The Lack of Survival Mode End Game Purpose


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Hello, my issue is there is still a significant lack of content for longer survival mode play.

In recent updates, new areas have added scenery and play style flavour changes. Bullet crafting added more long term weapon utility, though a lack of weaponry was rare for those familiar with the game. Auto-walk is welcomed, but that would not take months to develop.

As an experienced player (600+ hours on steam), I find after having explored all the areas, crafted/gathered the highest gear (approximately in-game day 50), there is nothing to do but rinse repeat daily living needs towards the more grinding achievements. No incentives or challenges for long term survival play make the brilliant foundation of this game burn fast. To me, the balance of new mechanics (moose, timberwolves, crafting, etc.) seems to be far out weighed by refinements for quality of life, new player, and story mode problems.

I currently see the survival mode in a state of having an expansive tool kit for too little problems. Interloper does tune these problems into the extreme, but the challenge of wandering around for food is not particularly enjoyable as a primary goal in itself over longer play times. 


I would love to see more end game complexity added without relying on grinding achievements. I'm sure the developers and community could offer many better ideas for incentives, but some to illustrate my point (and show I'm not simply complaining) are:

- Random environmental events: such as, more rare spawning challenge animals like a cougars/eagles, birds/insects that you can track towards special plants/animals, unique weather conditions (e.g. lightning storms/fires/tsunamis), aircraft/seacraft/spacecraft crashes, beached whales or large animal carcasses drawing wildlife, more wildlife conflicts, horizon smoke signalling puzzles with unique rewards, radio puzzle stories with unique rewards

- Complex crafting items that take playtime investment: such as, clothing with unique perks, mini agriculture/reforestation for growing food/medicine, bigger traps, 

- More edibile flora to encourage longer freestyle play away from resources

- Ingame lore objectives: following stories through an area, following clues from an NPC

I love this game, it's my favourite way to relax. Thank you for reading, and I hope something can develop from this post.

Edited by Greyhounder
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Not trying to come off as condescending or patronizing, but have you tried the Challenge games?  Those survival experiences have a specific end-game scenario in mind.  Some of them (Nomad) are very passive, and you can take your time.  Others are brutally harsh (As The Dead Sleep) and require you to be on top of your game.  But all end after you complete the requirements.

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  • Greyhounder changed the title to The Lack of Survival Mode End Game Purpose

The way I see it is you run out of ways to improve your condition. I think there are a couple ways this can happen. The first is you get the best clothes and weapons and you're set really. The rest is maintenance which is where it can get boring for some people(myself included).

Now the other way to run out of ways to improve your condition is lack of challenge. Who cares if you have +30 degree clothing or +50 degree clothing if both of them keep you perfectly warm. Getting that extra 20 degrees doesn't actually help. What I am really saying is that if you have extra good clothing you can craft then you need extra challenge to come with it.

There are a few ways I can think to solve this but the basic foundations of what I would try are not and likely never will be in the game. I don't really feel like doing a bunch of fruitless typing tonight so I will just leave it at that. If the devs see this as an issue maybe they can come up with some ideas.

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I like your observations, odizzido. If you do find the time, I'd like to see what your ways to solve this are, even if they are impractical for the game direction.

Running out of ways to improve condition in the game is an angle I had not considered. Personally, I think the items already in the game give more than enough condition utility for the challenges survival mode currently presents. Though to build on what you suggested, scaling those items better, or adding greater challenges to acquiring them would increase their significance and increase the overall survival challenge.




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  I mentioned this in a post on a previous Milton Mailbag:


I personally don't think there is a late game problem.  I do think there might some problems with late game "expectations."  Which to me is not the same thing.  I'm sure there are plenty of people who will disagree with me (and that's fine) but I just ask those folks hear me out:

I think anyone that has spent long periods of time in isolation/lone subsistence will attest that coping with the mundanities of survival can be your biggest challenge.  There is no "happily ever after" or "congratulations you win!" in survival mode and I would argue there shouldn't be... After all death is the eventuality, no mater what.  Be it because we've given up, or due to tragic circumstances (most often brought on by our own bad decisions).  I really like the idea that once we get proficient with our survival tasks, that it's really up to us to find creative ways to just live in Great Bear on our own terms, and for how long.  If one really feels the need to face the near death struggle again, we can always start a new run... or walk away from our "comfy" set up and go on a death march to some other desolate zone and work on getting set up again (only this time without the luxury of finding all those lootables - since we already took them all). :D 

Now to reflect on those other points of view... for those who do feel, "I'm good at survival, but there is nothing left I can think of to do..."  Perhaps one solution for the "maybe column" might be to have the Old Bear make an appearance in survival mode (after 500 days or 1000 days or whatever) and be that "Tireless Menace," constantly hunting us down... where our only viable defense is to evade, to run for our lives.  Maybe just like in The Hunted challenge, occasionally cross our path to harass and try to eat our poor survivor...  I don't know, it's just a thought.  Like I said before, I really don't see any "late game problem," but I guess I just have a very different way of looking at the whole picture of Survival Mode.

This game is a lot of things to a lot of people and I respect that, this is just a little bit of my point of view. :)

  and much later I added:

On 2/24/2020 at 3:16 AM, ManicManiac said:

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.


On 1/24/2020 at 4:37 AM, ManicManiac said:

There are virtually endless possibilities for personal challenges, we just need to be creative.  I really like the fact that once we are proficient in our survival tasks that it's really up to us to decided how we live in the world Hinterland has provided us and for how long.

An example - here's my current "personal challenge:"

On 11/11/2019 at 8:43 PM, ManicManiac said:

Main objective is to survive for 500 days ("Will to Live").
In order to make life more interesting, I'm adding the following objectives and provisos:

1. Achieve Faithful Cartographer, with additional conditions.  Start a the run on Timberwolf Mountain.  I may not leave a region until I have cleared 100% of the charcoal map.  Specifically, no smudges on any part of the main map area, and clearing as much around the edges of the map area as possible.  When going to another region I may only carry my most minimal kit (generally 13-18kg of what I consider to be just the essentials to nomad).  This forces me to start over relatively fresh and reestablish myself in each new region I enter.  (I suppose once I achieve this - this particular thread will end, since that's the subject I started it on)

2. Once I have achieved "Faithful Cartographer," I will then concentrate on, "It was THIS BIG."  I will begin this endeavor with fresh water ice fishing.  Even though salmon are the only fish in the game that are capable of naturally being over 5kg... I want to test to see if the bonus to catch weight that begins on Ice Fishing level 4 will boost the Small Mouth Bass up over it's natural 5kg max.  If possible, I want to gain this achievement by catching a freshwater bass instead of just grinding salmon in Coastal Highway.  If that bonus works as I think it does, then this should be feasible (unless the bonus still respects the weight limit).  In either case, I will not be permitted to go salt water ice fishing until I've reached fishing level 5 and I've spent at least 30 days fishing fresh water at level 5.  (I just realized I'm going to have so much lantern fuel!)

3. Assuming I've not managed to achieve it while completing the other objectives... next I will concentrate on, "Wrapped in Furs."  I will not be permitted to earn the achievement until I have pelt crafted items in all possible clothing slots.  I will only use the bearskin bedroll to earn the achievement if I am wearing: a rabbit skin hat, rabbit skin mittens, a wolf skin coat, bear skin coat (plus a moose cloak in my inventory - that's my "extra blanket"), moose satchel, two pair of deer skin pants, and deer skin boots.

4. Assuming I've not managed to achieve it while completing the other objectives... next I will concentrate on, "Skilled Survivor."  I don't have any ideas on making this more challenging... so I guess this one is just going to be pretty straight forward. 

So in the event I never really articulated what the entirety of my personal challenge is... here it is :D 

It's been my standing rule for these attempts that I don't use any badges.



I think the game is fine as is, but I also trust Hinterland to stay true to their vision and to do what they think is best for their game. :)

Edited by ManicManiac
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Thanks for your comprehensive post, ManicManiac.

I enjoy your view that it is largely the players responsibility to make survival interesting and that it is not a fault of the game itself. I agree that a big strength to TLD is its ability for creativity. 

However, in your example of a personal challenge, you only mention achievements that were set by the developers. More of these achievements would help, but I believe they are only half of the solution to what I see as an enjoyable longer play problem.

I respect you don't see that as a problem. For me as outlined in my post, having impressive tools and little beyond my own creativity to challenge them I feel is a waste of the game to offer higher scaling. I may be in a minority, but I did not find it that difficult to get a hang of the current survival situation within stalker mode. I found interloper tuned too harshly for my RNG tolerance, but I haven't played that mode it in a long time. 

Your mention of the old bear from the challenge mode making an appearance is the type of situation I'd endorse. In my post I specifically mentioned random environmental events, like animal conflicts. 

I don't believe such events would detract greatly from the developer's vision for the game. Perhaps my specific ideas would, but it was more the challenge mechanics I was interested in than any particular one. 

Edited by Greyhounder
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