Open, Pour: Massive Chalice Out In Early Access

Strategising.

I wouldn’t pay £17.24 to have a got at a work-in-progress giant cup. A wad of wet clay flapping about on a wheel and the constant risk of a spectral Patrick Swayze? I certainly wouldn’t drink out of that. Massive Chalice, however, is something I might consider paying for an early look at. (Do you see what I did there?) Double Fine’s lineage-o-turn-based-strategy launched into Early Access this week, letting all and sundry command armies and make babies to carry on the fight. Our Alec dubbed it “SEXCOM!” after playing an earlier build last month, the wag. Sure, I’ll play SEXCOM.

Massive Chalice is about a long war, a war so long that natural deaths of old age are as much a problem as casualties from your turn-based battling. You’ll need to make generation after generation of warriors to keep the war going, carefully partnering them so their offspring carry certain traits. Look, here are some of the other, perhaps more informative words Alec had to say:

This is a game with substance and a heraldic warriors concept it doesn’t treat lightly. It is lacking something in its current, early form – there’s a starkness to it, both in tone and in the limited choices you can make in battle – but at the same time I think this is the most promising horse in the DF stable right now.

If you’re interested in seeing how it develops, Massive Chalice is on Steam Early Access now for £17.24, thanks to a launch discount. It’ll go up to £22.99 on Tuesday. I’m still a little wary after what happened with Spacebase DF-9, mind.

87 Comments

  1. Geebs says:

    Hey, it might be the beginning of a new trend: early access games that launch as the final version.

    • KestrelPi says:

      Heh, it’s definitely far along – it mainly needs a bunch of balance, tuning, and fixes. I’d call it a proper beta in the old sense of ‘this game is pretty feature complete but not ‘done” rather than the new sense of ‘you get to play this basically-done game slightly before the official launch date.’

  2. paranoydandroyd says:

    A friend asked me about my time with it. I described it as x-com (or is it xcom?) mixed with crusader kings and rogue legacy. Then I realized what an absurd combination that is.

    It is stark. It is awesome. It is unforgiving.

    • Bull0 says:

      Extremely unforgiving, and the difficulty of the tactical battles ramps up fast. They’re partly using the time between now and 1.0 for balancing though, and they’re adding distinct difficulty levels, so it’ll change. I like unforgiving but it doesn’t feel well-balanced yet, and that’s essential

      • KestrelPi says:

        Sure, but it’s interestingly unbalanced – the Early Access newcomers are saying it’s too hard, but a lot of people who have been playing it the last few weeks are now saying maybe it’s too easy, especially in the mid-late game.

        I think the unbalance right now is that if you know exactly how to game the system early on, the rest becomes a cakewalk, so they’re looking at ways to make it so that there’s more of an even challenge and filing away at some of those dominant strategies.

        • Bull0 says:

          I think the unbalance right now is tactical battles that become balls-in-your-face upside-down-on-tuesday difficult very very quickly while not also giving you enough tools to deal with them, but I’m an “early access newcomer” (well actually I backed the kickstarter, but I’m a second-class nobody who only backed at the $35 tier)

    • rusty5pork says:

      Are you a Double Fine PR rep? Because I will now be buying this fucking game. That sounds awesome.

  3. Pneuma_antilogias says:

    | must be doing something wrong, I find it shallow and boring.

    And now that I can actually tinker with the “matching” system, I’m bombarded with infertile champions. One out of two, currently.

    Someone must have spiked whatever’s flowing out of that MASSIVE CHALICE.

    Perhaps it will become better in time, but right now any comparison with XCOM is gravely unjust to the latter.

    • DanMan says:

      That’s the feeling i get from just looking at it. Good to know I’m right.

    • jonahcutter says:

      XCOM is the best comparison point. It’s not like any other game as much as it’s like XCOM. Unfortunately, Massive Chalice’s combat does suffers a fair bit from the comparison.

      It’s not bad, it just seems to lack the complexity of XCOM’s tactical decisions because of the lack of a cover system, and any sort of elevation differences. Its maps have environmental hazards and choke points, but still essentially feel like you’re moving from one flat, mini arena to another. There is no impulse to stay in cover, or set up for elevation sight-lines, or stage overwatch ambushes (there is no overwatch period), so moving through the maps doesn’t really feel like you’re moving through an actual environment. In that sense, it’s far more of the chess-board school of tactical combat games, than XCOM’s intricate environments. But because you have to move through them to expose the entire maps, it all feels a bit… well… flat.

      There is more melee-based fighting, which is interesting as you must position units differently from XCOM. But Expeditions: Conquistador has a healthy melee component to go with it’s ranged fights, and still managed to work cover complexities into its tiny arena-style fights.

      Again, it’s not bad. I’m having fun. It’s just a bit bland. It doesn’t immediately offer up the intensity of decision-making that XCOM does. The caveat is I’m not far in. I’ve probably had 5-6 fights so far. So things undoubtedly become more complex as heroes level up to gain new abilities, and different enemies show up. But unless a huge change occurs in the basic mechanics and design of the environments they actually fight in, that likely won’t become significantly more complex.

      This is primarily about the combat, where I think the game is most like XCOM. The strategic game offers up some significant differences, with its marriage and trait system, and upgrading of map zones.

      • Hex says:

        It might be beneficial for them to consider switching to a deterministic combat system — embrace a more chess-like style and distance themselves from Xcom.

        • Xocrates says:

          That’s like saying Call of Duty shouldn’t be an FPS to distance itself from DOOM.

          The game was openly inspired by XCOM – among others – this does not mean it is XCOM, or it’s trying to be XCOM:

          • Hex says:

            …you can still be a turn-based tactical game with a strategic management element without using percent-to-hits. That doesn’t really change the genre.

            If they’re going to for a simplified combat experience compared to Xcom’s — no cover, less stuff in general — removing percent-to-hit mechanics in favor of guaranteed attacks a la the Banner Saga can be a way to keep combat lean and interesting, and avoid the frustration of missing every single 55%-chance-to-hit shot in the game. (I have 3 hours on record, most of that time spent in combat. I have yet to land a single hit below a 75% chance to hit. This type of shit is very frustrating to me.)

          • Xocrates says:

            Likewise, you can turn the argument around. If you’re doing a turn-based tactical game, why shouldn’t you use a percent to hit battle system?

            EDIT: Regarding your ninja edit. While those are valid points they’re a different argument, and not one I can answer without playing far more than what I’ve done so far, though I never did have significant problems with it and positioning was always quite important.

          • Hex says:

            Why shouldn’t you use percent-to-hit? Mostly a personal preference. However, to my knowledge, these types of games use % more often than not, so for a new game coming out, switching that up could be beneficial in avoiding comparisons to more well-realized games, like Xcom. If you can’t beat ’em, do something different.

          • Xocrates says:

            Or you take advantage of the fact that the system is a known quantity and focus on innovating different parts of the game while having a solid foundation (in this case, the time scale and bloodlines).

            I’m all for experimenting and innovating, but re-inventing the wheel when that wasn’t your focus in the first place is a lose-lose situation. The goal of the game was a xcom-like applied to a timescale of centuries, thus requiring the player to have to deal with unit loss even with flawless play

            You can move away from the xcom bit, certainly, but that’s additional design and development burden for an irrelevant alternative to a system that’s well understood by developers and players, in addition to removing focus from what’s supposed to be your main selling point.

          • Hex says:

            Ha, and that’s just my problem — precentage based accuracy never feels like a “known quantity” to me. I don’t trust the RNGs these games use — the numbers of misses I experience even with high a percent-to-hit are ludicrous.

            I’d much rather know that when I make an action, it’s going to accomplish something.

            Using deterministic combat is hardly reinventing the wheel — the oldest board games throughout history use deterministic mechanics.

            I simply prefer not to get effed over by an aspect of the game I have no control over. When I lose in games — which I do, a lot — I like to be able to say “Yes, I did that stupid thing which caused me to lose.” When I make 6 shots in a row in a game like this, all with a stated 55% chance to hit, it’s not fun for me.

            And you can tell me “oh well globally across all players those shots hit 55% of the time.” I really don’t care. They don’t hit that often for me, and while I’ve long since accepted that I’m an unusually unlucky person — using years of Risk, and every other dice or percentage-based game I’ve ever played as evidence — that really doesn’t go far towards making me appreciate these mechanics any more.

            If a game is artificially ramping up its difficulty by ensuring players’ plans fail due to broken percentages, to me they’re doing something wrong and lazy. It’s been done many times already — these people are supposed to be game designers. Instead of borrowing a system that’s been done to death, how about they design some game mechanics.

            Is that really so outrageous a request?

          • Xocrates says:

            It’s a well know fact that Random does not “feel” Random, which is generally why you don’t use true RNG in games (not that it’s possible anyway).

            But what you’re describing is a balance problem, not a design one. Not liking a design approach is not actually a design problem. In fact, if the game has a problem is that they probably DID use a “true” RNG:

          • Hex says:

            That’s, like, your opinion, maaaaaaaaan….

  4. melnificent says:

    Still smarting from df-9. Which soured me on most early access titles… That goes double for double fine.

    • razgon says:

      Yeah, who knows when they’ll close shop and call it a day once again. I’m holding off on DF games until I see releases and good reviews.

    • Crafter says:

      If it can reassure you, I am surprised to see them going the Early Access way.
      Outside of some small bugs (the load/save screen tend to randomly fail to display its content and the final battle script is buggy), the game seems pretty much finished to me.
      I am not saying that it could not benefit from Early Access, this is the kind of game where you can always add more content (new weapons, new maps, new enemies, new skills, new classes, ….) and the game could make the transition from fun to awesome if they use that time to polish it.

      • DanMan says:

        They’ve caught up to the Web 2.0 crowd, where everything is in “beta” state.

      • melnificent says:

        Thanks, but I’m not giving DF another penny until they get DF-9 closer to the original plan they sold everyone on.
        Which is unlikely to happen, so I’m unlikely to purchase any of their things again.

        • wyrm4701 says:

          There’s pretty much no circumstance that will see me give DF money again. I’m a little puzzled that their behaviour with Spacebase hasn’t been discussed more widely, since it’s unfortunately a perfect example of the Early Access system failing customers in every respect. At the very least, I’d have expected RPS to have been somewhat more vocal about it, especially when discussing another Early Access title from the same developer.

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          I think it’s fair enough to bit pissed off with how DF-9 turned out, but isn’t the point of a boycott to try to produce better behaviour in future? Or as I saw someone (Hobbes, I think) put it on the DF forums, “The best apology for a bad game is a good game”. Hypothetically, if this turns out to be something that you would really like, and you approve of the way they handle EA this time, wouldn’t the other side of the boycott coin be to reward this with your monies?

      • Merlin the tuna says:

        I think a big reason to open up Beta/Early Access is just because they fell behind on the September 2014 target listed in the original Kickstarter. They’ve stated that they have the money to support a fairly lengthy cycle of polishing and the game is basically feature-complete and stable, so it’s a nice little bone to throw folks who wanted to get their hands on it already.

    • spleendamage says:

      This. Maybe I’ll buy another DF game someday, but not an early-access.

  5. Penguin_Factory says:

    The ever-present early access conundrum: I really want to play this, but I feel I should probably wait for the finished version.

    Hmm. I have Valkyria Chronicles and a *buttload* of upcoming games both PC and console to keep busy with, I’ll probably wait.

    • Pneuma_antilogias says:

      That would be my suggestion, too.

      By the way, any idea how the ranking system works in Valkyria’s combat missions?

      • Oni says:

        It’s based on how many turns you take to win. Faster = higher ranking.

        It’s a bit irrational and weird, because winning faster tends to mean doing stuff that isn’t really tactically sound, such as rushing forward. Personally, I just ignore it and play the skirmish missions if I want some extra experience.

        • Pneuma_antilogias says:

          Thank you for the reply. That’s what I’d gathered from my early runs, but then during the first battle for the bridge, I scored a B by completing the objective in three turns. I thought maybe that was because I did not eliminate all enemy units.

          Then, I found a video on Youtube where the player utterly destroyed the opposition and captured the camp in just 2 turns. B, again.

          Anyway, I agree with you, tactically rushing on maps you don’t know is both irrational and weird; I’ll play as best as I can, and turn to the skirmish maps if I desperately need extra experience.

          • Penguin_Factory says:

            Yeah, I love Valkyria Chronicles but after a while playing it it becomes apparent that speed is a huge tactical element, which is not something you’d necessarily realize just looking at the kinds of units you have access to. I agree that it leads to strange and counter-intuitive tactics that kind of detract from the war setting; I’d have preferred it if more missions required you to eliminate all enemies.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      if you wait until release to purchase then it’ll be YOUR fault they can’t finish it properly.

      But also that’s a sensible decision. Especially since Valkyria Chronicles is so lovely!

      • DanMan says:

        Stop saying that, people! Think of my wallet for once!

      • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

        It ain’t my fault if they don’t market the game in a way that appeals to me (and since Early Access specifically doesn’t appeal to me, they’re pretty much telling me “We don’t want you to buy this game now, it’s not done yet.”)

        You might as well blame me for The Black Glove not finding an angel investor if I’m responsible for random game devs’ finances.

  6. eggy toast says:

    Best of all, it landed on Early Access with a disclaimer that when the money ran out development was ending, so while DoubleFine are sticking with their shitty behavior, they are at least being honest about it.

    • DanMan says:

      So they’ve turned Early Access into a weapon? Excellent.

      • shaydeeadi says:

        I wouldn’t quite say that. The recent Kickstarter update says that they are fully funded until spring without any Early Access dosh so the game probably has another 6-ish months development to go. Which should be enough going on the current build.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      What?

      Where is this disclaimer? Doesn’t seem to be in the DF forums, or the Steam store page, or the Steam forums or the kickstarter update about this release…

      • Bull0 says:

        I think eggy toast is just twisting their kickstarter update, in which they helpfully explained exactly what they planned to do between now and 1.0 and that they’re fully funded for that period. Which yes, if you’re being an arse, you could translate as “we’re going to stop when the money runs out”. Like you could say about basically any game. “Shitty behaviour” indeed.

  7. Hex says:

    I’ve been playing a lot of this over the last couple of days. Definitely has that “one more turn” thing, though in this instance a “turn” is more akin to the bit of Xcom where you search for UFOs on the holo-globe.

    So far it seems to be a solid but not groundbreaking turn-based tactical game, with a more promising kingdom/nobility management bit.

    My main concern at the moment is that time moves too quickly — many units die of old age having seen combat once, or perhaps having seen no combat at all. As that’s really the only way right now to use/form an attachment to your units, I for one would appreciate slower movement of time, to allow each unit to firmly establish his place in my psyche as a useful or useless or ridiculous gal or fellow.

    Something between the feels-like-forever life-spans of your council members in King of Dragon Pass and this current flash-in-the-pan system they have would be nice. (Especially since your heroes — are extremely delicate, and are inclined to kick the bucket without much encouragement during combat.)

    I guess the trade-off with slowing down time is that the next generation of units would take that much longer to appear. Still, I think I’d rather have a chance to grow attached to each new generation, as opposed to seeing it flicker by, barely noticed.

    By the by, does anybody have any idea how class assignments work for offspring? No matter what combinations of parents I assign, they seem to only breed hunters.

    • Xocrates says:

      They always take the class of the regent, regardless of the other parent (Hybrid classes were discussed during development, but I’ve believed they’ve since been dropped). If you’re only getting hunter it likely means you’ve assigned all your keeps to a Hunter regent.

      • Hex says:

        Ah, thank you. That makes sense. I kept marrying caberjacks or whatever they’re called to hunters in hopes of getting a mix, but I wasn’t paying attention to which was regent and which was partner.

        It seems like the Alchemist is a hybrid class already — melee- and ranged-capable, not as good at either as cabers or hunters.

      • Merlin the tuna says:

        Hybrids are still slated for the final release, they just haven’t been implemented yet. (They’re actually the only promised feature that doesn’t appear in any form right now, for the curious.)

        The plan right now is to refine the numbers and skill progression for the base classes first. When those are better locked down, hybrids will get added in to the mix.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I agree with you on the time scale.

      In the early game anyway, it feels far too fast. After a couple of fights, my rookies all look like middle-aged grizzled vets (even though they are all level 1 or 2 still). And some are indeed dying off from old age with almost no chance to even use them. It isn’t conducive to forming histories and bonds with them as actual characters in your game’s narrative. Losing an aged “hero” generates more of a shrug than an actual emotional reaction.

      Maybe someone will make a Long War mod for Massive Chalice.

      • Hex says:

        Precisely.

        A possible solution would be to have most or all of the territories on the map starting out under Cadence (monster) control, requiring the player to conquer and push out the monster presence before having the option to build in that region.

        This would allow the player to initiate as many battles as he has the manpower to handle, giving him the opportunity to utilize and therefore level up his units, instead of watching them wither away and die of old age while waiting for the fairly rare incursions as they currently occur.

        It’s vital to let the play use his heroes if any attachment is to be formed.

        Somebody should really hire me to make these suggestions….

        • Xocrates says:

          While I agree that the game probably does not give you enough time with your heroes, pushing back against the Cadence is actually thematically inconsistent, since the Cadence itself is symbolic of the passage of time, and as such inevitable and irreversible.

          • Hex says:

            Does it really need to be that philosophical?

            Fine. Then they can let heroes cut their teeth on non-Cadence monsters.

            Problem solved.

          • Xocrates says:

            “Problem solved”

            Nope! Non-Cadence monsters means more enemy types, meaning more development time and money.

            Also, how would you prevent the player of “grinding” these monsters? If you’re limited on how often you engage, wouldn’t it be simpler to have more Cadence attacks? But in that case, how do you keep a “reasonable” game length that allows several generations to pass without the game becoming too repetitive? More enemy types and levels? Where do we get the money to make that?

            Game design is hard, ain’t it?

          • Hex says:

            Grinding is precisely what I’m wanting to be able to do. There’s what like 8 or 9 provinces on the map? Giving the player 8 or 9 opportunities to use some heroes that will otherwise be dead from old age at level 1 doesn’t seem like that ridiculous a suggestion.

            Game design is hard, apparently, if what Massive Chalice is currently offering is reflective of the final release.

            Feel free to stop being a dick about it.

          • Xocrates says:

            For what is worth, I’m not trying to be a dick, I’m just trying to offer a different perspective.

          • Hex says:

            As far as I can tell, your perspective amounts to “the game is fine as it is.” I’m not quite content with it, so I’m offering my perspective.

            However, fair enough — maybe creating a few non-Cadence monster models is bank-breakingly cost-prohibitive. Then allow a player-controlled training arena, a la Front Mission 3 (and I’m sure countless other games) to allow for some more leveling, albeit at a drastically reduced rate.

          • Xocrates says:

            Actually, as I’ve mentioned before, I have not really played the game extensively (largely because the buddha engine does not like my laptop), and even agreed to several of the problems you mentioned. My perspective is more along the lines that the “obvious” fixes generally aren’t.

            Likewise, I also think there are problems with the arena solution. But I since I get the feeling you’re not hugely interested in debating game design, I think it’s fair to halt conversation.

          • Hex says:

            Farts.

          • Hex says:

            Debating game design is fine. Dismissing every suggestion I make to address the issues with this game because “it’s probably too expensive” or “it doesn’t jive with the lore” isn’t debating game design, though. It’s being insufferable.

          • Xocrates says:

            Watching the teamstreams, they made quite clear that the content they have is largely determined by what they can afford.
            Meanwhile you never offered an alternative that wasn’t “add more content”, which is why I raise the money issue: you’re not offering alternatives, you’re suggesting additions. Furthermore, the same post I mentioned the money I referred to about 4 different alternatives and implications of your suggestion, so it wasn’t “just” the money.

            Also, lore and theme are separate things. I never mentioned the lore, I mentioned the theme. There’s a technical term for design that does not fit the theme of the game: “shitty”. Not fitting the lore is just plain old bad writing.
            And honestly, that comment was more as a funny factoid than a rebuttal. You could do it, it would just be bad design.

          • Hex says:

            Deterministic as opposed to percentage-based combat is an alternative. More things to fight (be they the existing assets or something new) is an alternative to nothing to fight . Of course any alternative would require additional work. I don’t care. What I care about is that they make a playable game that I enjoy. I’ve already bought the damn thing. If it ends up being shitty, so be it. I’m going to keep saying “I think it might be less shitty if there were these other things.”

            Their job is to make a game. That’s what I gave them money to do. I don’t care about their teamstreams saying they budgeted too poorly to include necessary things. None of that is going to impact my opinion on the necessity for these things which could make the game more enjoyable for me.

            I’m not their mom. It’s not my duty to give them a pat on the head and tell them what a special boy they are when they fall off their bike and skin their knee. I’m the guy that may or may not buy their next game. It’s in their interest to make this one work. That’s all I’m talking about.

          • Xocrates says:

            I did not oppose to your suggestion for deterministic combat, I opposed to your stated reason for them to use it i.e. “not be like xcom”. The only other reason you gave was “I do not like it”, which I did not argue against other than saying that your experience sounded like a balance problem as opposed to a design one.

            Honestly, I do not care for the remainder of you post, though I feel I should note I find the implication of “they should have catered to me specifically” slightly disturbing,

          • Hex says:

            As the purchaser of games, I feel well within my rights to expect them to cater to me. I figure games should either cater to me, or do something more fun and clever than what I think I want.

            As the guy with the wallet, that seems reasonable to me.

          • Xocrates says:

            No, you’re expected to buy games that cater to you.

            The people making the games have no obligation to cater to you, and particularly not when there are some other 7 billion people they may cater to.

          • Hex says:

            Oh my aching fuck, can you leave it alone? Do us both a favor and, when you’re about to reply to this — don’t. Just save your energy. And mine

            There are several differences between me and the 7 billion other people who may or may not buy this game:

            — I give enough of a shit to have purchased it
            — I give enough of a shit to have played it for a few hours, and started to form an opinion
            — I give enough of a shit to bring my opinion here and share it with people interested in discussing the game

            However, I also

            — don’t give enough of a shit to have whined about this shit on the game forums, or to actually approach anyone on the dev team about any concerns I may have
            — don’t need you spending your entire day being a negative nancy and trying to shut down any constructive criticism of game, harshing my fucking vibe.

            You’ve annoyed me to the point where, though it shames me to say it, I’ve gone from being ambivalent towards the game to being actively critical of it, and predisposed to hate it, simply because you’re that annoying and your interactions with me have tainted my opinion of what would otherwise be just another game.

            Now it’s that game that some internet fuck couldn’t stop riding me about all day.

            Good job, asshole.

          • Xocrates says:

            It amuses/saddens me greatly that me trying to engage on the discussion you’re claiming to want is perceived by you as “trying to shut down constructive criticism”.

            But whatever.

          • Not Marvelous says:

            Hex, you are my hero (although I feel kinda bad that I found this exchange so amusing).

        • Bull0 says:

          Think we found out why they’re not queueing up to hire you to make suggestions, anyway.

          • Hex says:

            Because of the extreme risk of BLOWING YOUR MIND?

            Yes. It’s the sad reality I must live with, every day.

          • Bull0 says:

            I’m getting some mileage out of picturing you in a meeting, calling anyone who dares argue with you a “fuck”. Funny stuff. So, thanks for that, if nothing else.

  8. Stellar Duck says:

    No way am I buying anything from Double Fine unless there is a heavy discount involved these days.

    The game looks vaguely interesting though.

    • Hex says:

      Vaguely interesting is about the size of it, at the moment. My recommendation is to wait for the reviews.

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’ll wait until they unceremoniously boot it out the door in two weeks. Fool me twice.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      Except that in this case there’s really only one feature (hybrid classes) which isn’t done yet – the rest is polish, and they’ve stated they’re funded for a good few months yet. Not defending the DF-9 thing, that was a tremendous fuckup, but this is a different case.

    • KestrelPi says:

      If they released the game right NOW it would be rough-around-the-edges but still completable and pretty fun.

      Back in July I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation on their Kickstarter funds and guessed they probably had until around Q2 2015, and they do seem to be aiming for a spring release, so as nearly as we can tell this is on budget and has been since the start.

      Honestly, having another few months dev time for this feels almost like a luxury. It definitely needs a little time – it’s in proper beta, but it’s not some unfinished rough alpha version.

  10. wyrm4701 says:

    There’s pretty much no circumstance that will see me give DF money again. I’m a little puzzled that their behaviour with Spacebase hasn’t been discussed more widely, since it’s unfortunately a perfect example of the Early Access system failing customers in every respect. At the very least, I’d have expected RPS to have been somewhat more vocal about it, especially when discussing another Early Access title from the same developer.

    • Hex says:

      I dunno about RPS as an organization, but the commentors have certainly said their piece on the DF9 situation.

      To be fair, this is a game coming from a different team, and has a much more achievable scope than DF9.

      I’m kind of with you on thinking twice about throwing money at Double Fine pre-release on the one hand, but on the other, Massive Chalice is an important step in the direction I’d like to see a certain genre of games explore more, so even if it ends up being shitty, I won’t regret helping them test the waters.

    • Crafter says:

      I don’t know, each post about Double Fine is flooded by “They must die for this DF-9 outrage” messages.

      It would be interesting to discuss the DF-9 situation, especially in order to discuss it with DF. To be honest, I am not sure there is a satisfying solution for every party.
      I have bought DF-9 on early access and contrary to the vaguely similar Rimworld (also in an early access of sorts, Kickstarted & ~monthly builds) I soon realized that I did not have any fun with it.
      Subsequent updates did not do the game a lot of good in the fun department (at least for me).

      In these conditions, I am not that hurt to see them shelve the project, I just do not see it happen, even with one more year of serious development behind it.

    • nmarebfly says:

      I’m not sure what there is to really discuss about the DF-9 debacle. Everyone involved agrees that it’s shitty, but there aren’t any good solutions. I mean, players want the game to be finished but it’s not profitable for DF to do so. It’s an economic reality. DF could I guess refund everyone that bought the game, but that just means they’re further in the hole and it feels pretty punitive to me. Didn’t they already give everyone a free game of roughly equivalent price? I mean, it sucks for everyone that wanted the game to be better but that ‘everyone’ includes the people at DF in the first place.

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    gritz says:

    For such simple (and often cheap and ugly) graphics, my frame rate is getting hammered. Considering my rig can handle much prettier modern games smoothly, I was not expecting that.

    • Hex says:

      I frequently experience this with Early Access stuff. I’m guessing it has to do with “optimization?”

      • KestrelPi says:

        Well, I don’t think the style is ugly at all, but it is low-poly. Forum posts suggest that yes – there will be optimisations between now and spring.

  12. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I had no desire to purchase this, but my friend had an extra code because he Kickstarted it and he was kind enough to give it to me.

    I started it up yesterday on a whim and I can’t stop playing. Sure, in a way you can see the XCOM influence on it, but it plays more like Fire Emblem, Tactics Ogre, and so on. Building a steady flow of babies wot fight good is enchanting, and combat itself is really neat. I found that it’s very important to pull enemies to you, as few as possible, if you want any sort of chance at winning.

    There are definitely some balance issues – it becomes brutally difficult very quickly – but overall I think it’s a fantastic game. I especially love the artwork and music, both really give the game a nice identity.

  13. Hypnotron says:

    A few players were streaming it on twitch earlier…seems none at the moment

    link to twitch.tv

  14. KestrelPi says:

    I’ve spent 40 hours on this game already (I backed so got the beta a little earlier) and I’m still ready for more.

    There are issues with the game right now but they mainly seem to be around balance, interface polish and the like, which are exactly the kinds of things the team are focused on addressing.

    Speaking as someone who has been following development and playing it the last few weeks, the general concensus on the forum is that we were all super-pleased that the game is funded until spring (and a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggest that that’s still at least mainly from the Kickstarter funds – although the Xbox One console exclusivity might have helped too). We feel like that’s plenty of time to polish this thing up and even add the one major feature it’s currently missing (it’s mostly feature complete at this stage, but we’re quite keen on seeing the hybrid classes that are still being talked about).

    Even in the past 3 weeks, they’ve made a number of strides towards making this a balanced game, by spring it ought to be nicely fine-tuned.

  15. heyhellowhatsnew says:

    Alice you are seriously the only one with integrity left writing on this site. Thank you for mentioning Double-Fine’s fuck up. As I said in an earlier post, since the supporter program started, RPS has changed completely from not talking about sexism, racism, bigotry and corrupt shit like what Double-Fine did but when I notice whenever I read your posts it’s like the old RPS is still there.

    Can you please talk to the others and tell them what it’s like not to sell out? That the old RPS that called out bigotry and corruption was the one us non-white males wanted to read and love? Thanks.