The Baron Barrenbaron of Bad News

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I bought this game a few days ago from the steam store for a number of reasons like because of the fact that they offered me a two pack and I have a 10 year old little brother who loves Minecraft. I saw the obvious similarities Don’t Starve has with Minecraft so I figured it would give us something else in common that’d keep him from talking about Minecraft for a little while. The part of Don’t Starve that sold me on it was the fact that it has a story in the works so there is an obvious intention that there is a reason why you’re in this world and the potential for you to get out. Underlying purpose to everything in the game is something Minecraft is sorely lacking and it’s shown no efforts to change in that direction. Instead it’s adding useless content and although sometimes interesting they are always pointless enemies. Why am I talking about Minecraft? Because Don’t Starve at its core resembles Minecraft but has the potential to outshine it. As far as I can tell it already has the very thing Minecraft lacks which is that purpose thing mentioned though Don’t Starve has yet to reveal and hopefully won’t until absolutely necessary. Minecraft is fun as a set of Lego but I’m rambling about Minecraft when I should get to the point before people stop reading making my post just as pointless.

From what I can tell everyone is talking on the forum about how Don’t Starve needs to be more difficult and although I support the idea of a giant spider lady that has a nest of spiders on her back, a top hat (because its classy), poison that can paralyze your hunger bar temporarily, the ability to start new nests of spiders at ideal distances from other already existing nests and a personal escort of a half dozen spiders; that she will spawn in new ones if they are killed but not if they are trapped. It’s the Minecraft problem that it’s just upping the enemies without any thought to what game needs for reasonable progression. The game’s difficulty did need some fixing with the berry bushes and I agree with that nerf because berry bushes were behaving like free farm fields that never needed manure or seeds but I strongly disagree with the idea that hoarding should be punished or that the game should be all about collecting food. With a name like Don’t Starve obviously food is one of the most important aspects to the game’s difficulty but it shouldn’t keep me so busy that I miss out on everything else in the game.

I’d like to see the content added to the game and I mean the kind that lets you tame the environment and solve your problems. Hunger, Murderous Darkness, and various deadly creatures including: small male spiders that are dangerous only because of numbers, tentacles, werewolf-pigs, flaming hellhounds, Optimus Pine, and a giant lady spider with a top hat should all have solutions (some at least temporary ones like killing the monsters) permanent solutions like light and food should become relatively stable although perhaps locked with the location of your camp. Or since that’s likely to easy maybe it’s just a more efficient version of the camp fire like Christmas lights you can hang on the walls run by a steam generator that has to be next to a body of water and fueled by charcoal made from the charcoal kiln someone else mentioned. So it both locks your camp’s location with a body of water but can put out dim light that doesn’t scare spiders (because it’s not fire and too dim) over a large area (good for not being instantly killed by the hellhounds in the dark while moving around your base). It’s just a vague thought as I got sidetracked from my main point but will give the fantastic development team and everyone on the forums ideas that will spin off in dozens of different and interesting ways I’m sure.

Back on track again: The ultimate goal as I understand it is for Wilson, Wendy, Willow, etc. to make their way out of this demon’s playground before his hell hounds tear them apart and to obviously not starve while trying to come within arm’s reach of that goal. So the game CAN go in theory to day 9,999,999 it just has a logical conclusion that you can accomplish before then (As an act of charity our demon friend Max should let you go at day 9,999,999 since you’ve been fun but have become so boring by surviving for so long that he wants someone new and your presence is mucking up the place.). As part of game development the difficulty of the game shouldn’t be priority one as balancing that tends to be part of tweaks that come during the polish phase of development. It’s just unnecessary to have to re-polish the game after every content update and the only tweaks should be in favour of testing the new content. Development focus should rather be on releasing content and ensuring that content gets seen and tested. If I’m spending all my time getting food from rabbits that’s time I’m not seeing werewolf-pigs, tentacle monsters, graveyards to pillage, Wendy’s recital, and everything else the game has to offer.

Naturally one shouldn’t criticize without some semblance of an idea of how to correct the problem because then it’s not criticism it’s just complaining. For this I turn to a semblance of realism. (I’m not saying realism is great in fact I’m grateful I don’t have to manage hydration and using the bathroom because if I want that I’ll go play the Sims 3) Because in real life you won’t starve to death in two days in fact it generally takes a week minimum. However starvation is a nasty devil that will make your body turn on itself for self-preservation. This means from the time you start starving your body is slowly eating itself to stay alive making logical priorities with consuming muscle and shutting down body systems to reduce how much it has to consume daily. So it can postpone having to consume your liver which ultimately killed my cat when he got lost and we had to put him down to spare him a slow death. This isn’t a direct impact on your health but rather your health ‘capacity’ because of the manner in which it weakens and degrades you. So the longer you’re starving the more your maximum health degrades although over a long (relatively speaking but it took my cat a couple months before we found him in the near death state he was in and he wasn’t an overweight cat) period of time.

Recovering from such loss takes almost as long as it took to degrade to that point in the first place and would likely require a greater amount of food then you’d normally have to consume to recover. It’s like a debt that grows in interest but provided you with time which in a game like this can be all you need to survive those first couple of days. The weaker farms are basically worthless in terms of hunger. The time it takes for them to grow anything exceeds the hunger value I get restored from them in return. That one is just a complaint the farms work fine if you don’t rely on them as a main source of food and they do seem viable for late game play provided you can build yourself a pseudo-fortress of some kind to keep the hellhounds Max releases for his amusement from destroying them (obviously for late gameplay).

I’m over a thousand words now and if I continue I will be swiftly heading for another two thousand so I should probably stop before I spin myself into another rant about something. Hopefully someone can decrypt my two cents from this mess and maybe someone will find it worth the time it took me to think it up then type it out with Microsoft Word. I admit id be disappointed if the game spiraled into a Minecraft clone because right now it basically feels like one despite its good looks, charm and the lack of explosive enemies who make me waste my time rebuilding something they shouldn’t have been able to destroy anyways because I reserve the right for terraforming to be handled by the player. That’s also a complaint but it’s the kind you get when the pizza delivery guy handed you a box full of glue and saw dust and you tipped him anyways because let’s be honest. You didn’t check the pizza box before giving him the tip now did you?

I’m sure you’ll be checking your pizza box next time that pizza delivery boy is telling you the total for your order and as I’m writing all this it’s getting progressively longer because I finally signed up for an account in the middle of the night. Now I have to wait on my confirmation e-mail so while I’m doing that I keep getting more ideas of what I want to say.

So let’s mention progression because really I’m thinking about it and why not? Saves you from having to stumble on another post from me that is just as long and boring as everything I’ve already said. Yes I can be a bit critical when it comes to things I type but that’s because they sometimes come back to bite me and I regret having said/typed it because it wasn’t as eloquent as I thought it was. Anyways in the beginning of the game the gobbler, small spiders and bees should basically be the list of enemies you’ll commonly encounter because Optimus Pine, Sir Tenticles, Werewolf-pigs and everything else will be to deadly -(not “challenging” that word gets too commonly misused in place of things like: “frustrating for someone of a more inexperienced skill level, slower response time, and/or lack of knowledge about the game itself because you’re not actually supposed to be able to deal with these monsters easily at this time but good on you if you are” which is why games have difficulty settings. Sorry about the long aside I just get annoyed by how much I hear that word misused in video games these days)-for your level of equipment and preparation at that time (or at least they should be). The start of the game should be collecting things including food because right now you don’t have anything to build with and that should be priority one. Research system needs a bit of work because I’m not sure how to fit it together with the game’s progression unless you make it the game’s logical progression and everything gets tied into it. Although it seems to have issues like you can skip all the lesser farms and go right for the big one making the lesser ones insignificant which compared to bunny farming they are. But anyways you’ll eventually collect bushes, a minefield of bunny traps, farms, a big fire pit (there should be a bigger one at least), a cooking pot, a tent, some sort of permanent bedroll/cottage because sometimes nights are a waste of time rather than the time for cooking/researching, automated sentry cannons that shoot flaming armour piercing bananas at spiders and anything else evil that come to close, and you know the usual assortment of stuff that comes with survival in a setting that has the main villain be a demon that’s trapped you in a strange world. At the point with the steam powered automated flaming armour piercing banana turrets your about ready to create/find and otherwise travel through the portal that leads you back home possibly after an end boss fight with the big bad demon (Max) that trapped you there or however the developers decide to write the story though I’ve already imagined how most of it would play out from the blurb Steam gave me and the graphics of the game. So I’m probably wrong I admit but the question becomes “how wrong”.

Now I need to stop and maybe get some sleep or at least distract myself for a while because the short and “quick” I’m just going to write two more sentences has turned into about another thousand more words. So rather than giving you two cents I’ve probably given you a whole dollar so spend it wisely if you can ever figure out what currency it’s in to use a metaphor to confuse some of you further and amuse the rest of you. As for those of you waiting for it yes the Baron Barrenbaron was a reference to dungeon siege 3. Not my personal favourite game of all time but I thought it was somewhat adorable as a title and reference plus ot worked even if he was such a minor character in that game.

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You certainly wrote a lot... you may want to re-post and break this down into individual suggestions. As it stands it's unlikely anyone will respond as there's just too much to comment on. That's just a tip, based on what I've seen when players generally drop by the forum, sign-up, and then present every single idea they've collected all in one go. I did it too... and since then I've learned to scale down or focus my threads to one topic (i.e. weather, seasons, new monster idea, fix bunnies, ect).

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I can only support what mobius says here.

this wall of text, badly structured as it is, only made me look if there is a tl;dr at the bottom, and since there is non, I will most likely not read it until I am very, very bored.

revamp the text structure a bit, put headlines where they should be, and I am very sure it will get a lot more attention as of now.

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I did read all of it. What I took away from his post is that OP is concerned Don't Starve might turn out to be a minecraft clone. He does touch on some other issues that I agree with. As the research system and the game is now there is never a need to utilize any farm other than the turbo-farms. I've actually never built any farm other than the turbo myself, but I'll take his word that the lowest level farm isn't worth the trouble given how long it takes to grow.

I'd just reiterate that we haven't seen the entire game yet. What we have now is basically just the introduction. Even that is subject to change. Steam labels the game as still in alpha rather than beta, which I think is a more fitting description. I think some people have the wrong idea when they hear that this is a beta. They might assume that this is just your average bug squashing beta before the release. What is really going on is we are riding along with the developers as they come up with new ideas and give feedback (they check the forums every day). With this being a smaller company they are benefiting from pre-orders and word of mouth and twitch casts.

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Oh its up? I didn't notice since it took a few days I was busy doing something else. Yes I bet I probably did spend 5 paragraphs saying I wasn't going to as the clock got closer and closer to seven in the morning my time. So given the time of morning I started all that I figure its reasonable though in hindsight I should probably just pluck out some useless pieces that were just my sense of humour. A special thank you ToasterFu for saying its informed and CoolRanch for replying I did spend a few days thinking about these things while browsing the forums. Anyways part of the reason why I didn't restructure it was I was heading off to bed and had to remove a couple sentances just to fit within the 12,000 character limit mostly related to pizza guys ripping people off or the fact that I was over 2,000 words...CoolRanch makes some reassureing comments however as when thinking of this is an Alpha rather then a Beta does change perspective about how far down the development track were on and how far away we are from the Terraria 'ok were done'.

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