Oh boy, I really wish I had made the last test to get some practice in!
One of the first things I really noticed was weapon accuracy. What a huge deal that is! It severely nerfs the backpedaling evasive strategy that some of the veteran players have adopted since it very much relies on doing hard maneuvers and compensating with good aim. I couldn’t tell if I was throwing shots with my lateral input, or if lateral input simply imposed an accuracy penalty, or both. Either way, it was pretty freaking satisfying to both maneuver evasively and exchange with someone, and steady your aim and line up a kill shot.
This decision making process is compounded by temperature management, which I thought was very restrictive at first but it didn’t take long to learn how to work with it. I guess I was really used to the very spammy projectiles of earlier versions of the game.
I was very impressed with the dichotomy between the heavy ship and the interceptor as well. My initial thoughts were things like “well if heat is a factor then damage potential per temperature is the best move”. But that started evolving as I got more used to the ebb and flow of the new combat systems. I would say it’s more “damage potential per opportunity” and, while initially I liked the big freaking gun of the heavy ship, I started getting more out of the interceptor’s ability to just dump 75% of its temperature into target in three seconds. The faster projectiles makes it much more resilient to inaccuracy as well, something I didn’t expect to be as important as it is in the [relatively] low range of combat engagements this game has. And the interceptor has a much more elusive geometric profile, unlike the big guy who’s the broad side of a barn no matter what angle you approach it from.
And another thing, collision is also something that caught me off guard. I think early on I was exchanging fire with TC when he hit the boost button and just blasted right through me. I dunno if collision damage is a thing but it felt like it. It will definitely change the way I play.
Time to kill felt good. A lot of space games favor alpha strike too much, and it makes it hard to come back when someone gets the jump on you. It also lends itself to joust style combat which I just don’t find very engaging personally. The heat mechanic (specifically the way it has a timer before it starts regenerating I think) makes you take a second to gauge whether or not this is a fight you have the resources to continue, or if you gotta break off for a bit.
The game does not like my ultrawide monitor. The ship selection UI wouldn’t work until I toggled the fullscreen mode off and on, which put black bars on the side. Additionally, I think there was some incorrect adjustment of the UI position (see in the clipping of the text in the upper right) that I think might have happened because I hide my start menu.
I found third person mode to be really cool but basically unusuable in combat. The crosshairs’ convergence seemed to be out at infinity and I didn’t see any adjustments made based on the range of my target. This is greatly improved in first person mode but on the big heavy ship especially, I still had to physically turn the entire ship left and right to get each of its shots to go where I wanted them to. Those guns are very far apart.
There needs to be a deadzone for mouse flight. I wasn’t able to tap space, click a target, and hit space again without being sent way off course. Additionally, tabbing out seemed to send the mouse off into a corner, making your ship do circles until you tabbed back in.
It was a extremely annoying having to extend radar range to target something, then reduce it again to make it more relevant in a dog fight. And I didn’t love having to glance down into the corner to see what’s around me. I miss old gravidar, I really liked looking around the screen to see what’s around me.
There was a problem I encountered maybe 8~10 times where you’d get stuck in a state where lateral movement would be so powerful it’d send you flying out of the play area. I noticed that using boost seemed to resolve this, for the duration of the boost. It might have been related to colliding with something at the conclusion of a boost? I couldn’t tell for sure.
Sometimes I’d f4 to quit out of the game (due to the above) and when I relaunched, the ship type I had previously chosen would be missing from the hangar. I had to pick a different one. They’d return on next death.
Getting hit and hitting others didn’t have enough feedback I think. I miss the screen shake, it made things dire and it made people panic press the boost button.
The gigantic target reticules were very obstructive in my opinion. Comparison to elite dangerous:
Small, and has the added benefit of showing you the target’s current orientation.
I am very much looking forward to the next test!