I wouldn’t say that I’m pinning all of my hopes on Sword Coast Legends — WildStar, SWTOR, and Fallout 4 are there this fall no matter what — but after the premature demise of Shadow Realms, it’s been the co-op DM experience I’ve been anticipating.
Early reports of SCL were good. Lots of strong word-of-mouth, even as recently as PAX. I had no problem with pre-ordering the game based on that, especially since Steam had a discount that made it just a little over $30. But now my faith in this game is a bit shaken based on this past weekend and today’s announcement of a delay.
If you didn’t hear, SCL held a head start weekend that was really just a two-day stress test of an unfinished build of the game. All pre-orders were welcome to attend, so I jumped in on Saturday with the hopes of writing some grand saga on Monday. Obviously, this didn’t happen.
There were things I liked — the character creation looks promising (even if the classes are the blandest of D&D bland), the graphics appealing, and the co-op at least functional. But I felt confused the entire time and frustrated with the controls. I wasn’t sure which menu option to pick to get a live DM campaign (were they running?) and instead ended up in a couple of groups running non-DM dungeons. There was no roleplaying, no big story, just a dungeon crawl with some fights. I felt like I wasn’t getting it, and in a game that you want to understand and like, that’s a big problem.
Also, can someone explain the controls? Sometimes hitting a skill button once and then clicking a target fired it off (healing spells worked okay). Sometimes I had to jam on a skill TWICE after clicking a target. It felt inconsistent and awkward. I ended up auto-attacking with flame cantrips nearly the entire time.
I also really, really disliked how loot — at least in the dungeons I visited — was first-come, first-served. Party members were rushing to grab stuff, leaving the rest of us with nothing. It was like the earlier, uglier days of MMO looting, a time I am not eager to revisit.
My initial goal was to get familiar with the game and then try my hand at making something, but I didn’t even get that far. From hearing what others have reported, many of the tools were either not present or not as in-depth as they would have liked.
So maybe it’s a good thing that Sword Coast Legends is delayed until October 20th. At least it won’t be competing with WildStar’s F2P launch for my attention next week. I just hope that the finished product is a LOT better and easier to grok than what I experienced.