A few little suggestions to complicate the game

Almost all of those alternatives involve more early-game tedium. Kiting zombies over bushes requires strategic movement and placement. Tossing rocks is about on par with simply hitting and stepping back, and grinding skills simply to engage in combat shouldn’t be encouraged. And in no-cities mode, often the only useful obstacles you have are bushes.

How many zombie movies feature someone running over behind a bush, then beating zombies senseless after they dive into the shrubbery? Or getting into a car as a defensive move, rather than trying to escape one.

I usually play at 2x spawn with starting char points, where I bush-kite all my starting fights after luring zombies out 1 or 2 at a time, and I absolutely feel like I’m abusing a retarded game mechanic every time I do it. It only works because Cata’s monster movement doesn’t take into account easily avoidable obstacles.

Hitting zombies while backing up slowly has a thematic precedent and I suspect more risk.

Zombies are not traditionally known for tactical movement. And the thematic precedent usually ends in a helpless survivor backed into a dead-end with a horde of zombies eating his face.

To you it’s early game tedium. To me, it’s the thrill of a chase as I try to lose my pursuers, or the feeling of an actual struggle when I realize that hey, maybe I can’t get all the loot I need to survive on day one. Basically, it’s the feeling of not being invulnerable just because I can lure everything that poses the slightest danger into a bush where it becomes completely impotent.

An inexperienced player is going to find the first few days enough of a struggle. By the same token, why couldn’t one find luring zombies into bushes a thrilling experience as they outwit the undead? If it comes down to a difference of opinion on playstyles, I don’t think encouraging one at the expense of another is worthwhile.

You can still do the same strategy with a move cost of 200 instead of 400. You’ll have to treat it more tactically that way and plan areas to fall back to. Maybe to balance it out, basic zombie dodge chance could be reduced slightly or a slight reduction in move cost? Not sure how some of that is implemented and what other sorts of balance issues this could cause.

I’d like to see more variance in stuff like that for zombies. Maybe have zombie melee skill be something like 1d4, dodge skill be 1d3, movement speed 75 + 1d20, etc. to give a little bit of variation. I also think the player should be noticeably faster than the average zombie anyway, with more special zombie types to make up for it. Something like a Goo Zombie that spits a slowing goo on the ground like a spitter zombie, and maybe have one effect of the Master Zombie be to increase the speed of surrounding zombies. But that is separate from this.

As you said, right now the game is balanced around the current move cost. Simply cutting the cost in half would unbalance the game. If you were to cut it in half while rebalancing everything else in line with it, that would be another thing entirely.

No you really cant do the same thing with an obstacle that hass 200 instead of 400, as I said it will only give you a free strike and then the zombie will be free to retaliate, and for that you may just as well move backwards.

I don’t think it’s balanced though. I don’t think it would unbalance the game to cut the move cost in half. It might require a rethink of strategies, but I think the end result would be MORE balanced, not less.

And maybe straight in half would be too much, I don’t know. 250 would probably achieve the same results, while still leaving in enough of an advantage without leaving it broken. Who knows until people play it.

Edit: I created a new world/char (8/8/8/8, no traits/prof/skills) with the shrub movecost set to 5 from 8 in terrain.json (400 → 250) and played around a bit. It was more difficult to kill things, but I was able to handle a couple zombies and a skeleton using a pipe from evac shelter without a lot of trouble. torso was ||||., everything else was ||||, pain 6. I was able to get off 2 hits before I had to flee or get hit. I did notice the game reported the move cost as 175, while an unmodified game reported shrub move cost at 250. Is there some difference in how move cost is calculated for players vs monsters?

I feel like we talked about this on IRC lol.

Disagreeing just to disagree.

As with the OP, I agree with anything that can further increase the game’s difficulty but still be balanced and enjoyable.

Vache: move cost is the avg of exit and entrance squares. So at 250, you pay 175 entering and 175 leaving. It also means you can score a free hit as the zombie leaves the bush.

Glad you found 250 still left bushes useful. When I said halved, that’s the amount I meant (400 to 250, since that is half of the extra 300 a bush currently costs).

So with several people arguing against it, you’re going to take the word of one person as ‘a strong argument in favour’? Really now?

I kinda like bushes the way they are. No need to change 'em, IMO.

(When in doubt, I try not to make the game tougher for newcomers.)

I play with no bonus points for new characters. 8 str & dex, 10 per (to see landmines) and whatever I have left in Int. I always take Quick (it might as well just be default for characters its so powerful). Zero skill points purchased, and never a skilled profession. So I’m going in as much of a blank slate.

I have zero issues with standard Z’s, skeletons, or dogs because of the bushes. If you get a special zombie it can be scary (as it should be). Actually, I’m embarrassed at how much use my ‘5’ key (to wait) gets used the first few game-hours of each new character. Get a rock and a makeshift crowbar … stand behind a bush … throw rock … tap 5 key 100-200 times while Z’s march 1 by 1 into the shrub to get clubbed. Sometimes you may have to move around a little (usually because of the zombie dogs; but Quick makes that pretty easy)… and by move around, I mean side-step 1 square in either direction to put the bush between you and the next target. So the comment about bushes giving the game something tactical made me chuckle.

It totally feels like abuse of a mechanic with zero skill involved. The alternative is to run in, bail through the first 1-square-wide window, and pulp zombies 1 by 1 there until they stop coming. Feels cheap too, but not AS cheap as getting them stuck in a hedge because you aren’t awarded 360 degrees of vision and escape routes like the bushes provide; at least inside a building I feel claustrophobic and I’m not sure if something is sneaking up on me through another entrance.

So, I dunno’ … I’m in the “I wish it was more challenging” camp, and probably always will be. I understand people’s fears of things being “too hard” or what-not, but frankly … difficulty is part of what rogue-likes are all about. You’re supposed to fail, regularly, until you learn how to handle situations. I love those “argh! What did I do wrong? Ok, next time I’m going to …” moments in rogue-likes. Honestly, I’m more afraid the newbies will be turned off at needlessly-complicated-and-poorly-explained features, not straight up difficulty. Or maybe they’ll get bored and turned off at how easy things are.

Really the only times I’ve died lately have been if I took a profession with an addiction and was watching TV or something while playing, and didn’t notice the addiction malus tank my stats so bad. Otherwise, characters just get retired after they reach minor-diety status (raided a couple gun stores … and/or built a mobile base that grants infinite water … and/or melees a brute down in the street with no bush or window, unscratched, etc).

–> I could see maybe, two different kinds of bushes. Small bushes that hinder less, and then BIG bushes that slow movement considerably. The latter would be rarely found in the wild, and would be more the topiary or landscaping style ones outside homes or businesses. Putting them IN town close to buildings makes the movement-crippling-I-Win-button bushes still an option, but adds at least some risk to them because you need to get close to use them.

Technically luring zombies into bushes fulfills the definition of a military tactic.

As I said it may be cheap, but it is still a tactical aspect of the game, just like shooting your bow from behind windows or well bushes.

It’s not a “tactical maneuver”; it’s taking advantage of the extreme movement point cost of bushes so that zombies rarely strike back.

…some would even call it…exploiting a game mechanic…

dun dun dunnnnnnnnn


so if you have ever used strategy for anything you are by definition a dirty cheater!

Yes and no. I wouldn’t say the AI is smart enough for this to be called a tactic (strategy is high level remember) as you are just exploiting a game mechanic that the AI has no ability to react to.

I really do think the movement penalty for bushes should be greatly lessened (or removed), as it’s just a tedious tactic which benefits the player enormously (as in, you may as well do it as bushes are so plentiful and it takes little time, but yields great results).

If it boils down to a matter of semantics, it’s probably not worth changing. Also, I’m not sure how it’s a tedious tactic, when every other method suggested has been ever more tedious.

[quote=“John Candlebury, post:37, topic:4438”]Technically speaking strategy in real life IS STILL EXPLOITING YOUR SITUATION IN ORDER TO DEFEAT THY ENEMIES.

so if you have ever used strategy for anything you are by definition a dirty cheater![/quote]

Uh, no. No, not at all. Sorry. But no.

I don’t think strategy means what you think it means…and I don’t think exploiting means what you think it means.