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Extended weekend play review...

Discussion in 'Shards Online Stratics Forums' started by Dermott of LS, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
    Stratics Veteran

    May 12, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Let me first send a BIG thank you to the Citadel team for days' worth of gameplay goodness both with periodic events and even on the Default Rules servers (Nova was my go-to shard).

    I'm going to break this up into two main sections. The first of which will focus on what I saw, read, heard, etc throughout the event. The second will focus more on feedback on what the game should have (IMO) for the next release to help playability and other factors.

    Looking back at the Event and the Game

    Once I was invited to download and get into the game, I made my way to one of the Default Shards to really begin to focus on understanding the game and as such, spent my time during the weekdays doing just that. Even though the shards had to be wiped, it became easier to get started and advancing my character.

    One of the enjoyable aspects of Shards PvM was the "camps" that were set up through the shard. The cultists provided a good PvM challenge for the current state of the game and the reward not only being potions a bit of currency (c) and some lower end equipment to upgrade from little to nothing, but the chance of a key being dropped to open up the chest that appeared with them which held better equipment, c, and Lore books for skills. Each camp had the chance to advance your character by using and/or unlocking skills.

    Unlike UO, skills had to be "unlocked" through the use of a Tome of Instruction. Also unlike UO, not having points in a skill does NOT make you useless at that skill. This will become more important once skill management becomes more of an issue down the road.

    I noticed the "Rogue" skill on the skill list, and asked in chat, unfortunately, I was at work and missed most of the answer at the time, but ended up getting the secret from Logrus that evening. Even as an unfinished proto-skill, Rogue was a fun addition to the game. Don't want to fight for the key to a chest... stealth up and lockpick away!

    The weekend brought me more into the events scheduled by the Team. Saturday night ended up being a major highlight As I was invited not only to join the team for a few rounds of "Battle of the Backers", but also into the voice chat channel for the event as well. What started as a free-for-all turned into the need to target and hunt down Murg for simply being too good winning several rounds in a row thanks to his character buildup and acquiring the Teleport spell at some point before or during the event (the spell was not supposed to be in the event).

    Probably the funniest part happened after everyone had grown tired and we finished off the last round of Battle. After Supreem bid everyone good evening, he had apparently left the twitch stream and voice chat server connected. After a silence we in the chat began wondering if we were still broadcasting, which thanks to a 40 second Twitch delay ended up to be the case. Hearing our wondering whispers coming back at us was an event in itself that probably can't be repeated to the same effect it had then.

    Sunday's discussion with Logrus and Draconi which will be posted both contain a LOT of excellent info for the design and lore ideas of the game.

    Finally, after noticing that Supreem's statement of a 250 point skill cap seemed to be in error, I had a new goal... to max out as many skills at 50 as I could before the end of Sunday. Fortunately Nova stayed fairly stable and did not need to be wiped as much as Azure Sky... UNFORTUNATELY, I had "donated" (dropped by the vendor at the spawn camp) two Slashing books thinking that they would hurt my character development under the 250 point cap. This made finding a new Slashing book difficult until fairly late Sunday. In the end I made it to 38 Slashing, 35 Rogue and 50 in everything else before Supreem logged on to shut down Nova, the final server on Sunday.

    The whole of the event was quite amazing. It's great to see a dev team so willing to bring such an early version of the game to the public and also play with everyone and take (what at times must have been difficult) questions in the process.For a small company working to get notice, I hope that notice has been achieved.

    As an aside, and a nod to the UO past of several on the team, I had a player who is also a long time UO player tell me ingame that the character models reminded them of the old KR promo pics, and after digging them back up, I have to admit that they are right! Change the camera angle down a bit from UO's to SO's level and there are a LOT of similarities.

    Testing Feedback

    First, from a graphical point of view, my original thoughts from BotB1 in regards to graphics still hold. Having spent more time with the actual ingame sounds, again, even for an early stage, the sounds really fit. At this point, even though Shards is smaller in scope and area than Shroud of the Avatar, it's in a much more playable state.

    The default rules shards ended up being the most popular mainly because I believe that people were happy to spend the time to get the feel for the game, learn the items and the advancement curve. While there wasn't as much to do as in a completed game, it was enough for the preview that he game was.

    Looking forward to Preview 2 or Release 2 or whatever, there are a few things that look to be at the forefront of needing to be in the game.

    First would be one of the most asked questions... Selling items to the NPC vendor. Even if they sell for only a few c, it adds more to the advancement of the character to be able to offload no longer needed equipment. This will also lessen the "trashing" of the server with unwanted items keeping the shard-wide item count down.

    Along with the above, on-ground Item Decay is needed as well for the same reasons.

    Teleport Radius One of the helpful spellcasting additions was the spell radius overlay. As pointed out to me right before starting this review, Teleport needs this functionality as well (although that MIGHT have made Murg invincible (more?)).

    Potion Bar/Hotkeys Having spells and skills on hotkeys was nice, potions as well will round out the combat features nicely (although I do recall that potions were ALWAYS a huge debate in UO PvP).

    Basic Resources/Crafting It will be nice to see what Logrus is conjuring up from those spreadsheets of his. Doesn't need to be the entire thing, but an idea of what resource gathering and crafting will feel like will be a great start.

    Skill Management If a skill cap is going to be in place, we're gonna need a management system to work with. UO had to learn this as well. Supreem has teased what it's going to be like so it will be good to see it up and running.

    Programmable Hotkeys/Hotbars It was a little disconcerting that spells seemed to populate different slots on the spell hotbar. Either the ability to swap them accordingly or rebind the keys used would be helpful. Rebinding keys on ALL bars would also be good for those who want to tweak their control scheme.

    Skill List Tooltips This would have been nice due to some of the oddly names (mainly magic-based skills such as Magic Affinity and Manifestation. Others were more straight forward, but also could help knowing what stats each skill was based.

    All in all, I had a LOT of fun in the preview. The game plays great and keeps the player engaged. Citadel might be small, but they have an amazing design at work. Regardless of the Kickstarter outcome, I can see this game ending up being AMAZING.

    Thanks again Citadel!
    Melaedha_CS and Obsidian like this.
  2. Melaedha_CS

    Melaedha_CS S.O. Community Manager

    May 26, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I have requested this be at the end of the official highlight video (Supreem is going through ALL 18 hours of streaming to put this together.)

    Thanks for the fantastic review and feedback!