Author Topic: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now  (Read 9022 times)

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2013, 06:41:26 AM »
Hey Josh, you gave me a key even though I never asked for one! But I'm sure not complaning  ;D

I gave out keys to everyone who gave us an idea for a bug that we ended up using. :) You were one of those folks. :)

For others, don't worry, I've not lost your note to me, I promise.

Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2013, 07:22:10 AM »
That's good to hear can't wait to get involved I love roguelikes and sci-fi :-)

Offline Tridus

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2013, 07:58:54 AM »
Hey Josh, you gave me a key even though I never asked for one! But I'm sure not complaning  ;D

I gave out keys to everyone who gave us an idea for a bug that we ended up using. :) You were one of those folks. :)

For others, don't worry, I've not lost your note to me, I promise.

Oh cool, I can't wait to see which ones got in!

Offline Tridus

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2013, 08:09:07 AM »
I played without reading any of the other feedback here, so I was going in as blindly as I could. The experience was... not great. :( This is a copy of what I sent to the email address in the alpha invite, and is brutally honest.

The good news is that I like a lot about the game and want to try again. Later. The bad news is that my first attempt went so badly that I'm going to go do something else right now because I'm rather annoyed.


Writing as I play, so this may not be the most organized. :)

1. Opening music is great, though at the end of the vocals it seems to just cut off abruptly before looping. A fade might make it sound better.

2. What's a "speciality unlock code"? Typing something in there ("1") doesn't appear to do anything, it just took me back to the main menu with no message about what it did. Also when the prompt to type it in appears after clicking the button, the keyboard cursor isn't in the box so typing does nothing.

3. It wasn't clear on the character/exo select screen that I could select anything, or which ones I already had selected once I figured out how to select things. The name of each character/exo in the title of the portrait and forward/back arrows to cycle through them would be useful to make it clearer. (Same for the city, I really didn't realize there was anything to select there.)

4. There's no sound on the map. I'd expect the background music just might not be in the alpha, but there was also no "clicking" noise when you click on icons or menus, and that absence was odd.

5. On the exo customization screen I clicked an empty slot. This opened a window that I had no way to close using the mouse. It was one of the shield ones, and so it blocked seeing nearly every other slot.

6. On the customize screen, I was seeing a tooltip at the bottom to "click on a mission icon to start, or customize on the left." That's not helpful when I'm already in the customize screen. (Screenshot: http://www.hiredgoons.ca/bionicDues/customizeTooltip.jpg )

7. Is there a difference between shields and health? Some items say shields and some items say health, but I don't appear to have a shield stat on my bot, and equipping an item with a bonus that adds 1% more shields increased my health.

8. When I left the customization screen, the map wasn't centered on my HQ or available missions. I was down in the bottom left corner. (Possibly related to alt+tabbing)

9. A click-to-move option (ala XCOM and most overland TBS games like Age of Wonders) would be AWESOME. Using WASD overhead is really awkward and confusing to me. (Particularly since WASD is typically go forward/go backward/turn left/turn right, and here it's just the four directions to move in, like the arrow keys.)

10. It's not at all clear how the enemy bots react to my movements. I moved a bit and nothing happened, despite a Wyvernbot being visible in the open. One more move and it started moving too. Did I run out of movement points?

11. Holding down left click to see enemy info is awkward. Why not just show it when I hover over an enemy? You're already hovering a tip telilng me how to see the info, it'd be easier to just show the info instead.

12. Oh hey, I can switch bots! It'd be really helpful if the game told me that. I only thought to try it because I'd previously asked on the forum and found out that only one of your four is active at once.

13. The enemies seem to be jumping around rather than moving, which is making figuring out what's going on in combat really difficult. Suddenly there's four bots, including multiple wyvernbots. Yet they don't seem to be shooting at me, they're just jumping around the map.

14. So I've got a bot with a rocket launcher. It has a huge AOE. The bots are positioned such that I can only hit one with it, and the other three are just out of range. Why can't I target this on an empty square and get all of them in the AOE? (Screenshot: http://www.hiredgoons.ca/bionicDues/rocketLauncher.jpg )

15. I'm playing on Easy, and the first bot I encountered has 800 health and just one shot my sniper exo. I've hit it four times and it's still not dead.

16. Do the turns work on a single action basis? Seems like when I move, they move. That's fine, except I can't outrun this WyvernBot. The game changed me to my assault exo (the one with lots of health), and the Wyvernbot took off most of its health in one shot as soon as I stopped to return fire. (Screenshot of the mess I was in at this point: http://www.hiredgoons.ca/bionicDues/wyvern.jpg )

17. Took another shot at the Wyvernbot. It didn't die. My assault exo did. The game gave me the Ninja Exo, which wasn't in range to attack.  Changing to the science bot (which maybe could be in range) got it one shot. Then the ninja bot tried to move into range, and got one shot. So I've been totally wiped by the first bot, on easy. (Screenshot of the log from that and the "you lose" screen: http://www.hiredgoons.ca/bionicDues/fail.jpg )

Lets summarize this experience:

On Easy, on my first game, on the first mission, the first bot one-shot three of my four bots and two-shot the other. I took four shots at it and didn't kill it. There was *FOUR* other bots on the screen at the same time, and for some reason they weren't aggressive at all. They just kind of hung around. Oh yes, and at least one of those four was the same Wyvernbot that just wiped me out. Although they're off radar in the screenshots I have here, earlier in the fight they were all clearly visible (then I started backing up).

To put it bluntly: that's an absolutely terrible starting experience. I've got no idea what the game mechanics are and have to learn them on the fly in the first mission because there's no tutorial. While I'm trying to do that, the game opens with something that will totally massacre me. I don't get how the bots I have could have possibly killed two of those (which is what was visible on the map) without the rocket launcher, because no other weapon was doing over 1/4 of its health.

This is when an experienced player might say: "do X". Which is fine, except that people buying the game (and reviewers) can't be expected to know that information, and the game didn't give me a chance to learn it by experimenting.

To give an idea of how badly this went, my score is showing as -1000.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 08:10:50 AM by Tridus »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2013, 08:52:08 AM »
4.  Customization screen, my initial reactor part, "MK 1 Auxillery Reactor"  in my inventory is equippable in both shields and propulsion, but not actually in the reactor section.
That's actually intentional, the idea being that it's using the stuff on those systems to generate more power.  Though as you mentioned having the description show on the part-picker would be good.


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5.  Map screen, initially started off all squashed to the right side of the screen.
Yea, it'd be nice if it could clamp that a bit better.  It's tricky with the zooming logic, though, to avoid some pretty jagged movements.


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10.  Is there some way to look at Exo stats during missions?  Or look at my inventory during missions?  Both would be useful.
Left click your character icon on the bar to open the customization screen (though you obviously can't change parts there, the balance implications would be fairly humorous).


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13.  CPU Overcharger goes in the reactor slot?
All the Overcharger-type parts are reactor-only.  The idea being that it's directly shunting main power to that system, etc.


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14.  EMP bot effect never wears off!
Odd, I was testing it just yesterday and it wore off just fine for my exos; just had to wander around maybe 5 moves.

The enemies being permanently locked down is something I've noticed, though.  I'm guessing their paralysis prevents them from getting to the part of the code where their paralysis timer counts down... which sounds oddly appropriate for these bots, come to think of it.


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16.  Percentages on weapon damage dont make any sense!  Example, the ninjabot starts with a machinegun that does 120 damage.  When I equipped a module that says it gives a 1% attack boost, the attack power of that weapon went up to 274.  It's welding laser went from 300 to 1257!  I'm thinking there might be bugs here...
Hmm, that used to work great, not sure what changed.  We probably haven't specifically looked at what it does in a while.


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17.  That being said, percentages on many things are way too low to have any real or desirable effect.
The very early equipment is pretty low, yea.  But it gets significantly higher as the mark levels go up (from scavenging increases).  And even at MkI stuff an exo with all slots full is a lot better than an exo with them empty.


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18.  I do not entirely understand what propulsion does; is that part entirely meant for things like stealth and having the bot explode?  The word propulsion makes me think it has something to do with movement speed, or something like that.  As it is, seeing "propulsion-stat increase" on various things is confusing.
There's also a TrapAvoidance stat, but yea, that's it.  We'd also planned a "Maneuvering" stat that would give the enemies a miss chance against you depending on their level (but never doing the miss chance thing against the player, other than the thrice-cursed RadarBot, of course).


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19.  An item that says it gives +40 power has it's stat in the window reflected as being 4000.
Yea, sounds like more stuff that worked fine the last time it was specifically tested, then something else happened later ;)


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21.  This game, it needs a tutorial.
That may be true, but we'd really like to see if the holes in understanding can be filled in without that.  Tutorials always seem to suck the excitement right out of the beginning of a game, and we still get people not understanding half of the stuff anyway.



Thanks for the feedback :)  I'd reply to the others too, but I've got to run.
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Offline Histidine

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2013, 08:58:51 AM »
Hey Josh, you gave me a key even though I never asked for one! But I'm sure not complaning  ;D

I gave out keys to everyone who gave us an idea for a bug that we ended up using. :) You were one of those folks. :)
Ah, I see. Thanks :D


On EMP non-recovery: I played a level that was crawling with EMP bots for some reason, and all of my exos got zapped at least once. Some recovered functionality after a while, others were seemingly disabled for the duration of the mission.

Does part damage resistance and/or exo type affect EMP behavior?

Offline x4000

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2013, 09:00:57 AM »
Will respond further later, but a few things of note:

1. Version 0.901 is now out, which addresses some of the issues reported: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Bionic_Dues_Alpha_Release_Notes#Alpha_0.901

2. Tridus, in terms of your experience of getting killed rather immediately, to some extent that is the genre.  That happened to me on my first run with Dredmor, too.  THAT said, Keith and I had planned to put in some code to make the starting mix of monsters in the first mission or two always be predictable and easier than the later ones, to avoid issues just like this.  Needless to say, we forgot to do it, so the mix of monsters could range from incredibly nice to incredibly mean depending on how the RNG rolled for you.  Looks like the latter happened for you.

3. Regarding the title music track, I forgot to mention that that is not done, it's just a preview snip.  It's just one verse, and does indeed cut off really abruptly.  Pablo says the full thing will be ready Monday, which I'm very excited about.

4. Regarding the tooltips on left click thing, I've not read the arguments as I just skimmed here.  But I am unlikely to change this, as it's a game where I think tooltips are not appropriate to have.  Similar games do not in my experience, and having a tooltip of any merit here causes waaaay too much of the screen to get blocked.  It feels terrible.  Think of these tooltips not as tooltips, but rather as a super-quick reference that you can get just by left clicking and holding on an enemy.  This does not impact your normal experience when you are not wanting a tooltip, it doesn't affect your ability to get the tooltip, and clearly you found the function given that you used it (and it says in a real tooltip at the bottom of the screen, a very small one, where this function is). 

So in other words, yeah it's different, but it's something that is different because normally this game would not have tooltips at all: there would be a reference that you'd have to click into a menu and then find the enemy in and all that.  Or you'd have to go to a wiki, depending on the game.  In this case we cut out the middle man and you just left click and hold on a tile to get that info.  Super handy!


Cheers folks, I'm glad most of you are enjoying it.  Bear in mind that the balance is the big thing that is currently not solid in this game.  It's something where I and Keith can play it since we know what we're doing, but the ramp-up of balance for a new player is... not there yet.  This is where you come in, as I kind of noted in the original post here (but probably was not clear enough on).
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Offline Histidine

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2013, 09:19:56 AM »
Damage irregularities mantis'd as 0012169: Damage bonuses are behaving very oddly
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 09:31:35 AM by Histidine »

Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2013, 09:24:14 AM »
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17.  That being said, percentages on many things are way too low to have any real or desirable effect.
The very early equipment is pretty low, yea.  But it gets significantly higher as the mark levels go up (from scavenging increases).  And even at MkI stuff an exo with all slots full is a lot better than an exo with them empty.

Well, I've yet to see any of the later game stuff, but yeah, the early game stuff, percentage stats are so low that they may as well not exist.   A percentage boost that ends up giving you +10 damage on a weapon doesnt mean anything when the weapon's original damage is like 250, and when even early game bots often have hundreds of HP.  And heck, even the bugged boosts that were giving me huge increases ended up not being nearly as huge as I thought they were;  the way the game mechanics all come together, I wasnt exactly mowing down everything with extreme ease, even with the damage boost of doom.   Yet at the same time, I'm not sure the missions I've done so far would even have been doable WITHOUT those larger, bugged boosts.  Enemies would have simply taken too many hits to kill in many situations, particularly considering their huge numbers.   

Some of the other types of percentage boosts do literally nothing whatsoever, such as the AoE range ones.  No effect whatsoever.... because when you've got a range of 4 or 5 tiles, you'd need a really big percentage number to actually increase that any. 

I think part of the problem stems from the fact that they ARE percentage based, instead of fixed numbers.  It's hard to deal with percentages in a game like this;  you end up either with items that are so weak that they're pointless, because the low percentages dont generate enough change to the fixed stats, or you end up with items that are much too strong and versatile, because a higher percentage modifying a weapon/whatever with a stat of 10000-something ends up getting a monstrous increase.  This sort of thing seems like a balancing nightmare to me.

As it is, the items that DO offer fixed numbers instead of percentages are already dramatically more desirable than the others;  HP boosts, sensor range, stealth turns, all that sort of thing that gives you a definite number, those are immediately useful even when they're not very powerful.  Those bonuses can add up without being OP at all, and also without being individually too weak.



And the tutorial bit, I think what Tridus posted illustrates that problem pretty well.   To clarify, I dont think you guys need to do a full tutorial.  But having some explanations come up would be great, similar to how the hamlets are explained in-game in Skyward.  There's no tutorial there, but the text gives enough of an explanation that you dont need it shown to the player step-by-step.  Heck, there's some stuff I cant figure out myself, such as what exactly some of the stats do, like "system protection".


Now lets see.... there were a couple of other things I wanted to mention....


Uhhh.... ok, the bot types.  I'm using pretty much the default team, right, assault, siege, ninja, and science, and the ones that actually see the most combat are the assault and science bots.  Both of these guys have a range 10 weapon.... and I've noticed that range is stupidly important in this game, possibly a bit too much.... and that automatically gives them more power than the others.  The science bot also is the only one with a decent amount of options to use during battle, things like mines and viruses and turrets.   The siege guy is powerful with his rockets, and the ninja is great IF you can get up close, but I find that's really situational and cannot be done whatsoever in open areas.   Heck, I did one of those funky "enemy robot training group" missions, the ones that seem like I'm not really supposed to be able to win them but they knock down army numbers, and I actually almost DID win the very first one I tried..... with the science bot, who did about 70% of the killing.   The ninja and siege got blown up right away, after the siege guy had gotten a couple of rockets off;  the assault one got maybe half of his range 10 death rays off before going, and the science guy just wouldnt die.   He had the all-important deathray, he had turrets and other stuff, and his health wasnt TOO terrible after I'd given him a few health boosting items.  I was even able to reach a couple of the loot rooms inside of that mission.

And also, turrets.  These things are either bugged, or dumber than a sack of hammers.   I kept placing them, and they kept just SITTING there, not doing anything except maybe pointing their targeting lasers at me for no apparent reason.   Every now and then one of them might MAYBE fire a bolt at the nearby enemy horde sort of, but it was pretty rare.   Definitely seems glitchy to me.



In an overall sense though, I'm quite enjoying this so far, despite some funky problems.


EDIT:  Ahhhh I *knew* that when I hit the post button it was going to tell me that multiple messages appeared while I was typing..... and it did! 

Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2013, 09:27:38 AM »
oh, and to clarify one thing:  On the tooltip idea, I dont mean having the actual tooltip appear somewhere else in the screen;  keep that info appearing exactly where it is, in the bottom-left-ish area.   Just make it so that it can do the very same function without me having to hold the mouse button down, that's all.   I have yet to find a point where I'm pointing at something and I *dont* want it showing me that.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2013, 09:36:24 AM »
The tale of your !!Science!! exo going rambo is quite amusing :)

We'll be thinking through the stats stuff.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2013, 09:49:10 AM »
The tale of your !!Science!! exo going rambo is quite amusing :)

We'll be thinking through the stats stuff.

Hah, yeah, I thought so too.

The science guy is also alot of fun to use.  That virus thing is hilarious, totally worth it when I can figure out a way to use it without getting wrecked.  I had an interesting moment with that, I caught that big huge bot with the lotsa health that likes smashing cover objects, and basically sent him into a room fulla jerks to clear them out.... without entirely having read his text fully.   I went towards the room afterwards thinking it was probably clear.   What he'd ACTUALLY done was shoot all the cover objects and leave all the robots, and then he ran outta ammo.   Fun! came next.

The siege guy and his doom missiles are also great fun.   .....though his rockets are now doing 13,000 base damage.   

Oh, and the visual change you just did helps ALOT.   It also just looks much, much more awesome.  That's actually a really good change, thanks.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2013, 11:17:06 AM »
2. Tridus, in terms of your experience of getting killed rather immediately, to some extent that is the genre.  That happened to me on my first run with Dredmor, too.  THAT said, Keith and I had planned to put in some code to make the starting mix of monsters in the first mission or two always be predictable and easier than the later ones, to avoid issues just like this.  Needless to say, we forgot to do it, so the mix of monsters could range from incredibly nice to incredibly mean depending on how the RNG rolled for you.  Looks like the latter happened for you.

That'd be a good change, yeah. If there isn't going to be a tutorial level, people need a chance to figure out what's going on in a non-instakill environment.

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4. Regarding the tooltips on left click thing, I've not read the arguments as I just skimmed here.  But I am unlikely to change this, as it's a game where I think tooltips are not appropriate to have.  Similar games do not in my experience, and having a tooltip of any merit here causes waaaay too much of the screen to get blocked.  It feels terrible.  Think of these tooltips not as tooltips, but rather as a super-quick reference that you can get just by left clicking and holding on an enemy.  This does not impact your normal experience when you are not wanting a tooltip, it doesn't affect your ability to get the tooltip, and clearly you found the function given that you used it (and it says in a real tooltip at the bottom of the screen, a very small one, where this function is). 

So in other words, yeah it's different, but it's something that is different because normally this game would not have tooltips at all: there would be a reference that you'd have to click into a menu and then find the enemy in and all that.  Or you'd have to go to a wiki, depending on the game.  In this case we cut out the middle man and you just left click and hold on a tile to get that info.  Super handy!

I don't get this at all. The information is already there, and you're already showing it to me. You're just making me hold down the left mouse button first. When I point at a unit, I only want to do one of two things:

1. Shoot it
2. See that information

So, letting me shoot it and then bringing up a tooltip telling me that I can do #2 if I hold down the button doesn't make sense compared to just doing #2 immediately. It's an extra step between me and the thing I want to do that doesn't accomplish anything.

edit - Actually I'm having the same problem with the other stuff on the map too. I need to hold down the button to see what a computer terminal is, which objects are cover, etc. It's a hassle compared to just telling me without holding down the button.

edit 2 - What I'm finding myself doing now is just holding down the left mouse button all the time. That gives me the effect I want, where I can move the mouse around and be told what things are. I don't understand why I should have to do that.

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Cheers folks, I'm glad most of you are enjoying it.  Bear in mind that the balance is the big thing that is currently not solid in this game.  It's something where I and Keith can play it since we know what we're doing, but the ramp-up of balance for a new player is... not there yet.  This is where you come in, as I kind of noted in the original post here (but probably was not clear enough on).

I need to agree with some previous comments that the percentage increases aren't very meaningful. I started with an item that was a 1% shield boost, and equipping it added 1 health. Not exciting.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 11:33:23 AM by Tridus »

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2013, 11:52:57 AM »
Hello, just fired this up. I have questions.

1) on the city map, where am I supposed to go? I have just been picking whatever sounds good and playing those maps.
2) as I am moving my robot through a level, there are explosions going on. My enemy seems to be self-destructing without my doing anything. Is that normal?
3) is only one robot active at a time? It seems like I would always want to use my assault robot to move around and only switch if it makes sense. If it's not true, that means I should be able to do 4 attacks.
4) I don't know where I'm going in the levels. Just going in a given direction. I don't really know my own strength or that of my enemy, so I haven't been lasting very long.
5) the customization screen requires that you click on the original box that you chose in order to close the menu. I think you should just have to click outside the menu to get it to close.
6) I would appreciate some customization advice. It looks like I start with something in my inventory, but I don't know who or which robot it belongs to.

Absent a tutorial, just need a little guidance on where I am supposed to be heading on the map and what I'm looking for in the levels. And should I be going all combat or avoiding the other robots? They seem to be kicking my butt really quickly.
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Offline Tridus

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Re: Bionic Dues Private Alpha Begins Now
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2013, 12:04:22 PM »
Okay, continued with my first game despite the butt kicking I took. Now I have some idea of what I'm doing, so this should go better, right? Well...

- This time the first bot I encountered isn't a "lolno" weapon of mass destruction. In fact it seems to stay asleep until you attack it, so I hit it with the ninja bot's welding laser and it died. We're in business.
- Hey, a computer terminal! (Note that at this point I'm always holding down the left mouse button so pointing at things tells me what they are, because with how the icons blend into the background I absolutely can't tell otherwise.)  Bring out the science bot and hack it. Result is... lose all hacking points. Talk about anti-climatic.
- Fight a few more bots and things are going relatively okay. The computer seems to be stumbling around on the electric floor harming itself quite regularly. Run into a door that I can't open due the loss of hacking points, so go around.
- Then I hit one of those sleeping bots with a weapon that didn't one shot it. A couple of other bots come at me, no problem.
- Yeah, so I misunderstood what was happening on the last point. Because a few turns later a giant mob of stuff is coming at me. I get too close to it trying to figure out what it is, and then I stealth. It seems to know exactly where I am anyway, but isn't shooting. I get around a corner and stuff follows me. Try to bring out the sniper to use the rocket launcher, and they blast it to smithereens. Now everything that's coming out is just getting killed by the mob of stuff, and another loss.
- I don't appear to have gotten any inventory from this one, unlike last time.
- This was an "assassination" mission, but I'm not sure what the target to assassinate was. Given how quickly stuff kills me I'm really not sure how I could have assassinated anything tough anyway.

So at this point it seems like there's absolutely no reason at all to continue this save, as I've failed the first two missions and gotten basically no loot, putting me far behind as the enemies gain levels.

I'm also not particularly accustomed to getting smashed like this on Easy. There's a definite newbie factor and mistakes going on, but that's the only way to learn with no tutorial and it's crazy unforgiving given how fragile my bots are and how many enemies there are.