I’m not done Chapter 3 yet (I’m holding off on going to the Ivory Sanctum until I get all the companion side quests - more on that later), but I have now seen enough to have a few comments. I’m not going to harp on bugs for the most part (we have a bug report function for a reason), though there are a couple that are kind of a problem and that I will mention. I imagine many of my “insights” are not particularly new, so feel free to flame me if I’m beating a dead horse.
Writing: very pleased with this, particularly as I wasn’t a huge fan of the original AP. The NPCs are for the most part interesting and engaging, and their side quests so far have been good. Love the shift to dialog options only impacting one axis of alignment - maintaining my desired alignment is hugely easier than in Kingmaker and the dialog options seem better in most respects.
Gameplay (at the RPG level):
I feel like the companions have a heavy tilt towards dex. I’m not sure if it’s actually any heavier than in Kingmaker, but it feels heavier (possibly because stat bonus items don’t rain from the sky the way they did in Kingmaker). When even the full plate wearing hellknight has weapon finesse…would Regil maybe work better as a divine caster signifer? There are lots of divine buffs that can cover for his racial strength penalty. And maybe Sosiel could start with heavy armor proficiency rather than toughness - his deity wants him using a polearm, so his AC needs either a high dex or heavier armor. This was especially striking when you consider that both Arushalae and the mongrelmen are archers (in theory, Wenduag has enough feats to spare she can function as a melee combatant if you want, but it’s not the highest and best use of her stats).
Enjoyed both the assault on the Grey Garrison and the battle of Drezen. The chapel with the ghouls, gargoyles and Nabassu was also really good.
Please put in some kind of compass indicator. The ability to rotate the camera is good and all, but in natural environments I occasionally have difficulty orienting between my map and what’s on screen. Also, one of the few bugs I’m going to complain about: sometimes when returning to an area I’ve fully explored my map is completely blacked out with fog of war (but the loot markers of everything I left behind are still there).
I’ve now run into two separate quests where someone with the exact same name and model as "generic townsperson with whom dialog is impossible) is actually a non-trivial part of the quest. The entrance to the Azata path requires you to speak to what appears to be a generic guard, and then at the wedding one of the bridesmaids (indistinguishable from the rest) is running the contest on the bride’s side. Please put distinguishing names on people you’re actually supposed to talk to. I don’t remember this being an issue in Kingmaker - maybe this is just a side effect of being at alpha stage?)
Please recheck the text when you leave the area where you ambush the dragon with Greybor. I think it said that the dragon flew southwest. I wasted a lot of time blundering around to the Sw then gave up, went back to Drezen and found the lair to the SE of the ambush point. Either there was an additional location with a blood trail that my party didn’t have a good enough perception to find (but oddly found the lair without a fuss) or there may be an error in that text.
I might be remembering wrong, but I think it was originally stated that the mythic paths wouldn’t be alignment limited. The alignment limitations aren’t huge, but they exist and I’m left wondering what happens if your alignment changes after you get locked in (for example you were LN, chose Angel, then discovered your inner Hellknight and edged over into evil). Has anyone had this happen and had a mythic tier upgrade since?
Crusade Management: this is clearly still a work in progress, but a few things:
particularly in chapter 3, it makes the pacing strange. Having to wait for the companion quests feels a lot less natural than it did in Kingmaker because at least there you had a perfectly good reason to just sit for 2 weeks to claim a region or increase a kingdom stat. Here you have the queen wanting 2 victories a week, overland travel not seeming to take very long (Drezen to Wintersun is only about 14 hours), and 2 weeks to wait for an event feels like a very long time. If I hadn’t been told on these forums about the necessity of waiting, I’d have been to the Ivory Sanctum already before any companion quests triggered. Maybe change the locations of the enemy garrisons that you have to defeat before your PC party can proceed - I was actually surprised I could go recruit Arushalae without defeating the nearby army (which was relatively tough) that was the subject of a crusade mission.
I’m sure you’re working on it, but an auto-resolve button for the tactical crusade combat please. I don’t fight out every battle manually even in games I bought AS strategy games. Every so often it’s fun, but having to do it every time even where there is a large power gap is a bit of a grind.
A couple of times enemies have been unable to decide what to do and the tactical combat just stops (it usually seems to be Schir that do this to me). The monster’s turn never ends and I have to forcibly restart the game.
I expect that elements haven’t been implemented yet, but the significance of advisor stats is not yet apparent. On the same topic, whose idea was it to make Wenduag a candidate for a role that appears to be based on charisma (at least based on the huge penalty she has)? I admire her can-do attitude in taking on a role for which she is so evidently ill suited (no more excuses Linzi, you’re taking over as General!) and eagerly await the event result “Wenduag solves the food shortage by demonstrating that Vrock does in fact taste like chicken and is quite good when combined with 11 herbs and spices” but am left wondering if this is an in joke of some kind that I’m not getting.