Hi everyone! I’m brand new here and I just want to start by mentioning how excited I am to have found this game! I think it has a lot of potential and I’m really interested to see how it grows and changes.
This post is intended to give devs (and whoever else is interested) an idea of what the game looks like to a player that is brand new. Hopefully you can glean some interesting ideas or useful pieces of information from it. Let’s get right into it!
Progress through the game so far:
Spent roughly 10 hours (over about 3 sessions) in a single world on moderate, playing with 2 others who are also brand new players
All three of us are on XBOX
Completed the story mode objectives
Built a small but substantial base (more than a 2x2, but not a sprawling castle or anything…)
Challenged most insects we’ve come across to a fight (won some, lost many)
Initial Spawn and First Hour
On our initial spawn, we immediately loved how things looked and were very excited to get started. There was a little bit of “information overload” while moving through the inventory and crafting menus, and it took a little bit of getting used to but we eventually figured out how everything was organized. After about an hour of playing, moving through the menus became quite easy and intuitive.
I was also impressed with how well the starting zone was set up. It shepards new players to the first research station very well. When starting out in a new survival game, I usually get lost almost immediately and have very little idea of what I’m supposed to be doing, but Grounded does a nice job of keeping that from happening.
One issue we ran into on the first day (but haven’t experienced since) was a stampede of ants. At one point we had over 20 ants all crowding around the research station. This wasn’t much a problem while the ants were only workers, but whenever a soldier showed up we would get swarmed and almost instantly die. This was the source of a lot of our deaths during our first day, but eventually the ants dispersed and we were allowed to continue. My suggestion would be to severely limit the bug spawns around the research station during the first day so as to facilitate low risk exploration and learning of the game mechanics. That way new players don’t get discouraged in their first 10 minutes (which as we all know, are some of the most crucial minutes).
My younger brother quickly became the “combat expert” of our crew. He led the charge in most of our battles, and is always itching to take on whatever bug may be crawling around near us. He was the first of our trio to craft new weapons/armor, perform a perfect block (which he now declares that he has mastered), and challenge both variants of spiders.
From what I can gather so far, the combat seems fun and engaging. We are punished (usually with death) for engaging bugs without a plan or the proper equipment, but dispatching them becomes pretty easy with a little bit of practice. I think this is the perfect balance for new players because it offers them a challenge while not being too cruel. (Note: this is excluding wolf spiders…we will get to those below)
We do have a few suggestions! The first is to show us numerical stats on weapons and armor! That way we can quickly compare the equipment and be totally sure that wearing our ant helmet is better than the eyepatch. (is it?)
Second is we want an indicator as to how much damage we are doing to enemies! This could take the form of numbers that float in the air for a short while which display the damage done on that attack or something of that nature (making that feature toggle-able is also a good idea).
Finally we just want more stuff! I don’t want this to turn into an “Add this and this and this” thread so I won’t push all my ideas on you just yet, but keep adding more! (ok maybe just one real quick…maybe think about some special weapons that aren’t craft-able? These would have to be placed in specific locations around the world, and probably protected by some type of strong enemy, but they would provide unique properties to players who obtain them!)
If my brother is the “combat expert” then I guess that would make me the “building expert” of the crew. I’ve spent the most time out of our trio working on the base and doing “basely” duties, and here are my conclusions…
I like the concept of the building mechanics a lot. I’ve spent some time playing Ark, and let me tell you, I like this so much better for two main reasons.
1.) Building one wall piece doesn’t take an obscene amount of resources.
2.) The blueprint concept. Messing up and misplacing a wall no longer means sacrificing resources. 10/10 on that one.
The building UI is also well put together and easy to understand, and I really like how holding blades of grass and other building materials is different from them just being in your inventory. Very neat idea.
Of course its still rough around the edges, but that’s to be expected. Sometimes I’m able to build a wall that’s half in the ground and other times I’m not. If I put my head at the just the right angle while in blueprint mode, the wall flashes blue to red and teleports around my screen like its in the middle of a fight in DragonBall Z. Etc. You guys are aware of these I’m sure, so I won’t spend any more time talking about them.
In short, I really like the building mechanics! Continue to polish them and they will be great!!
I wouldn’t say I’m a survival game expert or anything, but I have spent some time playing a few. Ark, The Long Dark, Minecraft and Terraria (I know, I know…but they have survival game aspects) is what I’m basing this off of.
Food and Water: Food is pretty easy to come by. At first we starved a lot but once you figure out where to look/what to kill you can get by fine (and you can’t call it a survival game without a little starvation). However, WATER. Always THIRSTY. Never ENOUGH. Really though, there should be more dew drops around the starting zone. I get not wanting to make it too easy, but we were practically fighting each other for the few dew drops we came across (with the loser often “Giving Up” just to get a full water bar again).
Health: This circles back to the combat section, but give us some numbers! That way I can know exactly how many more ant bites I can take before its time to take off in the other direction.
Stamina: Honestly I think we have a very fair amount of stamina, and it refills fast which is AWESOME.
Miscellaneous: Please, please, please do not ever add a weight factor. I don’t care if its unrealistic for my character to carry an entire inventory of pebblets…this survival game is clearly not one that is striving for realism, so don’t add a weight factor (and actually ants can lift like 5000 times their own weight so…just pull that tidbit out if any of the survival purists come around complaining and whatnot).
Why do spiders get a special section? Because, they are actually what enticed me to try the game in the first place. While watching Youtube clips of Grounded, I noticed a key element in most videos was wolf spider attacks. I would watch in fascinated horror as Youtuber after Youtuber would have a wolf spider seemingly materialize out of no-where and utterly obliterate them. So let talk about our spider experiences…
Orb-Weavers: I think this enemy is well balanced. We need to keep our eyes peeled for them, but they seem pretty docile, and only really attack if you engage or wander too close. Fighting them is challenging, but we’ve killed most of the ones we’ve attacked. They are a good warm-up for Grounded’s real beast…
Wolf-Spiders: The first 3 in-game nights were pretty much spent in anticipation of a wolf-spider attack of our own, but one never came. To be honest we were a little disappointed. We eventually set out specifically to look for them, and find them we did. I can confirm that they are every bit as vicious as they were in the videos. But there wasn’t any stalking! Come to find out, it was toned down significantly in a recent update. We were bummed! Personally, I kinda like the horror aspect of running around at night and constantly having to be hyper aware of my surroundings. Currently it doesn’t even feel that dangerous to be outside at night. I get that you guys probably toned it down in response the community, but bring back some spider stalking! One idea would be to make it so that 1 out of every 5 (or something) wolf spiders is of the stalker variety. That way it brings down the number of spider related deaths, but still forces players to stay on their toes.
The wolf spider is currently your flag-ship insect (okay, arachnid, you get what I mean). Changing how they work too much might seriously affect how many new players you are drawing in.
Story (no spoilers here)
I really like the story so far. If we are getting more stuff like that, then I’m excited to see how the rest of it turns out! Keep up the good work and keep doing what you’re doing!
Alrighty, that wraps up my post. It is very long, but I had a lot to say. In short, keep up the great work! We are very excited to see where this game goes! I plan to be hanging around on the forums here for a bit, so expect to see more posts from me (hopefully not as long as this one).
Oh, also shoutout to Sthen0z and Hawkeyeboy1 for being sick teammates!