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Release 11 comments and other random thoughts

Discussion in 'Release 11 Feedback' started by amnipar, Nov 14, 2014.

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  1. amnipar

    amnipar Avatar

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    Greetings, I am a Dev+ backer but it took me this long to write my first forum post! I have been quite busy but will try to find more time for this game in future. This became a wall of text but hopefully there are some interesting thoughts.

    Release 11 was a true turning point regarding this game, at least from my perspective. I have logged in to some previous releases as well, but usually just for an hour or so. This time the tour quest and the new game systems lured me into playing for a few hours more, and I had just enough time during the weekend to get my carnival hat. While at that, I decided to finally learn to fight and do some leveling.

    When the release weekend was over, I had mostly negative feelings; I really didn't get the hang of the combat system, and many aspects of the game world felt awkward. But when the release access was extended, I decided to give it some more time and see if some more experience would make a difference. And in fact it made all the difference and made me anticipate release 12 with excitement. I would say that the planned tutorial mode is badly needed, as also making the progression a bit easier; there was a huge jump in difficulty from West Ravenswood to South Ravenswood, not to mention sewers of Kingsport etc. Way too difficult monsters. It is not fun if you can scarcely make a scratch even at level 10+.

    I ended up spending a considerable (for me) amount of hours with R11, leveled my character to level 30, bought and decorated a house, crafted my own armor and weapon, and even crafted most of my own furniture. I completed a few quests and visited most scenes. I think it is a good sign for the future of SotA if a grown-up person such as myself, who doesn't spend a lot of time (at all) with games, gets so excited that spends an evening gathering enough iron ore to craft a full plate armor, sword and shield! Ardoris, where my house was, is a beautiful city and felt like a place that could be called a virtual home where my avatar could live when the game launches.

    In a summary, I think the immersion of the world is starting to appear; the most important systems are playable, there are things to do that feel worthwhile, and SotA starts to feel like a game that I want to play, not just test. I backed the game on Kickstarter with the expectation that I would get a virtual world that I would enjoy hanging out in, not just a game where I complete some story-driven series of quests and call it quits. I get the first hint of a feeling that I just might get what I expected. Well done, Portalarium and Lord British!

    Now I want to list off some random thoughts and concerns I had while playing, most of them geared towards the living and breathing virtual world I wish this game will grow up to become. I realize some of these have been discussed before, and that there are probably more appropriate places to discuss them. I will list them off here anyway, and then maybe elaborate on other forums if some of them are well received. I write them first here, because they were sparked by Release 11.

    My main concerns revolve around the economy of the world. Will there be enough demand for all the crafted items? Will the markets saturate at some point? Maybe items should over time wear down to a point where they have to be scrapped, maybe recycling some of their material. Maybe maintaining houses needs periodic repairs, which might consume some resources. Of course the houses would need cleaning, which means work for my NPC maid/wife/husband! Maybe a clean house and beautiful, high-quality decorations would give some bonus to my character. Later in the lifecycle of the game, after episode 5 maybe, war would of course create demand for all kinds of resources and products. Maybe we could produce armor and weapons for NPC soldiers and rise armies to conquer the lands of our ideological enemies.

    I fully expected that I would be able to smelt down the rusty swords I loot from skeletons to reclaim some of the iron. It would feel wrong if I can't do this. But it would feel wrong also if the best way of getting iron would be farming skeletons! Maybe smelting weapons takes more coal and produces only some part of the metal required for producing them. Maybe the characters won't be able to carry many swords at the same time, and if not picked up, the weapons get lost. Maybe the problem is solved by not respawning the monsters so often (or not at all for most encounters). And at some point when all weapons are made by players there might not be any problem at all.

    My character lived in Ardoris, which is a pretty large city. I expect that if my character lives there, it will get many things and materials from merchants. There was a marketplace near my house, and I set up my own cooking station; I imagined that I would get some cooking ingredients from the market and then produce a meal for me and perhaps some guests. The same should apply to most raw materials; they would be bought from merchants. If characters need to specialize, that would be demanded, even. It should be much more efficient for an experienced PC/NPC to produce boards, thread, cloth etc.; maybe better yields for better skills?

    I think it would not be very realistic for a craftsman living in a city to jog into a forest, chop down some trees, and carry the logs back in their back-bag. I believe most cities should import their raw materials from nearby villages and mining and milling camps. I hope the carrying capacity of characters will be small enough to prevent carrying more than a few pieces of wood/ore to town in their bags. Transporting these heavy items should of course require carts pulled by animals. Robbers and highwaymen could try to seize the cart in a PvP zone! I think there could be a mechanism like holding a control point long enough, which would prevent the cart owners from resurrecting back to the scene, and would allow the robbers taking control of the cart. The original owners might try tracking down the robbers, but it might often fail. Similar mechanisms could be used for conquering territory as well, which would enable player-driven wars in future. Well maybe after all 5 episodes have panned out and the world needs a new purpose and new masters.

    More on economic demand: I know there is the plan that eating is not mandatory, but will give some bonus to the character. I wish these bonuses are considerable enough to entice players to stop at taverns before setting out for adventure to encounter other players. I'm not aware if there are similar plans for sleeping; I guess there should be some benefits to sleeping as well. It would be nice to have an inn where players stop for a good night's sleep before some difficult quest. Beds produced by fine craftsmen would provide the most refreshing dreams! Similar bonuses might come from listening to good music or following other cultural activities, so people might pay for entrance! Of course many people will enjoy these without any bonuses, but some tangible bonus for the character might increase demand.

    This brings me to camping: if I can craft a tent, I fully expect that I can set it up in a forest, light a fire, have a hearty meal (it should be possible to produce some simple meals at campfire, perhaps from slaughtered meat and some semi-prepared meals produced at cooking stations) and a good night's sleep, and in the morning start raiding the dungeons. Or be prepared to look for black pearls when new moon comes! Maybe other players might spot my camping site from distance (by random chance from the overworld map?) and join me to share my fire and chat before sleeping or play music together. Might even form an impromptu party for that dungeon raiding (or compete for the pearls). During the night there might be some random encounters, beasts or undead attacking the campsite and disturbing my sleep.

    Concerning crafting, I had the thought that it would be nice if the adventuring experiences of our characters could be reflected by the quality of items they produce. For example, crafted bladed items could receive some bonuses that would be available only to craftsmen who have sufficient experience with bladed weapons. So experienced blacksmiths with a lot of combat experience could produce the finest blades available, that would be highly sought after. More so, if there were legendary tales of their adventures whispered around. Similarly, a cook with combat experience could produce meals that would give some special combat bonus for a period of time.

    I realize we will be able to hire NPC characters as vendors and such. But I would love to be able to leave also my own character as an NPC living in my hometown while I'm logged off. This would keep the towns populated and provide for interesting encounters. I think this would also increase realism, as it would incorporate periods of 'quiet life' for our characters; real world adventurers certainly didn't spend all of their time adventuring. And of course I would like the possibility of getting an NPC wife (or husband) who lives with my character during these quiet, happy periods. For example, if my character is the aforementioned cook with combat experience and lots of stories to tell, he might have a small tavern or inn where he sells meals to players. This is something that an NPC would be able to do. Maybe if I am personally logged in and present, the bonuses would be higher and maybe my income as well. Perhaps the tavern could have a sign outside that reflects the situation: PC owner present, NPC owner present, owner away. If there is a nice atmosphere in my place, good bonuses, maybe live music, it might become famous and attract players.

    Achieving this would of course require a system for setting up my character's schedule, writing some material for conversations, maybe scripting some actions and such. But I think it should be doable and quite rewarding. I also think that the history of the character should be known to the game, so it could automatically generate some gossip if other players ask around. Similarly the character could answer automatically some questions concerning history when in NPC mode. Of course I should be able to set whether the character is cautious or likes to boast about achievements. This would affect how much there are rumors and stories around.

    Finally I have a concern expressed by others as well; the monsters encountered in the world should have a purpose. Of course in this phase it is good to have mobs that respawn often so we can test the combat system and level up quickly. But when the game launches, I wish each monster has some kind of purpose, story or agenda. Animals should wander around to look for food, maybe rest, sleep in caves, interact with their buddies. Undead would be scouting around, maybe raiding settlements, guarding their dungeon and patrolling around. But when a player or party has entered the instance of an encounter, there should not be mysteriously respawning monsters, it just doesn't feel right. And no hordes of undead, elves or kobolds all over the place, but parties with an agenda. This would mean that leveling takes longer, but so be it, I expect to play this game for years. Slower accumulation of xp from kills could be offset by giving xp for completing quests and other achievements, not just for slaughtering respawning mobs repeatedly.

    I also fully expect that many players are willing to contribute to the chaos by becoming bandits or warlords and try to make a living that way. There should be mechanisms to enable that, at least towards the end of episode 5. Maybe when the story has unfolded to its final end, there won't be much undead left in the world, and the people will settle down; there will be factions that compete for power. In the interior parts of large kingdoms there would be peaceful to live and suitable for non-PvP players, while at the frontiers there might be open war.

    Thanks for reading if you got this far, I had the need to express some of the thoughts I had while playing this release. I hope some of these ideas spark interest, so I might continue to elaborate on them when I have more time.
    abj9562, smack, Moonshadow and 9 others like this.
  2. tekkamansoul

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    All excellent points that have been brought up by many others who feel the same way.
    Optimally, we'd see companion NPCs, campground instances where you can talk to your companions and group members, and a bit more to the act of crafting.

    Also The cohesion of the world gets iteratively better with each release. I imagine once random encounters are in place you'll feel better, too.
  3. Mata

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    Ruhrpott - Deutschland
    Welcome amnipar!
    amnipar likes this.
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