What's new

Milestone #1: Preview Beta 2 (0.14.10)

AbbeyAdriaan

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
Abbey Games Developer
775


Hello dear testers, long time no see!

We have a new preview for you gods, and honestly I'm very excited to bring it to you!

Another one of our big goals in Early Access is to increase depth of the game. With this second update, we hope to show you a big step into the right direction. We took many of the points of feedback we received, and tried to fit them all together as well as we could. The game looks the same, but will play quite a bit different. There are no tutorials, so please read on.

Must-Know Changes
  • You now have Crystal Skulls, which need to be Sacrificed on a mission. If you lose a Mission without a Crystal Skull you lose your connection to the world and it's game over. Only bosses give you new Crystal Skulls! Crystal Skulls will also be your main score modifier in the future.
  • Preparing for your next Mission is now more important. For example each miracle building now also has a job attached to it, that increases in cost every time it's used by the same disciple. The current options are limited, but there is a good chance you'll need one of them to succeed in the short term!
  • Disciples will always target across. However, the smarter they are in comparison with their opponents, the higher the chance they will pick an optimal target. This vastly changes how much influence you have on your Sacraments.
  • Initiative is Individual. Something we've been wanting for a time! Some Sacraments become harder, other become easier.
  • Costs, Unlocks and Classes are now structured differently. All commandments start out with only 6 classes unlocked, even missing one element each.
  • Worshipper Support is removed. Instead you spend Offerings to initiate new disciples. Going to need those offerings!
  • Repeatable nodes are back. They still cost a Crystal Skull though!
  • Randomly built Residential Districts make your village look more in line with your commandment.
  • Many small improvements: you can see how much Enthusiasm you have left, time between days has been sped up, There are a few random Sacraments, You can see stats during level up, Highscore screen shows you religion better and more. We also made small steps into incorporating your feedback on the Development trees as well.
Limitations of the current beta:
  • Only Peace and Lust are available at the moment
  • You'll probably find the economy stalling later in the game - I simply didn't have the time to touch it yet.
  • Since this whole things throws the balance of the game upside-down, I've started working on a new world-map. It will also serve as our testing ground for our next Milestone Update: a more exciting world to convert!

Questions for you:
  • How many Crystal Skulls did you have left at the end of the game?
  • Do you feel more challenged?
  • Do you think the pacing and speed of the game improved?
  • Did you find success using a small number of disciples? Did you find success with a bigger amount too?

We will try to use your feedback to achieve the best possible next update! Thanks in advance for all your help!
 
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Wendek

Member
Alright this looks very interesting, I'll try to do a playthrough today to see how it plays out in practice. I do have a question though about one of the points you wrote:
Disciples will always target across. However, the smarter they are in comparison with their opponents, the higher the chance they will pick an optimal target. This vastly changes how much influence you have on your Sacraments.
The way I read this is "Disciples always target across, except when they don't" which is not very clear. Could you please give some more details about this? What does "Smarter" mean in this context since Intelligence is not a stat in this game?
 

manuel

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
This is based on the knowledge stat: the disciple whose turn it is, compares their Knowledge with the average knowledge of the opponent team. Based on that it has a chance to do something smarter than across targeting.
 

Noctua

Member
Kickstarter Backer - Elder
  • How many Crystal Skulls did you have left at the end of the game?
    2 :3, though I almost went gameover during the genesis fight
  • Do you feel more challenged?
    Hmm, it feels like I can no longer do whatever I want during the game. I wasn't going for the endless game experience but people looking for a relaxing game might feel bothered by running out of skulls and having to fight genesis that early. Personally I don't mind but keeping the old 'do whatever' as a game mode might be an option. Definitely ask some folks how they feel about needing to go on.
  • Do you think the pacing and speed of the game improved?
    The sacraments are faster, though the turn order is quite random. Is it based on cunning? anyhow sometimes they seemed to just go whenever but that was probably due to follow-up abilities. I do feel that I'd like more time to explore that development tree, but that's probably because the map is so small right now during this beta that i didn't get the chance.
  • Did you find success using a small number of disciples?
    I used three disciples the most and the fourth somewhat, the last one I just recruited when I noticed I should probably go try the end of the game fight.
    Did you find success with a bigger amount too?
    as I said before, I only used 4 and that's when I needed to go boss battle or I'd probably run out skulls without notiticing.
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Also I first thought this head was abstract like a leaf head and some weird kind of wing and later on realised it's some kind of pelican face probably xD
 

Wendek

Member
  • How many Crystal Skulls did you have left at the end of the game?
    I had 3 left when I initiated the last sacrament, so I guess 2 when it ended.

  • Do you feel more challenged?
    Not really. The game is a lot more difficult (and in fact I don't think I could have won at all if Lust wasn't bugged, because my Peace run ended in a crushing defeat at the Genesis fight) but it's also a lot more railroaded, I don't feel like I really made any decision in the entire playthrough. Reduced choices everywhere and offerings costs for almost everything means that a lot of features go unused. I crashed when I tried to use the new job from a miracle building (sent the report) so couldn't really explore those ; in the end there were turns where I actually skipped jobs because there was nothing to do. This version is too short to reach the increased tribute thresholds, so you fill those bars in a total of three jobs (a season and a half of work) and then maybe you use the miracle xp bonus or the healing building if you have some spare offerings but that's it. Really, I think the only "decision" to make is the positioning of your disciples due to the new targeting system, but that's a very low-level and simple decision that boils down to "Don't put a disciple in front of someone from their weak type". Still think it's probably a fine overall change, I have no strong feelings either way about it.

  • Do you think the pacing and speed of the game improved?
    The pacing is a lot worse than in previous versions, it's wayyyyyy too frantic. I can only speak for myself here of course, but I don't really want to play a godsim/management game with cute graphics like Godhood to be stressed and that's kinda what happens now. The first island is especially brutal: because you have so few skulls, a single loss anywhere basically means game over as you won't be able to pass the Genesis fight if you haven't leveled your first two disciples and given them their first miracle, preferably also your prophet's second miracle if possible (can't remember if I could or not). If the prophet gets the "Prayer of Rest" at the wrong time (such as right before you want to fight Genesis) is also basically game over due to RNG as you need your only good character to win any sacrament in the early game. Don't get me wrong, it's good to have some time pressure but right now the game is way too fast-paced and railroaded, especially after the "Yearning" state was removed, forcing you to chain sacraments even faster. Repeatables feel extremely bad to use since their rewards are poor and they still cost a skull to use each time you fight them. Then again having to farm repeatables to get stronger (like what happened in the very first builds when you sometimes couldn't win against anything except those) is not a good thing either.

  • Did you find success using a small number of disciples? Did you find success with a bigger amount too?
    I only reached 4 disciples (5 in total, including one who didn't get to unlock a class and got dismissed when I hired the last one) this time and really it was just in case of a "Prayer of Rest" debuff as I used my starting disciples for almost every single fight. By the time I got my first Good totem disciple I was nearing the end of the game and didn't have enough skulls left to get them to a high enough level to contribute, especially since the new "Study" building is much weaker and doesn't allow you to level-up newer disciples without having to bring them in a sacrament, which you can't really do when you get low on skulls because they're a liability in a fight. In addition, this disciple had a Major growth for the Might stat but the only Might class available for Lust is the Rage Prophet who is absolutely terrible (and got even worse now that healing costs offerings) so I probably shouldn't even have hired them especially at the absurd cost of 238 offerings.

  • I'm also unsure if the turn order is bugged or simply unclear, but sometimes it didn't make sense. I assumed that disciples would act in descending order of their Cunning stat, but I saw a Disciple with 8 act before one with 11 at one point so not sure what to think of this (and I'm quite sure that it was the same turn, but not entirely certain so maybe it was just that - it would help if there was a turn/round timer somewhere to make it clearer). I do think the general idea is good though, since it leads to more overall back-and-forth hits between the two teams instead of the one starting first winning instantly 90% of the time. It also makes you less reliant on your Cunning-maxing characters such as Beastwalkers, which is probably a good thing.

Overall though I had a lot less fun with this version than either the Live one or the previous Beta, in fact it felt a lot less "near completion" than the previous beta. The game is much shorter (and it has to be since there's a hard limit on how many sacraments you can do, as well as a very hard cap on how strong your disciples can be) and since folklores have been removed you don't gain in strength anymore. I didn't feel like I was building a religion or growing in power as the time went by (my "power spike" was the moment when I had a level 3 Prophet and two level 2 common totems, and I didn't see a way to get stronger than that), instead it felt like a race against time because I knew that I wouldn't be able to ever get a disciple stronger than my Prophet - so when I noticed that they were 46, I decided to go for the last sacrament before the age debuff appeared and made it ever more difficult.

One last thing: for my Peace run, the Genesis fight had an insane amount of 100 Awe, which is most likely unwinnable with levels 1-2 disciples and 45 Awe yourself (including the buff from enthusiasm). But when I got there for my Lust run, I "only" had 70 Awe to fight through, which is still a LOT for this early in the game but can at least be beaten. I'm not sure what happened there, could be a bug or a hidden mechanic I didn't understand I guess (both times it was on the default difficulty level), but in any case I don't think it should happen.
 
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RVWinkle

Member
Kickstarter Backer - Elder
What an interesting update! It’s fascinating how these changes make for a very different feel to the game. Overall, I think this version leads to a more guided experience and it would dovetail nicely into opening up more options in the late game, if that’s the plan. I didn’t spend much time playing due to other commitments but I managed to get 2 quick runs in.

  • How many Crystal Skulls did you have left at the end of the game?
  • Do you feel more challenged?
  • Do you think the pacing and speed of the game improved?
  • Did you find success using a small number of disciples? Did you find success with a bigger amount too?
  • I wasn’t successful in making a very optimized strategy but I ended the first run with 4 skulls and the second with 6. I think with some careful planning I could beeline to the boss.
  • I played on classic difficulty and I think it's it’s easier overall because I was able to focus on 1v1 match ups and less on total team composition and synergy. It looks like the challenge comes from restrictions like level caps, resource caps, limited number of skulls, and fewer choices of disciple classes as opposed to sacrament difficulty.
  • I really like the improvements to game speed and I think Godhood benefits from shorter play sessions overall since it seems to be built for replayability. What Wendek says above about the frantic nature is interesting and they're right that game is more rushed overall and less relaxed.
    • I think the pacing at the start isn't that great with so many buildings available right out of the gate. I preferred how you previously would only have the material gathering site available and the offerings site available after the next sacrament.
    • I like the pacing for the god levels and how they’re separated from followers but I think there’s probably still too many rewards granted at once. It's just too much stuff that's unrelated. Some of it is only marginally useful and I think so many new things contributes to me forgetting to leverage the additional disciple action sometimes. Maybe god levels could focus on raising caps where one level gives another disciple action, next gives a disciple slot, and a third level raises resource caps. This would simplify god levels and makes them more thematic to increasing the faith’s influence with the population. You could then have a separate mechanic like religious studies which allows the discovery of different buildings.
  • My first run was with 4 disciples and my second run only used 3 for sacraments. With limited resources and sacraments it’s not really practical to have any more because they’re competing for xp. I found it really helpful to have someone on the bench to continue gathering resources while the others were in a sacrament but that's probably not intended.
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AbbeyAdriaan

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
Abbey Games Developer
Thanks for all the feedback!

@Wendek very interesting. I see you feel both pressured and stressed by the game right now (race against time, frantic start) but at the same time don't feel more challenged. You say this is because you feel railroaded. That is very valuable feedback. Could you please answer these questions?
  1. Did you use any of the rituals that give you a temporary boost?
  2. Did you experience this feeling or similar?: "The next Sacrament is hard, I know it, but there is nothing I can do about it."
  3. A lot of the things you talk about are economy related. Is this where you really felt hampered? Something like: "I'd like to do more of X or Y, but I can't afford it, and I keep needing the minimum resources to just get by."
  4. Did you feel the game was "cut-off" at the ending? It seems you were picking up pace with some things (like buying a better disciple), but by the time you would be able to use him/her, the game was already over. Could you imagine this problem being solved by just more content along the line?
  5. Can you pintpoint what freedom you're missing right now, that you experienced in the last beta? The current preview is very short, with obvious shortcomings in content, length and economical progress. If this is really what you're missing, then everything is going according to plan. :) But if you're missing other freedom/progression, please let me know!
  6. You talk about missing a powerspike. Do you specifically mean the Summon Initiates upgrades? What was the powerspike you previously experienced, but don't experience now?

@RVWinkle & @Noctua Thanks a lot for the feedback, and I'm happy you liked most of the changes! Your feedback was as clear as I could get it, so I don't have specific questions! However, if you feel like one of the above questions also goes for you, please do answer them!


Some conclusions I think I can make:
  1. Game is too short to feel real growth.
  2. Economy doesn't grow.
  3. XP is too capped to make use of multiple disciples. I'll make the study stronger so you can spend offerings in getting new disciples up to speed more quickly.
  4. The initiative and direct targeting are good, but initiative is still unclear. (It's agility + small random factor, but the small random factor can be better replaced by a Faith factor or nothing at all).
  5. We need a more relaxed mode, so you can adjust the amount of efficiency-challenge/pressure you'll have to deal with.

How does that sound to you?
 
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Game

New member
I haven't played long enough on this one to write a decent post, but I agree with most points of RVWinkle, Wendek and Noctua.

- The crystal skull mechanic felt mostly like time pressure that I didn't enjoy.
- Having so many buildings at the start is overwhelming, its nice to see this grow during the game.
- I agree with the frantic and stressed pacing. A hard lose with 0 crystal skulls is always sooo close.
- I did like the sacrements much more (individual attacks)
- I think I liked the way offerings were used in this build, but didn't get enough playtime to judge that yet.
- You get a lot of resources right at the start. Combined with all buildings available you can fill up your city right away. Organic growth is better, IMO.
- It's okay to let inspirations grow, but I was on 2 inspirations for way too long. God lvl 3 (if I remember correctly) didn't give me the 3th inspiration, but I fully expected it and that felt like the right timing.

I'm also not sure if even shorter games benefit Godhood. In the terms of strategic gameplay and replayability; it does. BUT the shorter the game; the less effort you put in customizing your religion and disciples. After many starts, especially if the game is <2 hours, I don't feel like naming my god, customizing it, choosing fitting colors, customizing my disciples, etc..

EDIT: Oh yeah, I really liked that I could use the miracle buildings with my 'regular' inspirations for minor boosts! Great improvement there.
 

Wendek

Member
  1. Did you use any of the rituals that give you a temporary boost?
  2. Did you experience this feeling or similar?: "The next Sacrament is hard, I know it, but there is nothing I can do about it."
  3. A lot of the things you talk about are economy related. Is this where you really felt hampered? Something like: "I'd like to do more of X or Y, but I can't afford it, and I keep needing the minimum resources to just get by."
  4. Did you feel the game was "cut-off" at the ending? It seems you were picking up pace with some things (like buying a better disciple), but by the time you would be able to use him/her, the game was already over. Could you imagine this problem being solved by just more content along the line?
  5. Can you pintpoint what freedom you're missing right now, that you experienced in the last beta? The current preview is very short, with obvious shortcomings in content, length and economical progress. If this is really what you're missing, then everything is going according to plan. :) But if you're missing other freedom/progression, please let me know!
  6. You talk about missing a powerspike. Do you specifically mean the Summon Initiates upgrades? What was the powerspike you previously experienced, but don't experience now?
1. No, I assumed they would cost ressources and those are too scarce to spend on temporary buffs in my opinion, especially since last I checked those buffs were of the "Have X% chance to get something" type, and I don't like spending finite ressources for "maybe nothing". That part could be a "me" problem I admit. The fact that you can't know what buildings do before actually building them is also an issue because with so many different buildings it's hard to justify spending the ressources.
2. Yes, this describes exactly how I felt about Genesis in particular - the other sacraments didn't feel that hard (although I didn't seek the hardest ones either, without folklores you're incentivised to rush the final boss) and the final one was for sure easier than Genesis.
3. Yes, the economy is one of my main concerns - there's only a finite amount of ressources (because even repeatables cost skulls, although again I wouldn't want to go back to a time where you farmed them because that's boring - personally I was fine with the larger map that didn't have repeatables at all, since you could gain XP without fighting) so a lot of features seem like they're not worth using compared to the basics like getting your miracles done or healing your disciples. I didn't use the Pledge building this time though, but I suppose it may be a consequence of having a much smaller roster. I also don't like that everything costs offerings now, whereas in previous versions those had a more precise use but you also had the sun stones for instance, and more buildings that just cost time.
4. It really did feel cut-off to me especially compared to the previous builds, where there was a visible progression throughout the islands (first one the Prophet is your only good character, two next ones your early disciples can hold their weight, and in the final island your "A team" with newer, stronger disciples is ready to tackle the more difficult challenges). Here, as I said I fought the final boss with my Prophet and the two starting disciples, there was no real progression besides leveling-up those three characters.
5. The class restriction is the first one - there often is only one "objectively good" choice for a new disciple now, or sometimes none at all, and it also hampers your ability to build a team that you like. It's particularly frustrating if you get a good disciple whose main stat you can't really use, because it's going to be a while before you can hire new ones and as previously discussed, with how short the current version is you basically need to have your final team (in terms of disciples) by the time you're done with Genesis if not before. And the second missing freedom is linked to the pacing - with the looming threat of those skulls you don't really get to choose which node to tackle because you have to go forward as fast as possible, it's different from before when you had to decide when to take on the harder folklore fights, when to wait for a new initiation before progressing further into the islands, etc.
6. What I mean is that in the current build, the moment I feel strongest is relatively early in the game - with one Level 3 Prophet and two Level 2 Disciples, and every season after that I feel weaker because there's the looming threat of an aging Prophet, and without folklores the newer initiates aren't even as strong as the Prophet anyway, even the good ones. By contrast, in the previous builds there wasn't any "power spike" but instead a more constant feeling of progression - each new wave of initiates was stronger, and your economy also grew stronger (whereas in the current build it felt like I had less and less ressources, don't think I had even upgraded all my miracle buildings by the time I won) so you were able to bring the newer ones up to par more quickly to increase your strength. It did lead to a relatively easy final fight but that can be solved by making Helin and his friends stronger I think.

Regarding your conclusion, I mostly agree with them although I'm not sure if an "easy mode" is really the solution. I think the players can be challenged without a damocles sword above their head - in the previous build there was still an effective "time limit" because of the limited number of possible sacraments, but you could lose a fight without it meaning immediate game over.
 

AbbeyAdriaan

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
Abbey Games Developer
Regarding your conclusion, I mostly agree with them although I'm not sure if an "easy mode" is really the solution. I think the players can be challenged without a damocles sword above their head - in the previous build there was still an effective "time limit" because of the limited number of possible sacraments, but you could lose a fight without it meaning immediate game over
Yeah I feel you. With relaxed I don't mean easy, but allowing the player more space to try out things without penalizing experimentation so much. Efficiency is a part of the game, and the more space you have to experiment, the less it counts. I think all Sacraments can stay the same, but the amount of skulls - especially at the start, could be more. I do want to keep the element of "highscore = efficiency = amount of skulls at the end" , but the sword of Damocles is indeed not core to the game - we could do with different modes for that.
 

RVWinkle

Member
Kickstarter Backer - Elder
I had the day off so I spent some more time playing and I wanted to share my perfect run. The last sacrament was close but I managed to win by taking the most direct route and the fewest number of sacraments possible with no losses. The most interesting thing to note is that the developments had zero impact. You can see in the screenshot that I picked ones that applied to losing and disciple death, neither of which applied.

779


Here's a strange bug I encountered where I sent a disciple to the Study to gain xp. Offerings were subtracted but the icon didn't show up next to their name. I couldn't reassign the disciple and it didn't apply to the assignment limit. In the end, they didn't gain the xp bonus and the offerings were lost. I couldn't reproduce the issue in subsequent attempts..

780




Edit: I just tested to see what happens when you run out of skulls and the sudden death mechanic is pretty cool!
 
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RVWinkle

Member
Kickstarter Backer - Elder
I did another perfect run, this time with the Lust commandment in Classic difficulty. I created the below video in order to demonstrate my strategy and to show @AbbeyAdriaan precisely what to nerf. :LOL: The plan is to use only 3 disciples for all the sacraments with one additional initiate to gather resources while the others are out fighting. The key strategy is to make sure that you gather as much resources as possible and the main decision point is to select the appropriate disciple classes to balance team synergy.

  • Once again I made some poor decisions in Developments so none of them had any impacts. If I would have planned better, I could have gained some nature bonuses and made the Lust Priest a bit more powerful.
  • I exploited the sun stone before the last sacrament which gave me a pretty good boost. I didn't use this in my Peace run so it's probably not required to accomplish a perfect run. If the sun stone wasn't available I would have used the defense preparations. I really like improving the active abilities so I hope this isn't nerfed too much.
  • This video shows my third attempt so there is the opportunity for bad luck but I managed to overcome a disciple prayer to skip a sacrament.
  • I found a sound bug where if you turn the master volume all the way down the UI sounds continue to play.
 

Wendek

Member
@RVWinkle It seems that the video is private, I can't watch it. I think the fact that you can win while essentially ignoring Developments is the main issue here since those are supposed to be the focus of the update. I suppose it's also linked to the length of the current version, and the fact that it incentivises you to go as fast as possible with the same disciples.
 

Wendek

Member
Yes it's fixed, I watched it. I didn't realize how terrible the Bordello was (I don't think it was that bad in the previous versions, it gave a buff or something), it's absolutely a non-choice right now to literally always go for the Temple develoment because as you said several times during the video, most of the other developments do not have any impact on the game in its current state.
Also the Lust bug has to be fixed before any talk about game balance is possible, because right now the Lust + Songsmith combo is absolutely broken but nerfing the Songsmith due to a bug is not a good idea.

I'm still impressed at how well it went with two common disciples at only 1 miracle each.
 

AbbeyAdriaan

Abbey Games Developer
Developer
Abbey Games Developer
Thanks RVWinkle, that helped a lot! Some things I noticed:

* The retribute skill is a bug, and accounts to some nice damage.
* It seems the Songsmith is still using "other sex only" damage numbers (+25% damage)
* Lust is broken to the brokenness.
* I thought I removed the +20 resource collection boost. I think this is a big one, because it literally triples your collection speed. It's already nerfed and locked down a bit more.

Since you're not really hitting a wall, there is no need to divserify or invest. I think we can fix all this issues to some degree before the update!
 

RVWinkle

Member
Kickstarter Backer - Elder
Thanks guys!

Yes it's fixed, I watched it. I didn't realize how terrible the Bordello was (I don't think it was that bad in the previous versions, it gave a buff or something), it's absolutely a non-choice right now to literally always go for the Temple develoment because as you said several times during the video, most of the other developments do not have any impact on the game in its current state..
I actually think the Bordello is really good if you assume a scarcity of resources. It didn't apply to my strategy of course but it will be better in the midgame and after resource upgrades are tuned down. The temple is still probably the best choice overall.
 

Wendek

Member
Seems better to ignore the ressources even if they get toned down (you won't even have the materials to build the non-essential buildings anymore) and focus your few miracles on good ones. I can see a ressource nerf being yet another reason to blitz the game unfortunately.
I still think moving the Temple to a final tier is better than having it compete with any other kind of bonus personally, although if it's your 4th development there's a risk you won't see it before you've done your last mikracle. But at least there will be more of a decision to make for the two development branches.
 
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