@SPYGUY_CoG1 First of all, thanks for the honest critique. As I have said many times in the forums, I have thick skin, and I like to hear the frank comments of readers. Let me start by saying that writing these stories is a hobby for me, and I don’t delude myself into thinking that my abilities as a writer are great (to be honest, I’m even happy at hearing you call it “mediocre” ). I always think of my games as gamebooks, rather than “interactive fiction”. Essentially, I am more interested in the game systems, replayability, and sandbox nature of my games than in making a single story. I feel my games should have many paths through them, catering to many types of players. As such, they don’t necessarily work for all playstyles (and… that is ok… with this group of books many have said that what is interesting is seeing how different playtypes and powers affect the story). For some people what is there works, for others not so. I try to continue to listen to what people want, and their suggestions, and gradually improve the stories (I mean, what you see already there has incorporated SO much feedback, I am eternally grateful for everybody who playtests the games and says “I want the option to do…”).
Regarding the worldbuilding… I went further into worldbuilding than in previous games as one playtester wanted more of that. It was a good comment they made, which made me think more, and develop my world more. I take your critique… not much is done with this new world (I never thought much about that point). So, let me throw it back to you… what would you have liked to have done in this planet, which was not offered to you? (the beauty about this being an app is that the game can be modified, which is something that I want to do in the next 1-2 months… following some other critical comments it is clear that I need to provide more options and make some changes to the game)
What do you mean by original cast? Those back on Earth? Well, the point is that there will be a book 3 that (hopefully) ties together the story, including the possibility of the MC to return to life as it was on Earth… it seems some players want that. So, the option should be there? Others might not want to return to Earth and… well, for them there is no point in that page being kept. But, the option should stay there…
About the SA… I take it that for some players in this game she is a bit removed (unless you have RO in book 1, which should give you more interaction). For me, what she is doing in this game is central to the story in book 3. But… yes, I guess she dissappears a bit because she is up to something… the Lanista is also up to something, and hints are given… but yes, I guess that this book doesn’t have a “conclusion” as it is just setting up a world/universe that will then reach its conclusion in book 3. As in, book 1 had a “conclusion”, with an optional epilogue for me to continue the story if it was well-received. However, when I wrote this second story I had the third one in mind… just wrote half (when I ran out of steam), and left the conclusion for book 3 (kind of like what happened with the back to the future trilogy, if you want). The ideas I want to explore are whether you will follow the rebellion to the end, go off on your own direction… or go back to Earth (and how all this interacts with the war going on). But, I take your point… it could be that this book is anticlimatic (just, it had to finish somewhere), as some of the things you want to see there are ideas that I have for book 3. For me, the “climax” of this book was the fight against blademaster, and potentially getting another stone
@Roby95 obviously I am sorry that you felt that way. Personally I feel there are ways out (although clearly the book starts by giving the reader a sense of dispair at the hopeless situation of slavery … I mean, from the start I am using the words Lanista and Ludus, so this is clearly an allusion to the situation of slaves/gladiators in ancient Rome). The MC is given the chance to join and eventually become the “leader” of a rebellion, by recruiting rebels, or even bringing criminals gangs into play. There are entire missions about this, if you want to pursue that. One of the end states of the game has you abandoning the other “slaves/gladiators” at the final, and leading a rebel army to take over the barracks of the city, potentially defeating the general in charge. The opportunity to rebel is clearly there. The rest of the “slaves/gladiators” are somewhere in between relishing the fight at the arena (Joo) to haven given up all hope (Raas). In that sense, it is the MC who is given agency and the opportunity to make a difference. So, I don’t actually agree that I ask readers to play happy slaves… rather the contrary, I would expect many players to rebel, and the options are there. I mean, all I can say is that you maybe give the book another try, the rebel leader is an acquaintance of Raas, so either follow him to a concert… or just wait until things happen to him, which will eventually make the rebel leader appear, and then arrange to meet her. However, I do agree that this is about half way into the story or so, so maybe the “dark” tone of the first half of the book got to you already (what can I say… in a sense I am happy that this dark tone of dispair permeates the first half of the book, as that was the feeling I was aiming for…)