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My Thoughts, Coming from New Dawn

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by Raap, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. Raap

    Raap Crypt Guard

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    Greetings!

    I have pondered making this post or not, as I didn't want to step on any toes. But after playing RoA for a little bit, it became clear I had a few things I wanted to say. I will try to keep this brief.


    Peasant Mode Freemium Mode

    I started RoA in "Freemium" mode, and I have to say that it feels a little restrictive. Despite only tipping my toes into RoA, the main restriction of less resources from harvesting, as a new player/character, is quite severe. So it did not take long for me to just toss a sub at the game. Other players might not pick that option however.

    I would like to suggest reeling back in some of those limitations. I'd also encourage you to remove the line of inactive character storing as I seen it lead to confusion outside of the Darkfall community (people take it that your Freemium character is deleted after 30 days).


    The New Player Experience

    Always a rough topic in every Darkfall game, and RoA is no different. I decided to play RoA based on an impulse. I am not playing this game with anyone I know and I am not taking significant hand-outs, in an effort to experience this as a true new player (or as new as I can be as someone who hung around Darkfall since 1977).

    The initial experience is mostly unchanged from DF2012 and I'll not go into that again. But what I did notice are issues specific to RoA:
    • Various quests related to skinning, are bugged due to skinning not existing and looting said items do not progress these quests.
    • The quest flow with Nectar of the Gods feels weird and gimmicky. I have to ask why even bother having attribute progression in the game if it is to be this trivialized.
    • Quest rewards in general are terrible were it not for the Nectar of the Gods gimmick. They are static and often useless to new players (even worse for veterans). Considering that RoA specifically encourages questing, it would have been good if a notable reward pass was made here.
    • After you completed some quests and got 75 in all base attributes, you're effectively thrown to the wolves - literally, because the market is not actively populated with items for new players, which means new players have to harvest and craft their own gear, and this is a lot of pressure on new players on their first day or two of playing.
    So as it stands, the new player experience is a short tour guide through broken quests with poor rewards that teaches you nothing about the game, and by the end of that you suddenly have a bunch of attributes and a severe case of "Now what?".

    So I'd propose a few changes:
    • For starters, fix broken quests. This needs no further explaining.
    • Change attributes;
      • Make the statistical values of 75 base attributes (health, mana, stamina, resistances, damage, speed, etc.) baseline for all characters.
      • Set attributes at a value of 1 out of 25, with the progression from 1 through 25 being the equivalent of progressing from 75 to 100 in the current formula. Buffs should still be able to boost this past 25.
      • Progression rate from 1 through 25 does not need to change compared to 75 through 100.
      • Remove Nectar of the Gods from inventories and quest rewards.
    • Improve material and gold rewards from all quests in the game, significantly.
    • Bonus: Add long term value to quests by making repeatable quests offer a bigger bonus reward for high kill rates.
    • Bonus: Increase quest rewards based on your alignment as an incentive to remain "blue". This would include dungeon dailies.
    • Encourage players to sell new player items on the market. One option to consider is a tax and delivery fee removal for basic raw/refined materials and R0 through R30 items. It may not seem like a lot but for truly new (and poor) players, every gold piece counts.
    • Fix item localisation holes so that new players who want to craft their own basic items do not have to travel half the map for very basic resource. The main offender in my experience is rawhide/leather, due to being the only basic material you cannot harvest, and the game not really telling you which mobs drop it (it seems far too few mobs drop it).
    The combined effect of these changes will be an easier to understand progression flow and better quest rewards that are more relevant to the needs of a new player, as well as improve some of that early game gear acquisition since currently this is a complete roadblock in some situations.


    New Player Content

    Outside of some quests, the game doesn't really offer anything in the way of new player content. Specifically missing is introductory PvP content. In my brief time in RoA this was perhaps the most frequently asked question in chat; Where can I find PvP as a new player?

    The typical answer was "go do villages" (without the game explaining how these work). And while this might have been an acceptable answer, the game as it is structured now, does nothing to prevent new players from landing on top of a seasoned group of veterans - and we all know how that story ends.

    But during my brief RoA time, I did attempt to solo capture a village (I happened to be near one going live). A bug with the timer being delayed aside, I liked the overal capture concept, it is a step up from New Dawn's "single capture point" system... But as I was capturing, one problem stood out: No one came. No, the game is not dead, it turns out the village I was at (Lainstone), is considered "trash". And it didn't take me long to see why; At T3 gear score (AKA what a new player would wear), the reward was so poor that even me as a new player had no value in it.

    So then it hit me. RoA has no new player PvP content, but it does have plenty of villages veterans do not bother with. So...
    • Split all villages in the game into two categories: Regular, and New Player.
    • The vast majority of villages should be regular villages. Villages located close to NPC towns are to be designated New Player villages.
    • Create two billboards in NPC cities: Regular villages, and New Player villages.
      • Regular billboard: Does not teleport to live New Player villages, exists in NPC towns and player holdings.
      • New Player billboard: Teleports only to New Player villages, exists only in NPC towns, costs nothing to use, and has a gear restriction up to R40 (checks inventory and paperdoll).
    • Add a new daily quest near New Player billboards to participate in a New Player village (victory or not being irrelevant), to act as sort of a breadcrumb to lead players to this content, as well as act as a participation incentive, even if losing.
    • New Player village rewards: Reward items only a new player would consider useful, such as:
      • Permanent attribute boost items.
      • Skill books and scrolls.
      • Scribing items.
      • Basic raw materials (no rares).
      • Gear up to R50.
      • Gold.
    • New Player villages should have an upper reward limit at T3 gear score, to discourage over-gearing on alts.
    • Regular villages should continue to scale more towards the higher end.
    • Unpopular opinion: Death at active New Player villages should only result in inventory drops on death, but equipped gear is kept. New players need a chance to learn and not get completely morally crushed after their likely initial crushing defeat at the hands of another player, whom 9 out of 10 times will be a more experienced player or a group of players.

    In total, veteran players will not be losing any villages as they evidently do not even bother with the villages that would qualify to be turned into new player content, but for newer players this could be an excellent learning ground, and fill a very clear content void right now.

    On a side note, it would be good to offer more PvP (or PvPvE) activities on both billboards other than just villages, but this is where completely new content would have to come in.


    The GUI...

    Last, but absolutely not least, is the RoA GUI, and how incredibly clunky it feels. While I have positive things to say about the developments BPG made to DF2012 in other areas, the GUI is not one of these.

    My initial reaction booting up RoA for the first time, was quite literally, "Ugh". Everything about it feels like it requires too many user actions to get to a desired outcome, where as other desirable functionality is downright missing.

    To get to the point:
    • Too many user actions required to perform basic operations. If I hold a melee weapon and want to cast a transfer, you cannot simply click the transfer ability and begin casting it, by default RoA expects you to: Select a staff -> Unsheathe it -> select a spell -> cast it via LMB. In the heat of combat, especially with interface delay, this is very frustrating, and this could be halved if selecting a spell simply loads up that spell while pulling out a staff in the same user action.
    • The GUI input delay. Nothing good to say about this. The game needs action queueing and it needs it extremely badly. I understand some players will not like it as it takes a different kind of getting used to, and this is why this needs to be an optional setting in the game configuration.
      • To clarify: Action queueing is not a literal ability queue where I can press 5 buttons and then watch as the game executes these in the order I pressed them. It is a system that when I press for example my melee weapon keybinding while my client is still busy firing an arrow, it will instead of doing nothing like it does now, pull out that melee weapon as soon as the arrow is fired. This particular example would solve being locked in archery mode while rapidly trying to swap to melee but the game does not let you, so you end up firing another arrow instead - very frustrating.
    • The game is lacking a "weapon bar", a function UW and ND players know quite well. It lets you have one universal place to update all your weapon bindings and then upon their activation (via keybind) you can let the game equip this assigned weapon as well as swap to an assigned hotbar. RoA can partially do this via right clicking twice on a hotbar slot, however RoA's implementation lacks persistence; The hotbar info is lost each time the weapon is changed. It also relies on tiny hotbar slots as opposed to a dedicated GUI component.
    • Inventory management is severely lacking. Missing are:
      • Auto stacking/sorting.
      • Drag selection.
      • Select by type.
      • Auto loot.
    These GUI issues are often real show-stoppers. They make the game feel very 2009-era and a lot can be done to improve the GUI, including in areas I did not mention here.

    New Dawn in my opinion only did a few things right, and on number one stands their GUI changes. They managed to make DF2012 more enjoyable by removing a lot of those pain points. If there was just one thing I'd like for RoA to steal from ND, then it has to be their GUI changes.


    Closing Note

    Thanks for reading the ramblings of a moderately certified insane person. I know not everyone will like to read some of the things I wrote here, I was very much unsure if I should even write it given the reactions topics like this have gotten in the past. I can only say that I tried to be fair to RoA and give it a good shot, and this is purely my honest feedback about the pain points I experienced as a new player.

    I do have good things to say about RoA in general as well. Some of the general changes that have been made such as harvesting and crafting speeds are certainly an improvement over New Dawn, where people were forced to buy alt accounts to deal with their time-gating of crafting and gathering via an absolutely horrific specialization system.

    The removal of tombstone carving skinning is also a great QoL change and does help reduce that "clicky experience" in PvE, and it is changes of this nature that I'd like to see more of.

    For now, I'll continue to log on to RoA when I can and I will try to delve a little further into RoA mechanics I have not yet explored.


    Edit: Fixed spelling errors.
     
    #1 Raap, Mar 4, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
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  2. Ch4r4x

    Ch4r4x Spellgazer
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    I agree 100% with the GUI issues. You might get more responses to this thread by posting it in the "general" category though.
     
  3. Raap

    Raap Crypt Guard

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    As long as the devs read it, that is all I want. A moderator can move it if they wish.
     
  4. Sero

    Sero Evil Eye
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    There's an autocast option on the hotbar as well as a first available option.

    Simply placing a commonly used staff, or multiple staffs infront of a transfer, and pressing the bind twice will automatically cast the spell for you. Samething can be done for swords and whirlwind:

    [​IMG]

    You haven't had to unsheathe to perform an attack in this game since beta, so I'm not sure what you're on about, the game auto-unsheathes for you.

    Right clicking on an item in the grave automatically loots it to your bag.

    Holding shift and moving the item in your inventory/bank automatically selects all items of that type in the window and moves them.




    The only thing the GUI needs is a simpler way to select weapons without having to rebind it everytime you switch bags. A catch-all "greatsword" or "staff" icon if you will.

    They implemented a queuing system and everyone hated it so much they turned it off.
     
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    #4 Sero, Mar 4, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  5. Bartlebe

    Bartlebe Chosen of Khamset
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    Would be a godsend to deal with the hotbar nightmare DF has always struggled with.
     
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  6. Azmoodeus

    Azmoodeus New Member
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    Agreed on everything. Especially the GUI part.

    In ND I could place my staff on the weapons hotbar then drag the staff from the weaponsbar onto one of the hotbar slots. This combined with setting up the spells on the hotbar with instant cast would allow me to press one button to equip staff and cast. It made for some easy rebinding of new weapons aswell as all I needed was to drag a new staff onto the weaponsbar slot and all the hotbars were updated with the new staff. This combined with action queue made for some really smooth gameplay.

    Great post Raap!
     
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  7. Neilk

    Neilk Web Development & System Admin
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    This was a design choice initially as to not dumb the mechanics of the game, it's something we are thinking about looking at though as the benefits may outweigh the cons. We'll definitely be adding a weapons bar though.
     
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  8. Raap

    Raap Crypt Guard

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    Anything that makes your game more approachable should not be seen strictly as "dumbing down". I know the industry has shifted to actual gameplay-mechanic-level simplifications, but that trend should not be confused with making your game less... unwieldy.

    Keeping everything optional should prevent upsetting people who got used to the current flow.

    That said, any changes you make here, should be part of the default GUI settings for new characters.
     
  9. The Red King

    The Red King Frostjarl
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    You have some good points, especially the quests rewards. That is a no brainer, there are so many quests and they give shit. Maybe introduce R40 up to plate back on the vendors to help newbies, they can get full plate and r50s on the market. A queue option would be fine. I think they should have solo vcps to give fair fights, doubt they will make newbies vcps but who knows. Most of us are used to Roa gui so its good, I didnt like New Dawns, I did like the weapon bar but I turned off the auto cast. Overall good points
     
  10. Fenrir Frauki

    Fenrir Frauki Crypt Guard
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    Darkfall has never been about quests and it's a complete waste of time and resources trying to appease the WoW kiddies that care about quests.

    This game had more people in beta than DND ever did, and I'm basing that off the videos I've seen because I never actually tried New Dawn.
     
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  11. Raap

    Raap Crypt Guard

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    Does not change the facts that RoA (as did ND) specifically instruct players to do quests for progression. In RoA it is for Nectar of the Gods, in ND it was for Meditation points. Both serve a similar purpose, to kickstart new player progression. Both also make this feel like a gimmick that is detached from the regular progression methods.

    You could say, hey, lets make quests even more useless. But this will take the same amount of effort as making them useful. One path removes rewards and instructions about doing them, the other improves rewards. In a game where content is needed, going for content removal seems like a poor decision.

    Who knows, if quest systems in RoA got a bit more enhanced, BPG might see value in adding more quest content throughout the game as well. Ultimately these will never replace the true meat to Darkfall's bones, but they could be excellent breadcrumbs that expose players to different types of content and mechanics.

    As for ND's population. I think the best times were pre-release. Post-release the player base was hit by a combination of deadly gameplay attrition factors and a completely 180-turned developer-player interaction. Ubergames effectively took a pretty sizable player base and lit it on fire while doing nothing but watch.
     
  12. The Red King

    The Red King Frostjarl
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    My friend did all the quests and said they were pretty good just the rewards sucked
     
  13. Fenrir Frauki

    Fenrir Frauki Crypt Guard
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    Any player that this game has any chance of retaining isn't logging in to do quests, and at this point in the games life every potential customer has already at least tried this game in at least one iteration or another.

    It's just flat out delusional to think that there is some next generation of fornite players that are going to give a shit about a 10 year old dated MMO. I stand by my previous statement that it's a waste of resources and what they should be doing is trying to get players to come back, not trying to attract potential new players which simply don't exist.
     
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    #13 Fenrir Frauki, Mar 7, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2019
  14. Raap

    Raap Crypt Guard

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    Lovely.

    Can we stay on-topic please?

    No amount of changes will reel in a mass surge of players for a prolonged period of time. Any Darkfall game is way past that point. What RoA (and ND if it was actually still developed) needs to focus on is closing down quit-points and removing attrition factors, while streamlining the gameplay loops. By plugging leaks you will result in more players over a longer period of time and it is this aim for stability that a Darkfall game can be sustained with, as opposed to always looking for the next big content dump (which costs a lot of resources to pull off), for that chance at a brief player surge - and then have those players leave again over time because of all the gaps that exist.

    Fixing quests and attribute progression is what you can consider a "low hanging fruit" in relative development requirements. It will not suddenly give you 2000 new players, but it will reduce the rate at which new players who do wander into this game quit due to confusion or boredom created by the lack of a decent introductory experience.
     
  15. Quin Tessence

    Quin Tessence Black Knight
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    Three things they should factor when looking into why people quit.

    Did they die?
    Did they log off near a bank?
    Did they play for 3 or more hours?

    You get the data to answer these questions and player retention becomes a lot more easy to deal with.
    You ignore these questions and the game dies a 4th time.

    When Development moves this slow and Marketing is none existent we can only hope that BPG is ready to use some Science on this bitch.
     
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  16. Raap

    Raap Crypt Guard

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    Any game developer worth their paycheck will make decisions based on metrics in addition to other factors. I certainly hope RoA devs track such statistics, if not, they should assign some dev time on making data collection systems.

    Anyhow, not to make a new forum topic specifically for this, but having put some more time into the game now, I think the progression is mostly fine where it is, minus a few pain points.
    • (Already mentioned above) Nectar of the Gods feels weird and gimmicky and should be removed, while making 75 attribute values baseline. More details in the OP but I felt like mentioning it again as it touches early progression so significantly while feeling very disconnected from the rest of the game.
    • The early game is stalled by non-skill rate factors; Easy mob title quests and tasks ask too many kills of these mobs when new characters progress beyond these very quickly. It is OK to ask more kills from mid-tier and higher mobs, but goblins, trolls, etc. should really require fewer kills to speed up the rate of progression here. You want new players to see more of the world sooner and not feel like they skip a notable reward from doing these quests and tasks (they are a completionists nightmare). I suggest cutting the kill requirements by ~2/3rd.
    • Scribing items are too uncommon, specifically manual pages and papyrus. Scribing feels like a good tool to boost some skills a bit further after doing a grind session, but these two items specifically act like a roadblock. In general, the cost in gold for these items is a bit on the high side, and for some basic things like melee attacks, lesser and greater magic these costs can be reduced to be more reasonable to a new player.
    • Scribing 'essences': Lesser magic 'essences' are far too common drops in the early game, swapping a few of these out for greater magic 'essences' will smooth out some of that early magic progression.
    • Significant cleanup required: Obsolete melee and archery specs with broken tooltips, obsolete scribing crafting recipes for removed spells, obsolete meditation options for removed spells. All of these are material, gold and meditation sinks new players can be tricked by, while missing tooltips simply add a lot of confusion.
     
  17. Scrapnotcrap

    Scrapnotcrap Obsidian Golem
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    I think you are very wrong. Questing in most mmo's is the best route for any casual gamer. I'm pretty sure that in most mmo's, you gain more XP's, more loot when you don't do quest, but playing without questing is the most boring option. In DF, questing is crap so grinding is the only option left.

    I enjoy doing quests in any game i play, especially runescape.

    ...

    One thing about dnd i wish to add, we were supposed to get an iteration of crafting orders. I dislike DF UW, but that was my most favorite feature.
     
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    #17 Scrapnotcrap, Mar 10, 2019
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  18. Raap

    Raap Crypt Guard

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    Crafting orders were pretty nice, but DF1 would lack an incentive for completing them (no prowess/feat systems). Adding a gold fee to it might make some sense but then how much gold is enough for the crafter to justify spending his or her time filling orders, as opposed to how much can you realistically ask a person making those orders to pay extra on top of the recipe costs... You'll find no easy answer here.

    Anyhow, few more hours into the game (mostly doing PvE shit), and a few more things popped up:
    • My previously mentioning item localisation issues for new players might primarily just be a case of "not enough bear-type spawns in NPC regions". After I killed my first brown bear (and later, arctic bear), I realized basic rawhide should never be a problem. What IS a problem, is the lack of such spawns and this might also be affecting cotton (no plant type mobs?). So I'll propose a simple solution, replace a few of the abundant goblin spawns with weaker bears and some variant of easy plant monster.
    • RoA does not let you jump while parrying, you can only parry after jumping. In case of double jumps while parrying, your legs do a partial animation, but you fail to double jump. This feels very weird and can get you stuck, and probably needs to be fixed.
    • I cannot believe I am saying this but, it is possible that the lack of long term advancement might be a problem. I am happy to get PvP viable quickly from a PvP perspective, but PvE feels like it goes from: Day one, you can kill goblins. Day three, you can kill fire dragons. It feels weird, too fast.
      • UW had the same problem, so as I did then, I'll do so for RoA: I'd like to suggest the game gets "[XYZ Monster] Slayer Mastery" passive skills. Replace [XYZ Monster] with mob family types, for example "Giant", "Dragon", "Ghost" or "Goblin". These would be fairly slow to progress skills but when maxed, yield a total effect of +20% more magnitude versus mobs of that family. It would be nice to also line up with slayer enchants, and ensure there is a slayer enchant for each mob family. A counterbalance to this added damage would be a small mob difficulty increase (preferably via AI improvements - including just expanding what abilities mobs have, such as more buff-others).

    Edit: Some more things that are bothersome:

    • Mob corpses still have collision detection that soak attacks, get you stuck, and prevent looting. This is super annoying, to say the least.
    • Why is daily maintenance still a thing in RoA? ND managed to make it a weekly thing. Getting these daily interruptions is fairly annoying (and occur at seemingly deviating times). I do not normally have week day play time at the current approximate maintenance window, but the fact it still occurs daily is an indication that RoA might need to do some restructuring here.
     
    #18 Raap, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  19. Neilk

    Neilk Web Development & System Admin
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    Thanks for all the feedback, just a note this happens the same time daily 12:15 PM CET but it was Daylight Savings in the US last night so it was an hour earlier for us today.
     
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  20. Mega

    Mega Stormgraive
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    DND Weapons Bar was smooth as fuck. If ROA added the same function, that would be awesome. DND weapons bar slot you could bind the spells / skills to the bar, so if you bound Q: Heal Self + Weapons Slot 1 (Fast staff) and Auto Cast on, you would only need to push 'Q' once for Weapons Slot 1 (Fast staff) and spell to be triggered. It made DND feel smother, and less chunky compared to ROA. This also allowed higher ping users to be on par with sub 40 ping players (No more miss click due to high ping) The queuing system for this function was near instant for all.

    If Neilk is for real, then my last irritation about the bind / trigger system vs DND is gone :)
     
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