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MCA was checking out Age of Decadence

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MCA was checking out Age of Decadence

Development Info - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Thu 24 May 2012, 17:15:07

Tags: Chris Avellone; Iron Tower Studio; The Age of Decadence

Some of you might be aware that Chris Avellone was checking out The Age of Decadence recently, according to his Twitter. So we've asked him for his impressions because I found it interesting what kind of impressions a guy like MCA would have of the game. Unfortunately MCA had already sent a few emails filled with his professional dev feedback to Vince D. Weller. Lucky for us, Vault Dweller decided to share MCA's feedback with the rest of us peasants.
I'm going to keep playing, but here are my first impressions (I downloaded and played up until the thugs mugging the innkeeper appeared, I'll give it another shot).

- Writing is strong.
- The loading screen text is too dense to process before the load is completed, which made me feel like I was missing something.
- Like the ranges of skills and customization.
- The opening sequence, while setting the stage, seems to be only a series of "click this one option" to advance. I thought the option range with the innkeeper was fine.
- It's not clear when you first exit the conversation with the innkeeper that you need to talk to him again in order to escape the room.
- May sound obvious, didn't realize I needed to equip a weapon to attack the thugs (thought I might be able to punch). Wasn't sure what was wrong until I spent the APs to equip the attack.
- The world feels like it has a lot of flavor, and I don't feel the Roman aspects alienate the player from it.
- I liked the Black Company quote.

I'm interested enough to keep playing, and I will, perhaps tomorrow or when I get back from my trip. Thanks for the heads-up.


I gave it another go now that I'm back from inXile work for the week, and gave the Praetor a try. Feedback:

- Still loved the writing. Chatting with the Preacher and outwitting the foreign traveler (name escapes me - S___?) to learn the secret of the smelter and the blue steel was cool, made me feel clever and rewarded for choosing speech skills.
- I felt like all the skills were getting good mileage as well in conversations.
- Liked the fact the intros were different for each class (didn't realize that previously).
- Did better in combat this time because I dumped everything into sword and made sure to equip myself properly - still, died in the first merchant ambush ("hey, come see my wares") with the two thug servants.
- Praetor: When I used etiquette with Antidas to get the armor, it wasn't clear to me where I was going next to get to Dellar (?), and when I got to Dellar, he didn't give me any armor, even though it seems to have been given to me, I wasn't sure where I was notified when that happened.
- I was confused what I was doing with Linos when I jumped there from Antidas.
- The jumping back and forth to NPC to NPC is alternately helpful and alternately confusing - helpful in that it would be hard to find them again, and confusing in that the "jumps" tend to break the flow rather than help it.
- I like the non-spoken intros to the NPCs that introduce them and their roles in the city, nicely done.
- Loved the starting outfits for each class.
- Was confused why I couldn't modify my combat skills at the outset.

Other comments (interface/technical):
- The Save/Load interface is confusing. The idea of typing in the name of the save game then hitting save feels odd on the same screen as the Load option.
- The lower case "m" in the font I think might be out of place - it always seems to leave a lot of dead space to the right of it whenever it's displayed in the game.
- If you can't "Continue" your game from the opening menu, it should be grayed out, if possible.
- I didn't like the nodes that would often have one extra line below the dialogue display, which breaks the flow: it forces you from selecting the lower options, to jumping up top to scroll down to see all the text, then moving the cursor back down to the numbered selection to make a choice. Part of the dialogue standards we have at the company is making sure that every node is displayable without the need to scroll whenever possible, it's more polite to the player and allows them to focus on the conversation easier (while I don't care for it, even breaking up the text with a [Continue] at the bottom is preferable because it's easier on the player to interact with).

I was enjoying it, though, thanks - I gave a shout out that I was playing it in my social feeds in the hopes it gives you guys more hits and notice.

So, this is how genuine MCA feedback does look like. What do you think about MCA's insights?

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