Rant about the difficulty and challenge

Hey. Despite any criticism, keep in mind, that I believe this game is a gem. Otherwise I wouldn’t be posting anything.

I play without mods, I like to keep the experience of the game as “vanilla” for many reasons that I will not fully explain here. I keep the world/character creation settings as default as possible, with multiple-point-pool and use some settings as wandering zombies, but with a goal in mind to portray the most optimal, meaningful difficulty, challenge and balance of the game. I always play with a really bad day challenge. I don’t use power armors for obvious reasons. Since the bionic re-balance has been non-existent for the half year I know this game, I decided on 8 active and 8 passive CBM limit, although it doesn’t matter at all in the grand scale of this matter I wish to bring up.

In the past two weeks, I picked up the game yet again and it just utterly lost any challenge at around day 40. I see this wonderful, creative game, full of detailed gameplay mechanics and so many various ways on how to express yourself in the creation, development and evolution of your character to survive in this post-apocalyptical world. Unfortunately, characteristic of these type of games, the difficulty is a steep downward spiral and very quickly in the game, I find myself bored. Despite the diversity of the game it fails to provide a challenge for the all the possibilities which you can use to aid your survival. The only way on how to make the game challenging is to restrict yourself to a role-playing state of mind, with awful builds and specific ways on how to play, essentially limiting yourself of the full potential the game has.

At day 40+ something (without a single CBM), I was running straight towards turrets in science labs wearing my RM13 combat armor, while being equipped with just a katana and after that I had to grab some plutonium out of my stash of 70 units. Day 50+ everything just dies to a 50. caliber from 40+ range, it doen’t matter what kind of tank drone or chicken walker or whatever. I am looting whole cities by just driving near the infrastructure I seek, barely using any ammunition, blocking entrance with my vehicle and quickly looting the building, or just parking my vehicle near a wall and just walking through it with my probability travel. Nothing really is a threat to my vehicle except a few zombie types that can be removed easily no matter how dense the carpets of zombies are going to be. I specifically always use heavy sleeper and poor hearing, and always consider, no matter where I am, sleeping is always safe. It’s just impossible to run out of food or resources. I have an amount of ammunition to clear out a few cities.

The only way on how to die are stupid mistakes, it’s relevant for new players, but after that phase, it’s where the challenge persists to exist.

Without any suggestions for now, I want to ask, does anyone here cares about any of that? Like not just players, have the developers and contributors acknowledged that, “yeah, we know this turns into a hello kitty online zombie edition and something is going to be done about it” ?!?!

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You can’t play with default settings (set zombie speed to 200%) and survivor armor and have a challenging game. Pretty self-explanatory to anyone who’s played this game alot.

If we make fancy uncraftable armours impossible to repair the story might change a bit perhaps as a start to balance things.

The game does need more further late-game content, the only thing that really adds this afaik is Cataclysm++, which I personally don’t play because of the easier earlier-mid game stuff it adds.

Although PK Rebalancing may add a bit more difficulty if you like that too and /should/ be compatible in theory, I maintain a working fork of it.

As I said, meaningful challenge. It’s kinda of a dumb way to balance anything out. I thought about that, it would still be easy. Most of the zombies don’t do any meaningful damage up close, the ones who do, would obviously be dead before anything else. Resilience settings? You carry more ammunition and magazines and anyway, how fun and creative is that? Faster meat requires more bullets.


It would make things more challenging, but again, with the appropriate strategy it’s just faster and tougher meat for the never ending ammunition supply, indestructible vehicle and so on.

Much of armor available isn’t that much worse than survivor armor, but the thing is, coverage, there are very few armors that provide 100% coverage, now I balance my game around the fact that I am forced to roll a dice and gamble on my success in the game on a RNG? That’s again, a very dumb way to balance things out. It’s even more shit that I am forced to ignore a large portion of the content in the game to create any challenge whatsoever, that could be said about so many things that the resilience and speed modifiers wouldn’t balance out in a reasonable fashion, unless it simply is not used.

I have my suggestions, but that would be outside of this rant topic. Now I just want to know if anyone gives two cents about the subject.

The RM13 is Rivtech’s proprietary power armor, that’s why you can tank 9mm turrets with it.

There have also been mechanical suggestions of which will in fact be added, being surrounded by grabbing monsters will allow them to pull at you and tear you apart regardless of armour.

Another solution is more 5.56 turrets, perhaps even changing the 9mm turrets use to FMJ.

Only when activated and reinforced with kevlar, and even considering that, the heavy survivor armor exceeds the protection of cut damage by a small amount and bash damage by a significant amount. Actually, wearing that “power armor” makes me more susceptible to more direct attacks in comparison to survivor armor, but more resilient against other hazards.

it’s not really intended for it to be reinforced with kevlar, so expect that part to be cut and for turrets in any lab/military setting to go up to 5.56 and 7.62 calibers

You are definitely right in us needing more late-game content, things that are difficult even with power Armour.

Anyone can contribute, but no-one has really got around to making these locations, or making the monster evolution take even more terrifyingly difficult steps.

I hear good things from you. Content is absolutely necessary, but I believe so much more can be done with mechanics you described, changes to the existing content. But as far as I see, the priority has been in adding more things and expanding the existing content rather than making it more robust and refined, but that’s a completely different problem.

One of my suggestions would be to make NPC’s an actual threat, all the mechanics are already there and we have them already in the game, it’s just that they are almost non-existent and when you do meet them, their equipment is laughable and abilities non-existent. It’s hard to imagine that there would be so very few survivors in a world that is so advanced in warfare, genetics and bionics. The game creation process already acknowledges, that there are such things as bionic soldiers, advanced military units, none of them saved asses, right? Similarly equipped NPC’s, that I believe is possible in the context of the world. You do understand the potential here? Imagine of one of those motherf’s hunting you with a bionic cloak and a sniper rifle, just an example, but now that would be a challenge and a worthwhile threat to work against in the world and to seek protection from something like that.

Games gets boring beyond 50+days

Well yes, that sounds like lack of late game content more than that the game is too easy.

Super kitted out Murderous NPCs

Yes good idea, feel free to add them to the game.
I haven’t looked at it yet but most of the NPCs defining things have been moved to jsons so it might not be too difficult to add super powerfull NPCs

My opinion has always been that Cataclysm needs more of an end-game, which has been pointed out already.

The only thing I really have to add is that you need to take new players into account. I’ve said this before, we can’t just tailor the game to hardcore players. There are a lot of people who pick the game up and already find it frustratingly difficult. Changes to the core game that ramp difficulty will also have an impact on these people.

Because of the open nature of the Cataclysm, it is difficult to add challenges that won’t bleed over into a new player experience. I once stepped out of the evac shelter, walked down the road, was painted with a laser, and then was hit for 2k+ damage. This is an example of an ‘end-game’ creature appearing right next to a newbie area.

We could add extensive end-game locations, trapped behind portals and the like, but anything we make open to the regular world’s mapgen will inevitably claim newbie and non-hardcore player lives. Any monster we add to open monstergroups will inevitably encounter players on day one by sheer randomness.

This is what I’ve always considered the problem with creating end-game content. The way things are set up, outside of gating new locations with teleporting/other planes of existence, we can’t really add hyper-difficult creatures or locations because it will affect ALL players.

And if you know anything about game design, ‘feelsbad’ moments for new players = a decline in long-term players.

I’m not saying it can’t or shouldn’t be done, I just genuinely don’t know how you’d do it well.

This is all just my opinion. Ultimately, if you really want challenge you should be hiking up the various settings available, using some of the more challenging mods, and assigning yourself personal restrictions. I, personally, don’t use the survivor armor because it’s too good. If none of them are to your liking, by all means, mod away. There would be plenty of people that would appreciate it.

I don’t doubt that someone smarter than me could do these things. That could be you.

Slow crawling through labs is easier and hugely more profitable then messing with hordes in a city for a bank (the only worthwhile building). Swinging through enemies or shooting bows all day isn’t that tiring at all, rarely have to even use ammo for anything. Why train computers when you have a pickaxe?

Well yes, that sounds like lack of late game content more than that the game is too easy.

And what’s exactly that hard about the game? Except the learning curve for new players? How is this game so difficult once you know how it works? Enlighten me.

Yes good idea, feel free to add them to the game.
I haven’t looked at it yet but most of the NPCs defining things have been moved to jsons so it might not be too difficult to add super powerfull NPCs

And what’s wrong with super kitted out murderous NPC’s? The amount of power the player can achieve through various means of equipment, mutations and bionics is immense. And what exactly would be so super powerful about them in comparison to the player, like even if they used bionics? I’m like lost on this one. There’s no lack of armors that do well against medium calibers on medium to long range.

Were talking about the post-apocalyptical world, there are going to be people that are out for blood and after the things you posses, much more than to have hugs and make friends. And imagine this, some of them might actually be formidable and dangerous opponents to avoid or specifically prepare against, because they are not equipped with the lowest tier trash you can find in the game.

I don’t doubt that someone smarter than me could do these things. That could be you.

Probably not, I don’t know how to code. But I have some ideas. Everything you say is very relevant and if I would do a proper suggestion, that would be by counting in new players.

I thought that the solution to the problem you are illustrating is conceptually easy to solve, but I have no idea about the technical side. Gradual increase of difficulty for new players and a challenge for veterans should be high enough priority to accept even some a bit unrealistic solutions (although, considering the portals in the game, maybe not that impossible in the context of the world).

When we are talking about this strong end-game content that newbies have no way to deal with and veterans just simply avoid it until a later part of the game, why have it in the world at all? As far as I know, from a technical point of view, what my basic coding knowledge tells me, it should be possible for the map generator to decide on spawns and place them, but the actual creature spawning would be delayed until a later stage of the game. From a players point of view, after a currently undetermined amount of time, certain creatures would appear in various locations. Portals could be a lore explanation, another one, from a players perspective would be, who knows, maybe they traveled from somewhere? (because the player wouldn’t actually experience it occuring, he would just start encountering stronger creatures later in the game)

But you also have some good ideas to make more restricted places for appropriate difficulty.

I’m sorry if I sounded sarcastique I really meant that it was a good idea and seemed to make sense. Apart from the fact that npcs are a bit retarded they should be able to succeed just as much as the player.

Game is easy

Yeah when you know how to play a default playthrough is probably not too hard, but I’m not sure it’s a problem.
Maybe if/when NPCs get smarter they will had a meaningfull challenge to the game as your going to compete with them for ressources, right now you are the only sensible person in a ruined world it makes sense that you get all the ressources and can then roll on everything.

I’m not sure what your aversion to mods is, but I really recommend playing with PK Mod. I really have never felt that it strays from the vanilla experience, just adds to it, and in ways that up the difficulty quite substantially. This still won’t stop the game from becoming too easy at some point, but will drive that point back a bit. However, it does add a bit of very difficult end-gamey stuff with the Doom themed content.

You can also pick more difficult traits. You can also mess around with the game’s settings, make zombies faster, tougher and have night vision. You can also set your own RP conditions for even more added challenge, like playing a Stylish character who refuses to wear armor of any kind, or a character who only uses melee weapons, or both. Lately I’ve been giving myself RP conditions for vehicles as well, I played one character who only drove motorcycles…

Still the fact remains that there is very little in the way of end-game content for vanilla C:DDA, but til that gets added the difficulty in this game is highly scalable and customizable, as is just about everything in this game through the use of mods, debug settings and RP conditions.

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Currently the relative lack of end game content is the main thing making the game seem easy. I’m given to doing challenges to artificially inflate the difficulty and extend the mid game.

Yes the things you outline are an issue, and we have a number of plans to deal with them.

Vehicles are still stupidly OP in a number of ways, and we’re planning on reigning that in.

New challenging areas like more dangerous labs, large bandit camps or through-the-portal areas are certainly an option for very late game content.

Player melee combat ability vs hordes of zombies is just silly broken. Mobbing behaviors, stamina drain, and advanced grappling attacks should tip the scales in the other direction and at least present some interesting combat challenges.

Ranged vs zombies need a meta nerf via hordes, a.k.a. wandering zombies, but they work. I.e. gunshots in a city should be actually dangerous.

Zombie composition can also be improved, right now zombie evolution is partially done and we aren’t comitted to it, so the mix of zombies is a compromise that falls apart at higher levels. The plan is to have all the zombies start out vanilla at game start, but appear in much greater numbers, then over time they evolve to more dangerous versions, including some new versions that should shake things up a bit.

Labs need a total overhaul for difficulty, none of this weedy SMG turret fire you can just tank with the right gear. I dont want to just up the damage output though, we need to plan and execute on some real security measures and/or tough monsters for labs, along with overhauling layout.

Enemy NPCs are definitely something that needs to be in the mix, though I don’t know how soon that will be workable. We have plans for how it will work, but the infrastructure to make it happen is more extensive than anything else here.

Hope that lets you know the direction we’re headed.


Zombie evolution needs some serious tweaking, it should be faster, and have more lategame enemies.
Enemies that have several options to fight player. Bone plated, spiked zombies that are both strong and fast, as well know how to fight. As time passes, more and more zombies could become intelligent, so they would not walk straight into fire or traps. Maybe type of zombies that approach you only when there is enough of them, and untill that point they try to hide.
Dodge needs some nerfs too. Maybe encumbrance should be % reduction, where 50 enc on torso and both legs would be -100%. Some kinds of attacks should be insanely hard to avoid, even for your 11dodge manhack grinded OP survior gods of appocalypse. How can somebody dodge bites of dogs or wolves or giant spider so reliably? How could annyone dodge soo easily blows from hulks and juggernauts, when they have huge range and huge arms.

Most of the zombies don’t do any meaningful damage up close

Of course they don’t when you’re running around in a 100% coverage acid immune kevlar plated power armor that completely negates the dps of 99% of monsters in the game, then compaining about your own choices and refusing to do anything about them.