Vonwoah

Destory the Existing Loot Table - Important Loot Should Be Scrambled

12 posts in this topic

Chat discussion via Twitch watching a Long Dark stream and met mortena011 in chat. We've talked about maps, and the main thing we connected on was the existing knowledge of loot tables and where important items spawn.

If you ever seen the existing loot table spreadsheet, the experienced players know it and have it worked out in their head. Example would be: Find peaches in a sink, a bed roll will appear in X location. With mortena011 we are talking about how that ruins the mystery of the game and how we think "good loot" should be randomized further.

The existing loot table is here. I've personally referenced it before on an interloper run, but felt like I was cheating. I honestly hate looking at this because this removes a major element of what TLD is about.

SPOILERS! WARNING LINK BELOW

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11n0wfRQadaWay4feLbunF9dxIbS2hZ3O_I57x5JfF6s/edit#gid=1146953510

A beer conversation with mortena011 on loot tables. The idea of posting this is to hear from others in the community on what you think of the existing loot tables.

Vonwoah: yo
mortena011: Aye aye.
Vonwoah: what do you mean by, "stopping once 1 or 2 has spawned".?
Vonwoah: like if X number of hatchets is fulfilled, no longer spawn in any other region?
mortena011: Well; essentially.
mortena011: For instance, designate 10+ potential spawns for the hammer, and roll an rng for whether one or two will be allowed to spawn - have the game roll an RNG with, say 10%, chance of a spawn, going through the list, and once 1 or 2 has spawned, move on to the next item.
Vonwoah: I think players like to look for places to find the good loot. "prime locations". I think they should flag those locations and have the 4-5 sought after "early game" items everyone goes for first. Flare gun being an exclusion.
mortena011: Doesn't really need to be that many potential spawns either, as long as it's random for each individual item, so you cannot know the "if x spawns here, y will for certain be there" kinda thing.
Vonwoah: make these prime location of finding the grouping of "good loot" randomized.
mortena011: I agree.
Vonwoah: you're talking dice, but I even think it would be interesting if they made the game of only 2 hammers spawn throughout the entire game.
Vonwoah: or is that just setting up the game for players that exceed 1000+ days for failure?
Vonwoah: depends on the item really.
mortena011: For instance you knew that the only places to find the hammer would be on Crystal lake in TMW & in HRV, for instance?
Vonwoah: at the same time, the hammer shouldn't be like a forge of knowing where to find it.
mortena011: Exactly.
mortena011: But as long as the important items are random in relation to each other, I don't really care.
Vonwoah: there is that balance where people would give up. Wouldn't be surprised if they tested this before.
mortena011: It's the fact that you only need to find one of these things to KNOW where all of the other ones are bugs me.
Vonwoah: yes! 100% important items need to be randomized. They could do more interesting things with the loot too.
mortena011: With that you hit the nail on the head.
Vonwoah: 12 bed rolls, hah! I didn't think that was possible
mortena011: Well, it probably means that every single one of the possible spawns for bedroll were activated.
Vonwoah: I don't know much about the unity engine. I wouldn't be surprised if you can have a global table above any environment you generate.
Vonwoah: would be awesome if they switched this up. Have you voiced this to Hinterland before?
mortena011: Most likely, I experimented a wee bit with the engine quite a long time ago, but all that is forgotten - wouldn't surprise me, though.
mortena011: Have not, perhaps I'll send them a mail.
Vonwoah: yeah dude. I really don't like how everyone knows where to look for something with Interloper streams.
Vonwoah: it's like, as soon as you learn the system, you can't forget it and now you are spoiled.
mortena011: Right, it's weirdly unrealistic for a game like this. I get that you know the layout of the world, but the loot should be randomised.
Vonwoah: I saw the loot table, did it for one run, and then was like nahhh. I'm going to forget this
mortena011: Did you, though? :p
Vonwoah: I know the locations, not the items.
mortena011: Neat.
mortena011: I can't forget the loot tables after watching some of the streamers.
Vonwoah: I think the summit with the flare gun is the great exception. I think Hinterland is experimenting with it. Hope it changes, because this loot table has been around for awhile now right?
Vonwoah: flare gun in ravine, and summit. Leave the flare gun untouched. Everything else with important items. Randomized in regular locations everyone hits up.
mortena011: Yeah - there is always a flare gun in the Ravine and at the Summit, but I feel as though a flare gun in the crashed plane if fair as an always-spawn.
Vonwoah: gah! so wish they shook this game up to where veterans get upset that their hammer is no longer where they expected it.
mortena011: Would be a fun sight - perhaps they shouldn't even mention it in the patch notes? ;)
Vonwoah: hahaha! yes!
mortena011: 
:D
Vonwoah: I've been checking the forums recently. Not sure if you do.
Vonwoah: Sounds like a good topic for open discussion.
mortena011: Sure, create a thread, virtually paste the conversation between us in there. I'll thumbs-up it. ;)
Vonwoah: ohh right on.
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I kinda agree, and I kinda don't. I see the general problem, and having played my fair share of loper (although not as successful as others) I noticed that the game starts to turn from "dayum, I'm screwed" to "I gotta get to that cave because it has guaranteed matches". That's something not entirely desirable, not only because the game gets somewhat easier (while still being stupidly hard, don't get me wrong, loper isn't for the fainthearted), but also because it changes your mindset from desperate explorative efforts to ticking boxes and following script.

On the other hand getting to know locations in certain setups adds to the "easy to learn, hard to master" attitude behind TLD. You have to invest serious amounts of time to come up with such things yourself, and I think we're talking about a 5%-ish player base that really experiences, if at all. The other problem with scrambling everything is the fact that while some rolls will produce easier runs, some rolls will produce impossible runs. Every time you invite the dice you need to start putting boundaries in place to keep it from falling off the table, and then you still miss some edge cases.

But bottom line I tend more towards agreeing than disagreeing. It's something that would need to be touched very carefully, but also something that could bring back a lot of mystery, desperation and quite honestly fun to those in the community that have all those spawns in their muscle memory.

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Posted (edited)

The game world exploration and distribution of resources in TLD have both been given priority attention by the Hinterland developers, and improvements continue.

As a player, I do not understand the exact mechanic used for the “loot system randomizer” but the searching is a huge part of what I enjoy most about the game.

What impresses me, is the constant progress towards an increasingly balanced system and the logical “hidden” loot locations, (where items might tend to fall and get forgotten by the original owners).

Once immersed in the game, I imagine that a locked trunk or locker should have a random chance for a moderately valuable resource or tool, (a random chance within a certain tier), as well as the chance to be empty. I do not know the system, or the code used, but we all likely share similar expectations.

  •  A valuable tool is likely stored in a toolbox or at a workbench
  • Quality food items will be common in a kitchen or retail store,
  • Quality clothes items may be found in a footlocker or a cabinet,
  • And “abandoned” or “dropped” items may be anywhere.

To me personally, it feels like the world got a little too empty a little too quickly, (though there may be an explanation for this in the next chapters of the story). I would love to see the “randomizer” use lower quality loot more than the empty container. Then let the player make the difficult choice regarding what to carry, what to keep, and what to harvest.

Let me say this in another way; In the event I had to grab my stuff and leave my home, you, (and many other survivors who follow behind you), would find plenty of useful items in almost every corner of every room. The stuff on the floor might be "Low Tier Items", (half a book of cardboard matches), and the stuff in the cabinet might be "Mid or High Tier Items", but it seems like a long time would pass before you would find most areas empty.

I'll end by saying thank you to the Hinterland team for their continued hard work to make the loot system feel logical and realistic. Well done. :coffee:

Edited by s7mar7in
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, s7mar7in said:
  •  A valuable tool is likely stored in a toolbox or at a workbench
  • Quality food items will be common in a kitchen or retail store,
  • Quality clothes items may be found in a footlocker or a cabinet,
  • And “abandoned” or “dropped” items may be anywhere.

Yes, I agree completely.  I hate when I start an Interloper run and know that matches will be found in certain places, or there are three or four places to look and I'll find a mag glass, or finding a hammer at X means I'll find a hacksaw at Y, etc.  Or walking through a mine and knowing that a piece of scrap metal will be behind a certain crate, or a prybar will most likely be next to a certain corpse.

As @jeffpeng mentioned, some starts may turn out to be impossible to survive, but I'd rather have that than the known location of matches and other things.  I'd like to have a random distribution of loot at the start of a game, knowing important tools are out there somewhere, but no guarantees on where anything spawns.  I think eliminating the "guaranteed" spawns would really make the game more immersive, and sometimes more frantic, but certainly more rewarding when some of the items are found.

With that, I suppose, some additional crafting would be helpful - some way to start fire without matches, using blankets from a bed to craft a lower quality bedroll (which makes that bed unusable maybe), and so on.

Edited by MrWolf
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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, MrWolf said:

I'd like to have a random distribution of loot at the start of a game, knowing important tools are out there somewhere, but no guarantees on where anything spawns.  I think eliminating the "guaranteed" spawns would really make the game more immersive, and sometimes more frantic, but certainly more rewarding when some of the items are found.

With that, I suppose, some additional crafting would be helpful - some way to start fire without matches, using blankets from a bed to craft a lower quality bedroll (which makes that bed unusable maybe), and so on.

I know our folk at Hinterland really oppose making things optional, and I kinda get why. But maybe giving interloper the option to "scramble loot" as some sort of box to tick if you really want to would solve the problem.

I mentioned that in the post about the cooking system: There are two types of players that play interloper: Achievers and Challengers. Achievers pick the hardest setting they can, and then try to beat the game with every possible lever at their disposal. They science the crap out of everything and either know everything or know where to look it up. Nothing wrong with that, honestly, but those people would be rightfully (?) upset when the loot tables would be scrambled all of a sudden, making their approach infinitely harder. Challengers however play the game for the challenge, not really caring how far they get as long as they have the thrill to overcome nigh impossible odds and the rush of endorphins when they do. Clearly knowing that there will be a mag lens under the bed in the mountaineers hut just because you found a hacksaw in the Quonset destroys a lot of that challenge.

So I guess this would be one of those few instances where making something optional would actually work without making things "bad". Interloper already probably only appeals to a 5-10% player base, so it's really an edge case for highly advanced players that don't get confused by having to tick a box.

Edit: About the crafting: It would cushion some of the randomness and reduce the portion of unsolvable games significantly. As long as you employ a high penalty on those desperation mechanics I think that would actually help the game. Starting a fire with flint and tinder? Well, shoot, -20% chance. Makeshift bedroll? Well, shoot, +1°C at 100%. They have to be SO bad that nobody who has better options would want to use them even to preserve resources, but just good enough to do the trick if all else fails.

Edited by jeffpeng

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Posted (edited)

If my memory is not deceiving me, there was a time once when the loot was more randomized. I think there were guaranteed spawns, like you would have a rifle on each map (which would be two maps altogether - ML and CH - when the discussion came up iirc), but some important items were random - in one run you might not find a single one in the whole game world, in another run that item could be abundant. I think that did not entirely satisfy many players. Maybe this is where the loot tables came from eventually, but this is just an assumption.

Personally, I have never gotten to the point where I would have Interloper loot tables in my head. I do know some locations where I know certain items to be found at times (eg the two spots for the magnifying glass in the Camp Office), and if I pass by there I will of course check them. But I never got to the point of connecting them to other spots in a single run (like 'I've found the hammer in spot X, so I know I'll find a hacksaw in spot Y in this run'). This is probably because I have played the bulk of my time some versions ago (before Interloper existed), and I do not find it necessary for survival on Interloper (my take is that Interloper is still too easy as is, I don't even want that 'loot table knowledge' for myself).

Anyway: IF I acquired that 'loot table knowledge' (for instance, through having more free time again and investing that into playing TLD), then I would certainly be for more randomization. Maybe not concerning whether certain items exist at all, and also not concerning whether a certain has a certain item or not, but where items may be found in relation to others. Finding item X in spot A and thereby knowing that item Y - completely unrelated to item X in the game world - will be found in spot B (maybe even on another map) would break immersion for me. Cannot explain that with quantum mechanics or Schrödinger's Cat either.

Maybe this will undergo further change in the future. One thing I'd like to remark though is one has to give credit to Hinterland for improving the dispersal of loot a lot over the time. Many versions ago, a lot of items turned up in places which did not make sense ('how the heck did that hammer get HERE?'). Nowadays, that is a lot better - you will find tools near workbenches, leftover cans in kitchen cupboards, a spare bullet rolled under furniture near an empty gun rack etc. Also there are much more 'hidden' items now which makes careful searching much more rewarding and worthwhile. So kudos here from my side for these improvements, which make the world feel much more alive.

Edited by Hotzn
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Im in favour of more random but not, of course, at the expense of realism. More established locations = more stuff. Work areas = tools, etc. That sort of stuff makes sense. But by all means make the gear distribution mechanic more random (within each area) Matches however should be an exception. You could find these anywhere and if only one box spawns on say TWM or HRV and it randomly puts it in a cave somewhere - odds are you'll die everytime looking for it. So while total random might be 'fun' on easier levels, in interloper it will make the game too hard. I don't have the play time to spend an hour on two starts that are basically unsurvivable. 

On a separate note, it seems the game puts priority items in obvious storage or on display (if hiding) rather than in cupboards. I like that. I wouldn't want to feel like not checking every damn cupboard is vital to make sure you don't miss the mag glass.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Stone said:

I wouldn't want to feel like not checking every damn cupboard is vital to make sure you don't miss the mag glass.

At first my understanding of the OP's message was that the game is less a game for those players who cannot un-remember, (yeah, that’s a word, right?), the four loot tables. Not having this level of knowledge, my first impression was that it seemed a “self-inflicted problem”.

Thinking about it the other way around however, I am currently working my way into a nice new Interloper run. I have covered PV, CH, DP, (CH again), and I am about to make a run for ML.

I have found (2) heavy hammers and of course I cannot “un-remember” where the hammers were found…so, when I get to Carter Hydro, the OP will know in which locker the top-tier loot is stored, and I on the other hand will need to open all the empty lockers until I find the correct location.

So now I better appreciate the improvement we would all share if the locations were randomized, and I maintain that the Hinterland developers are doing a great job with the constant efforts to balance and improve the in-game resource distribution. Well done.

Good luck my friends! :coffee:

Edited by s7mar7in

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Posted (edited)
On 8/1/2018 at 3:07 PM, jeffpeng said:

So I guess this would be one of those few instances where making something optional would actually work without making things "bad". Interloper already probably only appeals to a 5-10% player base, so it's really an edge case for highly advanced players that don't get confused by having to tick a box.

From my experience, and myself wanting to be a successful Interloper player. Witnessed others and myself dying day zero from a wolf attack on TWM, but have lived longer runs. I see this game on a level of skill, but also a lot on chance in the beginning. The bigger streamers with followers on Twitch.tv are playing Interloper, because people want to see a challenge and risk. My argument with seeing the Interloper difficulty and table knowledge is where we see an intersect that the Interloper difficulty is really not that difficult if you know this "hidden" item loot table. In addition, the Loper streamer.. spoiling/giving a hand of the game for those that have no knowledge of this "hidden" item loot table.

EDIT: To what s7mar7in mentioned earlier, and I think designated it quite well as, "hidden" items. I'm not talking about finding a hammer in a plastic box. We're talking visible loot like a bedroll in a cave, or a hammer in the back of a truck.

Edited by Vonwoah
edit: last sentence, reference to s7mar7in and container loot
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Right now I'm playing Outerloper (not allowed in any man-made structure that loads on entrance) and this means Uber careful route planning. I don't know the loot tables but know locations likely to give loot. On my first run I had a ball looking for a Bedroll and in the end found one trekking to HRV at other players recommendations due to a guaranteed bedroll in one of the two main cave systems. This level of predicability is useful while still random enough to be exciting. The Bedroll spawn in ML could have need outdoors (hide or fishing but) but seemed to be inside somewhere (camp office?). I think it could be more random to break from the sort of rules  OP mentioned where if item A is here then B is there. However, I still want to know which locations are likely and worth visiting as visiting every inch of the map isnt viable early game on harder levels... and Outerloper.

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Stone said:

However, I still want to know which locations are likely and worth visiting as visiting every inch of the map isnt viable early game on harder levels... and Outerloper.

 

I love the bait. Keeping going, because it only makes this idea stronger. :D

EDIT: Completely misinterpreted Outerloper play style @Stone. Not aware, and after rereading your post made me step back. I guess it was the mention of Uber that threw me off from the beginning. Sounds like exploration for the unknown, but I think we are on the same page as far as exploration and finding the "hidden" loot in these areas.

Already a well versed player in this game knows these conditions of where to find good loot.

Edited by Vonwoah
apology and more thoughts to Stone
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@Vonwoah sorry, auto correct capitalised the damn U in uber. Uber was a word before that shitty parasitic corporation took it as their brand name... Sigh.

 

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