Check your planning menu, it gives you ideas for what to explore to find. Also gives you specific spells to get, etc.
To some extent, this is what the game is: it's big, it's open, you have to set your own goals to help you reach your long term goal of killing the overlord. If you wander through every room in every random building, that's going to be boring as heck. It sounds like you just went into some sort of random office building or something and wandered around scavenging. To some extent you need to meet the game halfway and learn to scout effectively by using the maps, etc. Which is mostly just about observation and looking at the tooltips, etc. But also the intro mission kind of covered that, too.
There are, literally, thousands of random buildings in the world. You could spend 10-30 minutes completely exploring each one. It would be boring and pointless. But there are stashes in each one, and you can quickly locate those, get the goods, and get out. But that's not really the main thrust of the game either, because that's not helping you to actually get more spells. It's just helping you to get prepared for missions (get more platforms, upgrade stones, etc).
When it turns you loose in the world map for the first time, it pretty well says most of that. It also suggests you check your planning menu and decide which long-range spells to pursue. If you just wandered off into buildings instead of doing that... well, that's valid to do, but if you don't enjoy it I suggest something else.
I'm not trying to be flippant, but I'm pretty tired and it sounds like you are as well. At any rate, it's kind of like AI War: you just looted some random mark I planet that had nothing on it, simply because you saw it. Not very useful! I mean, sure, some use -- but not as much as the effort you put into it. AI War galaxies are miniscule compared to the world in AVWW, so you have to pick and choose your targets even more carefully. Not because the AI will Get You if you don't, but because you won't get much done if you don't.
Volatar: Combat difficulty adjusts the speed of enemy attacks, as well as damage dealt. Sounds like it's a bit high for now.
Sorry if I sounded rude. But you must remember I've not kept track of how the game has developed at all. I'm a player virgin. If you aren't supposed to fully explore buildings, you really need to say it ingame. You need to say it in the tutorial building. You need to say it again in the map. I don't remember anywhere in game that says (don't fully explore buildings). It probably was said, but it was stuffed in a load of other unrelated things, so I skimmed over it and didn't realize its importance. It is important enough to say multiple times in multiple ways because 1) It is not something you want to pick up by intuition. If you do, it comes not as a positive thought, but as a negative one in frustration 2) With the intro in its current form, buildings come across as opposite of this game wide philosophy.
I've thought about that map you were talking about, and I have been using it. I know where the doors are yes. The tutorial went over that, yes. But when in an area with 20 rooms and one exit I frankly don't see any method other then guessing to get out. That is frustrating. The intro sets a poor standard for building exploration, from what you are telling me. The intro building was small and filled with goodies in most of the rooms. I thought the intro was trying to introduce me to the game, so I thought that was how all buildings were. The gravestones didn't tell me no, you don't want to fully explore buildings, they will be three times as big and complex and have a third of the goodies.
I'm sorry if I'm sounding rude, but I am treating the game a lot like the "casual" player will treat it. Meaning I will read those gravestones because they are short reads. But walls of text I will skim. You may not think hand holding should be used at all, but if you don't at the very least hand hold a little to each, you will cause frustration to the majority of players.
I think you have a great game here. The problem right now is that you have a difficulty curve. Not a curve in that "monsters are always killing me! (although the tutorial does set that somewhat high actually)." But in a "how do I accomplish my goals!" kind of thing.
Like I just tried to do as you suggested and try again to read that planning menu. But it loaded me up super low health in a middle of the dungeon, and if I had remembered the way out before the dungeon I don't know now. There are 3 doors and each lead to 3 more doors and there are level numbers but they get mixed up so don't help that much...I JUST WANT TO GET OUT!
I know I'm sounding whiney here. But I'm being honest, if you think I'm whining, then you must make a choice. You will keep the game really, really, small, for the dedicated fans of this genre. Or you can do some tweaks for those players jumping in and wanting their hand held a little for, say, the first lieutenant (are there those?), and then give the player the current setup of no hand holding.
When time is precious and I'm trying a demo, I need
to learn by doing
, and not be backround reading, as much as possible, so that I can give my precious time to decide if the game is fun. Everyone I know who tries demos says the same thing.
Right now I feel like I keep jumping into the game and drowning. I'm looking for a lifeguard to help teach me to swim, or at least direct me to the shallow end, or at the very least get me out of the water so I can try again (see below) and there is none in game.
At the very least, please please please. Give me a spell to return to the surface. I'm lost.