I purchased this game almost as soon as it became available but I hadn't played so much of it. I remember at the time being put off by the third person camera and somewhat awkward control scheme. Recently, I've ended up switching almost all my games to a universal-ish keybind so I can switch between games while remembering less. When I've stopped on Holdfast, I've wondered why I haven't played this game as much as I used to. After I switched the keybinds, I chose to play instead of continuing the streamlining of my gamelist.
I've got to say, it's still kind of awkward. However, I overcame this awkwardness and managed to actually find myself rather enjoying the game. Been playing for the last few days, and I have a few criticisms but also some suggestions (hence why I'm making this post). Just some things that I'd like to see in future developments of the game as it's getting it's shine on, if you know what I mean. Third/First Person
My biggest issue thus far is that when I die (and I die quite frequently) is that I respawn exclusively in third person. However, as I kind of hinted at earlier... I spend most my time in first person. This makes bayonets kind of a challenge but it's a bit more action packed for me so I enjoy it. Unfortunately, I have to consistently change my perspective at the beginning of each life. If we were able to retain our view perspective after death, that'd be quite nice.
However, it's a rather minor quip thus far, so consider it low priority. Tutorial
Hit boxes are weird. It looks like I stab a guy, but he walks off just fine. As I mentioned before, I play almost exclusively in first person and I find the controls a bit awkward. So, it's been tough learning the bayonet. What I'd love to see is a little training field with a straw man who would be willing to carry the political objections of my opponents and be willing to be shot, stabbed, trampled, and othered upon. A small, single person (or multiperson, I suppose) map to sort of practice skills, your weapons, a range to learn the drop rate of muskets, and other chances to pursue martial knowledge would be a nice addition. It'd help ease folks into the gameplay and give clans an idea of what to train for.Character Customization
Believe it or not, I've read some stuff around the forums and in the dev blog before writing this. I didn't read much, I'll be the first to admit this. However, I did see some note of character customization. I sincerely believe this is important in multiplayer.
The common argument against customization is "Whose going to see you? Not you!" but customization isn't so much for your own benefit but for others. In multiplayer games specifically, if you're getting thrashed by a guy, it's easier to identify a large red mustache and a huge nose than one of the preset uniforms that's shared by other players on his team. You see a familiar face, you see a threat or a pushover, depending on your experience with him prior. That's to ignore the fun and charm of trying to recreate yourself in the early 19th century or creating an absolute creature of a man. A face of a character is literally the face of the player. It serves as a better identification than the player's name.
However, character customization is kind of difficult to implement. Do you do several presets or do you do a system where you move bits of the face until it becomes adequate? It's important, but where would it stand as a priority? Hopefully, high enough to be considered soon.Uniforms
On the subject of custom characters, something a bit easier to implement: Alternative uniforms.
I know, I know. Each uniform probably takes hours to make. Going in depth to create all these varieties for one jacket? That's too far.
The thing is, the jackets for most the units are already made. For the British Highlanders or the French Grenadiers, what would actually be changing? Well, the pants perhaps but the jacket? Not as much as you think. Most units (particularly for the British and Prussians) had different sorts of facings. For example, some British Line Regiments had yellow facings while other units had blue, green, even orange. What would be changing would be a relatively quick palette swap on the collar and cuffs. There is a possibility the hat would also be changing as well as the trousers, but most the designs for both are already in the game. But the best part about changing trousers is that you can change the pants and boots you want with the coat your unit uses and would almost always still fit right in. Still, why would this be important?
Clans. Or regiments, I suppose. Most regiments seem to base themselves off actual regiments. In events featuring multiple clans on one team, they can both be Highlanders if they wished. One with green, the other with blue. It's great for identification purposes and would instill a sense of pride for those regiments. "Yes, we're the 1234th Regiment of Foot. You can tell from our teal collars and silver buttons."
Arrogance aside, button color may be a bit less important... but still, alternate uniforms may be a bit handy. One issue you may come across would be with the French who had several sorts of jackets in the past. The earlier uniforms had a more curved design on those chest flaps (the scientific name escapes me). Redesigning a fresh coat would be a bit more difficult than recoloring a coat you have, but it'd be worth it.New Nations
This is something that is always on people's minds. The last poll had selected Prussia as a winner and it seems Spain is next. Are they? Not sure what they're working on now, tbh, but I'd like to reaffirm the importance of Spain as the next nation. I'd also like to somewhat criticize the previous winner a small bit.
Prussia was kind of a bad choice for next nation on the sheer fact that they only fought France during the Napoleonic Wars. They sent troops with Napoleon into Russia, but that's about it. Of the two other nations, Prussia has had no actual history of fighting with (for the period, of course). It's extremely inaccurate to have a battle between Prussia and Britain in any regard. To make matters worse, their uniform is blue. France is also blue.
I'm not a very smart man, so I ended up trying to shoot my own team or not shooting the enemy team. :/
I feel Prussia is kind of... overrated. I used to like Prussia, myself, but they have this unnecessary fandom. They're to the Napoleonic Period as Sparta was to Antiquity, though certainly not as bad. Between Russia, Austria, and Prussia, Russia and Austria are perhaps more deserving of recognition and both have primary colors that aren't so easily confused (green and white respectively). I daresay Poland would have been a better choice to include than Prussia as they fought against Britain, Spain, Russia, and Austria in the war. I kind of wish Prussia wasn't included, but alas, the people have spoken.
Number two was Spain, however. No need for another poll because Spain is a perfect choice. Unlike Prussia, Spain fought against both France and Britain. Spain had blue uniforms, but those were late war and supplied by the British. Thus, a bit of a silver lining, those uniforms would be partially reskinned British uniforms. If it's early war, of course, they'd be reskinned French uniforms. And if there is a "Choose your own uniform!" mechanic, it'd be fine because there are some paintings portraying both uniforms at the same time (so long as the new jacket doesn't use the old bicorn). Though if guerrillas are added (as they should be, of course) they'll have a lot of combinations... a lot... Try not to think about it.
Something to note: If Spain is included, the early bicorns should be cocked or twisted a bit on the wearers head. The reason for this is when your musket is shouldered, it doesn't knock your extremely wide hat out of place.
Ignoring that, more perks about the Spanish is that they have a naval tradition that none of the other powers could even rival. Iirc, this game was supposed to be naval only (may be wrong, of course, as I heard this from years ago). This means naval jack, actual marines, all the perks of a naval power in a game about naval and land power. They'd be perfect and you can always reenact the capture of the Santisima Trinidad. On a brig... of course.
Continuing on this point, the other nations that were on the poll (Austria, Russia, Rhine, and Ottomans) seem to be the nations likely to appear in the future. I'd like to propose Ottomans are introduced last and Austria and the Rhine are released simultaneously. The reason for this thinking is that if you have to rehire your German voice actor(s), you can get the lines for both done and set at the same time (assuming, of course, you didn't record their lines when you added Prussia). Russia and Austria, of course, should be the next released after Spain. Russian uniforms look very similar to Prussian uniforms with some details beyond "Well, they're green." I imagine they'd be easier to include because of this, but that also depends on what units will be included with Russia. The game doesn't seem to make a focus on any certain regiments, so it seems some of the more unique Russian units may get overlooked. Not necessarily a bad thing, as there is always time to decide that later.
What does seem a bit challenging to include is the Confederation of the Rhine. Unlike the glorious, golden perfection that is Spain (subtle bias), they didn't have a navy. So, what would their sailors look like? What would be their naval jack? How would you approach a landlocked power?
Simple. Make them less landlocked.
Include the Batavian Republic (or Kingdom of Holland, depending on period choice) to their roster. I suppose the current Guard of France could be given to Rhine instead, but it'd be a naval choice above all else. It's a little creative liberty that has a positive effect and would be beneficial in expanding a navy that's hostile to coalition forces without having to conjure up a theoretical design for several Germanic kingdoms.
To wrap up this segment, something I really appreciate is how multicultural France is. I mean, I think their Grenadier is from Italy... or it's the Joseph Napoleon Regiment. Or something. They speak French of course. Still, a fun idea (even if it is some grenadier uniform for actual french forces I've not seen before). There is also the Polish infantry and the Dutch guard, which both are great additions. If there were ever the event to include smaller nations, it should perhaps be done as alternate uniforms for major nations. For example Brunswickers for British Grenadiers or Swedish uniforms for Prussian infantry. This way, you get their uniforms without having to make a nation or hire more voice actors.
An issue with that is, too many colors and the battlefield gets perhaps a bit too eccentric. Still, a fun thought. :/Regicide
Regicide is the killing of a king. For a game mode, I think it'd be a cool little venture if there were a character selected to play as Napoleon or Wellesley (or George III), and the match focuses on killing that one character. The teams have limited tickets but only get points if the king (or general, really) is killed. After a certain set of points (say, 3 points after 3 deaths) a winner is chosen. As a king is pretty defenseless in chess, they should be given a sword and maybe a horse. Running around alone will get you sniped, so stick to your grenadiers and try to hold a safe position. Stealing Colors
I've not seen much looting in game. Perhaps that's a setting, but it would be fun to try to steal the enemies' flag. Provide a buff for whoever touched the flag most recently possibly. Alternatively, it could work similar to the previous regicide game mode where the flag is being carried by a two players and the teams have to try to steal the other flag as it moves around the map.Grenades for Grenadiers
Maybe this, but it depends on the time. Towards the end of the wars, they stopped using grenades entirely. However, it would certainly be useful.Great Coats in Winter
Considering there are a lot of snow maps (which I love) I was hoping there would be great coats to reflect the conditions of the map. I shouldn't be surprised, of course, but that would have been really immersive to see.Hardcore Mode
The last game I played, I played without the HUD. That was incredibly hard but satisfying when you got a kill. It probably wasn't the intent and was probably just for getting good screen shots, I would love to see small additions that make it way easier to play without the HUD. The two bigger issues were aiming and knowing when my musket was in melee or ranged mode. Being in first person certainly didn't help as aiming down the sights was more theoretical than literal. If going HUDless was to be made easier (especially in first person) aiming down the musket would require seeing the actual sights and using those to aim instead of the crosshair. Alternatively, the crosshair could make an appearance when aiming, but that defeats the purpose of going HUDless. Knowing you're ready for melee or not is difficult. I tend to aim to reload, so I tend to sit there doing nothing as I watch for enemies. I notice nothing has changed after a few moments and realize "Ah. I just blocked rather than reload."
These issues are issues specifically for me. I mean, who plays without a HUD in first person anyways? No one, but it certainly was fun to try (especially if you're firing at a target at range). Could definitely be an achievement to beat a match without the HUD.
Anyways, I've said enough as it is. I quite enjoy the game and regret not playing more sooner. I look forward to any endeavors and know whatever will come next should be outstanding. Unless they include microtransactions, of course. Just 10 euro for a doubloon. Twenty doubloons and you can get a new hat. Eighty and you unlock rocket artillery.
Edit: Almost forgot! The flag should perhaps be an offhand weapon. Instead of being used as a spear, the flagbearer should perhaps use their sword instead of the flag. In a war over pottery, don't use your vases as ammunition.