Topic: Feedback from a complete newbie

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  • #21426
    Some punk
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    Hi all,

    As someone who has been exposed to Battle Brothers only since last week, I thought my perspective might be of value to someone. If not, feel free to ignore. I’ll try to break this up into sections, and keep it short.

    Gameplay

    I’m not normally a fan of the standard ‘turn-based’ fare that Battle Brothers falls into. I’m talking about the use of action points, and zones of control, and costs for movement and basic abilities as well as for special abilities. Too often, these boil down to ‘line up your guys against their guys, and beat on each other until one or the other falls down.’ This goes double for systems that give persistent penalties for being hit or hurt. I much prefer the XCOM-like (Long War) system where tactical mobility is a key factor, you strive to control the battlefield and the enemy, and if the enemy is directing effective fire onto your guys you’ve done something wrong. It feels to me like it better rewards tactical awareness and initiative.

    That said, Battle Brothers manages to pull off the more traditional approach to turn-based strategy in an enjoyable fashion, to my pleasant surprise. I think the key factors that allow this are the encirclement penalties, reach weapons, the liberal allowance with abilities that exert control over the zones of control (whether spearwall or shove or others), and the simple fact that many abilities are tied to weapon choice, instead of character build. I find Battle Brothers to be quite playable and quite enjoyable until at least the mid-game where nobles start sending you against orcs. (I got my butt handed to me, despite doing well in the early game, due to some short-term decision making.)

    So good on you guys. I like this game.

    A couple specific points follow.

    First, feedback for bad (or good) decision-making is somewhat disconnected from the decisions themselves. For example, you can focus on a perk build that’s perfectly serviceable up to level 3, but which will leave your level 5 guy behind the curve. Part of this is that difficulty comes in jumps. Or another example: it is easy to follow the ambition system to put yourself in a bad place, e.g. by building the company too large too fast, or getting yourself too much renown (and therefore harder contracts) before you’re ready.

    Second, the reserve system needs a little balancing (this is tied to the first point). My immediate reaction is, “only get 12 brothers, -maybe- 13, and just suck it up with injuries.” This is, long-term, a bad plan, unless you’re a razor-sharp player, but the incentive structure naturally leads to this behaviour unless you know what you’re doing.

    I think an elegant solution for this would be to have people in the reserve draw half-pay. This makes thematic sense; you don’t expect them to fight, so they’re getting paid less. Further, that fits well with the malus to mood they get for sitting on the bench (whereas now it seems like I’d be plenty happy to draw full pay for doing no work). Finally, it makes keeping at least a couple guys in the reserve attractive, and I think hits the sweet spot for deciding to do so.

    Price and availability

    I pirated this game to check it out. (I’ve since deleted it after a 72-hour trial period, which I believe is technically legal where I live, though copyright law is a maze of twisty little passages, all different.)

    I don’t use Steam. Partially it’s a mild philosophical preference against their licensing structure, mostly it’s a natural knee-jerk tendency to dig in my heels. I do use GoG. So this game is unavailable to me through legitimate channels, at present.

    Further, for my wallet, $30 is a steep price for a game of this calibre. Don’t get me wrong; it’s clear you put a lot of sweat and tears into making this a very good product. But to put the price in perspective, I paid $30 for Kerbal Space Program and The Witcher 3. For this game, $10 is my comfort point, and I would probably stretch to $15. Maybe, when I’m newly (or again) excited about it, I’d shell our $20.

    That’s just me. I understand you’ve priced it according to what you think you can fairly get for the effort you put into it. And I recognize that one data point isn’t enough to change your policy. I don’t expect you to change the price or anything silly like that. But one point is all I have.

    As a suggested marketing structure that might put people like me in the market and put more money in your bank accounts:

    Move the game over to GoG as soon as you’re comfortable doing so. You’ve probably heard this feedback before, but here it is again.

    (I would suggest)
    Release whatever DLCs you plan on releasing. Keep the price $30 for game and DLC, and give the DLC out for free to those who already bought the game. (I’m under the impression you already plan on doing at least that last bit.)

    Once the DLC are released, lower the price for just the base game to somewhere in the neighborhood of $20. (Alternatively, instead, encourage GoG to offer seasonal discounts like they often do. Whatever you’re comfortable with.)

    Again, let me stress that I’m not trying to denigrate what you’ve done here. I recognize you feel $30 is a fair price for the product you provide, and I don’t dispute that. I’m just offering a way I see that might get people like me into the market. All the above is offered in the spirit of trying to find a compromise position where (hopefully) the people who have already purchased the game won’t feel let down, but you can raise more revenue by satisfying a greater number of demand curves.

    And again, I recognize that I’m just one person (thus the username). I don’t actually expect any changes to happen because of my feedback. But I thought I’d offer it nonetheless, in hopes it might be useful to someone. I hope above all that I haven’t been insulting or presumptuous, and if you feel like I have, you have my sincerest apologies.

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