mystifeid

The Will To Live

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...day 499. I have about 2 hours left as I scour the countryside above Coastal Townsite for the bear I'd shot the previous evening. The wolf sees me before I see it. No problem. Get it over with quickly. Another one to add to the tally. I draw my bow and the wolf charges. It evades the lethal hit and the struggle ensues. To my horror, my hatchet is not offered as a weapon. I'm still trying to think where on earth my hatchet could be before I realize that I've chosen the hammer instead of the knife and that I've already lost an alarming amount of health. I start clicking like a madman...

First, let me congratulate anyone who has acquired the "Will To Live" achievement at any level of difficulty. You are a true devotee of the game and must really, really love it. Please be aware though, any wishes/criticisms listed below apply only to Interloper.

I think I started playing this game at about 1950 hours. Here I am now.

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I remember the emotion from seeing 2k hours go by but that feeling seems like it happened a long time ago now. Nearly 200 hours for one game is a big investment of time and I'm really glad that last wolf didn't eat me. Overall there is substantial relief from knowing that, as things stand, I never have to do this again.

Since I had never tried to map the sandbox before I found that this activity, along with the addition of the Mountain Town and Broken Railroad regions, brought a new level of interest to the game despite any disappointment from not triggering the "Faithful Cartographer" achievement.

Moose and the broken rib affliction are also welcome extras until you realize that
- they don't bleed out but can be insta-killed.
- they don't seem to respawn.

So six moose in 500 days. They are interesting diversions but hardly long lasting entertainment. Get those broken ribs while you can.

However the provision of the moose hide satchel and the reduction in weight from worn clothing was desperately needed at least as far as rope climbing is concerned.

After completing my mapping efforts at around day 280 and failing to see any awarded achievement, my thoughts naturally turned to surviving for 500 days. And it was here that the game started to fail. Up to that point time had flown by but once I moved into first one comfort zone - Mystery Lake for 100 days - and then another - Coastal Highway for the final 100 days - time started to crawl past. The biggest threat to my survival then became falling asleep at the wheel. For the last 200 days this game has been a wonderful soporific and I can recommend it to anyone who has trouble sleeping.

Maybe if I'd been playing more I might have gone to Pleasant Valley and Timberwolf Mountain instead but there was no way I was going to jeopardize  three hundred days of game time if I could help it. I feel that the game, at this level, should not have these comfort zones. Without more or less constant stress there is no excitement.

What makes Pleasant Valley stressful? I find that it's mainly the air temperature. I think that if the other regions were as cold as Pleasant Valley it would be much easier to remain invested in the game.

I was surprised once in an old game when I found that I had more than 80kg of cooked meat outside the Farmstead and thought that was bad. Too much game. So you can imagine how I felt in this game when after the same period of time I had nearly 400kg outside two locations in Mystery Lake. After that, I made Coastal Highway look like an abattoir. Why is such a proliferation of game necessary? The answer seems to be that given a base  there is really little else to do in the game besides hunt.

For the first time I discovered that it was possible to eat ruined cooked meat. It's hard to pass up when you know about it but I don't think I've ever eaten meat that was at less than 50% condition before. Given the amount of meat it is possible to gather it is obviously not necessary either. (In the stats below there is an 800kg discrepancy between meat consumed and harvested. That 800kg is still out there, available to be eaten).

Perhaps the simplest way of correcting this anomaly would be to remove the immunity from food poisoning provided by level 5 cooking. This would have side benefits like, at current putrefaction rates, making expedient bear carcass harvesting that much more important. If you shot a bear and then a blizzard started up, all or most of the meat could easily be inedible before there was a chance to harvest the carcass.

There were other cheats in this game like taking an extra box of matches or two from the Pleasant Valley Farmstead basement when it was resetting in v1.19. But I try my best not to reload the game at critical junctures. I remember, again in an old game, leaving my bedroll in Mystery Lake before moving to Coastal Highway. The subsequent trip to retrieve it provided the hardest and most stressful experience I've ever had in TLD. Ultimately it was also the most rewarding, yet at the time, if I could've reloaded the game to retrieve the bedroll, I probably would have. It was a salutory lesson. However, if I wake up and forget that I've run out of water and drink my rosehip tea instead, make no mistake. I reload the game.

Although I had given myself no brief for the destruction of wildlife, I found myself hunting bears. At first this was purely to maintain my bearskin jacket but after a wolf destroyed my bedroll around day 310 and I was forced to craft a bearskin bedroll, the urgency increased. In total I brought down 24 bears and while this may not seem like many to a Stalker player, with the 50 day respawn in Interloper this number is not too shabby and once every 50 days or so I was able to repair my bearskin items.

However, the best moment in 500 days, the ultimate thrill, the piece de resistance came from walking, on day 410, through the fog into the middle of a wolf pack on the ice near Coastal Townsite. They were very close. It probably would have been easy enough to retreat to my base or light a fire but the devil in me was craving some excitement. I drew my bow and two wolves charged simultaneously, although from different distances. The first arrow sped true and there was only just enough time to nock the second arrow, draw and fire into the burgeoning face of the second wolf. This arrow made the third wolf charge but the seconds I had to prepare felt leisurely by comparison and very soon it joined it's fellows at my feet.

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Certainly it brought back memories and confirmed for me that whether it's simply because of the primal fear instilled by the sound of the wolves or for some other reason, successfully deleting a wolf pack, while giving them every chance, is the greatest thrill in the game.

I find that I'm more than a little upset that the "Skilled Survivor" achievement is not possible in Interloper and strongly feel that the wording of the achievement should be changed to "Get all possible skills..." to correct the fact that I must now play hundreds of days in one of the easier modes to gain the achievement. This is the first time I've reached level 5 fishing in Interloper and is the main reason I moved to Coastal Highway at around day 400. In the end I reached level 5 on day 495. Good to know I may as well have not bothered.

I'm a little curious how many Interloper locations other people have discovered. I did notice that the "world explored" stat reached 100% at around 195 locations even though I later added more.

Anyway, (mainly) for my later reference (sorry) here are the stats for the game.

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Edited by mystifeid
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I guess skilled survivor is still achievable in loper via books reading and distress pistol firing, gonna try it.

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Interestingly, one of the reasons I started my recent achievement run on Stalker instead of Interloper was the fear that the Skilled Survivor achievement might be unavailable due to the lack of firearms

Concerning the Will to Live achievement, I think that should never have been introduced. Everyone who can survive 200 days on Interloper can also survive for 500 days, the same goes for the other experience modes. Going for 500 will make many an achievement completionist suffer.

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7 hours ago, Hotzn said:

Going for 500 will make many an achievement completionist suffer.

I think they probably deserve it! I've always thought there's a certain masochism about doing those things.

Though I do like the irony in that completing the Will To Live achievement might actually cause the player to lose it.

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16 hours ago, Hotzn said:

Concerning the Will to Live achievement, I think that should never have been introduced. Everyone who can survive 200 days on Interloper can also survive for 500 days,

I agree. I think they did themselves a real disservice. 200 days should never have been introduced either - the survival achievements should have been maxed at 50 and 100 days. Although I don't think the same thing will happen with "Will to Live", before this there were a lot of 200 day games played simply because the achievement set the benchmark and let's face it, after the first 100 days, the excitement wanes.

8 hours ago, Pillock said:

Though I do like the irony in that completing the Will To Live achievement might actually cause the player to lose it.

Wow. Nice outlook. Thanks for sharing.

Edited by mystifeid

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9 hours ago, mystifeid said:

Wow. Nice outlook. Thanks for sharing.

In a figurative way, obviously! 

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I'm with you in regards to all that food. The benefits of Level 5 cooking not only are very overpowered but also make no sense. How does being good at cooking food allow you to become immune to parasites and bacteria? Or simply eating rotten food? While taking away these buffs would have some effect, more needs to be done. 

Specifically reducing the wildlife population and making starvation more punishing. You can find a herd of 3 deer and take them all down granting you about 30kg of meat. Then you can eat only one piece a day and survive perfectly fine. 3 Deer can keep you fed enough to survive for 30 days. That seems a little unbalanced. Now it WOULDN'T be unbalanced IF the deer population was relatively lower and you could rarely come across herds of deer. But you can find them pretty much everywhere. 

Fishing also seems unbalanced. I've seen long-term interloper players with over 100's of kg's of fish stored away. I don't think there's that much fish in Mystery Lake as a whole. Or pensive pond or Crystal Lake or ANYWHERE. Mystery Lake, Pensive Pond and Crystal Lake are all cut off from any sources of fish spawns. How could you keep fishing for months on end and not deplete the fish reserves in such small bodies of water? I can understand on the coast, but even that should be balanced evenly. 

Bears and Moose. They offer TONS of meat. And I'm rather impressed by the way they taken the Moose. It's rare. Even if you have it's spawn rate set to Very High it's still rare. And that's great because it's rarity makes up for the amount of safe to eat meat it has. 

But bears... unlike the Moose they will simply respawn after you kill them in the same spot. And while they are very dangerous to deal with you can easily kill them safely. And while their meat isn't safe to eat, the cooking level 5 benefits counteract that and make bears in the late game way too OP. 

Storing Food could also have a rebalance. Wolves will only go after meat on the ground IF they are aggro'd to you when you drop it. This shouldn't be the case. They should go after any meat on the ground. Stored meat outside should bring wolves spawns closer to where the meat is and eventually they'll come and steal it. If they can smell meat on your person why can't they smell it on the ground? Also, food stored inside should be suspect to vermin like rats and mice. Specifically in locations like the Dam, Hibernia, Mines and other larger buildings. 

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1 hour ago, Fuarian said:

While taking away these buffs would have some effect, more needs to be done.

Totally agree.

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