v23172 GOG Windows
I like RPGs and turn-based combat, but this was the first JRPG I’ve ever seen. All in all, I’ve enjoyed playing the game, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
The game difficulty scales terribly. In my opinion, it is the most important problem with this game. Let me describe how bad it is, before proposing a solution.
I did every dungeon on Legendary on the first playthrough (except the Iron Outpost, which I reran on Heroic after a wipe). They had consistent (average) difficulty, presented no challenges, were rather forgiving and did not push me to find better tactics, improve gear, use consumables or dungeon skills. But they were somewhat enjoyable and balanced.
I had 2 wipes in the dungeons: in the first room of the Iron Outpost from a Treasure Elemental and at 70% Deadwatch from a trio of Hangman, suicide Bomber and a Fire mage. By the way, I would’ve survived the Deadwatch encounter if I didn’t waste 2 turns trying to Flee (for a change) which did nothing.
The second runs of the same dungeon were always extremely boring, because the fights become very easy and only waste your time on watching intros, outros and other animations, while you are “fighting” by repeatedly pressing Select key.
It’s even worse for the world map encounters, as they don’t let you choose a higher difficulty or pull multiple enemies at once. I was already bored with the single-enemy encounters by the time I’ve reached the inn.
All those mobs feel like the piles of trash encumbering your movement.
Now the hunts are complete opposite of this, as they become available when you have significantly lower level than your target. And so you end up on the other end of the beating stick. It is completely unexpected and imbalanced, but at least challenging. Beating level 28 Ancient Treasure Fiend with lvl 24 Calibretto, 24 Gully and 19 Knolan was the best part of the game.
But beating these hunt targets at lower levels is pointless, as you can’t even wear the rewards you get.
And if you postpone the fight for too long, you’ll have no challenge at all.
The second best part was the Maze. Because, guess what? It doesn’t need to scale with level.
Airship encounters were fun too. That’s right, because the pirates are the same level as the highest character in your group. Although they are too easy, unless one of your characters is underleveled or naked.
Which is yet another issue: if one of your characters has been sitting in the tavern for too many levels, they become useless 1-shot fodder after rejoining the group.
This is a result of the ridiculous, superficial stat and damage scaling with level. Not only stats change too much from level up, but damage and defences are additionally rescaled based on the level difference…
By the way, you use exponentiation to scale stats back and forth so much, that I’d like to see “Time spent in Mathf.Pow()” along with “Time played”.
- Remove damage scaling based on the level difference. That’s a terrible, senseless, maddening game mechanic. If you are designing a game and someone proposes to increase damage when attacking lower level opponent — punch them in the face.
- Remove stat scaling with level. It is effectively the same as aforementioned damage scaling.
Stat scaling also affects items, more on that later.
Why did you add the scaling in the first place? Why break an otherwise balanced game with it?
Scaling down monsters at 1-9 level is understandable.
Player’s power should increase with level from perks and items.
If you want a cheap way to gradually raise difficulty as the game progresses, you can linearly scale up some monster stats based on the player’s level. By the way, the current scaling does nothing for that.
Victor Vran is a good example how to do these things right. Check out how they do crafting and itemization too.
If you want to let the player adjust the game difficulty (you should), the cheap way to do so is to add a slider in the options that will scale monster stats (done like that in many games of various genres).
To make some fights optional you can use the total kills count for that area.
Do not scale down stats on items and enchantments with player’s level like you do now.
Remove the level requirements from the items. If the player can get it, he should be able to use it.
Higher level items and enchantments might have higher stats, but not exponentially ffs.
Items could be more valuable. Currently it’s 5 items + 2 enchants, 3% bonus each. So if you stack all crit items you get like [(5 + 2) * 3%] = 21% crit bonus. Not very impressive.
I’d like to be able to craft custom-tailored and unique items, rather than the same stuff you get from the shops and dungeons. For example, to be able to choose the bonuses the item gets, including the rare buffs like overcharge gain.
Make the whole team available in the Compendium, but only 3 characters marked for combat.
Allow to change those 3 characters at any time outside of combat.
This would fully agree with the cutscenes and the general idea that the whole party is travelling together. It also solves the problems with breaking walls and switching items.
Level up the whole party, not the separate characters.
To be continued.