View Full Version : Thoughts on The Early Game and The New Player

Brian Rubin
06-20-2012, 01:45 PM
Let me start off by saying I am a a very biased Soldak fanboy. ;) With that said, even though I had an initial feeling of joy with the game, it eventually waned into frustration as I went through long periods of just finding gates and starlanes to try and get around. I was also having trouble with the initial control scheme, as the mouse-based controls were confusing, and changing them to fit my needs was also a bit more confusing than it needed to be.

Sadly, I wasn't aware that one could buy gate locations in the relations screen until someone told me about it, so either I missed it in the tutorial, or the tutorial didn't cover it. Regardless, now that I know where more gates are, and I've changed my control setup to a purely keyboard-based method (WASD for control, numeric keypad for slot usage, etc), I'm bopping around having a grand old time, but it took some time to click to a level in which I'm really gelling with the game.

This got me wondering...I've been playing space games for around 30 years now, and have played a LOT of them, and if *I* was getting frustrated early on in the game, what about new players? Has anyone else had this kind of experience wherein the early game is somewhat tedious until it clicks?

If so, what can be done about it? Flesh out the tutorial? Make the early game more engaging and less frustrating somehow (i.e. more to do in the first system without needing to jump, just to get a feel for things, for example?)?

I just wanted to throw this out there and see what others thought. I am truly loving this game, and with the latest patch it's becoming closer to the game I had in my head when I first heard about it, but there are still some hurdles the game needs to overcome, such as this issue and the somewhat lifeless feeling in the universe, at least at first.

I look forward to discussing this further. Thanks!

06-20-2012, 01:55 PM
I had no idea you could buy gate locations...thanks. I do find the first part a little slow...I have been pretty vocal on what I have thought of the current crew mechanic as well.

I also think planets could be used to give hints like that...when you talk to planets now you get nothing useful, why not put hints like that in?

06-20-2012, 02:02 PM
Mr. Brian Rubin, you could visit this thread (http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5058) and see if it brings to mind any good ideas too.

Brian Rubin
06-20-2012, 02:46 PM
Mr. Brian Rubin, you could visit this thread (http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5058) and see if it brings to mind any good ideas too.

Oohh, totally missed that somehow, sorry! I would've post this in that thread had I known!

06-20-2012, 03:30 PM
It wasn't a rebuke, just information.

06-20-2012, 07:44 PM
My initial impression wasn't quite what I'd hoped. I've wanted to play "Diablo-esque" game (the loot pinata) in space for a while now. The 4x backdrop is a great set piece to build the game on mind you, but for my tastes it lacks any sort of unified story to play through. You're not trying to take over the galaxy. You're not trying build any particular race or races up to dominance. There's no carry-over or cause and effect from one sector to the next. You can't even go back to older sectors (though I'm kind of iffy about that being a part of the game mind you) to help shore up your preferred alliances.

"Winning" one sector seems meaningless when your victory means absolutely nothing in the next sector. Your allies become your enemies, your enemies become your allies, agreements and pacts are all reset. Clean slate. What was the point of the last sector again?

And while I suppose I can understand that, the game also doesn't have any sort of "bosses" to kill or the like. Your one lone ship doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of defeating any race once they start fielding larger ships (and that happens quite rapidly) so you don't even get the satisfaction of wiping your enemies from existence (from that sector at least).

Not to mention their ships are...absurdly powerful compared to your own? Shields, Armor, Structure, Weapons? You're barely a match for a ship your own size one on one, and it's all but never one on one if you get the bad idea of attacking a planet (which will almost certainly invite being attack by their super ships that'll simply sneeze in your direction and pop you like a grape).

I guess what I'm saying is that I feel like the game lacks a unifying structure, from your starting sector all the way to 100. It lacks cohesion.

I want my alliances and my allies to carry over from sector to sector (including their own named hero-ships and the like).

I want to constantly reaffirm and empower those alliances and push them from sector 1 to 100 (or watch them get wiped out and try to salvage what I can). If I go about attacking an enemy's planet, I want them to send their ships out to assist me.

I want systems that are "off-limits" that none of the races will venture to till you've taken out the rogue groups who claim it (pirates, whatever), lead by *level appropriate* bigger ships for a nice juicy loot bomb, and a big bump in your standings with all the races in that sector.

I want factions that don't want to play my game to tremble in fear of my combat prowess when I blow their hero-ships out of the sky, and cower at my ability to manipulate other races into going to war with them.

I want factions that are at war with one another to ACTIVELY and aggressively pursue the eradication of their enemies, not simply to take over their planets because it happens to be along the way between star lanes. When I leverage the power of my alliances to have you blasted from space, that damn well better mean something.