Dragon of Legends (Early Access): Progress Log #2

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

The format here will be the same as in the last progress log, with the full, unedited version of my second day with the game being posted at the very end, and various snippets highlighting things leading up to that. I’m not sure how much further I’m going to push into Dragon of Legends, honestly, because some of the bugs and rough edges are adding a layer of unfair difficulty that makes the whole thing kind of self-defeating. Especially since the game isn’t finished yet and there will presumably be no story payoff for making it to the end. Even if there was, the text boxes automatically close after a short time, which makes it difficult to get a grasp on all of the different names in order to follow what’s happening beyond broad strokes.

Xpadder made things much better

I don’t know why I keep splicing videos together in threes. The first clip shows the Xpadder layout I went with (side note: you can see that my analog sticks have a small amount of drift because of overuse, which becomes a problem in games that forget to include a sufficient dead zone), and it’s pretty straightforward. The left stick controls WASD, the A button is a left click to attack while X and B correspond to keyboard shortcuts for special attacks, and Y is for interacting with things. The gamepad is set up to quickly use items, the select and start buttons jump into character stats for leveling up and the journal screen, and the left trigger allows for running. Most importantly of all, however, the right analog stick controls mouse movement, which is important for the reasons seen in the other two clips: if the mouse is in the correct position to grab something when looting an enemy, it won’t recognize it and allow you to loot that enemy until it’s been moved slightly. That means that looting enemies requires a quick tap of the right stick. It’s a little awkward, but it still feels much more natural than the keyboard controls.

[F12 being mapped to R3 isn’t important for the game. I use that key to make screenshots, and have it mapped there by default to avoid having to fumble with the keyboard while going through controller games where that could become a problem.]

Timed mazes aren’t a good idea

Sadly, my second day with Dragon of Legends kicked off with this timed maze section, and it’s incredibly frustrating for several reasons. First, it’s easy to get caught up in enemy spiderwebs (and parts of the level), losing valuable time in the process. If a timed section is absolutely necessary, removing enemies during it would go a long way toward making it more self-explanatory and focused. Second, limited visibility is a bad game mechanic. A lot of games do this, and I’ve never once come away from a game going, “what a great idea to arbitrarily make it difficult to see!” For a developer familiar with their own level layout, that might seem reasonable, but for someone new to the area it’s downright annoying. Third, I’m starting to notice a few areas where the dark part denoting shadowed areas (important for giving a sense of where you can and can’t go) isn’t quite as dark as I’d prefer, leading to a few situations where I run into walls thinking that they’re paths. That’s a normal hazard of sprite art, though; for the longest time, I thought that the dark spot on Final Fantasy 6’s helmeted enemies was an eye, like they were all wearing masks or something. Which is to say that this is possibly a “me” problem.

Talk about a difficulty spike

My Xpadder setup had me feeling invincible as I mowed through groups of spiders and will-o’-wisps. Then I came across this boss guy, and he wiped the floor with me. Repeatedly. Getting his health down isn’t a problem, of course, but then he stops to take a drink and restore his health. If you let him, you basically have to start the fight all over again. If you attack him while he drinks, he goes nuts and can pretty much kill you in one or two hits (and I think he also regens health). I have no idea how to actually beat this guy, then, because I simply don’t do enough damage to kill him before he starts drinking, which means either slowly losing in a battle of attrition or attacking him and being finished off in a matter of moments. No good options here.

As usual, here’s the full video

[Note: I turned the music off because it was annoying me, but then the sound effects were claimed by a third party. That means the video has ads on it. The ambient noise that got matched is similar, but not identical (and it’s pretty dumb to get hit for the sound of rain anyway). Regardless, I don’t feel like counter-claiming and wasting a ton of time in the hopes that someone else has the ear to recognize the minute differences between the two tracks. Choosing your battles wisely and whatnot.]

As with last time, there are a few things I didn’t mention. For example, at 18:18, you can see a bug where stamina continues to deplete even after all movement has stopped. It takes awhile before it begins to replenish, too, which is one of those weird bugs that can really make life difficult. Anyway, that was Dragon of Legends. For now, at least—I look forward to reviewing this game when it’s finally finished.

[Click here to go to Dragon of Legends (Early Access) log #1]

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