Feedback and Suggestions from an old Diablo player
I bought Diablo 1 off the shelf, after I was already out of college... Yeah, I'm an old dude. (So many Diablo 1/2/3 copies, so many ARPGs..)
Here's my take on PoE for XBox, the only version I'm playing at the moment.
First - It's an outstanding game! Great job and it has much of what Diablo II players really wanted, but with a great number of really nice additions, tweaks and gameplay activities. Good job, keep up the good work!
I am surprised that GGG got this to "fit" on the XBox... The amount of overhead this game needs must be huge! Yet, it "works." That, in and of itself, is quite an achievement. Though, I worry about the XBox's limitations and how GGG is going to maintain parity with the PC experience without hampering either version.
The "Free to Play" model is excellent. You've done a great job, there. But, as most savvy gamers know, the monetization model is inbuilt- Chase gear, hoard gear, live for "Stash Space." Even as a new player, I find myself dreading any announcement that means I have to consider increasing my stash-space to hold all the new gear and special drops the next League may have.
Suggestion 1: I fully support your monetization method. I think it's a great idea and it's not too restrictive for new players. A "Free" player can play through most, if not all, of the regular game without having to worry too much about Stash space. But, long-time players may, and I wouldn't know yet, end up being too heavily oppressed by this monetization model. You "should" try to find a way around this for your long-term supporters. They will be caught up in a monetization model that isn't quite intended to turn every player into a "whale" supporter. (I hope... I don't want to think that you're the Zynga of ARPGs! :) ) To that end, a suggestion that could help:
League Tabs - At the end of every League and only for players that have completed all the basic Acts (Up to their first Map) award them a special "League Tab" of normal size. Just one tab, maybe with a nice graphic on it, that helps to combat, in a very small way, continued predation on long-term supporters thru the current monetizaiton model. Plus, it will help you populate your League offerings, I'd imagine. Standard players might just play, and contribute to the League Market, which is critical, just for that one extra Stash tab. The impact of this on continued sales should be negligible. Anyone playing enough Leagues to accumulate a lot of Tabs can easily be assumed to already be in dire need of Stash space due to accumulated currency/items and would have likely already paid in. (The positive PR and incentive for players to actively participate, even if for only the initial run-thru, will bring additional consumers to your League-only market items.)
Suggestion 2: Marketplace woes... are pretty common on XBox. I assume you're attempting to provide some QoL for that. If not, well... you really need to. The game, as I see it, is very dependent on player trading. On XBox, that has to be facilitated in-game and "on box." (MSoft does not allow anyone to play in their house as user-apps are concerned.) There are two ways you can help to make your game more enjoyable for consolers:
A) The practical method is revamping the current Marketplace UI to include some basic search functions other than one variable string. Currently, the model appears to just use the ID information presented in the initial search category. That's good and probably keeps overhead to a minimum. Go a step further, though, and provide the current UI selection with "Toggles." This may help to keep processor overhead down. Simple toggles switched with the controller navigating down to the toggle menu could work. Toggles could be Types of Resist, Base Stat entries like HP/Int/Dex, and a "Tier" selection that focuses on whether or not, for instance, it's a first tier value roll or a second, would be very valuable. Other toggles would be "Elemental Damage", etc.. whatever. Keep the basic search string window there for users to put in keyword searches that would parse items based on the restrictions of the categories that were toggled. Or... whatever. I understand the need for power and the reluctance to have too much going on, but consolers need SOMETHING to help parse all the dozens of pages of junk they have to skim through. While they are not playing the game and getting more drops, which require more space to store and sell, they are not contributing to your monetization model... Half-an-hour spent searching means I didn't spend it "playing" and didn't get that really nice Unique item drop that pushes me over my storage capacity, forcing me to buy more space...
B) The Impractical, But Possible, Method, because you have to make a phone-call to Microsoft, is to create a PoE Companion Application, a separate Application utility, which is supported currently by M$oft, that will do a number of different things OTHER than just search the current Marketplace. (Give it a "Mail System" in game that will store three purchased items (or Stacks), max.) This would only help to "Supplement" the in-game system. But, it would also allow for some critical features, such as import/export/view/compare character data/stats. The sky's the limit on the functionality you'd put on it. But, honestly, I don't see you being able to incorporate those sorts of things as well as good marketplace searching without using a separate application. XBox doesn't look like it's going to be able to handle many more QOL features unless you dump a huge chunk of stuff in a special "scene" and force an equally large reload when the player re-enters the normal game environment.
If you wished to go further, you could even put a one-time charge for this application. Something cheap, like $3, would be fine. (Put it on sale in the middle of every League.)
3) Sparklies - XBox is already overloaded with its display in many public areas. I understand - That's part of your monetization model. But, the overload is real and you can't keep "sharding" the multiplayer domain to the point where there are no other players visible in "multiplayer"... Plus, I hate to imagine what true multiplayers in larger parties have to go through with lag in cooperative sessions.
Suggestion: An option for Reduced Particle Effects that the user can toggle. This won't effect many purchases, since you'll break it up between "Self" and "Environment." If you can't do that, then that's fine - It's better for a player trying to optimize his session to miss out on a few particle effects, here and there, than be faced with huge amounts of lag, especially at critical times. (Yes, I know that model overhead is a big strain for some things, but that's just too intimately tied with your monetization method that I wouldn't suggest to do something about that - You have to be able to sell "different looks" and that involves polys and textures. But, at least you can help cut down on dynamic lag issues.
4) Oh Noes, I'm Dead Again - It isn't your fault that I ran out of hitpoints... However, I ran out because I had no idea what the "Effect Symbols" on my character meant. And, since I can't pause the game, because... Well, I guess you never figured that bit out. But, since I can't pause, looking at my character Description to see if there are any negative effects there is just not practical. Even though the Effect Symbols are somewhat easy to see, I still don't know what the bad ones look like or what they mean. What are you going to do about such a critical information display?
Suggestion: Status Effects Should Have Better Highlights and Warnings for Console
Positive effects could have something as "light" as just a heavier "gold" border or something. We don't need to see a really fancy and artistic positive buff symbol, we just need a better indication that it is "Good" and, thusly, ones that are "Bad" look nothing at all like it. Your status effect graphics are "too busy" and that extra artwork is wasted. You can, if you wish, help to simplify things by putting a debuff symbol in the corner of "Bad" status effects. Those that effect defense will have a small broken shield in the lower corner. Those effecting attack will have a broken sword. Movement? You got it - Broken boots. Elemental effects? An appropriate "alchemical" symbol. PS - If there is something already like that, and considering I'm working on Mapping, now, and don't realize that there is, maybe you should make it more clear? :)
Suggestion: An audible, or more audible, warning for impending doom. A screen going "black" as I am about to die surrounded by enemies and tons of graphics that are causing very severe dynamic resolution shifts all the way into "No more pixels" mode... Well, that doesn't help me much at all. I've already got tunnel vision trying to figure out where I actually am on the screen. I know - XBox. I get it. But, take one of the sounds you've already got loaded up and just play it rapidly or stretch it out at a lower frequency with more volume or something. Something, anything, to help warn me during tense moments that I'm about to die... besides just "darkness." (Literally, surrounded by a gaggle of demons spewing goodness-knows-how-much crap in the cramped spaces around an Abyssal Rift... The screen going "dark" is already happening.)
5) For a friend who is color-blind - He has some issues distinguishing slot colors.
Suggestion: Include the Color Name on the Tooltip/Description for the Gem Slot and for the Skill-Gem description. Please. This is a real issue for more than just a few customers and the industry is moving towards being more colorblind-friendly, already. So, step up and keep up. :) (PS - You could include a Colorblind option that kept the Slot colors, but added three different sets of "hashmark" overlays to help the colorblind distinguish those slots a bit easier at first glance, once they picked it up. But, you'd still need a Colorname description entry to help them match gems more easily.
6) Dsync - That's your issue and I don't know how to solve it for you. It happens and its annoying. I'll upgrade, most likely, to the newer Xbox and use an SSD to see if that helps. It will help on scene-loads and some basic data, but I don't think it's going to help a great deal on the more problematic issues, especially during intense combat. For instance, if I dash across the map, even if it's empty, Xbox just plain can't load fast enough and dump fast enough to keep me from eventually rubberbanding. It just won't. /shrug (My connection is fine, that's not the issue. It's OK, I realize there's a bunch of stuff going on there, I just have to alter some behavior when I see it coming.)
Suggestion: At least keep possible Dsync/overload issues in mind when designing boss-fights. Shouldn't be a huge issue, here, but instance them if you have to. I don't mind loading a boss-fight instance at all, especially if I know I'll be playing within Xbox limitations. (Similar to Loremaster instances)
To sum: All in all, a great game. Sure, I've already spent money on things and will likely spend more. I don't mind. Yet... :) I'm just so darn surprised that GGG was able to "fit" this on an Xbox and that it's actually still playable that I'm somewhat amazed. Pleased, but still flabbergasted.
PS - I was busy climbing the Ladder in D3 when I started playing PoE with a friend. I was going to break into the Top Ten for this Season... and literally stopped playing this Season, stopped grinding endless D3 Rifts, in order to play PoE. That should tell you something. PoE's a great game and I'm very happy with it. Thanks!
(Edit- Add: You already know we need to have a Map Overlay we can "move." I saw a response on another forum by a GGG staffer, so I know you're already thinking about this for console. But, just in case you need yet another demand for one, consider this my own demand - Movable Map Overlay plskthx.)
Last edited by Morkonan on Feb 17, 2018, 2:16:58 PM
Last bumped on Feb 17, 2018, 2:11:45 PM
on Feb 17, 2018, 2:11:45 PM