Thoughts on Stats's being overvalued

Based on this thread :
and this issue :

and my thoughts previously expressed here:

I wanted to talk about the issue of Stat points (Those being How much Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Perception you character has), being overvalued, why I feel they are overvalued, and I wanted to discuss some possible solutions, or at least thoughts I had on the issue.

The stats points being overvalued, seems to be in part at least, is with the way that stats seem so rigidly fixed (I know stats through skills exists, please hear me out first, I will get to my thoughts on this as well), and your statistics can only be improved semi-permanently by mutations and CBM’s, and only impacted negatively by status ailments, which can mostly be mitigated. The only way stats can be improved upon during play is through mutations (luck, or you could take the alpha mutation set, which needs some more drawbacks I think), or bionics (luck again, and decent skill in electronics and first-aid).

Let’s talk about the ailments first, since that seems to be, at least in part, what is supposed to keep a character in check. Like pain, the common cold/flu, addiction, Tetanus, Asthma, various different poisons. These are mediocre for controlling your stats, but they do impress on players enough (especially pain), that you need to compensate for these somewhat, or your character will either die a quick death by being unable to act (due to being to slow and having too low stats, namely strength), or a slow death by 1,000 paper cuts by being unable to act (same reason as previous). And most of these ailments only affect you in the very early game (except pain), and only affect you later on if you are unprepared (mostly includes pain too, although massive amounts of pain can still cripple you through mediocre painkillers shortly before you die, which is fine).

The problem here is that these status ailments that temporarily punish your stats, in some cases should probably permanently or at least semi-permanently punish your stats.

Being poisoned (especially food poisoned), should punish the very constitution of your body by virtue of what being poisoned is actually like (toxins and bacteria that damage and modify how your internal organs work, some make it harder to breath, some speed up or slow your heart, some damage your blood, and the like), and should have the potential to permanently reduce you base strength or perception (having your eyes damaged by poison isn’t nice either.). Also, while this is not quite related, perhaps being poisoned should have a chance to kill you if your internal health stat is already pretty bad? Being able to heal poison damage by applying a bandage seems to kind of make poison damage more of a joke really.

Similarly, parasites should be able to affect your strength, dexterity, or intellect permanently in the same way.

Same thing with addiction, depending on what the addiction is:
-Nicotine (Intellect (chemical based over stimulation), possibly Perception, and possibly Strength (lungs))
-Caffine (?, suggestions? Maybe intellect (over stimulation) I guess?)
-Meth (Intellect (hallucination, over stimulation) and Strength (lungs, heart))
-Coke (Intellect (over stimulation), Dexterity (tremors), and Strength (lungs, heart), at random)
-Crack (Intellect (over stimulation), Dexterity (tremors), and Strength (lungs, heart), at random, and worse)
-Adderall (Intellect (over stimulation if you don’t have ADHD), and possibly strength (lungs))
-Pink Tablets (Intellect (hallucinations), probably should be treated the same as poison otherwise?) (Do I really want to know what it is supposed to be?)
-Opium from poppies and other sources (Strength (lungs), Intellect (chemical under stimulation)
-Marijuana (Strength (lungs))
-Alcohol (Perception (hallucinations), Dexterity (tremors))

And before you freak out, seeing this, no the intent isn’t to nerf a good character until they hit 0 in their stats, or to nickle and dime their stats for every infraction they can make. The idea is to provide a framework for different stats to move up and down. The idea would be that if something saps a stat due to a permanent injury to a specific part of your body, that doesn’t get double sapped (even if it probably should, that wouldn’t really be fun), so that you aren’t nerfed into oblivion.

So for instance, losing a point of strength because you smoked to many cigar’s and your now having health problems from lung issues wouldn’t be doubled by smoking weed in this case, but you could still lose a point in strength from having heart issues brought on by smoking crack afterwards, if you move on to that. You could lose a 3rd point of strength by becoming infected with parasites, if you don’t get rid of them with a reasonable period of time, ect.

Also, the idea would be that you wouldn’t get these permanent stat losses straight away, but instead only after prolonged exposure to these issues. And this would be to make room for…

Stat increases through exercise!

The basic and general idea I had for this would be that you could increase your stats semi-permanently through exercise, and lose those same stats through either abuse or misfortune stated above or semi-permanently through lack of appropriate exercise. Also, it would hopefully make higher stats harder to maintain, whilst still preserving the way that some survivors are still naturally stronger, smarter, neigh, or more perceptive than others naturally (variance).

With that out of the way, I would having stats grow somewhat based on exercise, or shrink somewhat based on abuse or disuse.

The idea would be that stats could change over a 72 hour period (this time period ideally be randomized between 66 hours and 78 hours to keep players on their toes and to make the system a little harder to predict), and if the player does enough actions that are considered exercise, the player would be rewarded with a stat increase (with a maximum of 4 points above base?).

[td]# of Stat Points[/td][td]1[/td][td]2[/td][td]3[/td][td]4[/td][td]5[/td][td]6[/td][td]7[/td][td]8[/td][td]9[/td][td]10[/td][td]11[/td][td]12[/td][td]13[/td][td]14[/td][td]15[/td][td]16[/td][td]17[/td][td]18[/td][td]19[/td][td]20[/td]
[td]# of Exercise Points needed to move up[/td][td]60[/td][td]60[/td][td]60[/td][td]60[/td][td]120[/td][td]180[/td][td]240[/td][td]300[/td][td]420[/td][td]540[/td][td]660[/td][td]780[/td][td]960[/td][td]1,140[/td][td]1380[/td][td]1500[/td][td]1780[/td][td]1980[/td][td]2280[/td][td]2460[/td]

A simple and non exhaustive list of actions that could earn you exercise points:
-Performing a melee attack successfully (destroying a terrain object or a vehicle part by smashing it (the higher your strength is, the harder to smash the object needs to be), hitting an actor (Cop bots, dogs, NPC’s, ect, with the difficulty of the actor determining how high hitting it can train your strength)), with more points being granted for heavier weapons.)
-Being close to or just a little bit over your weight encumbrance limit (0% - 2% over encumbered), without being exhausted (low on or out of stamina). 1 per minute?
-Running for a number of steps consecutively, without being exhausted, based on what level of strength you would level up to next
-Throwing a heavy object(?)
-Completing a construction project (building an object or modifying the terrain) from the constructions list, based on what your strength is currently, and the difficulty of the construction
Example: Deconstructing furniture could help build your strength to 4 and maintain it at that level, while building a table could help raise it to and maintain it at 6.
-Welding a part onto a vehicle, based on what your strength currently is, and a combination of the difficulty and weight of the part determining what it trains your strength to perhaps?

-Throwing a light object
-Hitting an actor with a missile projectile (which could also help train perception) that is fired from the appropriate weapon (pebble from a sling or a pneumatic assault rifle, bow from an arrow, gun from a bullet), with the more hand movement the action would require being better. So a bow would be better than a crossbow, which would be better than gun.
-Disassembling objects which require a screwdriver/set or a pliers/wrench. The difficulty of the object from the respective skill set would determine what level of dexterity you could attain this way. You would have to be successful, you just simply have to try, although I think people would be reluctant to destroy potentially useful objects and supplies just to exercise their dexterity.
-Blocking or parrying an attack with a weapon, or your fists.
-Performing a melee attack with your fists (through martial arts, or not) in the same way that hitting an actor successfully would train strength with a weapon
-Repairing things in general, an object in your inventory, a piece of armor you are wearing, a part of a vehicle. The difficulty of the repair would determine what level of dexterity you could reach and keep.
-Crow-baring something open, and for reaching higher levels of dexterity, picking locks.

-Reading a book (fun books with high moral bonuses would provide better training than fun books with low moral bonuses, and skill-books with higher requirements to learn from would provide better training than skill-books with lower requirements.)
-Attempting to craft an object at or above your skill level
-Failing to craft an object, regardless of it’s level (you attempt to figure out why you failed, cumulative with attempting to craft an object if that wasn’t clear)
-Talking with NPC’s
-Interacting with computers without being illiterate, with the difficulty of the interaction being what determines what level you can raise your intelligence to and maintain it at

-When throwing an object, having that object land on the tile you we’re aiming at, or hitting an object on the tile you where aiming at
-Hitting or nearly hitting actors with a ranged attack from a distance of 5 tiles or more, with the distance, and size of actor determining how high that attack can train your perception to, and how much exercise it is worth. (Perhaps this should include all attempts?)
-Spotting hidden traps (new only, not ones you’ve set with that character)
-Revealing map tiles exploring them directly or being nearby them (not by being told what is there by a map or a computer console in a lab)
-Spotting/Tracking zombie hordes and NPC’s on the map (once per in-game hour, per portion of the horde or per NPC spotted in that hour)

And similarly actions that could misuse your stats, minor, (but not permanently damage them):
-Being over 2% of your weight encumbrance
-Exerting yourself while being sick with the cold or the flu
-Inhaling smoke of most kinds (wisp of smoke from a regular fire being the exception, to avoid being obnoxious), a filter mask would prevent this in most cases anyway
-Using drugs or drinking hard alcohol, even if it doesn’t lead to addiction
-Eating dangerous raw food, like raw chunks of meat
-Eating junk food, or food that has ingredients that you are allergic too
-Having a low health stat (not talking about hit points)
-Losing blood, or having an infected bite, or active infection
-Being seriously injured suddenly (like taking 25% or more damage on a body part)
-Breaking a limb

-Getting shocked or electrocuted
-Having your hands get hurt
-Being cold in general, but especially having cold hands
-Repetitive motion injury (think crafting the same type of object or doing the exact same task over and over again repetitively when it’s only purpose is to grind. Ultimately meant to be a minor penalty though as you still need to build up a decent food supply, or maybe that’s the point.)

-Having bad moral (maybe a point for every 10 points below 0 per 15 minutes?) for a period of time
-Doing long, repetitive tasks (large batches of canned goods, or water, for instance)
-Being exhausted for long periods of time (low or very low stamina for stretches of 15 minutes, like traveling long distances with tons of loot on foot?)
-Being dead tired or worse while not sleeping (every 15 minutes)
-Being over 5% stimulated, with the penalty getting worse for every additional 5%
-Smoking weed or drinking hard alcohol

-Reading something or crafting with a poor source of light
-Being flashed by a flash bang
-Being subject to the effects of teargas
-Being Boomered
-Being exposed to the sun glare for long periods of time (every 15 minutes)
-Being hit in the eye and sustaining at least one point of damage to the head

The general idea would be that it’s easier to maintain your stats if you can generate enough exercise points to offset misuse stats you generate through out the period, and about 5% of what it took for you to reach your current level stat level. Also, the idea would be that you couldn’t raise your stats more than 4 points above their base through exercise, or drop below 3 through misuse or laziness on it’s own (barring parasites, or addiction).

What I’m hoping to accomplish would be to give having higher skills a use for maintaining better stats, while side-stepping the possible pitfall of being able to read yourself to better stats through skill-books (except for intelligence, since that kind of makes sense). Since one of the major issues I’ve noted with the skills to stats mod is that you can read yourself to higher strength by reading books about combat, or read yourself to higher perception by reading books about different guns, bows, and marksmanship.

I like the stats through skills mod, but you don’t take any penalties for starting with better stats and no skills. You get some bonus stats from skills, but stats are still supremely more important than skills. You also don’t lose stats, unless you lose skills. But from what I can tell, you don’t drop below the stats that you started with. This can lead to reading strength themed books and then becoming stronger, somehow. Which is why I think there should be an exercise component, that happens somewhat slowly, over time.

Otherwise, with stats only being rigidly fixed, you end up with this situation where you ultimately feel like your gimping yourself when you pick up skills instead of stats, and I think having higher skills being used to help exercise and maintain higher stats would at least be a step in the right direction. This is something that I think would help make future balancing possible. The variance afforded by being able to raise stats through exercise would be enough that most players would gain by being able to make better use of existing skills to maintain the stats they depend on. Kind of like a character you can grow into, instead of needing to be as best they can be before they learn anything. That’s the issue we are ultimately trying to solve.

The figures I have are really rough. It also takes me quite a while for me to put my thoughts together, and I’m not sure if I’ve done a good job of that, so let me know if you have any questions, or if I’ve sparked any ideas or thoughts. = )

So, in a nutshell, you are offering ADoM’s approach to stats.

You seem to have it really thoroughly worked out. Why don’t you work on making a workable mod out of it. Once you get it properly functional, its almost guaranteed to get implemented as an optional mainline if nothing else. I would love to be able to play around with this. Although I think I would like to see Stats granulated, before this is implemented.

Oh MAN. CDDA with granular stats, and the final version of this implemented? Its almost to sexy to think about.

You hated on the drugs alot, which is fair as they can be seriously damaging. I think that the blob lore plays into that though. Full fledged blob zombies tend to regenerate entirely from dead. Its no stretch for that to mean the survivor has some enhanced regeneration ability, including the ability to fully recover from things that would not normally have much-to-any healing capacity. With how little blob is in the survivors body, it would be very slow, but present. Granular stats would mean for a much nicer implementation of your idea. Allowing the damage to be less than a full point, or just a little more, and allow it to bleed off, or slowly increase. A good way to indicate to the player that its time to change things up a little before their stats deteriorate to the point of destructive.

I can’t program in anything except VB right now. That’s the problem.

It will probably take me a while to learn how to program in Lua. I wanted to get the idea down and out there essentially. There’s also a few things I’m kind of fuzzy on in general.

  1. As I understand it, having 8 in a stat is considered slightly below average (with 10 being average). Although I haven’t heard that definitively.
  2. I hear quite a lot about issues of balancing mid and end game content over early game content. Essentially, the issue seems to be that once you can beat early game content, there’s little difference in difficulty between early game content and end game content. I think this has more to do with having a full set of armor, tools (especially CBM’s), mutations, and consumables (poppy painkillers anyone?), than with stats directly. And I could imagine that we are moving towards having most early game stats be between 6 and 10. I get the feeling that aiming for players to be between 10 and 14 in each stat might be under estimating what end game characters are capable of reaching through CBM’s and genemods without gamey measures. Should I use full Alpha mutations as a guide?

Also, yes, if every player is already infected with the blob (which I do remember from the lore, so that is something to consider) and they have more regenerative powers, then it would make sense that you could slowly recover from everything.

8 is the human average, where you are sufficient enough to recieve no penalties but also recieve no bonus.

7-11 seems to be about the human ‘range’, with above and below that being the 5% outliers.

[quote=“pisskop, post:5, topic:11520”]8 is the human average, where you are sufficient enough to recieve no penalties but also recieve no bonus.

7-11 seems to be about the human ‘range’, with above and below that being the 5% outliers.[/quote]

Okay cool. I’ll keep that in mind.

in game stimulant overdose is realy big bost to inteligence
this makes adrenaline realy usefull thing
when you want to qucikly read something (like you died and your new character have base of your old character) you just take 3 adrenaline shoots (4 will kill you) and prepare some atomic coffee and its done because inteligence bost from overdose last longer than strenght boost from adrenaline

in mines amigara horrors can be easly beaten with that too, high strenght for short time and large amout of inteligence make you realy powerfull and inteligence make you immune to paralyze

Caffeine pills are your friends. And caffeine gum, to a lesser extent.

Chocolate covered coffee beans for dinner, coffee/soda to wash it down, and caffeine pills/caffeine gum/gum for anything left wanting. Then vitamins to keep from being unhealthy.