my mod idea: Simple but meaningful re-balance with less time shifting though your inventory, a bit more time crafting, several tactically-sound options for building your skills and play style, and a longer game play without experienced players feeling early game sped into late game without much mid-game.
skill tree re-balance: Miner 69er & Lucky looter & Better barter are premium skills that now cost points equal to the next level. Max item level (looted, made, or bought) is 1+ your level (always that for made items, random with a cap for the others). Powered tools & crucibles can only be found or purchased with max level. Vehicle parts are tiered so points in salvaging and grease monkey combined affect caps on finding more valuable vehicle parts. No intact vehicles as loot. Grease Monkey will be a bit more costly and gated by int.
Powered tools are fast at the expense of half XP. Max strength and max Miner 69'er with a steel pick will gain XP significantly faster but gather resources slower.
Zero item chance for every container with one exception: those at the end of a POI - which is cleared. Zero item chance is 60% minus lucky looter level times 10. (50, 40, 30, 20, 10).
Recipes you've already read are deleted upon looting for a modest xp gain - no more loot, tab, read read read read read....repeat.
Traders are standing in an empty POI with a couple locked chests behind them (only indestructible part of the POI). They have a lot of health and can't be attacked if no one is nearby - but eventually, they'll die if you don't build them some defenses. Traders are tiered 1-3, and will charge you a one time fee of $500, $1,000, or $1,500 - just to start trading with them or obtain any quests. Lose a trader, you just lost your investment. Higher tiered traders carry slightly better items and attract zombies like a torch, forge, auger, respectively.
Thanks for reading. Wish I could mod.