Various feedback

Greetings.

First off, let me say that I really, really like what I am seeing so far. Any feedback and opinions I provide is simply in an attempt to better the game, from my perspective. Current playtime is roughly 25 hours.

I will divide this into several sections for easier reading/compilation.

  1. Combat
  • Combat is fun and engaging, even in long engagements. The “physics” and animations makes it fun to slow down time to see as much as possible. The cinematic experience is important, because a combat round is you spending up to several minutes for what is essentially only 5 seconds of combat. As such, I am really looking forward to the replay feature where you can save memorable/cinematic engagements for future viewing, as well as editing it into an even more cinematic video, potentially.
    The more fun the cinematic experience(in terms of animations, weapon effects and mech interaction), the better the game becomes.

  • Mech- and weapon design is great. I have seen other people saying that they would like more “low grade”/jury-rigged weapons, but personally I dont want that. There is a difference between weapon variety and bloat, where 70% of the weapons are subpar.
    Having more weapon customization options, however, would be nice. That being said, I dont want them to take up inventory space(it is already a problem to keep it organized). Instead, let it be a simple “toggle” based on something like available blueprints, for a small cost in supplies.

  • More info/tooltips on weapons and modules. What does a sensor module do? What is the duration of a melee weapon segment? These things are probably already intended to be fleshed out on a later date, but it is an important factor, since a large part of the game is the min-max of the mech designs.

  • Melee. I know it is still being worked on, but depending on the map, the effectiveness can vary greatly. For instance, if there is a lot of terrain and elevation differences, it is almost impossible to use. Not sure how to balance this, since, if you get into an ideal situation, they are almost unstoppable. I think terrain obstruction is fine. Very minor elevation differences makes less sense to me.
    Also, in terms of melee weapons, I like that we have variations of swords already, but I dont like how much difference there is in damage.
    Considering the risk you take for going into melee, I see no real point in picking the short blade, since it’s damage(if the tooltip is correct) is almost 1/3 of the heavy sword, much less concussive force and only marginally better heat management. Also, if you take the heat/damage of the small blade and compare it to, say, a submachine gun or a decent pistol, it seems worthless. I get it is supposed to be a backup weapon, but fact remains that you have other, more consistent alternatives, that costs less heat.
    There should be a damage difference between the small and bigger blades, sure, but I think the real difference/selling point of the larger melee weapons should be the concussive force and reach.

  1. Campaign map/Overworld map
  • Map design/locations. I think it is ok. A bit more variety in locations would help. I dont want deserts and rain forests, since it wont make sense, but it would be fun to fight in or near rivers, lakes, large fields etc… It is possible that these areas already exist and I have simply not been there yet, but that does not change the fact that a lot area, at least early on, feels “the same”.

  • It is early, so it is difficult to see the intention of it all, but I think having multiple, mobile bases at some point could be fun. That way, you can have more things going on at multiple areas, making the map more dynamic, as well as cutting down the time between “action”, even if you decide to rest some of your pilots in one area.
    It seems weird that a single outfit would be able to beat back an entire invasion force, especially since the invasion force seems very passive about losing conquered territory.

  • A different spin: What if you could leave garrisons in territory you conquered to secure it? If you dont, you risk enemy squads going back in and retake the territory, forcing you to backtrack to deal with it(similar to the Village Raid event, but with the risk of losing territory).
    Since you get a decent amount of supplies(compared to the cost of building a new mech), you could fairly easily leave 2 mechs as garrison by the time you have liberated 2-3 territories.
    So basically; you still have only 1 mobile base, but you can leave behind defenses, in case enemy patrols go back into the territory to reclaim it. It would add a bit of “settlement” management, and make retaking and holding the territories feel a bit more logical. Speaking of…
  • Make the territories more important! Currently, you get a lot of supplies just from winning engagements(more than you know what to do with). What if engagements, in and of themselves, only provided components and weapons, while supplies were provided from the optional objectives(instant boost) and taking and holding specific territory(“supply income” over time)?
    This could lead to you making choices on what to liberate based on your needs. Do you need parts(possibly to outfit a garrison squad for a territory)? Then you raid enemy strongholds, patrols, checkpoints etc… Do you need supplies? Then you liberate factories, farms, mines, villages etc…
  1. Events
  • I guess this will be fleshed out, but the game really needs a log so that you can keep track on current events. I am not talking about salvage and repair timers, but things like “Memorial” feel clunky and I am never sure if I get something from them if I say “look for better loot”.

– space for future edits and additions.

This is all for now.

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I was going to write up one of these myself but between work kiddos and Covid it’s been busy :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. I agree with your first two bullets, I’m still enjoying the tactical challenges. My biggest complaint would be that it’s too easy sometimes, but Early Access is Early Access so I’m ok with that.
    Regarding the device info, if you mouse over the “Core” component in an item you get a lot more info, and I agree that tooltips/mouse-overs would help there. Sensors, FYI, give a particular weapon more effective range, which is the range at which they’ll do some damage. Also, they work on Melee weapons which may be a bug or a feature but it’s pretty awesome having a heavy sword mech dash 60 meters and whack an opponent.
    Melee is risky, for sure, and effectiveness varies with maps, but that’s in line with things like sniper rifles who’s effectiveness can vary greatly depending on the terrain. I think the biggest advantage of something like the short blade is that it combines a short range attack with a dash movement, which can be really handy for getting a sniper or marks equipped mech out of a tight spot.
    I think the biggest thing to remember with melee is you shouldn’t really attempt more than 1 strike per turn per target, since if you take out a tread or a leg your followup melee attack is going to miss due to the target not being where it’s supposed to be. I put two right sensors on my melee equipped mech and it just dashes back and forth through a swarm of vehicles disabling them left and right. Melee strike with a compact shotgun or SMG followup works well too.

  2. Agree, more content will be fun, but that just takes dev time. Dunno about multiple bases but I like your other ideas. I think the only danger of having your own town defense mooks would be distracting from the whole “ragtag band of rebels” theme, but I can see coming to their rescue as being a fun scenario and that they’re not controllable, just using the same AI the current enemy uses. The best thing that I like is the whole strategic game play loop is a mixture of Diablo style loot and XCOM style advancement. I like that you can’t always count on having a certain load out of equipment available, so you have to make due and fit together your mechs with what you have on hand. It also makes finding that Rare Duration++ HMG or Heat++ Sword extra rewarding. I may hurt myself with the eye rolling if I find more Mass++ handguns or SMG. Those go straight into the recycler unless I literally have no better options. Easier methods for stripping components out of things like torsos and recycling items would be a wonderful UI improvement.

  3. Agree on the whole “quest tracking” thing. I’m pretty sure I have at least one pile of supplies and one group of rescued villagers in my base because I didn’t return them and I’m not sure where to go to do so.

Here’s my current issues as I see them:
Equipment slots. Offensive slots>>>>>>>>>>Mobility Slots>>>>>Defensive Slots. Obviously you have to take base heat dissipation and mass into account for parts but I will almost always pick a part that has Offensive slots, even trading integrity for it. Offensive slots give you scatter reduction (= more connected shots so more damage) and heat dissipation (= more shooting and more dashing). Integrity and Barrier only matter if you get hit, and if you have enough heat management and speed you won’t get hit enough to matter. Missiles might complicate this so I guess I’ll just have to play more to test :slight_smile:

Thrusters also seem like there might be some implementation missing since the dash limit is always 30 meters. It also seems like a no-brainer to always take sidestep or evasion thrusters. Less power use = more movement speed, and most of my mechs typically run 40 or more heat dissipation so even extra heat isn’t a problem.

I’m still really enjoying the game, even in it’s Early Access state, and I look forward to all the new improvements and content in the pipeline.

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About Melee

Personally, I dont think melee is bad in and of itself. It is very fun and can be very disruptive to enemy formations. But I dont think it is fair to compare it’s issues with that of a Sniper setup.

  • First off, a sniper does not need to move towards danger. In fact, unless you get counter sniped, it is usually a very safe mech. And even then, all it takes is good positioning in and around buildings to avoid that.
  • Secondly, It is fairly easy to build a nimble light/medium mech with good heat management, that can easily keep it’s distance 90% of the time and use it’s mobility in-between volleys to find the best angles. My current Sniper(level 7) can dash 2-3 times and still fire a full volley, without overheating.
  • Thirdly, it is easy for a sniper/marksman to bring a secondary weapon in case an enemy gets close or you cant find good angles. It is a bit more risky, but due to the good mobility of the mech, as well as the short duration of many secondaries, you can do a “peak” from a building long enough to fire a salvo and then duck back in to avoid return fire(and from 30-50 effective range, so not immediate “shotgun” range). And because the mech is heat efficient, you can do this over and over(often getting 3-4 volleys off), so the mech does not really lose effectiveness overall, even if the map disfavours the sniper rifle.

For melee, there are several factors that need to align to get decent combat results from the melee mech:

  • You need to get into range. This requires a somewhat fast mech, and/or a decent shield to help absorb the damage, and/or a high usage of thrusters, which is heat intensive. Preferably, all 3.
    At the same time, you need enough mass to be classified as a “heavy mech”, so that you can topple enemy medium mechs and avoid getting toppled yourself. It is a tricky balance.
  • You need to have a good trajectory to your target. And not just a straight line to the target(as a sniper or marks would), but also enough space for the “exit” or ending of the attack. This can be tricky depending on approach angle, espeically in areas with a lot of terrain or buildings.
  • Both of the above is fine, since they are fairly logical and part of the challenge. And satisfying when you pull it off.
    The big issue, in my opinion, is elevation differences. Your target is on a slight(1 step) incline? Well, even if you move with your thrusters during the melee attack, you cant engage it. This can severely limit your attack oppotunities in even mild hilly terrain, often causing you to pick secondary or even tertiary targets rather than the one you really want, just because they are actually on the same elevation as you.
  • Finally, in my experience, it is not worth it to bring a ranged weapon on a melee “specialist”. The lack of a shield means that you take more damage on key components, which increases the risk of close range engagements.
    And while other class archtypes can use a secondary weapon if the situation calls for it, the melee specialist is already trying to get as close as possible, as fast as possible, and spending heat on anything other than melee or thrusters will reduce their oppotunities to do so. In that case, I might as well just pick a medium range skirmisher setup instead(like shield+smg).

As for melee weapons in general; I will have to test the new update(it has just been released) to see the new weapons in action and see if there is a place for the light blades. Currently(pre-update game knowledge), the light blades are not worth the heat and oppotunity cost IMO.

First post and feedback on this game in development. Love the game concept and the learning curve was a little off-putting at first, from a long-standing player of Turn-Based Strategy (TBS) style games. This game is like the prequel to Battletech/(Mechwarrior) for me and I am a HUGE fan of Mechs and mechanized warfare. The battles are extremely challenging and a bit over-the-top with difficulty when the enemy starts out with more units than you have and then receives fresh reinforcements! That gives the enemy an extremely OP level over your units because you only have your battle-damaged mechs to keep fighting with. Perhaps, allow the player to drop fresh units onto the field or to call in air support or artillery. Or at least some in-field repairs (not sure how that would work in the middle of battle) but something needs to give a little here. New pilots are another topic, but I am sure they are on the table already and soon to be developed. The graphic engine is amazing, such detail everywhere is mindblowing. Looking forward to furthering developments with much anticipation!

^ I dont think the fights are overly difficult at all. In my 30 hours or so of playtime, I havent lost a single mech yet. And I am using 1 melee mech, 1 shotgun mech, 1 marksman and 1 sniper, so it is a rather varied squad.
Are you using 4 mechs? If you havent built a full squad, I can see how you could get overwhelmed.

Even when outnumbered, you can avoid most incoming fire with good positioning and proper use of shields or dashes. Even when outnumbered 2-1, you can usually focus down targets to make it an equal fight during the first 2-3 turns. Reinforcements dont act on the turn they arrive, so you can often get some easy shots on them on the last half of the segment.

Also, we already have the regenerative barriers, which is what is supposed to keep your mechs “fresh” in combat. If you take so much damage that you lose mechs in spite of this, you need to rethink your strategy and tactics.

As such, I see no point in having in-field repairs or off screen assistance, like artillery. It would just encourage cheap tactics and bloat engagements(and if you have access to it, why shouldnt the enemy?).

As for bringing in your own reinforcements: You are supposed to be a small group with limited ressources. You are not supposed to constantly fight in escalating engagements(both sides continue bringing in reinforcements), as that would be a fight you eventually lose.
As such, having your own reinforcements makes very little sense to me(also, if that was possible, why not just bring those mechs along from the start?).

I’m also surprised to see someone having trouble with the current difficulty.
However, I just realized that if I had a squad wipe right now I would be in a lot of trouble because we can’t go back to easier levels to get more stuff. So I can see how a snowball effect could radically change the player experience.
And I remember having one particular mission that was really hard because of enemy initial numbers and positioning, so clearly things can go wrong.

Remember that the devs want the game to appeal to a wide variety of people. Not everyone has completed XCOM multiple times on hardest difficulty :wink:

Sure, but he/she said that they were a long time player of turn-based games, so it seems odd that the current difficulty is an issue, as it is nowhere near as difficult as, say, X-COM on highest difficulty.
Also, I assume that the game eventually will have various difficulties(like modifiers to damage and health, number of initial enemies and reinforcements, etc.).

Yeah, but that is what the save function is for, right? I mean, if you havent got any back-up mechs and weapons lying around, as well as spare pilots, you can either start a new game, or load a save.

The new targeting priorities of the AI and the missiles are helping with the difficulty, dashing behind a hill or building isn’t a guarantee anymore to avoid damage, and I’ve actually had to pull a mech back from combat due to heavy damage which is a good thing.

Previously you could juggle opponents against each other, so a pair of mechs each move to engage the enemy firing at their partner, and vice versa, but now I’ve had mechs spend a whole turn in cover being pinned down. Obviously there’s going to be some tuning involved because Early Access but it seems like things are progressing well for the game.

Might have to nerf missiles though, they just seem way to good currently, especially when you get some of your own.

So I just did the capital city battle with a level 10 party. Man that was fun. :smiley:

I wouldnt mind if there were other, similar fights for some of the other territory. Not to the same scale, ofc., but something with multiple encounters with a “boss”-type in the end(in capital fight case, it was a level 20 mech with elite guards on the last wave).