General Feedback Pt 1
Hello people of the Political Machine forums and Stardock employees! I know I'm taking this whole 'submit suggestions and feedback' thing too seriously, but I really enjoy this game and have owned every version since its inception with Political Machine 2008. When this version finally came out and I finally got a game in, I was somewhat disappointed at the lack of new features and positive improvements over the older iterations. So, as I put more hours in the game, I'll stop by and dump off my feedback on gameplay, features and also bugs I encounter. If this gets around to anybody like Stardock, then great - if not, well at least I can say I tried to help out a franchise I enjoy.
That being said - if Stardock took the time to develop the game further and implement new features, ideas, etc. to improve upon the model - I'd easily pay 5x as much for this game. In this case, the price tag is hurting the development, or at least in my opinion.
II. Feature Suggestions / Improvement Ideas
These are in no way something I am demanding - just things I thought of as I plowed through countless opponents and made them cower before my machine - except Washington, that dude earns his keep.
- Primary Mode / Career Mode: There are many ways that this feature could be handled. Essentially, it could be an up to 8-way race between candidates of the same party with only segments of states becoming unlocked as you use your weekly turns. Eventually, after a number of turns, states would finish their primary/caucus and the winning delegates would be doled out. A threshold would be set up or another system to determine if the player qualifies to 'keep his candidate in the race'. If your candidate wins, it could even include a simulation of the primaries for the other side and then start a normal presidential round of the game, but with bonus money and awareness depending on how well your candidate did and what states they had won in, etc. The voting base could also remember issues that your candidate took a stance on and flipflopping would result in less than stellar reception.
- Campaign Mode: The ladder style tournament bracket of 2008's Political Machine where you could play as the Dem or Rep side and work your way up the pyramid to either Jefferson or Washington was awesome. It gave you incentive to play, unlockables and oh is it so sweet to finally get your favorite political party's head candidate packed with awesome stats. You even were made to play the other side in order to unlock candidates for your favorite political party, which to some people could be hard to do unless in jest. The mode with its increasing difficulty was a highlight of the first game and should be returned.
- Third Party / Custom Party: It's 2016 - we should have either the capability to run as an Independent or third party candidate. If it is too much work to add a whole slew of parties, then let the players design their own complete with a platform of issues to choose from (and put how strongly they feel about that issue) as well as let them upload their own logo or use a built in interface to make one. This can open up a 3-way race. Now third parties aren't popular and don't win in the United States you see - but this game is already about satire, why not just add the extra feature to mix it up? I'd love to run the French Toast Party with huge interest in Global Warming for no reason.
- AI Opponent Movement, Single Player: With the amount of pop ups that are generated from the game to let you know about the news, how your staffers are feeling, etc. you'd think the game could wait a moment so you could dissect the information or at least get to enjoy a bit of it. Unfortunately, during the single player game, a turn will begin and while you would normally get to figure out what you're opponent is up to in the news as well as the flavor segments about your campaign progress, your opponent is busy moving around in the background. It's hard to monitor what their moves were, if they got any special "?" mark events and any shifts in the voting trends like the states changing colors. So you have two options, enjoy the full extent of the game as Ninja Jeb! steals Pennsylvania from you or immediately close out of everything and observe as best you can. I think there should be a pause to the gameplay until you close out of those menus so that you can both learn from the data, but also keep track of your opponent's moves.
- Fixer View: I've noticed as the campaigns go on, if you have an aggressive an opponent and they keep constructing buildings, dropping ads, adding in specialists, etc. it gets very cluttered fast and it's hard to make a solid decision on what agents to take out with your Fixer specialists you purchase. It would be cool if when you click on the Fixer Icon on the side to send him out that only states with agents that can be taken out be highlighted and then allow a further zoom closer to the state if there is a lot of clutter. I've removed the wrong agent too many times, heck I've even removed somethings I couldn't even tell you what it was - only hoping it took care of my electoral problems in that area.
- Media and Questions: Within a few rounds of campaigns, I began to get an overwhelming number of the same host and same questions over and over. It was to the point where I didn't even answer a question differently between playing as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton where the issue did not have enough options to distinguish the two characters at all. Even with high intellect, the options are pretty slim sometimes. Secondly, it would be awesome to add a larger variety of news shows that appeal to different voters. Voters who watch Ellen and Oprah may think differently than voters who watch Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien. The ability to show up on day time talk shows where they ask more appealing questions about who the person is rather than hardball questions could give candidates bonuses to credibility, appearance, minority appeal, religiousness, etc. rather than what almost every other aspect of the game augments, your issue stance and how committed you are to it.
- Election Night: This was mentioned elsewhere and I didn't know what the user was discussing when they said that they wish you could slow down the election night results. When I completed my first game I saw what they meant. Now, while I can see this was done because sometimes you don't want to have to wait for every single state to light up (especially if you're being beaten badly - still looking at you Washington!) So, I'd suggest a button that's like a play, pause and fast forward button to allow the player to pick their preference. I haven't thought of a way to make the election night results more exciting or in-depth yet...
- Multiplayer Custom Slogans / Headlines: It would be cool if, in multiplayer, whenever players create Ads on issues and such they could either choose from pre-created headlines to send their opponents way or even type in customized ones to razz and tease each other. I mean, imagine if you're playing as someone like Al Gore - and suddenly you're smacked in the face with a paper that says: "Global Warming Expert Falls in love with Man Bear Pig." -- Of course you'd shake your fist in the air as you saw Washington ride by on his horse towards Delaware or wherever he plans on laying the smack down next. This could also be for creating customized slogans just for flavor. You've seen them before - "Change", "I like Ike", etc. - It'd be fun and could be a unique identifier in multiplayer.
- Campaign Staff: It would be awesome to be able to either pick or design a campaign staff. They'd play on the field just like the Vice Presidential nominees, but offer different sets of bonuses depending on who you pick - and you could even rename them so you and your good old boy friends are running for the presidency together! I was thinking Press Secretary gives a boost to your television and ground appeal in whatever state they happen to be in no matter where you are as long as you're producing headlines. A Campaign Manager could be put on a state and become immobile, from then on that state will operate as a headquarters of sorts and provide bonuses to money and other resources from that state specifically. A Campaign Finance manager could be another staffer that could be moved around once every few turns to reduce the costs of flight, ads and other things while the main candidate and the manager are in the same state. These are just rough ideas and would need some balancing.
III. Apparent Glitches and Issues
- Sometimes when you reach the third pop up window where it talks about the overall state of the race and includes quotes from staffers, the staffers on one side will be enthusiastic about their candidate: "Yeah, although we feel Washington has this in the bag we're not quitting yet!" said a staffer. - Then it shows the flip side where it describes how the losing side is still optimistic. "Don't count out our candidate Washington yet, he's tough as nails and we'll fight for every vote!" ... Yeah, you saw it. The near-final campaign summary message has the correct candidate for the staffers to talk about winning, but they'll say the same campaign winner for the losers name at the end of the quote. In my actual game, I was playing as Bernie Sanders when they suggested that they were both optimistic about my chances of winning, but also wanted to reassure me that although I was lagging behind, I'd do my best to make up ground. Ha, ha.
- This may be Steam's fault, but I had the Fantastic Finish achievement on my achievements list twice, both not unlocked cause I hadn't played that many matches yet. None the less, odd.
Well, that's all I have for now. This was kind of long because a lot of the features I'm suggesting I thought of back in 2012 while playing and just never submitted because I didn't know if it was worth while or not. Regardless of whether it is this year, I decided to post on it because I enjoy the game a lot and it didn't hurt anything other than some time to type up the ideas. Regardless of the feedback here, I am returning to play and get deeper in the difficulty, try new things, mess with the settings and see what else I can come up with and report back for General Feedback Pt II.
Thanks to those that read this or at least some of it - I'd love your ideas and feedback too if you want to build off mine or have questions as to what I presented. Sorry if the information is in anyway redundant. Until next time, happy campaigning!
- "Senator" Yoshwolf, (D-CO)