Suggestions & Improvements
I've been playing with DoF for a few days now. In overall, the game meets my expectations, given that I've researched about it before buying, and I do like it. I've bought the game with the half price promotion and I must say that for $15, the game is okay. Yet, for the full $30 price, that's way too expensive for the actual game quality.
First, what I'm about to point out are not bugs (I am not referring to the actual graphic/3D quality as either). They are all design choices the development team has made.
1. Game options. Almost every option in the game option requires a game restart. This then means we can't change the game's parameters while in the game, but we only have the option to make changes inside the game. That's annoying. A simple improvement would be to include the game options menus in the launcher/patcher. That way, we can set the game setting before getting into it. For instance, if I want to change the language of my game, I currently need to enter the game, change the setting and restart the game. I need to enter the game twice just to have my option applied.
2. Login menu: why is the New Account button flashing? That's catching the eye's attention every time we need to go to the login menu, yet it only needs to be done once. Please make it stop flashing.
1. Cursor: the game cursor is "stupid". The cursor needs to be "smart", like the default operating system's one. As I'm typing this message, the cursor changes to a big "I" inside the text field, into a hand when I hover above the Smilies and it takes it's default arrow head shape everywhere else.
The game cursor should at least do something when an interactive object is under the cursor, like a building, a unit or a resource. That visual hint is much appreciated for beginners who still have to learn how to play the game. The game looks more refined when the cursor change to something meaningful when hovering an interactive object. Currently, it only looks like a quick replacement for the default cursor.
2. The Help button: for consistency, there should be a top right "X" button to close that window like the Social and Profile button.
3. Developing upgrades: when a new upgrade is researched, the icon just go gray and the resources are taken. Something should happen to indicate that this upgrade has been researched and applied.
4. Chat: when a player hides the chat box, it's usually because he is not bothering at the time being. To have the chat box icon flashing because someone wrote something is annoying. To have the corresponding tab flashing is already enough.
5. Market: this applies to most in-game buttons. There are a lot of "wood-like" buttons that are rather pale and white text on the top of that, making it harder to read. If a button is pale: use dark fonts. If a button is dark: use a light font.
6. Army icons (top-left corner): if the cursor over one of these, it would be nice to have it display the unit's name as a description. A new player needs time to adjust to what image is what unit (and some of them looks alike).
7. Menu button: that button is awfully slow. It takes roughly 2 seconds to wait for the animation to complete and use the menu. Why 2 seconds? It's only the menu sliding in and the map sliding out. Please cut that to only 1 second, MAX, same for exiting this menu.
All of the above are interface issues I feel the game really need to work on. Now, here's a few personal ideas of improvements:
More Offline content:
1. Multi-player LAN capacities: DoF is great for its online multi-player build-your-kingdom and compete with players, but adding more offline capacities would give an extra plus to this game and make it worth the money investment. I mean, there's quite a few FREE strategy kingdom building game. Granted, they usually don't give as much as DoF in terms of graphic and real-time strategies, but they are free.
Allowing few skirmishes offline maps that allow to face an AI computer or a friend in a LAN would give an extra dimension to the game (giving more possibilities to the game). Also, that would do some indirect advertising to the game. If I have a friend coming at my place, we can compete one on one. That way, he's discovering the game mechanics and style and if he/she enjoyed it, then there are chances he/she will by the game to have his/her online kingdom. Also, it will be more appealing to siblings or family members to be able to buy one game that will entertain the family.
2. Army vs Army: right now, in the offline mode, there is a siege skirmish, a defend your fortress and what appears to be a offline campaign mode (haven't tried it yet). A simple army vs army to develop army melee skills could be nice. It may or may not have the option to create the army.
3. Build your fortress: a more or less Age of Empire mode, where a few teams share a map, build their fortresses and attempt to defeat each other (with buildings being constructed a lot faster). That would also allow to get familiar with more advanced aspect of the game or later options.
The more a game have to offer, the more appealing to various types of players it gets and the more profitable the game can become. The more profitable it can become, the more it can be improved.
Finally, I'm glad that DoF is getting translated in various language. Yet, the French translation of the text feels close to horrible. To various instances, the translation feels like an anglophone is attempting to translate the game or I feel like I should switch to English just to be sure if what I read is what it was meant to be. So far, voices are fine though.
Also, you should be careful with French text, there are a lot of symbols that can messes up your in-game text. For instance, the French word: "coeur" (heart) is actually written: "cœur". I believe that the "œ" symbol is currently being replace by "C" in DoF, thus giving the word: "cCur". I have also seen at least one time a "3" instead of an "e".
Since I live in a French/English environment and my first language is French, given access to the English version of all text in the game, I could translate all of it in less than a week and return it to you by email. You could then double check the work, but you would have a solid base to work on.
Thank you for your hard work on DoF,
The issue with problems is that there are too many solutions.