Some thoughts after 5 hrs

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I’m a gamer and also a developer. Been a big fan of Slay the Spire, and the Witcher 3. The release of Griftlands is really a gift to me, it’s like the interesting, emergent and challenging decision making of Slay the Spire is now mixed with the memorable, meaningful quests from the Witcher 3. In short, I love Griftlands.


I’ve only been playing it for 4, 5 hours and haven’t tried the other two characters. My current plan is to at least experience the whole story of Sal before I move on. During my gaming session, I noticed somethings that could be worth noting. I could be wrong, but it might be helpful to you guys:


1. The pacing of Griftlands. Every combat (Negotiation/Battle) is the same at root that requires me to invest a lot effort to figure out the optimal solution with the cards in my hand. Yet sometimes, when a failed negotiation leads to a battle, or I’m intercepted by some monster after I had combat, or the quests all ask me to really challenge myself, I got really frustrated and worn out. There is no session for me to take a break. I get that for card playing games, it’s like that most of the time; Slay the spire tried to ease out the problem by providing the player with multiple stops for merchandise or rest or non-combat event. The fact that the goal of Slay the Spire is super clear also helps. For me, even though I got tired after finishing Act II of Slay the Spire, I would tell myself “You are so closed to the end. Hang in there”.  Yet Griftlands is like a tunnel without an exit. I don’t know when to expect a break session.

As mentioned above, I’m also a game dev; therefore, I’ve listed out the possible solutions that might mitigate the weariness.

A) Introduce some non-combat quests from time to time. These quests don’t have to be long, but should be interesting story-wise. A good example is “Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Granite!” from the Witcher 3, Blood and Wine Expansion. Talking to NPCs is interesting enough. The fact that there is already a relation system in Griftlands can totally benefit from those interesting quests.

B) If possible, maybe add a bit spice to combat? Now most combats’ pacing is like “an easy start; grind,grind,grind; then super hard”. The grinding part is just BORING. Could there be a special that recharges everytime the player plays X turns? And whenever the player uses the skill, it feels awesome and powerful.

C) Is it possible to track the player’s activity during a game period and then decide whether to spawn those spontaneous events? Such as if I had 4 combats in the past 30 mins, maybe I should have a lower chance to be caught by any wild animals on my path.

2. Lack of guidance in UI. I got a robot dog from one of the merchants; it got hit bad during a combat. Afterwards, I really want to heal my dog but no idea how and where to heal him. I looked through the UI and got no clue. It would be great if I can find that information somewhere.


Anyway, that’s just my thoughts. I think you guys did a good job, and I’m enjoying Griftlands a lot. Thanks for your work! 

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I'm about 120 hours into Griftlands:


1. So there is a lot of lore that can be missed when you start playing Griftlands.  It looks and feels like your a human among aliens and constantly battling/charming/debating but the central theme is: you're a grifter.  You're a merc for hire than wheel's and deals to earn enough shills to make food and rent.  For Sal, rent is free but, as Sal, you're also on a mission to kill the person that betrayed you and sold you into slavery for years--where you had to fight and argue to stay alive and buy back your freedom.  The only thing on your mind, is taking down the person that put you into that mess.  So unlike, say Fallout 4 where your wife gets killed and your son gets murdered and you can spend the next six months romancing a French Canadian AI--here in Griftlands, you're doing exactly what Sal is doing (and capable of) with her sole focus of getting stronger and making the needed connections to get the revenge she's spend most of her life waiting to get. 

That's why there's little extracurricular activities, because Sal works all day, and her room is only a place for her to recharge so she can go back out and make progress to her single goal:  Kill Kashio.  (Of course you can even choose to spare Kashio, and that can lead to some nice headcannon character arc's too).


A)  There's opportunities to build friendships in Griftlands with the right people and events where you can visit your friends to debate, spar, receive a gift from them, etc.   There's fun side missions (that show up randomly) for husksters that try to scam you out of money, or given you an envelope of secrets that you need to keep--spoilers: you can even meet characters from other Main Character missions and help/ignore them.  There's a lot of cunning variation--one of my favorites is helping out a guy from the cult of hesh carry supplies back to his fort.  You can do so for free or a price, then you'll encounter someone who claims the supplies belong to them, and you can give away the supplies or help the cult member protect the stache--only to extort more money at the end.  THEN you go to the fort where the cult leader doesn't trust you and you can talk your way out of the suspicions or fight them right then and there.  If you keep them alive, you can return once a day to debate philosophy with the cult leader or spar with the cult member you helped out. There's a lot of fun stuff here.

B)  There are cards in the game the power up steadily based on synergy plays with the deck.  For example, Wind Up is a 6-dmg 1-Action Cost card that builds 4 damage each time you discard it.  Then when you use it, it goes back to it's initial value.  In a discard-focused deck, you can play around the entire idea of storing power in wind up until you can take huge chunks out of enemy HP (or kill them outright) in a single move.  Other similar cards build when you improvise them, etc.  You have to encounter the cards to understand the syngergistic potential--but you may not unlock them or know what they're capable of within the first 5 hours. 

C)  Remember, in Sal's campaign, the goal is to win a fight at the end of the campaign.  Every fight is a gift of free limited XP.  Health can be recharged, resolved can be earned, but XP is a valuable resource you only get from fighting.  Even in fights where you get your but kicked, you can always run away turn 3 and keep your XP.  The secret goal of the game is to level up your deck and stay ahead of the difficulty curve. You shouldn't be avoiding fights, you should be embracing them.  You can technically beat the entire run with just combat alone once you know that and how to make a synergistic deck. 

2.  There's a pet master in the black market who will heal your pets and upgrade them too (or sell you new ones).  There's a 50/50 chance you'll have to do a mission with him on day 1, otherwise, you'll see him 100% of the time in the black market.  You just have to check his wares to be understand "Ah, that's the graft guy, that's the combat card girl, that's the negotiation card dude, and this is the pet guy."


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