Outlanders. Native characters start in one of the four main cities (or in "culture" regions if they paid for a backer package, like the Shogun place), skipping the Isle of Storms entirely and with only basic starting goods appropriate for their city and no pre-assigned quests. As experienced players, they don't need the extra help, and in return they get complete freedom about what to do with their character.

    I wish there was a way to add/modify the character's name. I knew I wanted a last name, but hadn't decided on the right one yet when I was ready to start playing. After all, an adventurer's surname or epithets are frequently earned as a result of their exploits!
     
  3. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    Welcome @Bedawyn . Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the process that brought you into the game. I have been here since 2013 and have watched the game progress from nothing to what it is now. I too don't play through Steam since for the first couple of years of development we were not connected yet to steam and I'm happy to stay that way and nothing against it but its a personal preference we get to choose between.

    This game is a sandbox game and some quality of life things are still being added in as the small development team can get to them. So as a newly released game the developers are still ironing some things as they can. The quest system and journal system will be re-done in ep 2. Ep 2 is a buy to play since the game is solely crowd-funded. It will be $19. We will get treasure hunting, boating, and more in the future. Right now what I am most interested in is the in game music system we have. We can sync songs in groups. I love that and i'm not a role player really just my own person. Right now I am making lots of rugs in game.

    I hear that you want to create your own story and have specifics that you would like to enjoy in the game and that you want to avoid others unless you don't want to. There are communities formed who do different things in this game. There is a whole town set up that just does role playing. So if you are not too set on everything going exactly as you want and can find some flexibility then you may well find your niche in the game. There are a lot of possibilities to do what you like in this game but truly to know what that is I feel it would take you knowing what the game offers to do that for yourself. If you are not willing to deviate from your picture then I am not sure how it will all play out for you.

    As a long-time member of this community coming from nothing in game to do since we were allowed to play throughout development, I saw my picture of what I had wanted to see for this game change and have had to acclimate many, many times to what this game was becoming. I don't say that was easy to do because I did have and still do have a lot of hopes for this game. So that is why I am here to rally for changes and additions that I hope will make this still developing game more fun for those players who are willing to give it a chance.

    I have played many games single player and multi player. I am social but not always as social but I am always approachable and willing to assist. I am Majoria in game if I can ever help. Enjoy and be well and prosper.
     
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  4. Alley Oop

    Alley Oop Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    there is, but it's a paid service request. if you're only a day or two in and you know what you want to change it to, it might be worthwhile to just re-do yourself instead.

    titles earnable in game is a recent addition and currently just for pvp in the obsidian trials, but now that they have the system to do it in place more titles for other things are planned. ...someday.
     
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  5. Bedawyn

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    Finally, onto the Isle of Storms!

    My first impression was not good. I was impressed that the graphics looked as good as they did on my new-but-average computer, but the visuals were again very dark and gloomy. I suppose that makes sense for a place called "Isle of Storms," but it's not very welcoming.

    Appearing first as a spirit also makes logical sense, but I found it really really difficult to get oriented or move around like that. My camera was going wild all over the place whenever I tried to see where I was, and it took me several minutes just to get myself over to Arabella. Later on, I would get the camera under control by reducing the field of view option, and I've taken other necessary measures to improve overall performance. Most of the time, I can move around fine now -- but even now, whenever I'm ghosted, suddenly I can barely move again or move the camera around. It's REALLY off-putting and makes it much harder to reach the ankhs than I believe it's intended to be.

    The "you are the destined one!" nonsense from Arabella and the Oracle didn't appeal -- thank you, I never asked to be co-opted into some destiny controlled by people I don't even know. What happened to free will? What happened to raising up a community? In real life, all my time is spent with organizations that thrive to be leader-ful, to raise everyone up to be a leader in their own special way. So the idea that there's one special person who's The One Who Matters is very antithetical to me, and doesn't fit well with the game's emphasis on virtues. Doubly so when the Destined One is being controlled by the unknown forces Arabella works for -- might as well be another automaton. The game would be much more welcoming with some slight tweaks in the dialogue -- they're expecting destined people plural who between them will... save the world or whatever it is we're supposed to be doing. And the new player might or might not be one of them, we'll have to see what their choices lead to...

    The mirror's options for hair color and style were depressingly limited; I hope paid players have better options! I went with the strawberry blond despite it being wimpy compared to the flame red I'd hoped for. The eye color options didn't seem like a human range -- not enough different blues and greens, too many golds and yellows. I don't care about ears, but the promotional material did specify them as an option and that option wasn't there.

    I was very surprised that it gave me no options at all for changing the body shape, but it gave me more options than I want for changing the face. My OpenSim experience says face measurements make it easy to accidentally ruin yourself, and the sliders I tried in SotA were so subtle I could barely see any difference, so I didn't want to spend a bunch of time fussing over that when instead I could be getting on to the real game!

    Having the mirror off a fork in the trail, in the dark, when I was still trying to get the hang of the camera and moving around, made things more confusing than it should be for an orientation area. Between the mirror, the book on the pedestal, and the Oracle, I ended up backtracking several times simply because I couldn't see enough distinctive features to recognize which direction I was supposed to be heading in. I'd have preferred to have Arabella send me in one direction to the mirror, then back to her, then have her send me on the path to the Oracle.

    Either the Oracle itself or the book with it referred to the Dirae prophecy, but since then I've heard "dire prophecy" enough to make me wonder whether Dirae was a typo.

    Somewhere along the line, I discovered that while I was struggling to move through the lag, the Universe tab was wasting my precious bandwidth on random chatter from strangers. Even if they were great people that I'd want to meet, I wouldn't want to hear their chat while I'm in the orientation area IN SINGLE-PLAYER MODE. I kept hoping as I moved along the path that I'd find some safe place, well lit, not about to fall off the edge of the "island," and without any demanding NPCs, where I could peacefully sort through my new inventory, explore the interface and options, etc. I never found that place, and the news that single-player mode wasn't really single-player shot my stress way up.

    Things started looking up when I reached Anais. It amused me that she shared my disdain for Arabella and the Oracle, and her lessons were just about right. However, since then, I've met several other children, and they all look almost identical; that's not a good sign. There were some major lessons I feel Anais was missing -- crafting, and how glyphs operate. Moving glyphs to the combat deck is easy and intuitive, but the whole glyph system feels like it's assuming people are already familiar with card-based combat. I think I'm slowly getting the hang of it, but I'd have preferred Anais to tell me how we get the glyphs in the first place.

    I usually play mage, rogue, or ranger characters, but I chose to do something different this time and play a blacksmith first. So it worked really well when Anais handed me a big stick and I went into combat mode to find a bunch of fire glyphs. I hadn't planned on the blacksmith being a magic user... but, but... they were FIRE glyphs. I had several minutes of fun with Ignite Weapon and the practice dummies. I could do without the skulls on the end of the big stick, but for someone used to 2D games and low-end computers, the blazing staff-swinging was really exciting. I'm sitting there thinking "You're a blacksmith, not a mage! Stop that!" and the character's thinking "I can make fire! I can make fire! THIS ROCKS!" :)

    Moving from one lesson to another was much less fun. Fortunately, I think it was daylight by then, so at least I could see where I was going. But I still often didn't know where that was supposed to be, and with the risk of dropping off a bridge into forever... (Between the Isle of Storms and Highvale Outskirts, this is NOT a game for people afraid of heights.) All Anais would say is "the next area" but nothing about where that was, and there were often multiple directions I could go. It would be different if she started off and I could follow her, but she'd stay in the old area even after I'd left it. Also, the text contradicted itself about whether her tutorial area was still in the Isle of Storms or some other place entirely.

    Finally I got to the lunar rift -- but with all the performance issues I was constantly fighting, I'd already been at it several hours, so I figured that was a good place to log off, go to sleep, and see if the next day brought any way to improve the performance. Instead, what the next day brought was news that (1) SotA had borked the single-player-online option, and (2) my BRAND NEW computer still didn't meet even the MINIMUM requirements (I wasn't expecting it to meet the recommended requirements). I almost didn't come back at all -- but I've been desperate for a new game and I figured it was still worth trying the offline mode.

    So I started over offline. Still running into performance issues, but at least it is playable now, even if I crash more often than I quit. I can't give up when there's a whole world to explore, even if it's taking me a week to do what the forum folks are saying should take a couple of hours. The constant crashes do mean I've had to replay several encounters multiple times, and to avoid monotony, I often alter my route in a replay. So my sense of continuity in the questing is rather fuzzy, and by now I'm rather sick of Obsidian elves and frostgeists both. But I am really enjoying things the first time around -- at least until the game freezes again.

    Don't worry, the rest of my feedback won't be THIS detailed. Even my tendency to verbosity isn't up for describing every single encounter. :)
     
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  6. Bedawyn

    Bedawyn Avatar

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    Thanks, @majoria70 ! I'm not a musician myself, but hearing about the in-game music system was one of the things that hooked me on it before I could get in-world. It's one of those things that makes me think it's worth sticking around for, even if I can't experience it right now, because I might be able to next year, or the year after that. And the attitude that created the music system is one of the things that makes me think the game will still be around the year after that, despite all the naysaying I've seen online.

    I am a little worried that you say Episode 2 is pay-to-play. I don't mind if paid players have access to things I don't, I just don't want the access I do have to vanish. (What I really want is a POT hamlet, but I'm satisfied that I can't afford that right now -- I don't blame the developers for my budget or for needing to pay their own bills. Just knowing the possibility is there for the future is enough to keep me coming back now.)

    @Alley Oop, thanks for the link! Wow, that's a pretty steep price. I might expect it for changing an account name, but for a character name, not even a real change but the addition of a surname originally left blank? *grimace* Makes sense if they have to do it manually, that's staff time, but I'd have expected a surname to be a simple matter of changing a property somewhere.
     
  7. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    Here is a video with a full group playing. Majoria is of course the lady in red ;). and don't use the tab key or it can mess you up until you find a way to use it. Also you can turn down your graphics. This is a very graphic intense game. We have tons of deco. ;)

    You can have up to 8 players syncing a song. This song has 8 parts to play.

    https://www.twitch.tv/videos/250106746

    also you can try turning your graphics down for another thing to try. ;) Also they may add more to the character development sheet one day. There is only one artist though on the small team. Since it is a young game expect lots of things to come in over time. You gave some great feedback which helps. The story of the game is what it is but you can create your own world as well once you are settled.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  8. Bedawyn

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    Now for the game proper! Highvale was a bit alarming at first, since I still hadn't found a safe place to familiarize myself with the inventory and interface, but once I realized it was the aftermath of a battle rather than the battle itself, everything was fine -- and I was able to find a comfortable house to settle down in to do that familiarization.

    The initial experience was very nice -- even though intellectually I knew this was going to be a safe zone, the music, the littered corpses, and the burning houses kept it suspenseful anyway. The built environment in general was very nice, although there was one building near the center that frustrated me because I couldn't find a way in. The horses were tantalizing and it was disappointing that I couldn't interact with them.

    I did manage to sprain my ankle right away, falling off the very first path, because I couldn't see around me well enough to tell that the stairs were on one side and the side I was facing was a steep drop-off. This turned out to be for the best, because it warned me to take the time to swivel my camera around more to get a better feel for depth. The camera-swivelling is a frustrating laggy process, but essential for surviving Highvale Outskirts. (I've died several times, but only once in combat -- the other times have all been falling from a height, usually because I mis-estimated the steepness of a slope or the depth between me and that rock I was trying to climb down to.)

    There was a red tree right off the first path, and a video had said red trees were the ones you could harvest. Gathering in a battleground felt peculiar, but I figured it wouldn't be there if they didn't want you to try it, so I did. Try, not succeed -- it didn't appear to be harvestable. So if the red-tree trick is no longer accurate, I've no clue how to tell other than mousing over every tree you see, which isn't practical. Fortunately, my blacksmith isn't too interested in harvesting plants anyway -- and the ore and wildlife hunting in the Outskirts is easy and intuitive.

    I never found the undead weapon that was supposed to be in the graveyard, wouldn't know it existed except for things I read online later. I did find the graveyard, but leisurely exploring every headstone didn't feel in-character, especially when there were burning buildings and dying people all around. If I'd been playing the herbalist, the truth-and-knowledge-focused character, I would have taken more time to explore the graveyard, but the courage-focused blacksmith just wasn't interested.

    I'm used to games where you're supposed to just loot and sell everything, so the empty houses with their contents were a bit of a puzzle. In-character, I wouldn't have been raiding a burned village to steal all their stuff or looting guard corpses, but I was assuming that the game wanted me to do just that. I ended up taking less stuff that I would have in past games, but more than turned out useful later on. The Highvale Defender swords in particular are a frustration -- I'm a bludgeon fighter and won't be using swords, but I can't sell these either. I don't need more than one to hang on the wall.

    The dialogue for the NPCs was all pretty stilted, often in ways too silly for the dramatic context -- and in some cases grammatically inaccurate (misuse of thou/thee/thine, etc.). I'm glad to say the dialogue for the Outskirts NPCs is much better.

    The healer character seems pretty useless, and getting him to follow you around was needlessly difficult. I ended up having to go back three times, before finally working out a way where I could walk a short way, wait for him to catch up and pass me, then leapfrog ahead of him a little, rinse and repeat until we got there.

    The bard was even more useless -- please, at least revise his animations and dialogue to make it clear that he's actually keeping watch on the gate in case of more elf attacks, so the healer can do his work in safety, instead of the bard just loitering about like a nincompoop.

    People expect things to come in threes, and having two dying knights feels like either one too many or one too few.

    My suggestion: Create a third wounded survivor, NOT a knight but just a regular ol' resident with a broken leg or something, tucked away where the player is sure to find both the knights first. This survivor the healer actually can patch up. Once that's done, the healer complains about running low on supplies, and gives you a mini-quest to give him components the next time you see him. Nothing fancy, just 5-7 ingredients that can be gathered or looted here or in the Outskirts, all things that he could theoretically use for healing potions or spells. And NOT a "do this now" sort of quest, just a "hey, if you happen to come across these things, I could use them." If you do bring him the supplies later on, he'll give you the recipe for a low-level healing potion.

    When you're ready to leave, have the bard ask you to help him get the wounded survivor to Floyd's wagon. The bard carries Wounded Guy, you fight off the elves so they can reach the wagon safely. The difficulty stays the same (it was just about right for a newbie), but the story works better and the bard no longer seems pointless. Wounded Survivor will arrive in the Outskirts with you and be predisposed to help you (unable to actually do much for now, but with a perfect setup to be helpful later on).

    By now, I've delivered the amulets, but it feels like the storyline here still isn't finished. (And I'm not talking about Bridget's quest, which I'm putting off.) Having one knight is a small town like this is already odd, especially since they already had a guard captain too. Having TWO bonafide knights in town only makes sense if the people in charge had some suspicion that the town was going to be attacked. And having a knight apparently set to guarding a child also raises questions. I was hoping delivering the amulets would set me on the path to answering those questions, but so far it doesn't look like it.

    Despite these areas for improvement, the Highvale starting point was fun to explore, very atmospheric, and just about right for a newbie still getting the hang of how to play.
     
  9. Alley Oop

    Alley Oop Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. Bedawyn

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    Highvale finally gave me a chance to start exploring my inventory and skills, and I'm not real thrilled with what I found.

    The Isle of Storms gives you way too much stuff! I've just started, and I'm already weighed down with three sets of armor, three different weapons, several pounds of crafting tools that I'm unlikely to use (all of which are equipped -- how many hands do they think I have?), and a ton of components that I don't know what they're for and as a non-mage, don't anticipate ever using. And since they're all non-tradeable, I can't even stick them in a cupboard back at home (my private offline home, where I couldn't trade anything anyway), but have to keep carrying them around instead. I can stick them in the bank, but I don't see any other use for the bank now that I have a house, so I'll just forget they exist if I do that.

    At least the herbs and components don't weigh much -- but they also seem pretty easy to loot or gather, so even if I were a mage and knew what to do with them, I'd be able to get them on my own. So why give them out free?

    Between the Isle giveaways and the Outskirts loot, I've also ended up with way more potions than I need. I want to start off with healing potions, that makes sense, but my focus barely ever goes down, so I don't see the need for focus potions. Maybe at higher levels they're useful, but then why give them free to starter characters? Also, given the vendor price for potions and the difficulty of making them yourself, they're showing up in the loot too often, given that I'm fighting ordinary grunt-level elves. Especially the poison potions -- you'd think if the elves use poison that often, by now I'd surely have ended up with a poisoned wound. But nope, those Cure Poison, Cure Plague, and Haste potions are backing up in my inventory too. I'd like to be excited about having them just in case, but being given a cabinet-full of free magical ingredients that are still mysteries AND free potions makes looting more potions much less exciting.

    I usually only play light-armour characters, so I was really looking forward this time to earning -- or better yet, crafting -- my first chain armor. Instead, I find that Arabella has already just given me chain armor, AND it's exactly the kind I would probably have wanted to make for myself (copper for my fiery character), AND it's got a + bonus, so it's better than anything I'll be able to make until game-years from now. And she's handed my character's dream armor out as if it were as worthless as a half-burned torch. Thanks, Arabella -- NOT. I don't want to wear chain I haven't earned, so now I'm reduced to lugging it around instead.

    I do wear the leather armor she handed out, that and the cloth are reasonable. However, I would have liked and expected to start replacing the cloth with more leather as I came across better pieces. But since Arabella's pieces all have that magic bonus, I'm not finding anything that is better. And I'm concerned that all these magic bonuses on Arabella's equipment are giving me a false sense of my own skill. Eventually Arabella's giveaways will wear out or break -- apparently not any time soon, but when it does happen, am I going to find that I'm much less capable that I thought I was, because the bonuses were artificially boosting my ability?

    Someone was complaining earlier about the blue cloth helm. I like the blue, the problem is that it doesn't match the rest of the starter gear -- what Arabella gives you or what the elves or guards seem to be wearing. The cloth leggings are also unappealing, but I can't bring myself to trade in their bonus for leather that would look better but be less effective. I found a worn cloak too, that I like, but it keeps un-equipping itself.

    What I would have preferred to see in starting equipment:
    *Leather chest armor, with a small bonus only if it's necessary to defeat the initial enemies
    *Cloth leggings and shoes, no bonus.
    *No other initial armor!
    *One weapon of the character's choice. If the player wants more weapons, they just pick them up from the battleground. A better explanation of the difference between weapons identified as "training" and those not (or if there is no difference, tell us that).
    *A backpack. Regardless of the weight, it breaks immersion to be carrying all this stuff around without something to put it in.
    *A handful of healing potions, but no other potions unless I'm going to have a clear need for them before leaving the Outskirts.
    *More low-level food: apples, rolls, a chunk of cheese or a handful of raisons. (These should be showing up in the loot more often too, simple but varied things that elf grunts might realistically be carrying around. The bark bread was nice -- a good middle ground between common familiar & fantasy exotic -- but since you can't easily buy or make more as a newbie, more low-level food would be both helpful and realistic.)
    *No mystery ingredients! Let me learn about them as I come across them naturally.
    *Maybe 3-5 crafting tools, of the character's choice. Everything else, you have to buy once you know you need it.
     
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  11. Bedawyn

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    Thanks, @Alley Oop! That will help, but I'm still confused -- how are you supposed to get the bark? The only harvestable trees I've run across only have wood. Also, I'm constantly running into trees that look like they ought to be climbable -- including downed ones that look like they were placed there specifically so you could use them to climb an otherwise too steep slope -- but I haven't found any way TO climb them.

    This area in general need some sort of reward for rock climbing. :)

    Highvale Outskirts is really beautiful and has a lot of wonderful things about it, but I've had about had it with these elves that just keep respawning no matter how many times I kill their commander. And I can't find this fire rune stone for the life of me, even with the hint in another thread re: Sven's cabin. I wouldn't mind exploring until I found it if I could do it in peace, but not with these darn elves all over the place THAT JUST WON'T GO AWAY. I don't even bother looting them anymore -- they've just gotten boring. It doesn't help that even on top of a hill in summer, the sun goes down way too early, or that there isn't any mini-map for Linux players. At this rate, I could spend the next month climbing around rocks looking for this one menhir.
     
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  12. Alley Oop

    Alley Oop Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    that's a matter of node level. you might only get wood from trees in one-skull scenes.

    there is, it was finally gotten working in release 58. if yours isn't working, please file a bug report.
     
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  13. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    For me the mini map and overland map are defaulted to the END key on my keyboard. The M key brings up my compass. (Also if you can't see npc names or other player names you may have unclicked the names which is 'n' on your keyboard). You can scroll in or out to make the map larger or drag to move it to see more of the map. Also you can drag the sides and corners of the map to enlarge it. So far those are features we have.
     
  14. Bedawyn

    Bedawyn Avatar

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    Thanks, Majoria, but I do know how to check which hot keys do what, resize windows, and use other basic computer skills. :)

    The map command -- regardless of how I access it -- just tries to bring up a mini-map then hangs and freezes, forcing me into a hard reboot. The previous information I found said it just didn't work on Linux, so I initially just shrugged it off -- I'm not a fan of overhead maps that a character wouldn't realistically have access to and probably wouldn't use it much anyway. But a character would have a better kinetic sense of where they are, which is needed in this mountainous area. I've used the web-based map to try to get a better feel for the area in general, but of course that doesn't show me where I myself am. I would file a bug report now I know it's supposedly fixed, but I'm afraid since I'm running below minimum specs anyway, they'd just ignore it.

    Any hints on finding this fire menhir would be more than welcome -- I've been over this area (E-SE of the hunter's cabin) a dozen times, and searching the forums only finds a million complaints about Esmeralda.
     
  15. Alley Oop

    Alley Oop Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

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    as a first stab:
    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/knownissues/
    i do recall it was only a few feet in from the cliff edge to the east.
     
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  16. Bedawyn

    Bedawyn Avatar

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    Thanks, @Alley Oop. With that, and the /loctrack I found on another post, I was finally able to find it. (I probably wouldn't have been able to find my way back to the others without the location tracking.)

    Unfortunately, finding them's not enough. Turning them on in order isn't enough. Apparently you also have to turn them on in order, within a certain time period -- in a terrain where I can barely see anything on the compass because the background is semi-opaque and it's cluttered with icons I don't need covering up the ones I do need, where every step I take is impeded by either wolf packs or annoying elves that shouldn't still be respawning or mountains I have to climb around or performance issues lagging me, and in a game where time advances even when I'm logged out. So I'm thinking, even with a haste potion, getting back and forth between these obelisks in whatever short time period they allow is gonna happen probably never.

    And I have spent all the time I can on this game already this month -- more than I should have -- I won't be able to try again until weekend AFTER next, by which time all my new-game-itis will have evaporated. Are you listening, devs? If I had any sense at all, you'd have lost me on this. If I had a sense of priority, you'd have lost me a week ago, when I should have put the game aside and gone back to the real-world deadlines I now need to catch up on.

    The game has a LOT of strong points. But NONE of them are worth the hassle I've put up with over the past week, with out-of-order quests, quests with no rewards or ones too low for the amount of hassle, mobs that should be unique but keep respawning even in offline mode, housing available only in the Laggiest Place Ever, and now the final quest for the area apparently can't be finished unless I grow wings so I can fly between the menhirs instead of having to fight my way between them at molasses speed. Because I'm a sucker, I probably will come back when I have free time again and have forgotten how futile this is. But if I'd paid for this game, you can bet I'd be wanting a refund.
     
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  17. Vladamir Begemot

    Vladamir Begemot Avatar

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    Great feedback.

    Forget the obelisk unless it's going to drive you bonkers. It doesn't get marked in any journal, and you'll probably rage quit if you ever actually get the chest open.

    Just finish up the Outskirts, get your Deed, and find a place to live, then move onto the other two starting scenes. Or do those THEN find a place to live, but there's so much junk to drop finding a place to live first is probably better.

    I'm trying to find where this laggiest place ever is, but I can't. Just know there are places to live all over. Most Player Owned Towns (which is the deed you will get when you finish an Outskirts and tell the main NPC "Deed") have empty spots. Some are totally deserted, some are very full (which would mean more lag). There should be a nice one that fits your style and runs well. You will have to do some touring.

    And why are they handing out chainmail in Isle of Storms? It's not like the Outskirts require any armor at all. Hey @Sannio, check out this kind fellows notes.
     
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  18. Bedawyn

    Bedawyn Avatar

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    Thanks, @Vladamir Begemot.

    Unfortunately, I can only play offline -- I might give online another try if there are substantial performance improvements in the next release, but I don't have the patience to put up with both performance issues AND forced-multiplayer (in a game that drew me in with the promise of single-player-online). Plus, I've surprisingly found that the graphics performance really doesn't seem to be the biggest problem. One of the things I've found essential for getting it to run decently is turning off my wifi connection altogether. I don't know what the game's using it for except the map-I-can't-use and online-party-notices-I-don't-want (and that always seem to pop up when I'm in the middle of melee and least want the distraction), but it sure seems to be using it for something, because if I forget to turn the wifi off after the patch updates, I'll remember when I notice the game is crawling again.

    Another essential, that I really regret, is turning off the music. I was really enjoying the music and I'm afraid I'm missing out on a lot of the atmospheric scene-setting without it. But that moment when it ends one track and tries to switch to another, my crash-likelihood would spike. I'm running an OpenSim server on a tablet with only 2 gb RAM, so the idea that this game can't even safely switch music tracks on a computer with 8 gb RAM is kind of unbelievable, but there it is.

    Housing -- since I'm playing offline, my housing options are much more limited. You'd think the reverse would be true, since there's no one else competing for the real estate, and there ARE plenty of vacant lots I'd love to claim. But they're all village lots, and the free deed is row only. And as far I can tell, row lots are only available in the city. Specifically, Resolute, since I roleplay and the character hasn't had time to visit other cities yet.

    And I hate Resolute.

    The constantly moving crowds of NPCs, all the flickering lights -- I'm assuming those things are going to be a problem in any city. I expect that and blame my computer rather than the game. But add in the ugly pipes and all the steam particles -- they were interesting to look at at first, but not the look of a place I'd want to live. Add in all the buzzy noises, the ugly houses downtown, these knights whose dialogue just makes me want to slap them and their ordering me to go see the Oracle, and the fact that even though my house is outside the inner wall, I still have to go through the knights and gate to get to it every time... Resolute is the LAST place I want to be, I avoid it as much as I can and get the hell out as quickly as I can -- and it's the only place where I can use the starter deed. At least until it makes roleplaying sense for the character to move on to another region, which is unlikely before I've finished exploring this region.

    The starter house is nice in its own right -- it's actually a lot bigger and more comfortable than I'd expect for a starter. And one of my three characters would have loved to have this 5-room house in a city (at least until I told her she couldn't have it in THIS city). And again, like the chain armor, I was prepared to make her work to achieve her goal of a big house in a major city. I don't want that undercut by the game handing out freebies that make your roleplaying redundant.

    My other two characters -- and their player -- would MUCH rather have a smaller, simpler house in an isolated village. When I first saw Jannaford, I was like YES! this is the perfect place for me. Close enough to be convenient to the city, but simple enough to be low-lag and suitable for my roleplaying characters, who are NOT city dwellers and don't want to be.

    But the villages only have village-size lots, no row lots. And the price to upgrade to a village lot is 2000 COTOs, when after two weeks of neglecting real life to play, I still haven't got even 150. So that's what, 6 months at least before I can get a home I actually like, in the OFFLINE version where there's no one competing for the real estate.

    It really feels out-of-order to complain like this over an offline game that was free anyway. But it feels like a bait-and-switch, to be sucked in with the offer of a single-player-online game which is free because everyone is living in the same persistent world -- and instead only be given a choice between multiplayer-falsely-claiming-to-be-single-player that can barely run on my computer or an offline game where nothing is persistent and you get the drawbacks but not the advantages of an online economy.

    It's just as well -- I loved Jaanaford at first, but it wouldn't have been long before my carpenter and blacksmith characters were itching to repair all those flood-damaged bridges and houses. And not being able to do so really would have driven me bonkers.
     
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  19. Browncoat Jayson

    Browncoat Jayson Legend of the Hearth

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    You will get a Village lot when you complete the Episode 1 questline, but that is quite a ways to go until you get further into leveling and can handle Tier 5 scenes. At least offline there are companions you can have join you and take some of the punishment.

    I feel your pain with the performance. My house is in Central Brittany. I can barely load it anymore in forced multiplayer; it usually takes a reboot and 2-3 tries before I make it without crashsing...
     
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  20. Vladamir Begemot

    Vladamir Begemot Avatar

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    Well since you're in offline mode you should be able to get some great stacks of loot rather quickly, don't despair there.

    That includes COTO's. Now that 1 coto is 100, 2000 should be pretty fast. If you aren't seeing a good drop rate in offline, please file a bug report, it could have been overlooked.

    And speaking of which, please file bug reports! As an offline player you're seeing things a lot of us don't, including the companions, the offline economy, what mobs are respawning that shouldn't be. Please please please make use of /bug. Type that in your chat window and it'll take you to the appropriate place in the forums.

    That includes bugging the too fast closing pillar puzzle (which might actually be worth getting in offline, if it's possible), the music switch crash, etc.

    It might seem crazy but I've probably seen over 200 of the bugs I've submitted fixed since I've been here. That's 200 bugs that you aren't seeing, so you can do a big favor to the next (single player) players by logging your problems.

    And no, most stuff in here probably won't make it into the task list, sorry to say. Very specific items put in the bug forums will.

    Good luck!
     
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