Depression, loneliness, lategame challenge/incentive?

I see this has been mooted before a few years ago, when pets/NPCs were less fleshed out.
Seems to me, that as a non-combat mid to lategame challenge, a scaling morale factor that keeps getting worse would be a realistic depiction of life after the apocalypse.

After some time spent alone, a character would get lonely, depressed, perhaps even insane, this could be alleviated by the morale raising activities already present, but only temporarily.
The long-term fixes are pets or NPCs, but perhaps an NPC that isnt a good match is worse than none?

A few years ago this was suggested I can see, and Kevin said that NPCs and pets arent at that stage to make it feasible, are we at that stage yet?

I feel this would be one of the most important factors for a cataclysm survivor to try and manage, if we are thinking pseudo-realism, and in terms of gameplay it would an actual incentive to strive for fancy food and fancy clothes and drugs and NPC friends or pets in the mid to late-game, because they become necessary, forcing travel and need for higher-end crafting - this may help the lategame become less stale.

I am no C++ coder, but if this might be possible with LUA/JSON modding I’d be happy to give it a go.


I have a very dark worldview. I have several disorders and ‘problems’ that would be (and have been) diagnosed as mental illness. =\ I’m not thrilled with the idea that my character has to play with NPCs or pets to avoid a stacking morale debuff. I like to RP, and I’d like to be the one that decides whether my character is stable or not.

I get where you’re coming from and agree that a person, left on their own for several years, would fall apart mentally and emotionally. I just don’t think I’d enjoy it as part of this game. But I guess if it were a mod I could choose not to use it.

Just giving my two cents.

We could have it toggle-able in the game menu. Personally I’d wait until NPCs are actually worth paying attention to before forcing players to interact with them.

The picture I have in my head is two forks -

  1. with NPCs on, merely having an NPC alleviates loneliness somewhat, if that NPC has friend status then even better.
    as NPCs get more fleshed out, personality compatibility could play a factor , and interaction would have added benefits, forcing the player to chat to an NPC to get the positive effect seems like busywork but could be an added bonus.
  2. with NPCs off - pets play the same role , petting a pet adds a bonus but merely having one negates the debuff
    I guess it would be configurable to user preference, but with the current state of NPCs and pets the simplest option would be best for now.
    The other aspect would be things like “I’m sick of eating cooked meat and oatmeal” or “I’ve done nothing fun for days” would grow over time.
    I guess what I’m thinking of is a framework for the future of how morale could be fleshed out, specifically long-term morale over the short-term system we have now.
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Yeah, I Don’t much like the idea. If you’re lonely in real life, you naturally can try to find NPCs already. I Don’t see the need for an in game mechanic to deal with things we’re fine without. I’d say the situation is similar to the morale debuff on killing zombie children. You’re imposing a way of thinking on the player. While It’s doable, I wouldn’t really be cool with the change until they were better fleshed out. I already want to kill them myself.

Not a fan either, for several reasons.
First, NPCs currently suck, and pets are a chore. Forcing people that are avoiding them because they suck to interact with them is a terrible idea.

Second, you’re shoehorning players into one way of playing for flimsy reasons. If they want to roleplay a crazy hermit, it’s their goddamn business.

Third, once NPCs become usable/interesting, players will mostly gravitate to testing them, so, in essence, many PCs will be hanging out with NPCs, without the need of some morale system to force the issue.

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You said it better than I did. Lol

There could be traits like loner and social. The player character would get some morale bonus/penalty according by their traits if there are friendly/no npcs or pets around.

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I like this idea of a loner trait. What if by default NPC/pets have no effect, but there is also a social trait which gets bonuses from NPC and pets as well? I love the idea of the slimesprings from the slime mutate tree giving you a morale boost by talking with you, and it is the main reason I am pursuing that as a mutation tree.

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It could work better when theres actual factions and communities for the player to interact. Currently the only ways to have human contact in game are either babysiting NPCs or becoming a mayor.

I understand why some people wouldn’t play with this sort of option - but thats what it may be in the future - an option - not “shoehorning” or “forcing” a certain playstyle, just floating a potential playstyle option!

And yes - the picture I have in my head is for when in the future there may be factions and communities ( hopefully ) and then it would make more sense.

Think of the Walking Dead - after a while the zombies aren’t the threat anymore, or the entertainment for the viewer; to a certain extent that becomes the other human beings.

^^ and yes traits could play into this, some survivors are completely happy without seeking out contact.

To me, NPCs and communities/factions are my dream end-goal for the game - they would add something further beyond the eventual retiring of a god-like character when all challenge dissappears.

If thats something to work towards then social/morale interactions are something to think about, at least for me anyway.

If you want your character to need social interaction and the like, you can, you know, make the character do social interaction and the like.

A PC can do many actions, can follow many paths, some are done for gamey reasons, some are done for roleplay reasons. There’s nothing stopping yours from seeking people for the later, and once NPCs don’t suck as much, people will seek them for the former.

Constant debuff chasing the toon would be rather bad for the game play unless some validation were for it. Such as, playing a negative trait worth 12 points in one go. For example but not limited too, a terminal disease or debilitating ailment that gets progressively worse. Hence the option to take it and the knowledge your game will be finite after x time scale in game.