Author Topic: AVWW First Impressions  (Read 787 times)

Offline Wingflier

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AVWW First Impressions
« on: April 26, 2012, 12:35:01 AM »
You guys all know me, I've been around since pretty much the beginning of AI War (though I haven't always been active on the forums).  I love Arcen Games, and I try everything you guys put out.  I've bought all your games and expansions so far, so I want to give an honest review of how I feel about AVWW.

The first thing I'll say is that I didn't really keep up with it during the beta process, as I usually avoid doing that.  I don't want to "spoil" games I'm excited about that way, I think it's just bet to let them come to fruition, then try them out when they're finished (Of course, I realize that games at Arcen are never finished, so I realized that "finished" would simply mean "stage 1 beta" in the terms of any other game.  I'm sure in 2 years AVWW will practically be unrecognizable from what we're playing right now, so I have a lot of faith in you guys, even though the game in its current state has a lot of promise).  So having said that I really had no idea what to expect.  I had read little bits and pieces about what AVWW was going to be like in the AI War forums over the years (of course back then, you called it Alden Ridge), but it changed a lot over time.

I'll be quite honest in saying that I've never been a huge fan of side scroller games.  It's probably because I grew up with a Sega instead of a Super Nintendo, and Sonic can hardly be considered a traditional side-scroller.  I'm also, ironically, not a big fan of RPG games either, at least the way they're normally done nowadays, because it seems like it just boils down to a huge mindless grind and waste of time.

So the odds were already stacked against AVWW's favor; in fact I probably wouldn't have even tried it if it didn't come from you guys.

I was however, pleasantly surprised (as always).  The first thing I noticed is that the game played very smoothly, the graphics were enjoyable, and the music was soothing.  All-in-all it was a very relaxing experience from the very beginning.  However, one feeling that I haven't been able to shake since I started, is that I'm grinding

A good 80% of the gameplay is just exploring empty, procedurally-generated landscapes and houses, killing the random monster or two, mindlessly going from room to room collecting resources.  Even the missions seem to be a glorified version of this, with a boss or two at the end.  I was initially excited about facing the bosses (partly because I thought it was going to actually be a challenge), but was let down when they really put up no fight at all.  Worse than that, I've faced 10 bosses so far and they've all been the exact same!

I guess the reason it feels like it's a grind to me (and my major complaint so far) is that there's never any real sense of danger.  There's the occasional monster here and there, but you never walk into a horde of them and really have to put your skills to the test.  And this is coming from a guy who doesn't even play side-scrollers.  Maybe walking around a giant world exploring empty houses and landscapes appeals to some people (*hint* Terraria), but if I'm not being challenged, I feel as though I'm simply wasting time.

So far, the most enjoyable thing I've done is enter a "battlefield" mission.  Of course, it was extremely easy and I don't even think one of my "soldiers" died, but I could see, perhaps on a harder difficulty, something like that being a blast.  I wonder why there aren't more events and missions like that.  The normal "boss" missions really seem like a tedious search from room to room for resources, with the occasional (exact same) boss thrown in. 

Keep in mind I've been playing the whole game on the "Default" Difficulty, but I'm not convinced that upping the difficulty would increase the sense of danger at all.  If anything, it would just make it grindier in the sense that it would take me longer to kill the random monsters in each room, and possibly have to go "back to town" to heal more often. 

So I guess my question is, does the game get more difficult and exciting in a meaningful way as your CP goes up?  Am I doing or playing the game wrong?  I'd really want to like this game, there are so many wonderful things about it, but I also want battles to be more than annoying single-monster skirmishes that put the player in no real sense of danger, and uninspired "boss fights" with the same monster over and over.

Please don't take my critique as a complaint, I only post because I care.  I'm fully open to the possibility that I'm playing the game incorrectly, or that it gets better as you go along.

Thank you in advance for your help.  And I just want to say, Great job Arcen!

"Inner peace is the void of expectation. It is the absence of our shared desperation to feel a certain way."

Offline Penumbra

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Re: AVWW First Impressions
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 12:53:44 AM »

Keep in mind I've been playing the whole game on the "Default" Difficulty, but I'm not convinced that upping the difficulty would increase the sense of danger at all.  If anything, it would just make it grindier in the sense that it would take me longer to kill the random monsters in each room, and possibly have to go "back to town" to heal more often. 

I felt similarly at one point, as well. There have been a lot of retooling done to the dificulties over the past months. Playing on a higher difficulty changes more than just how long it takes to kill monsters. All your decisions need to be planned out or else you can get overrun quite easily. Makes the game much more rewarding, I find.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: AVWW First Impressions
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2012, 01:17:20 AM »
I'm glad to hear you're liking a lot about the game :)  My suggestions:

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by grinding, but don't grind :)  Figure out what you want to accomplish strategically, find out where you need to go to further that goal, and go do it.  For example:
- You want to kill the overlord
- So you want to kill the lieutenants
- So you want to push the wind back from covering the nearest lieutenant outpost
- So you want to get a summon-wind-shelter scroll and an NPC that can use it and the buildings that that NPC needs to do it
- In the meantime, you also want to get up to tier 4 (at least tier 3) to be able to take on the lieutenant and his outpost (which are always at least tier 4), so you'll want to do missions to increase that, _but_:
-- Just cranking up the CP will leave you at a disadvantage because you'll need tier 4 offensive spells to do respectable damage to a lieutenant, so:
--- Pick a couple long range nukes (preferably from different elements)
--- Figure out what ingredients you need to craft them up to the desired tier
--- Pick missions that give you the needed materials
--- Some materials are found out in the wild instead, so check the in-game reference on where to find them and do a targeted expedition to get them.
- And all through this, pick up upgrade stones and enchant containers in the normal course of your exploration, to take advantage of those vectors of customization and gaining power.

But that's just an example; you might want to build towards guardian power buffs instead of focusing on getting the crafting ingredients you need (though you'll always want at least 1 current-tier offensive spell), or you might want to try building a melee (instead of long-range) combatant, etc.

- Bump the action difficulty up 2 or possibly even 3 notches.  It may be too much, but you can see when you get there.

- Challenge does go up as you go along:
-- When CP goes up enough to hit tier 3, monsters "migrate" so that you'll find monsters from neighboring regions mixing in as you go through a particular region, increasing the combinatorial chances for disaster ;)  At tier 4 and tier 5 the migration gets wider.
-- At higher CP tiers, monster durability goes up, but that's just something to keep up with by having current-tier versions of your main offensive spells.
-- Also at higher CP tiers, various monsters switch to more advanced (dangerous) behavior types.
-- As you unlock stuff (particuarly by killing monsters), new enemies and (in 1.001) elite versions of existing enemies get thrown into the mix, and some of them are really dangerous.

Anyway, the first continent on default settings is, frankly, intended to be fairly easy.  There's plenty more challenge the game _can_ throw at you, but we didn't think it was wise to unload too enthusiastically early on, unless the player asks for it :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Professor Paul1290

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Re: AVWW First Impressions
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2012, 01:18:47 AM »
I think your difficulty is probably too low. If you can make it through a boss tower just fine without really being pressed for health by the end I think your difficulty might be too low.

Also, if you're spending 80% of your time doing random exploration then I think you're spending too much time doing that. I'm getting the impression that you are spending far too much time exploring buildings for stashes of supplies. You really shouldn't be doing that much of that unless you need those supplies.
In fact, I wouldn't recommend making a trip out into the world specifically to get supplies from stashes. Stashes are something I believe you should get on the way to more important things.

Try to make your trips out into the world more efficient and try get more done per outing. Usually when you venture out into the world you should have a good idea of what you want and know where you're most likely to get it. The planning menu is important for that.
When you go out you want to be looking for something important. Spell materials (ones from specific places, not common ones that occur everywhere), secret missions, important items like heat/cold suits, and so on.
Ideally, before you go out you should look through what you have, open up your planning menu, and figure out exactly what you need/want and try to figure out how you can check the most items off your "shopping list" in one trip. I'm guessing there are probably things you could be looking for that you're not aware of quite yet.
By doing this this you can probably cut down on your wandering by a lot and get to visit more interesting places more often.

As far as missions go, early on you won't get that many mission types, but more mission types will be available later on and more missions will occur on the continent at once. Again, after a while you'll want to plan ahead and figure out what missions will get you what you want whether they are spell materials, guardian powers, buildings, or wind shelters.

Content-wise, a lot more stuff unlocks and becomes available as you play. Later on you'll find more missions types, more enemies, more resources, and more bosses.

Actually, if your finding the game that easy and find that there isn't enough variety on the first continent, then you might be better off starting a new world with an "expert" start instead. That'll start you on the second continent with more stuff unlocked right away.

Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: AVWW First Impressions
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2012, 01:32:41 AM »
Definitely suggest raising the difficulty; I had the same sense about the game being a bit harmless and repetitive for a long time and then I started ratcheting up the difficulty and it very quickly grew real teeth.  It is true that you rarely face huge groups of monsters, but on a high setting two or three with unfavorable terrain can be murder if you're not enormously talented.  Doubly so as you unlock the more challenging types.

So anyway I recommend going up one or two difficulty levels and trying a few different mission types; it might help.