Of Banners, Sagas, Microtransactions, And Balance

By Nathan Grayson on October 2nd, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

Last week, you (probably, I hope; otherwise we can’t be friends anymore) read my impressions of The Banner Saga: Factions, the soon-to-be-released F2P multiplayer spin-off of Stoic’s gorgeously animated Viking strategy epic. Those are some of my favorite adjectives stacked together into a scrumptious sentence sandwich, so I came away predictably pleased. But after finishing my session and quaffing a hearty Viking ale grilled cheese from a towering flagon paper plate, I had questions. For instance, how do microtransactions work? How will multiplayer tie into the multi-part single-player storyline? How will Stoic balance all of that? What’s the deal with, er, the banners? Then we huddled around a centuries-old storytelling flame desk lamp, and Stoic told me a tale for the ages.

Balance

RPS: So Banner Saga: Factions is set to release before Banner Saga proper and herald its arrival, but what happens after that? Is this just a quick promo, or are you in it for the long haul?

Arnie Jorgensen: Even after chapters one, two, and three of the Banner Saga are done, we hope to continue supporting it. Players are going to have tons of content that we keep back-filling from the single-player that hopefully will keep this thing going.

RPS: What sort of content? What kind of things are you going to add from the single-player to Factions?

Alex Thomas: The main thing is, we’re going to have a lot of specific classes for the story. As those come online, we’re adding multiplayer versions of those. We’re going to be adding different gameplay modes, like skirmish, playing against the computer. As we develop the AI for the single-player game, then we can add an AI version to the multiplayer. It really is like every time we add a feature, we want to see if we can leverage that in Factions.

RPS: And I assume you’re trying to keep those different – but not better or worse, so it all stays neatly balanced?

Alex Thomas: We’re very aware that we don’t have a big team to constantly be rebalancing. Doing the hardcore balance playtesting. Part of it comes down to… Similar to Magic: The Gathering, when you’re building a deck, you may make a crap deck, or you may make a very specific gimmick deck, or you may make a well-balanced deck. It’s up to you to make the deck that you like to play with and tweak and fine-tune. We’re doing something very similar here, because you don’t have just one character. Most hands will have six characters. Some may be better in combination with others. You might put together a team that sucks and you’ll retry it completely. We’re hoping that, balance aside, as long as we keep in mind that some classes have certain roles in combat, and you need to have a little bit of everything, it’s up to the player to make their team work.

Arnie Jorgensen: The idea here is that we’ve got lots of different classes. You can only play six at one time. We’ll be launching with 12 to 16 classes, so you have to choose. Which six do I want to roll into combat with? That’s where we’re hoping people come up with crazy permutations… If you like the Siege Archer, you can do six of her on your team. There might be some that are freakin’ nasty that way. I’m hoping.

Brian Mumm: Six Thrashers? That’s my dream team.

Alex Thomas: We’re probably going to have permutations come up that we didn’t consider or that are just uber, and that we’ll have to [correct for that].

RPS: In a game with this many possible permutations that – at least, on paper – sounds like it’ll be constantly evolving, how do you go about doing that, exactly? 

Arnie Jorgensen: There’s two different ways, I think, that games balance. One way is that they make everybody so exactly equal that the game’s balance becomes static. It’s not fun. It doesn’t matter what class I take, it’s the same game. It becomes boring to me really quickly.

The chancier thing is to let it be a little more dynamic, or a lot more dynamic, and let players find something we never thought of. Then we have to balance against that. Just like StarCraft does. That, to me, is way more fun, because the game has a lot more flux in it. Really, if a game is fun, a game is fun. The last thing I want to do is design a game that’s so balanced that it’s static. So in order to do this, we’re making classes wildly different from each other. You have giants that have massive strength and massive armor. Then you have humans that have less strength, but hopefully they’ll come together well. So far, the classes that we’re going to be launching with initially, we haven’t had any games where we don’t have classes that are viable. That’s the important thing to me. We haven’t found a team that can just beat every team yet. That’s perfect. And when people do, that’ll be when we have to rebalance it.

Brian Mumm: Another thing, too, is to get a lot of variety in our battles. We’ve been playing with a lot of the same roll-outs, but the battles can turn out drastically different. The way the battle shifts, too. Sometimes you can feel like, “Oh my gosh, there’s no way I’m going to win this game.” Then you pull out a move that shifts the battle in your favor again. I haven’t had too many matches yet where it’s just a complete slaughter.

Alex Thomas: It’s amazing how dynamic it is now. Arnie and I play each other, and it’s never the same.

John Watson: We’re playing the same exact classes, the same exact order, multiple times and getting very different results that can turn the tide halfway through. So far, the system itself seems to be really dynamic and interesting. Any game with a strategic element that goes on for a long time, people figure out the optimal way, but I think learning what that is along the way is a large part of the fun for the players. It’ll take years before people can say, “Okay, this is the best possible thing versus that.” Same with Magic: The Gathering. High-level players will see a deck and say, “Okay, I can’t beat that deck.” But every time they release a new pack, there’s the fun of learning what that new strategy is going to be.

Alex Thomas: Basically, each class has a cap. What we wanted to do is, we don’t want the player to be able to max out all of their stats. So you could have two Warhawks, for example, who are built very differently and serve different roles in combat. When you hit your stat cap, you get the option to promote. Promotion will reset your stats. It gives you another level in your ability and adds one to the stat cap. You can promote your characters multiple times, and you have to build them back up

Arnie Jorgensen: We could have two Wardogs. Let’s say Wardogs can get 18 strength. They’re the strongest giant in the game so far.  And we’ll have built our Wardogs completely differently. He’ll have 18 strength and I’ll have 12, because I put it all into willpower and exertion and other things. And they’re both equally viable. But the cool thing, as we said, is that two rank threes in the same class are going to have unique builds depending on how you want to play them.

Microtransactions

RPS: How exactly does all of that work in practice with the semi-persistent nature of Factions? Do you have a consistent team of characters that’s leveling up, and as you level you move into different brackets?

Arnie Jorgensen: It’s very similar to that. Factions is different than the Saga. In the Saga you’ll be playing characters we give you, with actual names. People from our story. In Factions, you’re going to be taking characters, naming them, leveling them up from one through five as far as rank.

Alex Thomas: Like you saw before, [the city, Strand] is your hub, where you can go everywhere in the city. Every time you play a match, for every kill that you make, whether you win or lose, you get some Renown. Renown is the overall currency that you do everything with. You use Renown to buy new characters and to buy custom banners. When you buy new characters, they go in your overall party. You’ll be able to have as many characters as you want. Like they’re talking about before, we want you to build a huge collection of characters – like action figures, that kind of thing.

RPS: Factions is free-to-play, though. So where do the microtransactions enter the picture? How do they tie into Renown, class balance, and whatnot?

Alex Thomas: We’re trying to keep it as simple and un-harassing- I know that’s not a word – as possible.

Arnie Jorgensen: Unobtrusive? That’s a word.

RPS: Unobtrassive, got it.

Alex Thomas: Basically, your Renown is your currency for everything. Like we were saying, every time you get a kill, you get one Renown. You can buy Renown if you want to speed up your progress, and that’s it. You’re basically deciding, “Well, I could play a bunch of matches,” or “I’m really interested in this character so I’m just going to get some Renown and pick him up and play with him.”

Within each character, and this is using the same pool of Renown… You’ll play a match. You’ll get an idea like, “I really wish that guy had higher armor.” You can come back here, use the Renown that you just earned – one for each kill that you got – and upgrade your character. Or you can buy it.

Arnie Jorgensen: There’s a couple of reasons for that. One was the whole… “We’re playing D&D, we want you to play with us this weekend. If somebody hasn’t been playing for a while, we’ll roll you up a higher character.”

The other reason is, since we’re multiplayer-only when we ship, we need full servers of people at your level. If you’re a level 60 power-group team, we need lots of people in that server, or you’re going to be looking for matches and not finding any. So as far as we’re concerned, the more full servers, the better. That comes back, also, to the achievements. Somebody says, “Well, I work all day, but I really like these games. I want to try the high-level characters.” They can purchase them and throw down. But they’ll be matching up with people where they’ll see, “Oh, he’s got one achievement, so he probably isn’t…”

John Watson: He’s got a badass deck, but he doesn’t know how to play it.

Arnie Jorgensen: The achievements are a good way to say, “Yeah, I’ve been playing this game hardcore.” We’re balancing all the awarding of the Renown so it can easily be played without purchasing everything.

Alex Thomas: Right. We want to go out of our way not to make it a pay-to-win game. That’s always tricky when you have to make revenue somehow. The bottom line is, you can do everything just by playing the game. If you want to speed it up a bit, you can purchase Renown.

RPS: And because whenever you make a team, it measures your total team power level – which basically measures all of your characters’ stats – so it’ll still match you with people who have equal stats, right?

Arnie Jorgensen: In this, you’re the same power level. Your opponent’s not ahead of you. You’re matching up against a guy like you. It just gives you somebody else to play.

Why Single-Player And Multiplayer Are Inseparable

RPS: What sorts of characters and items will we see trickle in from the single-player story? Also, how will that affect the balance? What happens to free players when owners of The Banner Saga proper start charging in with crazy story classes?

Arnie Jorgensen: Everything in our game revolves around this big story-based idea that we’ve got. The whole game started with this story. Factions takes place on the map, in the story-based world. These aren’t two different worlds. As things happen in this world, things happening in your story, they’re going to happen to Strand and the other areas on that map. Not to go into it too much, but Strand is going to be an evolving city as you play. Easily updatable and changeable.

Alex Thomas: That was a big theme I think we glossed over a bit. When Chapter One comes out, what happens in Chapter One is going to have a direct relation to what happens in Factions. As you unlock characters in Chapter One, you’ll unlock them in Factions as well. We want free players to see [story classes in action]. We’re calling our magic-users Menders. They get hooked up in a match where they’re fighting against Menders casting these spells, and they’re like, “Holy crap, how do I get that?” You get the single-player game and you play through it, and now you know who these characters are and you can use them.

Arnie Jorgensen: Since Factions is a free-to-play game, we are hoping to pull people along into the single-player story-based game. If you only want to play Factions, you don’t have to pay anything. It’s a free game. But eventually, when you’re playing against the story-based people, you’re going to be fighting against guys who have Centaurs and Menders and crazy crap like that. You’re going to go, “Okay, I think it’s time.”

John Watson: “I want one of those!”

Alex Thomas: Again, it’s not like the Menders are going to ruin you and kick your ass. It’s just that you’ve never seen that guy before, and he’s awesome.

Arnie Jorgensen: It gives the other players, though, far more options. One more thing you can have in your mix.

I think we’re going to have to be tweaking the whole way along. Just like DOTA. DOTA’s got, what, more than 80-something units to play? It’s very hard to balance, but you know what? Some of those units suck. Some are awesome. But we have six per side. Even if you have one that generally doesn’t work well, with a particular six, it might be awesome. We’re hoping that the six really helps to balance itself out.

But the whole time, I think we’re going to be continually updating and balancing units and teams. If we ever do run across a team that’s the flavor of the moment and nobody can get beat using this team, then we’re definitely going to be balancing that. But we want people to have fun with it for a while. And I’ll tell you, if I can make a team that could beat that, we might just leave it and let people rebalance the game themselves.

John Watson: The great thing about an online game where we host from a central server, the server can just record everything that happens. We can see things that are aberrations. People with two Archers in their party winning every time. Nobody ever plays this class, I wonder why? Let’s figure out how we can make it better.

Banners! Sagas! Thes!

RPS: So, multiplayer seems like it could contain some pretty saga-y moments. But what about banners?

Alex Thomas: When you go to the weaver’s hut, we’re going to have all of these [guild crests] available, and you’ll build your flag. It’s a very basic Diablo III sort of thing. You pick the flag background. You pick the crest that you want to represent you. Every time you match up with someone in versus, you’ll see you on the top, them on the bottom. You’ll see the crest that they chose on the flag.

The interesting part is, as you get achievements, you’ll be able to sew them onto your banner. When you match up with somebody, you can see that they’ve decided to sew in these particular things that they’re proud of, or point out that they’re a badass. My thing has always been… I understand the appeal of achievements. Personally I don’t care at all. They don’t compel me, because they’re just this personal thing. Nobody looks at your achievements. You just feel good when you see “achievement unlocked.”

But I was thinking, “What would make it compelling for me, someone who doesn’t care about achievements too much?” And it would be this ability to show somebody what you’ve done. It has the same feeling in Call of Duty when you pick which little unlockable you’ve earned every time you kill somebody.

Arnie Jorgensen: Beyond that, also, usually when you go into multiplayer, you’re not entirely sure what kind of player you’re up against. But if I have two achievements and this guy has 30, I think, “Oh, crap, he’s been playing a while.” It’s a way of showing you, “Hey, just how good is this guy?”

Check back tomorrow for so much information about single-player – both the main story and a “narrative mode” downloadable add-on for Factions – that you’ll probably die. (Of entirely natural and hopefully unrelated causes.)

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39 Comments »

  1. Mr. Mister says:

    The beards look pleasantly less cartoonish than the rest of the caracter. I approve of that.

  2. InternetBatman says:

    That’s an interesting idea for F2P, putting you against people who’ve bought or earned the same amount of currency, but it’s still pretty close to buying power for my tastes.

    Also, I would say there are few downright sucky characters in Dota. More often than not players are not aligning to the style a character requires, not the other way around.

    • MrLebanon says:

      It’s the same F2P model as league of legends from what I can tell, which is in no way obtrusive or limiting.

      Mind you league has the free character list swap to allow you to “try before you buy” as well as get by ok without every buying champs

      If the games compelling and fun I can’t see this model bother me personally

      • InternetBatman says:

        I would say that League actually has more of the ability to buy power through runes, but the cost is trivial compared to how much you accrue getting to a place where you need them. I was talking about the single player tie-ins where single-player people get new abilities, and they didn’t sound like you could get them through multiplayer.

        If you only want to play Factions, you don’t have to pay anything. It’s a free game. But eventually, when you’re playing against the story-based people, you’re going to be fighting against guys who have Centaurs and Menders and crazy crap like that. You’re going to go, “Okay, I think it’s time.”

    • Bremze says:

      That’s not even close to buying power. It’s a level playing field or even stacked against the paying guy, because he has less experience with the game.

      EDIT: Now that I think about it, it’s pretty similar to how premium mechs are handled in WoT. They’re equal or worse than what you can get just playing the game, but that didn’t stop people from being the loud reactionary morons that they are.

    • lasikbear says:

      It is basically buying power, but it at least matches you appropriately.

      Hopefully the system is like the Team Value rating in Blood Bowl, and you will end up facing people with the same number of renown spent on their teams.

      Ideally this would be based only on the value of the 6 units selected, otherwise people who spent their renown on diversity would be penalized compared to people who only upgraded the 6 units that were currently active.

  3. JFS says:

    I’m usually not one for multiplayer, but this in fact sounds interesting. I like that you’ll be able to update your battle pennant with your achievements, I can imagine this looking very cool if done in an artsy way.

    However, I still disagree with them going F2P. I don’t understand how they couldn’t just keep the multiplayer with the full game if multiplayer isn’t going to get them much revenue anyway, as they don’t get tired of stating.

    • Bremze says:

      They get a very large sample of testers, ton of feedback on their UI, combat, character design systems and the like, publicity for their singleplayer game(s) and some money on top of that. Help me, because I can’t seem to find any downsides to that.

      • JFS says:

        You could achieve all this with simply having a beta test and/or a demo. Maybe not the money bit, but then they’re keen on pointing out that F2P will be oh-so-not-profitable for them, so the way they’ve taken won’t yield income either.

        To me, it seems they’re very defensive of their F2P decision. They know that a lot of people don’t like that model, and they’re trying to apologize in advance. So, suppose they are clever guys who know what they did, there now are basically two possibilities: Either they really want to use F2P as a means of creating buzz and getting Beta testing, and they actually are Samaritans that are not in it for the moneyz, or they are lying at us and trying to cash in through the backdoor by using F2P. The former would be very uncommon for the F2P scene.

        I won’t judge them before there is certain evidence for one or another, but I sure hope they actually are the nice guys they come off as (and it isn’t all marketing and “believe us, no pay to win, mwahaha”). I just think it’s unclear yet whether this is really the case, and that bugs me.

        • Arnie-Stoic says:

          Bremze brings up some good points, thanks!
          Sorry for the confusion. We actually stated in our Kickstarter video, the one that started it all, that we were going to launch a free-to-play multi-player game and then soon after the single player Saga. We’ve been working hard to say this whenever we could, but now we’re reaching a larger audience that we’ve never talked to before and it seems there’s some misunderstanding.
          We’re really happy to offer the multiplayer game, Factions, free and don’t mean to sound defensive. It’s far more polished than we thought we’d be launching, thanks to the KS backers, but we’re going to keep it free as promised.
          I totally understand the suspicion that we’re going to lock people out of content or enable them to download Jormungandr, the world eating serpent, for $2.99 and unleash devastation on those not able to spend the money, but it’s simply not in the cards.

          • DerNebel says:

            I’m mostly just concerned that you first state that players won’t be locked out of any content by not spending money and then say that this of course only applies if you buy the SP games, since these will include otherwise unobtainable characters. What you are communicating is the same kind of hidden business model that Riot employed in LoL with the runes, except you have entire characters that would be unavailable to the strictly F2P crowd.

  4. Moraven says:

    The kickstarter mostly talked about the single player and being 3 chapters. Multiplayer was one bullet. I guess that they got a lot more money than expected they can do a bit more at the same time.

  5. Bobtree says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the “sets of six” and character leveling will make it much harder to balance well than what they’re expecting.

  6. S Jay says:

    Really like the idea of having achievements on your banner.

  7. Renato84 says:

    I was truly hoping that this game, to which I’ve pledged, would become a breakthrough free-2-play game that was totally fair and fun (just like a full-fledged title, anyway, like FTL) made possible only because it was crowdfunded and not relying on money from greedy suits that would otherwise be forcing them to make the game as exploitative as possible.

    I thought it would be a breakthrough fun and fair F2P game, where the ONLY kind of item you could buy would be cosmetic items or chapters from the SP campaign.

    “Like we were saying, every time you get a kill, you get one Renown. You can buy Renown if you want to speed up your progress, and that’s it.” – I was SO wrong.

  8. flang says:

    I’m so, so tired of F2P and micro-transactions. Is there no developer out there that can look at something like Counter-Strike and say “You know, we could go the F2P route and hope to convince our fans that we’re not greedy and won’t ever try to screw them over with over-priced content, or we could simply build a complete, balanced product, sell it for 15 bucks, and never have to worry about any of that crap. And our fans will love us for it.”

  9. vivien says:

    tanks

  10. Chaz says:

    Every time I see screen shots of this it instantly makes me think of Heimdall on the Amiga. Isometric Vikings. Looks good anyway.

  11. vonkrieger says:

    Really hate their grind-a-thon business model. It works for something like LOL because I can dip in and still have a laugh even if the other team is runed out the ying yang.

    It’s a different experience loading up a strategy game to see that my enemies equivalent units have better abilities and more hp.

    I did back the kick starter and I think it’s a shame we aren’t going to get proper multiplayer as I seem to remember it explicitly being mentioned in the pitch.

    • MentatYP says:

      Your opponent’s units will not have better abilities and more HP because you will be matched up with opponents that have the same level of development as you. Does it then matter how they got to that level? It still boils down to who creates the best team and knows how to use it better. You will never lose to somebody whose only achievement is buying his progress.

      • Renato84 says:

        “Does it then matter how they got to that level?”

        The rising prevalence of complacency for this kind of game design among supposed “gamers” is what makes me wonder if I will want to play games at all in 5 years from now, after 20 years of gaming.

        • MentatYP says:

          So I’m not a Gamer but a “gamer” because I don’t agree with you. Belittle the person without presenting a counter-argument. Got it.

          And yet I still haven’t seen anybody present a coherent argument as to why this system is a bad thing. I see a lot of complaints but no solid reasoning, but maybe I’ve just missed it. My question thus stands until someone puts forth some effort into elaborating their position: “Does it then matter how they got to that level?”

          • Renato84 says:

            “Does it then matter how they got to that level?”

            To say that this is a monetization software disguised as a true game, with true GAME DESIGN, is like to say that most Hollywood action movies are higly produced motion pictures disguised as true cinema.

            You simply understand, or you do not.

          • MentatYP says:

            I see. My concern is practical while yours is philosophical. I must say: that’s quite the esoteric position you’re taking up, but more power to you.

  12. soco says:

    I see that the multiplayer is going to take place in the same world and at the same time as the single player chapters…but I haven’t heard anything about how it might affect the single player story or gameplay.

    Are there powerups or extra unlocks during the multiplayer that can be used in the single player?

    Would a non-competitive person like myself be shooting himself in the foot (or not get the whole experience) by not playing the multiplayer when they went to play the single player chapters? (I’m thinking something along the lines of ME3)

  13. Arnie-Stoic says:

    @vonkrieger: To be clear we’re still in Alpha. When we go Beta things can still shift not only in regard to purchasing renown if we feel it’s not working but also in regard to game mechanics and stats. Basically we’re going to be testing everything in Beta. That being said I don’t think the message is being relayed that people will not be matched up with someone who is stronger because they ‘bought’ something. There are no runes out any yin yang. You can dip in, play an enemy of equal power value, have a laugh and log off and there would be no way of telling how they got their units. The questions become “did I have fun?” and “did I get into a match quickly?”
    @soco: The multiplayer ‘Factions’ game will not effect the single player game at all in any way. You can play the single player game only and enjoy it as a stand alone. The single player game, however, will effect what happens in the Factions game. The Factions game is designed to be a wide open fun time of building teams and battling with friends and foes so please be ready for an evolving experience specially when it comes to the city you’re in. The single player Saga is it’s own experience that can flow into the Factions game, but not the other way around.
    Thanks a ton for all the comments everyone. We’re reading all of these and having some good discussions. It’s our sincere hope that when the game comes out you’ll understand the system more and realize that we are not, in fact, punishing anyone for not spending money and for a developer just writing those words can make ones hand a little shaky.

    • vonkrieger says:

      Appreciate the reply, my only concern with the “you’ll be matched with people of your Renown/Skill level” system is that you’ll need a critical mass of players for that to work.

      I of course hope your F2P venture goes well (though of course not too well that you forget that a lot of Kick Started purely for the single player) but I think building your systems around the assumption that you’ll have Star Craft 2 numbers from week one is a little… well…

      Now I feel bad. I’m sure you’ll set the world on fire with this updated Pox Nora (Pox Nora was great but just didn’t have enough fellow noobs when I tried to get into it).

      • Arnie-Stoic says:

        @Vonkrieger: VERY important point you’ve just made that I’ve also been trying to relay. We’re a small company making a game that is not for everyone (re: not mass appeal for TBS’s). It’s a huge reason we decided long ago to go free-to-play, to get as many possible people into the game to fill the servers. Our Renown system is trying to enhance that concern by allowing people to quickly hop in with their team and play. We need lots of people playing and are doing everything in our power to knock down barriers to entry. Once again, thanks a lot for the great feedback, you too Soco. :)
        People hear the word micro-transactions and understandably get turned off, but oddly enough if done well is the best option for most people. Once again, we are not gating anyone from any content through micro-transactions and have not designed any grind into the game.

        • Vivarium says:

          Really looking forward to the single player game, gutted your going down this type of microtransation route as apposed to the aesthetic customisation path. You could try AB testing with a version that has all character types available from the start but the aesthetic look is identical for each, (even armour and fatigue colour) except for the panel the character stands on. But make multiple aesthetic variants of each character available to buy, players would feel obliged to purchase at least one alternate version so they can swap out any conflicting character should an opponent decide to use the same character. Could also put in some Viking bling that can be purchased or unlocked through play.

          (I know this isn’t original just a suggestion) Hawken use a similar method so that potentially there will always be enough players for new members to compete against, as they haven’t been out ranked in power from skill points.

          At the moment it seems like your aiming for people with poor in-pulse control rather than fans

    • soco says:

      Thanks Arnie. The game is looking great and I am really pleased I’m a backer. Can’t wait to get the first chapter. =)

  14. Strangerator says:

    I definitely get what the microtransactions are and are not. In fact, players who “buy” their renown will probably lose more matches.

    Say someone totally new to the game decides to go and buy 100 renown. That player will then be matched only against other players with 100 renown. It’s fair to estimate (given microtransaction trends) that most 100 renown players will have earned that rank by playing in the lower rungs of competition. It’s not too hard to guess that the one who bought 100 renown will have a fairly painful education process, as they are playing more experienced players. This might actually make them think they need to buy more renown to progress further…

    Someone who buys only the single player game, on the other hand, will have a (potential) advantage because they have access to more classes in the multiplayer game, while still starting out with 0 renown. In this case, they will have experience from the SP game, playing against new players with 0 renown.

    I don’t see anything wrong with this at all, the game looks really good. I don’t think I was in on the kickstarter but I’ll be getting it for sure.

  15. hypercrisis says:

    Why do those men have horns on their head? The more I see of this game the less interesting it becomes.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      While I don’t agree with this comment, I love it. You sound like someone’s mad uncle. In a good way.

  16. ShatteredAwe says:

    Micro transactions?

    /closes page, loses all interest.

  17. Renato84 says:

    Listen to me: They are tailoring this game for “casuals”.

    They are aiming to reach maximum profitability with “breaking barriers as much as possible” then selling millions of USD 0.99 stat boosts.

    The problem is not what it apparently is (there are hundreds like it out there). The bleeding issue here is what it should be.

    • NationOfThizzlam says:

      Not there yet… but I’m disappointed. I’m still holding out as I really, really want this game to be good.

      But the whole thing was pitched on Kickstarter as a TBS in the vein of FFT or Shining Force. There was a valid debate about Western (X-Com, JA) vs. Japanese TBS influences… but I think people would have been happy with either.

      As it stands now, we have uniformly flat terrain with no height maps… one equippable item slot per character… and one passive and active skill for each class. Does that sound like FFT or Shining Force to you?

      Plus, microtransactions and this promotion system that sounds suspiciously grindy despite claims to the contrary. If it’s not there for grinding, then why not just implement a regular linear system that accomplishes the same thing without doing this cyclical ‘reset all stats and raise the cap by one’ nonsense. Hoping Stoic proves me wrong but they’re chipping away at my optimism bit by bit.

  18. Arnie-Stoic says:

    Renato84…again? Nowhere do we say we’re trying to tailor this game for casuals, not that there’s anything wrong with companies that do that, my kids play casual games like…uh, Tetris and Sorry. Please read all three RPS interviews. The interviewer came in for hours and played the game and nowhere does he say we’re making a casual game, quite the contrary.
    The ‘breaking any barriers to entry’ is true and it was in reference to me explaining why we made the game free-to-play in the first place, so we’d get the widest amount of players to fill up the servers so people who are looking for matches could find one quickly. Stoic is not Blizzard and we need to do stuff like make our game free so our multiplayer game isn’t a desert for those looking to play.
    None of this has any bearing on the single player Saga which you backed. If that’s the game you were waiting to play then please, avoid the mutliplayer Factions game and go straight to the game you were interested in.
    I’d be happy to chat offline and explain the game to you as I feel like you have some serious misconceptions.