Okay, the results were almost perfectly split – about half of the people I talked to or responded to my last post wanted me to keep Inaria a single-character game and the other half wanted me to convert it to a party-based game. So that was helpful.
But in the end I think the thing that’s bugging me about Inaria is that overall, it isn’t deep enough.
From my experience, there are four things the player should be able to do in an RPG:
1. Obtain items they’re not supposed to have,
2. Find out information they’re not supposed to know,
3. Get into places they aren’t supposed to be (usually so they can do either 1 or 2), and
4. Kill anyone who gets in their way.
And in general, the more ways the game provides to do all four things, the better it is. This is why Deus Ex is so revered – in general, when you came up against an obstacle, there were at least two ways around it. Needless to say, Inaria is not nearly so deep. It doesn’t just need better combat. It needs more, period. More weapons and armor, more enemies, more spells, more story. And usable items. It’s wrong of me to say, “Oh, well, it’s only going to be $4.99 so…” Inaria needs to be the best game I can ship by December 1st.