I don’t want to be cruel…
I don’t want to be rude…
But I need to be very clear about this. I recently purchased your game on the PlayStation store during a sale as I have looked at it for a long time and been very intrigued about the game you have built. I had some vacation time I needed to burn so I said screw it and spent a couple of days plowing my way through the game (just the base game I did not get any of the expansion DLC).
Very soon I found myself in the endgame grind for high end gear and experimental weapons. Some quick google-fu and I learn that experimental weapons are a potential drop from rivals. This is the first thing I need to be honest about. The word potential is doing some heavy lifting in that statement.
In all the rival kills I have racked up I have yet to see an experimental drop from a rival. Before the questions come in, I have cleared the main campaign, all the side missions I have found, and my character was Lvl 26 before I started farming rivals.
I have skimmed through the forums and seen the live stream reply to this problem and to be clear “that’s just how things work with random chance.” Is a weak, bad faith argument. From time gating to weapon quests there are multiple ways to limit the speed at which people accrue high end gear that still respect the players time.
For instance you have recently implemented the base building feature and thus expanded the resources that players can pick up and amass. If you want to limit the rate at which people get experimental weapons, consider making an experimental crafting bench and rivals after level 25 dropping FNIX tech as scrap 100% of the time. Any given experimental weapon requires a donor weapon, say 3 crowns or better and “X” number of FNIX tech.
This way you can precisely dial in the rarity of any given weapon by tweaking the tech cost to build. This directly limits the speed at which players can get these weapons and also allows the player to see the light at the end of the tunnel and have a goal to work toward. I don’t mean this as “you should have already done this!!” I am genuinely offering this as feedback and a potential fix to a complicated problem. I don’t think it was meant cruelly, when it was said in the stream, and speaking live while also concentrating on playing the game can easily lead to oversimplifying or truncating ones answers.
However I should probably move on, I have had 3 experimental weapons drop all from the reaper tank. Two Kpist Smg’s and one 12g Pump action. I have had 2 of those weapons simply disappear. The first was when I got a duplicate Kpist from my second reaper kill. When I looted it, it simply seemed to overwrite the one I already had and I could not find the original anywhere. Frustrated but not outright angry as I still “had” a 6C Kpist i played on. Not wanting to risk losing another experimental weapon however I stored it and went back to the 5C AI 76. My third reaper kill dropped a 12g pump and I was very excited as this was one of the ones I was looking forward to the most.
A quick side note: The reason I was so looking forward to it, was, this is genuinely the first game I’ve played of ANY genre where a shotgun works like it’s supposed to in a VERY long time! No insane spread patterns, no pellets that simply lose all their momentum after 15 feet, I’m looking at you destiny… This is one of my favourite features in the whole game, please, I beg you, never change your shotguns. Maybe a slight damage buff for slug rounds as they don’t quite feel like the real thing but your buckshot is as close to perfect as I’ve ever seen in a game. Bravo!
While playing in a multiplayer match I got blown up by a car and when I picked myself up with an adrenaline shot I noticed my experimental 12g was no longer in my first weapon slot. I opened my inventory to re-equip it, but could not find it. Thinking I may have accidentally deposited it in one of the bodies I had looted in the last firefight, I backtracked and went through the bodies again, no weapon.
As I said in the opening I don’t want to be cruel but perhaps before you focus on features and new gameplay additions it might be prudent to slow down and focus on some bug resolutions. Losing a weapon that took literal hours to farm the boss spawn for not once but twice is not a minor detriment to your game.
It is a major experience destroying flaw. These weapons are your all stars, they are the pinnacle of player power and the reward for patience and time invested in this game. It paints a concerning picture, when the inventory system in a game that includes inventory management as one its core gameplay loops, contains such a potentially problematic bug.
I am aware bug fixing is not exciting, players don’t make youtube videos with titles that say “New major bug fix completely changes this game!!” It is nevertheless one of the biggest things you can do to improve the overall quality of your game. Like changing the oil in your car you will never be done doing bug fixes but if you don’t change your oil you are going to have some serious problems.
There are some other small things I have noticed in my time with the game, less bugs and more oddities but ill outline a couple here:
Weird animation lock: I’ve noticed on many weapons there is a good 1.5-2 second “lock out” period between finishing the shooting animation and being able to start a reload. It does not feel like a bug, more of an animation priority issue but it does make some particularly frenetic firefights feel far more frustrating than needed. Hammering the reload button and getting nothing while 2 tanks, a harvester, and a handful of hunters fill my personal space with lead and missiles.
Hunter knife leap: I don’t know how exactly the hunter running knife move works on the code end but I have been hit by that move from around corners, through blast doors in bunkers, and once while sitting in a little sniper tower while the hunter was on the ground. I am genuinely at a loss on this one. I’m not sure if it’s like a soft lock, or an aoe pulse but it feels really cheap and un-fun to get hit by this ability when you were well clear of it.
To wrap this up as I am rapidly approaching essay territory I very much like the core concept of what you have built here, it shines brilliantly over its nearest direct competitor Fallout 76. However for the time being I have put this game down. I have uninstalled it to make space for other games I want to get through. I will still keep myself informed about the state of this game but once again to be absolutely clear, between the technical state of the game and the balancing decisions made, the game as a whole has left a poor first impression.
This is not meant to serve as a review or to inform people who have yet to make up their mind on the game. I wanted to take an opportunity to collect my thoughts about this sometimes brilliant and sometimes frustrating game. To let the devs know where some extra work may be warranted and where they have absolutely nailed it. Seriously, I meant what I said about the shotguns. Also the machine design is, in my opinion, second only to Horizon Zero Dawn.
The fact that tanks and harvesters are smart enough to stay where they are and bombard you, not just rush you, well done! There is so much potential here, with careful planning and diligent work you will one day have something truly special. I wish you the best of luck and take care.