PDA

View Full Version : Brief Review, Lengthy Reports/Suggestions


Kaizoku
12-14-2007, 10:21 AM
Depths of Peril is an incredible game, highly enjoyable for any kind of game player. It is especially a pleasure for an experienced gamer who can more easily appreciate the dated yet pleasant graphics and the vision of an indie developer who clearly has good taste as a game player.

The gameplay is a thrilling combination of monster slaying, treasure hunting, and diplomacy. I would consider it a cross between Diablo II and Lords of the Realm II, two of the best games of their time/genre. Although certain desired elements are underdeveloped and/or absent, it offers a tremendous amount of great gameplay.

One feeling a person might experience while playing is the lack of multiplayer, as this type of game seems as though it should be meant for it. Instead of Depths of Peril with multiplayer, I would hope that somehow an investor might recognize how successful this kind of game could be if it were sufficiently funded and supported for commercial release and make way for a complete overhaul (i.e. new game) that would include multiplayer as well as a list of other features that I'm sure the author of this game would love to include if it were more easily possible.

Although the game has numerous quirks and some bugs, all of them are negligible and this game is as smooth and stable as most titles released by major studios. Much more stable than some. I have not played the game more than 10 hours, so some of notes may effect early gameplay only. Here's a brief list of problems/bugs:

Combat
Combat has the least bothersome flaws, which important as it is most of the gameplay, but there are occasional problems.


Attacking through doors and impassable non-wall barriers should be removed or monsters should be able to open doors, otherwise enemies simply wander about in a closed room while you kill them all from outside.

Enemy pathfinding suffers from regular anomalies. This is primarily in dungeons, and could be resolved by reducing the number of random impassable objects in hallways.

Bosses are not powerful enough. As I've observed, they are approximately 1.5 times stronger than elite monsters (which appear quite regularly) and that makes such battles rather disappointing in my personal opinion. Their strength seems equal to other quest monsters, which make storyline quests seem unexceptional if not somewhat predictable and dull. Admittedly I have not finished the storyline yet, but this is my impression as of now.

Some elite and unique monsters are far too powerful. The right combination of skills can inflict unbelievable amounts of damage, even with a low level monster. Although the challenge is appreciated, consider making a more distinct difference in power between Champion, Elite, Unique, Legend, and Boss. Of all those, I have had most difficulty with Elite and Unique enemies.

NPCs that require rescuing/escorting/delivery, wandering vendors, and wandering recruitable heroes tend to draw aggression from armies of monsters, and haven't the health to survive more than a moment. This is especially bothersome with quests, because the NPC to be rescued is almost guaranteed to die in more dangerous areas. I almost never accept those quests due to this. Consider making some NPCs flee instead of fight, or in the very least they shouldn't chase monsters.

It appears to me that spell resistance does not work correctly with monsters. I do just as much damage against a monster with +150% resistance to the element I'm attacking with as any other monster. This could be due to the fact that early game monsters have little or no resistance to magic, making percentages mean nothing.

A couple monsters had odd errors in their H-key-accessed description. Apologies for not recalling, but one was some kind of hybrid, perhaps a scorpid.


Skills:
Skills are interesting, but for the most part it seems evident which are more or less useful. This goes for all games, however, so I don't see that as a significant problem. I love being able to upgrade/downgrade skills at will, though it is desirable to have the same opportunity with stat points (for a high price of course)


Skills descriptions are difficult to read/understand. I felt that they were somewhat inconsistent in terms of what does what to who and how it all works. While most skills are fairly obvious, some (more notably Priest skills if I remember correctly) are too vague/misleading.

Parry, dodge, evade, block, and deflect are not clearly defined, and I recommend listing them somewhere so a person can know their current value. It doesn't make sense to hide this when many skills clearly say "+25 to parry," as the numeric value gives no impression this way.

Consider implementing skills that add bonuses to spell resistance (or bundle them will spell masteries for mages). Apologies if such a feature exists and I overlooked it.

I am uncertain about critical hit and critical spell hit -- I'm assuming they are unrelated figures, but in some instances what I assume are critical spell hit modifiers aren't referred to as such.

I recommend that more skills be related to one another. This encourages players to not only have a wider variety of skills, but also advantages them somewhat for diversifying.


Items
I love items, and games with treasure. This game is satisfactory in this aspect, but I do have some issues.


Loot drops too randomly. There seems to be no good or bad place to find treasure. Silver chests, bronze chests, small chests, large chests, bodies, etc. do not seem to be as distinguished as they should be. The only large chest I notice will consistently reflects its namesake in number of items contained is the end-game chest. All other chests seem to suffer from the same identity crisis as elite/unique/legend/boss do; they are all far too similar/inconsistant from a playing perspective. Consider making the difference more noticeable, and the different types of chests more or less common to encounter.

Unique and set items are underpowered. While you get the "cool" factor (which is important), I have not encountered such an item yet that will be useful for more than a few levels before basic magical equipment supersedes it. Also, consider inflating the price that NPC covenants and vendors will sell sets and uniques. As it is, such items are fairly easy (and cheap) to come by from those sources.

Item descriptions sometimes overlap or stretch off-screen. This makes them unreadable.


Diplomacy
I absolutely adore this aspect of the game, but my deep interest resulted in understanding it well enough to severely exploit. I will refer to covenants as factions, because the word comes too naturally for me!

NPC factions are far too easy to play against each other and exploit for influence/crystals. This is most easy with lvl 100 factions, but possible with all levels. I was able to have alliance victory (complete, not partial) against lvl 100 factions as a lvl 6 character. You may already know, but here's how it works: As soon as the game begins, rush out and do numerous quests. Then, with the accumulated influence, donate the entire amount to a faction and form an alliance. Then declare war on another faction, which will consequently put your ally at war against them as well. Immediately make peace, which will result in your ally being at war with them but not yourself! (This in itself is a bug, since you should be at war with any faction your ally is warring with. I will list the bugs separately below, but continue with my story here) Then, wait a while for relations to degrade between the warring factions, which will be fairly rapid. From that point, your ally should have enough crystals to want to form trade routes with you. Form the biggest route that you can. Contact the faction they are at war with, and offer to break the trade route in exchange for as much influence as you can get. If the factions hate each other enough and the trade route is big enough, the faction will give you ALL of their influence and crystals (even if the influence amounts to millions) to break a trade route, and you can simply re-establish it right away with minimal impact on your ally's trust. Eventually it is possible to make all factions friendly to you, and enemies with each other. This makes it possible to exploit all factions for their influence and crystals. Factions with very little influence and crystals appear to be less likely to start wars and more likely to cancel them. It's only a matter of time before no factions are at war and you can bribe them all into becoming your ally. With enough influence, you will be the most powerful faction and win the game against enemies more than ten times your level!

Now for the diplomacy bugs:


When covenants are at war with each other, the diplomacy screen becomes extremely sluggish and unresponsive (for my computer, 1.8ghz Turion 64x2 dual core laptop). There are other conditions beyond war, but that is the most obvious culprit.

You can make peace with a covenant your ally is at war with (which violates the terms of alliance).

Broken trade routes with a friendly covenant for their enemy's sake can be restarted immediately, and this appears to have no negative impact on the covenant that you promised you would break the trade route for.

Despite being eligible for a huge trade route, you gain more relation by establishing trade routes step by step from tiny to huge as opposed to establishing a huge trade route immediately. I feel that establishing a huge trade route from none should give as much relation as this process.

Breaking and reforming trade routes using the above two processes can result in more relation with both the covenant you are breaking the trade route for and the covenant you are breaking the trade route with. Of course this is only possible with covenants that like you to begin with, as otherwise they will not form a huge trade route, however this is still a method for infinitely maximum covenant relations.

Buying/selling and item that a covenant likes over and over again gives better relation bonuses than simply donating funds to them.

For whatever reason, some covenants will try to trade you the same again and again if you continue to reject it, more than five times as I have experienced. This goes even covenants with no trait that affects trading.



That's all I've got for now.There are many features that I would love to see added/expanded in the game, but I'm sure you have plenty of your own ideas and player suggestions as it is. Again, I apologize for any error or anything that might be confusing to read. Also, apologies for not having bug reports in the bug report forum, but this thread has a lot of everything so I felt that it's best suited for this location.

Shadow
12-17-2007, 04:36 PM
This is a very good write up, Kaizoku. I'll look into a bunch of these issues and see what I can do about them.

Kaizoku
12-25-2007, 05:59 AM
I hope it helps. Also, I am able to blast through the game without even the slightest effort by asking a level 99 covenant to adventure with me. You may want to have it so that the player level is taken into consideration for this -- The lower your level is compared to theirs, the more they will demand, up to the point of outright refusing to adventure with a player whose level is more than 20-30 below theirs. With my level 99 ally I finished all story quests with a level 18 mage, if I remember correctly.

And on this topic, if you are adventuring with another covenant and you're on the quest to collect nightshade or some-such to weaken Ciglio, your ally will attack you if you pick up the nightshade due to the poison damage. I'm under the impression that the AI interprets it as self-inflicted, and therefore an attack on his or her party. War is immediately declared, and the NPC covenant will attack you. Imagine my surprise when my level 99 ally decided to slit my throat all of the sudden. This bug is consistent, and will occur every time.

Shadow
12-31-2007, 11:45 AM
I'll look at both of these. The second one is kind of funny. :) If you pick up that poisonous object and hurt yourself, I'll kill you!

Kaizoku
01-03-2008, 07:01 AM
The bug was kind of fun, aside from the death factor.

If you need any suggestions or more bug hunts, let me know. It's a good game, and I'd be happy to observe any issues you might be curious about. It's hard to see certain aspects from a developing perspective, I would assume.

Shadow
01-03-2008, 09:34 AM
I've actually fixed this one now in version 1.005.

I'm always open to suggestions and finding out about bugs.

St!gar
01-06-2008, 09:34 AM
Bah. There's already plenty of good multiplayer games out there. Nice to get a good single player one for a change.
________
mexico hotels (http://mexicocityhotel.info)

Kaizoku
01-06-2008, 12:06 PM
As much as I enjoy this game single player (99% of the games I play are single player only) it's for the sake of success that it should be made to multi. You, I, and the developer all know that the game will financially flourish exponentially if released with such a feature. Fortunately and unfortunately, it's becoming a standard in the action-RPG genre.

If I had a say in the project, I would do my best to get the word out on this game, milk it for all the money its worth (two birds with one stone if you make it a bargain bin >$10 game, as it would likely increase sales figures and the number of consumers). Then, if enough budget is available, I would announce a sequel that features multiplayer and enhanced visuals (two most critical factors of consumer interest in PC games), cultivate interest, and release it for a more premium price of $30 for digital download and $40 for retail box. With a taste of what they'd be getting from the first in the series, I don't think there would be much hesitation for consumers.

But it's a lot of work for one or even a few people. The indie world is harsh (I'm a musician, different but similar) and for whatever reason (competitive contemporaries, current trends, software piracy) it might not pay off.

When I have time I'll write up some suggestions of the game, and my take on and interpretation of this relatively unique mixed genre.

By the way, Shadow, if you haven't seen www.taleworlds.com I recommend a peek. Another game by a developer I see a great future in -- not that you both aren't already great, having developed games that are brilliantly designed and greatly amusing!

St!gar
01-06-2008, 12:18 PM
Well, if the game was multiplayer, I for one would never buy it in the first place, so I guess that pretty much leaves us stranded in that regard, eh? Usually; SP games are scripted affairs, and multiplayer games are free-form in nature, in this case, for example with different covenants led by players and so on. This game is unique in that it allows a free-form SP experience. Thus, making this multiplayer would remove all individuality in that particular regard in my mind. Bah.
________
easy vape vaporizer (http://vaporizer.org/reviews/easy-vape)

ShaggyMoose
01-06-2008, 02:35 PM
I donīt think there is any reason adding multiplayer to the game would remove any of its unique flavor. If you donīt want to play multi, you donīt have to. Playing with another person as a rival covenant would be great IMO. However, I think the mechanics of raiding may not be so much fun with real people. You would constantly be getting kicked while you are down and it could become a real grind to actually destroy a life stone unless you hugely overpowered the other player.

Delve
01-06-2008, 04:04 PM
I spend too much time pausing to think, I'd never be able to play multiplayer. :)

Which isn't to say I wouldn't try it, I'd just probably suck at it and go back to single player where I belong.

Shadow
01-08-2008, 10:45 AM
I have played Mount & Blade before.