Kalo's Top 10 Alpha Feedback List
Hey everyone, Kalo here. Welp, our first, glorious alpha test came and went, and as much as it was an amazing weekend, it’s time to hit the grindstone and sort out what changes should be made to the game, whether it be for the next test or later down the line. I’m making this list a “top 10” for efficiency’s sake: we’ve got a lot of new voices in the community, and while I appreciate the thought that because of our relationship, the devs will especially listen to what I have to say, having to read through a “Kalo-sized” article on top of everyone else’s feedback just seems overbearing on my end. That being said, I’m always available to expand and explain any of my choices, and am more than willing to focus on specific aspects of the game now and in the future per request from the dev team.
The list below is not in order of importance, but has been organized into three sections: gameplay, UI, and bugs.
Two words. Input Lag.
I know this already has the spotlight on it, but I feel it important to stress how crucial fixing this input lag for general character control is. After playing competitive matches at the studio without experiencing this, I can definitely say that it is of utmost importance, both for the competitive scene and casual players alike: feeling that slight delay is very frustrating and not something a player base will happily get used to. I have no knowledge of what could be causing this, although I will point out that in the offline warrior practice mode, the input lag isn’t there so it’s likely something to do with the servers. Please fix this ASAP!
The Spartacus ramp glitch is alive and well.
Funnily enough, we didn’t realize this until the last day of Alpha. I think we all kind of just assumed it was gone after being told it was. Unfortunately, this beast of a bug is definitely still in the game, and is as broken as ever. Fix it sooner than later, please!
The homescreen UI should probably be overhauled.
It feels uneven and off-putting. Victor’s pumps in the back of his suit clip through the pack oddly. The text from the sliding articles stay faintly in the background after transitioning, overlapping the current post’s text. The whole thing is definitely a fixer upper. Along with this, it would be cool if the pre-game loading screen showed your character's skin instead of the standard portrait.
The in-game UI should show teammate relic dash and ultimate ability timers.
This has been talked about before, but I do think that especially for solo queue, these are important pieces of information you’re always going to want to have about your teammates. Along with this, it might be worth it to have an icon showing your own relic dash cooldown timer for when you’re not carrying it, just so you know as well. Even further, being able to see both your teammates’ and opponent’s perks could be important in some situations as well. For example, “If we fight this Thorgrim over here, will he be able to quickly flip us both over the edge?” Pressing tab to find out seems much less frustrating then, well, it happening. Lastly, the same could be said about your teammates’ buildables -- while it’s common to just place them down at the beginning of rounds, knowing a teammate is saving a Spartacus ramp for an opportune moment could be vital for a victory.
Healing perks are overpowered.
To clarify: Thorgrim’s “on kill/assist” one is exempt from this. While his specifically requires an entire kill participation to activate, all of Victor’s, Black Knight’s, and Morgan's perks only take hitting an ability to get healed a bunch. Victor gets 150 health over 5 seconds per person hit by his Wild Arc. Yes, this ability is difficult to hit, but if you hit one opponent, it’ll auto hit up to two other nearby opponents as well, making it up to a ridiculous 450 health instead (150 is already pretty good). Black Knight is similar, 125 over 5 seconds for every opponent hit with the explosion of his armor buff -- hitting one opponent is easy enough, but you could potentially hit 3-4 if you use it while pulling the entire enemy team in with your ultimate (500 health max!!); And Morgan’s is even crazier in my opinion: while she doesn’t get a guaranteed 5 seconds of healing like the others (it’s 30 per second an enemy is slowed by her abilities), she has two abilities that do so, including a giant, hard-to-miss AoE that can easily hit multiple opponents.
Drop the numbers for these perks considerably, and make Morgan’s an “over 5 seconds” effect as well, but only proc it for her skillshot, not the AoE ability.
Morgan’s primary attacks need an overhaul.
They’re hard to see and they aim inconsistently. Moving from right to left and attacking, they can go anywhere from a 20 to 60 degree angle to either side, depending on which way you’re moving. The problem is, nothing seems to decide how wide that angle is (to test, just move left and right in practice mode and attack). Along with this, other warriors don’t suffer from this oddly angled attack: for example, at the most, when moving to the side and attacking, Alona’s primary will angle only a few degrees to either side. This also affects Morgan’s skillshot ability. Both simply do not fire where your crosshair is represented, and while avid Morgan players (like myself) can get used to this weird angle, it just feels frustrating and inconsistent (her skillshot ability does the same thing!).
Give her primary attacks the Alona treatment -- make them easily seeable and make sure they fire where you’re aiming. Do the same angle fixup for her skillshot.
Character progression feels unnecessarily grindy.
Let me be clear: I don’t think the grind to level 5 was all too bad. You can do it within the span of a night of playing if you solely play the character you’re wanting to level up. That being said, the current rewards for those levels is what seems unnecessary, especially with perks. What makes perk A more valuable than perk B, so much so that I have to play 40 or so more games as the character to get it, and why does it cost such an oddly different amount?
Aesthetics like skins and taunts are one thing (although I will say that in some cases, the better skin was hands down the first one you unlocked, despite the skins just being color changes), but when things that actually affect your gameplay come into account, the thought that one “needs” to play this character so much just to unlock what may be considered the “best” perk at the time feels unhealthy.
Make a flat price for perks, and let players choose which one they unlock at every level. Even better, just make all perks readily available for characters immediately -- it always feels bad to have to grind up for the best stuff just to be able to compete, and while the scale for this instance is small, it still leaves the same feeling. Along with that, the ramp up for leveling a character feels pretty bad. I suggest extending the levels to something like 10, but smoothing out the level difficulty curve.
Warriors should get damage added to their total equal to the remaining health of an opponent they knock off the map.
With Thorgrim especially, but also for abilities like Spartacus’ kick, Black Knight’s explosion and Alona’s sun burst, it feels odd that you don’t receive the remaining health of an opponent you rung out as damage. There were many times where a proficient Thorgrim would have a lot of kills but almost no damage, and I feel that this would be a simple and fun change that makes the player feel even better about getting that sweet ring out.
Chalice is unnecessarily complicated and its text is incorrect.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: this item is just bad! All of it’s non-heroic levels heal very slowly. Instead of hiding around avoiding the fight, you could simply just go back to base, spend your gold, and then be healed up regardless. That’s not the point though: its text is also very unfriendly, and not even correct.
The non-heroic levels state “out of combat” healing, meaning you aren’t directly dealing or receiving damage. However, if you do so and the item begins to heal you, you can actually start dealing damage and still be healed (it will stop once you receive damage). This is odd because the heroic perk is supposed to do add that effect, giving you healing when you aren’t taking damage, allowing you to still deal it from afar and be healed to full.
This means the item essentially doesn’t have a heroic perk (except that the max healing is now 100% of your health). Along with this, the different levels of the item having different caps for its healing seems terribly unnecessary. I still don’t know if I would get it over armor, respawn time reduction or other defensive items if every tier could heal you up to 100%.
That all being said, I suggest taking away that cap and adjusting the tiers to be different healing amounts at each one. Also, allowing the item to continue healing when you aren’t taking damage even if you’re dealing it at the lower tiers seems better than fixing it to be completely out of combat. Change the heroic perk to be something like ramping healing that gets faster over time, or maybe making it a lifesteal percentage on damage dealt from primary attacks (this would have to be tested for balance). This would make the item something that actually competes for a spot in your inventory.
Buildable damage needs to be nerfed. Buildable health needs to be buffed.
I’ll be flat out about this: it is very frustrating to have a Rawlins walk through your base, almost instantly destroying even your beefiest buildables, to then walk out a ridiculously rich warrior. The buildable damage numbers need to be nerfed. Cap it at 100% for heroic, maybe. Even making it so buildables drop 100 less gold by default could help as well, or changing the heroic buildable damage perk to be something that isn’t double (I honestly think as little as “100 more” would still be good, but there’s probably a better middle ground).
Along with this, buildable health’s numbers should be buffed. As of now, you can buy the heroic tier of the item as Thorgrim, then still watch your walls almost immediately get popped by that heroic tier buildable damage, impossible to catch Rawlins. Buff the numbers please. The buildable damage and health numbers could be the same, maybe? Something like 20, 40, 70, 100%?
Along with this, I think it would be interesting if the heroic perk of buildable health got changed/buffed to be, instead of putting the buildable back in your inventory if it gets destroyed when you’re placing it down, simply being able to place buildables down while being damaged. This would really open the doors for some cool competitive strategies, and feels less clunky than just having to put the buildable back down again.
TL;DR - Just read the section titles you lazy fool.
That’s it for my top 10! I’m open and honestly hoping to have conversation about these things, so please feel free to write any thoughts, criticisms, or additions down below. Like I said before, this weekend was just the first test in a long, glorious road towards developing the game so many of us have already fallen in love with. You can find me at my Twitch or Twitter, and I’ll be responding to comments on this forum post as well.
Thanks for reading, stay safe and beautiful, can't wait to become champions together (again)!
Thanks Kalo. ;)
There's really not much to disagree with here, this is all very good feedback. Though, I did find chalice somewhat useful in fights without a healer, but I agree that it could use some adjustment. DEFINITELY agree on Morgan's primary attack. I found her attack to be one of the most difficult things to aim in a game.
I will say the one thing about having perks readily available from the beginning. I do think there is something to be said for easing players into a multitude of choices. A lot of the time when given too many choices, a player will feel overwhelmed and take far less time to familiarize themselves with each one. (I think of how Nintendo did this with Super Mario Maker, as they decided to have you earn tools over time as these sort of limits will often breed creativity.) I like the system of gradually acquiring perks over time. I think that it can be done in such a way to allow unlocking them within a modest amount of playtime, but enough to guide the players along each perk as they level up. It's possible that allowing the players to pick which perk they want at each level could help solve the problem of having to "grind" a character just to have the most optimal perk, but at the same time the system of working your way to the top/best perk is something that gets certain players to keep playing. It's definitely a good tactic for a developer to keep someone hooked to extend playtime. Just my thoughts on it.
Anyways, like I said, these are a lot of really good points & great feedback overall. Thanks for sharing Kalo.
(Edited for small word corrections)
Still reading, but I wanted to voice my thoughts against your idea of seeing what perk the enemy has selected.
I think it adds a little bit of "mystery" and some "need to adjust strategy on the fly" to the matches.
I do agree that you should be able to see your teammates choices, though.
I agree with Nov4cane on the easing the players into choices. One of the biggest "oh wow" moments of a new moba-style game is the item choices. Load up league for the first time and you're staring at a massive list of confusion. I also agree with Kalo that it sucks having to grind to be competitive, and I'm hoping we can figure out a middle ground between "grind to play like everyone else" and "overwhelming choices from the start."