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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: First impressions/Early Feedback

  1. #1
    Superbacker Equlan's Avatar
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    First impressions/Early Feedback

    (EDIT: I'm of course very interested in reading other peoples' first impressions as well, preferably spoilerfree!)

    First off, I'm liking the game a lot so far. I've gotten a bit into the third chapter.

    Music, to be honest I haven't noticed it too much yet, but I feel that's because it does a good job of supporting the game and its mood, rather than drawing the attention of the player away from the game and towards the music. If that makes sense.

    Combat (playing on normal here) I find to be well-balanced so far. I played a lot of Factions in the first months after its release, but haven't played it for the last few. I find that I've never been at risk of losing a combat so far. But I did relent from one "follow-up combat" after a charge (I committed to another and won). However, it's not a cakewalk either, I often have one or two wounded heroes after a combat.
    I imagine that means it'll be kind of rough to a total newcomer, but not unfair.

    Travel works pretty well so far and is just beautiful. I don't know if all villages are on the map, but if not that might be a small issue. Distance is kind of hard to gauge, especially in terms of "days worth of travel", which is relevant when it comes to whether you should buy additional supplies. Need to play more to really evaluate the game balance here.

    Two issues I'd like to see fixed if possible:
    1) This one might not need fixing really, depends on the intentions with the system. I understand that resting has a positive effect on morale. But how much? I've rested a day or two without the morale level improving. Is that supposed to be more or less opaque? Similarly, at first I thought negative events would impact morale adversely, but it seems the mere passage of time does as well?

    2) A few times I'm unsure what my options actually mean, when faced with a dilemma (or trilemma or whatever it's called when you have five options!). Two examples:
    a) When warring and you're asked to charge, use formations, retreat, or oversee (and the option I've forgotten). First off, I'm confused as to whether I'm deciding how to use my heroes or my regular troops. As in, am I charging with my heroes or with my troops? Apparently you charge with your heroes? Not sure. If you retreat, is that the heroes retreat and leave the fighting to the troops, or do everyone attempt to retreat? What does "Oversee!" even mean here?
    b) At one point in chapter three you arrive at a village with Dredge inside. Mogr suggests facing them on an open field. Your two options are something like "Take the fight to the enemy" and "Move around the village". I wanted to fight the Dredge, but chose the second option, because I (perhaps foolishly) took it to mean skirting the village in the hopes of drawing the Dredge out into a pitched battle, rather than entering (presumably) their ambush.
    Clearer phrasing or a parenthesis describing what an option means more precisely would be a huge improvement on only, so far, real annoyance I have with the game.
    Before I end this, I want to be clear that I don't want to be told the result of my choice, just the intent, if that makes sense.
    Last edited by Equlan; 01-15-2014 at 04:59 AM.

  2. #2
    Member Leartes's Avatar
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    I'm at the start of chapter 3.

    So far I really love the game. It is so beautiful Also I love how you can roleplay your characters and I'm sure I'll make a another playthrough sometime later where I decide my guys to be different. Chapter 1 I was the varl kings man. Helping humans reluctantly because they pay their tithe and the king is supposed to protect them. Chapter 2 I play with a more heroic touch taking personal risks to save my clanfolk etc. Not sure how I'll do chapter 3 point of view. I guess in my first playthrough I'll stick to all reasonable characters, but I'm looking forward to play the game again with totally reckless guys or cowards etc.

    Also I got to second the complain on rations. I started chapter 2 with 3 days of rations and I bought enough for 12 days at the earliest opportunity but I guess I'd have been fine without buying anything. Not sure if that is always the case or if I was lucky. It is damn hard to judge distances on the worldmap and additionally there might be small towns etc.

    As it was shown in the pax demo I guess this is no spoiler:
    Egil died on me. Anyone know what to do to keep him for next time? Is the outcome randomized or did I simply chose the wrong options?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rensei's Avatar
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    + Decisions - I normally try to avoid making ones, and require lots of save slots for RPGs, that have Your decisions affect the world. Was terrified at first, but before reaching chapter three I realised there is nothing I can do about it, and that living with my decisions (and my defeat) can be fun. There is still a little munchkin in me telling me to try to cheat the game and pick the best dialogue available, but I realised by now that there often isn't just one best answer.

    + Combat - Loved it in Factions, love it here. The AI is a bit silly sometimes and hardly challenging, but it's something I always wanted in Factions.

    + New classes, advancing beyond level 3, giving beloved units OP stats.

    - Subtitles - I don't mind reading, I love reading. The voiceover is a nice feature but hardly a necessity for me. Subtitles for the narrated parts on the other hand are a must. The actors, like me, don't speak the cleanest English making it them hard to understand. Especially since some of us have to tone the volume down.

    - Wars - Instructions unclear, Varls went on a Tauromaquia spree. Seriously - anything other than Charge seems like shooting Yourself in foot - You loose people, loot, experience and renown... They are not sufficiently explained. I picked oversee hoping for TotalWar-ish army command and ended up losing an easy fight.

    - One save slot - a minor one, but it hurts not being able to start over without losing the progress on the first one (I still want to finish it, I just already feel like I already could have made some things better).
    Last edited by Rensei; 01-15-2014 at 06:46 AM.

  4. #4
    Backer balnoisi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leartes View Post
    As it was shown in the pax demo I guess this is no spoiler:
    Egil died on me. Anyone know what to do to keep him for next time? Is the outcome randomized or did I simply chose the wrong options?
    i didn't get that far yet, but that character can survive : there's an achievement for it.

  5.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #5
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    I agree with the morale being hard to tell actually. I've also had the experience where you'd prefer to know how fast its dropping/moving exactly so then you could tell how much resting you'd need to do to keep it up.

    In general I also think there's a lot of events where you lose supplies which aren't balanced by as many events where you could gain. Although this is probably because you can always buy supplies at towns. So if you had supply gain events, you could steamroll through the game if you learned how to pick up supplies from there.

    In general though I think the latter parts aren't yet at a state where you really feel like you're managing supplies/rest/and combat/injuries. It's fine that it's more travelling and violent encounters (combat) but it's not quite in the right spot if you're pretty much just buying all the supplies you can in between towns to get by

  6. #6
    Superbacker Equlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rensei View Post
    - One save slot - a minor one, but it hurts not being able to start over without losing the progress on the first one (I still want to finish it, I just already feel like I already could have made some things better).
    It's not a perfect substitute, but there seems to be separate auto-saves at the beginning of each Chapter, maybe that helps you?

    I also agree about subtitles, I think they are a must in all games. Even if the spoken English is without accents/dialects (as if that was a thing) - we're not all native speakers or hear equally well for that matter.

    @Leartes: About Egil, he has survived in my game so far. I can pm you what I remember about my choices. Don't know if there's chance involved.

  7. #7
    Superbacker netnazgul's Avatar
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    Yeah, also concerning music - it would feel better if there was some mild and calm background music in dialogue screens, as for now there is just ambient sound which is usually too quiet. Just saying.
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  8. #8
    @Leartes: I had Egil survive (so far) by taking him and Alette with me into battle, winning it with everybody alive and then just shooting directly at the varl. It got distracted enough that Iver could save both youngsters. I'd guess, you could also save them by not taking them with you, the battle should still be doable with just Iver and Rook.

    As to my first impression:

    Awesome game so far, pretty much what I expected. The battles are not challenging (so far) in the sense of winning, except for the chase option in wars, sometimes. AI - well, it's not impressive, but the Dredge don't have that many options, either. With some Factions-experience, it's just a question if you do mistakes yourself.
    The war interface resembles the one from KoDP and it seems to work similarly. But explaining it would actually make sense, especially if Formations really just means easier battle, but more losses.

    Music is just GREAT and could get some more spotlight, I think. The OST is one of the best I've heard.

    I like the single save-slot idea. Save-scumming would really ruin the experience.

    Missing the option the restat, though. Most characters have way too much WP. I like the Warden idea, but this fact makes his ability pretty pointless so far.

  9. #9
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    I am not gonna go on a list of the good things, because it will take forever.
    I am not gonna go on a list of the things that could be done differently or improved, because you'll send me away.

    What I am gonna do, is a small list of minor issues I've encountered, that if addressed could improve the experience. So, here goes:

    • Subtitles -- There's hearing-impaired people and non-native speakers. VO is so little, that this seems easy to amend.
    • Assemble your Heroes -- No music/sound? I spend a lot of time in there planning my build, especially when there's a lot of options.
    • Assemble your Heroes -- See unit stats? I understand that promoting and swapping items is not "right", but stats viewing?
    • Battle Deployment -- I'd like to see the enemy movement and attack ranges. I've memorized them, but it would help!
    • Battle UI -- When activating some abilities, the buff/debuff icon briefly flashes on all unit portraits, not only the one(s) targeted.
    • Battle Aftermath -- I'd like to jump straight into the "Heroes" screen, not directly back to travel, to promote units between consecutive battles.
    • Dialogue -- Music or ambient sounds? Sometimes they seem too empty.
    • Morale (vs. Population & Distance & Time & Supplies) -- I know its very complicated, but some approximation of how they relate would help...


    (Sorry for double posting. If that's the case, consider my comments as a +1! )
    Last edited by Aleonymous; 01-15-2014 at 08:56 AM.
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  10. #10
    Superbacker quartex's Avatar
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    The game is amazing, but I wanted to add a few of the rough edges that I noticed while playing:

    • Battle Aftermath One of my pet peeves is that I can't see how injured units are after the battle until we camp. I understand not being able to promote units or change items until you camp - that makes sense to me. And maybe it also makes sense that you wouldn't know how bad a wound is until you stop to make camp, but it makes it hard to judge how urgent it is for the caravan to stop and rest.
    • Promoting Units I was surprised that I couldn't rearrange stats like I did in Factions. I suppose being able to max/min your characters doesn't make sense in Factions when they are actual people. (I immediately noticed the slow amount of armor break) But I was annoyed that when you promote a unit the 2 points you add to each stat are set in stone and can't be changed later.
    • More Help Info I know Stoic doesn't have time to write a full manual, but I would still appreciate more help information in-game, especially concerning how Supplies and Morale work - these seems like important concepts that are only overed in the promotional videos. And it would be nice for someone to explain what each of the five War battle options do. Finally I was confused by the abbreviations on some of the item descriptions, I suppose we have to wait for fans to update the Banner Saga to get explanations for what all the items do.
    • Dialogue To respond to Aleo I distinctly remember music during the dialogue in Strand, but I understand what you're saying.

  11. #11
    I've been having a lot of fun playing the game so far. I really like the level of difficulty; I'm playing on normal and I feel pretty confident going into any single battle, but often I have to pass over the clean up because I just don't know if I could take another big guy.

    I really, really love the music, the perfect score always seems to be playing whenever I roll up to a godstone.

    So far, my only real complaint is that I'm not picking up enough renown, and a lot of my characters are sitting around waiting for promotions I can't afford to give them. I like how I always feel like I'm scraping by on supplies, praying that I see a new town on the horizon and that I've got enough renown to get me supplies for the next leg. I just wish these two feelings were independent. Having so many heroes up for promotion but without enough renown to do it feels like I'm failing somewhere.

  12. #12
    Having a great time myself! Seems like most of my complaints are similar to everyone elses and are fairly minor. On chapter7, day 130

    Assemble your Heroes -- See unit stats? I understand that promoting and swapping items is not "right", but stats viewing?
    Agreed.

    So far, my only real complaint is that I'm not picking up enough renown, and a lot of my characters are sitting around waiting for promotions I can't afford to give them. I like how I always feel like I'm scraping by on supplies, praying that I see a new town on the horizon and that I've got enough renown to get me supplies for the next leg. I just wish these two feelings were independent. Having so many heroes up for promotion but without enough renown to do it feels like I'm failing somewhere.
    I'm having the same problem, 5/6 of the team i usually use all have at least 1 promotion (one could be Rank5 but is only Rank2). I'm also spending all the renown I have on supplies in towns an still starving. I know its supposed to be hard trying to stretch out supplies/renown/etc, so I'm wonder if I'm just missing something to get a bit more renown? The ability to sell some of the items I have but not using at markets for some extra renown would also be nice.

    - Wars - Instructions unclear, Varls went on a Tauromaquia spree. Seriously - anything other than Charge seems like shooting Yourself in foot - You loose people, loot, experience and renown...
    Agreed, I typically charge unless I know I have a lot of injured heroes. Then the follow up I'm not sure about, I choose the regroup but nothing ever pops up saying "heres your extra loot!"? and the one time I actually chased the Dredge down I ended up dying heh.
    Last edited by neonovas; 01-15-2014 at 10:04 AM.

  13.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #13
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Oh yea I was hoping for more a few more effects animations like what made it into Factions

    Some people milling about camp. Some animals or environmental movement on the combat boards.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Rensei's Avatar
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    Agreed, I typically charge unless I know I have a lot of injured heroes. Then the follow up I'm not sure about, I choose the regroup but nothing ever pops up saying "heres your extra loot!"? and the one time I actually chased the Dredge down I ended up dying heh.
    I'm not sure which one is supposed to grant said bonus loot - chasing or regrouping :/

    Assemble your Heroes -- No music/sound? I spend a lot of time in there planning my build, especially when there's a lot of options.
    Not a must, but I'd kill for a Viking equivalent of "Prepare for deployment" tune from the new XCOM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeLC55FOUCI) during preparations - a small thing that made battles exciting even before they started.

    For people asking about Egil: [SPOILER]don't take him and Alette into the battle or use the "Shoot it with an arrow" -> "Stop thinking! Shoot the dredge!" lines. You will have a few more chances to get the poor lad killed later on from what I can tell [/SPOILER]

  15. #15
    Superbacker Equlan's Avatar
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    @Rensei: About Egil I actually did exactly what you're recommending people avoid, and he survived in my game I dunno if there's a measure of randomness or one of us is remembering wrong.

  16. #16
    Backer Shigawire's Avatar
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    I would just like to congratulate John Watson's gang at Stoic with a successful game - one of the very first kickstarted games released for PC that also turned out very well received. I'm glad I backed it now.. because it's a beautiful and great game!

    I agree with most people's criticisms:

    +Beautiful game, art and music is all great

    +Decent tutorial system to learn the ropes of combat

    +Good combat system

    +Good role playing system of choices

    -Dialogue seems quiet, no voice overs most of the time, somtimes no ambient music in the background.

    -Where did the music from the Kickstarter go? I REALLY liked that a lot.. listened thru the sound track and was disappointed that I didn't find it. I expected the music in the game to sound similar to that - it had a very interesting and eerie vibe to it.

    -"Oddleif" is an exclusively male name in Norway But in Banner Saga, there's a woman named Oddleif.. I was like WTF?!

  17. #17
    Junior Member Senta's Avatar
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    I absolutely love the game, so much so, that I am forcing myself to take it easy as I don't want my playthrough to end! (how long is it, by the way? I'm taking it easy, resting when I can afford to spend supplies, picking every option that leads to a battle - and renown! and reading everything that there is).

    art is stunning, obviously, choices are tough, characters are memorable (the main ones, at least). there's a fair amount of humor in the game in several dialogues (Tryggvi for instance).

  18. #18
    Junior Member Senta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shigawire View Post
    -"Oddleif" is an exclusively male name in Norway But in Banner Saga, there's a woman named Oddleif.. I was like WTF?!
    number 1, it's a fantasy game after all
    number 2, it is actually explained in-game. her father wanted her to be a boy, hence the name. they do address it

  19. #19
    Superbacker quartex's Avatar
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    There was dialogue in the game between Rook and Oddleif where Oddleif said her father wanted a son so much that he named her before she was born and he realized his child was a girl. So the name is intentional, and a good name for a strong woman in a male dominated culture.

  20. #20
    Junior Member Senta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rensei View Post
    I'm not sure which one is supposed to grant said bonus loot - chasing or regrouping :/[/SPOILER]
    chasing does, every now and again. I've gotten a few items that way.

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