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Spiders & Traps; Birds & Spears; Applied Horticulture & Abundance

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Oh god this is going to be a long post. I'm so sorry everyone.  I'll break it up and make it as readable as possible.  Also, as a side note: I don't mean to claim any of these ideas as my own - or to say that they were never thought of previously.  I came to these conclusions myself, but that doesn't mean other people can't have already done so.

TL;DR version:

I realize DST is incomplete in its current early form, and is easy as a result.
While constantly adding in RoG content will help, I fear it won't be enough.
This post was made to voice those fears and to highlight egregiously abusable things.

My conclusions are listed below:
Nerf Applied Horticulture's range and effectiveness and availability.

Make the Birdcage's cost more significant.
Telltale Hearts should not have their damage absorbed by Armor.

Spears should be able to kill birds in one hit. Please consider properly rescaling all numerical values.

Spiders should not be trappable. They don't vastly outnumber the players like in Single player.

Opening Statement
While I understand that DST is not in its final form and there's a lot of work to be done to simply get it to a state of parity with RoG, there are some issues that will become more apparent as time goes on. Obviously the changes to Rabbits, Crockpots & Drying Racks, and how destructible a player's base is all added up to make RoG a lot more harsh and thus fun - but for Don't Starve Together it might not be enough. Time will tell, but I'm going to voice my concerns at this early point in time rather than later.  I really don't want the Player vs Environment elements of this game to be negligible.

I've played a total of 2 servers so far - which have added up to 21 hours on Steam *(though several hours were probably idling in menus).  On these servers we learned different things, though some things remained the same such as all four players immediately having a backpack and shovel crafted for them by the player who played Wickerbottom.

First Server Story Time!
The first server, played on all default DST settings, was a testament to Applied Horticulture.  We gathered about 15 berry Bushes from around the map and enough stone for about 7 Advanced Farms.  With the help of a Birdcage and an imprisoned Redbird we ate Dragonfruit Pie like it was going out of style. And it was, because we couldn't find any Gears to make an Icebox with in any of the Graves.  After that *first summer* came the *first winter* - which for the first half was still filled with Pies.

For the second half most of us were worried that we wouldn't be able to survive on our rabbits and our Winter Hats and thermal stones and Prestihatitator . In actuality, we definitely would have been able to, as we also started to organize Koalaphant hunts.  None of that matter however because a Deerclops came and killed almost all our Beefalo - resulting in abundance of food.  We played the server for a while longer into the summer but then I died a lot doing fun, but stupid. things around Tentacles and Spiders. Having found no gears on the entire map, we ended the server by killing ourselves and started playing around in our ghost forms for fun. People should try playing "Ghost Soccer" it's somewhat amusing - having good camera rotation is a must.

First Server's Highlighted Problem

No matter how you look at it, 4 players being able to subsist off of one player's effort well into the first Winter due to Wickerbottom's excessively strong late game is boring for everyone. Especially Wickerbottom who, to basically win the game for all 4 players, never gets to leave the base.  This feeling is amplified by the fact that this was our first attempt at DST and we were inefficient at it - if this had been our plan from the start and we had found a gear for an Ice Box, who knows?

What can we do to stop this sort of thing from happening? Well simply ignoring Applied Horticulture's existence is an option, but even without it that server was going to go well - if we had thought about winter a little more the same thing would have happened, just slightly later.  Not playing as a group is an option - but then why not play Singleplayer?

Wickerbottom starting with two papyrus, 4 players collecting resources and winding up with more than 12 gold and an abundance of otherwise *mostly* useless rocks extremely early *(or wood, Wickerbottom doesn't care about Advanced vs Basic too much due to the book), enough Reeds for 2 books,  etc. etc.  We were able to do everything too quickly.  As much as I like essentially starting off the game with a backpack a shovel and gaining a Log Suit only slightly later - it's too much.

Solution time!

Straight up? Applied Horticulture needs to be more costly and/or less effective - reduce its range, make it only expedite plants by a set amount of time rather than instantly done, etc.  For the cost of two papyrus you save an insane amounts of Manure or Rot to instantly grow farms that would otherwise take time to plant and fertilize.  It even causes Berry Bushes to instantly replenish.  It also shouldn't be a recipe that's  "Always Available". "But think of all the Rock you have to use!" you cry. "What else are you using your rock for? You get it for no extra effort while collecting flint and gold," I retort and add, "if you're really worried about it - basic farms work just as well for Wickerbottom".  It doesn't cost anything important, except the sanity of Wickerbottom the character and her player.

One of the other players and I were talking about setting the server to "Short Summer (10d), Normal Winter(16d)" but that's not an option in the game yet. The options we have are Only Summer, Only Winter, Default, Long Summer, Long Winter, Long Both, Short Both.  Long Winter was something we considered, but the entire point of wanting Short Summer was to make it harder for us to catch our breath and abuse the book - not for us to need to hunt rabbits/koalaphants for a longer period of time.

While this is entirely opinion: As far as I'm concerned, the Birdcage needs to be changed - it basically doesn't cost anything to make. Wickerbottom starts with 2 papyrus, gold is easily collectible as you collect flint and rocks you need for tools, seeds are free, you need an Alchemy Engine anyway - and you can make one without a Science Machine - The most expensive thing at that early point in time is actually the 4 silk you need for the Bird Trap.

I also made the comment to my group that I think that Telltale Hearts don't cost enough. After the Second Server I personally still think that's true - but for a different reason.  Basically: Telltalle Heart damage needs to ignore Armor. Currently you can negate the effects by eating one piece of Jerky or three pieces of Small Jerky as long as you have a Log Suit on.

Second Server Story Time!

This time we changed some settings, "Less Treeguards, Map Size -1 from DST default " and ignored Applied Horticulture.  However it wasn't because we decided at the beginning to do so - we just didn't need to use it.  Trapping Frogs and Spiders and going slightly out of our way to collect a large amount of basic resources - the map was, frankly, too small. I wouldn't recommend it.  The different map sizes also seem to be broken, which I think Klei mentioned?  We found all the things and put them in the Wooden Thing just to look at it and got to kill some Clockworks, my favorite hositle mobs in the game, which also spawned - so unlike the first server, we were able to make ice boxes.

Aside from all that, we had a nice base, in between a pig village with 18 berry bushes just barely north of a Marsh with reeds and 6-7 frog ponds which were also near plains biome with plenty of grass and rabbits.  We made some Drying Racks and all the other good things you put in a base, by the end of Summer we had everything you could possibly have wanted. Our winter was full of greed and dying to silly, silly things.

One of the greedy things we wound up doing was the Birds of the World + Sleepy Time Stories combo - only to find out that we needed Tentacle Spikes to kill a bird in one hit - thanks to the DST damage multiplier, a 34 damage spear was relegated to 20.4 damage which not enough to kill a 25 Health Bird.  Personally I find this highly annoying. Klei pls fixx ploxxx!!!11!1!!1!  Seriously though, more on this and weapon rescaling in Solution Time!  In anycase, we went to kill Tentacles and died a couple times. Some of us played around as ghosts for a while, which is amusing in its own ways, but eventually we got back to the game.

Then after the winter, we made a dedicated effort to getting Spider Glands and Silk. Without using the vast amounts of traps we had made for frogs and rabbits, I personally cleared four Tier 3 Spider Nests. Wow was that boring. Set traps, step on web, lure into trap, gather glands and silk, turn glands into Poultice, turn Poultice into Booster Shots, everyone has returned to max health again!  Then, with our over abundance of food we got bored and we decided to scrap the server and not play until this upcoming update.

To end the server we activated the Wooden Thing and got this crash http://puu.sh/d9GLt/d42ee0e112.png which wasn't surprising in the least since Klei already mentioned it wouldn't work.

Second Server's Highlighted Problem

Aside from the map generation, which was our fault, we once again ran into the problem where we had absolutely every building aside from a Science Machine before the first winter.  We didn't focus on farming as much, and with how compact the map was, we didn't need to.  We more or less expected this.

What I consider the problem highlight was that nothing - aside from killing 25hp birds - was challenging us. We died, but it was mostly due to our own greed and ill preparation when we had every ability to avoid both of those problems.  I mentioned that I don't think Telltale Heart costs enough in the last Solution Time segment and I think that still holds true.  However, I feel like the environment lacks challenge, partly due to the lack of RoG elements in the game.

Solution Time!

Eventually? Everything should probably be properly rescaled rather than the bandage 0.6 damage multiplier.  A flat multiplier won't keep things relative to how they were in Single Player after all.  The Log suit has a value of 80% in Single Player, but a value of 60% in DST which is twice the damage due to the 0.75 multiplier. Meanwhile Shadow Armor goes from 95 in Single Player to 75 in DST which is five times the amount of damage.  The below paragraph is an example of an *extremely simple* re-scaling.

Spears should do 24 damage, Birds should be 24hp (1 hit to kill with a Spear), Spiders should be 108HP (4.5, rounded up to 5, hits to kill; compared to Single Player's 3 hits to kill).  Fishing Poles and Bug Nets should do 1/4 the damage of Spears. Unarmed should do 1/3 the damage of Spears. Shovel/Pitchfork/Lucy should do 1/2 the damage of Spears. Axe/Pickaxe should do 2/3 the damage of Spears. Boomerang should do 3/4 the damage of Spears. Tentacle Spikes should do 3/2 the damage of Spears (exactly 3 hits to kill a Spider). Blowdarts should do 9/2 damage of a spear (1 hit to kill a spider). Etc., etc.

This alone isn't really a big enough change to make the game harder, but it's a better change than a multiplier that doesn't let you kill birds in one hit when using a spear.  I actually mulled this over a lot. How would I rescale the game? What else would I do to combat?  Would I make enemies have a damage threshold that needed to be acquired before they could flinch from an attack? Would I give them a "flinch cooldown" where if the player waits a specified time between attacks each hit will make the enemy flinch? Would I make the characters Stab with Spears rather than Slash with Spears?  Would I do this or would I do that? Then it hit me.

Spiders, really, really, really, should not be trappable in DST.  This exists in single player because spider nests would be extremely hard to deal with otherwise, potentially requiring multiple log suits and spears (the horror). Despite being able to permanently stunlock them, Spiders pose a threat in single player because greatly outnumber the player in single player, so even if it makes them into "non-issue", trapping spiders is fairly integral.  But DST isn't a single player game.  Spiders don't *greatly* outnumber the players.  Make spiders scary by removing the idea that you can trap them.  

That will make it harder to get glands, to get silk, and thus for the player to survive and more importantly *harder for the player to recover* from past mistakes. Honey Ham or Honey Poultice may heal your health, but only Booster Shots can restore it - and what do you need for booster shots? Spider Glands. Or it should at least make people work in groups to take down spiders, rather than only needing one person and traps to take down every nest on the map.

In short: I don't think Players should be able to OHKO spiders and spider warriors using a no risk and low cost tactic in DST.

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Well that took a while to read, anyways.

I think you missed an important tidbit about spider nests in DST. If you are playing as a ghost, and there are two spider nests relatively close to each other, haunting one of the two would spawn the spiders to attack the other nest. Thereby the second spider nest will spawn its own set of spiders to attack the spiders attacking its nest.


Another thing I should point out is that if there are bees flying close enough to a spider nest, haunting the nest will cause the spiders to attack the bee, and in turn all the other bees in the area will attack the spiders.


If you wish to dampen the availability of spider webs and glands, you should also consider making a counter-plan to this mechanic of a ghost player.


Just giving you some points you missed. I for one, am not good with the whole balancing aspect. But I do agree damage scaling should be readjusted.

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