after playing the game some and reading the forums, I have some thoughts about how it would be better for me (it’s already great!).
First, I think one of the admin termed the game as a ‘low intensity’ game, which is fine but I feel some of the gameplay elements kind of go against that, focus/morale being one. For instance, if I wish to train a skill to the next level, I may not want to choose the most efficient(in terms of game time spent) but choose a method that requires the least real time spent or even least keystrokes or hassle.
Another thing which may be related is books. At first I felt really happy about the concept of acquiring them and learning from them but after awhile, I feel like books take away from the game. Books are so easy to find (libraries and everywhere basically), the game quickly becomes - acquired a ton of food/raid a library and two mansions/holed up somewhere to read a season. Rinse repeat, then move on to the next stage of the game once all skills are boosted.
So here are my suggestions.
First, I read on another thread that the developers are looking to cap skill levels so they dont go on forever. I like that. I think that is also an opportunity to rework the way books work so that finding and benefiting from a book becomes a -bonus-, instead of players specifically going for books for max (real time) efficiency.
Another player suggested that after reaching the cap level (10 was suggested), gaining enough experience to bring a skill a new level should give a perk(it was suggested that for mechanics, the player can have the option to gain the ability to add one more additional engine to their vehicle among other options).
I like that, the same could be done for a range of skills, like melee/dodge etc. But for other skills that have recipes attached to them, I would like to suggest that the player gain a random recipe out of a pool of ‘advance’ recipes that is segregated into tiers. For instance a player can acquire a random recipe from the tier 2 batch only after knowing all tier 1 advance recipes. So this idea of advance recipes is like someone rediscovering or reinventing something post apocalypse even if they have no contact with books. But of course only those who are already adept (level 10) can do so. It should also get progressively harder with each tier and learning the whole skill tree this way would take an insanely long time. Some really advance recipes would need the character to meet the prerequisites from more than one skill. High level existing recipes can be used to populate those advance recipes.
Reason I like this is, it becomes possible for someone who has no contact with books whatsoever, to acquire new recipes. I think it will be great for those playing wilderness characters. Another part of this is the way books work. A book for a skill that has recipes attached should come in two types: General Knowledge and Specific Knowledge. Reading a General Knowledge book on say electronics would improve it by some percentage ONCE. A Specific Knowledge(bad terming) book on electronics contains one pregenerated recipe for it with higher level recipes being increasing rare. Books should also be rarer which should make holing up for extended reading sessions no more a thing. Also by making them rare/one time small boost, it will make the joy of finding books relevant for a much longer time. Of course this needs to be balanced with how much experience is gained doing things, so that books don’t become trivial.
So that’s the main thing. Some random suggestions:
Melee(or is it melee training trait) is too powerful even at level 0. Please take a look at how stunning works. Stun should be more rare so that permastunning is no longer a thing. With silat and a cudgel and a few points in melee/dodge/bashing and 14 dex, I could pretty much permastun a hulk once I get a crit in. The rapid attack technique of the cudgel makes this problem worse as it allows me to get my next attack in quicker if I failed to crit.
After playing a wilderness character, I find that food is way too abundant in the wild especially eggs. Foraging has too high a percentage of giving eggs. Since they are bulky and there is no good way to cook them quickly I just litter the whole forest I am in with eggs. Dandalions are plentiful and fast to cook. And dead animals everywhere… see next point.
Creatures killing each other should have some rules attached. Not all creatures are enemies with each other. Even those who are enemies may not wish to fight in a particular instance. Going to a swamp and seeing each fly having a bee beside them is unreal(they kept missing so there was no death but alot of spam). This also creates alot of FREE food littering all over the place, making wilderness survival even easier.
Guns. Make them more rare or something. So many house basements are filled with guns. Finding one should be a real treasure. Also the game has recipes for homemade guns, if guns are rare, then learning to make homemade ones would be persued more? Also if homemade guns can be modded more extensively and creatively(like vehicle building) than commercial guns, I think that will make building a gun more interesting and using them more an option. Wouldnt mind the world having more ammo or accessibility to ammo making. Would like a game mod where gun safety laws were in place before the cataclysm, drastically reducing the number of guns out there.
Not sure if this is already the case or it matters, clothing layers should layer one atop the other automatically and not manually.
Some interface suggestions:
interface menus should be made consistent. Some menus allow spacebar to exit, others only allow ‘q’.
Entering crafting menu should return to the page last exited from. Left and Right Arrow keys should be used to choose type over single directional TAB.
There should be a repeat last command that isn’t a movement, command( if there isn’t one already).
Repeat last crafted command should repeat last crafting attempt not last successful craft.
Sorry for the long post. I understanding many of the above are based on personal preferences and also that many things can be customised with options and world gen options or even simply self enforced rules etc. Still hope that there is something useful to be found in there. Again, a great game even when it is still under development.