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Indepth analyst of the game by another game Dev

Hi my name is Fred and I want to make for you a depth analyst of my experience of your game as a game dev myself. First of all, English is my second language so sorry in advance for that. I played around 100 hours recently and made multiple characters, and reach waves 121 in HC mode.

I’m not going to cover all the bugs I have encountered because I think you are probably aware of most of them already and you guys are way over busy right now and probably just fixing the major one. My review is not about what I “like” or not. I’m going to present my point as what I think can be better and why with a strong game design perspective. After that I will give you solution that I think that technically possible for you, I think, to do. Don’t forget that I’m not thinking that my solution is absolutely the best of all and you should listen to me at all cost XD. It is still just an idea to maybe help you in your production process. Every idea can be better when tested and challenged with a team.

  • Don’t know if you already know that but Game Development Conference (GDC) had Chris from GGG games came to talk about the start to today of his game Path of exile. It a golden mine of information if you haven’t heard of it yet. One thing he was saying during his presentation is that when they started to make ladder reset with patch content at same interval of time and that was publicly known, they started to have a better retention of player. I think every devs, specially indies, should watch and try to apply some principles that Chris have experience with those 10 years of experiences. Here the link to his video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM_5S55jUzk
  • One thing I already mention on your discord is why you stop the player to play the game as he please? I mean we can’t select masochist when we first start the game. But why? They were designing game like that back in the 1995 or 2000 ish for giving some kind of replayability for single player game. But in your game I don’t see any +value offered to the player for making that feature unlockable after act 1. If the player want to play super hardcore extremely hard, that his choice as soon that you advertise him of what he is about to do that fine. Choosing for the player or stopping him to play your game like he want is not a good game design thinking I think.
  • Don’t know if that intended or a bug but It a little bit confusing during the first playthrough of the act 1 specially before getting out of the cave. I think one thing that can help the player to found where he is, is to zoom out the map when you “Tab”it. He would be able to have a better look of where he come from and where he is going
  • This point is about movement speed. Everything is fine about movement speed in your game. You did exactly the same as all other Arpg hack and slash game out there. Slow (cripple) movement speed when you start and fast and fun movement speed at the end of the game. I’m not saying is that bad but have you considered to change the initial movement speed and make it faster than the usual. Everybody in those game feel FREEDOM when they get the movement speed and really start enjoying the game at that point. When something is been like it is for so many years people forget to think that thing can be modified and maybe become the new standard from now on. On game design point of view even if the character is significantly faster at the beginning I might still be good to get that stat again because we all know that movement is survivability in those game.

This last section here is to talk about itemization. It a pretty massive subject and it one of the biggest reason of your success for you game on the long run.

I know the game is not done yet and we are in an early stage of it still but right now I don’t think even if you add more content to the late game that you gonna fix that issue. Late game become repetitive and redundant pretty fast at the end because of your itemization. Itemization that is great so you know at the beginning and mid progression. But as you progress toward the end game it get little be empty of sense. You end up pretty quickly looking for main 3 stats of every item because if you don’t you can’t survive late waves. After that you have no room left for more variation of stats really.

What I suggest, is to add a crafting mats that unlock a 5th and a 6th stat or maybe no caps of number of stats on a rare item. Those additional stat can only be obtain with those new crafting material that drop only, as exemple, after lvl 45. But adding those stat can produce a new kind of instability more fatal and faster for the item because what you gain out of it can be insanely good.

A new addition that can add a level of depth to your itemization is to add another crafting material that “repair” instability on a rare item. So what does it actually do is that the player would be able to caps his normal rare 4 roll items to tier 5 before starting the late game crafting with items with 5,6,7… number of stats on them.

So what those new addition, the player would have more choice for fun stat on his gear, he would have the more choice on the way he want to craft his gear. Does he want to max out some t5 stats or go for more stats on his gear? And game design wise during progression the player would have a nice curve of progression toward the end game. And implementing that new “instability” stat late game won’t be a problem because you already let the player play with that mechanic since the start so he will be already familiar with the idea.

One thing I haven’t had to time to do because I need to work too on my stuff, is about item scaling late game. Careful to not make your item stats roll and base item to scale too high lvl. What I mean is that if the item base or stats roll scale all the way to lvl 100 that mean that the player will never be able to start farming his end game gear before those really high lvl because he can’t roll good base item or stats. So when you have player that think about min maxing their character they going to hold up all their crafting mats till that late late late late game before starting really experiencing the maximum fun potential of your game.

That it for my review. I might have some other idea but I think that enough for now. If you are interested of discussing about more stuff I will be gladly open for conversation on discord or whatever. I think your game have a great potential and I thing you guys have a good idea about what is a good game instead of just trying to make money. That why I’m willing to take that much of my time for helping you (if it help XD).

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IF the EHG Staff is okay with I realy like to know what games the OP developed to have some refference :).

Nice write up btw and a good point of view. I don’t know why developers are so “lazy” about endgame but I realy don’t know what happens at all in LE when the development cycle is further. I just know of a game developed by one person that already has 5 endgame modes to test while in EA. I have no clue why there isn’t more endgame stuff to test outside of monolith and the placeholder arena.

@paxxack2 What is your view on item diversity? It’s das for me that everyone is running arround in the armor that offers most protection basicly. There is no intent to use something different then the highest armor value item right now if you don’t need a specific unique. Is this a benefit or a flaw from your point of view?

For the repair instability material… what downside do you have in mind for it? Everything comes at a price and for crafting it’s stability. To be able to refresh this stat is a huge deal in my eyes and I’m intrested in your idea how YOU would implement it. My first thought was “Repairs stability but decreases max roll range by X%” so if an item rolls 80-100 naturaly it would be decreased to 80-95 just as an example with made up numbers.

This is just my opinion, but LE just hasn’t gotten to endgame yet. They have ideas, they have plans, but just looking at the forecast calendar looks like they plan on doing all of the story campaign and then getting into the endgame stuff. Once chapter 8 and 9 are out, they will do epochs call, and then i’m sure all the endgame stuff will start pouring in. THey have already said endgame is not balances or scaled right now, they know this and i pretty much can say with certainty it will be addressed.

I’m agree item need more bonus, i would like 2 extra affix on rare

Trust me on this, game developers are not lazy. They are overwhelm by work at this point and they try to find a balance between fixing bugs and try to pull out content to keep player interest in the game.

About your point of item protection, it an interesting idea the way it is right now. Might be good in the future but right now I think it still need some tweaks. Because right now all sort of protection in the game are just “specific health point”. I mean that is your life against an element is equal to your health+protection. So if you have 300hp and you have 150 fire prot that mean you have 450 health against fire damage. Because that so it make some stats like ward really over powered in the game. I think right now it make those stats a little bit dull. But on the other hand it really nice to have primary attribute that boost your resistances in same time than boosting your dmg. You feel that putting one point in those make a difference.

For the new mats of crafting I was talking about I mean they already have a functional system in place with fracture etc… I would probably go toward that system at least for now but make it more critical. Implementing new system cost a lot of resources (time, money) and it can end up producing a lot of bugs in the game afterward. Reducing stats on item when you try to push it to a next lvl might be something interesting but you have to be careful when you go down that way. Because if that the only consequence that mean everybody HAVE TO use those crafting mats on their item until they can’t gain anything out of it anymore. And HAVE TO be done design really suck in game for the player. He don’t feel he is making choice he end up just making action that is predetermined by the dev. On the other hand if you have 25% break your item it give you a choice that can be highly rewarding for the risk if you success.

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