1. #1

    Feedback fire impression, first hour

    Background: I've played 300+ hours of World of Xeen (IV+V), really excited to finally see a game like it again. I'm 10+ year professional game developer and lifelong gamer.

    First off, 90% is great and any focus on criticism is just that.

    * Character creation - I like the simplicity starting off and familiar tie-ins to the MM Heroes series. It's always nice to defer more complex decisions to later when you get to know the game.

    * Class/Skill descriptions are not just vague, they seem contradictory. "Shield Guard" is vague - is it a skill or perk and what does it even do? What is an "Advanced Class"? Descriptions should be 1/2 as long with 3x the information.

    * As others pointed out, in skill selection the interface is completely unreadable and confusing. In technical terms every button has 4 possible states instead of 2 or 3 - unselected, selected, mandatory, unavailable. No explanation of why. There's a useless label "selected/unselected" when you hover, which is redundant. Don't expect people to hover over every single skill one after the other like a blind man touching braille - just show the user everything in the interface itself.

    * Don't tell me a skill goes up to Grandmaster/master, show me. It's a headache for a user to introduce so much undefined information while they're struggling to understand the interface they're already trying to decode. If you're short on time, have a bar next to each skill showing 3 bubbles/boxes for a 3-tier skill, 4 for a 4-tier skill, etc.. Right now, you have to hover over each skill to find out, like a blind man using braille.

    * It's very hard to pick skills because their descriptions are so lacking. They read like a horoscope without a bit of substance. It's like "You may like this skill if you are into long strolls by the lake" instead of "This skill increases your defense".

    * Does heavy armor give you a bonus when using heavy armor? Does it *allow* you to use heavy armor? Do ranks let you use better heavy armor, or give you bonuses for it? What? Just say it. This shouldn't be a riddle. The descriptions would actually be better if they said NOTHING than what they say now, because I wouldn't have wasted my time.

    * The information and interface are so convoluted that I ended up quitting character creation and just using the default party. I have no choice. Allow you to edit, or at least look at the default party! Because I already know the interface of character creation, so I can compare and examine the characters in context.

    * Watching intro. It's fine, but half the length would be enough. I'm a patient man but it reminds me of Star Wars Episode 1 when I just want to play the game. The very beginning and very end were the most interesting parts.

    * Graphics and interface are beautiful. Text is a bit small, but probably necessary. It's odd that Dunstan has a voiceover for his first line, but not the next one. Oh wait, his 3rd line is narrated. His 4th line isn't narrated, but instead Dunstan's text shows with the voiceover of my default sarcastic Dwarf saying "We have a promise to honor, let's go?" I was like, what Dunstan's voice changed to baritone talking about some promise we have (no idea what) and we're gonna go? Even after realizing it was my dwarf, it still makes no sense. The problem is the dwarf exclaims this when I ask about a quest - before I even answer yes or no he says this?

    * A general and very consistent problem with the game is audio voiceovers at inappropriate timings, especially before you read something rather than after. A simple solution is to add another page to the conversation and trigger the audio on the next page.

    * There's a popup tip for hirelings when Dunstan joins. The most important thing traditional RPG fans are gonna wanna know is, does your hireling sap XP or even gold? Some games did this. So please clarify. I have to assuming not. Do hirelings fight? Tell me. Toss out the existing tip text if you have to, it's secondary. So far, every single tip text given has either been useless, non-information, or my horoscope.
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  2. #2
    * There's a fruit stand across from Dunstan. I can't interact with it, can I? Why's it there? I'm all for background, but having it there and not being able to interact makes it less immersive, not more. Most games handle this by visually de-emphasizing the background to denote it as non-interactive. I see this in other places on the town, and there is literally no way but trial and error to find out who you interact with.

    * "Space: Talk to guard". This is good and just what I wanted to know. The text however is much bigger than narration text. This disturbs the consistent look and to a small degree the text look like placeholder art. Sorry to nitpick but again, but it broke immersion. Conceptually it's fine.

    * I press 1 to finish talking to the city guard. Now there's no text. Keyboard presses don't exit this interface. How about you just exit the interface, since there's no other choice and this is inconsistent with the Dunstan encounter and RPGs in general, for good reason. The game throws too many new and implied interfaces at you.

    * I'm walking around town..where are the monsters? In Xeen you walk out the Inn and you fight monsters nonstop in about 5 seconds. In Grimlock, you figure out how to open a door and then you fight. Literally the only reason I'm playing this game is so I can start fighting. I don't mind this game taking a little longer, as long as you give me a clue and choice as to where to go if I just want to start fighting. I certainly spent long enough in character creation.

    * I walk in the door and I hear "tada! More glory!" Achievement unlocked? WTF breaks immersion agian. To loud, too out of place, and bad timing. The biggest problem is Duncan says he wants to leave at the same instant celebratory music appears, like you're dissing him. This game has a lot of simultaneous contradictory messages especially with audio.

    * Increase the amount of time you can spam forward if there's a wall blocking you. This prevents dubstepping, which again breaks immersion. The audio effect doesn't synch up when you spam forward, which adds to the problem.

    * Talking to Aiolos - at the end of one 2 page conversaion the choice is 1 - Back. Label it End or something else, it's less confusing. Back is ambiguous and could mean re-reading the previous page of the message, just like the back button on the browser or the most common meaning of back. The other meaning, "back to the main conversation menu" is programmer talk and breaks the fourth wall by making you figure out what the developers meant. In the hire conversation, choice 2 should read "No thanks" or to that effect instead of Back. At least here "Back" makes more sense because there wasn't a 2-message conversation to flip pages through. Anyways, here again I have to use the mouse to stop talking to Aiolos, instead of a 3 - Goodbye.

    * Where the f*** do I go to fight monsters? Where? I'm tempted to see if someone wrote a gamefaq for how to rush through this part of the game and start fighting. It's okay that not every player starts fighting, as long as you give a clear clue as to where to go for those that want to. What's the point of picking your race, class, and skills, if you're just going to take a stroll. Just gimme a hint - nothing else has to change to fix this.

    * In front of garrison is a guy sitting there. I can't talk to him. How about just playing audio whenever you spacebar guys you can't talk to. It would be wonderful and satisfactory, a reminder that this town isn't just Aiolos and Dunstan.

    * Oh look, Dunstan gives you a "1 - Goodbye". I love it, because that's how Aiolos convo should have worked instead of demanding a mouseclick.

    * I ask them for a job, and after choosing "How can we prove that to you" I hear a "Welcome aboard!" from some lady and Maximus joins the party. Then I read what he said. These things are backwards, so I'm being bombarded by three contradictory messages in reverse order. Someone always exclaims something, then you back up and read what happene leading up to that exclamation. Solve this by adding another message box to confirm what Maximus is about to do. And where is that lady's voice from? I see no lady in the garrison. Is it from my party? I'll never know..

    * Thank god I dumped Duncan. Duncan prevents you from getting to fight monsters, which is the whole point of Might and Magic. So..where's this well? Just give me a general direction. I'm not asking for much, most games have an arrow all the time cheating for you. All I ask is that NPCs stay in-character and at least tell you where this well is when they ask you to go there. Maximus might as well have said "Let's go to my mom's house" and just stood there waiting for you to go.

    * After several minutes of wandering, I'm still trying to find that well. Because of this, it's been just like M+M except without the monsters. I'm gonna save and quit now and hopefully next session I'll find some monsters to fight. About 40 minutes in and I just walked around. I look at my steam games: Skyrim, Unity of Command, XCom, Pacman. They all get me into a fight in 3-5 minutes, and 5 minutes seemed forever. I ended up playing Dungeonland and beating 6 dungeons in 30 minutes.

    In summary, I really look forward to fighting monsters and finding out if this game is for me. So far, I like what I see in the context of this being Alpha. What needs improvement is it should be more intuitive, a shorter introduction, and at least a hint on how to start your first dungeon. Dunstan is fine except that he prevents you from playing the game, as far as I can tell. You should have him charge money for the tour, to imply that you should only do this if you don't like Might and Magic games and literally want to take a stroll through town. Thank you!
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  3. #3
    I agree with your feedback on the character creation. I have been a longtime player of the series (albeit from MM6 days) and have put in many hours across these games. The character creation in MM6/7/8 (don't remember 9 well to be honest, wasn't a fan) was very simple and straightforward, but this one felt overly complex.

    **too many starting skills available and too few starting skill points. However, I did like the fact that it told me right away what mastery level the skills could be trained up to for a specific character. Saved me from making some poor choices.

    **difficulty in seeing which skills are selected and which are not. As the previous person said, each state should be graphically visible. If a skill cannot be selected, give in a red background. Make available skills with a gold background, and selected skills with a green. This would take away a lot of the confusion. I am playing this game on a laptop and it's very painful to have to constantly move and hover the mouse to find out the state of all the skills.

    **I thought the attributes were well-defined, but Magic and Spirit are overly redundant to be two different skills.
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  4. #4
    **start of game should have some sort of tutorial. It should explain how skills work, how you acquire new ones, should explain the minimap, and additional options like pulling up skills, pulling up the map, and leveling. There should also be some introduction to spells. Should also introduce you to combat, rather than having to wait to find a dungeon a random barrel with a spider. This way the player knows what he has to look forward to rather than trying to figure out the "point" of the game.

    **Shops: seems annoyingly redundant that I have to click 1. to barter, and then the next text menu gives me the option to 1. trade or 2. go back. I shouldn't have to confirm that I want to trade, it's not like an irreversible action or anything. that menu is not needed at all.

    **sound: similar issues as previous person. Heard a woman's voice where there was no woman - unless is came from the party? but it did not seem like it should have. Also, the effects for "quest received" and "chest opening" seem somehow out of place. They are overly loud and do not seem to fit in with the rest of the sound or music. I perfectly recall them from previous games but they just dont seem "right" in this game.

    **inventory screen: unidentified items cant be used? Personally I dont like this feature nor does it entirely make sense that I can't use something just because I don't know what it is.

    **inventory screen: to me an important part of the fun in finding new equipment is being able to see it on my character. MM6/7/8 did this with the paper dolls which was more than enough, and the fact that they had taken it out of MM9 was a large part of what made it so boring for me. Even as a 2D image, I would love to see it. Nothing else in the inventory screen would have to change, besides that when I equip the item, the character's image should reflect the change. I understand that this game is made to be similar to MM3/4/5, but we have the system capabilities now to make things look a little more interesting. I mean, even iphone games allow me to visually see what my character has equipped.

    **lag. I can;t be entirely sure what it causing this, but it drives me crazy and is the biggest turnoff for me so far. I am not sure whether this is from the uplay connection or just some sort of slow processing time, but I feel that the game should be responding quicker. It makes movement very annoying sometimes, I end up walking back and forth because my characters took too many steps.

    overall I do enjoy the game so far, but it took me a very long time to figure out the mechanics.
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