I really loved the EA preview, It has this D&D taste that really takes me back to my youth.
I'll leave bug segnalations in another thread, as I'm quite confident that with time the game will be much more polished, so for now I'm going to focus more on what I struggled with at the very first encounter with the EA.
- At the level up the UI there's a little bit confusion, there's plenty of space on today's PC screens or TVs to make advantage of, and the scrollable interface seems a little bit unpolished and messy: it would be nice to have icons before the feats and a more deep view at the skillset. It would be def. better to have a quick glimpse of everything narrowing down the spaces and fonts instead of having to scroll the entire 3 columns
- People unexperienced in the D&D ruleset could take advange of a little more in deep explaination at all feats, stats etc.
Map & Navigation
- The icons in the minimap are far from easy to interpret
- It would be nice to have the minimap clickable to command a destination
- When moving the Party and the Main Character it would be useful a settings to let you choose between using WASD keys for either Camera or the MC movements.
- A little bit more of zooming out would be nice while navigating the area
- The "Jump" seems a little bit to strict in letting you choose the landing area, it requires a certain degree of training
- The Party should follow the MC if the Jump is safe (damage-free)
- 3D enviroment-related models should disappear as soon as they are in the way for the camera instead of waiting the player to arrive in position
- Night & Day shif would be a great addition
- The "camp" damages the immersion as it is now. I do understand that the camp is where lots of talking and realationship advanced will take place so you do not intend to remove it, but in my opinion it has to change background accordingly to the location you're in when you choose to rest: if you're in the Underdark it should to be an Underdark camp. if you are in a Dungeon, it should relate with the dungeon architecture and style etc.
- Also... shouldn't you be able to rest if a party member dies?
- The turn based mode works fine with small groups of enemy, and I think it's the perfect companion for the d&d ruleset, but needs some finetuning when you encounter lots of enemies, maybe very far from you. I think in this case the best course of action would be to "skip" the single positioning phase of the enemy: think of a situation where 8 enemies are going to approach the partyor set their position in order to attack (maybe requiring more than one turn) IMO the battle would be best enjoyed if they were to move/animate all at the same time before your PC has its next turn (if they do not have time left to attack).
- I absolutely feel the need to have an option to disable camera self-centering on the enemy when they take action: it kills the immersion and makes the combat very mechanical and disorienting (ex: gobling camp or the observer fight).
- A good alternative to the self-centering combat camera could be a more smooth camera animation when it self-centers: an ease-in ease-out animation with a slow start that smootly moves (and don't snap directly) to the enemy taking action: it should be easy to implement and should be a great addition in terms of drama/cinematic feel.
- The toolbar is in need of some changes, maybe it should be best if all of the automatisms were to be disabled as a default setting.
- I found the "Classic" difficulty being quite difficult and at the same time very, very rewarding. With all of the suggetions above (for my tastes) would be 100% enjoyable
Inventory & Toolbar
- The toolbar is quite messy right now, if the plan is to keep it self-adjusting maybe it's best to have different sections for items, healing items, feats/spells
- The icon set for the speels is spot-on but the background makes them far less readable and recognizable, the scrools are a good example of this. A simple black background would enhance the readability by miles.
- Games like Neverwinter Nights had a much more easy to consult toolbar and quick icons, it could be a great example to look at.
- All of the menus (trade/inventory/spells etc) are way too big. As I said before there's plenty of space on today's TVs and PC Screens and you could either have several menus in just one page or (even better) a smaller UI and fonts for the Inventory etc.
- The graphics are the best i've seen so far for a roleplay game of this calibre
- Dunno if its possible but a scalable resolution option would be a godsend to fine-tune the quality/performance to the utmost, playing with the UI in 4k and the 3d models downscaled where necessary would be a great thing to enjoy the best from the 3d and 2d interfaces
So, as you can imagine from my feedbacks I've been a huge fan of Neverwinter Nights in my childhood, I found it a very polished and well balanced D&D-based experience, top-class in terms of UI and ease of use, so I really apologize if my feedbacks are hugely biased by this experience of mine.
The EA shows a limitless potential and feels quite refined in lots of areas, I can't wait to get my hands on the full game so good job and good luck!