Empyrean, Beta, Stats, etc

Right. @FSketchy Pretty sure Empyrean won’t be in the Steam Winter Sale due to some newer rules about how games are discounted there going forward.

The “Trouble” is a fallacy - You are talking about having balanced mechanics that have both drains and faucets. This is where I have issues with the CoG “vision” because a faucet that adds does not need to be immediately countered by a drain in the same basin of the decision at hand.

The positives and negatives consequences of a choice should be balanced but by no means does that mean an increase means an immediate decrease.

Now, if my work which will be balanced and not be all “opposites” is going to get dinged just because I don’t adhere to some rote equation then perhaps I should not move forward with my project.

This is a good example of balancing higher levels of stat attainment with consequences - especially consequences of specializing too much…

As a developer (my opinion) it is important to both reward those who chose to specialize as well as show them there are boundaries where specialization limits them as well. Just as the inverse is correct for those Generalsts - show them there are boundaries that limit success but rewards that enable their success.

Empyrean has all the positives of a novel or comic - awesome AAA writing combined with great world building and first rate character building.

On the other hand

_Empyrean’_s weakness inherently is the mechanical plumbing in its gaming structure. The faucets and drains are such that when you turn one on, the other drains anything gained elsewhere.

Every playthrough I have done with this work I have between 45-55 in every stat and they all started feeling like a clone play-through with minor fluff variants.

That and in my opinion, this work shows signs of being rushed. Several major continuity errors and logic break downs that with more time could have been eliminated pushing this work into the same level that Choice of Robots is at.


If you have continuity errors to report, take screenshots and send them in.

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How long do steam updates usually take to come out? I think someone told me before but I’ve forgotten. The portal destroying bug for saga of the north wind hasn’t been fixed for my steam version and I reported it a couple of weeks ago.

@Mara I very much appreciate you giving us a five-star review on the storefront. That means a lot that you do that for all of our games.

That said, our games are only as good as our beta testers. If people don’t beta test, then we don’t have the data to draw upon. And yes, while @cascat07 did flag the opposed skills issue, one or two people mentioning something isn’t going to compel us to make sweeping changes to a game.

If you want to see our games be better, then, join more betas. Right now, we have “Runt of the Litter” up; I’ve had exactly two people sign up for it.

@Eiwynn Unfortunately, when you say “your work will get dinged,” I don’t know what you’re referring to. Are you talking about a game that you’re currently under contract to write? Are you talking about an HG? Are you talking about a game you’re going to write for the contest?

If you’re talking about a potential contest submission, then that’s exactly the time for you to go against the grain of our vision. That’s the opportunity for you to prove us wrong and for us to learn something new.

More importantly, though, as Mary pointed out, it does no one any good to say “there were continuity errors.” As I’ve been saying for six years: if you find errors, send us an error report.

@Zakkarian I’ll look into it. I thought that had been pushed. EDIT: You know, Tom fixed the other bugs, and said that he fixed that one, but it looks like maybe he didn’t. I’ve written to him, and hopefully he’ll have time to get to it in the next few days.


I had planned to sit down and try to find everything “soon” - It will take a block of dedicated time to do a proper job so I have not done this yet, I still thought that I should mention there were things I found on my two normal sessions.


@jasonstevanhill I got to say I really don’t like the off fourm closed betas. You don’t have any interaction with the other testers and no feedback on your feedback. I understand that most authors don’t have the time or inclination to herd a fourm thread for feedback, but I don’t think I’ll be volunteering for any more off forum closed betas. After providing feedback and seeing zero changes result in the draft with out any input as to why, even from other testers is just too frustrating for me.

The way @Cataphrak, @Havenstone, and @JimD for example run their betas is much more rewarding to participate in.


I haven’t helped closed beta for a while, but from what I remember, I agree with this. In an open beta, you get people being like “hey, I don’t like/don’t get this thing” and the author can then explain themselves and other people, who might not have otherwise considered that aspect of gameplay, might realize–“looking at it more closely, I also don’t like/don’t understand this thing”, so I think it’d be more effective to at least have some sort of closed thread so the testers can interact with each other and the author.

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I know that the forums have that lounge thing (is that supposed to be a secret? I honestly don’t know)…I think a closed thread visible only to people involved with testing should be doable, unless the forum client doesn’t work in that way.

I can’t speak for @jasonstevanhill but I suspect that one of many reasons we have closed betas for Choice of Games titles is because it’s helpful for an author to have Jason collate that feedback, along with the feedback editorial staff is giving.

I appreciate that the process can be frustrating, but also: beta feedback is not an opportunity for beta testers to get a game customized to their desires. When I make editorial notes on a draft the author is not always going to take my feedback. We’re going to talk about the beta process, and we’ll see what if anything changes going forward.


What I am about to say maybe get me banned, but my heart has always made me say what I really think even if that would harm my position. I believe in sincerity in all situations, even if hurts and make people think of me like a troll.

I would certainly love joining more beta closed, but your actually rules avoid me to be more beta than once. And like the communication between Cog staff or writer is ZERO. I don’t even know if the beta has been closed for the game I summit so until I am certain I can’t present to another.

@JimD had considered me as a beta tester extraordinary badge and propose me to obtain the title you only can give or deny. You deny mine no long ago. So I have great doubts my feedback would be well valued, when I was denied of it and with it any opportunity of beta testing more games same time.

But appart my personal situation, as Cog fan I could say you that beta testing system as it is, nule interaction with author or publisher or maybe editor is crippling games. I personally don’t post 99% of my real feedback because I never had reply back about anything. If I send my 3 emails and never get a we received it from anyone. I just shut up for respect you or the author. My feedback is not being useful I think I will stop sending.

I beta testing for many author in private and I could say I have good experiences with it feedback should be reciprocal. Info like I will want you focus in continuity errors, or I just wrote a new path for this stats could you test it?

That could alone have erased the most common bugs Official cogs are having lately with new launched games.

You have a web and a forum with a lounges and closed access parts. It could be easy to implement a zone for closed betas and even a thread author post in what he wants people focused. That would in my opinion increase the amount and quality of the feedback send from most of beta testers.

Anyway, just my sincere as always opinion. Being sincere here, only have given me problems, with the staff and with many people. But, I am proud of being loyal to myself and what I believe.


Absolutely! That is not at all what I’m saying. If I write up a couple pages of feedback, but get nothing in response and see no changes in the game I assume my feedback has been blown off. Also of import to me is discussing the game with other testers. I have participated in a few closed betas where the lounge feature was used and that was a much better experience.


This is a really useful conversation for me. When I did the closed beta process, I was a stranger to these forums, and I had no idea who these people were who were posting feedback, nor did I know how to contact them. You can bet that next year when I do a closed beta again, I will be talking to my testers, at the very least to say thank you and ask for clarification about certain things, or to tell them that some of their concerns have been heard.


I get the communication issue, I’ve sent in emails for bugs but I’m not sure if they are always seen. Although maybe I’m just being nitpicky. I sent in a minor issue also a couple of weeks ago, where a continuity error shows up for one option during the fight with dunestrider in Deathless: The City’s Thirst, and that hasn’t been fixed, although it might be just too minor for people to worry about, since it doesn’t impact gameplay.

Speaking of bugs, I emailed about the reprogrammed killbot bug in Empyrean, did anyone else run into it?

In chapter 9, if you reprogram a killbot, and later have him retrieve something for you when you are in your father’s workshop, when he gives it to you afterwards the text says he does, but the game doesn’t register it. I think only 2 outcomes actually gives you the items. Its most noticeable if you ask the killbot to retrieve the radio codes, because later the option to use them to shut down the rest of the killbots never shows up, unlike if you manage to grab them yourself.

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If you email mary AT choiceofgames DOT com, I will see your email and respond to it.

In general, when you report a continuity bug post release, that gets passed to the author. Then it’s up to the author to fix it and drop the files on us. So we (staff) don’t ignore them, but we’re also not the ones to fix them.

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Maybe we could spin off the discussion about beta-testing in general into a thread of its own? It seems like there’s some really important things being raised here, that I for one would have missed if someone hadn’t directed me to the thread?

I’m going to strongly suggest that the beta-testers, both past, present, and future are consulted on this. I was so surprised to read [quote=“jasonstevanhill, post:51, topic:22299”]
Right now, we have “Runt of the Litter” up; I’ve had exactly two people sign up for it.

There’s so many people testing games on these forums. If they’re not signing up to test the official games, then it feels like there must be something broken in the process.

I’d really like to see a topic, or some polls, or both, on how to make the beta-testing experience better. And finding out why people aren’t signing up, or aren’t providing the quality of feedback that’s being looked for, and what sort of incentives could be provided to change that.


Well here’s something I’ll offer. @jasonstevanhill has (when recruiting beta testers) specified exactly what email address he wants people to send their participation request to…and many folks do not email the correct email address. If the level of attention to detail is such that you can’t email the right address, it’s hard to say “Sure! You’ll make a good beta tester.”

Well, folks are talking about it here. I’m saying we need to have a staff discussion about it, and that’s not something that can happen this weekend, this exact minute. We’re reading this thread, we’re going to talk about the beta process.


Yes, This isn’t even a thread specifically for discussing beta-testing though. I only knew about this thread because someone specifically messaged me and told me about it.

I think we need a thread specifically dedicated to discussing the beta testing process and acquiring people’s opinions on the subject. I’m not saying everything needs to be implemented, just it should be discussed in the proper thread for it.

I’ll stand by what I said. We’re on a forum where the majority of people are actively testing games. There’s a lot of extremely active WIP threads. But the style of feedback Choice of Games are asking for is completely different from the style of feedback all the WIPs ask for. Email vs Forum is part of it. Some people seem to like the community nature of the WIP threads. The beta-testing as a team communicating with each other and the author.

We’ve got people on this forum with a lot of beta-testing experience. (Not just for CoG but for other companies too.) I think it’s important to listen to them. I think it’s also important to listen to those who’ve tested only one game and then decided not to again. And that it’s important to find out why people aren’t signing up for the beta tests.

There are plenty of people on this forum who’re exceptional testers. Who provide lots of thoughtful, insightful and valuable feedback. There are those who’re good at squishing bugs and whatnot.

I never said that it should happen this minute. I do think it’s important to also include us in part of the discussion though.


Right, sure. We may be talking past each other, though . . . Discussion is what the forum is for–we’re reading these responses, we’re responding to them, we’re having that discussion. I’m literally saying “Jason, Becky, Adam, Rachel, Dan, and I have not gotten on the phone to talk about this yet, but we will.”