Well, where to start?
I love this game, and I love the CONCEPT of it. There are a few things about the execution that have me reeling in madness and frustration.
The first and foremost thing is respeccing: Waiting a week to alter your skill points when you have no working concept of the skills as a whole is something that should probably be looked at. I have played this game mainly alone, because I don’t like to be a “noob” and fed. The idea that someone will throw me a titanium anything because I’m a scrub just kills the game for me, as a whole. This comes with it’s down sides for solo players, and me, in particular. I just recently signed into the forums, but discovery is something that appeals to me. With that, I don’t have any mentor or person who is telling me which skills are absolutely mandatory for exploration: things like health regen, jumps and ledge grab to name a few. Without those, I’ve learned, the game becomes … well… exponentially more difficult. But, as a solo player, you still need to do a “jack of all trades” build, making sure that you can craft and advance. Taking motility sometimes destroys your build, because you sacrifice basic stats or these patterns. Level advancement, doesn’t make much of a difference, because you could be a level XX character and make mistakes on your build, then have to wait a week before you actually feel the effects.
Being an alpha / early access build I don’t think that there is much reason to get upset about this balance issue, because everything could change, however, it contributes to the other issues.
So, in the spirit of a snowball, here’s the other issues that come up when you can’t respec:
-Destruction of Tools
<== This is probably the most influentially terrible effect. If you’re a solo player, you can practically account for every piece of iron, gold or whatever other basic resource that you consume in your efforts to advance. So, when you forget to put points in health, armor, or other basic defense, and get stuck in a situation out in the open, near lava, or some other dangerous situation, your smart stacks are rendered stupid by the -25% wear that you incur. It could be completely gamebreaking if you die multiple times in quick succession. Suddenly that Diamond hammer that you struggled for becomes a useless mound of dust with no method of recovery.
-No "Home Advantage"
There’s no benefit to having a claimed plot aside from protecting what you built and presumably preventing others from messing with it. You don’t have any sort of breakage bonus, or anything that would help you continue to build even in your own claimed areas. Your tools still incur breakage. The world still determines the block health. It isn’t easier to get your own build built and you still are held at the mercy of your skills.
-Alts Don’t Cut it
So, lets say that you’re getting frustrated by the points mentioned above, and you decide, that, since you already don’t have skills, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re on a level 1. Well, simply, your alts don’t really get or give any sort of advantage unless you have built an elaborate portal network prior to respeccing. Playing on a level 1 alt is not satisfying at all, when you have already struggled on your main for hours. There isn’t any difference in the characters, apart from their skill choices, and even then, the grind is real. If you have to grind for 80+ hours to get your main leveled, then leveling an alt is almost out of the question. Now, don’t get me wrong in this, because I have played grindfest games and enjoyed them. It is simply that the specialization and diversification between characters is almost non existent, because you need those skills mentioned before just to survive.
Hating that I’m actually having to write this down, the time gates are completely ridiculous. I understand that build times are something that most game models are down for, because it has the whole psychological advantage of feeding addiction, and creating a demand for ‘purchasable’ options (time boosts and speed ups, or instant completes with “crystals”) all of these things are sadly accepted by the gaming world because of the hegemony that has been in place since casual / mobile gaming. But, remember EA and microtransactions? Just saying that this opens a horrible, terrible door. I am an oldschool gamer and believe that you should be able to earn everything that is available in a game that you spend money on, in advance. So, not only do you have the time gates, but also the resource and material gates. There are some patterns that are made just for the sake of having patterns, and that is something that distracts from the enjoyment of the game. Not to mention that the prospect of having to pay for respecs with real currency, it could potentially destroy everything.
I’ll leave this at that point, but there are still more complicated issues that have come up in my playtime. I am still playing this game, and will still play it, but things like this can possibly be isolated in my experiences.