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KickStarter Vigilantes: neo-noir, turn based tactical RPG

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Timeslip, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. Ainamacar Educated

    Ainamacar
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    Since the release thread is mostly dead, I'll move this conversation here.

    I think I finished the game quickly because I rarely had to rest (main character rested maybe 12 hours the whole campaign, half of those in the last 4 missions), my allies were almost never idle, and Sam pumped Presence. According to my final save I assaulted the final boss July 13th, so about two weeks in-game?

    The two encounters I enjoyed the most were the Church lieutenant with the grenades and the Mafia boss (who I arrested.) I thought those were both great. A fight against one of the Survivalist lieutenants in a cemetery, I think the one with the scoped Patriot SE, was not far behind. My first danger 2 fight (Mafia) was also memorable, but I don't recall which Vignette it goes with.

    By the way, I call this out in my review, but can I just say how much I appreciate that the game handles Alt-Tab well? It always annoys me when a game is in the background but still pegging the CPU and GPU at 60%.
     
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  2. ushas Savant

    ushas
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    Whoa, end of the week is review madness!:)

    That's interesting. We probably play a lot differently, but possibly some of it goes down to difficulty (also seems you went down pretty much the optimal path on Vigilante, others starting for the first time might not).

    On Hard Boiled, my first turn after reposition is often 'RUN!', then divide and conquer... Not arguing against more options, that would be great, only that I have a lot of use for 1-3APs already, apart using perks and saving APs. Trying to be at least incrementally mobile each turn, crouch, heal, inventory operations, a step to the corner -- shoot / throw -- step-back out of the LOS, etc.

    Investing into Fleetness and AP related perks are by far the most powerful decisions for all, some weapon modes aren't even useable without. However, the impression is that this is a design decision(?) A big part of the power grow, just in our hands to pace. Breaking point when you can shoot and usefully move is very game changing.

    Personally, I find two AP stats for transferring between turns to have strategical potential. Sure, could be more build upon, also wondering how it'd play if Max AP would increase per 3 Toughness instead of 4, for example. Though not getting why being it a core gameplay is considered a flaw?

    Hm, could it be difficulty effect? Two weeks seems early. Am getting punished for clustering on HB, although could be better (i.e. worse). Speculation: if common troops don't have them, then need to encounter more specialists who got assigned grenades - depends on leveling rate of both, troops as well as equipment, of gangs.

    Some tuning numbers would help, the jump between Vigilante and HB seems to be quite big indeed, the latter considerably longer, perhaps even twice... In the same time, I have a feeling we aren't used to self pacing much. An RPG that dares to run a simulation in the background without gating and level scaling is going to, sadly, have a harder time. To be clear, it's not meant as a criticism to you, Ainamacar, the review is great.
     
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  3. ushas Savant

    ushas
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    But... but doesn't the path of excellence demand rest in between the battles?:?
     
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  4. Timeslip Timeslip Softworks Patron Developer

    Timeslip
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    Thanks Ainamacar. It's very comprehensive, and although it's hard for me to judge, it feels very balanced. Going to make a couple of videos in the near future to address the lack of information in areas.
     
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  5. Timeslip Timeslip Softworks Patron Developer

    Timeslip
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    Appreciate the concern - Will do a round of fixes on bugs and make a few videos to clear up a few of the areas where information is lacking, then will take a break. Next time, will have the release version up for longer before release, and take a week off before launching. Really didn't expect launch to be this busy, but that's a pretty good complaint :)
     
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  6. Timeslip Timeslip Softworks Patron Developer

    Timeslip
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    Show Spoiler
    If that's the one where the churchers are burning down the neighbourhood, try bringing Edgar along if you haven't. The mafia boss encounter is different, allows you to talk the enemy down. Pretty big advantage getting rid of him. I'd really like to focus much more on the story and choice side of things when I get around to thinking about a new game.
     
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  7. Ainamacar Educated

    Ainamacar
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    I made frequent use of clustering (and wasn't punished for it), which complicates incremental movement. My general strategy was to identify cover positions best suited to each character at the very start of combat (attempting Bypass), send them there on turn one, and hold as long as possible. Since I was in cover crouching didn't see much use. Except on boss fights and the very beginning of the game I didn't have to break LOS, so step-outs weren't that helpful. Having high presence also helped, since enemies were frequently demoralized the first round, reducing the opportunity cost for not attack immediately. Even so, I was usually able to get at least a snap shot from everyone the first round.


    Early on I made the judgment to emphasize Instinct over Fleetness on my firearms allies, partially because I was unsure what base AP costs would be later in the game (but I knew what perks Instinct offered) and partially because reliably getting multiple shots (the big breakpoint in most tactical games) depends on how fast I gain ability points in practice (also unknown), whereas Instinct would affect every shot I made from start to end. It was a cautious choice based on the information available. I knew I was going to have some AP to spare, but I expected more flexibility than it actually offered. Difficulty definitely had an effect here. For example, the value of 2 AP healing is limited when you're hardly taking hits.

    Don't get me wrong, being able to transfer AP between turns is definitely a good thing, and spreading out the AP economy over multiple stats is an especially good idea. My draft review made note of this, but I had to cut it.

    I have to believe difficulty had an effect. Maybe you can check: At my endgame all enemies had character level 4 and equipment levels between 1 and 3.

    I'm not clear on exactly how enemy composition depends on danger level, but I think there is room for smoother growth and variety. Why not have a specialist appear a little early, or on a lower level mission than usual? Why not very occasionally have someone with a higher tier weapon than normal? Lose a few punks if you have to. Danger level shouldn't be strict tiers, but representative on average.

    Self-pacing is tough without an expectation of what is "typical." The tutorial goes out of its way to emphasize that enemies can strategically overwhelm you and that time is a precious resource. I took those warnings to heart so fully it probably hurt my experience a bit. I actually did build Surgery I first thing, and it had very little impact for me overall.

    I love having a simulation going in the background, but I think some level of strategic reactivity is a must. Level gating/scaling are blunt instruments, which is why they are so unsatisfying. Reactivity that supports both the narrative and mechanics is satisfying, on the other hand. (Telling or hinting to the player that these things are happening for a reason is important too.) The Long War mod for nuXCOM does this very well: when you're trouncing the aliens they focus more effort on trying to slow you down (e.g. cause a fatigue spiral) than directly expanding their own strategic interests, and at the same time their weakened position means you garner less of the meld resource. Conversely, when you are being trounced the aliens focus less on slowing you down, and their good strategic position means you garner more of the meld resource when you do succeed. These make solid narrative and mechanical sense, but also tend to push the game toward an equilibrium state.
     
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  8. Ainamacar Educated

    Ainamacar
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    I know it's not a gushing review, but I hope you come out of it feeling proud. It accurately reflects, to the best of my ability, the (mostly) good and (occasionally) bad of my experience with the game.
     
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  9. Ainamacar Educated

    Ainamacar
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    Show Spoiler
    Edgar was most definitely not along on that mission. I'll remember that for a 2nd playthrough!
     
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  10. ushas Savant

    ushas
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    It's absolutely none of my business, of course. Just appreciating a good work by wishing a good rest. Though couldn't not to notice you added one more condition, now it's bugs and videos:) (they sound like a good idea btw.)
     
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  11. ushas Savant

    ushas
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    Ainamacar, will come back to you later at night and check what you asked for.
     
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  12. Nortar Educated

    Nortar
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    It turns out you can set overwatch with melee weapons too.
    Can be handy in cases when you cannot reach a criminal with enough points to chop off his head, but you know he's going to charge you on his turn.

    I wish I knew this before I took out the cultists, mafia and half of survivalists...
     
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  13. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Heh, since the enemies magically know where you are, overwatching behind a corner was my standard strategy.
     
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  14. Nortar Educated

    Nortar
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    Another nice, but kind of obscure bit, is that some companions want to be there when you attack particular criminal lieutenants.
    If they are on the team it leads to an additional event. In case with Emilia de Soto and some mafioso, for example, it elaborated on her personal story.

    But this info is only shown on the team overview screen, under the companions key skills descriptions, so it's very easy to overlook.
    It would nice if companions would speak up when you're initiating an attack they want to be a part of.
     
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  15. Eyestabber Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    ALRIGHT, so I finished the game and it's time for my bullet point in-depth analysis of the game. Bear in mind, I played the game for 55 hours and I'm long past the "honeymoon" period, so if you're expecting to read some more "OMG, SUCH INDIE, MUCH WOW!!!" blind praise after 30 minutes of gameplay, move along. Further down the post I'll present my constructive criticism. So:

    • Before I go into a long autistic analysis of every single gameplay mechanic, one thing needs to be pointed out: the game is not overtly promoting SJWism, but it's 100% #lecurrentyear attuned. Meaning your enemies are very safe, politically correct targets modeled around caricatural representations of what the global media perceives as "Trump Demographics". The "Survivalist" faction is a blend of american gun enthusiasts mixed with doomsday preppers and paramilitary hierarchy and language. "Cultists" are yet another page of "those DAMN bible thumping hillbillies sure are CRAAAA-ZAAAAAAAAAY", in the same vein we've seen on every single AAA game of the last couple years. Far Cry 5, Bioshock Infinite, Resident Evil 7, they all pushed the "religious hillbillies finally decided to start killing everyone who doesn't follow their cult" trope unto the masses and Vigilantes is more of the same in that regard. Lastly we have the "Mafia" which is...well. Mafia. Again. Fine, let's move on.
    • The main problem with the 3 faction system isn't really the fact that we have 3 different flavor of Trump supporters to shoot at, but rather the fact that the difference between factions is merely a cosmetic one and they don't interact with each other in any meaningful way. No "turf wars" between the factions or anything of the sort. The game shows the factions as 3 different organizations, but they really seem to behave as tree branches of the same organization. A scripted encounter between
      Show Spoiler
      the Mafia and one Survivalist captain is the game's only attempt to show the factions even acknowledging each other's existence
      . There are plenty of examples of cities dominated by crime factions both in works of fiction and the real world (google "Rio de Janeiro" one day) to draw inspiration from and trust me: the interactions between these "people" are anything but "peaceful coexistence". I have a suggestion to somewhat patch this issue bellow.
    • Mechanically the crime factions are meant to be different, but I didn't really find it to be so. You're constantly facing off against the zerg swarm, with every different zerg brood fielding a different "Zergling-to-hydralisk" ratio. "Cultists" prefer lings, "Survivalists" prefer Hydras and "Mafia" stand in the middle, being the weakest faction due to the AI not knowing how to deal with its hybrid fighters. I've seen mafia gunmen moving out of cover to rush my guys with a knife despite having a pistol plenty of times. Survivalist goons sometimes display the same odd behavior. The main point is that the exploration & combat mechanic you see in games like JA, X-Com, Silent Storm etc is simply not there. Every single fight plays out with a portion of the swarm being at quasi-melee range and another portion being somewhat far away so you have an easier time holding your bunkers. If it wasn't for the scripted events the whole thing would become really repetitive really fast.
    • The character system leans heavily towards "gamey"/heavily abstracted. On that same note: WHY go to such lengths to avoid calling your stats "Strength, Constitution" etc? "Prowess" is just strength but less intuitive. But most importantly: "leadership" is a questionable stat and "utility" is 100% certifiable terrible design. Let me tell you why.
    • "Utility" in vigilantes is not "intelligence" and it's not even a proper "the supporting character's main stat". Utility governs primarily your amount of "utility slots" and secondarily boots some support skills and fills the prerequisites for perks of the "medic" archetype. If you played nuXcom then you probably see the relationship between being a medic and having lots of "utility slots". The problem however is that this is not what utility slots are. Smoke grenades, medpacks and other stuff are not "utility items". In vigilantes "utility" means "stat stick". To make an easy to understand comparison: imagine you're playing some generic medieval fantasy game with magic rings, cloaks, belts etc that can stack with each other and they all give you like "+2 to hit". And then you have a base stat that governs how many of those items you can equip at any given time. That's what "utility" does in vigilantes. It's bad from a "simulationist" perspective and it's also bad from a stricly metagaming perspective because it only aggravates the "spread too thin" problem that usually plague supporting characters by forcing them to invest in a stat that has no synergy at all with their supposed "party doctor" role. Inb4 "but muh med-stick": you only need one slot to equip that one. My honest advice on this one is "take it back to drawing board because it's fundamentally nonsensical", but if you REALLY want a quick fix, I have one bellow.
    • "Leadership" is almost as bad as utility, but not as high up there because 1) it's basically the game's "charisma" stat and 2) "All out offensive" is in the game, which gives you at least ONE good reason to use this stat and 3) "Party CTH bonus" is a strong enough passive buff that actually is capable of justifying the heavy investment. The "squad leader" archetype is obviously filled by Arcadi in the game, which further diminishes the stat impact. "But you can make a PC-leader if you want!". Yes, much like you can drink bleach if you want because Arcadi has the best companion perk in the game which gives everyone not one but two "tears of denial" from Dark Souls. Each and everyone of your guys. And Arcadi starts already heavily invested into Leadership, so you either a) make him your leader (and ignore the stat on everyone else) or b) display the problem solving skills of the average gaming journalist. Answer me an honest question: if the stat got removed from the game and all perks rolled into the "Misc" category with only a "Presence" and a level requirement, would the game change in any fundamental way other than forcing Arcadi into the player? No, it wouldn't. That's how poorly thought out the stat is: its removal would actually increase player options instead of reducing them.
    • "Relationship with Sam" is an interesting mechanic and it does seem to work, but the game makes zero effort in being transparent about its effect. Actually, I found a bug with Arcadi since his leadership went down a point when I maxed out relationship with him. It's quite clever that the best gunfighter NPC in the game, stronk black wahman Elena Furey (because, of course :roll:) also happens to be the "party psychopath", preferring lethal over non-lethal. It's a very good idea since it makes getting the good ending a bit harder, but the numbers need some tweaking and the fact that the 2 pacifist NPCs (Emília de Soto and Ray Case) don't seem to be bothered by deaths caused when they are not on the strike team coupled with the fact that their stat distribution is garbage the conclusion is that we can just perma-bench them while Furey goes on a trigger happy murderspree with impunity.
    • The game needs to provide better feedback to the player on where their stats and skills actually come from. I know facilities/relationship/certain events provide boosts, but I have no idea whether those are being properly applied into my stat sheet or not. It's something that really frustrates me about an otherwise solid game: while Vigilantes upholds the most nonsensical RPG tropes (like rushing a sniper with a baseball bat :roll:) it fails to adhere to the good quality-of-life related conventions of the genre for fuck all reason. A tooltip on every stat telling the player not only what it does, but what current buffs and debuffs are affecting it would be nice. Important information such as AP breakpoints should absolutely show up somewhere. A control scheme that doesn't feel like hotkeys were randomly chosen would be nice. And visual confirmation of the player's moment-to-moment gameplay choices would've been very nice. If you can't afford a new animation of a guy limping after being shot in the legs, at least bring back the good old "Combat log" and write something like "Bandit moves to cover, but fails to reach it because he is bleeding from his waist down like a stuck pig". Literally anything that can push the player away from feeling "ahn...I think my choice did something. I guess. Hopefully, maybe?"
    • The tactical choices in this game are many but no thought was ever given into why the player would chose something other than "right click the nearest zergling" as his action on any given turn during any given fight. Whenever you include tactical options such as buffs, debuffs, crowd control etc you must always consider the opportunity cost of these actions. And 9/10 times each and every one of these "super awesome and taticool" ways of spending AP is simply objectively inferior to just attacking. Here is the most comically bad offender of the bunch:
    [​IMG]
    Are you guys for real? 1 wasted perk point would grant my squad leader the PRIVILEGE of raising CS against one enemy by the incredible amount of 5%. Like...COME ON, DID YOU PEOPLE FLUNK MATH AT SCHOOL OR SOMETHING!? This is objectively worthless, much like that one that makes your equipment degrade 33% slower. The only reason anyone would ever bother picking this thing is if he never bothered reading the rest of the available pool of perks and even if he does pick insult because he is blindly picking Leader perks for Arcadi, the player will quickly realize this "ability" isn't even worth the mouse movements required to use it. And it even has a 2 turns cooldown because, why not at this point? Sorry, but the only "Insult" I see here is to the player's intelligence. Other options such as smoke/fire grenades have only niche utility on the early game, and then become useless as soon as everyone's ability to deal damage picks up the pace.
    • The bottom line is that death is the best negative status ever and any form of debuff/crowd control measure should be measured up against the choice of simply going for the kill. Furthermore, negative status must have drastic and easily noticeable effects, otherwise the player is just gonna go ":hmmm:" and auto attack next time, forgetting the debuff option is even in the game. Same thing with aimed attacks. I only ever used headshots and only when I had both CTH and 1AP to trade for damage, because at the usual situation of having 8 AP and a target at mid-range, 2 snap shots is the obvious solution and there isn't even an argument to be made for aimed shots. And even on the odd occasion you'll even bother with aimed, you'll never go for legs/arms shots because the debuff is comically irrelevant and not worth 1AP + reduced THC.
    • Base building is Farmville tier, but at least your choices of what to build first do matter since the facilities unlock new crafting recipes and provide bonuses to core stats. It's a fine system. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to hate either.
    • Durability mechanics are a pointless annoyance that only punishes the player for forgetting to press the "repair all" button. There is no decision making OR resource management attached to durability, it only comes down to remembering to press a button or getting punished with hilariously high odds of weapon jamming. Here is tip: JA2 had durability because it forced you to have 1) an engineer capable of doing the repairs and 2) a consumable item to pay for the repairs and 3) IIRC some items couldn't be repaired at all. All those things relate to strategic decisions on the player's part. Remembering to press a button is not my definition of "quality decision making" and durability could be removed from the game without any major impact. Oh, and let's not forget the useless perk whose only effect is reducing the punishment for forgetting to press a button. :hmmm:
    • About the map, I have one praise and one criticism. When I first started the game and looked at this:
    [​IMG]
    I immediately went :bounce::bounce::bounce::bounce: thinking I would get to see an amalgamation of handcrafted maps coming together to form a memorable fictional city. Boy was I wrong. Each and every sector doesn't really correspond to a map, but rather to an RNG selection from a pool of random maps that may or may not be stacked towards a particular map depending on the sector. It might be totally random for every sector, who knows. The point is that you can fight in a graveyard located in sector X# and then fight on the same graveyard on sector Y#. In short, it's the exact same nonsense from NuXcom. On the flip side, I do like the idea of having surveillance operations revealing enemy presence in each sector, thus giving the player an opportunity to "look before you leap".
    • Actually, the Gang Screen is probably the best thing about the game. Vigilantes implemented an "invasion progress" mechanic that responds (at least in theory) to player choices in a very organic and satisfying way. I have nothing against Xenonauts "calendar system", but I feel like a system that the player can actually interact with is superior by definition. I have some suggestions on how the system can be improved upon bellow.
    • The crafting and itemization is...above average. Thankfully the developers didn't follow the "crafting = garbage collection simulator" trend and kept materials at a reasonable amount. Itemization is nice and it DOES showcase that some weapons (eg rifles) are simply better and can't show up from the get-go, which is good. The inclusion of special items that can only be looted off the bodies of defeated criminal captains/bosses is a very nice touch, much like the endgame craftable weapons that are both distinct looking and extremely powerful. Like proper endgame gear is supposed to be. Could it be better? Sure. We could've had more ammo options instead of "regular/+1", we could've had attachments instead of the nonsensical "utility items" system, but overall the itemization is miles above shit like D:OS2 and Wasteland 2 (release version anyway).
    • The injury/medbay/resting system is also very good. It just needs some tweaking of the numbers due to the fact already pointed ITT that Vigilante diff is braindead easy while Hard-Boiled is an insane race against ridiculous number bloating. The system is fundamentally good, it just needs a fine-tuned difficulty level to work with. Still, the medic archetype is gonna remain being garbage as explained above. And for your own sake: don't confuse "medic archetype" with "investing into the medicine skill". When I use the word "archetype" I'm clearly reffering to a build centered around a primary stat and relevant perks unlocked by said stat. Something that doesn't work because the utility stat...lacks utility. +M
    • Shop system is also cool, same with the newspaper. I won't go into details on why I think melee is garbage and fundamentally flawed in this game because I intend to make a thread for this topic alone and I don't want to single out Vigilantes because the game is just reproducing a bad trope other games also implemented with results varying from "meh" to "fucking idiotic garbage". Suffice to say Vigilantes doesn't solve any of the problems faced by melee builds and if anything made their lives worse with the way its system is designed. But that's a topic for another autistic wall of text.
    Well, I guess that covers it! I went over every single noteworthy mechanic in the game and said my piece. Now I need a break. Next post: constructive criticism for a future DLC/Expansion Pack/New Game. :positive:
     
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  16. ushas Savant

    ushas
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    You were probably putting enemies down faster than they were able to deal significant damage/losses to your side, right? This aspect is different. You guys have a point that on Vigilante nuances might not matter as much, opting for dealing damage being the most efficient. However, when they can deal bigger punch and/or I can't eliminate targets fast enough, then I start to think more about survival, not to get surrounded etc...

    It's initialy quite tight AP system, isn't it. A lot different to Silent Storm, for example. The path you took isn't bad at all, less missing in the first half of the game and you can get The fastest gun perk earlier. It's just that the decision to be better gunner earlier is in exchange of other things, like being able to do more actions.

    Yeah, whereas I heal A LOT, this team is constantly short of medpacks.

    Checked a save nearest to your ending date, 15th July: Our level is 11, all gangs have character level 9 and they vary in equipment level 1-3. I think (don't believe me), on each level up there is a chance a common troop becomes a specialist (also when they flee they get promoted, bastards), so in your play they didn't get many opportunities. There are also some initial specialists too, perhaps a good point to add more for Vigilante. On HB I encountered some battles where even half of them were specialists.

    Not sure about this, but it might go something like:
    Higher Danger level -> enemies getting damage or other buff
    High Wealth tile -> +1 equipment tier above gang's equipment level
    Crime -> influences number of enemies in the battle

    Some more info to compare experiences:
    Show Spoiler

    The last save I have is from 25th July: Our level is 18-19, gangs 14-15 (getting more ahead!), equipment levels 2-4, have around 30 battles in overall behind. We managed to put down two rackets between those two saves and started to target higher danger sectors. However, I tried to tackle a lieutenant several levels back and that wasn't viable. Three times of enemies, all of them much more HP and doing twice damage, better equipment, half being specialists, spread all over the map, with us in the middle! I had no other option than to go back and go grind for more levels. I dare to guess such prolonged HB playthrough wasn't Timeslip's intention. IIRC it was always about preferring to offer rather shorter experience than overstaying welcome.

    A few basic suggestions / feedback if useful for some later balance patch:
    1) Less enemies, something like -1 across the board or more, rather have occasional spikes? I had some interesting situations, but more often high numbers just prolong the battle, more killing the same on lower and more running in circles on higher difficulties.
    2) Reinforcements aren't always good. In general, numbers are more dangerous early, coming later is more towards battle prolonging.
    3) Any present difficulty related HP and damage enemy modifiers contribute to the need for grinding. Would suggest, instead, more buffs being provided by lvl2 rackets. To give us some initial breathing, while making rackets more important across all difficulties.
    4) Let us craft Tier 1 Trauma Kits out of Medical Supplies when having Surgery 1

    Above are some factors am not happy about, about grinding on HB, but apart that must say the release version of HB is one of the most satisfying ones I played. It was great being forced to target low danger districts initially, money tight at the start, Cuda later teasing us with better weapon goodies while I was saving for a facility upgrade :argh:Good... Enemy leveling rate on HB feels the best so far. If I'd fully rest after every battle or do too much surveillance, possibly might even outlevel us.


    Am with you on that. Only that my personal preference for combination of good and bad is usually towards something with potential albeit not fully realised or with underdelivered info, than the opposite.

    That Long War example is interesting. Think, in here gangs initially invest into getting richer, building rackets and upping the numbers (-> ++ crime % on districts). Once you become a high enough nuissannce to a gang, however, it starts investing more into stuff like buying higher equipment tiers, for example. Thus, in theory, if one wants better goodies from one of them earlier on, needs to massage this gang more significantly as early as possible... Haven't tested this though. It's further complicated that they differ in their preferences.
     
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  17. ushas Savant

    ushas
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    Ha! You're right, haven't paid attention to that area. Or it can trigger a diary entry? Sam relating having talk with them about it or something.
     
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  18. Shackleton Arbiter Patron

    Shackleton
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again!
    I've only been playing this for 5 hours or so, but I thought the point of the 2AP perks was to give you something you could spend your AP if you didn't have enough to attack?

    My Arkadi has 7AP- an aimed shot with the pistol is 5AP, so he could use his 2AP left for either moving or that +crit perk. I imagine later guns have higher AP requirement, does that never leave you with 2AP left over?
     
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  19. Nutria Savant

    Nutria
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2017
    Messages:
    538
    I would love it if the Survivalists were explicitly white supremacist and there were Crips in the game, since those are the two gangs that I want the guy from Death Wish to deal with impact my community, but I'm totally okay with an indie developer just making a game, not a magnum opus about man's inhumanity toward man.

    > various complaints about the strategic layer

    Yeah, I wish more had gone into that, but I paid like I dunno $12 for this, so I understand why it's not Chaos Overlords as well as X-Com.

    I unironically like this because it empowers female characters. If you have a stat called "upper-body strength" then women in your game are always gonna suck. Make it something a bit more abstract so that you can have a wide variety of characters who are viable in the game.

    Yeah, Arcadi being a good leader has me really weirded-out. Why doesn't he take charge from Sam? I get that some players want to build Sam in their own way and not make him rely on leadership, but it still bothers me. I want my Sam to be the leader for RP reasons, but putting points into him seems like a waste when having two guys with leadership does you no good.

    I try hard to have a good relationship with my people but I have absolutely no idea what (if anything) it's doing for me. This is important for weaving the player's feelings about a character into the gameplay. Like in KOTOR2 I felt really important when my companions noticed me and had +1 to some stat or something, so highlighting that in this game would be great.

    "Fiery latina" is an entirely different stereotype. Please consult Freedom Force.

    > insult is a bad perk

    This. I'd recommend doubling the effects of most perks. AP Bank and Medical Emergency are the only ones that really stand out to me as being must haves. And investor only gives you 3% per day in a game where you're in a constant race to outspend your enemies??? That's the kind of perk that should err on the side of being overpowered, so that a player can take it if they want to while knowing that it might break the game.

    Agreed, but I'd like to see higher penalties for heavily wounded characters. If 10 guys are charging at me but they're all shot and on fire, I'd like to them to not be a little distracted. Maybe they could even break and rout as a whole, not just as individuals.

    This tbh.

    It just makes me wish so bad that we could get Covert Action for the 21st Century. But I can't criticize the dev for not making the game that he didn't make.

    Anyway, I've been feeling so bad lately I didn't even want to play games, but this one actually got me out of bed. You've succeeded in creating something that's more than just a time-waster.
     
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  20. ushas Savant

    ushas
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    550
    The thing is, 2AP isn't the only currency you're paying. Apart initial investment to get a perk, during a battle you're spending also "player's precious time" currency. So, for example, if things are better to be automatized or you don't feel like the effect is worth of "your precious time" [to bother to activate the perk], then you don't feel exactly happy.

    Btw. Tag! is good to take, IIRC all damage modifiers are multiplicative.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  21. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,488
    Playing on Hard Boiled. Enemies have between 7 and 8 character level and between 1 and 3 equipment (13 july). They level up as quickly as me, although I didn't take the warning that much seriously at first so I am to blame. Went after some second and third tier battles too early, won them at a great cost to team hp, which weakened my party in the long run. Those battles were a lot of fun, felt there was a thin balance between sides until the last few turns. One tactical mistake or two or three unlucky shots were often enough to decide the fight. Melee build is not good for Hard Boiled. My Sam was effective at the beginning, but after enemies leveled up, he became the weakest party member. Gave him assault riffle and it improved his battle performance, even through his gun skills is like half of his melee skills. Wasted unnecessary money on gym facility updates.

    I am planning on attacking first level districts hoping to out level enemies without loosing too much health, although there is a chance may run maybe already unsalvageable at this point. Still, the game is very fun. I think Timeslip should look how Chinese characters look like. I saw them upside down in one occasion and in the other they were mirrored from left to right.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  22. Eyestabber Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Messages:
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    Location:
    HUEland
    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    My constructive criticism based off my analysis of the game.

    On how to improve the factions
    The main issue with the factions is that they don't feel like actual organisms comprised of actual (very bad) people with their own motivations. To be fair, even the hero Sam doesn't have much in the way of motivation and character development since...well, he saw a guy being robbed...? Oukay, whatever. The first mechanics related suggestion is to have an event similar to the robbery one called "Turf war" where you have a 3-way free for all between your guys and 2 factions, with the goal being attempting to preserve as much life as possible. As in: factions are using lethal force against each other and you're supposed to score stunning last hits and avoid as many deaths as possible.

    As for the flavor of the factions themselves, I must say I don't get why the developers included a ton of scripted events yet these events don't really tie up to anything. Some guy is getting "oppressed by the mafia" but it's never explained why and it all comes down to "yeah, my enemy are assholes, moving on". It would be interesting to see evil acts being tied to evil actors. Instead of having a whore "running from the mob", why not hit somewhat closer to the player's goals? Instead of being "the mob" it's "Leo Salvatore, the Don's pimp". Instead of a generic sob story, the runaway whore explains to you how Leo treated her nicely at first and then manipulated her with a mixture of drugs and emotional blackmail to keep her under control. So you can tie faces to stories more easily. What the game attemps to do instead is pointless: tell me a longwinded sob story about some character that is gonna "leave town" and we won't hear about him ever again, while never bothering to tie up his sob story to any villain I'm currently chasing after. Say what you will about Borderlands 2, but that game does a superb job of motivating the player to chase after Handsome Jack and look after his final showdown. Because the bad things you see happening are never "generic oppression" but rather "Handsome Jack's douchebaggery at work". Which is why you all remember his name and I already forgot all the names of villains in this game.

    On how to make "utility" not suck balls
    The medic archetype needs something useful and unique to justify its existence. Currently the "ultimate doctor perk" is a "meh" perk at best. I suggest lowering its prerequisites and adding something like "First respondent" which adds, you guessed it, "Resurrection" at the end of the tree. I would also suggest making utility more useful by maybe adding a passive "bonus to medkits" and "bonus to smoke screens" effect. That's...something, at least. But my honest suggestion is to just take the whole concept back to the drawing board. It sucks, period.

    On Leadership
    Raise the numbers all around to make the perks even remotely worthwhile. Do the math, ffs. Unlike utitlity, leadership isn't "fundamentally broken", just "kinda gimmicky"

    On the Gang Screen
    Text information about each lieutenant revealing what area they operate mostly, personality, things he likes/dislikes, signature weapon/fighting style and other random trivia would both make the screen better and the game more memorable overall. Scripted events could also update the screen with information you may not know already. Would be cool to have newspaper headlines acknowledging some of your actions like "police puzzled at the discovery of a bunch of tied up mafiosos in the suburbs district", "methadone clinic near the airport goes up in flames after firefights breaks out between the staff and unknown assailants". It would give at least some measure of "reactivity", if only in a text blurb form. Still better than the sterile system we have now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  23. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,488
    Many perks needs to have effects increased at least 4 to 5 times to be viable. Insult would become useful if the bonus was like 50% rather than mere 5%.
     
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  24. ushas Savant

    ushas
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    550
    Nah, there are more like three options:

    1. Sam is the best dedicated early/mid game leader as he is much faster to get there, esp. as a high intiative one (early team boost and leader survival). Couple him with high initiative/AP (two headshots with a rifle in first turn) sniper and you might be able to take enemy leader down the first thing in the battle before anybody else acts.

    2. Arcadi: Yeah, Stand fast (twice surviving downing) is pretty damn good. On the other hand, when you want him in every battle, won't be able to rotate more than two team members. It's tough to do missions with two guys underhealed (saving resting time). As Arcadi acts later in the queue, the team won't have the big initial punch and despite his perk it's harder for him to survive on HB.

    3. Nobody putting points into Leadership: Just one guy investing into Presence skill for interrogation. Killing path might not even need presence.

    I made Arcadi a sniper and a surveillance guy at home in the past. Or because the skill poll is separated, he can be interrogator (presence skill), while the leader Sam invests into Firearms or CC skill instead.


    As we're all honest here, not saying it's the bestest system, but I don't see this.

    Let's take a look on what happens when All out offensive perk has skill instead of stat prerequisity:
    a) If has low requirement, it's in danger to become must have -> pushing a dev to balance it down
    b) Or if has high skill/lvl requirement, we have to wait till the late game to be able to take it.

    (Btw. wouldn't your solution make Arcadi even more forced? His +3 in Leadership isn't that important as that his Presence skill increases on level ups)

    Now let's take Leadership back: When putting points into such focused stat, one is making fully counscious decision to build this character as a leader, sacrificing other stats for this. Such high investment motivates towards making leadership and connected perks to be more impactful (and we expect them to be). Other thing is, you can rise a stat right at the character creation (up to 10), completely up to you. Thus Sam can take any stat-gated perk right at lvl 4 if wish so. In other words, those perks are available at any time in game based on the stat investment, whereas skill/level-gated ones correspond to usual linear game progression (skill specialization, pacing). Hm, I don't see why the latter auto-equals to more player options. Tbh. glad we can have both ways.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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  25. Ainamacar Educated

    Ainamacar
    Joined:
    May 6, 2018
    Messages:
    22
    Very interesting, thanks. It's pretty clear that the enemy progression rate affects relative difficulty twiceover: enemy level directly, and party level indirectly. (Coincidentally, it reminds me of how the more challenging difficulties on the initial release of Pathfinder: Kingmaker buffed both enemy ability scores and their saves, effectively bumping saves twice.) At first glance it looks like Hard-Boiled straight up doubles the rate of enemy advancement compared to Vigilante, which seems pretty steep. I'd guess one could bump Vigilante enemy progression rate by 50-75% (level 6-7 by July 13th) and even if I weren't playing that well my party would probably still be level 10-12.

    The other possibility is that I accidentally played the whole game at the lowest difficulty level, and my ignominy is unending. :negative:
     
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