Hi again, folks!
So, I've logged close to 70 hours now since making the jump from the old build to the IWBUMS build and I thought I'd share my thoughts here instead of posting them to Reddit or to the Discord server. I've logged a bunch of hours (300+) in the old build because I'm in a fairly large gaming community that in particular plays lots of zombie-related titles. PZ is one of my favorites of the past 10 years or so, and I've managed to recruit lots of guys to play MP games with me (hence the 300+ hours in the old build, MP support is still there!) and wanted to give a few views based on the feedback I've gotten from the guys who play with me since this October we've decided to all try out the new IWBUMS version.
3 Suggestions that I've got so far:
1. Beginning difficulty is a bit high, late game difficulty is a bit too easy. The first few days, especially the first few minutes of starting are by far the most challenging. Finding a basic melee weapon, finding a vehicle, barricading up a house - it's all very rough starting off. I'm not suggesting that we have our starting-game simply served to us on a silver platter or anything, but the absolute volume of zombies in the very beginning is more than overwhelming to new guys (whether you're new from the old build, or new to the game in general) It so far (and again I'm strictly speaking about the IWBUMS version in saying this) seems to be going beyond just a challenging start for most, and ultimately is a frustrating start. I'll be the first to say that I'm having to convince a lot of the new guys that I've talked into buying it the past month to keep trying and not simply give up within their first 20-30 hours. What I think would help mitigate this some would be giving individuals the ability to choose which day the outbreak itself begins in 'Survival Mode'. (This may be something that devs have planned already for in the future, I'm not entirely sure though so I figured I'd mention either a comment in support of it, or a suggestion in support of it!) Allowing us to start on day 1 when the chaos is just beginning, and the initial, earliest numbers of zombies are still fairly thin to give players a chance to collect resources for the first 24 hours would greatly ease new players into the game itself. (Day 1, easy level, Day 2 Medium level, Day 3 Hard and so forth!)
2. Building off of the 1st suggestion, late game difficulty itself can become a bit of a breeze, and most problems we had before are no longer really that much of an issue for the most part. We can always set personal challenges for ourselves to help in confronting this problem (go and take over the mall, try to clear out an entire town etc.) is one way of off-setting some of the late game 'breeze' as I call it, once we've gotten some stats increased and sorta gotten established, but what I really think would be more fun to deal with is 'herds'. Somewhat similar to the helicopter attack events, I think it'd be SO fun to see a big wave of zombies hit a well established base of some kind that has seen a very mild 'trickling in' of zombies as the player(s) have established barricades. My all time favorite zombie flicks have always been Night of the Living Dead (and of course Dawn of the Dead - Day of the Dead, etc.! R.I.P. Romero!) and I'd love to see things gradually escalate at a house situation very similar to how things escalated in Night of the Living Dead. Finding available materials to barricade windows and doors with in the first initial days, having to fight off *slowly* increasing numbers as they gradually build up until you're well behind your walls is a great way to play survival mode imo! And finally, as more of a final crescendo, the player(s) then have to hold off the "herds" mentioned before, where they're hitting the base in massive waves and the odds become increasingly difficult to overcome (to the point that leaving the house for more resources even becomes a risky, almost impossible endeavor)
3. Thirdly, and finally - to add on to the notion that early game is a bit too difficult, I think it'd be great if based on the profession you choose, your character will have a tendency to spawn in with the tools that reflect the profession you've chosen (and if you choose unemployed, it sticks with the more random house as it does in the current fashion where there's no telling what you'll find in the house you spawned in with). So if you're a mechanic, find a toolbox with a wrench, tire pump or screwdriver or jack, etc. Or if you're a chef, there's an abundance of food, if you're a medical worker there's plenty of medical supplies available and so forth. Starting off with a hammer and saw as a construction worker or carpenter would make a massive world of difference in the early phases of the game, giving the player a tool to barricade houses with and a blunt weapon to fight with, as well. Also - I would think most folks would have a vehicle as well. Maybe not all, and maybe many of them ended up parking their car when they got home without much gas in it, but it does seem odd that even when there's a car parked out in front of the house that I spawn in at, there's often no key for it lol.
In conclusion, I'm overall *highly* pleased with what the team has been putting together in this game, I've logged a lot of hours into it already, and have highly encouraged all of the guys in the gaming community I'm a part of to continue supporting it by buying copies of it as well. These are my own thoughts, but I'll say this much: For the price that I paid for this title, even though I've got suggestions, I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it already. The 370ish hours that I've logged for just $15 so far, has basically been one of the best bang for buck that I've ever gotten out of an early access title, so once again (not to sound like I'm ass-kissing here) hats off to the Indie Stone guys! Thanks for reading!
Edit: P.S. - New fog effects? FKN BOSS!