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lemmy101

Operation Fix Late Game By Killing You Before You Get There

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Hey all, just a quick post to let you all know we're currently in a midst of a huge shakeup to the game balance. This is primarily to fix the problems in the late game where people get a bit bored. Essentially the problem with the late game is it shouldn't really exist as it does now and it pretty much emerged by accident due to stuff like farming, carpentry and more crucially the pressure on us to make the game more accessible to new players so as not to make a bad and damaging first impression. The genesis of this game was one where it was constantly trying to kill you, and every day used to be a blessing, and it feels like we've lost this to an extent. Now seasoned players reach a point where death comes from reckless shotgun rampages and the like. If the player invites death to try and have a bit of excitement after being bored, then its hard to call this game 'a story about how you died'

 

Highlights of this balance effort include:

  • Beginner mode - Yes we're going there. Sandbox has options to make the game easier, but this relies on people going there and most would just drop into survival and then find the game too hard. This pressured us too much to make the game easier to avoid the game crashing into negative review hell, and this isn't fair on the experienced players. A new beginner mode (which the game will try and nudge first time players into) will be easier than the game currently is now, but will otherwise be similar to the current game. But will have NO survival time reported on death (though will still on the character panel). This is an awesome thing for everyone who is experienced in the game because it means we are finally free to really make survival as brutal as it should be from day one to day whatever you survive to... every day should be a struggle, especially if you're on your own
  • Zombies assemble! - We're going to be working at bringing back the hordes of the days of yore. Like the proper hordes we used to have. This is all dependent on how much multiplayer traffic can handle but we're working at making more dynamic and numerous hordes.
  • Difficulty scales up over time instead of down. Through various balance changes, instead of the difficulty falling off as you get more supplies and clear out an area for a safehouse, the game will become more and more difficult as time goes on. Living a month or two will now be a bloody huge deal. The late game once you have a base and farming and the like will no longer get dull, because our aim is to make every night you rest your head on a pillow alive and not undead a blessing the player is thankful for and a triumph they will be proud of. Things like food, refrigeration, zombies, migration, and a whole host of other things will be severely rebalanced. Instead of having a fridge full of about three months of food, you're more likely to be looking for something to fill your belly. Likewise changes to stuff like endurance will make the effects of fatigue much more long term instead of a momentary blip.
  • Gameplay systems, primarily stuff like carpentry, will be available to players more quickly. Hammers, saws and the like much more in abundance. But for example in case of carpentry, only barricading and the like will be available at low level. No building walls, doors etc at level 0 and so on. This means barricading will be a huge part of the game from near the start, where carpentry and base building itself will remain a mid-late game accomplishment. This same methodology will be brough to other gameplay systems to preserve the late game but provide earlier use of them.

There's plenty of other stuff, and this will be an ongoing effort going forward. Our plan is to perfectly balance the game to provide challenge to experienced players from beginning to end, and to squeeze the survival times to make long survival a real proud achievement, and the beginner mode means we can provide a bit more hand holding to first time players so they can figure out the mechanics without being chewed to death within the first minute of gameplay.

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I have been out of touch a while but there was talk of a "sadistic AI" option.  Reading the Difficulty scales up over time instead of down paragraph sounds like what I was imagining for SAI.  Is SAI gone?

 

By the way, I like where this game is heading.  :)

 

Kinda sorta, not specifically though. It's more the game's systems will be rebalanced to make this the case, not that anything is proactively doing this throughout the game.

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Fantastic, when this update rolls out its time to jump back into the game! 

A little recommendation for the difficulty factor is making the zombies reflexes a little better and to have tighter grips, this way when a player is cornered it will be more of a challenge to charge out of the situation.  ;-)   

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Getting the game harder to survive the longer you're in it sounds great. Last time I got far I died from experimenting with bugs out of boredom. But please don't ignore the general zed lore about the fact that they probably rot, a lot, as time goes on... And get weaker. I don't see how muscles get stronger from withering away :???:

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I like the idea of a beginner mode, because you can have a proper learning curve and a hardcore experience without using sandbox.

I think the idea of assembling hordes is nice, and i think how could they be. Will the horde act as one or it will be a bunch of zombies walking in the same direction but independent?

I like the idea of scaling difficulty, but I have some fears of it. I fear some of the balaces will make the game just harder from the start and not the scaling. I have nothing to prove the fears, yes, but thats because fears are irrational.

If surviving a month or two is a bloody huge deal, the mid-late accomplishment is achieved after the first 15 days? or over the first month? will you need to survive more than 3 months to be a good enough carpenter to build something useful  like some stairs?

 

The last 2 points really gave me a lot of questions...

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I like the idea of a beginner mode, because you can have a proper learning curve and a hardcore experience without using sandbox.

I think the idea of assembling hordes is nice, and i think how could they be. Will the horde act as one or it will be a bunch of zombies walking in the same direction but independent?

I like the idea of scaling difficulty, but I have some fears of it. I fear some of the balaces will make the game just harder from the start and not the scaling. I have nothing to prove the fears, yes, but thats because fears are irrational.

If surviving a month or two is a bloody huge deal, the mid-late accomplishment is achieved after the first 15 days? or over the first month? will you need to survive more than 3 months to be a good enough carpenter to build something useful  like some stairs?

 

The last 2 points really gave me a lot of questions...

 

re: this - we're going to be doing a professions overhaul. Idea being if you want to do carpentry then pick a carpentry based profession and you'll start with a huge headstart skills wise (start with a point or two, say, and 3x speed of level up). But will therefore suck ass at farming, and combat, etc etc. Or you could pick someone who is good at combat and they would have a much harder time getting to level of skill necessary to build stairs. Nothing is locked off, but professions unsuited or unrelated to a skill will make it more difficult, longer for someone to get proficient.

 

Makes profession choice (and we want to add hobbies too as a second modifier) much more agonizing and important. And more interesting for MP too. And NPCs when they come about,.

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Since the map is so big how are you going to bring the old nightmare of hordes back?

I mean, in the old prealpha, once you had a zombie on you knocking the door, it was pretty much gameover cause all the zombies would gather around the building and rekt you in your sleep, if you see a zombie knocking the door in the current build, you run pass by it to your safehouse and say hi to him.

 

Also how is the difficulty going to scale up? By the first week i have stuff to survive the first month just by looting houses, are we finally going to pass out if we dont sleep? what is refrigeration going to do now? also the endurance stuff, is it going to be like some kind of State of Decay stuff? Like getting tierd in the long run and losing energy over time? I would love that, to have a day to rest (i dont want to change chracters tho, just have a day to rest)

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Since the map is so big how are you going to bring the old nightmare of hordes back?

I mean, in the old prealpha, once you had a zombie on you knocking the door, it was pretty much gameover cause all the zombies would gather around the building and rekt you in your sleep, if you see a zombie knocking the door in the current build, you run pass by it to your safehouse and say hi to him.

 

Also how is the difficulty going to scale up? By the first week i have stuff to survive the first month just by looting houses, are we finally going to pass out if we dont sleep? what is refrigeration going to do now? also the endurance stuff, is it going to be like some kind of State of Decay stuff? Like getting tierd in the long run and losing energy over time? I would love that, to have a day to rest (i dont want to change chracters tho, just have a day to rest)

 

This is still to be determined. This whole thing was conceived just yesterday, and we're still figuring it all out. But the point is our aim is for PZ's difficulty graph to increase over time, but start off as close to how it is now on day 1 as possible. 

 

But in short, with the introduction of the beginner mode, we are finally unbound by 'make it fun for someone playing for first time' issues that led us to be way too restrained with zombie numbers and refrigerator effectiveness, loot amounts, combat difficulty etc etc. We can be truly brutal motherf**kers again.

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Since the map is so big how are you going to bring the old nightmare of hordes back?

I mean, in the old prealpha, once you had a zombie on you knocking the door, it was pretty much gameover cause all the zombies would gather around the building and rekt you in your sleep, if you see a zombie knocking the door in the current build, you run pass by it to your safehouse and say hi to him.

 

Also how is the difficulty going to scale up? By the first week i have stuff to survive the first month just by looting houses, are we finally going to pass out if we dont sleep? what is refrigeration going to do now? also the endurance stuff, is it going to be like some kind of State of Decay stuff? Like getting tierd in the long run and losing energy over time? I would love that, to have a day to rest (i dont want to change chracters tho, just have a day to rest)

 

We can be truly brutal motherf**kers again.

 

 

Dont get me hyped again lemmy, i want to fear the night in PZ again, i want to feel the brutal expirence that alpha gave me, hope you guys find a way to do it.

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  • Zombies assemble! - We're going to be working at bringing back the hordes of the days of yore. Like the proper hordes we used to have. This is all dependent on how much multiplayer traffic can handle but we're working at making more dynamic and numerous hordes.
  • Difficulty scales up over time instead of down. Through various balance changes, instead of the difficulty falling off as you get more supplies and clear out an area for a safehouse, the game will become more and more difficult as time goes on. Living a month or two will now be a bloody huge deal. The late game once you have a base and farming and the like will no longer get dull, because our aim is to make every night you rest your head on a pillow alive and not undead a blessing the player is thankful for and a triumph they will be proud of. Things like food, refrigeration, zombies, migration, and a whole host of other things will be severely rebalanced. Instead of having a fridge full of about three months of food, you're more likely to be looking for something to fill your belly. Likewise changes to stuff like endurance will make the effects of fatigue much more long term instead of a momentary blip.
  • Gameplay systems, primarily stuff like carpentry, will be available to players more quickly. Hammers, saws and the like much more in abundance. But for example in case of carpentry, only barricading and the like will be available at low level. No building walls, doors etc at level 0 and so on. This means barricading will be a huge part of the game from near the start, where carpentry and base building itself will remain a mid-late game accomplishment. This same methodology will be brough to other gameplay systems to preserve the late game but provide earlier use of them.

 

woow... You just summarised everything i wanted ! =)

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I always questioned why it was so easy to "rope a dope" per say on the zombies. I was wondering when they would be able to "alert" other nearby zombies, hopefully this is something you were addressing with uping the difficulty. I really look forward to seeing them group up and be more active.

 

Some of the hunger reductions seemed a bit off. I never understood why a cricket was reducing more hunger than a small crappiefish I had caught

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Also, just noticed the profession thing. Right now I think EVERYONE is grabbing Construction Worker, unless your trying to make the game artificially harder. To see some choices that matter will be nice. I'm suspecting that this will actually make some of the traits more impactful, perhaps making hearty appetite a dangerous choice to pick, because right now I grab it because its basically free points with the amount of food.


Also, just noticed the profession thing. Right now I think EVERYONE is grabbing Construction Worker, unless your trying to make the game artificially harder. To see some choices that matter will be nice. I'm suspecting that this will actually make some of the traits more impactful, perhaps making hearty appetite a dangerous choice to pick, because right now I grab it because its basically free points with the amount of food.


you should remove all the sheet rope... anything that make us able to stay safe from zombie by destroy stair.....

I think the sheet rope is fine, because if you drag a horde to your house, their still going to be waiting for you for whenever you inevitably decide to leave. Perhaps if there is more than 1 aggro'd zombie near a sheet rope, they could potentially destroy it (simulating them pulling on it or attempting to climb it, since its only meant to support 1 person on it). Simply putting a new one out while the same horde is there would result in it more than likely being destroyed as well, requiring some thought perhaps like yelling out of a different window to attract them away so you can place a new rope out a different window.

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you should remove all the sheet rope... anything that make us able to stay safe from zombie by destroy stair.....

If you don't want to stay safe from zombies by destroying stairs you can, you know, leave the stairs...

But removing or blocking the stairs and using a rope to climb it's a logic and realistic action if there is a threat that can walk the stairs but can't climb a rope. Of course there should be some tweaks in rope durability, but there is no point in removing ropes.

Also, just noticed the profession thing. Right now I think EVERYONE is grabbing Construction Worker, unless your trying to make the game artificially harder.

I always choose Park Ranger because I like to run outside and do things even if it's raining... and because I think that if you consider zombies are easy (and for me, even with combat tweaks in 29, they are) and don't supose a big threat and you choose a Construction Worker, then there is something wrong because you are making the game easier for no aparent reason.

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I think random moving hordes, like the hordes in TWD, would be a constant up in difficulty. But please make them not come to me no matter what I do... if I choose the (very boring) playstyle far-out-in-the-woods, I should be relativly safe. A horde wandering out far in the forest should be very uncommon (maybe they followed a helicopter flying over them, and had no other stimulus since then so they still wander in the direction the heli flew-stumbling over your unlucky toons camp).

But if I stay in urban areas, wandering groups of zombies should be a constant danger, as should making noise be.

 

Lategame new accomplishments and dangers could go hand in hand, making the game having more to achieve but also new drawbacks and dangers.

 

Like, if I build my base, start farming and start to sustain myself that way, I should also have new goals like getting a generator running to use the fridge again. Or getting a car running and pimping it mad max style.

For the generator for example I would have to go out and scavange again, need a car (if introduced) to get the generator from the hospital/shack in the woods/mall/ etc etc to my safebase, need fuel and spare parts. The search for parts and stuff would be dangerous if the hordes are back, so a new way to die even if late in the game. Also the generator makes noise and whatever code determines how hordes move could take the generators noise into account, upping the chance a horde moves to the safehouse.

 

I think lategame, the safebase playstyle should still be viable, with punji stick traps, walls (like brick walls) no zombi can destroy and other ways to have it really safe. To get the player killed, I think it's much more rewarding to have the player choose if he wants to risk something for something and die in the process, and not to make death absolutly inevitable in cheap ways like a constant increase in zombie population or needed items just vanishing from the map or breaking without replacement.

 

Also, later in game, the wildlife creeping back into town could create new enemys added to the zombies. Bears or wildcats could be a rare but dangerous encounter for the lategame.

 

Another way (if hordemovement is back) could be a real big horde moving from one edge of the map to the other. This could simulate giant hordes wandering across the continent. This could happen ramdomly after some time has passed. Like, after 3 Months (the time needed for these megahordes to form) the new danger "megahorde" is introduced like now the watershutdown. A megahorde would be like a natural desaster, to be avoided at all costs or fought to the death.

 

But, what I disliked about the hordes that tore down my base everytime, was that I had no way to make a zombi barrier at all, and that should be possible. I don't like that zombis can break through everything I've build. To build a base that no zombi can tear down and starve inside it besieged by 400+ Z has its own horror. I would have to fight my way out, loose the horde and travel to a new town... and someday I might come back to my old safehouse with the horde gone.

 

Nearly every Zombimovie has the survivors building their base besieged by Z. I want to have this, too. Of course it's not my game and you guys can do what you want with it, but I think the "Would I survive, and how would I do it?" is a strong part of the fun playing a zombie game, and if I knew the game would kill me later, no matter what I do, it would kill the fun (for me at least).

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