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First Impressions - Malorn

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Well, three hours in, my impression of game is fairly good.  Apart from one crash when I first started a game, it seems mostly stable.  Every time I get my abilities disabled, there is a weird graphical glitch that enlarges my power manage to a quarter of the screen, not sure what that is.  Note that I am a horrible person who is incredibly negative when asked for feedback.  There's a lot I liked about this game, and were I to recommend it to a friend, I would have a lot of good things to say.  I'll try my best to say some of them now, but I'm better at finding problems.

Combat(on medium) -- Thankfully, turn-based combat is not completely horrible.  I still have some reservations on the topic, but it is well-implemented and not painful to use.  I think that whoever is manning my guns might be able to hit the broadside of a barn, but I still feel my own accuracy would be somewhat higher.  My gunners have some issues with target choice when on autofire, as well.  When using the anti-capital weapon that is weak against shields, it's better to target the capital ship stripped of shields, not random corvettes.

Combat AI is willing to move around a bit, which is good, but is otherwise weak.  The only thing I fear are those ridiculously slow-moving missiles that can two-shot me from max shields and health.  I fear them only because the enemy has a bad habit of launching them right when I'm making a close pass.  Once I stopped making close passes, I safely ignored the missiles from then on.  Other weapons need to buffed a bit, and that missile needs to made a little faster and a little less painful. 

Every enemy I've met so far can't really touch me when I'm at high speeds, they need a lance and some better weapons in general.  I'm getting a little bit of a bullet hell vibe off of the combat, which may appeal to some, but it's dead easy to survive and you don't really need to retreat from anything assuming you pay attention to every little missile(yes only missiles) on the screen.  One issue is that ships are not very distinct from one another, and I often have no idea what an enemy is actually capable of.  I know some go fast and some don't, but that's about it.  IFF is also very hard to tell without mouse-over of every ship in view.   A visual color overlay would make it much easier to tell what is going to try to kill me without spending 20 seconds checking everything.

Speaking of allies, I haven't really noticed that my allies do anything, and equally I've not noticed that I need them to.  The fleet AI needs to work together more effectively, I'm supposed to be lone-wolfing things, my allies and enemies can't afford to.  I can easily peel enemy flagships away from defenses and other ships to slowly destroy them far from my other enemies.  Kiting is way too easy in the current combat model.  The enemy need to realize that you are the most dangerous thing out there, and react accordingly.  Here's theoretical sample of the enemy's bridge chatter when engaging me.

Captain "There's the enemy, engines to full."
Ensign   "But sir, our allies are busy, they won't be able to support us."
Captain "No matter, he might get away if he don't attack now!"
Ensign   "But sir, that ship just destroyed three other flagships by itself!"
Captain "Exactly, it must be weakened, surely we can destroy it."
Ensign   "Sir, it's retreated out of range of our support ships."
Captain  "Follow!  It should be nearly dead now.  Launch all of our slowest weapons at it!"

One minute later on another flagship:  "But sir, that ship just destroyed four other flagships by itself!"

Humor aside, they need to be a little more careful when chasing me.

Starmap -- Some very solid work here, and of course this is the premise and meat of the game.   I have run into several small issues.  First, in two test games, most races have very poor planetary suitability.  In one game only a single race ever had more than 5m population on their planet (guess who I allied with early?).  Also, it's somewhat unclear where the races get their ships from, at one point I kept attacking one race, doing ten attack missions in a row, and each time it merely regenerated to 2 flotillas instantly after I killed one.  This was while a massive force of my allies was besieging their planet.  While that is fine, checking their planet, they never appeared to have any reserves. 

Transparency is important in grand strategy, I don't think their shipbuilding program (with all 1m population) was actually able to keep up with my mass slaughter.  Equally races seemed to have very arbitrary numbers of ships, which increased and decreased irrespective of their economy or situation.  The thoraxians, for example, less than 20 seconds after achieving spaceflight, had more ships than the other 5 races combined (again with 1m population).  Perhaps if it was easier to understand where they were getting those ships, it might be easier to do the grand balancing act this game is meant to be about.

Speaking of the balancing act, you don't really need to do it, and it is very hard to do.  Influence is slow to gain and very very quick to lose, meaning that instead of balancing, you tend to pick a side and stay there, helping that side win and aiding them every way you can (because the other side will never like you again).  On the other hand, picking a side generally means your side will win overwhelmingly in every situation (please see player OP in combat).  There are also some times I feel more like a wage slave than a master manipulator. 

More to follow with more gameplay.  Also I may need to make a 'positives' post.

Update based on third game.

Combat: Lance equipped ships are scary as heck, so that is good.  Still major friend/foe recognition issues, especially when the screen is flooded with ships.

Star-map: It seems it is possible to have half the races with more than 1m population.  Randomly generating games, however, it seems it's way too easy to have horrible suitability, which currently makes the game less enjoyable, as when that happens nothing else happens.  The Hatred issue seems to still be an issue, and I find myself taking sides rather permanently.  In this game, it would seem that there should be situations where I don't want either side to win a war, and I've yet to see that.  Basically impossible to ever take sides against someone you want to butter up.  Perhaps a decay mechanic for influence, both positive and negative?  Have you guys already tried this?


--- Quote from: malorn on April 12, 2014, 04:58:24 am --- The Hatred issue seems to still be an issue, and I find myself taking sides rather permanently.

--- End quote ---
Well, since .852 there's the possibility to dock to the survey base in first mission, so you should have a +60 influence back -> total should be -40 (-100 + 60). still to try it, however

Mantising. (This just means that I'm putting some of this feedback onto the Mantis bugracker for ease of access and visibility to the devs). Thanks!


--- Quote from: Pepisolo on April 12, 2014, 01:45:05 pm ---MANTISING.

--- End quote ---
It's possible that you might want to not use caps, and explain briefly that you mean "I'm making mantis tickets out of some of the stuff here, just FYI to avoid excessive duplicates" or something like that.  Some of the testers just coming in aren't used to our community and may take one-word all-caps messages the wrong way :)

But thank you very much for doing the feedback aggregation, that's enormously helpful.


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