I want to preface this with saying that I generally like the game quite a bit, and it shows quite a bit of promise, but I'm going to be coming off as very negative towards the game in the next little while.
I also recognize that this is a work in progress, so I’m going to try as best I can to comment about core features that already seem implemented to the best of my ability.
Many of the player races don't seem very beneficial or interesting:
There seems to be very little point to playing anything but the elves or taurus as reputation increases seem to do next to nothing (aside from allowing you task ask for rewards from travelers bothered by bandits). Seraphs and Demons just don't have anything going for them at all (the 1 skill point for the demon might be a legacy thing, there doesn't seem to be any use for it currently). If the player character gets the same benefits from their starting race as the slaves do, then it is communicated extremely poorly in the custom character creation menu.
The same holds true to a small extent for slave races, although their special abilities do make it a little bit more interesting.
Stat/Combat balance is a little off at the moment:
- Strength is nothing to write home about, but it serves a very important function in allowing you to not die due to probability in the early game when your agility/speed isn't high enough that you can simply ignore whatever the enemy is doing outside of spells. The carrying capacity is good utility, but ultimately not super important.
- Agility is currently a god-stat as it does double duty of allowing you to ignore the energy system (more on that later), and to not die in combat. At a certain point it's entirely possible to roll over every encounter in the game provided you have enough agility, and because basic attacks don't rely on energy, you can adventure indefinitely (mana being the only real limit as it is necessary to heal occasionally and having extra energy once in a while helps with getting extra loot). Late-game aside, pumping 1 or 2 points per level into the stat will still take you far ahead of the enemies to hit, meaning that soloing is supremely easy, and the more optimal approach, as you don't have to worry about your slaves anymore. The fact that you can also use it to avoid encounters is just time-saving gravy at that point.
- Magic is currently the worst of the stats available. The spells that you really want to be able to cast do not really need the stat in order to function (those two primarily being healing and invigorate). Combat spells are not particularly desirable to use, as it makes you limited by the energy system and thus susceptible to being killed in an even encounter.
- Endurance is currently in an okay spot. Even if you might not want the extra health (if you're doing the aforementioned Agility build, and let's face it: why wouldn't you?), the extra interactions per day are really quite helpful.
- Energy is either debilitating or a joke. For characters that can't auto-attack their way to victory, energy is a terrible limiting factor. The basic attack spell costs energy and exploring costs energy, fleeing also costs energy, and there seems to be no way to recover it in the middle of an adventuring stretch (outside invigorate, which is why it's pretty much a must have), which means that it's entirely possible to get into an auto-loss situation if you miscalculate even a little bit. Then, once you unlock Invigorate, it becomes a joke and mana becomes the only real resource that you have to worry about.
Fear seems like a useless stat at the moment:
Currently Fear seems to play no role in the game at present. Presumably, it’s there to allow for a wide playstyle, but so far it seems that the slave to interaction per day ratio is so easily manageable that should your slaves start feeling dissatisfied you can easily overcome that with a single interaction.
Strange Slave Secondary Stats Stacking:
Secondary stats for slaves are currently interacting very poorly with items and traits, with you being able to exceed the maximum provided you unequip a magical item after you’ve maxed the stat.
Similarly, because traits which affect the slaves’ secondary stats positively are largely modifiers to the base stat rather than to the max, they feel incredibly inconsequential in the long run.
There’s very little to make the individual slaves feel special:
This is somewhat tied to the aforementioned point, there’s not really much to distinguish story unrelated slaves from one another, with the exception of beauty and some positive traits (as everything else is largely something you can change), this makes difficult to not just replace them (even some of the story related slaves) as it’s almost easier to just replace them with a better base stat-line saving you some time and effort.
As to the Specializations, they’re oftentimes so generic as to not really warrant bothering with, especially when it comes to the combat classes, and most of the others don’t really add much to make it necessary to have them.
Custom Requests don’t really feel meaningful in the long run:
Do a quest, get some gold, done. After a certain point, these mini-quests become incredibly boring and you have so much money that there’s no point in taking them.
Some terms/stats and their effects are incredibly poorly defined:
- I’ve been through every single zone in the game, and have got a fair way into the main quest and outside the little aside for Frostford I still have no idea what Reputation is supposed to afford me.
- What is preferred role supposed to be? I can’t seem to find it anywhere so it may well be a legacy attribute.
- Shortstacked is also a Request requirement, but there seems to be no way to find out what type of character that refers to.
What I think the game definitely needs to have changed:
- As stands, some of the basics of combat and energy management could stand to be reworked, with energy management swinging between debilitating and non-existent there’s no real impact in having it in the game outside being infuriating to people who haven’t figured out the trick yet.
- Potential things that could be done would include making energy matter more: penalizing 0 energy to prevent endless adventuring as well as making even basic attacks cost a little bit of energy. This would require some way to get out of combat that isn’t a 10 cost flee option as it then becomes possible to get into an auto-loss situation.
What I think would help the game’s longevity:
- Adjusting request rewards to include things like rare slaves, magic items or the like would go a long way to make that part of the game more interesting to play and participate in.
- Making slaves feel more special through maximum secondary stat adjustments through race/specialization/traits so as to make each one a little bit more unique would go a long way towards increasing engagement.
- Having some more long-term goals for the player to engage in, SlaveMaker another management game included slave tournaments wherein the slaves would compete in one of many fields with rewards being offered up to the 1st to 3rd place. Similarly, the player had debt they had to pay off, giving them a clear structure to each month as they worked towards an ever-increasing goal.
What I’d personally like to see:
- There’s currently nothing for the main character to spend their Free Attribute Points on, my current playthrough has my character at 25 spare points (due to the aforementioned god stat) and nothing to use them on.
- I’d like to see, is a way for Fear to influence Rebellion, as that does double duty in making Fear relevant while at the same time making prisoners worth spending some Interactions per day on.
- Making player races more interesting, for example giving Beastkin Cats natural weapons (stats to be determined) seems like a decent way to make the races feel more distinct from one another (and could open up a whole new set of enchantments in the lab as well).
- I'd very much like to see the slaves being more unique, through things like stat maximum increases through either specializations/races/traits so as to create unique combinations that are more interesting to play around with.
TLDR: I think the game is good, but I also think it could be better.
Thank you for your consideration.