How hard would you want "Stalker Mode" to be if you had a choice


HOW HARD would you want "stalker mode" to be, if you had a choice?  

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I, like many of you, love the latest updates to TLD. Just curious to find out what you all think of "Stalker Mode".

I think it should be harder. The description in the game menu specifically tells you that Stalker is for people who want a punishing, challenging experience. I don't think it's quite difficult enough

Forum moved to the general discussion. My own two cents: winter stalker shouldn't be survivable indefinitely. I would really just like there to be fewer animals and slower condition recovery. I r

We hardcore stalker players who can't have it difficult enough are a small minority. This thread should rather be in the general discussion forum, as it is not formulated as a wish for a certain feature.

Edited by Hotzn
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4 hours ago, Hotzn said:

We hardcore stalker players who can't have it difficult enough are a small minority.

I've often wondered what the "makeup" of the community is. What percent play pilgrim, voyager, or stalker. I've tried all modes, and there's certain things I enjoy about each of them.

You're right Hotzn, about this thread perhaps being in discussion forum.........but it can also be considered a "future wishlist" for the hardcore stalker player :)

Edited by cowboymrh
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I think it should be harder. The description in the game menu specifically tells you that Stalker is for people who want a punishing, challenging experience. I don't think it's quite difficult enough for experienced players - if you can survive for hundreds of days in Voyageur, then you can survive for hundreds of days in Stalker (once you get used to the difference in the way fires warm you up).

I think there shouldn't be any guarantee of finding at least one of each tool or weapon on your starting map - or on the others, for that matter. Spending an extended time without a hatchet or a knife or a rifle, say, forces you to play the game differently than usual and makes for more interesting and varied experiences. It's certainly not impossible to survive without them, especially if you've chosen Stalker because you specifically want that extra challenge. The high-end, 'special' equipment - stuff like expedition parkas, stims, insulated boots - are also too common, I think. As are weapons and ammo, and possibly even flares. I've got several spares of each in my current Stalker game, and I've only explored one map fully and a little bit of a second one. (This is my first ever Stalker play-through, I might add.)

The other thing I would definitely change is to make indoor shelters colder, so that more - if not all - functioned in a similar way to the Mountaineer's hut on TWM. I've gone on at length about this in another thread so I won't repeat it here, but I don't think it's right that they provide automatic warmth regain without you having to actually do anything to get it.

The abundance of wildlife and fish to eat could be adjusted so that they don't reappear so quickly if you're harvesting the same area repeatedly. I also hope for some AI improvements, especially in deer, so that they are more flighty and run farther away when you spook them (and don't blithely amble straight back to you again after they've calmed down!).

Maybe 'hardcore', experienced, punishment-junkies (if that's the right way of putting it) are a small minority, but I still think that's who Stalker should be for!

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Forum moved to the general discussion.

My own two cents: winter stalker shouldn't be survivable indefinitely. I would really just like there to be fewer animals and slower condition recovery. I really like how stalker starts but as you hunt and fish out a location it should become barren so you need to move on. Also, condition loss recovery is way to easy so there's no downside to taking crazy risks. Indefinite winter survival is not sustainable.

Of course, if and when seasons are implemented than the needs (and potential) for stalker mode will change dramatically

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I like how the recent update has affected Stalker, wolves are a bit more of a wiIdcard, i.e. the chance of being attacked by a wolf while holding a lit flare is much higher, and they aren't as tethered to their spawn points.

I have been an advocate for colder interiors for quite a while, I really think that would be enemy No. 1 for somebody in this situation. It would require a significant re-working of the fire mechanic and everything that supports it, a lot of work, but worth it in my opinion.

Sam

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1 minute ago, Rusty_Old_F250 said:

I like how the recent update has affected Stalker, wolves are a bit more of a wiIdcard, i.e. the chance of being attacked by a wolf while holding a lit flare is much higher, and they aren't as tethered to their spawn points.

I have been an advocate for colder interiors for quite a while, I really think that would be enemy No. 1 for somebody in this situation. It would require a significant re-working of the fire mechanic and everything that supports it, a lot of work, but worth it in my opinion.

Sam

Like having a fire (or at least a bed of coals) last the night if it's in a stove? If so, I'd be OK with that to.

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Yup, I would really like having the option to turn down the damper and get a nice slow fire. That and having the interior retain heat for a significant amount of time once the fire itself is out. Places like trappers homestead, the farmhouse and the houses in coastal highway would have pretty decent insulation and should stay nice and cozy for a few hours at least. The mountaineers hut on the other hand... :durbear:

Sam

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To continue the discussion, I'm satisfied with the difficulty Stalker presents early in the game (especially on timberwolf!) but the issue is, all the challenge is in the first few weeks. Once we find enough gear, get some decent clothes, the difficulty reaches a "plateau" and survival is much, much easier. I would be ok with that, provided there are new challenges to face (gradually shorter, colder days to simulate getting deeper into winter, for example), or even just new new stuff to do, like the safehouse customizing mentioned in the roadmap. Another idea is making those those blocked off parts of the mine, etc etc. clear able and have them lead to other small areas with special collectibles or other high value items (ammunition, kerosene, painkillers, antibiotics etc) Make the cost for opening up these areas high enough so a player only a few days in won't have the resources to open it, or won't want to bother. 

Just an idea!

Sam

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It's pretty obvious from the early voting, that the majority of players want a stalker mode so tough that survival of over 200 or 300 days would be next to impossible. I agree with that.

I guess if I was "King of the world" and could tweak the game to make that possible, I would probably start with the amount of loot. I would probably drop the loot percentage to 50% of what it is now. I would also make the spawning of certain "high value" tools such as hatchet and hacksaw much less predictable.

Make it so "there might not be a hacksaw at the summit, or the mountaineers cabin" or perhaps not even on Timberwolf Mountain map at all!! This would make players stop and ask themselves, do I really want to risk that early trip to the summit and not be able to open containers!!

Another thing I would do is make the weather colder by about 5% overall with one exception! Timberwolf Mountain, because it is an alpine map, I would make colder by 10% more than it is now. This would make that great map a really scary place to go and make you wonder if it's really worth the risk to try to raid those containers.

And the last thing would be to make condition recovery much slower especially from animal attacks. This would make venturing outside after a recent animal attack much riskier if your condition was only 70% as opposed to 100% but you were forced to because of dwindling supplies.

I think condition recovery from animal attacks should only be about 10% per day. It's not unreasonable to think that a violent animal attack which drops your condition to 50% would take you 5 days to fully recover from!

Of course, like the rest of you, I'm fine waiting til after the story mode release before something like this is even considered. Just a future wishlist!:)

Edited by cowboymrh
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One thing I would do to make Stalker instantly more difficult is make it so you have to melt water to drink it. And keep a maximum amount of water liquid. Say one or two liter bottles could be kept liquid. When they introduce the multi-tasking cooking mechanic which is on the road map and we have yet to see how this will work, it would be great if one of the things we'd have to do is also make water liquid instead of always assuming it to be liquid. 

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Not sure I understand what you mean, the process usually is: melt, then boil and that's since I play TLD. Or do you mean after we've bottled it? That'd be okay but then we also would need the ability to insulate our bottles because if this would happen in RL once, the next time I go outside I'd put some fur around the bottle to keep it liquid.

I think with the recent changes it is already becoming harder than it was to live a long life. I still think there is too much loot around and I would welcome a bigger emphasize on crafting than finding but with cabin fewer and especially parasits in wolf/bear meat the game is going in the right direction, difficult and realism-wise. What I wished though is that  parasits wouldn't be so easy to cure, in fact I would limit it to once or twice per playthrough - if you are lucky. I want wolves and bears taken off the menu completely and only be an option in the most desperate of times.

Then limit the respawn times of animals, especially deer and rabbits. If you kill a deer he won't come back for at least 180 days as a baby (with half the meat), 360 days full grown, rabbits at double the rate. Or even make it seasonal, have the map "produce" new game and fish only once a year. But then give us some option to grow food indoor (Martian anyone?), harvestable every 3-6 months.

You might guess that I was the one who chose the option "1000 days or more..." in the survey, I don't want to die no matter what I do, if I am able to plan ahead and make the right choices I should be able to survive. But it should be a struggle and really tough, you find growable seeds only in very few places across all maps - randomized of course - deers are hiding in forests and not waiting to be shot right outside your doorstep, finding a good spot to fish should be a challenge and not a given in every hut. Get rid of the rifle or severely limit the amount of bullets you can find, make the bow and arrows require some regular maintenance to be usefull.

And finally, make the implications of getting any affliction much more severe, if you get hypothermic or have an infection you should be limited to only walk slowly (similar to when you are down to 2-5% condition), a sprained ankle should prevent you from running and with a sprained wrists you won't be holding a rifle or a bow for a week or two. As in real life, conducting an affliction you were not prepared for should mean almost certain death.

Then we can talk about a real challenge that deserves the ingame description of Stalker mode while still allowing for long time survival ;)

Edited by ChillPlayer
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Hi Chill welcome back. Hope your time in Dark Souls 3. 

Water right now, Abstract Bottles, Abstract Snow, take snow, melt it then you have tangible dangerous to drink water in unlimited container supply, then you boil this water and once boiled it never freezes again. See what I mean. So the next step I see regarding making the game more difficult but not unreasonably so is making water subject to the environment.

Water wouldn't be directly subject to windchill but should/would be subject to the temperature of the environment. All of the interiors are below 32F and the exterior in TLD is never above 32F so the only thing that should be keeping water liquid would be the energy in the water from the initial boiling. However once that water freezes it then again is ice. You can't drink ice.

My increased level of difficulty for Stalker would be that you have to melt liquids. This would necessitate a fire daily which would be more challenging. It would also prevent you from drinking without the ability to build a fire. Now you suggested that you'd have to wrap water to insulate it and that would indeed work to a point but even the best insulation isn't creating any heat, and so the heat inside the water is slowing being lost to the environment through the insulation. 

I also support the idea of having to locate the capacity you have for water. Instead of being able to leverage the unlimited supply of fuel by making an unlimited supply of water we should have to locate the containers for it. 

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I'm not sure I'd be too averse to having the effects you get when you're on less than 10% condition - reduced visibility, sound - start to happen as soon as you begin losing condition from 99%, and then be graded across the whole condition spectrum. At the moment, condition loss is just a number on the screen, but if it affected the game more, I think I'd be more careful about avoiding it.

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Ice water wouldn't be too bad though. You can always keep a bottle or two warm just by keeping it under you jacket. Having 10L be liquid all the time is a little less practical. However, I think this would need to be worked into a general interior improvement with how fires heat and how insulation works. Even in cold weather, a stove with a good bed of coals could easily keep a place like the trapper's cabin warm all day. Your water wouldn't freeze then provided you always remember to keep the fire going (like a fir log every 5-6 hours. Forget and let the fire go out then you may come back to freezing bottles. It would still take several hours though to freeze solid as long as the bottles weren't outside in the snow.

This would also make pop more valuable since the sugar and pressurization would keep it liquid even in subzero conditions.

 

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I agree Cekivi. But I also think there should be costs for both keeping water in under your jacket. In a cold environment water inside a bottle in any quantity would lose heat rapidly, effectively making the water bottle a heatsink which rapidly depletes heat from the body. Were it directly exposed to air, water causes skin to lose heat about 25X faster than air. So the cost would be increasing your cold drain. Keeping 10L of liquid around is also less practical but fact is you can essentially leverage water indefinitely and in create an infinite supply. There is also no cost to containing it, no loss once the water is created. You never spill it, it never evaporates it. If you keep a fire and coal going and keep the ambient temperature of the rooms at 40-45 constantly that would be good. Once water is liquid it holds a substantial amount of heat energy, and is twice as difficult to heat up then when it is in solid or or gas form. I'm not advocating super realism here just that after a day of running around that a bottle of water can freeze, and so you can't drink it unless you heat it up. The benefit of heating it would be that it takes less time than boiling water from snow but it should still cost fuel. This would be legit difficulty. We have a system of "wetness" for wet clothes when you fall through thin ice, should work similar for liquid bottled water. Each bottle could have its own characteristic and when you combine them you preserve the liquidity because you preserve the heat. When you divide the size you reduce the tolerance to heat loss. Perhaps another reason to carry a larger quantity of water. All tradeoffs which make good sense for difficulty. 

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Regarding water inside, a lot of older style farm houses had a hot water tank built into the stove. It radiate heats and provides ample quantities of near boiling water for cooking and cleaning. It's actually odd that the Pleasant Valley Farmhouse doesn't have this style of stove...

When camping if we have a shack we always leave a large (10-20L) pot of water on the stove. If the fire goes out it keeps the shack a little warm as it gives off heat for quite a while and the water itself is great for cleaning. Nothing like warm water after a long day outside! ^_^

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The idea of making Stalker harder is pretty old. Let me point out a few results of the discussions and how Hinterland reacted.

-the majority don't want a "fix" end. (no maximum of days to survive)

-the majority here in the forum are players who know the game and its mechanics well. Regardin g the difficulty, dont forget that 90% of the players play very diffrent and for most of them, pilgrim is challenging enough.

-there are two ways of making stalker harder. 1. reduce the loot - 2. tweak mechanics (weather/condition/decayrate ....). Not only Hinterland didnt reduce the loot, they added even more so its basicly impossible to run out of nessecary things (for example matches with the last update) On the other hand, they tweaked the mechanics to make it harder (like the torch, wolves ignore fire ...). I think that this is the better approach.

To conclude, a request to reduce the amount of loot or to limit the maximum of days to survive will not be added. If you take a closer look how the game developed you can clearly see that this is the opposite of what Hinterland is doing.

One more argument: Look at the challenges! If you would limit the game for lets say 200 days by balancing loot and so on, it wouldnt take long for us to find out the best way to reach that goal. After that we would grow e-penises at the leaderboard about who survived a few hours more than 200 days ..... or most likely just stop playing TLD.

-The only way to make Stalker harder is to tweak the mechanics more (for example making fishing harder, less burning time, lower firestarting skill ...... whatever). But this would lead to the question if this would make sense anyway, because right now stalker is to hard already for 90% of the players. So whats the point? Sure, it would be fine for me and few others here in the forum, but not for the majority.

The thing is, TLD is game, when you know a how something works, than it becomes easy. This means, if you make the game harder, it will be harder for a very short time (for the hardcoreplayers). So we would permanently ask to make stalker harder with each update. At some point, for all other players, Stalker will be impossible to play. I personally appreciate the hours of entertainment i had with TLD so far, and there is more to come. I mean you pay a few dollars and have hundrets of hours of entertainment, and you will need these hours to become a Stalker-veteran. For me, overall it is fine as it is.

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I generally like the idea of having water (and soda) frozen at temperatures below 0°C (or -5°C, respectively), but I agree that a rework of the current fire mechanics (heat output and especially duration of coals from burnt-out fires) would be necessary. I also like the idea of keeping water liquid with your body heat, but I think this should definitely be a bit more complex than just a temperature drain by default.

8 hours ago, KD7BCH said:

I agree Cekivi. But I also think there should be costs for both keeping water in under your jacket. In a cold environment water inside a bottle in any quantity would lose heat rapidly, effectively making the water bottle a heatsink which rapidly depletes heat from the body.

I'm not so sure about that. If I were in a TLD-like situation and wanted to keep e.g. 2l of water liquid, I would boil the water, wait until it has cooled down to a somehow pleasant temperature (e.g. 50°C), fill it into a 2l bottle and place the warm bottle between my sweater and my coat. This way, the water bottle should rather give you a heat bonus for several hours and not deplete any heat at all. The latter would of course be the case if you decide to heat up a frozen water bottle under your coat.

Guess you could theoretically use a scarf wrapped around your waist to fix the bottle (more or less like a baby sling, just that you're not trying to fix a baby but a bottle:silly:). Or you might simply carry the bottle in front of your belly (and under your coat) inside a bag with a shoulder belt.

TL, DR:

I'm all for frozen water, but please combined with water having a certain (ofc. variable) temperature and the option to store not only cold, but also warm water below your clothes. :normal:

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All this keeping water under your clothes would require a complete remake of how the inventory works. Currently, even the clothes we are wearing count towards the 'backpack' weight, so having water bottles wrapped in various garments seems pretty far off.

I'd be happy if all water would freeze unless you stored it in indoor containers or on your person. That would be simple, plus it would serve to limit the amount of water you can store efficiently, at least to an extent.

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7 hours ago, MueckE said:

 because right now stalker is to hard already for 90% of the players. So whats the point? Sure, it would be fine for me and few others here in the forum, but not for the majority.

 At some point, for all other players, Stalker will be impossible to play.

No disrespect MueckE, but how do you know that Stalker mode is already hard for 90% of the players???? Where do you get your data to support that statement??

And how do you know that it would be "impossible to play for all other players" except for a select few??

I'm sure there are many excellent players out there who have never once posted in the forums, that could easily survive longer than many of us!! ;)

As for me..... I don't know how hard most people think Stalker mode is (or how hard it should be), that's why I posted the poll ...... to try to get a better idea:)

 

Also I think that making the game so hard that the very best could only survive maybe100 or 200 days would have the opposite effect of what you said!

If my best run was 200 days, I'm going to be much more likely to start another run and try to make to 201 days than I would if my best run was 1200 days! The thought of trying to make it another 1201 days just to beat my record would be very un-appealing, whereas 200 days,..... not a big deal!

And as far as leaderboards? .... this game really doesn't need one! ........ I prefer competing against myself!

For me...what it comes down to is this........ I you want to play to infinity (1000 days or more) ..... you already have pilgrim and voyager mode!!

Why not make Stalker mode as tough as nails!!

 

Edited by cowboymrh
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8 minutes ago, cowboymrh said:

No disrespect MueckE, but how do you know that Stalker mode is already hard for 90% of the players???? Where do you get your data to support that statement??

And how do you know that it would be "impossible to play for all other players" except for a select few??

I'm sure there are many excellent players out there who have never once posted in the forums, that could easily survive longer than many of us!! ;)

As for me..... I don't know how hard most people think Stalker mode is (or how hard it should be), that's why I posted the poll ...... to try to get a better idea:)

In defense of MeuckE: I remember reading somewhere that only about 10-15% of TLD players actually play stalker, the vast majority prefers voyageur or pilgrim. Hinterland have data about this, the info came from them iirc. I found that quite the surprise, but there you go - I just assumed most players were like me (the more difficult, the better), but it seems they are not. However - and this was also voiced by Hinterland iirc - the stalker players are a lot more vocal on the forums than the "quiet majority". Now all this does not necessarily translate into the assumption that stalker mode is too hard for the other 85-90%. But it is safe to assume that there is at least some correlation to difficulty, and that if stalker would be made harder, even less people would play it. There would be a point where it is not commercially viable for a developer to put extra resources into a certain mode that very few customers even use. Unless... well, unless it is helpful for marketing the game if you can say, "there is that super-hard mode that very few people will even be able to play".

There is something different I would like to mention - it has to do with how the sandbox has changed over time. When I bought the game, the player would die quite soon, there was just no way around it. The only renewable resources were water, firewood, wolves and fish. But all these would cost you something non-renewable, especially wolves and fish - every fight with a wolf could be deadly, and you had to use a bandage afterwards (cloth was a very rare resource at the time). And fishing would cause you to lose your fishing line earlier or later (endless rabbit guts were not existent). Surviving 50 days was very, very difficult, and you had to be a bit lucky as well. Now, on the other hand, you can survive thousands of days , maybe tens of thousands. You can survive for so long that I have no intention of ever testing it out. Because of that, the whole tone of the game has changed. In the beginning, it was a dying game - a gritty, relentless experience. It was only a matter of time. That made the game special and gave it a curious athmosphere, being confronted with a limited number of days made me think about life itself. But... the game changed. Now we are talking about difficulty, because the possibility of survival exists. At least you can survive for such a long time that death has become an abstract, very far-away thing (although, interestingly, the sheer perception of some resources running out at some point in the future seems to disturb some people, it appears many generally do not want to have an idea of death even lingering around). So now the question is, "will you survive or will you die"? And that brings about difficulty. It may be more or less difficult to survive. Whereas before, the only question was how many days you would be able to hold off the inevitable.

Now I am not saying the game should go back. Life is ever-changing, and the game is evolving and turning corners just like life itself. That's a good thing. I would like to suggest, however, that the devs could add a fourth "experience" mode and bring back death. A game mode in which you cannot survive long-term, indeed in which you necessarily die within a short timeframe. I would like that mode to be called "snowflake" - not something dramatic and animal-related like voyageur or stalker, but something small & quiet...

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