0.8 bleeding edge first impressions from a brand new player

  • I only got the game yesterday, so I don't have a great idea of what's new in 0.8, but I'd like to give some feedback on the new player experience in the new version.

    • I put my camp down near some stone, only to find out after getting my starting pickaxe that it couldn't be harvested with a stone pickaxe at all. I searched for a long time to find a small deposit of sandstone that I could mine, and it was a long ways away. Not only do you have to know what the types of stone are and which ones are mineable with the basic pickaxe, but you also have to be able to visually identify them; before you put your camp down, you won't have a pickaxe at all, and there's no way to get the game to tell you what kind of stone is in front of you without one. That was frustrating.

    • I went without selecting a specialization for a long time because I knew I couldn't take it back (and it would be ~12 hours until I could get a second one). The lack of unlearn prohibits experimentation early on. Eventually I skilled into farming, but that was a big mistake. Farming skill only lets you make the soil analyzer, which was bugged (showed every square as 0.6C temperature), and craft seeds at the bench. Leveling up farming amazingly doesn't improve your crop yield at all -- all it does is make you craft seeds better. If I wanted to farm, I should have counterintuitively specialized in gathering.

    • Because new players probably all want to try a few different things before settling, the combination of a very long time until your second skill point, plus the lack of an unlearn, was very frustrating.

    My suggestions:

    • Reconsider the design of the different stone tiers with new player experience in mind
    • Add an unlearn ability that is easy to use early in the game and much harder to use later
    • Make the incentive for brand new players to improve food and housing quality much stronger by adding one to three immediate skill point gains for achieving benchmarks on food and housing. For a new player who is still trying to decide whether to play, there's no daylight between 16 hours and 8 hours -- it's all "another play session, if I stick with it that long". On the other hand, if they got a one-time immediate skill perk for improving their health past certain milestones, then they'd get an immediate reward and still be invested in the skill point gain system.
    • If skill points are too precious to hand out in one-off systems like that, perhaps there should be two tiers of skill points, one of which unlocks leveling up and efficiency gains and one of which just unlocks the basic activity. Or perhaps what is possible for unspecialized characters should be reviewed.

    Again, I'm a new player, so feel free to let me know if I'm way off the mark here.

  • Agree with all these things.

    It might be nice to offer two classes of skill points: one for "gathering" skills and one for crafting skills.

    The uselessness of the Farming tree for actual farming has been a constant for just about forever.

  • This sounds like you started single player. Well actually you then miss the actual core of the game, which is interaction and trading amongst players. It is normal and also kinda intended that you are not able to do too many things at the same time, cause you should specialise and then interact in trade and economy with the other players.
    If you really are a loner and want to play single player, there is the option of adapting skill point rates. Your fault if you missed that one.
    Also you should notice that 8.0 isn't officially released yet, so the stone problem and the soil sampler problem might be caused by the fact that this wasn't the full release version.

  • You can pick up the tent and tiny stockpile using your hammer (they need to be empty first) and move to a more suitable location. Just starting out you would probably be very lucky if you just happened to pick a great spot. Being near several different biomes is very useful. For example, a desert for iron ore and sandstone (plus agave and prickly pear are good starting food, Some sort of forest for trees (you need a lot of wood, especially in the beginning), a rainforest (for clay, and papaya for food), and grasslands. Eventually you will need access to boreal forest for copper as well (though there is a lot of basalt which you won't be able to mine for quite a while which means you usually need to try and mine in from further away and get underneath it).

    Finding information on the game mechanics is quite difficult, as it has had major changes, and much of the information and videos out there are out of date and frequently wrong. Be leery of anything prior to version 0.8 (late 2018).

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