First I would like to preface this by saying that almost all of the time I have played this game was on 1.05, with a little time on 1.01. Anything that has been resolved since then will probably not be accurately represented in this post. I have also only played enough so far to get about 3 chars up to level 30 ish and on up to about 40, so take anything said as someone relatively new to the game.
I am thoroughly enjoying the game, and want to make it VERY clear now before you read any farther that I have enjoyed my time with it and will continue to spend a fair bit more time in the game. My tearing the game systems apart the way I do is much more a statement of myself and how I approach things than any sort of dislike of the game. Any criticism in this post is intended to be entirely constructive. Like any game there have been things that made me salty, like any good game there have been things that pulled me back into it repeatedly regardless.
Prepare for a wall of text. Some of this should probably be in balance, some of it might belong in bugs, but I am leaving it here because I feel that the general tone better fits in suggestions. Let me know if I should properly make a new topic somewhere else for anything covered here.
Some spells need to be made MUCH rarer for enemies. I have rage quit playing twice because of a combination with a DOOM on all/almost all of my creatures and either stun or confusion. I would be fine with single target spells with doom and such, but multi target needs to be much farther in than level 1-3.
There should be a limit to how quickly enemies cast spells. Mages and bosses would be an exception obviously, but random mobs shouldn’t be casting all targeting spells 3-4 times in a row so often. If I were doing something about it I would have them have a random wait before they can cast the next spell between 1 and 5 of their units acting before the next spell can go down. This would also help with the previous statement about stacking stat effects with all targets, since I would have a chance to act somewhat. This would also have the benefit of making the enemies cast spells more consistently throughout the combat even with the same total number of spells cast. Most of the time enemies seem to lay down all their spell firepower at the start then maybe one spell the rest of the combat.
Another method to deal with spells would be the classic declare the spell is being cast and it takes effect at the start of that mobs next round. If you were to do this I would make it only effect spells that target an enemy, so that heal spells and buffs still have the last minute save feel. Not a particular fan of this solution but it does take care of the “surprise your screwed” factor.
Something that would draw me into using spells a little more often would be if the weaker ones had significantly higher charges. Minor heal with one charge doesn’t seem worth finding and putting in the spellbook and then not using because it is my only charge on it. If the weaker spells or single target versions of spells had a higher tendency to have much higher charges, say 10 or 12 then they would be more worth using. It would also give a reason to use lower spells even when you have higher ones available. Do I want 10 charges of minor heal or 3 of major?
I would like to see spells somewhat more limited at the start, not in quantity but in variety. I have found myself mostly ignoring my spells because there are so many different ones that it just isn’t worth it to stop the fun part (exploring/fighting) to read two pages of spells and find which one is worth having in my spellbook so that i can use it a few times. The spell system itself isn’t bad but the content gating needs to be a bit more aggressive at the start.
The last thing I would like to say about spells is that the current system does make for some fun and interesting battles, but it also has a chance to completely screw a new player (it got me a fair number of times) just by front loading it too heavily. Group spells should show up in later levels so that it ramps up the difficulty as you go down. My main complaint is mostly based off why I gave up my second character (sorc to start incase anyone cares).
I got up to the quest for the Power Spell Ritual and I started to get rolled HARD. Some of it was enemies having effects from artifacts, but the spells were the part that put it over the edge from hard to just feeling unfair. I got doomed on 5 of 6 creatures then confused with 4 of them including my heavy hitter. Dead. I go back in at level one and get half my team frozen by a spell before I get a turn. Not every battle ends up like this but when you can get in a situation where on level 1 you get slaughtered in every third or fourth battle it just doesn’t feel like it is worth trying to get out of it. Part of that is the resource balance for creatures I talk about elsewhere, and part of it is DEFINITELY my fault. Part of it is I made a Red Storm because I was interested in how it worked and that was dead weight on my team. Regardless the end result was that while the mobs felt difficult, I could work with that, they are somewhat a known quantity and even if I lose it feels like there could be a solution. Spells on the other hand come from left field with no warning and very little I can do about it when they hit. I have not found any spells so far the clear status conditions so far with my level 37 character let alone one that targets my entire party, so I don’t even have a reactive resource to deal with it. Little bit of salt, not going to lie.
End Story Time
My first character was a death mage, and when I saw the first creature name was Lich Priest I was expecting alot of things, but a suicide beserker wasn’t really one of them, especially with the flavor text saying things like “enjoy strength in numbers in their creatures”. While the abilities abilities that the death creatures have are generally well thought out, they don’t seem to have the flavor that the mage description implies. The two that really FEEL undead to me are the Delirious Ghoul and the Fallen Carnage, but they still don’t give the Shambling Horde feel really. This kinda sat in the back of my mind while playing, wondering “How WOULD you do something to get that feel with this format?”. It isn’t great but this is what I ended up with.
What if you had creatures with abilities that depended on there being a blank spot on the team? A Lich Priest could summon a Skeleton on attack. The Skeleton would spawn with half the Lich Priest’s hp and defenses and 3/4 it’s attack/speed/luck and Taunt for two turns. When the skeleton dies the slot is empty again, so it can’t be revived with spells or anything, you need to summon a new one. You could have a fair number of variations on it, things like “when a Skeleton dies it gets a counter attack for 200% damage” or “Skeletons get on hit and when hit effects that this creature has” as a support for the ShadowCaster. Make the Death mob theme be “How many abilities do I want the summons to have vs how many spots can I have to summon vs How many summoners do I want”. Make it a puzzle for the right formula to make a good attrition group. I would probably make it so you have only 2-3 base creatures that are summonable, Skeletons, Zombies, Ghouls maybe. Let the player pick what type of base unit they want, fast attack type, slower defensive type, or middle ground. The fast attack type might have “Haste : Takes’s it’s first turn immediately after being summoned”, Skeletons as described above as the defensive type, and the middle type have the life regen ability without the Unholy Frenzy that the Delirious Ghoul has.
Position Based Abilities. I read on the forums that the Unicorn Vivifier prefers to resurrect creatures toward the start of your party. It should have a note in it’s ability so you can take advantage of that. I would also like to see more position based abilities. A couple ideas that struck me as interesting are :
Shieldmate : 50% chance to block as though it had Taunt when a creature to either side of it are attacked
Holy Circle : Creatures to the right of this creature gain 80% defense vs Death. Creatures to the Left of this creature gain 80% damage vs Death. Effects decrease by 20% for each position away the creature is.
Phalanx : Adjacent Creatures counter attack for 30% when attacked.
Alchemist Brew : The Creature to the right gains 50% of this creatures luck and attack but loses half of all it’s defenses.
Supporting Fire : When the Creature three to the left of this one is attacked, this Creature counter attacks for 150%.
I know these could be worded more eloquently, but you get the idea.
With enough position based abilities you could have artifact effects that had things like “position effects activate as though this creature were one space to the left of where it is” and could make building and positioning you team a fun little puzzle.
Secondary Attack types. I think it would be fun to see some secondary attack commands. So you have the Servant Hunter with the bouncing glaives as a normal attack modification type, but what if you gave it a secondary attack that did 100% damage to two random creatures, so you have the option of targeting one specific creature with 100% and two for 35% (170% total damage 100% of it targetable) vs 100% to two targets but zero control on who is actually hit. This suggestion would allow some variation on your tactics inside of combat besides spells and just which targets to attack. If you were to implement this I would probably stick to variations of the ability the creature already has, like the Servant Hunter, or for creatures with on hit procs have them do less damage to have a higher % chance to pull the proc off, or maybe have a lower % chance to pull the proc but have it effect 2 creatures randomly, etc.
Multi page Ability descriptions need to have some sort of button press to rotate through the pages and a symbol to let people know there is another page. Look at Stronghold’s description and tell me it is comfortable to read. You have the same amount of time for a full “page” of text as for ONE WORD. I would imagine for slower readers or people who get distracted easily that it would be very frustrating to try to read the entire description.
Inspect should have the ability to tell me what stat effects are on the creature and what they do. I constantly find myself going “wtf is that spell/buff/debuff… Welp Maybe I will find a creature with it someday and find out” A little bit of that mystery is good for the game, but to much of it just makes the player lose interest in the buffs/debuffs going down. This is equally true for both my creatures being debuffed and their creatures buffs. Lots of effects are a strength of this game, but it needs to be more transparent to avoid the “memorize it or ignore it” feel. This would also allow for spells like Doom to be visible without having to make it spam what it is doing for each creature effected. Save the Text, won’t anybody think of the TEXT?..Yes I am aware of the hypocrisy.
I would like Inspect to work on enemies if you have gotten atleast one particle for them. I haven’t memorized all the abilities for every mob I have come across but my character DOES have that information available to him, and presumably a reason to remember it. If you threw a “Stats at level 1” or something over it instead of the particle name you could use the same format and information that I could get if I looked at the particle before heading into battle. This is particularly needed because of the fine details and recolor difference between some mobs (looking at you ghouls). By displaying the stats as though it were level 1, you get an idea of it’s proficiencies but not a full stat breakdown or anything without needing to use the spell to find out. (I haven’t used the spell yet so I don’t know how it works or what it shows, just for full disclosure.) You could also throw in some generic thing like “Follower” if it is leveled roughly in line with your weakest two creatures, and “Leader” if it is the same level or above your highest or is the highest leveled mob on the enemy team. I think that might be a little to much information though, but it is a thought.
An ability for information might be good. Something like
Scout : Displays relative toughness of enemy party.
and then have it display a bar like our party does with all the creatures on the enemy side having the bar be based off the highest max hp any of them have. So if they have a Stronghold with 400 hp and a Crypt Bat with 200 the Crypt Bat’s bar would be half full at the start.
A couple of questions.
Are on hit and when hit effects effected by luck at all for proc chance?
With a Mithril Jewel If a non Imling/Imler equips it does it synergize with them? Does it get the Imling/Imler’s bonuses? If you have one of each does it count as a third and break the bond? Does it just add stats to the Imling/Imler without getting anything in return?
Artifact Effects by Type of the Base. By that I mean things like
Glaives : 50% chance to bounce for 30% damage to a random enemy on attack. Does not Proc on Hit effects.
Staffs : 5% increased chance to proc on hit and when hit effects from this artifact.
Spiked Shield : When hit 20% chance to counter attack for 60% of the damage dealt.
Talisman : 10% chance to blind an enemy on attack.
Bulwark : Increase your defense by 5% when hit.
Absorber : 15% chance to reduce damage taken by 40%.
Cross : 10% chance to evade attacks by Death Creatures.
Basically effects that are distinctly less than what good mats would give but would give a mechanically different feel to the items. Make me decide if I want an Absorber or a Bulwark if I am trying to make a good shield.
There should be a clearer description of what the effects on the procs on artifacts actually DO. I didn’t know what Gain Invisibility When Hit was actually doing for my creature until an hour or so later when I came across the Willow Spirit and got a particle from it.