jeffpeng

Rebalancing The Long Dark

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Hello, fellow survivors.

Preface

Everything I suggest here should be taken as that: a suggestion, even if I don’t explicitly state every single time that I intend it to be a suggestion. Also I do not claim to be better at designing a game than its proven to be successful game designers. But I play the game, frequently, in depth and at a fairly high level, and hence I think I can allow myself to make suggestions how to improve it.

What I do suggest is an alternative path to make long term survival harder - alternative to the drastically “improved” Wolf AI. Apparently the developers see a need to adjust the viability of long term survival, and to a certain degree I agree. What I do not agree with are the means this is sought to be achieved. Not because the resulting challenge is too hard, but because it alienates long standing players and in many aspects betrays established core concepts of the game.

Also I do not tackle Timberwolves in this intentionally. They are their own fish to fry, and as such do not apply to most of the game as it stands being restricted to Bleak Inlet which I personally consider to be “in beta” as much as the Timberwolves themselves.

Finally: not all of those ideas are mine. In fact they are more a compendium of good suggestions from an amazing community that has a lot of great ideas to improve their favorite game. What I try here is to bring some of those together in a balanced fashion that still achieves the developer’s goal of making the late game more challenging while keeping The Long Dark true to its roots and without alienating players.

Please do feel free to add to, criticize and utterly demolish this if you can argue your point of view. Just please keep it civil, factual and respectful. You are entitled to your opinion, I am entitled to mine.

The new Wolf AI

In the current state wolves behave in a highly inconsistent manner. Some of this inconsistency may be due to lackluster implementation, but the bigger share of it is probably intentional. This makes predictions very hard and puts an over-emphasis on luck or better: the lack thereof. In a game that presents you obstacles there should be the appropriate counterplay available to overcome these obstacles. This allows for expression of skill and experience and gives the player the feeling that their actions do matter.

Reducing mechanics to random chance removes the player from the equation, and degrades the question of success to a mere roll of the dice. This rewards players for refraining from taking action altogether and punishes those players that want to enjoy a more active playstyle, furthering - not disincentivizing - inactive late-games as we do experience now.

Currently wolves do two new things that have been introduced recently:

Wolves and fires

The first thing is that they do not flee from fires anymore, but rather wait a certain amount of time (10 ingame minutes?) before charging the player. This renders fires as defensive positions rather ineffective since this does no longer allow to perform time lapsed actions. Pointing a weapon at wolves - any weapon, including stones and guns without ammunition - causes them to flee.

The interesting thing here is that there are apparently three random checks for a wolf to flee: when it becomes aware of the player (this has been in the game forever and it's fine), when it becomes aware of the fire, and when if decides to charge the player. This makes wolves highly unpredictable and invites the notion that it is best to avoid them altogether, basically removing wolves from the game and reducing them to a sudden (and rather random) death.

That wolves do no longer flee from fires that are being in the process of creation is a welcome change that removes the possibility of just being able to mindlessly wander about and “drop” a fire to remove any wolves in pursuit. That wolves however do no longer respect established fires as protective zones is something I can't agree with. Since the inception of The Long Dark fires were safe zones that protected from wolves. That bears do not adhere to this logic is a controversial topic, but has been long accepted since.

What I propose is to keep the “hold ground” mechanic when approaching the player holding a torch or a flare, or a player in the process of being creating a fire while holding a torch or flare, but revert to wolves consistently fleeing from already established fires. Players that try to create a fire without having a burning torch or flare equipped are fair game and a wolf should charge them in any case. Also players that aim weapons at wolves while at a fire should be subject to retaliation rather than the wolf fleeing. (While we’re at it: the same should be true for both bears and moose, meaning they should respect established fires unless they are defending themselves.)

So in short: flares and torches buy you a bit of time, established fires are safe zones as long as you don’t take aggressive actions.

This emphasizes the importance of carrying a torch over how the game used to work - which meant that just having a single match was enough defence - but also retains the players ability to create a safe zone to sleep, craft, harvest and cook outdoors if the player manages to build a fire protected from the wind and provide enough fuel to it.

Wolves and decoys

The second change concerns wolves and their behaviour with decoys, also known as bait. Wolves do no longer pick up decoys unless the player is excessively far away, and also picking up decoys at all is highly inconsistent, but I don’t think that’s intentional - and indicative of a bug.

What should happen is that once a player drops a decoy the wolf tries to acquire it as fast as possible, e.g. sprinting. If successful the wolf should escape as fast as possible, possibly while engaging in “evasive maneuvers” to throw off the players aim. If the player actually aims a weapon at any time in the process the wolf should indeed charge the player if still within reasonable range.

This would achieve a multitude of things: decoys would again reliably serve their intended purpose of dropping the aggro from a pursuing predator. But it would also make it very hard for players to “exploit” decoys as bait as was stated by the developer's multiple times. If a player still manages to successfully hit the wolf that is the appropriate reward for them risking a struggle if they don’t.

 

Both solutions aim to retain the player’s ability to reduce the threat from predators reasonably, while removing the ability to exploit either fires or decoys to hunt wolves (or big game) without the possibility of retaliation.

General balancing changes to make late-game more challenging

Since it is the apparent wish of the developers to make long term survival in The Long Dark more challenging I want to propose a few “knobs to turn” to achieve this with without frustrating the actual setting and feel of the game, but still achieve the desired uplift in late-game difficulty. Also a few points serve to mitigate some of the hardship put onto players by other points.

Combat starvation more effectively

While the non-punitive approach to combating starvation - the introduction of the Well Fed Buff - received a lot of praise from the community, I feel like Well Fed isn’t doing its job properly. If starvation is intended to remain an option to bridge periods of low access to calories then at least it should not be possible to maintain this state indefinitely. There are several ways to tackle this. One would be to simply raise the damage from starvation. But it has been pointed out several times that surviving without food is possible for weeks, which is at least technically correct. What however is not possible is to remain highly active while being starved of calorie intake and maintain this indefinitely.

What I propose is to introduce a debuff that triggers once a player is actually starving, e.g. has run out of calories. This debuff would be called something like “Starvation Risk” and wouldn’t do anything on its own for the time being, but would stack up to “Starvation” over the course of 48 hours (2% per hour). Removing “Starvation Risk” is done gradually as well, with 2% for every hour of being fed. 

Once reaching 100% the player contracts the “Starvation” debuff, which comes with a heavy fatigue penalty akin to suffering from hypothermia, and also prevents all condition recovery. Curing “Starvation” would require to remain fed for at least a full day, with the timer again gaining if starvation occurs again. So for example being fed for 12 hours, starving for 4 and then again being fed for 16 hours would still cure “Starvation”. Being fed for 12, starving for 4, and then again being fed for 12... would not, but still require 4 more hours.

To balance this after losing Well Fed (and right after starting the game) a player would have a 3 days grace period before starving would trigger “Starvation Risk” again, adding up to a total grace period of 5 days before having to face “Starvation”. That means a player that’s generally aiming to meet their calorie requirements isn’t punished immediately for failing to do so for a short time. Players generally successful in fact are probably never faced with it.

The concept behind this is to prevent long-term starvation as a viable strategy without punishing players for intermittent drought periods too harshly, and to incentivise an active playstyle that revolves around acquiring resources such as food and firewood and as such is more susceptible to predators over a passive playstyle that mostly revolves around passing time, sleeping as much as possible and evading actually playing the game.

Remove Cabin Fever

With having to procure food to stay alive there is more than enough incentive to go outside and no further need to punish players that prefer to stay in man-made shelters most of the time. Aside from that Cabin Fever is easily worked around and mostly a relic of the "Leaderboard" days.

0% food should not be edible

Once food reaches 0% it’s gone. Maybe allow harvesting the empty can from expired canned food, but that’s it. This applies to old-world food as well as to harvested meat. In canon with that….

0% meat should not be useable

Once meat reaches 0% it’s gone, too. The player cannot cook it any longer, and hence no longer apply 50% condition to a piece of bear meat that has been lying around for 1000 days. This prevents infinite stockpiling and incentivises a playstyle that is more rooted in the now rather than the then.

Add salt and self-made jerky (dried meat)

To balance meat going bad eventually salt is added to the game, which can be found in rather large quantities in kitchens. Meat can than be cured over the course of 5 days indoors. Cured meat makes thirsty akin to beef jerky, loses 25% of its calories, and does not receive a 50% condition bump as cooked meat gets, but loses only a fourth of its condition if stored indoors compared to cooked meat. Also it is not smelly.

The concept behind this is to allow players to prepare food for travels to counteract the much more dangerous wolves (compared to pre-Errant Pilgrim) and also to store some of their hunting surplus for later at the cost of time, while not invalidating cooking as the preferred method of preparing meat if immediate consumption is intended.

Blizzards should apply their temperature malus faster

While it is fine (and probably preferable) that blizzards don’t apply their temperature malus while a player sleeps, it should not take several seconds for the temperature to drop and hence allow the player to “dodge” a blizzard from clicking Sleep fast enough.

This would make stocking firewood more important if wanting to indulge life in a cave. Currently a player living in a cave can dodge a blizzard by just sleeping it away without ever having to light a fire, while still enjoying the fire duration bonus you do not get from indoor fires. Living in a designated safe house should not be disincentivised.

Fix traversing very steep terrain downwards

Currently it is possible to traverse almost perpendicular terrain downwards without more of the occasional sprain risk. This opens up very powerful shortcuts. It is, for example, possible to slide down from the Timberwolf Mountain crash site all the way to the open air Cave (the one with the abandoned campfire) without more than a few sprained limbs. Many more of these shortcuts exist in the game, most of which were certainly not originally intended by the developers.

I’m not sure where the threshold should be, maybe at 70° (90° being straight down), but removing this from the game and letting the player fall very steep descents would make a lot of maps as challenging as they were intended to be as the risk of falling would be much higher. While this might cause some backlash from the “goating” community, I think most can agree that this being currently possible removes a lot of intended challenge from the game once you figure it out.

Closing words

I again want to emphasize that these are ideas and opinions, and that they certainly are no blueprint to be implemented verbatim. But I strongly believe that these changes would help the game to be more challenging and even generally better, while helping players wanting to be more active and reward them for it - all of it while keeping core game concepts intact.

Thank you for reading.

Edited by jeffpeng
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Two nice heat concepts are that outside temp can more affect shelter temp and that after fire is out shelters retain some of that heat for a bit.  What are your thoughts on those alongside your above ideas?

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10 hours ago, dbmurph22 said:

Two nice heat concepts are that outside temp can more affect shelter temp and that after fire is out shelters retain some of that heat for a bit.  What are your thoughts on those alongside your above ideas?

I absolutely support a slower decline in temperature inside a cave or outside sheltered area (e.g. fishing hut and partially destroyed houses) after the fire goes out.  I also think the sort of shelter should also influence the temperature rise.  It was jarring to find myself in a large, open-style cave (at Marsh Ridge) in the middle of a blizzard waking up to embers on the fire and a temperature of plus 65C that declined to -23C the moment the embers died.

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Nice try at proposing good changes. I personally I would like to see some more realism when it comes to some issues, like:

On 1/9/2020 at 12:43 AM, jeffpeng said:

0% meat should not be useable

Once meat reaches 0% it’s gone, too. The player cannot cook it any longer, and hence no longer apply 50% condition to a piece of bear meat that has been lying around for 1000 days. This prevents infinite stockpiling and incentivises a playstyle that is more rooted in the now rather than the then.

I would add that meat should be preserved for at least a few months in sub-zero temperatures (like in real life, you can keep raw meat in freezer without it spoiling)

When it comes to your suggestions, Idk some things do seem more fun, like the wolf fleeing by you pointing something at it, it only makes sense where a wolf attacks you while you're harvesting by the fire.

Also it is possible in real life to starve during the day and just eat full meal in the evening, many people actually employ this tactic as a way of life. What I would like to see is minus calories, that is - you could loose fat/muscle (and some benefits with it) when you starve (instead of loosing condition by starving for a few days)

I actually get sort of in-game cabin fewer if I spend too much time (without passing) indoors, so I think Cabin Fewer is real, but it should definitely be more flexible.

When it comes to traversing steep terrains - think Alex Honnold! It's been proven it's possible in real life. I think traversing equivalent mountains to TLD would be a joke to him.

 

Edited by Aurimas
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Great list @jeffpeng! I have a modest addition to your list of requested features.

Add tinder to fuel fires

When Fire Starting 3 is achieved, or with the Fire Master feat, tinder items currently serve no purpose. Instead, allow these items to be added to a fire to give +0.5°C and 2 minutes duration to a fire. This is both realistic and does not unduly serve to unbalance the game. With these values, 0.10kg of tinder plugs gives the same heat boost but half the duration boost of a 0.15kg stick, offering an interesting choice between shorter, hotter fires or longer, cooler fires.

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While I do think that removing downwards mountain goating would be good, I think it would have to be done at the same time as increasing our mobility in other ways. I find mountain goating helps to make up for the deficiencies in this game in terms of movement and I wouldn't want to remove it with the game in its current state.

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The limitations of the game regarding simulation of reality mean some things that would be logical don't translate well into gameplay. Who's to say descending down a steep slope is unrealistic, if you could lie down on your back and slide across the powdery top layer, cushioning your landing in a snowdrift below? Perhaps you might risk spraining an ankle with your landing, but that's the risk you take for using a shortcut.

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On 1/11/2020 at 4:21 AM, dbmurph22 said:

Two nice heat concepts are that outside temp can more affect shelter temp and that after fire is out shelters retain some of that heat for a bit.  What are your thoughts on those alongside your above ideas?

Personally I would like to see that happen, but I feel it's a bit much on the hardcore side of things. Definitely not one of the things I feel needs immediate attention.

On 1/11/2020 at 2:54 PM, UpUpAway95 said:

I absolutely support a slower decline in temperature inside a cave or outside sheltered area (e.g. fishing hut and partially destroyed houses) after the fire goes out.  I also think the sort of shelter should also influence the temperature rise.  It was jarring to find myself in a large, open-style cave (at Marsh Ridge) in the middle of a blizzard waking up to embers on the fire and a temperature of plus 65C that declined to -23C the moment the embers died.

Yeah if we are talking temperature decline in sheltered areas .... well I guess it would be little work to just make the decline slower since it's already a gradual process, just a very fast one. Agreed.

On 2/22/2020 at 2:46 PM, Jimmy said:

Great list @jeffpeng! I have a modest addition to your list of requested features.

Add tinder to fuel fires

When Fire Starting 3 is achieved, or with the Fire Master feat, tinder items currently serve no purpose. Instead, allow these items to be added to a fire to give +0.5°C and 2 minutes duration to a fire. This is both realistic and does not unduly serve to unbalance the game. With these values, 0.10kg of tinder plugs gives the same heat boost but half the duration boost of a 0.15kg stick, offering an interesting choice between shorter, hotter fires or longer, cooler fires.

I had a different idea about that which I outlined here: 

As for using tinder as heat booster .... I feel with the recent buff to coal by removing the 30-or-so minutes until you can drop it into a fire getting warm fast with little to no lead time at a fire while not expending a significant amount of resources is already easy enough. But I guess we agree that tinder should have *some* use.

On 2/22/2020 at 12:30 PM, Aurimas said:

Nice try at proposing good changes. I personally I would like to see some more realism when it comes to some issues, like:

I will not try to tackle realism here. It's a game, and there is so much "unrealistic" stuff in it that you can't just claim realism here, and claim "game logic" there. As a game rules are not made to reflect reality but to facilitate the game. I know TLD is in the constant limbo between wanting to present an enjoyable experience and trying to "feel" realistic - but it's just not.

13 hours ago, odizzido said:

While I do think that removing downwards mountain goating would be good, I think it would have to be done at the same time as increasing our mobility in other ways. I find mountain goating helps to make up for the deficiencies in this game in terms of movement and I wouldn't want to remove it with the game in its current state.

While I get where you are coming from I disagree. 

12 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

I'll try again tomorrow, I just don't have time to rewrite it all now.

Good luck. :D 

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If you want heat from a fire remain after the fire, you can heat up a stone put it in water and the water can heat you up. But to do that your fire would need to have a certain temperature and/or duration. Then im fine with it. If its just a small fire the temperature bonus should dramatical decrease as it does in real life.

Edit: as a bonus there can be a small risk at heating up the stone as the stone can explode.

I think wolves should ignore fires that are in the process of being started, but already established fires should be respected.

 

Decoys should be held in hand and the wolf should come up and take it out of your hand. It will take it and run away. And when you have your weapon ready to fire the wolf should already be a good distance away from you. If its like this then you choose between weaponising yourself or distracting the wolf not both. Then maybe there could be a wolf management skill and once you have a high level of that you can drop bait. The decoy or bait should be no less than 1kg of meat or a can of dogfood with condition of 50% or above

Edited by exeexe

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@jeffpeng
You've got a lot of interesting observations and ideas here.  For the most part, I can see where you're coming from (as always your ideas are well structured and thought out).  Since this is take-two for me on these topics, I will try to be less verbose :D

Anyways, here are my thoughts all of the items put forth so far... (yours and another that was also put forward)


The new wolf AI:
To your observation that wolves behave in a highly inconsistent manner, I think this is a very good thing.  While you seem to equate that unpredictability to removing the player from the equation... I'd say it's just the opposite.  I think that the wolves behaving inconsistently and more unpredictably actually prompts the player to be more agile.  As opposed to just pulling the same routine for every encounter, if the wolves are more unpredictable the player always has to keep their wits about them in order to deal with the situation dynamically.  I think if anything, that is what allows for the expression of player skill and experience.  I think the unpredictability you describe makes player action even more important than before, not less.  I also think it makes each encounter much more engaging.  The random chance you are describing is on the part of the wolf, not the player.  The player can still be as active as they want, I don't see anything about it that is disincentivizing.   ...unless of course it's the type of player who just can't handle or cope with unpredictable situations.


Wolves and fires:
It's been a long time since I've used fire to ward off wolves (something close to a year now), so I'll go by what you've described as the current behavior since I've not had the inclination to experiment with it myself.  If it functions the way you describe it, then I think this is a much better alternative to the old behavior.  It seems to me that the wolf still stops a fair distance from the fire, and if you do nothing then it sort of "works up the courage" to charge by the open flame and try to pick you off.  If I understand what you wrote, if you aim a weapon at them while they are stopped in front of the fire... they run off.  If so, then that means our campfires are can still be used as a "haven," we just have to be more proactive about it.  Personally I think that's a wonderful addition.  No more lounging lazily by a fire, drinking tea with impunity while wolves mill around.  All in all the reason I stopped using fire to ward off wolves is because I never wanted to feel "safe" outdoors in The Long Dark.  Now that you've brought it up though... I do have a wolf on Crystal Lake, so I suppose I'll have to go experiment with it myself soon.  As I mentioned before though, if does work the way you describe it, then I think it's a much better system than the way it was before.


Wolves and decoys:
I more or less quit using decoys for hunting around the same time I stopped using campfires to ward off wolves (and much for the same reasons - it seemed too easy and felt too safe).  You mentioned that the wolf won't pickup a decoy unless the player is far away... that seems reasonable to me.  After all, I imagine the wolf would still see you as a potential threat.  Now that bit about the decoy being "snatched up" at longer / inconsistent distances, I could agree that seems like that behavior may be a buggy.  Personally I really appreciate the change in this behavior.  No more easy kills, we actually have to hunt again.  The way I see it, and I think Raph has expressed something similar, the decoy was meant to give us a chance to sacrifice some food in order to make a getaway from stalking wolves.  This is out I've treated for a long while now, and honestly I think wolves are not that hard to hunt (even with their less predictable behaviors).


Making late-game more challenging:
I still don't think there is any late-game problem, but instead issues with some player's and their "late-game expectations."  I've mentioned it before... I think that once a player get proficient in their survival tasks, it's up to them to find creative ways to just live on Great Bear and for how long.  I don't think the right answer if the for the game to just keep escalating "ad infinitum."  If a player gets bored... I think the player should just get a little creative.  It's been working for me for years.  So far, I can say I've never been bored with this game, and I think that's because I don't think it's the game's responsibility to adapt to me... I think it's my responsibly to adapt to the game and live in it's "world."  I get that some players will want the game to do all the heavy lifting for them and "give them reasons to go out and do things," but I just don't think that's right answer for a game like this.  I think there comes a point (and a level of proficiency) were the onus should be on the player to be a little more proactive instead of just being reactive.


Combat starvation more effectively:
Why?  I mean, I just don't see a need.  What's odd though, is that a lot of what you describe is already here with us, it's not given a discrete affliction or convenient "risk meter."  I tried it out the other day...  After going on zero calories we do get a fatigue penalty, and the longer we go without eating that fatigue penalty keeps getting more severe.  Also, in order for that penalty to gradually go away and return to normal we have to keep food in our stomachs.  The other part I like to point out, a survivor should be able to ration their food/water how they want to, right?  Shouldn't that be a player's prerogative, if they want to eat sparingly or gorge themselves and keep a full stomach at all times (and every variation in between)?  Considering what's already in place, I just don't see a need for the game to force a particular play style... especially when I think that play style should (for the most part) be up to the player.


Remove Cabin Fever:
All in all I think Cabin Fever is fine, granted that for Interloper players like yourself it gets to be more of an issue since I imagine one has to stay indoors a lot more in efforts to keep warm.  However...

On 8/14/2019 at 11:49 PM, ManicManiac said:

Have folks considered not worrying so much about cabin fever/risk?  Even if we do get full on cabin fever it just means you can't sleep or pass time indoors for 24 hours (you can still be indoors if you want to).  I don't think it's all that difficult to deal if we are properly prepared.  One trip to a mine can give us more than enough coal to keep any place on the map blazing hot for 24 hours.  Also, if we don't spend so much time inside we will rarely even get a risk of cabin fever (there are plenty of places considered outdoors where you can keep a fire protected.  After all keep in mind that we have to spend the majority of 6 consecutive days inside to even contract the risk.  Which to me means that if we are constantly having to deal with cabin fever, maybe we need to rethink our play style...

Granted I hadn't taken Interloper into account when I first wrote this, but honestly it doesn't change the premise.  The good news though, is that for folks that just really don't like it, we already have the option to use Custom Settings to switch this feature off...


0% food / 0% meat:
I've spoke about this many time before, so I will just echo my thoughts on it here...

On 12/21/2019 at 5:13 AM, ManicManiac said:
On 12/21/2019 at 2:48 AM, SpiritQKnight said:

Ruined food is ruined, period.

I disagree with your assertions here.  It sounds like the main gripe here is that cooking level 5 allows players to not risk food poisoning... it seems to have little to do with whether or not a player can eat ruined things.  I've mentioned this many times before so I will briefly summarize it here: I think folks should be able to play how they want, and I don't think removing options from players is not necessarily the right answer.  If folks don't like that something is possible in the game... all they have to do is choose not to play that way.  If a player doesn't agree with being able to eat ruined food, then all they have to do is despawn it in a nearby container.  I see no reason to take the option away from other players.

 

Add salt and self-made jerky:
I think it might be a nice touch, but considering what's already in play I really don't see a need for this.  I get that your whole point is that you don't seem to like how this was implemented, but I think just looking at it a little differently is a lot easier than Hinterland changing the game to suit individual tastes.

On 2/2/2020 at 2:55 AM, ManicManiac said:

For folks that hate the fact that we can eat "ruined" food...  I'd say just role play it and set it next to a fire for a little bit to "reheat" our "frozen foods."

I don't see a need to have a system for preserving food when the current set up already provides the same effect, and I don't think it's such a critical issue to warrant overhauling the systems again to add this particular facet when the current effect is the essentially present.  Again though, I can agree that it would be a nice touch... but one that I can live without.


Blizzards should apply their temperature faster:
This is very interesting, and I'm glad you've brought this up...  Perhaps it's because I've not seen this, or perhaps because I an estimated temperature drop into account before I commit to sleep... but I've never seen this effect you discuss.  If it works the way you describe it, then I would say that does feel a bit exploitative and I could agree with any measure Hinterland choose to address it.  Since I've not seen it happen (when I go to sleep I always notice the ambient temperature dropping as the UI fades out - when I'm outdoors or in a cave/other structure that still experiences temperature fluctuations based on outside temps) I can't say too much about your proposed solution, other than I think that as long as time compression was synchronous with what the event would be doing in "real" time... then I think that would fairly solve the problem just fine.


Fixing traversing every steep terrain downwards:
Now, I'm not much of a goater per se... sure I do some in the interests of mapping and because I really like to explore (when I see a rock formation I wonder, "can I get up there?").  However, all things being what they are, I don't think it's so unreasonable to be able sort of "scooch down hill."  Perhaps you are better at it than I am... I tend to fall off the true vertical drops.  I think that given most of our movement limitations, I'm not against those who have found creative ways to navigate the terrain.  Nearly every update will note modifications to the terrain features to the sake of keeping folks inside the "intended playable area," and I tend to think that what we do inside that intended playable area should be up to the player.  Naturally if the Hinterland team feels those creative methods critically undermine the experience they want to build, then of course I would support whatever solution they choose.


Added topic - Add tinder to fuel fires:
This one was added by @Jimmy
I will say that I do agree (and have always felt) that tinder shouldn't be a useless resource after Fire Starting Level 3.  I've discussed this quite a bit before so I'll echo what I've posted before (updated a little bit)...

On 11/2/2018 at 8:23 PM, ManicManiac said:

I think items usable as tinder should provide at least some kind of bonus for starting fires (even if only a very small one).  Otherwise it's a completely wasted resource after your get your fire starting skill to level 3.  [text removed for brevity]  Right now, after level 3 it seems like tinder is only good for filling the pockets of corpses. :P

&

On 5/29/2019 at 11:42 PM, ManicManiac said:

[text removed for brevity] and to have tinder give at least just a small percentage toward the "fire starting chance" so it can still be useful after level 3.

I figure this way... while no longer required after level 3, it would still be at least a little bit helpful if a player chooses to still use it.
 

:coffee::fire::coffee:
Whew... that took a long time. :D

Edited by ManicManiac
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there is one major change I'd implement- water from a toilet being potable.  if you disagree, humour this taste test- next cold snap, grab a pint from your bog bowl, then melt (not boil!) a pint of fresh snow.  which tastes better?! 🤢

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15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

The new wolf AI:
To your observation that wolves behave in a highly inconsistent manner, I think this is a very good thing.  While you seem to equate that unpredictability to removing the player from the equation... I'd say it's just the opposite.  I think that the wolves behaving inconsistently and more unpredictably actually prompts the player to be more agile.  As opposed to just pulling the same routine for every encounter, if the wolves are more unpredictable the player always has to keep their wits about them in order to deal with the situation dynamically.  I think if anything, that is what allows for the expression of player skill and experience.  I think the unpredictability you describe makes player action even more important than before, not less.  I also think it makes each encounter much more engaging.  The random chance you are describing is on the part of the wolf, not the player.  The player can still be as active as they want, I don't see anything about it that is disincentivizing.   ...unless of course it's the type of player who just can't handle or cope with unpredictable situations.

Maybe we're looking at this from different angles. My train of though is that of a person that tends to err on the side of caution. If I cannot reasonably expect something to work that will cost me my life (i.e. my run) if it doesn't I'm much less inclined to even try it. On Stalker or other games modes where wolf encounters are less punishing this isn't as much of a concern. On Interloper, however, a wolf encounter can and likely will cost you your life if you are not in the best of shapes and have acquired sufficiently protective gear. And even if, the risk/reward calculation is just so clear in favor of risk avoidance that the result is a rather "uninteractive" game where you will most likely avoid wolves at almost all cost. There isn't much skill expression in fighting off a wolf after it jumps you, and there isn't any skill expression on praying for RNGsus to let you live. Recovering from such an incident... yeah, there I'm with you.

Also there's another aspect to inconsistency: If your actions don't have a predictable outcome they don't mean anything. If your survival hinges on the hard to understand inner workings of a game that doesn't present you with your reason of failure but instead leaves you scratching your head about what the freeze just happened, you are very likely to blame the game, possibly even assume being "cheated" out of the game - which is a terrible kind of user experience.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

Wolves and fires:

The current behavior since the bugfixing extravaganza is a bit different now, and I guess satisfies my main problems with this topic. Timelapsing at a fire - as of now - will cause wolves to flee if you are already timelapsing at the moment they approach the fire.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

Wolves and decoys:
I more or less quit using decoys for hunting around the same time I stopped using campfires to ward off wolves (and much for the same reasons - it seemed too easy and felt too safe).  You mentioned that the wolf won't pickup a decoy unless the player is far away... that seems reasonable to me.  After all, I imagine the wolf would still see you as a potential threat.  Now that bit about the decoy being "snatched up" at longer / inconsistent distances, I could agree that seems like that behavior may be a buggy.  Personally I really appreciate the change in this behavior.  No more easy kills, we actually have to hunt again.  The way I see it, and I think Raph has expressed something similar, the decoy was meant to give us a chance to sacrifice some food in order to make a getaway from stalking wolves.  This is out I've treated for a long while now, and honestly I think wolves are not that hard to hunt (even with their less predictable behaviors).

Again, since I wrote this post (that got the attention I had wished for really late), the "teleportation snatching" does no longer happen. What does happen is that the wolf heads towards the bait, but if you are just the right amount of distance away will simply wander off instead of taking it, actually allowing for a weirdly safe shot that the wolf then sometime magically dodges. This feels like the system needs some refining. In general I agree that "easy kills" by baiting should not be in the game, as wolfes are clearly not supposed to be the reliable source of food they used to be.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

Making late-game more challenging:
I still don't think there is any late-game problem, but instead issues with some player's and their "late-game expectations."  I've mentioned it before... I think that once a player get proficient in their survival tasks, it's up to them to find creative ways to just live on Great Bear and for how long.  I don't think the right answer if the for the game to just keep escalating "ad infinitum."  If a player gets bored... I think the player should just get a little creative.  It's been working for me for years.  So far, I can say I've never been bored with this game, and I think that's because I don't think it's the game's responsibility to adapt to me... I think it's my responsibly to adapt to the game and live in it's "world."  I get that some players will want the game to do all the heavy lifting for them and "give them reasons to go out and do things," but I just don't think that's right answer for a game like this.  I think there comes a point (and a level of proficiency) were the onus should be on the player to be a little more proactive instead of just being reactive.

I'm mostly with you on that. What I was porposing were alternative "knobs" to turn to achieve a harder late game rather than just infuse the wolfes with bags of randomness. That doesn't mean I am neccessarily in favor of that - but apparently the developers feel like this is required, and instead of unpredictable factors I would prefer solvable challenges. This didn't go anywhere near the topic of players being bored. My personal stance is that TLD can be very challenging and interesting on day 500 as it is as long as you just leave the house once in a while.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

Combat starvation more effectively:
Why?  I mean, I just don't see a need.  What's odd though, is that a lot of what you describe is already here with us, it's not given a discrete affliction or convenient "risk meter."  I tried it out the other day...  After going on zero calories we do get a fatigue penalty, and the longer we go without eating that fatigue penalty keeps getting more severe.  Also, in order for that penalty to gradually go away and return to normal we have to keep food in our stomachs.  The other part I like to point out, a survivor should be able to ration their food/water how they want to, right?  Shouldn't that be a player's prerogative, if they want to eat sparingly or gorge themselves and keep a full stomach at all times (and every variation in between)?  Considering what's already in place, I just don't see a need for the game to force a particular play style... especially when I think that play style should (for the most part) be up to the player.

You need to be on zero cals for 24 hours afaik. So it's rather easy to circumvent that. Again, this was a way to offset the apparent feeling that late game is too easy without making wolves random bombs that just blow up in your face. Another reason I keep bringing this up is that while I see and agree with that a person can get by with a lowered calorie intake for a prolonged period of time, I disagree with the fact that a person can do this indefinitely. I generally have a problem with mechanics that suggest playing the game wrong (not eating) to achieve the best results, and with mechanics that reward inaction over action.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

Remove Cabin Fever:

Was meant as an offset taking the above into account. If you can't stave yourself out you will have to go out more anyways - so punishing the player for being able to stay indoors for a week since they managed to amass so much food they simply don't need to makes no sense.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

0% food / 0% meat:
I've spoke about this many time before, so I will just echo my thoughts on it here...

You're missing the point. This, again, was to give the player to incentive to be active (just like making starvation more problematic) in concert with starvation being more fiercely.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

Add salt and self-made jerky:
I think it might be a nice touch, but considering what's already in play I really don't see a need for this.  I get that your whole point is that you don't seem to like how this was implemented, but I think just looking at it a little differently is a lot easier than Hinterland changing the game to suit individual tastes.

A lot about this is about choices, communication and again: action. The fact that it "technically" works somehow doesn't mean that it is well communicated. A sane person would assume that ruined food is ruined, not "actually cured so you can cook it". Again: I dislike mechanics that reward the player for doing the wrong thing. It is unintuitive and takes some outside knowledge to even consider.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

Blizzards should apply their temperature faster:
This is very interesting, and I'm glad you've brought this up...  Perhaps it's because I've not seen this, or perhaps because I an estimated temperature drop into account before I commit to sleep... but I've never seen this effect you discuss.  If it works the way you describe it, then I would say that does feel a bit exploitative and I could agree with any measure Hinterland choose to address it.  Since I've not seen it happen (when I go to sleep I always notice the ambient temperature dropping as the UI fades out - when I'm outdoors or in a cave/other structure that still experiences temperature fluctuations based on outside temps) I can't say too much about your proposed solution, other than I think that as long as time compression was synchronous with what the event would be doing in "real" time... then I think that would fairly solve the problem just fine.

This is out of the same realm of "unintuitive game voodoo" that should not be in the game in my opinion. Yes it works, and without it I wouldn't have lived 60 days in a snowshelter on TWM. You can literally "dodge" blizzards if you catch them early enough.

15 hours ago, ManicManiac said:

Fixing traversing every steep terrain downwards:
Now, I'm not much of a goater per se... sure I do some in the interests of mapping and because I really like to explore (when I see a rock formation I wonder, "can I get up there?").  However, all things being what they are, I don't think it's so unreasonable to be able sort of "scooch down hill."  Perhaps you are better at it than I am... I tend to fall off the true vertical drops.  I think that given most of our movement limitations, I'm not against those who have found creative ways to navigate the terrain.  Nearly every update will note modifications to the terrain features to the sake of keeping folks inside the "intended playable area," and I tend to think that what we do inside that intended playable area should be up to the player.  Naturally if the Hinterland team feels those creative methods critically undermine the experience they want to build, then of course I would support whatever solution they choose.

Again, another way to offset difficulty in a non-random way. Removing goating would make a lot of paths much longer and by that add difficulty in a different way.

Bottom line: I probably failed to communicate the general goal of all these proposed changes. So let me reiterate:

Instead of making wolves much more dangerous than they are, highten the exposure to them - by forcing the player into activity having to procure food actively at approximately 4 times the current rate, by forcing more exposure on the player by taking away the ability to just bypass dangerous areas. Instead of making a singular enounter more likely to end your game, make the encounters more likely to occur by incentivizing the player to be active - which also would combat the game being "boring" at the end for some players. The resulting "wolfality" would be the same by accumulation of chance, but the player would better understand the reasons and working behind their demise as it would rely more on their actions, rather than their failure of inaction and sheer bad luck.

Also I think I need to emphasize that all those changes make less sense on their own, but need to be taken as a concert of changes that balance out each other. You can't just turn one knob and expect all problems to go away.

As specifically to you, @ManicManiac: We had this discussion a few times (sometimes very polite, sometimes less so :D), and I understand your wish to preserve the game as it is now, and I respect your wish as much as I respect politically conservative people for their analogous wish for the real world. I'm not that person. Maybe that's an occupational hazard being an engineer, maybe that's just a character flaw: I want to improve on most things, even those things that seem generally fine, and I see a lot of room for improvement with TLD, and apparently the devs agree with me, just not on the means how to achieve this - which is fine, since if I would be so good at designing games I would probably be a game designer. So I will not squabble with you about the wisdom in wanting to keep everything as it is for the sake of keeping everything as it is. I don't see it - you do, and that's how it is, and generally that's fine. But I thank you for the time invested.

As I do thank everyone else for their input and consideration - voiced or not.
 

15 hours ago, Valuable Hunting Knife said:

there is one major change I'd implement- water from a toilet being potable.  if you disagree, humour this taste test- next cold snap, grab a pint from your bog bowl, then melt (not boil!) a pint of fresh snow.  which tastes better?! 🤢

Yeah I kinda agree, then again you'd have to find a significant amount of water purification tablets to offset this. But yeah .... still water from a toilet doesn't just taste bad, it's much more likely you grant you the joys of dysentery as snow is, as well as some other very nasty things such as legionella.

Edited by jeffpeng
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16 hours ago, Valuable Hunting Knife said:

there is one major change I'd implement- water from a toilet being potable.  if you disagree, humour this taste test- next cold snap, grab a pint from your bog bowl, then melt (not boil!) a pint of fresh snow.  which tastes better?! 🤢

The water in the tank over the toilet is literally just the same water that comes out of the tap. No-one's suggesting that we drink toilet bowl water lol

Edited by EjectedCasings
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24 minutes ago, EjectedCasings said:

The water in the tank over the toilet is literally just the same water that comes out of the tap. No-one's suggesting that we drink toilet bowl water lol

Yes and it's been a still water reservoir for how long? ^^ Days? Weeks? Months? 

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I've read all all of Jeff and Manic's posts above and just wanted to add my tuppence about the low calories strategy.

What neither of them mentioned is the "too hungry to ... xyz" mechanic that currently exists in game.  Especially the "too hungry to read" status.  I'm not sure what level of pampered upbringing the architect of that mechanic had, but as someone with both lengthy military service in field conditions, and someone who in civilian life had lengthy periods of poverty and destitution through protracted unemployment due to conditions acquired in that service; there is NO such status as too hungry to read.  Sure you might not be able to absorb quantum physics theory or the subtleties of brain surgery when your calories in stomach meter has just hit empty, or maybe you can barely turn the page of a book due to a moose stomping, but you can certainly read "to take your mind off it" when hungry or in pain.

Reading with calories meter in the red should certainly be possible - perhaps with a knowledge acquired penalty ... perhaps receiving only 25% of the skill points compared to reading when well fed, and then having to read for the full period again to get the other 75% of the skill points whilst fed above 50%?

I'm also not a fan of the cabin fever mechanic as implemented.  Cabin fever risk should not acrue whilst active or sleeping.  Activities such as cooking, mending, crafting, harvesting, etc. should be "null time" in cabin fever accrual.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say only passive and active "passing time" should accrue it.  Again, as someone with service related health issues, I only go outside twice a week for brief visits to the doctor for treatments.  Other than that, I haven't been outside in almost 8 months (not even stepping into the garden) and that was for hospitalisation following a heart attack.  Do I get cabin fever?  Nope.  I keep myself busy indoors and don't even notice the days passing.  Does it mean my social skills are fading?  Probably.

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19 minutes ago, jeffpeng said:

Yes and it's been a still water reservoir for how long? ^^ Days? Weeks? Months? 

Of course a stagnant water supply could get different diseases and bacteria in it to render it unsafe, but, in the game, water doesn't degrade. Depending on where I spawn, I can hit up the toilets in a region in the first couple of days. Are you saying you want water in toilets to degrade over time from Potable to Non-Potable? Or just all toilets to have non potable water in them? The way it was worded led me to believe that the water in the bowl was the water that was being referred to. Bottom line is, You CAN drink the water in a toilet reservoir, even if it's got some gunky particulates in it (which could easily be strained with say, a piece of cloth). I just didn't understand whether you were talking about the degradation of water, or just the whole blanket change to unpotable water. I guess a change like that could make water purification tabs more useful.

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its nice, but devs dont even bother to reply, so i think its pointless.

Isnt Raphael dead or something?

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3 minutes ago, Moll said:

its nice, but devs dont even bother to reply, so i think its pointless.

Isnt Raphael dead or something?

Please be careful when you post as online something that is meant as a joke or a light "funny" comment might be misinterpreted as a wish or a threat. We assume from the context that you're attempting humour but perhaps talking about how real people are dead is not the most constructive way to continue on a conversation. It risks getting an official warning or being removed from the forums.

We are aware of debates and discussions on the forums, however we don't typically weight in on them. We already know what we think about an issue and find it more valuable to see debate occurring between informed players. If we weigh in then we risk unbalancing a conversation. People often respond to developers either with too much deference, or too much antagonism, so rather than responding to the ideas being discussed some people might be tempted to respond to our presence in a conversation.

We also don't want to be in a position where we're seen to be ranking player suggestions, so we're reticent to pop into a thread to say "that's a great idea" because that might suggest that the threads we don't pop into comment on are bad ideas which isn't the case. If we commented on all threads or ideas then at times we'd be telling people their ideas didn't fit in with our vision for The Long Dark which might be taken as insulting which isn't our intent.

So while we might comment on a thread here and there, we tend to prefer them to develop organically without our interference. This isn't because we don't care, just the opposite, it's because we want to see the discussions that you have without weighing in.

So our focus is typically on ensuring that people are treating their fellow forum members, players and the development team, with respect.

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5 hours ago, EjectedCasings said:

Of course a stagnant water supply could get different diseases and bacteria in it to render it unsafe, but, in the game, water doesn't degrade. Depending on where I spawn, I can hit up the toilets in a region in the first couple of days. Are you saying you want water in toilets to degrade over time from Potable to Non-Potable? Or just all toilets to have non potable water in them? The way it was worded led me to believe that the water in the bowl was the water that was being referred to. Bottom line is, You CAN drink the water in a toilet reservoir, even if it's got some gunky particulates in it (which could easily be strained with say, a piece of cloth). I just didn't understand whether you were talking about the degradation of water, or just the whole blanket change to unpotable water. I guess a change like that could make water purification tabs more useful.

I personally didn't say I want this at all and even mentioned that this would have to be offset with Water Purification Tablets .... basically NEXT to each toilet. Even I with my hightened sense for player action can see how that's not really feasible providing any meaningful gameplay value. What I did however agree upon is that it would make sense if water from toilets wasn't potable - merely from a "reaslism" standpoint. However, as you may or may not have guesses, I don't neccesarily value realism over gameplay.

Edited by jeffpeng
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2 hours ago, Admin said:

We are aware of debates and discussions on the forums, however we don't typically weight in on them. We already know what we think about an issue and find it more valuable to see debate occurring between informed players. If we weigh in then we risk unbalancing a conversation. People often respond to developers either with too much deference, or too much antagonism, so rather than responding to the ideas being discussed some people might be tempted to respond to our presence in a conversation.

Maybe you guys could think of a way of neutrally acknowledging that you've read a post, like a small "read by HL" marker. I know that already this sublte kind of passive interaction could be considered a rating in itself (and I for one not only just agree with your stance of non-interference, but actually applaud it for all the reasons you so well-wordedly laid out), but it might satisfy the very understandable and very human desire to be "noticed". Just my 2 euro cents off topic.

Edited by jeffpeng

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5 hours ago, Gazbeard said:

there is NO such status as too hungry to read.

Well you could pass out... :D But I get what you mean and am inclined to agree - again, from a realism standpoint. From a gameplay perspective it makes sense .... I guess.

5 hours ago, Gazbeard said:

Cabin fever risk should not acrue whilst active or sleeping.  Activities such as cooking, mending, crafting, harvesting, etc. should be "null time" in cabin fever accrual.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say only passive and active "passing time" should accrue it.

I actually like that. Personally I can stay mostly indoors working for weeks at a time. I already used to work at home even when I was still single, so even being alone didn't bother me (now I'm married to a wife, a six year old boy and something both keep telling me is supposed to be a cat). I don't really "remember" ever being idle as in "I've got nothing to do and no idea how to spend my time", but I get how it could drive a person mad that has literally nothing to do. But just not leaving a house that has windows and sunlight and all while being very well occupied .... yeah, that always bugged me as well. But then again I never was the kind of person that needed human interaction or just clear sky over my head. I just need to keep my mind busy, and I've got 1001 things to achieve that. One of them is TLD :D 

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@jeffpeng

You know what... I didn't even notice when your post originally went up.  My mistake :D

Beyond that, I do really appreciate your feedback and clarification.  It gives me more to think about, and frankly I enjoy the conversation.

I don't have a desire to keep the game the same, but so far I've always been able fully embrace each of the changes Hinterland has made over the years.  My points of view are rooted in trying (in my own way) to understand and appreciate the choices they've made; as well as to communicate the reasons why I see it that way.  This is the main reason I choose to weigh in on the topics I do.

I'm not out to discount your opinions or points of view.  They are your opinions and from that perspective they're all valid.  I don't want the game to stagnate either, but I don't always agree with proposed ideas or the reasons behind why some of those ideas are being put forth.  So far, every change that's been implemented... I've found good reasons to accept and appreciate them.  So it's not that I'm against change, but I do like to offer that different point of view when the subjects arise from within the fan base.


Now on to some of your follow up talking points: 

6 hours ago, jeffpeng said:

This didn't go anywhere near the topic of players being bored.

Fair enough.  I got on a bit of tangent there.  :D

  

6 hours ago, jeffpeng said:

If your actions don't have a predictable outcome they don't mean anything.

Well that depends on the context...  If the unpredictability is truly in the player's action, then I can agree with this statement.  If the unpredictability is part of the player's environment, that I can't agree the that assertion.  In the context of the wolves' behavior, I'd say that unpredictability is part of the player's environment.  By that I mean the mechanics for say... shooting an arrow at a wolf, is always going use the same "rules."  If the wolf behaves unpredictably, and as a result the shot misses...  Then the action didn't loose meaning because the action stayed within the same parameters.  Instead, the wolf's unpredictability then would require the player to be more agile in their techniques to find ways to deal with that more unpredictable element of their environment.


"Adjusting the Knobs:"
After reading over your reply and re-reading the individual ideas as being parts of a whole.  I can better see where you're coming form.

In terms of "starvation," I guess my views are stemming from my general play style.  I've almost never gone more than a day without eating something, mainly because I don't like to loose condition, I really don't like suffering the fatigue penalties, and most importantly I role play my survivor to an extent.  I tend to eat once a day... so my survivor (baring extreme circumstances) eats at least once a day.

For Cabin Fever, I get what you're saying and in the larger context, I understand.  Perhaps when I let myself graduate to Interloper, my view will change.  As it stands, I just still don't think that Cabin Fever is all that bad, and I still think that being able to "turn it off" with custom settings is more than a reasonable solution.  When really get deep into Interloper, I kind of want to deal with Cabin Fever.  Regardless of the reasons why it's here, I'm still pretty glad it's here.  *Now do I think it could use some retooling?  Sure... but I'm still willing to accept it for what it is, and play in the world Hinterland has curated.  I like that it's not optional, but I generally don't like it when options are taken away.

You said I was missing your point in regards to food/raw meats...  Fair enough.  In conjunction with the other items in relation to this (including preserving meat)... I can see your point.  However, if ruined meat despawns but preserving meat negates that... it seems like a zero sum.  That also brings with it the question of other foods that "any sane person" would assume had a very long shelf life but didn't... wouldn't canned food be in the same boat then as preserved meat?  Then what would have to be done about canned food that went bad... would it despawn and we'd loose the can?  Wouldn't it also negate the biggest incentive to master our cooking skill?  My point here is, as we pull this particular thread I find that there is a lot more connected to it.  With so much rework that would need to be done I just don't think "the juice would be worth the squeeze."

I really didn't know about trick to "dodge" the chill of a blizzard.  I can agree that one does seem egregiously exploit-y.  I still think the ideal solution would be to have the weather effects factor in with any situation where time compression is applied (and not static if you catch it in time).  I can agree that if time accelerates for any reason, that temperature drops over time should accelerate to match.  It's odd though, I mean I've heard blizzards hit while I was sleeping (but I was usually in doors - or at least the Mountaineer's Hut with a nice fire) but I guess I just assumed that the world would be synchronized at what ever timescale was being applied. 

For the last bit about moving down terrain.  Again, I do see what you're getting at... however, I'm all for player creativity and player choice.  All in all, it kind of all comes back to what I've said very often.  How we choose to play is often more powerful in terms of changing the experience than to want to change the game itself.  Players already have some limits on mobility which make sense to me, and those limits are consistent.  If we drop a little bit too far, we get hurt & turn clothes.  If we really drop too far, we die.  (there are more, but they are already hotly debated and I don't want to get into all of it - I'm just trying to illustrate a point)  I think it's reasonable to be able to navigate downwards from rock to rock,  ledge to ledge, and down a slope.  I mean, we are all still constrained by the same movement mechanics/limitations.  I don't think being able to work with those mechanics and get good with them is a bad thing.  I think of it as more risk/reward... try to find a way down a treacherous route so we can haul more gear... or take the safer way and make more trips.  I think that's still balanced and in line with the fundamental ideas of the game.


:coffee::fire::coffee:
Thanks again, I've had a wonderful time pondering over all of this. 

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3 minutes ago, ManicManiac said:

frankly I enjoy the conversation.

So do I 🍻

4 minutes ago, ManicManiac said:

Well that depends on the context...  If the unpredictability is truly in the player's action, then I can agree with this statement.  If the unpredictability is part of the player's environment, that I can't agree the that assertion.  In the context of the wolves' behavior, I'd say that unpredictability is part of the player's environment.  By that I mean the mechanics for say... shooting an arrow at a wolf, is always going use the same "rules."  If the wolf behaves unpredictably, and as a result the shot misses...  Then the action didn't loose meaning because the action stayed within the same parameters.  Instead, the wolf's unpredictability then would require the player to be more agile in their techniques to find ways to deal with that more unpredictable element of their environment.

That would be fair and square if there was any counterplay after that. There isn't, at least very little on Interloper. My biggest gripe - currently - with this is being the inconsistent decoy behaviour. But I'm going so far to say it is .... okay as it is in its current state once it works as intended (or I thing it's supposed to work). Again I came from a point in time where this was much more .... wonky, up to the point there was no clear reason why a wolf in conjunction with a decoy did anything. They really cleared a lot of that up, and I'm sure the mechanic is going to be further refined.

7 minutes ago, ManicManiac said:

In terms of "starvation," I guess my views are stemming from my general play style.  I've almost never gone more than a day without eating something, mainly because I don't like to loose condition, I really don't like suffering the fatigue penalties, and most importantly I role play my survivor to an extent.  I tend to eat once a day... so my survivor (baring extreme circumstances) eats at least once a day.

As for that I personally have decided to join the anti-starvation movement (if there is such a thing) and games are .... challenging, but faster, more active, more "agile", and I realized how much I prefer this playstyle as there simply is more urgency but also more agency in the game. I think the game would benefit from having this better emphasized. In general I don't want to eliminate starvation as a short term emergency measure - but I would really think the game would be better if there was more obvious incentive towards a healthy diet. As every so often in games a lot hinges on how it is communicated, not neccesarily on the eventual outcome of the implementation.

14 minutes ago, ManicManiac said:

You said I was missing your point in regards to food/raw meats...  Fair enough.  In conjunction with the other items in relation to this (including preserving meat)... I can see your point.  However, if ruined meat despawns but preserving meat negates that... it seems like a zero sum.  That also brings with it the question of other foods that "any sane person" would assume had a very long shelf life but didn't... wouldn't canned food be in the same boat then as preserved meat?  Then what would have to be done about canned food that went bad... would it despawn and we'd loose the can?  Wouldn't it also negate the biggest incentive to master our cooking skill?  My point here is, as we pull this particular thread I find that there is a lot more connected to it.  With so much rework that would need to be done I just don't think "the juice would be worth the squeeze."

That's actually a good point here. The idea with curing and salt was to naturally limit the amount of food you can store long term, and also that you lose some calories when you do cure your meat. It's a trade off: calories against longevity. Plus, again, you can't just cure it all. I have a stalker game with approximately 2 tons of meat in the Ravine. I mean ..... yeah. :D But I certainly agree with the "pull this particular thread" part of the story. And that actually goes for any kind of change. I have the liberty of churning out those ideas and wishes, I don't need to incorporate them into the greater whole (even if I usually try to). As "simple" as TLD is, as complicated it gets once you really, really start thinking about how everything affects everything. And with the fragile balances that exist in some parts of the game that's no easy feat to change any of those "knobs".

23 minutes ago, ManicManiac said:

I really didn't know about trick to "dodge" the chill of a blizzard.  I can agree that one does seem egregiously exploit-y.  I still think the ideal solution would be to have the weather effects factor in with any situation where time compression is applied (and not static if you catch it in time).  I can agree that if time accelerates for any reason, that temperature drops over time should accelerate to match.  It's odd though, I mean I've heard blizzards hit while I was sleeping (but I was usually in doors - or at least the Mountaineer's Hut with a nice fire) but I guess I just assumed that the world would be synchronized at what ever timescale was being applied. 

I honestly think this is more out of the realm of bugland than anything else. There must be some reason it's still in the game. Blizzards, technically, are basically "negative fires with unlimited range". And temperature propagation of fires and blizzards does not adhere to accelerated time. There must be some intrinsic reason they didn't change it so far, because I am certain HL has been aware of that for years. I also think it's one of the more obscure mechanics in TLD, but it's one probably well known among those hardcore 1000 day interloper magicians I feel like a lot of the changed wolf mechanics were aimed at.

29 minutes ago, ManicManiac said:

For the last bit about moving down terrain.

I even basically agree with you here. But I also think you underestimate the hikes and goats you can make once you figure out how. Some of those actually basically break the game. Again, that's nothing a normal player would regularly do, but that it's possible is again out of that realm of obscure game voodoo I feel usually hurts a game more than it benefits. In general I have no "good" solution for this, and I guess if there was a good solution to this we'd already seen it.

Why I am so adamant on making .... obscure or unintuitive mechanics harder or removing them altogether: Imagine being relatively new to the game. That's already a lot to take in with the sheer depth the game has. You wouldn't think about goating down TWM, or starving yourself through the game. But the game is still balanced around those mechanics. So to combat some people reaching 100 days on Interloper reliably in almost every game - or even 1000 - we get harder wolves - which is something every player has to bear. Instead I feel it would be better to adjust the mechanics that make the game so much easiert once you figured them out despite them being clearly not intended to be used that way. A good example for such "obscure game voodoo" is mince-meating your way to Cooking V on day 3. I've done that. I've literally done that. (Although I abstain from doing it unless I want to prove a point)

No player not set out to "game the system" would ever come up with that on their own. But it's those players that then complain that the game is too easy, and it's those players harder wolves are aimed at. And thank you for having this conversation, since I think I finally arrived at my destination for this very long and wordy train of thought:

If you don't want players to live forever, fix the exploits (starving ad infinitum, goating perpendicular slopes, making it possible to cheese Cooking V,  et cetera) that allow them to live forever first before going nuclear with wolves. 

Thanks for reading, as always, and thanks in particular @ManicManiac :coffee: :fire: :coffee:

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Pockets and hoods- how about a minor warmth boost (just enough to avoid frostbite if not paired with hat/gloves) available if player has certain coats with a hood and/or pockets?  disadvantages could be a reduced vision field for the hood (maybe achievable by tweaking the 'pain' mechanism?), and not being able to use any tools/weapons for the pockets, or even higher risk of injury when falling.

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