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WFTO Wednesday #57: Player Research

Nutter

Frost Weaver
WFTO Founder
Jan 19, 2013
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Huddersfield, UK
nutter666.tumblr.com
Hey.. I was only speculating! There is no proof I was even partially responsible for DKM (The Dark gods might be pleased that I defiled the maidens before they were sacrificed for all we know),so the angry mob will be pointed in EA's direction if any of them head towards me.
 
Oct 17, 2013
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Question. The spells (purple), rooms (yellow), and defense (blue) icons that we see in the panels as well as the veins of evil tab, are those placeholders or are you guys intentionally going for the minimalist one-color look?
 

Underlord Vulukai

Witch Doctor
WFTO Backer
Mar 11, 2013
666
351
440
The Void
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just a few suggestions, not all necessarily the first of their kind, some are repeats for reinforcing of the idea

1: Re-scalable, re-positionable UI (This allows any particular disinterests in a certain features position to be easily rectified on the user end to fit personal preference. The scalability (within reasonable resolutions obviously) allows for people with varying eyesight or needs to shrink/enlarge the UI to suit preference.)

2: For rally icons, id say positioning them around the minimap as presented icons would be the best option, just for easy of use of the minimap to use this function with the minimap itself. This could be integrated into the actual minimap, or there could be several presented options of the minimap that include/omit this capability. Which brings me to my next suggestion....

3: Mousewheel zoom in/out functionality on the minimap. I cant stress this enough how intuitive and simple this makes getting to a certain area on a minimap in a game. This is the most fluid design i personally have encountered on any game, and being able to zoom out from a high zoom position, mouse to another area, and zoom in on that one provides quick, easy response to the varying circumstances that are sure to crop up in any dungeon.

If i think of more i'll add on later tonight, but these are my main stresses for what should alleviate any and all UI problems as far as what i could personally think of for feedback, without taking into consideration "I think this should be here, because i like how it looks here"
 
Nov 8, 2013
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I think it might be nice if right clicking or double-clicking on unit portrait would open a secondary list of all units of that particular type which would show their level, health, mood and group. It would help picking up, grouping and zooming to a specific unit. The secondary list wouldn't be for quickly making large groups but for micro managing and locating individual units.

Question: does the "rally all" order cancel all group rally flags that have been already placed to the map? I would think it would be an panic order to tell everybody to retreat or an all-out attack order and fine-tuned group flags wouldn't matter that much at that point anymore.
 

Aierwin

Bloodling
WFTO Backer
Jan 4, 2013
28
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United Kingdom (Great Britain)
Okay, so here is how I think the UI could work. :D

View attachment 3315
The reason I bring Units to the right side is so that everything related to individuals (groups, imps, and creatures) are together. And with the secondary display window, people can see everything that is important about every creature in their Dungeon, sortable on level, race, happiness, etc. Most likely through an easy dropdown menu for each option.
The idea is that you can click on the portrait to either go to that minion, or pick him up directly.

I put the sell button inside the Rooms area because you only sell rooms. Usually when I myself have to sell a room, it is because I misplaced tiles or something along those lines. This sell button can of course be given its own place amongst the other buttons if there is something I've forgotten (I don't know if rituals gets its own button for instance.) This will keep the amount of buttons shown even.
Another option here is to have the minimize menu button be a low one that is just as wide as the room and defense button combined.

I would like a total number of creatures in the Dungeon vs max number of creatures in the top part of the UI, as well as an indication of the length until the next payday, but I'm not sure how to fit those in. Nor am I sure what other information is important enough to get a place up there.

I love this idea with the seperate menu for your units, it really gives a lot of options for micro management.

I would, however, along with everything you have in there, to have the minions still on the bottom bar just so i have a quick look at how many of what i have.
 

Aierwin

Bloodling
WFTO Backer
Jan 4, 2013
28
4
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Yes that's how it's currently set up. It'll most certainly go through changes once we get multiplayer in though.

Yes, but why? There's no benefit, and it just increases the amount of visual clutter if we want to do stuff like sorting by level in the unit panel.

That's all contextual. Regardless of if we went with 5 or 10 levels, the curve would be the same, there would just be a different amount of steps.

Something else to keep in mind: Units have all of their abilities bar a 'special' ability at level 1. They gain that special ability at level 5.

Completely negating steps from 1-10 due to visual clutter i think isn't fair.

I really like Nachtrae's idea on the GUI, this would reduce ALL visual clutter.

I would prefer 10 levels because it's neat and tidy. 5 seems a little to low and 'meh'. Its just so lackluster. Having 10 levels allows a more strategic element to the game. A level 3 vs a level 5 would stand a good chance from 1-10, however a level 3 would be useless vs a level 5. It just seems to reduce the strategic elements and planning of your demonic army.

Also, i think it would give reason to include more skills and abilities to be unlocked rather than have them all at the start.

Leveling units, imo, should unlock their abilities through stages. Otherwise its a race to level 5. I do hate the idea of having all your abilities unlocked at level 1, might be a little overwhelming for new players.

Just want to point out i do hate the ideas of max level being 5 and I also hate the idea of having all your abilities unlocked at level 1.

I could think of a really good argument of why max level 5 isn't as 'rewarding' and why unlocking eveyrthing at level 1 is overhwleming and 'meh' but i'm sure things will change down the road.

At the end of the day, my creatures should grow in new skills and abilities as their level grows. Being at level 1 with all abilities makes the leveling from 1-5 a pure pointless grind (bar the special ability at lvl 5) essentially making levels 2,3 and 4 useless. If your argument is to allow all creatures to have all abilities, the only point in levelling them is to make the fights a bit more dynamic, but essentially pointless.

Why not just let creatures level from 1-3 it reduces steps and clutter.

Same argument, the curve is the same there would just be a different amount of steps. Also special ability at level 3. And reduces visual clutter.

but it just doesnt 'look' nice does it. And in the end level 10 is a nice round number.

World of Warcraft made the mistake of expansions increasing levels by only 5, and it sucked (they've now changed it). The grind was longer and your 'growth' felt long lived and stunted. Leveling from 1-10 would make you feel as if your creatures are growing at a steady rate, rather than a long slog to level 5. The experience for each level would be shorted and it would look and feel better to see steady progression rather than lackluster yawn level 4-5 taking forever because of the reduced levels.

This is just my opinion, but i hate not having levels 1-10, don't change something that isn't broken. Also, allow the unlocking of skills, that was a very fun aspect in DK2.
 

Nutter

Frost Weaver
WFTO Founder
Jan 19, 2013
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Huddersfield, UK
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Whilst I can see both sides of this argument, and do to a certain degree agree that 5 is an odd max level number (literally!) and 10 would feel better. I can see the reasoning for why they have done it this way. The way most units has been designed in this game is very different to DK, to use an example that everyone should be able to follow the Cultist (WFTO) vs the Warlock (DK 1/2):

Warlock's (DK 1) Abilities
Level 2 - Fireball
Level 3 - Heal
Level 4 - Meteor (Basically an improved fireball)
Level 5 - Invisibility
Level 6 - Seeking missile (Basically an improved Meteor which seeks out enemies)
Level 7 - Sight (detects invisible units)
Level 8 - Wind (Blows away enemies)
Level 9 - Word of Power (A damaging explosion kinda thing)

Now admittedly the Warlock had a lot of abilities, but atleast 2 of them and arguably 3) were improvements to his basic ranged attack, Fireball ---> Meteor ---> Seeking Missile.
His other abilities are a heal and a couple of support abilites. This is because DK 1 had a lower number of creatures and as such each creature had to fill more roles. If we compare that to the Warlock in DK2.

Warlock's (DK2 Abilities)
Level 1 - Fireball (unlocked immediately as opposed to learnt later as in DK1)
Level 2 - Heal (the Warlock's secondary/support role since there wasn't a main "healer" in DK)
Level 8 - Fire Bomb

As you can see, DK 2 cut out a lot of the abilities which were just upgraded versions of older abilities and instead just made the current abilities better as the Warlock leveled up, focusing his role as more of a ranged/support spellcaster unit.

Cultist's Abilities
Passives
  • Devout: Working in a Sanctuary allows the cultist to go without food, sleep, or pay.
  • Soulbreaker: The Cultist’s basic attacks deal additional damage equal to a portion of their target’s missing health.
Actives
  • Wither: Slows an enemy unit and causes them to take increased damage from allies for a few seconds.
  • Regeneration: Heals a friendly unit over several seconds.
  • Dark Calling: Dramatically increases the combat capabilities of a friendly unit.
As you can see, some of the Cultist's abilities such as Devout and Soulbreaker are passives which are just part of his character and as such wouldn't be learnt as he leveled up but would probably get stronger/improve instead. Equally his Wither and Regeneration spells are support skills that I see no reason why he wouldn't know before he entered your dungeon. What kind of cultist would he be if he didn't already know some spells?

Dark Calling is, I assume, the ultimate ability learnt at level 5. (along with his ability to convert to a super creature via ritual) so aside from the level cap being 5 as opposed to 10 I can't see that much has changed.

If we assume that the Cultist's basic attacks increase in damage as he levels up anyway, then that is almost identical (from a gameplay perspective) as unlocking a Meteor improved version of the Fireball ability, without all the extra clutter of having an extra ability that you would rarely (if ever) use since you have a better one. In addition, the variety of unit's is much greater in WFTO so a Cultist doesn't need to fufil the Spellcaster, healer, Invisibility buffer, Enemy blowing away role that a DK 1 Warlock did, since we have specific units to fulfill those roles.


So what I would say is (aside from apologies for a wall of text), let's give the dev team a chance to finish the game, test it and see how the 5 levels thing works before we tar and feather them and say we hate it. It might suck or it might work out great... just because DK1 and 2 had 10 levels doesn't mean that a 5 level system can't (and won't) work just as well.
 

Mozared

Juggernaut
WFTO Founder
Feb 17, 2013
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@Aierwin, Nutter gave a pretty good response to your post, but there's some things I can add.

I would prefer 10 levels because it's neat and tidy. 5 seems a little to low and 'meh'. Its just so lackluster. Having 10 levels allows a more strategic element to the game. A level 3 vs a level 5 would stand a good chance from 1-10, however a level 3 would be useless vs a level 5.
This isn't true. To go from a 5-level system to a 10-level system, you'd have to double the numbers to make the comparison hold. As such, your example of 'a level 3 vs a level 5' in a 10-level system would be equivalent to having 'a level 6 vs a level 10'. Having a level 4 vs a level 5 would be similar to having a level 8 vs a level 10 in a 10-level system. The only thing you miss in a 5-level system are the odd-number gaps, like level 7. As such, to stick with your comparison, you're saying the difference between having a level 6 unit fight a level 10 unit or having a level 7 unit fight a level 10 unit is so large it adds more strategic element, while in reality the difference would be pretty negligible.

You're completely right in that 'having more levels has more strategic control' (having 1000 levels means a unit with only seconds more training will beat another in a 1v1), but it's really not as bad in a 5-level system as you're making it out to be ('a good chance' vs 'useless').

Also, i think it would give reason to include more skills and abilities to be unlocked rather than have them all at the start.

Leveling units, imo, should unlock their abilities through stages. Otherwise its a race to level 5. I do hate the idea of having all your abilities unlocked at level 1, might be a little overwhelming for new players.

Just want to point out i do hate the ideas of max level being 5 and I also hate the idea of having all your abilities unlocked at level 1.

I could think of a really good argument of why max level 5 isn't as 'rewarding' and why unlocking eveyrthing at level 1 is overhwleming and 'meh' but i'm sure things will change down the road.

At the end of the day, my creatures should grow in new skills and abilities as their level grows. Being at level 1 with all abilities makes the leveling from 1-5 a pure pointless grind (bar the special ability at lvl 5) essentially making levels 2,3 and 4 useless. If your argument is to allow all creatures to have all abilities, the only point in levelling them is to make the fights a bit more dynamic, but essentially pointless.

...

World of Warcraft made the mistake of expansions increasing levels by only 5, and it sucked (they've now changed it). The grind was longer and your 'growth' felt long lived and stunted. Leveling from 1-10 would make you feel as if your creatures are growing at a steady rate, rather than a long slog to level 5. The experience for each level would be shorted and it would look and feel better to see steady progression rather than lackluster yawn level 4-5 taking forever because of the reduced levels.

This is just my opinion, but i hate not having levels 1-10, don't change something that isn't broken. Also, allow the unlocking of skills, that was a very fun aspect in DK2.
Ah, but that's the point isn't it? You're comparing leveling in WFTO to leveling in World of WarCraft. The two are so radically different it's hard to even find clear comparisons. The decision to give all units their abilities at level 1 (save for a 'special ability') was made consciously with the simple reason in mind that it allows all creatures to fulfill the roles they are meant to fulfill right from the get-go. I'm not sure how avid of a WoW player you are, but not being able to fulfill one's role was once a big issue there too - back in vanilla and TBC it was both hard and boring for various healer and tank classes to properly fulfill their roles in early (pre-level 30, 40) dungeons because they simply didn't have abilities yet that were integral to their role.

You're right in that not learning abilities makes leveling a bit of a 'race for level 5', but in reality this is also kind of the idea. You'll still get to differentiate between your units in terms of how powerful they are, but actually getting a level 1 support unit means you will actually have support within your army if you go into a battle, rather than being stuck with a bunch of melee'ing Cultists. The reason it won't feel as a 'boring grind' in WFTO is because it isn't one: leveling minions isn't something that the player has to actively devote all his attention to, but rather a sub-system on the side to add to the game.
 

Aierwin

Bloodling
WFTO Backer
Jan 4, 2013
28
4
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United Kingdom (Great Britain)
@Aierwin, Nutter gave a pretty good response to your post, but there's some things I can add.


This isn't true. To go from a 5-level system to a 10-level system, you'd have to double the numbers to make the comparison hold. As such, your example of 'a level 3 vs a level 5' in a 10-level system would be equivalent to having 'a level 6 vs a level 10'. Having a level 4 vs a level 5 would be similar to having a level 8 vs a level 10 in a 10-level system. The only thing you miss in a 5-level system are the odd-number gaps, like level 7. As such, to stick with your comparison, you're saying the difference between having a level 6 unit fight a level 10 unit or having a level 7 unit fight a level 10 unit is so large it adds more strategic element, while in reality the difference would be pretty negligible.

You're completely right in that 'having more levels has more strategic control' (having 1000 levels means a unit with only seconds more training will beat another in a 1v1), but it's really not as bad in a 5-level system as you're making it out to be ('a good chance' vs 'useless').


Ah, but that's the point isn't it? You're comparing leveling in WFTO to leveling in World of WarCraft. The two are so radically different it's hard to even find clear comparisons. The decision to give all units their abilities at level 1 (save for a 'special ability') was made consciously with the simple reason in mind that it allows all creatures to fulfill the roles they are meant to fulfill right from the get-go. I'm not sure how avid of a WoW player you are, but not being able to fulfill one's role was once a big issue there too - back in vanilla and TBC it was both hard and boring for various healer and tank classes to properly fulfill their roles in early (pre-level 30, 40) dungeons because they simply didn't have abilities yet that were integral to their role.

You're right in that not learning abilities makes levelling a bit of a 'race for level 5', but in reality this is also kind of the idea. You'll still get to differentiate between your units in terms of how powerful they are, but actually getting a level 1 support unit means you will actually have support within your army if you go into a battle, rather than being stuck with a bunch of melee'ing Cultists. The reason it won't feel as a 'boring grind' in WFTO is because it isn't one: levelling minions isn't something that the player has to actively devote all his attention to, but rather a sub-system on the side to add to the game.


I still disagree with having the level cap at 5, I would argue that having 10 levels allows a much more in-depth experience of the game, allowing newer abilities to come into play at certain levels, it would make a much more dynamic game. Which brings me onto the point about skills being 'unlocked'. I agree that a bunch of meleeing cultists would be pretty much pointless, but i would also argue for 'base' abilities to be had at level 1, but also having other different abilities come available at certain intervals.

I feel having 10 levels would allow a variety of skills and abilities during the creatures progression, but allowing 1 or 2 base skills to start with a better way forward than having all skills unlocked and max level 5. I feel the former would feel more progressive than the latter.

I guess though, i am trying to argue on the point of 'preference' and have to say it is more so about the feeling of progression i have a problem with.

And i would agree with your accusation of the problem in wow, about fulfilling those roles, but at the same time argue that having all your skills at level 1 would offer good utility but make the levels in between a little bit 'meh'. A current problem with the recent wow expansion was the lack of skills and content for the individuals characters (classes) within the game, especially for me for this expansion, something that will hopefully be remedied next expansion. However i digress, i have quit from wow due to other commitments and no longer play. I used it purely as a comparison more than anything.

Back to WFTO my concern is that the levels will feel 'grindy' and pointless, only to attain a level 5 for a skill to make your unit stronger. And i feel that a large amount of skills at level one will make the levelling process even more boring. I would argue it to be purely psychological, you want to feel as if your creature has progressed, which I have to say is better through unlocking helpful abilities and a longer leveling system, but at the same time making sure your creature has those 'base' abilities to actually fulfil the roles intended for them.

This also ties in with the length of the games campaign as well, when do you reach Max level, 3 levels into the game? In DK2 it was quite far on if i remember correctly.

Reaching 'max level' should feel an 'achievement' during the campaign and i feel reaching level 5 to be in my personal opinion very lack luster.

Aierwin
 
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