Similar to the way there are more and more mutant animals as time progresses, potentially more and more plants can mutate as well. Both being reflective of the gradual alienation of the environment and further pushing the difficult in acquiring said resources.
Much like how the Poppy plant is already mutated, further along the game calendar trees and plants can start developing initial or advance mutations such as:
Thicker bark (more energy to cut down trees)
Thorns and bards (interactions has a chance of hurting players unless properly protected)
Side effects or toxicity/poison (for edible berries or others)
Grappling vines (grabs players that try to go past it)
Thicker vegetation (grass or other vegetation could grow in large proportions, thus slowing player movement or obstructing your vision)
Merging woods ( Trees merging together to make a thick wooded wall, preventing passage unless removed) Inspired by Darkwoods.
Sentient and aggressive crops ( Similar to a triffid, except these would come in the variations of crop plants that have become sentient, and likely aggressive to players)
And potentially so much more to an ever evolving yet ever dangerous world.
Also think about mutations that might possibly be benificial to humans in some way. Things like plants that turn into extreme bioaccumilators that collect heavy metals. They become extemely toxic in the process but can also be used as a source for those same metals. Trees that turn into into some sort of land coral and are thus very difficult to cut down or destroy but could also be a huge source of limestone. Huge mutated flowers that usually eat insects and function like a trap but where (toxin-free) nactar can be collected from. Various canivorous plants that you can actually collect the seeds from and plant yourself to use as traps or a fast growing plant with very nasty poisinous spines that can be used as a part of fortifications. Not to mention that many normal ponsinous plant can be used for things like poison arrows I don´t see why mutant plants would be any different.
There would be two visions of how you could make living off the land more difficult/make wilderness areas more difficult as the game progresses. These would be to as you suggest to make more dead and toxic biomes with not much in them or the route that is presented in this threat which is that the doesn´t collapse and starts to mutate thus making life much more dangerous to the player. Personally I like the second option more as it simply add much more content in terms of gameplay and interesting content than simply turning more and more of the map into comparitivelly boring dead zones.
I do however like the idea of smaller dead/warped biomes for thematic effect things like a locally warped inviroment as the aftermath of the large portal storm or even as part of a local spacial anomoly. Things like deadzones that expant to a certain point could also be cool surounding things like hazards waste and dump sites. Implying that something that wasn´t meant to be there was thrown in it or things wheren´t properly disposed of. Toxic biomes are also a option maybe with a dead transistion zone surrounding it. A toxic zone could come in different varieties and be home to strange nether creatures and mutants. If we want to make toxic zones places that a player might want to explore than you could have certain chemicals be harvesteble or refinable from the various flora and fauna that live there.
I don´t think that combining there two approaches at the same time though is a good idea. This would simply up the difficulty to the point that it would be better to make it into a mod.
What I like most of this idea is the concept of beneficial plants and the potentials for renewable resources. Like a steady source of renewable metals or poisonous hedges you could surround your home.
It might be crazy to even say this, but maybe even a mutated supersized pumpkin the size of a house could be helpful in establishing a quick base setup. Though maybe I’m stepping over some boundaries here.
Ooo! How about certain fruit trees turning into plants kind of like the Pomegrenades from Barotrauma, where they can be refined into medicine or oil, but, you know… (distant explosions).
Fungi that absorb radioactivity and nuclear fallout from the surroundings, cleaning them up but becoming intensely radioactive in the process.
Nightshade flowers that release an invisible, mildly toxic gas around them. They eventually turn into the even more dangerous Black Rose, which releases a euphoria-inducing, disorienting neurotoxin that quickly suffocates those caught in it.
Tiny, Non-Mycus fungi that colonize giant insects and zombies, taking them over and using them to spread more spores, killing them in the process and dissolving them into non-regenerative slime.
I’m actually of the opposite opinion of NetSysFire, and I think that as the Cataclysm goes on, the Earth is not consumed by the Blob but instead fights it, becoming less and less habitable as Mother Nature resorts to more and more insane and violent methods of survival.
Could be an interesting way to make the game harder. Have an arms race going on between the zombies and the biosphere. The biosphere wouldn’'t collapse but instead goes full alien and mutated. So you wouldn’t need to fear zombie hordes to much if you really live off the beaten path and don’t make too much noise. But you would instead have to content with all kinds of insainely dangerous predators, wierd carniverous plants and potentially poisnous variaties of plants.
Not only that, but as time goes on and the biosphere changes even more, it ripples through the climate. New England is battered by supertyphoons of increasing severity and frequency, slowly wiping the surface remnants of human life away, and washing out the zombies with them. Slowly, the nuclear fallout settles and is washed away as well. Earthquakes send our tallest towers crashing down, and fires effectively erase all non-fireproof construction. Scientific efforts are abandoned in favor of survival, and all technology simply ceases to work from the wear. Humanity regresses completely. Five years into the apocalypse, a visitor to the planet would be lucky if they even found any evidence of our existence beyond a few scattered pre-Cataclysm bunkers and the occasional tribe of hunter-gatherers. The zombies are all gone, save for hordes sheltering in cave networks and under the ocean. Carrion-eating fish devour the latter, and the cavers slowly starve and become inert. Humanity has completely restarted, but we’re alive, and we’ll rebuild, however many millennia it takes.
Doesn’t match the current lore, which states that the blob will take over, but doesn’t care about how long it takes.
I haven’t seen anything about huge amounts of nuclear explosions that would cause atomic winters and widespread radioactive contamination either, nor any particular reason earthquakes would become more common.
The blob has already taken over. I have seen the deves say that the player and every human/mutant is already a part of the blob. There is also a legitimate question as to how the ecosysteem changes with the cataclysm and the mutating presence of the blob. Something that there has almost been no discussion about.
Ecosysteems and nature are a lot more resiliant than people like to give it credit for. This is also not taking into consideration that the fall of human civilazetion would be a gaint boon for the biosphere. Ecosysteems are very dynamic things that can change very quickly when conditions change. This dynamic ability is further enhanced by the fact that evolution has been supercharged by mutation. Changes that might normally take millions of years can suddenly happen in a matter of months keeping pace with zombie evolution.
Than there is the problem that everyone seems to think that species will go extinct at record pace which might be true but you also have to remember that just after the cataclysm biodiversity will be at its highest in thousands of years becease you suddenly got al kinds of new mutant and extradimentional species running around. And becease of open portals and mutation new species will simply keep poping up.
Taken over or taking over, it’s a matter of semantics. Everything is “infected” by the blob, but living creatures are not under its control.
As far as I understand life is going to be replaced by blob minions, and there’s no room for any ecosystem there. The mutations are probably side effects of the blob working on its minion, but without bothering to exclude the living.
Removal of humans would probably result in an increased bio diversity if it happened on its own, but not when they’re replaced by the total extinction event that is the blob (well, a handful of humans might join the exodii, and some “samples” may be carried off by the mi-go, but probably not for any length of time).
I find a complete zombie takeover somewhat unlikely becease I could imagine multiple scenarioes in which some form of ecosysteem survives:
Mutation is part of the blobs intention. Mutation could easely be a completely intentional part of blob evolution. With mutation effectively being a way to evolve creature even before they die. A mutant that dies and revives usually has mophology and traits that are more usefull to the blob already present. Keeping the biosphere around would also be benificial to the blob as it allows to hijack evolution. With only the strongest mutants surviving and multiplying and selecting traits and morphologies that the blob itself might not have mutated in zombies. It also mean that the blob has a renewable stock of bioforms of increasingly higher quality for millenia which is the timescale it cares about.
Zombies don’t care about every part of the ecosysteem. Zombies only care about creatures the size of a medium dog and up. You could end up with a world where only all the large animals are dead but things like normal insects and small animals up to the size of a cat aren’t really affected. That world would have a severely delepleted ecosysteem. But there would be enough intact that atleast plant life continues and the atmosphere remains breathable.
Zombies can’t get to every ecosysteem. Zombies might also not be capable or suitable to destroy every ecosysteem. Aquatic ecosysteems for example seem to have a far lower concentration of zombie’s than terrestrial ones. So zombies might not be able to take over there and instead simply become part of these ecosystems or even be muscled out by mutants. Other ecosysteems that might survive are the extreme ones. Think either the artic or desert where living creatures have the advantage of seeking shelter from the elements while zombies don’t. Zombies probably also aren’t able to reach every place where animals live. I have a hard time imagining Zombies hunting down more agile creatures that such as monkey’s that can simply hide in inaccesable places such a trees. That is to say nothing of high mountains and cliffs which would be quite litteral death traps for any zombie as they might hit the ground hard enough that not even revival might be possible.
I’m down with the doomsday lore of the blob and all the Jazz. Considering the blob is literaly a super organism of an alien and unfathomable nature. So in comparision, I doubt our enviroment will pose much of a challange to something like that. An really, the most you can hope for is to live with it and hope you never gain it’s attention.
But what I think is the one unprecedented thing that needs more content for is HOW the blob is affecting the enviroment. Because other than humans, nature is relatively the same despite it’s new occupants.
I mean gameplay wise I could live in the woods indefinitly and never notice anything unusual other than the occasional undead beastie and nightmare amalgamation.
So having plant life change in some way to fit with the alien presence would be a fitting feature and a good way to push the doomsday lore. Heck, dosen’t even have to be the blob mutatious effects solely changing the enviroment; You could have Triffids, Mycus or other alien entities shaping the ecosystem.
In about one game year, you could be standing in an unrecognisable and hostile enviroment in which only the most hardy can survive in.