Hello everyone! So allow me to begin with: This post will be a wall of text meant for the Devs. After getting to play the game on my friend’s computer (the latest build) for about six hours, I feel that I have a good enough grasp of the game to discuss my thoughts and feelings. First let me say that I love this game so far, in concept and design, however there are two major flows that are keeping me from purchasing it at this time.
Allow me to preface all of this by saying: This is NOT a bug list. This is a list of points about my thoughts on the current state of the game.
First off is the massive lag issue. There was no reason for the game to be lagging an hour in, and I noticed that the more the game lagged, the more problems I had controlling my little Hearthlings. I was somewhat able to solve this issue by completely restarting the client, but after about four hours, there was simply nothing that was going to make it playable. Then the file corrupted, and I lost my game. Now the reason this is such a big problem for me, other than not being able to play the game, is that I’ve been following this game for a while and reading people’s thoughts and this has been a huge problem for as long as I can see the game has been out and hasn’t been addressed. I realize full well that this is an early access game, but Optimization is a very important part of an Early Access game’s success! If people can’t play your game because of choppy framerate or, in this case, lag, then those who buy it will feel cheated, and those like me who do their research will refrain from making the purchase at all.
Second is the AI for the Hearthlings. For a game like this where the whole idea is centered around building your little town and fending off invaders, there are two options you should be considering. Either I should be able to have a lot more control over my Hearthlings, such as being able to select one and tell him what to do or where to go, or the AI should be strong enough that they do what they’re supposed to do without being told. So for some examples: My shepherd was given two pastures to look over for sheep and chickens, however he was constantly doing Worker jobs and never went to find any animals. After taking out a Goblin encampment, I instructed my workers to take all the loot but they never did, and no amount of fiddling got them to do so. I’ve lost Hearthlings to invaders because my Footmen were off idling by the fire pit, even in Town Defense mode. Like I said before, the AI for a game like this, even in early access, should be a little stronger than it currently is.
So those are the two big things that’re keeping me from buying the game at this time, and really if the Optimization is improved significantly, I’d be full willing to buy the game regardless of the current AI issues. But the worry that I’ll put three hours into a village only to have it lagging so bad it’s unplayable is just not something that’s overly appealing.
Now onto a few smaller things:
One of the biggest pet peeves I encountered outside of my big-two, was that the Blacksmith required an insane amount of experience just to reach level one. I’m not asking you to make it easier, but the time it took to get my little Blacksmith just to the first level, I had already wiped out all of the invader camps in my area and the point was entirely moot.
The trapper’s knife and saw should be much simpler recipes. I don’t mind them needing to be forged by a Blacksmith, but needing one at level four is hugely counterproductive. If you don’t buy a trapper’s knife at the beginning of the game, you’re screwed for a good while because it means you can’t get any meats, leathers, or livestock. Please adjust this.
I don’t say this to many developers: Please focus a little less on content. You guys have made the start of an amazing game, and there’s already a lot to do! But with so many optimization issues and bugs, it’s impossible to enjoy the content you’ve put in.
I should be able to ask my Hearthlings to move supplies to specific areas. However this is also a moot point because organization is almost pointless. However being able to move all of my ore to the Blacksmith’s hut would be lovely.
Sheep should be able to graze on grass without starving, and sheep food should provide a benefit instead.
So now that I’ve done a lot of complaining - allow me a moment to talk about what I love about this game, and why I even wrote this at all.
The game design and atmosphere is beautiful and relaxing. I love games like this with such a simple design, while still being complex enough to really hold my interest. The cute little Hearthlings make me smile, and the overall cuteness of the game makes me happy as well.
You guys have done an amazing job keeping the theme here. The Minecraft inspired world feels very spot-on, and the mechanics do have a very good start. I so look forward to seeing how this is developed and expanded, I am legitimately excited to see this game finished because I see myself sinking hours into it.
So thank you devs for all the work you’ve put forward so far. I will be following you diligently, and look forward to the day I buy my own copy (meanwhile stealing my friend’s computer while at his house, muahaha).