I recently got good enough at this game to survive for 15+ days, and although I did visit mines, labs, most building types in town and a few military outposts, I did get to the point where I found myself expecting something more. Something that would provide a measure of closure for this survivor, which I’ve cautiously kept alive through tears and sweat. I love the fact that Cataclysm is an open world in which I’m left to my own devices about how to ensure my survival, but I really would like to see some epic quest above and beyond the mundane survival that would give it some grander meaning. Let me explain myself.
Most roguelikes do have an end-game boss, but then again they have a very different format from Cataclysm. “Crawl deeper and deeper through the dungeon until you find the biggest baddie and kill him” just doesn’t work for Cataclysm, and don’t get me wrong, that’s not what I would like to see for Cataclysm. Rather, what I’d like to see is maybe a series of extremely difficult end-game accomplishments that actually end the game with either your success or your failure. The areas in which you find these end-game quests would be very remote (i.e. far from the spawning area), and each map would only really have one of these, which would add a level of randomization and replay value to the game. You would learn about them through some pieces of evidence that you find scattered through the world, and when you get strong/prepared/crazy enough, you would take the plunge and try to accomplish your final task. Here’s an example of what I think could be an epic end-game quest:
The Fence - While scouring the labs and military outposts that have been left behind after the Cataclysm, the survivor finds evidence that this was all just some crazy experiment by mad scientists who blocked off this part of the world and who are currently measuring the effects of a bunch of different cataclysmic events on civilization. Discovering this, the survivor prepares his vehicle for the long trek to go find the 500 meter high fence that’s currently keeping him locked in here. When he reaches the only gatehouse for this giant fence, he finds it heavily guarded and extremely dangerous. However, if he manages to fight off the guardians of the gate, he has a chance to return to some measure of normality, and in addition get justice for his captors’ sadism.
Other cool endgame ideas could be:
-Finding some sort of uber-lab - obviously protected by hordes of robots - in which you know there’s an experimental time-machine that you could maybe, just maybe, help you stop this from ever happening (à la Samurai Jack).
-Finding a cure that could theoretically cure all zombies if it could be distributed throughout the atmosphere. All that’s needed is to reach the top of a weather control tower in the heart of a heavily populated area and disperse it throughout the world.
-Finding an NPC faction and becoming its leader through bloodshed and guile.
Now, I know a lot of people enjoy the fact that there’s no end-game other than when you choose to stop, but I really think that these would add a significant measure of replayability and value to the game. There’s nothing quite like having a nigh-impossible task that you want to accomplish to keep you interested in a game.
If this interests anyone I could definitely write up some more in greater detail and maybe get this stuff done. What do you guys think?