My thoughts and criticisms

Hey guys, I’ve been playing over the last few days and as this is alpha, I thought I’d give my thoughts and constructive criticisms.

My overall feeling is positive - the game has much potential to be something great, and it’s already more fun than The WarZ (although that’s not a hard goal to reach). So I’m going to kind of bullet point each feature I want to talk about.

Construction
Building things is by far my favorite part of the game. I love building big houses and structures, and there’s nothing more satisfying than coming back from a logging trip with a few stacks of logs to start crafting it into parts and attaching them to my house. It feels like how building in Wurm Online should have been, it’s relatively intuitive and it works pretty well. I like how you start a building by creating a foundation, then attaching more foundations, and it all works in a kinda grid around the foundations and you build it up. It’s nice and dynamic. Being able to build tall towers or crazy forts is pretty cool, though I imagine resource intensive so I wouldn’t mind a cap on size per structure (as long as it restricted total parts maybe instead of a specific dimension, so you’re still free to make a mental tall tower). Actually, the more I think about it, a cap could encourage having settlements with multiple structures - you’d have to have a separate structure for a watch tower, a wall, a storage building etc. I can’t wait for more materials like metal doors and more parts to be added.

Things to improve upon pretty much come down to 2 things - ownership control and glitching (through walls etc). Glitching I’m not too worried about, that will be tightened up as development progresses. Ownership control is an interesting one though. There needs to be something more than there is already - it’s entirely possible (afaik) for someone to break into your house and build walls everywhere, pretty much blocking you in and permanently destroying your house. On the other hand, having too much restrictions might hinder gameplay or encourage silly things like putting up protected shacks all around someone’s house and blocking them in. I’d definitely like to see a way to stop people from building on your house (ownership could be signified by whoever placed the foundation), and a way to allow your friends to open your doors or build on your house - kinda like prop protection for GMod.

tldr - like alot, though ownership control is desired

Resource gathering and Crafting
Resource gathering is rather simple in Rust - you whack objects with a hatchet, that’s it. In some ways I like this simplicity, but some part of me desires a bit more depth, such as different tools for different jobs (pickaxing a tree to get wood? hatcheting a rock to get ores?) rather than tool 2 > tool 1. I suspect this is something that you plan on fleshing out in the future. Other than that, just having more gatherable resources would be nice. Things like plants and herbs that you can find out in the wild that could be made into food or medicines, or rocks with different types of ore in them (iron, sulfur, coal maybe (could burn better in fires)). I feel like log piles should only be found wherever the tree density is above a certain value, and rocks should be found on hillsides and mountains. Speaking of log piles, I wonder who chops up trees and conveniently places the piles around for us to gather… I remember someone mentioning the ability to cut trees down and chop them up to get wood much like Wurm Online, that will work quite well and if you harvest enough wood from each tree, this could replace the log piles entirely.

Crafting is also pretty simple, but I like how it works currently. I can see that little menu getting cluttered up pretty fast, but sorting it into a new interface if required wouldn’t be difficult. I’d like to see workbenches that perform specific roles - for example, a woodworking bench that you must use to craft wooden parts and objects, or a smithing bench for metal objects. These benches would be pretty large, and would create a requirement for space (making the construction part more fun - you have to design crafting rooms and such). Don’t be afraid to add resource chains too, such as logs -> planks -> pillar rather than just logs -> planks. As long as the resource requirement isn’t huge overall, having extra steps like that is a very fast way to add more challenge, depth and ultimately fun to the crafting system.

tldr - needs more fleshing out, but heading in the right direction

Weapons and PvP
I’m not a huge fan of this side of the game, not really the game’s fault but I just prefer the surviving/crafting side. When I made myself a gun eventually, I used it defensively to keep people away from my house, rather than going out to raid other houses. Therefore I won’t go into much depth in this section as I don’t feel I’m worthy enough to do so. I will say however that some form of “progress balance” will be needed eventually. When you’re throwing players who have nothing but an axe and limited knowledge of the game into the same environment as people who are fully geared out with combat armour, every weapon in the game with hundreds of each ammo and a thirst for kills, there has to be something to keep them seperate or the new players are just going to leave due to frustration. The hardest part is not creating the separation, but balancing it. I don’t mind being thrown in with armed players, but there must be some incentive for them not to kill on sight. This is a problem The WarZ had and never solved. I found when playing Rust that the first ~hour is the hardest - when you get a secure house (even a 1x1 shack) with a sleeping bag, you have a leg to stand on and the gameplay evens out. With that in mind, there are a couple of obvious solutions - such as spawn protection, but maybe there should be something drawing the more advanced players away from the spawn area. There could be more resources or more challenge, promise of riches and areas to explore further out from the spawn area, encouraging more advanced players to leave and allowing new players to get started.

I’m sure this is an area that the devs have allocated much thought towards, and I know there is much heat about it in the forum so I’m not going to go into any more detail here.

tldr - pvp is good, it creates tension, but balance or some kind of seperation between new players and advanced players is required

Graphics, Sound and Environment
I’m not going to go into detail here because I suspect alot of the artwork etc is placeholder-y and going to be replaced/improved as time goes on. I recognise some stock Unity assets and I’m sure I’ve seen some models somewhere on the asset store but hey, that’s what the asset store is there for right?

Graphics and sound is probably of low priority for the devs and that’s fine, I’d rather gameplay over graphics right now, and they’re not that bad anyway. The game runs fine performance-wise, solid 100 fps on my 7950 and I’m experiencing very few stability issues (a few crashes here and there, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a cache clear). I like the overall theme of the environment, it’s definitely got a post-apocalyptic feel to it. I’m not sure I like the zombies, I don’t think they add much to the game, but I remember someone mentioning they might be removed or replaced. They should, in my opinion, play a large role in the game or no role at all - no middle line. The radiated areas are cool and add a risk-reward element to the game. I’d like to see more dangerous but rewarding areas further out to reward exploring.

The soundtrack is kinda weird, but I’ve gotten used to it now and I admit it does add a nice level of atmosphere. Perhaps the voices and gunshots should be removed (or reduced in intensity), but definitely keep the eerie sounds - it helps to keep the player on edge. Perhaps fade out the eerie music when close to a campfire? (the player has to feel safe at some point, or the eerieness will start to have no effect over time and the atmosphere is lost).

tldr - like overall graphics style and atmosphere, looking forward to seeing some new assets

Overall
Well I think I’ve said all I want to, there may be a few things I forgot about but I’ll edit them in if I remember. Overall, this game has lots of potential - it feels like a mix between Wurm Online and The Day/WarZ, but taking the good parts of both and making them better. I don’t know if this is what the devs are going for, but I hope it is and I hope it’s going to keep moving in this direction.

tldr of whole post - cool game, can’t wait to see it finished