After a couple of false starts, beginning with the original D:OS and then another attempt about a year ago with the enhanced edition, I finally started anew and completed this game (D:OS EE) last night! My total time with the game clocks in at 260 hours, 122 of those hours playing the game from start to finish.
What a fantastic game. Not entirely sure why it took me so long to get into it enough to finish it, but it was well worth my time. Since the game's been around a long time there's already plenty of info about it so I'll just jot down a few things I think would have improved the game - who knows maybe some of these things made it into D:OS2 or if not will make it into the "RPG of all RPGs game" Swen talks about making someday.
Before writing anything critical I will state up front that I am thankful that Larian made a proper mouse/keyboard UI for PC players. THANK YOU. My suggestions focus on making the task of item organization a little more efficient without taking away any of the fun of item management.
Sortable, Filterable Containers
Though you can sort and filter your primary inventory, the ability to sort/filter any container would be handy. Many people, including myself, used the barrel near the crafting area in Cyseal to store crafting materials. After many hours, it gets quite full and is cumbersome to find things in it.
When you send items from one character to another, if the recipient already has one ore more of that item, the item being sent to the recipient will automatically stack (as it should) with what is already there. I'd like this feature extended to any container. So when I'm throwing crafting materials into that barrel at the crafting area in Cyseal, I can just toss my latest catch of 7 leather scraps into the barrel and if there are already 13 leather scraps in the barrel, the 7 will automatically add themselves to the current stack of 13 without me having to hunt through the barrel to find the 13 that are already in there and explicitly put the 7 on top of them. That would be a huge time saver for the OCD "organizationlists" like me who have to have everything tidy.
If I ever replay D:OS EE I probably won't go as nuts trying to organize all the items I can find. For those who don't want to bother with that even during their first play through, a search box to find items would be great. I really enjoyed this feature in SkyUI (Skyrim MOD) a lot - very handy.
D:OS is great with all the choices the player has to boost attributes and skills. This includes boosting them with your gear. So it makes sense to me to have an "outfit" interface where the player can define a few outfits and then switch into them with a click of a button. A combat outfit, a crafting outfit, a blacksmithing outfit, a "nasty deeds" outfit and so on. I spent a lot of time switching gear in order to accomplish things and by about halfway through the game, it became a little tiresome. Any item marked as part of an outfit should be filtered from view in a merchant's trading interface.
SENSE OF PLACE
D:OS is full of atmosphere and has a decent story told competently, if not a bit overly-humorous. Outside of that, here are a couple of things that would add to sense of place.
This was once a feature of D:OS that was cut. I also see that it didn't make it into D:OS2. But it still goes to say that day/night cycles would greatly add to that sense of place - the sense of a real living breathing world.
Real Weather System
Like day/night cycles, a real weather system too would add to immersion. I never forgot the thrill of seeing the shadow of clouds float along the ground in Ultima VII followed by a little rainstorm. Such a little thing, but very impactful in giving the player that sense of place. In D:OS, certain areas it's always rainy, or always dusty, or always dark, or always bright. That sort of thing isn't terrible, but it is second rate to a real weather system.
Revisiting Once Visited Places
Aside from Cyseal, there really isn't much need to revisit places you've been through. The Ultima series did a great job of making the world feel like a world and just because you scoured Brittania didn't mean there wouldn't be compelling reasons to go back there again and again… same with most of the other towns and villages. As the plot unfolded, things changed providing reasons to go back to Yew or Moonglow. D:OS could use some of this.
A Continuous World
One big continuous world really adds to the suspension of disbelief. Perhaps "maps" is hard wired into the D:OS engine. But someday when Larian makes their epic "RPG of all RPGs game" I hope they have the tools to make one big continuous world, with perhaps only loading screens for "dungeons." In short, the fewer the loading screens, the more the player gets that sense of place. The Elder Scrolls drives me nuts with the loading of everything. D:OS is not anywhere near as bad, but the "maps/zones" concept is one that I hope goes away for this series.
Global Crafting Container
How do I describe crafting in D:OS? I think it's best described as a "hot bitch." Why do some people put up with a hot bitch? Mostly because they're hot. But in the end, they're a bitch, so it doesn't last long. That's crafting in D:OS. There's some fun things you can craft. While some possibilities are intuitive, many are not. D:OS encourages you to experiment, then promptly puts a bunch of obstacles in your path to experimenting. Want to experiment combining the ruby with the leather scraps… well for one thing you need Crafting 5 and you only have crafting 4 and for another, you have no idea where the ruby is. Or the leather scraps. As for where the items are, I'd say let the player just have a global crafting container for storing crafting materials and whatever is in that container can be used for crafting. If some want more realism, then keep the concept as it is but perhaps force the player to be within a certain proximity of the crafting container. And be sure to put the crafting container where the crafting station is, not far away like in your personal chambers at the end of time.
More Details in the Recipe Book
The recipe book does a good job except that it doesn't show me what the final result will be in terms of the details. I can craft a sword but what will it's stats be? This would be very handy to know BEFORE you craft the item.
That's about all I have to say, and everything I wrote is in the spirit of better gaming. D:OSEE is a great game and very fun if you like cRPGs, I highly recommend it.