Don't be put off by the title. I'm not going Chaos and veering off in a completely new direction.
Feedback from the public demo and subsequent releases on Patreon has identified some common complaints.
1) Repetition on restarts.
2) A new player getting unlucky RNG and a 1st selection of harlots they cannot survive.
3) Lack of any kind of ending point.
I've been working on tackling 1), and I'm hoping that will be less of a problem with the accelerated restart options (I'm also looking to add The Madam's mulligan token explanation to that as well, as was suggested recently).
When someone raised 3) in an email, I thought about it, and replied with this.
"Complaints about a lack of an ending point have come up. I think I probably haven't helped myself with a very non-linear structure to the game. For other games, there's usually a 1st region, 2nd region, 3rd region, and while it's in progress people know that they're going to get region 1, then region 2 and so on. For HoHH all the region equivalents (factions, I suppose) run concurrently and the player is supposed to align with one and follow that route to that faction's end boss. Currently I'm working on completing one faction as a proof-of-concept to get to an ending. I'm wondering if I might be better off just having checkpoints - fill out to round 5, then round 10. I might put that to patrons later today. It might make for a better "endpoint" than a "we've run out of harlots", which probably doesn't make sense when there's about 40 of them! :)"
And this is that 'putting it to patrons' post. (And also on my blog for additional feedback.)
There are definitely some advantages to getting rid of that "we've run out of harlots" message. It made sense when there weren't many harlots, but likely provokes a 'huh?' from the player when they know there are nearly 40 harlots in the House and they've only seen 4 or 5 of them.
Having a checkpoint at Round 5 would also let the player feel like they've got somewhere rather than aimlessly trying out harlots until they get a weird message that they can't go on for any longer.
I can put special mid-boss encounters in these checkpoint rounds, which distinguishes them from the other harlots (they will likely have more sex scene options that are more than 'pick the right one or be drained to death').
Until I create the special mid-boss harlots, it gives me somewhere to put Hiru, Tete, Sorpresa, and the other more dangerous harlots, so they aren't murdering unsuspecting new players in the first round.
Currently, if I switch some faction numbers around, I already have enough harlots for 4 rounds + checkpoint. It would likely require writing some more hint dialogue for the Barman (to forewarn the player) and then a new ending passage. For that reason it would make sense to push v0.024 back to the end of the month as normal and make this the new, more player-friendly public demo. I might also try to be a bit more active in putting the word out this time!
There will still be new harlots as well. I finished writing the 1st draft of a new Doctoress creation this week. I might also get Volumpula properly ported over as well now I have an idea of how the mini-boss scenarios will work.
Essentially, in the short term, it means there will be a new release as normal at the end of the month, and this will be the one I want to make the new public demo.
Long-term, it's going to be a shift from going 'tall' to going 'broad' again. Rather than try to build a faction all the way to the end, I will be looking to add new harlots equally across 5 groups to get to the next checkpoint at Round 9, and then finally to the Queens at Round 13.
The work I've done with the smotherbus faction has nicely proof-of-concepted numbers and difficulty ranges. I know roughly how many I need for each group and can start filling up the other groups as the ideas come to me. I'll probably still focus factions while the ideas for them are fresh (I have a few queued up for The Doctoress's artificial beings), but I'll also be looking to fit the others in as well so it's not 'all fetish x' for a few months. I know a few of you have voiced concerns about this.
Anyway, let me know your thoughts below. It's a change of plans, but not a massive one, I think.