Balancing Act

Edit: After some statements I have decided to clarify. This is not for devs or people who understand the game and have been already adding things for quite some time. Much of the information listed below are simply summary or rehashings of things people already know. I have also taken the time to remove a few opinions of my own.

Monster, equipment, and weapon rebalancing thread for items and weapons.

Reward clever tactics.

Metacommentary on World Balance:
The usage of time (increasing danger and the wild power of winter) is the underlying aim of all dangers. This is why skill rust exists and why it’s so important as well. Prevent players from simply “farming” whatever items they need or please within a limited time.
Therefore, item and monster balance should not be considered on a per monster or per item basis (with exceptions). Areas should be considered in totality by zone and effective danger of said zone.

Any zone that offers substantial rewards for marginal or easily-avoided danger are bad zones. Similarly, any zone that offers rewards but is simply too irritating or time consuming to deal with are ignored and are bad zones.

However, any zone that offers no reward for significant challenge-not simply impossible obstacles or annoying difficulties are not necessarily bad zones. Challenge is something people enjoy, particularly if there is something interesting if not useful at the end. Key word: Interesting.

This is also why I have repeatedly insisted that the danger and difficulty of monsters and opponents should go up as time passes.

Metacommentary on Monster Balance:
Monsters should not simply destroy the character instantly, or be unavoidable dangers that wipe a character. It is actually more forgiving to instantly slay a newly spawned survivor or one that has survived a very long time but the player has made some poor choices (curse you, time!) then it is to do the same to one that has managed to live for one to two days.

Monsters are, by and large, balanced. The game always expects you to fight large masses of them and when it does not expect it makes them sufficiently dangerous. Approach monster balance in scenarios where you expect them to spawn and how.

Net goal: the lowly zombie should remain dangerous to an end game survivor if they choose to be lazy, reckless, and take on more of them then they can handle. The same goes for all mobs.

Metacommentary on item balance:
Loot from a location should make the challenge of going through a location less burdensome, and allow for proceeding and lesser difficulty in the next step (or side step) of a challenge. Certain characters may be geared to approach certain challenges and not others; these items and objects should ease same archetypes into tackling other challenges.

Items which remove or trivialize difficulty should not exist unless they are a consumable that is heavy and/or difficult to acquire. Explosives are a prime example.

Roughly, better guns should have harder to find ammunition, or have some sort of penalty for use (long reload, excessively noisy).

Further Comments
Pending. This isn’t exhaustive by any means, just some thoughts I wanted to share about game balance. It also ignores the makes sense mechanic. For the moment game balance is (apparently?) being pushed aside in favor of where it makes sense for items to go. This can only be counteracted by thinking about where to position monsters and challenges, along with some consideration as to what may have been consumed by other survivors in the process.