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With Steam's Autumn Sale upon us, the developers over at Gamera Interactive bring us this Steam announcement where they address some common player concerns regarding Alaloth: Champions of the Four Kingdoms and attempt to clarify what their game is and isn't. And if you like what you read there, you can then purchase the game at 20% off.
Have a look:
"It looks like a blend of early Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook art, Baldur’s Gate, and Dark Souls" [PCGamesN]
We decided to open this new update with one of our fav quote ever for a reason. Autumn Sale started yesterday on Steam, and we were thinking it was a good moment to clarify a few things, as we already did talking about localization recently. It's nearly 5 months since we've released Alaloth in Early Access and we are super happy with the work done, with our amazing community, with the feed we've got day by day here and on Discord. Despite this, we had to deal with a few issues on the way, in regards of what Alaloth is and how we push it to the players. You know we've decided to adopt a very clear and straight forward approach to communication and PR. We always answer to people asking, we can easily say we can be considered one of the most active dev around and this time there is no exception. Since when we've got back our game publishing rights, we've tried to explain our vision, our approach to development, our long term plans. We've told everyone what to expect, what Alaloth is and what Alaloth is not [and will not ever be]. We've posted FAQ following AMA, we've gone through every single post here, answered almost every good and bad review and so on. Apparently, this is not enough. We thought a lot about posting an update like this, but here we are. Being a super small indie team, self publishing its game, putting personal money in, means that we have to carefully weight everything, including the way we handle PR but this doesn't mean that we follow the common habit of passively accepting criticism coming from people saying wrong things, just because "players are always right". We think this is not always true. Sometimes players happen to be not 100% right and if for big guns this means nothing, for a small studio getting bad reviews without a proper reason it's a huge problem instead, impacting sales, available resources and the team itself. Just to be clear: this doesn't mean that bad reviews are not accepted or bad feed are not correct. Everyone has the right to say whatever he/she wants about the game, destroying it the way he/she prefers but we've set just one rule internally, about this. Getting a very bad feed, insults or whatever is fine somehow, but all of this has to reflect reality and not to be just random words dropped through a keyboard. In these cases, we've always [politely] answered, trying to explain things at our best.
So, just to recap a few things, we would like to tell you once again what the game is, what you should expect from the game and how things work in Alaloth, trying to avoid wrong feed based on the fact that devs have not been clear enough [even if we've been], as any kind of disappointment in players that decide to support us. We thought to quote a few sentences from reviews, refund notes, Discord posts and board topics:
"Devs said it was inspired by Baldur's Gate but it's not Baldur's Gate"
So true. This is not Baldur's Gate. This is Alaloth and it is in between old school classics and modern action RPG. This is how we've pitched the game and this is what comes out of a ton of reviews, good and bad. Point is that bad reviews focus on the sentence above because BG has been taken as an inspiration. Yes it is. The game is inspired by Baldur's Gate as it is inspired by The Lord of The Rings, Willow, Dragonlance, Shannara, Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time, other games like Diablo, Mount & Blade, Dragon's Dogma, Ultima Online, Pillars of Eternity etc. Books, movies, games, TTRPG. Inspiration means exactly what it means. Inspired by Baldur's Gate does not mean it is Baldur's Gate. Inspiration is not doing the same thing 1:1. So, again: Alaloth is not a CRPG and is not Baldur's Gate as it is not a book, a TTRPG or a movie. Alaloth it's a unique game inspired by these experiences. And yes it is even inspired by Baldur's Gate and Infinity Engine games. That's why we use an iso camera, for example.
"Mouse & Keyboard not supported"
Not true. The game fully supports M&K. We've released the game in June with partial support only for M&K [which means that the game supported them at launch as well, even if partially only]. We explained why. We are not crazy but it was about surviving as a company when we've got the game back. We patched the game in September with the full support after a full rework of the UI and since then, M&K has to be considered in full. You can say that it could be improved [we are always improving the game and this makes no exception] and you can say you don't like it but you can't say M&K is not supported. Better with a controller? We just think a controller can give a better exeperience, but you are not forced to use one to enjoy the game at all. Hades states the same in its main menu, so nothing weird here. Just a sample of a great PC game working nice with a pad.
"The game needs some extra development"
That's exactly why we are in Early Access now, otherwise we were talking of a full release. Despite this, we have players with 100+ hours under their belt, the game is fully playable since D1, 22 patches so far, 2 Major Updates not even scheduled originally! Yes, the game needs some extra development and we are on it, following feed from our audience. Consider that, right now, the game is aready three times the original scope and we are adding features on weekly basis with new quests, chars, items, locations and so on. We could say that Alaloth is already one of the biggest indie RPG out on the market at the moment [the biggest?]. We are not going to stop of course. We iterate a lot. We like the idea to be able to put in new features, even if these features were not part of the original roadmap. This is how iteration in game development works.
"The game is overpriced"
We decided to go with a very low price point and considering contents offered, it is the exact opposite. We were thinking about partnering with a few publishers before going self publishing: they were suggesting to release at 39.99/49.99 because of contents, just with the standard game [not considering DLC included in the Supporter Edition]. Just check the store and make comparisons with other RPG and other games. The game is probably underpriced but again, it has been a choice we've made when we've got publishing rights back, trying to maximize the huge number of wishlists we have.
"Coop is advertised the wrong way because it is not real coop"
Steam works in a very easy way: you put in flags that pop-up as icons in the store page. We have coop in and it works the way that a player can jump in a fighting session anytime in FA. It is local only but it works through Remote Play as well and it works the way you can invite friends [not owning the game] and play with them. To flag Local Coop you have to flag Multiplayer first in the sys, no matter what. If you don't, you can't flag Local Coop option which is what is in. There is not an option and no distinction between full coop campaign or small coop options. We are at work to improve this feature as well because a lot of people is asking. You can talk about getting a full playable coop campaign and it is really something we would like to deliver at some point but local coop is in from D1, and it is real. There is no chance to explain coop if not writing about it right now and as we always did so please, read all the useful links we've posted or join our AMA or jump in our Discord server. In order to play coop, main char has to find companions first. Companions can be used by other players once invited [both locally or online through Remote Play on Steam. Invites are open to people not owning the game too].
"My choices are not impacting the world"
As already said, Alaloth is not a CRPG but choices matter. We used to say that Alaloth is not a player centered game it is a world centered game. Plamen, the game world, move on and things happen with or without you so, depending on your choices, some quests can be unlocked or not, NPC can show up or not, you can meet them or not. Playing the game more time with a different alignment and with different choices, simply brings on new content everytime. This not means that players have to rush anything [Single Player campaign allow you to play taking your time of course] but this means that you are going to get 100% of the game playing more than one run, familiarizing with the calendar, scheduled events, timed events and so on. Just a sample: we have unique merchants selling unique goods popping-up during festivals at the same time every year in-game. If you miss them, you can find them in following their route or just waiting one more year. Some Quest Givers work the same way and hints to find wandering chars/special chars/special quests are all around the world in dialogues, barks, items description and so on. Quests are streamlined [even if there are quests around in which you can take different decisions] but this means also that what happens around you changes the game world. Read carefully!
"I wish you the best, i know you are great, the game is amazing but is not my cup of tea so i'm leaving a thumb down"
We know that a lot of people is leaving feed in good faith to help us improving the game. We could say that we are way more happy of bad reviews with constructive feed than anything else. But something like this does not really help us. A good average on Steam is crucial at this stage and if you enjoyed the game or just recognized value in it, even if it's not a thing for you, please consider helping us with a thumb up instead and check the game later on to see how much love and effort we've put in it!
"You should change this and that"
As already said, we take every single feed into account. We included a ton of features requested by users since launch and tried to discuss almost every topic from our Discord server, coming from the channel we've set-up to collect user suggestions. Quality of life improvements and any possible update increasing the overall quality of the game, are probably already in or in the pipeline for future updates. But please consider that we are not going to change 100% of the game because you don't like it. Alaloth is not a CRPG and will not turn into a CRPG, now and never. Alaloth is not Diablo and it is not turning into it, now and never. We know someone don't like to read stuff but we have a 300k words game we've worked on considering players actually reading texts to get the best from the world and no, we are not cutting dialogues to add guided quests with a UI bringing you to your quest objective as an autopilot. Focus is on melee and it will stay like this because magic is described in a certain way in the lore of Plamen but we've received many requests to change this a bit and you know what? We are doing this, we are enhancing magic and working on new spells and professions because our final aim is to maake everyone happy with a great, fun game. And this is going to happen for sure but we have to preserve our vision at the same time.
"The game is great but I want it in my language"
If the game is great, leaving a thumb down is not the way to help us localizing it. Thumbs up help with sales. More sales mean more resources to invest, more resources mean localizing the game in more languages. Our will is to localize the game as much as possible. Buying the game knowing that loc is not in, pointing that the feature is not in, does not seem a smart move to us [and it is valid for any feature].
We are working together with you all, our dream of developing a game for players loving good old times and new modern masterpieces is here. Help us shaping the future of Alaloth, we have so many cool things on the way, and we can't wait to unveil all asap!
Meanwhile, get the game 20% with the Autumn Sale here on Steam. We've even discounted all DLC for the first time which means a phenomenal 44% discount on the Supporter Edition, including all the additional contents of the Supporter Pack, our amazing 220+ pages ArtBook and a 4 hours OST of epic music we've made in-house!
Hope this update will help claryfing once again what to expect from Alaloth - Champions of The Four Kingdoms. We've posted this with the aim to underline once again our direct and transparent approach to our community and to development. This is our life and we are giving 110% everyday to achieve what we have in mind since the very beginning. We know we are not perfect and we know that many things could have been/could be way better on our side too of course. Just join us in this journey!
Share the love and stay tuned!