New player feedback

Copied here from reddit where mods with extreme case of janitor syndrome decided to delete it all.

In the recent Q&A devs said that they need feedback, and I'd like to give some so here it goes.

So, I've recently started playing LoA. Was watching it for a while after leaving Albion which turned out a failure on life support.

I've been playing MMORPGs for a good while. UO (just a tiny bit), Lineage 2, Ragnarok Online, Aion, Rift, Aika, Albion, Royal Quest, Allods Online, Warhammer Online, Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft, Neverwinter and much more, so I'm more than familiar with my favorite genre, I know well what keeps me an others playing these games, and I'm no guest to both hardcore and/or grindy games.

I'm a noob, so if I got something wrong - feel free to correct me.

So the start in LoA is nice, everything looks much better than on youtube videos. Main menu and character creation is minimalistic and outdated, but still gives you some nice nostalgic feels. Later on, you get a temporary companion which fills it's role nicely and informs the player well enough if he's willing to read. Having multiple spawn points is a wise move to spread the population of newcomers throughout the world.

Short after character creation and locating a town, I went to the sewers to farm a bit, and moved to the other town to find a rogue trainer later in my attempt to make a stealthy archer. What I had in mind is mobile character with some buttons like ranged snares, stuns, multishots, maybe some traps thrown into the kit, tho I didn't hope for them that much since they'd be a different skill most likely.

Soon after I found out that archers has only one ability on his bow, which is split into two for quality-of-life reasons most likely. It's shooting the arrow. I began searching the wiki and stuff and found out that all that I had in mind actually was there, but was scrapped for "Balancing reason". Also archery had no associated profession, and the only ability for rogue is at grandmaster which would take tens of hours to get probably, so the character is bound to be a not-so-mobile turret for life. It's fine by me tho, as this surely will change, but that's still not helping to hold the player, especially with how popular archetypes with stealth or archery are. IMO the most popular archetypes of "stealthy Naruto" and "digital Legolas" should've been fleshed out almost completely before steam release. Same with other professions, but to a lesser degree. I think that alone lost the game a couple of hundreds of players.

Next, as I planned my future character, I found out that 4 skills are must have, which are Archery, Vigor, Martial Prowess, Healing. All of this just to make archery work. And hiding+stealth just to make stealth work, which brings us to full 600 cap points. Even more, there is no point to go for like 50 archery, or 50 martial prowess, as you'll be handicapped compared to other players, and in the recent blog post there was said, -
Firstly, players were building templates around incomplete skills. This was never our intention yet it became possible, through the greater utility of abilities, for a character to sacrifice upto 200 points on their build purely to unlock the utility of certain abilities. We strongly believe in players fully developing their characters and creating builds out of complete skills and have no intention of balancing lesser trained characters versus trained characters.
And
Finally, and by far most importantly, we did this to return variance to viable builds. Previously, ability requirements were dictating some pretty staple meta, two or three builds which dominated in PvP, which generated no real group dynamics and which overshadowed the vast range of potential for different templates to come to the fore.

IMO this is a horrible game design decision. If you plan to "return variance to viable builds" and want to avoid "two or three builds which dominated in PvP", this is the opposite direction. And it checks out - wherever I looked, recommendations for every physical attacker is to get Weapon Skill/Martial Prowess/Vigor/Healing, and two more random skills one of which is going to be an Armor Proficiency, and the last one left will be an atavism which won't make a complete character.

Stat building is not much more diverse. If skills would be made the way that smaller amounts of points would yield some results - build diversity would be much bigger. Say, if stealth/hiding would always work at 50 and reduce the distance of guaranteed reveal as it progresses (maybe hiding cooldown and move speed/distance while cloaked, aswell) then some ranged build could probably get with less than 90+ in both hiding and stealth, which once again gives some free points for other skills, etc.

Right now it seems to me that any physical fighter, is fixed into 4 mandatory skills, or 5, if we include armor proficiency, so he can fight, but even if he gets, say, lumberjacking as his last skill, he won't be able to craft anything of the wood gathered because he has no carpentry. And if he gets this, he's handicapping his fighting skills, so naturally players will split between combatants and "civilians", and the second group will stay in protected zones forever as they won't be able to fight back even in case of solo ganks. And there is not enough motivation for them to gather a group to protect them outside of protected zones.

No one's asking to be able to level everything at once, but having to spend atleast half of your points just to use your weapon like a competent guy, and having to spend 5/6 just to be able to be a competent fighter is too much to have any build diversity.

While we're at it, I have no idea why Vigor and Martial Prowess basically do the same thing, and why Hiding and Stealth can't be merged to bring more build diversity. Say, if I could get away with only getting archery/(prowess+vigor)/(stealth+hiding)/healing, I'd have 200 more points for, say, lockpicking and armor proficiency, which would allow my character to be a complete and competent fighter, as well as be able to sneak around hunting for treasure chests, or to go for carpentry to craft my own arrows, something like that. Same with many other builds.

And besides, there is nothing bad in people handicapping themselves 200 points just to unlock some ability. The ability itself should be balanced accordingly, that's all. And it's not like there are many things to balance in LoA at the moment.

Next, as I explored the world I found out that the world is covered in protected zones much more than it should be. About 80% of the map is protected. You're actually able to level to GM without ever leaving protected zones. So even if a player loves PvP and a thrill of leveling while being in constant danger, he'll stay inside protected zones until he'll become competitive to others, like I do right now, just because it's profitable, as zones outside of protected ones don't give much reward for the risk involved, especially for new players. There should be a way for new players to start their path in safety (unlike ultima where I was robbed 5 seconds after spawning into the world), but just as they get a grip on a game, the game should give them options to go to unprotected areas for bigger profits, while explicitly informing players about that.

And even tho I don't know much about gathering, of course best resourses should be in the most PvP-dangerious zones. If someone doesn't like being ganked and fails to protect himself - he can gather a crew to defend him, MMORPGs are social afterall, and that's what brings us fun stories from them. Right now there is no reason for most of the population to ever leave protected zones.

Next thing that I noticed is that all mobs are the same more or less. Be it pirates, bears or skeletons - they're not different. It would be cool if there would be an area with very slow, but very powerful mobs that only ranged characters can deal with solo, and another area with fast, but weaker mobs which would wreck lightly armored ranged characters, but could be taken down solo by armored fighters. Which would populate the world more evenly and make players pick more diverse builds just to fill the niches. But a man can dream. Right now a bear is not much different from a zombie.

And, the world seems pretty scarce in terms of content, it feels like there is not much to explore. I'm probably wrong but that's just my initial expression.

Same with gear. All weapons and armor are the same, and are not helping to build a unique character with a unique playstyle. I know about executioner weapons so far, and got myself some anti-undead stuff from the graveyard, but that's it. Maybe it changes later, and I didn't explore enchants yet, so not gonna get too into it. Oh yeah, I found out about enchants, but even basic ones alone cost as much as all my gear combined. The bonus they provide is not worth it. I get that the best enchants must cost alot, but the weakest ones may be changed to cost less, just to give people an option to modify their characters somehow.

My expectations for LoA is a niche game focused on sandbox full loot PvP, for a number of reasons. First - it's about what it was advertised as, and second - it's the niche that LoA can take with good approach.

I want to wish the devs good luck with their project, and to wish them to stay true to their vision no matter what, and under no circumstances don't cater to PvE community. Restricting PvP too much would murder the game, because there is no way a couple of guys can make PvE better than big companies, which can throw tons of money into their projects.

Short infux of players because of catering to PvErs will turn into long term player flow from the game, as PvPers will have nothing to do, and PvE people will get bored of clicking trees for hundreds of hours and will leave in a couple of months.

Maybe I'll add something to this post or make a new one as I progress in the game.

Update:
Getting a bit annoyed that my "shoot more" button stops shooting arrows for a few seconds for no reason. Probably a networking problem or something.

And my character probably shouldn't shoot arrows with his ass. I know things like this are not top-priority, but it would really add to the feel and immersion of the game, and it can really be fixed in one evening.
If he's in combat and has a target aquired - just make him turn in it's direction. If he's moving in the opposite direction of his transform - play a reverse walking animation, or a running-backwards one depending on velocity (that one needs to be made anew, sadly). If he moves to the sides - strafing animation that is. Just check if character velocity is positive or negative along the "x" vector, and bind those velocities to the damn animator. If he's walking back and to the side at the same time - unity inbuilt animator would happily blend the animations together which would look quite nice. If I can do it - you can do it aswell.

Having to stock up on bandages and arrows gives a nice and cozy oldschool feeling. Everything looks nice indeed, and the music helps to build the atmosphere. I'd suggest to add some misc sounds tho, like singing birds, or mobs making some sounds while idle, to make it all make more alive.

Talks about bad performans seem to be a lie, everything runs fine. Not 200 fps of course and maybe it could run better, but with my old i5 2500k, 1060, 8 gigs of ram and an SSD I had no problem. Maybe it can be optimized for weaker machines but I think those barely exist at the moment.

Now my archery getting close to 80. I know it's still a long way to go till 100, but it seems that it levels up too fast. And only stealth+hiding are lagging behind because they're so useless they don't have any purpose yet, so I naturally forget that I even have those. Talking about archery - hobgobling MAY be bugged in a way. I may be wrong, but compared to killing anything else, on hobs arhcery and MP just rockets up until 75 for archery and ~80 for MP, and then they just stop.
And stealth being so damn useless and such a chore to level up is annoying. I know you're making an UO successor and all that, but if the game is meant to be no different from UO - just copy everything from LoU, if it's meant to have some differences - stealth and hiding being not completely useless at lower levels would be a nice one to add.

Another thing, that is connected to the leveling speed, is bandages. Maybe many would disagree, but it seems to me that they should either heal less, have a much bigger cooldown, have a quite long interruptable casttime, or not being useable in combat at all. As it is now, I'm pretty confident with my bandages, they're enough for me to heal, they weight nothing, and so I don't need a healer. With 25 con and 25 wis I can facetank liches with no fancy jewelry and only 40+ healing skill, so I don't need any frontliner aswell. Which brings us another trouble:

People around are useless for me, I don't need them for anything. In a MMORPG there should be some places where players would be motivated to go together to progress/farm better or safer. For a while I thought about what makes this game feel cozy, but dead as time goes - it's the lack of motivation to cooperate with others. I'm not saying everyone must be forced to group up of course, as I'm a solo player myself, and not asking for a theme-park-gold-standart holy trinity, but it would be nice to make different player archetypes to synergize and be motivated to group up for some content. Maybe it will change later as I progress, but for now I don't see such content. Just like any other new player. Will a new guy stay in the game if all he can do is pressing Q at thicc boys near bonfires? Doubt so.
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