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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Impressions and Getting Your Opinion

The alpha has been with the testers for a couple of days now and we've started getting some feedback... There have been quite a few bugs and whatnot, all which is pretty normal and expected during testing (it's why the testing is there!) and we have a very dedicated test team working hard on getting it done.

But amongst the flurry of bug reports, there has been some feedback finding its way through as well, which is fair enough, since these poor souls are stuck playing the game over and over again! However, the feedback they've been giving has sort of left us doing a bit of a re-think of a few things, and we want to know what you all think of them as well, and how important they are to you.

First of all, they have found that the loot situation isn't as grand as they'd hoped. In our defense, the loot situation isn't entirely linked to the procedural system in the demo as we didn't want to give away too much before the full version comes out, you know? But if people are disappointed with the demo then they aren't going to want to buy the full version... So it's a bit of a pickle... So what are your thoughts on that? How important is mountains of loot to you? And also, what types of loot are your favourite? Weapons? Armour? Treasures? Ingredients for alchemy? Magical kit? Let us know!

The other major concern is lack of direction for the player. The full game DOES have a storyline, but it's not very evident in the demo, so we're aiming to make it more evident and pressing. If you've been keeping up with things, we've just finished adding in an achievement system, which helps a bit, but isn't story based at all. The quest system (which is yet to be implemented) is going to help with that quite a lot though. But, yet another question, how important to you is direction and story? Or are you the type that plays open world games like Oblivion and just wanders while totally ignoring the main quest? Let us know!

We HAVE also gotten some rather good feedback. It's been pretty much unanimously said to us that the graphics are fantastic, and that the sound design and music are top notch. One of our testers had the crap scared out of them by our procedural ambient sound generator which played a ghostly voice DIRECTLY behind him as he was examining part of the dungeon. This feedback makes us feel good, but a beautiful game is not necessarily a content rich game.

So my final question is a biggie, and it's one that has been weighing on me all day. I've asked some other team members and gotten mixed responses, so I thought I'd ask you, our potential players, to see what you all think.
As you all know, we're launching the full version of the game on December 21st, 2012 (or aiming to, at least) which is just over a year away. Would you prefer that we push through and get you a limited demo to play by the end of this year, and then let you just wait it out a year for the full version to come? Or would you prefer to hang out for a few more months, and have us chunk a heap more content into the demo, making it much more packed, and then release it around April/May next year so there's only about 6 months to wait for the full version, but a more content-rich demo? To be honest, we're quite humble about this project, and we don't really have a clear indication of just how much you guys want to get your hands on the game!

So let us know how you feel about those issues. This is, after all, an indie project, and as such you can talk to us and tell us what is important to you to be in this game! We really would like to know!

Also, here's the usual plug for our social networking sites!


  1. Well that depends, doesn't it? If you (and, perhaps more importantly, your beta testers!) feel like an early demo based on the alpha can give a good enough first impression then getting some concrete gameplay out there so that people can check it out for themselves could help raise general awareness and build anticipation towards the final release.

    On the other hand, if what you're able to produce by the end of this year is so far removed from the actual 2012 product that you knw you're constantly going to have to explain "no, the full game will be much more fun/ambitious/easier to get into etc." then it might not be such a good idea...

  2. That's pretty much precisely the predicament we're facing... Our alpha team are planning on "leaking" play-through videos of the builds as they get them, which might help whet some appetites while people wait... I just kind of needed to know are people more inclined to be disappointed with a delay or disappointed with a straight-forward demo? lol it's a bit of a sucky choice, but perhaps having a demo release closer to the full version release would be better regardless...

  3. My thoughts are as follows.

    1. I would LOVE to get a beta of this now, but if i had to wait a few months to get a more rich demo, that would be my overall choice.

    2. Loot=awesomeness. If there will be crafting, then im a big crafting whore. But overall, weaps and armor are my love.

    3. In other open world games i tend to never actually finish the game, but i also play it for, literally, years. I still go back to FO3 and Oblivion regularly. To this day ive never finished Oblivion, and only got to the end of FO3 once. There definitely needs to be a main storyline/questline, but the ability to ignore it is great.

  4. Well, first off, Oblivion is totally worth finishing lol the ending is fantastic, and has some incredible voice acting by Sean Bean! But yes, there will be crafting in Malevolence (not like Minecraft sort of crafting, but our own way) and also similar things such as alchemy and spellcrafting.
    Yeah, we're really leaning towards doing a much more badass demo in 6 months or so. Which should please some of our testers, as they'll get to see the game REALLY grow over that time... Thanks for weighing in!