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What's Next - My Recap of Hamlet and what I hope to see in the full release


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My Recap of Hamlet

For anyone who would rather read my thoughts, here is the video transcript:

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Hey everybody, Jazzy here. I wanted to post a video recapping some of my thoughts on the Beta release of Don’t Starve Hamlet, which includes all of the aspects that I love with the new DLC, some ideas how Klei might develop further on the game, and what I feel needs improvement or fixing.

I felt very fortunate to be a part of the Beta and will absolutely buy and play the DLC when the full release comes in December. Overall it is a well-balanced version of the game that intentionally unbalances a few elements of the traditional playstyle, forcing players to take a much different approach to surviving.

Here’s the deal: you get thrown into a dangerous world, but there are elements of a potentially friendly civilization close by, and the only way to acquire certain items is through interaction with these villages. A system of economy is always welcome in a survival game. Players can survive by working for the town, picking up after all the incontinent piggies and bringing them items such as berries, rope, hedge clippings, feathers, petals, and treasure from ancient ruins. In return you can purchase items from several different stores, giving you completely renewable access to a massive variety of items.

So let’s start with the pig economy. I think that for the most part, these shops are reasonably priced. Considering how quickly one can eventually amass oincs with renewable items such as rope, berries, nightmare fuel, and hedge clippings, 50 oincs for a Tam o Shanter or RoG boss drop doesn’t seem all that pricey to me. I like that certain items are only renewable through the stores as the player must buy from them if they want to acquire certain items like cloth which is needed to craft several important seasonal items.

My main issue with the stores is the RNG associated with the restocking of the shelves. Say Lush season is about to start and you really need that piece of cloth for a gas mask. If you’re lucky it will be in the General Store, but if you aren’t then you need to start buying up items and pray that the shopkeep will restock with cloth. I have blown through upwards of a hundred oincs on pitchforks and fishing rods before seeing my first cloth. This seems unnecessarily random to me, especially when some of these items are rather important to surviving.

What I’d prefer to see is a shop with one shelf for each item, and that item never changes. You can see an example of this in the General Store with gold nuggets. That shelf will always be restocked with a gold nugget. I see no reason why they can’t do this with other important basic resources such as silk, hounds teeth, flint, and cloth.

Speaking of basic resources, it would seem that a few of these important resources are challenging to get a hold of in the new DLC. Silk can be slowly farmed from Spider Monkeys and cocooned trees, which are rainforest trees that grow within the spider monkey creep. The monkeys are tough to fight, with a small window to kite, and are not guaranteed to drop silk. Cocooned trees can be chopped down but are not currently renewable.

Likewise, hounds teeth for repair kits are similarly challenging to acquire. The player needs to journey to the second Hamlet, which can take a while depending on your luck finding the right ruins. In the Oddities store, Hounds teeth can be purchased for 5 oincs. Again, you can quickly blow through a lot of oincs if you aren’t lucky and they don’t appear on the shelf, and the items in this store tend to be more expensive.

I do like that certain resources like gears and silk are suddenly more challenging to acquire, as it makes for more creative approaches to survival. But I would like to see them eventually become more renewable for late-game play, or at least less random in availability.

Rocks do not seem as abundant in Hamlet. You can buy them off of a back shelf in one of the stores but they don’t get restocked. Cave clefts have been made more numerous in an update but still don’t come close to the abundance of rocks in the base game and DST. Considering this is a super basic resource that’s needed in tons of crafting recipes, I’d recommend rebalancing their abundance.

Because the objective of the game is still to not starve, let’s talk about food. My guess is that after the response of Shipwrecked, Klei wanted to do their next DLC with less than an absolute overabundance of food in the world. If true, then they certainly accomplished that scarcity in Hamlet. Don’t expect to find a ton of Meat or Morsels while exploring the world, and there’s no Koalefant or Whale to track and kill.. You can get plenty of Monster Meat from mobs in the wild but until you get a Crock Pot and Birdcage going, turning that into food is going to be a challenge.

You can kill pig guards for large meat but they are tedious to fight. Considering I can drop a Tallbird in 10 seconds for 2-3 meat, a werepig in 15 seconds for 2 meat and a skin, but a pig guard takes me closer to a full minute, I’d say I deserve more than a single piece of meat for my trouble.

On the other hand, wild veggies are plentiful. Cooked asparagus restores 25 hunger which is equivalent to cooked meat. And radishes restore as much hunger as carrots. This combined with the abundance of poop throughout the world leads me to believe that more emphasis was meant to be placed on farming and less hunting-gathering. Seems like a more civilized approach to me, and guess what, berry bushes and farm plots will grow year-round. No seasons that frost or wither your items! Crossing my fingers that any fourth season added will be just as plant-friendly, but I highly doubt it would be otherwise. This is the DLC of jungles and rainforests, which occur in warmer parts of the world where plants grow year-round.

The new crock pot recipes are interesting but the only two recipes that I ever ended up using were Nettle Rolls and Asparagus Soup. The latter is a great recipe and cheap healing, requiring just one asparagus, one more veggie, and two twigs. Unfortunately the other recipes were less viable, especially Steamed Hams which requires non-renewable foliage, Tea which requires two very rare orange Pikos and honey which is not yet renewable. Snake Bone Soup requires boss drops.

They are good recipes, I would just recommend a rebalancing of the availability of ingredients so that we can cook more of these dishes. Tea especially. If you’re going to insist on me trapping two Pikos for a single cup of tea, at least let me use a regular Piko for the second one.

As far as other mobs go, I would generally love to see more of the Hamlet monsters able to respawn. This goes for Snaptooth Flytraps and Seedlings especially since they are the only sources of vines and flytrap stalks, both of which are used in a number of important crafting recipes. How about a mating season for the Hippopotomouses? They are an excellent source of meat and natural defense, and can also be used to farm trees. It would be a shame for them to be forced into extinction.

I’m going to refrain from discussing the Bosses too extensively. I think Klei has a lot more planned for these battles and I think we caught a very small glimpse of the “bigger picture” associated with fighting them. There is at least one more boss that has yet to be implemented, but probably two. Suffice it to say, the new Queen Wormant is insanely difficult. Considering she drops the Royal Crown which will eventually let you build your own Hamlet, I welcome the challenge and look forward to seeing more fighting strategies come from the community.

Overall I think Hamlet is a stunning DLC. Many players, myself included, often overlook the care that goes into color palettes and artwork associated with games. Hamlet is a kaleidoscopic presentation of vibrant colors and dynamic world elements. It is so refreshing to see a game continue to receive the artistic care that makes it such a unique play, and my top hat goes off to Klei in this regard.

For a Beta, I think the game is in very good shape. There will always be bugs to report and game mechanics to rebalance, but I’ve played a fair share of Beta releases and few have been as polished as this one. So thanks, Klei, for the past two weeks. Now hurry up, finish the game, and take my money. You’ve earned it.

Thanks for listening/reading, and please let me know what you think.

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Very nice overview but I do have some comments.

- About shops. Shops cycle their wares naturally. So it's essential to plan ahead if you need something rather then trying to acquire it last minute and it not being there.

- Cocooned trees are renewable so long as there are jungle trees-which can be planted during lush (so I've heard)

- Hippos respawn like beefalos so if one is alive they reproduce and they're a good source of meat

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Wow that's awesome about the hippos! Wonder if it's like a Volt Goat spawner where they reproduce near the spawn point or if they multiply based on their actual location, because the latter is how I believe Beefalo spawn.

Didn't know that about cocooned trees but it makes sense. Looking forward to testing it in Early Access.

When you say the shops cycle their wares naturally, do you mean they regularly cycle through all of their possible items for sale? It seems pretty random to me with an equal chance of any item being placed on the shelf. I'll see three cloth placed in a row, and then I'll spend over a hundred oincs before seeing another piece. If there was a "restocking order" where one could reasonably predict which item was coming next I'd probably like the system better.

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