Monday, March 10, 2014

The survivor

Southbridge - or the northern tip of it, at least

Note: This is Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead - the new version, with a new world and a new character. Check out my other posts for the details about this game, including installation instructions and tips for beginners. This post is just for fun.


I'm a survivor.

Yeah, call me a coward if you want, I don't care. But you can't, because you're dead, huh? Everyone's dead...

And it's not my fault! There wasn't anything I could do about it. I'm not a coward!

I was traveling cross-country, far from family and friends, when the world ended. Suddenly, it was a complete madhouse. Sure, we'd heard rumors. We'd seen the military everywhere, and we knew something was up. (Ha! Lot of good that did. All that gave us was zombies outfitted in Kevlar!)

OK, I'm sure they did their best, and so did I. I would have joined up with other survivors - of course I would. I offered. I argued that we needed to get organized. We're social animals, for chrissake! How do you think human beings have survived this long?

But no one was willing to trust a stranger - even the few who weren't operating purely in panic mode by then. I was there. I saw it. I wish to hell I hadn't, but there wasn't anything I could do about it! Heck, it's a miracle I survived myself. I nearly didn't...

I'm not a coward! I'm cautious. I'm prudent. When the world goes to hell, there's no way one man can stand in the way. Somehow, I ended up in the woods, and I stayed there as long as I could. I slept in the trees. (Thank the gods the weather stayed clear!) I scavenged for food. I'm no survivalist, or even a backpacker, but I am a survivor.

Eventually, I wandered into the evac shelter just north of Southbridge. (That's what the signs say, at least. I don't even know what state I'm in, not for sure.) Would I have been rescued if I'd made it there sooner, whisked off to some tropical island paradise where human beings are even now trying to rebuild civilization?

Maybe, but there was no sign of that. There was a car engine sitting on the pavement in front of the shelter - just the engine, nothing else - and a pair of jeans in the basement. Those were the only signs that anyone had ever been there. The doors were closed. The windows were unbroken. There was no blood, thank the heavens, and no other sign of struggle, either.

I had a small pocketknife and a matchbook - I don't smoke; I just picked it up somewhere - and I was carrying a plastic bottle of water. That was it. I'd been wearing the same clothes for far too long - t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers - but I'd tried to keep them clean and aired out. (I didn't want anything trailing me by the smell.)

And as far as I could tell, I was the only human being left alive on Earth.

I hope not. No, no, I can't be. There must be other survivors left, and I'm going to stay alive until I find them. But I wouldn't stay alive for long by hiding in the woods. I needed supplies. I needed shelter. And I needed weapons. (Oh, I'm not going to fight unless I have to. I've seen how far bravado gets a person! But I'm tired of being completely helpless.)

I had shelter. The evac building would keep the rain off, I could close the curtains to keep... things from seeing me, and there were doors in all four compass directions. If something came at me, I could at least escape in the opposite direction.

And I'd checked it out before I'd even come close. The shelter sat in an open field, far from anything else. In the daytime, at least, I could see a long way. And most zombies are slow. I could outrun them, if I had to. But I still needed a weapon.

There were metal lockers in the evac shelter, though they were all empty. But I grabbed a rock from the field outside and smashed one of them to pieces. Most of the debris was useless, but there was a stout metal pipe which fit my hand pretty well. And by flattening the end with my rock, I created a makeshift crowbar, which would come in useful as a tool, as well.

I kept the rock, too. I took a drink of water, then left the bottle behind - no way to carry it - but I put a couple of rocks in my pockets and I carried the club/crowbar in my hand. I knew better than to go very far into town, but I thought maybe I could sneak into a few outlying houses, so that's what I did.

It was scary. I'm not embarrassed to say that. But, oddly, I also felt a bit ashamed to be breaking into someone's house and going through their stuff. Still, they were almost certainly dead, and... what else could I do? I needed supplies. I needed food. I needed water. I needed clothing - in particular, I needed some way to carry the other stuff I found. And - of lesser importance immediately, though necessary to survive for long - I needed tools.

So I pried open a few back windows and went inside. For the most part, I stayed in the back, because I could see zombies through the front windows, and I couldn't close the curtains without them seeing me. Perhaps if I came back at night?

There was stuff scattered around, but I couldn't carry any of it without dropping my makeshift crowbar. So I made a note of what I'd found and moved on. I did find some food and some warm cans of pop, and I ate and drank my fill before returning to the evac shelter, so it wasn't a complete loss. I needed to be methodical about this, anyway. I needed to take my time and scout out everything I could.

The last house had a basement filled with guns. Yeah, big surprise, huh? It seems like the only right we have - had - in recent years was the 'right to bear arms.' Every other right could be limited, but never that one, huh? Fat lot of good it did that poor bastard in the basement, though. He was still moving around, but he wasn't alive.

I shut the door and left. The fact is, I didn't know how to use any of those guns. But one thing I did know was that it was an easy quick way to die.

This was America, after all. Half the men and even some of the women had been carrying their own personal penis substitute. But you know what happens when some swaggering fool shoots a zombie? Oh, he might drop one or even two, but the sound of a shot is like ringing a dinner bell. And eventually, all those zombies get back up again,... plus one.

(I don't want to be misleading here - assuming that anyone else will ever read this. Zombies don't eat brains. They don't eat anything. They just have an overpowering urge to kill. That's one reason why I think this was a military project gone wrong. But that's another story. I just want to be as accurate as I can here, so I thought I'd better explain.)

Southbridge evac shelter

I couldn't sleep that night - too keyed up, I guess. So I thought I'd try a night raid on the town, maybe get to some of those front rooms in the dark (so I could close the curtains and look around more thoroughly). I'd seen a clothing store, too, a little further in. If I could get there, maybe I could get a coat with pockets.

That's where I headed first. It was drizzling rain and very dark. I see well at night, but even for me, it wasn't easy. [Note: I was wrong in this post about the Night Vision trait. Actually, the distance you can see varies with the conditions. When it's raining, it's darker than when the night is clear or even just cloudy. Makes sense, huh? The developers seem to have thought of everything.]

But it was easy to walk quietly, too, and I was able to search the clothing store without encountering anything at all. I found cargo pants in my size, plus a trenchcoat and a raincoat, and then topped it all off with a voluminous bag I could sling across one shoulder.

Finally, I could carry stuff! So I went back to those homes I'd explored earlier in the day and filled that bag, and my pockets, with food, drink, and small tools. I was in a great mood as I ran back to the evac shelter. I suppose I wasn't paying enough attention, but it was still pitch black outside. Anyway, I nearly ran into the side of a moose.

It was scary as hell in the darkness. Have you ever seen a moose closeup? They're huge! Normally, they'll ignore a human being, but not when they feel threatened. And running up to a moose in the middle of the night clearly feels like a threat to them.

I tried to back off, but it kept attacking me. I tried to run, but it was faster than me. It kept knocking me down as I was trying to escape. Finally, I ran inside one of the homes nearby, but it came right inside after me! It was just so fast, I couldn't even get the door closed.

In desperation, I started beating at it with my makeshift crowbar, and I finally drove it off. At least, it ran out the front door, and I was able to close the door behind it. Then I crawled out a back window and ran for home again,... only to run smack dab into another moose.

I was nearly in hysterics by then. I'd not only taken a beating, but my new clothes were getting shredded. So I started hitting the moose with my crowbar until that one, too, ran off, and I was finally able to return to the evac shelter.

My trenchcoat had been completely destroyed, and my raincoat was little better. Most of my clothes were damaged, with only the messenger bag still in good condition. Well, I was a little better off than I had been, but not much. I did have some food and water, at least.

The next day, I thought I'd check out a science lab to the northwest, but I started encountering these giant insects. I'm talking about ants the size of dogs - big dogs (and even a fly of that size). What had those damned scientists been doing?

I remember finding science books at my grandparents' house - until my parents found out and threw them away - so I knew well enough that science hadn't always been like that. But in recent years, the only science being done was funded by the military - partly because only the military had any money and partly because we didn't really value science. Only technology was valued and, for the most part, only military technology at that.

I'd always loved to hear stories about the old days, when scientists could research whatever the hell they wanted. Heck, I might have become a scientist myself back then, back before scientists were basically just army grunts without the status. Anyway, I'd heard rumors of worse stuff than giant bugs. I just hoped I wouldn't run into any of that stuff.

As it turned out, I found some scientists on the way back - their corpses, at least. One of them was animate. At first, I thought maybe it was still alive, because it didn't seem to be completely mindless. It was mindlessly hostile, though. I smashed it with rocks from a distance, while it was still fumbling through its pockets. (I didn't wait to find out why. Despite its weird behavior - not quite like ordinary zombies - it clearly wasn't human anymore.)

I continued a little further south, on the west side of this small suburb, as the drizzle turned to rain. Pretty soon, I was in a thunderstorm (and remember that my raincoat had been damaged pretty badly). Just before I could get to another house down there, I was spotted by a zombie dog - a German shepherd that had apparently been an army dog when it was alive, since it was still wearing the remains of its Kevlar armor.

It was very fast, and most of my rocks just bounced off its armor. I did hit it in the head a couple of times before it got to me, but then it was just a matter of standing my ground and smacking it with my crowbar until it was dead. I was bleeding badly by then, and in a great deal of pain. But it was only when I started to bandage my leg that I realized why. The rain had turned to acid!

What in the hell have we done to our planet? Yeah, we'd had 'acid rain' before - we'd been screwing up our own environment for years - but nothing like this. If I hadn't been wearing a motorcycle helmet I'd found in one of those houses, I think I would have gone blind. As it was, my skin felt like it was on fire.

I ran towards the nearest house, pried open a window, and crawled inside. It didn't matter what was in there. Without shelter, I was going to die anyway. Luckily, it was safe. There was just a frightened ground squirrel in the garage, a pair of boots in my size (my sneakers were about shot by then), and some odds and ends of food and drink. But mostly, it was a place to wait out the acid storm.

When the rain turned to drizzle, I looked outside to discover bodies lying all around the house - zombies, apparently 'killed' by the acid rain. Of course, I knew that they'd just get back up again, eventually. I'd seen that happen far too many times already. So I went outside and cut their heads off.

On the way back to the evac shelter, I tried to stay close to houses I'd already cleared, just in case the acid rain returned. Christ, I'm glad that hadn't happened when I'd been lost in the forest. What a way to die!

It was only mid-day, but I was exhausted, so I slept until nightfall, then went back into town. This time, I raided a sporting goods store, which was a big disappointment, then a grocery store, where I grabbed a shopping cart and filled it to the brim with everything I could find that hadn't spoiled (including some useful magazines about crafts, construction, and popular mechanics, too).

On the way back, I encountered a weird, swollen zombie which exploded after I hit it with a few rocks. Then I was almost at the shelter when a cougar attacked me. I killed it - mostly with rocks, again, and a few lucky hits with my crowbar - but not before it shredded the few clothes I had left.

I had to learn how to repair that stuff, so I spent the next day practicing. (I'd found a needle and thread in a couple of those houses.) I also read for awhile, when I needed a break. I had enough food - especially after another period of acid rain left moose and wolf corpses all around the shelter - and I needed to take it easy for a bit.

Cabin in the woods, but this room isn't finished, and there's no water.

A couple of days later, the sun came out, so I headed north. I'd seen a cabin in the woods, and I wanted to check it out. It looked safe enough - I didn't see anything dangerous on the way - and the cabin had a bed and a wood stove. But one wall needed repairing, and there was no permanent source of water nearby. Well, neither was there at the evac shelter, but at least I could get water from toilets, for awhile

It stayed clear, so that night, I went further south, raiding some military surplus stores. Again, the results were disappointing. I found a few things that were useful, but no weapons. And I really needed something better than that makeshift crowbar! (Maybe I should get a gun, if I can find one with a silencer.)

There were a lot of wrecked vehicles everywhere, and a couple of them still had their lights on. Thus, I came upon a well-lit scene that will give me nightmares for years: a playground, still full of kids. Only they weren't kids anymore.

They couldn't see me, so I just stood in the dark crying.

Eventually, I moved on. What else could I do? There were several military surplus stores nearby. I found some MREs, some military clothes, and a really nice backpack, but still no melee weapons. I attracted some attention at one point, when I was forced to move into the light, but I lost them again. Then I opened the back door of a supermarket and came face-to-face with a glowing blue portal.

I nearly had a heart attack. I'd heard rumors about such things, and if even half of what I'd heard was true, I needed to start running and never look back. But survivors don't panic. I closed the door and headed back to the evac shelter - moving more quickly than usual, true, but I wasn't in a panic.

Still, what do I do now? I can't head into the forest, not without a shelter, not given the likelihood of more acid rain. I'd try that science lab, but I don't fancy being eaten alive by giant ants. Yet that might be a kinder fate than what waiting around near that portal would grant me.

Could I destroy it, somehow? How do you destroy a portal? I suppose I could burn down the grocery store, but would that accomplish anything? I just don't know. And the fact is, my skin crawled at the very thought of getting that close to it again.

I laid awake that night worrying and wondering what to do. Maybe I could wait for a sunny day and head east into the forest, just to see if there might be something in that direction. Alternately, I could try exploring southwest, trying to stay a prudent distance from the portal that way. But what was a prudent distance? I had no idea.

I'm still wondering what to do.

___
Note: Part 2 is here, and my other game-related posts are here.

19 comments:

m1nks said...

You really are running into a lot of stuff. As I said in a previous comment I’ve only encountered mostly bulk standard Zombies plus the odd Feral, Cop and Soldier. Beyond that 4 manhacks attacked me when I failed to hack into the Police Station computer and when I went for an explore in the Subway I saw a Subterranean Dweller or something like that anyway. There were a lot of corpses down there and a fair amount of loot (including two sets of power armour that I had to leave behind) but I didn’t run into anything else ‘living’. I was actually trying to find a way around to another part of the town I was in but my travels underground kept taking me up until I eventually hit another town to the north of me and then I had a heck of a job getting back.

I could have just retraced my steps (and it would have been much smarter) but I (me) was keen to find some different threats and explore the map some more and my character was very over confident in her skills. I was a bit worried about getting caught out without a tent though… I have one so I think I’ll travel with one in future. I trust that would save my skin in the event Acid Rain? Acid drizzle doesn’t worry me, my clothing protects me. I’m not sure if that’s just standard or because my tailoring skill is high and all my gear is in top notch, reinforced condition.

So, no rain but it was a mare getting back over the river which separated me from where I wanted to be. In the end I found a spot that on the map went from Shallow to Shallow with no deep water in between. Of course that was on the map…. In reality there was plenty of deep water and as I had absolutely no swimming skill I came very close to drowning. But, I made it and managed to make it back to my house just as nightfall started to close in.

Now that I’ve located a river there are a few swamp marked tiles that I could go check out if I felt like seeing something other than zombies. Or Zombears which are just a bit of a minor annoyance now. Wow, how things have changed…

WCG said...

Yes, indeed, M1nks! So, are you still playing with the "Classic Zombies' option selected, or have you set that back to default? With "Classic Zombies," you won't see any of the really dangerous creatures. (Swamps won't be so deadly, for one thing.)

Either way, you've clearly learned a lot about the game. It does get easier, doesn't it?

I've never used a tent, so I don't know if it will protect from acid rain or not. (Raincoats won't.) Also, note that my character does get injured by acid drizzle - raincoat or not - but only occasionally, so it takes a long exposure to do much damage.

Chimeradave said...

What's the blue portal?

WCG said...

An opening to the netherworld. You can't enter portals (not yet, at least), but strange creatures pop out of them.

This is the first one I've ever seen, but I know they're supposed to be very dangerous.

m1nks said...

I’ve started a new character on the latest version. This time I’ve just gone for the standard build as I’m pretty ok with the game mechanics now. I didn’t try being a Hobo this time around; I think it will be difficult enough on a new version with fewer starting points, I don’t need any more of a challenge. I do have skill rust turned on though – IntCapped as per my last one but this time without the Forgetful trait.

After my water woes I decided to start as a Survivor like you and at least that way I had one of the two containers I needed to clean water. As it turned out I would have been ok I think. My starting position is surrounded by forests and fields with a school and a town off to the south east. I’ve had successful raids on both places and on the second day my Zombie body count is already sky high. I think melee is tougher but it could be that I am just a bit more underpowered and I’d forgotten how tough l fights are when you are starting out. I got two infected bites from two zombies that I was kiting with my initial gear but then a short while later successfully kited about 8 of them at once with only a few light scratches. They were just the standard ones and little kids (wow my morale took a real hammering after I splattered about 15 in a row). I’m currently running away like a little girl from a Tough Zombie. Until I have a bit better gear anyway. I’ve worked on my tailoring like a demon (were you always able to Disassemble rags into thread and have I just never noticed or is that new?) and everything is now reinforced and I’ve just made myself a knife spear but I have no skill in it yet as I’ve been using a crowbar.

Still, all in all it’s a fairly promising start. She’s up to day 3, healthy, lots of food and drink, a stone fireplace that I’ve just built, a bow that does rubbish damage for now but archery skill is great long term, good gear with plenty of storage and so far no bleeding Zombears!

I’ve located a few mines dotted around but they are hard to see because my perception is too low (9) although that may be because of the tileset because if I recall I couldn’t see them previously either. I’ve been marking them with dropping stones on them and I might see if I can add to the traps my making some nail boards and dropping them there. Maybe then I’ll try and lure Mr Tough Zombie into a bit of a killing field…

WCG said...

Melee is probably harder because they increased the hit points of zombies. You have to do more damage in this version to take them down.

To be honest, I didn't notice that you could disassemble rags into thread. Now that's nice, especially since you can make a bone needle, too, if necessary.

And I agree with you about archery, but I don't have the patience to raise it from nothing. I'm hoping I can find a magazine or a book to give me a start on the skill (but no luck so far). Until then, I guess I'll stick with melee.

And yes, that's a great idea to lure enemies into a minefield - assuming that you can get the creature to walk on a particular mine without being so close you take damage, yourself. Unless the minefield is very thick with mines, the creature might just walk through it without setting any off.

I carry bear traps with me (in my shopping cart) to use when I encounter tough melee characters. They do some damage, but also greatly slow them down.

Unfortunately, they're very heavy, so it's hard for even a strong character to carry more than two or three. (Caltrops are light enough to carry around, but they don't do much damage.)

m1nks said...

Well I’m pleased I could let you know something; with all of the zombies I’m killing having an unlimited source of thread is wonderful for my tailoring. I’ve just had another raid on the school and along with my morale being completely in the pits, I now have another stack of clothes to fix. I meant to try to make some trap boards but I didn’t get around to it so I just ended up doing everything by hand. Man, kill 40+ little zombie kids in one go and watch that morale drop.

Oh well, once it’s done it’s done and I’ll have a school full of (hopefully) decent books to read as well as enough clothing to fix to make my toon a master tailor.

I definitely prefer having a wide selection of critters to kill (notice how I’m putting myself in the ‘predator’ position. That’s optimism for you!) rather than just bulk standard Zombies. So far I’ve killed Joe Blog Standard Zombies, Kiddie Zomkids, Zombie dogs, Fungaloids, Spores, a Skeleton, a Jumping Spider and a Worm, plus the usual assortment of natural woodland life. I found a rapier in one of the basements so that is now the weapon of choice (really fast and around 30 cutting damage), with my Self Bow for shooting things as they approach and some throwing knives just to mix it up.

I’m also lugging around a loaded rifle with my FO ammo just in case I come face to face with something that I can’t run from and looks like it will rip my head off if I don’t nail it fast. So, I guess that is quite a lot of weaponry :-)

I’m also digging pits around my evac shelter and will start to make some spikes and turn it into a bit of a fortress. I didn’t bother in my last game but this one looks to be a lot more dangerous and I want to have a safe(r) bolt hole. Even with my Animal Empathy (which is a great 1 point trait) there are a lot of giant wolf spiders and whatnot wandering around outside, not to say anything about the odd zombie that seems to be far from home. I saw a Smoker Zombie when I was out hunting one morning which seemed miles away from any towns. I kept my distance especially as I don’t have a decent filter mask yet.

I haven’t tangled with the Tough Zombie yet either. As he’s all dressed in athletic gear I’m going to bet that he’s probably quite fast and the padded armour might provide some protection. There is also a Fat Zombie to the east of the school which I’m not actually concerned about. I’d be likely to be able to pick him off with my bow. I might even be able to craft a new short bow now, well, once I’ve finished crying into my teacup about all the little zomboid kids I’ve been splattering…

Anonymous said...

Note - guilt stops impacting you once you've killed enough of them. I still get the message that I feel guilty but my morale no longer tanks.

WCG said...

Yeah, I remember reading that in the changelog of the new version. Apparently, you get cold-hearted after awhile, huh? :)

WCG said...

You're doing great, M1nks! You've learned a lot since your first play of Cataclysm, haven't you? :)

You know, one thing that's neat about this game is that there's so much content, so each playthrough can be quite different. In my previous game, I always had rats attacking me. In fact, they were a good source of food. And I had fungaloids all over the place.

This time, I haven't seen a single rat or fungal creature, but I've had giant insects all around (ants, flies, wasps), and now blobs. I hadn't seen any of those in the previous game. It's kind of neat.

m1nks said...

Everything seems relatively simple now; I’ve still got a lot to learn but I’m cruising through the basics now.

Currently I’m taking an ambulance to bits and carting the scrap metal back to base. I want to build a charcoal forge but I can’t at the moment. I’m not sure if that is because of a lack of level in the appropriate skill or just because I haven’t found the recipe yet. That is one difference in this game – not being able to craft things if you don’t have the recipe – I’m not sure how that affects those will Illiterate as a trait? I am definitely spending a lot more time reading in this version.

My list of critters killed keeps expanding. I’ve tangled with Triffids (found out that my rapier doesn’t hurt them so thankfully my bow did) including a Queen who nicely killed a Zombear and another Triffid who was trailing after me and showed me why I wanted to keep out of range of its special attacks. Also, a Shrieker Zombie (which I was concerned about deafening me but I think it was just an alarm system). I saw a Necromancer Zombie which I hightailed it away from – not quite ready to go toe to toe with that one. Not until I’ve cleared the mobs in the general area anyway so I can just concentrate on whatever that throws at me.

I found a Triffid Grove a little ways out of town. I wandered up for a look but about 5 Triffids came down after me so I decided that I wasn’t THAT curious! Once I have a few more molatovs and am comfortable in using them I might give it another go. Perhaps a Flamethrower as well? They are plants so I doubt they like fire that much.

There is also a Fungal Grove on my map but it’s up North through the forest and I haven’t felt any inclination to go and investigate that. It’s not like they drop anything great although the fluid sacs are really handy; I no longer have to boil water and so far they haven’t gone ‘off’.

My style of play is definitely to find a base and stick there. Now I have Pit Traps all around my evac shelter I haven’t been bothered nearly as much with Zombears and Zombie Dogs smashing through my windows and doors to eat me. Just the one really and I’m guessing it spawned inside the area. Outside is a mass of critters that mostly seem to ignore me, even if they show as Hostile; so long as I don’t walk right up to them they seem to leave me alone. The exception being Zombears/dogs of course.

So, for a Zombie apocalypse, everything is just peachy.

m1nks said...

Argh! I've done with trying to live above ground - even with my spiked pits Zombears and dogs keep breaking my windows and doors when I'm sleeping and reading. So, I'm in the process of moving everything underground. They aren't dangerous, even when sound asleep a Zombear has a hard job so much as scratching me, but I'm really sick of fixing my digs every five minutes.

£&^%$*^% &^%$£!!

m1nks said...

Also I still have yet to work out how to drive a vehicle. I am trying to get anything working at all before I try to drive an RV to my evac shelter and starting turning it into an armour plated deathmobile. I think one of the problems might be lack of a seat? So I've taken a seat from one car and I'll put it in. Well I will once I get my hands on some sort of welder. Getting mobile is proving to be a bleeding nightmare in this game!

WCG said...

That's odd, M1nks, because I've never had anything break into my evac shelter. But then, I keep the drapes drawn, and I've got the Light Step and Weak Scent traits, so maybe they don't know I'm there until I open the door.

In my earlier game, I found a radiation-powered (so permanent) nightlight, which let me read, sew, or craft at any time, no matter how dark it was. That would be really nice for underground living!

Or you might consider living in a science lab. The rooms above ground have enough light to see and craft (though not sew or read, if I remember correctly - not without additional light).

There's only one entrance, unless you find one that hooks up to a sewer system, but there are no windows above ground and the doors are metal, so nothing can break them down. (I'm talking about the room doors. Once you open the main doors, you can't close them again, as far as I know.)

And you can probably find a permanent source of water underground, if you search long enough. So science labs are really nice,... except for that only-one-entrance thing. (You can still get animals spawning inside, occasionally, but the rooms are small, so that's rare.)

I haven't explored them in this play-through - not yet, anyway - because I spent a lot of time doing that in my earlier game, and I wanted to do something different this time. But there are three science labs nearby (I've looked around the top level of two of them), so I'll probably do that eventually.

WCG said...

Sorry, I can't help you with that. I get along fine with my shopping carts and wheelbarrows. :)

Some day I might try driving a vehicle, but I haven't yet - not once. So you'll have to tell me how it goes.

m1nks said...

I would move to a lab if there was one within my map. I could relocate to a house perhaps because I've cleaned out a chunk of the town but the convenience of so many hunting animals and the forest next door is good. All the animals just ignore me really and now I've moved downstairs my scent and sound is no longer attracting the Zombears and Zombie Dogs. I usually just have to kill 2 or 3 if I wander around outside and then I'm free to run around where I please. They spawn a lot!

My list of freaky Zombies is growing. I've now killed Swimmer Zombies, Firefighter Zombies, Smoker Zombies and Spitter Zombies. Those last two were fun - twice I've been surrounded by pools of acid and I'm standing in the only dry patch. They can spit a loooong way. And the Smokers were easy with a gas mask. Hard to spot in all that smoke though.

There is a Shocker Zombie floating around that I haven't tried yet. I'm thinking maybe a gun for that one? I certainly don't want to be hitting it with my metal rapier!

WCG said...

M1nks, what continues to surprise me about Cataclysm is not just the variety of creatures, but the variety of items, too. I'm still finding neat things which I've never seen before (like a road map, which was very nice).

And some items I've found in other plays of the game - like that permanent nightlight I mentioned - I haven't seen this time,... and I've been playing the game a lot.

Buildings and other locations are incredibly diverse, too. You mentioned that school, but I've never seen one. (There are two nearby which were shown on that road map, though, so I might work my way towards one of them. Are they worth a visit?)

I've never, ever found a rapier in a game (I'm jealous!), though I found a broadsword in my previous game. Right now, I've got pretty good weapons in all three damage categories - bashing, cutting, and piercing - but even after playing this long, I don't have the best. I like that. There's always something new to find.

There are still things that surprise me, too. I found a Halligan bar, which I'd never seen before, and I've been using it as a crowbar. It's slow, but when I used it as a weapon, I was surprised that it not only stunned some enemies, and knocked them backwards, occasionally, but that it would hit more than one nearby creature with one strike.

I try to fight creatures one at a time, and I don't normally use the Halligan bar as a weapon, but it surprised the heck out of me the first time I killed two creatures with one hit. :) I love how this game keeps impressing me!

m1nks said...

I’ve just seen this post – it’s annoying that I don’t get notified if someone replies to my posts.

I agree that the variety is a fantastic feature of the game. I saw someone bitching on a forum about how they thought Cataclysm was rubbish because of the huge amount of trash in the game and most of it is useless! Man, I couldn’t understand that point of view at all! I consider it subversive in its encouragement of reusing and recycling, demonstrating how supposed trash can nearly always be put to another purpose somehow. I had chucked my burnt out bionics into a pile of ‘can’t work out what their use is yet’ and yesterday looked at the recipe for the only bionic I can currently craft, and sure enough a burnt out bionic is one of the parts I need.

Regarding schools, yes definitely worth a visit. It is crammed full of skill books and other books, lots of food (although a lot of it is candy rubbish), computers and lockers and wooden furniture for disassembly and, of course, lots of clothes once you’ve dealt with the zombie horde. Just be prepared to have your morale crash! Seeing as you’re playing a pacifist you might consider it out of character to head to a school and slaughter everything that moves. There are a lot of kids.

Regarding weapons I can craft most stuff now – I picked up crafting books from the school, or possibly from one of the stores in town, which means I can make all of this exotic gear if I wanted to. I’m pretty happy with my rapier though.

I have a couple of halligan bars (and I have two copies of a Firefighting craft book so I could make one if I wished). I found them too heavy or bulky to lug around so they are probably quite slow as a weapon? I’ll stick with my Longbow/Crossbow/Rapier for now but I certainly agree that having so many options lends a depth and richness to the game that keeps it interesting.

WCG said...

M1nks, if you check the "Notify me" box at the bottom of these comments (just below the comment box itself), you should get an email notification whenever there's a new comment.

Alternately, just below my profile, there's an option to subscribe to all posts and/or all comments, but that's probably more than you want or need. :)

Note that I haven't tested those options, because I get an email notification of all comments anyway. But it's always worked for me when I've commented on other blogs.

In the game, my character isn't exactly a pacifist, but just the cautious type. And he knows those aren't really children anymore. But it's still a constant reminder of what has happened to children, which is naturally depressing.

It's been raining all the time in my game - with occasional acid rain - so my character has been reluctant to get too far from shelter. One of the schools on my map is far to the northeast, through the forest. The other is on the other side of town, so it will take time to get there, too.

I just cleared the FEMA camp, hoping to create a base in that direction. But I don't think my character would be comfortable sleeping among all those mass graves. :)

He's getting a little worried about winter, plus he's got stuff stashed all over the place, so he'll probably try to consolidate things in his hotel room to the south. Then he'll try to explore further to the south, to get around the city that way, or just go through it, methodically clearing out zombies along the way.

I've got a number of temporary bases, but nothing I really want to make permanent. Of course, I'm not sure I'll ever want anything permanent, since it's always going to be useful to have a base close to wherever I'm currently exploring. (I haven't been back to my evac shelter for a long time now.)

Oh, and that Halligan bar isn't much bigger than the crowbar it replaces (heavier, though). It's fairly slow as a weapon, but still pretty nice. Still, I probably wouldn't use it at all except for role-playing purposes.

In general, I like fast weapons (which is why I still prefer my machete, rather than the rapier I found), but I like to use a variety. Bashing weapons can stun enemies on a critical hit, and the Halligan bar can kill two at once. But I normally only use it where it would seem to make sense (against skeletons, for example), even when they're easy to kill with other weapons, too.

Just role-playing.