The following only discusses high end forging. I believe mid game forging is currently great on test:
Ok, so I’ve spent about 8 hours testing. During this time I forged well over 200 hammers. Of these 1 are what I would consider good. 0 were truly “epic”
Rare ingredients don’t seem powerful
Many ingredients still useless
Overall rating: Live 7/10. Testing: 3/10
Let’s talk about hammers and why we’ve come to what’s considered “god hammers” on live.
I’m going to propose that people don’t like random outcomes. For example, if I tell you you have to farm for 1 hour (the estimated time it takes farm up enough coin, or materials to buy or create a hammer on live) and then put all those ingredients into a machine, pull the lever, and there is a very likely chance that you will produce an unusable tool, you probably wouldn’t want to do that.
Ontop of this, hammers don’t last long. I did an experiment with a forged AOE only gem tool on live, and I broke the tool in 3 minutes using speed and teaching pie (this was a 1 shotter too by the way). Persisting Pie, and level 8 durability I get approximately 18 minutes of usage out of my tool. To me, this makes it feel very fragile and fleeting. You can quite possibly spend more time forging your tool then actually using it. Why am I discussing this? Well, when we are gambling for tools like it is on test, there will never be a “tool I will always remember”. They are disposable, and fleeting and with the current durability in place, there will never be a “hammer I always remember” because I got sooo lucky. No it’s more like tissues. You might notice the difference between the free ones in a public bathroom and slightly nicer ones at someone’s house, but at the end of the day you will never notice if someone spent 300 hours making you a tissue because you use it very quickly and throw it away. Tools, in the late game, are the same way.
Ok, so when I aproach my forge, I’m hoping for 2 or 3 stats. In reality, I actually only care about 2. I really want AOE and DMG. AOE improves my grinding time by aproximately 60%, and DMG is the most important stat in the game, because it is the only way to fight block armor power creep on high tier worlds (fundamentally… if you don’t do enough dmg, the block won’t break and if you have to hit twice, then you just slowed your speed down 50%).
So why do we shoot for 3 stats on a hammer? We do it to gain control over the forging process. Here are the random elements we deal with:
- Stability usage of ingredients
- Vigor Usage of ingredients
- Gum Boon selection
- Boon Point Slider Selection
- Boon Selection
- (Optional) Quirk Selection
- (Optional) Quirk Point Slider Selection
- (Optional) Defect Selection
- (Optional) Defect Point Slider Selection
- (Optional) Ingredient Effects (like gambling paste)
All of these levels of randomness can at times stack on one another. So now is a time to talk about RNG. Right now, the forging process feels completely random to me. It feels like flipping a coin and waiting to see whether my ingredients go in the trash. There are certain things you can do to only minorly influence the outcome, but it feels like the majority of chance is simply just luck and waiting to see what happens.
What I would like to see is to have it feel more like chess. In chess you face an unpredictable opponent (the random element). But the good thing is you can deal with this unpredictable opponent using skill. You can carefully select which piece you use and where you place it. If your outcome is not successful, you can learn from it, and make better choices the next time.
So back to why we have shoot for these 3 boons:
This is a strategic selection in the current live servers. Currently, longevity only has 1 boon in the category, so if you get durability on your tool you can get it “guaranteed” (mostly) using longevity gum. This has the knock on effect of removing a potential new boon from the tool so you can focus on Special (AOE) and DMG boons. You only want 1 of each of a special or dmg boon each, and this is done so you can be sure to direct all the boon points to those specific boons and not waste them on something like crit dmg or magnet.
Don’t get me wrong, durability is great, but honestly, we can just craft more tools, so it isn’t like we require it, it’s nice to have and it removes randomness. This is desirable because you just removed 1 layer RNG from the equation. I’d argue people are doing this precisely because they would find all the RNG that already exists on live (before quirks or even defects are added to the mix) unattractive.
In summary people are making the selections they do likely because they don’t like the random nature. And this makes sense, if you tell someone this tool takes 1 or 10 hours to grind for vs this takes exactly 2 hours to grind for, a significant portion will select the 2nd option.
So here’s what I thought adding 2 extra deck slots was going to do- I thought Damn, they are adding all these additional layers of RNG through quirks, but hey, at least they gave me some extra space to deal with them by just spending more ingredients to control their outcome.
The problem is that at the same time you nerfed vigor (via draining compound), which means that you spend almost all your time trying to fight vigor drain and in many cases you have all these cool ingredients, but you can’t use them. This feels even worse than just not being able to bring them in the deck at all.
To combat these issues I’m going to offer some suggestions:
Increase starting vigor (consider adding a food buff that increases this… we need more consumables in the game). Alternatively consider adding a boon that allows you to increase your vigor (then you could forge an item that makes you better at forging… cool).
1a) OR decrease vigor usage for level 2, 3 ingredients across the board.
Because of problems with vigor usage, many of the tier 1 compounds are better than tier 2 compounds (or in some cases tier 1 are better than tier 3, because they use less vigor). One idea here is to make all the costs in terms of stability and vigor the same. Higher level ingredients should be more expensive to craft and require more power from the extractor, and that’s it.
The following compounds are bugged:
Gambling Paste and Stabilization Paste - When you get the Bonus from gambling paste, it skips the calculation for stabilization paste. This means it consumes a stack of stabilization but you don’t get the bonus. (be careful fixing this as it could lead to stacking)
If you are dead set on keeping all this RNG, give us more information. For example, gums need to have info in the tool tip telling us how the percentages work. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had 6 stacks of Dura, AOE and DMG gums on a tool but still somehow rolled glow. Why?! This is endlessly frustrating. Take a page from Las Vegas. They post all of your odds right there on the slot machine.
Make Boon Removal (defect / quirk) solvent feel powerful and effective. Because of the problems with vigor costs across the board, level 1 is better than level 2. Also these should not ever reroll the same boon, and they should definitely not ever reroll the same boon with MORE points (which can currently happen).
Bouncy needs to be fixed. Currently it kills you or causes you to take fall dmg at the wrong times. 2 examples, you take fall dmg when you fall from moderate height, and you also take fall dmg from running up small inclines. Since fall dmg is still % based for some strange reason, this is even worse at higher levels. If the tooltip is correct and it should behave like a trampoline, then you should not take any dmg during these times.
Bleeding edge is very anoying. It causes your character to make random sound effects from taking dmg and it kills you. This should be reworked to just prevent the natural +25hp regen, and that would be bad enough.
General note: Some advice former game designer, you should avoid annoying your customers with annoying sounds (with all quirks). Sound should be viewed as an asset, you can make people fall in love with your game with a good sound track / effects. Having all these routes of playing very annoying sound effects is probably a design bad choice. I should note this is one of the few games I feel I have to play with the sound off already.
Stabilization Paste 2 costs 2x the vigor and the same amount of stability as Invigoration Paste 2. They give the same bonus to their respective stats which means… this is confusing.
Boon Boost pastes - With the high level of effectiveness now available these have been made obsolete. Consider removing them, or only consuming the buff when boon points are applied. As it is with all the RNG it feels like there’s never a good time to use it.
Gambling paste - Currently, there is never any good time to use this. Consider only using the charges when stability is affected (not every roll)
Vigor Catalyst feels like a must have. It would be nice to have a different way to get rid of gum effects. It’s also forcing users to feel like they HAVE to use draining boon compound. Pure boon uses so much vigor it’s almost punishing to use.
Boon boost catalyst. I want to like this but because it forces you to use both fate paste AND to use something that increases boon points afterwards, it disables you from handling random events like the wrong boon or a bad roll. Basically it feels like all the randomness of forging means I should never use it if I want to be adaptable. There is never a time when I can control the next 5 things (1/5 * 1/5 *1/5 ect ect ect…) chance. Not gonna happen.
Boon points catalyst. Broken. Rework these. Currently they are not getting a bonus from effectiveness. That on top of the currently expensive price in terms of vigor but they still suck. Consider having them gain from effectiveness. Alternatively, consider having them roll the boon points slider as well. Or reduce vigor cost.
Imperfect boon compound(s) - Reduce the defect points by 50% across the board. If not, remove these from the game.
Unstable boon compounds - You are asking me to add another 4 layers of RNG. Make it worth it. Reduce the defect in half. Or cut the vigor cost.
Defect reversal catalyst. So many better options available that its best to avoid defects all together to avoid having to carry an additional slot of ingredients just to deal with them. Reduce vigor cost 75%. I probably still won’t bring it, but it’s a step in the right direction.
If you don’t want to rework defect points for each individual forge ingredient, consider making them take 2x or 3x more points to level up. The defects are so bad that they often make the tool unusable, and there is no real benefit to using compounds that apply defects over pure boon or draining boon.
consider adding a way or new ingredient other than vigor catalyst to change gums to allow us to target our boons.
Trait reduction or Trait expansion. Gums work very strangely. they are very unpredictable. I have spent hours in front of the forge and I still have no idea if trait reduction gums work in tandem with other gums or wether I have to only have trait reduction on there. and this is coming from someone who has spent at least 50 hours in front of the forge, scoured the forums, talked directly with the devs ect. I feel bad for an average player.
Figure out a way to let us target 2 boons without having to occupy the third with some garbage boon that we intentionally screw up. For example, I often put a boon of a category I don’t like on the tool, so i can use 2 gums to target things I do want. If you don’t want us to reliably make god hammers with 3 good boons, let us target 2. Think about something like trait reduction gum or compound or whatever gives you 100% chance to roll into only existing boons. Balance it, or whatever. Trait reduction gum should do this but honestly, it’s so random that it’s not worth bringing, plus as mentioned before it doesn’t behave well when other gums are applied.
Anyway, that’s enough for now. TLDR version:
Give us more vigor, or reduce the cost.
Allow us to target things and use skill instead of RNG.
Fix the broken ingredients I listed.
Right now I feel like I have to be one of those old ladies in a casino, smoking 3 packs a day, and pushing the button on a slot machine while not even looking at the screen.
Turn me into a chess player, and make me actively engaged in the process. Reduce the RNG and make it feel like I can use skill to overcome the 5-10 layers of randomness in the process.