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I Miss Some Things From b208. Like the Old Power Attack


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TL;DR background: I started in A13 and have always preferred to focus on establishing my own base ASAP before going out and exploring the world. I was the Tortoise in the old "Tortoise and the Hare" challenge back in Alpha 14 where I proved the best way to get high quality loot was to mine/gather/build and level up in general rather than immediately scavenge. And while I am a mole I've never tried to hide from the horde underground nor have I ever abused AI by building Stilt bases or the like. I've always focused on building stout walls and actively defending them (with some help from spikes and other passive defenses). Admittedly I was therefore a bit anxious about Alpha 17.


But at the same time I also play games like Overwatch and Half Life (also Starcraft 2, Divinity: Original Sin (2), Civilization V/VI, Dungeon of the Endless, etc) so I'm willing to adapt and try to embrace a game on what it is rather than what I wish it was. Which I did. b208 was the first A17 build I played and I played through Day 19 on difficulty 5 (survivalist) completely solo. Didn't mine underground at all, spent the first five days doing quests for traders, embraced the sledgehammer/fireaxe, and so on. Died three times total, all to feral zombies, and wound up giving up on doing dungeons the way they were designed and instead made my own route (I still fully cleared them, just on my own terms). Definitely appreciated the SMG and AK-47 I found when dealing with cops prior to day 14 and was a bit overjoyed when I found a Magnum -- was actually quite sad when the next experimental dropped the next day.


In other words, even though it was very different from A13-16, I still had fun. Even though I couldn't make a forge until level 20 (never spawned a screamer in the entire playthrough, by the way) and had to frantically pedal away on my bicycle when a wandering horde during the night apparently heard my forge going and tore down my outer wall in literally less than 20 seconds. Even though mining gave pitiful XP compared to killing zombies and I actually got zero XP for digging clay for cobblestone. Still had fun.


Which is why it's been disappointing that subsequent builds have consistently felt less and less fun. And I'm not talking about obvious issues like the food decaying way too fast and nearly starving on day 1 while looking for food the whole day. Here are the two main things I think have gotten worse.


1. Power Attack


I get it. In b208 except for some edge cases (like animal harvesting or construction tools that couldn't power attack) there was basically no reason to NOT power attack. The term "power attack" was basically meaningless. I get it.


I still wish that right click had been made into the default left click and something else had been done with right click. I had the most fun with melee by far in b208 compared to later versions. And this ain't a pure numbers thing.


First, I liked the animation more (except the grunts, those were annoying). It felt like I was delivering a devastating strike, winding up and giving a zombie a solid whack. The current Sledgehammer and Fireaxe animations feel like I'm giving zombies a love tap in comparison, like I'm gingerly trying to let gravity bring the weapon down.


Second, I liked the whole SMG via Magnum idea -- can attack more quickly with less stamina per swing or more slowly with more stamina per swing. The former has less overkill and means a single miss hurts you less, the latter rewards careful aiming and offers better burst. If the goal is to have right click be completely different from left click, then I'd really prefer the current left click to do like 50% more damage per swing and cost 50% more stamina.


Third, I miss the fireaxe being more viable as a melee weapon (at least while perkless). IIRC it used to be something like 62 for the sledgehammer and 56 for the iron fireaxe -- so you could use the sledgehammer for 10% more damage and save an inventory slot at the cost of not being able to harvest anything. Or you could use two inventory slots (fireaxe and pickaxe) and have less damage per hit but be able to gather. Now it does 26 damage for an Iron Fireaxe compared to 42 damage from an Sledgehammer. So that's about 38% less damage per hit while only using 27% less stamina per swing. And yes, the Iron Fireaxe does attack faster but that only helps if you're in a situation where you can hold down left click continuously. If I wanted quicker attacks for less damage I'd be using a club or knife.


Melee just felt more fun in b208 and I used clubs, sledgehammers, and fireaxes at different points, finding uses for each. And that's playing Survivalist in b208 compared to Nomad since then.


2. Level Gates/Attributes


I usually had a forge Day 1-2 in older alphas. I can understand the developers not wanting that (though Forge Houses and Traders with Forges seems weird...I used to consider finding a Forge House early cheating and refused to use them). And I'm fine with the idea of using stone tools for a while. And I was fine with the level 20 gate for Forges (which I hit on Day 5 back with 700 XP zombies). It gave me the ability to pick up some other random perks (like insulation if I'm near a desert, or huntsman, or crops, or whatever) in addition to basic stuff like harvesting perks. Hell, once I hit level 20 I wasn't super worried about levels -- didn't try to rush to Steel or anything. And even mid 60s or so on Day 19 I clearly didn't have the points to get whatever I wanted -- was still saving for Strength and Int perks mainly.


That all feels worse now.


The added hoops to jump through for a forge (two perks to unlock plus higher intellect needed) means it has in fact become harder to get a forge (in addition to the zombie XP nerf, not even counting the nails/duct tape stuff). That feels bad.


The increasing attribute cost means I can no longer spread out a few spare points towards miscellaneous perks (like insulation, huntsman, metabolism, crops, etc). Each point I put in something like that directly slows me down. That feels bad.


The increasing attribute cost also means I have to save up even more points -- I used to save a few points so I could get something like Pack Mule/Miner 69er/Mother Lode/Skull Crusher/Sexual Trex as soon as I hit a breakpoint for strength. Now I still have to do all that plus save a bunch of points for strength itself. That feels bad.


On a related note, the increasing attribute cost also means that it is much cheaper to unlock perks within an attribute and, in fact, you can't even afford all of the perks anymore (I tested it in creative mode). I guess the question is: should it be the Medicine/Fireaxe/Shotgun guy, the Toolsmith/Sledgehammer/Rifle guy, and the Mechanic/Club/Pistol guy or should it be the Medicine/Mechanic/Toolsmith guy, the Fireaxe/Sledgehammer/Club guy, and the Shotgun/Pistol/Rifle guy? Because now the latter is much more efficient...the "intellect" person might as well pick up everything, it's much cheaper.


Personally, I prefer the former where different people can specialize within an attribute.


Beyond the above, there's clearly other issues which are already noted. Things like the psychic zombies, zombies getting through concrete walls too fast due to stacking horde bonus, resource gathering being wonky (often getting more per node with worse tier of tool), etc. But all of those are in theory at least improving as we go through A17 (though I *think* but cannot be positive that gathering felt better in b208 in terms of raw resources).


This post is concerned with the changes that I think have made the game less fun since b208.

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I agree with every word, well said. I liked A17 best as it first released tbh. I liked the rwg and the skill system although I would have lowered some of the level gates.


Overall I agree that it got worse with every update. With the stable update the performance took a huge hit as well.


Some good things happened too like more working mods were added and bug fixes but the balance, combat and leveling up in general felt better to me. I enjoyed leveling up because I could upgrade something with every level.

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