Now, I'm only at Agroprom, so I'm assuming that I'm merely about halfway through the game. Still, I've seen enough that I'd thought I'd give some thoughts and feedback.
After some data-diving, I've definitely got some issues with how they did the weaponry. Everyone's aware of the accuracy suckage, but I needed specifics. After finding a mod that alters the accuracy to Oblivion Lost levels, I found that it also included Weapon files of the original CS settings before upgrades, so I did some comparison. And I was appalled at what I saw.
(For the record, Dispersion value is basically the cone arc diameter of gunfire of which your bullet will land. Small values make it much more straight and accurate, while values like 1.0 makes it very inaccurate, as a shotgun firing buckshot would be).
The Winchester 1300 (Chaser 13) had a dispersion value of 1.0. YES, its a shotgun, but thats rediculoso, considering that buckshot itself has its own dispersion value multiplier, scattering those things everywhere. This also means that even if you get it tinkered to max accuracy (and therefore forgo buckshot ammo), its highly inaccurate even with slugs & darts.
AK-74. What the hell. A dispersion rate of 0.8? The successor of the world's most known & popular rifle, valued for reliability, power & accuracy, now reduced to be barely better than a freaking shotgun. Even with maxed upgrades and with a PSO-P, you're in for a shock. Might as well call it a scattergun, cause thats what it does. I could fire three shot bursts at a bandit from 40 feet away, and those bursts are so all over the place, all three shots could very well miss. The Abakan (0.7) doesn't fare much better unless you stick to 2-shot bursts. This is beyond stupid.
So far, I've edited weapons no further than their accuracy, but I've also taken note that all the weapons were seriously powered down, thus why most NPCs are harder to kill by default. Some weapon's "hit_power" rating (basically, how much damage the gun does, ammo has its own hit_power rating as well) are almost half of what they were in OL. However, could someone please explain to me why an AK-74U (0.35), AK-74 and Abakan (both 0.4) are all weaker than an MP5 (0.5)? Seriously, why bother with 9x18 & 9x19 handguns? Just get a pair of max-tweaked MP5s adjusted for each caliber and go to town, the combined weight is worth it. There's some serious adjustment needed here. I also see that the Groza (0.4) is beefier than the Vintorez & VAL (0.35 ?!) this time around.
I've yet to see any 9x39 weapons other than the Vintorez yet, and have found no NATO offerings above the LR 300 yet (only in Agroprom so far) so I haven't been able to test those yet. Unlike SoC, once the accuracy issue is remedied, the Abakan's much better than the AKs. Desert Eagle's also WILDLY improved in vanilla CS, even before upgrades. The other .45 handguns also rock in their individual ways, so be sure to pick your favorite and stick with it.
Shotguns are a mixed bag. Once I fixed the accuracy issue, my non-buckshot Winchester didn't suck anymore. Good, cause I was about to ditch it. However, once I got a SPAS, something didn't feel right. SPAS before upgrades now only has a 6 shot capacity, same as Winchester, although I think thats how it is in RL. But aside from that, I compared their .ltx's. From a glance, it would appear that Winchester & SPAS are virtually identical in every way, save for SPAS's worse handling, being much heavier, and more expensive. Oh, and despite both guns using mostly the same sound paths, SPAS's reloading sound is broken and therefore silent. So yeah. SPAS sucks. Chester for the Win.
Grenade Launchers are in starvingly low supply. Only M203 launcher I've seen was sold by Freedom's trader, but the GP-25 Kostyer for AKs is MIA. I'm at Duty's base, and I don't even see it here. Which sucks, cause I'm sitting on 28 VoG-25s. I hope that Groza comes soon...
I guess the Ammo values are supposed to make up for low gun power, but they dont change too much from what you'd think either. Some calibers have two ammo types that barely differ from each other. The three 7.62x54 Sniper round varieties didn't vary at ALL. Literally all the same. I fixed that, and hopefully a future patch does too. Nudged up Shotgun slugs & darts a tad. Also discovered a new ammo type I was unfamiliar with, "ammo_223_fmj". This coincides with a mystery ammo type I managed to pick up in the Agroprom Underground, one simply known as "7x62". (its a stash of which location info must be purchased in the Duty base. Do it ASAP, since its located within a Point of No Return (only for the Underground, dont worry) ) The description says its shape makes it unsuitable for sniper guns, so what uses it? I didn't bother to keep the Trophy AK, so I dunno.
Beyond weapons, I've also noticed some other annoyances. Artifacts for one. I really didn't think they'd be so few in number this time around (since it seems none respawn, and the random blowouts dont seem to spawn more artifacts or mutants), so its really frusterating when artifacts end up under the world. I've had this happen two or three times by now. Also, in return for the strong restriction on using them (what with the slots on suits for them being low in number, aside from slot extentions through upgrades), I expected some nice effects. For the most part though, its all "Eh." Most artifacts so far just resist a different element in a VERY SMALL amount and are worthless. Guess the 2nd emission for SoC strengthened & changed them all. Most artifacts are familiar in name only, they're virtually all different. Wrenched went from being worthless to being highly sought after, as one of the select few (& rare) artifacts that reduce radiation, just so I can use others. Thats a major irk, since I didn't find my first one until Dark Valley, and thats a long time to sit on a bunch of other artifacts I can't use cause everyfreakingthing's radioactive now. GSC better do something about that, but something tells me thats gonna be up to us.
Food's been a common complaint. As most of us know already, there's no such thing as hunger in CS. Food is there now to intentionally restore some health as a cheaper alternative to medkits. Medkits, however, are much lighter than they were in SoC, whereas food's still rather bulky, and vodka's actually heavier. Food has a drawback however, as it makes you heavier too so you can't carry as much for a little bit. Scientific medkits are very rare even around Agroprom, and they're far more expensive than before too, but odds are you're in a SEVA suit by this point with dozens of Anti-rad, so who needs them?
Which brings another irk to light. The selection of suits to purchase is sparse and monotonous. Everywhere I go, its just a "Sunrise" Suit (Stalker suit?), Berill armor, and the SEVA suit. Whats with that? Did they just make all traders like this until later patches when they'll actually address it? Because its very strange. Upon looking at the Outfit info data, it looks like basically every vanilla SoC suit is here, along with a couple of new ones, so where'd they all go? At this point it seems like the only way to get a Freedom or Duty suit of some sort is to join their faction, which I'm not crazy about doing just yet. The same goes for getting the SIG 552 (joining Freedom, supposedly). I guess from a roleplaying standpoint it makes perfect sense. You wouldn't want people you didn't approve of parading around in your insignia Duty suit, especially those that associated with Freedom. But if thats the real reason why, that REALLY limits options. And even so, SEVA suit shouldn't be so damned easy to get. When I saw it for sale at the stalker base in Cordon, I had to double check the few mods I was using to make sure they didn't edit any trader files. When I realized that this was purely legit, I raised an eyebrow until it hurt.
So yeah, I dunno. I'm liking this game and I dont want it to end so fast, but it does irritate me how I've had to resort to modding already to rectify some very significant issues. I wonder when the next patch is due out....
Long as it may be, it's at least a very well reasoned and detailed complaint, not just plain whining. Lots of a good points there, which are mostly, as you also stated, fixed with different mods. And you were but talking about items in this post :) What i gather from there and have thought by my self lately, is that i feel that the purpose of modding (literally, see this) is to bring something new to the game, new elements to encourage playing that game all over again and again. Modding is not meant to fix the games faults, balance the insufficiently playtested features and advice the dev. crew where to go next. I think all those mentioned are responsibility of the gaming industry which in the end gathers our money, lives from it. Sure, i'll pay my dues, but please, try to shape up a bit, eh? And that's the thing which irritates me. IF modders only could concentrate mostly on creating new content and not to fix bugs, what could they accomplish? Yes, i can see the bug fixing as a good thing in form of education with any single game, even i have learned a bit with Stalker games. Maybe there'll be a mod by me someday? Daydreaming... :) I'm not much irritated in buying flawed game just to wait bunch of patches until i can play it, no, it's almost a thumbrule nowadays and i also accept the fact that gameindustry needs it's money to give us even more superb stories to be amazed with. If not, what would we then be complaining about? Our moms? Yeah... But the skills of modders being used to fix industrys negligence... If modders weren't such an supportive, resilient and productive folks, how long would we be waiting, in too many cases, to get an playable game on front of us? And think about if a game was very well tested before release and even SDK was given out right... And if people on forums where there only to chat and give hints and advice. And of course fixing bugs, but this time mainly fixing bugs on mods, not in the game itself. Daydreaming still... Yes, gameindustry is as hard work as any in it's own way and i'll give all the credit to them for what they have created, i certainly couldn't do anything even close to that, thank you for everything, also in advance. But will you please try to finish your products as far as reasonable before releasing them? Thank you :)
BTW, next patch is supposed to be out around 26.9. and hopefully it won't delay much, if any. Little info about 1.5.05: http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/stalkerclearsky/show_msgs.php?topic_id=m-1-45512710&pid=942067
Well, thats good to know. Glad to see more improvement coming within a week.
Unfortunately, I ran into my first game-killing bug, and I can't possibly figure out whats causing it, so I caved in and started over, this time on Master. The bug is very wierd. Simply causes a CTD at a certain time in the game with apparently no chance for even a bug report. I thought it was something in the Agroprom, so I hightailed it outta there to Yantar just in time.........only it didn't work. Now my old saved game loads up Yantar for about a full second before the CTD occurs again. I dont think I've ever had a game any more FUBAR than that.
Before that though, I was able to check out some more things. I figured I'd save and join Duty just to see what I'd get. I got an Abakan, a buncha rounds for it, some VoG-25s, a Kostyer launcher (Finally.), and a PSD-9D Universal Protection. Annoying that this is the only way to get a Warsaw pact grenade launcher add-on, short of heading to Yantar and beyond from what I see. Also, the "Super Duty" suit made my face drop. A FAR cry from the power it saw in SoC. Piece of crap it is, and it doesn't even allow for Artifacts. At ALL. I imagine the Guardian of Freedom suit's just as bad. Why so restrictive about Artifacts?! I also learned that I had the SKAT armor to look forward to at Yantar, and Exos couldn't be far behind. Which sucks, cause I had the cash for it before those CTDs. Dammit. Ahh well, I'll figure it all out once I get back out there.
Awsome my review thread has caused a fad where people post ridiciously long posts!! I feel special.
But in all seriousness we can all hope that GSC does 2 things
Release a patch
Release the SDK.
Well, another patch seems due within a week.
The SDK could very well never show up though. Here's hoping.
If the SDK doesn't show up, its because they fear they won't profit off of it. Unlike Steam and it's Source based SDK system, where in order to use the sdk is online, the dev and publishers doesn't have one, thus can't control it.
the sdk is at the bottom of the list of things to do for gsc.. and that includes after the next stalker game. it was never released for SOC and i personally think it will never come out for CS. as gsc will go under before it appears.
many of the modder that brought the greatest mods for SOC have said that they will not mod for CS. while im sure there will be new people to fill the shoes of these people. knowing that gsc's total failure to support the modders and then take some of the work the modders did even with out the sdk and use it in CS is just sad.
but considering how good the OL2.2 mod was for soc how much better of a game it made SOC.
i can understand why gsc does not want to see how much better the modders are.
they totally miss the fact that a lot of games or only so-so and the modders make fantastic mods which sell more games.
nutz i want a sdk and with out it ill will not support gsc. again
Now there's a new concept I didn't think of.....SELLING the SDK. Cripes. This is like those wierd colored Playstations all over again. I'd seen images of them in the past, blue Playstation 2s which were basically development kits that sold for about $15,000-25,000, depending on whom you asked.
Thats the last thing we need. I'm sure that will never happen here, but if GSC tried to pull a stunt like that, it'd be the last straw. At this point, they all but OWE the public an SDK, after this half-assed release. People wanna play this game so bad, but the game itself won't let lotsa people even finish a single run through, and many are quitting in disgust or holding off on buying it until more good news trickles in. Even worse, Steam's bungling the installations with some players, and you're only allowed 3 installs through Steam, then you're outta luck and gotta pay again. Thank god I always buy retail. I like having the DVD in my hand, cause of crap like this. Took long enough to get it, too.
Basically, GSC's touting over 2 million sales, and guess what. That means they've got at least 1 million people that are either frusterated, patient, disappointed to some degree, or downright hopping mad. GSC should take notes from the large mod community of SoC and give us what we need to really make CS fun like OL and AMK did. To do any less would likely alienate the most productive part of the Stalker fanbase. To make them pay googobs of cash for it would make them turn their backs on them for good.
Yeah, I could understand the SDK never coming. I dont condone it, but I totally see why. And there's a 3rd game coming for sure? Thats some serious effing karmic sabotage right there. CS release reception is almost in critical condition with blunt trauma to the head as it is. Last thing anyone wants to hear before this thing's patched up is a sequel. TOO SOON.
Unless thats what GSC's angle is. After all, if they can get away with the CS launch, where's the incentive to do right with #3? Get ready for the most hyped game / CTD ratio ever.
Yeah, its unfortunate that an actual OL or AMK won't come to be for CS, even though so many wish for it. I'll miss Kanyhalo's work, and will likely still replay through SoC just to compare the two games.
And now that you mentioned it, I THOUGHT quite a few of those guns looked familiar. Son of a bitch. And GSC never consulted any of the modders about these? Thats a low down dirty shame, that is. Did GSC even make many of these models & animations themselves? This suddenly suggests otherwise. Yet they won't give up what we need to really polish this up out of pure pride.
Interesting to see what can be gotten away with in the Ukraine...