Ive been playing a lot of Apocalypse and a lot of derivatives of Apocalypse on Sandbox and after giving it the most playtime out of all the modes, I would like to voice my opinion on some of the aspects that get on my nerves and the things I prefer about it over the other gamemodes. Ill be going through the aspects from top to bottom via the sandbox options and then talk about some specific stuff that really doesnt work I feel.
Please keep in mind, these are my thoughts and are open to debate but I generally am looking to improve the experience overall.
Zombie Count: High
While I feel this is okay, it really has to do with the next bullet point that makes this an unweildy thing to have.
Zombie Distribution: Urban Focused
This doesnt seem to be working right in some areas, the first area being Muldraugh being one of the most swamped areas to start in ever. Theyre spread out so evenly that stealth to anywhere you might want to go is next to impossible as an average character and even then its quite crazy. You also cant really fight because of the loot (which ill get down to there) not allowing you to really fight any groups larger than 2 or 3 if youre being generous.
Water/Electricity Shutoff: 0-30 days
*DEV* Water/ElecShutModifier: 14
This is something I feel shouldnt be here like this, for anyone who doesnt know, there is a secret modifier for Apocalypse that makes water and electricity on apocalypse go off on day 14 nearly 100% of the time if not 100% of the time. This takes off some of the randomness the game is supposed to have and id like to see it back to the way it used to be where its actually 0-30 days.
Darkness During Night: Normal
I feel that the night levels are way way too bright, its not dark at all outside and whenever I play sandbox I almost always turn this down to Dark or Pitch Black. Night-time without cat-eyes is bright and flashlights have nearly no place. Not only that, but I feel the zombies can see you just as easy at night as they can in the daytime and this is another thing id like to see modified, a risk/reward ratio for going out at night where you cant see but neither can they.
Farming Speed: Normal
In my opinion, this should be slowed down. Cabbage and other fast-growing crops give so much food so fast that my Apocalypse character has absolutely no need to go out and loot, as it stands ive got 3 or 4 freezers full of farming food and im only 3 months in.
Sadistic AI Director
Meta Event: Sometimes
This needs some work. Helicopter is one of the most anxiety events you can have happen near your home and it only happens once. As I put in my point above, I spend a lot of time not going out on Apocalypse once im set up, the Meta Events do not contribute or affect my home-life in any way and im not too far away from an urban area. Helicopter would be a great problem to throw at me but it only happens one time. I feel there are not enough late-game meta events to challenge my comfortable home life, theres not enough to happen to anyone when youre getting towards the late game. The only thing I can think of would be Winter, provided you dont have the food you need (which I do and you could supplement with foraging, fishing or trapping). Its one of my biggest game-fatigue gripes I have with this game and theres a few more ill be talking about.
Decaying Corpse Health Impact: Normal
You can expand this a lot. Currently, this doesnt really do anything or impact the game at all unless theyre literally in your house. I feel even walking through corpse-dense areas could and should give you diseases and illnesses, this would make "prone to illness" less of a free point trait and resilient might be taken more than not at all. Currently, the only corpse management I ever do is outside my immediate living area.
Oh boy, where do I even begin here. Im going to be blunt here, there is no reason my starting house should have 1 battery and some makeup in it. Thats not a joke. There is a lot that needs to be done with the loot as I often find it frustrating to not find a single article of clothing in multiple houses, to not find any kitchen knives or can openers in any houses at all. To go through a warehouse and find that 50% or more of the boxes inside do not have a single item inside. Theres a lot of work here, im not griping too much at the food or weapons (although its a bit silly) but theres a lot of work I feel needs to be done with the commodity items, like, by a lot. The early-game is a lot of going from house to house, hoping you dont get spotted by a group and hoping you find even just one single good item so I can defend myself without spamming shove. Its not unfair, its not cheap, its just extremely tedious and RNG reliant.
Clothing Degradation: Normal
I think this needs to be slowed down but not as much as the "slow" option does. On normal, only about 6 hours will propel my clothes into the dirtiest and bloodiest they can be. On Slow, I can go nearly a week before I hit the same point.
Weapon Multihit (off)
This is complicated, I like this being off. However, id like to see some experimentation. What ive found is when youre playing and get swarmed by 2 or 3 at the same pace (which is doable to fight off), the best way to deal with it is to spam shove until one or two of them fall over so you can actually attack one of them. If you want to run away, you need to spam shove until you get a window of opportunity most of the time. I dont want to hit multiple zombies at the same time, but maybe shoving two at the same time would make it a lot less reliant on spamming shove until something just works out. This is something that would desperately need to be tested as I feel it might not work out or might make the game too easy, but the situation I have described is a common one.
Cars in general
I dont know much about cars but for me, I think the spawn rate is a bit too low, theres not a lot of vehicles that just, exist, at all. Id be fine if there were a lot of broken ones but there just arent that many in the world at all, I like cars in the urban settings just for the atmosphere they give, making the world feel more tangible to me.
Car Alarm Frequency: Extremely Rare
Ive never even seen this happen by default.
Zombie House Alarm Triggering (off)
I just dont get this one, any reason for this? This is something I turn on when im playing sandbox. I just like it when zombies can shamble out of a house and I walk in and the alarm goes off. Theyre still people, theyre just dead... People...
THE BIG ONE
Respawn Hours: 72
Respawn Unseen Hours: 16
This is too much, this is way way way too much. I can best describe this with an example. My apocalypse character lives on the edge of town, so town is on cells im not on most of the time. There is no incentive to kill or clear out the town ever because the hordes and hordes I might wipe with my shotgun will just respawn in a few days at most. Theres no reason to do it. By extension, theres no reason to ever go in town because of this. My apocalypse character looted every building in Rosewood and now theres no reason to ever walk over there. Lately, when I make a sandbox preset, I generally turn this up to 1 month or more. Its just too much and its my biggest fatigue problem in PZ right now.
Now that ive gone over the apocalypse options, id like to address a few things that bug me a bit here and there.
One thing ive noticed with the new anims are the limited walking animations and lunging animations and standing animations. I know theyre hard to do, but having a lot more variety in these improves the immersion, standing anims are the worst in this regard. All zombies have the same standing idle animation and it really stands out. Sprinters should also not sprint when theyre unalerted by something (I made another thread on this but its easy to just throw in here).
Combat, ive talked about the combat briefly when talking about "weapon multihit" but something new has risen from the current new combat and anim systems. Animation-Canceling. Anim-Canceling is something that was posted on a Wood Axe thread asking to reduce the endurance usage and improve the weapon overall. Someone posted a video of anim-canceling and its use in combat and anim-canceling makes it go from one of the worst weapons into one of the best weapons nearly instantly. Ive tested this myself and it works with all weapons and but best used with the sledgehammer and wood axe because of their slower swings. Generally it works like this. Holding CTRL enters the combat stance. If your weapon is in the swing state and not recovery and you let go of CTRL and move your character away (easiest to do in the opposite direction), your character will interrupt the swing animation allowing you to attack faster and negate the full 1 second recovery time after a swing. It also allows you to move away and recover to a safe distance for group fighting. This can be done with all weapons, like ive said, but its generally unreliable with faster-swinging weapons as you can only interrupt the weapon mid-swing and not in recovery.
Ill be honest here, I like this but its not intended and it probably doesnt fit the PZ vision. I like it because it adds a tech-skill but it also makes combat super reliable and super strong. It also lets you use two more weapons that function different than every other weapon in the game, at the cost of a ton of endurance use (seriously, even with level 9 fitness, sledgehammer can only swing about 5 or 10 times before you start to be exerted.) Id like to see this explored rather than outright removed.
Thank you for reading. I know this is a big post. I ask if you respond to something, please quote the portion of text youre replying to so its easier to discuss and explore what works and what doesnt, whats "just my opinion" and whats viewed as an actual problem.
I care a lot about this game and I remember when I got it on Desura, development of this game may be slow but it holds a special place in my heart. I want to see it be the best it can and improving the default gamemode would be a great start for building a lot of replay ability.