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December Playtest Feedback & addressing glaring issues


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First playtest on December 2023 session, played for about 4~6 hours per day for 4-5 days with 2 of my other friends. Overall a pretty enjoyable experience learning all the enemies and mechanics during our playtest, other than the various bugs encountered during the playtest I would like to focus on some of the issues that stood out to us/me that might be less enjoyable than other aspects of the game.

 

CANNON
The most dissatisfying part of our playthrough was how much weaker the Cannon was compared to other weapons. Being a ranged weapon it's ranged attacks are extremely weak, with its more viable ranged option not only requiring attention drawn away from you to be effectively utilized, but also disrupts your teammates by knocking them back. The most reliably damaging gameplay loop of this weapon is to get up onto your enemies' face on your last 3 rounds, shotgun, get back in and use the special attack to melee and restore ammo, and then repeat- basically turning this weapon into a melee weapon.

And what's the advantage of playing in this way instead? You put yourself in danger like the other melee weapons, loses out on a ton of mobility for damage that isn't even that impressive. The Striker is a ranged weapon clearly designed to work with light armor and a heavily kiting-based playstyle, yet even it has more reliable damage than the Cannon. The other weapons are all pretty well designed, each with their unique strengths, but the Cannon just lags behind especially with a move that to be brutally honest, serves minimal to no purpose(the unload your mag to self explode move).

Seeing the Striker is more suited for kiting and staying on the move with its unique ability to deal damage without direct player interaction, maybe it would be a better idea to have Cannon focus more on powerful long ranged attacks, which to a certain extent the Cannon already does, but limited to just one single move being the mortar shot. Maybe it would be fitting to change the Focus Hit condition to be enemies that are far away from you? And buff/change the attacks in a way that makes them deadlier against enemies at a distance? I thought about weakening the shotgun attacks and changing them to be light attacks, while your precision based single shots are drastically beefed up and becomes the heavy attack instead, but not sure how that would work out realistically. Some other QoL suggestions that makes this weapon more user-friendly would be to visually indicate remaining rounds, shorten reload animations, etc.

 

SPECIAL MOVES (DEFAULT FOR PC : SHIFT)
Another really dissatisfying part of our playthrough was how insignificant the Special Moves felt. The only useful ones are really just the Striker and the Cannons, as they both tie into how the weapons deal damage, but realistically only the Striker's recall move plays a big part of the weapons' gameplay loop, and all of the ones you get from the path node are basically worthless, which also renders the node that gives you the options to choose from these moves completely useless and functionally a worse Teffra node. The issue with the melee weapons is that their special move does something that their standard combos already does, but in a worse, less convenient way (weaker AoE attack for Hammer, a vault that does not deal damage or a pretty useless pushback attack on Spear). Striker's recall is useful because the arcing recall allows the player to transport the ball vertically and to their location, and both recalls allows the player to move the ball and use it to strike enemies even if it's not within their reach.

For these to really play a big part in the gameplay loop of the weapons, the special moves need to better compliment the weapon combos, for example the pebble can be a decent complimentary special move for melee weapons, giving them ranged capabilities, but its too ineffective to be wasting your time in throwing rocks that deals minimal damage. Most of the special moves needs to be reviewed, especially the ones you get during the mission.

 

COMPILATION OF UPGRADE/ARMOR SKILL BALANCING & MINOR COMPLAINTS
Mostly the runspeed upgrades, I feel like most of the runspeed upgrades could be given more generous numbers. Lich King also stands out as an easily exploitable upgrade provided there are no limits to how many times you can stack this power up. Certain armor skills could also require better descriptions, I never got to find out what the gust of wind produced by the helmet that creates one behind you when you dodge really does, the "When you heal, heal again" and healing nearby allies for a portion confused me when I drank my potion and I didn't get more healing, nor did my teammates get more healing.

We also spend a lot of time trying out the Striker and felt like while it is a weapon that exponentially increases in effectiveness the more players you have with it equipped, and there were so many weird tricks and upgrade synergies with it, I personally felt that the Focus Hit window for throwing it immediately after catching should be a bit more generous if you catch it during a dodge, or just straight up make throwing a ball after dodging a Focus Hit, this would make it easier to transport the ball vertically while still outputting maximum damage with this weapon.

 

Overall we had a great time and could not wait for the next playtest/full release!

Edited by WarspiteOUO
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