There is so much to talk about in this thread, i'm gonna cherry pick pieces to comment on and i'll do my best to keep my comments in the context of the original quotes (and please keep in mind these are simply my opinions)-
I personally like this side of the argument, and I feel it is part of DS/DST' identity. You generally aren't pushed into any content, and you generally aren't held back from any content. It is entirely up to you what you engage/avoid. I think this is something that helps draw in the new players that have a genuine interest in the game. I know for me early encounters with things I had no business messing with are part of why I stuck around. The unknown. Whether I decided to immediately engage the unknown or put it on the back burner for a long time (while constantly fearing it), the idea of mystery followed by new rewards/knowledge combined with zero hand-holding always drew me in.
I'm not crazy about this side of the argument. At this point in DST' life cycle it means either thinning out content for old players early in a new world along with adding (what I would view as) a fairly obnoxious step to get back to the freedom we are all used to at this point, or adding new content that would then be held back from all players for a time. It would have to be enough content to justify this, a new mob or 2 wouldn't cut it, that would be silly. If people are blowing through the content right now in 1 game year and getting bored, how much content would it take to keep people around for 5 game years? I'd rather Klei work on simply adding new content, not devising some way to tailor make content for the intent of spreading out the experience to make people play a world longer.
I like the cave thing, it would be a cool way to do the Lunar Cave idea thats been bounced around before, and it adds to the water side of the game.
On biome morphing, i'd rather the work go into completely new biomes and biome contents than modifying what we already have. To me it would feel as though I was losing content to gain content (i.e. my worlds Savannah just morphed to a Shadow Savannah, cool, but now my regular Savannah is gone).
I kind of like the idea of player progression evolving a world, I just don't know how effective the intended results would be. Heat and cold can be easily dealt with, hunger and sanity, health, darkness, wetness can be dealt with. Without sweeping changes to the game like removal of items (thermal stones, eyebrella) or drastically new status effects (i.e. poison, dehydration etc), I don't think changes really make that big of a difference.
On the enemy A.I./Combat front.....ehhhh. I love DST, absolutely. But to me the combat feels atrocious (i've not played PC or Xbox). Nothing feels tight, there are days when the servers are moody (I guess?) and I can either land 1 extra hit in a kiting pattern or 1 less hit. I don't know, i'm bad at combat in DST. But I never viewed DST as a "fighting" type game and choose all other options provided to me to avoid it.
Excuse the mini rant. Anyway, in the context of combat extra difficulty kind of scares me. If that extra difficulty involves increasing the amount of precision required to successfully control a character in a combat situation, I think the combat system currently is too loose (and dare I say sloppy at times) to let such changes succeed.
And if the extra difficulty is simply more boss HP/DMG, it will just end up being a non factor.
This is what I would like to see the most, and I think it would honestly benefit DST more than most other options, and has the potential of satisfying more of the player base and more sections of the player base. New biomes, new mobs, new mats, new crafts (and new bosses, but we have received 2 of these already, and their reception was less than stellar, so thats a big knock against my argument lol). I still think thats what is going on with the water, it has just taken time to put all the pieces in place, making it feel empty and unfinished.
There are. The game allows that. If your "noob friends" (your words) are STILL dying to stupid stuff and trying to attack Abigail, you are doing a horrible job teaching them the game, they aren't interested, or the don't exist.
This. There is a lot of discontent with disease, as well as a lot of the new content. Is it because the concepts are bad, or is it just that everyone had different ideas of additions and new content in their head? If I was Klei I would be extremely cautious and maybe indecisive about what I added after the receptions to these things, and I would most likely not want to rock the boat when it came to major changes to the base formula of the game. What sounds good in our minds might not play out great in game. It is easy to call an idea bad when you didn't have the idea or want the idea yourself, and it doesn't mean our theory crafting on new content would play out any better.
That uncompromising survival game you want when it's convenient for one of your political ad style thread derailments?
Anyway, I don't know. My personal opinion is that DST is long enough in the tooth now that I have trouble getting behind serious changes/additions to the core game. New biomes, new mobs, new crafts, all within the framework we currently have is what I would like to see. I feel like it gives more bang for the buck development/content wise, and its a fairly safe bet.
When you take the games age into account, consider how much time we (and the devs) have had to theorycraft ground shaking changes to the core formula, and consider the fact that the player base is most certainly fractured into different camps touting their own vision of what should be, I think their should be serious consideration for a sequel. Clean slate, wipe out the knowledge base, take the game more towards the uncompromising survival, and seriously shake up the formula. Anything less will be sidestepped by a majority of the playerbase and that work by the devs will simply be a flash in the pan. The playerbase will either not like it, burn straight through it, or work around it.