Feedback for the Game
I have been an avid player of IRE games for over 10 years now, and when I heard of Starmourn with its new takes on mechanics, I decided to give it a shot. Below is my report and opinions as to the current standing of the game and what could be done to improve it. This is in no way an attempt to step all over the hard work done, but a hope to see Starmourn flourish and not recede.
An important aspect to any game is players relating to the race they pick...yet in Starmourn we read the bio of a race on the website...and then are presented with a whole new concept to them in the game that has almost no relation to the bio. The bio tells us of the race, which planet they are from, and how their culture works. You make a character in Starmourn and all this is not important as you are part of one of three cities based on their own ideals. The cities, even with founding races attributed to them....have no mechanic or connection of it to represent this.
There are no stat advantages (which is something I am against), no perks, no RP restrictions, nothing really, and lastly no real RP loyalty attribute. So the question becomes: What is the point of selecting a race in Starmourn? They are all identical in everything but name and bit of aesthetics.
Consider in other games where a race defines your faction. This provides a sense of loyalty and pride to a character's race, as it represents the ideals of that faction. If not this, consider the RP restrictions of a race, should all be willing to channel Void kith or Star kith, for example?
The races as they are remain too bland and uninteresting.
What I felt was a real let down for Starmourn with Kith. Kith was perhaps the only real source of an aspect of Starmourn Story (see below) that we were given, and it came off as a once sealed off power that is now accessible by all. We get the sense from the new Void and Star Kiths that some organizations support one over and the other, and that it is used in different forms. This likely makes one assume that these would be some form of representation of a theme for orgs in the game or have some form of deeper meaning.
So when Starmourn is launched, we find that Void Kith and Star Kith is only accessible by 2 classes that are specifically made for it. This seems highly contrary to what we were first showed, even with an image of a "Kith Assassin" on the website. Also apparently, rather than a division as to its use, everyone seems okay with it and it is just a 'class' you can take up. There is no game-based depth to the usage of Kith.
So at first it is introduced to us that Void and Star kith are universal forces that can be tapped into, then in game we see that they are restricted to 2 professions.
I understand that other classes can later be added but the same basis stands, Kith isnt universal to the others. While I would imagine some Kith usage in each class to some degree (void bullets or star bullets or the such for example), it isnt the case.
Those of Lusternia would note for example the use of the skill Highmagic and Lowmagic, in which all players could tap into one or the other. Such a concept seems far more reasonable to how Kith should have been managed, but this is merely an opinion.
It goes without saying as to how effective the Lore of a game can be for immersion factor, something I have been studying for my thesis. Whenever I want to start a new game, the first thing I do is look at the story of it, to try and see what would be my pull. Sadly, for the most part, this seems to be strongly lacking or fragmented in Starmourn. When I look to the website I dont see any mythos section, story, timeline or lore section. I can find some information about the races, and strangely enough, the information about the NPCs races being far more in-depth than that of the player races. I see information about the cities but no story into how it came to be nor a real Timeline of the events. 'Mathias and the Angel' was a great start but that was a sub-story of the greater whole.
We find terms in the game of Empyreals (with titles) yet very barely a mention of it. We know of the existence of 3 cities, with 2 that have been in wars, yet no real story to those wars.
I hear terms of places, planets, concepts and races tossed at me and i'm left wondering what they are even talking about.
There are next to no Help scrolls about these topics, and that alone will go a long way.
The Intro is basically what you rely on to hook the player in, and I have to admit it felt very disorienting. I at times would simply logoff during because it felt a bit too much. I would later ask others and they did the same.
From my experience with other gamers, they tend to hate the idea of a 'story' gimmick and prefer just being out and about from the start. The only time I have truly seen story intros work is when they are incredibly immersive and filled with the history/lore that the game is based on. This is not the case.
You start off from a crashed ship, then you're engaging with some NPCs, meet some crew, tossed with them to fight some random creatures that you have no idea what they are even about, then hop onto a spaceship and have to use some commands to help fly it, one thing leads to another and then you're on Omni. Playing it first from Nexus alone was tiring and confusing. I felt as if I was being dragged along on a space adventure that I wasnt looking to take part in. I kept thinking to myself "When will this be over so that I can go explore for myself". When we hit Omni, I was so confused that I honestly logged off 3 times before continuing from there.
Less is more and simplicity is definitely better. If it was simply a newbie area where you can level up, gain some things, and get stronger for bigger things to tackle, then I am positive it would run much smoother.
Starmourn definitely has some pretty intense and well made mechanics. The ship mechanics alone are quite nice, and you can definitely see the detail with terrains, props and abilities.
Sticking to the less is more suggestion, The concept of travel in Starmourn is naturally a bit more intense than is normal, and as a new player trying to figure it out, it can be overwhelming. Perhaps setting up a PORTALs system, akin to those in Achaea and elsewhere, wherein all those below level 10 can simply jump to Portals to access locations, while suggestions are given how to go back and forth? Having to spend marks on Voidgates and the such (especially if you take a wrong turn) as a new player feels a bit daunting.
Cloning/Rezzing is also a bit much with the prices. I'm told they will be reviewed soon and i'm hoping so, as I can attest personally to the many deaths I experience when exploring a new game.
The Shipforge honestly left me bewildered and truly made me not want to try and continue the main storyline quest. The idea of using a ship is fine and all but I was bombarded with a scroll of commands that just left me wondering what this all is. I honestly highly suggest trying to simply the ship forging procedure to something far more accessible. Consider Lusternia' ship building concept that generally is much less...stuffy.
That's all I have for now. Hoping it helps.