Cities are basically unapproachable during the day

But that’s not the character I want to play. Why should I have to minmax just to approach a city with some hope of survival? I feel like I’m already giving my characters a significant advantage starting with a wood axe for a weapon. I don’t even know how people do this with the improvised weapons most characters are stuck with early game.

Because cities are where the stuff is. My base IS in a rural area, but I have to go to cities to harvest materials and loot before I can even think about harder targets. And this time the basement I died in could have been anywhere. I was actually doing pretty good on the surface.

Ok, so I wasn’t done. Tried AGAIN with better encumbrance. Same stats. Got the scrap arm/leg guards and all that. No football armor. Wood axe for a weapon. No backpack on. What happens? Again, before noon on the first day, I go into a basement and stumbled upon “survivor zombies.” They’re fast and tough. I took out one but by then I’d taken some hits and 2-3 bars down on stamina so running wasn’t a great option. They followed me out of the basement. Apparently it’s not just encumbrance and stamina, but also pain that changes how effective you are very dramatically. I went from whooping ass to missing every swing and wasting multiple turns doing it. And even if I had been able to get away, I’d just be done for the day because the pain is so debilitating and doesn’t really go away without sleep. And aspirin doesn’t do shit for it. I hadn’t found any first aide kits yet and sleeping doesn’t heal very much.

I think the infuriating part is the tedious micromanagement invested in a character that will just die if you make one little mistake. Why does this game discourage the player from actually playing it? I feel like the only two reasonable strategies to survive is to either totally min/max or to just not engage with the game world. Just snag some easy food and chill in a farm house for weeks on end doing nothing. The game doesn’t reward the player for engaging the world. To the contrary, it punishes you.

Oh, and as a side note, I was mysteriously stuck on Focus of 32-38 even though I had high morale and the set point was over 100. I have no idea how this might have affected things, but it’s just another mysterious mechanic that is opaque to the player. Maybe that’s why I died? I have fucking idea.

There are some SERIOUS balance problems with the game that I do not recall from 3-4 years ago.

As you’ve found out, basements are dangerous gambles. Stay away from them until you think you can actually handle them (and yes, survivor zombies aren’t something you want to fight).
You can also make the world easier by adjusting the progression rate (won’t do much for the first day, of course), the zombie strength, numbers, and, I think, speed.

Focus drops through the floor as soon as you get into fights (or drive a vehicle). As far as I understand it mainly affects how quickly you learn from experience and books, which means most of the time in most fights you’re not really getting much experience.

For driving, in particular, it’s worth knowing that you can mark skills so you’re not learning anything in that skill from experience, but using it won’t drop your focus either.

Pain is bad, yes, it’s a killer if you’re a character trying to use silent ranged weapons, as they have strength requirements, and pain can drop your strength to below the threshold, resulting in the character being unable to attack as well as being slow and not hitting anything.

“Being done for the day”, yes, a character not fit for fighting shouldn’t try to fight. This means holing up somewhere to recover, preferably reading skill books. You’re trying to survive, not conquer the world in as few days as possible.

It’s not mandatory but it was a suggestion if you want an easier game. Just like when you die if you alt f4 you can just reload your previous save. Hardcore is technically optional thanks to that and makes learning the game a LOT easier. A lot if systems aren’t explained and being able to actually explore and tests makes a world of difference for future adventures. I probably should have mentioned it earlier if you didn’t know about it. Honestly wonder if I made an optional softcore save slot system if they’d let me implement it as cataclysm is plenty fun and deep even softcore.

One thing I found, that is nearly a gamebreaker, is the use of molotovs at night, paired with either a loud, loud noisemaker or an explosive.

Throw a molotov at an intersection, then some sort of noisemaker, and book it. The hordes will tend to rush to the noise and are drawn to the light. This leads to a significant culling.

I don’t normally have a problem with permadeath in games. I’m an old Nethack veteran and could play that over and over without much frustration even if I kept dying stupid deaths every 30 minutes. I felt like I was actually learning and, most of the time, things didn’t feel unfair. I mean, I guess I can try save scumming here, but historically that’s proved very unsatisfying.

As for adjust the difficulty, I am not sure that addresses the fundamental problem. I could make the zombies slower and weaker, but the problem is more with mechanics like stamina. Like I should be able to maintain a decent jog away from Zombies for more than 300 feet (or whatever it is). It’s like the game has “all out sprint” and “casual stroll” and nothing in between. In reality (well, as close asa you can get with zombies), that’s your main advantage as a human against hordes of zombies. You can easily outrun them with a jog. But that’s going to make kiting strategies OP, I guess. Balancing is hard.

I’d also like to tweak the pain rate and effects. I get that getting bit hurts, a lot, but it contributes to a horrible downward spiral even if you technically have the HP to go on. In dozens of starts, I have yet to find anything more than aspirin. And that doesnt’ seem to do anything.

And healing… even if I bandage everything up and disinfect, I barely recover anything with a full night sleep. And if I’m really hurt, I might not even be able to read books effectively. My INT score might be down to 6. So what do I even do that whole time? The game won’t let me sleep arbitrarily.

I actually agree with you about pain and stamina needing a re work. Healing, however, shouldn’t take that long. I’ll go from mostly down to healed completely in one night if I bandage and disinfect. Trick there is to up your health care (or first aid depending on the version). Even at 1 there’s a pretty enormous boost.

All this I guess goes to the learning curve you mentioned. The game doesn’t do a good job of teaching you why you died (except where it’s obvious… going down into a lab with a knife spear was a poor idea on my part…)

Like the encumbrance - what does it mean? You can search for it, but there’s little indication that you should until you’re being munched on. There is now a warning that “your torso is very encumbered” but you can pretty easily miss it or discount it if the alternative is no armor. Then there’s the coverage. That’s really only shown if you take a good look at each piece of armor. Which you should do, BTW. :grin: That football armor not only sucks for encumbrance, but it only has a 45% coverage, so 55% of attacks go right on by with no reduction whatsoever.

But where do you learn that? Well… Best place is here, actually. Lots of very experienced players who love to try and help. Some others, too, but we won’t talk about them… :wink:

One last bit - you are right that you can’t sleep arbitrarily, but you can wait as in there is a wait command. Best thing is to pop 2 aspirin, wait a while, pop 2 more, rinse, repeat until you can read again. I usually stuff 200 aspirin into a small bottle and use a permanent marker to label the bottle “Survivor Candy”. I eat a lot of aspirin…

  • Shane

Ya pain an stamina are overboard. Believe I’ve posted about it plenty of times so far so I won’t go into stamina again, I can understand someone fresh outta modern life thrust into this having that type of stamina issues but even mid and lategame stamina is the lousiest thing ever when you should be hardened and nothing really hardens over the course of a game for a character. Got a working tredmill ingame, full exersize room actually but ain’t no workout scheme as best I can tell will actually improve my char.

Pain is definitely going too far right now. Pretty sure all my wtf just happened sudden deaths out of nowhere are pain related. Any pain killer not rated for high pain is gonna do anything for anyone in cataclysm. You can pop 20 asprin and you’ll never see an effect, it’s a dead item that may as well be deleted and even most of the opoids are pretty useless. Keep a shot of morphine or oxycodine on you as those are all you got as far as painkillers despite the massive amounts of them. Been on Tramadol in real life and that’s good shit, wouldn’t know it from the game though. Really REALLY fucks your head worse than whole binge drinking night, especially for the first month or so but it’s in real life solid for that gut wrenching pain that just makes you want to hack your own guts out to make it stop. Think pain is why pretty much all my runs end up dieing to those damn electric zombie bastards. They shoot pain and pain is absolutly crippling right now and we don’t have good tools to fight it at all.

All that is why I focus so much on never getting hit, tired, or in pain ever if I can help it. Heavy duty armour, quick knives, and good footwork. Once you get brawling style unlocked things change around a lot. Around midgame I often don’t bother equipping a weapon for killing zombies because brawling is so god damn bloody good against slow meatsacks it’s not worth my finger movements to go draw my knife even against a solder in a group. As long as there’s no shocker you don’t have much to fear from zombs with brawl on. Dunno when it unlocks, not like the games gonna notify you or anything so I just end up remembering combat stances exist eventually and slap it on and bam, winning. Until a shocker turns a corner anyway. Bloody shockers, bane of my existence.

I took part in Vormithrax’s Zombie Hunt Challenge (kill as many zombies as you can in 24h game hours, not allowed to pick up any items, evacuee scenario) as a heroin addict, so the only gear i had was briefs, shorts, a syringe and a bag of heroin. Managed to kill a little over 200 mainly regular zombies. The strategy I used was running away if more than one zombie was coming for me, whether that meant taking hand damage breaking windows and shooting up in a closet, slipping through cars, whatever. Getting brawling (unarmed 1 I think) helped a lot, except I took even more damage on arms because of the arm blocks in that style. Even after overdosing to deal with the pain and starting to randomly fall down and losing breath, I could still slink away from most encounters. Challenge ended with both arms so damaged I could no longer harm even the regular zombies.

[Edit] I believe the winner got over 6000 kills with a bionic assassin and the crane martial art.

Apart from pain, I think the electric zombies also stun you, giving their regular buddies a number of free rounds.

Using an ANBC suit allows you to take on electric and acidic zombies, but your encumbrance shoots through the roof. The remaining environmental vulnerability is fire (gasoline zombies and their relatives). Gas masks (in their various forms) take care of noxious gases, but given encumbrance to the mouth, resulting in even longer recovery after exertion (or taking it off and hope you remember to put it back on in tedious micro management).

Try ranged combat. A sling is easy to make and decently effectively. I’ve been able to land 15 damage blows with decent reliability which is pretty good for such an easy to make ranged weapon that can use rocks for ammo.

Also with sone fabrication you can upgrade to a staff sling. Het tailoring to 3 for a spear strap to store it in a d a few rock pouches for your ammo.

1 Like

I find it’s perfectly fine as long as you don’t try to pummel your way into a horde. You’re not obligated to kill anything.

I do agree that the stamina system needs a rework, or at least a higher cap. I’m a fat (260-something lbs, euros can google the conversion) asthmatic irl and I can run at least three blocks in my rural town before I need my inhaler, and I can swing big sticks around for quite a bit before I need a breather. I’ll wait for sunup and count exactly how many with a few things I have lying around. I’ll throw on as many jackets as I can, too, to get some of that torso encumbrance.

They did do a stamina rework and your stamina will slowly improve overtime.

Dig a trench next to the city you want to raid, lure the zombies into it (they get VERY slow when walking through holes) and kill them using a melee weapon.
Always keep a ranged weapon to deal with shockers, boomers and bloated zombies and you will be fine.

i honestly dont see why people shy away from melee combat so much early game… just make sure you’ve raided at least one house for the antiseptic to clean your wounds, keep extra clothes on you that you can cut up for makeshift bandages, and dont wear dirty clothes so you wont get infections… i’ve gotten beat down to the pont where both my arms were broken and my legs were in the low 20’s but i’ve still waddled myself away from a bad situation and lived to tell the tale.

I mean people just need to make a wood spear and find a couple rocks to throw at zombies and the early game is easy mode. Only reason I like the wood spear over the knife s. is because it’s not flimsy and falls apart after 20 zeds.

Not going to lie though, I’m one of those people that run with NPC needs turned off so usually I just get them to help me dig pits around my base before making an impromptu phalanx to deal with threats when looting and upgrading to the awl pikes when first able

It sounds like you’re having many failed starts though if you’re relying on NPC help. Or you start with decent speaking skill? Most of the time I can’t get an NPC to do anything with me. Anyway, nothing easy mode about spears and rocks when you accidentally aggro a pack of zombie dogs that can easily outrun you and stamina is severely limited. And, to be quite honest, my base is typically the safest place. No need to dig pits around it. Where I need that is in town when raiding. Something is not adding up with your comment. Are we even playing the same game?

For me easy mode is when I find my first good running car and i just mow down zombies down until a few city blocks are cleared. Melee or trying to kite zeds early on is suicide with improvised weapons.

I’m interested in why people don’t recommend vehicles as weapons (and getaway) more often. Are people really spending hours kiting zombies with rocks and spears? If I don’t have an axe or something similar, I don’t go near zeds without a car if I can help it. Especially when I haven’t yet found a first aid kit.

Mostly because until you have decent mechanics skill/ Renewable Power and welder you cannot mount the ba armour that wouldn’t fall apart after your X zombie hit. Not to mention it would be very loud and you could be swarmed by hordes if you had wandering spawns on. Personally on these forums I’ve talked about somebody adding a laser pistol made from the FML (finger mounted laser) (because I know almost nothing about coding) that would be amazing as a turret option which would make vehicle combat a lot easier early game.

It’s not particularly that I suck at the game, I just started playing within the last 3 months or so and don’t particularly feel like dealing with the NPCs starving to death when they could at least assist me crafting or in combat.

Long story short it’s easier just to be stealthy and deal with threats as they appear

Again, are we even playing the same game? Vehicles are way more durable than that. Even with a modest SUV you can take out a lot of zombies before things really start to fall apart. A 4x4 has a heavy frame in front of it. And there’s armored trucks and Humvees around as well.
You probably don’t want to use a light framed EV as a deathmobile though. I use those for mobile bases and have a heavier car for killing zombies. I’m currently a month in with a character and I’m still running with my original 4x4, just with an added spiked ram mounted on the front. I avoid the larger armored vehicles because they eat too much fuel. And if it’s diesel, that can be hard to come by.

Sure, you need a welder if you wan to KEEP that SUV. But there’s enough running vehicles around that you can just get a new one. I often run out of gas running down zombies before the car falls apart.

The real risk with vehicles is zombies can sometimes slip into the car when the car is turning. Or you crash while being swarmed, get stuck on the terrain, and can’t flee. You just have to take your time and make long straight sweeps through them. If the front of the car is destroyed, start backing over them. It should be enough to at least give you some breathing room to fuel up or find a new car.

Oh, I just play with the defaults, TBH. So no wandering spawns. The thing is that the noise helps you if you’re trying to clear a neighborhood. It draws the zeds out of the buildings and into the street so you can kill them out in the open. That ensures that any noise you make on foot while looting isn’t going to draw any new zeds. You just have to be ready if you decide to go into basements or second floors.

I mean I get where you’re coming from, just most people think vehicles are more valuable than to be used as one time use battering rams, especially when turret mounts are a thing with the 50 cal able to go semi-auto and Destroy corpses most of the time.

More importantly I wasn’t talkin about all vehicles just majority of which are more fragile, heaven forbid you can get that Humvee/ technical or apc (most with turret mount) but it will be more difficult / rare.

Currently been playing on a megacity starting from the outskirts with an Evac Survivor and yes, I did put like two points into speech just to get the starting NPC to assist me after 4 days of RNG not being on my side. Probably should start over with wandering spawns turned off but will do so when I die eventually.

What I’m saying is that they’re more than one-time use battering rams (OK, I did use a bus once to smash through the barred windows of a gun store…). I mean, they can be if you’re not interested in training mechanics, but with a low mechanic skill and a makeshift welder, you can easily maintain a zed smashing vehicle. And once you have a good vehicle, the world opens up to you. No spending weeks fighting your way to that store in the middle of town. You just drive there, smash everything in the area and fill your trunk with loot. Make it a garage and you get your acetylene torch and/or arc welder.

As I said, I still have my original steel frame, no armor 4x4 with just a spiked ram added to it.

I haven’t even had a use for turrets. I took a few off Humvees and never bothered to mount them because ammo is so hard to come by and reloading is kind of a PITA. I’ve raided like 5 gun stores so far and only ONE had reloading materials and almost no ammo in stock. I probably won’t get into turrets until I can use energy weapons. I barely even use the rifle and pistol I carry because a simple craftable broadsword is just so effective.