Things we can learn from Valyria Tear 1.0.0

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Roots
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Things we can learn from Valyria Tear 1.0.0

Postby Roots » Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:28 pm

After playing through the first major release of VT, I made a mental list of things about the game that I felt were lacking or could use improvement. Now don't get me wrong; VT 1.0.0 was pretty great as far as FOSS games go, but I like to focus on where they could have done better as a means of helping us learn from their errors.


1) Dialogue text
The most glaring errors to me where in the dialogues of the characters. It felt extremely rough and erroneous. I think it was because there was no English proof-reader, or at least not a native one. Some of the phrases were difficult to comprehend. This is an error I hope we don't make in our English, or any language for that matter. We should hold strong quality requirements for text before we make a release.

2) Overall balancing
I felt like the game could have been balanced a little better. It was pretty hard to play through. Even some of the normal fights were damn near impossible. I remember opening a treasure chest where something crazy like 8 rats popped out, and with their paralyzing effect I didn't even try to win that fight and used a smoke bomb to run. It's okay for a game to be difficult, but the start of the game needs to be more gentle than that. I felt like no balancing work was done from when I balanced

3) Monsters interferring with puzzle solving
One of the puzzle rooms had an enemy spawn and chase you down as you were trying to solve the puzzle. Even though this enemy was weak and quick to dispatch, it was annoying as the puzzle was moderately difficult and it was an unwelcome interruption. We should avoid having enemies be located anywhere near puzzle areas, and if we do we should have a good reason to have them there and probably not let them respawn.

4) Lack of equipment upgrades
VT 1.0 was about 4-5 hours of gameplay, but there were very few equipment upgrades found throughout the game. I expected that there would be at least one upgrade for each weapon and armor, but this was not the case. Characters felt more stunted in their growth, as a result.

5) Poor purchasing power
As a side effect to (4), the player would amass a large amount of currency toward the end of the game, but have little ability to do anything useful with it. The majority of the game you could do little more than purchase additional potions with your money. I kept saving up money and not being able to do anything useful with it, which was mildly irritating.

6) Skills with significantly high SP requirements
At least one of the skills had such a high SP usage that it just wasn't worth ever executing. You could have executed it maybe three times before you either had to use a potion to replinsh SP or find the goddess statue that heals you. We need to keep our SP requirements at a reasonable level, although if we have auto-replinishing SP or skills that replinish SP, this shouldn't be as much of a problem.

7) Lack of SP regeneration options
The only way to regenerate SP was to either use a potion or visit a healing statue. I didn't like this, because it discouraged the use of skills that require SP if you either were not near a statue or didn't have a large expendable amount of potions to consume (which you never really did). I pretty much used only the basic attack skills (requiring zero SP) or the healing skill when I needed to, and saved all my SP-consuming options for boss fights.

8) Annoying/tedious battles
Some battles were downright frustrating. The best example that comes to mind was the Harllequin boss fight. This boss, when encountered, split into three shadow images that you had to chase down and fight. In addition, there were eyeball enemies roaming the graveyard where this fight took place, so if you ran into them you'd have to fight even more enemies. After defeating all three shadow images, then the real boss showed up and you had to fight him as well (and the battle was exactly the same as the three previous shadow battles). So you had to effectively beat this boss four times with no change between each fight. It was tedious and frustrating, and I was so releaved when I finally beat him for the final time.

9) Enemy spawn rate
I felt that enemies spawned a little too frequently after being defeated in some areas. Perhaps after you beat an enemy in a certain spawn zone, that zone should take longer to spawn a new enemy than the other spawn zones on the map where the fight did not take place.

10) Heavy leveling requirements
Some areas of the game, most notably in the beginning, essentially required the player to grind on nearby enemies and run back to the healing statue so that they could get strong enough to move forward. Maybe this was an intentional design, but I didn't particularly like it. The opening battles of the game felt too "grindy" because you could only run a little ways into the forest before you had to run back out and heal yourself because the character party was too weak.

11) Insignificant key items
The game had several key items (inventory objecst that could not be bought, sold, or used). However, most of them seemed to serve no purpose whatsoever. Maybe future releases will use them, but it seemed strange to have so many key items that had no use. Curiously, even some of the basic starting equipment such as a tunic was considered a key item and could not be sold.
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