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Everlong Review

Thanks for the review SiegfriedCalibur! It's been awhile since a player posted a review, which I do appreciate, especially the criticism that helps improve the game when possible. You raise some excellent points about Everlong's design failures and weaknesses that I absolutely agree with.

Cliches - the original release was obscene in this respect. In the revisions I've tried to remove plot predictability and insert character complexity, but many planned story sequences were cut. The resulting ends were tied together in a generic manner just for a semblance of coherence to keep the story moving. The retcons also created a mess themselves. The game script would need a complete rewrite to address the situation. I'm most disappointed in the character arcs I never had a chance to include, which would have made the story more personal and engaging. Some of the writing is decent, but during my last play through I too cringed horrifically at times.

Bosses - definitely a joke for RPG veterans who know what they're doing, but I've had many frustrated players contact me about their difficulties, resulting in a nerfing trend over time. Bosses have fixed patterns in addition to random skills to reward player planning and strategy. The most devastating skills are almost always fixed to give players a chance to anticipate and cushion against unfair repetition. There needs to be recovery and regroup periods.

For example, Reversal as you mentioned is particularly nasty, but the Blob always casts it after Vulnerability, so players can prepare and actually use it to heal the team. Of course, a player doesn't know the pattern until after fighting the enemy once, just as they don't know how to prepare for elemental attacks or status effects. I REALLY wanted a plugin to allow changing equipment in battle without turn loss to mitigate this issue because I also disapprove of this mechanic. The assumption is players will at least equip their White Wizard with status and elemental protection to ensure healing and reviving in the face of the unknown. The rest of party can similarly be equipped defensively, or instead increase offense at the expense of being caught off-guard.

That wouldn't address enemy attack patterns, however, so I tried to make only optional bosses have surprises bordering on unfair. I admittedly got carried away with the length and complexity of these patterns, as well as the mechanics of some of the special skills. I often forget the damage formulas myself. That's why I added the Tactics help menu kalledemos mentioned, but that doesn't help players in the middle of battle. I also REALLY wanted scan skills to aid players in exploiting weaknesses and adjusting during battle. I did some preliminary planning, but implementation was not feasible even with DynRPG. Besides attack patterns and special skills, another issue you rightly criticized was counter attacks.

Counter Attacks - There's some serious over powered mechanics I tried to address with counter attacks. For example, Might makes physical attacks insane, so bosses usually have at least one skill to mitigate this enchantment, either by removal or damage (Might Makes Wrong). Initially these skills were part of fixed patterns only, but then I introduced the counter mechanism so enemies could respond immediately to player strategy. In older versions this was incredibly punishing, limited to using constantly triggered damage thresholds.

With DynRPG plugins, counters became more tailored, only triggered when specific skills or elements were used. This is still punishment for smart exploitation of enemy weaknesses, however, which many players have responded negatively to. My idea wasn't to stop players from using these weaknesses, but to encourage them to plan around the resulting backlash. For example, Glen can use Ice Slash and Vetu his best Ice spell against Liquid Flame for massive damage, but this will result in the counter Backfire, a truly devastating return of damage on the next turn. Therefore, these high damage skills should only be used on the same turn during a soft spot in the enemy's attack pattern, when the party is at full health, and in good position to regroup after the counter (Meredith is alive with plenty of AP for healing spells, and Justin can use items to supplement). This is admittedly an overly complex strategy, and clearly not fun for many players.

The easiest response to the counter attack grievances was to give players control of the counter mechanic and adjust it as they saw fit. In the options menu under custom monster balance, the counter attack rate can be set from 0-100%. Eliminate counters entirely and blast the bosses away if that's most enjoyable for you! The difficulty levels also have different counter percentages too. Only Hard Mode has 100% counter rate. I would have liked more ways for players to address the special skills often used as counters, such as reflecting Backfire damage, or breaking an enemy's will temporarily through accumulated damage so it cannot counter for X amount of turns, but that's beyond the engine's mechanics.

Magic vs Physical - in older versions Magic reigned supreme, but then Might came along and made Physical damage ridiculous. It was difficult to address this with the base RM2K3 formulas, since I was stuck with a particular attribute tag setup to make normal attacks scale higher (weapon multipliers are used). Thanks to DynRPG I was able to change the skills damage formula slightly to improve the Magic attribute's effect, and I overhauled how Attack and Magic change the power of equipped skills (different versions of the same skill depending on the hero's statistics, rather than level).

However, dual wielding and increasing the Attack stat limit again increased physical attack power. In response, Vetu was given the Nucleus item allowing him to double cast, but it has to be the same spell, and it takes his accessory slot (I would have liked more equipment slots). You actually can make Vetu's magic insanely powerful early in the game by ignoring defense and equipping him only with the highest Magic boosting armor, and once you learn his non-elemental spells he's actually better against enemies with high physical damage resistance or immunity, the number of which was increased in the recent update.

Vixen and Drakeor's magical summons fare worse because they cannot equip Nucelus (engine limitation with battle combo mechanic) and their spells are designed as attack all, geared for large groups rather than bosses (another engine limitation, only one target type per skill). I brainstormed additional mechanics where Drakeor could transform into dragon forms or Vixen into avatars of the gods with single attack skills, so earning their summons were more rewarding and battle effective, but these additions were never implemented.

Ultimately I agree magic doesn't balance with physical, especially at the end game. I feel the damage algorithms hamstrung me on this issue. I REALLY would have liked critical hits with magic, or double damage from reflecting spells off yourself.

Character Skills - In general I agree most skills are useless the majority of the time. They are too specific use and costly. Dispel is for rare situations where you must remove boons from bosses; regular enemies usually die too quickly for wasting a turn when you could just deal damage. I would have liked a dual effect where they also lower resistances, but there are engine limits to concurrent effects. Fatal attacks only work against weak enemies you can usually one-shot anyways. I wanted the chance of inflicting Fatal, or other status effects, to increase as heroes powered up, so you could force conditions on otherwise nearly immune monsters if you're strong enough. Again, beyond the engine's limits. By the way, ALL Fatal attacks have the same probability of working, so if it seemed Justin's skills were ineffective versus Willis', that was really bad luck.

I REALLY wanted to make physical skills base their damage off regular attacks, with a small cost for the additional status or elemental effect. This is not possible even with DynRPG because of the aforementioned weapon multipliers. Another thought was an entirely different cost system for physical skills based on building adrenaline during a fight through actions. This way it would take a few turns before the more powerful skills were accessible, but weaker ones could be more effectively spammed or used in a pinch. Not realistic to implement this with the default battle system unfortunately.

As for the other specific skills you mentioned, mass revival is rather over powered, so it never occurred to me to allow White Wizards such a skill. Phoenix is costly to cast and must be earned through a difficult bonus dungeon and optional boss. It also gives Vixen a unique and powerful skill to recommend her specifically. I included an abundance of single and multiple revive items to supplement.

Keen does have two dispel skills, that was an oversight in the last update! I recently changed Prismatic Eye to Dispel for the Fulgora fight in case Drakeor didn't have a spear equipped and couldn't dispel with Jump, thus dooming the party. I'll have to give Keen a different Skill Scroll than Dispel Slash now, thanks for catching that! You could argue Meteor Rain is expensive, so the regular Breaks for Glen are worth using if you only want to inflict a single condition, but if AP is no issue you're correct many earlier skills become redundant.

Rebirth Mechanic - I've never received any complaints about Purgatory before. I removed the Game Over result except from boss fights so that players were not punished if they forgot to save or went unexpectedly unprepared into a dungeon. Losing progress is extremely discouraging. If there are players out there who would prefer a hardcore experience, however, I could include an option to turn off Purgatory. I originally intended the use of Purgatory to necessitate a boss fight against the Grim Reaper before the player is allowed to proceed to the final dungeon, but that was cut.

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I hope my (way too long) remarks shed some light on my thought process and decision making that led to the shortcomings in Everlong you reasonably criticize. Regretfully, many are the result of engine limitations, lack of time, or years of revisions. The game is so large and complex at this point it's difficult to address fundamental issues, but hopefully the recent version 3.30 and Beta Patches have made some strides. I'd really have to switch to a new, more flexible engine to make the game I wanted to and address all the issues currently outstanding.

As to the discussion about reviews in general, let's remember Everlong is just an amateur video game made by a single person using a productive but limited engine. Review scores aren't that important, certainly when compared to valid constructive criticism. There shouldn't be any ego involved or need to compare with other games. I've tried to allow players the ability to play the game to their best enjoyment (Story Mode, custom monster balance, adjusting encounter and experience rates, etc), but if you're not having fun don't force yourself to continue playing! All games have their faults, and enjoyment is subjective.

@Euphoniac
I'm glad you really like and enjoy Everlong! I've tried to make the updates of the last few years player oriented. Many features are the result of player suggestion. Why don't you write up a review too and let us know what you think the strengths of the game are, and the areas you think need improvement? I know it can take awhile to gather and type your thoughts for a review, but I'm always interested in what players have to say, and do what I can within reason to address the glaring issues and bugs.

Everlong

@SgtMettool
I was unable to reproduce the AP Refresher bug. Just to verify, you're referring to the purple glowing totems before bosses that restore AP, correct? I'm running Windows 10, but I do have my RPG_RT.exe set to run with compatibility options, otherwise Full Screen mode performs poorly. Go to your main Everlong folder, locate the RPG_RT.exe file, right click, choose Properties at the bottom of the list, then the second tab Compatibility. I am running in "Reduced Color Mode", but you can also try other options. Let me know if any of that works. It's extremely odd that particular plugin is referenced in the error you posted since it is not called by the AP Refresher code. Any other players had this error?

@kalledemos
Are you able to start a new game fine after applying the beta patch? Is it the custom menu that hangs after loading your save, or the starting menu? If it's just the custom menu glitching, which happens when loading a save file where the player was on an updated map, try returning to the world map. This should reset the custom menu. Let me know if that works! I expect many players will experience this glitch with the latest beta patch since almost every map was updated to implement the auto save feature.

Thanks for the help with these bugs, guys, I appreciate it!

Everlong

author=SgtMettool
Hey! I started a new save in Version 3.30 and I get this message when interacting with the first AP crystal.

Did not have this problem with 3.2x

EDIT: It seems to only happen if the game is in FullScreen. I wonder if this is just a problem with 2k3 games on Windows 10?



Interesting, that's a custom DynRPG plugin causing the error. Let me check it out. I have a Windows 10 box and will see if I can replicate the crash. I know Windows 10 made changes to the DirectDraw API, which is buggy in full screen unfortunately.

Everlong

author=ephraim683
where is the water leviathan (?) ( is this even his name on the new version ) couldnt find the summoner stone on east tower was it moved?
and diablos im missing that guy as well


Meridion is the revised name for the water god. His summon stone, Shankha, was moved from East Tower to the Tower of Auctus. It's difficult to miss, with two chances to open the chest along the main path. The room is just before the giant torch puzzle. Players can also return to the Tower of Auctus later in the game if necessary, after acquiring the airship. Meridion's Temple is accessed either quickly via the airship, or through the Waterfall of Seasons near the beginning of Golem's Pass, followed by a dungeon. The Waterfall of Seasons cannot be passed until after the War of the Eclipse.

The Temple of Diablos is on the Imperial Continent, near Fons Moenia and the east entrance of Terra Cavus. It's listed on the map in continent view. The Grimoire needed to open the temple is located within Vanguard on the upper floors. Top right room on this map.

Hope that helps!

Everlong

Small updates to the current Beta Patch E archive available for download.

*Fixed incorrect Stellio name reference during battle
*Weapons that inflicted Dispel changed due to dual wield engine bug that caused them to instead inflict all positive enchantments; Tolerance, Fracture Fist, and Monolith now inflict Fragile
*Fixed error where a particular randomly spawned hunting grounds item caused another active item to disappear under certain conditions

@Gezelschaft

Thanks for the thorough bug reports! You're correct about the Dreaming Forest walkway bug, though it's not resetting via F12, but reloading a save in any manner that was the culprit. Apparently save files do not store map tileset changes, which I utilized to engineer the multiple floors. This might be intended behavior, but it required yet another work around.

Great catch on the Stellio name error. I cannot believe that was missed for so long, but when I first read your post this morning I still failed to identify the error! I used a special program to parse all map files and make name changes, but this is a battle event stored in the database and was not affected.

Another player reported issues with a weapon inflicting enchantments, but I didn't quite understand it at the time or identify the cause. Thanks for connecting this error to a dual wield engine bug I was ignorant of. I'm afraid the only solution was the removal and replacement of the Dispel effect on all weapons.

The hunting grounds item bug actually existed in every hunting instance. It's the result of too much copying and pasting of events without double checking.

The pink prey Razorback (actually a Pokemon rip) has always had 6 HP. No changes were made in the last update to prey or predator hunt values. The only adjustment I ever made was to drastically reduce the HP of the tougher targets. Cirus deals double damage, but it is more difficult for him to hit certain targets, and he's a "secret" character.

As for the options menu error, your screenshot clearly shows certain files were not updated despite installing the patch. Specifically the files that belong in the Pictures folder. I have confirmed the archive contains these files, so there must be an issue with whatever unpacking program you're using. Make sure your program is set to follow the directory (folder) paths. Or you could only extract the contents of the archive Pictures folder to the Pictures folder in your Everlong directory. Do the same for the other folders or else you will have issues with the patch.

Everlong

New beta patch with autosave functionality is up. I'm certain I broke something, so let me know about any bugs you encounter!

Download the update here.

@Gezelschaft
Let me know if you still have trouble with your replacement save files after installing this patch.

Everlong

author=Gezelschaft
author=DJC
I wasn't able to find anything wrong with your save file. Did you find yourself stuck on the walkway? I actually just fixed a bug in the Dreaming Forest areas yesterday where if the player was on a suspended walkway and left the map and returned via Skill Shards or Purgatory, the hero became stuck due to the tile set not resetting. Does this sound like what happened to you? Until I release the next patch (hopefully soon) this Dreaming Forest bug will persist, so be careful not to duplicate it again and save.

Here's a link to your save file moved off the suspended walkway. The zip contains both the .lsd and .dyn files. Usually both belong in your main Everlong folder, but if you are running in a compatibility mode that is changing the directory, make sure you place them to overwrite the previous versions wherever they are.
http://nealien.com/Everlong/Files/Save06_Gezelschaft.zip

Thanks for narrowing down where the problem chest in Aditus Grotto was located. I went through every chest in Meridion Caverns yesterday and couldn't find any incorrect chest events, so that's a relief it's in another area.
No problem, I'm glad to be any sort of help! :D

Anyway yeah, I'm stuck within 4 tiles (just as my first pic shown). Well, I did die and visit Purgatory for the very first time here, but I was died on the land (at the beginning of the forest due to unexpectedly strong bunch of dinosaurs). And while roaming the forest I abused F12 all the time for various reasons, the problem occurred during last puzzle where you can push the barrel/something to block the boulders from squashing you and I pressed F12.

As for the save files the names are different so I can't overwrite the previous files.
So I renamed your files to match the regular names and overwrite my files but when I tried to load the file, this is what happened..


Pressing F12 to reset the game should never cause any problems when reloading your last save. After being sent to Purgatory and returning, you should have returned to exactly where your party perished. Do you recall how you became stuck on the walkway? Was it immediately after reloading a save? Or did you access the Map or Skill Shards?

I was afraid you might encounter an error when attempting to load your save. My game files are updated as I've been working on the new patch, and the save files reflect changes your install doesn't contain. I'm going to try and release another beta patch either tonight or in the next few days. That should allow those files to work, if you're able to wait.

Everlong

author=Gezelschaft
author=Euphoniac
Have you tried to click on "Compatibility files" (as can be seen on your screenshot), Gezelschaft? Save files of RPG Maker games are often times "hidden" there.
Woot!!! U saved my life Euphoniac, thanks a bunch!!
So, here's my troubled save file :D

I wasn't able to find anything wrong with your save file. Did you find yourself stuck on the walkway? I actually just fixed a bug in the Dreaming Forest areas yesterday where if the player was on a suspended walkway and left the map and returned via Skill Shards or Purgatory, the hero became stuck due to the tile set not resetting. Does this sound like what happened to you? Until I release the next patch (hopefully soon) this Dreaming Forest bug will persist, so be careful not to duplicate it again and save.

Here's a link to your save file moved off the suspended walkway. The zip contains both the .lsd and .dyn files. Usually both belong in your main Everlong folder, but if you are running in a compatibility mode that is changing the directory, make sure you place them to overwrite the previous versions wherever they are.
http://nealien.com/Everlong/Files/Save06_Gezelschaft.zip

Thanks for narrowing down where the problem chest in Aditus Grotto was located. I went through every chest in Meridion Caverns yesterday and couldn't find any incorrect chest events, so that's a relief it's in another area.

Everlong

F12 resets the game, so I'm confused how you then managed to get stuck in the Dreaming Forest after reloading your save file. Your save file is in your main Everlong folder, named "save01.lsd" or whatever slot you've been saving your game to. You can upload it here and link it or send it to my email and I'll help get you unstuck.

I'll take a look at the Meridion Cavern chest exploit, thanks for pointing that out!

The Dianyn quest bug was previously documented, and should be fixed either with the current beta patch, or the work I'm currently completing but am yet to release.

Everlong

Auto save is in the works, I just have to go through EVERY map and make brief event code changes to implement the feature. Check out the new blog post for more information on auto save and enemy counter changes!

Any story events containing battles players are expected to lose should proceed the same even if victorious. At Polaris, Altair immediately uses Omnislash to hit the entire party for their maximum HP, so that fight is not winnable without hacking.