The diary of UO scrub

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Preacher
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The diary of UO scrub

Postby Preacher » 05 Nov 2015, 12:33

I am an avid Ultima Online player, that spent almost decade playing it until moving on, and thus - looking at Das Tal, i cant avoid to look through my UO experience. MIND THAT IS LITTERALLY DAY ONE EXPERIENCES OF NEWBIE PLAYER, NOT DAS TAL VETERAN, albeit in this day i leveled, fought, crafted, sieged etc.

The games are on first glance somewhat similar, in reality absolutely far apart.

To make it easy, i`ll try to categorize the impression by specific points:

- Purpose.

What is the purpose of Das Tal game? What does it try to achieve? Ultima is without question, a proper online World, from capital letter, with main goal being immersion - and all gameplay mechanics, be it trading, crafting or PvP being just how players use tools given to them.

Das Tal on other hand, seems to aim to be a multi-instance/worlds combat aimed game, with limited session time (since scope of achievements is rather small, and only thing making it refreshing in idea is another world/ruleset) - much like currently in development game Crowfall.

It casts aside anything "sandbox" and non-combat relevant and pretty much (like Darkfall, which is one of its problems) focuses not on the world, but entirely PvP oriented MOBA-like (as claimed by developers) experience. The key points of it are PvP fights and strategy resource management, thats it. Full loot in this game, or even permadeath in future rulesets arent having the same effect as they would be in proper "virtual world", as are absolutely expendable and expectable. The reason why it was important in UO and DF - since there was proper economy, led by crafters, traders and gatherers, with resources and time to produce/achieve some items having value. Not so here - it plays more like strategy game where you earn resources to produce units (in this case yourself/clan mates).

That would be great short table top game. The problem right now, its not short MOBA-minigame or PvP/RP, or strategy tabletop session. Its no different in gameplay from other games, while its core elements actually are worse than many existing products, and core gameplay does not give an answer to why should player play THIS game. Some elements are quite fun, but they are also present in other games, and for not-real MMO/not-real Moba/not-real Session game - the core problem of this game is its TEDIOUS.

It removed gathering and simplified crafting, but did not remove grind in opposite to claimed. The core gameplay mechanics from capturing points to sieging all require time from player - from 5 minutes to hours. The combat is monotonous and currently there arent really many goals to work towards to aside from masterin different "classes".

The strategic goals, for clans or personal - are too simplistic. There are Sieges? So are in many other games. There is PvP? So as many others, and atm quality of combat itself is not satisfactory to compete. There is full loot, permadeath? Nice feat to attract oldschoold players like me, except this game is not Sandbox, not at all (aside its map being mediums size piece of sand desert..).

So, why will players play it? It lacks the purpose, and imho, needs to either profile sharper into the shorter-term PvP MOBA, or gain depth to be proper sandbox. Being in the middle, it doesnt seem to be very attractive.

Combat
PvP games can live by fun combat alone - fact. Everything else could be ignored, as long the combat system and fights are fun.

Well.. how do i say about this game.. i`ll account it as early Alpha-version, but right now its not appealing at all. Initial attraction of "hardcore full loot full PK" game is nice, but the combat system is very simplistic and even compared to simpliest analogs in multiplayer/singleplayer games is very fubar.

First of all - good combat requires player skill. The good PvP combat is where better player wins, not better equipment, often not better numbers.

Ultima Online was somewhat unique game in that aspect, since it still beats most even modern games in terms of skilled combat:
- it did not really separate people in classes, having somewhat even ground for most
- equipment was not the key role in play (it did play a role, but skilled naked mage could still beat few noobs in good armor)
- the higher speed movement (horseback combat) and utilization of Line of Sight, Interruption of enemy spells, Hiding etc. allowed trully great combat, where skill played primarily role, landscape was utilized 110%, timing, los and movement were everything.

Alternative versions of "skill" vere unique in many other PvP games:
- Age of Conan had real "dance with swords around the enemy", with awoiding attacks and directional combat where movement, timing and avoiding was everything.
- Darkfall required real aim, stamina and mana management, and a lot of group tactics. Melee combat was not Mount and Blade tier of course, but still required high skill.
- Classic tab-targeting MMOs "skill" is based mostly around correct rotations, ability team synergy, balance of attack/cc/healing.
- MOBAs are resource management competitions, as well defence/offence structures utilization, which is lacking in Das Tal - where MOBA mechanics work well since you are under defence of Towers and can raid and retreat, it doesnt work that way here.

Currently the combat is simple version of most topdown/isometric action/pvp games, except not as fun.
- even Diablo and upcomming Lineage:Eternal are in same segment and blast Das Tal away in that aspect

Its more Dink Smallwood like than what i`d expect from fun Moba-like combat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cdw6ckqvZ0

I am sorry, but even weaboo children games liek Survival Project have better "combat", Lineage 1, Diablo 1, Myth of Soma etc. Not even mentioning proper "moba`s".

To make Das Tal combat more engaging, needs really improve dynamic/avoidance - add "side step/strafe jump" for all classes (thus Stamina bar possibly), possibly pre casting (fire on mouse release). Possibly add "acceleration" stat, so that you dont move constantly with same speed, and could not stop instantly.

Targeting is all "skillshot" as claimed, except the only skill currently required is not to hit own team mates - half the abilities being AOE, meaning, not to shot at all. The fact that its not true projectile shooting, i.e. - you cant avoid the projectiles, make it worse and robbing it of more depth - you can get out of line of fire and thats it. Imho it needs some point targeted abilities, instead of line targeted, where projectile flies in arc, and not straight. And not limited to short distance "free fly" projectiles.

As for combat, strafing/blocking/reflecting/interupting mechanics of some type. Right now it halfway works in group combat, but not sufficient for fun solo/small group combat engagements.

Skilled combat is not: "see enemy - be a counter class/equipment - do correct rotation", but "engage enemy - predict - avoid- block -counteract - create opening (by movement or putting him on CDs)- hit" where landscape is more utilized, movement plays bigger role (aside from escaping).

For example simple way to make melee combat more fun - is to add bonus damage in back attack/side attack, and give people enougth movement to actually utilize it i.e. - circle around each other. Additionall instead of instant cone attacks, give animation to melee hits, so that enemy can sprint out/teleport.

Overall imho, half the combat problems would be fixed if there actually was such thing as "sprint" using stamina. Teleport/movement speed abilities are not replacement of it, as managing position/stamina resource is also part of skileld combat.

- "Moba".
It appears that Das Tal aims to be "Moba-ish" game, however in this case it basically means:
-different "classes" for players, to make gameplay not get boring. Currently, its different weapon/armor sets giving their respective abilities. Pretty much akin to GW2.
-limited Map (also larger than normal MOBAs), strategy and resource management elements.

Moba also usually means "session game" requiring from 15 to 45 minutes play time, in Das Tal however it does not apply, and its one of the main downsides. Being semi-presistent game, it runs 24/7, for "victory" requires as much presence as possible and is quite time consuming, which imho for indi-level project is not affordable. There are and will be Das Tal enthusiasts - but the only real audience tham imho is attracted to it are hardcore Shadowbane/Darkfall/etc. audience, that plays it "to win", competting with others - mostly clans. The others are simple PKs, but lets be honest - why go PK here when UO free server, path of exile etc. offer better experience?

So who really will be ready to spend hours over hours in a half-baked game requiring your full attention? (aside from IKshadow, who already requires us to wake up in 4AM since someone captured something at night..).

Answer is - many, actually. But with big BUT - there should be clear victory conditions. People are ready to play this game as SESSION game, get a new map, start from new, raise resources, achieve clear victory conditions and defeat enemies and WIN. Considering ability to create own rulesets and maps - with different range of time from 1 day to months it should work. Than when in a mood to play again, they play a new map. Currently however - in persistent world, any player/clan playing will get burned out very fast - not even better game like say Darkfall/Archeage are devoid of it. To motivate players you need to set CLEAR, Time limited, directly achieved conditions to WIN. The clan ranking is nothing that is paid attention past novelty. And those conditions better not be just "get x score", since it will result in very soon one leader getting far ahead and otehrs loosing all motivation.

Motivation wise, in hybrid of Moba/MMOs prime example atm are:
1) Character collectibles. You play more to unlock more characters. Thats the basic motivation for most players on their own. For example Sword of the New World (Granada Espada) where you unlock new characters as progress, Skyforge etc.

Das Tal has this partially in form of weapons/skills, but atm its more "team fortress classes"/COD loadouts than unique collectible characters. There should be move variety, even if some repeat the same role - but that seems already planned for future, with introductino of more weapon/armor sets. Not sure however if it`ll be able to serve as long term motivation for players.

2) Perpetual progression - examples being Crowfall/Skyforge. Crowfall has "session worlds", but perpetual Clan progression. Skyforge has "session maps", but perpetual, pretty much unlimited Character progression.

Balance wise, for pvp game its important that such progression does not affect much combat capacity of players, since otherwise it will be uninteresting combat. But there should be something for player/clans to aim long term if they plan to buy this game and play it for long.

For Das Tal, i`d suggest something as simple Dune/CnC strategy map, where you capture regions by winning "sessions".
Image

Graphics
Ok, its alpha version so not judging its harshly. Plus, graphics is not the most important thing in pvp game. That said, Ultima Online, Lineage 1 and Diablo 1 look better. The main first comparison to Das Tal that comes to sight currently is Dink Smallwood..

With the limited developer resources its ok, though art/character style could be better suited - but thats subjective. Just an example of other small game, that managed to get both gameplay and style perfect - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoLkTehqecA

Strategy
Need a lot of work. There is objects capturing/sieges mechanics, but its very raw for now. In ideal, aside from those mechanics, it would be great for clans to be able to place objects on map/barricades/fortifications (tower from which you can shoot with siege weapon for example) etc.

When player owning a stash outside of bases, is inactive for long and stash decays - give global message with coordinates sayying "at X,Y stash with X items will become capturable". After that, the stash becomes pvp hotspot, to be captured same way as other things.

Good Sieges, in general, should be not - "wait 2 hours to see if enemy attacks", but opposite - run for a time, where attackers need to perform some tasks/destroy defences in limited time, while defenders raid to prevent. ArcheAge, Age of Conan, Anarchy Online are decent examples. Darkfall, Shadowbane are ok too, though they come more to raw force. DaoC, WAR, GW2 sieges are meh.

For decent sieges need to regulate spawn points (unless playing on ruleset with permadeath/far spawns), have alternate directions/path for attackers, move combat spots from outside to inside, without increasing downtimes much (approaching, setting camps, gates, inner, fight for capture).

Summary
My impression of the game atm is - its just another free SPHERE/RunUO Ultima online emulated server, with Admins introducing own mechanics/scripts to create their unique form of gameplay. There are hundreds of servers like that, i was scripter for one of them so know how much they deviate and things are changed - all the things here: permadeath, sieges, points capture, dozens of different classes/weapons/skills mechanics people length did. And right now, Das Tal is inferior to the most polished of those.

This is just an Alpha, so most things will improve, game will expand - but atm it lacks the key thing to make it success. An answer on question of WHY will player pick this specific game. Hardcore features are nice and good, but by far not unique trait. Sandbox, it is not. PvP is every new game. PKing still a lot.

Imho the key for this game to be nice is to aim to be COMPETITIVE, CUSTOMIZABLE , SKILL BASED.

At the moment the only reason i play (and enjoy) this game, is because guild and friends do. However as a product to be interested in on own qualities, it does not have enoth value (yet).

My key points would be:
- Make it more competitive, set clear win conditions for sessions. Make it not just points. For example can add even simple civilisation "build world wonder first" condition.
- Make it more time casual. Either by requiring less presence online, or by shortening sessions, or adjusting mechanics so that you`ll not be required to spend 8 hours ingame (i.e. no night capture, cap for progression and resources). (as full time game it cant compete)
- Improve combat. Improve combat. Improve combat. Many will be playing the game even the rest is subpar, as long as combat is skill based and fun. Right now however, its one of the weaker points of the game. Its interesting to PK, gang, fight in groups etc. - but the combat process itself is not. It should be lot more responsive (the 1.4 second pause of using abilities alone is painful), dynamic, and reversible (tide of combat turned at any point by correct responce. At the moment chance for player at low HP to do anything against other is near null, while even in simplest isometric action game through movement and avoidance that can be downplayed. Thats also advantage of FPS Rpgs like Neocron, LoS game like UO/AOC/Acherons call).
"90% of all PvP is always fought on forums". Niccolò Machiavelli

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IKShadow
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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby IKShadow » 05 Nov 2015, 13:23

You are being to harsh give it a day or two as lots of info you mentioned is already there.
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dbltnk
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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby dbltnk » 05 Nov 2015, 13:50

Hey Preacher,

thanks for the extensive feedback! I totally agree on the need to add sprinting / side-stepping and (potentially) positional damage. All of those are on our to-do list - though not at the highest priority current.y Not sure about acceleration/deceleration since that might make the controls feel sluggish.

Cheers & kind regards!

Alex

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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby Cedwyn » 06 Nov 2015, 10:05

To add something on 'night defense' - it is a big problem imo. Every MMO I've played that had siege/defense had this issue and it was a pain in the ass.

Age of Conan, waking up at 5am to defend a castle for 2 hours and no one shows up - all because it was the 'siege window for our plot' was shitty.

Or more recently, GW2 having 24/7 maps which required you to recruit across timezones. I was on Blackgate, top 3 server during the first tournament. We had NA, EU, Asian and Australian guilds/players so we could maintain control of a map 24/7. Arenanet said "we don't want to limit a battleground to a specific timezone as it would restrict gameplay for certain players, ie. people who play during the day"... except you penalize a huge portion of your player base to accommodate to 'day players'.

Global Agenda had an intriguing system for clan battles - tournaments would play out at a specific time every night depending on the server. There were 3 tournaments (don't recall exact times): NA prime time, EU prime time, Asia prime time. So you log on say 7pm to 12pm and the gamemap/sieges were open, but beyond that, they were closed.

Preacher does bring up a point that would make this game a lot more fun (IMO), which is the moba (multiplayer online battle arena) - instead of a persistent map, you have a server-based map rotation (ie. FPS) which would add a good amount of replayability. Mirrored maps or specifically designed maps, with 2 or more teams, either pre-determined or determined on server join. Similarly to how FPS clan battles work, you could have a 'guild' join a server, select a map, organize teams and begin the match. The match could be any sort of mini-game based on time requirements: from a small 30-minute FFA or CTF, to a long 4-5 hour siege/counter siege/battleground type map. If you want to add persistent world, then a server could 'save' a map at the end of every night (ie. gameplay is 7pm to 12pm every night for a week), then you have a persistent week-long battle that allows you to experience settlement building / upgrading / progression.

Ask yourself, "what do PVPers hate most" and typically you'll hear "gear difference". Where a FPS/Moba styled map could still accommodate gear/level progression, but doesn't prevent one team from overwhelming another team because they were able to gather/gear up uncontested / offhours. Think of something like GW2 borderland maps, with supply/tower/keep stuff - upgrade based on holding objectives, craft gear with points earned or resources gathered (like it is now), but make it simple and not persistent between games (short games, only a couple hours, so getting/upgrading gear needs to be quick).

I really enjoyed GW2's arenas because everyone had the same gear / level 80 characters. The only difference was skins of weapons/armour. Even playing field. It was nice.

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dbltnk
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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby dbltnk » 06 Nov 2015, 13:18

Cedwyn wrote:To add something on 'night defense' - it is a big problem imo. Every MMO I've played that had siege/defense had this issue and it was a pain in the ass.

Age of Conan, waking up at 5am to defend a castle for 2 hours and no one shows up - all because it was the 'siege window for our plot' was shitty.

That is exactly why we have local servers with a relatively tight siege window. No more night sieges. I'll probably shorten the current window to something like 5 PM to 11 PM.

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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby Cedwyn » 07 Nov 2015, 03:41

dbltnk wrote:
Cedwyn wrote:To add something on 'night defense' - it is a big problem imo. Every MMO I've played that had siege/defense had this issue and it was a pain in the ass.

Age of Conan, waking up at 5am to defend a castle for 2 hours and no one shows up - all because it was the 'siege window for our plot' was shitty.

That is exactly why we have local servers with a relatively tight siege window. No more night sieges. I'll probably shorten the current window to something like 5 PM to 11 PM.


Nice :P

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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby Lustmord » 07 Nov 2015, 19:27

For making the game more skillful, I really think this game needs an added stamina bar and common transfer spells- ala Darkfall and AC.
Stat management could help when facing down zergs, and it also has the added benefit of giving the opportunity for the devs to tailor some skills to attack specific pools.

I think automatic speed boost attached to leather armor is OP, and would rather see mobility tied to a Shift-Sprint ability.

The AOE on Scythes needs to be toned way down. It's absurd.
A couple times I was wearing Robes, and I used the Decoy skill. I'm invisible, running away, and the guy attacks my decoy but his weapon cone is so big he hits me anyways and reveals me. How "skillful" can it be when you're aiming at something else entirely and still hit me with your massive left-click default attack?

A common Parry/Block ability could also ramp up the dynamics of a fight, and create more opportunity for anticipation and counter-play.

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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby mysticfil » 08 Nov 2015, 01:50

A common Parry/Block ability could also ramp up the dynamics of a fight, and create more opportunity for anticipation and counter-play.


Absolutely with you would love to see more parry/block skill

The AOE on Scythes needs to be toned way down. It's absurd.
A couple times I was wearing Robes, and I used the Decoy skill. I'm invisible, running away, and the guy attacks my decoy but his weapon cone is so big he hits me anyways and reveals me. How "skillful" can it be when you're aiming at something else entirely and still hit me with your massive left-click default attack?


No, it's already hard to hit somebody a bit to far away from you nerfing the range and aoe would just make it broken.
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Sub
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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby Sub » 08 Nov 2015, 02:18

Lustmord wrote:The AOE on Scythes needs to be toned way down. It's absurd.


Everything except Ravage is single-target, just run away from where the start of the animation is and the scythe attack will hit the barrel. Doesn't Decoy's teleport put you out of range anyway?

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Lustmord
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Re: The diary of UO scrub

Postby Lustmord » 08 Nov 2015, 11:13

mysticfil wrote:
A common Parry/Block ability could also ramp up the dynamics of a fight, and create more opportunity for anticipation and counter-play.


Absolutely with you would love to see more parry/block skill

The AOE on Scythes needs to be toned way down. It's absurd.
A couple times I was wearing Robes, and I used the Decoy skill. I'm invisible, running away, and the guy attacks my decoy but his weapon cone is so big he hits me anyways and reveals me. How "skillful" can it be when you're aiming at something else entirely and still hit me with your massive left-click default attack?


No, it's already hard to hit somebody a bit to far away from you nerfing the range and aoe would just make it broken.


Range is fine, the cone is too big. You should have to aim in someone's direction to hit them.
Not just hit them because they happen to be standing within a 180 degree range in front of you.

This is also where leather comes into being OP against anyone not wearing leather. It's pretty difficult to keep range against someone with inherently faster runspeed.

Sub wrote:
Lustmord wrote:The AOE on Scythes needs to be toned way down. It's absurd.


Everything except Ravage is single-target, just run away from where the start of the animation is and the scythe attack will hit the barrel. Doesn't Decoy's teleport put you out of range anyway?


It teleports you a tile to the side, and you are left to run to make distance.
Any damage or spell casting, including blink, will break the stealth.

Like I said, I've decoyed several times, and watched the guy swing at my decoy as I'm trying to run away and I still get tagged because the cone is so massive.


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