Whats the point of mutating?

Honestly. Every mutation path except for Alpha has one or more mutations that throw a MASSIVE wrench into the functioning of any survivor.
Deterioration, Radioactive, Sores, Sensory Disintegration, Extremely Ponderous, the Slime mutations that basically set your strength to 0, Genetically Unstable, Carnivore / Herbivore which both SEVERELY restrict your range of diet, bodyparts that prevent you from wearing mouthgear/footwear/gloves and thus extremely susceptible to both cold and damage (even with fur), mutations that render crafting/fine manipulation impossible like paws or broad paws, Very Fast / Extreme Metabolism that basically makes your character concentrate on finding food and nothing else, Very / Extremely thirsty which is even worse and makes sleeping almost impossible and potentially fatal, Slimy (which is just downright annoying more than anything, really), Hollow bones or similar that makes carrying any amount of weight or armor impossible, the list goes on and on.

My point is, every mutation category has one or more mutations that are so horrible, so crippling in one way or another, that they completely outweigh the benefits of all the other mutations you get. Chimera however is the grand champion of this, to the point where I seriously wonder why anyone under any circumstance would go through all the time and effort of brewing it and then drinking it, only to get kicked in the teeth repeatedly by a conga-line of crippling mutations.

So why even mutate at all? Besides Alpha and maybe Medical and Troglobite (whose negative mutations aren’t quite as bad)

I like to call it the ‘revolving door’ of gameplay, where playstyle and the thrill of high-risk gambling are met. You do it (mutate) for fun, reward, or because you can.

You wanna make a genetic ubermensch, you gotta break a few chromosomes.

OP, there’s quite a number of things you’re missing here:

[ol][li]The best mutation path to take is highly dependant on starting build. For instance, a build starting with Int 20, Str 10, and Shaolin Adept (Dragon Kung-Fu) would gain much more by going full Slime (namely, doubled Int and Per, Higher Dex, but -2 or -4 Str), all-the-while gaining virtually nothing (and possibly losing more) with Alpha in comparison.[/li]
[li]Many of the useful post-thresh benefits (and admittingly, penalties/sidegrades) don’t go away with purifiers. For the above example, you can guarantee purging yourself of all the crappy mutations (except Pseudopods) while keeping the best traits (Distributed Senses/Neurology, and maybe Omnicellular).[/li]
[li]As an addendum to the above, the crafting of Alpha mutagens is a large sink of purifiers in and of itself, and is very costly to begin with.[/li]
[li]Non-Alphas have more options outside their mutation line. For that Slime example above, you can try dabbling in Cattle mutations to get some Str, and if you don’t like the results, worst case scenario you’ve wasted a few cattle mutagen but can still spend a few purifiers to go back where you were. By comparison, Post-Thresh Alpha just doesn’t play nice with many other mutation lines; Prime stats can be taken away by standard stat-altering traits, resulting in the loss of precious Alpha Mutagen.[/li][/ol]

Mutations like radioactive, fast metabolism/thirst and herbivore are easy to manage by the time you start producing mutagen. A big stack of flour, a tank of water and a flask of yeast is enough to solve food problems for non-carnivores.

Mouthgear prevention is quite annoying at start (makes poisonous zeds dangerous), but with the exception of ice lab, having two body parts chilled isn’t really a death sentence. And if you raid a bunch of libraries, you should have enough tailoring to craft XL clothing for the first winter (assuming spring start, but can easily happen in summer too).
And toe talon is a great early/midgame melee mutation.

That said, most great mutations are available from the start and don’t require high-level books and expensive equipment. Night vision, toe talon, radiogenic+radioactive, robust genetics etc.

There should be more effect to most of the mutations, because a great deal of them “just is”. Anything that grants bonus to swimming is a great example.

[quote=“ShinQuickMan, post:4, topic:10053”]OP, there’s quite a number of things you’re missing here:

[ol][li]The best mutation path to take is highly dependant on starting build. For instance, a build starting with Int 20, Str 10, and Shaolin Adept (Dragon Kung-Fu) would gain much more by going full Slime (namely, doubled Int and Per, Higher Dex, but -2 or -4 Str), all-the-while gaining virtually nothing (and possibly losing more) with Alpha in comparison.[/li]
[li]Many of the useful post-thresh benefits (and admittingly, penalties/sidegrades) don’t go away with purifiers. For the above example, you can guarantee purging yourself of all the crappy mutations (except Pseudopods) while keeping the best traits (Distributed Senses/Neurology, and maybe Omnicellular).[/li]
[li]As an addendum to the above, the crafting of Alpha mutagens is a large sink of purifiers in and of itself, and is very costly to begin with.[/li]
[li]Non-Alphas have more options outside their mutation line. For that Slime example above, you can try dabbling in Cattle mutations to get some Str, and if you don’t like the results, worst case scenario you’ve wasted a few cattle mutagen but can still spend a few purifiers to go back where you were. By comparison, Post-Thresh Alpha just doesn’t play nice with many other mutation lines; Prime stats can be taken away by standard stat-altering traits, resulting in the loss of precious Alpha Mutagen.[/li][/ol][/quote]

Wait, do purifiers / mutagens work off of some pattern? I figured purifiers and mutagens just randomly mutated/un-mutated you down the tree they’re associated with, or is that correct and I’m misinterpreting something here?

Certain mutations, once you have them, will be much more difficult or outright impossible to remove by purifiers alone. These include all of the Threshold-breaking mutations, many post-Threshold traits, and much of the Crunch Berry ones as well. A number of these traits can never be taken away once you have them (ie all thresh-breakers), while a few can only be removed by specific conflicting traits (ie Distributed Neurology can be taken away by any Intelligence-affecting mutation).

Wait, do purifiers / mutagens work off of some pattern? I figured purifiers and mutagens just randomly mutated/un-mutated you down the tree they're associated with, or is that correct and I'm misinterpreting something here?
They usually remove the most recent mutations. If you gained Slimy mut. and used purifier, chances are that Slimy will be removed first. It doesn't happen always since it's more like weightened list where more recent mutations get higher chances to be removed. I am not sure how far it goes, though. I've never seen it removing a mutation that you have had for a long time unless there is nothing else.

As for the complaint I’m just going to say that: balance. It’s all about balance. You gain useful mutations but you also ought to suffer from something else. If you want to get better set you basically need more resources and time to craft/find extra mutagen and purifier. Mutations are far more powerful, um, things than CBMs because they are more extreme and thus are more risky to play with. There are some CBMs which are irreplaceable by mutations but most of these are active and pretty much combat CBMs like cloak, artificial night, chain lightning or else. There are not a lot of useful passive bionics especially when it comes to stats. Mere +2 is nothing in compare to extreme +7 per a mutation category.
Moreover, it’s just fun to mutate. Gives something for roleplaying.

[quote=“EditorRUS, post:8, topic:10053”]

Wait, do purifiers / mutagens work off of some pattern? I figured purifiers and mutagens just randomly mutated/un-mutated you down the tree they’re associated with, or is that correct and I’m misinterpreting something here?

They usually remove the most recent mutations. If you gained Slimy mut. and used purifier, chances are that Slimy will be removed first. It doesn’t happen always since it’s more like weightened list where more recent mutations get higher chances to be removed. I am not sure how far it goes, though. I’ve never seen it removing a mutation that you have had for a long time unless there is nothing else.[/quote]
I’m not sure how exactly it works, but it definitely doesn’t track how long you’ve had a mutation, so it’s not quite that straightforward. I think what you’re seeing is that mutations that act as prerequisites for other mutations can’t be purified away until the other mutation is gone, so basically mutations accrete in layers, and purifier only acts on the outermost layer.
I'm not sure how exactly it works, but it definitely doesn't track how long you've had a mutation, so it's not quite that straightforward.
I checked the code and yeah, you are right. It removes from 1 to 4 random valid (not prerequisite for another existing mutation) mutations. In real game, though, there is something weird and random tends to remove the most recent (in order of getting mutation) mutations.

As a person who has looked rather comprehensively at that particular section of the code (in my handful of attempts at breaking it up to rewrite chunks of it) I can assure you that there is nothing that makes it target the most recent mutations specifically. The only effects that operate on it is a combination of the inability to remove a mutation when you have a trait that depends on it and a dash of player bias in interpreting the data; there’s nothing in there that should be making it target the most recent mutations other than those two things.

Relevant bits of code from the latest version:

[code] for( auto &traits_iter : mutation_branch::get_all() ) {
if( p->has_trait( traits_iter.first ) && !p->has_base_trait( traits_iter.first ) ) {
//Looks for active mutation
valid.push_back( traits_iter.first );
}
}

for (int i = 0; i < num_cured && !valid.empty(); i++) {
    const std::string id = random_entry_removed( valid );
    if (p->purifiable( id )) {
        p->remove_mutation( id );
    } else {
        p->add_msg_if_player(m_warning, _("You feel a slight itching inside, but it passes."));
    }
}[/code]

Anything you are observing is purely coincidental. The mutation list might be ordered (in an order that has absolutely nothing to do with the order you obtain the mutations, it has to do with the order they show up in the JSON files IIRC), but then we literally roll a random number to pick what we can remove. In addition I just ran an additional test, and purifier purified the more recent mutations no more than the older ones. What you are seeing is purely due to false pattern recognition, no more and no less.