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

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illeander    19

Winter has really caused a big push towards constantly being on the move. My first time through winter, I survived by traveling a bit each day planting a campfire so I wouldn't freeze (I had absolutely nothing to protect me from the cold) Then I would pick the land around my fire clean of resources, I would periodically return to unfreeze. My main priority was to get food and wood so that I wouldn't starve or freeze. I was close to starving several times. I think winter successfully made it impossible to turtle at least during that season. So now the player has to change strategies between the seasons. I like the level it is right now. I eventually want to have a berry/honey/whatever farm and a home base. I don't want to be perpetually stuck in a cycle where I am barely able to eek out an existence on day 200, if I live that long. That would be like being on day 1 every day. I don't want to be on day 1, I want to be the King! This is why I like the custom map. You can make it harder or easier depending on your preference. Unfortunately it seems like if anyone suggests something that would make the game less "difficult" or quicker there are many plays that complain it won't be challenging enough! "We want challenges because we're real gamers and you must be a noob if you want it to be easier." How about fun, like riding Beefalo.

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rodrigo4sb    19

I think that Melee combat in DS should be seen as a last resort, 'it's him or me' kind of situation.

So now I don't understand combat at all... If I don't use Melee I will need pass days collecting resources to make one use darts which almost don't do any damage, effect, or burn everything around ? Or passing days collecting resources to throw 9000 boomerangs to kill a mob (with the risk of taking damage from my own boomerang...) ? I can't even use tooth traps because I need to kill hounds (but, "shouldn't use melee") and I can't no longer bait them with meat...

After the winter update, I just don't try to kill anything (except Tallbirds, which I'm almost sure that they will be buffed...) without pigs...

For me, kiting is - sadly - almost dead. Such much effort to do such a little damage (+ risking my entire world). It's quite unrewarding, can't use "my" tricks anymore...

Maybe I just have a wrong vision of the game... It's seems to me that the future game meta will be: Run around the world collecting potato pieces, and try to not die... (which wasn't what I expect from a survival game:the need of lose "everything" you made in order to progress the game. The best feature of the survival games, imo, is to see how much I improved from the beginning...)

+ I don't know how people are dealing with hounds in longer games (without meat-bait or pan flute)...

PS: Posted Image

That was a great HUD idea (just a little big, but more "natural" without 'bars' and '"common" menus')

Edited by rodrigo4sb

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Solvite    10

The issue is people seem to see this game like it is meant to building unto the world and creating a home for yourself.It's pretty obvious the theme they are going for is "This isn't you home, this is a circus freak show and you are the main attraction".Survival is more about rationing, smart decisions, and preparation than it is about combat. Evidence you ask? Go crash land on an island and tell me what your plan is from these choices:1.) Make a make shift shelter, find food/water, await rescue.or2.) Find the biggest tiger on the island and kill it with a spear, collect his hide, and use it to fashion an airship to fly yourself home.Option 2 sounds really cool. But it isn't surviving. It's master chiefing.

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Kevin    3849

PS: Posted Image

That was a great HUD idea (just a little big, but more "natural" without 'bars' and '"common" menus')

Man, that screenshot brings back memories! It was a cool hud, but it had some major problems:

1) The stomach indicator was way to big for the amount of information that it showed

2) The crafting wheel wasn't hierarchical at all. This was OK when we had 7 items, but it doesn't scale to larger numbers

3) Nobody understood that clock. (Well, *I* did, but I programmed it, so I don't count)

4) That inventory bar takes up way too much space for its size. I don't think things even stacked at that point. There was a whole lot of inventory juggling back then.

5) That explicit goal! Yeesh! It was so bad, we wrote an article about it.

It did look nice, though.

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Snob    1272

I was addressing your claim that a game can never have too many features.

Why were we arguing about this again? I'm not getting your point. Edited by Snob
let's just leave this aside, shall we?

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Tinithor    10

Well i stopped playing for a long while after the Spoilage update and came back recently for the Insanity and Winter double whammy.Basically what the game boils down to now is that Winter is long and boring and hard and that you can't really fight anything anymore without dieing. The came still isn't super hard to survive if you know what you're doing but i died my first run through at around day 30 in winter because i had never found any beefalo so i couldn't make a winter hat and there were almost no rabbits on the map for me to find... I survived like 10 days of winter sitting in my base throwing boomerangs at birds.Farms feel kind of useless now, as does the crock pot. It almost feels pointless to even bother building a base because the deerclops will come wreck it and you can't sustain in it anyways. Best strategy is still to have Pigs and beefalo kill each other. Trap strategy on spiders doesn't work too well anymore because of the webbing on the ground (you can still do it with boomerang though). I like beardlings. I forced myself to insanity point (nearly at least) by jumping in and out of wormhole to farm beardlings, got a Night Sword (which is sick good, i like that its renewable and does alot of dmg and rewards good micro because if you switch it on and off then the sanity loss is negligible. Though knowing my luck once you read this you'll be like "NERF!") and a meat effigy.Winter just felt really long and boring though. All i had to do was wander around the map exploring and collecting grass and twigs and killing rabbits and stuff. You can't explore swamps in winter because its too dangerous. Only fun thing i managed to do was hire some pigs to go kill a tier 3 spider nest during winter that turned into a spider queen. I kinda got lucky that it was an Abigail night, she helped me kill the queen after all the pigs died.Still can't find a Koalephant, it feels impossible what with the tracks leading to dead ends and disapearing altogether at times. Is there any reason pigs are so obnoxious to fight now? I used to like to make werepigs on purpose to get guaranteed pig skins but it seems almost counter productive now because of how annoying it is to fight them. I mean i'll lose half of my Helmet and a bunch of health just to kill 1.Hounds are ALOT harder than they used to be though. my best bet was to distract them with other things. The last time they arrived tho they like insta killed the Tallbird i led them to. Idk how im going to survive them as i get near the point i used to be (100+ days). Bee mines i guess? Later followed by tooth traps i suppose. Feels like i get less teeth now.

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Solvite    10

So basically the game isn't fun because surviving doesn't mean building a farm and turtling anymore?I said before that people seem to have this "building" mindset with this game. Forget building, start living.I think I enjoy Don't Starve so much because its like a working version of Project Zomboid, and not "Minecraft except Tim Burton".

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Kevin    3849

Is zomboid fun? I liked the videos that I saw a long time ago, but I haven't played it yet. It seemed like it had a lot of potential for emergent storytelling but that kind of thing is really hard to pull off well.

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Solvite    10

Is zomboid fun? I liked the videos that I saw a long time ago, but I haven't played it yet. It seemed like it had a lot of potential for emergent storytelling but that kind of thing is really hard to pull off well.

It's a lot like Don't Starve, except that the monsters (zombies) in game are basically a non factor until a scripted point in the game when the game basically force kills you by letting the AI know where you are.Unlike Don't Starve, ALL resources are finite, and you aren't able to "Sustain". You basically just have to move building to building trying to find food/water and then board yourself into a house.I didn't realize Klei had made Mark of the Ninja. I have no doubts that Don't Starve will eventually be a complete game. Difficulty in a game like this has to be changed gradually.You can't just slam around nerf/buff hammers and change core game mechanics on a game that you already took people's money for.Winter Update was a huge step in the right direction.

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taciturn    18

It's a lot like Don't Starve, except that the monsters (zombies) in game are basically a non factor until a scripted point in the game when the game basically force kills you by letting the AI know where you are.Unlike Don't Starve, ALL resources are finite, and you aren't able to "Sustain". You basically just have to move building to building trying to find food/water and then board yourself into a house.I didn't realize Klei had made Mark of the Ninja. I have no doubts that Don't Starve will eventually be a complete game. Difficulty in a game like this has to be changed gradually.You can't just slam around nerf/buff hammers and change core game mechanics on a game that you already took people's money for.Winter Update was a huge step in the right direction.

As for Zomboid: The Devs have scaled up development by hiring more people and have held back on releases for quite a while now. At least 6 months. From what I see it is converging more towards Don't Starve in the sense that you CAN sustain. Farming will now be integrated as a feature if I understood correctly.However, the slant is more towards combat and scavenging, and exploration makes sense in an entirely different way than Don't Starve. In Don't Starve I rarely see a reason to explore much once I find what I wanted. This is the main concerne for me about the game right now - why bother exploring any more once you located the required things for your setup?In Zomboid there are items you know exist after a few playthroughs, but you don't know where to find them each time. Also you are very much concerned in finding Safe Houses that are Ideal until the shambling hordes find you and you're forced to scramble. In Don't Starve there isn't really any reason to move out of your camp once it is setup. Hounds will track you down no matter where you are, so why move at all, then? Run home and setup traps and wait. In Zomboid this eventually leads to 500 corpses hammering on every door and window, and you gotta scramble.The Emergent Storytelling aspect of it is not happening right now. The idea is that the game will feature thousands of written lines for NPCs and it runs a metagame that tracks and takes care of NPCs when they are off screen. So it is more like a simulation where any storytelling emerges from your interpretation of the events as they unfold. I am sure it is going to be a great game.

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Solvite    10

I gave up on Project Zomboid, and I'm actually kind of pissed off about it.The guy sold access to his beta for 8 dollars, and then released a horrifically broken build 2.0.r RC 2.3 and then basically told everyone, "Oh well we are going to use the next 5 months to make RC 3 and barely even post on our forums, go ahead and roll back to whatever working build you can find until then.I like how Kevin seems to actually care that we are playing his game and not just waiting for it.Also, in Zomboid, at a certain point the game flat out force kills you. If you survive too long the zombies WILL find and kill you. No matter what.At least when deerclops destroys your camp you can GTFO and start over or something.

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Tinithor    10

The issue is people seem to see this game like it is meant to building unto the world and creating a home for yourself.It's pretty obvious the theme they are going for is "This isn't you home, this is a circus freak show and you are the main attraction".Survival is more about rationing, smart decisions, and preparation than it is about combat. Evidence you ask? Go crash land on an island and tell me what your plan is from these choices:1.) Make a make shift shelter, find food/water, await rescue.or2.) Find the biggest tiger on the island and kill it with a spear, collect his hide, and use it to fashion an airship to fly yourself home.Option 2 sounds really cool. But it isn't surviving. It's master chiefing.

I dunno about you but wandering around in the winter going from fire to fire doing almost nothing but collecting from berry bushes and killing rabits for 16 days ( like 2 hours) isn't the epitome of fun. I get that this is a survival game and i enjoy it being hard, i just want it to be fun as well. Winter as of right now is super restrictive and takes forever it feels like. Its even MORE restrictive if you didn't get lucky enough to find beefalo to make a winter hat.I mean think about it, you cant fight anything because you'll freeze to death if you put on armor and you'll die if you put on warm clothing. You can't farm anything, you can't collect bees or get butterflies or cook most of the recipe's in the game during winter. All you can do is collect food during winter really.

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Solvite    10

Surviving in a winter environment requires Hunter/Gatherer behavior.The reason it isn't that fun right now is that there are only 3 animal types, and fighting any of the monsters without pigs to tank for you generally just gets you killed.Also, sandbox custom exists for a reason. Short winter FTW.I am still unbelievably surprised by the depth of what is essentially a 10 dollar game. I'd like for it to be a lot deeper, but I'm trying to keep a realistic mindset here.To me this game is infinitely more entertaining than minecraft or other games of the type. Plus isn't this game mod-able? Wait til after release and people will have Space Marines chasing you around killing your bee hives with Lightsabers.Edit: It also helps to not go around looking for all the exploits and such that people are doing.I purposely limited myself from even reading most of the Wiki, because theres always some guy who is going to tell you cheap tricks to exploit the AI of mobs in a beta.You can do the same thing in 60 dollar Triple A titles just as easily if you want to.Example: Nearly every monster in Skyrim can be killed by jumping on a rock and shooting arrows down at it, or hiding behind a wall and confusing its AI.Skyrim is still worth about 450 hours on a good playthrough.

Edited by Solvite

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Bigfoot    2458

FWIW, my winter experience ended being more like this:- for the first few days of winter, my food was good, but it was slowly running out and rotting- couldn't find beefalo, so I couldn't make warm clothing- going out to get food and wood was hurting me due to no warm clothing, but I had food to keep me alive- I ran out of grass so making fires to stay warm was more difficult- sanity slowly draining every dayIt felt pretty darn stressful trying to stay alive near the end, pretty much requiring me to take risks in the cold now in order to stay alive in the future. Finally sanity drove me over the edge and I died while trying to catch some fish. I was probably 2 days away from winter being over. Now, I've purposely kept myself ignorant of optimization patterns -- you guys are great at finding those out for us. However beyond that I would say I am a *decent* player.I totally get that this is optimizable to the point that winter is not a threat, and at that point winter really doesn't encourage much risk-taking, and I agree that's not that interesting.So far I'm hearing some OP strategies including:- planting trees in the winter to gain free wood- killing masses of bunnies that come out in the winterYour feedback is super helpful. Love that it's about your personal experience, rather than "hey, you're not playing it right". Winter is definitely going to take some time to tune.

Edited by Bigfoot

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InSpace    164

My experience was that I was managing pretty good, stacking honey for crockpot food and taffys pretty much made hunger and sanity very easy to manage, but I felt that killing the walrus team was far far too easy with the tooth trap, also the ice hound drop way too many hound tooths.So I see a couple of problems:1- Honey is way too easy to obtain, also take too long time to spoil. Give some alternative to using food to restore sanity besides honey heavy food, maybe pengull meat or part?2- Walrus team doesn't avoid the tooth trap.3- Ice hound drop too many hound tooths (2 per hound).4- The pipe dart is way too weak compared to the tooth trap, making the tooth trap the obvious choice to craft every time.5- My latest map only have 1 walrus camp and 1 tallbird nest, please increase the minimum amount of these objects when creating maps!

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Tinithor    10

FWIW, my winter experience ended being more like this:- for the first few days of winter, my food was good, but it was slowly running out and rotting- couldn't find beefalo, so I couldn't make warm clothing- going out to get food and wood was hurting me due to no warm clothing, but I had food to keep me alive- I ran out of grass so making fires to stay warm was more difficult- sanity slowly draining every dayIt felt pretty darn stressful trying to stay alive near the end, pretty much requiring me to take risks in the cold now in order to stay alive in the future. Finally sanity drove me over the edge and I died while trying to catch some fish. I was probably 2 days away from winter being over. Now, I've purposely kept myself ignorant of optimization patterns -- you guys are great at finding those out for us. However beyond that I would say I am a *decent* player.I totally get that this is optimizable to the point that winter is not a threat, and at that point winter really doesn't encourage much risk-taking, and I agree that's not that interesting.So far I'm hearing some OP strategies including:- planting trees in the winter to gain free wood- killing masses of bunnies that come out in the winterYour feedback is super helpful. Love that it's about your personal experience, rather than "hey, you're not playing it right". Winter is definitely going to take some time to tune.

This was basically my first winter experience. I couldn't find beefalo so i couldn't get winter clothing which basically meant slow starving freezing death stuck in my camp.2nd time around i regenerated world and did double time to find the beefalo to make sure i had a winter hat. Using this in combination with making lots of small camp fires just running around the world collecting food and grass and twigs and cutting trees every so often. (The planting a tree and lighting it on fire works fine too, usually did this when i didn't have food to cook). It wasn't exactly hard but it wasn't fun either. I felt like i couldn't do anything except wait for it to be over. My suggestion for winter is make it so that freezing is more...interactive or something. As of now theres very few counters. With night time being so long i guess its more helpful to farm spiders in the winter but other than that there isn't much Winter specific fun. Sanity is fun for me because its interractive and i feel i have control over it. Winter is just something thrust upon me and there is very little i can do to mitigate its effects on the game and it offers almost nothing new and fun to do and get (An upgraded winter hat and a blow dart and an ice staff? And i didn't even run into any ice hounds or the walruses on my first winter, so i got none of the new goodies anyways)

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JonnyDoH    10

Really great assessment. In my case, I can survive to winter (having done so about five times now) but the last three times I've died to the Deerclops. That sucker just *hunts* for your encampment-- for the first winter, that can really hurt (especially in the middle of the night and your campfire is the first to get junked). Winter the first time around is hard enough having to scramble the first ten or so days for food and supplies-- maybe make the deerclops appear the second winter, when food might be less of an issue and you can focus more on the combat elements? Unless, of course, the whole point is to allow the deerclops to go havoc the first time around, then you plot your revenge for the second winter. I don't know. He may only have one eye but seems focused on hugging me. =P

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Silvi    29

My experience so far is: don't play adventure mode unless you are some expert in this game. My experience with adventure mode:-> winter comes day 12. Crops stopped growing at day 10. Didn't find a single berry bush. Didn't find a single beehive. Found a single beefalo herd of 3.Anyway some pointers I noticed:-> Pigs' AI needs work. The kiting was a cute idea, but it just gets them killed when they fight for you. Instead of facing the 2 spiders, it will hit and then run, the spiders will still attack it. I lost 2-3 pigs this way to 5 spiders. I am not amused. They also run around a lot, spreading across a field too much. If they fought as a group they wouldn't have a problem with the fight. But because they split and run around too much they die. I assume the kiting was to make them more formidable, but it just made them uselessly funny.-> Beefalo heat should take length of winter into consideration. It makes no sense that they are reproducing during winter.-> I do like the way sanity now works, though. I think I'll shift to Sandbox. Adventure mode in it's current shape makes me feel tired.

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To give some background, before the winter update i posted this thread going over what i thought some of the flaws in adventure mode were. http://forums.kleientertainment.com/showthread.php?10084-Thoughts-discussion-on-adventure-mode-as-it-currently-standsMy opinion on adventure mode as it currently stands has done a bit of a 180.I have gone from being able to coast through the 5 worlds previously, to not being able to pass the first one.It's a challenge and I like that, hell its what I asked for. However, there are some things that are beginning to wear on me, to a point where I no longer want to play the game for extended durations.From my experience world 1 adventure mode follows a few core rules.1. The world is generated with no berry bushes, but spawns far more carrots.2. Winter arrives on day 12.So all I need to do is, create both science machines and a fridge, stock up the fridge with a large surplus of food, get some winter clothing, and build some form of defence for the impending hound and deerclops attacks.This is where the problems start to show....If you fail to cram all this in before winter arrives in 12 days, theres a good chance you aren't going to survive it.I'll start with the worst offender. Which is winter clothes. If you fail to find beefalos, (which seem to be super rare now) or fail to hunt and kill the koalafant for a summer vest, you get to spend 16 or so winter days, stuck around your camp fire.Venturing away from your fireplace without winter clothing results in becoming frozen in about 20 seconds. To counter this, you can plant fires every few steps, but 16 days of that turns into a large drain on wood, grass and sapling supplys. Should hounds or the deerclops decide to attack during this little escapade, you get the fun micromanagement hell, of trying to keep your fires lit, trying to keep warm, and fighting for your life all at the same time. All the while your sanity is going down....No winter clothes also means, you are limited when it comes to food.Unless you prepared boomerangs to kill birds that land near you, or camped right beside a large amount of rabbit holes (with traps on them), chances are your going to starve before you see your next summer.I'd like to stop here and say that being stuck around your camp fire for 16 short days and 16 long nights, is rather boring.It got to a point where I was just planting trees all around my base for something to do at night. On to the next point...After a few deaths I really started to notice how much of a grind getting ready for winter was becoming.Especially when it comes to grass, saplings and silk.Heres my shopping list.Backpack : 4 grass. 4 saplings.10 rabbit traps. : 60 grass. 20 saplings.10 traps for spiders. : 60 grass. 20 saplings.rope for spear. : 3 grass.rope for log armor. : 6 grass.rope for football helmet. : 3 grass.136 grass. 44 saplings This doesn't include grass for torches or camp fires so lets say. 150 grass. 60 saplings - includes tools.(Also Doesn't include grass, sapling stockpiles that are needed to survive winter.)Silk.Winter Hat : 4 silk.Breezy Vest : 16 Silk.Puffy Vest : 16 Silk.5 Boomerangs 5 silk.Top Hat : 10 SilkBug Net : 2 Silk each.53 Silk.With summer having a shorter dusk and night duration, combat against spiders taking longer, and the lack of berrys for easy healing, farming this much silk takes an age.When you try squeeze this all into 12 days, along side the gathering of wood, rock and gold for base setup, its a bit much.Its quite the time drain, and repeating it over and over again when you die a few times, does become a chore.Now I currently have alot of time to waste, but alot of people don't. All this prep can take hours, and be over in an instant.I'm not advocating huge nerfs, I like the game challenging. The problem I have is that the game is funneling you in a set direction and either not giving you the tools required to survive in an enjoyable manner (beefalo) or enough time to achieve what you need to.I'd like to suggest some tweaks to the silk and grass values, and perhaps some alternative way of making clothing that is suitable for winter. Perhaps torches could provide some degree of warmth?Anyway, thats my 2 cents. :)

Edited by Perpetual_Sin

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Khrayfish    85

I'm just going to get into Adventure Mode when a major update for Adventure Mode is released. Other than that it's just a Hardmode Sandbox... And I'm not great at this game...

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cannajan    10

I have to agree with Perpetual Sin, the worst problem is winter clothing - if you havent found beefaloes before winter you are going to have problems, it becomes impossible to improve your situation and its so boring, makes me do stupid things to liven things up!

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Jonah Hollow    15

Man, that screenshot brings back memories! It was a cool hud, but it had some major problems:1) The stomach indicator was way to big for the amount of information that it showed2) The crafting wheel wasn't hierarchical at all. This was OK when we had 7 items, but it doesn't scale to larger numbers3) Nobody understood that clock. (Well, *I* did, but I programmed it, so I don't count)4) That inventory bar takes up way too much space for its size. I don't think things even stacked at that point. There was a whole lot of inventory juggling back then.5) That explicit goal! Yeesh! It was so bad, we wrote an article about it.It did look nice, though.

Maybe you could somehow merge the new clock with the old one, because the old clock is too pretty to just do away with.

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