Bot Play and First Impressions [Megathread]

EricEric Member, Administrator

How was your first experience in Atlas playing against bots?

When providing feedback, please use the following format:

  • X happened
  • It made me feel Y (or I’d like to feel Y)
  • (optional) Here’s a suggestion to improve it


  • I just finished my first complete game against the bots.

    I often get confused when looking at the mini map. It is hard to find my units among all of the gems that need to be harvested. It would be nice if the gems were better distinguished from units in the mini map.

    I had a lot of fun slowly advancing forward with ion canons it was a satisfying experience.

    I really like how as time goes on the size of gems increase it makes the pace of the game increase nicely.

    That is all for now.

  • My first experience vs bots was a not so quick game where I eventually won out through my allies becoming superpowers in the game.

    I did not realize at first how useful gems are, nor how to make towers, so I was not really contributing much, not realizing that just running my army out there was not accomplishing anything.

    Once I got the idea of setting up a siege with your army, I did slightly better, but I was resource starved since my allies had stolen all of the nodes.

    I liked my first experience, after watching Day[9]'s intro video I felt I had a good grasp but I was not fully aware of the importance of gems in the game, nor how army combat really worked.

  • So I've played about 3 games so far and here are my first impressions:

    First off, the units control well and focusing enemy units down and using abilities is interesting. It has been fairly interesting figuring out when I can take an engagement and when I should retreat.

    It's taking me a little while to figure out what is important to be doing at each stage. I go around the map and grab as many gems as I can but I haven't felt like having more gems than my opponent is helping me that much.

    Additionally when fighting I don't feel like I'm gaining anything when I kill an enemy unit. Experience, at a glance, doesn't seem to matter that much and since units respawn for free if I'm not taking gems or a tower there's not much gained. Getting more expansions also hasn't really felt like I'm gaining that much more of an advantage but that could just be because I'm playing bots.

    I like the heroes and their abilities seem varied and fun.

  • I played with 6 heroes thus far, and there is a distinct difficulty variation.
    Melee orientated heroes are far harder to use than ranged focused heroes.
    Melee units are handicapped by path finding and movement in general; it is very hard to micro individual units in response to a range attack, especially in the middle of the map with walls blocking the units. And the units are so small to click on it makes the micro even harder.
    Ranged units on the other hand can shoot at any position, and doesn't need any formation at all. Any slow ability makes the melee enemy even more sitting ducks.

    I suggest making the units model to be bigger for easier click purposes, and increase the number of units available, so partitioning of groups would be more sound or strategic.

    The turn over rate seems to be incredibly slow as well.
    There is a fair of losing an unit and thus losing a engagement, but there is no strategic feeling associated with it, because there is no sense of trading at a comfortable or manageable rate. The penalty doesn't seem to make much sense, for instance without a large enough army, you can't push anyway, but the enemy get their armies back in time, so there is no lost except for time, and in the current format time is the only thing that doesn't matter much, because without a large enough army, you can't do much of anything anyway. Of course, it is all against AI, but in reality I would imagine losing an unit can cost a game, because of how the resources function, and that crystals usually are in the middle of the map.

    I don't have any suggestion for this one, because the current format doesn't allow for strategic trading or force engagement, it encourages more passive and build-up than to harass and trade.

    So far my games are 20-30 minutes, and I usually lose with melee heroes and win with ranged.
    I feel like this game is no way near a RTS, because the strategic aspect is largely missing. It is more all random engagements to get resources and minimize lost to ensure more successful gathering then save to do a big push.

  • I'd like there to be a bit more information available for the units - or for at least the heroes - inside the game engine. I want to know what affect a 10% attack buff has. I like the bones of the game, but give me details - that's where a lot of strategic choice comes in, and that's what I'm missing.

  • My first impressions are pretty solid thus far. I think that microing units could be slightly easier if the unit models were slightly larger at the lower tiers... however if precision is the goal for the smaller unit models then i can understand that as well. I also think that the tool tips could be more descriptive or just making it more obvious which unit or units the upgrade effects at a quick glance.

  • When I played a bot game, I felt happy because even though I lost I got a good sense of the game.

    When I played further I felt that this could absolutely be a good place to test out strategies and get used to the game, but that it could use some fixes.

    I noticed that the bots don't respond properly to long range attacks they can't see the source of. I felt cheated because I won a somewhat long match through unintentional cheese.

    I'm having an easy time winning, I feel like some simple 'cheating' AI's might help the longevity, but I admit this may develop degenerative strategies in PVP more than CPU matches already do.

  • My first game was a lot of fun, I like that my units re spawn.

    When I was trying to move my hero out of the way it got stuck by my own units and died, which was frustrating.

    Making a big pus to win with glass cannons and ion cannons was really satisfying.

    Seems to have a lot of potential and is already pretty fun and I can't wait to play against people!

  • TomMandibleTomMandible Member
    edited December 2015

    I'd like the following cheats to facilitate testing in bot matches.

    • set hero level
    • give me X coin or X gems
    • remove hero and spawn new hero Y
  • One game in.

    I often thought I had my units selected, but couldn't tell, because the extra information around the base of the unit made it look like it was selected.

    I had difficulty selecting small units as well - might want to increase your unit selection radius (doesn't have to be the actual unit size).

    Not sure what gave me this feeling, but I frequently felt that my clicks when I tried to micro were not resulting in action or were resulting in the wrong action. For example, on several occasions I'd try to grab a small group of units to move them out of the way of abilities, but then my whole army would move, or nobody at all would move.

    I felt disconnected from the battle. There wasn't punch to doing damage, using abilities, or killing units. I didn't feel the pain when I lost a unit - often I didn't even notice until I was getting pummeled.

    That's just the bad stuff though ;) The mechanics are super interesting and I think they encourage some fun play - gems in particular are an excellent mechanic at a cursory glance. My nitpicks are around control & feel - I'm a real stickler for that after years of being spoiled by *craft.

  • TransplanarTransplanar Member
    edited December 2015

    Tried a game against bots, and I feel like the game has potential, but there are a few areas that hold it back. In general I would say the game didn't feel smooth, with two many areas of "friction" that slowed the pace of the game and thus took me out of my flow.
    * It needs a stronger theme for your resources
    * Needs tighter squad/camera controls to move around better. Took me a while to realize that the ` key selects all of your units.
    * Playing the sniper character, I feel the ability of her tier 1 units is a bit underwhelming.
    ** I would suggest making it so when activated, their next attack gives more significant bonus range and bonus damage, that way you could viably do hit-and-runs with them and soften up your opponent by, say, 20% of their health or something.
    ** In general, I would say aim for all abilities being impactful right out of the gate. Especially considering the player will be limited to at most 5 of them.
    * I feel like RTS-style upgrading feels out of place here. As a more MOBA-oriented game, the player's focus is on their hero (and the units around them) a lot more.
    ** I would suggest putting more of those upgrades into some other UI and make it contextual (not unlike Heroes of the Storms "Choose a Talent" system that prompts you at the appropriate time).
    ** I would also give the upgrades more "character" too. I am a fan of the inventive design of LoL's items, which are essentially upgrades. They not only give buffs (and occasionally abilities), but because the player can view the items an opponent has, they have more information to allow for counterplay, and each upgrade feels like a noticeable increase in power.
    ***By contrast, RTS-style attack/armor upgrades tend to be more incremental and subtle in their effect, at least in the eyes of observers and/or inexperienced players.
    ***On a similar note, consider the e-Sports and observer support baked into this and other design choices. It makes commentating more interesting, and makes for moments like "Oh, looks like BadassRa picked the Gun of Infinite Killing, so hits crits are going to be brutal!"
    * I feel like controls for collecting gems are a bit clunky, namely because of the cooldown. If there are 3 gems around, and you have an 8(?) second cooldown between collecting them, it makes the experience feel stilted, as you have to wait for the cooldown to go away to pick up the next one.
    ** I would try to figure out another way to do pickups. Perhaps have no cooldown, but still have a timer on them until they get picked up, Alternately, maybe spread them out more so the effect isn't as noticible.
    ** On a related note, obviously gems are placeholder right now, but I would suggest retheming them to make the game world feel more cohesive. Since the map looks like a giant space platform, perhaps they could be crash-landed debris from a space battle raging above the map. These could contain some sort of energy/mineral/power core components that could be salvaged to make the various cannon structures. Likewise for "gold" collection areas, which could maybe be for collecting fuel? I can just imagine if this was set in space, and the units were battling on a derelict ship, and those "gold" areas could be hull breaches with fuel leaking out which you could plug and tap for your use.
    * I would like to a more grid-based control scheme (like the option in SC2, and adopted by most MOBAs). Hunting all over your keyboard for hotkeys is annoying, and a fast-paced MOBA-style game like yours would really benefit from the switch, I think.
    * Minor suggestion, but perhaps have a hover-over tooltip of some kind to show how much it costs to build an expansion or tower before you do it (to make the game more newbie friendly, so you don't have to look at the HUD to know the cost).

    EDIT: Not sure why my markdown isn't working here, but hopefully its still readable enough for you
    EDIT2: This might make more sense in your mechanics discussion thread, actually. Sorry.

  • its getting late/early but ill try to leave my first impression notes.
    1. Economy:
    * The economy / macro portion of the game feels lackluster, P&P seems to not apply so much here. Build mining camps and make sure they stay up. Coins seem pretty shallow/simple for the time being. I had hoped for more of an active role in determining the bulk income.
    * I guess the timings, order, and what the enemy team is doing may change the amount of strategy involved with taking the camps. But as-is, against AI it feels like any time is a good time to take a coinbase.
    * Gems don't seem to be as contentious as they should be. There is enough locations, and spread out enough to where can usually get a good number without caring about the location of the other player. IMO fewer locations with increased return would encourage sniping/defending collectors. Shared gem collection could encourage different roles defending, assaulting, running to distant nodes, etc.
    * Unit upgrades don't really feel that special. More stats, more w.e. Something like attacks chain/peirce, or unit explodes or death, iunno. I'm not creative but it feels like there's room for some really flavorful upgrades.
    2. Units/micro
    * The UI in its current state is hard to see whats selected. A half ring for health, another half ring for attack. a tiny thin ring around the rest of the unit to signify selected. A more granular central UI could alleviate some of the issues. Being able to see at a glance what you have selected kinda like wc/sc. Also would give a central location to watch units health. When nothing/base is selected, central UI can go back to the whole army tabs like dungeon keeper.
    * Movement feels sluggish. I did try Vela and Celesta squads which were some of the faster ones and still felt that they were running in glue. Micro during a battle is pretty difficult since the units try to shove through teammates or squad mates, running even slower.
    * Abilities are neat, and fun to use. The windup time for some seems a bit long making them easy to dodge. AI rarely dodges but I find them fairly easy to get out in time, minus a few quick abilities. Celestas Hawk feels good to use. It's fast and it just happens. Her cleansing light feels awful to use. Yea it will shit on everything, but only AFTER 5 sec. And then a CD of what feels like forever. Velas abilities are both super satisfying to use. Fair warning feels rewarding, the red hue, the noticeable damage increase are both nice. And then her snipe is just neato, hearing the snap of the shot followed by the crit text as a hero falls over just brings a smile. Cool downs can feel a bit long at times though.
    * I don't really think I have enough games to really have an opinion on different matchups, but so far they each seem to play out the same. I think AI just tries too hard to micro, or doesn't, I cant tell. But AI seems to move more often than attacks and just gets blown up. If they have WAY more than me, they win, if i have at least close to equal. I win.
    * Each unit only being purchased once and re-spawning after time feels weird, but i think that's just because it's unfamiliar. Used to loosing dead stuff forever in RTS.
    * Regarding unit variance. The amount of heroes/squads to choose from is pretty good. But once you commit to a hero/squad, 1 unit at each tier, feels really light. With the aforementioned perm-units. It feels like there's some wiggle room in maybe widening the unit choices. A or B at t1, when dead/rewarping could switch between them. IE: 'A' could be a light raptor, faster movement and atk 'assault raptor', while B could be a slower atk, longer range 'siege raptor'. Even a small variance like that could open up the choices you have while in game. I don't know if there will be rock paper scissors matchups yet but it would really suck if you get a build order loss right from start because picked a hero that would be exploited by others passively with no way to work around it.
    * Neutral units are in a weird place. They feel crazy strong to where for just a few gems I can FORCE someone to come back and address it and likewise, a single cube left unattended can destroy towers. Turrets feel alright since once they are down they can't advance and it turns into a sub-game of king of the hill. But them pesky cubes will just keep goin.
    3. Core gameplay thoughts/questions
    * If it is a design decision to ALWAYS be a team game like LOL/DOTA, Atlas is probably not for me. Which is ok. It's just I strongly prefer solo or 1-1 styled games.
    * Are the macro mechanics specifically tuned to be less engaging than other RTS franchises? It feels like it is acceptable to let macro slip since can just build piles of units in parallel when feel like it.
    * A general game mechanics article in the atlaspedia would be really nice. Day[9]s video was a great help to get started though.

  • Lots of good points from people.

    I felt like I ultimately did not really have choices once I noticed that there was a simple cap on the total number of tier 1 / 2 / 3 units that you could have rather than a supply cap. If I have caps for each unit type it becomes less of a decision on what composition I should build, and rather than I should just get as many things as I am allowed to have.

    I often felt frustrated trying to micro units because it was difficult to tell which units I had selected. A good example would be Vex's troops with the self-rooting AoE fire cone special. Sometimes I would think I had one of the lizards selected when I actually had the other selected.

  • TfAv2890TfAv2890 Member
    edited December 2015
    • Made it to 30 min +
    • Couldn't decide what upgrade paths to take
    • Need a flowchart :-)

    • cubelets are fun
    • 10 cubelets is okay fun
    • 100 cubelets is a lot of fun

    • I press ~ a lot, but have to adjust once I start building mobile neutral units
    • Would be nice to have a single button that selects Hero + Squad Units + Mobile Neutrals
    • Maybe it's there, and I just missed it.

    • I never use the South East part of the map.
    • Whatever happens there doesn't seem to affect the outcome.
    • Hopefully this changes in PvP
  • I've played about half a dozen games against bots.

    The first game was nice because it was a low pressure environment to explore the map and the game.

    Second Game was more focused on playing the game and trying to win and learn how to play and attach units/use my abilities.

    Now it's not very fun it's really easy to win the game in under 8 minutes and the bot actions get repetitive after awhile. They get close, let me shoot them then run away, without actually attacking me. (While I'm in the healing totem circle)

    Also after playing with people I see much more FUN it is to play against real players which in turn makes the bots sort of lack luster.

    TLDR: They achieve their purpose I suppose. :+1:

  • -Pathing in this game is tricky. Someone mentioned "liquid" pathing earlier in thread and I believe it applies (or rather applies a solution) to my situation. A unit of mine was stuck trying to move over a large ion cannon and a map block to move south the unit was pathed. The unit just ran into the intersection. I wonder if I should get used to the mechanic or if it is an active problem that the unit didn't simply walk around the ion cannon.

    -Body blocks are something I like about this game. That said, I feel as if the hit boxes of the units are larger than the units themselves by a significant amount. The game has a lot of choke points and navigating around teammates can be a nightmare when they can block the choke with 5 tiny units spread across. Even my smaller units cant squeeze between them.

    -The neutral builds are an interesting concept. This is definitely a positive feature as well as a core mechanic. I wonder if different squads could have a special neutral gun/building of some sort, say actually being able to make very durable walls that are impassable by both sides(potential for narrow gates for the owner(s) maybe?). The wall is just an example. I feel like this could make each game more unique even if it comes with balancing issues. Since they are such a core part of the win condition, I think adding more flavor to it would would be worth exploring.

    -There seems to be no advantage to splitting different troops to different locations for harassment at least not that I've seen. Maybe I just need time to learn. I think a cubelet push might be effective with a regular push. divide and conquer. I'm referring specifically to specialty units like reapers, banshees, and Dark templar from SC which serve outside the core army build (mostly).

    -What if certain squads had more units or more unit choices but weaker forces? Say instead of a tier 3 behemoth of some sort, have a premium unit with higher Pop cap than 2 or 3. Or 4 units to choose from? Maybe have two differently flavored behemoths each with a Pop cap of one?

    This is a preliminary post. But these features and ideas (positive and negative) stand out as of now.

  • First Impressions, somewhat Outgame related:

    I felt excited when I saw all of the art on the gameplay tutorial because it looked like different races/heroes/unit groups, and I like varieties in gameplay and strategy when it’s not an overwhelming amount.

    I felt worried when I heard I’d only be making those types of units in the game. This was quickly addressed well by mentioning the neutral weapons.

    I felt worried when I was told to press T. Are action icons visible? Will I remember the shortcuts? Will I know all of my available actions? (I’m looking at you, vanishing Starcraft UI buttons/what was the patrol hotkey again?)

    I was relieved when I saw the T action icon and heard that it was the hero do all button.

    I was worried when I saw all of the spawning resources that I may need to grab with my hero. Will my multi-tasking abilities be up to snuff?

    I was excited when I saw the different upgrade paths, but it was a little unclear. For instance, I can get Atk1, Atk2, then go back to Atk 1 on a different building, but I can't end up with Atk3, Atk3 since it's the same "building".

    I felt excited to jump into a game and start trying things soon after and started taking less detailed notes.

    I was excited when I clicked the Atlaspedia because all of the information was laid out in a very easy to understand and copy paste format. Neutral units being added would be good though.

    I was excited to see the ability synergies and micro available after looking at Vex and his units.

    Initial Bot Game Impressions:

    There was a pre-game clock. I then realized I had been wasting time since I could build/upgrade things in this time and it wasn't just for coordinating. I felt rushed. Maybe add 5-10 seconds of ACTUAL pregame time where inputs don't do anything, but you could type, make control groups, make decisions, etc.

    I liked the controlled army size and emphasis on micro. It feels like a unique game.

    I was frustrated when I was trying to build neutral units and could not see the large ranges on screen to see where I should place them or the threat range of enemy structures. This could be solved by showing the circle on the minimap and maybe the threat range on screen with dashed thin lines.

    I looked down at the in game clock and saw a lot of time had passed. I was sad because it didn't feel like I had done much yet. (mostly because I'm a noob used to SC2, now LoTV a little)

    I looked down at the in game clock and saw a lot of time had passed. I was excited because I was having so much fun that time flew bye.

    I was frustrated when I was trying to build neutral units and could not see the large ranges on screen to see where I should place them or the threat range of enemy structures. This could be solved by showing the circle on the minimap and maybe the threat range on screen with dashed thin lines.

    A mine ran out of gold. I was surprised because I didn't know that could happen. How much gold is available in each mine?

  • First Impressions Are Key

    I'm a firm believer that first impressions may be deceiving, but they will linger on. On the case of a game that will keep me entertained for hours and hours, these can change with time, but that initial impact will help or fight against a normal flow towards my good time in improving on my skill level.

    That said, here are them:

    Amazing Points

    • Impressed on how the initial tech alfa seems smooth enough to allow fun and engagement during gameplay.
    • The usability and feel is enough closer to other RTS that makes you feel at ease. Microing feels rewarding and very responsive (although collisions seem a little bit off still)
    • The maximum number of units per type, with different allocation depending on the tier seems on the spot, and make me excited for end game strategies with other teammates.

    Room for improvement

    • [Upgrades] I felt a little lost my upgrades performed so far, and what should I improve next. I tried to review the ones I did, and match with the powers of the selected hero/t2/t3 units, but it felt counterintuitive. Maybe an initial recommendation on what can be done next as tooltips on the first games, or a suggestion based on the team composition selected may help on those first games.
    • [Team colors] This might be specific, but being color blind sometimes make it harder to differentiate a friend from a foe, if their color spectrum is alike. A future option for miserable color blind people like me that makes the hues very distinct on friendly and enemy teams would be a joy.
    • [Respawn point] I felt frustated when working further on a long push and establishment of forward towers, I had to always bring my army or new respawns all the way from base, as the units movement is somewhat slow. Maybe the option to deploy the units from a more closer expansion, even if it is on the expense of more resources, may help with this.
    • [Buttons/Tooltips] The distribution of the buttons seems to need a little redesign. We have hotkeys with cooldowns spread throughout the whole length of the UI, I found myself constantly searching in different areas for cooldowns and upgrades. Maybe if you could come up with a way of placing cooldowns on a more concise area, or have a timer bar with all of them, it might help.

    I'll keep those coming once I get a fair number of games completed.

  • snkzsnkz Member, Administrator

    Appreciate the feedback guys! I'm soooooo glad so many of you had a great first experience with the bots. Judging by how well all of you did in your PvP matches, bots definitely helped introduce you to the flow of the game.

    Now let me try to answer /some/ of the many points brought up here.

    • More Bot match variety: Fun fact, currently all bots operate using the same set of behaviours. Their differences being the ability behaviours and their neutral purchases behaviours. Once we get the time to develop our bots and introduce squad specific behaviours I'm sure you'll see more variety in our bot games.

    • Difficulty and Scaredy Cat bots: As you've noticed, theres currently one difficulty level for bots. Obviously this will change, have no fear, bots will soon crush you :p

    • Cheats: We definitely have these tools internally, I don't see why we cant allow players access to them for solo bot games.

    It seems that everyone has different opinions on allied pathing which is interesting. I'm 100% sure pathing will not stay as is and will definitely improve, we want every move you make to have easy to expect outcomes. Bots currently are a bad basis to measure allied pathing however. Unlike your human teammates, they rarely get out of you way in team fights (hell they don't get out of their own way sometimes!) This again is something that we will improve in both bot matches and pvp matches. The bots in general would loovee an upgrade to our pathing system haha.

    As a lowly engineer, I'll leave the more specific game design questions to em. But by default, if it isn't fun, assume it will change! WE FEEL YOUR PAINS.

    Keep the feedback coming and make sure to check out some of the other forums for responses as well!

  • SaturnVSaturnV Member
    edited December 2015

    I know I'm a bit late to the party, but here are my experiences after my first game:

    Between around 10 and 20 minutes I felt a bit bored and directionless. I knew what the win condition was, of course, but I just didn't know exactly how to achieve it. I couldn't tell if I should be getting expansions, building turrets, just attacking whatever I could, or what. It felt like I didn't have enough units to do much with and my allies were taking care of most of the work for me. Perhaps I'm just too used to playing Starcraft.

    Having my hero blocked by my own units, or any of my units blocked by my allies, was annoying. I expected the other units to move out of the way somewhat rather than stay still and for the unit I'm trying to reposition to slow.

    Similarly annoying, on the minimap, I couldn't tell where my units were easily. They blended in with the colors of the gems so I mistook gems as my units units and vice versa repeatedly.

    Once I got more units (all my T1 units and one or 2 T2 and T3) things felt a lot more fun and engaging. By this point in the game (around 20 minutes and later), while it was fun to be able to push and gain momentum, I didn't find the act of building that fun. I was able to take care of most structures with the combined force of my units and my allies so the building variety ended up being unimportant in the game. I just placed down Ion cannons behind my allies and my units as support whenever we came across any particularly tough tower and that was it.

    Of course, this is all based on one game, so I'll have to play more to see what I think after a while. Can't wait to do that anyway! It took me a bit at the beginning of the game to get a handle on the controls and hotkeys, but once I did and I started getting units and upgrades, it was a lot of fun.

    Edit: I felt I should add that I played as Sage since that's who Day[9] played in the tutorial. I decided learning what button does what when was enough to learn on my first game, let alone how a particular squad plays.

  • Just finished my first game. Played as fire sniper person.

    When I was prompted on the first play to choose my settings, I didn't understand some of the options such as something like "outline character" so I just left it unchecked. A tiny hover over explaining what some of the options are might be useful (especially when it comes to new players who wouldn't know what fog of war was). I feel like, without this knowledge I might just never enable that function even since I would just get used to not doing it; it may have been something that would have been helpful for me, but I may never find out.

    I was mildly overwhelmed trying to figure out controls/abilities at the beginning, but around the 10 minute mark I started to get the hang of it (besides constantly hitting the warp back button when I meant to hit the heroes ability). I started to gain confidence, and this was good. I heard the sound effect and saw the glow, but sometimes when I was trying to find targets with my cursor my units would be warped back before I could use them. Obviously this is something that I'll get the hang of--but maybe it would be nice if there was a default option that made it a little more explicit that the teleport had been activated--I could then turn it off in the menu once the notice was no longer necessary.

    I then kept getting pummeled as the opposing armies seemed to have way more units than me. Then I realized I forgot about taking other bases and it got better from there.

    Around the 15-20 minute mark I had trouble finding enemy units and it was a little frustrating, but it was also a good chance to farm some gems, so that by the end of the game that little lull provided me with the ability to buy a crucial neutral weapon and I liked that. I suppose not having bots not pinging locations of enemies accounts for this.

    Towards the end of the game, when my economy got rolling, and my army got massive, it felt really fun. The only problem with an army that size and a few of my 3rd tier units having limited direction abilities is that I felt like I had to drop what I was doing with the other two units who had synergizing abilities to move that dude into position; but, as this was my first time, and I was just using ~ to select all units, I'm kind of encouraged to start doing a bit more macro to prevent that from happening.

    Although, the tier three unit for fireman--the big lizard, didn't immediately feel like it was worth the cost the first time out. I suppose the tier 3 unit can't be overwhelming powerful, but after my first play through I feel like buffing and massing tier 1 dudes with a single tier 2 guy for the synergy with the hero power.

    Overall I was pleased with the entire experience, and I look forward to playing with real players after getting a bit more practice under my belt.

  • Here are my feelings on the game after playing about 10 practice games. I feel I have a pretty good grasp on adeptly controlling my army and I've figured out how to easily cheese out the bots.

    • This is among the most fun games I have playtested this early in development, It feels like a really really high quality WC3 custom game, with shades of Footmen Frenzy and Dota. I see enormous potential for strategic variation even within the confines of my own hero and squad. I can't wait to see the combinations players come up with with all three heroes when the PVP playtest goes live again.

    • Building expansions, defending them when they get aggressed on, and attacking enemy expansions are the most fun I have in the game. A lot of times the final push to the Nexus feels like a formality after establishing an enormous economic lead, and taking down generic towers feels unsatisfying because I know how cheap and quick they are to rebuild, but deciding to use your army to take a new expansion, defend a current one, or attack an enemy expansion feels like an interesting, meaningful, and ever-present choice from minutes 1-15.

    • I love how easy it is to take the green camp early on. It's possible to take the first camp using a little clever micro and well planned unit composition, and it being easy provides for a clear early game choice of going for a fast expo or establishing map control. This is in contrast with the yellow and red camp which I feel like I have to just muscle down once I have really large army. I think the health and damage of the yellow/red camp are balanced around 2+ players working together to take them out but it would be nice to take them a bit more easily solo given that you then have to bring your whole army to a little corner, have some of your army die, spend gems on the expo, wait for it to finish, wait for the worker to produce, and then you start seeing some benefits.

    • The third tier of units, at least for the Sniper hero and the hero that has the wisps and the siege tank don't at all feel fun to use. I groan at the thought of spending so much money on them when I'd much rather use the money to get cool upgrades for my other units' abilities. Maybe I'm just picking the wrong heroes but they feel like someone I "have" to get.

    • The generic upgrades to damage/attack speed etc. feel... obligatory? It's hard to get a sense of when I should be getting these. and I find it much more fun to get the specialized upgrades to my individual troops. 200g for "your wisps have +2 range" sounds much more fun to me than "10% increased attack speed" even for 100g.

    • I'm having a lot of fun with the Sniper hero. More than any other hero I've played, the hero REALLY feels like a central part of your army with how his marking ability interacts with all of your other troops' abilities. Comboing my mark ability with my T2 units' abilities to take down a high value unit and sniping heroes with my ultimate feels difficult and really rewarding when I pull it off. I think the fact that his ultimate can also damage structures can feel a little lame, however, because often the best use case is to nuke a tower when I feel like it should only be for killing high HP units. Lastly I like how the Sniper hero's T1 units' ability provides me a clear window of opportunity where I have an advantage over my opponents troops and clearly encourages a hit and run playstyle.

    • I don't understand any of the numbers. This leaves me confused at the power level of a lot of things. A segmented healthbar similar to League of Legends would be perfect I think. Being able to, at a glance, tell approximately how tanky my units are gives me an idea about how I should be using them. Do I need to keep my T3 spellcaster protected or is it actually a tanky front line spellcaster? How tanky are my turrets? Being able to see numbers would also provide context to the damage that my abilities say they do, especially when I'm trying to figure out how many of my snipers need to use their abilities to take out a certain unit in one shot.

  • @Zyphent said:
    - The generic upgrades to damage/attack speed etc. feel... obligatory? It's hard to get a sense of when I should be getting these. and I find it much more fun to get the specialized upgrades to my individual troops. 200g for "your wisps have +2 range" sounds much more fun to me than "10% increased attack speed" even for 100g.

    I feel like an attack speed upgrade would feel a lot better if you could feel the upgrade, like in a lot of the moba games. As is I don't feel like I notice that the attack speed of the units is getting appreciably faster.

  • Two games in. Lost the first, won the second.

    The pathing of units in both matches made me feel a bit frustrated (kinda felt non-intuitive) at time during the middle of fights when they would move around a building instead of going where I wanted them to go towards the enemy. This mostly happened in choke points/narrow corridors.

    The pings of attacking the mega structure across the map were a bit overwhelming. Maybe a setting which could slow the interval of the voice-over so people could choose what suits their play style could be an option. However, this is a minor grievance for me, and this could be chalked up to just being new to the game.

    Some of the text on the unit panels in small for me. Maybe there is a setting to change that, I'll have to go back in and look.

    I love the flow of the game. It felt super satisfying when I'd wipe in a fight and then be able to respawn my units. I love that so much.

    Combat feels very fluid and satisfying. Even when I lose a fight I can already start to feel what I can improve on and that makes me really happy.

  • First game impression:

    Loved it! The tutorial was perfect. Rather than wanting to skip through and get to the game I very much enjoyed Day[9]'s intro. This is probably just an introduction for the testers but I think something like this would be great for the live version.

    Once in the game, I felt fairly calm, which is new for me when I start a game. Still very excited, but I wasn't feeling panicked and nervous like I sometimes do.

    Around the 10(ish) minute mark I definitely felt like I was minutes away from losing. I was getting a bit flustered and had way less units than I probably should have. In many other games I would have gg'd and requeued, but within a few more minutes I was right back in the game. Looking back, I think I started collecting gems instead of picking fights and the gems at that point had started getting bigger so the payoff was enough to get me back in the game.

    I enjoy the squad options and look forward to trying them all. Seems to be a great variety but not an overwhelming amount. Also, the concept of a squad instead of a faction or race is brilliant! I love the simplicity of only using four units but the complexity of all the upgrade combinations. Seems like it will be accessible to both hardcore pro gamers and more casual gamers as well.

    Perhaps this will change with experience, but I did have trouble identifying my units on the minimap at times. An option to change team colors would greatly help with this, I think.

    Many times my hero would die pretty easily. I don't think that's a bad thing but I'm used to other games where a hero is super tanky and takes a lot to die. After taking damage for a while your screen starts to flash red, then you get a heal, then more red flashing, then you die. In my first Atlas game my hero took some damage and then was gone, felt more like a normal unit than a hero. Again, I think this is a cool mechanic, but it will take some getting used to on my end.

    I appreciate how Atlas incorporates parts of my favorite games into one. I love RTS, Tower Defense, and Moba's. This seems to be a great blend of many of my favorite elements from those.

    Thanks for all of your hard-work and letting me tag along for the fun!


  • HaptusHaptus Member
    edited December 2015

    This may be just me, but for the first couple games I wasn't always positive about which unit was a hero and which was just a big dude from a squad. As I started with Vela and have been going the assassination playstyle, it felt really important to me that I could identify the heroes to know I was helping my team by eliminating core opponents.

    Perhaps identifying heroes should be a skill to be developed, (I'm already getting better after a couple more games), but if not, an indicator would help out the new player. It was particularly difficult later in the game, when there were many units on screen that were as big or bigger than the heros. The crown that marked heroes on the minimap was useful for finding heroes in visible areas, so something like that icon, or even just a differently shaped/colored indicator, would work.

  • First day in the test, here. I just finished my second game, and I'm very impressed. Both of my games have been with Celesta, and I think I'll mostly be playing her for a while just for continuity in testing.

    Three initial observations:
    1) I felt confused, frequently, trying to find all of my units. I need to go through all the commands to see if there is a quick way to find every unit, but I kept wondering if I actually had units scattered around the map that I didn't know about, or struggled to try to select everything relevant without boxing everything on screen. I'm not sure how to fix this yet, as there may already be a system in place that I haven't found. If anything, I'd suggest making it more apparent how to quickly manage/ select both every unit and subgroups of units. Or at least make our own units more easily distinguishable from allied units on the mini map.

    2) I felt compelled to hoard gems in my first game for expansions. I totally refrained from using neutral weapons in my first game. In my second game, I started experimenting with the healing ward thing while trying to hold positions with Celesta's squad, but mostly saved them for dumping out a massive load of glass cannons when it looked like we were clear for a final push on the nexus. I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with the system, as I think my behavior was mostly a reflection of a new player messing around with game mechanics and resources. I just thought I'd report this, to give you an idea of my personal experience as a new player--so you can do whatever you want with it as far as the resource and neutral weapon system goes. Don't get me wrong; I'm very impressed with the system. The more I think about it, the more I suspect that gem spending will be a big part of the strategy for this game and something that separates skill groups of players.

    3) Wisps not having a special ability or passive seems oddly discomforting. Though i haven't played other squads yet, my initial impression, looking at the info at the Atlaspedia page has me confused as to why Wisps seem so flavorless. Again, I want to reiterate that these are impressions based on only two games, but I felt compelled to build them solely because I needed "meat" on the field to stall for my ultimate goal of trying to field as many purifiers as possible and a precognitor or two. I don't think that's necessarily a bad feeling, I think that "meat" makes sense for a tier 1 unit in an RTS as it moves later into the game, but it feels weird that the other squads seemed to have more flavorful meat. Wisps' biggest redeeming quality seems to be that they're cheap. They're like the Taco Bell ground beef of tier 1 units, just from a very quick, initial impression. Is it possible to give them some kind of passive that synergizes with what seems to be the intended goal of making them something cheap, expendable, but easy to field? Maybe some kind of passive with an effect tied to a proc rate? Something that's relatively weak and procs frequently enough for a rare instance of dumb luck to be unlikely to hugely sway a decisive battle. Something that makes it feel more rewarding to mass them, because you get more chances for the effect to proc. You're not just fielding meat for the sake of having meat, then, you're making investments that increase your chances of getting a payout. Perhaps tie this into research if it needs adjustment in balance at different stages of the match. Like, maybe massing them is pretty inefficient for most stages of the match, until tier 3 research kicks in and suddenly this secondary effect comes into play and their role/ presence/ threat/ feel on the map changes a bit. As for the effect--maybe something more crowd control or support oriented? I LOVE support gameplay in anything team related, and I think Celesta could be A LOT OF FUN to not only play as, but also to have on your team if she's in a position to support other players. Perhaps the effect could be something like a chance to proc a very mild, stacking debuff that lowers the alpha damage or attack speed of the target. In a large battle, unmicro'd, the debuffs would be spread throughout a large number of enemy units, making it largely ineffective. However, a skilled and attentive player, with decent micro, might focus fire higher threat targets with some wisps to try to, if not kill them outright with focus fire, at least make them less of a threat by trying to force multiple stacks of the debuff on the single target. Maybe? : ( I don't know much about game design. Also, I hope this is an appropriate suggestion. I'm not entirely sure where the line is drawn as far as "unsolicited advice," or whatever it was called in the agreement, goes. Also, I'm well aware that balance and this kind of tuning aren't a realistic priority at this stage of the game at all. Just thought I'd give my two cents anyway.

    But I'm just rambling now! This is a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to testing with you more in the morning and into the future. Thanks for the invite and great job so far!

  • anxmananxman Member, Administrator

    @Paper -- Quick FYI, use Tilde (~) to select your entire army. Standard RTS command groups (shift + number and control + number also work).

  • I have played 2 bots games so far. I'm still figuring a lot of stuff out, but the one thing that I've found consistently frustrating is how bad my units are at pathing around other units. There have been cases where I want to retreat but my ally's army is right behind me blocking my escape.

  • @Artillery.anxman said:
    Paper -- Quick FYI, use Tilde (~) to select your entire army. Standard RTS command groups (shift + number and control + number also work).

    Ah! That's the problem. I played SC2 for several years, but I forgot that I had bound command group assignments to use control and alt I think. I went to those keys from muscle memory and didn't see it functioning as expected, so i assumed the feature wasn't in there. haha.

    Thanks for the tip.

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