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Feone Varen

My general feedback

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Hi! I've owned Vintage Story for about 20 days, I've averaged playing about an hour a day on singleplayer survival.I'm noticing my interest in playing is decreasing, while playing I took some notes on my experience so far and I'll share the various points here.

A quick summary:

I love:

  • The terrain gen
  • Casting metal
  • How easy adding mods is

I hate:

  • Mobs & their spawning
  • Ore gen

I meh:

  • Caves
  • Knapping/clayforming

Also keep in mind I've played minecraft for many years so the "erhmagerd I can build ANYTING!?" factor is a bit lost on me.

My overal opinion: The game is definitely unfinished (as stated very clearly), despite that I think it's worth the price and I am happy to have supported its development.  It's missing content but the world is quite beautiful and I've had fun playing it so far. There are also a bunch of things I really don't like, but with some more development I think this game has a lot of potential, I look forward to seeing where it goes.

My views are currently based on playing a realistic climate bands world for about 7 hours, dropping it and playing on patchy climate for another 13. I've only gotten up to copper tools but did otherwise get into building and farming a bit.

Below in no particular order random bits and pieces of feedback I've gathered so far, and below that some opinions on mechanics.

  • Items are a bit slow in picking up, would be nice if they went into inventory faster and in a bit wider radius.
  • Moving around the world would be more pleasant if 1-high ridges didn't require jumps.
  • Throwing stuff doesn't follow the view line, bounces off blocks you're standing on, or are above you.
  • Casting stuff is really satisfying.
  • Inventory expansions with items still inside are a bit confusing, don't behave like other items/containers.
  • Mobs sometimes seem to glitch inside blocks, thrown/shooting stuff phasing through them and generally a bit wonky during combat sometimes.
  • Woodcutting on slopes seems to take really long, leaves maybe counting towards breaking timer, even in connected cannopies despite other trees not ending chopped?
  • I bet I could fit more than 4 tools on a rack

Mechanics:

Knapping:

Pretty cool at first, but not a fan, takes a while to knap something and especially axes and javelins need to be made over and over and over. There's nothing to get better at, no improvements to outcomes or time spent. Conceptually I like actually 'crafting' the shape, but in practise it gets tedious. I think this could be much improved if it was possible to just leave your character to make a pile of something while you grab a coffee, or if there were ways to improve the outcome/speed up the process by getting better at it.

Clayforming is sorta similar in that regard. Cool concept, looks nice, but gets a bit tedious. Some tweaking could make it more fun.

 

Mobs & spawning:

Strongly dislike this mechanic, it's extremely shallow with the totally random placement. Drifters are a minor nuisance that mostly make night something to wait out early on, but are otherwise not particularly dangerous or rewarding.

Wolves, and to a lesser degree hyenas are a massive pain, their high damage means overlooking one is death. Overlooking them is easy, behind a tree, behind a hill. There's so many of them spawning totally at random, and missing just one means dieing. There is almost no reward for killing them, they'll just pop back up behind another hill or tree and unless you're constantly extremely careful they will get you.

My recommendation here is to go back to the drawing board and fundamentally rethink the system, as-is it's almost entirely a negative, it adds almost nothing to the game other than frustration.

 

Casting:

This is awesome, it's really pretty to look at and very satisfying.

 

Ore spawns:

Another mechanic I dislike, it takes the worst parts of both vanilla Minecraft and TFC and combines them into something worse than both. Ores are a huge pain to find and you need very specific ones (TFC) and when you do find them you get a tiny vein so you need to do it over and over (MC).

  This mechanic could also use a rethink, I think finding an ore vein should be difficult, but once you do find one it should be enormous. Building a bit around veins and knowing there's a substantial resource reward to finding them is one of the things I look back on fondly on TFC. Even better would be actual enormous 'build a whole damn dwarven kingdom by digging them out' style veins though. Give us a reason to build infrastructure around them, gives opportunity for deeper mechanics around mining and logistics in general.

 

Heating stuff:

Overal I like the mechanic,  the fires look really nice and it's satisfying to get the results. Getting wood chopped is a bit of a pain due to how little durability axes have, but that's not really this mechanic.

The one thing I would change here is smelting copper, due to the time it takes to get it up to temperature there's a bunch of waiting involved, but you also can't leave and do something else because it'll eat up your charcoal and cool back down. Would be nice if you could just turn it on, leave and get back to it later.

 

Caves:

Kinda meh, random minecraftish noodles. I feel like shallow cliffside dens for say hyenas or wolves, giant underground caverns and/or biomes could be used in various hostile mob mechanics to really add to the game, helping in replace the random spawning.  Right now they're just kind of a slightly less annoying way to check for ores.

I do like how the larger ones with lava look, very eerie.

 

Modding:

Awesome job, other than games integrated with massive systems like Steam (and even compared to some of those) I've never found it so easy.  It's also nice to see that 'outdated' mods just tend to work.

I definitely recommend the graveyard and waypoint utils mods.

 

Recipe book / guidance:

Nice to have ingame, could use some formatting, filtering and stuff. Overal good to have. Still missing some guidance on things to look for, strive for etc. Wiki helps a bunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some things I forgot 😐

Movement

Swimming is a bit unintuitive.

 

Worldgen & first impression:

Tinkering with the rules of movement & adding functional elements to the world that Minecraft doesn't have at all may help set this game apart on the first impression.

For example, climbing up/down smallish cliffs, 2-4 high ish? Streams cutting through rough terrain & means to navigate them; Sliding down slopes of non-rock?  In general, adding different ways to move through the world will allow adding formations & features to the world that would be extremely inpractical/hard to navigate right now. Having unique world elements like that can give a very different initial impression and may make the world even nicer looking.

Some other ideas that come to mind is using more slabs/partial blocks in gentler sloping terrain, maybe adding dense foliage or swampy areas that are actually hard or dangerous to traverse. Terrain that can't be crossed without acquiring equipment could also be used as a challenge to overcome.

 

 

 

Edited by Feone Varen

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Good points...I could have much to say but I offer only a few comments.

I would do less on the graphics and more on gameplay....it looks amazing so spend some time on the guts of the thing.

Trees should take MUCH longer to mature....it'd be nice if they went through a few stages but that might be too much.

It'd be nice if the characters could carry only a very little and required a wheelbarrow, cart, wagon, etc. AND a flattish trail to move along.

What about the players avatar started by knowing very little....plants are just "plants"....ore is just "ore".....players get experience and learn more about the world as they go....perhaps they need to rely on NPC's to do the technical stuff like casting.....I would need to explain this on Discord to make much sense.

Major industrial facilities (forges) should be expensive AND immobile....once placed, there they stay....much more to say on this....

...just some thoughts....great game already.

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Excellent observations.  I've got about 20+ hours in and I'm loving it, but would agree with most of the points above.  I've not left the copper age yet, but I'm getting there.  I've been playing MC for years and TFC is still my favorite mod.

I love the clay molding feature.  I find that it makes the game very immersive and I enjoy it even if it can be a bit repetitive. 

I completely agree on the wolves issue.  I tried hunting them all, but they do come back and it's pointless.  If you're in the middle of something and a wolf attacks, you're generally done at that point.  With TFC, you had a feature that the longer you stayed in an area, the less likely mobs would spawn.  Maybe something along those lines would work.

Farming and tree maturity are right on point in my opinion.  This may be another thing I'm missing, but I'd love to know how to get more saplings when cutting down a tree.  I hate the deforested look around my house.  I do agree with the multiple stages for look, but otherwise, I think it works as it is.

I don't know if I'm just missing it, but some sort of armor really needs to be a necessity.  Even something as simple as reed pants or shirt would be helpful.  As it is, my combat involves a 2 high dirt pillar as my main mode of defense.  

Again, I am really loving this game as it truly is the kind of survival game play I've been looking for.  Keep up the good work!

 

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Oh, I wanted to reply to this some time ago. Mobs and their spawning should get better in the future. We sometimes add simple game mechanics as a place holder until we can develop the full version of what we had envisioned - the current mob spawning is one of them. Sometimes these place holders stay for quite a while, as its just such a huge undertaking to build a game of this scale.

@bbushh You are indeed correct that it would probably be better for the overall game to spend more time on gameplay and less on graphics. I work on graphics for my personal enjoyment as opposed to working on gameplay, which is rather a grindy and less rewarding thing for me to work on. I think its because better graphics give me an instant reward whereas with gameplay mechanics its really hard to know if you are on the right path or if made the game better or worse. It seems that Graphics and Detailing is the thing I need to balance out the less fun tasks.

@Jay Cook I am indeed very reluctant on adding armor. I want to very much avoid the path Minecraft went, where adding armor just made the game 2-4 times less challenging. If I add armor that makes you 3 times less likely to die, then I also want new game mechanics that make the world 2-3 times more dangerous in the same update. Perhaps its enough to fix the 2 high dirt pillar trick + armor.

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I need to chime in here and say I'm glad graphics are given some extra thought occasionally. To make the obvious comparison, it's always been odd to me that Minecraft still looks as ugly as it does when they've been able to afford to hire great pixel artists to give the game a face lift, whereas Vintage Story looks beautiful right out of the box. So, I greatly appreciate the attention to the art/graphics. I really have no desire to ever go seeking a texture pack for VS because it looks so good already.

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@Tyron Thanks for the feedback. Perhaps the option of reducing spawn rates as you stay in an area would work then.  That way you can have fun with the creative aspects of the game while "at home", but still experience the thrill of potentially dying when you're out exploring.  Dying is almost the mini-game....where did I die and how do I get back to my stuff.  Thanks!

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On 8/30/2019 at 9:10 AM, Tyron said:

Oh, I wanted to reply to this some time ago. Mobs and their spawning should get better in the future. We sometimes add simple game mechanics as a place holder until we can develop the full version of what we had envisioned - the current mob spawning is one of them. Sometimes these place holders stay for quite a while, as its just such a huge undertaking to build a game of this scale.

@bbushh You are indeed correct that it would probably be better for the overall game to spend more time on gameplay and less on graphics. I work on graphics for my personal enjoyment as opposed to working on gameplay, which is rather a grindy and less rewarding thing for me to work on. I think its because better graphics give me an instant reward whereas with gameplay mechanics its really hard to know if you are on the right path or if made the game better or worse. It seems that Graphics and Detailing is the thing I need to balance out the less fun tasks.

@Jay Cook I am indeed very reluctant on adding armor. I want to very much avoid the path Minecraft went, where adding armor just made the game 2-4 times less challenging. If I add armor that makes you 3 times less likely to die, then I also want new game mechanics that make the world 2-3 times more dangerous in the same update. Perhaps its enough to fix the 2 high dirt pillar trick + armor.

I can imagine how much work it'd be to actually dive into all the different systems I've listed something on. Let alone designing/building them entirely.  Also not forgetting graphics is definitely a good thing imo, it really adds to the immersion and flavor of the game.

One thing I'd like to comment on is the difficulty you mention there.  Personally I'm not a fan of how quickly you die. I don't really see this as difficulty either, it's not difficult at all to avoid dieing, but you do have to meticulously check behind every tree, bush and hill all the time which gets tedious fast. The quick deaths also don't leave much room for combat, you spam click in the general direction of the mob and hope they die first. Preferably though just fling arrows, spears or even rocks at them from a safe-ish distance.

As a quick fix I'd rather see an large overal increase in toughness of players & creatures to make combat last longer, giving you some time to maneuver or flee would still make it hard to kill a mob, definitely not something you'd manage unarmed, but at least you have more options to flee or maneuver. If killing a mob takes more effort they could also be a bit rarer, and give significantly more rewards to compensate. That'd make hunting something a lot more memorable and an actual activity to specifically equip & go out for.

For combat in general eventually I'd ditch the minecraft model entirely though, I've never found spam clicking in various forms particularly appealing. Then again I'm an avid (MMO)RPG player too so I'm fond of complicated combat systems.

Edited by Feone Varen

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If armor were added to Vintage Story, I'd like it to be done... let's say, intelligently. Moderately high cost sink, and wearing it has drawbacks as well as benefits. That's how I tend to think of a lot of systems in Vintage Story - you have options, but options aren't always clear upgrades. They're situational upgrades. For instance, to make torso armor, you'd probably have to use multiple ingots and bang out 2 torso plates, and connect them with leather. Then, when wearing it, probably suffer some sort of move speed penalty so that you're trading nimbleness for being able to take blows.

Then perhaps offer as the only way to repair armor, having to put it back on your anvil and bang out dents, but maybe even put a limit on how much you can do that before the armor is just too far degraded. For instance, some kind of system where armor has a set durability, and as you take damage from wearing the armor, the armor becomes beaten up and provides less defense, and loses durability. But also, make it so beating the dents out and restoring its defense rating ALSO reduces its durability. So you can't just keep fixing a piece of armor indefinitely, because combat AND repeated repair is slowly chipping away at its durability.

As for the current way of cheesing combat where you can sit on top of a short pillar and attack things, I think a quick fix would be that if enemies can't path to where the player is standing and the player is more than 1 block above them, they should disengage to force you to come off your perch - maybe not full-on run away, but refuse to get close.

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