20 minutes impressions

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Timarene
Tester
Posts: 6
Joined: July 29, 2017, 08:58:41 PM

September 15, 2017, 07:15:16 PM

Hello all, I played Phobos for the second time yesterday night. My first play was years ago during some open beta but to say that I was freezing back them would be an understatement. I don't know whether the game was too heavy for my system, or there were too many players online at the time, or It was my internet's fault, but simply saying 'hi' to Simeone would take me half a minute.

The game now is much more smooth, and that was a pleasant surprise, I wasn't sure I'd be able to play this time. That said I only felt like playing for around 20 minutes and then left, I didn't kill any experience wielding monsters so I've got no experience in combat, for example. I'll leave here my impressions on those 20 minutes of play and update as new game sessions happen.

1 - My screen is 1366 x 768 pixels, the background image is nice but doesn't look that good at this resolution, it's as if I over-zoomed a small image. Also, when the cilient first opens up it isn't maximized, when I maximize I can see that the background image stretches horizontally, the panel where the image sits is probably set to "fill window" or some such. In my opinion it'd be better to keep the same aspect ratio, even if it keeps parts of the image out of sight. (Better yet but harder to do: set a limit to how much can go missing and only after that start stretching)

2 - Try to login, 'invalid login information', am taken back to main menu. It'd be better to keep me on the same login screen (with the credentials cleared out), I might've mistyped a letter in the password, I don't want to keep being redirected to the main menu and having to click the login button again when I already took steps to be at the login screen. Also, login screen could have a button on the left side saying 'Create', just like the one on Account screen.

3 - I successfully log in, a screen pops up called 'Patcher' and a progress bar at 0%, I leave the game patching and open my browser to check some sites. Twenty minutes later I come back hoping it has already finished, it hasn't started yet, I need to click that small-lettered button saying 'Start' to actually start. I had assumed it said cancel, my bad. I go back to doing something else whilst it finishes. 20 minutes later I come back, Patcher screen is at 100% but still up, small button now says Patch, I click it and only then Phobos patches. What would be better: no need to click either start or patch, do it automatically. Even better: I don't want to log in, only to have the client patch, which means I'll have to log in once again afterwards; just do everything automatically in the background as soon as the client opens up. If I log in and it hasn't finished yet, show me the progress bar with current progress. Title it 'Patching...' and I'll be pleasantly surprised it is already at 80% and finished in 1 second.

4 - Game opens up, nice! There's a square centered on my screen, it fills all the space vertically but horizontally there are two darker columns to each side. Since the actual world screen is quite small I try to move some of the stuff to the sides in order to increase It but I can't fill those darker columns with anything. I'd also like to move my backpack screen to the middle of its column (reducing the distance my mouse takes to loot) but it floats upwards just like other games of the genre. Abilities bar doesn't fill all the horizontal space it could, that makes sense since generally people only have up to F12 on their keyboards but it could look better, also it seems we can use the abilities by clicking on them so having extra slots would mean: 1- more abilities to choose from and use within a single click, even if we couldn't use the keyboard on some of them; 2- we could change the hotkeys for those abilities, so even those to the right of F12 could still be useable by keyboard, with Shift+F1, etc; 3- less empty space; and 4- looks better.

5 - I've always heard about how Phobos is all about the RPG, there's a guy on the screen, name Nicolas. I try to chat with him, bad luck, he won't say anything. Oh, it's cause he actually said bye after 2 seconds without interaction. Try again, say hi again, well, he still isn't saying anything (other than spamming bye or saying that I should visit the 'Page or Apprentice Guilds'). Weird, guy is Guardian of he Temple, a monk to boost, I assume he has years of experience and would have a whole lot to talk about it, nope. Maybe I'm not strong enough for him, or I haven't used the right words to pick his interest, whatever the reason is I would hope his Order, whether he even has such a thing, would pick someone more hospitable to receive me.

6 - Alright, monk guy has nothing to say about Flame of Eternal Fire or some such, time to start exploring. Path takes me straight to market, waterfall looks weird cut in half but ok. Huge ass white trunk fallen on a bench by the road, might be some large animal's skull, oh it's actually a newspaper, it speaks about new people popping up. It mentions floating bushes and dimenional portals but gives no details on those perplexing events, I guess that's common place around here, except that they seem to think it's remarkable. Well, details. The title reads "The Emposian Times", which leads me to wonder about literacy rates in the Empire (or is it a Kingdom? whatever it is, nobody seems interested in talking about it). Literacy rates seem high, as there are a bunch of newspapers in sight just thrown around, maybe not hand written then, or they have trained slaves to write and keep costs low, nobody wants to talk about it. I start to wonder whether some Guthenberg has already been born and created those marvelous devices, maybe he or she works alongside the Emposian Times, might be its founder or just a third-party contractor, selling the devices to any interested (and wealthy) parties, might be a competitor funded the inventor in order to get a leg up on printing numbers. Might be the invention hasn't even happened yet and there's an inventor out there, in desperate need of an apprentice, the Emposian Times as well, might be looking for interesting reports from afar or young underlings to run errands. I also wonder how a newspaper probably printed at the capital manages to sell at a small village on the outskirts of the Kingdom(?), I'd think people would get all the news there and then spread it through gossip, might be that travel ins't that common, or they have special courier services which brings those newspapers everywhere even before the news become commonplace, or the papers just might be cheap enough and the population well off enough that people don't matter paying. I'll have to look into these matters once I reach the capital, for now, nobody wants to talk about it.

7 - The only thing everyone wants to talk about are those god-damned guilds. If I wanted to go to the damn guilds I'd have done so already. They're rich and powerful enough to get merchants in the middle of a small village to send their clients off to the Guildhalls, i get that, but I don't want to see it just yet, sorry Nicolas, sorry Stephen, sorry Gregoria, sorry Peter, sorry Tom, sorry Sandra, sorry rich Guilders, I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. I'm also sure you'll have plenty of time for me later since everyone is still working at midnight. I guess that's why newspapers are so cheap and the small village has metal lamp posts and a sewer system, and a huge bank with half a dozen undescript workers to boost: everyone works 24 hours shifts. At least I'm moving into an affluent kingdom, nothing of the rabble rabble.

Miscelaneous stuff:

8 - When an npc has a speech so long that it takes two utterances or more to say it all, just put it out all at once as a single uterance on the chat screen, even if there's a need to only show a few smaller excerpts on the world screen, that way when I am reading on the chat (since world screen letters look so small) when the new utterance appears I don't need to look up to where the message I was reading has been moved to, I can read it all at once, as if it were spoken all at once, which it were.

9 - The sewer entrance looks like a shield so a little message on the bottom of the screen telling me I can't move them into my bag would be nice (like the one saying 'this door is locked'). Same thing for trying to use beds or open chests, if I can't do something there's no warning so I don't know whether my connection has failed or I just can't do it.

10 - When I speak a yellow message shows up on the world screen saying Name: Text, that name is yellow and almost perfectly covers my (un)usually green one, that confused the hell out of me on whether I was about to get red or not when I first noticed it.

11 - On Trade screen, containers show weight but no info on what they are for, tools show what they are for but no weight, it'd be nice to know their weight before I buy them, even if I have no idea how much I can carry.

12 - When it's dark I can't make out the red outline on a monster I am attacking, my char knows exaclt which monster it is, where it is, and attacks it when on range, I also know where it is and can select to attack or follow or stop as I wish, so it doesn't make sense that this would be intended because "you can't see in the dark", the problem only arises when there are at least two of the same creatures on screen, then I can't differentiate which one I am attacking, even though my char can. [Update: when I wrote this my combat experience was limited to the sheeps north of Tom (within Timari itself), it takes in consideration the darkness level at surface night. When underground I can't see anything and that's good]

13 - When trading, it's bothersome to use two different actions to see an item's stats and check its price, usually I'll want to know both informations so one command to see both = neat. Ideally I'd also want to compare itens with each other so being able to check that info on the trade screen itself would be nice. Maybe make it so you can select an item with the left click (instead of the right click as it currently is) and then browse through the catalog with arrow keys (instead of considering the arrow keys as walking, when you can't even see the game world), and by selecting something the little black screen pops up telling you both its stats and price (on a different color, or with some spacing to make it clear).

14 - I have no idea what half of those chats are for. Main, ok. But do we really need both Console and Info? And what Report is for? My first idea was bugs but it says to use the Forums, so maybe bots. I'd like to have Main extending all the way to the right so there's only 1 chat instead of two and then make the world screen bigger. I could switch between channels with Tab, which I currently can only do partially (it tabs the left channels but not the right ones).

15 - Trade screen is really inconvenient for selling my items to npcs. I need to open all my bags to see what I currently have for sale, then drag it to trade screen to be told the price, and click no, if it's too low, or click yes 10 times if I have 10 to sell and they aren't stackable. Also, if the trading screen is open, I right-click an item of mine then drag it to the screen, my char starts walking. If I am at a certain distance then the npc will say goodbye and trading screen will disappear.

16 - Somehow I got the typing focus to be in the right side channel which was Info at the time, when sending messages there a message shows on the Info channel: unknown error. A more descriptive message and not being able to do what I am supposed not to be able to do would both be nice.

17 - Shift key doesn't work to select text, maybe make it so that if I'm typing and press Shift then it's shift on the text not on world screen. Even better: Shift works on both: if I'm typing it will select when used alongside arrow keys or Home and End buttons, if I click somewhere it's considered Shift+Click. Shift should also be usable on Login screen credentials and every other user-editable text field.

18 - My character has been bugging me for being hungry for quite a while now but he's still alive and I have no idea what it means. Nobody wants to talk about that.

19 - When clicking somewhere I can't walk to, it'd be nice if I could look at it instead of doing nothing. Sometimes I have my left hand busy and can only act through the mouse but there's no context menu either.

20 - Looking at blackboards I am way too often met with wooden beams.

21 - When going up or down stairs I kind of freeze for a while, I know another game started using this same system so that you couldn't eavesdrop on memory about what was laying in other floors. Maybe have it so the content is sent to the client before changing floors but have it encripted and once moving floors send the (random) key, I bet decripting what is already in memory would be faster than sending the whole data over the net. Maybe even set it so the client checks upon login which is faster at that particular moment and then use the faster system until logout. That said, it freezes even when I'm on third floor of the Snowy Owl Inn and going down, to floors which are already visible to me and thus are already on memory.

Also, when going up or down, or logging in, nearby monsters start attacking even before I manage to see them. It might be argued that this is the intended effect since I should be paying attention before going down unknown holes; but that occurs even when logging and I have no Idea whether it takes 10 seconds or a whole minute for world screen to pop up, depending on how busy the servers are. And if I were disconnected for some reason and left to come back a week later then I might not even remember where I am at. Giving us at least half a second between monster spot and monster attack would be nice.

22 - Why does everyone has a surname if nobody has any family, no grand Houses. The only exception so far are the oakhammers but they don't seem to talk about each other. Also, the inn has a single bed, which might be the only bed in the entire village.

23 - Going up and down ladders/stairs with the mouse!! You can on some, not on others.

24 - When going down the 'stair' tile (the stone stepped stair) the char sprite moves atop the stair hole, floats a little then the floor below pops on-screen. When going down the 'fence' tile (name given to the wooden climbable ladder, maybe both fences and the ladder share the same sprite but I'd change the name nonetheless) the char sprite turns around to face it, does nothing for a little, then the floor below pops on-screen. Maybe make it so going down a stair hole always has the same effect (the one given by the actual stair where the char moves into the hole). Going down on a stair that has no stair hole (tile named 'mountain wall') looks like going down on a fence, which I don't mind but would prefer to be the same as the rest.

25 - Give things for npcs to say, Tom knows a lot about the region but won't tell me anything about it. Don't make me go to the Guildhalls before I can start actually seeing content. if I've already spoken to a dozen npcs and they were all unresponsive, I don't want to go through that whole ordeal once again (and even if I do, I may quit if the first npc I talk to for the second time is unresponsive, because now I believe both (a) npcs have nothing to say, and (b) npcs have nothing to say even after I do what they want me to).

26 - Mountain corners are too damn square. Also, Tibia has this system where in order to go up a mountain you need to find a stair, you could try at least on a hill somewhere as a test, to have a ramp all around a hill so you don't need a stair to go up, you just walk onto the ramp. Sure, have the cliffs here and there, rocks you need to go around, but the stairs on mountains thing is kind of unrealistic. It works, though.

Another thing you could play with: diagonal corners, like wall sections which ocupies half a tile, from top left to bottom right, for example.

27 - Those poor chickens on the chicken hen by the market square look dehydrated. I actually have no idea whether chicken need water but they are devoid of it. I like the seed through. [I'm not actually asking you to put some water there, I'm just typing what I feel like]

28. - When looking at something, the message box could show up faster, I don't how you implemented it. Maybe the text data is coming from the server to avoid snooping. Maybe you're just iterating through a huge list, or keeping the data on hard disk and retrieving it to memory only after the look. Since the data is small I would keep the info for all visible objects on memory and definitely not hold it in some data structure that needs to be iterated through such as linked lists but as a vector/matrix/hash table or something else that allows direct access of items given an id. But maybe the slowness is due to the transparency.

29 - Also, some blackboards have too much text an disappear too fast. Put the text on the Console/Info channel and change the box so that its time onscreen depends on text amount: smaller ones like 'street lamp' can keep current time, larger ones staay a little longer.

30 - Loved the red book cover, but a library needs a librarian like an oven needs a loaf of bread (ok, I forgot what the saying is).

31 - I looked, but have been unable to find, any semblance of mayor, or townhall, Citylord, or council hall, or any such form of community governance, maybe its the villagers themselves who gather on monthly meetings to disscuss matters of import, or maybe its an anarchich society without time for such worries. In any case nobody wants to talk about it.

32 - Please give us a choice to have items stack (group) automatically.

33 - Chest at the Page Guild tells me I need a key to open it, chest at the Inn says nothing but refuses to open anyway, which makes me assume it's an unopenable chest.

34 - Ok, I was following a rabbit on the market square when the rabbit left the city by the southwest and a rat started attacking me, I pressed esc to stop following the rabbit and a screen popped up, as I was quite in a hurry I didn't read it and clicked yes thinking it was some unexpectedly convoluted way to stop an action. Then it logs me out and I can't log back in as it gives me the error 'unvalid login information' before closing the login page and making me open it again (even though the info itself is fine). On a previous moment I've also been kicked with the information 'server is offline' when the server was only unreachable. You need to improve these error messages to say what is actually going on. And make letters bigger because small lettering isn't conductive to reading.

Well, since I'm on a roll here let me do some on the forum :D

35 - Edit and Quote are on the top of a post, even though you might want to click them after reading, at the bottom. Profile and PM are at the bottom. PM, ok, but profile is usually only seen after the user has already checked a profile's available information, which is at the top left (Username, Avatar, Register date, etc.). Which in a long post means reading from top to bottom, going up to check the info then going back down to check profile. But even that is a nitpick, what really bothers me is Edit and Quote. Also these bottoms look great but are quite small.

36 - When writing or editing a post, if it took you some time it'll log you out (ok) but after logging in it'll take you to the index page and not to the page you were before. Ideally it'd take you to the page you wanted to go to, with the modifications you wanted to make.
Last edited by Timarene on January 18, 2019, 12:56:59 AM, edited 5 times in total.
User avatar
Till
Staff
Posts: 3565
Joined: April 19, 2007, 06:54:42 PM
Character: Till
Location: Germany

September 19, 2017, 06:38:29 PM

This post made me happy and sad at the same time. Thank you - and sorry - for your troubles. I'll be honest and say that I personally had not noticed many things - it's mostly the issues where you go into programming matters.

However, those we already know of, we are working on them. For example your critique on the client interface is on point. Yet, while these issues seem to have an easy fix, we're considering complete overhauls for many - chat readability and functionality with NPCs and signs for instance. With the limited amount of time we're able to put into the game, we prefer not to work on interim fixes, thus to outsiders it may seem as if we're ignorant of them.

Also, as a storywriter, thank you for the points you made about the village. It's not a priority for now, but we will surely get to it. As you said, lore and RP elements are paramount to us and as such I feel obliged to not forget what you wrote.
Timarene
Tester
Posts: 6
Joined: July 29, 2017, 08:58:41 PM

September 19, 2017, 08:39:23 PM

Alright, my first post was based on my first 20 minutes of play, plus a second short play I started whilst writing. This new post is based on several hours of adventure within Emposia, spanning roughly 3 days, at the end of which I became a lvl 14 apprentice. Several of the things I planned to write alongside these 3 days are fading out of my memory, but I'll try my best. My numbering will continue from those of the first post so that if you feel the need to address any of those points, you can simply use the number.

For a start, things I got wrong on the first post or just referencing those previous points in general:

36 - On point 4 I mentioned that the game screen was a square on the middle of my monitor with two darker columns to either side. I went to Settings -> Video and found out the resolution being used was actually smaller than that of my monitor. I changed it hoping those columns would disappear but actually nothing changed.

37 - On point 14 I mention wanting to get a single one of the two chats visible, I found out we can actually 'minimize' either chat but that still doesn't solve the issue of not being able to enlarge world screen.

38 - Related to the previous point, we can hide the abilities bar but screen still won't get larger (it'll just enlarge the chat instead).

39 - On point 15 I complained about trade screen being inconvenient when sellling to npcs. In addition to that, if you try to sell items from a stack, you'll be asked to select the amount even when you can't sell that specific item on that particular shop. The client should first check whether we can sell it, and only if positive ask us to select an amount.

40 - Expanding on 39, you can usually press Enter instead of clicking ok when selecting quantities of an item (when moving items or at trade screen, for example). But when the screen says "you cannot sell this item in this shop", pressing Enter will activate the chat instead, pressing Enter a second time will both deactivate the chat and act as 'ok' on that screen (which is what I wanted on the first Enter).

41 - Still about trading: selling creature products to npcs is hell. Each one will buy different products but there's no telling which ones, so I'll come back to the city with products from like 20 different monsters and I'll need to visit 7 different npcs to sell those products, I'll need to try all 20 stacks on the first npc, and since those stacks usually have more than one item each I'll have to first select an amount and only then I'll be told that I can't sell this item at this shop. I need to do this 20 times at the 1st npc, he'll buy maybe 5 items (which make no sense for him to be buying) and then I'll take the 15 stacks left to the next npc. I always need to visit 7 npcs just for that, and sometimes I'll still have stacks left which I'll take to the 8th npc (Tom). It's insufferable, at least give them some conversations on why they're buying these items so I can get informed beforehand.

42 - Expanding on point 17, texting is a mess, you are not only unable to use Shift+Arrows with the text you're typing, Home and End also don't work, but worse, you can't select the text you're typing with the mouse, nor click in the middle of it to edit, and whilst Ctrl+v works to paste, there's no context menu with this and related options (copy, cut, paste).

43 - Expanding on the previous point, when selecting text from any of the channels, the selection immediately disappears and is copied to clipboard upon mouse release. Copying it automatically is a nice feature but: a) it only works over what is visible, won't work for larger selections, what would be better: selection doesn't disappear, user can scroll up and Shit+Click somewhere in the text to dd it to the selection, copying happens automatically again; b) if you misselect for a single letter, then you'll have to select everything again, it'd be better to just copy to clipboard without erasing the selection, this way the user can fix the selection with Shift+keys and that is then copied automatically again.

44 - On point 18 I mentioned my character being hungry and having no clue what it was about. That was because I still hadn't gotten in combat and thus hadn't experienced hp recovery, and without a promotion I was unable to cast magic so hadn't experienced mana recovery. Now I know what this is for but considering there's no information whatsoever on what it is (either by books, or npcs, or Help menu) I still think this should be improved upon.

45 - Correcting point 22, books in Timari Library mention Great Houses vying for control in Empo Sar. I still don't see the point in every non-descript and non-responsive npc having a surname. It looks nicer than otherwise (I'm thinking here on Carl Rodae's cool name, or when finding those dead bodies 'found Lyiana Whatevername', which looks better with a surname on) but if you ask about an npc to someone they'll either give an excuse not to say anything or straight up not answer.

On npcs:

46 - Related to the previous point. Whenever you want to talk to a npc, their answers are already predictable: a) Say hi, name, or job, they'll probably answer. b) Say quest or mission they'll either b.1) most likely: tell you to look for the guilds, even when you already got promoted and visiting the guilds will be a waste of time (I tried going there again, just got dismissed); or b.2) less common in general but more common with those not in the city proper: tell you that there's nothing you can do for them. c) Say anything else, they'll ignore. Trordrin is a bad offender as well, like he's only there so you can conveniently find his key (the way by which you find the key was a great idea, but the rest is poorly executed). Hadrian in Brookton is also bad, at first I thought he was unreachable by normal means, I was guessing you'd have to do some task for someone and get a key to reach him or something, then I decide to take a closer look at where he is and which door I'd need to open to reach him, then I figure out there's a stair leading to a chicken hen and after all this time I find out the hens actually have a door, so I go to him and find out he's just as unresponsive as everyone else.

Taking this total lack of interaction (and npcs flat out named 'Bankers'), I'd say NPCs seem to be no more than 50% done related to what I'd find acceptable (10% when compared to what I'd find good), at least in Timari, Timar Valley, and Brookton. i haven't been elsewhere to know what the npcs look like there.

47 - Npcs telling me to visit the guilds is even worse than I first thought: on my previous post I mentioned a bunch of npcs that were guilty of this and thought that maybe two or three more would do this as well, well i haven't counted but way too many do this. The impression this gives me is that there's simply no content.

On my way out of Timar Valley, past a sign saying 'PAGES AND APPRENTICES ONLY!', am already an apprentice, already been dozens of times to the guild and dismissed because they want nothing else to do with me, and I meet the FIsherman and he effing tells me to go to the damn guilds, I can feel my blood pressure rising.

48 - Related to that, all the quests one can make (at least the ones you get by talking to the npcs) are guild given. Finding Carl Rodae for example, it could be someone is looking for him, wants to send a message, but no, you get 4 options of exploration just for the 1 reward: getting a promotion.

But those explorations are just one part, then you have the 3 missions: finding Oakenhammer's hammer who happens to be a smith and good at making hammers (he also happens to sell and buy hammers all day, whether that particular one he lost had any sentimental value is something we'll never know), delivering a parcel to the guy who delivers parcels, or finding potion ingredients to the guy who knows best about potion ingredients. 3 missions but only 1 reward, so if you do any of these don't even bother doing the others.

Like the postal guy under the bank, he wants us to give Trordrin a parcel, but when we ask him about that he tells us something about speaking to the guilds, and after doing it our reward is... speaking to the guilds, probably to get promoted, which if we have already done (by doing any of the other things) then too bad, you just lost your time. But the worse example of all is when asking Marcus Oakenhammer about his hammer that he has lost and that he wants back and he effing tell us to ask the guild about that!!1! [and if you already got promoted the guild will tell you to eff off]

49 - So, since everything is by the guilds, the guilds end up giving too many options to first time players: First you need to explore, they give you 4 options, most new players won't remember half of these 15 minutes after being told and if they logoff it's worse because it'll disappear from the chat. So most newbies will focus on like two: either finding the Trow caves either in Greenwood or Rhombur, or head to Greenwood and focus on the two ones there: Trow Cave and Carl Rodae.

Then you do one of these and aren't told you've done one of these, which, if you forgot what the four options were again that you should've done, too bad, you remember 1 or 2 and managed to get something else done so you'll keep trying.

So just to make it clear:
48) everything being related to the guilds, and
49) guild giving way too many options which new players won't remember (I only remember because someone copy-pasted them somewhere in these forums and I happened to read again after being familiar with the locations).

50 - On point 24 I mentioned that a certain ladder was called 'fence' when you looked at it. Later I found ladders that are actually called ladders. I'm not sure whether I missclicked (migh't have happened, in point 20 I mentioned that looking at blackboards I was way too often met by wooden boards), I'll verify later.

51 - On point 26 I mentioned you could set up a small hill with ramps instead of ladders, I'm pleasantly surprised to find out the Orc Fortress in Rhoburn has some entrances which work like this, nice. One of those entrances (one where you enter from the east going into the Fortress at the west) is a brown road with green grass on its sides, the sprites there need some work as at one point the grass just disappear to give space for the road.

52 - Also on point 26 I mentioned mountains being too square, I have the same things to say about the grass.

53 - On 29 I mentioned that the text you get when looking at something should also appear on chat. I found out there's an option for that which is good, and I think it should be on by default.

54 - Some item-giving containers (corpses/chests which give reward or chests which warn against theft) will open up at the right side apparently empty, making you believe someone already stole the contents and you have nothing to fear or that there's no reward whatsoever. If those messages pop up then don't show me an empty container on the right side or I'll think the container is empty (this one stressed me a bit).

When I was at that magician's house (the one who wants to paint his sheep blue) I opened the chest upstairs and it showed up empty to me, later on I found out I had his key on my backpack and he was accusing me of theft, now I can no longer complete his quest due to no fault of mine. The same thing when I found those two bodies in Forina, their contents moved to my backpack and I only found out a few hours later (I thought the messages 'You found Lyiana Whatshername's body' was so that I became aware this was an important event and that some npc somewhere was looking out for their bodies and that this npc would give me the rewards once I spoke to him, fortunately in this case there was no downside).

55 - Related to the previous point, if an item is sent to my backpack (by opening anything, or being given it by a npc), then show me a message telling me about it, otherwise I might not know.

56 - Stop considering holes on the ground as part of your path calculation (just like you don't consider walls). I now sometimes it'd be nice for the player to click somewhere and fall on the hole but since creatures use the exact same pathfinding algorithm, if their path to you goes through a hole then they'll stop moving because they try to walk over the hole (whilst being unable to). This makes it easy to trap and kill melee enemies: just move so that there's a hole between you and the enemy and he won't move after you.

57 - Some monsters only attack you when you get close, if you attack them from a distance they'll go after you and this gives the impression that they went into rage (best example I've seen so far is the boar). However, if they are opposite a river unable to reach you they'll just stay there, doing nothing whilst being attacked. Upon losing hp and unable to reach their target, temporarily increasing their movement speed and the odds that they'll move might work to give the impression that they aren't complacent upon being attacked.

58 - It's really weird when attacking brown bears from a distance they'll run up to you but others which are closer by will just ignore that. Maybe set up an area effect (centered on either the victim or the attacker, or preferably midway between them) so that if victim is of species x, then species x,y, z will go after the attacker as well. Radius is dependant on specie.

Bugs (if I haven't posted them on the Bugs forum by the time you're reading this, feel free to and reap the credits):

59 - There's a bug that happens whenever I'm changing money on the bank, so I'm sure you already know about it. I'll have several stacks of 100 copper coins in my backpacks, I change them for silver ones in a way that there are still a few stacks of copper left (but most will disappear, being exchanged for a few silver coins). At that point I become unable to change these coppers that are left, unless I store my silvers in the bank beforehand. If I try to change 300 coppers for 6 silvers and I already have 16 silvers in my backpack, for example, the system will just take 6 out of those 16 and put them in a separate stack, 10 silvers will remain where the stack was and no copper will be changed.

60 - Another bug I get every time: if I have, for example, 60 silver coins at the bank, and drop 50 more on the same stack (total > 100) then the graphics of which item is where in the bank will usually either stop updating or they'll be late to update (as in, I'll need to drop or take another item somewhere so that my previous drop/take gets updated). Despite the graphic not being up to date, I know the actions were performed because if I logout and thenlog back in, everything is as it should.

61 - Probably related to the previous bug, my inventory once stopped uploading. That was right after I got a new shield and dropped it where my previous shield was sitting. The shield I dropped disappeared from its container but graphic on my inventory didn't change to the new one. I tried switching weapons and it didn't update neither, after that I noticed that the black box that appears when you look was appearing at the wrong spot (I look at item 1, no box, then I look at item 2 and the box shows up above item 1, and so forth). It all got corrected after I logged in again.

62 - Minor bug: I was in a cave with rats and maggots (not sure which one as these are numerous even in the 'DANGEROUS MONSTERS AHEAD!!' areas, I didn't know the location command then, and was also quite lost) I moved one of the maggot corpses to an unreachable area (the floor of the cave, beyond the wall) and the corpse actually went there, I tried surrounding tiles but they were okay.

63 - It seems the bug reported here is still with us: whenever some creature enters my field of vision, if I'm not already targeting something then it'll probably be outlined red. To target I'll have then to untarget it and then target it again. Also happens with npcs and on creatures at different levels.

64 - I seems that if there's a lamp on some wall and I'm on the other side of that wall (supposedly not able to reach the lamp) I can still use it (since I'm on a neighbouring tile).

65 - I don't know what causes the lamp times to update but they aren't updating fast enough. Sometimes ten minutes will pass without the lamps updating.

66 - Inconsistent capitalization. Some iem names start with capital letters others don't, and that's not the result of proper names or anything.

67 - When items are placed in my backpacks automatically (result of trade or collecting berries) if they go to my first bp (the on I'm wearing), they'll stack automatically. If that bp is full then they be put into an inner bp without stacking (and then I'll get several small stacks of the same item).

68 - Whenever I logout and back again I have to reopen all my screens the way I want them. Even the Friends list goes missing.

On the map:

69 - This one is both a spriting and a mapping concern. Plains are flat looking. As I'm typing this I'm sitting close to Carl Rodae, TileLocation 307,635,0. On this paarticular spot it's very noticeable, you look at the floor of grass and it's just a green carpet going from left to right, there's no variation. In order to fix this, I'd recommend: a) making a grass floor sprite that is larges than just one tile (and a standard border that fits all of them), b) making small and different grass sprites to add here and there (yes, there's some varity of plants but I mean some grass tuffs that are walkavble over and are in all ways equal to the grass floor, just to add variety to that green carpet), c) small patches of dirt here and there.

70 - Useless stretchs of map, sometimes I'm exploring somewhere and I have a few options of path: going forward, or turning left/right to a set of stairs, usually on a hill. Going forward will usually mean I'll have to walk back to the stairs, as theres nothing there, eventually you will just find a blocked path, if lucky there's a rabbit or two or some redberries. I keep asking myself whether I should bother going forward and without failure I go forward just in case just to go back when there's inevitably nothing there. This is particularly common on that side of Greenwood which leads directly to Rhoburn (close to Trordrin's house), and also in northern Forina (close to Cradlestone, for example, there are plenty there).

I can count only one time this didn't happen: in Forina if you go up that southern stairs into the mountain and then go northwest, there's another stair back to Forina but if you keep going you can find Jerdrus House.

Examples of where it did happen: past Trordrin's House, you keep going to find rabbits and then need to walk back. Orc Fortress in Rhoburn, there are big stretches on the right side, near a blocked stair; if I had any hopes of moving past these stairs then I'd add this to the "successful" list alongside Jerdrus house but since I currently think it's only there for show, then there's a bunch of ground you need to cover only to walk back as there's nothing there (and in this case, this happens on two different floors, side-by-side). There's plenty more but nothing of import close by so I can't name them.

A great example of a map without useless stretches is Golden Sun on the Gameboy. It also has great and nostalgic instrumental music and is widely regarded as having the best graphics of any game in that console, the puzzles at the temple are also neat and the story heart wrenching. When in the starting village you can go left/right/north south and you'll probably not have to take a turn and go back, if you take a path then it leads somewhere.

71 - Surface monsters ares stronger than those you can find underground. I mean, if you find some trows walking around and go inside a hole in their territory then you'll probably find stronger monsters, but if there's not much near by and you go down a hole, 70% of the time I'm met by rats, maggots, or snakes. At a low level one is more likely to die walking the surface.

72 - And that takes me to 'rats and maggots everywhere'. Ok, technically they aren't everywhere but way too many caves have rats and maggots in them, and I'm not speaking of Timari itself, I'm speaking of Greenwood where you need to cross the 'DANGEROUS CREATURES AHEAD!!' bridge (or go the other way around through Rhoburn, which means you've surived two wolves, I guess rats isn't what you're looking for).

73 - And that takes me to monster progression, it goes like this: easy -> hard, there's no middle ground. The most obvious examples are the Grorus and Pysaura which look like bosses so I'll give them a pass, but elsewhere you're constantly having to grind on boring stuff like rats and maggots because the next harder creature you could hunt is a bit strong or comes in too many numbers. An example is at the Orc Fortress in Rhoburn, basic monster: goblin, 30 exp; next in line: orc brute, 170 exp. I don't know whether the brute is actually 6 times as strong as the goblin but I can certainly take on 4 goblins easier than I can take a single brute. And yet there's no place on the fortress with 4 goblins, but there are plenty of brutes. You can find either: 1 or 2 goblins, and a single spot with 3 of them; any spawn harder than that involves brutes (usually 1 goblin and 1 brute together), even though brutes are apparently harder than 4, 5, or 6 goblins. The bowman (210 exp) is also stronger than its exp warrants it to be or gives not enough exp. I can take a brute and a goblin together without much problems, but even a single bowman will take me down to yellow.

I'm not complaining here about the Fortress being too hard, i've even cleared that room with 3 brutes and a bowman which is the hardest room I found in there and I enjoy breaking into those hard rooms, I'm complaining about monster progression in general. At the beginning, for example. At first you can only hunt rats and maggots, then if you want to find harder creatures you can kill single snakes here and there (which is not a hunt) or you move to rhoburn where you'll find two wolves on the way, I mean, you've been killing rats and maggots, the wolves at that point are a bit strong to you, so you go to Greenwood instead, bears at first give you 130 exp, before you meet the bears you've been hunting.. rats and maggots.

74 - Now that I think into it, not only is monster progression less than ideal, there's also something I'll call monster regression. When going to rhoburn, after meeting the two wolves you read a sign: 'DANGEROUS CREATURES AHEAD!!' and then if you keep going you'll find creatures that are... easier to kill than the wolves. Another example are those two caves north and south of the pond near Rhoburn's entrance, at first there's something like snakes or spiders, but then as you go deeper and deeper into the cave system you start finding rats and maggots. Going into caves is somewhat unrewarding.

75 - The whole path between Timari and Brookton should be redone. From Timari Market it goes like this: past the two unmanned western towers (which is ok, and i like the towers even if they aren't done to their full potential), past a sign saying 'APPRENT'ICES AND PAGES ONLY!! DANGER AHEAD', past this sign there's a river to the west and the fields open in the east, you go into the fields to explore wondering which wondrous creatures there are that the signs are warning you about and find out that it's not "the fields" but a single field, small one surrounded by mountains, with a cave in it. The cave has rats and maggots and connects with Timari's cave system. The path then becomes narrow again funnelling you between the river and a mountain, you'll then face the most dangerous creature you're ever likely to find between the two cities: a snake. Supposeddly you're already either a page or an apprentice, this means you've been through trow caves, or found Forina, or met Carl Rodae in far western Greenwood. maybe faced the Pysaura or got Marcus' hammer inside an orc hideout, at the very least you got out of the city and found that confused dwarf.

You kill the snakes wondering what lies further ahead, you see a house and a boat and a npc and start wondering whether that's it, whether you've arrived at Brookton already. Fortunately it's not so, it's just a fisherman and he tells you to... go to the guilds... Alright, you trod ahead, there's just a single way to go, not many choices to make, you reach a guardhouse. There are twin guards here, which means double the guarding, without a doubt the npcs who received the most work of all npcs I've seen so far. They're guarding a door that apparently you can only cross if you've been promoted. There are probably more signs here although if they say 'DANGER AHEAD', I can't quite remember.

You cross the door and find yourself in a tunnel, you start wondering whether they did really built a tunnel just to reach Timari. The path is even more closed than before, you can't stray from it, before you blink you arrive at an empty building, sign outside reads Brookton Guard House. You start to wonder what the hell all those guards and guardhouses are for, when there's nothing of import between the two cities.

76 - Something I noticed in my first 2 minutes of play but didn't think it was worth of mention: the path between the temple and Timari is unidirectional, it doesn't favour exploration, just a stretch of land you're supposed to walk through. I am mentioning it now, though, because the Path between Timari and Brookton is easily 20 times worse. It doesn't feel like an open world game, it keeps funnelling you to where it wants to. Greenwood is somewhat like that as well, although to a far reduced extent (even less noticeable than the temple): whether you go north or south on the forest you're eventually funneled into Carl Rodae and Forina.

77 - Everything looks the same. I guess Rhoburn might have less trees than Greenwood, but if you were to show me a random picture of Greenwood or the path between Timari and Rhoburn, or southern Timar Valley, I'd be hard pressed to tell you where it was taken. Those two tiny, non-descript spider caves on western Greenwood don't look any different than wolf caves in Rhoburn or rat caves in Timari.

Now from a mapping perspective I can understand some of these problems: thing that look good/bad when zoomed out on the map-making software might look bad/good instead when seen from the game screen. In Tibia, for example, there are several patches of gray when walking out in the fields, you don't mind it too much when playing as they aren't very large and green is much more common, but when zooming out on that map viewing site, all those small patches become noticeable and ugly but you don't even notice it when playing because it's zoomed in. Likewise, zoomed out it might be easy to distinguish forests from less dense areas but zoomed in it can be quite difficult.

Another factor at play is creating areas and only later populating them with monsters. These two spider caves I mentioned, as far as I remember there are not even cobwebs in those caves. You create a cave on the map maker and only later puts monsters in those caves, taking into consideration difficulty, exp/hour, loot, soundness of the idea, etc. It works but if you don't redraw these caves then you end up with spider caves which lack cobwebs. This didn't happen in Rhoburn Orc Fortress, for example, whoever mapped it was thinking on a fort of sorts, there are sleeping areas, a kitchen, a rubbish chest, skull totems around. You might not be able to point and say "this style is typical of Timarenne Orcs" or even "this is a Fortress of the Orcs" but you can still look and say it's a fortress even when depopulated.

78 - The rubbish chest on Orc Fortress reminded me of something else: chest rewards are too weak. Way too often a single monster gives me loot that is better than those contained in these chests, and I'll kill dozens of them, meanwhile I'll only loot a chest once. Of course if the chest is too good and easy to access then people will just create a bunch of low level characters and walk behind a stronger player who can solo the place, and if there's 4 chests at the same location then maybe divide their values by 4 each. But even then, I go up a tower, open a chest and there's a bunch of green tipped arrows, I'm mage so can't use them, I try to sell but the npc won't take any, I ended up throwing them away. Think about it: If I loot a dagger or a mace from a monster I keep it to sell, but if I loot something from a protected chest which gives me a huge ass gratifying message (not speaking against those messaes, I love them!) I end up throwin it away.

Same thing with those 2 bodies under Forima, I don't even remember what I took but I remember some leaves and herbs, stuff we find on the floor, quite literally. Chests I liked were the broken spellcaster's wand and the Cradlestone one, and neither of those has made me rich.

79 - Speaking of Forima (Fomari?) that jammed door near the broken spellcaster's wand gives two messages, first a 'door is locked' then it quickly disappears to show 'jammed shut' instead.

80 - All the previous points put together make me avoid going into holes, I've probably walked all around on the surface but when going in, not being able to tell where I am at (which lack of map makes worse, but that I can understand), unrewarding chests, either boring monsters like rats and maggots or hard ones, which added to the freezing we get when changing levels and monsters hiting you as soon as the lower level loads onscreen. Everything put together dissuades me from going inside, and there's an utter lack of lore, like there's no indication whatsoever that there's a/the Grorus lurking somewhere, no hints on anything, so the expectations I make are the ones I make myself and those aren't being met.

On the sprites:

81 - Earlier I spoke about two spider caves without cobwebs, now I'll talk about one which has them: Pysaura's lair. The only reason I got the web out of there was because someone coincidentally, by sheer luck, mentioned Pysaura's name to me when talking about the promotion quest, and even then I spent like a minute using all the cobwebs I could find before I found the Scimitar and realized that was a trapped body.

82 - When you see the sprite of some Phobos weapon you can pretty much tell it's from Phobos, and that's not bad, it has a style of its own. At the same time all the sprites look the same, I can't distinguish blade weapons one from each other and I don'teven try anymore. Some items were based on each other such as wol and rabbit paws and that also makes it hard to distinguish between them because whilst you know which one is the larger and which one is the smaller, when you have a single copy it's hard to tell which one you have so adding small details to differentiate them would be nice, such as claws on the wolf paw.

83 - Fence gates are nerly unrecognizable. Even when knowing what to look for, during day at the surface, with light spell cast, and having been through that particular gate half a dozen times, I still need to squint my eyes to kniw which one is the gate and which ones are just fence. Maybe make it so that the wooden panes on the fence gate are diagonal instead of horizontal. (This is about those fences you can find on the chicken hen by Timari's market)

84 - I really like the Help screen (the one reachable from the left side menu), but I think its letters could be larger (as all the rest of the letters, really, just look at this forum, theres so much text by cm^2, on Phobos there's almost no text onscreen and yet when there is it looks small. I'd reduce boldening to make letters occupy less space and then increase font size).

85 - Site says version 1.0.0. Game says version 1.0.9. I don't mean to offend anyone but I feel like it should be version 0.9.x. beta. If you can't spend a weekend of effort there's plenty of players around willing to help but they just aren't being allowed to.
Last edited by Timarene on January 18, 2019, 12:57:28 AM, edited 6 times in total.
Timarene
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September 19, 2017, 08:44:51 PM

@Till, sorry I didn't mean to sadden anyone, maybe I'm being too critical. I'll try to manner down my tone from now on, soory :(
Last edited by Timarene on September 20, 2017, 06:13:27 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Till
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September 19, 2017, 09:05:47 PM

All good, no need to soften your tone. In no way did I want to censor you with voicing that sentiment. I appreciate the honest input.
Timarene
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September 21, 2017, 07:49:12 AM

In these posts I felt a need to post everything that didn't seem to fit so i ended up being overly harsh. I'll post now what I really liked so people don't think I dislike everything (hey, if I didn't enjoy the game I wouldn't be still playing).

1 - Book covers are gorgeous, specially the red ones and the mossy green with a crown. My favourite is the red one with a golden circle in the middle. I think a small one with bright green cover (not the mossy green) would look great in game.

2 - The keys. The fact that each one has a description, and they all have an unique look. My only suggestion here would be to change their name once they've been used a the right door, so that it goes from 'gold key' to 'xxx key' and the names is pleyer dependant, that is, if I give my named key to someone who hasn't used it yet, it shows up as 'golden key', if I see someone's else key, it'll be named or unnamed depending on whther I've already unlocked its door.

3 - The houses. I love those tiered roofs and labyrintine layouts. I also enjoy looking at pictures of Phobos from cities I haven't been to yet just to check on the architecture.

4 - The hidden caves. The ones you can't see until you do. I'm looking forward to see what else can be done with them.

5 - First time I went into Timari's Library I thought the books were kind of meh, I mean not in the sense that they were badly writen but the ones whose titles I read were about either: genesis (which is not my kind of book), time and date (without any explanation but just a list of random names), mechanics (classes, skills, abilities, etc.), and potion/herbology stuff. None of those particularly peaked my personal interest so I didn't read them, but I just read A History of Great Smiths and I have to say I loved it. It touches on several different things I enjoy, smithry, myths but also a scholarly review of them, legendary items, also quite a bit of insight into Dwarvish society that I enjoyed very much. After reading it I went back to the library and found out there are more books of interest peaking title, I haven't read them yet but am certainly going to. The next ones in line are: The Owl of Timari, The Hitchhiker's Guide to Erasan, A Brief Study of Magic, Forina anomaly, after that I might read a bit of the history ones.

6 - Dwarvish language. Sure some signs are bugged but I found the teaser/diary with some Dwarvish translation and am enjoying translating it back. I also found the bugged text pasted here in a correct format so I assume they haven't always been that way in-game, I'm trying to translate them as well and it's fun. There's a teaser with a cypher that I can no longer see because the image went offline and if anyone manages to read this far and has access to the image, please let me know.

7 - Years ago, as you were launching the teasers I enjoyed coming here every once in a while to read them, but some were kind of dull because they spoke of things that, unless you were playing, you wouldn't get to enjoy. I mean, Tom opened an inn? The hell is Tom anyway? Oh, so there's a dwarf hiding something? Guess I'll never talk to him because I don't have access to the game, so this kind of teaser/diary wasn't that fun, although I liked seeing the progress in hopes that the game would be launched soon.

Reading this same content whilst being able to partake in it is some ten times betters. Now I finally read a teaser about some exciting event somewhere and expect to go there and check it by myself. If I were playing at the time the teasers were being churned out, I guess my enjoyment would be larger still and I'd probably post stuff and ask questions, and ask people to explore that new place with me. It's unfortunate nothing more is being released.

8 - The big texts that pop up, in different colors, whether we discover a new place, or enter a known one, or find a storehold or a body. They look great and I like having them pop up on my screen.

9- All those plants you can collect in the wild and make potions with. All I've found so far can be used in potions but I've heard you can collect apples as well, in fact I think it'd be great if there were some that couldn't be used for potions but only as food, or maybe even a poisonous one (not to make poison with but just to make you dizzy :puke: you could add a rare one though to use in poisons). And now that I think about it, I'd like the ability to make apple pies and pumpkin juice, maybe have a few recipe books, and one about a famed cook who could make a soup so good its smell would raise the dead back to life and wargs would befriend him just to try a spoonful, it's said wars were fought and heroes were killed for the privilege of trying his most fabled creation, the... anyway, closing the list:

10 - Having that/the Grorus deep on Timar Valley was a nice touch, although I suspect some will die and get angry at it. It's like an unbeatable enemy shouting out for you to beat it, a challenge to be surpassed.

11 - Those 3 towers surrounding Timari are a nice touch.

12 - All those mysteries around, the dry fountain and the huge tower by its side, Jerdrus' house, that place with four skeletons on each corner and supposedly another room to its west, whether you can get even deeper into Cradlestone. The teaser/diary on Trordrin was also cool but it's unfortunate you can't read that in-game (not that you should be able to, wouldn't make much sense, I just think it was really cool and is afaik an essential part of his history).
Xurique
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September 22, 2017, 03:42:26 PM

100 bad and 12 good :D

na just kidding!

I love reading all the stuff u have found.. sum of it is rlly sumthing you wouldnt think of unless ur rlly looking!

WELL DONE is all i can say!

next time u see me on just wisper and i'l get u sum stuff to make ur exploring easier!
Timarene
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January 18, 2019, 01:00:31 AM

See, it's been over 1 year now and I'm still playing :D

86 - North towers of Empo Sar have no stairs.

87 - Why do you need to sell Teddy Bears on the black market, are they illegal?

:P
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Till
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January 18, 2019, 11:01:44 AM

Timarene wrote:See, it's been over 1 year now and I'm still playing :D

86 - North towers of Empo Sar have no stairs.

87 - Why do you need to sell Teddy Bears on the black market, are they illegal?

:P
Visit the teddy bear black market and see how deep the rabbit hole goes :moustache:
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