Some critique from a returning player

Came back to this game after a long break. The last time I’ve played it was still in early access. Most changes that I’ve seen so far are pretty great. The game seems to be in a lot better spot than it was back then. I thought I’d however make a few observations and nitpicks again based on my experiences so far in this current build of the game. I do want to say that I love the game and most stuff in it is very enjoyable at the moment!

First off, Bandit. I love the guy. Kudos for managing to bring in a survivor that has immediately become my favorite thanks to his skills, mechanics and just being plain stylish. There is however one thing that kinda rubs me the wrong way at the moment and that is Burst vs Blast, or shotgun and rifle as I’ll call them for the rest of the post. Specifically the rifles recoil makes it a very undesirable and unfun pick for a primary, at least for me.

What the rifle brings on the table is pinpoint accuracy, long range (no damage falloff). But when you try to make any kind of use of the high fire rate the bullets go anywhere except for where you’re pointing. Funnily enough this makes the shotgun about as strong of a choise at the common mid to mid-longish ranges as it’s spread is quite tight and the damage fall-off isn’t that bad. Kind of just leaves the rifle with the advantage of taking shots at super distant enemies which is not a very common occurrence and even then not necessarily all that useful. Heck, you can be at close range and if you try to fire the rifle fast you’re likely to miss 2 or even 3 shots, with the first one obviously going exactly where planned.
The lower base damage of the rifle in closer ranges and the fact that quite a few items are overall better with the shotty is quite a fair trade off without the abysmal recoil ruining what the rifle has got going for it. I really wish the rifles recoil got looked at as the pick between these 2 weapons doesn’t seem to be very even at the moment at all but also the rifle is just not very fun to play with currently, at least for me.
It’s an elaborate balance because if all the shots while rapidly fired were pinpoint accurate, that would be problematic but it feels too severe right now.

As I said, I love playing as the guy. Just not with the rifle. I want to like it but it’s so awkward to use at the moment.

(Also the recoil signaling brackets around the crosshair are a quite “noisy” for a lack of a better word, they’re quite distracting. I wouldn’t mind them simply not existing at all and just having the dot crosshair.)

Also I feel like Desperado is slightly overshadowed by Lights out, although not quite to the point of shotgun vs rifle. If the rifle was more reliable I feel like it might give Desperado a little bit of a boost as well without doing anything to the skill itself. LO has a lot of utility on its side but being less reliant on it for killing weak and/or distant targets, especially in early game, could make Desperado stacking a bit more desirable without touching the skill itself in any way.

For some other things

The difference in loot in stages seems to be a bit off. I’m not sure if this is true or if it’s just a feeling but what I mean by that is that, for example, when comparing the different options that you can get for stage 4, Abyssal Depths seems to have way more lootables than the other options. For stage 2, Aqueducts got 2 free bands which are really good and for some reason can be picked up every time even after the initial unlock challenge if you get decent button RNG allowing you in while solo (or if you play a survivor that can just activate them naturally). In coop the stage is just head and shoulders above wetlands because of the guaranteed bands. I wouldn’t mind a random uncommon for killing the E.Lemurians but this is a bit much IMO.

Void fields is all sorts of silly. The in-game timer and difficulty scaling stops once you go in so it’s practically just feeding you 9 free items including a guaranteed legendary. Some sweet free early exp too. Going in after stage 1 means the game is super easy on at least stages 2 and 3 and you’ve got a major advantage with no downsides for the rest of the run. Going into void fields is practically a no brainer choise. Another one of its problems for me is that it’s just plain dull and boring. It takes like 12-14 minutes to clear it which is a pretty long time in this game. Every cell you’re probably going to stop and stand still for a bit to heal back to full which adds more downtime to it too. You have to clear 9 cells which is honestly a bit absurd when I tend to get bored by the time I’m dealing with the 4th or 5th. I’ve started to hate the place but going in is so valuable that there’s just no way I wouldn’t if I’m aiming for a victory. I REALLY wish that the place was shorter and not quite as valuable as it is. Hell, I wouldn’t mind if it just rewarded you with 5 lunar coins instead or at the very least had the game timer still running so going in would have an actual trade off instead of just being free loot.
Also it’s not very nice when you go through all that trouble and then you the enemies get tesla coil as their final item because that’s just GG, ain’t nothing I’ve found I can do about that. That one is probably even worse than it already is if you’re on a melee survivor.

The final stage is kinda bad, I’m sorry to say. The spawn in and walking to the stage proper and seeing it opening before your eyes for the first time? OK. Every single time after I’ve just been questioning why it forces such a long downtime on you at the beginning of the stage there. That long ass hallway all the way up until the escape pod and the bridge beyond it is completely pointless.
The final boss is kinda cool although I do wish he had 1 or 2 more moves for variety. That said why is the arena designed in such a way as it is? You can stand on one of those bridges and he’ll just keep swinging on thin air below you. Feels a bit weird that you can cheese the boss by simply walking up any of the several ramps that are placed around the stage. I know the bosses in this game aren’t supposed to be super elaborate or anything but it’s a bit of a disappointment when the biggest threat in this 4 phase fight is the flying adds in phase 2 and 3 and the fact that the bosses only dangerous move tends to straight up one shot if it hits you.

The last thing I’d like to say for now is that the game could use some more basic enemy types. A little more enemy variety probably wouldn’t hurt the game.

Anyways, that’s it for now. Games great overall and I’m looking forward to the expansion so keep up the good work.

First of all, I take back I said about Desperado. I made a hasty judgement about it with too little time put into actually playing with it. Although I never did suggest changing the skill in any way, I did say I felt LO edged it out and I no longer think so after taking Desperado for a couple of my latest Eclipse climbs. Hella strong with Purity, like holy hell that item goes from very strong to borderline broken with Desperado bandit.

But alas, some thoughts about some items this time.

Death Mark is a really cool concept that I feel isn’t quite on the mark, pun intended. While I guess the new items in the upcoming expansion might include some new effects that’ll count towards activating it, as it is right now it’s a weird spot. When the stars align and you get enough debuffs on your build to activate it, it’s strength on par with one of the better legendaries. When you don’t, it does literally nothing and it’s worse than green scrap because you’ll have to find a scrapper to turn it into one. Looking at the wiki, there are a total of 7 items that will give debuffs that count towards death marks activation condition (deliberately not counting the elite drops because the game crashing is a more likely outcome than one of those dropping on any run). Dagger and shatterspleen apply the same debuff so getting both does nothing towards activating mark. Mired Urn and Shatterspleen are boss items and therefore quite rare pick ups. Shattered Justice is a legendary and therefore also a very unlikely pick. And it’s not like the rest don’t have some conditions too, except for Chronobauble. Wiki didn’t mention Wake of Vultures but that’s another legendary with a specific condition for duplicate debuffs with other items. If playing on a survivor who can apply some debuff from their natural kit, then that’s (at least) one less step for them and that’s great but for the rest this thing is just so unlikely to ever do anything as it is. I wish the debuff requirement was dropped to 3 for application and drop the extra damage from 50 % to 30 % or something and I might actually hold on to it once in a while instead of shoving it into the first scrapper I find on my way.

Aegis seems like a really underwhelming legendary. Most of the time when I see it apply any barrier that thing is already gone in less than half a second because it deteriorates so fast. Outside of engineer with stationary turrets and fungus, I’ve never seen this thing do anything for me and it’s IMO the worst legendary in the game at the moment.

N’kuhanas Opinion is kinda whack as well. If there’s no enemy in range when you get healing, nothing comes out and it’s not stored in for release when something does come into range either. Considering that, the range from which the skulls can activate is on the smaller side and would much benefit from just funtioning similar to missiles from fireworks or missile launcher where they just come out and seeks something out whereever it is. On top of that the skulls aren’t even all that powerful. I was playing coop on Rainstorm, on Rex of all survivors (!) while having also changed my utility to strides (!!) while running Directive: Harvest (!!!) and the game had even blessed me with a Rejuvenation Rack (!!!). If the item wouldn’t shine in those conditions on the medium difficulty then surely it absolutely never would. And lo and behold it still kinda sucked. I was really hoping that under those kinds of conditions it could maybe take care of some weak enemy here and there if I used strides to go through a bunch of my harvest orbs but it didn’t really do much meanwhile I could just burn through everything with my regular arsenal. Also why does this thing not count passive regen towards your healing for the sake of this item? Makes it way more specific what items it can even do anything with than it needs to be, not to mention that it does nothing by itself as is. Why do leeching effects triggered by the skulls not count towards the item either? Does this thing just exist so that once in a blue moon an engineers with fungus turrets can use it for some extra DPS?

Other than that I’m pretty happy with every item in the game right now except maybe some lunars and some equipment but that’s kinda whatevs.

Some more nitpicks:

  • Please allow players to change the destination of the primordial teleporter after the teleporter event has been started or completed. Outside Eclipse you can at the very least go and complete Bulwark’s Ambry to loop even if you made a mistake but on Eclipse that option does not exist.
    It does require a mistake to happen for this to be an issue so there is user error involved but still. The teleporter event doesn’t change depending on where you’re going so why not allow changing the destination after? Alternatively on Eclipse it would be kinda cool if after the teleporter event the artifact portal would just automatically activate but instead of taking you to Ambry it would just automatically loop you so there would be an out in a situation like this.

  • Speaking of Bulwark’s Ambry, I’ve had a few instances where the reliquary doesn’t take damage when using the key on it. Once this happened twice in a row. This is a slight annoyance in itself but it seems to be an obvious bug.
    The bigger problem with Ambry is that the time between keys dropping from enemies can wary rather wildly thanks to the random nature of it. Sometimes you’re just kinda tapping your fingers there for minutes on end with no keys dropping. Then when that key ends up not even causing damage to the reliquary, it’s a frustrating experience. The area is really cool other than that.

  • Still not a fan of how lunar coins work in general but I won’t go into that again since I guess that battle has been long lost for me. I will however want to point out that when you pick up either of the rightmost lunar items in the bazaar you have to actively try to avoid pointing your camera anywhere near the stupid reroll button or you’ll automatically press it when you’re picking up the item you bought. I’ve learned my lesson after losing several coins to this interaction but I’m left wondering why that button couldn’t be a little further away, facing another direction and/or just not activating from the same button press as the item pickup prompt.

  • The key that shows all your teammates items, money and equipment is quite handy but the icons get so very small when you start gathering more items. The whole thing could just be bigger so the icons wouldn’t need to be scaled down when you get more stuff.
    (Would also be kind of nice if you could see the amount of lunar coins other players have).

  • Both for the aforementioned window but also for the player HUD and scrappers, the game IMO desperately needs an option to automatically sort items into categories. I’d like to have my commons, uncommons and rares appear as per their rarity instead of pickup order. Would also be pretty nice to have all my scrap appear either at the very end or the very beginning of the list.

  • Speaking of scrappers and printers, man are they slow or what. I know that there’s a mod out there to speed them up but would be really nice to see the official version address this. If they have to be whirring away for each individual item then so be it but would be nice if they let me at least dump stuff in them while they’re going to queue everything up.