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Feedback A Cheerful Examination (Looking at Nightly's Progress)

Discussion in 'Starbound Discussion' started by Aroxys, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. Aroxys

    Aroxys Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Well, I've been messing around in Nightly for a while now (with minimal /admin'ing to get things going) and feel like I can provide some proper insight on some of what's been put into the game or changed at this point, so without further ado, I'll begin.


    Combat's in a pretty alright place at the moment, as while contextless contact damage is annoying I do have to give the devs props for giving humanoid enemies a knockback on contact effect instead. Melee and ranged seem to be more or less balanced against one another as guns now deal enough damage to be worthwhile while melee has enough damage and reach (plus knockback has been restored as a mechanic) to be able to plow into enemies and keep them at bay.

    Staves haven't really changed too much from what I can tell from my time messing with the Biostaff (Glow Biome staff weapon) so I won't touch on them for right now.

    -Elements & Status Effects:

    I have to take a second to address this because in the current nightly build status effects are in a rather bizarre place right now. While elemental modifiers still exist and deal the appropriate type of elemental damage, the vast majority of weapons do not in fact have the ability to actually inflict the associated status effect anymore. (Exceptions exist, such as shotguns so far as I've seen, the Water Sword, Grenade Launchers, ect..)

    Given how at the moment enemies do not have any weaknesses or resistances, this means that the only value elemental weapons have at the moment is, or was, their ability to inflict one or more of the four primary status effects. Some, but not all, special attacks retain the ability to inflict status effects but there's no measure of consistency as to which attacks actually do this. A Lance's Energy Whirl attack reliably inflicts elemental status effects, but a Great Sword's Trail Dash does not.

    Given how awkward (and weak) status effects are at the moment, I would think that the last thing one would want to do is just straight-up nerf them. I get that this a nightly build and thus this is subject to change, but Nightlies are previews of what the new version is going to be like, and thus this is the time to make any and all concerns known.

    That being said, more exotic status ailments can be inflicted rather readily if you find the right weapon. The Water Sword inflicts Wet, for example, reducing a target's ability to jump. The Biostaff can inflict Shine, which makes them act as a makeshift light. I don't know for sure, but I'd like to think that this status effect blinds targets too, because anyone hit with this tends to misfire their melee attacks from my personal experiences.

    (As an aside, status-effect-wise the current primary four are still a bit awkward. My personal recommendations are as follows below:

    Frost: Keep it as-is. It's extremely useful to be able to slow down enemies.
    Shock: Might need a bit of a damage buff. It's a crowd control effect and does alright as-is but there are rarely crowds big enough for the damage to become noticeable.
    Fire: Personally I'd think that letting the effect stack or worsen the more it's inflicted would be a good change, but that's just me. Alternatively, make it into a damage debuff too.
    Poison: Maybe cut into the victim's defense and lower it?)

    -Weapon Types:

    : Shortest melee range in the game, no ability to direct the hits, but have a high fire rate and are the only one-handed weapons in the game to have special attacks. That being said, this require the user to get entirely too close to the target to be safe, as monsters and bosses both deal contact damage. NPC enemies don't, but even then there are better options.

    -Recommendations: I don't really have any for this weapon type that wouldn't break the core concept at least somewhat. These weapons would love a reliable ability to slow down the target to allow the melee-user to stay safe, but outside of Frost, Slime, Sandstorm, and Oil there aren't any ways to do that, and on top of that none of the Gloves have the ability to inflict those anyway.

    : Quick, swift, and their core functions have been left untouched since the first build. Problem is that they require the user to be near a target to function which in the case of bosses is always a bad idea. Monsters are hit and miss since you can easily take damage you wouldn't have had to otherwise, and to top it off all one-handed weapons (save for gloves) have no special attacks. (Though all one-handers can work with shields, which... still doesn't exactly make up for it.)

    -Recommendations: Give these things combo attacks like how the gloves do it, but obviously dagger-themed. Maybe give them a generic special attack when paired up with a shield too, like a Parry move for bonus damage.

    Short Swords and Axes: At one point Axes were the happy in-between to Great Swords and Hammers, but now they're one-handers with no visible differences from Short Swords so that's why they're lumped in here. Other than that they're the bog standard one-hander with no special tricks or traits to them.

    -Recommendation: Take the axes in another direction, please. They're utterly redundant when compared to Short Swords and have nothing interesting going for them.

    Great Swords: Like the Short Sword, they're the Mario of two-handers and as a result there's not much to comment on in terms of their functionality. Specials are generally alright, and with the buff to dash moves to render you invulnerable while using them they've gotten better. However, one gripe I have is that it seems that if you run out of energy, you can't swing your weapon anymore period. Considering the huge energy costs of Great Sword special attacks, this can happen irritatingly easily and can force you to switch off a weapon that you should by all means be able to continue to use.

    -Recommendation: Just let it attack normally during burnout and it'll be fine.

    Hammers: ...I really have no idea what Chucklefish was thinking here. Hammers more or less have the same damage they did prior to the combat update, but now have a windup mechanic associated with them that slows them down to the point where Greatswords are literally the better option by default, unless you're using Energy Aura, which is admittedly quite good.

    Nightly changes nerf this weapon type even harder still, requiring you to not only wind up the weapon, but that you must be on the ground as well to do so. This weapon is incredibly slow, and honestly its DPS is lowered to the point where its only use is as a high burst damage weapon in a game where you have weapons without these restrictions where they kill just as fast without the slowdown or windup.

    -Recommendation: Stop nerfing this thing into the ground, maybe? Up the damage to compensate for just how stupidly slow this thing is? Skills like Energy Aura are fun to use and almost make up for it, so start there maybe?

    Spears: Two-handed weapons used for their exceptional reach and the ability to aim in any direction. They can be held out to continually damage the target lightly for a fraction of the weapons damage and has light knockback.

    If the Hammers were rendered useless, then the Spears were kicked up into a useful spot. Their reach, power, speed, and ability to be held out gives them a remarkable ability to out-reach every other melee weapon in the game (not counting abilities) and just generally being a solid defensive option. Their abilities are a little on the gimmicky side, but few are bad and some (like Rocket Spear) actually let the weapon double as an element-thrower. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that there's a spear for every job now.

    -Recommendation: Just plain don't touch this. The static knockback has been reduced to the point where it's not 'pin the target up the wall and wait' anymore, which was about the only truly OP thing about this weapon. The skills are mostly all usable as well.

    Ranged in General:

    -Recommendation: Bring back alternate ammo types, please. I know some of them just weren't plain worth it (split/triple split shot anyone?) but on the flip side there were some like the plasma roller and sticky bullets that were fun to use and gave ranged weapons more variety than they would have had otherwise.

    Beyond that, the ranged weapons are actually in a good spot and I don't feel that they need to be changed beyond the obvious 'two-handers are outclassing one-handers.'

    Pistols: Basic ranged weapons that have a modest firing speed, decent power, and oftentimes middling energy usage. These are the jack of all trades ranged weapon and aside from the fact that it falls behind the two-handers due to a lack of ability they're otherwise perfectly reliable.

    Machine Pistols fall under this category as well since they're really just pistols that happen to trade damage for firing rate. Most one-handed weapons do have the niche of being more powerful when dual-wielded than comparable two-handers, but right-click abilities cuts into this hard.

    -Recommendation: Just give these things combo abilities of some form to give them a niche not covered by Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles, or Rocked Launchers.

    Assault Rifles: Basically a bigger, nastier Machine Pistol that functions more or less the same way. Tends to fire in highly accurate bursts.

    -Recommendation: These are good as-is.

    Shotgun: Basic weapon that fires out a fan spread of bullets, each one being a fraction of the weapon's listed damage. Varies in speed, power, and firing rate wildly to the point where it can be a devastating but energy guzzling nightmare to something more automatic.

    Actually, I'm just going to go ahead and lump Sniper Rifles in here too since while they are polar opposites in concept they do have similar stat ranges and even share a couple special attacks.

    -Recommendation: I also think these are fine.

    Rocket Launchers: Slow, powerful, energy hungry, these weapons are like the hammers of ranged weapons... except these aren't total garbage. Their abilities range from firing off guided rockets to firing entire volleys of weaker rockets, and tend to be pretty predictable in function if nothing else.

    -Recommendation: Leave 'em be.

    Grenade Launchers: Same principles as the Rocket Launchers, but with the advantage of being able to be used with just one hand, allowing one to use two at once or use one with a shield. Interestingly, they can also apply status effects reliably on top of dealing decent damage, but the explosion can have some bizarre properties. If it hits your target dead-center, it flings it forward toward you rather than back.

    This can be a blessing in disguise, however, since if you have a melee in your other hand for a follow-up, this can function as crude, exploding magnet to drag enemies straight into your blade. Other times, however, this is a huge annoyance since ranged fighters tend to want to keep enemies at range, not drag them closer.

    That and their extremely slow refire time leaves you vulnerable in a firefight, while their damage is low enough that a comparable Rocket Launcher is often a better choice.

    -Recommendation: This thing is so bizarre that I almost want to think that its 'drag enemies toward you' niche isn't just a happy accident and is indeed intentional, and thus it has its own niche for a hybrid ranged/melee character. Granted, that may not be the case so I'd want to think that it'd be better to just make it so the explosion knocks enemies away instead of dragging them toward you.

    Also, the usual gripe of wanting some kind of special attack applies, but I'm not totally sure how the devs would even go about it. This weapon type may plain just not need it.

    Staves: Outside of the Biostaff, I haven't messed with these too much since I am still largely not fond of how they work on a personal level. Plus I haven't reached the point to where I can make these freely.


    With the new update comes a new batch of crafting stations and the ability to upgrade each individual station, among other changes.

    Crafting Stations:

    I'm seriously on the fence about this. On the one hand, having more crafting stations to make means taking up a lot more room and eating up a lot more resources to fully upgrade across the board, which is a huge pain in the rear. Add in the fact that nearly none of these things can actually be stacked on top of each other and you're all but stuck either having a big ship to put this all on or a planetary base to work with.

    On the other hand, this new system is much better organized, to the point where each individual crafting station now has sub-tabs for various types of craftibles while simultaneously retaining the search function of previous iterations. Where this new system falls flat, however, is the introduction of crafting times.

    Each individual object now has a crafting time associated with it, which is haphazardly handled at best. The biggest problem is that you basically can't do a single thing while letting your crafting station work, which ranges from a mild inconvenience to a massive time-waster depending on what you're doing. Mass-forging metal bars, for example, can easily take 5+ minutes to fully finish if you have a large enough load.

    Switching off your selected recipe also stops all current crafting and erases any progress, which is a huge annoyance when you're making crafting stations, weapons, or armor, all of which take a few seconds to make. The part that really annoys the living hell out of me is the fact that at least for forging, the Cucklefish devs actually had a working system in the Koala builds.

    Remember the old Forge? The thing that you stick ores/ect. into and let it go like the Forge from Minecraft? You could set one up to do a job (or set multiple forges up to do multiple jobs, or to split the same job,) faff about the entire time, and come back to find it still in progress. In fact, the Refinery still works this way, which makes the current crafting time debacle embarrassing.

    The fact that I find it better to just switch away from the game and browse the internet while waiting for crafting to be done is something I should hope that Chucklefish isn't proud about. I play this game to have fun, not sit there enduring a freemium/MMO-style system specifically designed to waste your time and annoy you into purchasing limiter removals/make you spend money on a monthly fee (though admittedly the latter is becoming mercifully more rare.)

    I cannot fathom why the devs thought this was a good idea. This doesn't add anything to the game, it detracts from it and forces artificial longevity.

    -Recommendation: Get rid of crafting times, or fix it so you can queue up jobs and walk away. There is no reason people should have to sit there and wait for one painfully slow job to complete at a time. I mean, for crying out loud this is the space age, start acting like it!


    Well, farming hasn't really changed too much here. The addition of sprinklers has made this process more hands-off than it used to be, but I'll go ahead and tell you fine folks that you shouldn't abandon your more manual hatch waterers just yet. The Sprinklers fire in arcs, some of them going 5+ blocks high to hit spots closer to them, so you need room for these to even work. Other than that, growing plants works exactly like it does in the stable build, so the whole 'growth requirements' thing hasn't been implemented yet.

    I'll go ahead and cover this more later when there's something really substantial to work with.


    Food now has the ability to rot, and has been heavily balanced overall. Each individual piece of food now takes up an individual slot in your inventory, and at least in Causal mode the 'full stomach' debuff/buff now provides a Red Stim Pack-esque regen buff for the duration, which eliminates one of my previous complaints about this system. (That food buffs are utterly useless because the granted buffs go away long before the 'full stomach' debuff does.)

    Refrigerators can be used to halt the rotting of food, and the Outpost and exploration can help net you fridges long before you can actually craft them yourself, so that's not such a big deal since ideally the tutorial mission would be very brief and over inside of maybe an hour tops.

    Honestly, my biggest gripe is about how food quickly overtakes your entire inventory, especially if you do any sort of farming. Now, I'm willing to give Chucklefish the benefit of the doubt since they aren't done rebalancing this system yet (individual pieces of food are slated to have their pixel values rebalanced in accordance to the fact that you can't cram entire stacks of them into your inventory, and how hard it is to grow them.) However, I'm keeping a close and critical eye on this.

    After all, this isn't the first time they tried implementing a boneheaded mechanic that no one asked for and no one wanted, and this is toeing the line as-is.


    After advocating change and improvements for the pet system for so long, I am immensely happy that Chucklefish finally got around to making this system more than a barebones joke that barely functions and needed mods to do anything at all. With the new slew of unique monsters and the ability to capture literally anything short of bosses, there's no shortage of critters and machines to fight at your side.

    Only being able to have just one of these things out at a time is actually a needed balance chance, since I've seen firsthand just how absolutely broken monsters can be. Projectile-spitters tend to deal their full damage value per shot of their projectile attacks, meaning that two or three can carve through entire armies like a hot knife through butter. Even now, a Fennix is a perfect example of just how devastating these things can be. Just catch one, let it out, and give it a chance to spit fire.

    However, I am far from considering this a finished product. Monsters can have a hard time keeping up with you, either because they have low base speed or because land monsters are absolute potatoes at navigating the environment even with the dev's improvements to their AI. Flying/Phasing monsters can keep up easier, but you still need to pick your pet carefully if you want something that can keep up with you and fight with you.

    Yeah, you can now recall monsters to pack them up when the fight is over, but I personally enjoy keeping mine out with me.

    While I can't remember the name, there's an old, defunct, abandoned mod that was made during the Koala versions that basically added nearly everything Chucklefish did but better. Most notably, small land monster's AI had been improved to the point where they had no problem traversing any terrain, and if you went someplace they couldn't follow they would immediately Blink to your position no matter where they were prior.

    Chucklefish's pet AI can't do that yet.

    -Recommendation: Take another look at land pet AI pathfinding and give it at least a once-over, because these guys frequently fall down holes or get stuck in other ways, and cannot just teleport to you, forcing you to recall them then call them back out. It's kind of a nitpick, but at the same time it's one I care about enough to complain to begin with.

    Environments and the EPP:

    To be perfectly frank, I still have no love for the way Chucklefish is gating worlds. Radiation/Extreme Heat/Extreme Cold feel like lazy cop-outs when they originally had the makings of a much more brutal planetary environment system in the form of Temperature, and designated certain items to counter that.

    While Cold was the only temp-based system to have been implemented, it none the less applied to any world of a certain type and required specialized equipment (or armor of a high enough tier to just ignore.) You actually had to work against whatever world you're on, on top of needing to provide your own breathable atmosphere at times.

    As of now, temperature is basically an annoying but not impossible to surpass damage-dealing system that just deals damage in flat increments, and can be outpaced enough for surface scouring or light mining with enough forms of regen and healing items. The EPP is less a necessity and more a convenience that makes it easier to pass through the 'gates' barring you from worlds of a certain type.

    Now, the EPP Chips, on the other hand, are a nice little modifier that grants you additional benefits and is something I actually genuinely like. Giving these back-mounted borderline inconveniences something of a practical function is a step in the right direction.

    -Recommendation: If you're going to keep the EPP system, take a look at the most recent plans for the Matter Manipulator. Having just one EPP system that we can upgrade over the course of the game to deal with more planetary hazards at once, upgrade to have more slots, ect. would be preferable in my books to a quartet of EPP packs that one has to constantly switch between.

    Also, I know it's not likely to last since this is a Nightly but having the EPP system remove the old chip you previously installed into it and put it back into your inventory instead of destroying the old one while applying the new one would be nice, instead of losing the previously installed chip for good. A few are just stuff you're going to get rid of anyway, but rarer chips like Gravity almost become too valuable to actually use when there's a sense of finality involved like this.

    Procedurally Generated Quests and Crew Members:

    I almost forgot about this one! While PGQs are nothing new, the fact that you can recruit random people/tenants into your crew to provide you with passive bonuses and a few more guns to work with is actually something I'm kind of excited about, especially since I'm one of those lazy shmucks who is more than happy to mark down common quest locations with Flags and use them to transport to and from these locations to speed up the process unless the quest explicitly says to bring someone with you.

    The variety of quests has been expanded upon, and on top of that the reward bags for clearing these actually have decent stuff in them this time, which appear to be based on the planetary threat level or the overriding tier of the tenant's room. It's still got kinks to work out (crew members can be cloned if you order them to follow you then leave them on your ship, leave the ship, then come back yourself. This duplicates your entire crew.) Though it's a promising system

    I think that's it for now, so happy Starbounding people!
    Uzkniso, FloomRide, UmbraTech and 5 others like this.
  2. Jareix Cryvix

    Jareix Cryvix The Waste of Time

    I think that most of the four primary status effects work just fine as is save for a few things. Shock should have a bigger chain radius and poison should be armor ignorant. Fire as it is is actually not bad. It seems to be a percentage based damage ticker, something I noticed when testing the "heated bolt gun" (from a mod I'm working on) on a "defenseless" punchy... The fire ended up ticking off 901 damage... Something that confused me quite a bit, as mother poptops would only take 10 a tick and unarmored humanoids would take 5 damage. It would seem to me that fire damage ticks off a 20th of an enemy's health a second, which I think is a pretty useful effect as is.
    Hammers definitely do need to be rebuffed, even if only with damage. If my memory serves me correct, in the koala versions hammers were the most OP things ever. Big damage in wide arks. For axes, I think making their strength being their special/right-click attacks might not be a bad idea. While being the obsolete middle ground of hammers and broadswords base damage wise, I think giving their special attacks a distinct advantage over the other two-handers might actually make them not-so-obsolete (such as something like nox's targeted blink slash. like the tracer bullet for snipers.). Spears I agree are fine as is, and broadswords will be fine as long as they can attack without energy, even if slower than normal. One handers are fine except for the daggers. Implementing a glove-like combo system for them would probably be a better balance. Though they should really change the on-contact-damage so that you can't be struck by the thing you are hitting...

    As you said, they're at a pretty good point. Just fix the grenade launchers and buff up the pistols. Keep in mind that one handers are mostly meant to be able to be used with utility items (bandages, flashlights, grapples, rail hooks, etc. ) but can be as good as a two handed weapon when dual wielded. No clue how to do combos with pistols though. But different ammo types would probably e a welcome change now that bullet physics are at a good point now where things like accelerating bullets and slow explodes ones would be welcomed back for adding variance.

    Queuing up items... That's all that's needed honestly. I'd be fine with timed crafting as long as it can be queued up. Maybe adding some extra usability with higher tier crafters as they should be able to craft things faster.

    Pets: you pretty much got it... Just make it so that unique mobs are genuinely rare and unique so that it's actually a challenge to catch them all. Seriously... I miss having planets populated with unspeakable horrors and vicious fire breathing rabbit-saurs...

    Food: I think one of the points they are trying to nail with having unstackable food items is to give an incentive to make higher grade food items. Before, there wasn't much of a reason beyond maybe better benefits that weren't worth crafting the needlessly complicated food for. Another thing to keep in mind is that food can't stack as they all have separate metadata now with the rotting timer. Each food item has a timer that ticks down every second. Keeping track of each food item in a stack might be a bit difficult. But even if they do stack food, maybe they should limit how much certain foods can stack. I can't imagine carrying more than one cake in a slot...

    Hmm... I have to agree with you on the EEP department. The old system was much better. My biggest gripe with it was how easily one could cheese it with stacks upon stacks of campfires. Changing things up with other things to make the game as much about fighting the planets as fighting mobs and mining things.

    Also, what are your thoughts on the linear missions and story? I think, if they make a bunch of unique linear missions outside of the story, it would be a much more prominent and beneficial addition to the game.

    (also, sorry for bad writing. It's pretty late here and I'm not in a typing mood...)
    Shaggyd0g likes this.
  3. jjcm04

    jjcm04 Twenty-three is number one

    What I would do for the rot timer so it is easier and to allow you to stack food again is almost like they did in Don't Starve. If you add more food to the stack it resets the timer by a small amount so there would be a general timer that can be reset a tiny bit when you add more 'fresh food' to it.
    FloomRide and gameboytj like this.
  4. Shaggyd0g

    Shaggyd0g Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    It's great to see some actual constructive criticism instead of, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I don't like this, it's bad fix it"
    Kudos guys :D
    jakecool19 likes this.
  5. The Merfox

    The Merfox Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    The ability to queue crafts would be the best. Just have the queue be in a bar just under the "UPGRADE" button, let you add to it and remove from it, and most importantly still be going on when the crafting station isn't selected.
    Jareix Cryvix likes this.
  6. Jareix Cryvix

    Jareix Cryvix The Waste of Time

    Maybe queues can also be a feature of upgrading things. Tier one tables can queue only one thing at a time, tier two can queue up to three, and tier three can queue up to five. That'd also give them another reason for upgrading tables beyond better recipes.
  7. Lazer

    Lazer Existential Complex

    I still don't understand why crafting times are in this game at all. What is the argument for it?
  8. Jareix Cryvix

    Jareix Cryvix The Waste of Time

    We... Don't know...
    Maybe it's in place as a placeholder for crafting queues, as stuff does take time to craft...
  9. Lazer

    Lazer Existential Complex

    Wouldn't a queue still involve crafting time though? I mean I understand that you don't have to sit there and watch, but that's not my question.

    What is it meant to add to the game, or what would be the "downside" of crafting being instantaneous?

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