Hello, fellow players - and hopefully designers!
We now had the opportunity to take a look at the Isle of Siptah. One has to keep in mind that it’s early access, and lots of little things obviously aren’t done yet. Still, as it’s difficult to differentiate between
- things still on the to do list,
- things that should be there, but were forgotten and
- conscious design decisions or oversights,
I’ll treat them the same here for the purpose of this review.
- The decision to make the DLC a new map with not character transfer/travel option is obviously controversial, but unavoidable to facilitate some new mechanics, e. g. the scarcity of thralls.
- The map is well done overall, but lacks variety. More biomes would have helped to avoid that.
- Black ice in a temperate environment feels out of place.
- Resources seem to be more abundant and available in more spots, with very few exceptions like Volatile Glands. Obsidian seems to be missing completely.
- I really, really dislke the lack of NPC camps. I get the new idea on how to farm thralls. But it’s… well… boring and feels gimicky. The island is cluttered with ship wrecks. There should be hundreds of people there, even if only one person survives each crash. The map is large enough to include some NPC camps. They could be kept low-key, with few or even no higher tier NPCs to preserve the idea of having to spawn surges. But at least bring some life to the island.
- Random surges feel out of place. My suggestion: remove them. Or make them spawn monsters instead of NPCs. Currently, it looks like Scotty beamed down a complete, perfectly balanced away team with 1 armorer, 1 blacksmith, 1 dancer, 1 cook, 1 tanner, 1 carpenter and some red shirts.
- I miss purges. Hopefully, they’ll be brought to SIptah, too. I get that T4 NPC rich purges would screw the balancing, but at least give us T1 hordes or monsters.
- Lots of new enemies. Even though the base game had more creatures types than some AAA titles (looking at you, Fallout 4!), more variety is a good thing.
- The new models look pretty great, e. g. the prehistoric elephants and the bison.
- Some creatures, e. g. bison and elephants, seem to have absurdly high armor and absurdly low health. That actually works out pretty fine balance-wise, but still feels weird.
- Loot tables obviously aren’t done yet. Enemies that spawn in the storm only drop a default package of materials. NPCs often drop armor from other factions, mostly relic hunter.
- Some creatures present in the Exiled Lands don’t seem to appear on the Isle of Siptah, e. g. Sand Reapers. But they should! Reused content is cheap content!
Story and atmosphere
- The Isle of Siptah lacks the atmosphere and story of the Exiled Lands, at least so far. Few runestones, few NPCs. The Exiled Lands started with a scavenger hunt (“Follow the road… any road…”) that drew you into the mystery of what the hell happened here. Siptah has a feint echo of that, but it’s very, very feint. I think something should be added to get you started, be it a fellow survivor, be it a ghostly voice that calls to you - something.
- The lack of biomes and NPC camps makes the island feel empty and deserted, but not in a good way. I assume the devs wanted to leave space for players to build, but it’s too much space even for that.
- The Serpent people are really selfish - once again. Don’t want to spoil anything, but the story connection to the Exiled Lands was fun to discover.
- There’re few dungeons, and they are okay, but anything but unique. Running them will get boring pretty fast I fear. The Winecellar dungeon, in comparison, is still fun after 20 times due to its varied creature composition and map complexity.
- The decision to create a new map instead of adding to the old takes a heavy price here, as both maps lack the amount of content mashing them together would have brought. Splitting the dev team and mod community for working on two separate maps is questionable. I can only advice to only add content and especially dungeons that can be placed in both maps.
Feats, emotes, unique epics
- Either I haven’t found much so far, or the Island is still missing most feats, emotes and so on that could be found in the Exiled Lands. Again, reused content is cheap content! Put it somewhere. Preferably somewhere where it makes sense - e. g. NPC camps.
- Speaking of NPC camps again… remember how Fallout 76 flopped due to lack of NPCs? One should learn from that.
- NPC camps. Just to reiterate.
- Most loot that can be found in the Exiled Lands apparently isn’t available on the Isle of Siptah. It should be added. Reused content…
- Random legendary chests seem to drop Watchblades, That Brittle Bastard and shields a lot, or I got weird rolls.
- Can become great, currently a bit meh.
- The lack of crafting thralls drives up building cost by +100%. That takes the fun out of building imho.
So, what do you guys and gals think? What have I missed (on the map or in the review), and what should be done to finish the map in a good way?