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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Feature: Depths of Peril Preview

Default RPGWatch Feature: Depths of Peril Preview

June 28th, 2007, 19:46
Since my preview was mentioned in this thread, with some inaccuracies about what I stated (and since Steven politely disagreed with my findings), I think it's worth adding my 2 pence to the discussion.

Basically, they argue the RTS elements are underdeveloped (and combat is awful), and because it is underdeveloped it only subtracts, and doesn't add anything.
I never mentioned anything about it being a RTS - I said that for me the strategy elements of handling the other covenants got in the way of the main job of one's character (fighting, questing, etc) due to the frantic nature of the gameplay.

The comment at YouGamers about being unable to speed up combat is just silly - how many A/R's rely on clicking speed these days?
It's very slow with two handed weapons though, which leaves one wide open to attack. The issue isn't so much clicking speed but that combat is taken away from one's control - take Oblivion or Dark Messiah, which are arguably action RPGs, where one can decide when or when not to attack. Given that one can be overwhelmed with enemies at times, it was something that I found frustrating.

YouGamers claims Soldak simply missed the mark; they say that the game plays like a MMO with NPCs pretending to be other players…
Actually I pointed that out to be a good aspect of the game and it's something that I hope Soldak work on bringing right out to the fore.

First, I think they reviewed it - not previewed an alpha version. That said, I certainly agree some aspects could be improved - let's see what they do before release (v0.154, remember?).
Semantics. I did what I do with any game, be it in alpha, beta or final stages: tested and played it, picking out aspects that I found appeasing, displeasing, enjoyable, frustrating and so on. In the case of it being an alpha, I pointed out the aspects which I believe to be key areas that would be picked up by the general public upon release. To not do this takes the meaning out of a preview - one might as well just simply state what the title is about and if Soldak had wanted that, I'm sure they wouldn't have issued actual code samples.

If anybody wishes to reciprocate the comments, yourself included Steven, please feel free to do so here: http://futuremark.yougamers.com/foru…ad.php?t=52849 (one doesn't need to register).

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June 29th, 2007, 00:15
Originally Posted by Neeyik View Post
It's very slow with two handed weapons though, which leaves one wide open to attack. The issue isn't so much clicking speed but that combat is taken away from one's control - take Oblivion or Dark Messiah, which are arguably action RPGs, where one can decide when or when not to attack. Given that one can be overwhelmed with enemies at times, it was something that I found frustrating.
This would be the point of a two-handed weapon, no? They hit hard — but are big and slow. Did you try others? Did you mix your party with a recruit that complemented your heavy warrior - say, a faster rogue?

Oblivion and Dark Messiah are certainly action/RPGs but are a very different sub-genre to the well-understood hack'n'slash market. Better comparisons would be legion: Dungeon Siege / 2, Sacred, FATE, Silverfall, Loki, et al…none of which are reliant on clicking speed. You don't have to like that form of combat but it's a bit like criticising an FPS for being first-person.

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June 29th, 2007, 10:02
This would be the point of a two-handed weapon, no? They hit hard — but are big and slow.
Ah but that's just it - they're not! The attack speed is the same; it's the time gap between each attack that's different between the weapons. I'd expect a 2m blade to be slower to smack into an orc's head but I wouldn't expect a mighty barbarian to then stand there for several seconds thinking of England or whatever afterwards.

Did you try others? Did you mix your party with a recruit that complemented your heavy warrior - say, a faster rogue?
I did and although having party members does make a difference to combat in general (making some areas a complete breeze), it doesn't affect one's own capabilities.

Oblivion and Dark Messiah are certainly action/RPGs but are a very different sub-genre to the well-understood hack'n'slash market. Better comparisons would be legion: Dungeon Siege / 2, Sacred, FATE, Silverfall, Loki, et al…none of which are reliant on clicking speed. You don't have to like that form of combat but it's a bit like criticising an FPS for being first-person.
The lack of direct control over the combat was frustrating to me because it was at odds at the frantic nature of the gameplay, when fighting monsters and so on. I'm sure that there will be plenty of people who will like the idea that one simply selects a monster and then one's character will go off and (almost) do the rest for you, which is why I indicated that there is certainly a market for this kind of game. However, it didn't appeal to me and as with all previews and reviews, it doesn't matter how analytical one tries to be, they are always subjective assessments.

Many aspects that we're discussing here though are relatively easy to solve and there's always chance that Soldak will alter things or expand them to encompass as many potential customers as possible. Whether they want to do that or not remains to be seen but the problem with creating a title for a niche market (old school graphics, old school gameplay elements with modern twists and features) is such consumers are notoriously picky. What may seem like minor issues, little points of disagreement, can grow to be major put-offs for the enthusiasts. Anyway, this is all good for Soldak - as with any game developer, one needs as broad a range of feedback as possible to visualise what kind of potential the title has for sales. If everyone thinks your work is brilliant, then great; if some like it and some people don't, then that's still great - it just means that one's market is now a little smaller. The only time one really needs to panic is when people universally pan the project!

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June 29th, 2007, 11:28
I think we all understand that opinions are subjective. I'm also sure Steven realises that an indie online release will only reach (and attract) a portion of the market and that the feature set won't appeal to everyone (as with any game). I know you don't like the combat (and it isn't my first preference, either) but to dismiss a combat system used in many hits as "niche" is simply missing the point. I don't have a problem with the fact that you don't like it but I think you've misunderstood how popular hack'n'slash action/RPGs are, which more or less all use the same combat fundamentals.

That doesn't mean Peril will achieve the same heights as, say, Titan Quest - but the combat system surely doesn't relegate it to obscurity. Whether Soldak will get the fine details right (such as balance issues, like speed of attacks), which will make all the difference in the end, is simply too early to tell.

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June 29th, 2007, 12:11
The lack of direct control over the combat was frustrating to me because it was at odds at the frantic nature of the gameplay, when fighting monsters and so on. I'm sure that there will be plenty of people who will like the idea that one simply selects a monster and then one's character will go off and (almost) do the rest for you,
I saw STeven address the combat critique at rpgcodex and here, saying there are passive traits and active traits. If you build up the passive traits then combat will be very hands-off, if you build up the active then combat will be very active and twitchy.

I, of course, haven't played it, just pointing it out for clarification. If a person doesn't like click-it and forget it combat, then build up the active traits and take a more active role in combat clicking a lot.
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June 29th, 2007, 15:30
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
I saw STeven address the combat critique at rpgcodex and here, saying there are passive traits and active traits. If you build up the passive traits then combat will be very hands-off, if you build up the active then combat will be very active and twitchy.
That's correct. The only thing the game automatically controls is your basic melee attacks, everything else is controlled by you. You completely control when you use your active skills and all of your spells.

This does effect all of the classes a little differently though. A warrior with no skills whatsoever (which is impossible) will mostly fight on his own, but the mage gets almost all of his damage from spells so the automatically melee is a very small part of the combat. But I would expect most people to have at least a few active skills, especially since all 4 classes each start with one active skill.

Oh, and as for the weapon speed, I sped up all of the weapons and especially the two handed weapons a week and a half ago.

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June 29th, 2007, 15:42
I know you don't like the combat (and it isn't my first preference, either) but to dismiss a combat system used in many hits as "niche" is simply missing the point.
I never said that the combat system was niche - I said that the market that this type or style of game is aiming at is niche. For example, regardless of the size of the developer, the looks alone will put people off; not because it uses an isometric system but simply because they're not particularly good compared to bigger budget titles (developer size something that the general retail market doesn't really care about). There are other elements to the title that pushes more into a niche category: the storyline being removed from the quests and tasks; the size of each play area; the design of each play area; handling NPC decisions in a small town whilst fighting elsewhere; none of these are necessarily negative aspects but they all conspire to place restrictions on what kind of consumer is likely to go ahead and buy the game.

I don't have a problem with the fact that you don't like it but I think you've misunderstood how popular hack'n'slash action/RPGs are, which more or less all use the same combat fundamentals.
I'm well aware as to how popular they are but we're not actually addressed the same issue here - I'm pointing out that it's the length time gap between each attack, not the length of time of the attack itself, that's the problem. A slow weapon should swing slow - not at the same speed as a "quicker" one. Maybe I've forgotten titles that have used the same system but it's not a sensible or logical design for the modern market; in 2007, would you expect a game to have the same animation system for all hand-to-hand attacks, with time gaps used to differentiate between the sizes of weapons or would you expect there to be different animations or even just animation speeds to highlight how one weapon can be slower than another.

Whether Soldak will get the fine details right (such as balance issues, like speed of attacks), which will make all the difference in the end, is simply too early to tell.
Perhaps but the fact that the game has been in made in such a way already shows that these were planned and design gameplay mechanics. Naturally there's the possibility that it could all change over time but Soldak obviously want it to be this way.

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June 29th, 2007, 16:04
Oh, and as for the weapon speed, I sped up all of the weapons and especially the two handed weapons a week and a half ago.
Which will probably better suit the hectic nature of the battles. Are there any other significant changes you've introduced since that particular alpha version which you could tell us about?

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June 29th, 2007, 16:51
Originally Posted by Neeyik View Post
Are there any other significant changes you've introduced since that particular alpha version which you could tell us about?
That really depends on what you consider significant. Things change really fast during alpha and beta, especially on smaller teams. Just looking at my done log shows that I have changed about 400 things since I made that preview build (and that's just my changes).

Here's some of the things that I remember off of the top of my head: the npcs now chat about the dynamic events in the world, weather is better, covenant relations has been improved a lot, the pathfinding has been improved even more (you should never get caught on a bush anymore), the font is much more crisp, more of the playable storyline is in the game, gifts/demands/trade from the other covenants are now easier to distinguish, and monsters now show their level. That's really just a small amount that has changed since the preview build.

Oh, and the basic attack animations for 1 handed and 2 handed weapons are different animations just for the record.

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