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Guards of Atlantis introduction video. Looking for Feedback.

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ElKobold
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Hi guys,

We're in the process of completing the KS preview video for the game. One thing which worries me is if we've managed to convey the core mechanics clearly enough.

There was no task to go through every detail, but to show enough, so that viewer got an idea what the game is in general.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKpe8qUJpsQ
UPDATED: https://youtu.be/ZQBkvNSLGmU

Thanks for taking a look! Any feedback would be welcome.

P.S:
You might notice that the video is truncated - there's going to be a components description etc. in the end, but it's the mechanics question which worries me mostly, so I`m posting just this part.

P.P.S: please don't re-post this video (for now at least) - it's still work in progress.

trichinosis
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I definitely like what you

I definitely like what you have so far! All of this video stuff seems well beyond my ability, so take what I say with a grain of salt... but here's what I got:

The music at the beginning is a smidge quiet for me at the beginning, so I turned up my volume some ...only to get the narrator a little louder than I expected. Not so much that the voice was loud, but the music was quiet, and I over adjusted. Perhaps the music can be louder at the start, and get quieter for the narrator?

At one point, there's cards being played on the board, with one placed face-down on top. The face-up cards being used seemingly for the icon that is showing under the edge of that face-down card. But then when the card playing example is given, there is none of that 'cards face-down and other cards with the icons underneath' thing going on...

When you say that the cards resolve in initiative order, it might not be obvious where to find the initiative stat... second run through I noticed it was the upper left corner, but maybe can highlight that on the card really quick maybe, or put a quick circle around them or something?

ElKobold
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trichinosis wrote:At one

trichinosis wrote:

At one point, there's cards being played on the board, with one placed face-down on top. The face-up cards being used seemingly for the icon that is showing under the edge of that face-down card.

Hmmm... yep, I see the problem.

Thing is, that particular example briefly shows how the level-ups work. I guess it went a bit out of sync with the voice. Hence the confusion.

When you level-up, you chose between two alternatives for the card slot you wish to upgrade. One of those two cards goes into your hand, and replaces the old card, which is removed (the one placed face-down) and the other provides you the passive bonus, the ones with the icon.

So that part of the video illustrates how your choices of active abilities (cards in hand) affect 'stats' of your hero (cards with icons, placed on the board). And that level-up costs coins.
I wonder how to make it less confusing now...

Would some sort of captions help? Like "level-up" appearing somewhere in the bottom of the screen in this case?

trichinosis wrote:

When you say that the cards resolve in initiative order, it might not be obvious where to find the initiative stat... second run through I noticed it was the upper left corner, but maybe can highlight that on the card really quick maybe, or put a quick circle around them or something?

Aye. That's a good idea, and easy to add.

Thanks for the feedback!

questccg
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Looks nice

The only part that I'm concerned about is "when the lane is pushed". Where when there are no more opposing minions in an area, then the player gets to place all his minions closer to the base (in the next area).

I guess this is because minions re-spawn at specific places on the board (like in the middle) and you wanted to give some kind of "bonus" if a player did really good in one area?!

Not sure I get how re-spawning is done. Is this like "magically" all minions re-spawn and the game continues?

Something about the re-spawning that doesn't appeal to me. I understand why - because you need someplace and if it's across the board, it's not really good since those units need to move all that distance.

But that's what I don't like. Unless I misunderstood.

And I think the artwork looks great, the cards and the minis - everything from the artistic perspective looks real great. The video is also very cool... I'm just not liking the whole, re-spawn and continue concept.

Same goes the "other" rule I find strange, if you have less minions in the area, you lose another minion... So you are losing and then you lose some more?! Doesn't this produce a "run-away leader" type of syndrome. Like 1st player to win the middle, wins the game...?

IDEA: You can ignore my ramblings... But here's what I think would be better than those 2 rules.

A> When one player defeats a unit, it goes "back" to the base.
B> This will allow "natural" progression from one area to another, since the opponent's pieces will take TIME (turns) before they reach opposing forces.
C> No run-away leader, because the leading player requires MORE time for his reinforcements to arrive. Which allows for the opponent a chance to "redeem" himself.

You can maybe optimize this a little bit... Like instead of ALL THE WAY back, re-spawn in the PREVIOUS area. That might be more suitable for the purpose of the game.

Just my 2 cents.

Update: How do you "track" damage? Is this with tokens or is it more of an all-or-nothing mechanic? The video doesn't state this... :/

Update 2: You could have numbers for areas

#1 = Base 1
#2 = Grassland 1
#3 = Swamp
#2 = Grassland 2
#1 = Base 2

So the rule could be, minions re-spawn in the previous area (area - 1). So if you are in #3, (#3 - 1) = #2. Something like that might do the trick...

Note: As I have mentioned in other posts about "design" in-general, making a game takes time. And usually the hardest part is completing the last 10% of the game. 90% of the game is good - but you are left with some rules that work - but don't seem optimal.

I had the same with my Roles in "Tradewars - Homeworld". But on the advice of playtesters, I modified them according to their suggestions. And in truth, the roles went from 75% to 90%. There is still one role that could use some "fixing" - but I am leaving this to a future Expansion...

ElKobold
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questccg wrote:The only part

questccg wrote:
The only part that I'm concerned about is "when the lane is pushed". Where when there are no more opposing minions in an area, then the player gets to place all his minions closer to the base (in the next area).

I guess this is because minions re-spawn at specific places on the board (like in the middle) and you wanted to give some kind of "bonus" if a player did really good in one area?!


The pushing of the lane is not a 'bonus' - it's a goal :) That represents the minions of one team gaining an upper hand and advancing towards the enemy base, while defeated minions would re-spawn at the base and move towards them. "one area closer" is their new meeting point. The game skips the actual 're-spawn at the base and move' part - you simply place the minions in the new meeting area.

questccg wrote:

Not sure I get how re-spawning is done. Is this like "magically" all minions re-spawn and the game continues?

The game continues, but the area where the minions are is now closer to one of the team's throne. Hence that team is closer to defeat, and the other is closer to victory.
You can imagine it as a game of football. Once you 'kick the ball' (defeat all minions), you move the ball (minion meeting point) one area closer to the goal.

questccg wrote:

Something about the re-spawning that doesn't appeal to me. I understand why - because you need someplace and if it's across the board, it's not really good since those units need to move all that distance.

Which units? Minions never really 'move'. Except when you remove them all and place them in the next area. And heroes have 'fast travel' action, which allows them to quickly cross the map, if there are no enemies nearby.

questccg wrote:

And I think the artwork looks great, the cards and the minis - everything from the artistic perspective looks real great. The video is also very cool... I'm just not liking the whole, re-spawn and continue concept.

Well, maybe my explanation would help :)

questccg wrote:

Same goes the "other" rule I find strange, if you have less minions in the area, you lose another minion...

Yes, that represents minions fighting each other. That means that you don't _have_ to defeat all the minions by yourself to make sure the lane is pushed in the right direction. You just need to make sure that you've defeated more minions, than the other team.

questccg wrote:

So you are losing and then you lose some more?! Doesn't this produce a "run-away leader" type of syndrome. Like 1st player to win the middle, wins the game...?

Not really, no :)
When the lane is pushed, in 99% of cases the defending team is closer to the minion's new position and have better chances to push the lane back. (the lane usually gets pushed back and forth a number of times, before one team manages to deal that final blow and win).
And that is assuming the defenders didn't manage to defeat any opposing heroes - which would force them to re-spawn and spend a couple of actions to reach the fighting.
We've play-tested this a lot. Who will win is mostly decided by how you pick your cards, to better counter what your opponent has, how you play those cards and how you position your hero on the board.

questccg wrote:

A> When one player defeats a unit, it goes "back" to the base.
B> This will allow "natural" progression from one area to another, since the opponent's pieces will take TIME (turns) before they reach opposing forces.

What might not be very apparent from the video is how quickly this happens. At the end of each round (i.e. after players have played 4 cards, not every turn) you check if you need to remove a minion due to minion combat. That takes you probably a couple of seconds.
And whenever someone defeats the last opposing minions, you move them all to the marked spots. That's a bit longer, but also very 'automatic'. No decision making here (read quick).

The main stapple of the MOBAs is that you don't control the minions. You focus on the hero, while the 'game' is deciding where the minions will go.

Moving minions from the base would be more 'natural', but it would take much much more maintenance time, while not making any real difference, apart from slowing the game.

The minion movement mechanic is actually the core of the game. Changing it, would defeat the whole point.

questccg wrote:

Update: How do you "track" damage? Is this with tokens or is it more of an all-or-nothing mechanic? The video doesn't state this... :/

If you attack a minion, you defeat it. Attack value is irrelevant.
If you attack a hero, he gets to discard a card with defense value higher than the attack value of your card. If he can't, he is defeated.

Cards have various defense values, with your most powerful attack card having the highest. So you have to evaluate constantly - do I use this or that card to attack/use skill, or do I keep it in my hand to defend later.

questccg wrote:

So the rule could be, minions re-spawn in the previous area (area - 1). So if you are in #3, (#3 - 1) = #2. Something like that might do the trick...

Well, there are just 3 areas where the minions can be. So 'one area forward, one area back' seems to work so far. In a larger map (there's a map for 6-10 players with two lanes) there are small direction signs on the map, showing where the minions move. We might add the same to the current map as well, though.

questccg wrote:

Note: As I have mentioned in other posts about "design" in-general, making a game takes time. And usually the hardest part is completing the last 10% of the game. 90% of the game is good - but you are left with some rules that work - but don't seem optimal.

This game is in testing since April. We've also taken it to Essen and played some games with random people there.
So far it has worked like this: you show people how the game works for 1 round, and then you leave them playing :)

But you are absolutely correct. I've listened to the tester's opinion and some things were dropped from the game. (like re-spawn cool-down for instance)

questccg
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Okay ... see I knew there was *something*

I would put in the video that players do NOT move Minions. I didn't get that and it makes a big difference. Now it's a little more clear about why they re-spawn in specific places.

Also your "heroes" are the ones doing the movement. That I figured - but for the minions it was not explained.

ElKobold
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questccg wrote:I would put in

questccg wrote:
I would put in the video that players do NOT move Minions. I didn't get that and it makes a big difference. Now it's a little more clear about why they re-spawn in specific places.

Also your "heroes" are the ones doing the movement. That I figured - but for the minions it was not explained.

Well, there's this line about 'minions not directly controlled by the players'. But yes, I imagine it might not be clear enough.

Chordcommander
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Really like the video! Quite

Really like the video! Quite interested in the game, especially because of the great artwork! How did you produce the animated parts of the video? When do you plan to kickstart?

ElKobold
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Chordcommander wrote:Really

Chordcommander wrote:
Really like the video! Quite interested in the game, especially because of the great artwork! How did you produce the animated parts of the video? When do you plan to kickstart?

Thanks!

I have a friend who have agreed to make the video as a side-project to help us out. He's 3d designer as his primary job. I think he used Blender for this one.

I hope we'll be able to launch mid-January if all goes well. The game itself is ready for a while now. But negotiating production takes ages, as usual.

ElKobold
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Me again :)

Here's a new complete version: https://youtu.be/ZQBkvNSLGmU

Hopefully, we've managed to remedy some of the issues pointed out by trichinosis and questccg. Let me know what you guys think.

Zag24
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Don't assume we know what

Don't assume we know what MOBA stands for. I, for one, didn't.

ElKobold
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Zag24 wrote:Don't assume we

Zag24 wrote:
Don't assume we know what MOBA stands for. I, for one, didn't.

It's ok if the viewer doesn't know what MOBA means.
It's mentioned so that if someone is familiar with the genre, it's quicker for them to get a general idea what the game is like.
The essence of game-play is shown in the video. And we've tried to explain any MOBA-specific terms, like 'minions'.
Thanks for taking a look!

Zag24
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I think you may be GU how RFA

I think you may be GU how RFA it is when someone uses a TLA that isn't understood.

It put me off immediately. I was sitting there wondering what kind of game this is, feeling a little stupid because OBVIOUSLY, everyone who is anyone was already familiar this acronym, and why am I here, anyway, and maybe I should just leave before anyone notices that I was here at all.

Really, just say it out, once. I don't think that you ever use the word "arena" in your video, but that's the important aspect, and without having said it, leaves the viewer wondering.

Or don't use it at all. You could as easily say, "This is a board game version of the great online arena battle games, looking to capture the same fun and excitement in a more social setting."

* (I think you may be grossly underestimating how really annoying it is when someone uses an acronym that isn't understood.)

Zag24
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Also, here's some advice that

Also, here's some advice that I got from a professional game designer, and I continue to struggle with when I have held feedback sessions:

Accept all feedback with a thanks, and, at most, a followup question. Never, never, NEVER explain to the person why his feedback is wrong, even if you are sure it is. (His followup was that if you hear the same wrong feedback multiple times, it probably isn't wrong, you are. I'm not saying that happened here, but it has certainly happened to me.)

ElKobold
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Errm, I've never meant that

Errm, I've never meant that your feedback is 'wrong' in some way. And I did say thanks :)

As for explanation, I would disagree. Since on this particular forum we're all game designers. I'm not trying to sell you anything and the potential discussion would be much more valuable than a mere 'ok, thanks, noted'.

We might add the meaning of the acronym in the subtitles though.

I Will Never Gr...
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ElKobold wrote:Zag24

ElKobold wrote:
Zag24 wrote:
Don't assume we know what MOBA stands for. I, for one, didn't.

It's ok if the viewer doesn't know what MOBA means.
It's mentioned so that if someone is familiar with the genre, it's quicker for them to get a general idea what the game is like.

Except someone that doesn't know what MOBA means will immediately feel disenfranchised or left out and, therefore is a potentially lost sale.

Why leave any potential customer out?

If it's an acronym, it needs to be explained or left out. Unless you aren't concerned about losing customers who would have otherwise viewed the video and got interested in the game right off the top.

I have only newly become aquainted with the term MOBA so every time I see it I have to think hard about what it is.. and, to be honest, right off the start of the video I had the feeling of being slightly in the dark. That feeling remained. That feeling is not something that will attract a new customer.

(edit: Otherwise, the video is good)

ElKobold
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I`ll see what we can do.

I`ll see what we can do. Thanks guys :)

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