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weavermount

[Suggestion] Balance, Turtling

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weavermount    10

Hey there I love this game. It's better than anything Sierra Online lever made. I had some thoughts on the end game.

My biggest issue with this game is the way the it starts out survivable and only gets easier. I would like to see the world push back a little.

1) Beefalo should eat grass as well as migrate / spawn around large concentrations of grass.

2) Bunnies should eat unharvested crops. If you abandon your fields for days you should come home to nothing. Also farming large tracts of land should plunge you into unending war with rabbitkind

3) Similarly leaving bunnies in traps for days at a time should attract hounds

4) Make Gobblers more of a threat to berry plantations. When a gobbler spawns, it should shout to all bushes in a radius and roll to see if there is another spawn there.

The idea is to soft cap resources streams.

Make chests a little less safe

1) Add raccoon. Raccoon spawn when you cut a tree. They follow you, but at a good distance. When you lead them back to base they make a break for you chests and steal food. Like gobblers/bushes, the more chests you have the harder it should be to defend them all. Ideally I'd like to see raccoon take a stack of food back to the forest before they start eating it. That way you have to make the split second choice of chasing it into the forest with whatever you have on hand that moment at whatever time it is, or loose you stack. They would also raise the question of where or not going back to base

2) Python that spend days eating your chests whole. They would target chests with the best total hunger value inside. The chest would be ruined, but the materials would be recoverable if you killed the snake. The food would get digested at some rate.

The idea here is to soft cap resource stocks

These two ideas together would barely effect the difficulty of the early game, while keeping established players closer to bone. Right now

I'd like to see daily routines disrupted.

1) Make roads periodically expensive to use. Rock Guardians patrolling roads. Bird Swarms. Sphinxes. Phantom toll booths, anything to force players to consider a different route or destination.

2) Make some resource on an island off limits. Hound pack could run rabbits to round, Tree Guardians could have ent moots, a murder of crows could camp twigs.

The idea here is to do anything to change up opportunity cost and thus what strategy to run

Keep players on the move

The idea here is that it's pretty easy to stay at your home base forever. Map completion is the only real incentive to leave. I'd like to see some challenges that take a couple days and a couple locations to complete, especially if players had to commit to pursuing the challenge at a moments notice with the supplies on hand.

1) Spend all night in different grave yards on consecutive nights.

2) Fetch quests for the pig king to help them throw a party. (Time limited, and larger requirements that are likely to be stock piled)

3) Chain kill tentacles for 24 hours to get swamp camo suit.

The idea here is make the player think "Do I have the resources to do X" increasing the number an scale of risk calculations, as well as offering a reason to develop expansion bases.

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I agree. Like I have said in another forum I hope they add more "Chores" besides chopping trees and collecting grass and poop. It is still Beta so we have to wait patiently but i'm hoping they add some more things to make you actually plan out your moves more carefully or plan out your exploration trips to other areas. Essentially put more fear or "what ifs" in your head

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I agree with event oriented movement like maybe every 10th day some thing happens in a specific area etc.

I would also like to see areas ridiculously populated with invaders to drive you out of certain areas for a period of time.

I don't fancy the raccoon idea though. Maybe in story mode but definitely not in freeplay mode as that will just get tiring and irritating with less enjoyment factor each time. People would be horrified(and probably ragequit) to see their mandrake being eaten.Those things are limited you know..

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winddbourne    15

I disagree with the opening posters suggestions. It's not that I think it should be easy to survive, but rather that I think there are better ways to achieve these same goals than simply penalizing players in a sand box game. The point is to survive as long as possible and also to have fun doing so, if your not having fun this game is just another job your NOT getting paid to do. A lot of the current "dangers" happen when you do fun things like attacking things, or going off exploring a new area. If you want to be bored surviving is fairly simple, but games like that don't last long.

Some of your solutions also lead to exploits. For example rabbits looking for your crops and eating them is simply going to become an exploit where all the farmers become rabbit hunters and surround their fields with traps to get either tons of rabbits, or tons of rabbits plus their crops. That said lets look at some other solutions to the basic problem of making things more difficult.

1) Winter . . . they already pretty much said that winter is coming and with it the farms and berry bushes aren't going to be producing so those farmers had better have put aside stores, or learned some alternative strategy for winter. Discussing this is probably useless though because we lack a lot of relevant details. Maybe Kevin or one of the other developers would like to start a thread giving some of their ideas and asking for feedback and we can work on winter there. Otherwise . . . onto something else.

2) Over time new creatures should appear. The islands shouldn't simply be static places you explore once and then just go about your business on. New creatures also need new AI so that they have different emergent behavior and are interesting and fun encounters all on their own.

Lets take a creature called an "Anted" as an example. These are gigantic armored ants that live in burrows that look like giant termite mounds with a hexagon formation of chests around the outside. Every day the anted colony sends out guards to watch their treasure store, and other anted workers to gather carrots, garden vegetables, monster meat you left laying on the ground, berries from bushes, pretty much anything.

These workers travel through tunnels beneath the ground and come up at random locations on the map as a horde you wouldn't want to attack. From there they travel over the map harvesting, before taking a random path back to the tunnels. If you attack them early these armored pests don't drop anything but chitin, used to make better armor. So hitting them as they come out of their holes is a lot of danger for slim rewards.

Later on each one only drops whatever they have gathered that day. This could be your crops, carrots, berries, shiny tools you left on the ground, or whatever. Your basically fighting them to get "your" resources back rather than going out to gather things yourself. Plus you now always have the chance of dying. You also get the ability to risk it all by attacking the larger, more powerful guards and trying to take the Anted's stores for yourself.

This new creature might appear around day thirty, at which point a camping player is probably up and running with a decent farm in place. Yet now suddenly this new creature is nesting in a "rock city" biome and is defending it's territory aggressively.

It's exploring the map looking for stable food sources all night, it's storing food for "winter" and it's going to be tempted by your berry patch, your gardens, etc . . . so it's time to start building some walls that will eventually be broken down, pig guards are a help but if the ants kill them they'll just take the meat, mark it down as a resource and come back with more anteds later.

This sort of cycle adds a new encounter, more resources, and a new challenge all at once, so it's good for the game. It also achieves what the rabbit idea aimed for without being quite so annoying or exploitable from day #1.

3) Beefolo herds should stick together for added protection rather than disbursing. They should also seek out large concentrations of grass and eat it at random intervals leaving behind stubble that needs time to regrow so your competing with them for materials needed to build rope, traps, etc . . .

Group these animals into herds and have them travel together. When one dies have a "Calf" randomly appear in the herd with the fewest members. The calf is too small to give more than a tasty morsel, but while it's present the herd is on alert. They will warn a player off if he comes near them, and they will all attack at once if you go anywhere near the calf. They may attack anyway if you stay in the area for more than a minute.

Eventually the calf will grow up, but this change in behavior means a number of things. First beefolo can now be killed for food as they regenerate. Second the moment you or a dog kill one a calf could emerge turning a "peaceful" resource into a danger node and leading to your farmer needing to find a new source of manure for his fields. Third the new beef/poop resource is eating your valuable grass resource and your going to need to compete with them for the mature plants needed for your daily activities.

Each of my suggested solutions has three parts that I think are important. First they make things more difficult. Second they add something new to encounter. Third they generally have some upside so that a player feels surviving longer doesn't just make things more difficult but also rewards them with new opportunities.

I want a challenge and I also want to play a fun game. Simply doing the same things on the same location endlessly isn't fun or rewarding, and being punished and pushed into a playstyle you don't want goes from boring to something I'd actively dislike, at which point I'd probably play a different game. For me exploring is a lot of the fun so anything that ramps up the challenge by adding new encounters and new locations is best, but there are plenty of other things that meet the three criteria I named that the developers could do. :)

Edited by winddbourne

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eable2    10

One of the areas of the game that I know the developers want to address is the middlegame. Currently, it is very easy to set up a base and be set for life. The fire hounds help, but you can still easily avoid burning a base by simply walking away when you hear the sounds (and starting a campfire if it's nighttime).

I think a major factor is the limited nature of the terrain in a world. Once you explore the world, you can determine a "best place" to hang out (access to beefalo, rabbit holes, ponds, pig king, etc.). Weather and seasons are a good start (perhaps we want to hang out in the Savannah during the summer, and the forest during the winter!). However, unless there are things that only happen in specific biomes, we're going to stay put. Currently, you can find different items in different biomes, but almost every item is easy to move. There should be more immobile features like tall bird nests and ponds.

Here's one, slightly ambitious idea: Some sort of infinite terrain element, or a way to access infinite terrain. Of course, you don't want to have too much terrain at once, because (1) That gives too many resources to the player, and (2) The game might slow down. So here's my idea: Every once in a while (every 40-60 days or so?), one of the outermost islands/circles begins to experience an earthquake. Or a big crack forms in it. Or a thunderstorm begins over it. Or something. Once that starts happening, there would be some indication on the map, and perhaps a sound, and the circle would break off one day later. If you are on the circle when that happens, you die. Then, a new circle is generated off of one of the existing circles for you to explore.

Thoughts?

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I like this idea, and I think it's an interesting take solving the problem. Maybe the earthquake would be more likely to target any island/plot of land that has a player built structure on it.

I have a slightly different take on it. I think that every, I don't know, 45 days (maybe random, to make it more interesting?), you are told that the island you are in is going to collapse in 5 days and you have to build a boat. Then you have to build it and get off the island sometime in those 5 days and you shipwreck on another island with some your inventory missing, including your backpack if you have one. Maybe the better boat you build, the more stuff you get to keep? So it's not a reset, but you can lose a lot. Kind of an eternal cycle. Your idea definitely does this, but on a much more player-manageable pace.

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tigbits    10

I like it but what would these islands hold? 40-60 days to a good player can mean very late so they have everything they need already. would these islands hold special items that can only be found on these islands? will they also be heavily monster filled so its not just a walk in, get it, walk out? Also 1 day is not enough (if im understanding correctly) maybe on the first day when it is summoned everything is fine, but the next day your character makes a comment "This place looks like its falling apart" signifying this is the last day that island will be there. this way you have enough time to explore everything and if there are hostile monsters you also have a chance to fight them.

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tigbits    10
I like this idea, and I think it's an interesting take solving the problem. Maybe the earthquake would be more likely to target any island/plot of land that has a player built structure on it.

I have a slightly different take on it. I think that every, I don't know, 45 days (maybe random, to make it more interesting?), you are told that the island you are in is going to collapse in 5 days and you have to build a boat. Then you have to build it and get off the island sometime in those 5 days and you shipwreck on another island with some your inventory missing, including your backpack if you have one. Maybe the better boat you build, the more stuff you get to keep? So it's not a reset, but you can lose a lot. Kind of an eternal cycle. Your idea definitely does this, but on a much more player-manageable pace.

What if you can freely explore the ocean BUT islands disconnected are a good day or so travel so you have to pack up supplies, there are dangerous areas such as whirlpools and sharp rocks. then special mobs for the sea. and at night you have to anchor down or risk being blown off course.

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Subhazard    10
One of the areas of the game that I know the developers want to address is the middlegame. Currently, it is very easy to set up a base and be set for life. The fire hounds help, but you can still easily avoid burning a base by simply walking away when you hear the sounds (and starting a campfire if it's nighttime).

I think a major factor is the limited nature of the terrain in a world. Once you explore the world, you can determine a "best place" to hang out (access to beefalo, rabbit holes, ponds, pig king, etc.). Weather and seasons are a good start (perhaps we want to hang out in the Savannah during the summer, and the forest during the winter!). However, unless there are things that only happen in specific biomes, we're going to stay put. Currently, you can find different items in different biomes, but almost every item is easy to move. There should be more immobile features like tall bird nests and ponds.

Here's one, slightly ambitious idea: Some sort of infinite terrain element, or a way to access infinite terrain. Of course, you don't want to have too much terrain at once, because (1) That gives too many resources to the player, and (2) The game might slow down. So here's my idea: Every once in a while (every 40-60 days or so?), one of the outermost islands/circles begins to experience an earthquake. Or a big crack forms in it. Or a thunderstorm begins over it. Or something. Once that starts happening, there would be some indication on the map, and perhaps a sound, and the circle would break off one day later. If you are on the circle when that happens, you die. Then, a new circle is generated off of one of the existing circles for you to explore.

Thoughts?

That's artificial difficulty. It's basically taking everything the player has worked on and then tossing it into the sea without much warning or reason why. It'd certainly piss off new players.

What this thread is trying to say: The game naturally makes you want to turtle, considering that the structures needed to survive easier are immobile. This is obviously intentional via the game mechanics. Players are worried that the game is too easy and that they will get bored. There needs to be more of a challenge and risk to staying in one place.

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eable2    10
That's artificial difficulty. It's basically taking everything the player has worked on and then tossing it into the sea without much warning or reason why. It'd certainly piss off new players.

What this thread is trying to say: The game naturally makes you want to turtle, considering that the structures needed to survive easier are immobile. This is obviously intentional via the game mechanics. Players are worried that the game is too easy and that they will get bored. There needs to be more of a challenge and risk to staying in one place.

This sort of island-destruction feature would not be to destroy stuff you'd worked on. With hammers, backpacks, and inventories, it's not all that difficult to move stuff. It just one more thing, like the hounds, that has to keep you on your toes.

Think about it: How much stuff is really essential? When you get the warning, you should be able to grab your wood, twigs, grass, rocks, gold, tools, and any other special stuff you want, and stick it in a backpack. You can also use a hammer and get some of the resources back that you used for your structures.

Also, it's not just players that are saying that survival can get somewhat easy. The developers are saying it too, and plan to implement some of the changes that I mentioned (weather, insanity meter, etc). The one area that I feel like hasn't been addressed yet, however, is what we do about the fact that, no matter what other evil things are added to our worlds, we can just sit in a base. Don't Starve is intended to be a game about exploring and using your surroundings. But eventually, surroundings get boring if you have a limited map size that never changes.

I really hope that when winter is implemented, there will be motivation to move. For example, perhaps you will freeze to death slower if you are in a forest, and you will freeze the fastest in the tallbird biome. Perhaps swamp ponds will become an important food source during the winter. Perhaps Beefalo will have a spring mating season (I think I read this idea somewhere?) and will produce extra manure or something, and then hibernate in the winter. Maybe swamp trees will grow big and strong in the winter, while forest trees will decay. Who knows.

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Trevor    10

You need some kind of boat storage system to go along with it. You can easily have way too much too fit in your inventory and a backpack and losing the work that you have done makes it all seem pointless. What would be cool is if these new islands you sailed to had new challenges so the game could keep progressing.

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winddbourne    15

I have to agree that the island self destruction feature would just frustrate me. It's not really a great mechanic. A better idea is to have the islands alter over time with multiple seasons, new creatures appearing as the days go on, perhaps even different "islands" you can visit with a boat that have unique biomes and events not found on the starting island(s).

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NeedPants    18

About "Thoughts on Turtling"

I see what ur trying to achieve with sinking and re-emerging islands, but there are so many problems that come along with this, that it just doesnt seem feasable to me.

For instance if u decide to make ur base on the one island that has beefalo on it, then destroying that island, would mean that the new island that gets created HAS to be a beefalo island or there is no more beefalo. U could say that such an occurrance would force the player to find other sources of manure but do we really want a place with no beefalo? Also some resources are limited, such as rock, what if u lose a ton of rock by this and get an island back without much of it at all. Even tho some resources are finite now, ive never actually ran out of any as of yet. This system and a stroke of rng can make this a MUCH bigger problem, ultimately ruining alot of the fun in this game imo. What if u lose ur only swamp land. Do u want to be forced to rely on spears since u cant get any more tentacle spikes? What if u lose the pigking?

To counter things like this, the new island that spawnes HAS to be similar to the one that was removed. And that doesnt add much to gameplay other than a greater annoyance factor imo.

What we could do is to make it less profitable for the player to remain in one spot. That means altering the reasons ppl want to remain in one spot. Personally i LOVE making a base and making it selfsufficient, but for arguments sake i came up with a few ideas:

Common base choice: near the pig king. Changes: More small pigvillages around the map, instead of 2 villages with total 12-16 houses, make 5 villages with 2-3 houses. The pig king changes location every X amount of days, this could be coz mr king wants a change of scenery, or he dies of old age and a new king rises etc.

Base choice: near beefalo. Changes: make beefalo NOT always spawn on hay lands and make a beefalo herd nomaddic by nature. Make them move from island to island slowly. Please make em stick as one herd tho, its so annoying when they spread out slowly and u have to go further and further for manure. We could make them avoid tentacle areas and rock (tallbird areas) to fix issues of them running into their deaths and ur beefalo going extinct.

Another base choice: bunnies. Changes: make bunnies slowly change location, perhaps randomly but perhaps away from the player if hes too near if this isnt too much to ask from the ai. I mean that they leave their hole after a few days, after which it despawns and they dig a new one somewhere else, constantly moving around. Again swamps and rocky areas are a problem, not sure how to solve it other than making them naturally avoid those areas. This could mean that u can be lucky and ur island of choice only leads to a swamp island, meaning beefalo and bunnies will stay on their initial island, but im sure there is either a clever way to fix this that i havent thought about or this could simply be the case of "hey i got an easy map this time" and adress it to being "part of the game".

Another thing that we could change is to make every berry bush, pighouse, beehouse and farm and any future foodproducing thing that may get added take up an amount of minerals and stuff out of the ground. We could call it "fertility of the soil".

Every island could have say 100 max fertility. It regains 5 fertility a day if it isnt at max. To avoid naturally spawned berry bushes and pighouses to exhaust an island due to rng (a ton of them spawned on 1 island), we could only adress fertility usage to selfmade structures and replanted berry bushes. Every bush and structure takes up a certain amount of fertility per day and does NOT produce anything if the fertility reaches 0, pigs for instance wont despawn, but killing them at that point means no new pig will spawn until fertility is available. With only 5 regen per day, that means that only a few pighouses will produce a new pig, while some stay vacant.

Since cooked meat does alot more for a char than 1 berry, we could do it like this: a berry bush consumes 0.5 fertility, which means 10 bushes are always sustainable, but its hard to live from 10 bushes alone. Farms and pig houses could take up to 2 fertility even since they produce (potentially) much more nutrient foods.

I made the numbers up on the spot so dont pin me down on those its about the main idea: U slowly exhaust a land and have to move away to another island till the first island is back to max fertility. Staying on one island all the time would require u to build/transplant only a certain amount of foodproduction and this amount should NOT be enough to live off infinitely. You could be lucky and grow only pumpkins all the time in ur farms, but at a certain point, when ur just producing carrots and need more food, u will start to deplete the land eventually, thus forcing you to move.

These changes will FORCE u to move and im not sure if I personally would like this. As i said i LOVE building a base and making it so that at some point i produce more than i need to survive, so i can stock up for a few days and then go exploring or do some fun project, while living off my supplies. However this does mean that in my ideal world, ppl could sit in their camp indefinitely and live forever. But i dont see how this is a problem, its not FUN doing that and ive never been tempted to sit in my base doing nothing to get as many days as possible. It could be made a little HARDER tho, but to FORCE nomaddic gameplay, im personally not a fan =)

Pantsman

Edited by NeedPants

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mobius187    29

So, here I am wondering at what point did the word "turtling" become synonymous with "gameplay failure"? I find this line of reasoning very puzzling.

In comparison, when I play Minecraft the very first thing I do on a new map is build a shelter to survive the night. The very idea of standing around in the open, during the night (even with torches out), is pure insanity. Giant spiders, skeletons, zombies, creepers, and the odd enderman... there are simply too many threats during the night. Now over time my simple shelter is expanded and renovated by me until I've constructed a fortress. Inside my fortress is everything I need to survive. Food, resources, and beds.

By the current definition I'm turtling. So I guess Minecraft is a total failure...? And yet it isn't. The reason why it isn't a failure is because even though I have everything I need, I still want to explore beyond my fortress walls. I want to explore dangerous caverns. I want to explore the Nether. No sane person should want to risk their life, but hey, it's fun exploring so I do it anyway.

Now I'm not asking to be able to build a 10-story fortress in Don't Starve. I don't need or want that. That's why I have Minecraft. What I would like is to be able to survive however I want to survive and not be punished arbitrarily for not conforming to how someone else "thinks" survival should work. If the game gives a player enough incentive then they will leave the safety of their shelter and wander off into the wilderness... and maybe die. I don't mind dying. I just want to be the one who makes the choice rather than being punished.

So, long story short, I don't think the game should punish or force players to not build shelters. I believe Kevin understands this to at least some degree or there wouldn't be any talk about eventually allowing us to construct walls (after tree/chest walls were nerfed). I'm fine with seasons, because winter would punish every type of character (the ones who build shelters and nomadic hunters who chase after prey). This is my opinion and I'm fine if you guys disagree, but I just wanted to say what I felt on the topic.

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winddbourne    15

It's interesting how the post on making things more difficult got merged with the post on base turtling. I have to say that I dislike the idea of destroying entire islands. Your undoing a lot of landscaping and destroying a lot of animals. It smacks of forcing players to play with a nomadic lifestyle rather than simply making it more difficult to camp or follow a set routine.

This idea would simply replace building expensive structures with landscaping for a nomadic lifestyle and carrying as many tools as possible with you. Why bother with expensive farms, crock pots, tents, and manure expensive farming strategies when your just going to lose all those structures and the resources that went into them.

A better idea seems to be simply making the terrain itself evolve over time as suggested in the top discussion. I put a lot of ideas along those lines into the "spoiler"section of my last post. I also made a separate suggestion in another post talking about a "food triangle"which would encourage people to mix up their strategies. You can read that post here:

http://forums.kleientertainment.com/showthread.php?3114-Food-Balance-suggestion-The-food-Triangle

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