I bought the season pass on Friday, and after beating The Last Autumn, I decided to try Endless Builder with the rifts map. I turned random hazards on, and then after further consideration I set the economy slider to easy. 60 in-game days and entirely too many real world hours later, here's the result:
I'm not done with it just yet, but the population is the highest it will get, and all that's left beyond minor improvements is relic collection, which I'm told is rather buggy in builders. I'm going to share some thoughts about it, but if you just want to see the city you can go about your day
On The Rifts: It gets some derision for just being a map with no scenario attached, and while it would be rather nice to have a scenario attached, it's a very unique and interesting map for endless mode. You have to be very strategic about the bridge building until you've got enough industrial capacity to build them quickly, and the shape of the map makes city building challenging. You'll notice from the picture that I had one island that was just residential and medical buildings, one little bit that's just hangars, etc. I enjoyed this but was kinda irritated that the build boundary was a little bit smaller than you'd expect from looking at it.
On random hazards: I have very mixed feelings. On one hand, they incentivize some new design choices. Charcoal kilns as a backup for coal thumpers, a mix of hothouses and hunters with lots of storage, slightly more steam hubs than needed. This city feels much more prepared than most of mine have. But at the same time I had to save scum a number of times in the early game because what would later mean building in some redundancy at the time would have just killed me outright. It would be nice if they started milder and gradually ramped up or if there were ways to invest manpower or resources to resolve them early.
On Endless Builder: I have mixed feelings on this as well, but I really enjoyed it. It's different enough both from the standard frostpunk experience and from TLA that it feels like a whole different thing. At the same time, though, I would've liked it if it had incorporated more things from The Last Autumn. Having access to braziers as an early game heating method or being able to use two shifts would've been really helpful and felt almost conspicuously absent. Not having any way to improve generator safety other than ventilation plants or the safety structures felt off as well, but it made somewhat more sense; this isn't a job site but a fight for survival.
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