I had a lot of fun last night with my friends trying out early access, thank you for that!
I wanted to suggest a change to how sneak attack is implemented. My perspective is that of a web developer who has never played DnD, and therefore never played a Rogue, but has spent many weeks nerding out with the core rulebooks and has some experience with game design. So maybe I'm off base, but I'm going to try to be clear and constructive.
The goal of this change is to:
1) reduce redundancy in the UI
2) prevent new players from forgetting to use their sneak attack
3) at the same time, clarify for the player if sneak attack will activate, so that they can adjust accordingly
Currently, there are the two normal attack buttons, and two sneak attack buttons in the hotbar. Functionally, the sneak attack buttons will do extra damage under the correct conditions, but otherwise duplicate the regular attack buttons. So, why not just upgrade the attack buttons? Make sneak attack a passive feature that applies to your attack actions every time, rather than an active "option" that you can forget to use and takes up space in your hotbar.
I've tried to think of problems with this approach. Here are my thoughts and concerns:
- How would we communicate to the player what sneak attack does and how to use it?
-- Add the sneak attack text to the attack action button instead, and introduce the upgraded attack button in the class section of character creation.
- How would we indicate to the player that sneak attack will be applied?
-- Currently, there is no clear yes/no indicator that sneak attack will activate before committing to the attack, and the only way to know that sneak attack did activate is if a second number showed up after the fact. It's not a different colored number or a bigger number or anything like that. This is a general problem with sneak attack, and any improvement here is welcome. I think a UI element or effect where the player is attacking (and therefore, where they are already looking) would be ideal. However, a smaller change might be to change the color of the background or icon of the attack button while aiming the attack at a target.
- What if I want to attack but not apply sneak attack?
-- I can think of only two scenarios for this, both are fairly rare: "I want to deal non-lethal damage" and "I want to deal a specific amount of damage". The first is better accomplished by Knock Unconscious, and the second can be achieved in a variety of ways, including intentionally attacking in a way that wouldn't trigger sneak attack.
- What if there are multiple classes that could make the same argument (like the Fighter's extra attack)?
-- I haven't tried out the fighter yet, unfortunately. The attack buttons are there for every single player, regardless of class; especially with multi-classing, it may be challenging to make a single button serve so many masters. Nevertheless, my intuition is that precisely because every player will be using those buttons, making them more robust is an opportunity more than it is a problem, as long as it can be done well. If it can't be done then it can't be done, but I think it's worth looking into.
- What if my bosses overhaul the UI again and invalidate this whole thing?
-- You got me there. I'd have to make a new post in that case, if it makes you feel any better. I can only give feedback on what's in front of me.
Anyway, thank you reading!