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Feedback Starbound Replay - An old fan's experience

Discussion in 'Starbound Discussion' started by Squishybrick, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. Squishybrick

    Squishybrick Subatomic Cosmonaut

    Three times now I've played starbound in what I'd call a "serious" run. Gathering resources, exploring worlds, and doing quests..

    The first time I played, the game was still in early development, and I mocked it for practically saying "donate 1000$ and we'll make a statue of you in our game". In retrospect, I haven't found any statues of specific players, so I guess nobody actually did that. I remember the planet exploration being nice, the monsters suspiciously looking like pokemon, and the combat being clunky, but stable. Initially, there was no storyline, and game progression boiled down to "go here and mine resources to craft better armor, then craft a boss, but make sure to do it inside of a box so you can cheaply kill it, because bosses are ridiculously OP, and you're not gonna be able to beat them otherwise. Rinse and repeat". So things got boring quick when I'd realized I was basically playing a single-player MMO.. Which it felt like even more when I noticed the game having weird multiplayer lag, which shouldn't exist in a single-player game. Of course it was a good kind of lag, which froze everything except you, letting you take a few easy swipes at enemies before everything re-aligned with your current time frame, and monsters suddenly took 3-4 swings worth of damage, which made me kinda feel like I'd performed some kinda anime ninja move on them. My main quibble, was that you couldn't name planets, so you could never really "conquer" a planet.. You could build a village on it, kill every living things and raise a flag, but you were still just some dude on [insert name here] IV Solaris prime ect.

    The second time I played the game on a serious run, was when it was officially announced to be "complete". There was a storyline now, actual quests involving a plot, and they even fixed the boss-battles! Now you went through pre-designated arenas through quests to kill them, and they were actually beatable through basic usage of skills and good equips. The combat was updated, and became a bit smoother, but was still just a bit clunky. One thing I didn't like was that they chose the "borderlands" style of weapon variety, which meant a theoretically infinite number of different weapons, but in reality was just the same weapon with a slightly different skin and randomly-generated stats. Regardless, I had fun, I collected stuff, I upgraded my ship. filled it with about 15 female florans, 13 or so whom were janitors for some reason, and settled down on a planet. But what disappointed me, was that most of the bigger-scale issues with the game, were all still here, and totally ignored.. The weird multiplayer-lag was still there, you still couldn't name planets (bookmarking does NOT count), and beyond progressing in story-based quests, the game still felt like a half-hearted MMO.. Go here, collect resources, scan this, loot that, now craft better stuff and go here, ect.. It was more fun to collect things, since with the ship upgrading, I could actually just build my home on the ship, which meant no more back-tracking to a planet whenever I needed something specific. But that fun quickly ran out when I started to realize the game had turned into one big scavenger hunt. And there was nothing of real value to gain from collecting and crafting food, or finding new weapons, since there's a rainbow sword you get which is basically the strongest weapon of them all, so weapon-foraging became pointless after that. So, after a while, I just stopped..

    Now, here I am again, for my third play-through. What brought me back, was mention of vehicles, mechs, more updated weapons, and space stations, which to me sounded great, because it was if nothing else an alternate solution to the problem they still refuse to solve. Who wants their own planet when you can have your own space station? Only after a short while of playing, I immediately discovered that apparently character progress meshes together, as when I entered the ark, all of the NPC's that I hadn't collected yet with my new character, were already there, acting as if I'd already done the quests to unlock them, so that made me worry a bit. There was a striking moment of goodness when I'd gotten my mech, and started exploring space stations and ships, which added a new element to the game, but as I'd found out before, like many other aspects, this was just another brief novelty to catch my attention, which quickly became a bore, just being another way to gather various resources, and the fun quickly drained from the experience.
    The game still feels like a generic MMO, my hopes were fading, so I figured out how to create a station, hoping this might be the turning point that finally gets me hooked back in. But no.. When I finally get the station, walk inside and start imagining all the wonderful ways I can create a cool place to live, what do I find when I look to the "expansion slots"?.. A requirement to dig up a frankly disturbingly large amount of boring useless ore, to create them. On one hand, it's nice that they found a way to keep the obsolete ores useful, instead of making them just something to dump into your pixel processor once in a while, but on the other hand, WHY? Why the heck would you make us have to grind our butts off to expand what should've been the core concept of the game? Starbound's gone from "fun little exploration game that's basically terraria++" from "kinda boring MMO'ey game that's basically 2D borderlands, but with space exploration" to "a completely boring MMO'ey game that's basically the tragic offspring of terraria if it was taken into a dark shed by destiny/borderlands and fell victim to violent un-consented mating."

    The game had such promise starting out.. But every time I'd came back to it, it was bigger and grander, sure, but the little metaphorical pimples that were the game's initial problems just kept growing as the game developed and they were ignored, and they started growing into lumpy tumors, and then when the game got even bigger and grander, those same problems, left completely untreated, have gotten so big they've overshadowed the game itself..

    Now look at it.. It's not a fun exploration-based sandbox game anymore.. Now it's just a novelty.. A tool for nerdy
    people to create their own little sci-fi based worlds out of, and then pointlessly attempt to make a community out of said world, and then get sad when nobody cares about the world they put so much work into, and move on with their lives a month later...

    It's sad.. Not for the nerdy people, I mean, but for the game itself.. It had potential.. But the devs have slowly but steadily continued driving it in the wrong direction just a bit too far, and now it's just a shadow of what it could've been..

    Or maybe I'm completely wrong and this is exactly where the devs wanted to take the game.. In which case, I guess mission accomplished.. You made a boring MMO'ey sci-fi sandbox game.. Hope you feel proud of that, because I certainly don't..

    Here's the thing about MMO'ey games.. There's usually a point where, after playing for a long time, you come to the realization of "what am I DOING with my life?" and you just stop, and go back to being a productive member of society..

    The difference between this game, and terraria, is that terraria does not have MMO elements, so even though I've completely 100% completioned that game TWICE, I can STILL come back to it any day of the week, and have fun playing it. Why? Because it's FUN! The combat is fluid and frantic, and the weapon variety actually HAS variety, and isn't just 1000 iterations of the same gun with slightly different stats.

    Starbound isn't naturally an MMO, so why would you want to give your game the elements of a finite experience, which grows dull and lifeless as you play it, until you come to the conclusion "there's nothing left to do here", and just stop playing the game forever? Sure you've got niche appeal with the "people who like building little worlds and awkwardly attempting to invite people in to them to admire their world" crowd, but is that really the extent of your aspirations?

    I did notice they tried to breathe some re-usable life into the game with "deployable settlements", but again,
    not only do you need to grind a lot to achieve one, but there's not enough level of customization with said settlements
    for them to be a feature that makes you want to continue playing the game, or come back to it.. (like, for example, customizeable villager behaviour/speech lines)

    It's as if they had the foundation for a basic but very high-potential game, but slowly ruined it by frantically trying to turn it into something resembling other games that were more popular at the time (minecraft, borderlands, animal crossing, ect)..
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
    Pingeh likes this.
  2. florinblain

    florinblain Astral Cartographer

    Delete or move your existing universe files, and your progress in the universe will reset to zero when you start a new character.

    Terraria may not be as grindy, but the combat isn't hugely different in my experience, nor is the weapon variety. Why do you think that's the case?

    What makes you think people who play games like this care about whether they can get other people to admire what they've done? Creating builds, for many people, is its own reward, not a means to an apparent end of being admired by others. (Much the same as how people who do crafts, etc. don't necessarily feel compelled to parade them around in front of everyone.)

    You might just as well describe gaming in general in the same terms, no? Or, really, any hobby or passtime which may not be considered "productive" in a meaningful way by others.

    Overall I don't agree that the gameplay of Starbound is all that different from that of Terraria, so I'm not sure why you would think one is fun and the other isn't; I do agree that the latest features added to the game demand altogether too much grinding and should be adjusted (in fact I've already modded the relevant values in my own game to a level I'm happier with).
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
  3. Squishybrick

    Squishybrick Subatomic Cosmonaut

    Am I really required to do that just to start an official new game?.. Yet another flaw they seem to have looked over..

    Are you serious? Have you ever even played terraria? Here's a fun example. Open up two different tabs of youtube. In one tab, look up "Starbound boss fight",
    and in the other, look up "terraria boss fight".

    Starbound's combat is that of a platformer, but terraria is only a platformer until you start getting items that increase your mobility and evolve the game into
    something more fun and free-flowing, like the grappling hook, wings, or other various abilities..

    Starbound's mobility abilities don't really make the game feel more fluid, they just feel more like "things that help you reach harder to get areas".. Like an actual
    solid upgrade in an SNES-style platformer game.

    As for the weapons, that I know you have to be kidding about. With starbound, all the weapons literally feel the same. The movements are clunky, almost robotic,
    and reminiscent of maplestory's combat system. With terraria, the weapons are extremely varied, and feel smooth. You don't feel like you're operating machinery when
    you use them, you feel like you're actually using them. A good example would be the magic weapons in terraria. Where starbound just has a small variety of magic weapons,
    which are both late-game and hard to find, terraria gives a huge variety of magic weapons, each with specialized attacks. It's actually fun to create weapon loadouts in terraria
    because the stat boosts and attack capabilities of using different armors and weapons together give entirely new play styles, while in starbound, it's just "use whichever has the highest numbers", the classic MMO-tactic.

    Are you new here?.. I'm gonna take a guess and say you're new here.. Making fan-made worlds and attempting to build a community around them used to be less than half the community of starbound, sadly, is now over 75% of it.. Mainly because the multiplayer is boring on its own, and secondly, all the lovely detailed furniture assets in the game just
    beg players to be used as set pieces for making their own little fictional worlds. In the long span of playing through starbound, I've only ever seen TWO kinds of people who
    wanted to play multiplayer with me.. They were either total apathetic pros, who'd walk around my ship and criticize my decor, before dumping a pile of suspiciously-gained valuable items on me then trot off disinterestedly, or some slightly-nerdy teen who created a recreation of a space-themed world (that was totally not just a bootleg fan-made starwars rp world), who wanted me to be a part of it, and maybe also act as a mod to help him out.

    Well aren't you just a glowing ray of sunshine.. Many games have a definite end, and leave you feeling happy or proud of your achievements.. In starbound, it's more like the feeling you get when your shift is finally over at work.. The MMO-ey elements work against giving the game any real feeling of climax because after you've gotten "the strongest biggest numbered gear in the land", there really is nothing left... Except making your own personal world and inviting people to it, that is.

    And that's just a nail in the coffin, isn't it.. This is something I described on my 2nd visit during my playthrough.. You shouldn't have to mod a game, to make it better..
    That's just sad.. It makes the devs look like lazy morons who don't care about refining the game in any significant ways, and are more interested in adding things that
    just randomly came across their mind that morning. There are huge differences between starbound and terraria.. I wouldn't say one is overall better than the other, but
    I at least have the clarity of mind to notice they both do things very differently.. I've played both of them extensively, and I know where each one's strengths lay, and their
    weaknesses.. Terraria's strength is it's gameplay, starbound's strength is its exploration and building mechanics. Terraria's weakness is the crawling pace of development for it,
    and starbound's weakness is, ironically, the same thing, but in a different light.

    I'm almost entirely convinced starbound devs do NOT listen to any actual criticism from their players, and only accept creative input, because though they continue to make
    the game "bigger and better", they never take time to polish the game in any meaningful way, never taking care of the flaws that have been there since day one..
    Pingeh likes this.
  4. whipping post

    whipping post Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    jeez dude you're being kind of a dick
  5. florinblain

    florinblain Astral Cartographer

    Oh, yeah. Basic file management. It's real difficult.

    Yeah, I have. I don't need to look it up. I think their gameplay is virtually identical for the most part. Starbound has plenty of mobility options that make it play similarly to Terraria. Triple jump, air dash, wall jump, spike sphere, grappling hooks, EPP augments; the only thing Starbound obviously lacks is flight. Both games rely on advanced platform mechanics for their sophisticated gameplay in much the same way. And I have no idea what you're smoking if you honestly think Terraria's awkward single animation weapon attacks are less clunky than Starbound's...

    You're pulling numbers out of absolutely nowhere to support your point. You know what you're not seeing when you're playing Starbound multiplayer? The number of people who don't play Starbound multiplayer, and don't care whether you or anyone else gets to walk around their builds.

    Speak for yourself? I have no interest in inviting people to my world and I sure don't feel like Starbound is work, nor do I particularly care how strong my gear is. I reached the end of the tiered progression and main quest line in a couple of weeks and now I build and mod for fun. If you think I was being pessimistic with my point, then it went entirely over your head.

    The whole point of modding a game is to make it better.

    You need to be less combative. No one is going to waste their time listening to your criticism if this is how you go about offering it. If I was a dev and someone called me a lazy moron I would summarily ignore them. I'm relatively new to Starbound and you attempted to colour my opinion as inferior to yours due to that fact. You want to know what I think, though? I think a lot of the people who've been with the game for years are so embittered by whatever's happened throughout its development that they're incapable of seeing the good in the product it's become, and to me you are pretty much a prime example of that.
    DraikNova and whipping post like this.
  6. Squishybrick

    Squishybrick Subatomic Cosmonaut

    i don't think a lot of people besides me feel that way, but yes, that does pretty much explain me outright.. I wanted starbound to be fun, I wanted to enjoy it.. But just one
    too many things happened in succession that just pushed it away from me, and now, I can't bring myself to enjoy it anymore..

    But not because starbound sucks, or anything like that.. But because they initially made starbound to be a game people like me would like, but slowly turned it in a different direction to the preferences of different people, so all I could do was watch it just slowly gain distance from my own preferences, like an island survivor watching a cruise liner heading straight for them, but then tortuously slowly taking a U-turn and sailing in the opposite direction.

    Damn straight I am embittered.. Imagine if you were a huge nintendo fan, and a new metroid game was coming out, but then when the game was released it turned out to be something completely different that you had no interest in because it wasn't what you or the past evidence of the game's development cycle had in mind..

    -thinks of metroid prime federation force-

    ... Wait, that's not really a metaphorical example, that kind of actually happened..
    Pingeh likes this.
  7. Trenix

    Trenix Astral Cartographer

    I think you came to Starbound expecting it to be Terraria 2. Unfortunately the game went in other directions. Directions which personally I prefer. Terraria is mostly about combat, which I can honestly careless about. Starbound is more about adventure, survival, building, and everything else. Also people say that the combat is better in Terraria, but it's not that far off anyway. I played Terraria many years ago. The focus on combat was so heavy that it actually got me to quit. I mean if I want an action orientated game, I got 3D games for that. Also this game is great to play with actual friends, not just random people. I also don't even play this game unless someone's playing with me, because otherwise no one can appreciate what you create, find, or even do.
    M_Sipher likes this.
  8. Squishybrick

    Squishybrick Subatomic Cosmonaut

    I never once expected starbound to be "terraria 2".. I respected it for being its own game, and I did like what it did differently.

    But the thing is, I'm not a builder.. I love exploring, and getting loot and such, but when the weapons you can loot aren't unique, that kind kills that aspect for me.

    I would've loved to come to a compromise with starbound making my own space station, since though I hate building I love decorating and making themes, the sheer
    amount of resources needed to do that were just too insane to get into.

    I have a very specific preference when it comes to games.. Weapon variety. Stuff like dynasty warriors, worms, hitman: Blood money, TF2, binding of isaac, and terraria
    all have massive weapon variety. I love using the different kinds of weapons and forging new techniques or play-styles around them to give myself new challenges.

    But I can't even do that with starbound, because the weapons just aren't balanced. The short-sword and shield combo is pointless because shields break FAR too easily,
    even the legendary ones, daggers are pointless because the sacrifice for damage and range doesn't balance out with increased attack speed, so every sensible player
    will always ends up circling back to using either 2-handed swords, or hammers, because the 2-handed sword has both range, damage, a combo attack, and capability for a special
    attack, and a good hammer can typically one-hit monsters at your level. Spears are only good for trolling NPC enemies. As for ranged weapons, you come across the same issue with pistols and assault rifles, that they just aren't as effecient at killing as sniper rifles or bazookas, and once you get a bazooka that has controllable missiles, or a staff, you can troll
    NPC enemies even harder.

    There's a lot to starbound to like and hate, and the building quality's just a small section. I don't do building, but I do love exploring and having my own designated territory.
    Exploring would be more fun if the weapons were more fun to use. And not more fun as in "more like terraria", but just more functional, and less imbalanced. Making a planetary base wouldn't feel so pointless if the NPC's you lured into living there did more than say a few repeated lines and occasionally sold you things, and making a space-station wouldn't feel pointless if doing so didn't require HOURS of grinding.

    I'm not put off by it because I'm impatient.. I was the guy who literally took the time to collect literally every item/weapon/furniture piece in terraria and create a gallery to hold them all.. Twice.. But it's just not very fun to do things in starbound.. Finding the occasional village or loot chest is nice, but the monster never change much, and all feel the same,
    the biomes don't really have anything going for them besides different trees and soil colors, and if you're in it for the story, the game can be disappointingly short.

    You know what the game needs, besides all the things I mentioned? More difficulty.. It all feels like a dull grind because it's all too easy.. One you figure out monster's attack
    patterns, and get a weapon that lets you safely troll NPC's the game has nothing left to throw at you except the occasional boss. There's many different ways to up the difficulty,
    that wouldn't include making a hardcore character..

    1. A new star/planet-class that holds monsters far deadlier than anything else in the game, that take many hits to kill even with the best weapon, and can take you out with just
    a few hits even with the best armor. Not only that but monster density could be increased 2-fold, and the planet itself could hold a special ore which has no function except
    being extremely valuable. With no way to increase your strength past a certain point, these planets would stay dangerous at any time, and would basically be a fresh outlet
    for players who just want to grind money but want a hearty challenge while doing so. Maybe you could call them dark stars, which hold the planets that have the accompanying
    biome, or something.

    2. REAL mid-game bosses, not just "a monster leaking pixels who has 2x health and damage, but actual fully-characterized boss-like enemies that you can find on planets,
    which are very hard to kill, do not despawn, and drop impressive loot when killed. They can be rare, like only 1 per every 3 planets or so.

    3. Upgraded NPC Combat AI. They're just far too easy to troll and kill effortlessly with nothing but a spear and some extra blocks, or a staff and a bazooka.
    The simplest solution would be to add a "retreat" function, where if they are hit by either a special attack, or a single attack that takes over 1/3 of their health
    at once, they run away quickly, and if left alone too long, heal themselves. A more delicate solution would be that, combined with teamwork AI, making weaker enemies
    purposefully hang behind the more-healthy ones, possibly having enough time to heal, as healthier enemies attack quicker and more desperately to attempt to distract
    the player from targeting the weaker ones.

    Or, of course, if they "really" want to copy borderlands, why not add a "new game+" feature? Where the player's heavily-geared-up character simply resets with all his
    stuff in-tact, and has to go through it all again, but with the monsters staying just as hard, and only getting harder, with the newer weapons and armor also being stronger.
    Of course they'd have to incorporate a level system to do that,.
  9. Trenix

    Trenix Astral Cartographer

    You just told me you didn't expect a Terraria 2, but all you came back to me with was talk about combat. You talked about weapons, loot, bosses, combat ai, and monsters. I mean sure we can have some more combat improvements, I'm not going against that. However again, this game doesn't revolve around combat and it doesn't appear like it's the main focus either. Therefore I understand why you're not having the best time with the game. Many negative reviews and criticism is always from the Terraria crowd expecting exactly what you're asking for. A combat focused game.

    When I played Terraria, I felt that strong focus on combat. I personally didn't enjoy it because it was such a strong focus. You expect adventuring to be about loot and combat, where for me it's about finding resources to make my own things. I enjoy building, surviving, creating colonies, getting crew, doing missions, farming, decorating, upgrading, collecting, and crafting. That's a lot of what Terraria was not about.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    DraikNova likes this.
  10. DraikNova

    DraikNova Phantasmal Quasar

    I'm not sure you understand weapons. You dual-wield 1-handed weapons, which results in you doing about 1.5x DPS compared to a 2-handed equivalent, and daggers, if dual-wielded, attack so often that you can stunlock enemies. I pretty much only use dual-wielded 1-handeds, the exception being staves (the zones are really good as utility tools and staves vs. wands aren't balanced properly) and rocket launchers (no proper 1-handed equivalent, guided rocket is useful for striking around corners too far away for staves/wands to hit). And I've never seen anyone use hammers for anything, since their low hit rate makes them nigh useless for actual combat, and in terms of opening strikes, dual-wielding axes works better.

    Agreed on shields, though. Those need to scale with armor more, at the very least, and while there aren't actually any legendary shields, we do definitely need at least one. Maybe one that acts similarly to the thorns status effect and reflects part of the damage it receives back, or perhaps one that empowers your attacks depending on how much health it has less (with more damaged = more damage bonus for the player).
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  11. Squishybrick

    Squishybrick Subatomic Cosmonaut

    You can't just put a label on someone's criticism and have that be some loose justification for why their criticisms don't matter..

    On one hand, starbound and terraria are the only worthwhile 2D sandbox-ish platform games, so obviously a large amount of players will be migrants from terraria, which
    makes their points all the more valid since there are so many of them.

    On the other hand, starbound having crappy combat isn't excusable just because it focuses on something else.. With any game, you should aim to make every mechanic
    balanced and fulfilling..

    That's about 70% of what terraria was about.. The building was crappier, but it was still there, creating colonies is there, though in terraria it's a bit more fulfilling to make them
    because they're all unique, and aren't just created via RNG. Terraria didn't have any missions, nor crew, but it did have farming (for alchemy's sake), decorating, upgrading, collecting, and crafting.

    The reason I riff on the combat is because the rest of the game is alright except for it, and it could stand to be polished a little.. It doesn't have to focus on it, but it could
    at least give it a bit more work. If building and exploration were bricks, combat would be the mortar. It's what you have to get into between the building, to get from point
    A to B, to complete a quest to get materials, to defend your home, and if it's not fun, then every time you have to stop building or exploring to fight, you're not having fun.

    Want me to talk about something that isn't combat? How about the games brevity? Starbound is NOT a dedicated "build your own world and sit there admiring your work" game.. The borderlands-style weapons and base-building aspects are proof of that.. Sure, you can ignore the rest of the game, scan a ton of furniture, and make your own little village, but that's just exploring one facet of the game, like going to a huge buffet but only getting a 5lb mound of mashed potatoes and some fried chicken..

    Starbound has much more to offer, but because it has so much potential, that's why I feel slightly betrayed that the devs aren't capitalizing on that potential.

    The building aspect lacks that extra step of detail that would make the sci-fi theme really pop out.. Why are consoles just "switches"? Wouldn't it make sense to make
    them actually function as consoles? Maybe just as a dedicated notepad/log journal, or even a resource manager, or something equally advanced?

    The story aspect lacks in creativity, and feels like it was tacked on merely to justify the technology progression. And once you beat the final boss, the game just
    sort've sputters out like a dying tractor engine..

    The combat, as I've said, lacks in variety and control.

    This is all assuming one isn't effected from the wierd multiplayer-ish lag which makes monsters who you can't kill right away with a combo, magically teleport inside of you
    to damage you.

    As said, the reason I go for hammers is because a good-enough one can basically just kill monsters your level in a single hit, Which really helps to accommodate fighting with
    said wierd multiplayer lag. Maybe combat really is much better for those of you who don't have that problem, and I'm so happy for you, but for us laggers, it's like playing
    dark souls with a bad connection, and there's no dodge roll ability.

    Look, I'm tired of this.. I got the same arguments the last time I criticized this game.. And with all games I do so to, the end result is always the same. "We like it, so who cares if you don't".. I'm not here to burn the game down, I'm just noting its flaws, and why I stopped playing it.. If you really do like it, and you don't care that I don't, why are you here? Why
    do you respond? Why do you defend a game that you feel doesn't need defending?.. Just go about your days and ignore me, and leave the debating to someone who actually
    does care about the opinions of others..


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