Quests: Please remember we aren't all "uber gamers" who have been playing for 5 years

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Nimmanu, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. Nimmanu

    Nimmanu Lieutenant

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    I'm saying this respectfully and with sincere consideration for the fact that this is something you have created and that you care for deeply. When I say this, please know that it's not easy for me to criticize anyone's art, ever.

    First of all, to the good. I love this game. I have almost a thousand hours in it. This is by no means intended in any way negatively with regards to your incredible game and achievement.

    I'm a middling gamer. Let's get that out of the way up front. Maybe I'm not your target demographic, I don't know. But assuming you want more players, not fewer, and not the same all throughout the life of your game, I hope you'll at least hear me out and ask yourself if I have a valid point. Of course, from my perspective, I think I do, but it's your game.

    I've just tried to do the part of the quest where you have to go into the pirate base and find Yarod. Of course, you know that enemies with no faction spawn randomly at the base. They hit extremely hard. In my heavy armor with two armor boosts, they were ripping me apart like lions on a t-bone.

    There were two of us, and sadly, one of us accidentally hit a pirate when it walked out in front of the android. We immediately went from Honored to Neutral. Another stray bullet and we were hostile.

    This is not the first time where we struggled badly with the quests. I'm sorry, I don't mean this rudely, but the quests are more difficult in certain spots than the Zirax homeworld! That doesn't make sense to me. You go into the heart of the enemy's territory and leave feeling like, "Gosh, we were way overkill with all of these guns." You go into a pirate base and end up in an all-out war with people you were honored with.

    The "bad guys" weren't any different from the regular ones. You can't just look at them and say, "Yep, good guy," and "Yep, bad guy." While you're drawing a bead to make sure it's a bad guy... 3 others are shooting you with massive damage. Then you come back to 6 milling around your backpack.

    Respectfully, this is too hard. Maybe there is some subtle difference people without color blindness or other issues can see. People who have been looking at Pirates and Zirax and everything else for five years... but even with only a few hundred hours in the game, I'm finding it impossible to know the difference without the scope. By the time I get the scope to my eye, I'm dead because multiple more spawned in behind me.

    Then one accidental hit and suddenly us and our ship are being completely annihilated.

    I certainly don't expect it to be easy. I'm not asking you to do all the work for me. We got jumped by Zirax Dreadnaught. We had to do a very messy and difficult recovery of our ship. We were many LY from home. It was bad! But it was fun because I felt SO good once we whipped that challenge!

    Please don't take this as me saying "make it super easy for me." I suppose my idea of "normal difficulty" is probably your idea of "even an infant could do it." If we have two people on our MP game, we should be able to pull this off without numerous deaths and completely destroying our faction.

    Yes, we prepared. Yes, we limped away with our ship intact but now we have to get our faction back up, we lost gear, and it's pretty likely to be the same thing again the next time. We were already in heavy armor and had epics and were doing pretty well--we thought.

    I'm sure that people playing for years might have known what to do/ what to expect/ the layout of the base... everything. But people who find "hard" difficulty to be "easy peasy" aren't the only ones playing the game. Us regular, normal, "stupid" normal/ casual/ middling gamers would really love for this game to be accessible to us on normal or lower settings.

    This quest in particular is either way too hard, scales way too much, or just in general needs a setting for the "FNG".

    Your game is incredible. It, and you, deserve for it to be played by far, far more people.

    All of this being said, at the end of the day, it's a wonderful game. I'm incredibly impressed with it and how hard you've worked at it. You have every reason to be proud of it. My criticism is truly meant constructively and made because I really want to play it for years and years to come. If I cannot progress in the questline, though, without the immense frustration of repeated lost faction, I don't know if I'll do that.

    I truly want to see your game and you go far. It is my humble request that on normal or lower difficulty settings, you dial it back a bit even for multiple players. Toss us crappy gamers some crumbs! We do tricks like catching them in midair. Okay, okay. Missing them in midair, but it's still fun to watch. ;)
     
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  2. Track Driver

    Track Driver Rear Admiral

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    Well, I've been playing for 5 years, nearly 7k hours and I agree completely. There needs to be some middle ground that provides challenge without a total ass-kicking. Sadly, I don't really know what that would entail. So many people talk about "balance" in this game. I think a balance needs to be struck between difficulty and fun. I guess some folks like suicidal scenarios. Personally, I don't. I died so many times in the early days. I thought the learning curve was way too high for me. Obviously, I stuck with it and died less often. But then the game "improved" and things got harder again. It's a cycle that, presumably, a lot of people like.

    To be honest, I'm no longer certain what I want from this game. If I hadn't learned some of the "console commands" and how to adjust the "config file", I probably would have quit. I seem happiest building stuff but I still like to blow shit up and kill things once in a while. I don't mind taking hits, repairing damage or limping back to a med station, so long as I feel a reasonable chance of coming out on top. If that's not how the game is supposed to be played, I'll content myself with building ships and bases.
     
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  3. elmo

    elmo Captain

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    @Track Driver. Like you I have been playing a lot of years and have over 6k hours in. I play the game in SP gathering resources, building a couple of HVs and a base then I change to coop mode and my adult son joins me in game. Bearing in mind I am female and getting near the late 60s in age I opt for easy mode and turn a few things off to suit the way I play the game but I know my son would probably play a harder version if on his own. Lately for me even in easy mode the game has got boring. I build all our ships on single player my son then joins me to travel around gather rarer resources discovering where the bases are then when I build our bigger ships we go into space for rarer resources and then we take on the bases of the planet, final stage is to build CV to leave planet but by then I am bored and don't feel like going to another planet because I will just be doing same thing over and over again. I am hoping that there will eventually be more diversity for players like me and am sticking with the game because I do like it. I also understand that they need to cater for all types and ages of gamers.
     
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  4. Escarli

    Escarli Captain

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    Is there any existing poi or cv you feel is a good example of the middle ground you're thinking of?
     
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  5. Lichtbold

    Lichtbold Lieutenant

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    I do enjoy the unique gameplay of EGS and appreciate the efforts of the dev team and POI-/Scenario builders, but when it comes to combat against POIs and NPCs - compared to shooters like Borderlands, Destiny or Battlefield - combat in EGS feels primitive and very unfair. Like 6 NPCs spawning stacked on each other, shooting at me while looking in another direction or POI-artillery having alot more targeting and hitting range than me. I can't crouch, can't sneak, there's no finesse or challenge, just brute force. I'm talking of Single Player with > 1500 hours clocked.

    There's shooters where I really feel challenged to "git good", EGS is not one of them. In EGS I don't feel like fighting against enemies, I feel like fighting against simplistic and outdated source code: IF PlayerIsInShootingRange THEN SHOOT AND HIT - don't hide, don't turn, don't hesitate, don't miss, don't flee, don't cry, fire countless bullets or missiles at the same time without having to reload or running out of ammo ever.

    Considering how long it took a game like Fallout to become a half decent shooter I'm afraid it won't be easy to bring EGS fight mechanics up to date? It's ok somehow as long as I can bring up the console and enter god mode and/or use overpowered Debug weapons. And fortunately this game has a lot of other great features!
     
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  6. Nimmanu

    Nimmanu Lieutenant

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    For good examples, the Planetary Remnant, and the original (not revamped) Ilmarinen (the derelict ship from chapter 5).

    Another example of "why, just WHY?" is when you go to the moon crashed vessel (Titan) and the last console on the bridge spawns multiple drones and multiple bombers PER PERSON... while you're standing there exposed and had no idea you needed a shielded ship before you started. The first time we did this, we had an unshielded SV and it was parked at the other end of the ship. Nothing prepared us for that massive difficulty spike.

    We died repeatedly, and it's only the fact that I play with a friend who's extremely good that we managed to survive at all. I died about 8 times.

    The central questline should progress in difficulty, not have sudden tremendous spikes that are nearly insurmountable unless you know EXACTLY what to expect (in the Titan bridge case) or are a supergamer (in the case I wrote in the OP).

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble.

    The biggest problem is that the main questline doesn't scale appropriately to each other with the progression reasonable for a player. Also, running quests together is pretty much a "oh hell no!" because 2 or more people equals 2x more mobs, increasing per player added. In a MP game, we should be wanting to play MORE with our friends, not asking them to please don't come along on this part of the quest because it will make too many enemies spawn. :(
     
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  7. byo13

    byo13 Captain

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    Me neither. Life is too hard on us right now to be ass kicked by a game we love. :D
    Having said that, once you pass the initial stage of survival it gets easier.

    Sorry if it's too off topic, but I'm not too fond of all of those OPV threats that are being added in the newer updates.
    They are way overkill to be enjoyable. A couple of days ago I was trying to clean a sector so I could build my base in tranquility. It took me more than an hour. There was only one red dot in the map and once I got there it revealed itself to be a Dreadnought. Since that ship was made not be killed or at least not worth it to be killed, I had to abandon all of my progress in that sector and try to find another one. It's still a beautiful ship though and if it was easier to destroy life would be good again.

    I still love the game though. There is no match for Empyrion on Steam today.
     
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  8. Escarli

    Escarli Captain

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    None of the ships in the warlord faction are anywhere near the strength of the dreadnought
     
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  9. Daedalon

    Daedalon Lieutenant

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    I have 1k hours logged so far. I've also had a lot of fun with this game. Balance and difficulty are abstract concepts that will vary from player to player based on their gaming aptitude, game-specific knowledge, progress and equipment, number of teammates, etc. One player's Easy is another player's Hard. However, the difficulty curve/progression of the game is a much more tangible concept I think many players can agree upon. Stuff like Tovera-Class Dreadnoughts probably not belonging in the starting system. :p

    Personally, I don't have any trouble with the FPS gameplay in Empyrion. I have thousands of hours of experience across series like Doom, Ghost Recon, Quake, and Unreal Tournament. I thrive on this stuff. Aiming, maneuvering and figuring out which weapons to use on which enemies are all second nature. I also have experience with games related to vehicle design and flight/space combat aspect, so all good there.

    That said, I do think that the difficulty curve of the main story is off balance now. I completed the main story cooperatively with other players twice before v1.3 came out, and am just checking it out again now that new chapters were recently added. I feel like there are some steep difficulty spikes in a few places, and I feel like these spikes probably stem from the fact that these quests have been added much later in the game's development. It's easy to lose perspective of what it's like to be a newcomer or more casual player when you've got thousands of hours under your belt.

    Here are my thoughts on difficulty in relation to the main story:

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    Story Chapter #4: Off World Grave

    When you activate the final console in the rear section of the Titan, the combat encounter that occurs isn't much of a challenge *if* you know what's coming - an unshielded SV with a couple gatlings can mop up the enemy forces if you can reach it before it gets turned into a smoking crater - but everything up to this point you could basically complete with an unarmed vehicle and handheld weapons. At no point does anything in this chapter tip the player off what type of attack to expect at the end, and you're not even offered a prompt to tell IDA if you're ready to send the signal or not after it warns you it'll attract danger. When IDA does warn you enemy forces are inbound, nothing suggests that it might be prudent to rush back to your vehicle. 'Defend Position' could mislead you to think that you need to remain inside the wreckage and that maybe some Zirax troops are coming in a dropship or two.

    Perhaps I was doing something wrong, but no attempt to engage the drones and bombers on foot, whether from within the wreckage or running across the moon, even with a homing rocket launcher, has resulted in anything but multiple deaths. Unlike other Zirax aircraft, bombers are very fast and their attacks are much harder to dodge on foot than rocket drones. They also unleash a salvo of projectiles simultaneously, and seem to rip through the damaged Titan like butter.

    So on the assumption that the use of armed vehicles is intended to complete this chapter, this surprise seems rather unfair to new Empyrion players. Being blindsided by a new type of threat isn't fun, IMO. I suggest:

    1) Something leading up to this mission, or during it, could reveal the existence of Zirax bombers. For example, maybe at a console somewhere in the radar station, IDA can mention it as a threat for the player to be aware of. Or an expected air combat encounter could introduce the player to them somewhere earlier in the story, so the player knows what they're up against later.
    2) Something during this mission should warn the player that Zirax bombers are present on the moon (if previously battled), or are inbound. For instance, when the signal is being sent, IDA could warn you that enemy bombers are headed your way, and that the wreckage of the Titan won't provide sufficient cover, and that you should return to your vehicle ASAP.

    Note: If you're doing this quest cooperatively and concurrently with other players, this attack wave spawns once for each player with the quest active. For groups of family and friends checking out the Empyrion story for the first time, getting annihilated by multiple spawned instances of this attack wave is highly unpleasant.

    ==========================
    Story Chapter #5: Ancient Revelations (v1.3 and up)

    My two experiences with the original Ilmarinen (prior to v1.3) was one of my favorite parts of the story missions. It was quite fun and people I played through it with also enjoyed it. Relative to other story chapters around it, the difficulty felt about right in terms of its progression, too. The layout of the ship was perhaps a bit confusing to learn and navigate in a few places, but I felt it was overall enjoyable.

    Now enter the second version of the Ilmarinen introduced in a recent patch. I can tell someone put a lot of work into this, and it looks quite nice, but unfortunately my experience actually playing it was completely game-breaking and disappointing. A friend and I walked in there to experience the new Ilmarinen together for the first time. We got up to what looked like the bridge together, when my friend found and pulled a lever. It unleashed the largest, most concentrated horde of enemy spawns I have ever seen in any official POI in Empyrion yet. We were expecting something on par with the difficulty of the previous version of the Ilmarinen, and were NOT equipped for this.

    Both of us were dead in short order. And dying is fine, because we had extra gear on the ship and could switch into heavier armor and go get our stuff back. Except, we couldn't. We were completely blocked from returning to our bodies by indestructible walls, locked doors, locked shutters, and even upturned indestructible furniture. There was absolutely no way to get back into the rest of the ship to get our equipment, and nowhere to go to continue making progress on the ship, either. Everything was shut and locked in every direction, except the ramp leading back to the arrival bay.

    In the end, our cooperative adventure ended up being me using God mode to clip through doors, turn it back off, and try to recover my corpse and solo my way through a ship full of enemies to find a switch to let my teammate rejoin me. I ended up clearing like 80% of the ship myself before I finally found a switch that let my teammate in without having to cheat themselves.

    I later noticed the switch on the bridge was named something like "Nightmare Mode" -- which led me to wonder if this was an optional feature? Was there another, normal way to complete the new Ilmarinen that didn't turn it into a maze of locked doors and hordes of angry aliens? If so, that's neat, but also should be labelled much more clearly. I *like* the idea of having a way to pump up the difficulty (I often wish I could turn up the base attack difficulty on my starting planets from 0 to 10 or higher). The idea of blasting through the new Ilmarinen with a group of 6 seems pretty fun (putting aside that much of the ship consists of narrow linear corridors which wouldn't be good for groups), even if having a random switch on the wall to achieve it is rather immersion breaking. But if that switch is optional, it REALLY needs to be clearly labeled.

    If it isn't an optional switch, then something seems really amiss here. I haven't forgotten that Empyrion is a survival game, and the idea of a space dungeon you 'lock' yourself into and either complete or die/fail in and lose your stuff and try again later when it respawns is pretty neat in and of itself, but I think it's terribly out of place in a main story mission. None of the other story missions rely on giving up for awhile and waiting on the respawn/reset mechanic. Players naturally expect to be able to progress through the main story and complete it at their own pace without getting stuck/locked out of it indefinitely. I feel like this type of challenge should be reserved as random POIs found in Hard difficulty sectors/planets, or for some sort of optional difficult side-quests.

    Anyway, if I misunderstood something about the new Ilmarinen design, or something was bugged, I'd be curious to know. Maybe I just had a bad time. Maybe my experience was unusual somehow. But I haven't been able to find any discussion on it using search features, and I couldn't find any details about it in the patch logs, only mentioning that it had been introduced.

    Based on my experience, I'd have to classify the Ilmarinen as being significantly harder than any previous story chapter, and arguably far more difficult now than the following chapter where you go to the Planetary Remnant. The Remnant was even designed with enough staggered heat sources that you could survive the cold of space without an EVA boost in your suit. That's a stark contrast to what I saw on the new Ilmarinen now placed one chapter before it, which pretty much wants to murder you with no quarter.

    =======================
    Story Chapter #7: Sigma Fulcrum

    I was really looking forward to trying out the new story chapters, but I had to stop here. I already had Honored faction with the Pirates, so I thought that wouldn't be a problem. When I flew out there, I discovered that identical looking unfactioned hostiles and Pirate factioned characters mingle in several areas, sometimes within hugging distance of each other. Despite stowing away AOE weapons like the Plasma Cannon and pausing to check target faction carefully with my reticule before shooting, I inevitably shot a Pirate bot and chunked the faction. Not only did I get wasted by station defenses, but the station's gun batteries immediately started chewing on my CV.

    Again, I understand this is a *survival* game and we're supposed to die, but I think there's some artificial and perhaps unintended difficulty at work here.

    First, with the current way the faction system is designed, mixing visually identical hostile and friendly factioned stuff in areas where they walk past and through each other is rather cruel. If having to check your targets is intended, fine, but can't they at least be different enemy models? Or at least have different colored paint? Or the ones that aren't participating in the fight move away from the ones that are shooting? Anything? Because having your ship(s) nearby annihilated and having to go repair your Pirate faction due to a misplaced shot or two hardly seems fun, much less a meaningful test of survival.

    Worse, doing this quest in co-op, if I'm playing with more casual players and one of them makes a mistake, the entire team's faction is instantly wrecked. Everyone dies, gear lost, better luck next time. If the entire base wasn't likely invulnerable due to being a story location, it'd pretty much be easier to cripple it with a CV before stepping foot on it to do the quest.

    Second, the concept of sudden enemies appearing behind you and shooting you in the back with instant or fast weapons has been frowned upon for decades in FPS games going as far back as Doom from 1993 (remember the undodgeable hitscan chaingun guys popping out of walls behind you? Nobody liked that; it's not gameplay, it's cheap). It's one thing to spawn melee monsters like Abominations behind me on the Ilmarinen, and I at least have a second or two to hear it coming up behind me - that's fair - but it's another thing entirely for these Assault Cyborgs to be dropping in from the sky behind me, individually or in groups, up on the bridges and blasting me in the back with one of the hardest hitting NPC weapons in the game before I even know they're there.

    Again, I don't mind the concept of enemies being able to teleport in or ambush me. But I want the challenges in the game to feel fair, like the game wants me to win, instead of like it's trying to kill me out of nowhere repeatedly and laugh at my frustration. It'd be really nice if enemies teleporting in would make a distinct teleport sound, and maybe take at least half a second to get orientated from their teleport before they start opening fire. Give the player a split second to take cover, turn around and defend themself, anything. And these things falling down from a higher position could benefit from a landing animation or recovery period. And maybe a loud 'clang' when they land.

    ---------------
    That's all I have to say about the story missions for now.


    Lichtbold also raises some really good points about PvE combat in general. There are a lot of great concepts in Empyrion, and an endless space dungeon adventure powered by community POIs is one of its best concepts alongside modular vessel design, but my own personal experience with the game so far is that both are sadly overshadowed by both ground and vessel combat feeling more like a chore instead of being gratifying. Like Lichtbolt suggested, I think there's a lack of strategy or finesse in some areas that could be improved.

    Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate some of the thoughtful mechanics already in place. Like using energy weapons to take down shields and rockets to blast through hulls. But most combat in Empyrion seems to boil down to one thing: Apply as much lethal force as quickly as possible, preferably to the enemy's weak point (head or generators/core). Until then the exchange of Damage Per Second continues until something dies or is disabled.

    I think enemies should react to being shot. I noticed this happens with some things in SP, like drones and troop transports, but seems entirely absent in MP. Different enemies could have different levels of pain tolerance to different types of weapons. When a pack of Abominations charge you right now, you can't really disrupt their momentum even with a hail of minigun fire. They only stop moving to attack or drop dead, and otherwise continue advancing and attacking without interruption. At least the one being pelted to death by a hail of gunfire should be slowing down. The Flamethrower could become much more tactical against melee mobs if it disrupts everything in a cone in front of you.

    Likewise, I would really enjoy Empyrion more if there were different ways to deal with vessel and base combat other than hurling yourself headlong into enemy fire and applying brute force. Kiting in and out of weapons range or making repeated strafe runs with the brakes off is possible, sure, but is it fun? Especially knowing that the brute force approach can solve the same problem much faster.

    One suggestion could be adding Point Defense as a mechanic in the game. I know it'd add more work for the processor and networking to handle, but being able to counter a Tovera Dreadnought's homing missile salvos with enough automated PD weapons to intercept some or all before they hit your ship would be a nice alternative strategy (provided of course you can provide the CPU, power and ammo to maintain that defense for the duration of the fight). This would also be nice for players that don't actually want to fight these things - it'd give them time to escape before their CV is reduced to rubble.

    Another idea I find interesting to consider for PvE would be player AI Cores, so that the SP or small MP groups can enjoy having small fleets of their own at their command. Building and sending in a couple Hover Tanks to assault a base ahead of you would be fun. Entering the Zirax Home System with a fleet at your back and all the ships converging into a glorious battle would be amazing. But I'm sure someone has suggested that somewhere before, and it probably deserves its own thread, and it might be far outside the scope of Empyrion's intended design.

    Anyway, Empyrion has a ton of potential and I hope the developers keep putting their heart into it. You've already made a very clever and fun game and I trust your overall vision for it will only make it better with time. Hopefully something I said somewhere here will help you towards that goal. :)

    I'll second that! I would never spend time designing my own vessels in Empyrion if I thought we might have a better game any month soon.
     
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  10. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    The AI is very rudimentary, and POI design seems to be aimed more at showing off the designer's skills at piling and coloring blocks than a real attempt at making it fun and balanced. It has become a "niche" part of the game that I don't enjoy at all, because lack of good visual feedback in combat and bad sound, layers upon layers of lights and colors too bright and clean to be realistic, and linear design overall. I'm not claustrophobic, but that's how I feel when navigating in a POI in Empyrion. Corridor shooting has never been my cup of tea, and neither being ambushed in a locked box with spawners all over the place. Oh, and the explosive trap in the face. So original.

    Because the POIs are made by players, it is supposed to make it harder to criticize, but I don't care at all. This is the core of the combat experience, and it all hinges on a few guy's very personal interpretation of what a "game level" should be in that game, and honestly it sucks. All players who have a little gaming experience can see this clearly, and when seeing this from a new player perspective it's very unprofessional and cheap. Core content made for free by the community = chaos and ego showcase. Eleon is surely not going to complain here : they get their game made for them, and if they had to design all this by themselves we would not have much to chew anyway.

    So all in all we're a bit stuck with this, like it or not.

    Edit : add to this that if making custom stuff in this game did not require convoluted gymnastics to find information and make simple things work reliably, we could see lots of content made by many more and diverse players with very different perspectives. Now it's mostly relying on who has the most time to spend fiddling around to make things work, and most players have a real life too, so... tough luck.

    By the way, I'm still waiting for that "sketchy roadmap" we were told about in August. At least we could get some information of what major landmarks are planned to be achieved this year, so we can plan on where to spend time and where not to waste it.

    .
     
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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
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  11. Hummel-o-War

    Hummel-o-War Administrator
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    First: thanks for all the feedback. ❤️ I am afraid this is only one of the very very very few threads that actually gives me usable feedback on the story missions for the default game. I hope to find the time to work through it anytime soon

    Second: This still leaves me with the question if the changes I’m making will make the flow better or not. Currently there is no dedicated testing team for missions (anymore). So if anyone enjoys playing the story or the missions and wants to lend a hand in that specific topics testing, improvements or wants to contribute (in any way), drop me a PM at any time ;)
     
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  12. bluemax151

    bluemax151 Captain

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    The game does not have a difficulty curve and relies a lot on the player having already run the various quests and POIs. If you have experience which some do because a primary source of enjoyment is from repeatedly starting new games due to a lack of "end game" content then it can be a breeze because you know what to expect. If you're new or encounter a POI you haven't prior then it tends to be on the higher end of difficult. Certain things are expected of a player that shouldn't be. Like how are you supposed to know the core is buried in a wall/floor behind armor blocks or that something has an Admin core and is thus not destructible.

    Enemy AI is a mixed bag. It's poor but to make up for it most everything is high accuracy, HP and damage. Add to that melee units that have ranged melee attacks and crazy spawn numbers on occasion and you have frustrating game play. Imagine if they actually managed to make the enemy AI better but didn't change anything else. :)

    I really like the game but a lot of success comes from cheesing it so to speak otherwise it's a lot of death loops.
     
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  13. Nimmanu

    Nimmanu Lieutenant

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    @Hummel-o-War Thank you so much for your gracious acknowledgment. I'm very glad to see that the thread was taken in the spirit it was intended.

    I really wish that I could help. I'm afraid I know enough to know when I'm frustrated, but not enough about coding or game-making to know if my specific ideas are valuable or garbage. Again, I also know that I'm not really the best gamer. My friend is amazing, and pretty much "carries me". He's the other benchmark for when I can guess, "Okay... he's frustrated, too... I might have a legit reason to speak up here." ;P

    I would be happy to send my paltry few thoughts on things if you are interested. Again, though, I'm not sure how much help I would be since I cannot give any coding suggestions without making myself sound a fool. I mean, on the server I play on with my friends, I'm leading the pack on player kills with accidental friendly fire, so... that's my only "bragging point", lol.

    To reiterate my main point, however, for what difficulties the game has, or I have when playing it, it's amazing. The building system is the most robust I've seen in any game, anywhere, and I absolutely LOVE it. And my complaints aside, it's abundantly clear that you are working hard on these quests and on making them exciting and challenging. No one can thrive in an environment of only complaints. Please accept well-deserved appreciation for your ongoing efforts.
     
    #13
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  14. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    For the missions, they should be thought of as a "tutorial" of sorts. As a player goes through the missions, they should be introduced to core game concepts such as shields, warping, drones, exploration and the detector, etc. Progress in the mission should be gated by what equipment, knowledge, and ships the player will have.

    Yes there is a tutorial that explains game basics, but most players don't do it, or won't remember everything. By making the main story act as an introduction to game mechanics, you can make sure that at every stage of the mission, a player will be prepared for whatever challenge that particular mission has. More experienced players could skip ahead or ignore the missions altogether.

    Basically I think Empyrion's balancing problems comes down to this:

    The difficulty floor is too high. The story missions do not prepare new players for the challenges encountered in the missions.
    The difficulty ceiling is too low. There are very few "end game" objectives or reasons to explore the galaxy or get better ships. The legacy ships that drop advanced cores make a good challenge, but the advanced core itself is also a bad reward because you only need a couple and then you are set for the rest of the game.
    Difficulty is not placed in the right areas. A good example of this is having Zirax dreadnoughts spawning in the same patrol group as the corvettes and frigates. They have a 1 in 4 chance of spawning where Zirax patrol vessels are found. They should be rarer instead.

    Almost every orbit is basically the same, star classes are the same, the level of a POI just makes the NPCs inside harder but doesn't give better loot, there isn't much feedback when you attack a shield (needs a bigger more noticeable shield impact effect), and some of the missions seem to be too hard for the equipment and skill a player is expected to have.
     
    #14
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  15. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    As for the POIs, some of the ones in the default game are literally unfinished. Ideally there should be someone to play test them to check for balance and design issues with each POI before they are added.
    Some POIs can be defeated within seconds from the outside and contain a ton of loot and that creates even more balance problems.
     
    #15
  16. Darinth

    Darinth Commander

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    As the person who has been called an 'Uber gamer' (those exact words) as a derogatory term, I generally have to agree with the thread. I'm not generally bothered by the difficulty of the game, in fact in some ways I'd like to make it harder. There are some situations though that the game difficulty spikes through the ceiling with no discernable reason or expectation. These difficulty spikes lead to people being frustrated and losing interest. I've already had players lose interest playing on the server, because it can go from 'Wow. This is really cool.' to 'Ohh I died here. For the 17th time' at random. The first experience I had with this was at the pirate 'Hidden base' mission, where I walked through the front door, shot at an assassin cyborg and was suddenly dead. I actually found this fairly enjoyable. I said 'Ohh. Well okay, that's how this is gonna be.' I died I think once more retrieving me equipment and I went back to base. I got some heavy armor and purchased armor boosters to stick in it. I then proceeded through the pirate base. It was still really hard with heavy armor & lots of medical supplies, but the only point where I died after that was when I ran out of ammo. I really enjoyed that difficulty... but both of the other players that I went through the POI with found it really off-putting. The game went from difficulty 2 to difficulty 10 quite suddenly.
     
    #16
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  17. elmo

    elmo Captain

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    I don't do the missions because when I am on myself I open the game in SP. When my son is on I open same game in coop, we do what we have to for a couple of hours then he goes off and I go back into SP to potter about on my own . Basically we do this because in SP i can build our ships better because I can press tent to sleep but we cannot do that in coop. As I said in my earlier post I get bored at end on first planet because I know I will be doing same thing over and over again. There is no challenge after the first planet to make me want to go elsewhere. I know my style of game is a lot different to others and I don't know if I could play on my own as I have bother flying SVs and CVs and I have a problem in space with a fear of heights so my son also does the flying. You're comments about end game or reasons to explore i agree with.
     
    #17
  18. Daedalon

    Daedalon Lieutenant

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    PM sent!

    Exactly, I'd like to see the story missions not just tell a story (which is great and all), but also gently introduce the player to key game mechanics.

    I agree, and I think this is one of Empyrion's growing pains. With the recent addition of the galaxy map, the game play area has been expanded exponentially, while the amount of POIs and ships to encounter has a long ways to go to catch up in scope.

    I realize that only so much can be created so quickly, so I can only be patient here. As the game gets bigger and better, I hope it has always been the developers' intention to have many unique POIs in each planetary climate and types of space sectors (I have yet to see a derelict space station to explore, for instance). I have seen some examples of this in vanilla Empyrion (such as different Zirax architectural styles on different planet climates), but now that the play area has expanded so much it doesn't feel like there are nearly enough.

    Also, I'd like to take a moment to thank you on behalf of my friends and I for all the hard work you've put into Project Eden, sir. It really is superb, and several of us look forward to updates to PE as much as Empyrion itself.

    What you do with your son is pretty much exactly how I play with my friends. Most of them aren't interested in designing ships, they just want to hop on and have action and adventure, or check out the story. So I set time aside to hop into Creative Mode and I design vessels for us to use as a team. When we play, I generally let them build the bases (which don't have the complications of thrusters, aerodynamics, and so forth) while I craft or buy whatever essentials we need to reach the next game stage, raid POIs or advance the story missions.

    I seldom use stock blueprints because they're almost always orientated around a lone player. My buddies want turrets to control or passenger seats that at least have an interesting view, and don't leave them sitting in a chair staring at a wall. Only cats enjoy that. :p
     
    #18
  19. Escarli

    Escarli Captain

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    I agree there does need to be more poi's but there aren't that many people building them. Just have to look at the workshop for that.

    Would be cool if there was a way to encourage more people to build poi's. Not necessarily just for the vanilla game but for the workshop in general.
     
    #19
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  20. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    Maybe some minor game improvements could make the whole more enjoyable, like some kind of "player shield" that gives an extra length to survival capacity when facing the sudden "death team spawn" when trapped in a corner. This could also lessen the impact of the eventual loss of a ship when approaching a POI as it would not equate to automatic death, and that shield could absorb at least one volley of most enemy weapons so players can assess what is going to happen if they stay in that spot. There could be a small meter on screen, armor boosters for the shield, etc. A quick reload when not being hit for a few seconds could do the trick.

    Another one would be to have a bit more "non shooting" animations for NPCs, just to give short breaks from the constant enemy hammering when the trigger has flipped on. At some point in the past there were some improvements in "animal" AI where the critters would hesitate, turn away when registering damage, take a decision to come back (or not) depending on distance, etc. So the same could be done for sentient humanoids, like shaking their weapon like if it was stuck for a few seconds (if they look at it it's even better!), yelling at each other like their actually going to use some "strategy", RELOADING haha no need to explain that one, running randomly from one spot to another one like they are going to flank the player and then signaling others to come to their spot, have the leader make radio calls (hand on ear, stops shooting of course), hug walls and pillars like they really try to avoid incoming fire, etc.

    For the less "sentient" species (horrors & friends) there could at least be some kind of reaction to being hit like stumbling one step back with arms folding like they try to protect themselves, or just change from their melee attack animation to a "hands in front" defensive posture. They could also simply continue their melee attack but randomly change target (attack a friend for X seconds) like they were disoriented from damage received.

    I would think it's even possible to partly simulate some of these "behaviors" by playing with player reputation while an attack is ongoing, with timers to revert back to "agressive state" for example. Or simply alternate between "idle" and "attack" animations rapidly at some points during the "combat" behavior phase, just to throw in an ounce of variation.

    I know these are not as easy to do as simply tweaking values, but they can make one hell of a difference in immersion, and players can accept much more easily to die when knowing they just did not observe their enemies carefully and just rushed into trouble. Presently there are no such clues and the players feel their actions have no impact until the enemies are dead, with no break during all the attack.

    And once again : it would be much easier for us to know "what to suggest" if we could at least know "what can be done".
     
    #20
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
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