To begin with: when I'm trying to see in the night (4:40 in the Guild University video), the orb light is blinding to the point of nearly being painful. I appreciate the effort to simulate how the eye works, but this effect is so strong that I'm inclined never to use it such lights... except that I will have to use something like it if I ever want to go outside at night because of:
I've searched for references to this to try to understand its purpose and function. The only description I've found is the devlog from 2013/11/11 chortling about adding this feature:
Railboy wrote:I took a brief break to work on darkrot, which I can't wait to spring on unsuspecting alpha testers. Hehehe.
Right. I can see that this is one of those features that feels like it will be fun.
At the risk of being disinvited from the forum, I'd like to ask: is darkrot really going to feel like "fun" to most players of FRONTIERS?
Let's start with what darkrot is supposed to add to the game. What is darkrot supposed to add to the game?
I haven't seen any explanation for why it needs to be included, or why it needs to function as it has so far been shown to do. I think I heard a reference in the Guild University video that there is some lore behind it, and possibly a hint that it's part of the overall challenge/story of the game itself, but I'm not aware of any other information about it.
It does appear that, as in Minecraft, there is intended to be a survival aspect to playing FRONTIERS. That will appeal to the gamers who play games because they enjoy high levels of exciting simulation. That's not me, but it certainly is a lot of people, some of whom will likely be drawn to FRONTIERS. I unequivocally support providing content that they can enjoy.
But that brings me back to the question of whether darkrot really serves either thoughtful exploratory play or exciting survival play.
It's already feeling not-fun to me just seeing it in action in the Guild University video. I don't consider myself representative of all gamers, but I do suspect I may be representative of at least some of the people attracted to FRONTIERS because of its strong exploration gameplay. I don't know that others will agree with me, though, so I'm asking: am I the only one who feels that the fun of FRONTIERS will be weakened, not strengthened, by darkrot as it has been shown so far?
What I'm concerned about is the mechanical effect of this feature (as shown so far) on exploration and stealthy play and active combat play. Darkrot as shown so far makes me think that trying to do anything in the Wild at night will be more trouble than it's worth. It shows up if you don't keep moving, and you can't really do anything about it other than start moving around again.
My impression is that this interrupts exploration. It also offers the survival-oriented players no active way to fight darkrot.
To put it another way, this feature of the game is actively penalizing me for wanting to see how the world of FRONTIERS behaves when it's dark. Darkrot punishes me for trying to explore at night.
We're told that a sufficiently bright light will keep the darkrot from infecting us. But that is passive play, not active play. Even if I step close enough to one bit of darkrot to dissipate it, others will form as long as I'm not constantly moving quickly.
Is that desirable? Does a feature whose only counter is avoidance "fit" with the rest of the design of FRONTIERS if this game is intended to encourage active exploration and survival play?
A warning that I'm not just blowing smoke here can actually be heard at 6:20 in the Guild University video: "stuck until morning fighting off the [darkrot] clouds." Will most players really find that enjoyable?
This reminds me of the comment in the Trapping video at about 7:20: "Don't go out at night." I understand that this might have been a joke made as a little self-deprecating humor at the repeated demises of Our Hero. But I have to think there might have been a little bit of truth to that comment.
While I appreciate and agree with the idea that there are survival elements in FRONTIERS, and that they are harder when it's nighttime in the game, I'm not persuaded yet that darkrot effectively supports that design goal. A mechanical feature that strongly discourages exploration -- even at night when there are other dangers -- means that players are being told "don't go out at night," effectively cutting them off from exterior exploration during roughly half of the time the game is running.
The game is called "FRONTIERS." Frontiers are dangerous, and reasonably even more so at night. I get that, and I support that. My question is whether darkrot, which can only be responded to passively, effectively serves the goal of making exploring these frontiers fun as a game.
The interruptive effect of darkrot would be mitigated somewhat if players had an active way to dissipate darkrot. Then it would be another tactical gameplay challenge, similar to wandering monsters, for the player to figure out how to handle. But then it might lose its quality as an effect that's frightening precisely because you can't directly fight it.
So: assuming I'm not the only person who's thinking about darkrot in this way, is there some way to modify it so that it is less of an interruption to gameplay and more of an active gameplay feature? Is some active way of dealing with it planned or implemented but just not shown to us yet?
Alternately, is darkrot the only way to produce the effect of dreading nighttime in the wild frontier? Is there some less frustrating way of inducing caution (beyond the dangers of aggressive nocturnal creatures) in players who choose to go out into the Wild at night?
To put it directly: is darkrot fun as gameplay? If not, how can it be improved?
Thanks for giving fair consideration to these observations and questions, which (as always) are meant to be constructive notes on a game I enthusiastically want to succeed.