Yes, the player can do many things to mitigate the loss of items. Thats the point; to have the player take care of what they want to keep.
And yes, flashlights in particular will likely have a high degree of rain resistance. It also gives us an excuse to add crappy flashlights or keychain lights.
But the bulk of whats in danger are dead npcs, zombie drops, and stuff people just plop outside without building a frame with a roof to store it in.
People who leave wood in the rain make it susceptible to fungal spores should they be around.
People who leave books outside will lose legibility quickly as the paper wears.
People who leave amplifier circuits outside will lose those as they bork out.
Hopefully, we would be able to load solids into containers. There’s a standard size already, albiet I dont know why we cant already.
People who dont add rooves to a car will risk the loss of their items.
We would have a reason to implement the rusting of car parts. I believe cars are made of steel frames and all, but so are aluminum tongs.
Scrap metal can dissappear over the long term.
These burnt out electronics can be salvaged for parts still.
We’d have effectively reduced the space per tile for a stash spot outside to 650 for most people. And made them need 2 steel frames and a sheet metal to keep it safe. Which is kind of a waste in the city, but in the country it forces people to care for their stuff; perhaps leaving it inside or under a shelter of their own making.
Then we have the ever present need to watch the skies. Not for acid rain, not because theyll die or the game will end, but because they cant leave stuff lying around and have it not take damage of some kind.
And thats items. Lightning storms are heavy rain, and I wouldnt mind a little more flexibility with constructions. That includes a failstate for attempts and a semi-fail state where a damaged roof/wall can be built or a ‘makeshift’ version of your makeshift roof can exist. And a way to tell how damaged walls/floors are and to see flavor/practical descriptions of the descriptions of the walls.
Its something I think isnt required to be a ‘now’ thing, but it adds to the simulation. Its not about forcing the player to change; it adds to the simulation by creating more loss and bleakness in the world that doesnt affect what the survivor holds dear. You’re right to say it doesnt actually affect what the survivor usually does. They build houses and rooves and they stay out of the rain for the morale penalties. Well, when you care about morale or dont have an mp3 player . . . It doesnt force drastic changes on the player.
It makes touches that can be expanded to washing exterior tiles of gibby bits. It makes touches that can be retroactivly applies to tiles outside the reality bubble. It helps wash the world of its old trappings, from a more lore friendly approach.