Game Difficulty Issues in current state


#1

Morning, all!

I’ve been playing my way around my steam library lately, and have been giving thought to what I like / don’t like out of each given experience. Some thoughts occurred to me regarding Generation Zero, and I wanted to put them out here as feedback for the community / dev team as a whole. I’d like to take a moment to say that I really appreciate the interest the devs have put into soliciting feedback from the community.

The most recent comparisons I’m going to draw are between this game and 7 Days to Die. For those who aren’t familiar, 7d2d is a survival zombie experience with a focus on crafting / scavenging. It’s got the full suite of survival features - hunger / thirst / temperature, a few potential wounds (mostly bleeding and broken legs, but they’re there), a tech tree that has to be progressed through by either skill points or finding recipes and loot in the world, etc…

I’m not here to ask for more survival features being added to GenZ. Please, please oh please, do not add in hunger/thirst/temperature - this isn’t that kind of game, and I don’t think it would add much in the way of value.

The biggest difference outside of the survival aspects is the horde attacks. In 7d2d, on every (by default 7)th night, a horde of zombies spawns to attack the player. Every player gets their own spawn, and they’re not normal zombies - by default they’re always sprinting, and they immediately cancel any stealth effects the player has on them. They know where you are, and they have one mission - to mob and maul you down.

This creates an interesting dynamic for the game. During most days and nights, the zombie threat is actually very manageable - by default they walk, and can be kited and killed in a variety of manners. This, to me, is somewhat representative of how most robots behave in the game. Our current wandering packs of enemies are just that - relatively isolated packs. Things can happen that cause bigger packs - or bigger zombie swarms - but these are relatively controllable. If things go south, escape is also an option in most instances, or at least leading the enemy to a more preferable location for the fight (think tunnels for any apoc hunters, for example). During horde night, however, this changes dramatically - the enemies become more aggressive, and standard tactics to evade and re-engage simply don’t work. This forces the player to spend the time between these horde nights preparing for their chosen tactic of defense - be it stockpiling weapons and ammunition, building a giant fort, digging a bunch of spike pits, etc…

I think some method of achieving the same ‘hunter killer’ squad of robots would be extremely appropriate, here. From a lore perspective, it’s never really made sense to me how FNIX handles the player’s presence - I’ve killed thousands of this AI’s minions, but for some reason the response is to deploy more minions and… just sort of passively hope they murder me. It wouldn’t even be particularly difficult to track my movement - just look for where there’s recently been a string of robot murders, and I was probably there (assuming they didn’t fall victim to the dreaded river / ocean). Why, then, isn’t there an active effort to hunt the player?

The reason for my suggestion, here, is for the added experience / immersion / challenge for the player(s). The world should be responsive to the player’s action - we’re supposed to be fighting a guerrilla war against FNIX, so responses to our actions makes sense. There’s a lot of reasons that could go into the how and why, for this, but above all I think this is the most important - it’d provide a world that feels more alive and responsive, rather than feeling like a robot safari.

Feedback / questions / comments welcome.


#2

So basically you are suggesting that if you provoke Chaos in an area, some machines should reinforce or investigate after ? As long as those machines are not “Infinite” i think it would be a really good idea, and for balance and difficulty purposes, leave it only to skirmish and guerrilla maybe?
it would indeed make the world more alive and responsive and bring challenge without crazy and unbalanced features like extended range and speed of weapon systems or Immense Health for the machines.

  • I suggest just like the Rival system, a “Hunting party system” with limited machines(not infinite!) after a certain number of enemies are disposed of in a region.
  • The player then would need to destroy the Hunting parties or face the possibility that after each confrontation in such region, the Hunter killers would be right behind
  • Limited number of “waves”
  • option to turn it off in the beginning of game session
  • Normal enemies, no Hp differences from other “non Hunting parties” enemies
  • Possibility to evade them by avoidance, stealth combat or by changing game Region (escape)
  • Notification of Hunting Party “spawn” somewhere in the present Region

#3

To be honest, the system I would most want to see would work in two facets.

First, there’s a general ‘spawn density’ of robots in a region. If you attack robots in a given region, the other forces in that region should care, and should attempt to investigate. The more damage that you cause, the more pressing of a concern you should become - thematically, you’re not the only survivor, so it makes sense that killing a few runners doesn’t make you public enemy #1, but as you cause more problems, the robots should care more. In addition, tying this to the ‘overall spawn density’ lets us moderate both how much you have to deal with, and provides an opportunity for a second ‘break point’ - where the machines have suffered heavy enough losses that they fall back, regroup, and form larger, more organized clumps. Basically, the more you hunt, the more they come after you - until you’ve done enough damage that they consider you too much of a threat to deal with without, say, falling back to a more defensible position. Right now, the robot AI is pretty dumb with regards to making themselves hard targets, and that feels sloppy from a lore perspective.

The second aspect would work just like you’ve described it - a hunting party, based on a combination of character level and recent actions. This prevents hunting parties that feel like a joke - ‘oh noes a pack of eight proto hunters, whatever shall I do’ - and makes them more interactive - ‘I’ve killed a group of apoc hunters, now they’re sending a harvester with a team of hunters and runners’. This should work, in my eyes, as a tier system, similar to how the rivals currently work - build up to a certain extent (I could see 4-5 levels), and then achieve a cooldown period. Getting to this cooldown period should drastically reduce the spawn density in a given region, reflecting the machine’s decision to cut their losses and avoid you until they can reinforce. Pairing this with in-game announcements, like you suggested, adds another dynamic - now players can actively choose to wander into a region, raise hell in their chosen spot, and then use the resulting lull (if successful) in robot activity to loot up and resupply. One of my least favorite aspects of the game is actually the slow trickle of re-supplying; this would help offer another approach, where those of us who’ve inevitably accumulated large stockpiles have both a reason to burn through them, and a chance to regain them.

I also agree with the option to enable / disable this setting, or tying it to the difficulty setting. I realize that what I think is fun / challenging may feel oppressive / frustrating to other players, and excluding players based on such is never (in my opinion) a good idea. I think the devs made the right choice with both including and including a toggle for, the multiplayer scaling options, and think it should continue with future difficulty changes.


#4

I don´t agree with your first point, because of it´s complexity, the game is very buggy, it would make more harm than good, and the difficulty would spike a lot, and it almost seems you want the game to be a defensive war strategy scenario where human forces retreat to a stabilized frontline or neutral zone, i find that very interesting but this is not that type of game, this is not 7 days to die or The forest where you retreat to a cabin, i´m sorry but it would change the game too much, it would be a mess.
Now there could be a wave or horde mode, that has nothing to do with single player and that the player would have to do some of the things you suggested, that could be fun, it would have to be a separate game mode, maybe another island or map with no option to go to the “Normal” scenario and i doubt the developers want that for the game, they are a small team, the game still has many bugs, there is new content coming and in current development, they really don´t have the manpower and resources at this time to for that.
And i know it would be more simple to just implement it in the “normal” game mode, but it would bring unbalance, bugs, break the game a.i and bring a feature that most do not want.
Maybe in a Perfect world we have a Generation Zero with multiple maps, campaigns and various survival modes :wink: .