What's new

Beta: Will of the People

manuel

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
Hey young gods,

The Abbey is hard at work to improve the game based on the tidal wave of feedback from the Early Access launch. As you can read in this post, our first step is the Will of the People update, focusing on increasing mechanical depth, adding more challenge and raising the consequences of your actions.

We have a beta version of the Will of the People update ready, and would like to share it with those of you that want to help us explore this new design space. So if you're not afraid of bugs and missing icons, and want to help us improve the game, please consider switching to the beta channel. Note that this version is still work in progress, and the balance is far off.

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The Will of the People update launches on August 7.
That's when you can expect to play a polished version of the current beta.

How?
Switch to the beta channel using Steam or GOG Galaxy using the password: 'ImHereToHelp'

What to focus on
We'd like you to focus on general impressions of the new mechanics in the game. Mainly the following:
  • You now have to sanctify resources by bringing them as Tribute to the sacrament.
  • Your followers have a strong opinion on when you need to go the sacrament. How does this impact your enjoyment of the game?
  • Resource gathering rituals are automatically repeated every day.
  • We've added a lot more rituals and made the buildings smaller. How does expanding your temple complex now feel? Are the new rituals interesting to use?
All in all we hope there are quite some more interesting choices to make in the game.

What NOT to focus on
Please ignore issues in the following categories for now:
  • World Map Content and balance haven't been done yet. The game will be too hard or too easy, and not fit the new mechanics.
  • Language issues (including the fact that translations for beta content are missing)
  • Missing icons, tooltips and tutorial content.
Recording your playthrough
Since first impressions are particularly valuable for this new mechanic, it would help us greatly to see people experience their first playthrough in real time. Please consider installing OBS, XSplit or some other recording software to record your playthrough (especially your first) and send it to us at info@abbeygames.com. It is not necessary to film yourself as well, but an audio recording of you thinking out loud always helps.
 

Tygoth

Member
Ok cool i'll try this later on tonight! Have never recorded a playthrough but will try that as well.
Assume English is preferred (over Dutch) if I manage audio as well?
And how long would you like the recording to be optimally (long enough to be interesting, short enough to be able to watch several, i reckon)?
*edit: nvm, sent in the first hour of first playthrough without audio from a mic...
 
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Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
Had an hour or two of play now, and focusing on the requested subjects.

Would like to add that this is a highly critical analysis focusing on problem areas - the bits I compliment, I do not do so lightly! It's gorgeous and the depths gained with these changes are huge, there are just a few core things with these changes that could do with addressing, and this is my opinion on them: don't think I'm not feeling very positive about the game or these changes - experimentation and testing is an extremely effective way to find the right stuff!

Firstly, I'm playing on Easy here - I wanted to test the new mechanics, see how they worked, etc
> Sanctifying stuff: Great! I like the mechanic and it's a good way to deal with making the resource gathering interesting in sacraments (not in town).

> Follower impact in the early game on when I do Sacraments: None. Absolutely Zero. Because my Disciples need Faith far more rapidly than my followers decide to go on sacraments, so it never reaches any stage past the first one. Perhaps later I might want that bonus awe and actually wait a few days to get it, but there's also no real reason to wait on a sacrament that long either - if you need a quick top-up of resources, you just do the repeatable node to pick them up (Would really suggest the repeatable ones you can't get resources from or have a separate one for resources that doesn't give exp!)

> Resource gathering rituals repeated automatically - definitely saves my fingers/wrist from RSI! On the downside, while it speeds it up, it also seems unnecessary and fiddly. When I hit 1 and select a disciple, having 14 locations pop up is a bit excessive - and that's early in the game. If I have to go hunting for the right ones every time, it's a bit ridiculous, and while I'm loathe the give up strategic options, I gotta say less is more here.

This also applies to the limitations on how many disciples can work *in this current build* - given the amount of frankly, boring micro-management you need to do, I'd rather only be able to assign 3 disciples a day. And if you decide not to micromanage and min-max, you have to spend twice as long in the village and lose multiple generations just to boost up your resources.

Talking of resources: Some things, I really need to get my disciples to - healing, miracles, direct buffs for that disciple, etc. Those are fine (allowing for the above point). But everything else I'm not sure why I should be making the decision on them doing it anyway: it'd make much more sense if they randomly gathered resources themselves and it was up to me how to take advantage of them by choosing the sacraments to fit.

Also the limitations of disciples per job are annoyingly restrictive, and not in a good way - the only decision you're making end up being how to shuffle your highest faith disciples into the 2 slots for the resource you need most rather than selecting which resource you want them to get. (Again, would heavily suggest automating their resource collection to be up to them and use the sacraments to take best advantage for what you have/need!)

> I like the options for the rituals, but many feel unnecessary currently - that might partly be a balancing thing (particularly the faith stuff) and partly because of the resources - with the necessity to do sacraments slowing down resource generation (and a massive shrink in how many you get per disciple per season) you just aren't going to be able to do the majority of them anyway

The way things stand currently, I'm basically going to spend 4-5 generations of disciples just farming up resources and doing low-level sacraments so I can then spend them all on a much better 5th/6th generation who'll actually all reach level 5 cause they don't have to waste 9/10ths of their lifetime getting resources (which is really boring playtime too!)

For the new buildings/size/etc - looks lovely, and makes it much more of a cool sprawling city type thing. However, if we're going that way, I'd want the option to rotate the buildings while placing them - given that it's (almost) entirely cosmetic anyway, it seems weird that you can't adjust them as you place them.

Oh, and regarding that 'almost' entirely cosmetic:
I like it being cosmetic and I could have a lovely time making a pretty city. However, a few UI things will need tweaking (this is fine, and I know that's a WIP for this currently, so no problem) - but a far more annoying thing cropped up:
I, wanting to design my nice little city, put my resource gathering buildings along the distant edges of the village. This was a huge mistake, it turns out. Cause when it comes to a Coming of Age ceremony, you have to sit and wait for all your disciples to arrive.

That was a long wait every time it happened - it felt like the new disciples would die of old age before they got initiated. In future I will always place the main disciple work zones right next to the holy site centre just to make damn sure I'm not having to hang about forever, even at the cost of an aesthetically pleasing village.

Plus side: I really love the building representations and the feel of a bigger city. Losing the size I'm a bit ambivalent about - I like being able to see huge chunky buildings and areas... but equally, I love the sprawl of lots of little buildings this makes, so... could go either way!

Summary of buildings: I guess I'd just like my followers/disciples to actually have half a brain when it comes to this stuff. Things like having to tell disciples that, yes, they do need to go and heal or top-up on faith or carry on with the repetitive resource collecting etc seems like it'd be well beneath a god. I understand giving them as strategic options, but frankly, I'd rather they weren't there so I could get on with the godly bit, rather than the micro-managing of silly villagers without a brain :s
 
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Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
Minor Bug - I can pick the commandment specific classes even when I'm not that commandment provided I played it last game.

Playing War, have this option on my 4th disciple (3rd Sacrament or so):
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Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
>Stun being 2 full rounds for Rage Prophets is now ridiculous. Please do keep it for the Guardians, it gives them purpose, but for the Rage too? Overkill. :p
 
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Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
> Tribute is a bit weird on the UI when doing nodes with more than 1 sacrament. Would be better if it just skipped that reward screen which is all zeros.
 

Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
A few changes I really don't like (particularly as we've seen them before in the betas and hated them then too!):
1. Healing ritual - healing automatically was fine, even if it has to be disabling and takes a bit of time, prefer it over having to manually do it. A god might miraculously heal his followers. A god would not nag them into patching up their own wounds.
2. Taking multiple sacraments to get Acolytes a class. Eurg. So annoying and creates a backlog of 'disciples I can only do the low level places with' vs 'high level disciples I can do everything with but have to babysit the newbies until they grow old'.
3. Disciples requesting something implausible that requires high faith to do well when not doing so penalises their faith. (Eg. Wanting to do a miracle when they have 0 miracle charge, are at level 4 so exping up will take forever, and the terrible faith they will have by the time they can actually do it will result in an appalling miracle!)
4. Having a lot of buildings and no quick-reference/shortcut/whatever so you have to hunt for ages to find the one you want. I appreciate the issue with the scrollbar on the right (and the sheer number of buildings now) but it seriously takes forever to find the right one, especially if you're trying to think over your options and check them before you choose
 
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Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
Interesting changes:
1. Only being able to do each miracle once. Makes it rather interesting picking which to do. Upside? It encourages lots of cool and interesting options. Downside? Currently, we don't have any, so every single disciple will be doing the same ones as every other disciple of that class (and probably of most of your disciples regardless of class!)
 

Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
Overall balance things for when that's important:
Balance between doing sacraments and doing stuff in the village heavily favours Sacraments at present - you need to spend some time in the village, yes, but exp is way more important and also cheaper in terms of time to complete the game faster (which is vital given how quickly your disciples age!).

Also the sacrament buffing buildings aren't a good move in my opinion (for the game). For the player, they're a great idea. In fact, they can easily become necessary. Meaning that you can't do a sacrament without them. Meaning they force your god to sit in the village idling while you buff up first, which delays you - frustrating and more than a little inconvenient (again, looking at how fast disciples age, thus crippling the speed you can progress); which pushes the gameplay towards the dull buffing up rather than the interesting tactical/strategic. Wouldn't mind them so much if they gave a bonus and penalty to different combat stats/abilities/etc - then it's actually a decision whether you take one or not and an interesting part of the process.

Disciple Ageing. It feels really limiting now. To the point of frustration. I'm good with disciples growing old and dying, but I'd like them to achieve something more than 'I successfully earned 200 resources for my god before I got decrepit' or 'I'm old and I only reached level 2 and didn't complete my miracle'.
 
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RickSo

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
Abbey Games Developer
@Blackvision
Thanks so much for the detailed thoughts!

Have you only played on Easy? I'm curious, as I would expect more of the boring grind to exist because Easy *allows* you to grind all your healing, resources, buffs etc. On Classic I generally find I don't have the luxury of grinding out everything, and instead need to choose what I get.

If I'm wrong in that feeling then I'd love to know, is the thing! Thanks!
 

Tygoth

Member
Played on classic (at least, didn't customize, just started with general settings) and Chastity for almost 2 hours now.
Sent in the footage in two parts.
You'd say I felt liberated with the new possibilities. (I know, I know, I even suggested removing all building's buttons and just making them clickable myself)
Instead, I felt restricted, confused and often being pulled at in two directions at the same time.
It's hard to say anything usefull without taking into account the balance, because that shapes the gameplay quite a bit. Will try below though.
Rereading it, it feels a bit harsh and sour. Certainly not meant that way. Still really interested in where this game is going and enjoying it in it's current state. Artwork is really lovely. Must mostly come from my confusement while trying to figure out how to work with the mayor gameplay changes and thinking about what that means for the game. So, sorry.
In the end I seemed to settle in a rythm where two disciples were collecting offerings, two materials, and someone was either doing a small ritual on the side, performing a miracle or collecting more followers. Hit next turn two or three times in a row. Miracle would be finished, tribute would be filled, then I would go out looking for a sacrament I could win so I can collect my resources.

Disciples tend to grow old after performing roughly two miracles. As they cant repeat a miracle anymore, i will need some miracles buffing generally useful stats (no need in upping might for someone who is only doing morale attacks) or just a lot of stats at the same time. Big miracle site corresponding with your commandment seems to be the number one go to for everyone. If you're only leveling up twice, the totem with which stats are gained means less as well. When thinking about this, it tends to favour starting stats way more then before.
Also, could we please see how many stats a disciple gained in total after performing a miracle? The stats bonus from the totems now kind of gets lost.

In the beginning, I needed offerings so that my disciples could perform their first miracle but I needed to win sacraments to reel those in. Kindof made me stuck on the easiest fight for a while. I could see there were different sacraments with different rewards available, but most of them would be out of my reach. Made me wonder wether the mechanism could be switched to 'gain resources without tribute but bet with your resources in tribute if you want to try and win more.'

I did not pay any attention to what my followers were thinking. That's probably why I don't quite grasp the idea yet (you should make them wait to a point they want you to fight because it's been a while, but if you wait too long that goes against you, right?). I mostly went to battle because I wanted to collect resources and the tribute bars were filling up.

That disciples repeat their previous tasks seems easy. It ended up feeling like all tasks were taking multiple seasons (because they weren't collecting that many resources in one season as well). You could micromanage it more by switching disciples around. Less enthusiastic ones could sit by the holy site collecting followers, because that gains you a faith boost as well. Wasn't really bothered because they were all happy enough all the time.

More importantly, when assigning disciples in the village, I don't know which ones I'm going to need in the next sacrament. So I assign everyone a usefull task, then go to the world map, look at where I should go and fight, who I will encounter there, pick the right disciples to battle and perform the sacrament. Only to find out back in the village that I've not gathered the right resources now. That is probably part of why I collected resources in several turns in the village screen and then went to battle, considering that a lost turn for resource gathering for everyone, as well.

In hindsight not really sure why i've focused so much on resource gathering. Might be because i wanted to try out all the different new buildings.
The main goal should be to advance your disciples so they can win increasingly difficult battles. If they don't level up that often anymore, the miracle sites are not that important anymore. Might do a rerun where i try and focus more on continuously winning as many sacraments.

New building looked nice but haven't been used a lot.

Wasn't really bothered with the new God HP. Loosing a battle is tough enough as you loose resources and disciple's faith already.

Watching the resources you collect from a won sacrament trickle in takes up a lot of time. Please make it immediately clickable to skip.
It's even worse when you need to click on God level up and there on 'ok' as well. Takes time, can't do anything, just hurry up. ;)

Enemy disciples tend to loose their beards when attacking. Just saying.
(likewise, your cheering followers next to the sacraments still undress when you loose. bit silly.)

So to sum everything up:
  • You now have to sanctify resources by bringing them as Tribute to the sacrament.
    Feels a bit restrictive. Could we have this as an option rather then requirement, please?

  • Your followers have a strong opinion on when you need to go the sacrament. How does this impact your enjoyment of the game?
    It didn't.

  • Resource gathering rituals are automatically repeated every day.
    Could use some balancing. Ended up feeling the need to repeat all tasks several times now.

  • We've added a lot more rituals and made the buildings smaller. How does expanding your temple complex now feel? Are the new rituals interesting to use?
    Expanding feels about the same. I don't know why I didn't enjoy the village more then before though. Could have. New rituals were only considered when the basic resource gathering ones were filled up already.
*edit: Ok, also did a run with War and Might now. That went a lot better!
Can't be sure on how much of that relied on the commandment and how much on some more insight on the second run.
Eitherway, where the first Chastity run felt somehow like struggling to escape the confinements of the village,
for this run the new mechanices tried to hold me back from going to fast.
That was actually a good thing. Have enjoyed myself a lot more this time around!

Knowing about the miracles and disciple life span, I only went with classes which used might and trained them in my temple and the farmfields.
I went to the sacraments often -later on, almost every turn- and used the new buildings. A lot.
Needed to use the healing and unbreaking ones. Wanted to use the buffs for sacraments as well.
Somehow had the feeling I could spare more disciples for doing so as well.

Alltogether, this feels more like the way it was intended to play.
Can imagine it's quite hard to get an even allround experience with all the different commandments...

Eitherway, you mind want to change something about the availability of disciple slots in the village.
Either by allowing us to create more of same kind of buildings (didn't Rick mentioned something like that earlier?)
or by letting go of the slots alltogether and just letting us decide how many disciples work on the same task, I can imagine.

Also, could the building we need to use when a disciple is broken also fill his HP please?
Having to do two recovery buildings in a row (certainly when you can only send 1 disciple at a time) seems like a bit much at the moment....

So to sum everything up for this run:
  • You now have to sanctify resources by bringing them as Tribute to the sacrament.
    Yes. And otherwise I've just looted it from the enemy'ss dead corpses. Whwaargh!

  • Your followers have a strong opinion on when you need to go the sacrament. How does this impact your enjoyment of the game?
    It didn't. We prefer to fight every turn. Weak followers!

  • Resource gathering rituals are automatically repeated every day.
    Yeah. Fine enough. For those who couldn't fight!

  • We've added a lot more rituals and made the buildings smaller. How does expanding your temple complex now feel? Are the new rituals interesting to use?
    Feels like a bigger village alltogether. Did feel the need to group the buildings per function to keep them all apart. Still couldnt tell them apart in the end. New rituals are interesting to use!
 
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Tygoth

Member
>could a disciple's faith and prayers be fixed when they go off to perform a several season long miracle?
Kind of awkward to have faith drop to neutral or the disciple starts praying to be able to perform a miracle, just as the miracle is about to be finished!
 

Tygoth

Member
>is it possible that one of the buffing buildings, the Symbol of Physical Power/Fortitude causes a disciple to get sleepy afterwards?
Really messes up my sacraments but can't pinpoint the exact source of this...
 

Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
(Replying in reverse order!)
I think the Sleepy stuff is mostly from their requests afaik - when the compass thing pops up next to the disciple - a lot of them give a disadvantage in sacraments if they don't want to be there, and most of those seem to be sleepy :p

Faith dropping over time isn't *so* much of an issue for me as it averages faith across the days performed afaik, but yeah, a little warning might be nice.

Agree with your general run-down and feelings from the play-throughs. Still felt that there were too many options where simplicity would resolve the issue better though.

@Rick Only on Easy for now, will do another few runs later to try other difficulties.

Thing is though, Easy shouldn't feel like a grind, it should feel like a breeze - just a fun romp without too much challenge in which you can experience the mechanics and what the game has to offer without any massive challenges or having to know the ins and outs of how it all works precisely - giving Easy players more options to mess with is fine, but when it becomes bewildering or forces higher difficulty players down one pathway, I'd say there was something off.
 

Tygoth

Member
(Replying in reverse order!)
I think the Sleepy stuff is mostly from their requests afaik - when the compass thing pops up next to the disciple - a lot of them give a disadvantage in sacraments if they don't want to be there, and most of those seem to be sleepy :p
That makes sense. Sometimes I get the feeling the requests handling is slightly bugged. I've seen people be glad about a prayer without stating a request before.
Also, sometimes the request is handled but the negative impact remains. Not really sure about any of this though.
 

Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
Huh, not seen that happen. So far all the requests have worked perfectly for me, both on Easy and Impossible (which I went straight to testing)

Did find a bug where jobs aren't cancelled for those taking part in the second (or later) sacrament in a multiple-sacrament node. They came back then carried straight on with the miracle that was 1/3 done, progressing to 2/3 done.

Regarding Impossible mode for a War Deity:
I honestly didn't really notice a difference between Easy and Impossible in terms of gameplay. Yes, I had to min-max, but I do that on every game anyway, so there wasn't any real change from Easy - no enemies were harder or needed more time to build-up to. In fact, because it forced me to play to the needs of the game, I performed much better than I had on Easy, easily conquering the first island in 1/4 of the time it took on Easy with exactly the same setup: in short, Impossible just points you in the right direction to do what you should be doing anyway :p

The big difference is making the first few choices important: you've got to get the faith levels *fast* to ensure you'll be able to fulfil all their desires/needs in good time. Once you hit level 3 though, that difficulty boost drops back down to zero.

The increase in the Disciple requests is a laughable difficulty increase since they all involve going to/not going to sacraments and there's a repeatable sacrament node with a 1 day cool-down time. The only rough one can be the Miracle request if they just levelled up, but even then you can spam sacraments when you get those and level in good time.

The decrease in cool-down time on the follower's sacrament moods is also pretty laughable: you should be doing sacraments at every opportunity anyway - and I found the wait annoying on Easy. :p The only downside is a slight decrease in the materials bonus from some nodes, but given that you're much better off spamming sacraments every turn or every other turn (maybe 1/2 more if you're miracleing), you can easily make up the difference in a few turns.


I still hold that the Healing and Resource gathering should be automatic, increasing the importance of when to do which sacraments, and feel the difficulties are wasted currently - the only increase in challenge is at the very start. The only times I needed to heal were when they basically had to anyway: 33% spirit or less.

That said, Impossible at least gave me a far tighter schedule and requirements, and I enjoyed that - a lot less staring at everything going 'What the heck do I do now?' and far more 'Ok, this sacrament solves that problem, and the guys I'm leaving behind are prepping me for the next big issue that's on the horizon.' I wouldn't recommend it to people who're starting without any prior Godhood knowledge, but I absolutely would to everyone who's got a basic grip on the mechanics - it's just a more fun game, and what I'd expect of being the 'normal' setting. Classic and Impossible should be about making every challenge gruelling - perhaps by tweaking the sacraments on those levels to be harder and punishments for failing to meet village objectives way harsher.

In conclusion: Impossible felt less grindy, more purposeful and satisfying. But my previous points still all stand too. :p
 

Tygoth

Member
Yes. Exactly that. Somehow Impossible brings out the best of the game/update!

Regarding Impossible mode for a Peace Deity:
You need all the help you can get to win the sacraments, buffing and healing and all that. Even then, chances are often against you.
Juggling the different stats feels harder than with just Might. On top of that the upgrade for the Prayer miracle is... a might bonus,
and the first wave of more powerfull iniatites comes with... +3 might on stats. :/

Won the game on leveling up as a god. You can basicly achieve that just on the first island. Won like that with War as well. Might need some more balancing.
 

RickSo

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
Abbey Games Developer
Yesss thanks so much for the awesome awesome feedback you guys!

Not only some really useful thoughts & feelings, but also some very specific balance issues for us to fix up (god level victory on the first island sure is a shame!)

The difficulty should probably be named something like "Worshipper Expectations" because it only scales enthusiasm & prayers right now. Probably make sense to put a separate Sacrament difficulty scaling in there as well at a later point when we tackle the Sacrament.

Anyway, not going into any specifics just yet (we'll be going over this tomorrow at the office) but THANK YOU for helping us out so far. Peace!
 

Tygoth

Member
Not only some really useful thoughts & feelings, but also some very specific balance issues for us to fix up (god level victory on the first island sure is a shame!)
I realize being on the first island is not necessarily an indicator of time (might have lagged in the sacraments ofcourse) but Impossible Peace God level win was in year 41. There's footage of that playthrough as well. Not really sure about the Classic War God level win, but prob somewhere around there as well.
 

Blackvision

Well-known member
Kickstarter Backer Community Member for 2 years
Ah, I was about 2 days off level 10 on the first island too, I kinda expected there to be more god levels what with all the other changes up to level 10 :p

Also, yes, War is clearly the easiest at present by a large margin, followed some way behind by Peace. Chastity and Lust are even more tricky. Kinda assumed you didn't want that covered what with talking about balance things coming later ;)
 
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