Build 2016-03-24 Feedback
Tummeh last edited by
My feedback for the build uploaded on 2016-03-24: Made a new thread for this since this is no longer my first impression. Think we need a standard topic feedback naming convention or even a single thread to post in per build to keep the feedback catalogued and organised a bit better for both testers and devs.
After playing with two other people in the concept FFA map (which, by the by, works quite well as a map already. The multiple levels and window/ledge access flow really well together to make a coherent map which makes the most out of the new mobility and movement mechanics) I have a few notes and points to make about the current state of melee combat.
On combat animation speed and stages
I remember reading somewhere that you’re working on updating the animations for attacks so they’re less sluggish/Deadliest Warrior-esque. To help note why they currently feel this way, I think I can explain it a bit. Right now the swing animations, throughout the entire motion, seem to be at one speed: The pull back, the swing, and the recovery or combo into the next swing. There seems to be no emphasis or exaggeration in the attacks. There’s no momentum or weight behind it, leading it to feel weirdly sluggish, almost as if it is in slowmotion. I know in frame-by-frame animating that you give more frames to the build-up, and then fewer frames to the quicker motions (e.g. lifting a hammer could have 8 frames, then 4 frames for dropping, which gives the illusion of weight and gravity working against and having an effect on the hammer). I know you’re addressing this already, but I wanted to put some perspective on why I feel it feels sluggish at the moment to me.
A related point to this, a few third person animations don’t match up with their first person counterparts, and also look a bit odd. Most notably, when blocking, in first person you instantly put down your block if you release it after a successful parry. In third person, and also when looking at your opponent, you put your block up for a second before putting it back down, making the animation look really weird.
On running speed and camera position
Along with the sluggish animations, the running speed feels a tad slow too. Having 130 FOV makes it feel a bit more regular, and I’m sure the camera positions need a bit of work still, but I think upping the running speed would help a bit. The walking speed however, I’m not sure but I feel when fighting someone, it is far too easy to get away/parry or attack and then be too far out of range to get the second attack in. I’m not sure of a remedy for this, perhaps updated animations would help, but also perhaps a speed limit while swinging–I’m not sure how Chivalry handles this, but something similar to keep melee within range without running around each other would be neato.
On abilities and cooldowns
I love the idea and the very explanation that you want (paraphrasing) “the feeling of a sword fight but from 20 ft away”. The idea is great, the concept in the game feels fun, but there is still work to be done. With the current cooldowns, you spam all your abilities at once to combo them into a coherrent onslaught of damage, but then everything has a massive cooldown of 20+ seconds, so you’re forced into melee fighting or running away. I don’t expect to be able to spam all of the abilities over and over with a miniscule cooldown, but I think some balance could be used, such as 2 - 5 second cooldowns for 1 or 2 abilities and then the longer cooldowns for the third/big damage dealing ability or whatever.
Having played Smite, their system worked quite well with the three lesser abilities and the one ultimate ability–it meant that the other team/players weren’t too overwhelmed by the lesser abilities despite being able to use them fairly often, but also the lesser abilities could work together with the ultimate for a great combo.
On the current state of one vs one melee combat
The melee gameplay, with the current block volumes and held parries, feels really shallow. Abilities help this a bit, but because of the large cooldown at the moment, fighting someone 1v1 generally devolves into taking turns hitting each other’s block until abilities come back. Even during 1v1v1 fights last incredibly long because of the leeway blocking gives. I do have a video on this but I can’t upload right now until something is sorted about uploading videos, but basically without directional blocking, you can literally hold your block up, get stabbed into the side of another player, and have the stab parry off of the side of the blocking party’s face. It doesn’t feel good or rewarding with such a huge block volume, it removes a lot of skill in footwork and melee ability, and is generally just unfun.
Timed parries might help with this, but at the same time I am conflicted because I enjoy the theory of held blocks more than when it is put in practice. Perhaps a hybrid of the two could be tested in the future—when right clicking you parry a la Chivalry without losing much (if any) block strength, but if held it gives you a small window of time to hold a block (as opposed to ad infinitum) which drains a lot more block strength, with the former also allowing for a riposte. To me it sounds like a nice compromise between the two systems, while also largely reducing the effectiveness of feinting which is a hugely polarising mechanic as it currently is in Chivalry and being able to have a larger window to deflect/block projectiles, but in practice it could also be terrible.
From what I understand, team play and strategy/working together is a lot more of a focus in this game compared to Chivalry, and the team play skill ceiling is already a lot higher I think, and I quite enjoy that, but there will still be many times where 1v1 or 1vN situations will appear. I think 1v1/1vN does need to be able to stand on its own to an extent, even if not to the skill ceiling Chivalry currently has, so a bit more focus on this area in messing with parrying, blocking volumes, putting more weight on the direction the player is looking, and such.
Hopefully we can test more parry and blocking systems beyond just held blocks and timed parries in future alpha builds.
On jumping and movement abilities
Love the new jumps and movement abilities. Combined with map design, as I’m sure I’ve said before, it’s just such a delight to play. That said, right now jumping (in all directions) feels like there’s no force or strength put in. It feels like as a player, you’re just kind of haphazardly stumble-jumping in whichever direction you choose. Almost as if you’re bumping your head or something, while also being easily caught on the other players body. I’d love to see this be a bit more fluent and have a bit more air-time to the jumps (but not a comical amount that makes walking/running/WASD footwork useless–I’ve used Zelda: OTT as an example before, but I’m not sure if I was clear that I didn’t mean in the sense of literal distance covered, but rather the weight that was behind the jump. You can feel Link, in both his animation and sound, jump with effort as if to desperately avoid an attack, as well as being able to immediately jump again to give the feeling of control).
I feel similarly about the Vipress and Alchemancer right click dodge. With Vipress, the parry helps a tonne and it actually feels quite good, but at the same time it’s like she’s taking a large step back rather than jumping back. As for Alchemancer’s right click, it is quite useless at the moment. The animation feels like it should be pushing away the opponent as well as sending the Alchemancer back as it, which could be an interesting nuance to his right click dodge. The time it takes to dodge for his class is a bit poor as well, considering the distance it covers–opponents can simply walk up to him, and either hit him incredibly easily if they’re in range and see him about to dodge, or let him dodge and just continue walking to him whether their original swing missed or not. I feel his dodge should either be instant, or have a bit of push back to it, as well as covering a bit more distance (and maybe keep a little bit of momentum to allow for a second backwards dodge via the spacebar which covers a bit more distance? I don’t know, just another idea off the top of my head which might add to the nuance/skill of his right click dodge).
Finally, some movement abilities, which I’ve addressed before, feel like they have no momentum to them and have a similar bumping-head-on-ceiling feel to them. Momentum is definitely a problem I feel in the game at the moment, and a way to fix this is to have more naturally speed reducing physics applied to skills such as the grappling hook after you’ve travelled a certain distance, as opposed to the instant slow-down it currently has. I wont go too much into this because it is a bit self-explanatory, but I just wanted to mention it.
On queuing attacks
A couple of things here. Queuing attacks seems to be fundamentally broken in a couple of ways. Firstly, when blocking, if you queue an attack, the queued attack will literally last forever (e.g. while holding block, if you press lmb, and then hold the block for a further 20 seconds, the lmb will still perform). Seems like a bit of an oversight, and incredibly annoying in fights. A small timed queue window is an easy solution here, and I imagine might help with the problem of unwanted queued attacks in other areas of the game. Secondly, when swinging and performing combos, it is far too easy to cancel your attack and perform a different swing. How? Simply lmb, then immediately (while the lmb is still winding up/in the feint window) overhead and your attack will automatically cancel and perform the overhead. With no RMB/Q required, this takes away control from the player and does unwanted weapon cancelling far too often.
Currently the Vipress can not cancel attacks with RMB either, instead making her dodge and parry instantly.
On slightly more specific bits and bobs
The mouse turn-cap, and the transition into the lack of a turn-cap, is a bit wonky at the moment. Most prevalent when parring or getting parried, if you’re moving your mouse, it is so incredibly easy to spin out of control and become disoriented immediately after the turn-cap is deactivated. Happens after doing a few different things, but the parry example is the easiest way to repro/understand what I mean.
The Tinker’s pull ability is a bit wonky right now. There’s a couple of reasons why: Firstly, after pulling, both your position and their position update weirdly and more often than not you either teleport towards them or you teleport back a foot or two. Makes it really easy to lose your footing (especially with the unforgiving mouse turn-cap deactivation). Secondly, there’s no window of opportunity to combo this into a melee attack due to the player being pulled being able to instantly block or activate an ability–some classes can even beat you to the punch and hit you with a melee attack before you can hit them. Definitely think there needs to be some sort of flinch applied to this.
Again, I have a video to demonstrate the first point and will upload when a video uploading solution is found.
The fat magic carpet guy’s magic carpet is comically slow. To the point of using it being a funny point in fights where I’d either be bombarded with airborne abilities or slowly followed to wherever I’d try to escape to.
There are some abilities that when flinched apply the full cooldown (In particular I think the Taurant’s abilities do this when flinched) while others just get the 3 second cooldown flinch and then you get to try again, the latter being the better solution (and intended I think?). Will try to get a list of abilities this happens to on the next build (or current build if a new build isn’t releasing particularly soon).
There’s a delay on a lot of skills where the cooldown wont begin until the animation of the skill has completely disappeared for a few seconds. Feels a bit unnatural, the timers should start either immediately after IMO on most skills and on some skills upon impact, rather than when the animation + particle effects have finished.
The Tinker’s mines have a bit too much health. It takes two shurikens to disable or make one of them disappear–I feel like anything thrown at them and making contact should set them off, if you’re observant enough to see them without walking over them or if the other player is careless enough to leave them in obvious places, you should be rewarded.
I think that’s all for now, keep up the great work–even on the second build there is noticeable improvements and the replies addressing the feedback have been excellent. Sorry if I’ve repeated myself/brought up things already responded to.
I would like to discuss the UI/graphic design elements in the game in the future, especially since it’s a part of the game I actually know a thing or two about fairly in-depth, but I’ll wait until its all a bit more developed I think since there’s a fair bit missing and unfinished stuff in the menu screens and such.
Thanks for the feedback, quite a few things are touched on in the latest patch notes.
Jumps and the gravity applied during them has definitely felt a bit too heavy/not enough air time, will be polishing this up.
Vypress dodge and alchemancer forcepush may be reworked to their own abilities and would recieve boosts/better movement with the change.
Movement coming out of abilities is very tricky to get right, we just need to put the work in to polish them up, will do a pass for upcoming builds
Fixed the parry queue issue
The melee feint thing on activating a different melee attack was an experimental thing that has been removed, did not work out!
Tinker mines are now always a one hit kill.
Vypress queue issue fixed
Mine setup time has been slightly increased to give a bit more time to deal with them with melee
Abilities receive a partial cooldown of 4s if interrupted before they’ve been activated and full if interrupted after activation, this is not setup properly for everything yet so there might still be a few odd cases, will double check the taurant abilities.
The ability icons will receive an active state to indicate that they are currently being casted, this will make sense of the cooldown not starting immediately and indicate what’s currently being casted better
UI is recieving significant work currently but the in-game UI should be ready for feedback soon