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From what I've seen, (which isn't very much) this topic is somewhat contested. Some people say Wilson should stay like he is, keeping a very basic character for new players, while others say that Wilson needs changes due to the fact that his one upside only really benefits himself, giving him and only him a large amount of insulation, a small amount of sanity when shaved, as well as a resource used in a total of 2 crafts, one of which is a character exclusive, but also for an item that can be repaired when broken, and therefore usually not needed, (Bernie, exclusive to Willow) and the other for a craft that is often considered to not be needed, as there are plenty of other ways to revive players, and are significantly cheaper than the 4 beard hair and 4 boards most of the time. (Meat Effigy)

Considering that I'm making this topic, you can probably guess that I'm in the latter camp.

 

Before we start, let's review what he already has. (While it's not very much, and you probably know most of the details about this already, I'm doing this for the sake of being thorough)

Wilson has one perk, and one perk only:

Grows a magnificent beard

After 4 days, Wilson will start having a beard. In this state, it is referred to as a "Trimmed Beard" by the game, and provides 15 points of insulation, as well as one Beard Hair when shaved off with a Razor.

After 3 more days, the beard will become a "Groomed Beard". This beard gives 45 points of insulation, as well as 3 Beard Hair when shaved.

After 15 total days with your beard, the beard will reach its final stage, a "Magnificent Beard". This beard provides 135 points of insulation, slightly more than a Tam O' Shanter. It also yields 9 Beard Hair when shaved.

Shaving the beard will restore 10 Sanity regardless of its stage of growth. Dying with a beard will result in Wilson no longer having his beard once he revives.

Having a beard will also cause Wilson to overheat faster, so it is recommended that you shave your beard once Summer starts.

Wilson also has the extremely average stats of 150 Health, 150, Hunger, and 200 Sanity.

aaaaaaaaaaand... that's it.

Yeah, he was made as the introductory character for the singleplayer version of Don't Starve, and as such, he doesn't really have anything to bring to a team, as more revival methods have been added that are easier to access than Meat Effigies.

Plus, in comparison to other characters, he's kind of boring. I's not a bad thing that he's simple, but his simplicity in comparison to your other options could be seen as a negative by many players.

So... let's do something new!

 

Wilson Reworked:

Grows a magnificent beard

          - Nothing new here, we can move on.

Has a few ideas

          - Wilson now spawns in with 4 random blueprints. 2 of these blueprints are of Science Tier 1, meaning you need a science machine to prototype them normally. The other 2 are of Science Tier 2, which would normally require an Alchemy Engine.

          (An alternate idea I had thought of, but scrapped due to not being balanced, is him spawning with a blueprint for one of each crafting tab, excluding tabs that are only unlocked via crafting machines outside of Science and Alchemy [for example, you can get a blueprint for the Food tab, but not a blueprint for the Seafaring tab, as that tab requires a Think Tank.])

Loves to learn

          - Wilson's max Sanity when spawning in is now only 150. In addition, he suffers from 1.5x the sanity drain from anything "unnatural", like the various monsters, Dark Flowers, getting hit by Charlie in the dark, using a wormhole, any magic item that drains sanity, etc. He has normal sanity drain from the time of day being Dusk or Night, being wet, or eating food that drains sanity, as those are not "unnatural" (by my terms).

          - While that's bad, whenever Wilson prototypes any crafting recipe, he gains 5 max sanity, and the effectiveness of unnatural sanity drains is reduced by 5%. Wilson's max sanity is limited by the amount of things you can prototype, (there's a lot) while the effectiveness of unnatural sanity drains can go all the way down to 75%.

          - Wilson now gains double sanity when prototyping a craft or reading its blueprint. (It's usually 15, now it's 30)

          - He can read Wickerbottom's books now as well. I didn't know where to put this perk, this seemed like the best place for it.

Knows how to be efficient

          - After crafting things, the material requirements for Wilson to craft these crafts goes down, eventually being reduced all the way to 50% material requirements after several crafts.

          - After Wilson reaches maximum efficiency with a craft, he can re-prototype it to get the sanity gain again, but his efficiency will be reset back to standard crafting.

          - Re-prototyping a crafting recipe does not raise Wilson's max sanity, nor does it make unnatural sanity drains less effective, as you've already received those benefits from that recipe.

Ready to help

          - Meat Effigies are now exclusive to Wilson. He can craft them without a crafting station once his maximum sanity reaches 250 (aka you have prototyped 20 recipes)

          - Wilson can craft a Telltale Heart with only 20 health instead of 40.

          - When Wilson uses a healing item on another player, like a Healing Salve or Honey Poultice, the animation is done in half the time, and the healing will be 1.5x as effective.

 

These perks allow Wilson to build up sanity by progressing through the game, as well as have team utility by making things more efficiently, as being able to support the team as a more reliable healer/reviver.

By no means do I think these ideas are perfect, and I completely understand if you think this detracts from his intended appeal as an easily understandable starter character, but I do think that they make a decent amount of sense for the character.

If you have critiques or your own ideas, you're already here, so might as well share them.

This has been my idea for how to change up the beloved science man.

For science.

Wilson.png

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The only thing I fully agree on is that Meat Effigies which resembles the appearance of Wilson SHOULD be exclusive to Wilson. I still don't get the idea behind that. Wilson was decent and new-player friendly back in Don't Starve solo. However, in DST I cannot think of a reason [Excluding the ones who simply loves him as a character, or except the mememy reasons, i mean he is the most iconic character] why anybody should play Wilson in DST.

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You state that the "issues" you are trying to solve are that he is not complex, and does not explicitly help the team (even though most characters don't). Nothing here solves either of those "issues". The only one that comes close to explicitly helping the team is healing people slightly better, but Wortox heals people way better.

12 minutes ago, Talep said:

The only thing I fully agree on is that Meat Effigies which resembles the appearance of Wilson SHOULD be exclusive to Wilson. I still don't get the idea behind that.

Why should they be exclusive to him just because Klei didn't want to put in the dev time to make 22 more sprites of the same item when it works just fine and nobody's complained for 8 years? Nobody would start picking Wilson just because he has a mediocre way to revive, nearly no one makes meat effigies right now despite being available on every character.

14 minutes ago, Talep said:

However, in DST I cannot think of a reason why anybody should play Wilson in DST.

He's by far the best character for learning how to play the game due to not having any gimmicks he has to cope with, any powers he can use as a crutch, or any downsides he has to manage. If it's winter his beard is about as impactful as many other character's abilities, but that only helps during winter obviously.

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actually a idea that would be a slightly interesting character perk would be to allow wilson to craft blueprints of things he has crafted allowing him to share boss recipes instantly with a team and in the case of recipes that require being near a crafting station he could make a blue print that counts as a 1 time craft away from the crafting station for each time he crafts the item at the station.

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