First of all, we'd like to thank you for your contribution! We have received over 2000 detailed answers, and this will help us find what to focus on in the late stages of development (which is going to turn into beta).
With this survey we have focused on what you found the worst aspects of the game, because there’s a lot to improve. We only asked what you like in our game, so we don’t mess them up in any way. :)
Finally, your lists of most requested features will help us focus on planned content which we still haven’t got around yet in the Alpha, this will help us prioritize them. Our remaining time will run out soon, we can’t allow ourselves to experiment with features that only sound good at the designer table.
But, good news: we as developers basically agree on most points with you, our opinions differ only in the priorities.
We’ll list the five of the most frequently described problems, each of these got more than 100 votes, and we’ll only list the remaining 10, so this post won’t be long-winded.
As for the requested features, most of the answers were jokes or this section was used as bug report 2.0, and because most of what we planned we didn’t show you yet, this part of the survey wasn’t really useful for us. There were three important points beside jokes and bug reports, though.
So, buckle up, here come the worst aspects of Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr in its current state, in the order of votes!
1. PACING AND CONTROLS
"The game is slow, clunky, hard to control"
This problem was formulated in different ways, but it’s all connected, it was on the second place of bug reports („slow movement and combat”), sixth place („combat is clunky”), eight place („movement and combat are difficult to control”), and it featured on the missing aspects list, second place („clunky combat, especially melee”). So this is the worst offender.
Good news: since the January update, our main focus is to resolve this, because we also think that this area needs polish. We can see that many small changes here and there will result in a vastly improved experience overall. Bad news, however, is that some things will never be good enough for everybody (most players praised tactical approach, third place on the best aspects list, but it is in conflict with faster gameplay.
We made all characters’ base speed value a bit higher, but with speed upgrades the game started to run in a cartoonish way (you can’t really make a believable movement animation on higher, inhumane character speeds). This isn’t a problem in many games, true, where there’s a more cartoonish art direction, but with Martyr’s more realistic approach to shaders, animations and physics, the faster speeds look rather funny than right.
We also started re-working skills and corresponding animations. We increased attack animation speed, we added missing visual and sound effects, we did over a 100 changes in movement dynamics. We moved hit events with fractions of a second, where this wasn’t enough, we think we can do a lot better with different animations and improved skill characteristics (90% of the skills will change in some form, some of them quite radically). We find the ranged animations a lot better (we modified 30-40% in regards of how they worked and in areas of lesser importance). We made a lot of improvements for the Crusader, we’ll start working on the Assassin as well this week.
We have implemented a ’mass’ system with units. Before this, it was a nightmare to push past enemy crowds, they made our character much slower, especially melee characters were affected by overwhelming enemies. We didn’t want the player to push past everything, because with a more realistic art direction, it would look cartoonish, but with the mass system, we made the character capable of pushing away enemies in combat (of course, not the bigger units, a Helbrute would still win at wrestling us).
Animations were improved as well, such as firing from covers (bounces and twisting blends), using two one-handed weapons (animation blending and prioritizing were ugly, we have improved this much to make them visually more compelling).
We’ll try to improve controls with sufficient player feedback and display feedback. We start by making something very basic such as replacing our 3 year old placeholder cursor.
In the long run, we’ll include a toggleable Tactical View (activated with the Caps Lock key), this is long overdue. In the options, you’ll be able to select what you’d like to see displayed. You can highlight your character, change cursor size, see enemy HP bar and number, weapon range, strenght of target markers, and some new features, such as enemy highlighting similar to a sort of heat view, hit flashes on the whole body, and enemy vision range.
In the February build, you’ll se a lot of these improvements, our next survey will target this area, how you see the improvements.
2. COVER SYSTEM
Problems include clunky usability, weak covers, etc. We started reworking these too. First, we’re removing wrong animations (shooting under the height of covers), and we reworked the corner cover animations, because current ones weren’t good enough. We started including more covers and categorized them by durability.
We came up with a more uniform cover system that provides more protection, we rebalanced HP values and we started dividing destruction abilities among different enemy unit types. Some of them will have a harder time penetrating covers (such as enemies using lasguns and small caliber guns), but against certain enemies covers will serve only as a temporary protection (against those who are using plasma guns and bigger caliber guns).
Destruction was only a technical feature until now, it wasn’t set up correctly, so its behavior was erratic. We started adding unique effects, physical properties to different covers, the improvements will be ready by March (hopefully some of them will work better in the February build as well).
A new option will be available in the controls: you’ll be able to toggle positioning into covers (so you don’t have to hold down Space, many players had issues with this).
Similarly to enemies, the weapons of player characters now work differently against covers (bolters, plasma and grav weapons will have bigger impact on covers than autoguns, lasguns and sniper rifles).
3. LOOT SYSTEM
Many players miss the loot drops in missions, some players want more variety, but most of the players feel that loot drops aren’t rewarding enough. This will change, more significantly in the March build. New artefacts will be added, a new loot category as well (consumables), many more interesting enchantments and more exciting unique items (with better working active skills, stronger and more complex enchantments). We’ll start changing drop distribution, important units (elites, commanders and heroes) will drop stronger items. We got feedback on picking up items / opening, but we’re not changing this system now. Inventory usage during combat would mess with the tactical layer. Picking up items is a different issue, it has worked before the way you want it now, but based on community feedback, we made changes, now you won’t leave items behind which problematic. What we can improve, though, is some changes in visibility, item pickup feedback on the GUI with a visual and sound cue.
4. BUGS AND POLISH
"The game is buggy and generally unpolished"
The changes listed above will help a lot, but you can expect a significant improvement in the last month. Because the game will see more changes, new features, bug fixing and general polish isn’t our priority right now. If the goal was to release every new feature fully polished in new updates for the test builds, development would be much slower, or rather we could only add a few new features. Usually we don’t add new features in the last month of development, but we’ll focus on fixing hundreds of bugs before the release of the full game.
5. CAMERA CONTROLS
We’ll be implementing a classic, old-school ARPG camera soon, which will not try to position itself automatically, it will not tilt, it will stay fixed and when turning towards walls, you’ll be visible (walls will fade to transparent). Because of this, terrain set pieces need some extra work, walls currently don’t have anything on the other side. We’ll include some extra set pieces, so you what you see won’t fade out to nothingness. Once that’s done, we’ll release this camera setting for you to test.
- Sound effects – We’re working on improvements.
- Repetition – More enemies, mission types and terrain types will be added.
- Voice acting – Missing lines will be added, voice acting will see changes
- Enemy variety – New faction, hero-type enemies will be added, existing ones will be improved
- Melee (being clunky compared to ranged) – This will be improved and balanced significantly
- Slow and boring bossfights – We’re experimenting with a new approach with Word Bearer elites, if it works out, we’ll rework the others as well, and there will be more complex bossfights
- Co-op – We’re always fixing bugs, we’re looking for a solution about a problem on Windows 10, we’ll have to see how much time we’ll have for more features, but we have a thing or two in mind
- AI – This is a bit tougher, we’re optimizing skill use, eliminating bugs, however we can’t really make enemy AI significantly smarter, it’s not very fun to play against good AI in an ARPG, as it can make things really difficult for the player if enemies start to work as a team in a logical way.
- Difficulty – We’re balancing away, but survey shows that on average, most of the players find it right, 10-15% of players find it difficult, 5-10% find it easy. We’ll set base mission difficulty to easy, but hitting above levels will dynamically and drastically increase difficulty. We’d like to reward this more, so everybody can set their own comfortable difficulty. Story missions will see some power level options.
These got the most votes:
- More varied lore environments: Our tutorial spaceship setting will be used in more generated missions, we’ll have more industrial settings, loader machines, exterior terrain types include city ruins and city rooftops. Our props library grows to over 100 assets, we’ll start adding more props to existing levels as well to improve variety.
- More story-based missions: There will be a lot more. What you see now is only the beginning of the campaign, the tutorials. There’s a lot of development going on here, we don’t want to include this with all of its bugs in the alpha. It will be included in the full release, with a big update.
- Improved character customizations: You’ll be able to change colours and shaders at the Tech Priest, you can change how worn your equipment looks (grime and scratches), lots of artefact variants in models, all models will have three different skins. That’s all we can deliver in time, for now.