Pre-Alpha Demo Retro Discussion
April 21, 2022

Discussion and Q&A [VOD]

Questions and Answers Summary

Hero Management

[Hero Management] Point #1 - 'I want to be able to compare equipments with each other'
[H]P2 'I want to be able to sort my assets by power, element, role, stats, and other specific modifiers.'
ANalin Question. He agrees with this and the mock ups and the UX work that we already have now have all these sorting options already figured out. They just weren't done in time for the demo. It was one of those things that didn't make it. Even the build I am playing right now, I can organize on my heroes, equipments, artifacts and all that sort of stuff. You have all those options avaialable for sorting stuff. "What's my best stuff?" "What's my rarest stuff?" "What's the best stuff for crit damage?". You have all those options [In the full build].
[H]P3 - 'I had like a hundred pieces of equipment by the end and I hated trying to find the good stuff.']
It really all comes down to having a sink in the game and a little bit of economy. But another way that we will solve that on the system side is we are going to have a salvaging system. "Hey do you want stuff that you don't want anymore? Drop it in the furnace to burn it and it outcomes something that you need for something else". That way you won't have bags and bags of something that you don't want anymore.
[H]P4 - 'I want to not have to worry about picking each individual best piece of gear. Add a button that auto equips best stuff'
Auto equip best items. I love that button. I think they do it in Final Fantasy XIV actually.
Thankfully, a lot of games that go in the direction of gears were kinda like doing power level for equipment. It makes it super easy to organize that stuff and have the system that uses to, ya know, in the best way possible. You can even tweak in a little bit in the back end. Like "Okay, you are tapping this button but you are tapping on a damage dealing role" so like that means it might not pick the higest level equipment available because that might be a healer gear. So it'll know not to put that onto your damage dealer character for example. You can build an intelligence behind that way. So, for the people who asks this question who want this button, we'll have it.

Gameplay

[G]P1 - 'It’s a button mashing mess'
Yes, it's certainly a mess. Like watching me play the game and watching everybody else play the game. It's very clear that it could be more fun. The game right now at this current state is, if you are overleveled, you are going into rooms and you just go mindlessly tapping the screen until the doors unlock.
Obviously that is not the way that we intend the gameplay to work in the alpha. Sure, this is the first step. We want to see answers to a lot of core questions about gameplay retention wether or not the core loop is good enough to meet the requirements. But going forward, you are going to see a lot more effort into introducing telegraphed abilities, slowing down the entire pace of the game. Basically making sure that players are making more intentional inputs during combat, and it's not just something that you do idly while you are watching netflix. There should still be aspects in the game that you can take a high level squad and do low level dungeon and just tap the screen and you are fine. But like, while you are going through the game along the progression curve that we want you to go along, you are engaging in a combat at a more tactical level than you are in the demo.
[G]P2 - 'My fingers cover the screen while attacking so I can’t see what’s happening'
Hey, it's on a phone screen. Phone screens are not big to begin with. Some people have huge hands, I sympathize with those people. Some people tap on enemeis that they want to attack, conciously or unconciously. Some people tap just wherever their fingers rest naturally but often times your fingers obscure what's happening on the screen. You can't see enemy positioning, incoming attacks, or telegraphs or abilities.
One of the things that we are going to introduce is an optional control screen. All the buttons that will let you do stuff - dodging, attacking - will have a button placed on screen that you can toggle on/off and customize your control layout to the degree that you want it customized. This is probably something that we'll probably dig deeper as we go further into alpha/beta launch. We want to get that experience exactly the way we want it to be for players.
[G]P3 - 'Heroes move too fast / Heroes should be slower'
They're quiet literally flying around and zooming around the dungeons. This has actually been a point of contention amongst the team for a while, even before the demo came out. I think right before, we actually reduced the speed.
So obviously, we turned it out even further. When you are deciding or developing stuff, when you want to land on perfect, you test on 50% and you test on 150% and you hone on the perfect spot. So we are honing on that, we are testing too slow, too fast, getting the perfect mix. In the next builds, you will see that the gameplay has slowed down significantly.
[G]P4 - 'Players should decide how the allied Heroes behave. My allies aren’t smart enough with their ultimate usage'
I think some of you may have noticed that the allies have a little bit of AI going on in the background. Like if there is a single enemy in the room, more often than not is that they will not use their ultimates.
But we have two ways to fix this. Do we believe that we can actually program and design an AI for all situations for all player types? Or should we just let players have control over their heroes on a more grander level (giving more control for the player)? And obviously the easier answer is give players more power.
There's a couple of things that we are going to test here. 1.) We are going to test giving players the ability to control the ultimate of their heroes; You tap and hold on screen, a menu pops up, you can select which hero's ultimate to use, and it will show where's the ultimate going to land, all this while in slow motion. Or 2.) make a toggle-able settings where you disable allies from using ultimates automatically / unless you tell them too.
[G]P5 - 'Difficult balance in world 2 was too hard'
Yes. It was too hard, it was intentionally too hard. "Is difficulty related?" But part of it was we were constrained by the amount of content that we are putting in the demo. There's only 2 worlds, 12 dungeons in each world. We wanted to give players a curve and we don't want to give a linear progression. So we decided to add some difficulty bombs or cliffs.
Adding this cliffs in the demo gave us data regarding, "What % of players were playing the demo, are actually willing to put the time and effort to overcome these challenges and maximize rewards". I think 48% of you, actually made it to World 2 Dungeon 12. And like 60-70% made it past World 2 Dungeon 4, like the first big cliff. What we learned from that is that you guys are actually crazy and are willing to put up on this challenges, and that its okay to put this step progression curves.
[G]P6 - 'I want buttons on screens for the control'
I think I accidentall answer this earlier. The buttons will be onscreen if you want it to be onscreen.
[G]P7 - 'The camera was too zoomed out'
Lots of feedback regarding camera. Not all of it was too zoomed out, some of it was "I wish I have more control over it", "I wish it moved more smoother with my heroes as they are running around and when we switch between heroes".
Ultimately, this is under the control of the gameplay team and their creative direction side of things. They have been working on experimenting on new positions, or camera that would automatically adjust depending on wether you are exploring, in combat, etc. That way you have a more, visually impressive experience. Especially if we go on rooms that are much smaller in scale.
There are couple of rooms in the demo that are like 3 miles long, so we'll try to not have huge rooms in the demo where archers attack you off-screen.
The camera itself has a lot of work going to happen there obviously. I have yet to work on a game that the camera wasnt a point of contention. But you are going to see that evolve constantly and you'll probably see it used in some pretty cool ways.
[G]P8 - 'Traps added no value to the dungeons'
They did not, they do not. That's my personal opinion, I have been writing that in our feedback docs for a long time like "Hey, these traps don't do anything".
You run past them, they don't even trigger fast enough, and then their done. Why are they there?
The gameplay team has a challenge on them right now, to find ways to make them add value to the gameplay experience. Like put them inside rooms where enemies are spawning. Or add enemies that only gets damaged by traps.
We're giving them freedom to do anything with them to give them more value, but if they come back to me saying its not worth the effort, then we'll kill the traps all together and they just won't be in the game.
[G]P9 - 'Why can’t I have duplicate Heroes in the same squad?'
This why I dont try to talk too much in discord or reveal too much information because we'll talk about something and it'll change later on. Like "Wouldn't it be cool if you have 4 morax in a squad?" and then the balancing team comes at me saying "Josiah, this is a nightmare".
So the solution there for now is to not allow this to happen, add it to backlog and we'll visit this when we have more time. We'll see how it goes.
There's a lot of conflict and balancing issues regarding inclusion of balancing heroes.
[G]P10 - 'Attacks should be automated to a degree, so that “attack speed” isn’t nerfed by poor player physical ability.'
This is a really good piece of feedback. If combat relies on the speed of player input, then you have to make sure that attackspeed, as a stat, can never be constrained by the player not tapping fast enough.
Right now, we are looking at 5 different possibilities [to fix this issue]. 1.) Slowing down speed and combat and make positioning, and dodging more intentional; 2.) You tap on enemy you want to attack and your hero attacks it until its dead; 3.) You tap for every combo that you would do (multiple hits); 4.) No Tapping, hero attacks nearest enemy (hard to target, Kind of off-table); 5.) No Input required and full automation.

Performance

[P]P1 - 'Performance between Requiem and Brimstone was noticeably different. With Requiem being worse.'
There is some talk here regarding shaders, textures, balancing light and shadows. But ultimately, I agree. [The Reason] Why requiem performed worse than Brimstone was because requiem has most recently undergone a new asset swap. Lot more high poly assets, high resolution textures, better lighting. So that affected the performance between the two.
[P]P2 - 'My phone doesn’t run the game well / What are the minimum specs and how do you expect they’ll change?'
We did our best to make it as optimized as possible for as many devices as possible. But going forward, we plan to optimize - minimum spec wise - in area of phones that ares around $100, 2 gb ram, to run the game slow but not crash.

Economy

[E]P1 - 'Too much common equipment'
I think this is similar to UX and managing feedback. All the economic values you've seen in the demo are all tailored for the demo. We wanted to run the demo for two weeks. Resource and Difficulty are tailored to that experience. So we ramped up the drop rates accross the board, we didn't factor in the fact that you couldn't salvage or merge. But Nothing you see is reflective for the full release.
[E]P2 - 'Are Hero Shards Gems?'
No. Hero shards are non-blockchain in-game currency. You will need Gems in combination with shards to actually mint NFT Heroes and NFT Items.
[E]P3 - I worry about inflation because of how fast new Heroes were acquired
Once again, it was because we ramped up the drop rates. We also wanted players to merge into legendary, in the two weeks. It's not guaranteed but we wanted atleast all players to get to see the rares.
[E]P4 - 'I want to keep playing without energy. Remove my rewards or something, but let me keep playing'
We're happy to see that you want to grind this game endlessly. But from an economy perspective, energy is a thing that ties our progression and gameplay together at a sustainable pace. Our fundamental philosophy, is that all players should get rewarded for playing so if you say you want to remove rewards but you want to keep playing, we could provide an alternative game mode that has diluted rewards so you won't get as much reward per energy but you can play further. We'll have to test that.
[E]P5- 'The demo really felt too Free 2 Play'
We didn't want the demo to feel like you were too constrained. We kind of underestimated how enthusiastic the player base was to play. We thought a one hour long session twice a day was sufficient.

Visuals / Graphics

[V]P1 - 'What happened with the graphics being from the trailer to the demo?'
Its an Alpha. Its very important to realize that the game is under-development. Part of us releasing leaks and giving you access to Alpha Demo is us being transparent about the development process.
[V]P2 - 'I thought the effects on the ultimates were mixed. Some were great while others were still clearly in-progress'
The ultimates are the key part of the gameplay, we want to make it iconic and memorable. Our creative team is drawing a lot of inspiration from how much emphasis other games put off in the skills, just like in Final Fantasy. We are still in the process of putting the skills and effects up in the game, and we can still make optimizations to make them look more like how we want them to look like.

Merging & Summoning

[M]P1 - 'Not enough feedback or fanfare when summoning or merging'
Absolutely agree.
When you summon, you want like a comet falling and hero standing there doing the heroic pose, etc. We know that you want that and we absolutely want to do it. The team have already sketched out how the summong flow looks like. its in a concept phase right now.
[M]P1 - 'I didn’t understand the difference between merging 5 or 7'
That's also an issue of time for the closed Alpha Demo. We had a tutorial system in place but we realized at the end that the amount of text that we wanted to put in the tutorial didn't line up with the amount of space we have to put for the tutorial to run within the first user experience that we have set up.
Good news is this is a very simple fix. It will be explained perfectly when the game comes out.
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Discussion and Q&A [VOD]
Questions and Answers Summary
Hero Management
Gameplay
Performance
Economy
Visuals / Graphics
Merging & Summoning