The Beta is over! Here's my thoughts and overall feedback!

Thank you Frontier, for making Planet Zoo. I've been waiting for a game like this for 15 years. (Or at least, that's how long it's been since Zoo Tycoon 2 was released! I was about 10 at the time, and I'm 25 today.) And I honestly wondered if there would never be a Zoo game like it, ever again. My little brother humorously asked: ".....what god answered your prayers, exactly?" every time he saw me playing.

My overall experience was overwhelmingly positive, and I think that's important to note, as I go through the issues I believe could be improved.

I'll start with the biggest/most important things and go downward! Mostly so we can get the "time goes by too fast" thing out of the way. Yeah, I'm sure you've heard it over and over again, but I just want to note that I DO think it's that important. And I think many players' various issues are connected to it. Like players having trouble keeping up with animal deaths, and animals reaching adulthood, animal breeding, animals' welfare depleting too quickly, mechanics barely having time to fix broken power-sources before they break all over again, having to pause the game all the time... it's a pattern. I'm not a programmer so I don't know exactly how it works-- I'd assume making the "years" go by slower would only affect animal longevity, and how long it takes for babies to grow up. Meanwhile stuff like the welfare depleting too fast, and things breaking down too frequently for mechanics to fix them, might having to be adjusted separately, am I right? I hope it's not too much for Frontier to deal with at once, because it's all equally important. It was also very hard to have a multi-species savannah habitat, as they would poo so "efficiently" the habitat looked rather nasty! But that might be a zookeeper issue.

So I guess point two should be about the keepers, then? I see this is also highly reported. I think a prime fix would be allowing for multiple keepers to tend a habitat at once. Some habitats have SO much poo to clean, and bowls to fill, that one keeper can't keep up. Allowing for multiple gates for staff to enter would also help, especially with those huge savannah enclosures! Making sure the keepers fill ALL the food trays, even when there are food enrichment items, is also a must. I suppose this bug is well-known by now. Keeper AI is pretty buggy, and I even had a baby zebra starve to death because of it. :'-( There was also a strange situation when sending many animals from the trade center to a single habitat all at once, wherein the boxes the keepers were putting down would get stuck together at the habitat gate. Just... infinitely being placed down and opening, only for no animal to appear. Very strange. I think keepers were getting stuck, unable to get around each other as they all carried their crates.

Point three is breeding balance. I really appreciate how Frontier responded to player critique on the breeding being too frequent. But balance can be hard to perfect on the first try. And it's not surprising we then ended up with breeding being too hard, after the update. I think one more adjustment will do the trick-- something in between what we started with and what we have now. I can also see a great benefit to larger litters, with animals such as lions and bears. (It's very strange when a lioness only has one cub!) When in doubt, make the breeding easier, but teach players to use contraceptives. I assume many of the challenges on career mode involve breeding goals, so there must be some sort of ideal setting, there. I'm sure Frontier knows way more about that then we do.

I think we also need alerts for animals coming of age-- especially animals like tigers, who do NOT like living in habitats with more than one male and one female. A tiger growing up without me knowing about it, and then killing/getting killed by its own sibling or parent, is rather unfair. A more noticeable alert for births would be great, too. And please make it so using contraceptives on wolves makes them stop fighting so much. Or really, any fix to make them fight less. At the very least, a pack that consists of a breeding pair and their babies who grew up, should NOT start fighting just because their offspring are adults now. Real wolf packs consist of a mom, dad, and their adult offspring, so this would make sense. I understand it's realistic for wolves to fight, when zoos try to just dump a bunch of random wolves together and force them to make a "pack." But related wolves shouldn't have this problem.

Point five: I would highly appreciate more range in animals' preference for plant coverage. It's hard to use the creative aspect of the game, when wolves won't even let you make a forest for them. Making them more tolerant of a wider range of foliage would be great. At the very least, this should be optional in sandbox mode.

Point six: The paths. Oh my god, the paths. I totally understand why you imported the pathing system from PlanCo, to save on time and resources. But even if it takes months, or even years after the actual release in November.... I dream of one day having a better pathing system in Planet Zoo. Maybe? One day? Please?...

As for bugs, there are a couple I don't see reported often: there's an issue on the "compare mates" panel if you click it from the trade market. When viewing the for-sale animal with the animals you have in the zoo, it works fine. If you then change that for-sale animal to one of your own zoo animals, (say the for-sale animal is male, and you want to "change father") it also works. The data changes accordingly. BUT, if you change back to that for-sale animal, to look at it's data again, the birthrate percentage stays frozen one the data from the previous panel. (That of your in-zoo father.)

The other bug occurs when an animal gives birth-- sometimes the new offspring and the mother are frozen just standing beside each other. Their welfare depletes and they don't do anything. I had this happen with my grizzly bears. Oh, and the boxed lemurs. So much hassle with the lemurs being boxed randomly in the Goodwin House tutorial.. and no notes from the game on WHY they were boxed.

I've heard this is only temporary, but I'm not sure: animals can't really climb as well as they should. I had a super easy slope made of rocks for my tigers to climb. But the habitat map showed those rocks as inaccessible to them. This is a bit silly, as a tiger should EASILY be able to climb those rocks! I would greatly appreciate adjustments to this, if it's possible.

Now I saved this point for last, because it's entirely cosmetic. But I would love more variety in animals' colours and patterns. Particularly with animals like wolves and bears. Timber wolves aren't all grey-- they come in black, white, brown, red, and even blonde! Grizzly bears also range from black to blonde, and the males aren't all darker than the females. (That's kinda silly.) I'm sure this could easily be implemented later, as Planet Zoo is a Steam game and can be updated at any time. I'm also tempted to mention wishlist stuff, like guest facilities that they will play for, that could increase guest happiness and/or education! (Educational movie theater? Shows and games? Playgrounds and large gift shops?) I know I should go to the "wishlist" page for that... but what's a zoo without a giftshop? ;-)


I'd totally understand if the problems I listed weren't ALL fixed by final release. I've heard Planet Coaster got better and better with age, and I'll have ALL the patience in the world with Planet Zoo. Especially if Frontier keeps their great track record of listening to fan feedback! I'm so thrilled we finally have another Zoo Sim. :'-) Thank you, Frontier!


Here are some more Final Beta Feedbacks from other players that I think deserve a read, too! There's some pretty great points and ideas in here:

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/some-post-beta-suggestions.526003/

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/overall-beta-feedback-dump.525838/

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/beta-feedback-if-you-click-on-an-animal-please-dont-make-it-blue.526019/

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/ui-ux-feedback.523064/

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/feedback-after-43-hours.526006/

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/my-feedback-after-149-hours-mostly-in-franchise.526010/#post-8072345

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/planet-zoo-beta-feedback.526030/

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/my-review-about-beta.526063/

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/various-animal-bugs-feedback-add-yours-too.526065/

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/my-impression-of-beta.526097/
 
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Thanks for the feedback! Now that the Beta is over we are going to be going through all of the feedback shared so that we can review the information for launch.
Although we know we post here so you guys read this it's so lovely to see you guys respond so thank you!

Also +1 for the timescale/speed issue, hopefully there will be options for this on launch to so the players cna have the right scale/speed to suit them :D
 
Great feedback.

I think one more adjustment will do the trick-- something in between what we started with and what we have now. I can also see a great benefit to larger litters, with animals such as lions and bears. (It's very strange when a lioness only has one cub!) When in doubt, make the breeding easier, but teach players to use contraceptives.
This is what I would call the most important fix I'd like to see in the launch version.
 
Thanks for the feedback! Now that the Beta is over we are going to be going through all of the feedback shared so that we can review the information for launch.
Thank you very much! You guys are amazing.

There's one thing I forgot to mention: If you're ever considering new ideas for future challenges, or DLC career-mode scenarios, I highly recommend looking at most of the maps in Roller Coaster Tycoon 1, and the scenario-mode maps in Zoo Tycoon 1. Those maps are rarely flat or sparse - you'd have to build your parks on a mountainside, in craggy cliffs, around a river, on islands in the middle of a lake, or in a crater! (This was something desperately missing from Zoo Tycoon 2, RCT3, and Planet Coaster...) I think it'd be great if certain maps in career mode were like this. But I totally understand that the story-mode maps are finalized already, most likely. Maybe for a future DLC or expansion?
 
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Point five: I would highly appreciate more range in animals' preference for plant coverage. It's hard to use the creative aspect of the game, when wolves won't even let you make a forest for them. Making them more tolerant of a wider range of foliage would be great. At the very least, this should be optional in sandbox mode.
This, Frontier, This!!!

Same for terrain type. Ofcourse, let the animals tell us what terrain types they require and which ones they hate, but please let us have more freedom in how much of each we give them. I want to be able to give my tigers a very grassy enclosure, not one covered in sand and soil.

Creating enclosures is the most fun part of the game for me, but it's too limited if I also want to have my animals at 100% happiness.
 
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