jeffpeng

Is "Well Fed" actually worth it?

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When the "Well Fed" Buff was introduced with Redux I was sort of on the fence, but eventually decided that I liked the change more than I disliked it. I'm a big proponent of positive reinforcement when it comes to game mechanics, and Well Fed does just this: it rewards the player for complying with how one should probably keep themselves nourished rather than (excessively) punishing the player when they do not comply. On the other hand I felt like the actual issue - the game in Interloper being balanced against starvation as a mechnanic - was not resolved.

Since then I have played several different Interloper games, with varying results, ranging from 3 to 300 days, some of them avoiding starvation from day 1, some of them playing them like Well Fed was not a thing, and some that look at Well Fed more as an opportunistic mechanic to use when it has no drawbacks to do so (i.e. when I am stacking bears on top of mooses). My conclusions to this topic are only applicable to Interloper as other difficulties offer you much more food, especially much earlier. They are also 100% my own opinion - which is known to not always reflect the general consensus. I'm also not talking down how actually great Well Fed is. I mean a free Satchel and some extra health - what's not to like? I'm just putting to question if it is actually worth it despite being that great, and if the game is giving the right "feedback" depending on if you follow the idea that you should eat well or not.

Only one of my no-starvation games actually lasted more than 50 days, which is usually the threshold at which I have travelled most of the world excluding HRV and BR, but at that point I was far from it. I took notice that my progress was overall much slower, and actually more in line with Sleepwalking (basically a mild version of Deadman, invented by @BareSkin). Most notable was this when two games that both started in Desolation Point, one of which I played without starvation and one with it, and in which I pretty much took the same routes and detours, had a 10 day gap when reaching the Summit on Timberwolf Mountin on days 29 and 19 respectively. Sure there were other factors involved, but one of them was that I cought parasites from overdoing it with wolf meat (and having pretty bad luck catching them from a 4% chance), which slowed me down a lot, but I blame that on having to keep up with calories, too. It's also worth noting that the same game ended after returning to Pleasant Valley trying to make a break from the Farm because I ran out of food. Death by blizzard, of course.

I actually found that my best results were when actually making use of Well Fed only relatively late into the game, when I could not only easily afford it, but also when I could actually use the extra 5 kilograms of capacity, meaning when my gear got so heavy on its own it was hard to carry anything else and stay within 35kg.

Now one might ask what's the problem with that. And I am not really sure there is a problem per se, but I feel like the mechanic isn't doing its job, and it is also giving false feedback to the player. When my results are actually consistently better when I do not rely on a buff that I get for playing the game correctly, then one could argue that giving this buff to players in the first place is actually actively misleading them, signaling them they do play the game right when in fact the same game then punishes them for doing so.

I have no good answer how to resolve this, and I am not even sure this really needs resolving. The old pre-redux ideas stick: make starvation cost more condition, balance food and calorie consumption so that starving yourself is not only not advisable but also not required. But how to do that with non-punitive mechanics I cannot say. I just wanted to share my opinion on this after having gathered some actual experience comparing both approaches - and I'd be thrilled to read others on it.

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On Voyager it is surely worth it for me because it is really easy for me to keep it. I always carry 30 cattails in case I can't kill a deer in time, but I rarely have to cut into my supply. I haven't graduated to Loper yet, so I cannot put any thoughts into it from that perspective, but basically all streamers I watch keep the well fed buff, so it seems to me like it is worth it in most cases.

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Yes, it's worth it.

Interloper is meant to be brutal, thus maintaining "Well Fed" in Interloper is difficult early on.  Later on, after you've gotten over the initial "I'm gonna die in 7 minutes" hurdle, you're fine.

This, as far as I'm concerned, is OK and expected.  Everything is fine, nothing to see, move along.

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I notice it pushes me to hunt and explore in an effort to keep it.  I kinda think the clothes are too heavy to go without it so there is this balance going on between clothing and food. I have room to learn about clothing balance but with well fed I'm not forced to learn it yet though I have ideas that this wolf coat isn't worth the time, the work, the cabin fever risk etc, mostly because it doesn't seem to scare wolves anymore.

I notice some good hunting usually has storms about to hit and I could imagine just holing up and not risking hunts on fringe weather if not for the bonus so in that way it pushes me which I think is a great dynamic.

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Problem with only positive additive game mechanics, is simply that it makes the game easier with every implementation. I played Sleepwalking mode and found it balanced for me, then the Well Fed buff made it easier, there was no drawback. I stopped playing the game after the Birch Bark tea addition because well, again there was no drawback. I just found myself with no real threats thanks to the instant-fire wolf deterrent mechanic, same mechanic making kill-stealing so efficient that food was not a problem anymore.

Maybe a smarter way of implementing it would have been to reduce gradually (the on/off approach is clearly broken too) your available load when starving,  maybe a penalty of -0.1kg for every 1h of starvation (until -5kg) just like the Fatigue penalty but slower (and additive of course), and reverse +0.1kg after 1h of well fed (until +5kg). This would have had the same results on lower "free food" difficulties, while keeping Interloper kinda-challenging.

Read something about timberwolves, if it happens to be a true menace I'll come back to TLD, and believe me I'll be very very happy to do so, it's the best game I've played, it's overall ambiance is just perfect for me. That would only take a revision of the instant-wolf-repulsion from attempted fires.

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I've been looking at it as the balance feedback.  The game already gives feedback when you're starving yourself in the form of condition loss, its gradual but on interloper can really have an impact.  Most of my interloper games have ended with fading into the long dark due to starvation.  Conversely, there was no real benefit to not starving.  So why not starve even if you have enough food to possibly avoid starvation.  Now, there's a reason to eat if the food is available.  And you can stay well fed and still ration the calories.  I've been short on food for extended periods.  Yes you do eat some before you sleep, so you can sleep.  But you don't necessarily only eat then, you space it out over the day to keep funtional.

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I think I need to emphasize that do not think the game is "too hard". On the contrary. I feel like Loot&Scoot in the fashion I do shouldn't be feasible on Interloper. My actual point of contention here is that Well Fed is not enough of a Buff alone to deter players from exploiting the starvation mechanic, and hence I would still like to see an additional punitive mechanic introduced.
 

1 hour ago, BareSkin said:

Maybe a smarter way of implementing it would have been to reduce gradually (the on/off approach is clearly broken too) your available load when starving,  maybe a penalty of -0.1kg for every 1h of starvation (until -5kg) just like the Fatigue penalty but slower (and additive of course), and reverse +0.1kg after 1h of well fed (until +5kg). This would have had the same results on lower "free food" difficulties, while keeping Interloper kinda-challenging.

That sounds more like it, and I for once would be even somewhat fine with this in conjunction with Well Fed. So on one hand the player is being punished for starving, but also rewarded if they manage to stay well nourished for a prolonged period of time. The insta-5kg always bothered me, too.

8 minutes ago, Jolan said:

The game already gives feedback when you're starving yourself in the form of condition loss, its gradual but on interloper can really have an impact. Most of my interloper games have ended with fading into the long dark due to starvation.

I personally cannot confirm that. I have never died of starvation in vanilla Interloper. It surely has contributed to some minor extend to that if I did, but you have to really catch a very bad start or terribly mismanage to run out of food so hard there is no remedy. I mean .... you can get by a full day with just two skinny rabiits or 5 cattails even if you are not a master chef and still recover some condition. I am hard pressed to think of a region and/or situation where this couldn't be achieved reliably in 24 hours.

26 minutes ago, PrincessAutumn said:

To me it absolutely is and when paired with the moose-hide satchel, that's 22 pounds of extra carrying capacity.

I wasn't disputing the obvious use of Well Fed. I actually like the fact it exists to burn off excess food and get some benefit from that.

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I have over 300 days on a stalker/Int run and have only lost well fed once and got it back as soon as possible.  What you can carry is directly related to your survival.  It becomes even more important when you are tired.  Some like the challenge of going as light as possible.  I like the challenge of maintaining "well fed" and carrying as much as possible.  ; )

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As far as Interloper goes, I don't think you can argue that the Well Fed buff is more advantageous than using the starvation mechanic, if you're going for absolute min-max longevity. It's worth having if you can afford it, but it is still a luxury bonus for when you're doing well, rather than a deterrence to starving.

To me, it seems like Interloper is balanced deliberately to encourage starvation. (I don't find that fun, so I don't play it!)

The only way that I've found to make staying fed more of an advantage than starving is by playing custom games with the condition regain set to the lowest possible values, so that if you spend the whole day losing condition from starvation, you don't get all of it back at night. But that was the case before the buff was introduced.

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Have to say well fed is worth keeping. If you can collect enough cat tails on your initial start on interloper you can actually use it to get you through the difficult early part of the game (well if you don't get wolfed or freeze to death of course). After your set up though it's easier to maintain so I like to keep so I can carry lots of sticks.

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On 7/13/2019 at 12:23 PM, jeffpeng said:

I mean .... you can get by a full day with just two skinny rabiits or 5 cattails

Most of my interloper games were in the year between mode introduction and bunny hunting with rocks.  So died a lot in games waiting for the guts to dry or running to a non-reedy part of the map.  Things got a quite a bit easier with Faithful Cartographer.

 

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43 minutes ago, Jolan said:

Most of my interloper games were in the year between mode introduction and bunny hunting with rocks.  So died a lot in games waiting for the guts to dry or running to a non-reedy part of the map.  Things got a quite a bit easier with Faithful Cartographer.

 

Well, of course, it was a totally different game back then.

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On 7/14/2019 at 3:39 AM, Pillock said:

To me, it seems like Interloper is balanced deliberately to encourage starvation. (I don't find that fun, so I don't play it!)

Which is kinda my point here, thank you. Since Interloper has to account for that weird kind of gameplay, you kinda "have to" do it to play the game as good as you can, and Interloper is harder than it should be (on the calorie side) if you do not. I think Interloper would be much better served and feel more intuitive if you would raise the starvation  damage to, let's say, 3% per hour (up from 1%), adjust thirst damage to the same for realism sake, and in turn reduce the calorie intake to Stalker levels - or something like that. If you start playing harder difficulties you just try to keep your meters topped off. You don't even consider going without food, let alone all day. Until at some point you discover, for whatever reason, that not eating is okay (or you stumble upon it in this forum or the wiki). This, by definition, is unintuitive, as the outcome is the exact opposite of what a player without detailled knowledge would expect.

Of course I would really love to see finer-grained mechanics. There have been many good examples over the years, some of them actually quite creative and well tought-out, but I sorta get that the dev don't wanna overload the game with more mechanics to learn and understand. So maybe just flipping some numbers here and there will do the trick. My main concern which I want to voice with this thread is that, while well received, Well Fed does not, in my opinion, properly address one of the two main issues it was introduced to resolve, hence Interloper balancing is still broken. In many ways, now that I think about it, Well Fed feels like the rewarding half of a mechanic to adress starvation exploitation, but the punitive half never got implemented. 

If anyone asked my opinion on how to address this I would personally favour an effect that would gradually increase over a couple of days of not meeting your calorie requirements. This could manifest as increasing fatigue that would start to weigh on you like parasites do, combined with a mild reduction in carry weight as being tired does, just not as severe. As this effect isn't binary but gradually increases over time it would still allow short periods of starvation in real food shortage scenarios, but you'd kinda have to pay back that credit with a longer period of staying well nourished to get rid of the debuff - and only time after that would count towards well fed again. If you completely ignore this past day 4 or 5 or so you'd lose sleep recovery, which would ultimately force you to eventually eat - or die.

This would actually also be a bit more what one would expect from common sense. You don't immediately die from starvation. In fact you can get by for very long time depending on your reserves. But what the body indeed does rather quickly is ration your calories, meaning your metabolic rate slows, you feel tired all the time, your muscles don't regain strength as fast, you tire much faster from endurace activities such as walking, etc, etc. This is grade school knowledge - and as such I think it would be intuitive enough to implement.

I, on the other hand, understand why the devs don't want to adjust sleep recovery as it is. I've played games with no sleep recovery, and while challenging, it might be frustrating for many people that after a mishap like running into a wolf, even well clothed, you are essentially grounded for a week or two, which then in turn usually is amplified by other problems, such as shortages in firewood and/or food or cabin feaver. Plus the fun factor of staying put for two weeks really is quite low.
 

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25 minutes ago, jeffpeng said:

Which is kinda my point here, thank you. Since Interloper has to account for that weird kind of gameplay, you kinda "have to" do it to play the game as good as you can, and Interloper is harder than it should be (on the calorie side) if you do not. I think Interloper would be much better served and feel more intuitive if you would raise the starvation  damage to, let's say, 3% per hour (up from 1%), adjust thirst damage to the same for realism sake, and in turn reduce the calorie intake to Stalker levels - or something like that. If you start playing harder difficulties you just try to keep your meters topped off. You don't even consider going without food, let alone all day. Until at some point you discover, for whatever reason, that not eating is okay (or you stumble upon it in this forum or the wiki). This, by definition, is unintuitive, as the outcome is the exact opposite of what a player without detailled knowledge would expect.

Of course I would really love to see finer-grained mechanics. There have been many good examples over the years, some of them actually quite creative and well tought-out, but I sorta get that the dev don't wanna overload the game with more mechanics to learn and understand. So maybe just flipping some numbers here and there will do the trick. My main concern which I want to voice with this thread is that, while well received, Well Fed does not, in my opinion, properly address one of the two main issues it was introduced to resolve, hence Interloper balancing is still broken. In many ways, now that I think about it, Well Fed feels like the rewarding half of a mechanic to adress starvation exploitation, but the punitive half never got implemented. 

If anyone asked my opinion on how to address this I would personally favour an effect that would gradually increase over a couple of days of not meeting your calorie requirements. This could manifest as increasing fatigue that would start to weigh on you like parasites do, combined with a mild reduction in carry weight as being tired does, just not as severe. As this effect isn't binary but gradually increases over time it would still allow short periods of starvation in real food shortage scenarios, but you'd kinda have to pay back that credit with a longer period of staying well nourished to get rid of the debuff - and only time after that would count towards well fed again. If you completely ignore this past day 4 or 5 or so you'd lose sleep recovery, which would ultimately force you to eventually eat - or die.

This would actually also be a bit more what one would expect from common sense. You don't immediately die from starvation. In fact you can get by for very long time depending on your reserves. But what the body indeed does rather quickly is ration your calories, meaning your metabolic rate slows, you feel tired all the time, your muscles don't regain strength as fast, you tire much faster from endurace activities such as walking, etc, etc. This is grade school knowledge - and as such I think it would be intuitive enough to implement.

I, on the other hand, understand why the devs don't want to adjust sleep recovery as it is. I've played games with no sleep recovery, and while challenging, it might be frustrating for many people that after a mishap like running into a wolf, even well clothed, you are essentially grounded for a week or two, which then in turn usually is amplified by other problems, such as shortages in firewood and/or food or cabin feaver. Plus the fun factor of staying put for two weeks really is quite low.
 

I agree with your 4th paragraph. The effects of starvation need to get progressively worse the longer you starve. I think something similar should also be implemented with fatigue. You rarely end up with the fatigue bar in the red for extended periods of time, but it would be cool if the character's vision got blurred and it would be hard to perform even basic tasks after lets say, 48 consecutive hours of starving or being fully fatigued. Another idea I just got off the top of my head is to have an affliction that is essentially the opposite of well fed. The amount of starvation could be calculated like cabin fever and once the risk gets too high, you can get a "malnourished" effect. Something like, "you have been starving for 48 of the last 72 hours, you are finding it hard to do physical labor". Carrying capacity could be reduced even further, fatigue would drain very fast, and you would become very susceptible to the cold. I'm basically just spitballing, but I think this would make consistently starving yourself day after day very punishing.

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25 minutes ago, jeffpeng said:

I, on the other hand, understand why the devs don't want to adjust sleep recovery as it is. I've played games with no sleep recovery, and while challenging, it might be frustrating for many people that after a mishap like running into a wolf, even well clothed, you are essentially grounded for a week or two, which then in turn usually is amplified by other problems, such as shortages in firewood and/or food or cabin feaver. Plus the fun factor of staying put for two weeks really is quite low.

I agree with the rest of your post, but I wanted to reply directly to this last bit. 

I play with zero condition recovery and "Low" (minimum) at rest recovery. I combine this with maximum thirst rate, which means I can't sleep more than 7 hours safely without losing condition to dehydration. A full night's sleep from 'exhausted' (in two stints with a water top-up in between) is about 12 hours, and gives about 12% recovery (though its difficult to tell exactly now that the % reading is gone). More if I have herbal tea, but that's fairly limited in supply.

Getting attacked by a wolf or a bear does take a week or so to recover from, but you aren't restricted to staying indoors doing nothing during that time. You have to be super careful about going out, but the character doesn't behave any differently when s/he's on low condition, so you can still get the same stuff done if you avoid further mishaps. Being on low condition doesn't make you weaker (perhaps it should?). Deliberately starving is fairly pointless with this set up, but on the other hand it isn't particularly damaging either.

I feel like the Well Fed buff does do its job, which is to reward you for keeping your calorie level up. But it doesn't act as a real deterrence to starvation - short or long term - if the player wants to min/max in the most efficient way possible. The only way to do that is to introduce penalties, you said. And I'd be quite happy if that happened.

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19 minutes ago, Martin Prchal said:

Another idea I just got off the top of my head is to have an affliction that is essentially the opposite of well fed. The amount of starvation could be calculated like cabin fever and once the risk gets too high, you can get a "malnourished" effect.

I've suggested something very similar to this in the past, so you get my vote!

 

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3 hours ago, Pillock said:
3 hours ago, Martin Prchal said:

Another idea I just got off the top of my head is to have an affliction that is essentially the opposite of well fed. The amount of starvation could be calculated like cabin fever and once the risk gets too high, you can get a "malnourished" effect.

I've suggested something very similar to this in the past, so you get my vote!

But we have this debuff, to a degree. If you starve for multiple days, your fatigue recovery is capped at below full. You cannot become fully rested, you lose your max fatigue refill. And the longer you starve, the more you lose. Meaning your max carry weight goes down, and you become tired, faster. The eye icon gets a red line, and fills with red from the top (where full would be). At least, it used to. Haven't starved my characters in ages, so I haven't seen the debuff in ages. Could have been removed in an update, but... I am too tired to go look at all of the changelogs right now. 

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I don’t think making your condition go down even faster while starving is the best way to solve this. The issue is that you can use your health bar as food, starving and draining it and then at the end of the day you “eat” a bunch of sleep.

Currently with how the game is I find the best way to solve this is to have regeneration as low as possible while still existing so you have to stay fed a long time to heal even minor damage. But this only hides the issue. 

 

I think to actually solve it the starvation system needs something different. My personal favourite idea is having a body fat system where under eating would burn fat and over eating would add more on. Once your fat level drops to a certain level then your endurance and carry weight would start dropping and you die eventually. I don’t know if the devs think this would be too complicated for people but it’s what I would at least try out

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4 hours ago, ThePancakeLady said:

But we have this debuff, to a degree. If you starve for multiple days, your fatigue recovery is capped at below full. You cannot become fully rested, you lose your max fatigue refill. And the longer you starve, the more you lose. Meaning your max carry weight goes down, and you become tired, faster. The eye icon gets a red line, and fills with red from the top (where full would be). At least, it used to. Haven't starved my characters in ages, so I haven't seen the debuff in ages. Could have been removed in an update, but... I am too tired to go look at all of the changelogs right now. 

It's still there. You just have to not eat for 24 consecutive hours, and even a little bit of food will cure it.
 

3 hours ago, odizzido said:

But this only hides the issue. 

Exactly.

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My stance, starvation is actually fine as it is.  I like a healthy dose of realism, tempered with enough unrealistic performance to make for entertaining game play.  That said, a person can go days--even weeks--without food.  They won't be in top form, for sure, but they would be alive.  Water on the other hand, you can survive without for a maximum of a week under ideal conditions.  But to stay in top form, you're actually supposed to drink about 2 liters per day, or half a gallon.  Current state, you actually do need 2 full liters of water, if you stay awake for 24 hours straight, although if you sleep you will end up using about 1.5 liters for a full day...which is close enough.  Food on the other hand...allowing the game to account for body fat reserves, how much fat you build up, how much you burn due to fasting for several days, that gets really dicey.  I mean where do you draw the line.  There actually is a survival game out there (I forget what it's called) that micromanages your nutrition down to the individual vitamins in your diet.  That's not fun anymore, that's...more like work.   So imposing a condition drain that is enough to force you to eat at least once every other day, ehh...that's good enough.  It accomplishes the goal, without introducing an aggravatingly complex level of nutrition management.

But I wouldn't be opposed to some kind of extreme starvation debuff.  Like if you hit starving 3 times within a 72 hour period, give an "Emaciated" debuff, that subtracts 5kg from your carry weight, and caps your condition at 95%.  (Edit: On second thought, just dipping into "starving" 3 times would be a bit extreme, but you catch my meaning. Maybe track negative calories accumulation, and if you dip too far into the red, you get a "Malnourished" risk, which can deteriorate to "Emaciated".)  The exact opposite of staying well fed.  That would discourage blatant abuse of starvation, while allowing some leeway to ration.

Edited by ajb1978
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8 hours ago, ThePancakeLady said:

But we have this debuff, to a degree. If you starve for multiple days, your fatigue recovery is capped at below full. You cannot become fully rested, you lose your max fatigue refill. And the longer you starve, the more you lose. Meaning your max carry weight goes down, and you become tired, faster. The eye icon gets a red line, and fills with red from the top (where full would be). At least, it used to. Haven't starved my characters in ages, so I haven't seen the debuff in ages. Could have been removed in an update, but... I am too tired to go look at all of the changelogs right now. 

You're never going to suffer this debuff if you're using the technique of starving while awake and then eating and sleeping to regain condition each day when your fatigue runs out. The debuff doesn't kick in in time because you're mostly eating every day before you sleep. And even if it does kick in, it is cured the moment you do eat something before you sleep, so it never affects you very much. It doesn't deter starvation/sleep-regain as a daily routine at all, unfortunately.

I like the idea of a 'cabin fever'-type mechanic, that would track your calorie intake/expenditure over several days, and if you're consistently in the red you'd get landed with a big debuff - one that's damaging enough to really force you into changing your behaviour over time in order to get rid of it.

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24 minutes ago, Pillock said:

I like the idea of a 'cabin fever'-type mechanic, that would track your calorie intake/expenditure over several days, and if you're consistently in the red you'd get landed with a big debuff - one that's damaging enough to really force you into changing your behaviour over time in order to get rid of it.

That would make a bit more sense.  1 lb. = 3500 calories IRL (calorie counting weight loss diet...). In other words... to lose 1 lb. of weight, you need to eliminate 3500 calories, whether by not eating, or by burning that many through exercise. The game does/can track your calories taken in and expended through tasks. 

If it was a 6 day tally, intake vs. expenditure (similar to how Cabin Fever works), and your expenditure was higher than your intake... then the affliction would hit, and last longer. Requiring you to take in more than you expend for 3 days to treat it, no Well Fed buff achieved unless you kept your intake higher for another 3 days after treatment was finished.

Is this how you are envisioning it?

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26 minutes ago, ThePancakeLady said:

That would make a bit more sense.  1 lb. = 3500 calories IRL (calorie counting weight loss diet...). In other words... to lose 1 lb. of weight, you need to eliminate 3500 calories, whether by not eating, or by burning that many through exercise. The game does/can track your calories taken in and expended through tasks. 

If it was a 6 day tally, intake vs. expenditure (similar to how Cabin Fever works), and your expenditure was higher than your intake... then the affliction would hit, and last longer. Requiring you to take in more than you expend for 3 days to treat it, no Well Fed buff achieved unless you kept your intake higher for another 3 days after treatment was finished.

Is this how you are envisioning it?

More or less, yeah. My brain tends to get a bit scrambled when I try to do much mental arithmetic, but it strikes me that the game would have to start tracking your intake/expenditure as a ratio only when you first reached 0 calories, otherwise it wouldn't work. If it started tracking the ratio when you were full (at the start of the game, say), you would always be in the negative from then on because the game doesn't allow you to ever exceed your original "full" status.

I think it would also have to kick in more quickly than cabin fever does, otherwise it might not even occur. That is, I've never contracted cabin fever ever, yet I nearly always have a negative indoors/outdoors ratio. I don't really get how that works!

But yeah, something along those lines.

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I reckon you hit the nail on the head. The way we play interloper is flawed and relies on exploiting the starvation mechanic by only eating at night before sleeping and then starving the character throughout the day. In reality, how many of us would be comfortable walking through thick snow for hours a day on an empty stomach, it would be near impossible! As you referenced that it took 10 days longer to make it to the summit maintaining the well feed buff, this probably is more realistic. If you were in this situation then you would look to keep yourself feed, and if the world was this cold and food this hard to come by, then you would be forced to upskill your harvesting and cooking skills, and in all likelihood contract intestinal parasites as you got yourself established. Only then could you dream about traveling to the far reaching areas such as TWM, as it wouldn't realistically be possible straight away. Therefore in my opinion striving to keep the well feed buff going represents playing the game in a more realistic way instead on exploiting the game mechanics, which in my opinion is definitely a positive. In all honesty, I avoided playing interloper as I disliked the idea of exploiting starvation by only needing to eat 750 calories before bed in the early game, but eventually got over that and just starting playing loper anyone. However, I still often have a little snack once or twice a day, yet am often completely out of calories.

You are right that starvation needs to be more punishing. Even 2% condition drop per hour with an instant -5kg carry bonus (which thus tires you quicker and slows down your movement speed) whenever you starve yourself would see more people at least eat a little before going on adventuring. These are just my opinions but like I say, I believe striving to maintain the well feed buff is a good thing and it represents a more realistic way of playing loper, as long as starving yourself continues to go relatively unpunished. 

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