Suggested Gameplay Tweaks


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I'd like to say that The Long Dark has been one of the better purchases I've made on Steam. It provides a unique and immersive gameplay experience that I don't think will be replicated any time soon. With that said, I certainly think that TLD's strong suit is immersion, and in the significant amount of time I've spent in this game (I've played it off and on since the release of the Coastal Highway) I have encountered a few things that break that immersion for me.

First and foremost, food and water. With regards to the caloric system, I feel that it is fine where it currently is; while a constant concern for the player, it isn't a constant annoyance. It's nice to see a survival game that doesn't allow you to march across the entire game world on an empty stomach, while at the same time not making your character feel like a whiny fat kid who can't walk a couple hundred yards without stopping to eat five bags of beef jerky. And while I certainly feel that the more involved tasks, such as chopping up firewood and sawing metal shelves into pieces should require a bit of a heftier calorie investment, I don't feel that it detracts from the overall experience.

The only real complaint I have on the food side of things is the animals. A deer has a lot more than 20 pounds of meat on it, and getting to it isn't exactly something you want to be doing out in the middle of a blizzard. In my mind, a much better system would be to drag the deer back to your shelter or some other (relatively) safe place, before building a fire and dressing it out over the course of a few hours. This would be a large calorie expenditure, and a fresh kill would undoubtedly attract wolves before long, adding considerable risk to hunting, however, the reward for a successful hunt would mean that you don't have to worry about food for almost a week

However, I can't say the same for the water system. It feels like my character has a leak or something, and that half of the water I drink just spills out of him. Nothing in the game has broken my immersion quite as much as having make sure that my water meter is completely full before I attempt to sleep all the way through the night, lest I start dying of dehydration. Why doesn't my character's water consumption slow down when they sleep? I can understand having to stop for a water break every once in a while while hiking up a mountain or performing manual labor, but sleeping? I can understand being a bit thirsty when you wake up in the morning, but actually starting to feel the effects of advanced dehydration because you didn't drink a bottle of water immediately before going to bed, for ten hours?

Secondly, the wolves. While I realize that realistic wildlife behavior is not the primary objective of the game, I feel that there should be some sort of middle ground between wolves always running away from you no matter what, and immediately trying to kill you the second they realize you're there. After all my time in game, encounters with wolves seem more like an inconveniences than the tense standoffs that I initially envisioned. Rather than having to take all the variables into account (Am I hurt? Is he hungry? Should I just back away? Can I take him in a fight?) it's more along the lines of "Oh, great, guess I have to use another flare."

Almost as a rule, animals won't try to kill you unless they think they will be successful in doing so, the only real exceptions are when they feel threatened, or when they are very, very hungry. So when a wolf is going to town on a deer carcass and some some tall, two-legged thing carrying a weird metal stick comes over the hill, I see the wolf growling at the person, the person giving the wolf a wide berth while they pass by, and both of them carrying on as if nothing ever happened. Instead, I get one of two things: Either the wolf picks up and runs, leaving behind 100+ pounds of meat because something got within 40 yards of them, which doesn't make much sense. Or they completely ignore the 100+ pounds of meat in order to chase after something that got within 40 yards of them that they may not even catch, which makes even less sense.

Please keep in mind that I am in no way a professional on any of the topics I have just discussed, and my opinions on them are exactly that, opinions. The Long Dark, in alpha, is already far and away better than any beta I've ever played, I simply want to see it become even better.

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