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Hi beenbaba,

So I went back and finished what I started. I thought the final boss was really interesting; without spoilers I'm just going to say I liked the homing bouncing projectile. 

As I've mentioned in the previous message, this was an incredibly polished prototype and I won't be surprised if Cyanima wins the contest. Having said that, here are some feedback on what I think needs to be expanded upon or addressed:

1. How to make the battles rewarding to motivate players to fight. This is a problem that plagued Battle Network too, which I'm sure you're very familiar with. Due to the fact that each enemy type/encounter only rewards either Gold or a type of Card/Chip and there's no EXP, if the Card isn't a particularly good one, then players have very little reason to engage with enemies, as Gold farming is much more efficient with resetting treasure chests through entering/leaving. I found myself avoiding all blue enemies and trying to squeeze by red enemies by the time I was in the desert map. In Battle Network, they alleviated this a little by having rarer alphabet versions of Chips locked behind better battle performances, so players would want to keep fighting just to get a higher score/drop, but since your system doesn't have the alphabet subsystem, it makes battles even more of a chore to do.

2. The problem above is further compounded by the D.CP cap. I don't quite recall what the starting memory capacities of MMBNs were, but I do know that the game allowed a good deal of deck customization before hitting the memory cap. (I think they even started you out with some additional cards you can already swap with to customize before any battling?)

In Cyanima, however, by starting the player at 100/100 D.CP and having mostly cheap Cards in the default deck, you essentially block players from being able to use any of the new Cards they get via exploring or combat that costs more CP (the $5000 price tag for D.CP+ in the shop didn't help either). This issue continues throughout the game, as the scarce D.CP+ items you get from clearing the map simply can't catch up with the costs and amount of the better cards you get in the same process. In total, I only switched out 3 cards from the default deck from start to finish, which is really a shame because I'm well aware of how fun this customization system is.

3. Elements. So, even though I finished the demo, I'm still not sure what elements are supposed to do in this game. If you were going with MMBN, then I assume the damage dealt is doubled when using an element the enemy is weak against. However, in MMBN they had a very strong visual cue ("!!" spikey speech bubble-thing upon hit, if memory serves correctly) that was missing here. As a result, I couldn't really appreciate the diversity of elemental Cards available in the demo. Between this and the D.CP issue above, even though there were dozens of Cards in theory, in practice I felt that there were only 4 different commands in the game: the pea shooter, Shots, Swords, and Healing.

4. Battle presentation. This is going to be a tough one, but needs addressing nonetheless. In MMBN the 3x6 battle grid took up the whole screen, which made it much easier to see all the things going on and gave players more time to react. In Cyanima, I'm assuming in an effort to minimize the amount of art assets needed, you guys made the battle arena only take up about 1/9 of an already small screen. This made it difficult to appreciate all the information in the battle, such as the enemy HP being obstructed by projectiles or other enemies, or the names of Cards chosen in the bottom-left corner simply not being registered by the brain because all the attention is focused on the center of the screen.

Again, I think you guys did a fantastic job and the game is already pretty amazing, but if you have plans to take the project further regardless of how the contest results turn out, I'd love to see improvements on the points I raised above.

Cheers!
Andy

(2 edits)

Hi Andy,

Thanks for going back and finishing and giving us some new feedback! It's very much appreciated :D If you don't mind, I thought I'd respond to each of your points below a little so you can see where we think we might take each one

1) Rewarding Battles - Yes, we completely agree and was very much something we wanted to address with this prototype but just didn't have time to both implement a system to do this / figure out which one would be the best option. As this aspiring to be 'simulated' MMO, our thinking in terms of the card system is to very much bring in a more RPG element to the actual card system in terms of some sort of card customisation. Whether this be through something like XP gained per card used in battle and then the cards level up or gaining special items that you can then use to upgrade the cards, change attributes of them, increase their attack power, add a status effect etc we're not sure on the exact method we're with you on trying to make battles as rewarding as possible :D

2) D.CP limit - if we're honest, we had very little time to test the balancing of the game, we were both testing, writing code, setting up events and drawing art pretty much right through until the 8am deadline (that's how tight it was :O) so admittedly this just wasn't paid much attention. The same goes for item prices in the shop (most of it was guesswork if we're honest!) and we were well off the mark haha.

3) Elements - Yes, you are correct they function in a similar way to MMBN and yes, this isn't communicated to the player very well (or at all to be honest, again, something we can fix and address but just didn't have the time).

4) Battle presentation - you are right in that this is a little tricky :( we did implement a 2x zoom feature in our code (not available to you unfortunately) but felt that this was too zoomed in and some sort of middle ground would have been better however that's hard to do and maintain pixel perfect scaling for the art. We did feel though that when fullscreen was used this did mitigate the issue somewhat however can appreciate that it's not perfect. 

Hopefully that kind of lets you know where we might be going with this and hopefully some of this would address your issues you have. Again, thanks very much for such detailed feedback, it means a lot :D

Glad you found the final boss interesting. Our programmer worked hard to try and ensure that the battle would be more interesting and different to the norm to try and demonstrate some of the potential we could have for variety in battle :D

TLDR; We agree with all your points and we definitely have some ideas on how we can address them, unfortunately the lack of time hindered us from implementing any of them

Glad you found the feedback useful (and thanks again for yours on Abyss of Oblivion).

1. Those all sound like interesting ideas. Intuitively I think giving rewards/powerups that are NOT locked to the card used might be good, as you probably wouldn't want to create a sunk-cost feeling in players that works against experimenting with new cards/setups.

2. Totally understandable. If I'm being honest as well, Floors 11 - 20 in Abyss of Oblivion I've only ran through once or twice as well. lol

3. Totally understandable as well.

4. If I recall, the 3x6 tiles in MMBN were all vanilla-colored tiles with red/blue frames that don't reflect the maps on which the battle occured, right? If you could afford a different set of assets (just one) for battles instead of feeling the need to stick to the map tiles, it might give you more freedom to do what you need to do. Just a thought.