So I wanted to give some feedback and suggestions to the Campaign mode - which i want to praise first of all as a really cool way of enjoying the game in an ARPG style. I'm really excited to see where the future of Nimbatus is going. I will brainstorm suggestions, please dont fixate on the numbers, youll know whats best.
Starting choices feel very different. I like that you went for bold and vastly different options. This really makes each new campaign really stand out.
Missions have a nice difficulty progression per Wormhole
Random missions and random loot, gives ARPG character (as well as the skilltree)
Starting classes arent balanced. Researcher and Engineer are far above anything else.
Lack of different recourses or pronounced strengths let campaigns feel more similar than they need to.
No consistant use for red recource outside of researcher.
Unlimited time, lets you collect everything on a planet.
1. Deploy cost based on Parts.
Deploy cost is an interesting concept but in its current version I dont like it too much. It scales too strongly with part count and less with the usefulness of parts . I dont think "Logic parts" should count the full value to the deploy cost for instance, while weapons should contribute a higher Percentage.
It punishes me for putting 2 Recource tanks on my ship, and gets fairly expensive quickly. Since theres no increased reward for completing a mission within a certain timeframe - if I want to do a mission most efficiently, I have to cut my drone down to as few parts as possible and just use a long range precision weapon (researcher consistantly has access to it) and just play for twice the time I want to.
Suggestion: I think either a system where each part is priced seperately for the Deploy cost (i.E 0,5 - Hull, 1.5 - weapon).
Suggestion: You can get refunded by "scrapping" your drone at the end of the mission at the nimbatus, depending on what parts are left you get 80% of the cost returned. If your drone is destroyed, you lose this. This might go hand in hand with harder to obtain recources, but now - if you dont fail missions you can keep the progress going for less. Yellow recource might be something akin to "lives" in other games.
2. Class balance
Researcher gives acess to a whole tree of weapon upgrades. This tree should be available to all classes, perhaps in a reduced form. In its current state, relying on random weapons (I often got weapons with -100% damage, especially on the super rare 4 slot weapons, which felt bad, this makes them completely useless). Researcher right now has access to the most powerful weapons in the game right from the start.
Engineer : Wireless transfer is also something that could be in the game for other classes. Because of the WT, Engineer can build lighter spaceships with less thrusters overall, because the weight of what hes taking with him is lower. (something like : i need 5 thrusters for 40 parts, while other classes need 8 thrusters for 40) Less deploy cost lets the engineer gain even more efficiency while deploying. I also only need 1 recource tank, dumped into my collector. Efficiency and time wise - engineer beats everyone.
So now you've got the (by far) strongest offensive, and (by far) efficient class. Nothing else counts. So soldier, pilot and miner end up sucking.
Suggestion: Returning to the collector to deposit recources should not be core gameplay. Recource tanks should either only empty once at the end of missions, or have some other incentive for bringing more than one. I'd personally limit them to 200 capacity each - yet they cant be emptied. Perhaps "return to nimbatus" at the end of the mission will award you with 75% of recources in your tank without returning them.
Suggestion: Miner, Soldier and Pilot should be good at what they do, and I think each class should have a somewhat unique way of generating extra value. Pilot could have wireless fuel transfer, less deploy cost for engines in addition to what he has now. Soldier could get Wireless power transfer, less deploy for weapons, or each weapon he gains gets an additional random mod. Miner gains wireless Recource transfer, more recources gained from mining and higher capacity in his tanks.
Suggestion: The skill tree needs to be available for everyone, at least weapon mod nodes should be available from mission rewards. A lighter version could be that weapons have Variable slots (You can edit them), while some slots are fixed. This adds uniqueness to weapons picked up. Researcher could still be unique in beeing the only one to have +1 Variable slot, or the only one to be able to research technology. But for this to work, each class needs a way to spend the red recource.
Suggestion: Perhaps bring back the blue recource as a money recource for stores, other classes should be able to do something consistant with red recource. maybe each class has a certain aspect of the tree they can research (miner - more mining efficiency / mining nodes), (soldier - specialised weapon nodes) or just each class gets a bonus multiplier to each recource gained. Blue - money (shops). Red - research. Yellow - deploy. You could also have a generic node that adds to the classes strengths. for example : soldier has one node only that costs red recource - but gives 5, 10, 15,.....,<maximum 100%> Health for his parts. Something like mastery points. Thats the easiest idea for a red recource dump.
3. Mission balance
Missions not beeing timed at all results in the smallest drone beeing the most efficient and ends up less engaging than it could be.
Suggestion: add a ranking for missions, something akin to those Asian games : Mission score "A+" . Different factors could play into this, Damage taken, enemies destroyed , time taken etc.
Suggestion: After a mission, maybe start a timer: Maybe x recource awarded for each extra snake egg destroyed in the time limit. Rewards for bringing back the black box in 30 seconds. an exceptional result should be rewarded somehow. You managed to freeze 8 lava fountains? - cool, heres some recource.
Suggestion: long term playability suggestions
let us sell weapons and parts, they clutter up too much.
Give a hard and infinite progression after a certain wormhole. making it like an infinite dungeon crawler (next wormhole, 450% More monster life, 200% deploy cost, 50% monster speed, monsters are burning)
Have unique Hull mods like weapons