After an unhealthy amount of time invested, I've finally broken free of my bonds and put the game down. I love the concept, the art style and the building mechanics, but for the time being I'm going to step away – at least until early access is further along.
I'm sure Funcom are aware of most of the following issues, but I'm going to share my experience regardless!
Raiding – As of right now, any tier one base is either unraidable or laughable; there is no middle ground. This leaves players with two choices before they retire for the night;
Remove the walkway up to your base, rendering your base impervious to any and all aggressors.
Leave the walkway alone, and pray to Crom (for what it's worth) that you'll win the lucky bastard lottery and not have all your things smashed and/or taken.
Both choices result in uninteresting gameplay. So what's the answer? Here are a few ideas I've had;
Change Steel weapons, so that they can no longer destroy tier 1 buildings, only tier one doors (stay with me).
Make walls much harder to destroy with explosives, but make doors easier to destroy (this goes for all tiers).
The following two changes funnel enemies to entrances, and allow defenders to create scenarios for attackers, using the following;
Trapdoors that are triggered by trip-wires. Anyone can disarm them, so long as they spot them first.
Crossbow traps. Once again triggered by trip-wires.
Boulder traps. (by this point you get the idea. All those mechanical traps you came across in Skyrim basically).
By this point you've already created a far more interesting challenge for the raiders, and a more varied and thoughtful challenge for the defender… 'but people can still remove stairs' I hear you saying. Well, enter;
- Ladders or grappling hooks. Thanks to the earlier change to Steel weapons, aggressors will still have to make their way to your doorway in – either that or use a lot of explosives. At least now they'll have a viable raiding method.
'What's stopping people from removing doors before they log off?'. Well, Greg – I have an answer for that too;
- Locked doors. Keep the regular doors, but make it so they're accessible by everyone, including non clan members. If you want to keep people out of your base, you'll need a Locked Door (which are more expensive to learn, require other points in building, and are slightly further down the tech tree)*
This means that if you want to replace your front door with a wall each night, the rest of your non-builder clan mates will have to wait for her to get online again to replace it.
'Unless your builder crafted dozens of them and put them in a box for other people?'
Only allow people who know said recipes to place said recipes.
From all that we now have a more compelling raiding system to build on. We'll then await trebuchets and alike.
Gods – These 'I win' buttons should require more materials, a much larger grind, and need a global cool-down.
'They're a much needed mechanic to clear up servers'.
Once the decay system is in place, this will hopefully become a non issue.
Recipes – Remove level requirements and instead just work with prerequisites. This will create designated roles within clans. Your armourer will bee-line Light, Medium then Heavy Armours, and your builder will bee-line Base building materials and crafting benches.
'Won't people just bee-line straight for steel and explosives?'.
Maybe, but they'd be unarmoured and baseless. They wouldn't even have boxes for their bounty.
'…but a large clan could tackle all these things at once'
Yes, the idea here is that people can get what they need much, much faster, but have to sacrifice other things in the process.
If you desperately need those tier 2 walls before you log off, you can now sacrifice your armour, weapons, and a bunch of other things to get them. You'd no longer have to grind spiders until level 23.
(TLDR) My final thoughts are as follows; the game has a lot of potential. I'm confident that Funcom will address the server problems, stability issues, bugs, exploits and unpolished assets. I'm also certain that more content will flow in time, but as it stands the core gameplay needs a lot of reworking, at least in order to keep people playing.
I look forward to seeing this game 6 months from now, or a year from now when it's hopefully close to release!
PMB signing out (for now). Good-luck Funcom, and thanks!