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My feedback after a short time

Baxter900
Level 4
Firstly I want to say that the game was very fun. My feedback might sound a bit negative in some parts, but the mechanics for the game are clever and allow diverse strategies with even the starter cards. Additionally the game is well built in most aspects. I could see myself playing this into the future easily. However there are some things I'd like to bring up.

1. Give players something to do while in queue
This is probably my single biggest piece of feedback. After the tutorial I queued and immediately got into a game, this went great and after winning the game, I was ready to play another so I queued again. Then waited, and waited, and waited, and waited..... It was probably only around 3 minutes of waiting (which I spent looking for easter eggs in the main menu environment) before I left, but it felt like forever.... In a normal game, waiting isn't so bad since you can alt-tab and do other stuff. That's not to say it's good, but I can wait 5-10 minutes easily by doing other stuff while waiting. With VR you don't have this luxury. Taking the headset off pauses the game and you won't get audio so you can't know when you're in a game. Inside VR there's nothing to do.

This brings me to my point, it's absolutely essential that players have something to do while waiting. Not being able to do something leads to boredom, and no matter how great your game is no one wants to sit around for 5 minutes doing nothing. That's the quickest way to kill your game. I see two solutions to this:

The first solution is let people do other stuff while waiting (and make sure they know about it). When in queue put a banner in front of them telling them they can take off their headset and do other things while they wait. Then when they get a game give them a popup on screen telling them their game started. If possible (which it may not be due to how rift audio works) play a sound through the main speakers as well. If you do this then you'll have to institute some sort of AFK check. Most games have people press buttons to ensure they're there. You can just check for if people have the rift on their face. Again to reiterate, adding this feature would mean nothing if you don't tell people about it, so make sure there's a very clear banner in game when you enter queue telling you about it.

The second solution would be to have a minigame for people to play while waiting. It doesn't have to be complex, just enough to hold someone's attention for 5 minutes at a time. There are lots of games out there that do this quite readily. I would recommend that you let players win small (very small) amounts of gold (or maybe scrap) while doing this, as it will keep them engrossed. Reward (especially reward with a form of permanence) is very good for getting people to pay attention to and be entertained by even the simplest of games (look at the "clicker" genre of games for an extreme example).

Ideally both of these would be implemented in order to give options to players. But having one or the other is absolutely essential to the continuation of the playerbase of the game.


2. Renaming decks
I'm sure that this is planned (or already implemented in which case someone tell me how to do it cause I couldn't figure it out) but the ability to rename decks is kind of important. I know that keyboards are hard in VR, but even letting people choose from preset names would be immensely helpful. As it is now, all unset decks have one name, and all set decks have another. That's it and it's quite confusing.

One thing that I think would be pretty cool (and falls in line with your monetization) if you don't want to allow people to manually name decks would be to allow each champion to only have one deck attached to them then represent the deck with the image of the champion. People would remember their decks as well as with names and it would have one or two bonuses. For example, it would naturally gate the amount of decks you can have by how many champions you have, thus allowing older players to experiment more and hand-holding newer players better by limiting their options. It would also bring the lore connotation of the champion leading their army into battle.

3. Face customization
This is obviously a low import point, but it's still something I think would bring life into the game somewhat. Right now the only faces I've been seeing are the standard cracked stone face. I'm assuming that as you level you get more choices (it looks like there's probably around 10 of them if I remember right) but that's still a very limited amount. What I propose is later in the game allow some degree of customization. Maybe allow you to attach elements of faction masks (like horns) onto your mask, swap out colors from a limited palette, etc. Even just the ability to change 2 colors on your mask would go a long way towards differentiating one person from another and individualizing them. I bring this up because I think one of the strongest elements of the game is the interaction between players. Chatting and smack talking with my opponents and being able to see their face was a really cool aspect. However seeing each face look the same made people blend together. One person blended into another and when I ran into someone I had just been matched with, it took us a bit to realize that. If the masks were individualized then you'd look at the person and associate them with their mask (just as we associate people with their face in the physical world), it would make a person feel more like a person.

4. Talking to people when their face isn't there is weird
There are some moments in the game when you can talk to your opponent, but their face isn't there. This is present primarily in two places, in mulliganing, and after a victory/defeat. When mulliganing it's not to big of a problem, but I can't imagine it would be hard to change the background to the battle field before you mulligan rather than after. Alternatively placing your opponent's mask and card backs in the same background as when you mulligan would also work just as well. It's not a huge problem here, but it's easily fixable most likely, and would make it slightly less weird.

The big place where this is a problem though is after your opponent is destroyed and their face is missing. You spend the whole time associating them and their voice with their mask, treating it like you would treat a normal person, then suddenly it's gone. You still hear and talk to them, but the mask that you've come to associate with them is gone, and what you get instead is a ghost of a voice floating to you like they're there. It's an odd sensation and breaks the immersion of the scene where your brain comes to treat the mask like it's them. So what's the solution then? Well you could break the voip connection when someone wins or loses, but I think that's a bad call (unless in practice harassment after the game proves to be common) as it blocks common niceties like "good game". My solution would be to leave a visual representation of them, likely as a ghostly mostly transparent mask (or even really as a wisp). This would serve the purpose of still anchoring them as a person that exists and stop your brain from breaking off the association of them to the mask.

5. Must it take so long to do things?
There are some actions in the game that take a long time to do things for no apparent reason. The two most blatant are the intro when you first enter the game (which is unskippable to my knowledge) and the second is opening chests. The intro one is easily enough fixed. Allow the player to press a button to skip it. This is common in games, but more important in VR because as stated in the first feedback point, the player isn't able to do stuff while waiting in VR, which makes things that force them to wait extra boring. There's absolutely no reason why the player should have to sit through the intro after the first time they do it, so let them skip it.

Opening chests is in many ways worse. For one thing it takes twice as long as opening chests in any other similar game I've seen (insert reiteration of avoiding boredom in VR cause it's worse here =p). For another it builds up drama, then opens anticlimactically. Look at the animation for opening chests (or their equivalent) in LoL, Overwatch, or Paladins (unless they changed the animation since early beta which may very well be), they all have similar trappings. There's a small moment of build up where the chest rattles with energy, then a sudden burst of movement as the chest opens, before finally revealing what you got. Compare this to the dragon front chests. They slowly hover in the air, rattling as if gaining power, but then they float there for a moment. This is anti climactic in and of itself and serves no purpose, not furthering the tension or excitement of what you'll get at all, but may be excusable if what followed was a big explosion of energy as your new cards were revealed. Alas, the chest calmly lowers to the ground and casually opens, wasting all possible drama and leaving the receiver of the loot inside disappointed. There are two options as I see it to this. Either make the opening dramatic (and half the time at the very least it takes to open one) or just open it. I really don't need the drama, I mean it's cool and all and will make people feel excited about booster packs, but it's not essential. What is essential is that you don't make opening chests a boring process. On that point I'd like to suggest the ability to open multiple chests at once for people who buy them en'masse.

6. While we're on the subject of saving time....
While we're on the subject of saving time there's one thing that puzzles me somewhat. Why do we draw a card at the start of our turn rather than the end? They both do effectively the same thing, only changing in two circumstances: There's one less card for the first draw which can be remedied rather easily by increasing the initial hand by one, or an ability makes you discard cards in which case the big effect is that you can no longer guarantee you always have one card at the start of your turn. That second reason might be enough to make it worth keeping it the way it is, but conversely changing it would make smart usage of such an effect more impactful on your opponent as you could outright prevent them from playing a card. Regardless, the reason why I think you should draw a card on ending your turn is that it allows you to survey your hand and fully plan while waiting for your opponent. It's not uncommon to get a card draw which forces you to rethink your strategy, forcing your opponent to wait whereas if you had the card since the end of your last turn you'd have been able to plan out your strategy already, saving time. Once again, this is only really a problem because of the lack of things to do while waiting in VR as opposed to on a traditional screen or in real life. This isn't even that bad of a problem since inspecting the board is enough to keep me entertained while waiting the majority of the time. This would help for a few unusual circumstances though which can get rather boring.

7. Various tutorial bugs and such
And now we're on to bugs. I had a decently buggy tutorial experience, though the main game ran flawlessly. Firstly when the initial tutorial ran, I had 2 more mana than I should have most of the time for no apparent reason. Not sure when it appeared or when it game from, but it confused me that it was telling me I had 1 mana left when I had 3.

Second bug I saw someone else report on these forums. During the tutorials and only during the tutorials I sometimes had minor stuttering while moving my head. It wasn't enough to be bad, but it was definitely apparent something was off. Before you ask I have 8GB RAM, NVIDIA 1070, and an I7 so my computer is more than capable. Tellingly this only happened during some of the tutorials, I think the initial one was the worst.

Third bug was that my VR screen crashed while waiting for the 3rd tutorial. The screen shown on the computer was fine and continued to be updated (even after I took the headset off) but the headset was completely frozen. I had to restart Oculus services as a whole to fix it. That probably won't help you track it down, but know that at least one person hit a bug like this so that if it reappears for others you're aware of it.

Fourth bug may or may not actually exist. It's just that I swear one or two cards had different descriptions and effects during the tutorial than in the main game. The main one was the hallowed harvesters which I was absolutely sure during the tutorial gave mana if they were in the enemy territory (to the point where I have very clear memories of seeing mana flow from them when there was no one else in the lane and they were in enemy territory). However in the main game they have the ability that if an enemy is in the same lane as them they give mana. This may very well me having misread them and thus misremembering, but I was confident enough in what I though they did initially that I figure I should bring it up.






Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with this game and look forward to playing it! Hopefully my feedback is helpful!
2 REPLIES 2

Anonymous
Not applicable
I agree with most of what was stated above. I would like the option to at least look at my collection and access the shop while in que and we defiantly need the ability to name our custom decks.

Another issue I encountered last night was losing sync with my opponent in a Ranked match. There needs to be a good 45 seconds to 2 minute window to allow the players to reconnect without the match ending in a draw or loss. I don't know if the issue was a server glitch or an opponent quitting... Last night in a ranked match i was confident in winning the game said we lost sync, then the you Lost animation played while the banner said Draw this was followed by me gaining the experience and daily quest advancement of a WIn. So, i'm not sure which of the three outcomes was actually applied to my statistics...

HVS_Claire
Level 7
That's some feedback!!