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Feedback for Newfound Shores Beta

Wendek

Member
First things first, I really like the new version overall. It feels a lot more complete (despite being cut-off after 4 islands, which I imagine is around half of the planned number) and there are a lot more decisions to make compared to previously. I really like the islands system, both from a thematic and mechanic perspective. Please don't take this wall of text badly, I really enjoy this game and especially this new version, but it's still a strategy game and as such I can't help but notice all the situations in which I'm faced with a non-choice (i.e. a "decision" where one choice is obviously better all the time)
I'm going to start with my thoughts on the "macro concepts" first, and then go into smaller, more detailed points as I go.
  1. I love the idea of the new sacrament system where you're converting people with various ways, but the balance is completely out of whack. I know I know, it's a beta but previous versions were also in beta and not anywhere near this imbalanced. Simply put, morale damage is wayyy overpowered and physical parties can't win anything. I tried several War playthroughs as it used to be one of my favorite paths, but it's just not possible. In my latest try, I did still manage to finish the first island but lost immediately at the first fight of the second island when I sent a party of two Executioners against two Druids (third disciple was type-neutral). That's a pretty overwhelming type advantage (which is something the player is encouraged to seek), and I lost pretty badly. I would have been better off sending Chieftains despite the fact that it's completely illogical.
    1. One big impact of this system is that it widens the gap between the various classes even more than before. Rage Prophet was already one of the weakest classes, but now their -10 defy is completely crippling because if there's any morale damage dealer on the opposing side, your Rage Prophet becomes a complete liability. Conversely, the Songsmith is even stronger than before - and the fact that you face one on the second non-repeatable mission is incredibly frustrating. That mission ends at something like 50 followers, and the Songsmith alone easily gets 25-30 with each of his turns. And since he's a Songsmith, he's very likely to act first. It shouldn't be possible to lose a mission that's basically still in tutorial land (on Classic difficulty, the recommended level), and yet if you try it with War it's very likely to happen unless you farm the Skeptics several times before attempting it. Which puts you at a severe disadvantage since that delays the +10 materials/mission reward which is important to get early.
    2. Healing abilities are even worse in this system than in the previous one (and they were already a liability). Basically you can only lose if your opponent attracts more followers than you, so you don't really care about the damage that your disciples take unless their health reaches a very low amount. Which is a lot more likely to happen if your disciples waste their time with a heal instead of actually moving towards their goal. Passive heal abilities like the Ascetic's Wash are not included in this and are in fact very good, because they're free in terms of action, but abilities like Unity and Wall (as an active, not the one you get for free) are terrible. At the very least they should not be used on the first turn.
    3. This imbalance also introduces several non-choices. The +10 armor dream is useless because physical opponents are a cakewalk, I only ever needed the defensive dreams against morale-heavy parties. Any disciple passive that boosts their physical armor (I think the Chieftain has one for instance) is also useless for the same reason, while any +Defy passive becomes extremely valuable.
    4. And last thing, since morale parties are so much stronger they win a lot faster, which also means they take a lot less damage. In my War attempts, I had to prioritise a Garden pretty early because some disciples were getting low-ish (e.g. ending a sacrament below half health). By contrast, in my Generosity playthrough I didn't even have to build the Garden because I was always at full health despite aggressively removing the heal ability of my Cooks as soon as I could. Obviously it's fine if Chastity doesn't need a Garden as a perk of their native class especially since it also has a bonus to healing, but not any random morale-based group. And no, please don't remove the passive between-missions healing completely, that would become too frustrating (and it'll still be worse for physical parties in any case, who would barely have enough time to do one or two non-healing tasks)
  2. The UI is pretty unclear on several aspects, most notably the passage of time. Every time you do a task, the corner on the top right increases by 1 year. But your disciples' age doesn't increase at the same rate, eventhough it's also counted in "years". And when you mouse over a quick task, I think it states the duration as being "one day", and the final timer is also stated in days. I'm also pretty unclear on what the "+2 <stat> for <class>" reward from some sacraments actually does. Does it boost the stats of the disciples who already are of this class, or also the ones who will grow into it in the future?
    1. Also, it's weird that getting more god actions means that the time between each mission increases. It also means that in the lategame, your Disciples start growing old and dying before you can fully replace them, and I'm not sure how bad thing would get in the hypothetical 5th+ islands. On the last one in the current version, I still felt like my most recent Disciples were stronger than the previous group (which is a good thing), but I was also down to 6 already with 2 having the "Old" debuff. I'm not sure how much longer I would be able to sustain that rythm. Especially since there doesn't seem to be a way to skip some of those actions, which is problematic when you realize there's an actual time limit. (More on this point below) And all those deaths make the Funeral Rites tenet seem much stronger than the others, especially the permanent Legacy buff.
  3. As far as I can tell, followers have absolutely no use outside of unlocking various buildings with the first 1000. It's pretty weird thematically since the whole point of sacraments is to attract more of them, and it also introduces some non-choices. For instance the Chastity and Generosity Temples have the choice of either gambling for a chance at a bonus (a Crystal Skull and a Development Spark, respectively) or choose the "reliable" option of getting a number of followers based on a specific stat. But since followers don't do anything, you just take the gamble every time since a failure means you "just" get the miracle boost. (which is a good thing, if the gamble had a chance to lower the miracle result then I would literally never take it because that's the primary reason to use a Temple, and then you still have the same problem)
  4. The pacing is pretty good in general in this version, especially the first two islands. There's a real trade-off to make between taking the time to farm skeptics and advance slowly or go into the more challenging encounters while you're still in Gold reward territory. However, Crystal Skulls start to lose their importance after the second island, because the rewards from the last part of the game don't seem to depend on Crystal Skulls at all (maybe that's just "unreleased content"?). Also, since the first and second island bosses refill your Crystall Skulls completely, you're essentially assured to stay in Gold pretty much forever. Some refill is definitely necessary in order to not feel like you're rushing against the clock (as I remember from one of the previous versions), and the first one being full is fine, but maaaaybe not the second one. Then again, if you could never reach the maximum in the first place, the "+2 Crystal Skulls maximum" Developments would become useless and that's not exactly good either.
    1. While on the topic of pacing, the "final timer" is a very bad surprise. Nothing in this current version hints at a time limit apart from Crystal Skulls, which are presented as the "time limit" since repeatables don't give any. As far as I could tell from the information available in-game, the "Ages" thing was just here for fluff and not doing anything. And then suddenly I get a big red banner saying I only have 10 days left? Thankfully I was in a position to just jump into the last encounter, but it also means that there would have been no way to get to any other island after that.
  5. I really like the Dream system, it serves as a good way to boost your Disciples for harder fights. I don't remember exactly what the "Preparation" thing did in the last version but I remember that I never used them except in the very last fight whereas here I've made extensive use of the Dreams. Mostly the basic +25% damage one, but the ability to get "out-of-element" attacks can be invaluable in some situations and I definitely used those as well as the defensive ones. (the "Elemental shield" one though seems wildly overpriced, especially since "Resistance to X" is a very vague term that may or may not be better than simply boosting your general defense)
  6. Generosity is a cool commandment and the Cook is strong but not oppressively so, lowering enemy crit chance and initiative is interesting. It doesn't seem like it has any Sacrament passive though? (I mean things like War's chance to deal increased damage or Chastity's increased healing) Also the Temple descriptions in the religion development tree only mention one stat (e.g. the Art one only mentions Charisma, but the description of the building itself mentions Charisma and Knowledge)
    1. Speaking of new classes, I imagine that the Charlatan will be Greed's special class? I must admit that the ones I faced have been extremely underwhelming.
  7. I really like the new development trees by the way, I think having two different Temples is a great idea and makes the choice a lot more interesting.
  8. About bugs: I didn't see any more than the ones I mentioned in the beta release thread, but I do want to reiterate how annoying the "wondrous miracle" bug is. You find yourself hoping for Faith-lowering debuffs or events to bring your disciples at least down to "neutral" and lower their chance of getting a wondrous miracle. We all know that's just not how this mechanic is supposed to work, wondrous miracles are supposed to be good. This isn't an issue in the early-game when you haven't upgraded any of your miracle buildings, but later you have situations where a basic miracle gives you a total of around 15 stat points while a wondrous one still gives its 2+1. (even the Statue bonus doesn't work with wondrous miracle)
  9. Last and small thing: "Awe Points" are still mentioned in some places eventhough the mechanic doesn't exist anymore. The two cases I've seen are the Chastity passive perk (bonus HP and AP healing) and the Songsmith's level 3 passive (Bonus Awe Points in fights with this Songsmith), which would probably be very confusing for a new player or someone who last played in, say August before AP was introduced as a mechanic.
Phew, think I'm done with this, and hopefully at least someone reads this wall o' text and finds it interesting.
 
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AbbeyAdriaan

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
Abbey Games Developer
Wendek! Thank you so much for this extensive feedback! :D

1. The Physical/morale balance is very interesting to me, since my most successful run (the one I also did on stream) was War! I could often one-shot opponents with my Executioner or Rage Prophet! I even had a Guardian that could 2 shot (with stun) weavers. Although (morale) armor penalties seem very harsh, I have to agree. I'll take a closer look to it, maybe scale the morale conversion bonus a bit down.
2. That is a bug. Years don't pass by per action: they pass by on Missions. the UI is faulty. Will fix!
3. Followers are a bit in a weird spot right now, but they will determine your outcome in the finished game. I'm planning on different endings depending on your follower count, and the followers are also your highscore. I like having a "end resource" mechanic (like Renown in RE:IS) to push the challenge player, and to give a few extra meta rewards for those who try harder challenges. :) I'll update the tooltip!
4. That is a total bug. My bad! The crystal skull mechanic should work on all islands. If you're getting 100% gold on classic, I might think it's a bit too easy for you, but it's too early to tell why that was!
5. Happy it works well! Resistance halves damage, while every 25 (morale) armor halves damage as well. Good point that it's not clear how these two work together.
6. Good finds. :)
7. Thanks! :D I'm happy with the development changes as well.
8. Yes, fixing the wondrous bug is key.
9. Yup! I'm removing them where I find them!

Again, many thanks for this beautiful wall of text!
 

Alplod

New member
Community Member for 5 years
I'm going to write my own wall of text soon, but I'd like to mention I have no issues with Physical/Morale Balance.

I played a full Morale playthrough with generosity and won sacraments with awe points.
I played an almost full Physical playthrough with madness and killed enemy teams before either of us got to sufficient number of converted followers.
I played a mixed team playthough with Lust and used physical characters to quickly kill most dangerous but fragile opponent disciples,while pushing for victory with morale ones.

I think both damage sources are pretty playable and pretty different which is good. Maybe the balance is not perfect, but it's pretty close.

Classic difficulty.
 

Wendek

Member
Glad you found this interesting :)

About balance: I checked the stream VOD but it appears the War part started in the mid-game, and I think my issue is more with the early game. At that point of the game, the ratio of enemy health to the number of followers needed to win a sacrament is very high so the fights take forever if you do them physically and a single AoE morale attack can convert half of the objective if it hits everyone (which makes that initial Songsmith fight very random and frustrating, since bad luck can mean instant loss whereas if he whiffs, as happened on the stream, it does feel like an appropriate or even easy fight). As time goes on, physical attacks become much stronger while enemy health doesn't seem to increase that much, so I can certainly believe that an Executioner or a Smitesword could end up breaking enemies left and right.
That said, lategame morale attacks can be pretty absurd too. My Chieftain was usually able to get at least 75+ followers with a single Mighty Rally (which he can sometimes use before the fight has started as a Wild Messenger) and I've seen my Ascetic crit and get more than 100 followers in a single attack as well.

Overall I'm sure physical teams are playable and I most certainly did some things wrong in my attempts, but still I tried several times with War and didn't get past the second island, whereas with Chastity and Generosity I won on what was essentially the first try. And none of the physical opponents ever threatened either of those parties, my only close calls were against other morale parties.
 
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