Before diving in; I do enjoy the game. Personally I think it was a touch too early for even early release. But I am still glad I have it. I have played each class to level 4 full disclosure.
Lets start with the classes and the archetypes.
Fighters: Obviously the most generic front line class. However, picking the Battle Master was a risky choice, for early access in part because it has such a high skill curve and since you negated the majority of the choices it turns into a bad Champion. Simple is not always bad. The Eldritch Knight. True Strike is awful in general. But the Eldritch Knight is a good class when built right, which again high learning curve.
Warlock: No, just no. Eldritch Blast is the gimmick of the warlock, and outside of story purposes for a GM, the warlock offers very little on the whole. So either make it as the NPC only, or really spice it the hell up. Because right now you gave them the worst Patron Benfit in the game. Also the Fiend is way more worth it than the old one. So lots of work needed there.
Cleric: Let me break it down I will arrange the players handbook domains from best to worst: War, Life, Tempest, Light, Nature and lastly Trickery. You hopefully the issue. The Shadow Domain was added later which surpasses Trickery by a wide margin.
Rouge: Given the premise of the game, the Thief archetype was a bad call in general. Assassin would have been much better. Arcane Trickster has the same issue as Eldritch knight, high learning curve to be useful.
Rangers: They are okay, you did them a solid by improving their mechanics quite a lot. However they are still rangers. You made them far more Hunter based than anything else with some very random aspects into, like the Ranger Knight.
Wizards: Solid choice, but since control magic isn't that useful in this game so far. Which is weird given the fact that you have: Terrain effects, Status effects and other aspects for a control mage. You basically screwed that with the Dice roll mechanics which I will cover later on in this review.
Lae'zel: Who ever designed her, needs to be fired. Flat out. Because they gave you the absolute worst trope imaginable. The arrogant above it all character. A couple of things to understand about that trope, she is level 1. Which means at best she is a peon. And the things she is fighting have more than a few ways to flay her alive. No Githyanki individual is stupid enough to try and fight an Illithid. And the way she acts towards mortal races, while on the material plane she would know damn well would get her killed in a heart beat. So that cocky, undeserved arrogant attitude is the worst character trait to give anyone. And I mean anyone. GM's tend to kill off and/or boot players who use this trope, because its beyond irritating and it gets old fast. Like within seconds fast. -10/10
Astarion: Whoever designed him, give a medal. Because he is interesting, well within the realms of character for what he is. He shows signs of struggle and various other character aspects that keep him interesting and fun. 8/10
Gale: He is an unbridled meh. He is a character that at best you would use because he is a wizard and you need one. At worst you let him die first. Because its the most common trope for spell casters used. The insightful insufferable know-it-all. Its worse because he flat insults the PC being the same level and knowledge base as the player. And has no problem or interaction with a a Warlock? Really? The two classes don't get along. 5/10
Shadowheart: Of all the cleric choices you could have, you picked the worst one. Trickery is funny and it sounds funny. But in practice, its awful. And she is the embodiment of a contraction. Her approval and disapproval ratings are so all over the place its not even funny. On top of which, she is utterly annoying and whinny. And the interactions between her and Lae'zel make me want to scream. A cleric who doesn't get along with a fighter is a recipe for a disaster given the you know tank/healer interactions that are kind of core. 2/10
Wyll: He is an interesting character, with him being a warlock its interesting. But given that he doesn't seek knowledge or power, but instead decides to prove his own worth is a class contradiction and conflict. 6/10
With interactions; make the default regardless the player character. Since most people will design them as a leadership role to begin with. Since that's what people are used to with Baldur's Gate. That or have it as “X-follower has this skill use them” either of the choices or both would be very effective in the long run. Doubly if you are trying to make it story driven around the followers as much as the player character.
Add in feats, for the love of god, add them in. They will help round out things so much. On top of which it will allow a far better choice for humans given the Alternate Template of +2 to any 1 attribute or +1 to any 2 attributes, bonus skill proficiency and bonus feat. In truth the bonus skill proficiency should be a must anyway. Because right now +1 to all attributes is worthless.
Make backgrounds more interesting than simply providing 2 skills. Including dialogue options the bonus effect found in the players handbook. Just something otherwise they are simply a gimmick at best.
If you are not wanting to add in as many characters as the first two games did, due to the cost of voice acting, coding, animation, art and so on (Which by the way would make excellent DLC). Then add in mercenaries (A cheap cop out), or interactive followers. Two early examples of this; the Intelligence devourer, and owlbear cub. Have them as companions, they would gain levels and you could train them and give them abilities over time so they aren't a level 1 nothing.
Alignment and Approval
Both of these mechanics need improvement.
With alignment; if you don't want to lock in choices instead have four bars (Which the player can view) where they grow based on choices made in game; Lawful, Chaotic, Good and Evil. The bars would rise and fall, allowing more dialogue options both with people and Companions. In fact could even take it a step further and allow bonuses to skills: Lawful (Persuasion), Chaotic (Deception), Evil (Intimidation) and Good (Persuasion). Additionally with the followers you would give them a flat disposition amount, so the player knows what their leanings are allowing an easier time understanding how to keep them loyal and friendly.
Approval; make a fleshed out character and given them observable meters for the players. With benefits and consequnces.
Improve the dice roll mechanics for the love of god; the biggest issue right now is failure is far more common than success. With an average of DC: 10-15 which is the overall recommended DC for player levels 1-4, success on non-proficient should be around 68%. right now its the opposite, where you only have 42% chance of success. That being said it makes the cantrip Guidance utterly busted. The issue comes down when you have battle and you miss your attacks 8 times in a row (This happened to me on 6 different runs). And the cleric misses spells more than 70% of the time, making her a pure support since its a waste of spell slots. Doubly since everything and their mother resists the only damage ability she has.
The point buy mechanic for attributes; its okay. Its smart because it would prevent PCs from doing what they did in the first two games where they roll until they have 15+ in every attribute. However if you choose to do that, at cap at maximum +3 modifier you need to double the attribute provided bonuses to create a slightly more balanced situation since: 9 in 1 attribute, 10 in 2 attributes, 14 in 2 attributes and 16 in the final, is an okay spread in the table top but in video game you need higher base level stats to remove the generic feeling. Or implement critical success factors which could again alter the issues.
Either buff familiar/summons or remove them. This is a flat issue with summoning and familiar in general. It either needs to scale with the player or not be there. Because it becomes a waste rapidly.
Knowledge base: When a wizard attacks an enemy, they should be rolling to see if they know what damage times will affect it or not. Example; Imps in the beginning if you took firebolt they are taking half damage but there is no indication as the players knowledge grows in game, there should be markers for indication.
With spell casting, since you already use terrain and surface effects. Really should look at the players companion from the first expansion in D&D because it allows control mages beyond enchantment. Which should also be a thing. The big attraction of wizards and warlocks is the ability to play a control mage. Otherwise just user sorcerer since they actually do damage effects pretty much exclusively.
Add in ways to obtain proficiency especially for weapons and armors. Its an alternate rule found in the Dungeon Masters manual but a very good one. The big draw of making a player character is to feel above the standard templates, it will help with the role playing aspects. The first two games, allowed this with party composition, dialogue choices and class choices which could generate that effect a lot.
Auto pass checks; I have seen where you need a 1 or higher to pass. Just add in an option to automatically succeed. Because the dice roll effect literally becomes a loading screen. And yeah that will get old fast.
On the whole its solid for early access and fun. But there is some need for improvement.
Last edited by SomethingCat; 07/10/20 07:05 PM. Reason: Grammatical issues, and better cohesive writing.