These Thieving Hearts - HEART'S CHOICE - BETA CLOSED

A wealthy benefactor. A master lockpick. A magical bodyguard. A trusted ally. A skillful rival. All of them are out to steal priceless treasures. Which one of them will steal your heart?

Contact from a mysterious billionaire leads you to a Scottish manor, all on the promise of a fat paycheck. When you arrive, you find it’s much more: this billionaire has a copy of the Thief’s Demise. The most dangerous, most secure targets in the world, all magically defended. Stealing even one can raise your profile.

He wants you to steal all of them.

Arthur is nigh unflappable, funding this entire endeavor, and even has a crew ready to go. Ivan, an experienced thief with a quick mind and quicker tongue. Eiji, one of the best lockpicks you’ve ever encountered. Jackson, the grandson of a legendary bodyguard and enforcer in the magical underbelly. They cut a heck of a picture, but Arthur’s brother has his own crew to oppose you, and they’re no slouches, led by Cesar Espinoza, one of the most infamous charmers out there.

It’s a madcap dash around the world, trying to outpace the opposition and stay alive in vaults designed to kill you, all while juggling the handsome cavalcade of available men. But something stronger lurks in the background, an age-old rivalry between the god of thievery and the Cult of Vaults who try to keep them at bay. And the Cult is none too happy with you pulling off some of the most exceptional heists in the world. Every stolen mark empowers the Shattered One, and the Cult of Vaults is desperate to prevent them rising too far.

This is a Heart’s Choice game from Raven de Hart, the author of Freshman Magic: Spellbooks and Tangled Sheets. It’s not a sequel or otherwise related to Freshman Magic.

This is an M/M game: the PC is male, and there are five male ROs. This game is rated 4 out of 5 chili peppers on the updated HC scale.

Directions for beta testing:

  • First, read the Beta FAQ if this is your first time testing: Beta Testing FAQs - Please Read Before Applying!
  • Then, email us, beta AT choiceofgames for access.
    DO NOT POST ASKING WHAT THE BETA EMAIL ADDRESS IS. The first test to becoming a beta tester is inferring what it is based on how we describe it above.
    Do not send DMs/PMs through the forum mail system, Discord, text message, carrier pigeon, or any other method than email.
  • When you send your EMAIL, include:
    • the game you want to test in the Subject line of the email.
    • your forum-name
    • your real name (first and last).
      Please indicate if your family/surname comes first as well. Beta testers’ names are listed in the game’s credits, which are accessed with the “About” link you’ll see within the game. If you don’t want to appear in the credits, or you want to be credited under a name other than your real one, please let us know.
  • Do not email us multiple times about joining a beta. If you don’t email us as soon as we post a beta, you go into a queue. As we post new drafts, we admit more people from the queue. Eventually, we will get to you. Some beta processes last longer than others, and it may take up to a few weeks to reach the front of the queue.
  • When you have been admitted to the beta, we will send you a link, a username, and a password as a reply to your email.
  • If you have tested before, do not use the same password that you used to test any previous game. This game has a different password.

When you have feedback to submit:

  • Return feedback as part of the same email thread where you were admitted. Copying beta@choiceofgames on that email is the best way to make sure your comments are seen as soon as possible.
  • Please send screenshots or copy/pasted quotes whenever you can; it helps us track down whatever observation you’re making. In particular, the author may see things that you don’t, and/or the screenshot may contain more information than you realize.
  • If you’re submitting feedback using the Bug/Submit button in the game, make sure you include your handle/name in the body of the email. The Submit button obscures your email address, and I can’t give you credit for feedback if I don’t know who you are.

A few more notes:

  • You cannot be testing two games at once. If you are already testing one game, send in feedback on that game before you apply to another. If you apply for multiple games at the same time, you will likely be admitted first to whichever game has testing slots open up first, and we won’t be able to admit you to the other one until you send in your comments for that one. (From an admin standpoint, it’s easiest if you don’t apply to more than one game at once – applying to multiple games makes it more likely that we’ll miss admitting you to one of them.)
  • If you’re admitted as a tester but realize you won’t be able to send in feedback for that game, please let us know! You won’t be penalized in any way - we’ll just take you off the list of testers for that game. But if you sign up to test a game and don’t send comments or withdraw, it will affect your chances of being admitted to future betas.
  • There’s no standard length of time for a beta testing period to last, and we usually don’t know exactly how long a game will be in beta when it opens. The best way to know how long a beta will be open is to follow the thread for updates.
  • It’s fine to send multiple feedback emails, but if you have a lot of quick comments, it’s easier to keep track of them if you bundle them into one email.

Tips on How to Give Feedback
We’re looking for “high level” and “low level” feedback. Not mid-level feedback.

  • Low-level = typos and continuity errors. A continuity error is when a character’s gender flips, or someone comes back from the dead, or you run into a plotline that just doesn’t make sense (because it’s probably a coding error). For these low-level issues, screenshots are very helpful. If you see a problem, take a screenshot, or copy and paste the text that is in error, and email that.
  • “High level” feedback has to do with things like plot, pacing, and characters. “Scene A didn’t work for me because x, y, and z,” is useful feedback. “B character was entirely unsympathetic, because u, w, and v,” is also useful feedback.
  • “Mid-level” feedback describes things like grammar, style, word choice, or the use of commas. As I said above, I do not want mid-level feedback. In particular, DO NOT WRITE TO ME ABOUT COMMAS.

Be SPECIFIC in your feedback. General comments like “I had a great time and saw only a few spelling errors,” is not useful feedback. In fact, it’s the sort of thing that results in you not being given access to future betas.

Some examples of useful feedback:

  • In Choice of the Dragon, you get to choose what type of wings you have: leather or scaled. Someone wrote in and asked about having feathered wings. Great suggestion! Done!
  • In “The Eagle’s Heir,” someone asked about Eugenie. They said that the romance moved too quickly–because she only appeared in the last third of the game–and wished they could have had an opportunity to meet her earlier. So the authors added an opportunity to meet her and start the romance earlier in the game (in a scene that already existed).
  • In “Demon Mark: A Russian Saga” several people commented on how the PC’s parents were unsympathetic, so the authors added a choice or two to deepen the relationship with the parents in the first chapter, to help better establish their characters.
  • Pointing out a specific choice and saying, “this is who I imagined my character was at this particular moment, and none of these options seemed right for me. I would have liked an option to do X instead,” is also really helpful feedback.
  • If you choose an option and then the results of that option don’t make sense. Like, if you thought an option might test one stat, but it seems to have tested a different one.

New draft, v51380! Changelog:

  • Typo fixes
  • Formatting fixes
  • Clarity adjustments
  • Adjustment to the Success stat
  • Editing of the stat screen
  • Additional RO interactions

New draft, v52002! Changelog:

  • Typo fixes

  • Formatting fixes

  • Continuity fixes (Arthur is no longer in two places at once!)

  • Addressed wording on final RO decision

  • Clarified effects of certain choices

  • Added headers

  • Small code fixes


New draft, v52515! Changelog:

  • Continuity fixes
  • Typo fixes
  • Formatting fixes
  • Made The Shattered One more threatening

  • Broke up some larger walls of text
  • Added in more direct interactions with the ROs
  • Adjusted the response of the Cult of Vaults in the endgame

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New draft, v52535! Changelog:

  • Typo fixes
  • Continuity fixes
  • Formatting fixes
  • Tense corrections
  • Pronoun adjustments
  • Achievements

The beta will likely be wrapping up this week - please send in any final comments in the next few days!

The beta is now closed - thanks to everyone who sent in their comments!