Some feedback, and some suggestions...

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Since it’s so close to the next update, and i’m really hoping some new map generation will be included, i’ve been waiting to start my next run of Don’t Starve. So instead of playing briefly today I decided to write up some observations and general ideas.

So aside from the feather hat I have built/tried all craftables, done battle with every kind of monster and played all the available characters. I would certainly say i’ve used all the content so far. After a few deaths just working out what in the game is deadly and what isn’t, i’ve ended up suiciding with all the characters just to try a start with each one.

To start, let me just say I really love this game - the art design, quirky character quotes/personalities, and feel of the game world are all excellent. I found it by far the most entertaining at the beginning, having no idea what to do (didn’t read any spoilers) and testing things out. However, one thing that seemed pretty obvious was that the only threat to surviving was really doing random dangerous stuff as part of the learning process (dying at a beehive, spider nest, fighting tree-zilla, etc). Gathering enough food seemed really trivial even on my first playthroughs, and that was without using any “exploits” - I was using traps with bait to catch rabbits and bird traps to catch birds. Never even saw a reason to transplant berry bushes although I did later on just for the fun of building a garden of sorts.

My first suggestion would definately be making the (early) game much more difficult. There are just so many resources around, and sources of food, that it doesn’t feel like a struggle to survive at all. Now I was considering the result of having far fewer resources around, and initially that would seem bad simply because the map would be quite bare and unappealing. Perhaps it would make more sense to have some “filler” type things, such as shrubs or sapling trees that are too small to yield usable resources. This way it would be possible to avoid the abundance of resources we have currently without making the screen look barren. On my last start i had more than 40 carrots after a couple of days of exploring, that seems totally excessive for a game focused on survival.

I understand that some of the problem with re-starts seeming quite easy currently is due to the research system, which will be changed (hopefully this coming update), and that should help to make a new start a bit more fun as there will be more to do with prototypes. No big suggestions here as I quite like the idea of building prototypes, hopefully at a much higher cost so that it is not trivial to just research everything. Can’t really say more on this until the new system is revealed!

So, what seems like the biggest issue for devs and sometimes for players, is having a “base” that is just too safe, as well as lack of motivation to leave and explore. I felt like the idea of having resources be divided in some cases between different biomes was designed to encourage the player to travel between different areas to gather needed resources. However, transplanting of course made it extremely easy to go dig up however many grass/trees/bushes you need and build little farms of the stuff at your base. I had two ideas that perhaps would help with this problem.

Firstly, having the process of transplanting reduce the output of the plant. So once a plant is moved, it then will grow much slower than in the wild. Providing the reduction in growth is significant this would mean wild plants would be much more valuable in terms of yield as transplanted ones. Now I know people reading this will be thinking “if that was implimented, we’d just go dig up as many extra plants as needed to compensate”.

So... secondly, how about changing the mechanics of digging up a resource, so that it does not automatically produce a plant that can be replanted. Say if you only got a plantable resource 20% of the time, it would be more of a risk/reward choice to try and dig things up as you might end up destroying them. Now if this was combined with my earlier suggestion about reducing overall resources in the gameworld, the choice could be an important one. The way I imagine it is that founding several bases of operations near different naturally occuring resources would be preferable, and that digging up plants from more distant areas that would be too far to harvest to suppliment the natural resources might be the way to go.

This kind of setup would help encourage travelling further out to get more of an elusive resource, and due to the element of chance in trying to dig up the plants there is more of a sense of adventure in it (rather than knowing 100% you’ll get X number of berry bushes from a location).

Making these kinds of changes in general environmental difficulty would make the early game less of a cakewalk like it is at the moment, although even if current resources were halved along with a low % chance to produce a plant when digging, it would certainly be within the grasp of the average player to create permanent camps planted with needed resources. However, it would be a (I think) fun challenge to find and build up a bunch of bushes, or grasses, or whatever resource you wanted, with perhaps some sense of achievement to it. At the moment I’m seeing screenshots of people planting 50+ of everything in big fields all around their camp with no difficulty in doing so.

On a side note - having plants around that don’t yield resources, to fill up some screen space in the absence of some current resources, would give the opportunity to use them as decorative items should you wish to dig up and replant shrubs/saplings around your camps.

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