Island escape needs a serious rework

I just tried playing the latest experimental version of the island escape and it seems that its impossible to even get anywhere unless you play as a gaurd class.
My main gripes with why this scenario is unusable is:

  1. you can’t smash any furniture without the 5 brutes waiting outside hear you drop the soap (yes you’re on a prison, you can’t expect me to make at least one soap joke). This is a major issue because without any planks or other sturdy materials to defend yourself and craft, you’re dead. I tried dumping stats into strength and melee at the start, and it wasn’t even enough to kill a K9
  2. For a high security “Alcatraz” prison they don’t seem to take security very seriously. All of the doors are made of flimsy wood which the zombies can easily bust through, making it impossible to set up a base camp or to even catch your breath. I would find the brute swarms acceptable if the doors were sturdier, but as it stands, wood doors barely even slow them down.
  3. Since areas are so narrow, it makes hiding and fleeing nearly impossible, but they are just wide enough to make bottlenecking the zombies into attacking you one at a time also impossible.
  4. In normal prison maps you can turn the security to your advantage by luring zombie mobs into security robots or triggering other security systems. This apparently is not the case for the island maps, because of the aforementioned narrow corridors made it too easy for the zombies to gather up and easily overwhelm the robots.
  5. These issues are further compounded by the fact that there are no sustainable food sources or large food stocks (like in lab vending machines), making careful and cautious strategies like in lab escapes impossible, since it requires you to add quickly before food runs out and significantly hampers your ability to just hang back and sleep off your injuries.

My suggestions would be to do any number of the following to rebalance the map:

  • significantly nerf the spawn rates of brutes, at least in the starting surface area
  • increase security measures by replacing the flimsy wooden doors with steel or metal ones to allow players to “break off” a chase and provide some literal breathing room (as with the new stamina update, its much harder to simply outrun zombies without breaking line of sight/sound)
  • increase security robot presence and lethality
  • either further widen or narrow the corridors to make “flight or fight” tactics more viable
  • add some traps or other hazards to trip up both players and monsters (this is a death row high security prison after all)
  • add some sort of hammering item at the start, like even a chunk of steel from a shelf/etc
  • have some other innmate NPCs (even hostile ones) take some of the heat from swarms and distract them
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You can do anything you like - it is all json.

I dunno if it’s changed significantly since I did this start but after taking out the closest zombies with a plank they provided by smashing a door, I honestly just waited in the start area a while until the zombies took out the bots then stripped and swam for it after getting chased by a brute. Sure I arrived on shore practically naked with no items and the brute still on my tail but it wasn’t really that difficult to escape, that was with 3x zombie spawns too.

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with x1 spawn, melee oriented character. I just smashed the sink(I think?), got copper pipe. used copper pipe to kill the prisoner zombie, jumped/smashed all the barbed wires/wired fences after seeing the brute. Killed K9 to catch enough breath and was able to swim to the surface.(ran out of breath though. torso was 30% hurt afterwords)

Not so sure why you think you can fight brutes right after making your character. It is called ESCAPE.

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well I did mention “fight or flight”
but currently it seems none are viable without sufficient luck or swimming skill

1 point in swimming and being nearly naked is enough. I mean, it’s an island prison, swimming or building a boat are your only options and swimming likely costs you the least points, it’s something you should be expecting.

I did plan on building a boat to escape but I didn’t anticipate how long little breathing room I’d have.
Usually the lab and prison scenarios I had “sectors” which I would clean up little by little.

I’ll try seeing if I can put all my points in swimming instead, although that does kind of feel a bit exploitative (if not “unrealistic” to just be able to swim out of Alcatraz)

Just look at these @TheMurderUnicorn’s 5 videos in which he manages to escape the island on his only second attempt.
Island prison escape scenario is called a “challenge” not without a reason. Like any “challenge” type of scenario, it isn’t guaranteed to be winnable at all. This is simple - if you can’t win it, try easier scenario. Despite this, @TheMurderUnicorn managed to survive the scenario, this means that your statement about

its impossible to even get anywhere unless you play as a gaurd class.

isn’t correct.

To the points:

  1. The monsters spawn in this location is heavily rng-based. With a good luck, you could evade any brutes next to the starting location. With a bad luck, you could spawn with a brute right next to you. Because starting location could not be exactly specified, it isn’t possible to set a fixed location without any monsters nearby. If you’re not so lucky, just restart the scenario.
  2. Wooden doors are located mostly in the administrative building, and in the prison building itself they are located far from where the inmates are being held. The main type of doors in the prison building are the metal bars, and they are more than capable of stopping the zombies.
    Prison building is not designed to provide a safe place to “set up a base camp”.
    This type of prison is not an “Alcatraz”, and it was never stated that it is a high-security type of prisons. It is a “ordinary”, so to say, prison, its only feature is that it is located on the island, and its remoteness is the best guarantee that inmates will think twice or thrice before attempting the escape.
  3. Prison building is not designed to provide a place to “hide and flee”. Right the opposite, it is designed to provide a better supervision over the inmates at all times.
  4. Prison building is not designed to provide any sort of advantage or “hack the system” bonuses. Even if in the “normal prison maps” it is possible to turn the security to your side, it’s absolutely not necessary that island prisons are operating in the same manner.
  5. There are LOTS of food in the prison’s warehouse (which is located next to the mess hall). Also you could get LOTS of canine food in the kennels if you didn’t manage to get to the warehouse.

increase security measures by replacing the flimsy wooden doors with steel or metal ones

What sort of security measures in the administrative building should these metal doors provide? The only example where it could make sense - in the armory - already has a metal door.

increase security robot presence and lethality

No. Robots ain’t supposed to be an ally for the player. Increasing their numbers will make this challenge even more harder.

either further widen or narrow the corridors to make “flight or fight” tactics more viable

No. Corridors ain’t supposed to be a convenient place to fight the monsters.

add some traps or other hazards to trip up both players and monsters

Did you see any traps in RL-prisons? Prisons are not designed by some maniacs who want inmates and security offices to hurt themselves on a daily basis without any apparent reason.

this is a death row high security prison after all

As I said earlier, it’s not.

add some sort of hammering item at the start, like even a chunk of steel from a shelf/etc

What’s the rationale for this? How did an inmate manage to get a chuck of steel or any other item?

have some other innmate NPCs

Unlikely.

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the chunk of steel is from any number of things like from a steel shelf, I don’t mean literally give a player a hammer right off the bat. Its a common strategy I use to escape labs and prisons. the process is

  1. get chunk of steel other tool of hammering quality
  2. take an article of clothing and convert it into thread
  3. use thread and a plank of wood to make a hammer
  4. use hammer to make screwdriver
  5. use hammer+screwdriver to disassemble other items for scrap
  6. use scrap to assemble more complicated tools like electrohacks or vehicle frames/wheels
  7. profit

and of course the traps wouldn’t be active all the time, they’d just be activated in the event of a complete containment failure (after all would you want a entire island of death row inmates to escape into the general populace?) and i’m pretty sure a cataclysm would be enough to warrant a complete containment failure scenario. this is the future after all, maybe they installed some automated security, like the ones that are running the deathbots? they’re programmed to shoot anything not authorized, without any seeming concern for harming staff or civilians

You are misunderstanding several points, security bots are on a rampage after the system controlling them was reprogramed to handle zombies and someone screwed up, as Valiant said the prison isn’t a “death row” prison and the game isn’t set in the future, it’s set in an alt reality.

To be fair, the videos in which I escaped the island prison were right after it was added to the game.

That’s why I haven’t weighed in on this conversation. It sounds like things have gotten a lot more difficult. I know they had talked about making the armory more difficult to access, and when I was there, there were no robots at all.

I don’t know about the difficulty of it currently, but wanted to say that I think it’s probably a lot harder now than when I actually recorded that series.

Having the low scent trait adds a lot of advantage on these escape scenarios too.