Right, first post here and I’m not positive if this is the right place to post. Move it if it isn’t. I’m currently playing experimental and most of what I’m about to say is experience from the experimental updates for the past three months.
So I’ve played CDDA on and off for about two years now, and I can say that the game isn’t nearly as difficult as it should be. After playing some of the most recent updates, the only way I ever die is due to either A. my own explosives, B. Turrets and C. Turrets. Never am I killed due to being overwhelmed, outplayed, or unprepared; I always end up dying to some turret in the dark or turret I drove too close to.
Now, this isn’t a complaint about turrets in general. Really, they’re fine as they are. What I want to bring attention to is the game-play itself. A lot of the updates this and last year brought realistic changes to the game, and sure, Cataclysm is great with realism. But can we please please please have the option to swap between “Realistic” and “Balanced”. And no, I know that you can up enemies and lower loot spawns in the world generation, but those settings don’t work nearly as well as I want them to.
At 100% spawns, I can find 15 days of food in a single house and a dozen guns with 100 bullets in an armory. At 10% spawns I can find 1.5 days of food and a few guns in an armory, but maybe only ten bullets for those guns. In theory, that kind of makes guns useless. But actually, the problem exists with what you do with those ten bullets. With those ten bullets, you can either use them to kill a few soldiers at a crashed helicopter for more ammo and food, or you can use them on a turret for three thousand more bullets. Either by shooting out of range, shooting in the dark, or even shooting before you can be shot, turrets aren’t really a threat unless they catch you off guard in a rare instance.
So pretty much what I’m trying to say is that the difficulty and sheer amount of items aren’t fixed by lowering the loot amount. No matter what number you put it at, unless it’s 0, you won’t be starving, ever. And every single common / uncommon enemy that you can fight isn’t a threat to you as long as you have a M4A1 with ammo or a vehicle. (Actually I’m not positive about that as I almost always reset my character before the second year)
Nearly always I start my world off by looking for a vehicle, driving to the nearest military zombie / crash site, driving over zombies, taking guns, looking for turrets, killing turrets, and then grinding for better gear. The grind is interesting and there are dozens of different ways to get stronger: crafting, CBMS, mutations, looting, and acquiring followers. But after a few in-game months of grinding, it always hits me that there is literally nothing incentivizing you to get stronger. No “big bad” (From what I’ve found) Only fringe threats that might instant kill you depending on your luck.
What I would absolutely love to see is a new difficulty / setting that really changes it to as if you were actually trying to survive in an apocalypse. Something that really uses mechanics like sound, scent, and finding a proper safe location to sleep. Something that lowers food, water, ammunition, and weapons to their own respective drop numbers while increasing dangerous threats as well as a plethora of other changes. I want to defend my crappy hole five tiles from a town from being ransacked in the night by a horde of stealth bionic zombie werewolves holding teleporters and buzz-saws. I want to see the refugee center constantly under siege by swarms of wall-climbing, leg chewing toddlers that travel miles to any noise made. … Maybe not those two examples, but I want to see anything that will make surviving a month a miracle and getting into end game an achievement. While that may be difficult, honestly, games like Cataclysm should always start off extremely difficult and the settings are then used to make it easier. Not the other way around.
[Changes I’d like to see]
Lower the food / water spawn rate. (I want to struggle to survive, not permanently be done stockpiling food after my first house. Same thing applies to military loot even if the purpose of such high loot is realism).
Tone down turret ammo in all forms. (Obviously turrets having a large amount of ammo is realistic and I’m not fully against it, but there aren’t many reasons for that ammo to exist besides clearing towns. Same thing marginally applies to looting military vehicle and plane guns for ammo as one would before turrets dropped so many bullets).
More dangerous mobs in the mid / late game. (Headless horrors from aftershock are cool, but skeletal juggernauts are just zombies that take x5 more bullets. Zombies that I can’t press f,p,f,p,f,p to end a fight with are welcome. Maybe even hordes of skeletal juggernauts or zombies that can’t be killed by .223).
Season temperature spikes. (I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with the experimental updates, but I’ve never been killed or even threatened by the weather. At worst I have to warm my water. Make winter dangerous).
Make wandering hordes threatening. (Right now the hordes that wander feel more like a semi-interesting gimmick than anything else. They wander something like eight tiles from their original location leaving it undefended only to never be seen again. If they could track you or move faster than 1 tile per week, it might be more interesting. Ideally they would travel rapidly in the last seen direction you went while following any scents/noises at a much faster speed).
Make wandering hordes threatening-2. (Massive wandering hordes. I imagine that this has probably been recommended a lot. If not, ideally I’d like to see a massive horde of perhaps a thousand or more zombies moving in a random direction. It could be a rare event that forces players to vacate the premises or an update to the wandering hordes that make them group up to even bigger groups)
Science key cards should have more uses or be rarer. (Military key cards now have dozens of different uses and are arguably rarer than the dime a dozen Science key cards. Often by my first month I have 50+ science cards).
TL;DR: game easy, plz make hard.