Do not buy this game, or if you already have, return it

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bicycleham

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I'm currently typing this out at 12:30AM as I'm uninstalling the game so please excuse any errors I make or my poor writing skill as I feel incredibly passionate about my stance right now and haven't written anything like this within the last two years. Regardless, people need to know about how straight up fucked this game is. If you've watched the recent quick look or any of the coverage on this game and have possibly been swayed to buy it, rethink that decision. This game is a broken mess that should not have left early access in it's current state and probably should've stayed in early access for at least another 6 months. Before I go on, I just want to say with as negative as this post is going to ultimately be, I really wanted to enjoy Wolcen, and even legitimately enjoyed the game's first few hours. I have no animosity towards the developers as people, just the decisions they've made and the game itself.

Currently the common opinion surrounding Wolcen is that the presentation and style are its strongest characteristics, and that's the truth. Wolcen does look very nice and uses the distinct 40K grimdark style combined with elements from Diablo to its advantage. The world's overall style, spell effects, and character design obviously apes on the style of various media that came before but it does it beautifully, all in conjunction with the ten ton pauldrons we've all seen in games. But for Wolcen, its style is all it really has going for it at the moment.

With the wealth of great ARPG's on the market you'd think that Wolcen's developers would have plenty of games to pull ideas and experiences from to make it play well. With the handful of loot based games that have had rocky launches strictly due to loot stagnation, you'd think that the developers would have plenty of examples to self-assess their own loot pool to make sure its loot felt meaningful. With modern games being in an age of always online "live games," you'd think that Wolcen's developers would spend some time to make sure that the "always online" route would be the best to take or that their servers would be in semi-working shape at launch or even when their game is playable. Even with almost 4 years in Early Access it just seems that Wolcen was made in some sort of vacuum where no other games like Diablo, Path of Exile, or even Destiny were ever actually released and that this game was pieced together using pre-release screenshots of those games and then some.

When you get past the tutorial and really start getting into the meat of the game, movement and combat start off feeling snappy with the dodge roll and dash attack and the aforementioned snazzy looking spell effects. But eventually you'll start to peel back the outer layers of the Wolcen onion and you'll start to find a green ogre underneath it all in the shape of an always online connection; with no talking donkey voiced by Chris Rock in sight. Spells and Attacks all have a distinctly weird input lag to them as if your computer is pinging a server somewhere to make sure it's OK for you to be casting anything. And then, assuming the server you ping gives you the OK, you'll now have to deal with the next sulfurous layer of the Wolcen onion, the wonky hitboxes and the incredibly messed up hit registration. Countless times playing this game you will cast spells that will do no damage because they flat out refuse to hit anything, completely disregarding the visual effect making obvious direct contact with the enemy. In the event the game does let you hitting a damn thing, all you've succeeded in doing is mildly pissing off the multi-staged boss you're currently fighting, doing barely any damage in comparison to their ginormous health and stun bar. You try changing up your loot and now suddenly you do weirdly different amount of damage even though the item level is a single digit higher than your previous piece of loot and its stats don't seem to affect your build in any meaningful way. You still die anyway since bosses do immense amounts of damage to you, prompting you to spend large amounts of resources to respec both your stats and passive skill points in the Path of Exile-esque skill tree. You spend 10 minutes to respec your entire tree and all invested skillpoints, because the game doesn't allow respecing of single points, and walk back into the boss fight only to be met with your untimely demise yet again. You try to formulate a new strategy based on hit and run tactics, using the dodge roll to your advantage and hitting him with your most damaging spells while he's finishing his attack string.

But none of this matters because as you cast your spell to counterattack you realize your dodge roll got you stuck on a piece of geometry directly behind the boss. You don't worry, as he's currently casting a spell in front of him so and you can see the AOE indicator on the ground facing away from you so you should be safe, except not really. Even though you're an entire 180 degrees outside the hurtbox, you've now suddenly died as the hurtboxes for enemy attacks seem to follow some kind of ninth-dimensional non-euclidean geometry not known of this earth. You walk back into the fight for what seems to be the 10th try only to get stuck on geometry again, but this time instead of getting smacked into the ninth circle of hell the game decides you're in an odd position and sends you to the forbidden tenth circle of hell where you continue to fall and fall through the skybox until you eventually end up back in the hub town. "Cool," you think, "I'll just TP back to the boss," but the game still thinks your inside the boss room and refuses to allow you to TP anywhere, forcing you to quit the game and launch it back up. Assuming your character, inventory, and player stash even saved, you'll continue to the same cycle of amazement and frustration for around 15 hours until you've beaten the story and hit the endgame.

I'd love to tell you that that's where the game really opens up. I'd love to tell you that that's where the game really gets good. I'd love to tell you anything about the endgame, but I can't because I have yet to even beat the last boss. Why you may ask? Because currently Wolcen has a game breaking bug affecting the final boss where you are unable to do any damage to him as he stands there, imposing his dumb fucking ginormous body on you like the weight of having basically wasted 15 hours of your life to get to a broken boss fight. It's a letdown. One of epic proportions to someone like me, who loves loot based games that reward individual skill in conjunction with the luck of a random drop. There's so much potential here for that magical talking Chris Rock donkey to make the Wolcen onion more palatable as he masquerades as the snappy gameplay, fundamentally good boss fight design, and amazing visuals, but the budget seems to have run out and instead of getting Chris Rock they ended up getting about 20 minutes of Kevin Hart to scream into a microphone.

It's nearly 2AM. I'm angry. Angry at the bland loot, angry at the frustrating gameplay, angry at the game breaking bugs. But most of all, I'm angrily disappointed as I was really hoping to play a modern ARPG that also does the job of looking great but this isn't that game right now. Maybe in a couple of months or maybe in a year when the dust settles and the devs and can work at their own pace, making this game the game it has the potential to be. When that time comes I can say I'd probably recommend this game, but in it's current state all this game has offered me is the opportunity to write a poorly written forum post masquerading as a review with a shoe horned Shrek reference.

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shivermetimbers

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Eddie Murphy sends his regards having been replaced by Chris Rock.

As for the game, looks like fun, but I'll wait until it's in a semiplayable state like you said.

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bicycleham

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Sombre

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#4  Edited By Sombre

What a brilliant thread btw

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Casepb

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No.

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Christoffer

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@bicycleham: Is this before or after the latest patch (1.0.4.0)? I'm having a hard time keeping up with all patches to every game but I really wanted to enjoy my weekend with Wolcen.

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bicycleham

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@christoffer: The couple of patches they’ve pushed have fixed minor bugs but most of what I’ve written is post patch. Within the first act or so you’d probably have an OK time assuming you go the melee/warrior route and don’t rely to heavily on the mage stuff. It’s not a straight up bad game, just broken.

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Ghidora

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@bicycleham While i cant really disagree with you on the kinks of this game, but i just finished it and was quite happy with my experience. Yes i may have read a bit too much about what strategies are kinda OP and how to help my survival, but i finished not really dying much after act 1. I Enjoyed the writing and voice acting eventhough sometimes it felt like they had en ongoing challange in the office of who could get the longest word in the dialogue :D To me it felt like a game that takes many good things from the before mentioned games and incorporate some great quality of life improvements to them. It needs work, and the gear could be alot more diverse, but there is some of that in the end game and hopefully more to come. Just my 2 cents.

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bicycleham

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@ghidora: It's good to hear you had a fun time playing the game and I have no doubt your story isn't dissimilar to other people's experiences with the game. It's just a damn shame I had such a rough time.

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OurSin_360

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I would buy it if it was about 20-25$ cheaper, manly just so I can get some of those OP skill points and wreck everything for a few hours lol.

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EthanielRain

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#11  Edited By EthanielRain

I was having a blast with the bow/archer type skills, didn't encounter any real bugs, until I randomly lost all progress after 25+ hours. Definitely wait for this game to get fixed...

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bicycleham

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@ethanielrain: At one point I had my stash disappear but the only thing it had was a unique item that I had drop for me early game. Even weirder was that somehow my stash came back after I relaunched the game. I guess I might have just gotten lucky or something?

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Ryan3370

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Had a good time until the act 1 boss that one hit killed me roughly 10 times in a row despite on my screen not actually getting hit. Basically stopped playing after that. Heard the campaign isn't finished anyway.

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Onemanarmyy

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#14  Edited By Onemanarmyy

I can recommend Grim Dawn as an enjoyable alternative. Path of Exile if you are attracted to the big skilltree of this. I should also check out that Victor Vran game. Those Van Helsing games were not too shabby neither..?

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bicycleham

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@onemanarmyy: I'd recommend Victor Vran if you're into playing a hybrid of Action Platformer/ARPG, it's pretty solid overall even if the production quality kinda shows through at times. It kinda feels more bare bones than Diablo 3 but it's still pretty good if you're just trying to play a simply mindless game akin to a Dynasty Warriors clone. I've also heard good things about the Van Helsing games but those don't have Hugh Jackman playing Van Helsing so I haven't put any time into them.

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JoeDangerous

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Yeah I've put about 30 hours into it, currently a lv59 mage nearly entirely focused on summoning, and I can confidently say it doesn't get less buggy. Too often map bosses spawn underneath the floor and become completely un-targetable which makes the map now impossible to finish. Heck I don't think you can even teleport out of those maps until you deal with the aforementioned glitched bosses, so you have to reset back to main menu. In a less session breaking way, the golden beetles often just run underneath the floor too, which makes it greatly strange as you wonder where the beetle went but if you keep running in its trajectory some gold continues to billow out from beneath the stones for no reason.

Of course summon AI continues to take a snooze and often stand there instead of attack creatures that are currently smacking their faces. This is an early access $20 title stuck in a, somehow, $40 1.0 title's body.

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Nong

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lvl 27 Mage here. It's an okay game for a short time only tbh rather play Party Hard

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bicycleham

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In a less session breaking way, the golden beetles often just run underneath the floor too, which makes it greatly strange as you wonder where the beetle went but if you keep running in its trajectory some gold continues to billow out from beneath the stones for no reason.

Wait was that what happened? I just assumed it did the Diablo 3 loot goblin thing and disappeared because I took too long to kill it.

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ripelivejam

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Yeah but... loot. I need it.

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Peleus

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I bought this game and had it installed for like 3 days but never launched it because right after i bought it all i saw was the swarm of people reporting game breaking bugs and multitude of issues. Decided i would just go back to Grim Dawn if i really wanted a loot game and got mine refunded.

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bicycleham

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#22  Edited By bicycleham

@ripelivejam: Well then you're in luck cause there's a deluge of games that have loot and are pretty good!

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JoeDangerous

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@joedangerous said:

In a less session breaking way, the golden beetles often just run underneath the floor too, which makes it greatly strange as you wonder where the beetle went but if you keep running in its trajectory some gold continues to billow out from beneath the stones for no reason.

Wait was that what happened? I just assumed it did the Diablo 3 loot goblin thing and disappeared because I took too long to kill it.

See that's what I assumed at first, too, but then I spent 8 actual minutes chasing a single golden beetle in a cave room when I was still in Act 1. At this point I don't know if the beetle's stay length glitched for that really long cave room or if they've all been running under the floor recently!

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htr10

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#24  Edited By htr10

Selfish request. Can someone post in this thread if a patch comes anytime soon that makes this game more playable?

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bicycleham

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@htr10: I'll keep an eye on it but the subreddit, as negative as it is, is a good place to look for any updates from the devs. They currently have a pinned topic about known issues on the current patch.

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sergeirocks

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I know this game isn't great, and I still like it more than PoE or Diablo. But I also like the warhammer inquisitor game, so there must be something wrong with my brain.