Fleet of Foot is such a necessary trait that it probably breaks a general design rule of thumb; if an option is so desirable that the vast majority of strategies include it, it should be enmeshed in core gameplay.
My suggestion is to get rid of Fleet of Foot and make the Fleet of Foot speed the default. (honestly, I feel like humans should be able to outpace zombies when they aren’t otherwise being slowed down by something) Right now, by default the vast majority of encounters with zombies need to be resolved with combat, unless terrain is favorable enough that you can lose them by line of sight (in a forest) or rough terrain (over rubble). The alternative being popping drugs, of course. So it’s silly to not take this perk unless you really want the extra challenge.
In its place, a flaw ‘Limp’ could be introduced that would lower the player’s speed to what the default used to be.
It’s such a disadvantage to play that way it makes more sense to reward someone for opting to take it as a flaw, than making the vast majority of players build their characters around taking it as a virtually obligatory perk.
Note: Granted, this whole issue may become a non-issue if and when pace variations get implemented. If default characters can run faster at the cost of endurance (or some such mechanic) then Fleet of Foot will become less necessary for every character. But I’m not sure if/when that is going to happen.
I rarely, if ever, actually take fleet of foot, usually taking quick (which I assume also makes you run faster, but not as fast as fleet of foot, but it lets you do everything else faster as a result. At least, that’s how I think it works). However, if I don’t take either and go default, I hardly last more than a day (CURSE YOU ZOMBIE DOGS), so this seems reasonable. I support this.
I take neither quick nor fleet of foot. The cost of 3 skill points is too high for me, and I prefer to invest them in Dex and Per, which vastly improve my ability to kill shit.
I’m also not sure I agree with the logic that, if most people do something, it should be set as a default: taking fleet of foot still incurs a penalty (the points it costs to buy it) and taking that penalty away is, if you are right that most people use it, equivalent to giving everyone free points for character gen.
The converse is true: by leaving it the way it is, you are effectively depriving players of the points that it costs. If it is factored into the vast majority of strategies (I would be shocked if it or Quick weren’t on the go-to-list for almost everyone) then you are basically saying ‘you have X number of skill points plus what it costs to get Fleet of Foot.’ Whenever you see this in a game it is a sign that the option is either overpowered, or the player is too weak without it. In this case it’s the latter.
And given that you can freely adjust your starting points in the options, I’m not sure that starting points are a sacred cow that must be preserved. You don’t start with many to begin with. I find myself giving myself +3 starting points to cover the cost of Fleet of Foot because I find the game borderline unplayable without it. So. Maybe I’m not that great at the game, but I doubt I’m the only one who finds its usefulness indispensable.
I think the best argument here is that it just strikes me as strange that the average person can’t outrun a monster described as ‘shambling.’ By default people should be marginally faster than the limping undead. And in terms of gameplay it makes more sense.
So, alternatively, slow down zombies to make FoF more easily dispensed with. Same effect without messing with points.
I never take either fleet of foot or quick either, and I’ve found that my method for having to outrun zombies is to abuse stimulants. Gotta have that sweet, life-giving meth.
As for the run speed of zombies, I think it’s not uncommon to see zombies be as fast as humans. I don’t think all zombies have to be shambling, and I think it fits cataclysm more to have the average zombie be as fast as humans.
As an alternative to the abuse of stimulants, perhaps a “sprinting” mode could be implemented. This would give your character maybe +25% increased run speed at the expense of granting bonuses to the to-hit in the range of +3-5 to any monster that manages to hit you. The length of your sprint would be related to your strength score, and at the end of your sprint you would get a 15-30% lowered run speed for a few turns, due to being winded. Sprinting would make you more tired and would increase your hunger and thirst.
I agree that if a large enough number of players consider a certain choice to be required, it’s not a very good choice from a balance perspective. I don’t actually know if that’s the case here or not, but it seems plausible.
I think the suggestion I like the most, personally, is to implement some sort of running/sprinting mode. A couple people in this thread have basically said they need some way to outrun zombies, whether that’s drugs or increased move speed. Having a third option (sprinting) would seem to allow a greater variety of viable choices.
To be honest, though, it sounds like Whales underestimated the importance of move/action speed when he gave perks to increase move speed, and made all pain reduce move speed. As it currently stands, Quick and Fleet of Foot both let you effectively ignore a bit of pain, on top of their already-powerful effects.
I was referencing the game’s description.
‘A human body, stumbling slowly forward on uncertain legs, possessed with an unstoppable rage.’
It’s perfectly possible that the design intent has changed over time toward faster, running zombies such as in 28 Days Later, and the description is merely an artifact of an old design. But nonetheless.
As an alternative to the abuse of stimulants, perhaps a "sprinting" mode could be implemented...
Like I said in the OP, a movement system with some options would be preferable to all other suggestions. So agreed on that point. But I don’t know if there are plans to do this, and it’s a much bigger request than a simple perk rebalancing. So I err on the side of the simplistic. If the developers want to do something with sprinting, I am behind that 100%.
I’m just not convinced that as things are implemented right now, is quite sufficient. Yeah you can spam drugs for speed every time you want to run, but I find that kind of a hamfisted way of solving the problem. Drugs should be a patch for injury-induced speed penalties, or to make the hustle back to shelter when the acid rain starts. Or just to escape particularly dire circumstances. Not for every zombie encounter. We don’t all want to be Lance Armstrong. (… too soon? )
And if movement toggles/options were included, it might be a good idea to have a sneaking mode, costing +50% action points, but reducing the chances for zombies to spot you. It might make sneaking into the first clothing/sports store more bearable.
If sprinting was to be implemented, I think it should increase body temperature, and have a high chance to randomly stop after a few turns for asthmatics/chain smokers.
Quick is easily the most powerful use of 2 points. 10% increase to ALL actions, including movement - if you do not start with this trait you are basically playing suboptimally. Fleet of Foot is useful and has a large effect on game difficulty, especially combined with quick, but quick is a more useful trait (and cheaper).