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More map locations for adventures

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:04 am
by Borodin
The main problem I have with Renowned Explorers at this time, aside from some concerns still about balance, is the paucity of locations. There appears to be very few places you can travel. Playing over and over again with different teams isn't bad in itself, but when you're limited to a handful of locations, it begins to feel very rote.

I'd frankly hoped for 30 locations when I first began playing, though I know a lot of time is spent creating the entire adventure experience in any given one. There's a great deal of time obviously spent there, and I wouldn't deny that overall it's a fun game. Except it still feels strait-jacketed. And I have this nagging suspicion I'm going to be offered more locations, and still more, by paying more money, and still more. Which is not the way I like to play a game. I prefer to purchase the whole thing up front, you see. I don't play games where I have to pay and play in effect by installment.

My fault. I should have asked how many locations there were from the start, or waited several months (as is my usual custom) before buying, to get impressions at large from others. But since I love Reus so much, I figured I couldn't go wrong with Abbey Games. Not that I have, but I don't honestly feel like I'm playing more than an--albeit a very full, well developed outline--of a game.

My genuine apologies if this offends. That certainly isn't my intention. But I did want to pass along my impressions. The various parts of the game hold together well. Combat is difficult to understand, but works well once you've got it down. The characters are nicely delineated by their abilities and learning trees. It's actually a pretty deep strategic experience. But...

Re: More map locations for adventures

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:21 am
by Niddhoger
You do realize that having 30 well developed, and balanced, locations would take a ton of cash to make, right? This wasn't a AAA title with millions given to Abbey Games (by EA or some other big publisher) to make. They intentionally put out a well-polished game first, and as the game sold they could go back to the drawing board and reinvest money into more DLC. Personally, I feel they did an amazing job. Even as the game it, there is a ton of replayability. Its impossible to see everything the first time, even if you stomp every square and eat a ton of penalties. There are 12 different skills, 4 classes, and 20 characters. 8 tech trees and I forget how many shops also change how you can approach each expedition- even if you keep the same party, buying different specialists and unlocking different shops can change how you tackle the later maps!

Basically, Abbey Games decided they'd put quality in front of quantity. For a good example of how the opposite can backfire, look at Skyrim. I know, I know, apples and oranges doesn't cover the actual differences in the game, but I'm talking about design philosophy. Skyrim tried to add so many dungeons and quests to pad the game out... but then couldn't put much effort into making any of those actually FUN. One review exlaimed: "Skyrim is as expansive as an ocean, yet has the depth of a puddle." Each of the hundred dungeons is little more than a glorified hallway with "puzzles" that amount to pulling a chain right next to the door. All the loot (including from quests) is inferior to what you can easily craft (without exploits) except for the deadric quests and a few other standouts. You have all this content to explore, but no reason to explore them and ultimately no real difference in them. I'm not even going to talk about the terrible combat and horrid UI.

To reiterate, I'd rather have a game light on "content," but is otherwise fully enjoyable for every second that I replay it. Even better, Abbey games has already commited to putting out updates every few weeks. As a show of good faith, their first extra adventure has been given to us for free! Its probably the best of the adventures too! You could be cynical and say that they are going to charge for the next ones... but we don't know the price yet, but I have no qualms giving them more money to develop great games. I want to have fun every step of the way. Even if I see everything after 20-30 hours, its better to enjoy ever moment of it than tediously wade through 100+ hours of something of a lower quality.

Re: More map locations for adventures

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:18 am
by Borodin
And you're entitled to your own opinion--speculations about my ability to read the developers' blogs or understand how much in the way of resource are required to produce more adventure maps to one side, as you've no idea. I'm fine with you feeling the developers did a great job. But that doesn't invalidate my opinion, expressed here following considerable thought and quite a bit of gameplay.

After a pretty long life I'm still not sure why in all of humanity when anybody gives a reasonably informed opinion at length that goes one way, most of the time somebody else, with a very different opinion, feels it essential to express theirs in zealous contradiction immediately afterwards-- as though only one view can be correct in matters so subjective. My remarks above no doubt come across to you as a bit unperceptive or insensitive; yours come across to me just a little like canned PR hype. I'm sure these feelings are both very wide of the mark. What of that? We're not going to convince one another or anybody else. Instead of adding your opinions to contradict someone else's thread then, please, in the future, just consider starting your own,intended for the developers, and stating those views without taking the form of an argument. That way, everyone will get their own little sandbox to play in, under the illusion that well thought out opinions which differ widely can all be correct and taken seriously when examined in context--without protest from one person to another as though any particular viewpoint is the Only Right One. Thanks. And I'm not being sarcastic when I write that. Only mildly exasperated. :D

Re: More map locations for adventures

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:54 pm
by Adriaan
Hey both!

Thanks for both the kind words and the feedback!
The problem with locations is that they are... indeed expensive. It costs us about a month to make a new one that isn't just some run of the mill copy of the other. (The starter island were significantly faster to make: about a week+ each). 30 locations is a far away dream for us.
Besides, we made some mistakes in presenting content. Currently, the game has well over 500 events in them, branching and everything. Those are a monster to create, but you spot repitition early. It would be one of my first goes to improve the game is trying to put more focus on your new results instead of what you already seen.

That said, I share your way of gaming. I'm both happy and unhappy with the release of Mali. Its great to have more game to play, but I think if we would release more content at the same time, it would make for a more enjoyable experience. An expansion would make more sense instead of trickling in content. It's another thing I really want to look at.

The balance will probably only get wackier the more stuff we try. :P It's a trade-off between "oh Maria is now a vampire with +10 speech" and "you can't do that, it's imba!". I noticed I really enjoyed having a few occasionally imbalanced things happen. The things I would balance the most in the coming months are characters and tech tree, I think. But the treasures, they're getting more extreme (like with Mali).

Re: More map locations for adventures

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:36 pm
by Borodin
Adriaan, good to hear from you again. It's been some time. (And I'm *still* playing Reus.)

I've raised all but two of the characters you provide to the point where they can lead a team--and I'm burnt out. The short number of locations and the basic sameness of the boss battles (not in specificity, where they can differ in less apparent ways due to pathing changes, team member abilities, etc) makes the game seem very narrow to me in some important respects, though it's certainly deeper than it might appear to many, thanks to the great combat attitude system. The cost of creating, balancing, and varying a whole global adventure was clear from the start, but just FYI: I would have paid double for double the number of such locations, if that would have helped. What I object to, as I wrote above, was the sense that if I want a rich game, one that doesn't make me feel my team members are being railroaded into a few locations, I'm going to have to pay piecemeal over a year. That's not how I invest in a game. I think stating the number of locations up front might have made me feel less disappointed at this point. I would have waited for the full experience (worse for your revenue/expense sheets, I know), and paid for the lot. With a slight discount and an explanation of how many adventure locations you expected to have in place by a given date when the game was fully developed, I would have paid in advance. Something I've only done once.

Alright, I've explained my views to death. That's it from me, on this, you'll be glad to hear.

If you're inviting criticism about Mali, then whatever its failings, the good news is it addresses some of the skill types which seem to have been neglected a bit in development on a larger level. I could be wrong, but I've encountered few instances where a beguiler or rogue was really featured in a central role on a given map when compared to, say, an athlete or archaeologist. More locations with more spotlights on different skill sets means the player should at least in theory be willing to try greater combinations of characters, and not just those that seem to be used more frequently.

About Mali's treasures, I agree. Some treasures were already a bit over the top, in my opinion. I'm not in the game right now, but as I recall, Erzabet Bathory's portrait can really push entourages to great heights under the right conditions. Of course, a little imbalance is a good thing: sameness is boring. It's a matter of figuring where the limits should be that's really difficult. Reus mastered this perfectly. RE is a work in progress. I know you'll get to whatever seems right to you. I'd suggest looking for a point where different groups of people complain of too much imbalance and too much sameness. Then you'll have it right. :)

Re: More map locations for adventures

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:02 pm
by Adriaan
Thanks for the feedback Borodin! I'll try to put it at good use. :)

You bring up very valid points. More locations and more unique abilities/AI (for bosses in special) will certainly be two things I will be working towards in the future!