Is fighting really necessary? This question is bothering me a lot. After a few years of playing Cataclysm, I think that the most important advice for players is: do not lose control. If players lose control, they are likely to make a very stupid mistake that will be fatal for them.
No plan survives contact with the enemy. This is an old truth. This truth is strictly connected with the randomness of Cataclysm. Players can plan every detail of their night raid but it does not matter. A random zombie may bash a random car and activate an alarm. Now, players are trapped in a city. A random wolfpack may lead a random deer into a random minefield. A horde go to the noise of explosion. Players are trapped in a city. They lost control. They are likely to make stupid mistakes and die.
Now, they are figthing with zombies and other monsters. There are many elements of fighing: stamina, wounds, state of weapons and clothes, ammo, armor, skills. Things can go wrong. Fighting ALWAYS leads to losing control. Players never know if a random brute or hulk will surprise them when they are reloading their rifle or shotgun. Shady zombies may ambush players and kill them. Shoggoth may be deadly too. In reality, players do not have any control since they start fighting in close-quarters. It is like gambling. They are lucky or not. They are alive or dead.
I am writing about this because of the relationship between profit and risk. Players are able to collect the same items and learn the same skills without fighting at all. The only difference is the amount of time. Collecting items and learning skills without fighting is much slower, although much safer. Players do not need to raid cities at all. It is possible to collect the most essential tools by scavenging cars, single buildings, camps. Moreover, players can craft and trade items.
If it comes to hunting, players do not have to hunt a bear, moose, wolf etc. They can eat a racoon, squirrel, fish, birds etc. Killing them is so easy that it should not be called ‘fighting’. There is no risk in it
I know that players can use very strong armor that make them invincible. In my opinion, playing as an invincible god of apocalypse is more boring that playing without fighting intentionally.
My characters have very low skills in melee and ranged weapons exept for throwing. Monsters evolve and I do not. Sometimes I have to fight for survival. Those are very tense and emotional moments because fighting is not a routine for me