Healing and time scale

I’ve seen a lot of people talk about the healing speed of survivors and how it is too fast and I can’t help but find myself agreeing with them. In the past when the game had 14day seasons it kind of made sense, the healing was sort of compressed to fit the time scale that the seasons imposed but now with the full length seasons it can feel pretty out of place, you can heal up from extraordinary amounts of damage with even a single night of sleep, even without medical supplies and no bonus healing traits. Even with poor healer it seems really fast, its pretty rare that I’ll see damage (broken limbs aside) take more then a day or two to recover fully from. It might open the way to making the game more difficult without just throwing in more one/two shot enemies that force you to rely more on avoidance and tactics that remove the chance of damage at all and place a larger focus on not getting nickel and dimed to death.

I’d advocate for a rebalance to healing but I wonder what peoples thoughts are on this, would it make the game too tedious or too difficult?


I think it’s a gameplay consideration. Most players don’t like to sit around and do nothing, and those who feel like it’s too fast can take the negative healing traits and get some points to boot.

But for those just learning the game I think the base heal speed is vital to allow them to recover from a mistake and get back to looting, since they likely don’t have the food store veteran players are likely to keep for serious injuries on slow healing characters.

It then leads to what some might feel is an unwinable spiral. Because you take damage and don’t have food, so if you hunker down in safety and starve/dehydrate, or you go out to loot and get killed much more easily in your weakened state.

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I would argue it actually leans the other way, I suspect that new players are far more likely to die to the one/two shot enemies I mentioned above simply because they don’t have the experience and knowledge on how to deal with them and don’t get the chance to pull back and learn from their mistakes. You mess up with a mil spec turret, a chicken walker or a grenadier and you are probably going to bite it.

edit: hell, even a 9mm turret can kill an undergeared survivor easily if you mess up

Well, there’s always going to be that difficult tension between realistic fun, and realistic not-fun.

Generally speaking IRL wounds of any significance heal SLOWLY.

  • Significant breaks run around 6 weeks.
  • Cuts requiring stitches generally run 5 days to 2 weeks depending on location and severity. The actual healing of the wound beneath the skin (muscle/arteries, etc) can take several weeks however.
  • Internal soft tissue injuries (ligaments, sprains and such) can take several weeks, and apparently some aspects can take upwards of 2 years before the healing process is fully complete.
  • Interal organ injuries vary widely, but 4-6 weeks for minor internal bruising doesn’t seem uncommon, while 6-8 weeks for more severe contusions - and of course a very real chance of no full recovery with more serious injuries.

Oh, and these times tend to assume proper care and bed rest - not tree-branch splints, vodka-based disinfection and painkilling regimens, and ongoing daily engagements with the forces of Evil.

Spinning this kind of time in a survival game is not only not fun, it’s not really feasible. 95% of the time you’re just going to quietly die of thirst or starvation while you wait for your broken leg to heal, assuming you aren’t simply eaten by zombies, wolves, or zombie-wolves.


I do agree that it could be rebalanced too far, I wouldn’t suggest making it 1 to 1 with real life.

You probably get most of the necessary tension and ‘realism’ from a relatively short, but painful healing process.

I could see drawing out the healing regimen to be a 2-4 day affair depending on the severity of your wounds - perhaps actually a bit shorter for broken limbs, as they really do last a long time currently, IIRC. This creates that window of vulnerability and the tension of fear for survival that you want from it, without dragging the process out interminably for the realistic several weeks or even seasons that would make it completely obnoxious.

But yeah, right now you can pretty much go from 10% to full or nearly so with a single good night’s sleep, even with virtually no medical care at all. I could see cutting that to a much slower speed, and then providing some bonuses for decent treatment of wounds and the use of medicines.

Alternatively you could go the Rimworld route and downplay the concept of locational HP altogether and model individual wounds and overall blood loss as the primary damage mechanics, such that you need to treat and heal individual wounds and their debilitating effects - that would be a full overhaul of the injury system though. Not necessarily a bad way to go in a game so focused on realism however - just a lot of work.

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Speaking for myself only, I find the game more fun with the Very Slow Healing trait, and am thinking about using the cheat menu to bump it up to Imperceptible Healing. I do play on 90-day seasons.

It’s worth keeping in mind that we the survivor are presumably infected with the same substance that makes zombies get back up a few hours after you shoot them three times in the head and light them on fire, so there’s some roleplay justification for the default healing rate.

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This has always been my headcannon for the super-fast healing rate of the survivor.

There is “super fast healing” and there is “gets shot but is fully recovered the next day healing” if you get what I mean :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree base healing is way to fast. Makes medical supplies almost pointless because even unbandaged default heal will pretty much heal any amount of damage to full in a single sleep. Even as a gameplay concern it’s really over the top, being a bit more careful for a few days after a fight seems reasonable. Or simply swapping between slings and melee depending on health status isn’t a big deal.

You’d definitely want to think more carefully about zombie spawn density and respawn rate if you extended healing substantially.

It’s one thing to whittle down a huge horde in the center of town when you can go home and bandage your wounds each day and come back ready for more - it’s entirely another when each serious engagement is potentially followed by 1-3 days of sheltered down time.

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I’d say that’s a good thing :stuck_out_tongue:

On the plus side, it would put more value on crafted/expendable weapons such as ammunition, grenades, molotov cocktails, traps, and the like.

Anything that let you trade some crafting/scavenging time for less injury downtime would become considerably more worthwhile, especially if it let you hit the hordes harder and faster without as much risk of personal debilitation - currently not too much of a concern, as almost any fight you can drag yourself away from now you can fully recover from with a single good night’s rest.

That kind of melee-centric approach loses some of its appeal if you’re going to be paying for it for the next few days - which is probably appropriate. Melee remains VERY powerful still, even with the recent improvements to range and accuracy - the game still generally favors melee for most engagements unless there are specials that pose a real risk.

Note that I have no problem whatsoever with late-game melee murder machines that are using advantages like CBM’s or a fast regenerating mutation to power them through the battering they tend to take, or earlier ninja melee builds that pick and choose their engagements carefully to avoid getting hammered. It’s more the kind of thing I’m doing in my current game, where I have a survivor-geared character with kinda lousy melee skills who just wades into extended melee fights anyway because, meh, it’s all coming back next time I hit the sack anyway, so might as well.


Don’t forget evolution. While you’re healing up, the zombies are turning into horrors.

This kind of thing was one of the reasons I changed the default, I never understood season length to imply some kind of general time dilation.

It is, totally, but see below.

I think you mean unrealistic fun and realistic not-fun?
I think we can bridge that gap with various features.

I disagree, a broken bone WOULD be essentially game-ending to a starting player, but that gives you a reason to stock up a base with supplies to wait it out. If you’re well equipped enough, it would just be a time sink, and with the right setup, “wait out broken bone mending in bed” could be less than a minute of player time, so why not make the timescales reasonable?

Not TOTALLY pertinent here, but this is the direction I plan on going.

Awwww, you guys preemted my reveal :confused:
I plan on making this the official lore, that the super healing speed is a universal trait acquired by blob-infected survivors. That also opens the door to things like some mutation trees potentially losing this ability in favor of other things, and potentially an ultra-hard “pure human survivor mode” where the survivor does have only human-normal traits.


colour me intrigued :stuck_out_tongue:

I totally get what you’re trying to do with this particular thing - BUT:

Right now I frankly despise the time spinning aspects of the game, and kind of always have. They can become painfully slow, and I find the interrupt warning mechanics capricious, cumbersome and extremely dangerous, unless I’m stuck in a basement somewhere where nothing can ever find me - and spending 80% of my time in a massive pile of inventory, staring at a screen bounded by blank walls watching time spin is definitely not fun in my book.

I’m honestly curious to see if you can make that work, from a design point of view, but so far my direct experience with the new longer seasons has been purely negative, while many other aspects of the game continue to improve, so I remain skeptical on that particular mark.

For my part the more of the game spent in NON abstract time mode, the better - though if that time were more effectively abstracted with a much better interrupt system and a faster resolution then I might be convinced that it wasn’t so bad.

If you could figure out ways to reduce the huge amount of micro-management required to pass time, that would be a plus.

The new food system, alas, has made keeping yourself fed and watered substantially more cumbersome than it was before - a bit more realistic, but because most finished food spoils very quickly and the total caloric ‘storage’ of the survivor seems to have dropped, you end up having to stop to cook and eat constantly during abstract time.

Likewise the reading morale mechanics are really brutal. While it would be nice to ‘Read until you learn a new skill level’ and blow through 8 hours in a few seconds picking up a new level of Cooking, the reality is that most learning cycles past the earliest level of books require you to go through this very laborious cycle of reading a sequence of morale increasing books, then reading the learning book exactly ‘n’ times, then feeding yourself yet again, then swapping out your reading light batteries and your mp3 batteries, then reading through those morale books again and another chapter or two of your training book, etc, etc, etc.

This is pretty goddamn painful to sit through, and already takes up a substantial amount of real play time by constantly interrupting ‘abstract’ time spin with an endless series of repetitive interface and inventory management chores. Realistic perhaps, but definitely not the part I look forwards to each time I start a new game. Thus my reticence when you describe adding a LOT more time spin to the game.

While you are making fast healing offical lore, I’d still argue it could do with some rebalancing. There is fast healing and there is recovering from the type of damage you can recover from now, I’d argue that it’s too much. Even with the starting traits that increase healing time (discounting Imperceptive Healer), you still heal orders of magnitude faster then any normal human could.
There are also the reasons given above, there currently isn’t really any mid term tension when you take damage, you get punched through a wall, you get your ass kicked around by zombies. You crawl home at 50% health and the next day you’re back up, right as rain. A normal person would be messed up for weeks but you are recovered in a single night. Like I said, it just seems too much.

Make healing painful and exosting process. If you were healing your wounds while you sleep, depending on the damage, it will hurt even more than when you recieved damage, and after you wakeup you will feel like garbage with 0 stamina.
Healing hangover. :smile: