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Town sieges right at the beginning are way too hard

Discussion in 'Release 38 Feedback Forum' started by Lord_Darkmoon, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. redfish

    redfish Avatar

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    @Gix,

    It is a grindy game so far.

    Outside of the story, most of the gameplay consists of farming repetitively in a tiered skull zone matched to your adventurer level, then moving on to the next tier, etc. As far as the story goes, that only matters in as much as the story requires you to grind.

    In some dev responses, though, they suggested they like the idea of encouraging players to move around, and that's one of the reasons they're considering lowering the respawn rate after some time.

    The more gameplay occurs through travel and encounters on the road, the less grindy the game will be imo, too. The more important death is, the more important preparatory elements like reagents, arrows, torches, food, etc. are the less grindy it will be also.

    My sense is a lot of players don't like what it'll take to make the game less grindy, though, because they're happy with grinding, for one reason or another.
     
  2. Arya Stoneheart

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    Those Ebon Cultists are 4 skull enemies. It would be nice if they could give the starter towns a pass on them or just 1 or 2 skull versions like the ones in the roving encounters near the road.
     
  3. Gix

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    I'm not arguing this, I'm arguing that it has no impact on how the sieges should be setup. The only reason why grinding was brought up was because the OP thought there was no other way to progress through the siege without leveling up beforehand.
     
  4. Bubonic

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    Um... well, I was replying to redfish's comment about non-linearity and adding my thoughts. You know, like people do in forums. I have to say, I'm pretty confused as to where all your hostility is coming from.

    Yes. Yes they can.

    Wait... are you actually suggesting that players are not grinding the same content over and over again?

    Well, I suppose it comes down to what you accept as "proof". First hand accounts? Because I was not only speaking from observation of other players' comments, I also was speaking from first hand experience.

    But if you don't believe me, a simple forum search for the word "grind" yields plenty of results from plenty of other players.
     
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  5. Net

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    I admit I got into siege only once with my level 60 mage, I gor instantly killed (probably by catapult I have not even saw). I have avoided sieges ever since, I do not like to roam as ghost and search for ankhs. I think catapults just one hitting players is bad game design, especially since it appears there is not really way t osee incoming fire and avoid it. I understand that palyers who spend more times in sieges might have figured out what is going on and how to survive there, I just wish the user experience for new player made way more sense.
     
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  6. Arya Stoneheart

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    Yeah got hit by one yesterday like getting a 400 hp RPG blast in the face.
     
  7. Quenton

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    I'm kind of amazed sieges made it into r38.

    I tried to find the side tracks to run past the siege, but no matter where I went, bad guys were there and dropped me quickly. I gave up trying to leave the town, and exited the game shortly after.
     
  8. Quenton

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    By the time you saw those, you knew how the orb of the moons worked and could instantly get away.

    I don't remember this, but the solution to me sounds like going back the way you came?

    This is the most similar situation, and it was treated very differently. You were only under any real threat by the shadowlord at the back of town, and only then if you pretty much walked up to them. If you fled, you were perfectly safe. This occurred even at the beginning of the game, and if you were new and fled, you were still safe. In U5, that kind of thing doesn't really matter. In SotA, it can completely halt progression.
     
  9. redfish

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    You were safe, but you couldn't talk to any NPCs... the game wouldn't let you. Towns were also gated at night, so you had to wait until the daytime. And in SotA, you can also pass by the siege at lower level, and go on to the town and talk to the NPCs... so its not even as extreme as U5.

    In U6, the issue wasn't getting away, it was going on with the story. Unless you knew all the destinations for the Orb (from some cheat notes?) it wouldn't have helped. In U7, I'm talking about the quest for Batlin, where you retrieve the box from Destard for him. He intentionally arranged that it be where dragons and other traps were, hoping you'd fail.
     
  10. Lord_Darkmoon

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    Don't get me wrong: I love the Ultima games, they are my favourite games of all time because I had so much fun with them and I still love roaming around in Britannia, meeting the inhabitants etc.
    But games developed, storytelling developed. Ultima 7 for example is still a great game today. But it was better when it was released simply because the technology and possibilites of today weren't available yet.
    Taking off the rose-colored glasses I don't know if the game could hold up against a Witcher 3. In terms of storytelling. The interaction with the items, the world, the atmosphere are still unmatched but I believe that modern technology enables more exciting possibilites to tell really great stories.

    I judge the system of SotA on the one hand because there is not enough content and because of the presentation of the content. The overall premises of many quests and the siege etc. are really great but the presentation is "bland". It is just not fun solving the mystery of the murder in Ardoris or helping the farmer in Soltown reclaim his farm. All I get is a thank you from a farmer who stands around in a tavern. No one recognizes what I have done, the farmer never returns to his farm and the enemies there are still respawning. The whole sense of achieving something in the world is missing. I am not saying we need a cinematic experience like in Mass Effect or The Witcher 3 but at least something should be happening.
    But there is nothing happening in SotA.
    Let's take the sieges as another example. Aside from the town not being in any kind of danger as it cannot be invaded or destroyed the whole situation is so "gamey". I am told to destroy the catapults. I walk through the landscape, kill enemies and destroy the catapults. The siege is lifted but a few weeks ingame later it is back, exactly like it was before. From a story-driven game with a single-player narrative I expect more. I expect to get more quests like helping wounded soldiers, like sneaking into the enemy camp to sabotage some catapults or try to assassinate their leader. And I expect this to build up. For example trying to sneak into the camp to assassinate their leader could lead to me getting caught and being imprisoned and I have to escape. Maybe I can convince some people to desert and temporarly help me. Then after lifting the siege I expect that the enemy army is crippeled and doesn't return a few weeks later with the same amount of men doing the exact same things (don't they learn anything from their failures?). I also expect the people in the town to cheer when they meet me, thank me for helping them. This gives a sense of achievement which is totally lacking in SotA in terms of story. All I do is just for EXP - like in any other MMO. For me this has nothing to do with story-driven or a single-player narrative. And this is so disappointing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  11. Hornpipe

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    Back to the topic, there are several things to do to make sieges both more realistic and more accessible (beside what has been planned inside the town itself).

    • First, I never seen an army ready to fight night and day without rest. Read Sun Tzu. Men need to sleep. Men need to eat (and drink ;p). Men need to... hahem.... (yes, they do, even in a space station, according to @Lord British)... And we should be able to surprise some when they take their breakfast. Ok, High Cabalists are maybe undeads gods who don't bother with such trivial concerns but cultists do. So, even if there will always be sentries night and day with quarter turns, there must be specific moments when attention is relaxed. It would even be amusing to meet some cultists snoring at their posts.. or one isolated cultist behind a tree without his pants yelling "Aha !!" and drawing his sword as he discovered your presence...
    • Secondly, the siege zones are too small (from a player point of view). I know it's a lot of work, but we shouldn't have only one or two alternative paths. We should have more alternative paths.
    • Lord Darkmoon is right on one point: It is absurd that some alternative paths are only watched by unprepared soldiers whereas you only find high-level soldiers in the Cabalist camp. Generally, the idea is to group experienced veterans with recruits to share their experience. It would probably be more logical to have patrols who walk on these alternative paths, which are often ambushed by mercenaries (coming from Novia and from the town) to keep a refueling cord. It would make the scene much more dynamic, and give meaning to the presence of the allied army.
    • So, if it seems artificial to me to place weaker enemies, and as more alternative paths should be welcome, it can also be estimated that the enemy patrols could not watch all these paths at once. For the player wishing to avoid a fatal confrontation, the game would then consist in finding the path that is not supervised (never the same one as Patrols are switching from one to another).
    • Some roads could be inaccessible for patrols. Those who require Safe Fall or alike ... And then, as the enemy is not stupid, one may think that he has placed traps on all the places he deemed indefensible.
    • Finaly, all of this should be appropriately commented by the mercenaries who welcome us so that those who discover the sieges are warned of the dangers and the possibilities of circumvention.
    In the end, it would be much more convincing to impose an infiltration game on young outlanders where the more experienced outlanders are able to fight.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
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  12. Numa

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    The new bridge siege scenes are tougher. The only way I've made it is by taking the right track then running like hell past the bad guys in an outfit that's sorcery warded to the hilt. The catapults in that scene also decimate the defenders because their range is up the the defense platforms.
     
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  13. Lars vonDrachental

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    Just to clarify the catapults are shooting on every enemy within a specific area. If one of the Guard NPCs is entering the shooting range of a catapult it will also fire at them, at least that is what I saw in the Brookside siege.
    I think the problem is the guessing that the siege is there to take the town…but at least to me the current sieges do not look like that. Catapults have just a specific shooting range within the siege scene and this range ends e.g. right in front of the defenders camp (Brookside siege) and that is not even close to the not to be seen because to far away town walls. Also the camp of the besieger is more fortified than the defenders camp…actually it look like if they are meant to “just” terrifying the people of a region and in that regard it is most reasonable if they just block the area around a town and that the most dangerous enemies appear just if there is someone disturbing this process by killing the guards and destroying the catapults.

    I just looked at KS as I wasn’t sure about it but also reading it today SotA was meant to be the same game regardless if you are playing online or offline. That way it is most unlikely to expect many mechanics that are working just in the offline mode.
    But as DarkStarr said on page 2 they plan expend the sieges and the possibilities to interact during a siege but I do not know if they will implement such interactivity as you described it. E.g. imprisoning was discussed at some point and I think most people didn’t liked such possibilities...also it would be strange that the guards in the field will kill everyone on sight but if you try to assassinate the leader you are imprisoned...I think this would just make sense if this imprisoning would be the general behavior of the besiegers.
    Another point is the cheering. At least in the current setting of the scenes you are just fighting one siege camp of dozens around the settlement as it is unlikely that there is just a small passage leading in and out of a town. So if the siege is ending after you killed the leaders of this camp several other people must have done the same in other camps while you were doing it in this one. Aside of this point it is also not reasonable that everyone would know that you freed their town…why should the townsfolk know that? Most would think the guards did their job and wouldn’t expect that a stranger did most of the work. Maybe important people like a Mayor or the guard captain might note that you have helped but you are an outlander…someone maybe people more likely would blame to have caused the cataclysm. I wouldn’t expect that the officials would acknowledge in public your part in this story even if it is just because this would show their incompetence of doing it on their own. ;)

    @Hornpipe
    There are some good suggestions. :D
    Maybe during night the camps could have higher respawn rates while during day the battleground would have a higher rate to represent that the besiegers are sleeping in the camps.
    I think the scenes could be larger too. I hope these small scenes are just used because of they are a first try with this type of mechanic. Looking at Blood Bay maybe there could be even town placeholder (e.g. some castle walls/gates, and a handful of deco-houses inside this walled region and entering the real town scene on entering one of the gates) in the center of the map surrounded by besieger camps.
    Regarding “It is absurd that some alternative paths are only watched by unprepared soldiers”…well I think it is reasonable in that sense that the experience fighter guarding the camp and the important war machines and the cannon fodder is fighting outside on battleground. But the point with some patrols with stronger enemies walking around is indeed interesting. In this context it would maybe also reasonable if some stronger guards would patrol too e.g. to guard not that strong avatars into a secure zone/to the entrance of the town.
     
  14. Lord_Darkmoon

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    Of course we can try to explain everything ourself and try to find reasons for such things. But why do we have to? If I am meant to assume so many things and have to think for myself for reasons why this and that is or isn't happening, then I could basically just build my own world and story, not read any lore, not do any quest and just assume things the way I like them to be.
    But that is not the reason I play games or read a book or watch a movie.
    Playing Ultimas 7, 8 and 9 without getting an explanation who the Guardian is or why he is invading Britannia but instead having to guess a reason ourselves would be quit unsatisfactory.
    As for the cheering of the crowd - a sense of achievement, of being able to become a hero in the world, of having my deeds recognized by the inhabiants is important. Otherwise why bother doing it at all?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
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  15. redfish

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    @Lord_Darkmoon,

    I agree with a lot of what you're saying about too much gamey-ness and about how we should see the effects of our actions, but that's a different topic, I think.

    I'm not going to dwell too much on this, because I don't think it helps the topic too constructively, but I will say I don't think the Ultima games were ever perfect, and there are definitely things that the devs can learn from the Witcher series. Its great how the NPCs are involved in town activities, how they return to areas after they've been cleared, and also some of the plot devices are nice (like being stopped in the road). However, Witcher 3 is also, in my opinion, too much of a narrative-driven game. So, when you're talking about how it has good storytelling -- yes, it does -- but every other aspect of the gameplay takes a backseat to the storytelling. The most obvious aspect of this, of course, is that Geralt speaks for you. Geralt is not you; he has a backstory that you don't own. But your control over the direction of events is also somewhat illusory, and the replayable content isn't that great. The gameplay serves the purpose of the story, and its over once the story is over. At any rate, I'm happy that SotA is less narrative-driven, and I think that's a good thing. A game is not a movie or a book, and it shouldn't try to be, IMO, at least. A game should be as much about your story as a player as it is about the developers story.

    The challenge for the devs is to get the story elements to play right despite of this. That's why presentation and detail are really important and where we agree.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
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  16. Lord Ravnos

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    So you CAN dodge certain mobs, huzzah! :D
     
  17. Lord Ravnos

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    One major thing that combats "grind" is introducing more player skill challenges!
     
  18. Quenton

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    I see what you're saying from your explanation - but that's a lost battle. You just can't have a single player experience of the farmer returning to his farm as well as a multiplayer experience of another player who has yet to do his quest.

    The only solution to that kind of thing is to have millions of tailor made quests so that every quest in the game can only be completed by a player once (or at least over a certain amount of time, until the farmer loses his farm again). I don't think it's fair to ask for that kind of thing.
     
  19. Lord_Darkmoon

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    Why isn't it fair when SotA is advertised with the words "single-player narrative"?

    Also for example The Elder Scrolls Online shows that it can work with its phasing technology.

    Also Richard Garriott told in the beginning that he found a new approach to tell a meaningful story in a multiplayer game. But - sorry to say that - the story and quests right now play like in any other MMORPG.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  20. MrBlight

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    Wait, theres story or quests in SOTA?
     
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