Open Beta Feedback and Suggestions (long)
So first off, I really enjoyed what was demo'ed during the Open Beta.
My brother on the other had quit after a couple maps that he considered "impossible" despite being in the "Easy" category. From the descriptions he gave, compared to those of others I found here in the forums, these where most likely "Cheese/Troll" maps that either take MANY deaths to learn (at least for a fresh player), and/or upgraded gear to get through.
I have played a several games in the past that had similar game modes (building defenses and defending from other players), and I think there are several things that could be improved, making things more fun for both base-builders, and attackers!
Site Difficulty Ratings and Rewards
Difficulty Tiers: I think it would be a good idea to have about 4 or 5 tiers. with sites dynamically placed in these tiers based on their death count/clear rates. This way min-maxed bases don't destroy the moral of new players despite having a lot trap count and currently flagging as "easy". Alternatively, players looking for more of a challenge can seek out maps that have high death counts/low clear rates!
Rewards: As it was in the Beta, I never REALLY felt that completing difficult maps was worth the extra time they took, compared to smaller/easier maps. Taking into consideration the death/clear rate tiers from my Difficulty suggestion above, each tier could have reward multipliers tied to them! This would make sticking it out and trying to master insane builds more worthwhile, vs just speed running through easy/simple maps that almost everyone clears with few-to-no deaths.
Site Building and Activation
Building: I feel that many of the maps I ran during the Beta fell into a couple of categories. A-E should be encouraged, while F and G (categories below) should be limited through building restrictions.
- (A) Artistic: All of their build points got consumed by just building an outer shell to the map (I come back to this point later).
- (B) Too Easy: Probably someone's first maps, or they are still learning what "works".
- (C) Fun: Handful of surprises along the way.
- (D) Challenging: Took several deaths to learn what traps to run past, and which ones to fight.
- (E) Min/Maxed: These builds were very difficult. I would die many times, but never felt like the build was impossible, or innately unfair.
- (F) Cheese/Troll: These maps are usually medium to large sized rooms, with a large number of Wasps, Guards, and Eyes (the caged orbs that could shoot in any direction). Even just trying to speed through these rooms would result in a handful of deaths due to the Eyes having the AoE effect, or the Wasps being armored with homing shots that would track you. Alternatively would be trap builds where everything has a gimmick, and multiple traps all covering one another while also laid out to deter speed running past them.
- (G) Anti-fun: These are bases that just drop solid cubes on/around the burial-skeletons (the ones that sound like they have a heartbeat so you can find them while raiding) so that raiders can't get those materials. Lastly, the maps that use second-wave holocubes where the Harvester actually walks along this "fake" path, since it's the "shortest" but as soon as you take the Genmat, that path can't be used anymore because the holocubes fall away, and you're left with a long corrosive-cube tunnel. On the other side of the Genmat is the "correct path" which is just a maze of kill-boxes.
Sites take a long time to build, and in this Beta, after just a day or two, will get deleted unless they get enough kills/accolades to prestige. In the bit of testing I did with Sites, I had only 3 people raid my base before it timed out. I did get accolades from all the raiders, but even so, it wasn't enough to prestige and I didn't feel like I could do much more to improve my return on time invested in building a map.
I understand that the goal is to have new sites rotate in, and "bad" ones to not be refreshed, but it feels like the lifespan is just too short. Here are my ideas to combat these feelings of sites being a waste of time.
Allow Players to buy as many Burial Site slots as they want, but only allow 3-5 sites to be Active at any given time. This will allow players to practice with building new designs, but would not delete their work.
In this new system Prestige costs could be increased, but the site could be built up over time. OR the system could lose x% prestige progress (or even have it reset to 0%) every day/couple-days/week (or whatever the prestige-cycle is chosen to be). This will allow players that don't have amazing builds to still experience the prestige mechanics (slowly) with their better builds.
This system could have an issue with no/few new creations being released. SO, I recommend that there be a decreasing multiplier were site rewards are reduced after each prestige-cycle time window, until the site hits 0% (or some other low %) resource rewards from deaths. This multiplier on rewards would reset back up to 100% once the site is prestiged. Alternatively to a prestige, the site could be removed from the players Active site listings where it would slowly build back this %, thus encouraging different sites to be activated during this time. Perhaps even have inactive sites build up bonus reward multipliers (like 150% or 200%), to incentivize even successful builds to be swapped out from time to time.
In the beta, sites had a designated "type": weapons, traps, hardware, guards, suit (maybe one or two more that I can't recall). I never saw a purpose for these "Types." Considering they don't have any site bonuses or impacts, like to traps, or guards, construction costs, or limits to the player, I don't see any reason to have these "types" assigned to sites (Nor did they drop different types of resources to the players, at least not that I could tell). If these "types" are not simply removed from the game, then perhaps allow the player to choose which "type" their site represents. One idea I had, was to restrict certain unlocks/upgrades for traps, guards, weapons, etc, until a certain rank is achieved in their respective "type" categories.
While each building sites already have a construction limit, I think there should be a way to allow even more creativity, while still limiting traps. I have seen a couple posts about "only count construction for blocks that have a line of sight to the Harvester path". This seems like a promising idea, as it would constrain large-rooms to count against the construction total, while also allowing an artistic Facade on others since this part is far removed from the Harvester path.
Two alternate methods come to mind for these building limits:
- Have separate trap and construction limits. This would prevent players from simply placing giant tunnels/kill-boxes of corrosive cubes by eating into their generic construction point-pool. And encourage builders to take advantage of building out more of their sites structure, all while not going too overboard due to the separate construction limit.
- Have a Trap/Guard limit, while having an unlimited Construction limit. However this type of setup would need a maximum Harvester Path Length in order to reasonably limit the length of build. A system like this would restrict the total number of traps, and force the builder to be more mindful and efficient with their placements, while also allowing the builder to put in as much time as they wish towards adding an artistic element to the overall site. Finally with the max Harvester Path Length Limit, these builds would not be able to simply be a SUPER long maze.
Personally, I think limited traps, and unlimited construction would be fun, while also allowing for all kinds of creative builds.
(Consider putting a lighting-limit too, several sites I ran had glass blocks and lights on EVERYTHING and it was more a fight against the framerate than it was against their traps.)
Activating a Site
I strongly believe that a builder should be able to successfully clear their own build, before it can be activated. Perhaps even use the Builders own death count as the first data point towards determining what difficulty tier the site falls under (going along with the suggestion near the top of this post)
Additionally, during my time in the Beta, I found a handful of build sites that simply walled off their Lost Souls (not sure their official name: they had a yellow light and made a heartbeat sound for raiders to track down). These resource points within the sites' Build should, in some way, always be accessible. even if that just means a first/second wave holo-cube. I enjoyed trying to locate all these nodes in players builds, and to see how they were integrated into the overall build! If Builders are required to raid their own base in order to activate it, include all of these locations as part of the "successful raid" conditions.
- Respawn a new Harvester when/if the previous one dies. OR make the Harvester immune to site-built traps, but also allow the player to spawn a new harvester at the main entrance if they accidently kill the current one. OR yet another idea, change the physical Harvester into a line/pulse that illuminates the path Like the arrow-line that shows the Harvester path during the build phase, just without the physical Harvester.
- There is currently 3 construction block shapes: Cube, Ramp, and Corner. I propose adding one extra shape, Essentially it's the Inverse of the "Corner" piece. This piece would allow two perpendicular rows of Ramp Pieces to smoothly join. (Search "cube with corner cut off" for a visual)
- When a site is activated, the Harvesters path should be locked in, and not change to show the Harvester walking over first/second wave holocubes simply because they are (temporarily) a "shorter" path. These builds usually are a long corrosive cube tunnel (longer than grapple range) and second wave holocubes. Where the new "primary" path is now through a maze/a giant kill-box that you've never seen before.
- When in the Building phase, while the player is in the Fly mode, also allow the player to freely pass through blocks.
- Add a Building mode toggle that will highlight first and second wave traps (like in a red/blue highlight). Additionally, when in the second wave toggle, pre-set holocubes and traps (that are eligible) to already be fitted with a second-wave modifier.
- Have a list of build sites that have many (or even just "recent" streak of several) accolades for a specific category, so that more players will play these maps, and reward builders for good builds. Of course players should be limited to only one run where they and the builder will get resources.
- Have a "favorites" where you can re-play maps (without resources for the raider or builder), and/or even send these maps to friends as a challenge.