A few additional thoughts since the the previous post mid-weekend. The same general thinking applies, but perhaps a few more bits and bops.
Technically I did see the Shaper Storm on Sunday in-game. Sadly, the game server crashed 3 times before I could do something about it.
This is the Frostbite engine, which EA has mandated all games use. Not quite getting why they haven’t figured how to optimize it though.
My CPU runs in the high 90%, GPU is similar, and temps are crazy. Only thing that has any effect is enabling vsync. Detail has no impact.
The load times on PC are just too long. Considering that there are no environmental effects (aside from water), I’m not quite getting what is actually going on here. I have my fingers crossed that this is better at launch – in particular when you end a mission and do not have to go back to Tarsis in order to see 2 load screens for the mission map.
The controls are meant for consoles. The menus are a clear example. Flight/swim are actually manageable with a controller. When you pick up items, the screen displays a D-pad icon. I can live with most of that. ‘Cept the flight/swim controls. Feels a bit like Blizz and “do you guys not have controllers?!” I’m guessing XBOX/PS4 players are going to have the best experience for some time.
Server stability was a serious issue this weekend. Saturday/Sunday, I was never able to complete a single mission due to server crashes. The forums seem to have a similar issue. A game cannot find a successful launch with this type of issue (or the infinite load, which seems fixed now).
On the flipside, the game is ridiculously good looking. I’m looking forward to more enemy types, but the ones there now are impressively detailed. Near everything is extremely fluid, and combat is predicated on always be moving. That part works exceptionally well – arguably better than WarFrame due to the open areas and focus on vertical.
I do expect some tweaking to a lot of numbers before launch. This weekend had a bit too much bullet sponge for my tastes. I realize that is a terribly hard thing to balance. Even with max level gear (19 power), it was only a marginal improvement in damage. Maybe this was a bug fix from the VIP weekend, or an actual purposed tweak.
The flipside is that combos dominate the damage department. To the point where it makes more sense to take self-combo skills (e.g. frost and fire) even if they are not terribly practical or numerically sound on their own. It will be a challenge for BioWare to manage the meta at top levels if this combo bonus sticks as is. Let’s put it another way, I find that group clearing goes significantly faster if I stick next to another player and solely place an ice build, as everyone and their mom seems to combo off ice. Instead of playing like a mage, I end up playing an enchanter.
Betas (and make no mistake this is a beta, not a demo) are a really poor way to judge metas. I mentioned that exact point in a previous build. Quite curious as to how that ends up a few weeks after launch.
I really do think there’s a lot of potential here, and I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt at launch. It is miles beyond recent online dumpster fires (*cough* F076 *cough*), but clearly there are some bits that need work. If server stability can be sorted out (and I am sure BioWare hasn’t slept since last weekend), then there’s more than enough here to keep people busy until level 30.
What happens after that…I don’t think any game has actually ever figured that out near to launch. Destiny took multiple expansions, Warframe took a few years, Divison was nearly 2 years. I’m not holding my breath. Get me to max level, and then we’ll take another look.