Great game already, some "feelbad" mechanics

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I greatly enjoyed Oxygen not Included and your other games and was looking forward to Griftlands. I also love Slay the Spire (easily best game of the last decade for me) so I'm very happy with the inspirations. The EA version of Griftlands is already very playable and I'm looking forward to your exceptional EA support as usual.

Overall think the game is in a great state already. While missing a lot of content the stuff that is there plays very well. My main points of criticism right now would be a couple of feel bad mechanics that could use some tuning (I did send feedback about this with f8 ingame as well).

The prime example are negotiations with traders. They have a passive that spams your deck full of "kickback" and other cards that cost money to play and an argument that makes all your cards cost a small amount of money. Even if in the end the loss of money is negligible it feels really bad to play those negotiations. The amount of lost currency isn't the important part, the emotional response is.
Slay the Spire had one type of enemy that stole your gold but by defeating them you got it back and the game was explicit about that.

Another example are allies in fights, especially pets. I love the addition but it is heartbreaking to just see your allies die without you being able to do anything. Killing enemies before they attack is often not possible (especially in boss fights like in the Fishcakes quest). Your ability to defend and help your allies is very limited. A lot of the defence cards don't have a targeting option and only give the player character defence.
I would really appreciate some more tools and options to synergize with allies. Generally available (not just tied to cards) taunts, switching places, team moves and the like.

Lastly one of the core mechanics is the relations system. I like it for the most part but it feels somewhat arbitrary and currently lacks options to actively interact with it. Someone hating your guts and giving you an ignorable (or sometimes super annoying) penalty isn't overly engaging. Not being able to do much of anything about it diminishes the mechanic in the end. Especially if you feel it's undeserved, like slightly doing too much damage and accidentally killing the ASSASSIN sent to kill you, making his friends mad...
I would like there to be more options than hoping you can buy them some alcohol somewhere. For instance each day having one dedicated event/quest that deals with an enemy. Not in the random orange "related to a friend" quests but one thing per day where the player character actively chooses to resolve (one way or another) an hostility.


Griftlands is already very enjoyable, I'm really looking forward to the Oxygen not Included release.
Thanks, have fun.


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I disagree with your point about negotiation cards that cause you lose money. Firstly, this is a world of graft, and these are negotiations... money and theft are core themes, and while losing money can feel painful, that is sort of the point. On the mechanic itself, many of these can be done away with defensively (such as destroying enemy arguments that pickpoket you each turn). There are also negotation cards that cost cash to play, but they are quite powerful; again this is extremely thematic to a graft based negotiation. Debt is the core evil of this world, and money greases everything. Its not the same in Slay the Spire, and is not meant to be a high score or something. I do not agree that it "feels bad" to play these cards, it "feels right" to me. Perhaps to "balance" this would be rare cards to spring the same upon your foes. It'd be great to have an "extort" arguement that pecks away at enemies wallets (though note that this is basically the "argue for higher pay"  negotiations in a nutshell)

I do agree on the lackluster ability to defend in general, and defend your allies in particular. Those poor puppers are pretty expendable as is.

For the most part I like the relations system, and I'd hardly say "accidentally killing friends" is a minor  reason to cause hatred, but agree that more interaction/quests/events to alter this system would be great. Again though, its about factions and balance, as some groups love you others will come to hate you. This game would not work if you could carefully get everyone to love you.





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I don't really mind negotiations with traders.  The objective of those encounters is to end them quickly.  If you fail to do that it will cost you.  I think it makes logical sense.  Also, I have never had a scenario where I feel like I don't have more than enough money and the money you would give them for those kickbacks both ends the encounter faster and is so small as to be negligible in the long run.  Slay the Spire's thieves deal damage to you AND steal a non-negligible amount of gold with every hit; you face multiple in a battle and you must kill all within 3 or 4 turns (did they increase it to 5 right before launch?) before they make off with your cash while leaving you damaged.  I agree that unblockable and permanent effects invariably feel bad, but I find these negotiations to be generally fair.  Moreover, the one encounter you must do this for results in permanently discounted combat cards and combat card removal.  That said, it also comes with the cost of a permanently surcharged night market trader as well; that does feel like a somewhat arbitrarily assigned relationship which you also mentioned.

The relationship system is clearly a bit undercooked.  That's okay right now because it's early, early alpha access.  While there are instances where it feels rather forced or overly deliberate there are also some incredibly well thought out scenarios as well: 

My favorite thus far involved siding with the Admiralty and being forced to clear out the caves.  Oola explicity says to kill them.  You can negotiate with one of the Spree there for the location of their hideout but there's also an option to simply explore the caves.  I encountered a Luminari named Mellowi who hated the Spree and was also there to kill them and so I negotiated with him to join my party for the Spree battle.  That said, I don't like to kill things so I let the Spree go.  I've done this before and it results in having to negotiate with Oola and convince her that you killed the Spree. This time, Mellowi became immediately angry with me and left my party for sparing the Spree (I don't know if he sticks around if you kill the Spree, probably not because all recruitment has been temporary thus far) and either disliked or hated me (I forget which one specifically).  He then shows up at the Admiralty office and sided against me in the argument with Oola! I was very happy with the attention to detail before he shows up at the Admiralty office to try to spite me, but after he shows up I was pretty impressed with just how meaningful the random decision to "explore the caves" ultimately became.  

If that level of detail ends up being relatively commonplace in a run then we're going to be in really great shape when the game reaches full release.  Imagine if that one choice from the spoiler could lead to several variable encounters and that each of those variable encounters had some level of RNG involved with how they culminated; the game could easily become infinitely playable at that point. 

I think the devs want us to make hard choices throughout each run that will lead to friends AND rivals; having both will be unavoidable.  I wish that there were more interactions, but I've felt my choices have had more meaning in this early access game than the average Telltale story.  BUT, I'd like for their to be greater consequence than just a boon or a penalty for when someone loves/hates you.  More missions and a greater number of mission choices involving people who have developed a positive relationship with you; more chance encounters with people who have developed a negative one.  I agree that we need more quests per day, more permanent places we can stop at throughout the day, more chance encounters & more ways to meaningfully interact with a world that is already very interesting; not just in frequency but also in choices when they do pop up.  I also kind of want to be able to recruit anybody (like Pokemon: gotta catch 'em all), but for the process to be more than just paying somebody and for the person to have to be at the "Meat Market" and for the time they stay with you to last only "the next encounter." I've played the game for many hours and beaten the content that's available a couple of times now and have only freely recruited humanoid characters twice.  Maybe they feel permanent allies would make combat too easy?  I'm confident there is a balance that would allow every run to feel dynamically different; probably more so than even games like FTL or Trials of Fire.

I also love the pets and am heartbroken when they bite the dust. 

I can generally keep my vrocs alive, but my yotes feel a little irrelevant.  I like the random encounter that allows me to train my vroc to make it stronger.  I think that it should be trainable to level 5, gaining health and damage with each level.  I think it would be awesome if there were "tag-team" cards we could acquire for accomplishing max level.  We've also seen stronger variations of the yotes and it would be cool if our yotes could evolve into stronger forms.  I personally want stoneyotes, with high defense and maybe some natural counters and the ability to shield an ally (making their eventual demise even more heartbreaking, like the first time Ser Junkan sacrifices himself for you in Enter the Gungeon). I would love to see recruitable fleads, and recruitable giant snails (oosnu?).  Combat drones are pretty cool, but I sure would like them to be more than just a one time use, one battle card and for their to be variations; maybe a future character in a future DLC?

Defense absolutely feels weak in its current form.  Feint is absolutely a weak card.  There are superior defense cards that play well with combo, bleed, draw and discard mechanics so feints feel rather superfluous. The fact that there is no taunt mechanic makes a "defense & counter" style untenable.  It feels bad to draw nothing but defensive cards when your opponents are charging a skill and it's an ideal time to attack.  It feels bad to draw no defensive cards when your opponents are assaulting you or allies and even just 1 feint card would keep something alive for another turn.  Allies with the Triage ability rarely use it.  Right now the game says "a good offense is a good defense."  Maybe that's just Sal?  Maybe other characters will have starting cards that enhance defense (turtle) style combat? I'd like it if cards like Sal's Blades and Sal's Instincts had more than two upgrade choices; with paths that favors all types of combat and negotiation, respectively.

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Really love the game so far, but not having Day 5 in yet was a bit of a letdown. I stumbled into a sweet deck on my first playthrough and a difficulty option or harder boss would be nice in the meantime. 

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