Mostly the “good” and “bad” traits are a matter of personal playstyle.
Here’re my trait preferences, just to give another viewpoint:
On the fence:
- Scout: nice to have, but binoculars or a survivor telescope can get you by if you’re not playing with hordes (which you only do if you’re wanting a just for lolz, see-how-long-you-can-not-die game rather than a serious character you get invested in)
- Pretty/Ugly - Shrugs Call it a wash. Pretty isn’t a terrible way to burn a point, but ugly isn’t crippling either. You can mutate into and out of either, but having pretty tips the scales slightly away from the “hideous abomination NPC’s will chase with torches and pitchforks” side of the chain.
- Weak Scent/Strong scent - one makes you slightly less noticeable to critters, the other makes hostiles more likely to wander into that killbox full of nailboards and spike pits near your crafting room’s metal-bar window and gets you some points. Either way, visual detection is the larger problem for most things you’ll worry about before you have ways to deal with scent.
- Parkour Expert: not too shabby, but I’ve played with and without it; main difference is without it you have to plan better escape routes, which would still be the better escape route with parkour expert. 2 points seems a bit expensive for what you get out of it.
My go-to traits: I don’t take all of these with every character, but these are the first ones I consider when looking at where to burn those last few points or snag a few more.
- Night Vision Not being nightblind is good. Really, really, good.
- Light Step Less noise = good. Less likely to set off traps = great.
- Optimist : constant +5 free moral, increases the benefits of all moral boosts, and resists negative moral penalties. Wonderful, wonderful trait. (Moral contributes to your focus and boosts or debuffs your stats, so you want it as high as possible at all times.)
- Masochism : I love this trait. Turns the moral penalties from pain into fairly long lasting moral boosts. Counters some of pains stat penalties, but typically lasts long enough to give a true boost after the aspirin kicks in. Its a gift that keeps on giving, seriously.
- Stylish early game, a good source of small, cheap moral boosts from some things you want to keep around anyway, like hairpins, certain “cool” armors, and nice watches, and there are tons of decorative items that don’t add much if any encumbrance. In the late game you can load out your character like Mr T using jewelry for optimal boost with minimal encumbrance.
- Gourmand - Makes food and drink into an endless fountain of moral boosts, and makes even terrible tasting stuff more tolerable. (Think “I hear X is considered a delicacy in some places…”)
- Robust Genetics: If you don’t take this, you’re essentially putting a “kick me” sign on yourself for the mutation system. You will almost certainly mutate at some point, by intent or accident. This turns it from a “mostly bad” thing to a “mostly good” thing. If you’re playing a lab-start character or plan on ever shooting for a threshold mutation, its pretty much obligatory.
- Fast learner: a bargain at any point cost. The least efficient use for points at character creation is skills. With this, a few minutes bashing rocks together, taking apart flashlights, and boiling water will cover its cost in skill levels, and you’ll be able to rank up skills to high levels significantly faster. Especially if you’re sane and turn off skill rust.
- Fast Healer - faster healing? yes please.
- Tough: This one is a bit odd, I know, but I favor melee characters. While I pick it only when I’m going for a high strength bruiser that’s hit the “raising this stat any higher will cost two points” barrier, this boosts the benefit of all those points I already put in strength, makes any later strength boosts even better, stacks with a lot of other heath-boosting mutations, and helps keep you out of the crippling “frail” side of the chain. Not for everyone, but if you’re a brawler who likes to be able to fistfight hulks and win, its not a bad choice at all.
- Melee Weapon Training/Self-Defense Classes/Shaolin Adept/Venom Mob Protege - I usually take at least one of these. Check the wiki’s article about choosing your starting styles for which are definitely worth it and which probably aren’t. Never Martial Arts Training, though- the books for those can be commonly found in Dojos. These styles are far more rare to find, and certain styles will hugely increase your ability to survive in the early game. Some of the most interesting options turn otherwise lackluster items or your fists into extremely potent late-game weapons, or make your character exponentially harder to hit, let alone kill.
Addictive Personality: Never had any real trouble with this one. Avoid purely recreational drugs, go easy on the caffeine and booze, and save the hard stuff for emergencies. Good advice for any character, just moreso here.
Chemical Imbalance: Not for everyone, but if you have a reasonable tolerance for announcement spam, and don’t mind having to put up with a little mild fluctuation of needs, its not as big a problem as you might think- things mostly average out long-term.
Insomnia: Free points for “sleeping is mildly annoying” early on. Eventually healthy living and proper bedding, (and occasionally earplugs in a pinch) , make this one toothless. It’s actually saved me a couple times because your character will wake up at any noise, even when dead tired. Mutate good hearing or animal ears and you can nap anywhere knowing you won’t get ambushed.
Nearsighted&Farsighted- Take both, use bifocals, carry spare if you’re really bad about breaking them. Almost free points.
Trigger Happy - There are modes other than burst fire on automatic weapons? (jk) But seriously, this one is very rare to trigger, and I can count on one finger the number of times its been anything but a “darn, I used more ammo than strictly necessary to kill that hulk” problem across all my characters.
Truth Teller - can’t lie to NPC’s. So you actually have to do missions if you want the (sometimes nice) rewards. Missions are usually easy and take you to interesting places sometimes, so there’s no real reason to skip them. Free points.
My personal KILL IT WITH FIRE traits that I never take:[/u][/b] (remember, this is just what works for me. Some of these will probably be among other people’s go-to traits)
Accomplished Sleeper : -2 points so you can sleep better in conditions that will decrease your healthyness. Yay?
Bad Tempered a constant -5 moral debuff that you can’t get rid of, slashes the benefits of positive moral boosts, boosts moral penalties. There are less crippling ways to get 2 more points. Like albino, or slow healer.
Hoarder: I used to love this one, but recent tweaks to inventory management have made it nearly as bad as bad tempered for "things that will royally screw you via the moral system"
Sleepy: Freaking annoying trait, up there with carnivore and herbivore. Makes long crafting sessions a pain in the rear.
Schizophrenia: !!FUN!!, Dwarf Fortress style. As in, not fun at all in a game where its a choice between permadeath or savescumming.
Frail, flimsy, Glass Jaw, etc. Think of it this way: each of these gives your character permanent serious injuries that you can’t heal. Just plain not worth it.