60+ Hours--Comprehensive Feedback and Longevity Suggestions
This game scratches a deep urge I've had my entire life---years ago building hypothetical traps in offline Minecraft. This game fulfills that niche desire and has the potential to be a mainstay in the gaming industry if the proper steps are taken. Hopefully, I can offer some insight after playing the game extensively. If you read this, please comment or like to increase interaction and likelihood of someone on the dev team to see as I'll try and put a lot of thought into this and reading through the subreddit and feedback forum. I'll split this up into a discussion of mechanics/systems/improvements I think are most important to add or address first, then follow with some secondary thoughts and discussions.
Potential new Features that would be great:
- "Follow a builder function". Many times I will find a base I find incredible. I would like to be able to add that builder to a list or group in the game, rather than try to friend on steam (impossible for cross-console) or write down their username to search for their social bases. The social base feature should be more easily accessible through the "follow a builder" function. That way, I could also see updates if they release a new base. In addition, the social bases seem like they should be a secondary toggle to the activation status. I would like to play many friends' bases that they have built, but they are active instead of on social. A builder should be able to toggle a base as "social" while also having it in any other state; of course, searching for the base and using the social feature through a followed list shouldn't give resources, but the option should exist and would improve longevity.
- Raider Sprays/Emotes. My absolutely favorite thing in the game is seeing raiders react to my base. Oftentimes, raiders will nod in satisfaction at a good trap or that they got past a hard room, or shake their head in frustration or in a taunting manner. THAT is the best feeling in the game. It very much improves building and watching replays. AS a raider, I want more options to interact with the builder like shaking my camera. Emotes or sprays (ideally both) would greatly improve this needed aspect of the game. Being able to give a thumbs-up at a trap would be amazing to see as a builder and feel good to do as a raider. It would greatly improve the health of the community and lead to a more cohesive feeling. This game is social and multiplayer, but without these features, it will feel like a pve solo game after a while. The player interactions through sprays or emotes will greatly;y improve the user experience.
- Builder personalization items. This is essentially the same idea as the previous item. Increase player interactions to increase player enjoyment. As a builder, I want to leave non-damaging personalization items beyond wall cosmetics and ink on the floors. I want to put a confetti ball for when they get to the sacred tomb or other items to personalize my base.
- User interface improvement: Theat Level Progress Bar. I really enjoy making very challenging normal or dangerous levels. The threat level is very non-intuitively explained in-game and took around 30 hours and a dev stream for me to understand. If there was a bar that adjusted whenever the threat level is calculated, I could more accurately anticipate when I am getting close to the next threat level (which would feel so much better). Currently, it is very frustrating making a normal base and having it sneakily increased to a dangerous base, and before I notice I've already continued building a bunch of traps.
- Harvey customization (paid for content, event items, progress unlocks). PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET ME PUT A HAT ON HARVEY I LOVE HIM AND WANT TO SHOW OFF FUNNY LITTLE COSTUMES PLEASE OH PLEASE.
- Monthly Base Featured List. A great addition would be a monthly list where the bases that got the most accolades (or some formula the team thinks of between kills and accolades) are shown off to the community. A "Best of the Best." This would allow people to play content that was most liked by the community and inspire other builders to make content at that level. A good incentive would be to have that base receive some star in the builder's lists maybe, or some number of stars associated with your builder according to the number of bases you have had featured. This would be an amazing addition that would increase player retention, increase player satisfaction, and would not be too difficult to implement (I think?). Accolades should count more towards the system, as kill farming is much easier than getting a player to give 2 accolades. The feature could be weekly, but monthly may give the team or algorithm time to find the new bases to feature. (this would also give the team a solid list of well-liked bases to better understand the players and devise new mechanics, traps, cosmetics etc).
- Player frustration with large amounts of guards or acid cube rooms with lots of grapples, flamethrowers, and pistons (metabases, kill farming). This is a problem I emphasize with and do not know how to address. These bases are frustrating, but not too terribly difficult to beat with the right load out and some patience. I do not think a direct limitation should be placed on buildings to prevent this, but maybe some other secondary mechanics to not encourage such bases. Right now they are some of the best for farming resources from kills, but if accolades were weighed more heavily, provided resources or a system like a monthly feature list was added, players would attempt to make bases more fun to complete rather than try to get the most kills.
Some thoughts outside of what I think is needed:
- Player frustration in finding the bases to raid that they enjoy. This is a topic discussed on Reddit and with friends, but many raiders enjoy some aspects of the game that others do not. If there was some way to find or filter the bases you enjoy, that could help with player retention. This could be done through a "follow a builder function" ;) or some have suggested adding tags to your bases. I personally am not a fan of the tag system, as it lets the player know what to expect (or could be misleading) which I think goes against the design philosophy of the game (having surprising and constantly new user-made bases).
- Should builders be required to beat their bases??? in summary, probably no. If a player wants to make a huge kill box of hornets or some base that is close to impossible (impossible with the beginner load out) they will just add a random holocube and beat the level easily. This would not solve the issues players have, which at its core is playing a base they do not enjoy (kill boxes, lava rooms, long corridors with flamethrowers and pounders). That however could be solved otherwise (through a FOLLOW A BUILDER LIST or a MONTHLY FEATURED LIST).
- Preview of base shape before purchase. Many, including myself, have had an idea for a base, bought a new map, then found the structure of the unmovable cubes to be antithetical to what they had in mind. Changing this I think would be up to the design philosophy of the team. Having random base structures for every purchase is nice since it encourages players to always try something new, but if players want to do something specific it can be frustrating to spend resources on something they don't want. I do not know what would be healthier over time.
- "ammo stealing" "kill boxes" "death tunnels" and "speeding through my base". Most of these frustrations stem from players who do not have upgraded or new tools from the base kit. "ammo stealing" is a funny interaction that really only affects the base gun and shouldn't be changed, as it won't affect players with the crossbow or clever maneuvering with their sword. The meta base frustration shouldn't be addressed by limiting builders but by encouraging them to make a fun base rather than trying for the max amount of kills (encouraged by maybe having resources for accolades beyond the prestige system or through the monthly featured list). "speeding through my base" is a fine mechanic. the speed of raiding feels great and the raider base kit should not be slowed down. traps should be reachable (as they currently are), and the complaint largely comes again from players without all traps upgraded, some mods, and some experience building. Any changes to player speed or base activation time should be done very sparingly.
Thank you to anyone who reads this (especially anyone from the dev team!). I really love this game and want it to succeed.