In a game about surviving during a zombie apocalypse, it would make sense to have more in it than just violence and combat - yet we can either make those non-violent mechanics fun and enjoyable or simply a boring bare-bones task required to be done by every player. By making these mechanics fun and dynamic, we can even add other uses to these mechanics.
A few examples:
Players can ‘dig a hole’ to create a temporary inventory that is stationary and placed like building parts. That inventory can be filled with fertilizer and seeds to start a garden or even hide some loot caches for emergency situations
• Intellisense crafting
When certain items are placed in the inventory of certain objects like a campfire, blender, or a hole in the ground, putting in the right combination will ‘craft’ certain items and may even change the item it is stored in - like a hole in the ground with seeds and fertilizer turn into a healthy, fast growing crop on the field while just a seed will turn into a normal crop with less chance of yielding good produce
• Interacting with inventory items
Running/trampling through crops will damage them, so be sure to plant some thistles in your crops to snag and slow down those pesky trolls for a proper headshot
Spending extra time to dig a hole can increase the inventory space you’re digging - especially when using special tools like a shovel. Spending extra time hiding the giant disturbed mound of dirt after burying the item(s) can make it less detectable by human eye as well.
Sprinkling some spices on a piece of meat cooking over a fire can boost it’s effects when eaten later. Just don’t overdo it and give yourself a stomach ache from too much seasoning or overcook it!
Charging up your portable battery can give you access to many scattered electronics you find down the line, just be sure to carry spare ammo when you plug it into that blender to make yourself a smoothie because it’s going to get loud and attract zombies
Some mechanics can even not be direct combat, but related to combat. Who doesn’t love setting a trap and seeing someone fall right into it? From rigged doors that set off shotguns, pitfall traps to break your leg, and vials you found in the radiation zone that make poisonous clouds when broken, traps are awesome.
Server loyalty incentives.
Skills and leveling those skills are important for players to customize their gameplay and how they want to play, but why not also add some permanent gear that can be upgraded through in-game questing? This makes players want to stay on servers they advance the gear on.
From a portable battery you can plug in to juice up electronics temporarily to metal detectors with wider and stronger detection to find hidden caches buried or hidden, or even a smartphone you can scan things with so it gets smarter, gains more access to helpful information, and makes your character able to do menial tasks faster, having upgradable gear helps everyone out.
I’m pretty sure this is already possible with 3.0 maps although it isn’t used a ton. It’d be neat for UII to place a focus on quests for stuff like that though.
With this I think it may be a little excessive and could bring back the issues with farming in 3.0. You put in tons of effort replanting crops and end up with a small yield compared to five minutes of scavenging.
Will we have in-game guides and information for these recipes though? The idea reminds me of the perils with 2.0’s crafting system. Recipes weren’t always common sense in that one though. Big concern with the idea is not knowing that certain items exist.
I love the idea of farming, Obviously it’ll have to balanced to actually be better than scavenging like Craven said, However I think a bigger focus on it would be much better, I rly like the idea of holes too, And they could be even used in buildings, Such as filling it with concrete and placing a pillar in it, as done irl.
The problems of farming can easily be fixed by keeping the game in mind.
Previously you would plant seeds and get one or two crop per seed depending on skill, and need to replant the second yield. Most variety of plants either continually grow produce or grow produce large enough to use multiple times. By not destroying the plant but making the player tend and care for their crops, we not only create another incentive to log on every day, but with produce that can grow in size, we create potential for some goals and hilarious shenanigans with giant watermelons, etc.
As for the scavenging factor, we make perishable goods as they are in real life - perishable. Without ideal refrigeration and due to the sped up time of day in-game, perishables should decrease constantly to the point where they become toxic. This is why having always fresh produce still connected to the vine at home is important.
This also ties into cooking. Cooked foods could be less/non-perishable. This makes scavenging and eating perishable food a looming task as players will always be panicking to scavenge for more food until they breach the agricultural era of the game. While you may find a can of beans, without using the right tool to open it, you lose some of it’s charges wasting some beans by getting it open with a knife instead of a can opener - and once opened, it starts to degrade in quality.
This further ties into cooking/crafting - as the final product should only be as good as all the ingredients combined unless you have skill in cooking which can actually improve the quality with bad food or allow for less ingredients to be used to make something. This provides players with incentives to bring well preserved foods back home and combine them with your fresh produce to create ready-to-eat slow/non-perishing food or to use the perishing food you no longer can eat to start crops you can use later.
As for crafting, using a smart phone with QR codes to upgrade it’s database can help find, search, and even discover recipes for crafting. As players experiment with ingredients for crafting, they may discover some odd recipes that their phones can keep track of for them. Think skyrim potion making.