I do game design professionally, here's my thoughts on absolver.

edited September 2017 in General Discussions
So I picked up absolver close to release and have been loving it. I think it's a great step forward and shows the indie community that hard work and paying attention to what gamers need instead of what looks good is the best path to success. (Because it is!)

While the game is very buggy at the moment I can see very clearly that A TON of player testing and tweaking went into it, as the mechanics of the game work very well and fluidly together, which you dont see in untested games.

The only consistent issues I see are really rendering problems which frankly are more likely due to limited hardware, and some sound artifacting. And while either occuring will require a soft reset, I still find the game very satisfying and solid for what it is.

Now to get nitpicky with the mechanics. My biggest issue as a game designer is the definitely the recovery system in this game. It's brilliant, don't get me wrong, as it sets a clear divide between button mashers and skilled players. Two good timed button presses can allow you to dish out nearly twice as much damage as any poorly timed ones, and in generally I find the calibration of the meter to be perfect to Human response time. BUT relying on the meter also limits your ability to watch your opponent. A skilled player would want easy visual access to both, although one could argue that the sounds a hit produces does that job, it gets tricky trying to use sound as a means to predictively time your next attack. Especially when dodging as a windfall or stagger build. Perhaps some more conveniently placed visual cue would be better? Even the same bar, but above you or your enemy so that you can keep a better eye on the action?

Stun on hit. I dont have an issue with this mechanic, but I have a suggestion for how it can be used to prevent a bit of an up and coming problem in the pvp sphere. Instead of traditional counters this game uses defensive techniques to allow you to fine tune how you respond to various potential dangers, and each is individually suited to a specific fighting style. Unfortunately light spam seems to ruin most defensive abilities in one way or another.

I think fast openers are a must have for any combat deck regardles of style, but spam is straight up ridiculous in this game. Between ping and HRT, I just don't see how someone could effectively respond to even a basic spam player, and a skilled one is basically a game over. I was thinking it would be great if stun on hit could be used as an additional counter to light spam, which currently unlike any other strat, has only one somewhat effective counter. What if the stun on hit affected interrupted fast attacks for longer than interrupted slow attacks? That way a spammy player could be opened up with a fast attack and then chained in whatever way you deem fit? This could also be applied to defensive moves specifically but I think that would require too much and make the flow of combat choppy.

Offline/encounter/invite mode toggle. Offline toggle for in game. If it reloads the area, thats still fine but going all the way to the main menu when encounters and invitations are instantly toggled seems oddly unintuitive. Furthermore while I don't think invite only mode should have a permanent toggle, it doesnt function very well in its current state, dragging the player out of the mode and back into encounters for the most asinine reasons. It really is a bother. And it's the cause of about 90% of my friendly interaction issues in game.

Gear is already being addressed (thank you sloclap for listening to people) As well as health but I really don't think the health system works in its current state and I am unsure about the choices being made there. You should ALWAYS start a pvp round with full health. Regardless of what has to be sacrificed to make that fair. Frankly and I hate to say this about such a large portion of the community, but if you think the current system is fair it's because you aren't super good yet and this seems to balance the game in your favor. Because it does. The person who wins the first round is at a huge disadvantage in any kind of close fight because they will always start with low health after a victory, whereas the person who (almost inevitably) wins the second round gets to start on full health twice because they didnt have to sacrifice as much to kill you the first time. They will also probably have a full health bar when you spawn in again. This, in addition to the fact that this greatly increases the 2nd round winners ability to collect shards for the second or third time they fight you. The math just doesn't add up there.

Sorry if this came off as at all negative. I LOVE YOUR GAME. I CANNOT STRESS THAT ENOUGH. As a dev myself I can appreciate so much about this beautiful creation of yours and how so many development teams should be more like you. Thank you for actually caring about your creation, and giving the best effort possible to give it the success it really deserves.


  • Good points. As for the meter I looked at it for the tutorial but I find there are enough visual and audio cues that I haven't needed it. After a couple hours with a deck I find I can goldchain with ease.
  • ^ agreed.

    @AngelNoire Your character glows gold as a visual cue when to press the next attack button. Just a friendly tip. Also it seems like that activates as soon as your attack makes contact. Hope that helps.
  • @Guy_Porter @badeyebill
    Oh damn I missed that. I was too focused on the audio cues. Yeah that makes it a million times easier to practice. Thanks for throwing that my way!

    Btw badeyebill, its good to see a really good windfall mentor is on the forums. Have you advertised that here yet? (I haven't taken too close a look at schools myself)
  • @Guy_Porter Oh man I didn't realize the visual cue, can't wait to get home and try that out!
  • Hey AngelNoire!

    We appreciate all the detailed feedback and we're glad to hear you're enjoying the game. I've forwarded this post on to the Devs in charge of design so they can review it.

    We look forward to hearing everyone's feedback on 1.06 once it's out.
  • Yet another reason I love this developer.
  • Wow, this is already pretty great. I have to admit the turnaround on spam is gonna be pretty hard now. What a simple solution! You know, I sort of feel like my idea was tainted by the filth of the-medevial-fighter-which-shall-not-be-named. Because that might have solved their problem which couldn't be done your way with the directional block.

    You even managed to make turtling harder at the same time as countering light spam! Amazing!

    And in one patch you hit all of my minor problems and annoyances, telling me that even if they continue, that they are being acknowledged. Just awesome.

    You guys are great Sloclap. This is above and beyond. I can't wait to dig my claws into this and see how it plays. Thank you again for your dedication.
  • As for the meter, if you pay attention to the moves then where the meter is perfect it has a natural feel. It's usually right after your hit lands that the meter is perfect.
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