Topic: Two Month Review

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  Posted on October 15, 2013 at 1:09 AM
#1
JoeTurtle, The Lost Explorer of True Sight

Contribution: 404 (300 + 104)
Joined: March 27, 2010
It's been two months since the “grant” (haha, get it guys?) rebirth of War of Ninja. I'd say that's a fair amount of time to get a sense of the game; the timing of character releases, new chapters, and other miscellaneous updates. All I have been doing the last two months is grinding for gold, leveling up my teams, and purchasing many a new characters. Rinse and repeat. A couple times. Well, more than a couple...

But that's mostly okay.

The Interface:

The new game client is a welcome change. After the first week of working out the kinks, it is snappy and responsive. It's colorful, and fairly easy to navigate.

The new Squad Selection screen does many things right. I love all the options under the “Find Characters/Items/Squad” column. It makes finding what I want, and filtering what I don't a breeze. But I do have some gripes about it, though. Sometimes the left-click and double-click do not work as flawlessly as I would hope. I try to double-click, and the character pop-up appears. And when I want the character pop-up to appear, it takes a few clicks for it to actually work. Perhaps its me, and my lousy clicking skills, but that's just something I've noticed. Another thing I've noticed is that while you are at the bottom of the page looking at characters, you can't see what your current selection looks like. Not a big deal, just scroll up back to the top, but it would be nice to have the current selection float with you as you scroll. (Perhaps moving the current selection off to the side into the empty space and have it float with you down the page?) One more small gripe, and I'll be out of your hair. The character specialty doesn't appear in the character pop-up. Again, no big deal. Just a smal cosmetic change.

The Story Mode is simple enough. It goes Stories/Books, and then breaks off into chapters. Its simple enough to navigate through. There is just a bit of inconsistency after you finish a chapter. Some chapters say “continue” while others say “replay”. I would think after two months, something like this would be fixed. Not a priority, but something that helps polish the game.

The Ninja Shop is more of less what it was before. A collection of items of various types and prices. It's functional, but long. (Though, the filters here do help shorten the list a bit.)

The Dojo works. But it can be hard to find the characters you want to level up with the drop down menu. Especially when you mix in all the characters you have little to no interest in Dojo-ing ever again. Having some sort of filter and picture oriented selection would help make the Dojo a more enjoyable experience.

Much like the Dojo, the swap screen could use some work. Diving into text oriented menus organized by clan name gets confusing. Especially when characters are often referred to by their personal ("first") name. Again, having some type of graphical selection would be nice. And hey, why not add in a few filters as well.

Stories and Missions:

I'm going to be frank here. The story isn't as engaging as it should be for having RPG being a core selling point of the game. It seems like a tacked on piece of yarn dangling a plank of wood from the roof of a house, trying to give some coherent reason as to why we need to get 30 disruption and 30 assassination points. And from what I remember, it just feels less than what it was before.

The missions themselves also seem bland. Out of all that I've seen so far (I haven't gone too far into the second book yet), they seem pretty copy and paste. Each mission feels about the same. It would be nice to have a bit of variety. Perhaps adding objectives like “Win X battles in a row” or even “Win X games against a human opponent.” would help spice up the missions. Right now, all they are is a means to get pretty quick gold. And other than the boss fights, there isn't much to differentiate between them and normal quick battles.

Gameplay:

The basics of this game are pretty much the same as before. Turn based strategy game with a pinch of RPG mixed in. But now we have the addition of levels and AI.

Leveling up characters can be frustrating. Some characters have many possible builds, making it difficult to chose some skills over others. Other characters have to be leveled a certain way just to be considered usable. Characters like Tadao and Amaya feel too vulnerable without their full skill sets, especially since they were designed before the concept of levels. Some type of compensation for these seemingly weaker characters, or some of their less desirable skills, may be necessary to create a more diverse and balanced experience.

Thank god for the Dojo, though. Although expensive, it is convenient to reassign all skill points on a character. Though, might I suggest a cheaper option of removing one or two skill points from a character? Spending 100g just to change around 1 or 2 skill points seems overkill.

Playing against the AI is fun and quick, and at times it can make you stress out to the point of hair loss. (Turn 1 Beautiful Dawn? No thanks!) But it isn't as engaging as playing against humans. The AI makes absurd choices, often not in its best interest. I can't begin to mention the amount of games I've won because the AI made a poor choice. Sure, it helps me get one battle closer to winning a mission, but knowing you should have lost feels like cheating the system.

But those boss fights. Those are some good stuff. I've actually had to use the Dojo a few times just to get a character combination that would work.

Yes, I know if I'm unsatisfied with AI battles, I could search for a human – if I could find another human without waiting a good five minutes or more.

Site/Game Activity:

The in-game chat, when working, barely seems to get use. The forums can go for hours at a time without a single post. And the active user count has been slowly decreasing each day, even with new content being released on a regular basis. The one amazing quality this site had before the update was the small, but active, community. Here, it seems to be missing. With most of your time being spent fighting against AI instead of humans, I feel like a major element that added to the previous community feel is missing, or at least hindered.

Conclusion:

I enjoy the cosmetic updates to the site. Although not perfect, it is an improvement to where it was before. The addition of a few more gameplay mechanics (AI , Leveling, Bosses) make the game a bit more entertaining, while still maintaining the same vibe it had before. The community, although greater than it has been before the update, seems mostly inactive. The missions (and the stories attached to them) could have a bit more variety and entertainment.

All in all, the game is an improvement to where it was before, a huge step in the right direction. But it will take more than a step to gain enough momentum to keep the game moving.
  Posted on October 15, 2013 at 10:26 AM
#2
xXxMarcelxXx, The Untouchable Mistress of the Phoenix Queen

Contribution: 5,651 (5,051 + 600)
Joined: July 30, 2010
"The forums can go for hours at a time without a single post."

This post as the first reply to your topic could be an example.

"Much like the Dojo, the swap screen could use some work. Diving into text oriented menus organized by clan name gets confusing. Especially when characters are often referred to by their personal ("first") name. Again, having some type of graphical selection would be nice. And hey, why not add in a few filters as well."

I totally agree because it is much easier and faster to find a character by his or her squad picture.

"Each mission feels about the same. It would be nice to have a bit of variety."

Again, I share your opinion. The only kind of mission I would not like to see is one in which you have to find a specific character or village. Like in naruto-arena, this could take ages. Your examples seem to be okay.

"Leveling up characters can be frustrating. Some characters have many possible builds, making it difficult to chose some skills over others. Other characters have to be leveled a certain way just to be considered usable."

The game is much more in inmbalance because of the limited skill points. Some characters just need every (!) skill point while characters like Jun just need to be 3/3/x/x; the rest is a matter of taste. Thus, Jun is as good as before although others were made week in comparison to the past.

"Yes, I know if I'm unsatisfied with AI battles, I could search for a human – if I could find another human without waiting a good five minutes or more."

To my mind, this is a big problem. Therefore I made a suggestion to increase the quick game activity by increasing the "rewards". Nobody seems to be against it. The topic can be found here!
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