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Sliver

Make No Mistakes, Take No Unnecessary Risks: New Difficulty Balance Discussion

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Sliver    44

I like to consider myself relatively decent at the game, usually the person who's rallying for the game to be more difficult. But recently, I've noticed a decline in my proficiency. I've tried a new game three times now, and have yet to actually make it to winter once, as I keep dying to spiders around day 10 or 15.Every time I have learned something, and I've got it down to be sure to play as cautiously as possible. Always have a backup logsuit at 100%, always keep some honey or an amulet in your inventory, never attack a spider nest when on low health even if there is only one spider left in it, don't attack something unless you're 100% sure that you can make it out of the encounter. Basically, don't make any mistakes and never take any risks you don't absolutely have to.This is the new state of the game, for better or for worse. So the point of this thread is to ask, is the new style of the game better for it? Should the game be an uncompromising survival experience where death is just around the corner, or is the frustration of losing hours and hours of progress in a few quick seconds not worth the tension created from the increased difficulty?---Let's get the discussion started:Personally, I'm a bit torn on whether or not this is a good thing, but I lean a bit more towards it being a good thing. The cost of death is very high, which is not usually the case for perma-death games. I like to look at Dark Souls and Hotline Miami as good indicators of high difficulty done correctly, as they are some of my absolute favorite games. In Dark Souls, damage is very high but relatively easy to avoid. This makes every hit extremely punishing, but a skilled player can go through a large area only getting hit a few times. This turns combat into an extremely tactical experience, where you must play very defensively to survive. Always stay on your toes, and keep an eye on the enemies to learn their patterns to avoid damage.Hotline Miami, for those that do not know what it is, is a top-down action game where you can attack enemies with either melee weapons or guns. Both you and every enemy die in one hit, meaning combat is very fast-paced and (again) tactical because you have no health advantage over your enemies. Before entering a room, you have to plan out your attack and execute it perfectly or you will die before you can even see it coming.These games have entirely different approaches to difficulty, and both give a drastically different feel than Don't Starve, but are prime examples of difficulty done right. They are actions games, and Don't Starve is not an action game at all. Avoiding damage is nearly impossible when fighting more than one enemy because you aren't fast like in Hotline Miami, and you can't defend or dodge like you can in Dark Souls. The only way to survive an attack is to plan and prepare before the onslaught, which fits that the game is more of a thinking-man's game than a tactical combat experience. Make sure you have enough defensive and offensive resources, maybe hire some pigs or lure in another enemy. But to take out a tier-3 nest, even with enough log suits and tentacle spikes, is nearly impossible without hiring pigs. This potentially makes pigs the most important mob in the entire game.There needs to be more options for combat than just pigs for the difficulty to be balanced. Once there are more ways to take down a tough enemy that just hiring pigs, then perhaps the game's difficulty will fit its experience better.

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daldingo    11

Kevin has already said he doesn't want the player fighting monsters one-on-one and doing well. I just go to beefalo herds, or pigmen villages. It's really the only way I'd found to not die/nearly die, especially with late game hounds or tier 3 spider nests. Basically, hoard grass and honey for winter, befriend beefalo, and turtle. That's the only way to not get owned. Anyone running their mouths about kiting big groups of hounds or warrior spiders, or w/e, is lying. Show me a video, and maybe I'll believe you. Til then, turtling is the way to go.

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I can handle all this new stuff but what i can't is getting a piss poor map generateion with only 1 beefalo thats 2000000 miles away from where you spawnedAnd spiders attacking spider dens alone is suicidal now.Also your right pigs are mandatory for combat now..

Edited by Gigahappytown

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Kevin    3532

That is a very well-considered analysis of the game's difficulty. And it references two of my favourite recent games!We are currently finding the sweet spot for combat. I think that Melee combat in DS should be seen as a last resort, 'it's him or me' kind of situation. That's why the most powerful direct combat equipment in the game comes with a sanity penalty - combat should be the exception, not the norm.We need some more interesting indirect ways of overcoming enemies, and turning enemies against each other. Traps and tricks fit the theme of the game much better than directly applied violence. We'll be adding more things like that soon (and even post-launch).Things are going to get more interesting when we add collectable niter!

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Sliver    44

Fortunately the generation options should be in the nest update, the first thing I'll do is make a smaller world because I'm tired of having to spend 10+ days exploring just to never find the pig king.Also Gigahappytown, can you not quote the thread's description? It's taking up a lot of room...

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Wyvern    10

I still find the game to be very easy if you're careful.

You say not to take any unnecessary risks. If you look closely, you'll find that basically ALL risks are unnecessary. You don't need to attack level 3 spider dens; you can just leave them alone and get your silk from regular black spiders when they come out at dusk (currently, spider warriors never seem to appear unless you attack a nest). You don't need to attack pigs or tentacles or treeguards or tallbirds or anything. You can just get all your food from harmless rabbits and all your materials from totally unguarded trees and rocks and ignore or avoid everything else. Outside of farming the occasional black spider for silk (which are still easy enough to kite without taking damage once you've gotten the hang of it), the only time you ever HAVE to draw a weapon and fight a monster is when the hounds attack. You don't even need to put much effort into avoiding monsters; there just aren't that many mobile, openly-hostile creatures to be found.

I find this to be one of many problems with the game at the moment. Combat is more dangerous and more resource-intensive, which is great, but the wilderness is so content to live and let live 90% of the time that it doesn't really impact your overall odds of survival too much once you get used to the new rules. If hostile monsters were a more consistent threat during your day-to-day survival activities, fine-tuning the combat mechanics would become more significant.

Edited by Wyvern

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MilleniumCount    2161

We need some more interesting indirect ways of overcoming enemies, and turning enemies against each other. Traps and tricks fit the theme of the game much better than directly applied violence. We'll be adding more things like that soon (and even post-launch).

I like this concept in Don't Starve. You have to try using everything around you to your advantage. Thats how I fight hounds, I went to a Lv 3 Spider Den and let them kill each other. Only have to be on the run when the dogs are gone and the spiders look at me with hungr eyes.^^

Things are going to get more interesting when we add collectable niter!

He's doing it again guys....^^

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Alvhem    96

Things are going to get more interesting when we add collectable niter!

"Niter is a colorless to white mineral crystallizing in the orthorhombic crystal system. It usually is found as massive encrustations and effervescent growths on cavern walls and ceilings" - wikipedia on niter.Caverns confirmed?

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Kevin    3532

"Niter is a colorless to white mineral crystallizing in the orthorhombic crystal system. It usually is found as massive encrustations and effervescent growths on cavern walls and ceilings" - wikipedia on niter.Caverns confirmed?

Oh, it's a much more explosive spoiler than that.

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Sliver    44

That is a very well-considered analysis of the game's difficulty. And it references two of my favourite recent games!We are currently finding the sweet spot for combat. I think that Melee combat in DS should be seen as a last resort, 'it's him or me' kind of situation. That's why the most powerful direct combat equipment in the game comes with a sanity penalty - combat should be the exception, not the norm.We need some more interesting indirect ways of overcoming enemies, and turning enemies against each other. Traps and tricks fit the theme of the game much better than directly applied violence. We'll be adding more things like that soon (and even post-launch).

Thank you for the compliment!I've always played the game taking melee combat as the original option, mostly because there aren't a lot of other valid options. Tooth traps are very expensive and can't be built until later on, the boomerang is an ineffective combat option, and since the bird trap is currently broken building a bunch of darts is quite difficult. So we are left with: hire pigs, place a bunch of regular traps (spiders only), or play Wendy and get lucky.But knowing what melee combat is supposed to be, that explains why I keep dying when I try to use it!

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_Q_    644

Surviving is still easy. Main problems with difficulty comes from players that like to gather lots of things, and winter update hits that tactic very hard, no more pig skin stacks in chests, no more tons of silk. Players got used to killing everything around and when that tactic stopped working they started rage threads on forums. You don't have to kill single spider to get silk, you don't have to kill single pig to get that skin. Like on my map there is spider nest close to tallbird I just go there from time to time and pick some silk. You must use tricks to not put yourself into much danger and get what you want. There is still to much grass and twigs everywhere, way to much pinecones drops from trees. That carrot farms in pig villages are good, but pig villages with berry bushes are quite OP. Beefalos are best food source, their AI need some tweaks and number of beefalos in herd need to be lower. Now amulet is your best friend, after you set a base dig some graves and get it, after you have amulet you can risk more fighting with spiders or other monsters, finding amulet ASAP is way to go now.

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GamingGorman    10

The game is starting to become what it was always advertised to be, uncompromising survival. Yet it is very learn able and with the customization sandbox new players should adapt with no problem. New players will learn better then we do, they don't habits and play styles to break or altered preconceptions.I guess I survived a lot of it because don't starve was never what I wanted or expected, I wanted a survival game but it never existed, I kept in mind it was a beta and it would improve. Its why I came t the forum to try and help it along. My very first time playing I HATED the research system, I thought the points system was stupid and the carry over after death was ridiculous, this was before I ever stepped foot in here and read anything. I think most players who are like me are busy playing and enjoying the game rather then coming here.Then you have another group, people who never bought the game, people who never went and read about it being an uncompromising survival game because someone gifted the extra copy to them. They are hard to break because they played the game when it was still early, it was easy then and they liked it. They never knew it wasn't meant to be that way and they resist the change the hardest.I guess what i'm getting at, some games are meant to be easy, some are meant to be hard, some are meant to have a varying difficulty. I cant imagine a survival game meant to be anything but hard, yet the sandbox options will even let you bypass that a bit so really I think its high time people start acting like human beings, you know? the most adaptable species on this planet?because really the game is not that hard yet, it still has a ways to go. I can find challenge in playing worlds with food set to less while playing as Wes. But if I didn't do that the game would be a cake walk on every level. My first time playing adventure mode since the patch I had 43 carrots by day 3. I couldn't even imagine playing wolfgang.

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blitz4    10

I like to consider myself relatively decent at the game, usually the person who's rallying for the game to be more difficult. But recently, I've noticed a decline in my proficiency. I've tried a new game three times now, and have yet to actually make it to winter once, as I keep dying to spiders around day 10 or 15.Every time I have learned something, and I've got it down to be sure to play as cautiously as possible. Always have a backup logsuit at 100%, always keep some honey or an amulet in your inventory, never attack a spider nest when on low health even if there is only one spider left in it, don't attack something unless you're 100% sure that you can make it out of the encounter. Basically, don't make any mistakes and never take any risks you don't absolutely have to.This is the new state of the game, for better or for worse. So the point of this thread is to ask, is the new style of the game better for it? Should the game be an uncompromising survival experience where death is just around the corner, or is the frustration of losing hours and hours of progress in a few quick seconds not worth the tension created from the increased difficulty?---Let's get the discussion started:Personally, I'm a bit torn on whether or not this is a good thing, but I lean a bit more towards it being a good thing. The cost of death is very high, which is not usually the case for perma-death games. I like to look at Dark Souls and Hotline Miami as good indicators of high difficulty done correctly, as they are some of my absolute favorite games. In Dark Souls, damage is very high but relatively easy to avoid. This makes every hit extremely punishing, but a skilled player can go through a large area only getting hit a few times. This turns combat into an extremely tactical experience, where you must play very defensively to survive. Always stay on your toes, and keep an eye on the enemies to learn their patterns to avoid damage.Hotline Miami, for those that do not know what it is, is a top-down action game where you can attack enemies with either melee weapons or guns. Both you and every enemy die in one hit, meaning combat is very fast-paced and (again) tactical because you have no health advantage over your enemies. Before entering a room, you have to plan out your attack and execute it perfectly or you will die before you can even see it coming.These games have entirely different approaches to difficulty, and both give a drastically different feel than Don't Starve, but are prime examples of difficulty done right. They are actions games, and Don't Starve is not an action game at all. Avoiding damage is nearly impossible when fighting more than one enemy because you aren't fast like in Hotline Miami, and you can't defend or dodge like you can in Dark Souls. The only way to survive an attack is to plan and prepare before the onslaught, which fits that the game is more of a thinking-man's game than a tactical combat experience. Make sure you have enough defensive and offensive resources, maybe hire some pigs or lure in another enemy. But to take out a tier-3 nest, even with enough log suits and tentacle spikes, is nearly impossible without hiring pigs. This potentially makes pigs the most important mob in the entire game.There needs to be more options for combat than just pigs for the difficulty to be balanced. Once there are more ways to take down a tough enemy that just hiring pigs, then perhaps the game's difficulty will fit its experience better.

You were working on making a more spider mod. What's so hard about it? They're just spiders.

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daldingo    11

Surviving is still easy. Main problems with difficulty comes from players that like to gather lots of things, and winter update hits that tactic very hard, no more pig skin stacks in chests, no more tons of silk. Players got used to killing everything around and when that tactic stopped working they started rage threads on forums. You don't have to kill single spider to get silk, you don't have to kill single pig to get that skin. Like on my map there is spider nest close to tallbird I just go there from time to time and pick some silk. You must use tricks to not put yourself into much danger and get what you want. There is still to much grass and twigs everywhere, way to much pinecones drops from trees. That carrot farms in pig villages are good, but pig villages with berry bushes are quite OP. Beefalos are best food source, their AI need some tweaks and number of beefalos in herd need to be lower. Now amulet is your best friend, after you set a base dig some graves and get it, after you have amulet you can risk more fighting with spiders or other monsters, finding amulet ASAP is way to go now.

If you're lucky enough/know how to do it. You can just have pig armies fight beefalo herds. Wear a beefalo hat and simply collect the meet, furs, and skin as they slaughter each other. That's what I do, and how I'm able to keep a few Honey Hams in my fridge at all times. And over time, you'll have more pig skins and fur than you can really do anything with. Because as it stands, there is next to no use for armor or pig skin helmets unless you're farming simple spiders or frogs, especially during winter. That being said, it really doesn't matter how much grass and twigs there are. Because they're replenishing. Berry bushes, maybe there is an argument there. But as of right now I don't think they're too terribly op. I guess I've just never really used them much. Also, I think there needs to be a fair amount of twigs and grass in the world, especially in the first world (because remember the game is supposed to get harder with less resources), in case of fire accidents. Try making it through a few teleportatoes before you say there's too much or it's too easy.

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_Q_    644

If you're lucky enough/know how to do it. You can just have pig armies fight beefalo herds. Wear a beefalo hat and simply collect the meet, furs, and skin as they slaughter each other. That's what I do, and how I'm able to keep a few Honey Hams in my fridge at all times. And over time, you'll have more pig skins and fur than you can really do anything with. Because as it stands, there is next to no use for armor or pig skin helmets unless you're farming simple spiders or frogs, especially during winter. That being said, it really doesn't matter how much grass and twigs there are. Because they're replenishing. Berry bushes, maybe there is an argument there. But as of right now I don't think they're too terribly op. I guess I've just never really used them much. Also, I think there needs to be a fair amount of twigs and grass in the world, especially in the first world (because remember the game is supposed to get harder with less resources), in case of fire accidents. Try making it through a few teleportatoes before you say there's too much or it's too easy.

I play only sandbox, not using teleport to the next world at all, I play in one world until something kills me. Now adventure mode it's different story, but I don't want to play trough 4 worlds until things gets more interesting.

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501105    20

Surviving is still easy. Main problems with difficulty comes from players that like to gather lots of things, and winter update hits that tactic very hard, no more pig skin stacks in chests, no more tons of silk. Players got used to killing everything around and when that tactic stopped working they started rage threads on forums. You don't have to kill single spider to get silk, you don't have to kill single pig to get that skin. Like on my map there is spider nest close to tallbird I just go there from time to time and pick some silk. You must use tricks to not put yourself into much danger and get what you want. There is still to much grass and twigs everywhere, way to much pinecones drops from trees. That carrot farms in pig villages are good, but pig villages with berry bushes are quite OP. Beefalos are best food source, their AI need some tweaks and number of beefalos in herd need to be lower. Now amulet is your best friend, after you set a base dig some graves and get it, after you have amulet you can risk more fighting with spiders or other monsters, finding amulet ASAP is way to go now.

Agreed, I used to view the game with combat being a major part in order to survive, but not so anymore. I look at it now being a true scientist, learning how nature is and making it work for you. Also when I do fight, I only use darts, using melee combat feels like suicide.

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Diezen    125

Oh, it's a much more explosive spoiler than that.

Caves mentioned earlier as instances, update with exploding mosquitos, spoilers about crystals that have to do with caves and explosive... This seems pretty interesting... Maybe a possibility for late game content of uitilizing the exploding mosquitos into blowing cave entrances open? Sounds like fun. Also sounds like people are going to blow an eye out like a Demodemodemopan...

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We are currently finding the sweet spot for combat. I think that Melee combat in DS should be seen as a last resort, 'it's him or me' kind of situation. That's why the most powerful direct combat equipment in the game comes with a sanity penalty - combat should be the exception, not the norm.

Wow, that really changes my perspective. I wonder if part of the confusion comes from the fact that you currently can't make any traps or ranged weapons without monster drops? Bombs sound fun, but I feel like some kind of weak, low tech alternatives to melee might be necessary to get people out of the direct combat mindset.

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Livedreamer    10

Combat is a lot harder but i still use it successfully. :p What about bee mines? People don't use them but they R cool. Start game --> get some food for little healing->logsuit->beat lvl 1 spiderden for like 4-6 silk->make net->get bee boxes-> you got unlimited bees-> you got unlimited beemines->plant beemines at nest->profit. Or just utterly destroy nests with 4 or more pigs. I play Wes. Hired 4 pigs and easily killed a lvl 3 spiderhive with them at winter. All it costed me is 4 monster meat. Was worth it.

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