My criticisms and suggestions for Interloper


Recommended Posts

The most common complaint I see from average players is that Stalker is too easy, while Interloper is too hard. I've been brainstorming a couple of suggestions for making Interloper more accessible to intermediate players. If players want a super demanding and nearly-impossible experience, you can still get that on Interloper, even with the suggestions I'm going to propose; But given the fact that you can earn feats on Interloper, these changes I'm proposing could encourage new players to challenge themselves more, and go for feat unlocks on Interloper rather than cheesing the game on Voyager, just to unlock the feats in PREPARATION for Interloper. It's too disproportionately hard, while stalker is way too easy; I think we can all agree on that. Your chance of making it to midgame on Interloper (Full set of animal hide clothing, and forge run completed) is roughly 15%. Nobody is exempt from that possibility, I say that being someone who knows every survival trick in the book. Back-of-cave warmth, coal, wolf routes. The changes I'm proposing will slightly, SLIGHTLY improve your chances of success, but overall, the difficulty of the... Difficulty, will remain the same. Your chance of death to a random wolf attack or getting lost in a blizzard, will remain the same. What makes me an expert at Interloper is the fact that I've survived 158 days without any save scumming of any kind. Had a couple other runs around 110-130 days, I personally trained myself to no longer save scum, so no quitting the game before it saves, no closing the application when I'm lost in a blizzard or in a wolf struggle, none of that crap. This process taught me what was balanced, and what was unbalanced about Interloper; I eventually deduced the reasons why stalker was too easy, and Interloper was too hard. I know the concept of Interloper is to BE unbalanced, I get that, but it can - and does - go a little too far in that direction. Let the masochists do their deadman challenge on custom difficulty. But if players want to earn feats, and Stalker is too easy while Interloper is too hard, then we're left with one option: Make Interloper more accessible to budding intermediate players who have completed the challenges and the story episodes, who want to earn trophies and feats while being immensely challenged. So with that said, here are my criticisms and suggestions.

First criticism/suggestion: Resting. This is more of a game-mechanic issue, rather than a purely interloper issue. The player should be able to rest on couches, chairs, even bare spots on the floor. If you are in the back of a cave and you've put a couple pieces of coal in a fire, you should be able to sleep on the cave floor as a last resort. OR, alternatively, a player should be able to remove blankets from beds, then use a sewing kit to craft them into bedrolls, with whatever bed you took the blanket from permanently losing the warmth bonus it had. I've often thought about the idea of improving bedrolls too. Imagine if you could combine 6 rabbit pelts, or 2 deer/wolf pelts to a bedroll to improve its condition reduction rate and warmth bonus. This would be an early-game buffer to interloper; Instead of focusing on crafting mitts, the hat, boots, or pants, you focus on crafting a bedroll and hording some coal, to facilitate long-range travel and zone clearing. Your chance of dying remains the same, you're still just as likely to die to a wolf struggle or a blizzard you get lost in, especially since you opted for a bedroll improvement rather than a clothing-based armor and temperature improvement. But this would effectively mean that any player who knows the maps really well would be able to best utilize the bedroll to get around during the early-game, and boost their survivability. Most interloper worlds, for me, result in fully looting 1 zone, for example pleasant valley, then getting jumped by a random wolf that I didn't see coming. That element of the game wouldn't change. But I feel like whether or not you can sleep in a cave should not be a matter of RNG, should not be a matter of whether or not you find a bedroll. Hell, even if you let players loot cardboard boxes, and lay them out as makeshift bedrolls that only last one use, that's still better than not being able to have a bedroll alternative at all. If you're dead tired and cannot sprint during a blizzard, and you're in a cave with tons of fire fuel, then you SHOULD be able to rest there, one way or another. It should simply be more accessible. I don't even mind if you can't sleep on the floor, stone floors sap your warmth rapidly in real life. It's not viable. But crafting a bedroll from a blanket found on a bed should be a possibility. Potentially even the ability to layer your bedroll with more blankets to improve its warmth value, make it weigh more, and increase its repair cost, making whatever bed you took the blanket from lose its warmth bonus. 

Second criticism/suggestion: More animal-hide clothing options, and reduced decay rate for clothing stored in containers. I think we pretty much all unanimously hate the fact that if you store a wool ear wrap in a locker, it will lose 50% condition in 20 days. Maybe you could make it so clothing stored indoors in containers has a 75% reduced decay rate? Maybe you could only designate this buff to specific containers; Lockers, storage chests, etc. Maybe if a container has 30 KG of space or higher, it reduces the decay rate of stored clothing by 75%. Just a suggestion. But on the topic of clothing, animal hide clothing, we could TOTALLY use more of that to craft. I imagine rabbit long johns, deer shirts, wolf hats, bear accessories, etc. It would prolong the end-game stages, giving you more to do. Also boosts your survivability, for players who'd love to do faithful cartographer on Interloper, along with many of the other well-thought out accomplishments available to earn. I would LOVE to have unlocked faithful cartographer on Interloper, but because it was so hard, with such a demanding level of entry, I had already gotten it on Voyager, which meant I had nothing meaningful to do at day 150 on Interloper. I screwed around until I lost my run to stupidity, and I feel like if we tweak the difficulty of Interloper, just a little bit, like with suggestions similar to these, then some other lucky souls could experience this game's grace and formidable difficulty, while also being able to achieve the platinum trophy or the ultimate achievement exclusively on Interloper. Incentive to EMBRACE the game on Interloper difficulty, that's what I'd love to create. 

Third criticism/suggestion: Fix wolves. It happens 1 in 20 times where a wolf chooses to follow 10 meters behind me instead of 30 meters behind me. It literally follows me so closely that it gets me, despite the fact that everywhere I look, it says wolves are supposed to follow 30 meters behind you. Wolves are currently bugged and it has to be addressed. They are stalking me from 10 meters away, sprinting all the way to me until they reach that distance, then the first hill I reach, or if I'm at all encumbered, they are certain to attack, and likely kill me. It happens mostly in the early-game when avoiding wolves is most important. Also, baiting is currently broken. I had a wolf following me from 10 meters away, and I tried to drop TWO rabbit carcasses, TWO, and it ignored both, and walked over both of them to finish me off and end my run. Other people drop bait on youtube and the wolf walks back and forth in one spot, totally buggy behavior. Bug fix wolf stalking, and bug fix wolf baiting. It is unacceptable for Interloper, as nearly-impossible as it already is, to be burdened with WOLF bugs. I don't save scum. This ends good runs, and it's not acceptable. Baiting should be one thing: They approach it, they eat it, they leave. If you're too close to the wolf, it may not work. That's okay. But the wolf shouldn't sprint up to 10m away from you, and THEN start stalking you. That's just broken and ridiculous and has no place in the game. 

That's basically it, I believe those three criticisms/suggestions would make the game a lot better. Fixing wolves being chief among them. I actually deleted the entire Long Dark application off my ps4 today because of that 10 meter stalking bug, because that wolf also ignored, completely ignored, two rabbits I'd dropped as bait in an attempt to stop it. I can't really keep trying to enjoy interloper anymore, it's a little too unforgiving and not in a healthy challenge way, but in a disruptive and mentally harming way. If wolves were functioning normally, and not bugging out, it'd be another story. But if they can stalk from 10 meters away and flat-out ignore bait, then it's broken and unenjoyable. It only happens 1 in 20 stalks too, so the game lulls you into a false sense of function and perceived limitation, only to pull a fast one on you and punish you horribly. Anyway that's it... Hope you guys like my ideas.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, Trunks_Budo said:

reduced decay rate for clothing stored in containers. I think we pretty much all unanimously hate the fact that if you store a wool ear wrap in a locker, it will lose 50% condition in 20 days.

What you don't open your closet to get out your winter clothing every year and find they're all in useless tattered rags? Strange...

  • Upvote 1
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

'a super demanding and nearly-impossible experience'


interloper is far from this already.  once you know the maps and loot locations, its not overly difficult at all, just a slightly different playstyle.  

my main compaints on loper are a bit different.  i want more variety of loot with the same difficulty.  IE balanced clothing that still gives you the full variety, we miss out on so many neat items on loper.  and the biggest to me is random loot tables, truly random.  lists of known spots are available and once you know them its pretty easy to gear up the essentials in day 1-2 of loper

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/24/2020 at 10:45 PM, Trunks_Budo said:

It's too disproportionately hard, while stalker is way too easy; I think we can all agree on that.

Most people probably don't agree with this statement. Same as "I think we pretty much all unanimously hate the fact that..."

Look, you have to realize that some gamers will never be interlopers....cos they simply don't have the skill.

Point one, resting you have to plan less, less is at stake...and the excitement is totally taken out of transitioning through areas or looting regions strategically, to name only a few points.  

Point two: Yes, new items to craft would be awesome. But a lot of this is basically just asking to make everything easier which you are stuggling with...

Point 3: This is not really criticizm or suggestion. You are frustrated so you want the game to change. Many people have ended up here on the forums after yet another death that left them frustrated and thinking of reasons why "this is wrong, it needs to change". 

Making it easier so that you personally can enjoy the game won't improve the experience...and that's what you are proposing. It's really hard to make calls and suggestions about a game when you have not been there during the development process...You can assume some of these points were discussed by Hinterland over time. Their solution was Custom that you can fine-tune it to your own experience. If you are getting frustrated with Lopers, go Voyageur. Many people, including myself, find Loper more enjoyable, and easier to some degree, than Stalker. All you have to do is play custom sandbox...or alternatively, ...#gitgud...and die trying. One of the best parts about this game is that you can find a level you are comfortable with, and submerge yourself.  And either push through to get to Loper level, or accept that you are never gonna enjoy Loper, and be comfortable with that too.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think Interloper is impossible. Hard, sometimes brutally so, but never impossible. The environment contains risks. Stuff will go wrong.

Regarding suggestions. More sleep places - I do think you should be able to sleep in your clothes but it should be lame sleep - maybe without the cumulative time bonus. Sometimes you have to exhaust yourself but if you do it all the time you move slower and die in wolf struggles. That's a good mechanic in my view. 

Item decay - i agree that items in sensible storage should last a lot longer. 

The craft able rollmat doesn't make sense to me. It would be a strange crafting choice in the context you give. Early/mid loper, you would be able to do it or your prioritise other clothing as once you're curing lots of stuff you usually have sleeping sorted. Later you have the bear bedrolls. But sure, why not have a bed roll that you can make with deer hide. Just don't think it fixes a real problem. 

Wolves. Sure, sound like some buggy behaviour which should be fixed but otherwise they're good as is. Annoying as they are. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do know the maps and loot locations. Hell I can spawn in HRV and make it to FM nine times out of ten, by grabbing the matches and coal in the river cave, then grabbing the secret cache with the ear wraps and combat pants and whetstone in the ice cave, then camping my way to Milton. I'm not a scrub, the things I'm proposing are just meant to make Interloper more accessible. If you play on Custom you can't unlock feats, and most of us didn't want to bore our way through voyager just to unlock them, similarly to stalker. That was the whole point to this: Making it more viable to unlock feats on Interloper, with more difficult... Difficulties, being limited to custom games, after feats were unlocked. I don't need to Git Gud, like I said I've made it to day 158 without save scumming. I'm pretty good at it, and honestly, if the bugged wolves ended up fixed I'd be pretty happy on its own. But I just felt like these suggestions would add a lot of organic flavor and success rate to vanilla loper, and make more new-intermediate players challenge themselves by learning the game while playing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I feel like insecure elitists obsessed with making Interloper less accessible are keeping the rift between Stalker and Interloper too big. Anybody can prove themselves on Deadman challenges, but for regular people who want an equal balance of challenge and engaging organic gameplay, while earning feats, then leave that to Interloper, because Stalker doesn't cut it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say leave Interloper as it is, it's not overly hard at all if you know the regions and understand the game mechanics. I made the jump to Inteloper after knowing most of the game inside out while playing Voyager, and it didn't take long for me to get used to it. Yes, it is alittle bit hard at first, but you just have to adjust your playstyle for Interloper.

The main issue here is not being able to gain feats progression in Custom. HL should just allow it and let people play their Stalker-Loper hybrid or whatever they want while still being able to earn feats.

Edited by gotmilkanot
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think interloper is about item luck and about practicing. If you learn some "essence" or "key aspects" of survival for the opening of the interloper, then you should be good. For me, to become "good" at the interloper, and to explore/practice the HRV opening strategy, I made a lot of trial/test/practice sandbox. I think I died 30+ times when I first try loper from HRV opening. From so many trials and errors, I learned and eventually my three sandboxes survived well, they are all now reached 1 year. 

But I agree, there is a difficulty gap between loper and stalker and you are not the first person who wrote in this forum. I also think there should be an intermediate difficulty between loper and stalker. "Custom mode" is supposed to scratch that 'intermediate' point. And I'm playing one custom game these days. However, I feel custom is not perfect or ready to meet such demands. One thing I really feel uncomfortable about custom is, too many items are controlled via only one option "Baseline Resource Availability". I wish HL introduce the availability custom options for each specific item types, instead of the controlling whole bunch of item groups under the single  "Baseline Resource Availability" option. 

And here are my thoughts about your suggestions. 


1) I also agree "sleep on the floor", as I also suggested "improved shelter" in other posts like this
I think HL is using the bedroll as some sort of challenge factor, especially for the early phase, of higher difficulty. And with Cabin Fever, the bedroll will be essential throughout the game. 

So, "sleeping on the floor" requires some penalty for the balance. Maybe, it would be great to introduce a good chance of "getting cold" or "muscle cramp" when you sleep on the floor. Or, give some slight penalty to temperature drop speed when you sleep on the floor, as your body will lose more heat without bedroll. Then, "natural tent" or "improvised shelter" would be more useful (If they are introduced as well).  

Also, this requires some adjustment to the current system regarding the recovery rate during the rest. You may know, recover rates are different among beds in this game. As far as I know, Trapper's Homestead bed gives you the best recovery rate during the rest, and beds in containers have a good recovery rate in general. To introduce this option, the recovery rate should be adjusted, so that using a bedroll or proper shelter or indoor bed has obvious merit while sleeping on the floor would introduce penalty and players should take the risk. 

However, all these suggestions are quite big contents, requires good amount of time for coding, testing, and balancing in this game. So, I'm afraid that these ideas would be hard to be seen in TLD in any foreseeable future even if they think it is good idea. HL is already busy with their current works and other projects... So I just wish they increase the custom options and official modding tool with large degree of freedom. But if they introduce these features, then that would be great. 


2) Yeah, I really wish to see more leather craft options. I still sometimes feel awkward when I see the current bear coat design of TLD. More leather cloths with cool looking designs, especially more options for wolf hide, will always welcome for me. 

I think HL is using the decay rate as a challenge modifier. The early phase of the interloper difficulty is basically a fight against time. Being efficient and being ready for "long term mode" before day 50 is the key to success in interloper, because the world temperature reaches the minimum at day 50. Here, the fast decay speed of the interloper pushes the players. But if you take out the decay option, the game becomes too trivial. There should be something else to keep the challenge, keep the pressure, pushing players, to keep the "fight against the time". 

Of course, in real life physics, the current decay rate of interloper makes totally no sense. I still believe, in TLD, the world is under the invasion from some sort of weird mysterious alien micro-organism, which could eat out all clothes and sealed canned foods from inside. For realism, "low" decay would be more reasonable. Problem is, "low" decay option might make the game too easy.  

I'm already trying some sort of "realistic custom", as I suggested in the other post: 

Here, I gave low decay but increased difficulty with other options. But still, I feel low decay option might took out some "challenging" and "fight against the time" factor from my current custom game. Still, it is good to enjoy for me.  

So, anyway, I agree that the current decay option is not making any sense at all, but I'm accepting this as a tool to game more challenging. Even with this decay setting, people survive long enough in interloper difficulty. I also wish, if there is some other factor to push and pressuring players instead of current decay option. But considering HL is already busy with other works, such new contents for new meta of TLD would be hard and big for them I guess... 


Edited by sonics01
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now