« Reply #147 on: January 18, 2010, 04:51:10 PM »
Nicely done. I'm not certain in what direction or capacity you are considering extending the game, although its current form is impressive for the time put into it, and regardless of my following comments, there's something rather positive to be said for simplicity. Nevertheless, I gotta have my say.
Bugs first -- stats. Right now, with the way the statistic cap is implemented, character stats are unstable. Equipping, then un-equipping rings or armor that push a stat over the cap will result in the base stat being decreased. Right now, this is a non-issue, as stats beyond 50 are adequate for all game challenges, but if the game expands so that higher statistics are needed, this may become a point of contention -- better to remedy it before the problem becomes ingrained. For my money, the base stats ought to be capped absolutely (perhaps even lower than they are now), then item bonuses should add their usual finite amount on top of that, so that there remains a real difference between a stat-maxed dragonscale-and-mithril-wearing knight and a stat-maxed leather-wearing rogue.
Terrain Bug. Also, there is a terrain bug along the eastern side of the map; whatever engine you are using to render the game is picking up height data along that side and is creating a 3d cliff over there. If, for instance, the engine is using the alpha channel of a PNG to determine altitude, then it is simply a matter of the image picking up some unwanted transparency on one side. Low-priority, but if it's as easy a fix as I'm imagining, then it's no biggie.
Spawn-protection. I'd request a 5-10 second spawn protection system. Loading times can vary a fair bit, and one Medusa in the wrong spot can currently lead to a whole bunch of dead and annoyed newbies. The protection could vanish whenever the character started shooting, but that's just icing on the cake.
Audio. I'll second the request for a global sound-mute button, and add a request for a mild "kill" sound and/or short animation (akin to, say, the old 8-pointed wink-out from Zelda). I've been caught several times by "dead" monsters that turned out to simply have slipped away due to lag, and an audible confirmation of kill would stop that.
Monsters. I'll also second the request for more complex monsters. Monsters that could summon limited numbers of minions, monsters that could teleport to (or summon!?) players, or monsters that drain mana should be very straightforward additions. Also, monsters that inflict status effects would be groovy. Gels and slimes might slow or poison players, giants (of various sorts) might "bash" players, stopping their movement while letting them fire and cast, and Medusas and Beholders, I must say, should petrify (stun totally).
More on statistics. Tweaking the defense stat so that it suffers (more) diminishing returns could also make the game more challenging without necessarily creating lots of one-shot newbie-slaughtering monsters. At the very least, all the top-tier monsters should be able to scratch someone with max defense. Also, changing speed so that it doesn't just make the player fire more and more projectiles would be an intelligent move IMO. Right now, people with high speed (and *cough* gold-bow wielders) are quite capable of lagging their own connections out, especially when they're downloading large amounts of map data quickly (and moving speedily, they will be doing that). Perhaps a tiered approach would work, where at certain levels speed trades into an effective attack power boost (and an upgraded, maybe larger projectile graphic) and resets at a modestly decreased attack rate.
Minimap. I'm definitely thinking that being able to "ping" the minimap would be a handy feature ("where are you, again, compared to the three people out east?"). A spam-resistant way to do this would be to have mid-to-low level monsters infrequently drop "flare" items that would temporarily highlight their map dot (and add a mouseover nametag??) for other players. Something like this would be nice, especially if you ever decide to change/expand the game map.
Class features. As for really new material, I suggest that one way to flesh out the class options would be to add a single, well-defined skill for each class -- something simple but useful. I'm just spitballing, but perhaps rogues could walk through OR fire through trees; knights could block incoming fire from one direction; wizards (not pallies or clerics) could get a (mild) field-damage aoe. Maybe clerics could heal everyone nearby with their health and mana potions, or could use up a full mana bar to resurrect someone who recently (10-15 seconds ago) died. Wilder ideas might include letting some characters summon a pet or charm a monster to fight for them, although I have no idea whether monster stats are even remotely balanced for that purpose. Again, I'm not dictating nor demanding, but I think that this could help with all the classes becoming similar when given high stats.
Playing with fire. One last idea I heard in-game that tickled me slightly (it was some other high-level guy) was offering an option for players to play as monsters. This, of course, would be a comparatively large undertaking, but I do see a few ways that it could work. The simplest one would let the player spawn as a beastie (perhaps after hunting a large number of said beastie), then have them play as normal, with monster-appropriate boosts, new equipment setups, and perhaps a few extra equipment types. Not all monsters would have to be done at once; in fact, slowly releasing them over time would give people more reason to keep coming back for more. I do think that the "monster" save data ought to be stored in a second slot separate from the "hero" data if this route is taken; there'd probably be plenty of monsters to choose from in short order. A more complex form of this would be adding monster players as some sort of new faction. There would be many, many ways to go about this. Creating "monster" servers would be one way; these would be populated with mostly "good guy" mobs that the player-monsters would run around killing. Or, something similar could be done on one server, though managing the "good" and "evil" monster populations would probably be tricky. Even more complicated would be adding monster-vs-player PVP, but I'll stop elaborating there, because that route really does take a lot more work. I'll only offer that if such a system were to be considered, that PVP deaths should NOT result in character death, but instead in being pushed back to a distant respawn; there are hardcore PVP outlets out there already, and it really does take a special breed of player to enjoy them.
As I said before, I really don't know what your future plans are, and bugs aside, these are all just freely-offered suggestions -- obviously, I'm not a developer. The game's a fun offering, and again, its development has already been pretty dramatic.