Lords of Xulima

Fantasm

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I'm having a lot of fun with this one. I found it pretty easy to put down the Wasteland 2 beta, as well as the D:OS beta, and wait for the final products, but I am so far unable to do that with this beta. I just turned level 3, and it's taken me quite a while to get here (6-8 hours?), but I'd say I've only mapped out about half the first map (and this first map is just a fraction of the overall world map. This game's going to be nice and chunky in size, I think).

The overworld map activity kind of reminds me of King's Bounty; when you see a pack of monsters, you can right-click on them and it will show how many groups there are, and give a determination as to the combat difficulty ("Balanced", "Troublesome", "Challenging", "Difficult", "Impossible", etc), so you can choose to engage or move on. And the constant harvesting of herbs and food and containers and corpses gives me the same King's Bounty vibe (along with that constant pull of wanting to take just a few more steps and see what else is ahead). Of course, the time and food factor is new here, with each step ticking the clock a minute, and thus consuming a bit of your food.

Food is measured in days, but this goes beyond the M&M games, where it's just a number that you need to keep high. They added some realism that one day's food is much cheaper to obtain than, say, 7 days' food (supposedly because it needs to be specially prepared to last that long). So one days' food will cost you 75gp, but two days' food will cost 200gp, and 3 days' food will cost 350gp, etc, all the way up to 6 days' food costing 1,000gp. Because gold is pretty scarce and valuable, there's an incentive to keep one's food stocked up for only 1-2 days' at a time, which means you'll be back at town fairly often. This is offset by the food you can find while exploring new areas, and for the most part my expeditions into new unexplored areas have been able to keep pace with my food consumption (fortunately the food you find adds to your food stores no matter how much you have).

It's when you do any backtracking (like, say, going back to town to heal/revive/remove status effects), that you'll really feel the impact of food because you're consuming it but not finding any. Overall, the food mechanic will probably be controversial with some folks; it's a fairly harsh mechanic that affects a lot of what you do (ie, it does things like prevent you from going overboard on spell usage in combat, because resting all the time will consume food). Personally, I think it does a good job of keeping you on your toes, and really consider many of the actions you take while out exploring and fighting. But I can see this game suffering the wrath of mainstream reviewers because of this....

The game is hard, but not unfairly so, I don't think. I'm playing on classic difficulty, and I've done a lot of saving and loading, but things got a bit easier after I finished the first dungeon/cave, and spent about 1500 of the 2000 gold I'd amassed on equipment (you start the game with every character naked except for a basic weapon). Once I got my front line's defenses up, I was defending a lot more attacks, and was having much more success with longer battles against larger numbers of enemies.

The death mechanic is pretty costly, but not enough so that it's an automatic reload if one of your party members goes down. Your characters don't actually die, instead they get "fatally wounded". All it takes to revive them is 24 hours' rest, which of course brings food back into the picture. More likely, you'll head to town and revive them at the healer or rest at the inn. Reviving a character at the healer currently costs ~40gp (goes up with level, I think), while resting at an inn costs ~80gp (this is the option if 2 or more characters are down, obviously), neither of which exactly breaks the bank. But the inconvenience of backtracking to town, or using a days' worth of food out in the field, makes death pretty meaningful overall.

I definitely wouldn't call the combat boring. There are many things to consider besides damage, with lots of status effects you can give and receive. Swords and daggers cause bleeding (recurring) damage, axes and bows cause wounds (reduce combat effectiveness), while maces and polearms cause stunning, which knocks you a few seconds further back in the combat order. The weapons you find/buy will have enchantments that increase any of these effects, as well as stat increases, but might also do other things like cause burning or poison damage.

Character progression doesn't look too deep; there aren't a ton of skills, but you'll be having each character focus on a few skills anyway. The equipment you can find/buy looks much more interesting, with lots of different bonuses possible to stats, status effects, and resistances.

The story and exposition at the beginning is kind of cheesy, but I don't mind. It sets the stage well enough, and explains why you're here exploring a new land and killing anything that moves.

Some might not like that one of your characters is pre-made with no changes possible, but I think this is an innovative compromise between having a known character that a story can be built around, and allowing customization in your other 5 party members.

Overall, this game is exactly what I was hoping it would be, and that's a good thing. For those who backed it, I would recommend that you play this beta for a bit, because the odds are that you WILL want to restart it anyway after getting familiar with the game mechanics. I already have some changes planned in my party composition when I go through the final game.

Thumbs up here....
 
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Legends tell us that when the earth was young and void of life, the nine Xulnari, known as Gods by the men of old, took form and descended to the land. In the beginning the earth had only one great continent, Rodina. Over the grand ocean of Mirovia, the Xulnari raised a new continent where they would dwell and they called it Xulima, which means ‘Home of the Xulnari’.

From there, they began their grand work to create life to inhabit the great continent of Rodina. There were many attempts, over many years, but each new form of life was kept confined on Xulima, because none was deemed worthy to inherit the land of Rodina.

Finally, humans were created and the Lords of Xulima, proud of their work, sent them to Rodina. There the humans settled and created many kingdoms and cultures. With the passage of years, the remote continent of Xulima was largely forgotten by the humans, who only mentioned it in their oldest legends.

Time passed, and the kingdoms of the humans grew large and powerful; soon they also became proud and ambitious. Conflicts broke out between the great kingdoms and the continent was plunged into war, dragging every village and community into devastating strife that showed no signs of ending.

It is told that the Lords of Xulima, grieved by the conflict, wanted to intercede. However, not all were in agreement. A new war erupted, this one between the nine Lords themselves. Soon they left the world in order to move their conflict beyond the stars in an attempt to protect the land from their wrath.

But they did not abandon mankind entirely. Golot, the master of dreams, chose a herald among men to end the conflict that devastated Rodina. This Herald was Gaulen the Explorer. Guided by the dreams of Golot, Gaulen sailed east, crossing the great sea of Mirovia to reach the land of legend.

Gaulen and his group will be the first humans from the grand continent to walk on the sacred lands of Xulima.

More information.
 
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DArtagnan

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Food thing sounds stupid and pointlessly punishing. 1000 gold to eat for a week?

If you're making a survival game - this kind of thing might have a place, but in a fantasy RPG? If you're going for realism, then at least make the price plausible.

If you want hard and punishing for no reason at all, that's another matter. But you could go about it in a smarter way.
 

JDR13

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I've only played for a couple of hours, but I like what I've seen so far. It's no AAA title, but it's impressive for a debut from an indie developer. I'm looking forward to the finished product.
 
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greywolf00

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The food mechanic was the only thing preventing an insta pledge from me. However in it's current state it's not really a punishing mechanic. Food regrows on bushes every few days, the explorer eventually gets a skill that at level 1 boosts your return on harvesting by 30% and the starting town has a farm that can be harvested every few days for about 3 days worth of food. And Hardcore is the only difficulty where the party can die from starvation (you just get weaker on the others).
 
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DArtagnan

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The food mechanic was the only thing preventing an insta pledge from me. However in it's current state it's not really a punishing mechanic. Food regrows on bushes every few days, the explorer eventually gets a skill that at level 1 boosts your return on harvesting by 30% and the starting town has a farm that can be harvested every few days for about 3 days worth of food. And Hardcore is the only difficulty where the party can die from starvation (you just get weaker on the others).

I don't really know enough about the game, but it still sounds like punishment for the sake of punishment.

I know it's the kind of thing certain old-school gamers revel in, but I like challenge where it makes sense - and not where micromanaging is supposed to represent a meaningful challenge.

I also don't want to have my bowels explode because I forgot to go to the bathroom.

Give me challenging puzzles, secrets and combat - as that's both fun and satisfying. Don't force me to deal with trivialities unless it fits the setting and gameplay.

I think that kind of thing sucks - but that's just me.
 

greywolf00

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I'm not a big fan of the mechanic either (it's kind of pointless if you pick your battles and don't get jumped by Hounds). However they did try to address the gold inflation issue by causing the price of food and other items to increase as you level. I do like that idea if not the exact implementation.
 
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Sacred_Path

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I don't really know enough about the game, but it still sounds like punishment for the sake of punishment.

I know it's the kind of thing certain old-school gamers revel in, but I like challenge where it makes sense - and not where micromanaging is supposed to represent a meaningful challenge.

It's just a way to discourage rest spamming, which is quite an obvious problem in a lot of RPG's. This solution is micro-management intensive though, yes.
 
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DArtagnan

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It's just a way to discourage rest spamming, which is quite an obvious problem in a lot of RPG's. This solution is micro-management intensive though, yes.

If you want to avoid rest spamming as a designer, then simply make rest restrictive.

So, no, it's hardly there just for that.
 

Wisdom

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HiddenX

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The scarcity of food caused thrilling moments in CRPGs I played in the past, based on these mechanics:

1) you need food to rest and recover
2) you can't have unlimited food resources (weight or limit)
3) food have to be found, hunted or looted (dungeon, wilderness)
4) food costs money (in cities)

1) => you can't rest if you have no food, maybe you can rely on clerics or healers for a while, maybe you get ill after some time from starving
2) => you have to plan your resources before going down a dungeon
3) => watch out for food, especially in situations when you can't buy it for a longer time
4) => manage your coins as well

As a game designer you can create exciting survival situations with these mechanics. Realms of Arkania and Dungeon Master are good examples.
 
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DArtagnan

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Wouldn't rest restriction be punishment as well?

That would depend on the nature of the restriction.

If you make it so you can't exploit resting - but you can only rest when "tired" - I wouldn't consider it punishment for the sake of punishment.

It would make sense both in terms of realism and gameplay.

But that's me.

Again, I don't mind the food mechanic in a game where it fits - I just don't see it as a good gold sink.
 

daveyd

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For the most part, I like the food / rest system. To better understand the developer's intent with this mechanic, it may be worth reading their dev blog entry on the subject but I'll summarize how it works:

First thing to note is there's two options in Lox whenever you rest*: Rest for 8 hours & Rest for a full day. Resting for 8 hours will (normally) completely restore all party members HP & PP (used for magic / special attacks) as well as normal wounds (which cause stat penalties). However, if a character has fallen in battle, they'll have a "mortal wound" which prevents them from using any skills & can only be healed by resting for a full day (or paying the high priestess in town). Rest consumes food, unless you rest in an inn. I don't think the food could be easily replaced by a simple rest restriction.

Food is scarce enough that you have to pay attention to your supplies (which are displayed in a meter visible at all times), but not so scarce that it becomes a gold sink. I've played LoX for about 10 hours on the medium difficulty setting / my party is level 7 and I have yet to need to buy food from a merchant. I've been able to keep my party's food stocked by finding fruit-bearing trees (which replenish after 3 days) and random loot.. There's also a farmer in the first town who offers to pay you for harvesting bundles of his grain; However, he apparently doesn't mind if you decide to keep the grain for yourself- which you can process into a food supply. I hang onto a bunch of this grain all the time in case my food supplies ever get low. Gaulen eventually gets access to a hunting skill which allows you to get some food off certain creatures that you kill.

If my party were to be really ill suited for combat or I was just really bad at it, I could see having to rest more frequently and thus having to buy food from a merchant (although this could usually be circumvented by returning to town to rest in the inn). However, I can't how one would ever really need to buy more than a day's supply of food (at the exponentially higher prices). The only reason I can see why a player would resort to that is if they don't feel like having to go back to where the fruit trees are; (there is a portal system similar to the one in D:OS which makes it easy to return to the first town). It's really not that punishing.

Aside from adding the strategic element of resource management, another advantage of the food system is that it is another way to reward exploration in the game. I find the design of the game is really well done. Discovering a fruit bearing tree is possibly not as exciting as finding some nice loot, but it's still a better reward than random useless junk many other RPGs give you. LoX is not exactly open world, but there's a couple different paths to take and it's up to you to figure out the best order to do things in. In some cases you'll have to look for alternate paths because of some obstacle (such as a monster that is initially far too powerful to possibly defeat is blocking a road) .

I'm surprised how much I'm enjoying this game. I tend to prefer more story-driven CRPGs with a decent amount of dialogue. In LoX the story takes a backseat to the combat / gameplay, but that's OK for me because the combat is challenging and enjoyable. Before I played it, I was worried I wouldn't like the first person, row style combat, but it's pretty well done and requires tactical thinking.

*There's actually two more rest options, but I'm not yet sure when / if they're actually something you'd want to use: Rest until awakened or food runs out, Rest until the party is healed (not sure how this differs from resting for 8 hrs yet. Will test later).
 
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wolfing

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There's also a farmer in the first town who offers to pay you for harvesting bundles of his grain; However, he apparently doesn't mind if you decide to keep the grain for yourself- which you can process into a food supply. I hang onto a bunch of this grain all the time in case my food supplies ever get low. Gaulen eventually gets access to a hunting skill which allows you to get some food off certain creatures that you kill.

That sounds more like a bug to me. Pay people to harvest and let them keep the harvested stuff? Maybe they should rename it to 'Mowing the grass'.
 
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daveyd

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That sounds more like a bug to me. Pay people to harvest and let them keep the harvested stuff? Maybe they should rename it to 'Mowing the grass'.

I worded that poorly. The farmer will pay you 50 gold for each bundle of 20 pieces of his grain. If you don't sell it to him, you can turn 40 pieces of grain into a day's supply of food for your party. Initially the food merchant will sell you a day's supply of of food for 60 gold (her prices increase incrementally as you level up) but at least in the beginning, you're better off selling the farmer his grain and buying food from the merchant.
 
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This game is a real winner, I've had tremendous fun with it. I especially like that it's not afraid to constantly put you on your toes and never lets you get too comfortable.

In the beginning I thought it looked too much like King's Bounty and I didn't like how it looked like there were too many super powerful enemies halting your progression, but fortunately the game eventually opens up, and I believe the more limited initial area was designed to teach you the survival tactics that you will later need.

For only $16-17 or so it is a steal, it never gets boring, and the 2D artwork is gorgeous to stare at. And it promises something like $100 of content? That's incredible. Although I have resolved not to back any more Kickstarter games, along with Divinity Original Sin it's the second game I feel fully delivers on its hype and then some. I can't wait to see the sequel with all the lessons the developers will have learned.
 
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crpgnut

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I'm late to the party but this looks like a cross between Might and Magic and King's Bounty, so I picked it up.
 
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