A different way to play

So one of the main complaints people have had recently has to do with the (very subjective) level of tedium involved in gameplay. I don’t wanna speak on that issue, I sort of just go with the notion that there’s a trade off in everything, and try to tailor the game/my playstyle to have the most subjectively enjoyable experience. And since roguelikes are already a pretty niche area, and since Cata:DDA fills a pretty distinct niche of that niche, and since there seems to be a growing niche of cata players who seem to be finding the game less fun, I thought I’d share my most recent method of play in the hopes that like-minded others may try it and take a liking to it as well.

To start, I’ll say that I think the recent development of cata has shifted into more of a “human survival under apocalypse conditions” simulator, as opposed to a “create a space marine and obliterate the world around you until you accidentally drive over a minefield or have a safe-mode accident and get eaten by a bear” simulator. The latter is still very possible, but I think some of the backlash has been towards the increased number of things you have to do in order to reach that stage, which in turn has led to complaints of tedious gameplay.

Now, I don’t have a problem with the new vehicle construction constraints or the addition of magazines and civvy-appropriate weapons in civvy places or the nutrition system, but what I do have a problem with is maintaining continuity between play sessions. I often forget what the hell I was doing if I leave a character in virtual limbo for more than a few days or so without loading 'em back up, and I think this aspect was a lot easier to manage before some of the more recent additions. I began to do things like bring a gun out and forget the magazine. Or I’d forget when the last time I had fruit was and get scurvy. Or I’d lose a tire and find a viable replacement, only to remember I needed to do a half dozen other things before I could obtain it. THIS was the part that made the game less fun for me. Not the added features, but the fact that I had developed habits and propensities that just don’t work anymore with the number of new and complex additions.

Finally, onto the important part. As this began happening more regularly, I found myself being less drawn to play the game than I was when I could just load it up and get right back into the swing of things. So when my last character died, I though about ways to streamline the game in its current state with its current features, and during this internal dialogue I had a bit of an epiphany: it’s not the added features that make the game too complex, it’s finding a balance between the survival based tasks and the combat based tasks. When this game was a bit simpler, cutting down loads of zeds and butchering their corpses was like 70% of the fun to me. But there’s a bit more rigidity to the game now. Even though this is as non-linear a game as possible, compared to previous versions you just end up having a ton more goal-oriented things to do than “I want to raid every gun store in the surrounding 8 towns because guns are cool” type things.

So, yadda yadda yadda, yeah I typed a ton, sorry, what I finally settled on was trying to make zombie encounters more intense and engaging, but much fewer and farther between, in order to aid continuity between tasks not related to killing every enemy in a certain radius. And I’ve been having a TON of fun with it. I put cities on size 10, distance between cities at 1, monster spawn on 0.3, random NPC spawn at 10, and in the mods I’m using Fast Zombies, Tough Zombies, and No Zombie Revivification. This has made encounters with zombies MUCH more intense, MUCH less predictable, and MUCH less of a time-consuming task. The city size and distance means that there are still zombies around, especially if you make too much noise, and the NPC factor just adds a little flavor, as I tend not to take them as followers since they just constantly complain but you never really know what they’re gonna do unless you do recruit them. City size 10 also means that everything you’d immediately need is in a pretty short distance, making the start of every game completely different from the last, whereas I used to create a character based on a template, grind the same skills, do the same shit in the same order. Hordes with these settings are also very anxiety inducing. They’re very fast, so you have to make decisions very quickly, but they are dispatchable and then you can go back to what you were doing beforehand without a prolonged encounter.

I think in general these settings add a lot of variety to the game. You get to experience different things every time, instead of always giving yourself the same goals and completing them in the same style you always do. It also allows you to get acquainted with all the new stuff at a different pace. Overall, it’s just a totally different way to play the game, and I urge anyone who is starting to find the gameplay tedious or stale to try it out and tailor this setting group to fit your own style.

I play a bit differently. I tend to do shorter runs thru the game where I play intensely for several days til I’ve had enough, then I set the game aside for a few weeks, then I’m back, and repeat. Pretty much ever time I play I encounter something new that leaves me thinking “wtf is this” (and I can almost never find any info on new stuff til it’s been around for a few weeks).

Every time I fire up the game there’s some new good (content, UI change or feature) and new bad (some added tedium that to me adds nothing good that I wish was done as an option or mod to be ignored).

It is a trade off of sorts but there was a time when all the new was good. The tedium thing seems to be more recent and I wish some things were done as mods or options. The random application of excessive gameplay crushing realism in an entirely unrealistic game with tons of unrealistic parts doesn’t fit to me.

But, opinions vary.

Glad you find a way to make it work for you.

Im more and more frequently finding myself trekking through the wilds in a vehicle, praying for the next car on the road

recent nerfs have made it harder to find certain things, but I play size 10 cities 5 apart.

1.5 spawns, wanders, everything wants to share you with a friend but not two.
0.3 npcs, its a dangerous world, and npcs are a cheap way to bulk up
0.5 loot, enough to make scavanging hard but not unworthwhile
And of course my very own mod that throws more things at you. it pulls less punches and adds more flavor.

so i guessIm saying i play the opposite, I like early game. its hard, you have to micro to thrive, and it turns out life is organization and planning. human strength is organization and planning. So I try to emulate that.

I get bored when I get strong.

This is what I call “growing old”. This is glorious, and not unlike what I myself have experienced. Think of the game and its development as a world that you live in. You were “young” when it started, but now you find yourself having trouble keeping up with the pace, and you’re forgetting things. The game and its path so far feels like a revenge of the old people inflicted upon the young. Or vice versa. I can’t even tell.

I’m afraid you and I are just going to have to suck it up and adapt. Exercise some discipline and start actually memorizing things. Think about the game, your character and your plans when you’re not playing it. Actually make short and clear plans for the next session such as “OK, I’m done now, next time I’ll tackle that gun store.” And most importantly, learn to stop playing between said plans so you’re less prone to “forgetting what you were in the middle of”. On the other hand, discipline is for people.

lets not have a contest of age. :stuck_out_tongue:

today I massaged my knee and quads before getting out of bed

Im trying this and you know, so far ive died very early. As if I was just starting out and never played the game before. Granted ive only been playing for two months (maybe less) but its still very challenging. The lack of zombies tricks you into thinkning youre safe to scavenge until you find that one fat zombie who are normally slow but now hes super fast and his tough zombie buddy is right behind him and now youre dead. I dont know if its because of all the settings, such as city settings, but I do like the NPC spawn rate, and fast zombies is something Ill really need to get the hang of.

Oh certainly. It makes you plan ahead and be prepared. Forgetting to load the magazine before taking it with you can be a fatal mistake, it’s those types of things that I love about this. A prepared person who is mindful of things will be more likely to survive. Joe McPunchy because he forgot to bring bullets… probably not.