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So first off I just to say I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, nor am I looking to flame anyone, nor am I looking to start a text war like I have seen on some of the other posts on this topic line. That being said after reading a few of the other post in regards to smithing I just thought it would be nice to take a different look at the idea. I only feel the need because, well some of the things I read don't make sense. I grew up with a father that was a civil and mech engineer, he loved to tinker and he loved to work with his hands, he also loved to repair/reinvent things. One our fav things to do was to drive around in his beat up truck and grab stuff people threw away and make it useful again. I work with my hands a lot, I grew up in MO here in the states, friends had farms that I worked on and I also managed a light construction, and landscaping company for about 5 years ,It will make sense why I'm bringing all this up in a bit. 1) the idea that your player learns skills at any sort of reasonable rate in regards to carpentry or farming is absurd, both these skills take years to master. It's one thing to be a farm hand and be told to dig a ditch or bail some hay, it's a whole different beast to harvest seeds by hand and to tend crops. Building a multi level dwelling is much the same way, it's even more silly to try to do these things with out the proper tools ( level, protractor, measuring tape, chisel, sand paper, L-joints, bracing fixtures ect ect) the idea that some one can go from no skill in wood working to being able to build a house with a saw hammer and nails in a matter of a week or two is silly. These are skills that in old times you were raised into, taught your whole life to master. But it's how it is because it's a game, and it's fun this way so why would smithing need to be so ultra realistic either. 2) a forge can be built by the avg guy, not some crazy thing that takes weeks to build ,but cinder blocks stacked and then covered with dirt to form a mound will work for making a basic forge ( I know because I have made one ). Need a anvil? there's construction site that have I-beams just laying there get a metal saw from the hard ware store and spend a day cutting a small section off one, now you have a totally flat class 2 tempered steal ready to go anvil. Just get 2 buddies or a wheel barrel/shopping cart or car to get it back home ( all things that may be in the pipe line ) Need fuel ? Get charcoal from the super market. Need something to protect u from the heat? Go to the fire dept and get a fire fighting outfit and use your knife to make it work. The parts would be all over the place for someone that wanted to make it happen. 3) you wouldn't need ore as some people have said, you have a world of already to go metal all around you: rebar, street signs, nails, shell casings, coins, silverware, car bumpers, tin cans you would never run out of metal, there's also a lot that would take way less work to turn into a weapon like a lawn mower blade ( heat it, flatten it, grind it, sharpen it, add glue and the a handle and now you have a short sword/club, or really how much work would it take to turn a sturdy garden hoe into a spear. 4) as for it not breaking the Game balance that seems easy too, no skill books past level 2-3 I'm sure the public library in your small town has some books that would give the avg joe some useful tips on making stuff in a forge, or how shaping metal in gen works, but for the good stuff to be built you need to invest lots of time and resources into learning what your doing. Make weapons at the low tier no better than stuff u can find, or have their durability crappy until you get more skill, and make the combines take a long time. Want 100 nails great ! Well spend two days in game making them and have someone watching your back to deal with the Zeds that pounding a hammer on metal is going to make, and be sure to have a great supply of water and food, cause that forage is hot and it's hard work swinging a hammer all day. 5) the need overcomes the difficulty, what I mean is that if you have no nails and you need to make your home safer, would you just say "well there's no more nails guess the zombies are gonna get me" or would you find some way to make something happen ? Your player is a survivor that's what survivors do, the beat the odds, they make it happen, they figure out ways to over come problems. In short 1) would it be fun to build your own/reconfigure/salvage your own tools and weapons ? I vote yes 2) is it something that the avg person could do ? Well at some point a long time ago all over the world people figured it out and I have done some basic stuff ,so I'm gonna go with yes 3) is it in keeping with the Romero lore ? Gonna have to go with yes, it seems like salvaging and rebuilding is very much a coroner stone of a zombie Apoc. Sorry the post was so long thank you for reading, please add your constructive comments PS: anyone that thinks I'm off base with the farming/wood working please try one of two things before you counter, go cut a sapling down, and then try to make a plank with a bow/hacksaw and post your finished product here with the amount of time it took you to make it. Or go talk to a Amish farmer and find out how to harvest seeds from the stuff you can grow in zomboid.
So this is definitely a topic that has been brought up a few times, but I want to aim at presenting some original ideas to the whole process and dispelling some mistaken assumptions about the reality of the effectiveness of some of these ideas. Let's talk about shields before we get to the good stuff. Numerous people have proposed the idea, and numerous others have responded with comments like "oh zeds would just pull it out of your hands" or "shields were designed for intelligent human combatants and not unintelligent zeds, and are therefore more effective against the former and not the latter." Sorry guys, but these are terrible arguments, IMO. As for the first, which would you rather face while being bare-handed, a guy with a short sword AND a shield, or a guy with a short sword? People who make the first comment, according to their own line of reasoning, should respond to this question by saying "Well obviously the guy with the sword and the shield because I'd just grab the shield and pull on it and throw him off balance then pwn his face." This is quite ludicrous. Not only would you lack the requisite leverage to do so, but in so doing would make yourself extremely vulnerable to any number of killing blows. In addition, the shield-bearer could bash you in the face the moment you approached and trust me, you'd have absolutely no possibility of catching the shield and wrenching it free with your bare hands before you were dead. If this could at all be done with reliability, the shield would never have arisen as a reliable armament. As for the second argument, I have to say I can barely understand it. If an intelligent person is incapable of doing the aforementioned skillful actions, then surely a stupid-ass slow zed would be incapable of doing them. Yes, they may have increased physical strength but again couldn't really do anything about the shield before you murdered them in the face. Again, it's not like you could just dispatch a shield-bearing army by raising an army of really strong bare-fisted fighters (I doubt unarmed Shaolin monks did well against shielded/sworded opponents in Chinese history). Yes, jujitsu was invented as a martial art for fighting unarmed against an armed opponent, but it was designed to try and maximize your chances of survival in a non-ideal situation - it's not like zeds are jujitsu masters anyway. Furthermore, as has been noted, there's the large chance that the zed wouldn't even recognize the shield as a thing that needed to be contended with. If he didn't, you could bash him with it, and if he did, he'd be distracted by it, and you could slice his face off. Which leads me to my next point - swords don't have to be sharp. During the days of cavalry, sharp swords were a huge bane to the cavalryman. Imagine swinging a sharp-ass sword down on top of a guy's head with all your might and then THWOCK! your sword gets wedged in his skull. As you're trying to pull it out, numerous other dudes stab you to death. They didn't use sharp swords, they used blunt swords - big pieces of metal that shattered your skull or arm bone or collarbone/shoulder that wouldn't get stuck in your body so the cavalryman could keep riding, keep moving, and keep fucking people up. If we made swords smithable, we could do blunt swords at lower skill levels and sharp swords available at higher skill levels (the former leveling up blunt and the latter leveling up blade). A legitimate way to incorporate smithing would be to (again, as other people have noted) make only one or two anvils in the game. I respect that you can use any sort of sufficiently hard surface (like a granite countertop, as one has suggested, or a cinder block, as others have suggested) to temper red-hot metal - that's a possibility, but would be hard and counter-intuitive to implement. It would also be impossible to make anvils "craftable" unless it was a level 5 tier skill, but that's still pretty implausible. Instead, I say there should be an anvil or two on the map in the various farms, randomly generated and extremely scattered (so you'd have no idea where it was). You could then go one of two ways - immovable, or extremely difficult to move. The former would force trips for forging and resource expenditures to make the smithing area safe (or building an entire safehouse around the anvil), and the latter could be easily implemented by making the anvil ignore weight reduction penalties (or make it so damn heavy it could only be carried by putting it in the highest weight reduction bag...the big hiking bag I think?). Regardless, it would take ages to put into/take out of your inventory and make you super encumbered and exhausted by carrying it, effectively making you vulnerable to anything other than a 1v1 or 1v2 encounter (and making you unable to flee if you encounter more). This would then make retrieving the anvil a late-game "quest" as it were. There could be various tools required, such as a smithing hammer, tongs, or bellows; you could be required to make a forge out of masonry components (using a hammer to break down brick walls, using concrete bags to make morter, trowel to assemble); and then either logs or charcoal to fuel the forge (charcoal could just be a potential left over thing from campfires for easy implementation, or a specifically crafted item for difficult implementation). If you don't like the forge idea, heck, you could use a grill - hell, with enough coal and air, I've gotten zones within the coals over 1000 degrees before, and you only have to hit like 1500 or 2000 to be able to shape steel. It's doable...but dangerous! And that could be the trade off for this potentially game-breaking addition - the danger. Fires should be extremely common or possible without adequate preventions (e.g. babysitting your shit, not using excess fuel, skill level when forge was built, etc.), and only really definitely controllable at the max skill level. There could also be a trough required for quenching meta, which would consume extremely valuable late-game water at a high rate. Needless to say, one could make all sorts of things craftable with this skillset - tools like axes, spades, trowels, sledgehammers, or items like nails, screws, rivets, barbed wire, metal posts, or even nebulous "part kits" for various items (like "car parts" for when they incorporate vehicles, I used a soda can to help fix my engine once, or "gun parts" to repair firearms, or whatever). I'm gonna stop here because this is ridiculously long already. TL;DR - shields are definitely combative effective, swords don't need to be sharp, anvils are implementable, and the whole system can require various max level skills to balance it out and make it late-game only