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Miguel Preguisa

What makes you enjoy the Exploration mode?

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Recently, I wanted to make a long post including points that I somehow dislike in my (otherwise liked) game. But the more I thought about what to include, the more I realized it all ties itself together into one big point.

I miss the small moments of joy and/or accomplishments.

My playtime usually starts with enthusiasm over a new promising update. Firstly I inspect all the new goodies in the Sandbox mode. Then I launch a new Exploration save. Play around for a day or two and then... just stop? I wondered why is it so and now I think I know. Most sandbox or survival games do not propel their players forward with a story or quests. Players have to find their own motivation to do sometimes mundane tasks like traveling or managing inventory. But in Ylands, I quickly get bored by mundane and I move on.

It will be easier to list some of the games I play instead of me trying to put together a vague description of those important "small moments":

Starting big, Minecraft. Players differ a lot, but for me personally, its two or three main things keeping me invested. One, mining. The small pockets of ore blocks underground are like small packets of joy. Two, easy building. Give me coffee, a week and I will make a breathtaking castle or laboratories. Three, growing my domain, my kingdom. As I progress, it is easier and easier to feel like a master of his realm.

Continuing, Subnautica. To keep it short, definitely the overall atmosphere and suspension when being chased or stalked on by something in the shadow. I feel like it's important to emphasize here that Subnautica is not a difficult game at all. But it makes itself look way more intense to the player currently playing it.

Next BI title, DayZ. It's a bit more difficult here because I do not think the positives there overweight the problems for me. But still. Being it multiplayer perma-death "walking simulator" I had some great moments of suspension and roleplaying there. Being ambushed in a port with a friend by bandits will forever be in my favorite gaming moments.

Staying close, MiniDayZ. It can be hard from time to time. So I look forward to the next village to find loot. I often just look forward with anticipation of a rare building being almost sure I will be pleased with goodies inside of it. Even common duct tape can be a lifesaver and I'm going to feel great after acquiring it.

In the end some honorable mentions even though not in the same genre pool. Real like FPS like RO2 make me feel good about myself after defeating other skilled players in a fair fight. Racing games like FlatOut2 or Midtown Madness (weird picks, I know) award me for that perfect turn or bumping into an opponent at the right moment. PUBG both for looting and outsmarting opponents. In Pixel Dungeon it all relies on pre-combat preparation and greatly awards you by good feeling (and utter destruction) for being ready for every situation and combining limited assets. Simple arcades like Tetris let more bricks disappear if I make the right move.

Why do I not feel the same joy in the Ylands even though I'm confronted with very similar situations as listed?

1) It's complexity, mainly in building. More freedom always comes with more responsibility. But... sometimes I just wish to build simple? I have about 3 rules in Minecraft about building (block palettes, symmetry and powers of two) and I strongly believe anything will then look good even if it was randomly generated. On the other hand, Ylands is always giving me more to choose from. More patterns, more materials, more colors, more shapes. I want to use the best block possible, in the best place possible, in the best rotation possible. I admit it may be me being lazy. It still means that my builds even with more freedom will never be so quick or so nice as the ones build in Minecraft. Even though the game has most definitely the potential to do it. One thing I would say is really lacking is terrain modifications in Exploration. 

2) The loot is oversaturated and the progress seems broken to me. I get some of the little sparks of joy from unlocking new workstations and recipes. Sadly, it's greatly reduced when the workstation proves to be near useless for me. That happens because I already got everything I needed from the Places of Wonder beforehand. I'm not saying those PoW are bad things. But they are not anything random like an Easter egg to be excited over, they are way more part of the game even though they often do not fit the surroundings. I would way more appreciate them underground or under the sea only. Maybe also limit the loot of them or make it proportional to the intended game progress? I do not look forward to looting if I already have great loot in all aspects. I can imagine decreasing loot or increasing different aspects of items (tied with different game mechanics such as combat, movement, farming, researching, crafting, exploring, sports even?)  so you are never satisfied and always hungry for some nifty new thingy.

Today, I played Ylands. In just two in-game days I was in full iron armor, had a katana, and two other powerful weapons and an inventory full of Zirconium. I was not specifically looking for anything, the weapons and armor were found in PoW on the first island I sailed to (no point in staying on the starter island more than necessary), which was the second tier, and Zirconium was at the entrance to a cave. I do not have really anything I wish to explore progress-wise anymore. Combat seems all about dmg and def. skills to me, ranged is sometimes fun but sometimes just waiting for it all to die (easy obstruction). Energy has not seen big upgrades since its launch - it is very basic (correct me if I'm wrong, not just there). So it all boils down to building myself a place to call home. Which gets tiresome after a while. 

 

3) I do not know what The Spirit of Ylands is. Quo Vadis, Ylands? I have a hard time getting to know Ylands. Which is difficult to say considering I've been with Ylands more than four and a half years. At the start, I felt the potential. All was new and buggy, sometimes unbalanced (waiting an hour for nine ingots, if I remember correctly?). As I was slowly getting to know the game, I fell in love. Classy, calm, serene, and charismatic. Top hats, monocles, mustaches and sunsets in the color of industrialization. The game was about being washed ashore on a deserted island and slowly creating your own story (there was even an idea of one survivor dying and another character washing ashore after him to unravel its own story instead of respawning).  Ylandium served as a mystical and powerful new element with its distinctive glowing green. The game seemed to be themed around magic meets ylandium steampunk. All of that is lost. Allow me not to phrase it as an opinion. I think the game slowly lost its scope by adding more and more different and most importantly not anyhow framed features. I do not understand the ylands world.

Who are we? Why is there a center island surrounded by others? Why are there many different NPCs all eager to trade with us or annihilate us? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do here? Am I a lone survivor or is it just normal that I'm here? Is this fantasy with all the different races? Did this world come through all the historical epochs as ours did? How are we supposed to create our own story in a world that doesn't seem to have its?

And why are those questions even important? I'm not immersed and I probably won't be. Most things in-game don't feel like a part of the world. I do not know where is ylands heading. Should I expect a farming update? Or space update? Or smartphone update? I'm lost. The atmosphere of the Ylands is lost for me.

 

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Disclaimer: most of those are just my opinions. 

It fell into a "what I personally feel is wrong with the game" in the last paragraph. It was not my intention at first but it summarized my feelings pretty well so I'm not going to change it.

And also, don't forget my question in the title. I really would like what makes you play Ylands continuously. 

Thank you :) 

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As far as I see it, Ylands is not a game but rather a game creation tool and which creators create their own experiences. It’s focus is being a place for development-minded people to create games for the community. 

Exploration habitually incorporates different elements necessary to give the creator's options. This is why they seem out of place, it’s not so much that exploration is this amazing game, but rather a place to test features that creators will use in the future to create amazing games. 

That puts it much to Simply I'm sure that exploration is meant to be somewhat of a game but the focus of Ylands is being a creator tool not a game itself. 

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1 hour ago, RedEagle_P1. said:

As far as I see it, Ylands is not a game but rather a game creation tool and which creators create their own experiences. It’s focus is being a place for development-minded people to create games for the community. 

Exploration habitually incorporates different elements necessary to give the creator's options. This is why they seem out of place, it’s not so much that exploration is this amazing game, but rather a place to test features that creators will use in the future to create amazing games. 

That puts it much to Simply I'm sure that exploration is meant to be somewhat of a game but the focus of Ylands is being a creator tool not a game itself. 

I get this. But it makes me sad. And I really think they changed their focus with the game in the span of years. I would say that most of the older players bought and played this game because of Exploration. It is then sad to see it side-tracked.

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Hitting the open sea, looking for that elusive navigation bird. Following, looking for the next adventure. oh, wait... 

Ok. How about dangerous spelunking. Having to work out how to get down without dying. Again.. Oh, wait... 

That cool, chill soundtrack.. oh yeah...

Nope, the magic this game had is gone. Now I just check in to see what's new. Or if I am in a building mood. This game still has the best build mechanics. 

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20 hours ago, Miguel Preguisa said:

most of the older players bought and played this game because of Exploration

Everyone I know that got passionate about this game got passionate through the exploration. However, if I'm doing my math correctly it seems like the vast majority of players are mobile players (at least when it comes to installs and downloads). 

I always imagined that this game was all about creating the next Minecraft or Ark but with a friendly, low-poly style in the early days but they have stated that this is not their intention and that they're looking at creating more of a game platform for games than a game itself. They have let us know that without recreating exploration from the ground-up they cannot sustain significant multiplayer. Is the project sustainable as a single player game? I don't know, I don't speak for them. However, I assume the game platform crowd is much more valuable: 

https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/comscore-hours.png?resize=680,386

 

 

 

Edited by RedEagle_P1.

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I'm not going to cover as good as Miguel, but you'll get the idea. 

well, for me and for many players (I'd assume) is the lack of navigation due to the world size reduce. Yes, we know it's due to some technical problems, issues, but it doesn't make us feel better. Yes, we want the world bigger again. 

Next point: I haven't played exploration for some months (since 1.2), but it gives me feeling that resources are still easy to find and get. Maybe not so easy to find them, but once you find them you get a loads of them. As Miguel said, in 2 in-game days he got full iron armor set. And that's bad, because it took you the challenge for more iron in the start of the map. Basically you would need just a little more iron for nails and such for a ship. But again, world being small it takes away the necessity for a big ship or if you want a iron structure. 

Step 1: My opinion is making resources MOOOORE RARE and less amount on getting them. They would REGENERATE VEEEEEEEEEEY SLOWLY. Of course, items made from those resources would take LONGER, making it more of a challenge.

Really? 1 iron ingot in 1minute? It's fast imo. Make each 5 minutes or so, or even more. Players already make a lot of the same stations which makes it even faster and in few minutes you're done.  As for stone, for example is very easy to get because you can take down all mountains. Make some not harvestable. 

Step 2: give players a way to BUY MERCHANT NPCs for gold coins (actually there is no really use for coins/pebbles because you can use pretty much anything for merchants exchange). The main idea is get gold ore, make gold ingots and them turn them into gold coins. Thus, players would buy a merchant and would have the hability to place him in a location of their choice. From step 1, the idea is, because resources are rare, players would take more trips to other ylands, get the ores and sell them. That would bring some kind of custom market. 

Make recipes take more items than they do. 

Step 3: by killing alphas, the monsters won't respawn and takes away the fun, lt takes away land exploration danger which makes resources looting easy.  Remove that. The fun is always have to work hard to get resources. Either by team up with a friend to protect you while you gather them or alone always keeping an eye for the danger. Monsters should also spawn during day (maybe in less a mount) . Or make danger wild animals spawn in more ammount. I know you can start a map with different difficulty levels, but still... 

The random places in where you can get loot is very cool idea, but items are easy to craft. So, who found them doesn't really take any real advantage. 

Maybe I'm taking my idea into a RPG, but you know what? That is what survival is. Who has more, has advantage. 

Basically the whole idea would be: "hey jchobs, I see you have good armor set and weapon. I need to got get some resources, but there are a lot of animals/monsters around. Can you come and protect me, please? 

Red, made a point here: game seems even more game-creator and mobile driven. Exploration has many potential, but from my point of view (and maybe I can say from others too) it lacks challenge and fun nowadays. 

I hope you get my point as I'm lazy to make a real explanation. This is a basic idea on what I think it would bring more challenge and fun to the game. 

I've seen many old players criticizing, but we know it's a constructive criticism because they love this game. That is why Miguel is around for 4 years.

I know every company has and modifies its own path, but old ylands lovers shall be listened to (I'm not saying dev team doesn't.. you all get the point). 

If this opinion doesn't really add anything of value, feel free to take it down 😁

Stay classy

Edited by jchob
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I agree, when I bought this game I thought it was going into a completely different direction. To see I've got this game almost 4 years and how little advancement exploration has seen makes me sad. I honestly have given up hope for Ylands to become what I thought/hoped it would become, and just like DayZ it seems design mistake on design mistake. I feel that the exploration game mode has got moved to the side in favor of the editor and the mini games made with the editor, which may have to do with trying to push mobile where there is more money to make. The whole cosmetics/coyns blunder also failed, as did the dedicated server thing. Does anyone actually think any of these things through? The biggest ingame issue for Ylands I think is the split between the editor and survival. If it would be possible to switch to editor-like building in the protective barrier, that would give people more and easier building possibilities, especially if you want to change things. Building a house is already difficult, but having to rebuild/change it is a lot worse. Building in exploration is a chore and because of that all I see on servers is just some crafting stations on the beach. There are almost no game mechanics that need you to build anything nice. I'd love to make a greenhouse to grow food on the arctic but why should I? I can grow banana's at -30 degrees. I'm not sure how tied in the Ylands team is with the DayZ team but it seems that not much was learned from the DayZ experience overall.

Edit: The topic is actually called "What makes you enjoy Exploration mode?", so I'll answer that as well: I really like the lush environments and the actual exploration. Working the voxel landscape has so much new potential to make amazing things, which I would love to enjoy together with my friends or in an online community.

Adrie

Edited by WijkagentAdrie
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46 minutes ago, WijkagentAdrie said:

Edit: The topic is actually called "What makes you enjoy Exploration mode?", so I'll answer that as well: I really like the lush environments and the actual exploration. Working the voxel landscape has so much new potential to make amazing things, which I would love to enjoy together with my friends or in an online community.

Thank you for the edit, I really tried to keep this post at least a bit positive. I for example really like the mysterious, so I quite like the first exploration of a new yland, new cave or a new set of recipes. 

And I agree with you on the first part of the post too. I like the idea of some incentive to actually build more than the workstations. 

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On 6/19/2020 at 7:34 PM, jchob said:

I'm not going to cover as good as Miguel, but you'll get the idea. 

You have many good points and I think a lot of these will be answered by the Exploration update we are planning later this year. With a much more expanded Exploration experience a lot of these will fall away but we are always looking at ways to make the games more challenging/fun so thank you very much, I turned it over to the devs.

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You don't even need ships now.  They are frankly a liability.  They are slow.  They are difficult because of the lack of resources.  I usually end up rafting or swimming to the next island anyway.  Because its literally RIGHT THERE. There is no mystery to this game.

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10 minutes ago, bojo2736 said:

You don't even need ships now.  They are frankly a liability.  They are slow.  They are difficult because of the lack of resources.  I usually end up rafting or swimming to the next island anyway.  Because its literally RIGHT THERE. There is no mystery to this game.

The ships do hel you now to find the Random Encounters on the sea 😊 So that's a plus and they will be much more useful when we expand the Exploration experience later this year 😉

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I agree on the ships.  The last few maps I played, I stayed mostly with the Upper Deck boat.  You can place several containers on the nose of the boat, and it's fast enough to get to the nearby islands with ease.  It might be an issue, not having an anchor if we decide to dive to a RE, but I can't think of many other benefits to spending resources on a full ship.  Maybe to have a few mobile workstations, I guess, or to sail with friends.  My last few maps, the larger ships have been very late-game.

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On 6/22/2020 at 12:13 PM, Adam Snellgrove said:

You have many good points and I think a lot of these will be answered by the Exploration update we are planning later this year. With a much more expanded Exploration experience a lot of these will fall away but we are always looking at ways to make the games more challenging/fun so thank you very much, I turned it over to the devs.

Hi Adam - i wonder if its possible to play on maps that are created now when the exploration update arrives - on the map the exploration area is visible and the blue sea after that is darker on the map so maybe anything up there can be generated with the new exploration update, also on maps that are created now?

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Long time no see all, and I hope you're all in good health in these hard times.

What a nice discussion to bring up.
I'm a little different to many others players in that I haven't played any other building game other than Ylands, but I'll give my 2 cents worth.

1.Multiplayer... being able to build a community of players to enjoy the game with.

2. The old exploring, searching for those birds.. have I got enough food to travel? When will I find it? What kinda of bio will it be? etc etc. That feeling of finding a new Yland was fantastic, and even better in multiplayer.

3.  The almost seemingly limitless options to build, huge tick here and it's just getting better, oh and building with mates was /is awesome!

4. The new pets are just amazing. Another huge tick here.

5. The over all look of the game, those stunning sunsets means I'm always building on the West hands down! I always good that warm feeling when I first log back in after a while of not playing.

6. Earning coyns through the cool comps you use to/still run? Then being able to buy cool things with them.

I could keep going with many more smaller things that I love such as blueprints and the pet animals you can still buy.

Just a few things were I think Ylands should at least look into.

1. Why did a lot of our players stop playing... First person view was a biggy for a few and I'm still unsure why it was removed and never re-added… at least as the unsupported option it was for a while.

2. Servers just can't last... so what's the point in building anything if it's just not going to last.This is most likely the biggest issue.

3. Explore is a paid area now, and that's fine. But I find myself scratching my head every time I find out that something has been removed from the only paid area of the game... if anyone can explain this to me would be bloody tops. Like we use to be able to pay for those cool armours, now they're just gone.. or can be only found in game? C'mon the explore needs some much TLC when it comes to the crafting and items available to craft. How many years do we need to ask for that purple chair to be made craftable as an e.g?

4. Having a clear direction and sticking to it. Many of us still remember that first promo video. I understand that the editor and making mobile games is where your main focus lies.. but as an advert in Australia goes: Guy walks in buys hot chips.. shop owner says chicken or plain salt... the customer says both.
Aka why can't we get loving for both sides?

5. Water... man the last water update was such a disappointment in the regard to how you can't add it in game, and even the editor looked rushed. I would have rather waited another 6 months, hell even a year and it be done properly.

6. What do I spend coyns on now? Servers don't last/ no one is playing them and I have the pets I want?

I wish the team at Ylands all the best in which ever direction they take as I'm only one of many people.

Let's hope we're all playing for many years to come :)


 

 

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On 6/30/2020 at 9:35 PM, Indian Chief said:

Long time no see all, and I hope you're all in good health in these hard times.

What a nice discussion to bring up.
I'm a little different to many others players in that I haven't played any other building game other than Ylands, but I'll give my 2 cents worth.

1.Multiplayer... being able to build a community of players to enjoy the game with.

2. The old exploring, searching for those birds.. have I got enough food to travel? When will I find it? What kinda of bio will it be? etc etc. That feeling of finding a new Yland was fantastic, and even better in multiplayer.

3.  The almost seemingly limitless options to build, huge tick here and it's just getting better, oh and building with mates was /is awesome!

4. The new pets are just amazing. Another huge tick here.

5. The over all look of the game, those stunning sunsets means I'm always building on the West hands down! I always good that warm feeling when I first log back in after a while of not playing.

6. Earning coyns through the cool comps you use to/still run? Then being able to buy cool things with them.

I could keep going with many more smaller things that I love such as blueprints and the pet animals you can still buy.

Just a few things were I think Ylands should at least look into.

1. Why did a lot of our players stop playing... First person view was a biggy for a few and I'm still unsure why it was removed and never re-added… at least as the unsupported option it was for a while.

2. Servers just can't last... so what's the point in building anything if it's just not going to last.This is most likely the biggest issue.

3. Explore is a paid area now, and that's fine. But I find myself scratching my head every time I find out that something has been removed from the only paid area of the game... if anyone can explain this to me would be bloody tops. Like we use to be able to pay for those cool armours, now they're just gone.. or can be only found in game? C'mon the explore needs some much TLC when it comes to the crafting and items available to craft. How many years do we need to ask for that purple chair to be made craftable as an e.g?

4. Having a clear direction and sticking to it. Many of us still remember that first promo video. I understand that the editor and making mobile games is where your main focus lies.. but as an advert in Australia goes: Guy walks in buys hot chips.. shop owner says chicken or plain salt... the customer says both.
Aka why can't we get loving for both sides?

5. Water... man the last water update was such a disappointment in the regard to how you can't add it in game, and even the editor looked rushed. I would have rather waited another 6 months, hell even a year and it be done properly.

6. What do I spend coyns on now? Servers don't last/ no one is playing them and I have the pets I want?

I wish the team at Ylands all the best in which ever direction they take as I'm only one of many people.

Let's hope we're all playing for many years to come :)


 

 

Discussions like this make me happy man. Just normal chill people having a talk. Just saying. Well thought through points. 

The servers lasting I think would be a huge boost. I think if people can build and expect to keep their progress for weeks/months that would be awesome. I also feel we need to somehow bring a sense of explore back to exploration. If we were to separate islands at a much larger distance that would help imo. 

Anyway, great convo :D

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What I love: My last explore game, on veteran, I died and dropped my all stuff. When I came back to get it, naked in the freezing cold, it was being guarded by three monsters. Best game ever! I managed to cheap shot my way out of a tough spot and it would have been much better if I was forced to remake all my equipment, but still. Exciting!

We NEED a solo hardcore mode. Begin the game shipwrecked beside a dying fire on a frozen island. No resources. No food, no way to make clothing, no way of killing the roaming monsters, only a raft washed up somewhere on the shore that you must find before you freeze or starve.  (It's the level 3 island at the end of the game, you see a castle is the distance, that is your final goal, but for now you must leave). Cut the view distance way back so you cannot see the other islands until you are really close. No planting, no map, no birds, a basic compass, much less metal ore located at the very end of the appropriate cave. (No one needs to build a car or a huge ship, we just eventually need some bullets). If I die, I must begin all over again on the first island with nothing. Those seem like simple changes to implement. It would make a huge difference.  Please consider doing this! If it is too tough, you can always dial it back, but, in my experience, people will rise to the challenge.

Multiplayer explore hardcore should be brutal. You must hunt together or die. Corpse recovery? You need friends to help you. Monsters should have triple the hitpoints or come three to five at a time. More metal, but only at the end of caves. Monsters respawn on a timer, especially in caves.

Of course, that's only my opinion. I have absolute faith in, and respect for, your vision. Thank you for many hours of enjoyment thus far.

 

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Ew. There are a lot of games like that. If you are a BI fanboy, download Dayz.

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Love this game. I'm a new player and have been searching for a game like this for a while. I am playing the exploration dlc only together with my gf.  Love the music love the art but just like the original poster said wy am I on the island? And please make the map bigger the islands are not hard to find and alot of the player on PC are not into mini games we want a good solid exploration survival game. Witch I think It would be if you just made it bigger and a bit more in depth. That said it's a great game I'm just a bit concern about the negative reviews. Remember mobile players is a trend pc gamers stay 

Edited by Json1993
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On 7/7/2020 at 4:51 AM, Json1993 said:

Love this game. I'm a new player and have been searching for a game like this for a while. I am playing the exploration dlc only together with my gf.  Love the music love the art but just like the original poster said wy am I on the island? And please make the map bigger the islands are not hard to find and alot of the player on PC are not into mini games we want a good solid exploration survival game. Witch I think It would be if you just made it bigger and a bit more in depth. That said it's a great game I'm just a bit concern about the negative reviews. Remember mobile players is a trend pc gamers stay 

We are working on expanding the Exploration experience considerably 😊

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Not a fanboy of anything. Question was what do you enjoy in exploration. I enjoy the risk of death and a bit of tension. What I don't like is super easy wander around, pick flowers, build a blueprinted house again. It doesn't offer any feeling of accomplishment to me, although it's great for kids. Do it once, it's boring. To each his own. Just saying that veteran mode is way too easy and feels like tourist mode, so I offer suggestions on how to improve it. Make a hardcore mode. So no, not Ew.

On 7/6/2020 at 9:53 AM, bojo2736 said:

Ew. There are a lot of games like that. If you are a BI fanboy, download Dayz.

 

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You will note that the devs talk about exploration, not survival.  This hasn't ever been a survival game.  Like I said there are lots of hardcore survival games out there.  This isn't where I play when I'm looking for that.

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8 hours ago, bojo2736 said:

This hasn't ever been a survival game.

Allow me to disagree :P Explore used to be called Survive before the ships changed where the mode is going. 

Not that I complain, I liked the feel of both. 

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