The best review ever written

Discussion in 'New Player Experience Feedback' started by Glenndingo, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. Geoff Speldrong

    Geoff Speldrong Avatar

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    60
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Introduction:

    Sorry, I'm not conceited I needed an attention grabbing title! :>

    Hi, I'm Glenn and I've played MMOs/video games for about 30 years. Played Diablo(all), Ultima Online, The Realm, WoW, League of Legends, TERA(short time), Elder Scrolls Online, Skyrim and the list goes on...

    Interesting note, I found SotA via a google search "games like ultima online" because a friend and myself were MMO shopping and I wondered how I had never taken a look at this game yet. I read the forums and noted that advertising was indeed a sore point for some reason, I don't know what.

    User Interface: 5/10

    First impressions, it isn't awful, its functional and I haven't noticed any bugs with it, or items just randomly disappearing save crashing during recall/teleport and it consuming the scroll. Drag+Drop style, and lack of shortcut keys(at least displayed at a first glance) do show themselves when traversing shops/vendors. One key note I'll add is that WoWs basic interface is worse than this game for sure, and it stayed the same way since basically the game was created because players created far better versions and they were kind of able to just let that happen.

    Travel:
    6/10

    Seems alright, the fast travel lunar rifts are confusing as all get out, but the availability of teleport scrolls circumvents this just fine. Looks like I joined at just the right time (maybe a little over a week ago?) to reap the benefits of the new TP to zone scroll, so I did enjoy seeing that implemented (what seemed to me) right away. The over-world map is functional, but the mini-map is damn near awful most points taken for the mini-map to be honest. I have to keep it small, and zoomed in which nearly defeats the purpose of a mini-map. When using it in a town or a dungeon the mini-map itself looks great, but the functionality reminds me of a Dodge Viper, the ownership experience just sucks. The icons are small, there are no quest markers, and its difficult to use if I can't find quest markers/locations.

    Quests:
    4/10

    I typically don't play a MMO for the depth of the quests, I will take note however that some quests I've played in games I consistently go back and play. Some of the quests in this game have you traveling from one place to another, talking to an individual, then traveling all the way back just to get a confirmation of what you seemed to already know. Additionally, there are some quests where mini-map markers would've saved me potentially hours which lead to frustration when I realized the NPC I was supposed to talk to was just a few steps over, not the other side of town which brings me to the next point...some quests never mark as completed, leaving blue icons on my compass and before I learned to mouse over and make sure I was heading to the right quest giver I repeated this mistake a couple of times.

    Quest rewards need to be tuned up, I'm talking specifically about EXP/items. So far I have done the courage and truth quest lines and I must say, the actual quests were really cool but nothing really pointed me to them, like this quest is really important/pay attention! It wasn't until I got to Artifice that I realized I was at the climax of the quest, I liked that entire area but then I realized I had no idea who I talked to or what it was about up until getting there. My point being, it wasn't that memorable.

    Gaining EXP:
    6/10

    I personally love skill based games. It is what made me love UO, it is a large contributing factor as to why I love The Elder Scrolls series, and it is also why I care enough to write such detailed feedback on Shroud of the Avatar. That being said, gaining EXP in this game is basically Upper Tears as I've found so far. There is no reason to do anything else if you're looking to boost your characters power. Questing in my opinion should be a primary way of gaining initial strength, and the rest should revolve around group activities if online is the goal. I want to be the tank in my group and lead other players in dungeons. I love that. I just find myself relegated to UT runs because it far, far exceeds anything else you can do that I've found in terms of exp/hour. If I can get 1 mil exp/hr (capped, mind you), why would I spend and hour questing to get 90k? Doesn't make sense.

    One of the major reasons I played WoW for so long was the dungeons, raids, and PVP. Basically the entire end game. I know I would play this game for years if I can find a satisfying dungeon delving/raiding/pvp experience. I'll take one of those three, but I'll ask for them all!

    Character Progression: 8/10

    I like skill/stat based characters. I never cared about STR on WoW other than it gave me +30 dps over a 10 minute boss fight, but I find myself looking for ways to get STR because it makes you tanky, as well as deal damage. As mentioned above however, progression is limited to gaining a large exp pool then going out and exploring the world/adventuring so I can level up my skills as intended (as I use them). I do see/feel/experience small bumps in character power as my str/dex/int/skills increase and it does feel very progressive. All that said, I typically adventure with a large EXP pool so that it constantly feels that way. I understand you don't want to reach "max level" too fast, but there has to be some give. Daily/weekly dungeon rewards, pvp rewards could all help in achieving group character progression. I never liked hardcore raiding in WoW, but there is something there when you're putting in a little time with a group of players each week to tackle challenges that the devs throw at you, and it feels good to, as a group overcome those challenges and seek more.

    Crafting:
    7/10

    I genuinely enjoy the crafting system in this game. Creating components, building everything is a nice way to have a robust and expansive crafting system. My gripes with it are typical of someone joining a game so late -- buying the thousands of mats that are already out there is far out of my reach, so I won't be leveling my crafting skills very quickly anytime soon. That's fine.

    That being said, collection times could stand to go quicker, as well as crafting times. As it stands now setting out to craft a lot of XX type of item is usually bathroom break/smoke if ya got em. Which means its less engaging than it at first seems. Why does crafting 20 wood pulp have to take 5 minutes of real time? Could 1 minute, 2 minutes be a compromise?

    After all that, I like the options in crafted gear that I have, I like the idea of being able to customize armor to my own wants and needs a lot. It is one of the things that I look forward to being able to do. One day, when I catch up to all the people who have been playing forever.

    Skills/Abilities:
    8/10

    So far I've dabbled up to about 400-850 in basically everything. The skill trees are small and relatively functional, and that feels fine because I can mix and match all I want and I really like that. I get to create my own character from a kit.

    Combat:
    2/10

    Combat itself feels sluggish and clunky at times, I press an ability called break armor and it doesn't feel like it has impact. The dodge rolling is delayed, and slow during execution. Elder Scrolls Online dodge rolling feels fluid and fun. My main gripe about the combat system is the charging of all abilities. It really, really interrupts the flow of combat and makes it feel more turn based, rather than fast paced. WoW, ESO, TERA, PoE, and LoL all felt very fluid on the same computer, internet connection, etc. How combat is executed is not as important to me as how it feels, and the actual ACT of combat in SotA doesn't have a personality. Personally if I had to choose a game from the above mentioned list, I love ESOs combat.

    You can charge your auto attack and follow up with a hard smashing ability and it feels like you out played/setup an opponent and killed them. I haven't PvP'd in SotA yet, but I don't know that it will have that feeling. I would love to see in the future releases some dearly needed attention to make combat feel like my shield wearing, mace wielding, 200+ strength warrior's charge has an impact on a leather wearer. It doesn't have to one shot him, but it needs to feel like I engaged him. Warriors in WoW gave me that feeling.

    Economy:
    ???/10

    I can't really weigh in as you need time to get a grip on a market. First impressions tell me that I can't make anything worth selling and won't be able to for a long time, and that's kind of typical for a new player I think. I don't think I will participate too much in the economy of this game to be honest because of gold/$$ conversion. I'll stick to downing the games hardest bosses.

    That said, some type of centralized vendor search/average market price for items would greatly, greatly reduce grief incurred by a player playing for a month, saving up and getting a full set of armor/house/whatever and finding out they overpaid by a large margin. I know, that's the market right, but price gouging is illegal in the real world, and players can essentially buy gold in this game. So that could lead to some very hurt feelings.

    Items/Found Loot:
    1/10

    Really needs work, I haven't found one single thing that I felt was an upgrade at all. If I had to think of one thing that kept me playing games like PoE, Diablo, ESO, WoW etc etc etc it was that loot lottery. I hate to admit it, but its true. Going through that dungeon and farming that boss and getting that boss drop after two weeks feels awful, but a few days isn't so bad(YMMV).

    Some attention to the drops, not calling for it to shower legendaries a la "please play me Diablo 3 pre Reaper of Souls release". WoW's auction house I rarely used for buying items because the items I wanted existed in dungeons...perhaps if you could augment your items purchased from other players with items/mats that come from dungeons, where the mats/reagents replace the actual item itself...just spit balling here.

    Conclusion: 6/10

    I know this seems like I am attacking the game, but I haven't ever actually written a feedback report on a game, so I will say this. Sometimes you "just like" a game. I like this game, I could see myself spending many hours playing it, in fact a couple days ago I subbed and joined a guild so I've decided to stay here for a while, and that is for two reasons, the first being that I like the game, the second being that it seems you, the devs actually listen to feedback. It looks like actual developers read the forums, and address issues. So that led me to actually writing about my new player experience in SotA. I wanted to give the most honest feedback I could.

    The Ultima Online experience was one that was very punishing, especially when servers were named "Atlantic", before Feluccia and all of the other townie shards, but people didn't have other options back then, I used to kill people right outside Britain and Trinsic all the time. The amount of hate I received was just ridiculous. But remember why Ultima Online could be so damn punishing? The best item you could get was basically just a master crafted item. You didn't really care if you lost a full set of platemail and your war axe/shield because it could be replaced fairly easily. Tons of people tend to forget that when they mention "old UO" and "you should be able to loot people". Nowadays players pour months into their characters gear, back then I had several sets ready to go and the real drawback to dying was someone had your head.

    The SotA experience really has brought me back to older times when I played UO until 4 am working my resist magic, tactics, etc etc...and I look forward to playing for a while to come.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. Alleine Dragonfyre

    Alleine Dragonfyre Avatar

    Messages:
    1,334
    Likes Received:
    3,687
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Immortal City
    Very detailed and thoughtful review. Thank you. There is a centralized item price database here based one player submitted receipts of actual sales. Also, you did not touch on housing at all. Is that due to lack of interest or that you haven't had the chance?
     
  3. Geoff Speldrong

    Geoff Speldrong Avatar

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    60
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thanks a ton!

    I was looking for something a little more in-gamey as to not have to alt tab but player created resources are great. Auctioneer basically kept people honest most of the time on WoW, ESO didn't really have anything like it, and TERA actually has a built in auctioneer which I thought was a nice touch!

    I don't have enough cash for a house, although I think its one of the best areas of gameplay. Being able to have a whole town for a guild is incredible, and one of the key reasons to want to play a game like this tbh!
     
    Royou and Fionwyn Wyldemane like this.
  4. Alleine Dragonfyre

    Alleine Dragonfyre Avatar

    Messages:
    1,334
    Likes Received:
    3,687
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Immortal City
    We will never have auction houses or centralized vendor kiosks in this game and that's actually a good thing. To find honest sellers we shop around. This world is not one that has the means to a central database. Its farthest technical advancement is radio.

    If you finish the main story line, you receive a free row house deed. :)
     
  5. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

    Lord Tachys al`Fahn Avatar

    Messages:
    1,596
    Likes Received:
    2,871
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    Never say never... we were never supposed to have fast travel options either.
     
  6. Sharok Alurien

    Sharok Alurien Avatar

    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    174
    Trophy Points:
    20
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wizards Rest Mini Mall above Owls Head
    A very well written review, a bit harsh in some places in my opinion, but we won't go there, I look forward to meeting you, hunting with you, or even (when I am able) when trying the consensual pvp.....^_^
     
    Royou and Fionwyn Wyldemane like this.
  7. Jason_M

    Jason_M Avatar

    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    1,128
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Hello @Glenndingo and welcome to New Britannia. Thanks for the review. Some of the things you mentioned will just plain get better with time - SotA being such a different game, some things you just get used to.

    Sorry for this, but I have to climb up onto my high horse now. Get thee away from Upper Tears until you actually need it. That place is quicksand. Once you go in, that's what you do - online players are addicted to the EXP dripfeed and that place has all the subtlty of a sledgehammer. It's a get rich quick scheme that works. It's the highway to destination Quit-the-game.

    You gain millions of EXP for completing milestones in the quest, exploring scenes, and solving puzzles. If something is challenging, good, make friends.

    I highlg recommend you take the first exit off the highway and get back on the scenic route. Slow down and smell the roses. It's a very beautiful game if you can look long enough to see.

    Maybe I got you wrong. Maybe you're level 90 already from completing the quests a d exploring everything.

    Even so, I'll leave you with a little context: Once upon a time (going on 3 months ago, actually) there was death decay. The more exp you had, the more you lost when you inevitably soiled the bedsheets. Life in SotA became high stakes poker at around level 80-90. When you got higher than that, though, it started feeling like Russian roulette.

    Like a fighter in full a Valorite dex suit in Feluccia, people were staying in theur houses for fear of catching an unlucky crit and seeing a hundred of thousands of experience points go up in a flash. High end players were avoiding high end content because the risk blew away the reward by a factor of 10.

    The devs responded by creating several different opium dens for high end players to recover from bad luck. Some of these still exist as they had then - and Upper Tears was the latest and greatest, the mother of all crack houses. If your addiction was scarface level and a dragon cut a cold million from your EXP pool, this place would get you kicking again faster than a cheeseburger from the value menu.

    It's out of context now. Death decay is long dead but you can still find the junkies camping UT. They don't talk - some of them don't even move. They jack up and stay put. A world of adventure is outside the cave door, but they'd rather be there.

    I go to UT sometimes. I'm pushing level 100 and most of my skills are, too, which means they're thirsty as hell. As an old habit from death decay days, I keep my pool around a million and that's not easy. If I were a solo player, it would be no problem - I would stick around the challenging scenes, play newb in the new 10+ scenes, and I sometimes do. But I'm a member of a very active guild of mid-level players and we're out there every day smashing uglies. I consume experience faster than I gain it, and, probably once a week, I sink underground to go six rounds with my enabler. We're out there every single night of the week raising hell and grinding isn't on the menu, so I've become a radical consumer. I regret nothing about that - I'm having a blast.

    UT continues to exist for people who "need" it. Maybe you're like me and want to rock and roll with characters a tier lower than you without the hassle of locking and unlocking your skills all the time, so you need to top off the tank on occaision. Maybe you're a junkie who doesn't mind the monotony and lives for the loot-and-scoot - emphasis on the scoot.

    But if you love being a new player in a new world, wide-eyed, exploring, facing new challenges and puzzles in beautiful adventure areas, then don't take the expressway to the top. There's nothing there more precious than all the adventure you would have skipped to get there. Killing a troll for the first time means a lot more if you did it like Rocky - fail, get determined, train, and earn a hard-won victory. God-mode is gets giggles but it makes for a very short and unexciting video game.

    Sorry about tue longwinded rant. I bet I'll get booted from all future UT groups I join :p

    But I just want you to enjoy the game, amigo. If you ever feel lost or need some adventure, you can look me up: Jason Moryn.
     
  8. Jaesun

    Jaesun Avatar

    Messages:
    2,975
    Likes Received:
    3,273
    Trophy Points:
    153
    I’ve never even been to Upper Tiers and I am doing just fine. :)
     
  9. Kara Brae

    Kara Brae Avatar

    Messages:
    3,820
    Likes Received:
    12,055
    Trophy Points:
    165
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Bavaria
    @Geoff Speldrong Thank you for taking the time to write this well-written comprehensive review.
    @Jason_M I really enjoyed reading your response - the metaphors you used kept my attention and made me laugh. :)
     
  10. Earl Atogrim von Draken

    Earl Atogrim von Draken Avatar

    Messages:
    6,203
    Likes Received:
    11,812
    Trophy Points:
    165
    Gender:
    Male
    *shrugs* Fair enough. Good work!
     
    Royou and Cordelayne like this.
  11. Geoff Speldrong

    Geoff Speldrong Avatar

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    60
    Trophy Points:
    3
    @Jason_M I agree with you, the game needs more areas to reward the same type of exp that UT will. If there is one way to do it, there can be five ways to do it. Dungeons, Quests, daily pvp rewards, crafting rewards, gathering rewards you name it. Some types of rewards (specifically dungeons, quests, pvp) can offer even more expansive rewards. Tank a dungeon, heal a dungeon, dps a dungeon. Kill X players, capture the flag, hold a siege point.

    @Alleine Dragonfyre I know there are possibly immersion breaking reasons for not having a centralized search...or even posting buy orders on a bulletin board that exists in every city, but has the same content no matter which city you enter?

    @Sharok Alurien we've already run some UT together!

    @Kara Brae thanks :>
     
  12. Spungwa

    Spungwa Avatar

    Messages:
    496
    Likes Received:
    1,042
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Nice write up.

    I think in the introduction you should how long you have been playing for. Some of the systems you are reviewing are VERY deep and others change depending on how far your character skills have progressed.

    So for example you do not have to charge skills, you can stack them, which can be done during the global cool down of other skills, it took me months of manual tweaking of my decks to get them where i wanted them, and am still refining them now for different areas/mobs.

    The loot drops is one that divides people. You say
    I believe this is a design decision because they wanted all good gear to be player made. If you have reasonable player crafted gear nothing that drops will be better. However there is some rare salvageable components from some loot that, I think, needs expanding to help this.


    Regards
    Spung
     
  13. Paulie Walnuts

    Paulie Walnuts Bug Brigade – Bug Hunter

    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    1,084
    Trophy Points:
    40
    Gender:
    Male
    Solid review.

    "I know this seems like I am attacking the game"

    I don't think so. That felt about as genuine as anyone could ask for.

    Cheers,
     
  14. craftymethod

    craftymethod Avatar

    Messages:
    749
    Likes Received:
    1,447
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Not bad review for a half finished game!

    Some big challenges ahead, but the progress of this game will not be hindered!

    Thanks for posting :)
     
    Simon LeBon likes this.
  15. Black FjP

    Black FjP Avatar

    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    303
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Great review, I think @DarkStarr @Chris should take a look at this becuase I think this guy hit the nail on the head for a lot of the newer/midlevel players experiences.
     
  16. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

    Lord Tachys al`Fahn Avatar

    Messages:
    1,596
    Likes Received:
    2,871
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    If only it wasn't supposed to be a FINISHED game...
     
    Tiki Pirate, Gorthyn and Cordelayne like this.
  17. craftymethod

    craftymethod Avatar

    Messages:
    749
    Likes Received:
    1,447
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Pretty sure the dev's have read a great deal of the reviews and actually know their own game and whats missing pretty well. But the more opinions the merrier I guess!

    Implying the game is meant to be finished? Please pass that joint, because a finished game this is not.
     
  18. Lord Tachys al`Fahn

    Lord Tachys al`Fahn Avatar

    Messages:
    1,596
    Likes Received:
    2,871
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    Since that is what the "Launched" status as of this past March is supposed to indicate, yes.

    Like it or not, complete or not, it was SUPPOSED to be considered launch-quality (i.e. COMPLETE) then.
     
    Tiki Pirate likes this.
  19. Duke Aventine

    Duke Aventine Avatar

    Messages:
    3,936
    Likes Received:
    6,831
    Trophy Points:
    165
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Caladruin
    Nice review in the opening post.

    I actually find ESOs combat to be clunky after playing SOTA and going back. Try it for awhile and see. :)
     
    Cirsee and Alleine Dragonfyre like this.
  20. craftymethod

    craftymethod Avatar

    Messages:
    749
    Likes Received:
    1,447
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Only if you confuse a standard "Launch" from a publishing company with a fully featured game. In this open development model this launch is like a half built ship launched from its dry dock. Is it floating? yes. is it seriously competitive and complete? NO.

    Will the look of some things change? Yes. People can really evaluate their own interpretation of "launch" and what they THINK it means in relation to this game, but that doesnt change the fact this game is still being developed. Trying to claim its a finished game is frankly a laughable assertion.

    This ship called Sota is now undergoing its sea trials and is yet to sail out into the open seas! is it ready for such waters at this stage? No, but every day this project grows, at the disappointment of its detractors.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
    Simon LeBon and Sean Silverfoot like this.