To preface – this is not for reproduction. Especially not by gamestoday.info, who stole my last post and plastered it on their own website without even asking for my permission first. So if you're reading this there, please just know that they didn't ask me permission for this either, or if they did, I didn't grant it.
That out of the way:
A couple of days ago, I posted https://www.reddit.com/r/Frostpunk/comments/jz40dy/couple_of_observations_from_my_hardmode_deathless/
It was my best received post on Reddit to date, so I thought I'd share some points from my New Home Deathless Extreme run (without crossing the line) I finished last night. This is a bit bigger than the last one, since I’ll spend a bunch more time comparing Extreme to Hard, and may only apply to my play-style, but if it helps anyone at all, it’s served its purpose.
- First off, no, I will never be doing an extreme run again. Hard mode was a fun challenge, while Extreme was straight up draining. Felt really proud in those final moments though when I saw everyone had survived, but can’t say I had ‘fun’ getting there.
- Early game crunch time – specifically the need to micromanage every action down to the split second – was nearly twice as long in Extreme mode than in Hard. In Hard, crunch time lasted the first 8 days, and by day 11-12, I felt relatively stable and like I was making consistent forward progress. In Extreme though, crunch time lasted until a day before Winterhome, and I didn't feel a sense of stability until the tail end of the Londoners’ arc (specifically, the you talked/my turn option).
- Just for reference – my laws -> Emergency shift (used once)-> Extended Shift (constant)-> Soup (constant)-> Sustain Life-> Extra Rations -> Child Shelters -> Engineering Apprentices -> Fighting Pit-> Public House -> Moonshine -> House of Prayer -> Shrines -> Evening Prayers -> Temple -> Field Kitchens -> Faith Keepers -> Public Penance (never used) -> Cemetery -> Ceremonial Funerals -> Prosthesis
- I tried the 24hr shift trick on all the resource piles first, and didn't find the resource boost that I got from that was worth the discontent bump, nor the increased rate of sickness – was choking on the ill by the end of the first night. So I started again and my successful run had only a single 24hr shift to start, once again on my workshop which I built around noon the first day.
- The initial rounds of gathering were critical to ensure I could build everything I wanted to night one. Initially, I was running 15 engineers on the lowest steel pile, then 30 workers on the nearby wood, 15 more on the steel pile next to the lonely coal pile, which got the last 5 workers. I did this because starting, I wanted two gathering posts along with my workshop night one to shelter 20 of my people and cut down on sickness at work, and my plan was to research and build the beacon, staffing it the next day. 30 workers for a few hours (cut to 10 while building the workshop, and boosted to 5 once done) would let me do that.
- This was a major problem though, because it’d leave me too short on wood and time to also build medical posts and a full 8 tents to get everyone shelter. This snowballed into a lot more sick people, starvation, and a losing trajectory that would’ve likely had someone starving/freezing to death around day 5, just as the really long -20 temperature drop started. Extreme weather settings are no joke. It also meant I couldn’t start research until around 1-2pm, because my engineers would’ve walked too far south to the steel, and would have to turn around and walk back before building the workshop.
- So, optimizing – Instead, I sent 5 people to coal, 41 people to wood, 4 workers to the lonely steel pile, and the 15 engineers to the same pile they’d normally do. This meant that at almost the exact moment that I got 15 wood, I had 5 steel. Then I’d take everyone off steel, build the workshop, and assign all the spares to wood. This meant the workshop got built a minute or two before noon because the engineers didn't walk as far away (because wood shot up faster). And… get this… my first research was the sawmill.
- I know, right? Normally I'd do beacon, but I'd have no steel to build it. Gathering made sense too, but once the piles ran out, it was useless til I build thumpers. But that sawmill kept me flush with wood through the first act of the game – it was good for 60 the first day, for only 10 workers, and it gave me the ability to consistently build at night. It let me build a medical post and 8 tents night one, and the gathering posts, cookhouse, a 2nd medical post and a hunters hut night two. Which is good, because night one I had 8 sick. And this was just one optimization I had to make to stay ahead of the weather, starvation, and sickness. I ended up building the beacon night 3, which is really late for me.
- Speaking of sickness – I only needed 4 medical posts to get me through on Hard. On Extreme, that capped out at 6, and I was often having to run partial shifts of 2-3 engineers in each just to get people in out of the cold (people in medical posts, infirmaries and care homes can’t die or progress to gravely ill so long as there’s at least one person on shift). My first act was crippled by the sheer masses of sick I had, and only started to back off once I built my first infirmary around day 8. It would’ve been suicide to use Food Additives, which would increase my sick-load. Better to go hungry and manage with soup.
- It was also essential that whenever I had a sick absence on a hunters’ hut, I dismiss that person and replace them with someone healthy (big micromanagement sink), because my second biggest concern was how fast your people get hungry. Which, on Extreme, occurs as soon as they miss a meal. Hungry is bad, but doesn’t really affect anything. Starvation was a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. The first 11 raw food from the hunter’s hut built night 2? Yeah, I had 3 people starving by then, so they ate 6 of it raw. And in so doing, ate the equivalent of 15 soup meals, and had a chance of getting sick, reducing production even further.
- Of course, the fact that I also used "Extra Rations for the sick" contributed to my problems – it was a never-ending balancing act between using up too many rations on the sick, and starving those outside, or leaving the sick to wait, and pile up even worse and necessitate building another medical post to keep them. The only reason I survived was that I got lucky, and Crash Site was one of my two starting scouting locations, so I brought back food before I brought back survivors of the lost expedition. And unlike every difficulty before it, I was eating soup til the end of the game. I just could not get a solid enough buffer where I felt it was worth switching to regular rations.
- Research times are also a bear – in Hard, base-level techs take 11 hrs at 100% efficiency to research. In Extreme, 13. So even with a 24hr emergency shift on the workshop followed by enacting extended shift once it ends, at best I’m getting two techs by the end of the second work shift, and only slightly better than 1 per extended shift until I get the second workshop. By comparison, in Easy difficulty, it takes 5 hrs to research something at base, so that first 24hr shift could easily have you rocking 3-4 upgrades by the time the sun rose.
- Because of all this, I was miles behind where I normally would be approaching day 15 – even as food supplies and sick levels started to stabilize, research was painfully slow, and I was barely making a profit off coal. Steel was a pipe dream (ha) – the only reason I was still surviving was that I sent back the automation from the bridge, and put it on steel production. It was essential that I had an outpost on the Icebound Dreadnought, until about half an hour before the storm hit and could’ve killed them. Then they outran it to resume coal deliveries for another 2-3 days.
- By the end of the game, I was running 12 Workshops with a pair of automatons to keep things rolling out, and I managed to research everything before the storm hit, minus a few redundant techs that I realized were traps. Generator range, everyone knows, but hothouse insulation is a waste considering you can layer steam hubs, advanced heaters, and field kitchens sufficient to keep the hothouse rolling until the storm hits (if you’re even using one – I liked the constant, slow flow of food through the day and night with an automaton running it). The insulation would only matter if the ground didn’t freeze, rendering it inoperable. I also chose not to research Bypass Circuits or House Insulation, since I knew my scouts would find those in the act 3 locations. Advanced Coal mines though were essential early – they were the only thing keeping me in the green. Boosted Sleds could’ve probably gone either way.
- Also, ironically, Sawmills were the only resource generators I didn’t upgrade – that’s because I rushed wall drills. And it was worth it – sawmills are nice and fluffy, but the Wall Drills are where the real solid production’s at.
- Because I mismanaged my steel, and was scraping by til I got an outpost on the Dreadnought, I wasn’t able to go from tents to houses directly. And on extreme, you really want to. The -3 temp levels drop for 2-3 days would’ve been negligible to manage with houses, but instead, I had to scramble to build bunkhouses, and then scramble again to build houses.
- Speaking of temperature drops, practically every-single-night I had to strategically fire up the overdrive on the generator to keep homes at least livable. This was all in an effort to keep the sick from choking my infirmaries. I found that by being stingy with when I started and stopped it, I could often give it a full day off during the – very brief – times where temperature rose a few degrees, before it plunged again the next day, and sick impact would be minimal. I found it was always better to run at level 2 or 3 generator and overdrive at night, than to run just level 4 – running the lower setting let me stockpile further, and with regular breaks, the overdrive never got too critical. Then, during daylight hours, fire up the stronger power levels on the generator so workplaces are comfortable without having to resort to heaters (assuming you have more heater consumption than the generator would draw).
- The Londoners arc was where I started to relax a tiny bit. Because I rushed my faith buildings and spammed their abilities as often as I could, I was able to get us into a net-drop state relatively quickly. This is also why I waited on Cemetery – it gives you a hope bump, and since my goal was deathless, it wasn’t needed. That being said, on Extreme, during the protests a LOT more people join their cause if you let them speak. I still did, because when it came my turn to speak, it basically wiped them out. I ended up having them naturally give up about 3 days before the timer ran out.
- That being said, I should’ve done the faith-keepers before field kitchens. The kitchens sat empty for a while after being built, where if I’d had faith keepers, I could’ve nullified the first theft as well as the second. The third I have to let go unless I want a death, and when people riot, I dispersed the protests to keep them from adding more Londoners. Some optimization there could help – it's possible that by doing nothing and letting the Londoners' population rise a little after the third theft, I could've used the Faith abilities and public penance to stretch the arc another 3 days, and still win.
- When faced with the event to have Automatons slow down and stop being a threat to workers, I didn’t this time; 10% to me, felt like it could mean the difference between life and death, vs a broken limb. The gamble paid off – I only had the one scripted amputation, and not another single person got hurt afterwards. That being said, from an ethical standpoint, I probably could’ve also slowed the automatons down; in the end, the 10% was not that essential.
- Prior to the storm this time, I built enough care homes that the entire population of New London could be gravely ill, and no one would die. This was unnecessary. At my worst moment in the final push, my 12 infirmaries were maxed out, with another 80 people sick with nowhere to go – and they wouldn’t enter care homes unless gravely ill. I also had 12 automatons to run those infirmaries with two spares, but that was also unnecessary – since I had full insulation and proper heating on them, the doctors never once got sick. So were I to do this again, I’d build at least 20 infirmaries, and probably a couple more coal thumpers instead of all those care-homes. At worst, 5 gives you room for 100 sick over your infirmaries, and I didn’t need that.
- Part of why I didn’t need that, I attribute to again ripping down all my hunters’ hangers, the hothouse, and my coal mines (when prompted) and replacing them with thumpers, kilns, and kitchens on the first day of the storm. I overdrove the generator through the day instead of the night that first day to keep them from freezing while working, and I barely had any sick from it. Net result, all but about 30 of my population had warm(er) jobs to go to each day for 14 hrs (10 after they got pissed and I had to reduce discontent), cutting back on my potential sick pop even more. That could've been completely cut had I used some of the Care-home space for another thumper.
- No, absolutely not, under no circumstances whatsoever am I doing a Survivor run. The thought of doing Extreme again doesn’t appeal to me, but Extreme without ability to pause? I think a solid no is in order. That way lies madness.
- I may start the Arks next. On Normal. It'd be a nice break.
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© Post "Further Observations from my Deathless Extreme run" for game Frostpunk.
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