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Koyyvo
12-15-2014, 06:50 PM
Because Korica[1] did it so nicely, and because it was well received, I decided to add my little contribution too.

I've addressed issues I felt mattered, and in conjunction to what Korica wrote and what can be seen in that topic too[2] about the choices and their consequences. I'm gonna make references to those below. But I promise you, it's all new material - almost.

I do it because I've found the narrative immensely enjoyable most of the way, and that I felt the gameplay mechanics were punishing me for all the wrong reasons. Pardon me if I've made mistakes too, English is not my first language and sometimes it means my vocabulary is not as diverse as I would like.

P.S.: I've only finished 1 playthrough on Normal. And I want shieldmaidens!!!


FIRST – Character Loss and Renown

I've been short on renown a lot since chapter 2. A lot because I was always running low on food and I had made my mission not to let anyone died of hunger (more on that later).

The point is I felt like the game was preventing me from experimenting with different caracters. At a point the cost was a deterrent. Just like when an important character would die, it would be hard to get out of it.

And if by a twist of fortune you happened to use both Olef and Egil (which I did to an extand), you're in for a big screw you. I was lucky, I lost them lv 2 and 3, but I was just about to get Egil lv4, since he had the kills and I found him invaluable in heavy fights.

It would have been more enjoyable if I could have experimented (not in training, but in actual combat) with many combination, meaning being able to lvl up everyone to an extend. Most of them already had the kills requirement.

I also feel the use of renown as a currency for goods and lvls was unbalanced in some way.

(Assists were discussed in Korica's topic and I love the idea. Makes fights more organic, not to have to worry who makes the final blow.)

There is also: when we lose a character, do we lose the item he had on him too? I did not check


SECOND – Egil

I find really unerving that he dies no matter what if Olef joined. I mean, he could be maxed out, and in a story sense, it makes him a badass. Even without his shield. I find it kind of hard to believe a lv 5 Egil would lose to Olef with one blow taken. It's particularly a problem with him, since we go 4 chapters with is death certain (although of course we don't know). I'm not against “randomly” killing someone, since I kind of liked the idea of a mutiny, but having him die no matter what, I find that harsh in a non-fun way.


THIRD – Choices and food

Like I said above, from chapter 2 through 5, food was scarce, so I was focusing my energies to finding more. By a certain point, I literally bought all what I came across.

My gameplay, in the last couple chapters was like that: buy all the found, and then promote with what's left. I think it would have been more interesting if I could have chosen food security over power.

The point I'm trying to make is: I would have like if I could have chosen my doom. If the game didn't force starvation on me, but if it was due to my carelessness. One way would have been to have town with many supply and others with not so much (instead of having them all having almost nothing). It would have force me to question myself in some way like: do I buy food now and don't promote that guy, or do I need his promotion more right now, and I will buy food in the next village? The way the game was, it was always: I need the food now, cause the next village will have almost nothing, just like this one and the one before


FOURTH – Caravan and choices

Looking back, I did not really care about the caravan in general (other than not letting them starve). I'm gonna actively reference information in the link [2].

If you look there's a lot of “Nothing”, or near meaningless choices. Some big mistake too. I think I would've cared more if the choices were more rewarding/devastating. Like a little moral boost here or a little moral loss here or htat choice trigger more conflicts for me to solve or that one keep the trouble makers in check for a while. And having random triggers for a majority of events.

For example:
I might be wrong, but it seems to me that welcoming strangers in the caravan cause two random events: 1 they stay and behave or 2. they flee after stealing from you. There is no way to mitigate that or anything. We could've had a choice like:

1. Have someone watch them.
2. Have people watching them.
3. Having people keeping watch on the waggons.
4. Having more people on watch for the night(s).
5. Trust them.
6. Etc.

With possible consequences like they're less likely to steal, or they killed the guard before stealing, or Rook is being woken up by the sound of battle (with a battle with some malus following) or having the guards preventing the theft and Rook having to pass judgement, or nothing. If you have many people watching them, these could not participate in the next war because they're tired or something, etc.

It makes the choices more complex and if something turns out badly it's the fault of the player instead of chance or weird game design (looking at you Egil).


FIFTH – Caravan and morale (suite of part 4)

I found morale not to have that big of an impact on the game. In the end I did not even bother to rest to have it boosted. Sometimes in the beginning I would do that and have the morale decrease after only one day on the road. I think the choices do not have a great enough significance on morale (no little boost or decrease of it).

I also found that a low morale did not have a big enough impact on my caravan as a whole. No mutiny because of low morale, no nothing.


SIXTH – A word about battles

Terrain variety was a little lacking. It was always the same square. It would have been nice to have trees or rivers or ravines in our (or the enemy's) way, or to have obstacles playing an offensive role, like I can push that guy in the hole and he would die falling (or me, enemies have the ability to push characters back.)

Or little things like being able to have 4 characters form a shieldwall and advance together.

Or having two different parties in the same war fighting simultaneously (story wise). That would be something punishing the player for promoting only 5 characters, and forcing him to use more of his people.

Having little things like 2 characters fighting along side having a special bonus (when they've been figthing side by side many battles or because they have a special relationship to each other story wise). I've find that rewarding in games like Fire Emblem (gameboy advance ones, I've not play the others).


IN THE END – the Banner

At the beginning of Chapter 3 I found myself wondering why the hell I was going to Ridgehorn. Which take me to the Banner. It is supposed to have the history on the... clan? Sewn into it. I would have like to have some archive of my actions, be it my decisions or the game storytelling decisions recorded for future reference, on the banner or else.


A little P.S. - bugs:

1. (I do consider that a bug) At the end of Chapter 5, if we fight on the bridge for 3 days, there's no possibility to buy supplies after the third battle and the departure at the start of Chapter 6. I found that infuriating, cause I was planning to buy supplies before leaving (I did not do that before the third battle because I promoted some characters and was looking to the extra Renown to stock myself). It's not like we were in a hurry either.

2. Context: after the game, before burning the one who died, we have still access to the Heroes area. In my case, Alette looked like that. I don't know if Rook has the same bug.
http://cloud-4.steampowered.com/ugc/...9654DE2363F49/

3. And in a conversation with Eyvind, I think it should'va read “if we can make it to the capital”
http://cloud-2.steampowered.com/ugc/...208501C887507/


[1] http://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthr...he-Banner-Saga
[2] http://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthr...s-in-your-Saga

shigad
12-26-2014, 05:49 PM
screenshots not working, and the links do not look like screenshot links (the links for the screenshots are cloud...steam.../ugc/... while they should be steam.../shared files/... [... means i am too tired to copy it and i forgot about copy paste])

Aleonymous
12-27-2014, 03:07 PM
Hi Koyyvo :) Welcome to your humble little community and thanks for your massive feedback. I will provide my thoughts based on the structure you presented your comments.

Note: As shigad said, all your links (pictures and forum threads) are broken. It seems you wrongly copy-pasted them, somehow... What I could reconstruct: Korica's feedback thread (your reference [1]) (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthread.php?2122-My-Thoughts-on-The-Banner-Saga) and Shady314's Spoiler thread :) (your ref. [2]) (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthread.php?2045-Do-not-peek-in-here-Big-spoilers!-The-effect-of-choices-in-your-Saga)

FIRST – Character Loss and Renown

Yes. Having a hero on whom you invested a lot of Renown die is, indeed, a bad thing to happen. I wish the caravan was somehow given back (part of) that renown.

Yes. Renown as a currency for both promotions and supplies is self-handicapped. I wished the had split that in two.

Also, heroes taking an equipped item to their death is sometimes weird... OK, if he falls of a cliff, I can understand that the item will not recoverable. But, if he is just dismissed or killed in a combat, then the caravan should be returned any items. And, then, perhaps we should be given an option like "bury item with the corpse" (if hero died) that would bestow some Renown on the caravan...?

SECOND – Egil

Agreed. I'd also have liked a chance (even a slim one) to save Egil in that Onef's mutiny event. Just like in Skogr, where the "right" choice/option can save the poor kid. But, it's a hard world, so I can also live with the current design too. A rank-1 Onef being able to slay a rank-5 Egil is not something I care to discuss; it's just a story event, i.e. he took him by surprise, so that's all.

THIRD – Choices and food

Aye. Food is scarce everywhere, with the exception of a couple of villages with very low rates (1:1 or 2:1). I followed the same priorities as you (1-Feed caravan, 2-Promotions), and I agree that it is barely manageable, especially in the first play-through, where you don't know what's up ahead for you. However, I don't mind the world/story/game being so ruthless :)

FOURTH – Caravan and choices

Agreed. I'd also liked to have seen more complex events, with them always having a balanced outcome (with both positive and negative facets), that depends on the player's choices. Most of the current events, both random and scripted ones, always have a "best" answer to them, that optimizes the outcome (minimum losses, maximum gain etc).

FIFTH – Caravan and morale (suite of part 4)

True: If you are strong in the tactical-battle department, you can always cope with the Willpower handicap, which is the only actual effect that Morale has on the caravan... Story-wise, there are some "random" events that trigger only if Morale is low (or high), but there's just a couple of them all in all. So, I agree with you, that I'd like to see more drastic effect on the caravan.

SIXTH – A word about battles


More terrain variety -- Yes, please!
Being able to have X characters form a shieldwall and advance together -- Interesting idea for a new Raider/support active ability?
Having two different parties in the same war fighting simultaneously (story wise) -- Yes. I've proposed an overhaul of the "War" system (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthread.php?2122-My-Thoughts-on-The-Banner-Saga&p=27763&viewfull=1#post27763) along the same lines
Having little things like 2 characters fighting along side having a special bonus (because they have a special relationship to each other story wise) -- Yes! That is subtly implemented (don't think it's intentional though), in the case of Alette & Egil: If he is stonewalled and she's behind him, she gains an Armor bonus and she can loose at the enemies ahead of him without Egil taking damage :) Also, some guy mentioned a possible bug (?) where Egil couldn't be killed if he was wearing Alette's bracelet; wouldn't that have been an awesome idea for a "secret" bonus? :D


IN THE END – the Banner

That would be extra cool. If the story (e.g. the events, choices etc) where somehow displayed as woven in a Banner :rolleyes:

P.S. - bugs
1. Sure, but it's not the baddest of bugs :)
2. Aye. There's no such bug for Rook. Maybe this is somehow related to TBS2, i.e. the continuation of the story? We'll see...
3. Check

Koyyvo
12-30-2014, 02:17 PM
Thanks Aleonymous. You got the links right! It seems they were formatted somehow when the post was published. The links to the pictures:

Bug 2 (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=355129142) (the bug is the {ENTITY:eagleeye_desc}. She's also reverted to rank 1 - even though it doesn't change anything at that point.)
Bug 3 (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=355276733)

It's nice to see I wasn't too mistaken in my remarks. :)

shigad
12-31-2014, 06:45 AM
SIXTH – A word about battles


More terrain variety -- Yes, please!
Being able to have X characters form a shieldwall and advance together -- Interesting idea for a new Raider/support active ability?
Having two different parties in the same war fighting simultaneously (story wise) -- Yes. I've proposed an overhaul of the "War" system (http://stoicstudio.com/forum/showthread.php?2122-My-Thoughts-on-The-Banner-Saga&p=27763&viewfull=1#post27763) along the same lines
Having little things like 2 characters fighting along side having a special bonus (because they have a special relationship to each other story wise) -- Yes! That is subtly implemented (don't think it's intentional though), in the case of Alette & Egil: If he is stonewalled and she's behind him, she gains an Armor bonus and she can loose at the enemies ahead of him without Egil taking damage :) Also, some guy mentioned a possible bug (?) where Egil couldn't be killed if he was wearing Alette's bracelet; wouldn't that have been an awesome idea for a "secret" bonus? :D



liked the idea of 0 level units, would also mean more dredge to fight, and if that happens maybe we can see "promoted" dredge, with 3/4 variations of the active ability and stats maybe, and the dredge we are encountering currently will be the 0 level ones
also cool bug and exploit.

Aleonymous
12-31-2014, 01:29 PM
... maybe we can see "promoted" dredge, with 3/4 variations of the active ability and stats maybe, and the dredge we are encountering currently will be the 0 level ones...

Most dredge classes (e.g. Stoneguard, Scourge etc) seem to have something like a "rank" which is color-coded. E.g., the Blue Scourge (Destroyer) have higher stats than the dark-grey (Warrior) or light-grey (regular). But this differentiation only affects their stats, not their active abilities... I wonder why that is :confused:

Avar
01-08-2015, 02:58 AM
I love the narrative but here's my take on your issues.

FIRST – Character Loss and Renown

Renown is indeed a very lazy unilateral currency. It seems to me that it was done this way to make the illusion of poverty without requiring any reward balancing. Nothing about how we earn or spend Renown is logical. A character can have over a hundred kills and be rank one while a character with two kills outranks them? That's dumb. Character levelling should be experience point based. This would be completely effective and we'd still suffer for losing a favourite character. They should have just used the Shining Force leveling system or even just cloned its combat system outright.

I love that certain decisions net renown. This is a fantastic and immersive element of the game. However, combat renown is a bit of a joke. 1 Renown per kill, regardless of enemy type, rank, or strength. Again, an experience point system is the way to go.

The renown system makes buying items impossible for most of the game if you want a perfect playthrough. Items should be resellable or tradable for supply. The fact that they're not further kills the metagame of the combat.

Really, most of the narrative/immersion killing renown issues could have been easily fixed by using a slightly more traditional system and with some minor tweaks to the balance to keep the depressing parts of the game just as depressing (even without getting supply scummed by the game, chapter 3 is meant to be tense).



SECOND – Egil

I don't think most people realize it but even having the opportunity to have Olef/Ekill in your party requires the player to make a series of very reprehensible choices in Frostvellr. For starters, you have to abandon all of the refugees and stay inside the walls where it's just a free-for-all of armed scum as opposed to leaving and protecting the people outside. For anyone who misses that subtext, as it's not very well fleshed out tonally, it's plain as day in Chapter 3. If you stayed in the walls you get reprehensible opportunities. If you stayed outside you get altruistic and heroic ones and you can save a ton of people and earn a rank 5 item in the process. In a "best possible outcome" playthrough you need to ambush the cart, fight at the gates, elect to ditch Ekill and stay outside with your caravan, and fight all of the optional battles that follow. This is the only way it's possible to complete the chapter without eventually resulting in the death of characters or clansmen due to mutiny or starvation and it is also the most heroic path. Also worth noting, if you do this Nid remarks later that Ekill is indeed with your caravan, you just don't have him as a playable character. I'd say that's a best possible outcome as well in that he was a little messed up and I'm happier thinking of him as either a more relaxed fighter or as a clansmen.

It should have been emphasized more greatly, while talking to Ekill, that the "Go back outside option" is really saying "You guys are deranged scum! I'm leaving on principle to stay with the people outside and my caravan." The mutiny is karma for negative actions that just aren't clearly shown to be negative well enough. Ie. If you stay inside fighting for Ekill, you're basically working for his gang fighting the other gangs. If you stay inside on your own, you're your own gang, fighting other gangs. If you go outside you're your clan, fighting the Dredge to protect humans. I agree with you getting pwnt by the mutiny is non-fun, but imo it's more of a failure of the narrative in conveying what your Frostvellr choices really entail.

THIRD – Choices and food


I feel there should have been ways of getting information that would help us decide how much food would be needed. Rarely are we told how far things are. We should be able to questions locals, hear about risks/weather/dangers/distance more than by just eyeballing the map. It was unrealistic having to guess how much food we'd need.

FOURTH – Caravan and choices

More choices whould be good but I found the sublteties in the outcomes to be spot on, especially if shooting for a perfect playthrough without ever dropping below normal morale and never starving. The +/-5 morale and minor differences in renown/morale/supply rewards for different choices really forces you to think about how to handle things. I agree though that some events are just out to get you. This is obviously intentional and I'm ok with it, to be honest.

FIFTH – Caravan and morale (suite of part 4)

Morale has an effect on when we get certain random events and which we get. I was determined to get the morale achievement and the no-starvation achievement at the same time and I found this really make the game a lot more exciting and immersive. I think low morale should have had a bigger impact, like lowering STR instead of willpower or being a multiplier for how many men are lost to random events or wars.

SIXTH – A word about battles

Combat is easily the worst part of the game. I was annoyed at the lack of enemy diversity until the female Dredge reveal... at which point I was all like O_O "ohhhhhhhhhh... ohhh... :( / sadpants" and i felt it was an effective design choice for the narrative. The alternating turns thing is terrible though. It shouldn't be possible to kill 20 enemies with a single character on your squad without ever getting hit. Having anyone other than -just- an archer or spearman actual makes fights riskier and harder. It's silly. Bad design choice and immersion killing. Throughout the game I wished the combat was like in Shadow of the Horned Rat, a game with a similar atmosphere and similar morale choice structre.


IN THE END – the Banner

I would have liked this as well. Was disappointed the credits didn't show it and recount your choices/deeds, much like This War of Mine does.

A little P.S. - bugs:

Lot of bugs, agreed. The save system makes them all the more aggravating. The supply scumming at the beginning of chapter 3. Not saving between battles so if you crash (which I seemed to have happen a lot) you have to redo every battle since your last decision was made.

Love the game but I expect more polish from the second one. The artistic direction is sublime. There is no reason this series can't be an all-round masterpiece for the ages.

Aleonymous
01-14-2015, 10:29 AM
FIRST – Character Loss and Renown
Character levelling should be experience point based.
Items should be resellable or tradable for supply.

SECOND – Egil
If you do this Nid remarks later that Ekill is indeed with your caravan, you just don't have him as a playable character.
I agree with you getting pwnt by the mutiny is non-fun, but imo it's more of a failure of the narrative in conveying what your Frostvellr choices [I]really entail.

THIRD – Choices and food
I feel there should have been ways of getting information that would help us decide how much food would be needed. Rarely are we told how far things are.

FIFTH – Caravan and morale (suite of part 4)
I think low morale should have had a bigger impact, like lowering STR instead of willpower or being a multiplier for how many men are lost to random events or wars.

IN THE END – the Banner
Was disappointed the credits didn't show it and recount your choices/deeds.

A little P.S. - bugs:
Not saving between battles so if you crash you have to redo every battle since your last decision was made.

Love the game but I expect more polish from the second one. The artistic direction is sublime. There is no reason this series can't be an all-round masterpiece for the ages.

More meaningful feedback :) I quoted some points with suggestion I agree with.

The most interesting point, for me, was that quote from Nid about Ekkill following the caravan (just not playable) that I admit I hadn't noticed before... Or, are you referring to the option to take Ekkill as a prisoner after leaving Frostvellr with Onef?