My first feedback for the Closed Alpha.
Hi there Torn Banner devs, forum users and players I’m gonna be running down my first impressions of my first ever closed Alpha, so please I may not have the right lingo or jargon for it but I’ll certainly be trying my best to remain objective.
So to preface all this, I pretty much had an idea what I’d be getting into when I applied for the Alpha - Chivalry but with Magic. Sounds dope let’s give it a go, probably won’t get it but why not apply? Here I am! Loved being a part of this experience and look forward to future rounds.
Straight away I dug the aesthetic, though I’m sure it is called “Cell Shaded” I’m not entirely sure it is (so please correct me if I’m wrong), I love it nonetheless. It really does look great for the overall theme plus the whole Middle Eastern Arabian vibe with some characters apparel is sweet, I don’t see it often and it makes it stand out to me. It has those bright and vibrant purples and reds with some deep oranges, love it. My only complaint about the actual level art is that some walls and big flat surfaces lack some detail, they’re just big white voids and while not ugly, definitely also strikes me as something that needs an extra level of maybe colour or detail - Courtyard/Lighthouse being the biggest offenders. Most of the levels are really sweet, especially Courtyard and Lighthouse coming top of my list here as I enjoyed them the most, and Sunken Desert was pretty cool if not a bit “fractured” in it’s design (also you should stop casters being able to get on top of the Temple Roof in the centre). Falcon Ridge however…not even close to being liked by me, I didn’t like all the staircases and the point for Glyph B being an especially big sore spot for myself. While the other points are somewhat open in terms of the actual Glyph placement (a minor exception being B Glyph on Courtyard which is adjacent to two arches to hide behind while capping, nice for catching people who jump down before they see you) the one on Falcon Ridge is 3/4’s enclosed with only one way in and one way out. Now I get it, variety in the placement and it does have strategic elements to how you defend it, but honestly the amount of times I’ve had Taurants Charge me and had Vypress Dash Attacks straight in from either side…it seemed really difficult to NOT get absolutely cornered and destroyed, even with 3/4 team members on the Glyph itself, this might by my problem alone, but either way it rubbed me the wrong way, does it need changing? That’s totally up to the feedback and the Dev’s. This strayed more into mechanics but I felt it was part of the level design and therefore worth including in this section.
Right, let’s get down to Brass Tacks here, the real meat and potatoes, the reason we are playing - The Combat. I like it, feels like Chiv with the same sorts of swings etc. Now I need to preface here that I only played Tinker for 12 hours but I wanted to really familiarise myself with a class, and since she was free in my first game that’s who I picked. Of course I won’t speak about the other classes combat just hers, because you know - no knowledge or experience.
I liked her. She felt quirky and fast with a lot of potential, her damage output is clearly focused on laying traps and essentially running away/pulling enemies towards those traps and some nice fast stabs for good measure. However, that isn’t to say you can’t hold your own against the other classes with parries, blocks and ripostes though. Oh no, that would be a disservice in my opinion, she can and I have battled down Taurants and Vypress (how do you even pluralise Vypress?) et al, granted it wasn’t easy but it is possible, and I appreciated that her potential is clearly hinged on your personal ability to play and respond to attacks in a timely fashion. Now I did feel like the Vypress “out swung” Tinker but this could be lag, or my own poor reaction times, but many many times I would have to defend the dash -> cross chop (or stab as I’m told it actually is) -> swing -> cross chop in a very rapid succession. This may be intentional, do not know really but I got hella nervous whenever I seen a Vypress charging at me. No salt, but that’s how I felt whilst playing - either I block correctly 100% of the attacks or I’m fucked.
Onto her powers, first off loved the Lunging Stab ability, great for interrupting some other classes abilities and throwing them off guard (and the fact it has a vertical element to it i.e. you can proc it mid air and stab down from above is AWESOME), but it is blockable and I have seen some epic blocks from other players when I think there is no way they see it coming or have a chance to block it, fair play to you! Though it lacks damage, which should be the trade off if it’s blockable. Hook Shot is great, though I feel it should go a bit farther and maybe be faster travelling to give those I’m hooking a smaller window to respond, not make it hugely impossible to block but most times I think it will reach/hit but ends up being too far away or being blocked due to the huge telegraph it has for the person I’m shooting it at. The Punch alternative is OK at best, does some OK damage and cools down very quickly, but it’s interrupted by move staggering/abilities and it’s clearly a move you use to push the pressing opponents AWAY to get some room to regroup your attack, and if it can be interrupted it kind of makes the purpose of it’s existence moot. Same with Kickflip, both can be interrupted when you’re trying to escape being hit in the first place. That I would like to see changed in the future. Proximity Mines, now I both love and hate these things for a variety of reasons the biggest one being it’s proc time. Once you deploy it and it actually lands on the ground it should be primed and ready to go, as it stands it seems to have two stages - on ground unprimed and then primed, I feel like my character would have these things ready to pop as soon as they’re deployed because you can simply run past them as soon as they’re thrown out because there is a window of time before they’re ready to go. Again this might be my failing to understand the strategic applications of them but I felt like I grasped the concept but the execution of it was lacking. Just my two cents. They do a decent amount of damage, and two WILL kill you, overall an OK ability to have. Overall, Tinker was good fun. Really excited to try those other tantalisingly locked abilities she has too, especially Stasis and the Obelisk.
In an overall sense though, the running…doesn’t really feel, uh, fast? It’s hard to explain but when I hit run I expect a bit of a burst initially that sort of drops off a bit as you keep going. More than once have I tried to simply just run the fuck away and getting chased down immediately. Maybe adding a bit of a “pop” to the initial start of the spring would give players more of a chance to find comrades to help you out. Oh and I feel like you shouldn’t be able to continually vault up the wall at spawn on Sunken Desert, it’s cool you can manipulate the vaulting like that but yeah seems a bit silly especially if you have a field preventing you from passing, in my mind the field should stop that? Not a problem per se, but maybe it’s unintended?
Overall I have enjoyed this experience, me and my friend who got in both loved playing it and I’m happy to have notched up 12 hours playtime over 4 days. I wasn’t huge into Chiv but I loved it’s concept - First Person Melee Combat PvP is awesome in general, but Chiv was ruined by dragging and Matrixing by more experienced players making entering into it on the ground level after release a little off putting. Nobody likes running into their death when they are learning how to play the game. A few things I feel like need tweaking include maybe lowering the damage output for some classes base attacks as they already have strong class abilities (looking at you Vypress players) and maybe tuning up the overall aesthetic of the maps (as mentioned before black expanses on walls might look “clean” but it also shouts “lacks detail” to me). Oh and put a cooldown on emotes…Juxta Laughs
Thanks Torn Banner for including me and I look forward to playing more Alphas. If this post isn’t “good enough” for feedback, then please PM me on here with some meta feedback and I’ll edit the post with the new suggestions. I covered pretty much everything I felt like I can both remember and have mentally acknowledged that I’ll address, so my greater scope is probably way off.
Thanks for the feedback Juxta! Very well written and thought out, much appreciated.