Playtest 190 - Atlas 2.0

TristanTristan Member, Administrator
edited February 18 in Patch Notes

Tonight's playtest introduces Atlas 2.0! We've made a large suite of changes, designed to give the game more decision points, strategic depth, and ultimately, to make it feel even more like an RTS. The changes include a brand new map, a massive reworking of the neutral weapons system (now called the neutral mercenaries system), an expanded worker and building system, and a reworked resource model.

We've also reworked Illusion squad again (now known as Trickster squad) and Hydros.

This is an extremely early version of Atlas 2.0. We welcome feedback, but please keep in mind that all these systems are still in heavy iteration and have a long way to go. We strongly recommend that you play at least one game against the AI to get oriented, and to be in Discord so we can help you out if you get confused.

Atlas 2.0 Changes

Welcome to Atlas 2.0! We've made a large suite of changes, designed to give the game more decision points and strategic depth.

New Map

We've revamped the map! The new map is far larger, allowing for more interesting decisions regarding engagements, harassment, and resource collection.

Note that the map is arted, but it is a rough, initial blockout pass.


We've added Soup back into the game and changed how Gem and Coin function.

Coin: Still used for all squad related purchases. There is no active way to get coin, and the passive rate is the same for all players. Functionally this means everyone's squad should always be at the same power level.

Gems: Used to purchase workers, build structures, and hire neutral mercenaries. Can be gained actively in the center of the map, and passively from gem pools. Units and structures purchased with gems do not respawn and must be repurchased, meaning that Gems are the "swingy" resource that will fluctuate over the course of the game.

Soup: Used to build and upgrade your neutral mercenary structures, and to hire neutral mercenaries. Can be gained passively from soup pools. This is effectively the restricted "tech" resource and gates how quickly you can progress to and hire the most powerful mercenaries.


Workers can be purchased from your main base as well as any expansion structures for 2 gems. Workers can build structures and towers and gather resources from gem and soup pools.


We're expanding our base building to function more like a traditional RTS. Each squad unit, including the hero, now has an associated structure that must be built first by a worker. Once the structure is built, units are built using a more traditional RTS model, by selecting the structure and then selecting the unit. Structures and towers can only be built within range of the main base or an expansion.

Neutral Mercenaries (formerly Neutral Weapons)

During squad selection, players may choose one of two neutral mercenary factions that they'll use throughout the game, Raiders (represented by a Triangle) or Assault (represented by a square). Each mercenary faction includes 7-8 distinct mercenaries that can be purchased using gems and soup, as well as specialized towers.

Mercenaries are accessed through a basic tech tree, represented by building certain structures on the map. The base mercenary structure is represented by either a triangle or square icon, depending on your faction choice. This structures allows two basic mercenaries for purchase. There are two possible tier 2 mercenary buildings, currently represented by A and B. Each of these can then be upgraded once again to gain access to a final tier three mercenary.

Note: Mercenaries now can attack all other units in the game, including squad units.

Raiders Faction (Triangle)

  • Engineer

    • Buffs and repairs a nearby structure.
  • Cubelet

    • A speedy, tanky, short ranged mercenary with a quick attack
  • Predator

    • A mercenary with a basic ranged attack.
  • Sky Cannon

    • A flying mercenary with no attack that can enter a slower mode with a powerful anti-air attack.
  • Spotter

    • A utility mercenary that can reveal far away areas for brief periods of time.
  • Whelp

    • A fast, fragile, short ranged flying mercenary.
  • Exarch

    • Mercenary with a short range, devastating area attack
  • Leviathan

    • A slow-moving air mercenary with a powerful long range attack.
  • Archer Tower

    • A tower that deals damage to ground and air units rapidly.

Assault Faction (Square)

  • Wood Cube

    • A long-ranged Mercenary with a very slow basic attack.
  • Dropship

    • A dropship that can load and unload units.
  • Martyr

    • A mercenary that can redirect nearby unit damage to itself
  • Orion

    • A ground-to-air specialist mercenary with an unremarkable ground-to-ground attack.
  • Sentinel

    • A small, invisible flying mercenary that provides vision and can see invisible units.
  • Siege Titan

    • A very durable siege mercenary that devastates enemy weapons and structures from medium range.
  • Teleporter

    • A flying mercenary that can teleport its allies to its location.
  • Splash Tower

    • A tower that deals splash damage.
  • Anti-air Tower

    • A defensive tower with a very long-ranged attack against air units.

Trickster Squad, or the Squad Formerly Known as Illusion

We're moving away from the illusion mechanic with this squad, hence the rename, and focusing more on gameplay loops involving stealth and trickery. The latest iteration includes a major rework of the hero and the T1. The T3, while conceptually the same, has been buffed to be quite a bit scarier.

  • Hero - a fragile melee hero with two basic abilities who can swap in and out of battle, capable of delivering large bursts of damage.

    • Phase Rage (D) - Increases Hero attack speed by 60% for the next 4 seconds.
    • Shadowy Swap (F) - Instantly swap places with target illusion squad unit. Note this ability is available from the start of the game. When the hero reaches level 6, Shadowy Swap gains a second charge and the Hero will now emit a shadowy nova upon swapping, damaging and slowing nearby enemies' movement and attack speeds.
  • T1 - a basic backline unit

    • Phase Dash (Q) - The T1 becomes incorporeal and dashes toward target location at increased speed, phasing through units along the way.
  • T2 - a melee assassin

    • Shadow Form (W) - Becomes cloaked for ten seconds or until the unit attacks.
  • T3 - a powerful being from another dimension. By default it is cloaked and cannot attack

    • Manifest (E) - The unit becomes visible and immobile for the next ten seconds, emitting an aura that slows enemy movement and attack speed. While manifested, the unit fires dodge-able shadowy volleys at nearby enemies.

Hydros Rework

Note: The goal of the Hydros rework is to create punchier "tanky" moments where Hydros clearly has an impact in terms of mitigating damage and supporting his squad and allies.

  • Hero

    • Turn the Tide (F) - For the next 4 seconds Hydros gains an aura preventing all nearby friendly units from taking lethal damage.
  • Scuttleguard

    • Removed the Plated Shell ability.
    • Added 25 base physical and magical resistance to compensate.
  • Quadrapus: We've removed the old not-very-interesting Brine Barrier with two far more impactful abilities.

    • Plated Shell (W): Target squad unit gains 15 plate for the next 20 seconds.
    • Intervention (E): The Quadrapus channels for 6 seconds, reducing the damage taken by allies in target area by 50% as long as the channel is sustained.
  • Aquadillo:

    • Reduced the cast range of Cannonball.

Squad Changes


  • New Ultimate Ability!

    • Frozen Orb (F) - Throws an orb of frost that deals 40 damage and applies Cold Snap to enemies units in its path. Collides at its destination, dealing 80 damage to units in the impact zone and freezing them. After impacting, leaves behind a patch of ice for 6 seconds that slows enemy movement speed by 45%.


  • Trample

    • Movement speed bonus: 225% -> 190%


  • Sandstinger

    • Health: 100 -> 85


  • What did you think about the new mercenaries system?
  • How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?
  • Did the new map you feel like you had more options?
  • How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?
  • How did you feel about the Hydros rework?
  • How did you feel about the new Trickster squad?


  • I'll sleep on my thoughts and post/edit after but here's a screenshot illustrating two issues.

    Splash Tower level 2 doesn't have a description. It reads "TODO". =P

    Now that we have more possibility for placing buildings you can get issues with pathing during rallies. Either getting stuck between the bases on top or as shown in the screenshot below corners can really mess it up. Unable to figure out to go around they will pile up there unless manually told to go back then forward.

  • LefLef Member
    edited February 18

    I found the game to be unplayable. Having to put all the buildings on hot keys, not having the ability to ~ mercenaries, managing workers, etc. There's so much to do. Atlas had a singular focus so broadening what the player has to manage is good. However, I can't tell you how the game plays now because I can't play it, there's just too much to track. For example, why are the squad units all on separate buildings? That means I have to track three things where before I only had to track one. Especially since it doesn't work the same way as the mercenary tech structures, which all build from the building that has their 'create' button. The squad units all spawn from the same building but have different 'create' buildings. Why is there a building for the Hero and I have to build my first worker? Why do I have to unlock tier 1?

    The first ten minutes of the game I was hopelessly overwhelmed. I was also hopelessly overwhelmed for the next twenty minutes until we lost. The battling was still about the same, and the idea of buildings giving you access to units is fine. But I could not follow anything in the base management. Nor was my objective at all clear. One of the things I loved about Atlas was its relatively simple interface and clear direction. Here is a building with upgrades, here is the building that makes units, these gems are important. Now, even if I'm trying to figure out what to do, I can't figure out how to do it. Now I have to track where my workers are and what they're doing, what buildings are building units, what buildings are making upgrades, what my resources are, what titan camps I can do so as to plan expansions, and a bunch of stuff that I'm no doubt missing. That doesn't even account for contesting the gem area and dealing with what my opponent is doing. The tracking complexity is off the chart.

    I can't do what I want to do, which is incredibly frustrating. I wasn't intrigued. I wasn't looking forward to the rest of the game. I didn't care about mercenaries. When its 3 minutes in I've run out of hotkeys you have lost me so completely that I don't want to play. I liked the core game play of Atlas before, but the game part of the game is now inaccessible. I am not a big rts player. I find trying to manage bases and expansions to be really awkward and the stripped down version without base management was significantly more entertaining. Building units, and determining how to allocate resources is fun. Base management feels like so much busy work for no real gain. The things I want to do are now so much farther from my decision to do them. I know the game had to be pushed further in the rts direction and away from mobas, but I think its gone a bit too far.

  • PursuitPursuit Member
    edited February 18

    Mechanically the game was the most fun it's ever been for me. I got to do all sorts of multitasking heavy stuff, taking expansions and building tech while taking gems and attacking different locations ect. It feels more like an RTS than it's ever felt before, which I enjoyed. If this were a 1v1 game it might have actually been my favorite build so far despite some glaring weaknesses.

    In terms of strategic and tactical depth, the game felt pretty lacking to me. Long range squads were significantly better than melee squads with the addition of the super high health mercenaries and the fact that melee couldn't attack air. Pathways to attack into locations felt longer and narrower so going for a counterattack was basically a death trap. Even with full vision there was simply no way for me to escape, even when running away when my opponent's army was far away from mine. Advancing in the tiers was so inexpensive and quick it was basically negligible. I personally found worker / base management to be fairly one dimensional still as well. Soup especially didn't seem interesting as a resource.

    That being said I feel like in this version of the game I was able to make the least difference in any version of the game so far. The map was so big it seemed like if I was in one place and my allies were in another and our opponent's all grouped up, even if I was telling everyone to get together it just took too long and in the meantime the opposing 3 man deathball would just plow through and kill everything. Basically I feel like I as an individual was unable to make any difference, the optimal strategy seemed to be to clump everyone up and teamfight all game long, because with equal gold count and mercenaries a tower wasn't enough to hold your own in a 2v1, and even then I didn't feel like I had much control of how the battles went.

    And on the back of that this was by far the most frustrating experience I've had with the game so far. Also worth noting that I lost all my (very long) games today so that probably played into my frustration a lot.

  • CohLysionCohLysion Member
    edited February 18

    Mercenary System

    (1.1) - There is so much going on. I really like not having tower slots anymore. Air units, yeesh; probably echoing what others have said, it's weird, nigh intimidating, to have to look to the skies again. Can't say much about the rest of the units, I saw all sorts of things going on in the games, and had no idea what things were causing them.

    Worker System

    (2.1) - The workers are incredibly difficult to manage. I feel like I lost many of them around the map. I can think of some things that I'll probably end up doing to make this easier, borrowing from SC2 some. One will probably be hotkeying a builder worker. Also, normally I would use camera hot keys for expansions, so I'll have to see how that works now with assigning buildings/towers at expansions.

    (2.2) - Difficulty aside, though, I really liked using the workers. I didn't have a good feel for what workers would change wrt to the hero building stuff, but now having played it, it's great. From the perspective of building and defending territory, something as conceptually simple as changing who needs to build it and from where it will come from changes the feel of expansions so much. Where in 1.x, it felt like you were painting in your territory (almost coloring within the lines), now it feels like you are actually expanding, and you make a decision to, build a thing, and then walk it there. While I didn't see what it would change before, now it is very clear (at least for the part that I grok so far, as in my interpretation above).

    (2.3) - I have no idea how to use the engineer. I like the concept of the unit, but if it is easy to lose workers on the map, it's even easier to lose engineers. Hope it sticks around in some form, though, as the tower upgrades in 1.x were a nice (if perhaps under-utilized?) add.


    (3.1) - This map agrees with me. The things that stand out are the side paths off the main lane. This is much better than the linear gaps from the 1.x non-art maps. Plus, while this isn't necessarily part of the map, the new art for nexus and towers, holy cow, mucho gusto.

    First Ten Minutes

    (4.1) - I really like having the increased stuff to do right from the start, particularly in building a worker, and then building the buildings to get units, and having them all spawn at different times. It breaks up the early game, and makes it feel more important to get out to the gems as quickly as possible. It feels like a victory if you get everything going quickly and you get set up for whatever you are going to do out on the map. In 1.x, there wasn't a strong reward for pushing the buttons at the start. Now, in 2.0+, I feel like there is an impact from play right from the beginning. Super yay!

    Hydros Rework

    (5.1) - I haven't read the patch notes yet, and so went into the games blind. The game I played with Hydros on my team (Hive w/ Hydros + Vex vs. Vex/Poison + Vela), Hydros seemed like was better at engaging than he had been, but seemed to stay around for less time. I really don't mean that as a stealth insult, don't think my partner was playing badly or anything, just seemed less beefy than I was used to.

    (5.2) - Okay, I've now read the patch notes, and I'm curious to see how the T2 changes keep playing. My knee jerk reaction (or just jerk reaction) is that moving Plated Shell to the Quadrapus is a tough one, and changes the story of how the squad plays again. I don't remember how quickly 15 (or 20) plate will get chewed through, but having to pre-load that, on fewer units, when trying to do the big "roll in the shield wall" maneuvers, feels like it will make it more difficult to be effective. I wonder if we were already seeing this in the game. It definitely feels like I'd want to move everyone together more, or suffer the consequences, which negates the feel of the battle call of choosing to start the roll.

    Trickster Squad

    (6.1) - Didn't see Trickster tonight.


    Narrative Model

    (7.1) - I tend to match up gameplay with narrative references to help understand it and chunk it out. In the case of the mercenary system, the split between common units for everyone and the player's squad made me think a lot of the battles in the Wheel of Time series of books. "Normal" armies fighting back and forth, with siege lines, supply trains, etc., but with small numbers of super-powered champions and elite units jumping in and out of fights with the ability to change things through individual skills and contribution.

    (7.2) - Unsolicited conclusion: this really makes me wonder what it would be like if mercenary type was just another option in the main squad choice section, ie. if one of the team could choose to be a mercenary, large force commander in lieu of playing a hero squad. End result, players choose where they want to play in the MOBA/RTS spectrum, and that choice becomes an element of strategy itself.

  • NibNib Member

    Perhaps this is only because I won all my games and none went over 30 minutes, but I didn't feel the same frustration that others did.

    I enjoyed it mechanically and am glad that the game plays like an RTS now. I didn't have the same issues others did with worker and base management, although I didn't have to deal with heavy harass ever and couldn't play the back and forth gem dance as competently (and there was never really a need to).

    Squad identity felt meaningless, it's basically pick a squad based on how well it can PvE and use your tiny gold income on more T1 units until you can win the game with mercenaries.

    For me the first 10 minutes of the game was just moving from one titan camp to the next and setting up bases and for the most part ignoring the gem waves. This was never punished and it made the start of the game pretty dull with minimal contact between me and enemies.

    I didn't experiment a lot with mercenaries and after having huge success with whelps in my first game made them again in my later games to force some air defence and do a bit of damage before transitioning out of air.
    I did build leviathans in the first game and they felt practically useless for the cost, however we'd gained such an advantage from whelps and having more bases that it really didn't matter.
    For each of my other games I built exarchs after whelps and was able to finish them all rather quickly as exarchs were too strong. I never really felt a need to build T1 mercenaries.

    I didn't really feel like I had more options as it was really hard to push out across the map and through the strong towers. If you wanted to win it was basically PvE, although I'm sure people could come up with some builds with strong effective early harass.

    Despite the issues I had fun.

  • What did you think about the new mercenaries system?

    As some people said at the end of the test, my army felt less unique with the mercenaries. Not much else to say right now, I did not play enough games to know what any of them really do. The giant UFO things that I don't actually know the name of scared me when I first saw them and seem pretty cool.

    How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?

    Worker management feels really awful. Sometimes they don't properly mine what they are rallied to.

    Did the new map you feel like you had more options?

    Yes, but I was too flustered with all the other new stuff to really think about the strategic elements of the new map.

    How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?

    I feel that you should start with a worker and the hero hut. But the first 10 minutes feel okay. I felt like there was little incentive to go for the one time gem titan camps. Didn't really feel necessary at all because by the time you really need more gems to do anything you can kill the gem mining titan camps. Also I feel those camps that drop gems on the ground should just drop 2 big gem nodes instead of a bunch of small ones. It's inconvenient to sit there for 10 seconds to collect them all.

    How did you feel about the Hydros rework?

    Did not see it.

    How did you feel about the new Trickster squad?

    I played it once tonight. I was never good with it in the first place but figured I would give it a try. The hero feels really bad for someone who sucks at playing them, especially in the mid game before level 6 where there are enough units to focus him down and he doesn't have the ult to deal damage going in. In the early game his only real option seems to be to walk in get an attack or 2 off and then swap out before he dies. Though i guess the offensive option of Qing one of the T1s in and swapping with it exists but then there is no exit plan if things go badly and he gets focused. A lot of these problems could just because I was playing with an Eris and there was nothing else to tank damage. The tier 2 was fun in all the chaos of no one knowing what to do with workers though, you can just sneak one into the base and kill all the workers. After the opponent got a single tower near each base it felt worthless. Too squishy to be in a larger team fight as well as not being able to harass the economy with towers. The tier 3 just didn't feel like it did anything. I'd turn it on in the middle of a fight in a great position and it would just get focused and die. Lastly it felt REALLY bad that the enemy could just press K and reveal them and my T2s.


    I really didn't enjoy this update at all and I don't think it is because it is unpolished. I don't like the direction that it took as a whole. Before the update, I thought the game felt like 60% MOBA and 40% traditional RTS which I thought made it really unique and fun. It was about pushing and counter pushing but at the same time about build paths and unit selection while also involving a small-medium sized army. After the update it feels like 80% tradtional RTS and 20% MOBA. After tonight I thought to myself "Man I would rather have just been playing starcraft 2 for the past few hours" but before the patch I never really said "man I wish i was just playing League/SC2 instead" because it was a fun combination of those genres. I think I like the direction of the mercenaries, but them at the same time as adding in all this base management at the same time makes the game feel less unique and less fun.

  • ZeldasCreedZeldasCreed Member, Moderator

    Okay, so I haven't written a post in a long time, so bear with me while I try to gather my thoughts coherently.

    I found Atlas 2.0 to be both fun and heartbreakingly frustrating at the same time.

    1. I completely enjoyed the dropship mechanic. It was really cool to go around the map to drop my army in places (especially with a slow army, the ability to move around the map quickly is a godsend). I twas also very funny to just continually drop into their base, even if I would end up losing everything.
    * I will say that I do not necessarily like how you could fit an entire army into 1 dropship, even though was very cool to see 30+ units come out of one. I feel there should be a limit as to how many units (or even what units) can do in dropships.
    2. The artwork and map. The highground v. low ground was amazing, and the workers have become my new favorite design in the game. The nexus and towers are very futuristic and alein-like, and the animation when you destroy them is simply satisfying andfantastic.
    3. The number of expansions on the field. It always gave me something to look for and do, if I had the gems to build an expansion.
    4. The merc system as a whole is a great concept that adds variety to the squad choices.

    1. The potential for super long games (like the 50 min game I was a part of). Games in Atlas 1.0 had finally gotten to the point where the games finished around 30 min. Therefore, there was always something to do, and I never felt like I was just waiting around. That game, towards the end, I was just like "whelp, time to sit here for 75 sec or more, great...."
    2. Grath v. expansion titans. Because Grath is a melee squad, the only one that can attack the air titans is Grath himself. That makes the squad absolutely useless to me if I ever end up bottom, and makes any one playing Grath super reliant on teammates up top to clear the titans. I think this attributed to me getting absolutely destroyed by Jordan in my last game. I also feel like someone playing Grath must always choose the Assault faction to make up for this deficient if placed on bottom to get out the Orion.
    3. I miss having the ability to tech up (attack, attack speed, etc.).
    4. I'm not a big fan of having to kill titans at your own base in order to mine gems/soup, especially when I have to wait to deploy my army.
    4. Most Important point for me A main reason why I loved Atlas is that, for a player like me (who is not good at RTS games), it was still simple enough while being sort-of complex to play and compete with better players. I mean, I stopped playing SC2 because there were too many choices, the timing mattered so much, and it felt too much for someone who didn't have the time to dedicate to learning it well.

    Atlas 2.0 made me feel EXACTLY like I did playing SC2.

    There was so much going on that I never felt comfortable in the choices I was making. I ended up surrendering in the middle of the second game I played because I was at such a disadvantage due to complexity (and only partly Jordan destroying me). I felt like I couldn't contribute to my teammates. I felt like I suck at playing games and should never play again, even 2 hours after the game was done. As Lef said, "the tracking complexity is off the chart". It makes the game less enjoyable to me if I am so focused on not screwing up that I can't relax and have fun playing the wonderful game you have taken the time to create. Right now, I feel like "this will be a great game for others to play, but not me", and I don't like that feeling. I don't want to have that feeling.

    Now, some of it will be the growing pains of learning the mechanics. For example, I now know that I have to build no more than 3 workers so that I can build the hero and T1 buildings. However, to have the remember to build the structures to get the units while also collecting gems and/or getting an expansion and/or building new's a little much for me.

    I apologize if anything I said was unclear. Please let me know if you want me to expand. Even if there is a lot of negative feedback here, you all are working super hard to make a great game, so thanks for letting me be a part of it!

  • HazardHazard Member
    edited February 18

    What did you think about the new mercenaries system?

    I like that they add more depth in the game. It's complicated now and I clearly know what I need to work on. They make it easier to do alright when you are against a hard counter because you can rely on mercenaries instead of your squad but that sort of makes me sad because then my squad is less important :(. I enjoyed playing out the fantasy of being a long ranged Vela Squad picking off dudes.

    Also the change in the mercenaries made it harder to siege. Without clear ways with how to attack the enemy towers and take objectives (Just build ion cannons, just build cubes) I spent a lot of time just sitting in a defensive spot thinking.. (Hmm what should I do now..) I felt discouraged to attack instead of encouraged.

    How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?

    It was nice to have more buildings and an added base management system but with every building having the same model it was a real pain to build units. I also couldn't cycle through the buildings (Or at least I couldn't figure out how to) which made building units and organizing things tough.

    Managing workers was tough. I couldn't select idle workers and I would find myself not realizing that I wasn't mining bases. I ended up just building a bunch of workers because they were cheap as a reserve workforce when my current one got slaughtered. It also felt clunky to build ion cannons and siege weapons with them.

    Did the new map you feel like you had more options?

    I definitely felt like the map had more options. Encounters were happening all over the map and it was fun times. I don't like that the middle is an open area and miss having the random shapes and obstacles in the way because they were really nice for vela micro/kiting.

    I think that it is weird that I have a super titan camp of death right in my base though.

    There were a few things I didn't like about the new Map.

    Because it was so large I was afraid to go out and take more titan camps because my other bases would be easy to assault without my main units. This could be solved if I built more towers or had better wardage and may be due to player skill. The speed of my units worked with the old map but they feel much slower now because the map is so much bigger now.

    Also Bot lane feels much more segregated from top lane now.

    How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?

    Meh. It feels weird to not be able to have a squad out by game start because that's what we did in the past. I feel like my first minute or so is always just waiting to get my T1 units out. Early game didn't feel necessarily exciting. I felt like I could actually just ignore the other team in favor of taking expansions.

    How did you feel about the new Trickster squad?

    I liked playing against them. The guy I played against rushed for the T2 and was decimating my army before an easy detection ward just made it easy to spot everything and snipe it before it came close to me ( vela ). Their T3 units feel underpowered to me. Because if they're so slow I can just kill them before they get close. I'm sure it would rock some people who played melee squads but it's not like melee needs a hard counter since flying titans seem to do the trick. ;)

    Took Screenshots for some other feedback but I don't have access to them right now. Will post them tonight and add to my feedback

    _ The game definitely feels a lot more RTSy and a lot less ATLASy. I'm not sure I like the more RTS feel compared to the way things before because it feels less unique. I find myself really looking forward to the public test weekend so I could play old Atlas a little more and capture what exactly gives it the ATLASy "feel" that I'm talking about. _


    Dear Atlas Dev Team,

    Way to be risky as hell and give us so many changes so quick. I can't wait to get Atlas 0.2.0 to be as awesome as I thought Atlas 0.1.0 was. I hope you don't get discouraged by a lot of the negative feedback. I'm ready to playtest as much as I need to until we get to that point.


  • MeltCatMeltCat Member
    edited February 18

    What did you think about the new mercenaries system?

    I like the idea of having specialized mercenary "trees" that you spec into on a per-game basis depending on your needs and overall team strategy -- this was the rough impression of the goal I got from Sean during Sunday's AMA. However, this first iteration is not at that point yet. The mercenaries as they stand now feel either spammy and samey (all the cheaper ones) or super expensive but not as impactful as their cost would suggest (Leviathan). Additionally, when every army in games became half-composed of cubes, it felt like my own squad wasn't as neat or unique.

    How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?

    I had definitely gotten used to Atlas without base management, as it's all I've played! My absolute biggest gripe with this was that I could no longer build units without either moving my camera back to my base, or using 3-5 hotkeys, when before these were all just core functions, accessible at any point in time.

    Workers and buildings themselves were alright. I definitely enjoyed the ability to just sit and gather some resources with my cute little worker dudes, and expanding felt like expanding, rather than simply filling in your spaces as the gem spawns dictated.

    Anti-air towers proved pretty effective at stopping annoying air units, but I didn't even have the thought cross my mind that towers could be built at forward locations to defend expansions and such until much later. It's a strange feeling to have that freedom now after being locked to tower slots for so long.

    Did the new map you feel like you had more options?

    The new map felt HUGE. More options though? I'm not sure. There are lots of expansions and a big gemming zone in the middle, so while the early game felt less about fighting over the first few gems, toward the midgame things still felt like they hit that same sort of point. At least, until it turned out my opponent had a lead and rolled over me with a huge amount of cubes that I had no recourse against and promptly lost my gem/soup expansion, setting me even more behind.

    That's anecdotal, and probably just stems from straight-up not being used to things yet, but holy crap did it feel awful to go from making even-ish trades as Ryme vs Eris, to suddenly getting bowled over because now there are 12 plated cubes helping wreck your face.

    It DID feel like I had more options to get gems early on though. I actually really enjoyed the little gem-dropping dudes as an alternate source of gems if you're losing slightly in trades.

    How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?

    The first ten minutes felt like they were highly dependent on your squad. Squishy squads have a FAR more difficult time clearing anything more than the single-soup expansion (as the solo-lane player, that is) before gems spawn, while as Ryme I was almost able to clear the gem expansion by the lower tower as well as the soup expansions there and near my base. I didn't play any melee squads, so I can't speak to how crappy it was to not shoot up, but that sounds sucky, at least.

    How did you feel about the Hydros rework?

    Only played against it. Quadrapus plate buff just ruined my day as Vela, and saved many many Scuttleguards from a snipery fate. So, seems cool!

    How did you feel about the new Trickster squad?

    Did not see any Trickster squad. Or maybe I did and didn't notice because there were so many other changes. I don't think I saw one, at least. Maybe the squad is just that Trickstery.

    Other thoughts

    I'm not sure what reason there really is for soup. The only major soup expenditures seemed to be upgrading to the next mercenary tier, or building the super top-end mercenary. Everything else that cost soup required so little in comparison to my swimming-in-soup income that it seemed like just a formality.

    This was the first time that I disliked playing Eris. I had lots of issues dealing with titan camps and just felt like I was always behind. With the focus away from early fighting, it felt like Eris' major strength was gone, and all I could do was build ~infinity sandstingers to try and fight.

    Big map = purifiers don't suck as much to fight. Huzzah!

    I do echo some of the above sentiments as far as it feeling maybe too starcrafty, and less atlas-y. The base-building/macro changes do a ton to shift it much closer to the RTS end of the apparent RTS-MOBA spectrum, while it felt like it had built some solid gameplay around the more middling-but-slightly-more-moba-sided region it felt like the previous builds were in. Mostly though, I see a ton of potential in the new systems, and I'm really excited to continue to test things and help work through the kinks and rough patches.

  • SpideyCUSpideyCU Member
    edited February 18


    • What did you think about the new mercenaries system?

    I'm really torn on this. The biggest thing I can say is that it felt different, which isn't necessarily better or worse. Actually, it felt like both. On the better side, it opened up options drastically for the game - there were so many possibilities it made my head spin.

    On the worse side, it felt less unique in multiple ways. The squads felt less unique as units/abilities specific to them made up a much smaller percentage of both your army and what you were doing. As I'll get to later in the "first 10 minutes" question, it was after this period of time that I felt like I lost my squad identity. It seemed like my identity was determined more by my mercenary selections.

    On the worse side, revisited, it felt like Atlas lost some of its identity. Yes, the respawn mechanic was there for your gold-only (and thus squad-specific) units, but over time they seemed to become less important to actually winning the game. With the mercenaries being such a big part as the game went on, the respawn mechanic was less and less of a factor and it just sort of felt like "every other RTS".

    • How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?

    I hate to give the same answer as above but it felt both better and worse. It felt better because it added a new dimension, which is always cool when it's new. I don't know how it'll feel in the long run. It was nice to have the workers be something practical other than just auto-harvesters that were auto-built. The best part, honestly, was not having my hero do everything. I could do the whole "expand behind an attack" function which was nice.

    It felt worse because the game kind of got the feeling of "every other RTS" as with the previous question. While I was multitasking more, I was (as a result) microing my units less and never really dancing for position as I used to. It went back to the feeling of SC2 where, except for the highest level of play, macro wins games. While in and of itself that isn't a bad thing, it's again less unique and does seem to trade a bit of one thing for another.

    • Did the new map you feel like you had more options?

    Good lord did it ever! It was amazingly expansive and I actually had to have more map awareness. I almost had to relearn that as I was previously so focused on just one part of the map. However, given the speed of the units I agree with @Hazard that I felt very nervous about going anywhere - the sheer # of units in a dropship makes it nearly impossible to react accordingly. Hell, even when I see one coming I'm not sure how big of a response I'm supposed to commit to dealing with it which is the biggest problem IMO.

    • How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?

    The first 10 minutes were honestly my favorite as it felt like a different, more expansive version of Atlas 1.0. It's hard to say whether this was due to the map, though. It's after the 10 minute mark where I felt uneasy - like @ZeldasCreed said, I sort of liked that games in 1.0 weren't typically super-drawn out. There was potential for it, but unlikely given the resources and structure of the map.

    General summary:

    I give a big thumbs up to Artillery for making these types of drastic changes in figuring out what will and won't work. It's bold and I like the willingness to do something like this.

    That being said, overall I feel like I was left with a slightly uncomfortable feeling toward the game. I have to once again echo @ZeldasCreed comment:

    It makes the game less enjoyable to me if I am so focused on not screwing up that I can't relax and have fun
    playing the wonderful game you have taken the time to create. Right now, I feel like "this will be a great game
    for others to play, but not me", and I don't like that feeling. I don't want to have that feeling.

    It's this for me right now. The level of complexity of the current state of the game is on-par with SC2, which is great but I'm not necessarily sure it's something I'd enjoy playing on a regular basis. It's overwhelming, and I fully understand that part of this will be adjusting to the changes. I may look back on my post in three weeks and laugh, and I hope that's the case.

    I liked managing resources with an army (as opposed to a single hero, like a MOBA). I liked the fact that positioning was a factor in fights moreso than a MOBA. I honestly liked focusing on both of these things without worrying heavily about base management and regular production, and I feel like that's lost now. I think it's important to note that the respawn mechanic not only gave you options to not completely fall behind if you lost a battle, but (as compared with SC2) it effectively re-queue'd unit production for you after you lost them - again, letting me focus on other things, typically combat-related. With the focus moreso on mercenaries, that's another aspect that fades away a bit.

    Despite that, I liked the map, I liked using workers (mostly), I liked not having the hero do EVERYTHING.

  • bycebyce Member
    • What did you think about the new mercenaries system?

    I couldn't help but laugh when I opened the Atlas 2.0 email and read "mercenaries." A few weeks ago I remember just chatting with one of you and asking why they're called neutral weapons and not just mercenaries. I wish I could remember the response I got - probably some non-answer since I guess they already were called mercenaries, haha.

    I haven't had nearly enough time yet to play with all the different mercenaries and get a good feel for the, uh, soup economy and stuff. The mercenary tech tree is too confusing. Even though I've looked at it in-game a few times now, I couldn't begin to tell you which mercenaries come from where. All I know is the roflcopter is my new favorite unit.

    • How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?

    This was definitely missing from Atlas 1.X and it's good to have more stuff to do; but it feels forced and uninteresting right now. For example, a building for each unit? That seems like it was just done to see what having a bunch of buildings would look like. Same deal with the mercenary buildings. I gave up on trying to hotkey stuff when I realized there were almost as many buildings as hotkeys. Why not have a barracks type of building that you upgrade for each tier? You could still have different building art for each tier.

    Manual workers makes sense when you're looking at the expansion with different types of resources to choose from. Besides that, I kind of missed automated workers, to be honest.

    • Did the new map you feel like you had more options?

    Not really, it seemed like everyone kind of hung out in the middle until they were confident they could push the nexus together. I don't think anyone actually knows the map yet, though, and we all suck at Atlas V2 right now. I love the shrub paths, though.

    • How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?

    Not gonna lie, I was annoyed when I realized I would have to manually click buildings to build units and grab my workers before they ran off to my rally point to tell them what to do. This is something I will obviously get used to as a playtester, but it's been proven by StarCraft that most people don't wanna do this stuff.

    • How did you feel about the Hydros rework / new Trickster squad?

    If either of these squads were in my game I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on to notice them.

    • Can you shoot Frostbolts through the square trees by the yellow camp in the middle lane of the top side of the map?


  • CycleCycle Member, Moderator
    edited February 18

    Ohhhhh mannn Atlas 2.0. After reading through everyone's feedback, I'm going to try and not echo too much of what others have said regarding UI/UX and just kinda ramble on overall gameplay flow from my perspective.

    However one thing I definitely want to agree with was the dwarfing of Squad identity by mercenaries - I understand this now from the proposal earlier. Squads have personality and identity, and when they aren't prominent in the game, I become detached. I think of all the changes that happened, this is the one that really stuck out to me as a conceptual disconnect from what I personally envision Atlas to be.


    For the second time, Atlas feels like a complete RTS to me. (The first time being when the neutral weapon system was introduced and I was able to multi-prong with cubes/army.) I really love how RTSes feel to play, combining muscle memory and on-the-fly tactics with premeditated strategy/overarcing plan to win the game. Of course at the moment there are a billion buttons to press and I need 10 more fingers to manage all the hotkeys, but (from my perspective as a not-dev of this game) that's not one of the hard problems to fix.

    I was saying this to Jordan on Discord during a game: Atlas 2.0 feels like the culmination of all the gameplay feedback you guys have been receiving for the past several months. I can really feel the depth to strategy starting to bud, the multitasking going up, and the start of decision trees and paths to go down. When I went into my games of Atlas 2.0, I had the same sense of wonder that I did when I first picked up Starcraft and there was a vast world in front of me that I knew absolutely nothing about.

    I had asked a question during the Atlas AMA last Sunday, something about "will you market the game as a MOBA/RTS hybrid or like (etc etc garbage question)", but after playing the new version, it feels like a complete RTS even with the presence of towers and a nexus to kill.

    Ramble on Tech Tree Splits

    I've talked about this before, and feel just as strongly about it now. I absolutely love when video games have hard-split decision trees, where once you go down one path, there's no going back during this game (or there is a penalty for switching). Currently in Atlas there's a hard split between triangle and square mercenaries and I think this is ballin, and wish that even further within the mercs there were more hard-split tech paths. If I understand it right, there's a soft-split where after you pick triangle, for example, you can go either A or B, and the limiting factor is money. I mean, maybe that's actually just enough of a limit in competitive games to keep from opening up the whole tree. This is how Starcraft limits players to builds - when everything has a cost, you can't just build one of everything and accomplish the goal efficiently (unless you're 1-1-1ing kekeke).

    Actually I take back what I said - the current system you guys have for the tech tree is pretty sick. You have a hard split on the squad selection screen, and then gate all the tech within it via the economy. I'm pretty pumped to try it out more over the coming, well, forever.

    Of course, with the state of the UI/UX right now, I couldn't learn the proper mechanics fast enough to be able to explore the level of strategic depth in the game.

    Also with the current merc system, I can imagine more factions of mercs (Triangle, Square, Circle?, Rhombus?) could be added, exploding the game with more things and stuff.

    Ramble on Overall Feel of Mercenaries

    Mercs dominated the battlefield in the three games I played. I am entirely unsure whether this is because their models are more prominent than squad models or because the concept of them flooded the game. 100% of the reason that I need an economy is to build mercenaries, meaning that all game I am thinking solely about mercenaries and how to get more. Mercenaries are my tech path, and mercenaries are my cash sink. I think this could be the core reason as to why they felt so titanic compared to the squads.

    Yeah, now that I think of it, in Atlas 2.0 the only way I can get an advantage over my opponent is to get more XP, or to come out ahead regarding mercenaries. Expansions can only lead to more quantity or quality or mercs, and so killing expansions is all about mercs and building expansions is all about mercs. My squad is now a utility bonus DPS or CC to my mercs, which are what I'm really using as my army. My squad now feels like a tangible upgrade to my Starcraft-esque merc army.

    I think this is the main reason that Atlas 2.0 feels so distant from its predecessor. I miss the importance of my squad because I am attached to it.

    Questions from the OP

    Re: workers and building construction
    - I had no issues with it. With the lack of polish for my mechanics (finger polish?), it felt kinda like BW where I had to manually make sure everything was listening to me properly. Concept of workers and building things is super cool.

    Re: Units coming out of buildings
    - So if you checked Discord when the patch notes were released, I was super ultra hype for units requiring buildings to be made. I imagined them coming out of the built building Barracks-style, and was kinda disappointed when they didn't. Maybe I just want to proxy my T3s or something :D

    Re: New map thoughts
    - First, the art is GORGEOUS. It just keeps getting better. Super wow.
    - I agree with @Pursuit - the size of the map makes deathballing with allies feel like the right thing to do. With the map so large, if one player is isolated then it's incredibly punishing. I feel like the size of the map does not add more options for multitasking, rather it makes it feel less like an option. Committing x% of my army to the other side of the map is not worth it if the other team has deathballed. If the map were much smaller, yes the opposing team could defend my drop on the other side easier, but also now it becomes a battle of "who can properly micro two things at once" and it would feel much more open to possibility, I think. With the current map size I feel like I as an individual am insignificant.

    Re: First 10 minutes
    - cleaning up UX will help a ton. I never want to play vs the interface
    - Also, the first 10 minutes was mostly spent acquiring expansions. I compare this to LotV, which was super streamlined to get right into the interesting parts. Most of my LotV games were like 15 min on average, and never felt boring or uninteractive with my opponents at any point. I felt like the first 10 minutes of Atlas 2.0 didn't involve me fighting my opponent at all, but rather just camps. This may change as I understand the meta more, since I've only played 3 games on this build.

    Re: Squad balance
    - I was mostly in awe of all the new stuff that wasn't squad-related to really notice. Mercs even dominated my feedback D:

    Other things

    I still firmly believe what I did when I first started playing Atlas: this game has the potential to be really, really amazing. I remember someone saying Artillery's original goal was to remove all the stressful/unfun elements from RTSes to make a much more fun yet still strategically-deep game. I think that 2.0 is beginning to address the depth of strategy part, and I'm really excited to see how, with some UI cleanup, the removal of "the stress of the RTS" will come to fruition.

    Can't wait for Sunday :D:D:D:D

  • As expected, yesterday was pure chaos. I think all my in-game coms were "what is that?" or "what do I do now?" or "NO SERIOUSLY WHAT IS THAT?". Here are some initial thoughts.

    -What did you think about the new mercenaries system?

    I think I share the same thoughts as most people on this. The new mercs are fun and interesting but they definitely detract from the uniqueness of playing a squad, especially with the new slow gold rate. Armies would easily become 1/4-1/2 mercs and each of them would be significantly beefier and have more impact in fights than the units themselves.

    The mercs also feel like they are restricting squad choices. Slow or melee squads seem to suffer against welps/dropships/any mobile harass and squishy or low hp squads seem to get shredded late game vs the high number of splash heavy mercs.

    -How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?

    I like the new workers and I like what this was trying to accomplish but it felt like we were given lacking tools to best manage our bases that it became a mechanical sore.

    Here was my hotkey setup yesterday:
    1- Hero + Army
    2- Mercs
    3- T1
    4- T2
    5- T3
    6- Merc Buildings
    7- Upgrades
    8- Main Base
    9- Worker

    And yet, this felt incredibly lacking as I couldn't split my army/mercs into multiple hotkeys. I've previously played BW and was high masters in SC2 and I can't say I've experienced such a struggle since BW Zerg. Now granted, there is less building/macro than those games but it didn't feel clean or satisfying to macro. It felt like I was fumbling around (which in part is caused by the unfamiliar hotkey setup).

    The mechanics here need to be streamlined a bit. It doesn't quite make sense for T1-T3 to be built from buildings and to come out of the main base. Either all these T1-T3 units need to be moved to the main base or there needs to be a way to tab through MBS. This way you can combine macro bases T1-T3 on one hotkey and merc macro bases on another.

    Also had some issues managing multiple mercs with differing abilities. Not sure if there is a good way to do this.

    Other than that, I like the worker system. It feels satisfying to be able to macro and micro at the same time without your hero running around putting down bases.

    Some other minor things - The build grid is a little bit wonky and just bothers me a little bit. I also would love an idle worker hotkey for any designated building workers or for forgotten workers. Camera hotkeys would be nice but don't feel as high priority at this point.

    -Did the new map you feel like you had more options?

    I'm torn on this. At first, it felt like there were more options of where to position, what camps to clear, and where to push and harass. As noted by many others, it seemed to become more focused on keeping armies grouped at all times.

    However, this did give the opportunity to sneak out some merc harass (like welps) and simply posturing under a tower to stop an engage from happening. I do think players will soon be able to identify the fact that gems/soup were spent elsewhere and see this an opportunity to force an engage though.

    I definitely need to play the map more to get better thoughts on this.

    -How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?

    Skirmishes and trades seemed to occur less often than before. The leveling up to 6 was definitely slower. Not necessarily a bad thing, I just think there were more alternatives to fighting for every single gem in the early spawns.

    I think the first 10 minutes will drastically change as people start figuring out top priorities and streamlining their builds so I won't talk too much on this.

    Overall it was fun but 2 hours isn't quite enough time to generate great thoughts on everything yet.

  • The Mercenary System

    Because I had my hands full figuring out some of the other elements of this build, I ended up not building very many mercenaries, and when I did construct some I used them as I had in Atlas 1.0—to push towards my opponent’s nexus.

    As such, I didn’t directly experience the feeling that my squad was less important/unique. However, just the way the system is set up on paper gives me the feeling that the game’s build strategy and counter-play is concentrated in your mercenary faction rather than your squad, which is probably not how squads should feel.

    Workers, Map, & Early Game

    Managing workers felt like busywork. There doesn’t seem to be much reason to place individual tier huts since you are building all of them right next to each other anyway.

    The tier system itself did not seem to have a purpose since I could build into tier 3 quickly and at little cost. I don’t think this is a bad thing actually. I like that I am able to start off building whatever squad units I want. The new coin system functions as a steadily increasing supply cap. Ideally games will be over before players max out all of their unit supplies, so it is more important for players to think about which squad units they prioritize.

    In regards to the map and choices, I felt like I spent the first part of the games running around clearing camps, spending just enough time in the gem area to pay for the expansions. I was playing hive and built three Scarabs as soon as possible, so I found the yellow camps red camps without flyers to be easily clearable. As such I did not find myself interacting with my opponent(s) as much as previously.

    Some suggestions for the worker and mercenary systems.

    Directly managing workers feels like a hassle. After I lose workers to harassment, I need to go around an count the number of workers I need to replace, then wait for them to build, then order each one start mining again.

    I think I would prefer it if workers functioned as appendages of your base and expansions. Let’s say your expansions automatically build two free workers, as they used to. You access the construction menu by selecting the building, which then temporarily relieves a worker of its mining duty and dispatches it to complete the task. This would automate the routine process of repair after you lose workers to harassment, and players wouldn’t need to search around for their construction worker when they wanted to build something.

    In regards to mercenary buildings, their design seems to suggest that you guys want to make it possible for players to spread out the placement of these structures; allowing them to build units closer to the action, and allowing sides to more easily scout and contest these buildings. What if you got access to mercenaries by upgrading expansions into specific mercenary buildings? Instead of choosing a mercenary faction, you gave all players access to the same, lets say, five buildings, each of which produced three types of units.

    For example, a player could upgrade an expansion into a “starport” that builds Whelps and, after a second upgrade, sky cannons and/or leviathans (the player might have to choose). Their opponent could scout this building and counter by upgrading their expansion to build Orions. So players are choosing what mercenaries they have access to during the match rather than before, but the variety of mercenaries a player has access to at one time is limited by the number of expansions they are able to build.

    To summarize, I do feel like this version is a little too heavy on micromanagement in areas where you aren’t actually making meaningful choices. I thought Mark Rosewater did a good job of elucidating this subject recently in Drive to Work #299.

  • **What did you think about the new mercenaries system?**

    I only used the square Assault mercs and felt they had a odd progression of resource requirements. It felt like I didn't need much gas at all until siege titans, buried way at the end of the tech tree. As for offensive options there wasn't much I wanted to spend gems on either. As Vela I wanted to have more power to the squad and some beefer dudes but all I really had for that were Wooden Cubes, which were alright I guess. Wards and Sentinels were great, as were both Splash and Anti-air towers. After getting the hang of things having answers to different situations was super cool, although it really felt like my squad itself mattered a lot less than before. Since you can progress up to a lot of mercs faster than you can your own squad (it feels like it), I may as well have just been a merc hero half the time. Upgrades didn't get bought much at all because of the strict gold progression and no control over it. Army appearance really took a hit with all of the mercs and things flying around, clashing and always being as clear who was who.

    **How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?**

    It was certainly a little awkward, hunting for a free worker (or just building an extra one each time...). Buildings are forced to be farther apart than I thought they would (can't really be flush) and cause a fair amount of pathing issues unless you really put them out of the way (which isn't great for merc buildings). I need to get used to the building hotkeys still but the names of things being A1, A2, B1, B2, etc were not very informative or memorable (trying to figure out which had what I wanted was a chore!): having to go to tooltips to sort of know where it's going.

    **Did the new map you feel like you had more options?**

    In some ways yes, some ways no. There are more camps to take and earlier, but they're sort of linear in progression due to their difficulties and you can focus on them in the safety of your side of the map most of the time. The map was very clearly divided into two, with big towers in between and big neutral titans everywhere so I almost want to say a lot of options were false choices. There's more content but as we figure out what we want and how to do it, I imagine a lot of the choices being nulled out by basic stream lining; However, there is a ton of potential to do different things and different build orders. It feels way more like an RTS now, where before it was more akin to a MOBA (in my opinion of course).

    **How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?**

    They go comparatively quicker than the 20+ minute mark. Which seems odd because you're really just ramping and setting up, typically the slow and boring part. But after that progression (largely unhindered and with the gold change at a similar pace to the enemy) it just stays more at a stalemate (but could be because we're all awful for now) for far too long and progression grinds to a near halt.

  • Overall: yo this patch feels, to use some technical terminology, like the sickest shit. I had muuuuuchmuchmuchmuch more fun playing today than i've had in like the past month of playing old atlas put together (admittedly part of that might've been playing with cycle my first game, his enthusiasm is infectious :p).

    I did feel like I adapted to the patch faster than most people -- after an initial learning curve (~20 mins, which is to say about a third about my first game, ha) I felt like matchups were easy -- I was consistently coming out on top in fights/taking out enemy expansions while maintaining my own -- even when I felt like I was playing sub-optimally (partially possibly because I had good hero matchups? don't know), and against players who historically I've had difficulty beating (meltcat, pursuit). So that success has probably colored my overall impressions some.

    The game feels much more rts-y and somewhat more distanced from the moba-y parts, which despite my general experience of enjoying mobas more [than rtses] i found to be a ton of fun. Possibly because i've always liked team-based rtses and it's not really a niche that's been filled very well, 2v2 starcraft etc not having really been given any design attention.

    (I only got to play bot lane in my 3 games, as Celesta, Eris and Vela)

    • What did you think about the new mercenaries system?

    Mercenaries felt great, especially compared to neutral weapons. Being able to attack squad units made them feel much less vestigial and more like an actual part of my army, which was about 1000x as satisfying. It also made building them early on, without the express purpose of flooding 300 gems down the middle of the map to end the game, feel useful (to help knock out the opponents' armies and thereby bases), which was nice.

    The larger unit counts in general made battles, especially multi-player (not just 1v1) battles feel waaaaay more rts-y, with lotsa shit running around and dying and less of me really having a clue what was going on, but definitely enjoying watching whatever on earth was occurring take place.
    That's probably bad gameplay-health wise? Maybe? But it was definitely fun for me. And/or funny.

    Having mercenaries which often worked in completely different spaces from my main squad (contrast old atlas, controlling e.g. vela's army -- almost without exception literally all her shit is optimally placed in a giant blob as close together to each other as possible, doing the exact same stuff as each other) -- cubelets, whelps, leviathans, etc, all with different purposes, was fun and made me feel much more like i had different interesting stuff to do while fighting. I have no idea how much of that different stuff was optimal play but it was fun to play around with. I think this was the largest contributing factor to the game feeling much more fun to me than before.

    Your squad definitely feels less centrally important, especially as the same goes on, than in old atlas or other mobas where they're basically all the army you control. Didn't really develop a strong opinion on whether that was good or bad, but it was a thing.

    • How did it feel to manage workers and construct buildings?

    I've heard a lot of comments about workers being hard to control -- they seemed fine to me; building new workers/buildings, sending them to new bases, whatever, was fun, even though the actual physical locating of buildings didn't seem like it had any particular depth to it beyond 'try not to block in your new units'. :p
    Workers rallying back to old bases when ordered to mine during construction of a new one was weird and unintuitive but i got used to it quickly and it didn't end up feeling like much of a problem to me. Obviously would be nice to be fixed, but it didn't bother me much.

    Having different buildings to build different units was a pain in the ass (when building units from them -- not when building the buildings, to clarify, which i enjoyed for no particular reason other than a visceral rts-y enjoyment of pressing a button and making a structure show up) and felt pretty pointless since they work exactly the same as the old build-out-of-main-base with q/x/c system (no unit queuing/unit production speed factor, etc), just with worse hotkeys.

    Resources overall felt like just sort of an amorphous blob of...stuff that accumulated over time and every once in a while i went 'huh, i should probably spend this on...something i guess'. Very few times did i feel like i was taking specific actions in order to acquire a specific resource or specific amount of resources, or waiting until a particular threshold was reached so i could get some critical purchase. I'm not sure whether this is a sign of the gameplay as a whole or of my unfamiliarity with the new systems, though. It was definitely a stronger sense of...aimlessness? than I ever felt with old Atlas's gold, though, even when I was first playing.

    Getting 4 exarchs stuck in the middle of a bunch of production buildings for the entireity of a 59 minute game felt poopy :p Kinda hilarious, but poopy.

    • Did the new map you feel like you had more options?

    The new map seems cool at first glance/play; I like the size/the focus on larger spaces in which to fight as opposed to tiny rooms with expansions in them.

    I spent a large amount of time, especially my first game, not really having a clue what i should be trying to do in order to move towards victory, and heard these feelings echoed by my teammates. i think a large part of this is just unfamiliarity, though. (and intimidation at those enormous tower healths, holy moly) Or to echo travis:

    Overall I think I need to play more games to really answer this, I didn't get to build a super strong sense of what my options were, let alone whether there were more/fewer of them than before.

    • How did you feel about the first ten minutes of the game?

    My first game i was largely just cheerfully bewildered the entire time, trying out building various buildings and units. Running around killing titans and taking bases (with celesta/eris) felt impactful, skirmishing in the middle with my opponent over gems felt significantly less so?, especially compared to old atlas. So to a large degree the earlygame felt kinda vacuous, i guess. Like i was just waiting on my side of the map for my tech/resources to accumulate to the degree that i could do things. Maybe that's just because i'm bad though, will have to see. The early 'creeping' (murdering titans, taking expansions) early on did feel extremely warcraft 3 (with no particular value judgment assigned to that, it just stood out in my mind really strongly).

    I will say Vela felt SO BAD compared to celesta/eris now because titan camps are so much more lethal and slightly harder to break the AI of, and killing titans to take expansions early seems just as important if not moreso as ever. I got the impression from the current build that having 50-gold cost ranged t1 units was kind of an enormous advantage.

    • Other Stuff

    I like that stat upgrades seem to be dead; upgrades always felt boring and flat to me and feeling free to spend all my money on units/unique research was fun.

    A bug: Ryme new ult fizzles if he dies while it's mid-flight; Jordan says this is unintended.

  • SnowSnow Member
    edited February 19

    Last week day9 said he'd remember me, and with respect to that, i feel the need to write a lengthy post. Also the new client is incredibly different and merits a lengthy post. I know i'm late so this will probably get buried but hopefully someone reads.

    I wanted to point out immediately that we made a big point of harass yesterday. We picked off 24 workers one game yesterday. No exaggeration, that was the number i counted. It did nothing. This same game we had all but 2 expacs at 5~6 minutes, we were 5-6 levels ahead, winning our top lane very hard, picking off workers...but ultimately it did nothing, and gave us little advantage. In other RTS's, (which is what the new client feels like) killing that many workers would result in a rage quit from the other opponent, or at least an easy win.

    On to the review.

    How did I feel about the first 10 minutes of the game.

    At first, horrible. So much to do, and obvious advantages to doing it in the most efficient possible way (i.e timing builds) but after playing a few games this became actually quite fun, reminded me of Starcraft a bit (you'll hear this a lot). Ultimately though the first 10 minutes felt entirely different than old Atlas. Old Atlas was all about contesting the mid, interacting with your opponent, feeling out their play style (should i go aggro, do i need to play defensively, etc...) and then expanding. I wasn't a fan of how fast you needed to expand, but the new game isn't any better about that (you can EASILY get 3-4 expacs by 5-6 minutes in the new client). The new first 10 minutes are all about building, expanding, and rarely do i even brush up with my opponent; i might for fun, or to deny a couple gems, but gems are so common now that there really isn't any point, i'd be better off macro'ing. The first 10 minutes needs more clear direction. For example, IF I choose not to fight in mid and macro, it will clearly result in these outcomes with these paths forward. Or if I choose to harass, controls gems, it will do

    Did the new map you feel like you had more options?

    Yes! To a detriment! The new map is too big. It reminded me of those old Halo maps that were too big. It was too big. But more seriously - it takes an unnecessarily large amount of time to go back and forth between mid and your base and your expansions. Also the new camps, while yes harder, are not nearly hard enough. As I said earlier, while playing Eris + Seed we were going to almost max expansions around 5 minutes. This just didn't fit the vision Sean painted last Sunday in chat. I'm sure this is being worked on but i really liked the idea of slower expansions, clear phases to the game that can be achieved via a good mix of macro and micro; harass and economy building.

    How did it feel to manage workers and Construct buildings

    Manage workers - actually a lot of fun. I always liked worker management in Starcraft, and i like it here. A few collection bugs aside (to be expected people, its a pre-alpha) this was fun. Constructing buildings was ok... I feel like there is a lot of communication design that needs to happen in terms of what buildings do what, and also building consolidation needs to happen; having to manage so many buildings to build units made me build only a few select units en mass. ALSO - sim found it very hard to build buildings in a grid - they always seemed off grid, i wish there was some sort of snap feature, that let you "snap" to the closest building, and then drag one or two or however many units off of it but still in line.

    Mercenary System

    I honestly didn't like the merc system. It felt like i wasn't using or relying on my squad to win games, rather on the quantity of mercs i could buy. In addition to the removal of armor/attack/resist upgrades I just feel like my squad, and improving my squad, didn't matter at all, sheer quantity mattered. I wasn't collection resources to upgrade my tier ones so i could play a blink/harass style...i was collection resources to build more units, more just seemed to remove the personality from squads and lend itself to a monotonous grind. I may be butchering this explanation so I will tell you how i thought it would be.

    I thought i would go into a game, and pick Eris, cause lets be honest, I'm going to pick Eris, and then construct buildings to produce units, buy upgrades for my units, and generally craft Eris to the play style I enjoy, or that is appropriate for the given game. From there i would collect resources to aid in the purchasing of these specializations that would "customize" Eris for that game. The purchasing of Mercenaries would come into play if i needed to quickly gain a capability i was lacking. Lets say for instance i really needed a bit o' magic damage, and i just teched straight tier ones with massive a mercenary!

    Instead of this it felt like, ok, buy all the units i can, keep my gold low, and then mass mercenaries and push. Rinse, repeat. There was some great micro/macro play available in the Mutas, that's what i'm calling the quick little air units, but ultimately it just didn't feel that interesting.

    All in all, my impressions are that this was extremely chaotic, but fun. It FELT more RTS, which isn't bad or good for me...old atlas had this weird RTS/MOBA vibe but i really liked it, i'm kind of missing that. I think a lot of problems people are bringing up will be addressed with bug fixes and UI updates (information design/architecture/hierarchy). I'm really interested in seeing how this evolves, my biggest complaints are...

    • the map is to big
    • air feels...under considered. they feel too strong, too much like a super mobile and therefore super strong unit.
    • ranged classes feel WAY to strong. I was all about giving us other stuff to do and places to be as a counter to super long range vela or purifiers...and this works, as a stalling tactic. Eventually you need to push, and they will kite from absurd ranges and widdle you down - or you just have to many mercenaries where death ball = win.
    • The UI. I really like the visual direction for the game and its in alpha so totally ignore this one cause i know the UI will evolve, but i felt like putting on this list because UI improvements to how information is displayed and consumed might actually solve more problems than anything else.

    Would love to talk about this more with whoever is interested! I'm always around!


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