There's something off about lock picking in this game to me*. I've been wondering for months what it is. It's a rather simple gameplay concept: press a button and wait for it to work. Many other video games substitute this with mini-games which add a sense of randomness, player skill and control, and repercussions to picking locks. I like how WHF has no mini-game like this, but I think it loses something without that randomness, without the chance that the lock picking will fail.
It's also weird that lockpicks just disappear after a single use. If Arthur is good enough to pick locks, then he probably can do so in such a way not to twist the metal all out of sorts each time, rendering it so unusable for another lock that it's immediately discarded. (Unless the locks are cannibals, and eat the picks. But that's a different story )
What if lockpicks lasted for more than a single lock? It can be random, potentially breaking between 1 and 5 picking attempts. Each attempt can succeed after the allotted time unless it breaks. Since you wouldn't need to be constantly crafting picks with your metal bits for every single lock you encounter, you can afford to craft other items with said bits. As a trade off, metal bits can be rarer in the RNG (with other items that have been too sparse filling in the subsequent RNG gap), which adds another layer of thought and strategy to whether you want to save those metal bits or craft them into extra lockpicks.
It's that consistency of success for every lock picked that feels off. If there was a chance that this lock would be the one that breaks your pick, but you need to get inside this door to escape the Bobbies and you don't have any metal bits left... that unknowing gives you a rush of stress, anxiety, and desperation. Plus it would feel all the more satisfying when you manage to actually open the lock in the nick of time.
In a similar vein, I've been seeing a lot of complaints that Arthur is too skilled. He fights well, breaks into anything, and crafts? He knows the right plants to pick, medicines to make, plus he can sew. Are all of the playable characters going to be as well-versed in this wide range of skills? It would be interesting if every character had their specialty, but also if every character wasn't able to do everything. If Arthur can make medicine, design clothes, and break into safes, would the Scotsman or the Enigma be able to do those same things as well? I understand that Arthur is kind of bumbling his way through, so it makes sense that he tries to do a little of everything to get by, even if he doesn't succeed at it very well. But perhaps the Scotsman is better at engineering than Arthur, while the Enigma is a fighting tsunami! Or maybe the Enigma is the one who can sneak and conform the best (but can't tell a flower from poison ivy), while the Scotsman can have a knack for cooking but can't run or jump without immediately losing his breath.
Since we haven't been introduced to those playable characters and have only ever seen the world through Arthur's eyes, it's hard not to think that this gameplay is how the entire game will be. Right now it kind of feels like the entire game (sans story) has been unrolled in front of us, but that would be disappointing. It would be sad if you unlocked a new character, to find that the story has changed, but you handle them exactly the same as the previous character. That kind of monotonous gameplay would render each character as a cookie cutter, instead of fleshing them out so that their identity and capabilities matter just as much as their place in the world.
You guys are working on such amazing things, and every update surprises and delights. I've been utterly charmed with everything I've seen so far, and I know that I will be happy with however this game ultimately turns out. However, if every character brought a specific and exclusive way to survive in Wellington Wells, the game would be fantastically more nuanced and enjoyable to play. Plus the characters would feel more real, and there would be an opportunity for every player of the game to feel more drawn towards a specific character based on their abilities and not just what they have to say. To have challenges that Arthur can't face as you play through the beginning of the game--ones that the other characters can--makes WHF's possibilities even sweeter. To realize that after your first dozen passes there are pockets of the game you couldn't even conceive until you unlocked the next character makes you excited to play through the same world all over again. For a roguelike where you expect everyone to start from the beginning at least 30 times (a generous ten per character), it feels important to give players as many reasons as possible to play again. And for those reasons to not be based entirely on the story would bring this game to a whole new level.
Of course, this could already be part of your master plan. If so, I wouldn't be surprised!
Keep up the great work guys, and do us all a favor and don't get burnt out! Take mental breaks every now and again. I can't speak for everyone, but as long as the budget permits I'd be more than happy to wait as long as it will take for you all to make the best game possible and come out sane on the other side
*I've been following the forums and Let's Plays since the Kickstarter, but I'm not actually playing the Alpha, so correct me if I'm wrong about any of this!