Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.

Hi guys,

Whether it be a positive or a negative review, we'd love to get some reviews of the game from people who have spent time with the game.

We'd really really appreciate it.

Post-release reviews count more towards the review score than early access reviews so if you've got an early access review you may want to update it.

To review go here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/228880

You may have to scroll down slightly to see the review field.

Thanks!


Comments
on Mar 31, 2016

Congratulations on the release.

A few questions questions on conveying information that I couldn't find answered anywhere (including the wiki - early days I guess):

  1. Different coloured weapons on the unit card - What do these mean? Most are what I expect is a standard blue, but there are also red and tan ones. Surely these mean something?
  2. Each weapon lists a "DPS per unit" - Is this per bullet/missile/photon, or is it per weapon/launcher (so two missile launchers would deal double the listed DPS, rather than multipled by however many missiles they each launch)?

 

Congratulations again!

on Mar 31, 2016

1. I am not actually sure.  I think it's mean tot show the primary and secondary weapons.

2. IT's a total DPS of the unit.

 

on Apr 01, 2016

Initial review and thumbs up complete.

on Apr 01, 2016

Player reviews are also needed on Metacritic.

http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/ashes-of-the-singularity/user-reviews

 

on Apr 03, 2016

Just bumping this.  It makes a difference. The more hours you have, the more the review counts.

on Apr 04, 2016

Check out my multiplayer review! READ HERE

on Apr 04, 2016

Thanks!

on Apr 06, 2016

I don't have many hours yet, due to a very work intensive week - so this review won't count much I guess. When I was young I was literally addicted to Command and Conquer Generals with Zero Hour, which has set my bar for RTS games. Company of Heroes was the second game I really loved and enjoyed and since then nothing ever compared.

 

However, I love this game. Does it need polish? Yes! Does it look bland? Absolutly.

But this game does what Act of Agression, Homeworld and Grey Goo failed to do: it has superb mechanics and is about strategy!

Since I am yet pretty inexperienced I don't want to talk about additional content, balancing and whatever. However I noticed a few details which would instantly improve the game imho:

 

  1. The overview of the game - The Mini-Map is nearly unreadable. I can't determine if there are enemy or friendly units, how many of them or if this just is an enemy sector. Even with health bars activated I find it hard to track the actual status of a unit or squad.
  2. Game response is really sluggish. To eliminate my rig as the weak part of this phenomenon I set everything to minimum and checked back with mates who reported the same. It takes alarge amount of flow out of the game.
  3. Ingame communication should be improved. I would like to set different pings for my teammate, sectors on the strategy map should be named to determine regions for organizational purposes.
  4. Distinguishable Units would make it easier to decide how to adapt the own tactic. This could be done by specific icons below their models on the ground (slightly translucent) or next to their health bar.

 

I hope I could contribute a bit to this game since I wish it the financial and popularity success it deserves. I will keep playing this and look forward on how it will shape and progress in the future. Lastly, I would like to compliment the developers on their honesty in the discussion. There seems no effort to hide draw-backs of the game with bullshitty explanations but you clearly stand by your decisions and openly tell people that the game is imperfect - kudos for that!

on Apr 11, 2016

Hey Frogboy,

Here's my review of the game. Hit legend last night, woot! A lot of it was thanks to that one game with you, i learned an incredible amount just from that game and was able to leverage that up to defeat my archnemisis: Gandalf, who had given me a heck of a lot of trouble. You also still owe me a Steam Friend Request!

The following is the review that i'll post to Steam, meant for people who haven't played the game but are aware of the genre. A second review follows that is meant as a more serious critique for people who actually play the game, and hopefully contains actionable, useful feedback!

>>>

Hey All,

This is my first Steam review, so not 100% sure of the formatting. First, about myself and some "qualifications"

  * Hit Legend (#14) in Ashes after ~65 games (~65% win rate)
  * Top-X World Sedna Player (Demigod) way back when
  * ~500 hours of Dawn of War II 2v2 - Tryanid
  * Plat League of Legends Season 3/4
  * Diamond in Duelyst past 4 seasons
  * ~40 hours of casual Sins of a Solar Empire MP with friends
  * Lots of physical card/board games

So, i do have some prior video game expierence, though it's been a very long time since i've played any RTS games and i haven't been super-seriuos with an RTS game really, ever. Obviously, since i played enough Ashes of the Singularity to hit Legend, i probably enjoy the game, so there's going to be some bias here. Here's what i think is the best reasons to play Ashes:

1. You're looking for new-IP RTS game with a fresh Multiplayer Community (you don't want to be stomped by Koreans in SC2 or play against people with 1,000 hours in Sins of a Solar Empire).

2. You enjoy squad-based combat similar to Company of Heroes or Dawn of War II

3. You're looking for a shorter game (~20-35 minutes including queue + loading screen)

4. You want a game that will have developer support for many years - hopefully!

5. Contrary to what others may say, it does actually support turtle/boom/rush pretty well.  

The fact of the matter is anyone can be good at Ashes. i haven't played this style of an RTS game ... ever, really. And yet i was able to hit Legend in just shy of 16 hours played in MultiPlayer. i didn't play Beta. i didn't really reasearch the game. i beat the campaign, played a few games against the AI until i had a good starting build order i was happy with, checked out the subreddit and read the tips there, and that was it. Sure, i have expierence with other video games, but calling me "try hard" isn't really a fair label, my average game time is "only" 90 minutes a day. So if you want to play a game where you, honest to god, have a pretty fair shot at climbing to the top, Ashes is a fantastic pick-up.

In fact, "brewing" your own builds and strategies is extremely rewarding in this game because there's very little "netdecking". There's only a few Twitch streams, none very popular. There isn't a lot of strategy online either. It's really on you to innovate the meta! Trust me, i climbed specifically by playing anti-meta builds.

The "meta-unit" combat of Ashes is fantastic. There's a few difficulties, and they are really obnoxious, but once you understand the limitations of the system, it's really incredible. Squad-based combat that is pretty intelligent is really fantastic! A huge amount of play is focused on macro-based combat, rather than split-second micro-mechanics.

Ashes is a pretty quick game, but nothing else to really add there.

Finally, while Stardock has had a few nasty releases (Demigod, Elemental: War of Magic), they absolutely have a huge amount of support and both Demigod and EWoM were great games after additional support. Ashes has had an incredible release, in my opinion. It's had great reviews on many reputable websites, and it's bundled with a ton of video cards so we should be getting a lot of fresh "free" blood for at least the next few months. The development team is talktative, willing to discuss, and willing to adapt.

Of course, there's some bad parts:

1. Multiplayer matchmaking is borked. Unlike very-popular games such as League of Legends, Hearthstone, etc, you'll get matched against much worse/better players very frequently! This is a pretty big negative, but will be fixed as the MP community gets larger. Honestly, i think Stardock should hide the Rankings during the loading screen because people go on tilt way too much. There could be some sort of "Advantage!" indicator that indicates the higher-ranked player instead.

2. The audio effects are extremely repetitive. The background music is fantastic!!! But the sound effects... you'll get really sick of them. Oh so sick of them.

3. If, for some reason, you'll looking for a fantastic story-telling campaign, it's not here yet. While i was perfectly happy with the campaign and thought it was a great seqway into learning the game and taught you everything you needed to know... it's not a campaign most people would want to share with their friends and talk about over dinner. Most RTS games don't even "have" a campaign - Blizzard games aside - so i'm not sure why this is such a negative, but some people are really upset about that.

4. For being a supposedly super-cutting-edge game, the graphics seem mediocre. That doesn't mean they are bad... but they are not super-inspiring and you won't be blown away. They are simple hovercraft, which makes sense if we are talking about mass-produced soulless robot entities, but it does seem like a step-back from Sins which had extremely well-done graphics and was also produced by Stardock. It sounds like a lot of this was a budget problem, which means it might be fixed in the future (i really hope that Expansion #2 will "reboot" the races and have brand new textures/particles).

5. The AI is too hard for some people, and there's no campaign-slider to make it easier. While i didn't struggle beating the campaign, a lot of other people do. It's sort of funny... Stardock makes a "good" AI then people lose to it and the players get mad. Some people say that the computer is "still cheating" because it clicks faster than a human. Anyway, the AI is pretty good! Which is somehow a bad thing.

Anyway, there's my quick list of pros-and-cons and what i think should really drive your decisions. If strong lore, voice-acting, good-sounding explosions and fast-fair MP matches are absolute-must-haves, you should probably pass on Ashes. If you're looking for a new, innovative MP RTS game that will scale for many years, while allowing you to have an actual, personal interaction with the meta, insulated from "net deckers"... Ashes is a great choice. The close 30-minute games with huge armies and orbital strikes are such an amazing source of fun! It's honest-to-god fun and fulfilling, not that "oh thank god it's over" feeling you get from other games.

<<<<<<<

So, i won't say that i'm a game designer and i (probably) won't ever be one, but i do have a few thoughts for how to improve the game.

First and foremost... please introduce new sound effects. i'm so sick of the "Airhorn Attack" noise. i don't have any good input about what i'm looking for other than "variety". They aren't "bad", or anything, there are just far too few. i'd probably want something similar to Sword of the Stars / Sword of the Stars:The Pit which has fantastic sound effects on a minimal budget as well.

Second, i think we need better tooltips. i still have no idea what "Nemisis" does except it's really bad against lots of Brutes and it is really good against Dreadnoughts. While this might partially be fixed by maintaining some sort of wiki, the people "writing" the wiki pages need to have something to go on. i think maybe you could have an "Enhanced Tool-Tip" option. What i mean is you have the same "top" as you have right now, with the cost, name and a brief description. The it says:

Good against: <units that the CURRENT OPPONENT could build>
Bad against: <units that the CURRENT OPPONENT could build>

For example, the Zues might say:

Good against: Lots of Brutes, Buildings
Bad against: Lots of Archers, Artemis

Like i said, i'm still not sure where i'd pick the Nemisis versus the Artemis. i "think" that the Nemisis is a little better 1v1 against a Zues because it has higher single-target DPS and better accuracy (and can actually fight things close), but i have no idea. Fighting against Substrate was extremely difficult for me because i didn't know that "EMP Pulse" was 100% vital against them... on the other hand, you need to be careful to not get +armor-piercing against Substrate because Substrate doesn't really have armor.

Third... i'm going to take a brief ramble about Turtle/Boom/Rush.

Some people might say that "Rush" doesn't really exist due to the Creeps, but i guess they haven't played enough Knife Fight. And i sort of see "Fast Expansion" very similar to Rush - they play a whole lot of junk and put it all over the map and pressure everything. This is exactly how "Rush" worked in Dawn of War, and it's fine. "Boom" is pretty straightforward in this game, and i think it does fine. There's lots of different ways to "Boom" because T2 is extremely varied, and there's a great variety of maps where certain Booms work and others don't.

Some ... lower-skilled ... players might be upset that Turtling may not 100% work. Yeah, you won't be able to sit in your base for 15 minutes and not interact with your opponent while you rush dreadnoughts, but that's not exactly a well-balanced form of play is it? Your opponent is the one who is forced on a huge clock (even if it's a slow one), and all the out-play lies on them. It's much better to have a "proactive Turtle". No, you can't completely opt-out of T1. No, you do have to interact with your opponent. But guess what, it can be EXTREMELY rewarding. This is exactly how it worked in DoW II. A big part of "turtling" is trying to secure:

* your radioactives
* 1 "safe" VP so that you don't fall too far behind in VPs

This is exciting! You have to fight!

And, the fact of the matter is... defensive structures are extraordinarily strong in this game. Yeah, one Smarty isn't going to do shit against 3 bombers. But let's be real here - a well-fortified T2 defense line is bonkers. AA guns are so absolutely crazy. Sentinal/Annihilators absolutely tear through any sort of army if you have a repair station nearby. The Anti-Orbital building is INSANE in the end game. But i do think that it's a little too binary.

A big part of the "defensive placement" is you have to predict WHERE and WITH WHAT your opponent is going to attack. First, it takes a few minutes to get a proper defensive perimeter. Second, they are very, very expensive. Third, most maps have 2-4 different attack routes (not to mention fortifying McGuffin generators) so you can't fortify everything. Fourth, early game Smarties cannot really be built under pressure, so you either have to make the choice early game to have your generators exposed to air attacks and funnel that into more units/more expansion or you have to choose to fortify but lose out on a LOT if your opponent does not decide to build air units.

Now, these are all good things. You shouldn't be able to just build super-powered turrets everywhere, and they really do need to be strong enough to actually defend McGuffins. And these choices "Should Matter". But there is just a lot of FeelsBadMan and i think that newer players are defeat and just assume "Turtling Doesn't Work" because of it. Of course, you cannot have everything all the time in an RTS - a big part is making those tough decisions about what your army composition or tech tree should be. "Opprotunity Cost". That said, i think i'd make AA guns slightly weaker but faster+cheaper to build. Air units have an absolutely massive advantage with their mobility and harrassment capabilities, and devoting a serious amount of resources to AA guns when your not even sure if your opponents will hit you with a bombing run can feel frustrating. It's certainly something to try to scout-better for, but, i dunno.

Also, it's important for "Turtlers" to recognize that you (usually) are not going to win the game with VPs - unless you do, in fact, get an extremely early Dreadnought out and just park it in the middle of their base and murder 1 Billion Brutes. You win by Orbital Striking their base and following up with a swarm of bombers, a carving turret and an Incursion! Remember Quanta is the ONLY resource you'll have an excess of if you turtle! Abuse it! You don't need as much Logistics and most of your metal is going to be cut off, but you have enough Radioactives in the early-mid game to get plenty of Quantum Archives going while you build up your key choke points. It amazes me how many people don't build Orbital Jammers in the end game.

Fourth... Quantum costs seem a bit high. Don't get me wrong, they are terrifyingly powerful, and you should have to make trade-offs between Weapon/Health Upgrades versus Quantum versus Logistics versus Cruisers. And that's a fun, interesting trade-off. But i'd like to see a bit more Quanta in lower-ranked games. Since units don't have abilities and there is no "hero unit" as in DoW II, early game "surprise factors" are mostly missing except in the case of Avatar (#FrogboyMechanics) or a Hades rush on your radioactives. In addition, it'd be nice to get some hard numbers on some of the abilities (see "Enhanced Tooltips"). i'm still not 100% sure how i should use Carving Turret. Is it an Anti-Dreadnought or an Anti-Building? Do i use it offensively or defensively? Does Orbital Strike one-shot pretty much everything or not really?

Fifth, there's some really big issues with meta-unit management that i'm sure you're aware of, and a few suggested changes:

  1: Adding a bunch of units to another army == forward army mass retreats, breaks formations, stops attacking, oh-god-i-just-lost-the-game. Not sure what the "fix" is but i think if you have a pending movement command, and 50% of the army is really-close to the destination, they should just advance and let the rest of the army catchup and slide into formation.

  2: The ability to priority-target when doing meta-unit vs. meta-unit fights. Basically, if you double-click a particular enemy unit (or maybe the unit-icon in the Army View), the units that are good at fighting that enemy unit will prioritize that unit-type before others (eg, units that are close to the priority-target but it is only "2nd best" at killing it might focus the priority instead of the "1st best". Units that are bad at the priority target will continue to act as normal). Basically, i'd like to be able to tell my Archers/Artemis to focus-fire the Sky Cleaners instead of the Capicators/Reapers because i have a 3x Hades Alpha Strike ready to move in. But my Zues can keep attacking Reapers, my Brutes can being meatshields without 'diving' the Sky Cleaners, my Apollo can still shoot drones, and my Fury can continue shooting their Bombers.

  3: A hot-key to "remove all of this type from army". i will often attach a Fighter+Bomber squad to an excursion/flanking army, but suddenly i get attacked in the center. i want to redirect my Hades without screwing up the rest of my flanking army. Currently, i have to de-activate the army, select the air units, issue the movement, wait for the air units to get out of the way, reselect the army and reconstitute the meta-unit, then re-send them back to attack. Too many steps!

  4: A hot-key to "split this army". Rather than splitting the literal unit-composition in half and into two armies of equal-sized, i'd rather do some sort of density-based clustering algorithm that forms two/three "blobs" and then re-organizes from there into the correct formation.

  5: Better army targeting. You have to really click "on" the enemy meta-unit it isn't enough to click "really close" to the enemy meta-unit. This is espiecially for air units since they'll just fly over them and then act like a dork. Adding to this, Pans rarely attack generators if you issue them an attack command. You have to move them into either the perfect spot or move them around in circles.

Finally... there seems to be just a little too-much anti-dreadnought mechanics. Against PHC, Nemises == No Dreadnoughts Allowed. Ever. Against Substrate you have to build it without being scouted so that they don't invest in their Kill Dreadnought Quanta. Dreadnoughts are just so expensive to lose them quickly to a simple tech. That said, i probably mis-manage my economy while building them (you probably should build up ~500 metal, turn it on for ~45 seconds until you're out of metal, turn it off and let your factories continue building, get back to ~500 metal, turn it back on... but that's just tedious).

If you want to talk to me a little bit about more specific balance changes (what's my opener? what is my common build changes against common opponents? what is my map strategy for XXX?) i'd be happy to answer in a PM.

P.S here's some other things i really like:

* Map Diversity is great! The maps are really well designed. They could be a bit more beautiful/artistic, but that can always come later
* At first, i was disappointed with only 2 races, but then i decided i was fine with it. 3rd race in first big Expansion please. Then retexture maps/units/particles!
* Campaign was just-the-right difficulty, imo. You had to learn how to Turtle/Rush/Boom, and deal with multiple fronts/rapid expansion/etc. Surprised how much lashback the community gave, because, honestly, it taught you all the right things and didn't hold your hand past the first 3 missions. Looking forward to "Episode 2!"

Hedgie's Personal Wish List And Bug List:

* PLEASE turn off Q from the Quanta Button. i have fat-fingered C+Q too many times when i meant to build a metal extractor and scanned my own base.
* Supposedly F2 is supposed to activate idle factories? But that doesn't seem to work.
* Also, i sent a bug report about old HDMI Audio Drivers causing Crashes in DX12. Apparently, if you have an old HDMI Audio Driver it can cause Ashes to crash, even if you aren't using it. You have to completely disable it from the Sound Tray. Sean was a /great/ help. A+
* Also, Also, when you play 10 hours, you get a pop-up in game asking you to rate the game on Steam. If you dismiss it, then your MP queue pops while that is up, you get the "Match Found" overlay permantely stuck during game and can't click anything! Had to surrender that game.

-- Hedgie/EVOLV∃









on Apr 12, 2016

Thanks for the feedback.  We are going to add a new difficulty level to v1.1 to make things a bit more reasonable.  I'm actually thinking we should add 2 dificulty levels below normal so that there's a more gradual uptick because the AI is getting smarter with each new build to the point that even normal is becoming pretty hard.

on Apr 19, 2016

Giving this a nudge again.

on Apr 23, 2016

I've put up several reviews for you all. You guys have done an excellent job with this one and I look forward to further DLCs to enhance the game even more!

on Apr 24, 2016

Thanks!

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