I’d like to offer some feedback on your new survival mode as a veteran of online PVP survival games including Fallout 4’s survival mode.
While I can’t speak for everyone, I can speak from 1000+ hours experience in many of the top PVP survival games and on behalf of a large survival game community I play with as we have discussed what we would really like to see it transform into as it exits beta. I know a lot of people who are interested in purchasing the game but are waiting to see if this turns into a proper survival mode.
I was very excited when this mode first got announced as I was expecting a more brutal, spiced up version of the current adventure mode. While Adventure is a lot of fun it is currently very easy with no real consequences to game play.
My suggestions for a true survival mode experience;
• Absolutely no markers whatsoever for players on the map. Putting a bounty on a players head could be an option but it should be done at a vendor and cost a lot. The problem with the current scoreboard system / map marking system is that it is a distraction from the core game play. The reason PvP is so tense in survival games is because the encounters are random and unpredictable. While I'm not opposed to a stats board, marking players on the map for doing well has just put me off playing survival entirely. The markers are an artificial construct and a distraction from the core gameplay. There’s nothing to fear in terms of players finding each other organically. I never use the map markers to find players and I bump into them all the time because players go to farm the same locations and events.
• Survival mode should require a new character and they should be bound to this mode. Allowing free migration between modes completely defeats the purpose of its existence other than to strengthen the idea that it serves as nothing more than a quick fire death match mode. I'm all for character story and quest progress getting saved across characters but but when you start in survival you are a level 1 character with nothing, otherwise what's the point?
• Remove the marking system for when a player has their weapon away or not. Let the players organically decide who's friend and who's foe. It also makes it impossible to hide in foilage or in cover nearby.
• Buff environmental hazards to make them more dangerous. (rads for example should be lethal)
• Make the weather more extreme with more brutal rain storms and frequent rad storms.
• Lock character builds to make them permanent. No more jack of all trades, if you want players to engage in more team work then give them a reason to. If you have players who have focused builds that can't be changed then you will see actual builds form resulting in more interaction and trade. Re-rolling could be an option but it should be extremely costly to do it and only available end-game, not something anyone can do constantly or it just defeats the purpose.
• Revisit the damage and health system to make them feel like they have an impact on game play. Head shots should be lethal and a broken leg should take a long time to heal without the proper treatment. injuries should have real consequences both visually and practically. Right now they add nothing more than tedious searching through a long list to find the meds in order to get rid of notifications on screen.
• Revise the hunger / thirst system to make it actually important and not just another tedious thing in the background. If the bars go empty your character should die. As they get low you should 'feel' the impact through character movement and visuals.
• Strip back the HUD, keep it as minimal as possible with as little distraction as possible. No crosshair or first person player markers. The only way to get any sort of UI handicaps is through attachments for weapons and armour pieces. Quests should have minimal info and require the player to explore properly without their hand being held.
• Buff enemies to be more lethal. Non-boss enemies should be less bullet sponge but deal more damage.
• Reduce the accuracy and increase the recoil of all weapons to make combat last longer, especially in PVP. Also reduce NPC accuracy to balance their increase in difficulty and increased weapon damage output.
• Negate server hopping significantly by only allowing it to occur once every hour. If you leave a server and boot back up the game in less than an hour then it should put you back on the same server. The game is pretty much built around server hopping right now as that's what pretty much everybody is doing to farm end-game. The result is access to endless resources and a broken economy. Something needs to be done to make it unappealing or stop it entirely and at the same time, make players want to stay where they are. If server hopping gets fixed this would have a huge impact on game play and like locking character builds, it would encourage a lot more team play and trade as a proper loot economy would form where things are in demand. Server hopping the vast majority are doing constantly to farm and that just seems bizarre to me that we spend so much time going to the main menu to jump servers every couple of minutes.
• The loot economy should be revised to make some things a lot more scarce. Currently if you know the map you can so easily get everything you need. Meds in particular are far too easy to come by. If server hopping is negated and loot is scarce then proper trade will form as there will be supply and demand.
• Player versus player combat needs a lot of attention. The gap between god tier and new player weapons and armour needs closing significantly. Now I'm not opposed to legendary items but in survival mode the effects need to be nerfed significantly so that they only provide a very small advantage. Either that or the legendary effects should only effect PVE targets. When in PVP, the legendary effects should do nothing. If PVP is to be fair in the long rung then a new player with a pipe pistol should at least have a chance against a player in full assassins combat armour. In a PvP encounter the main factor that should determine the winner should be wit and skill otherwise there will be no long term life for survival servers if new players don't have a chance.
• Feeding from my last point, power armour should be the god tier outfit that is damn hard to take down by anybody. In order to balance, PA should be a much rarer sight. Fusion cores should be extremely rare, drain faster and PA should cost a heck of a lot to maintain. Manoeuvrability could be nerfed significantly to give other players a fighting chance or at least the ability to escape. This would mean folks wouldn't be roaming in it all the time. It would be saved for proper use during events like nuke zones.
• Remove or redesign mutations to be better suited and balanced for PVP. Some are just too OP and unbalanced like the one that gives you insane energy resistance.
All the ingredients are in the game already for this to work. Many of the systems are already in place and just need modifying. Fallout true survival could be absolutely amazing. Everything you do in the game would matter and have real consequences. With this particular rulset, you could afford to go a little further with what the player drops on death as well. Maybe as well as a few aid items and junk they might also drop a random unequipped weapon or armour piece just to make it that little bit more intense.
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