Morrick

A Pilgrim tries to be an Interloper: how long can he last?

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A few hours, apparently.

I have a few Pilgrim sandboxes in progress. Today, for a change, I wanted to try a challenge. Not one of the game's thematic challenges, though. I said to myself: Let's try Interloper. Let's see what this is all about. 

Spawned in Broken Railroad. Right at the beginning of the map as you enter from Forlorn Muskeg. It's sunset. Snow is already falling. 

I follow the railway. At the first detour at the Landslide, I manage to avoid the first wolf. It takes a bit. When I'm back on the railway, Mackenzie is already complaining that he's freezing. I get to the Locomotive Engine. Huh, this is the first time I visit this region after the Redux update and evidently something's different. The train is all messed up, this area has changed. This catches me by surprise. I go past the train. I spot a second wolf. What the hell, I run past him, making a beeline for the truck at the beginning of the road that leads to the Maintenance Yard and Shed. I manage to enter the truck. From there, I see the wolf passing by. I wait a moment. "Goddamn freezing", Mackenzie whines. I glance at the road in the direction of the Shed. The path looks clear. I exit the vehicle.

I run. I get to the gatehouse. No wolves about. I exit and run towards the Shed. I hear a bark, but I'm quick enough and get inside. Hypothermia risk at 85% already. I can't stay in the outer office. I look for matches. Nothing. It's getting darker. I look for clothes. Nothing. I enter the shed. It's very dark. I try to move around by memory. But I get stuck in a few spots. I find matches in the office inside the shed. Good, I look around for reclaimed wood. Oh, what!? There's a forge here now! Coal scattered nearby! I'm saved. Meanwhile I get hypothermia. I look for tinder. I find papers. Now I need wood. I find a crate. I have no tools, it'll take one hour and a half to break it down. Let's do this.

I fade into the Long Dark. At dead of night. Fitting.

 

(Brief side commentary after this experience, which lasted perhaps 20 real-life minutes: How can people play on Interloper and find it "not challenging enough", I wonder? Maybe it's because I'm used to playing in Pilgrim and with the Pilgrim's mindset, but I found the experience rather brutal — and mercifully short. But I guess this is what it's all about: how long you can last.)

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I've been trying to get the 24-hour survival achievement for interloper, but I keep spawning in the worst places in Forlorn Muskeg. I was starting to assume all interloper options spawned there. My last attempt, I actually spawned near the NE cave entrance (just NW of the northern tower) and I ran in for shelter during the horrid weather.
I ended up dying since I had no tools, and finally tried a do-or-die run for the low blind, which I reached, but the weather went to all hell hates me.

 

I too wonder how interloper isn't challenging enough?!

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@Morrick, I am totally with you here! What you lived was almost what happened to the first survivor of the Brokenloping series I recently started (you can find the thread in the Survival Stories subforum, if you are interested in reading about some masochistic survival experiences). In the end, most people that don't find Interloper challenging enough are hardcore players who have already put many hours into the mode, and it somehow makes sense that once they master it they look for far more extreme survival, which by the way is something that the custom settings allow pretty well (see for instance the Sleepwalking or Deadman modes).

I am by no means an experienced Interloper (I'm more of a Stalker player), and to my liking I find it a rather balanced mode. I like that you may feel doomed at some moment and a minute later that risky move that seemed so crazy really works out. And also that if you make mistakes you will most likely not live to regret them. But hey, that's only the way I like to enjoy TLD. And of course, everybody has theirs. :)

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7 hours ago, Asinine said:

I too wonder how interloper isn't challenging enough?!

The hardest part of interloper is the start, so it depends how long you play for. In my current run, I'm around 55 days in. The first few days were life and death, but by the time you've got your tools built at a forge you have no shortage of food, water, shelter, or your secondary resources. Difficulty drops significantly. The remainder of the run then feels relatively 'easy', until you eventually make a mistake and die.  A veteran interloper player is going to get through the initial difficulty spike and then feel everything afterwards is too easy. I'm far less experienced than many, but aside from the harsh weather, I might as well be playing on Stalker after 10 or 20 days.

Regarding spawning location - it's not really as important as you might think. The vast majority of spawn points are only a map or two away from a good place to consolidate, and there are enough cat tail sticks, toilet water sources, and shelters with beds on the way that you should be able to make it, provided you don't fall foul of a wolf.

Edited by Andy_K
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With a FM spawn you have two choices: Just follow the train tracks and use the flare at the poacher's camp to make a fire to warm up. Then continue to ML. Or you head over to Spence's farm and maybe stay there for the night. And then head to ML too. It's easier if it's still earlier in the day

As said, Interloper is very, very hard at the beginning where everything hangs in a balance. Then it's a rush to craft your tools, weapons and better clothing. But once you're equipped difficulty drops significantly. Of course you can still easily die by doing stupid things

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19 hours ago, Morrick said:

How can people play on Interloper and find it "not challenging enough"

The Interloper starts are challenging. But once you get some ignition, an indoor FL>0 place and know a few tricks, well... You didn't get the easiest start, Forlorn/BR are no easy maps, since the cold is the main enemy.

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I usually have 5 interloper runs that fail in the first few days until I get a run that lasts more than 10 days but you have to get used to the idea of having low health and once you get used to  it your ok . Just have to take it one day at a time until you get your first weapons. Every player has their favorite spawns. I like Timberwolf mountain spawn and hate Hushed River Valley Spawn. I have my best run right now 97 days in but I had a few close shaves with death the first 50 days now I'm good until I make a fatal error and die.  

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@Morrick Good stuff! These first attempts are golden! The danger, the uncertainty - it won't last as you get the hang of stuff - enjoy it while it lasts!

Interloper shows you that most of the loot you get isn't essential. Essential is fire, food, water, bed. One of the best tips I was given was to move around lots at the start - tour the best loot locations as early as possible as, moving from place to place, you pick up free calories and more clothes. You can recover 40% health with a good 10 hours sleep so feel ok burning that condition moving. You'd be surprised how far you can get (weather permitting) in one day just walking steadily with fires to warm up. My tip for that is to make a fire, take lots of torches, chain them as you walk, pick up sticks, repeat. Oh and wait until after midday for the temps to rise - two arrows down travel is good, and hug those windbreaks. And please, keep sharing your adventures!

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14 hours ago, Stone said:

And please, keep sharing your adventures!

Ah, all right. It's easy, actually, because my second Interloper attempt is an even shorter story.

I spawn on that small bit of land near Little Island in Desolation Point, facing the ocean, so at first I'm a little fuzzy about my surroundings. It's dawn. Clear weather, which means -26°C air temperature. I head for the Lonely Lighthouse. I remember goating down from it a couple of times, as a shortcut, so I foolishly assume I can goat up. I try four times. But I'm freezing, and this is a bad idea. (I don't even want to try reaching the lighthouse through the usual path, as it's typically patrolled by at least a couple of wolves and the route is riddled with blind spots and choke points.) So I turn to The Riken. I run to The Riken in the hope I'll find clothes or at least warm up a bit (there's the forge, there's coal, there's wood). When I enter the ship, I'm already at 72% hypothermia risk, and have 4% frostbite risk on my left hand and head. I find no clothes apart from a pair of worn sport socks. One of those moments when you can practically hear the powers-that-be laughing at you. I find coal and wood, but nothing to ignite them. It's cold. I'm freezing. Let's get the hell out of here and head for Hibernia Processing. 

I'm surprised there is no wildlife roaming the frozen waters. The only thing that moves is maybe a deer in the distance. I run to the Hibernia trailers first because usually these are a good place to find basic resources (matches, clothes, sometimes a storm lantern). I only find three items: a pack of Beef Jerky, some scrap metal, and — wait for it — a pair of worn sport socks. Oh, and it's still cold. I had hoped that at least inside the trailers the temperature would go up to save-your-skin levels, but it's at a constant -1°C. So, hello hypothermia. I enter the main Hibernia warehouse, and in the offices and rooms upstairs I find a storm lantern and an orange soda. No clothes whatsoever. Maybe they are inside the locked lockers but hehehe no prybar. Now I'm cold and also drained. I take two consecutive naps of 1 hour each, hoping to recover some energy and gain some warmth. It doesn't help much. I try to reach the corpse in that spot above you all surely know by now. I'm dizzy. Maybe there are some matches in the backpack. I'm freezing. I'm dizzy. I —

I fade into the Long liquid-nitrogen freezing Dark.

[Tip: if you're a Pilgrim that is afraid of playing Interloper because of the hostile wildlife, just remember that the cold may kill you first, and it's an enemy that's tougher to fight against.]

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Should have gone to Hibernia right away. Or at least the Riken, though it's very cold in there. There are matches in Hibernia but they aren't in the trailers. Then you can travel all the way to the light house through the mine, which is warm

And yes, many of the structures are too cold in the beginning. This is something that TLD usually neglects. Cabins aren't so well insulated that they are magically warm. What you can do is use the warmth bonus of beds to warm up a bit. Just passing time is fine for that. But it doesn't take much to get positive on warmth

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Interloper has almost 100% front loaded difficulty hump.  Once you get past that you should be in "normal" play with reduced success searching containers ;)  As a poster above mentioned you can keep going after the initial hump until you make a mistake and get yourself killed...

I REALLY wish the Interloper wasn't so crazy front loaded.  I would much prefer an additional -1C global reduction in temperature every 10 days forever  (as long as the run).  Instead of the current weather model to drop the temp quickly at first then lock it in place.  With this model you have to really be on your game as it would get very dangerous the more days in.

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I forgot to say that I'm appreciating all of your comments, input and suggestions. Thank you all so much! 

Still, my Interloper attempts are getting shorter and shorter, to the point of involuntary comedy. Allow me to entertain you further. :)

Attempt No. 3: I spawn in Forlorn Muskeg, more or less near the railway, close to the entrance to Broken Railroad. I don't like the idea to go there, so I try my way to the Old Spence Family Homestead. I'm on higher gound, and I'm trying to maintain higher ground. But when I finally get to lower ground, from behind a rock a bear spots me before I can run away. I survive the struggle, but only for five minutes. Then The Long Dark reclaims me.

Attempt No. 4: I spawn in a mountainous region in an area I don't recognise. I have to quit and load the slot again so that I can learn from the game interface that I'm in Timberwolf Mountain. I'm on very high ground. The view is awesome, but I don't even know where to go from here (I don't know Timberwolf Mountain very well). Oh, and of course a blizzard is coming up. This is ridiculous. I throw myself down the mountain.

Attempt No. 5: I spawn in Desolation Point, near the Blocked Highway. I'm really close to the mine, so yay, maybe I won't die from the cold this time. I go there, and the only thing I find is stones and some warmth. But it's late afternoon, so it's going to get dark soon here. I try entering the tunnels but without matches or flares I really can't see anything. So after feeling fully warm again, I exit the mine and go to the Stone Church. I find bandages, antibiotics, a baseball cap and a thin wool sweater. Better than nothing. But no materials to start a fire. I leave the church and of course it's sunset and there's a thick fog now. I manage to reach the car down the road. The car is empty. The trunk is locked and I have no prybar. No wolves around (but then again, there's fog, so who knows). I run to the Lonely Lighthouse and I do reach it unscathed this time. But it's dark inside. Downstairs I only find lamp fuel. It's already too dark to see. I do reach the floor above and rest a bit, but there's nothing here either. I manage to get to the floor above, and in the dark I find the lockers and a metal container. All empty. (But who knows what secrets lie hidden in the locked locker). I have no food, no light sources, nothing to drink, and I'm in the dark, dehydrated and with 580 calories left. I'm still alive, but dawn is still far away. 

It's like many of you have already told me: Interloper welcomes you with a gut punch. And then another. Good thing I'm approaching this with a healthy dose of amused detachment. Because you really feel cornered at the beginning. I also think that where you spawn at first does matter. As does the weather and time of day. The more you're far away from buildings, the more time you waste trying to reach them, and the less time you have to attempt a Plan B. Of course, I'm aware that it's a difficult setting and I don't expect the game to be less of a challenge on Interloper, but... spawning in a mounting blizzard on Timberwolf Mountain? You'll concede that it's a bit hardcore. ;)

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On 14/1/2019 at 3:32 AM, Morrick said:

How can people play on Interloper and find it "not challenging enough", I wonder? Maybe it's because I'm used to playing in Pilgrim and with the Pilgrim's mindset, but I found the experience rather brutal — and mercifully short.

You jumped from Pilgrim to Interloper, so of course you weren't ready to think -and act- faster trying to juggle all the threats that you had to face. I started a Pilgrim too, and then Voyager, and Interloper after that (skipped stalker). Now I am playing a custom run that makes regular Interloper look like a cakewalk. If I don't die (which is highly likely lol) regular Interloper will seem fairly easy after that. The more experience you have, the more you will reevaluate what is challenging and what it's not.

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Some spawn locations are better than others, but they are all survivable. As you noted time of day matters. It's not great when it's night or shortly before night.

The TWM spawn is actually one of the best starts. You can get two packs of matches, a tool, cat tails, and some coal. But you need to know the map for that.

In DP you need to head for Hibernia. There is potential for great loot there, plus you're most likely to get matches. There can be matches elsewhere too, but Hibernia has several possible locations. At least one pack should be guaranteed there

Edited by Serenity
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42 minutes ago, Serenity said:

Some spawn locations are better than others, but they are all survivable. As you noted time of day matters. It's not great when it's night or shortly before night.

The TWM spawn is actually one of the best starts. You can get two packs of matches, a tool, cat tails, and some coal. But you need to know the map for that.

In DP you need to head for Hibernia. There is potential for great loot there, plus you're most likely to get matches. There can be matches elsewhere too, but Hibernia has several possible locations. At least one pack should be guaranteed there

I agree that knowing the maps is a critical factor.  I also tried an Interloper run after only doing spending some time in Pilgrim mode.  Much to my surprise, I did manage to survive 24 hours and get the achievement because I got a gracious start in PV.  It was, at the time, a map I had never been in before.  I did make it to the farmhouse by luck, but knew nothing about there being a basement and because I was busy avoiding wolves, I never really looked around the outside of the house long enough to find it.  I managed to survive the 24 hours in the main part of the house because it has toilets and there was a little bit of food in the cupboards.  When I struck out after the 24 hours, however, I didn't last very long.

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I don't like starting on Desolation Point right away although you have the opportunity to perhaps forge weapons it's likely that you will not have the heavy hammer needed. There's some loot to be had for sure but if you are not lucky enough to find the bedroll the trip to Coastal Highway is perilous. That's why I say the Pleasant Valley start is a bit better you have the opportunity to find the needed tools for forging  and better odds of getting the bedroll and the trip to the forge allows you looting opportunities along the way. The big mistake I used to make was hanging around that farmhouse too long. My condition would get too low and I would die on the way to the rural crossroads. But every new run presents a new set of problems depending on the loot you get right away. So I've found just to keep moving and searching with the trip to the forge as your goal. :) 

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Small update. 

Attempt No. 5 was the most successful so far. I managed to survive almost 26 hours, enough to gain the 24-hour Steam achievement. I eventually died on The Riken, like a captain sinking with his ship. It was a combination of starvation, dehydration, cold and exhaustion what led me to collapse. While I did find a flare and a storm lantern at Hibernia Processing, I didn't find matches. I had high hopes for the safe, but it only got me a pair of worn jeans and… cash. I even found a prybar there, but locked lockers (both at Hibernia and the Lonely Lighthouse) turned out to be empty. Same for the few cars in Desolation Point. I also wondered how I was supposed to get food: packaged goods were extremely scarce (I basically looked everywhere I could except the Broken Bridge area, and ate everything I could find), and I didn't find any weapon either. Desolation Point isn't famous for its cattails. The only 2 options left were: 1) to look for deer carcasses, but then again, with no means to start a fire, I wouldn't have been able to cook the meat. 2) Leave the region in the hope to find packaged food in Crumbling Highway or Coastal Highway. But the Riken was the closest shelter to wait out the blizzard. My energies ran out first, however. 

But it's fine. I'm starting to enjoy this and understand the Interloper mindset. At this setting, The Long Dark becomes more like a puzzle/strategy game, where you need to find the right chain of decisions that lead you to survive the initial steep curve.

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Yes tough map to start on , I always die there every time I start there but I imagine others have done better than I have so don't take my word for anything. I know early game is really tough if you don't find matches because any dead deer or rabbits you kill by throwing stones can't be cooked. The matches are usually in the Hibernia, Church or Lighthouse as far as I know but there could be other spawns. And there is loot in scruffy's cave but I never have been brave enough in Interloper to go try and get it :)  

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16 hours ago, Morrick said:

I did find a flare

You can light a fire with the flare. 

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3 hours ago, romerabr said:

You can light a fire with the flare. 

Yes, that's what probably kept me alive longer than anticipated. :)

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@Morrick Your right about the puzzle factor - funny, I've never thought of it in that exact term but its quite right. Fire solves most problems so getting matches is top priority and so knowing where to head to get them is a big advantage. Without straying into spoiler territory I think it safe to say the devs know this and so every map will have matches somewhere and the more significant the location, the higher the odds.

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On 17.1.2019 at 3:22 AM, Morrick said:

I also wondered how I was supposed to get food: packaged goods were extremely scarce (I basically looked everywhere I could except the Broken Bridge area, and ate everything I could find), and I didn't find any weapon either. Desolation Point isn't famous for its cattails. The only 2 options left were: 1) to look for deer carcasses, but then again, with no means to start a fire, I wouldn't have been able to cook the meat. 2) Leave the region in the hope to find packaged food in Crumbling Highway or Coastal Highway. But the Riken was the closest shelter to wait out the blizzard. My energies ran out first, however. 

Just checking you know that you shouldn't avoid starvation during days. When there's barely any food, don't eat during days at all. You can still do calorie-intensive stuff without actually losing any calories. Food is too precious to eat during day - you'll need food to regain condition while sleeping. Sure, starvation causes 1% condition loss per hour, but as long as you can sleep on full stomach you can heal it. 

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Hoping nobody is getting bored by the topic, I just wanted to add another couple of attempts that have been hilariously short:

Attempt No. 6: I spawn in Timberwolf Mountain. Again, no idea where I am, I start moving around to see if I at least enter a location that will trigger the "New Location Discovered" warning. After 2-3 minutes of seeing just snow and rocks, I hear barking. I turn around and I don't see anything. Barking again. Where the hell is that wolf? Probably it has been behind me all the time because just when I try to get my bearings again, I'm in 'wolf struggle mode'. I die, of course, but I hope I punched that wolf on the nose at least once. Furry bastard. 

Attempt No. 7: I spawn in Hushed River Valley. At sunset. I'm on some mountaintop and a signal fire is visible in the distance, but it's too far away to reach from where I am. I look at what I'm wearing and it's just running shoes, worn jeans, and… a ragged t-shirt! It's annoyingly windy. When I finally attempt a direction to try to climb down from where I am, the warmth indicator is already red. I fall on a sort of ledge, and from there the only direction is down. Down down down into the Long Dark.

These last runs on Interloper have actually felt like trying my luck at a slot machine… But seriously, surviving Hushed River Valley with just a t-shirt should be another official game achievement! :D

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At this point your best bet is the Pleasant Valley start. Head for the farm house, which isn't far away. There is tons of stuff there and lots of toilet water. So you don't need a fire right away. Then you can check out the barn and the crossroads houses. And from there decide if you want to go to CH or ML (via Signal Hill).

FM isn't bad either as long as you don't do anything stupid like going into BR or the marsh ridge cave. But finding matches in ML is tricky if you don't get the ones at Spence's

You should learn TMW though on lower difficulties. It's a nice region with some interesting challenges. And makes for a great Interloper start

Edited by Serenity

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4 hours ago, Serenity said:

You should learn TMW though on lower difficulties. It's a nice region with some interesting challenges.

I agree. I have one of my Mackenzies there in one of my Pilgrim runs, but I've only explored the lower part of the region. Thank you very much for all the tips you've been giving me!

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