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bitmaid
08-30-2015, 09:17 PM
Well, I was hoping to play all four campaigns before writing a review for the Beta, but the game has been freezing today and I have run out of patience. Before I begin, I just want to point out something I noticed in this forum. It's curious how it was mentioned only now - and casually, that WIN10 is not supported for this Beta. How about the official game?

Anyways, a bunch of things.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/7054561_orig.jpg

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/3466600_orig.jpg

This is the first screen I ever saw of the game and there are quite a few interesting things in there. First, scale. It's off. The town is as big as a fort now which is ridiculous. Worse here because of the direct comparison- the town is as large as the rock to the south! I'm supposed to run a kingdom but it feels like a humble abode even at level 40.

Second. Texturing between environment and interaction obj. needs more distinction. I couldn't tell there was a pile of ore to the west or there was a pile of wood at the sawmill from the beginning. They were either so pale or looking exactly like rocks except for the very sheer shimmer on the rim. The general color palette is an improvement, but blending actionable obj. into the background is a big no-no. Resources MUST stand out.

Third. Why are there three sorts of steel? Was this ever explained? This just seems so unnecessary. Also, shadow Steel, Blood Crystal and Ore all look way too similar.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/8711426_orig.jpg

What I said about distinguishing actionable obj. from environment applies to other things as well. Why not illuminate the staircase at all? It's hard to find.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/5997182_orig.jpg

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/563321_orig.jpg

Moving on to UI. And there is that OMG or WTF moment. This is probably the most drastic change from previous installments, but I don't think it's a good thing. Everything is more HD which is nice, but everything is fullscreen now also. I sigh every time I lay my eyes on it. It's so chaotic. You unnecessarily doubled the pieces because the upgrades are standalone now, you litter them all over the screen and add these lines that are supposed to make sense of the "building path". Well, it's not intuitive at all. And the pattern is different for every faction! Whoever made the decision to go fullscreen for everything apparently does not understand UI. Window displays were fine. They worked, and worked better than this. I feel like the designs in H7 are there to support the full screen which adds nothing to the ease of control. It's very backward.
As for making you choose between architectures, I'm not a big fan. I feel like what one town lacks I'll have to compensate in another town.
There is one other thing that's good though. The town's defense now has its own tab and its creature growth is separate from the general recruitable creatures. All garrison and forts on the map have their own base guards as well so I don't have to spare my army in them.


http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/2528762_orig.jpg

Now, balance. I hope one month is enough for you to make the adjustment, because it's not well tipped now.
Currency- as someone mentioned, hiring is 2X expensive while the capital gives what, 4000/day? The gold I find on the map are mostly in 300-500 range. This will not keep up with the growth of buildings and armies.

Movement is severely limited as well. You can't go far even with the bonus from Explorer. That's a problem.

Level design- wasn't expecting this to be poorly balanced. "Level" for maps: In the second campaign I reached the end game having only explored a little more than half of the map. So the center of the map was not as important as it seemed. It's fine to leave bits untapped on a large map, but for that big of a region, you've got to put stuff in there that's crucial to the quest. "Level" for heroes. In the same campaign, I easily reached level 27, and that's just one map 60% explored. Consider raising the level cap. Also, the skillwheel...

At level 27, I've acquired most of the skills I wanted from the wheel. Only half or so were desirable. The skills felt very limiting as well as the spells. One thing that showed efficiency was that "Slow" and "Haste" were combined into "Time Control", but other than that the system is small and inadequate in variety and potency. Also, creature skills are lacking. So far none of them could cast spells save the angel who can use Resurrection/Heal. So in that sense I don't think you can say this resembles H3 or H5 at all.

There are things I look forward to such as story and voice acting, which seem to be overtaking the franchise now. But they are not in the Beta which I've run out of my scarce compliment for. So next are just some bugs and things I feel strongly and negatively about.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/5207415_orig.jpg

It seems there are a lot of controls to toggle in the campaign setting except it's not. Where are the bonuses? And is this how you define Difficulty? There are just resources, creature growth and size in the customization. Shouldn't there be a variable for "Computer plays to the best of its ability"? Why is there a control for Quickcombat (more on that in a sec) when there is a pop up window for that for every combat?

And Turn Sequence. I regret immensely for choosing Sim. What is that anyway? The AI is impeccably slow, so slow that I have read a book, a 412-page novel during the time I waited between turns. This is a top priority issue and I can tell you there is 10000% chance I won't be playing the game if it's still like this in a month.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/2673001_orig.jpg

Now, Quick Combat. It does not work for heroes. And it should!! The AI in M&M has always this one strategy -proliferation. The heroes spawn one after another and a bunch of them would roam around with very little troops. In the screenshot here - that's 5 mandatory battles with these pawns I would like to get over with rather than engage. Must enable quick combat with heroes! You can set exceptions for plot devices.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/7485359_orig.jpg

Bug: Some creatures are marked "deployed" but are not showing.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/3328254_orig.jpg

Bug: Fix water elemental's 3D model.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/7098258_orig.jpg

Bug: Fix the Damage Modifier. It's this way because the dogs have 3 stacked effects. Now they are immune to all damages for the entire battle.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/5516752_orig.jpg

Bug: Fix stack detection, the pixies are overlapping the moon does.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/5592364_orig.jpg

Bug: Get the elephant back in the room.

http://www.bitmaid.com/uploads/1/3/9/6/13967769/586842_orig.jpg

Bug: Fix the tooltip display.

Overall I'm concerned. This being a beta bugs and faults are to be expected, but this is what I found having played 2.5 out of 4 campaigns. If I were you I'd rethink about the timeline.

Tripty
08-30-2015, 10:19 PM
Full Ack. Bump.

Ubi-MoshiMoshi
08-31-2015, 11:22 AM
Hi bitmaid, thank you for your feedback and screenshots.