When we first uploaded The Appalese Wall here, the game was decidedly lacking polish – there were a couple of show-stopping bugs, some essential features missing (notably, the ability to replay levels to grind for honor), and the Hero AI was rugged. We deserved the 3.2ish rating we ended up with from the first 2-3,000 plays, and the game deservedly slipped through the cracks.
Then our team did what I believe to be a fine job pulling the game up by its bootstraps – we fixed the bugs, we honed the AI, and we added (nearly) all the features you, the players, were asking for:
- Levels can now be replayed for Keystones & Honor
- Keystones from dead heroes are now returned to the player
- Waves 8-12 have been edited to smooth out the difficulty curve
The player rating has been on the rise ever since, but we still need to be delivered from obscurity!
We would be greatly honored to have a second chance from those of you who have played the game already…
And, for those of you who never found the game, now’s your chance to experience a truly original RPG Defense game, combining deep strategy with intense tactical combat!
For reference, here’s the game page:
Thanks very much, and happy gaming!
The game suffers from a form of downward spiral. I found this to make my point explainable: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UnstableEquilibrium – once you are behind, it’s harder to catch up.
Here’s how it goes.
You miss an enemy on level 1. You miss out on a keystone because of this, so you replay the level.
This one enemy gives 150 honor (or so) the first time you do the level, and will now only give you 75. So that’s 150 honor you are behind other players.
Since you might have some keystones left at the start, you’d dump them for bonus Honor. Since 1 keystone was missing for this first miss, we are 1% honor down for level 1. That’s also 100 honor. Now these numbers are small.
I did not see I could spend keystones for extra honor until I had grinded every level available (the first 3) to 0. Because of this, I missed about 10k Honor from the first 3 levels. I could not beat the 4th level without having to resort to very risky tactics – to me, it seems someone who did have this 10k extra Honor wouldn’t have a problem with clearing this level. As a result, he can use his keystones for MORE honor. Level 4 has a base of roundabout 40k Honor, so that’s 1200 extra to start with, if not more.
All of this adds up. Allowing the replaying of levels only doubles the available Honor one can get.
Or wait, that’s not true.
Due to the way Honor is gained, once you start to get less that 1 Honor per enemy, you just get 0. So whereas you should get 5 for the level (since last run gave 10), you get 0.
I’m nitpicking about 5 points, but it gives me a sense of hopelessness.
It’s not possible to reset attributes.
With this, it’s possible to play your way into a dead end without even realizing so. And I hate those kinds of games.
When I think about “replaying levels for more XXX”, I think of games published by gamesinabottle.
Games like Balloon Invasion and Gemcraft.
They do this the other way around.
You can replay levels, and if you improve your score, you get more points and thus more XP.
Theoretically speaking: Whenever you gain an upgrade, you could replay ALL the levels to get progress towards the next upgrade.
It is not possible to get yourself stuck in this style – with the ability to reset your spent points, you can redistribute them to try and see whether a different combination allows you to score more points on a level – and if it does, you might just have even more points to move about to get even more points. It’s an upward spiral and whilst the power creep will eventually kick in, you can keep it away for quite a long time by simply expecting players to go back at least once to a level.
I suggest that you give a reward for completing a level. Even something like Level*100 honor would work. You keep the difficulty, but it will never be impossible to progress (perhaps just hard, since at 100 honor per minute, it’s gonna take a while to get new upgrades).
Either that, or include other ways to get an infinite amount of Honor – no matter what the pace.
You could even set the enemies to always give 1 Honor minimum, and/or stop reducing a level’s reward once it has reached 1% (Right now, it’s 100-50-25-12.5-6.25-3.125-1.5625-0.78125). Right now, after 7-9 replays, all rewards tend to stop.
A response you made to someone’s comment:
Some of the levels are kind of randomized rushes of many different types of monsters (specifically, that’s Waves 11, 14, and 19), so restarting them would indeed give you a different pack of enemies – they shouldn’t be infinite, tho!
I haven’t gotten this far, but I worry about “randomization” here – is it possible to get a lower reward simply because you rolled an unlucky combination of monsters? Would I have to resort to savescumming to get the maximum amount of Honor?
I think there is an option for developers – sending messages to everyone who have played the game. Maybe through kong staff.
Managed to lose 2 heroes at the fourth wave.
Knight stuck in a loop
“run to kobold to protect mage” – “run to orc to protect mage”.
K-Kobold, T-Tank, O-Orc, M-Mage.
I think that honor reward for replay should stay on 50%.
If someone need grind to beat level – diminishing return simple putting off the inevitable.
If someone likes game so much, that he want to max all skills for all heroes – why not let him?
Hardcore gamers anyway would find restrictions and challenges for themselves. “No summons”, “One hero”, “only melee” and so on.
Casual gamers will be glad to not use top rated comment “this is godlike strategy, use it to 100% win”, as usual for this sort of games.
For my taste, for being more tactical, game need to have less enemies, but tougher ones. Maybe, more heroes under control at once.
At the current state and scales these heroes seems more like expendables.
Thanks for the great feedback, everyone. We’ve done a lot of tweaking to the game since posting this, but at this point we should probably consider all the helpful-yet-unaddressed suggestions we’ve had (and are still getting) as fuel for the sequel. This cat’s out of the bag, so to speak – but we’ve learned so much though this process, and we have you, the players, to thank for that! So, thanks!
@Pimgd – Your thoughts and the resources you shared re. the “Downward Spiral” were really precious to us, so a special thank-you belongs to you! We will most definitely be reflecting on this as move forward on the design of the sequel!