This post encapsulates nothing but my honest opinions regarding my experience with the pre-alpha version of this game and what I feel should be the direction this game should take for optimal success. I will continue to update this as I play the game.
Background on me: I’ve been a ARPG fan since the release of the first diablo, with diablo 2 being my all time favorite game. I’ve been playing diablo 2 for almost 18 years now which is astounding. This is just so you are aware of my biases.
I just happened to stumble upon this game reading the Grim Dawn steam forums and it lit a spark in me that I haven’t experienced since Path of Exile was first announced (I was part of the alpha/beta there as well surprise surprise). I constantly wrote feedback (Back when I had the luxury of all the extra time) and they ended up incorporating a lot of the feedback that I suggested, such as monsters having auras, special events where spiders would climb up the wall as a triggered event and the monkey’s climbing down the trees. Very attentive to feedback those devs were and Chris is an awesome guy.
That being said, lets get started.
- My very first initial reaction to entering the game was obviously most of the graphics/animations are placeholder so I won't comment on them as I'm sure these will be improved as the game continues its developmental cycle.
- I don't see the reason for the three difficulty settings from the get-go (normal - masochist). Everyone should start out on the same difficulty and the game should progressively get more difficult as you quest and get gear.
- I do like the hardcore option, all ARPG's should have a option to make their characters hardcore.
- Being an ONLINE ONLY game, this raises a few questions. Are you going to be hosting the servers like Path of Exile? Is it going to be more diablo 2 esque where you can join created games from a list? I highly recommend following diablo 2's style of online lobbying (trade rooms, duel rooms, questing rooms) or Path of Exile with a universal chat function. Stay far far away from Grim Dawn has done with their online. No one plays it and from my experience it's just terrible.
- Will this game have player PVP (Preferably open world like Diablo 2)? Will this game have trading? If there is PVP, will there be a loot corpse option? Will there be a loss of experience for softcore players/loss of gold? I highly suggest incorporating a PVP function into this game similar to diablo 2 where people can duke it out as it gives people incentives to min/max their charcters, find epic loot to slay others with etc.. that just straight pve won't give. In my estimation, a hardcore PVP system such as diablo 2's is the best option. Allow people to hostile and kill each other everywhere except safe zones such as towns. Diablo 3 took pvp out of the entire game and threw it into an instanced arena. People after 6 years are still crying foul and it crippled the game's potential significantly. I'm not kidding, diablo 3 is a dead game even compared to its predecessor and if you read the forums you still see people being bitter about PVP being omitted. If you log into diablo 2 people still PVP TO THIS DAY!!!!!!!! This game could learn from this. The vocal minority that hates pvp will shit on me for this aspect of my suggestion however TRUST me when I say there is a lot of soft/non-spoken individuals who yearn for hardcore ARPG PVP. Look at some of the MOST popular games out there right now, all centered around PVP (MOBA i.e. LoL and Battle Royal i.e. Fortnite). I feel this is PoE's Achilles's heel, it failed to really capitalize on the PVP potential of the game and made it mostly a PvE carebear game which is fine, however PVP is so underrepresented in this genre we cannot go another good game ignoring it. How do you add a truly great PVP system? Don't over complicate it. Don't make it convoluted. Simply, let people kill each other anywhere they want except for towns. My original reference point, diablo 2, will stand as a pinnacle example over and over. You don't need fancy PVP systems, PVP loot or any of that garbage. A good PVE aspect of the game will compliment a PVP aspect of the game. People will PVE so they can PVP as I stated earlier. If you want to slay others and take names, you will have a true incentive to PVE and find the best gear possible so you can pwn anyone and everyone that crosses your path, a blend of PVE and PVP made in heaven. I think this is where a lot of game studios get it wrong and they refuse to learn from the past. Look at people who used to play WoW and how they speak so dearly of the "golden days" of Vanilla where you would have world PVP and it was so amazing... What's different? All the PVP systems in place that made it so homogeneous and convoluted it became a check in a box rather than a organic experience you could dynamically control as the player yourself. How do you make it dynamic and organic? YOU MAKE IT AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE. How? Don't put PVP systems in place, simply, allow people to kill each other. That's it. Get fancy and let us loot each other or give us the option to do so and that's it. That's all it would take to create a amazing pvp experience.
- The UI is clean, pragmatic, servers its functions without being in the way, good start.
- I played for two minutes and found 4 different colored items. Stop this, this isn't fun or exciting. I know your loot table system is pre-alpha but I should be finding 97% common (White) items at minimum! I don't even know what all the different colors mean but it's ugly and not fun. Seriously, go download diablo 2 right now and run outside the town and hack and slash a zombie and quill rat and see what kind of items you get. That's fun right there.
- Game feels extremely claustrophobic. Sadly reminds me of those Asian Grinder MMO's where you are lead down a corridor each map. Open up your play space, seriously! Each map, unless something specific like a path leading up to a boss, should be open and randomized. Yes I highly suggest randomizing your maps as the level of replayability it offers is uncontested. But seriously, cut the corrider style of mapping out of this game instantly and make maps, at minimum a square-esque style instead.
- Allow me to click and drag items from equipped items to my inventory. Currently you have to double click.
- Do not allow for easy reallocation of skills/passive points. Each character should be unique and a permanence of skills and points fortifies this while adding risk behind spending your points. This might be unpopular however I just look back at diablo 3 and how you only need to make 1 character and you never have to make that one type of character again because he can just respec ad lib.
- Stash is big and open, good I like this.
- Draw a silhouette of my character when my vision is blocked from seeing them. i.e. doodad in foreground, let me see my character behind it.