Currently, certain diseases are indicated to the player by cryptic messages like these:
- “Your veins itch.”
- “Your bowels ache.”
- “Your head aches faintly.”
- “You feel nauseous.”
- “You smell and taste mushrooms.”
If these messages are meant to inform the player of conditions that need to be cured, they do not serve that purpose, as there is no way for a player to learn what they mean without leaving the game and consulting Google. Google is not part of the game, and having to leave the game to learn something that’s necessary to progress and survive in-game breaks the player’s immersion.
On the other hand, if these messages are not meant to inform the player of conditions that need to be cured, they serve no gameplay purpose, and should be removed from the game.
Either way, there should be some way for players to identify their characters’ potentially-lethal conditions without leaving the game and breaking immersion. Here are some possibilities:
- Perhaps having a sufficient number of levels in First Aid should cause these hidden conditions to appear on the @ screen, to represent a character with medical knowledge being able to recognise the symptoms and diagnose their own condition even if the player doesn’t know what they mean.
- Perhaps these conditions should appear on the @ screen once the conditions have progressed to a certain point, to represent the symptoms becoming blindingly obvious to a layman before the fungus breaks their arms.
- If it is preferred to tie disease diagnosis to player knowledge rather than character knowledge, there should be information sources available in-game that describe the symptoms of diseases, perhaps books, notes, or NPCs who can share the knowledge.