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).