Hotzn

Nerf the torch, bring back the brand

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The ability to pull torches from a fire devaluates the torch as a craftable item. It seems absurd to craft a torch if it can just be pulled from a fire. It also seems absurd in general, as everyone who has dealt with fires knows that you can't just pull a piece of wood from a fire and have it turn into a functioning torch.

Pulling torches also provides the well-known torch exploit: Instead of lighting fires with matches, you light a torch instead and then try lighting the fire with the torch. As a consequence, you practically never run out of matches. This takes a lot of the challenge out of Interloper, and even on the other difficulty levels st least devaluates matches. And devaluating items is generally bad, since as a player you don't feel the same degree of happiness and satisfaction when you find said item. More matches? Bah - I'm using the torch exploit anyway.

I an earlier version, the game had solved the aforementioned problem (which had been amply discussed on these forums) by removing torch-pulling and introducing the brand. This solution was elegant, realistic and - as far as I remember - positively acclaimed by many and not criticized by any (at least I did not perceive any criticism).

I never understood why Hinterland reverted to the torch-pulling and killed the brand again, and I am not alone in this. In my view this was a step backwards. I would like to advocate that torch-pulling is scrapped again and the brand brought back. Or, if not, I would be interested to know the reason for bringing torch-pulling back and killing the brand. Maybe a substantial part of players asked for it on other forums - if so, then fair enough.

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"Torch exploit" is right, I think. I was nine years old when we had a fireplace installed at home, and I soon figured out using a lit candle to light a fire was better than wasting matches. By the way, using more tinder bundles instead of more matches for multiple attempts would make tinder bundles important even when your skill level says you don't need them.

Picking a flaming stick from a fire and calling it a torch is a bit stretched, but even the best campfire torch starts at about 40% condition. So it could be ruled that a torch at 40% condition or less will keep burning, but once extinguished it can't be lit again. So we will be more inclined to make torches and still use them to light fires, but an almost spent torch will become no more than a stick. Making a torch is costly: cloth is one of those precious non-renewable resources. Not to mention that the cloth harvesting process is quite inefficient. A whole sweater gives you a single cloth, that's sad, but if we accept the explanation that only the largest straight parts can be used for repairs what happens to the rest? It could become a quantity of "rags" based on the weight of the item, and those could be used to make torches, like cloth used in failed repairs that somehow vanishes in warp space. Even used bandages could turn to "rags" after resting. I personally wouldn't care if there's dried blood on a rag if I'm going to soak it in oil and set it on fire. I think even rabbit fur once soaked in oil would make a great torch.

It's the same question again and again, add different categories of stuff to the game to make it more believable, or keep it simple and close an eye if something is weird?

Edited by Doc Feral

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Not sure what you're aiming to say, @Doc Feral. It's of course debatable whether a sweater should give 1 or 2 cloth when harvested, and it might make sense to introduce rags as an additional item. But I don't miss anything substantial there - clothes turning into universal cloth seems alright to me, both from a perspective of game mechanics as well as in terms of credibility (or better: immersion). But the torch thing is just a disturbance. You craft the torch using valuable resources, especially lamp oil/kerosene. And then you can just pull it from a fire. That does not make sense. Granted, the crafted torch has a higher burning time, it starts at 100% instead of somewhere between 25 and 50% (you do pull torches above 40% occasionally). But that does not warrant the sacrifice of lantern oil ever. And the thing is, the brand was there, and it was perfect (well, except for the fact that it became immortal after burning out). When I found a torch next to a dead guy, I was happy and picked it up to carry along. Now I just leave it wherever it is. I don't care at all whether it has a higher burning time, that is completely irrelevant to me. I usually carry 3 pulled torches, they will get me through any mine. Crafted torches are moot.

But what I find most disturbing is that I can just light the pulled torch with a single match. I can understand that for the crafted torch, because lamp oil and cloth went into it. In reality, you would rather use wax, as lamp oil would probably evaporate (depending on the type of oil), but the lamp oil might be the placeholder for some kind of waxy/oily and flammable material. That's okay for me. You trade the benefit of that oil for the torch which is easily lit. But if you pull a log/branch from a fire and extinguish it, lighting it by holding a single match against it later (at -15°C outside temperature, I might add) is just out of this world. It pulls me out of the game everytime I do it.

Edited by Hotzn
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I still think you should be able to pull torches out of fires, but I think they should be burning sticks, not the easily extinguishable and relightable torches.

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I agree with @Hotzn, the ability to pull torches from fires that can be extinguished and re-lit at will with a single match, and then used to start a new fire, devalues matches and the firestarting skills of the character.

The brand, which appeared briefly for a few releases, was the perfect solution in my opinion. It burned for 30 minutes unless blown out, and during those 30 minutes it could be used to scare off wolves, light your way (not particularly effective in either role though) or start another fire. However, it could not be saved for later use. I also regret that the brand was abandoned in favor of the torch again.

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I wasn't around when the "brand" existed. It seems my idea for a pulled or almost spent torch was for it to become a brand. For cloth, I'm just saying that it's an important and non-renewable resource, and that since a baseball cap and a pair of jeans gives you the same amount I'd suppose there should be some leftover which isn't good for repairs but could be used for making torches without wasting "good" cloth.

My point: making torches consumes a precious multi-purpose non-renewable resource. That's one of the few cases I'd go against my obsession for simplicity and recommend adding a new resource type.

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I also miss the brand. I'm sure there's a reason for removing it. I just wonder what it was...

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12 hours ago, cekivi said:

I also miss the brand. I'm sure there's a reason for removing it. I just wonder what it was...

I seem to remember something said at the time about "streamlining" or making the game "more elegant" or something. It actually made the game worse, though, reinstating a clear gameplay exploit that had been very effectively removed before.

If I could change only one thing about about TLD, it would be to bring back brands.

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On 5.6.2018 at 5:56 PM, cekivi said:

I also miss the brand. I'm sure there's a reason for removing it. I just wonder what it was...

Yes, I would really like to know the reason as well. When they reintroduced the torch-pulling, the pulled torch was somewhat reduced in value by giving it a shorter burning time. But that missed the point in my view. The burning time is not much of an issue, it's the devaluation of both matches and crafted torches. And there is also the realism/immersion setback.

On 6.6.2018 at 6:57 AM, Pillock said:

If I could change only one thing about about TLD, it would be to bring back brands.

True this.

Edited by Hotzn

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Yes - a torch pulled from a fire does not last longer than the branch did, but it can be extinguished and used later for 1-match firestarting. That's the difference.

I'm now using a self-imposed rule that a torch pulled from a fire cannot be re-lit. Once the flame is out, it's out, which makes the torch work the same as a branch. I do not apply this rule to the torches I found or crafted, which can still be used repeatedly re-lit, including for 1-match fires.

One torch costs 3 sticks, 1 cloth and 0.1 L lamp oil to craft. Lamp oil used to be non-renewable and quite rare, which is not the case anymore. Cloth is non-renewable but practically unlimited - you can get hundreds of pieces from curtains and furniture, although early in the game you may experience a shortage. So I'm not inclined to think we need rags as a new category.

In fact if the brand were reintroduced at this point, astute interlopistsTM might start off with making a crafted torch to get those 1-match fires, as one of the first things to do.

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In my mind I'm already dismissing the idea as uselessly complicated, but we could make single-use short duration torches sticking a tinder bundle on a stick. More light and a bit longer duration than a match, it could be worth two or three attempts at lighting a fire and couldn't be extinguished (except by wind) and of course not lit again. Just another way to give more dignity to tinder bundles.

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On 9.6.2018 at 8:21 AM, Drifter Man said:

In fact if the brand were reintroduced at this point, astute interlopistsTM might start off with making a crafted torch to get those 1-match fires, as one of the first things to do.

Quite so, but... one would need to find lamp oil/kerosene first. So finding that early on - even in small quantities - would be cause for jubilation. For the astute interlopistTM that is.

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I do largely agree with the Interloper views here. In defence of the current system, I would say that even lighting a fire with a match on a torch, I feel bad about using the match. However the brand mechanic seemed dodgy due to how long the brands lasted and how much heat they gave. It would be feasible to pull sticks from a fire that would be very easy to relight later - they just wouldn't look like a 'made' torch. Given a bit more maturity the game might resolve this. And die hard fans can always avoid this 'exploit'.

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7 hours ago, Stone said:

However the brand mechanic seemed dodgy due to how long the brands lasted and how much heat they gave. It would be feasible to pull sticks from a fire that would be very easy to relight later - they just wouldn't look like a 'made' torch. Given a bit more maturity the game might resolve this. And die hard fans can always avoid this 'exploit'.

Brands lasted 30 in-game minutes, if I remember rightly. Right now, I can consistently pull torches out of a fire that are 40-50% condition, which I think is longer than that. Torches and brands used to give off +5 heat bonus; now, I think torches give you maybe 1 or 2%, so the brand could have that if they reintroduce it.

The main point for me is that the current 'Take torch' mechanic makes it completely worthless to ever craft a torch, in terms of resource usage and time taken. It also diminishes quite sharply the value of flares, of matches, and of lanterns and fuel. It causes a fairly significant unbalancing of those aspects of the game in my view. Brands were just flat-out better: not only in terms of functionality and game balance, but they looked nicer and felt more convincing and immersive.

(And by the way, I've never understood what our character is actually doing when we 'harvest' a spent torch into a stick. If a torch is a burning stick that you pull from a fire, then when the flame goes out it is... a stick! What actually happens to it during the 2 minutes of tapping-noises?)

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8 hours ago, Pillock said:

(And by the way, I've never understood what our character is actually doing when we 'harvest' a spent torch into a stick. If a torch is a burning stick that you pull from a fire, then when the flame goes out it is... a stick! What actually happens to it during the 2 minutes of tapping-noises?)

Magic :D

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If no one sees a stick fall in the forest... did it come from a torch?

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Bumping this.

I would not consider this as necroing, as I saw that the torch-pulling/brand topic is still/again being discussed in other places, and I never found the reasoning behind killing the brand and reintroducing torch-pulling. Not intending to get onto anyone's nerves - as I said earlier in this thread, I was and still am genuinely interested in the reasoning behind it. Knowing why the devs did this would somehow put my mind at rest. If the reasons have been given in other threads which I missed, I would be grateful if someone could put a link here. Thanks.

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Bump it all you want if you ask me. If the cause is just, even necromancy is justified. I kinda forgot to put this into my "rebalancing" thread .... but I still do think pulling torches from fires is too strong and crafted torches are too expensive in comparision.

Thinking about it I guess this would sorta work:

  • Bring back brands, make them remove as much time from the fire as torches do, and make them harvestable for sticks as torches are - so fire salvaging is preserved
  • Remove cloth component from torches, reduce lamp oil component to half?, raise stick requirement to ... 5?
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20 minutes ago, jeffpeng said:

Remove cloth component from torches, reduce lamp oil component to half?, raise stick requirement to ... 5?

I'd say keep cloth and oil, but add tinder requirement.

I think someone on here did the math and the burn time to oil ratio is more efficient than the lantern. Of course at the cost of a match. 

 

I miss brands too. 

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1 hour ago, MarrowStone said:

I'd say keep cloth and oil, but add tinder requirement.

My general problem with cloth on torches is ... it's actually a pretty hefty cost, considering cloth is not renewable.

A torch burns roughly 1.5 hours. If we consider being outside with a torch burning 6 hours a day on average, that's 400 cloth in 100 days. Roughly estimating the general cloth availability in game to around 1200 maximum, that puts a hard cap on longer games at around 300 days. What would sorta work .... if you could make scraps from cured pelts and use them for torches. That would give overly abundant pelts in the late game actual purpose.

As for oil ... yes, a lamp uses 1L in 4 hours, a torch uses 0.1L in ~1.5. But still .... 6 hours of burn time equate to 0.4L. That's actually pretty hefty to sustain. But at least it's renewable. Still: 0.4L per day are ~10 fish per day (like 8 small x 0.02 to 0.03 + 2 big x 0.1 == roughly 0.4 liters). At that rate you are catching and cooking more fish than you can eat. Because of that I think halving the lamp oil requirement - or better doubling lamp oil harvest from fishing to also give the storm lantern some lategame viability - would be reasonable.

I like the tinder component. Actually would put some use into tinder after Firestarting III.

Another counter-weight you could put on this is to introduce late-game igntion, so that you could, for example, make fire with a stick and plank of cedar once you reach Firestarting V. This way you could light torches more "on demand" rather than have a torch up all the time when traveling the world. Would also put some emphasis on actually harvesting cedar limbs, something you don't actually need to do most of the time.

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12 hours ago, jeffpeng said:

My general problem with cloth on torches is ... it's actually a pretty hefty cost, considering cloth is not renewable.

Right, I wasnt looking at it from an interloper perspective where you need one lit almost constantly.

Beachcombing can supplement your supply but I dont count beachcomable items as renewable since the risk is so high and amount is so low. Its renewable but unsustainable. 

Replacing the cloth component with a single bandage would work. You get two bandages for each cloth so it would effectively reduce the cloth consumption by 50 percent. 

Edited by MarrowStone

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2 hours ago, MarrowStone said:

Right, I wasnt looking at it from an interloper perspective where you need one lit almost constantly.

Yeah that's maybe my fault because I look at everything through an Interloper looking glass. I tend to forget that "most people" don't play that.

2 hours ago, MarrowStone said:

Replacing the cloth component with a single bandage would work. You get two bandages for each cloth so it would effectively reduce the cloth consumption by 50 percent. 

Maybe a step in the right direction. Maybe still a bit much. It's something I'd be willing to try out. Maybe even allow OMBL to be used for torches. They are something you clearly have way more than you'd ever need on Interloper.

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