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Human Resources

January 26, 2015

I’ve often wondered what writing Mondoid would be like if I were a Fireman. What background knowledge would it bring to the experience? Would being all rugged and handsome, and being proficient in sliding down poles [other career stereotypes are available] impact on the way I tap it out at the start of every week? Well, I shall wonder no more…

We had originally planned, as indicated last week, to extend the ‘So what you doing?’ team interviews into this Mondoid – but seeing as there’s a lot of ongoing/dull stuff going on under the hood we thought it better to keep it till next time – when there’s more to discuss.

Fret not, however, because we’ve got news on quite a big addition to the game that will have a sizeable impact on the ways you survive in both SP and MP. Starting professions and traits have been left untouched for far too long, and to rectify this we’ve currently got an internal test build being played for balancing/tweaks that should deepen your survival experience considerably. It’s got lots of positive feedback so far, and as such you’ll be seeing it as a part of Build 31.

On top of the big stuff like NPCs, radio broadcasts and vehicles, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of this sort of activity as we make our run-up to 1.0. We need to start rounding off the game so it feels like a game – with progression, a few things to unlock and no area of PZ that feels undeveloped or unfinished. Traits and professions have been one of the worst offenders in these terms for a LOOOOONG time.

If you’re reading this Mondoid close to the time of posting then Twiggy is currently streaming with the new system, and will be until the early evening GMT. So click here!

[And it should be noted that given his experience in making character builds in tons of survival games, specifically the amazing Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead that has been a huge inspiration, Twigs has been a huge help in this endeavour.]



In the new system Professions can now provide supplementary skill points, which directly tie into the learning speed of relevant skills as well as starting skill levels. This is to further diversify character creation, and to make professions feel like a character’s pre-zombies life has genuine impact on their survival experience. Less ‘blank slate’, basically.


  • Fire Officer (3 blade, axeman)
  • Police Officer (3 aim, 2 reload, 1 nimble)
  • Park Ranger (2 trap, 2 forage, 1 carpentry)
  • Construction Worker (3 blunt, 1 carpentry)
  • Security Guard (night owl, 2 sprinting, 1 lightfoot)

Importantly, Professions are not all necessarily free, so we can create the potential for more powerful starting professions that will require negative traits to balance them out. Unemployed gives 8 points to start, which is very important for reasons that will be clear when we talk about the new traits later on.

So, f’rinstance… you may pick the Carpenter profession, and right out of the bat that will give you 3 points in carpentry. This not only means starting on level 3, but the carpenter will gain a 50% boost to XP in that skill. The time that it takes to learn and upgrade Carpentry will then be tied to that multiplier throughout the character’s lifespan.

The big idea is that with the new system ONLY a carpenter with starting carpentry skills can advance in carpentry at a fast speed. Their hopes of becoming an expert farmer any time soon are remote. As such, this further diversifies characters to provide much more varied runs in single player, and provides more potential for teamwork and specific roles in MP – and ultimately in the NPC system.

This all said, a carpenter being doomed to ONLY ever be able to learn carpentry quickly is going to be in deep, deep shit. So, enter stage left…


So… we’ve made a few big changes to how traits work.

First off, all currently non-relevant traits are being removed until NPCs go in and they become relevant again. So that’s stuff like Light Drinker, and other cheesable traits.

Second off, we’ve added a load of new traits. Names currently need some work, and our current internal build is staying that way for a bit primarily because there’s a lot of balance required and many will be OP/UP and may need nerfing or point value changes. Examples you can expect, however, include an Adrenaline Junkie who’ll be able to run faster when it the top panic level, a Packmule who can fit more into bags, someone’s who’s Disorganised who can cram in less etc.

Third, and most interestingly: to counter the fact that a Profession only speeds up levelling in relevant skills – we now have a range of traits that act as Hobbies.

Say your Carpenter had green fingers in his pre-apocalypse life, for example. You’d pick the ‘Gardener’ trait which would then give you a single point in farming – and while that wouldn’t seem like a huge deal in itself it WOULD mean that they’re now learning farming at a 1x speed rate instead of the bargain basement ‘level zero’ 0.333x speed. This then makes Farming a viable skill to train up during a run.

[If you require a frame of reference then think of how Morrowind’s minor / major skills worked.]

Some examples:

  • Self Defense Class – provides 1 blade guard point, 1 blunt guard
  • First Aid – provides 1 Doctor point
  • Fishing – provides 1 Fishing point
  • Jogger – provides 1 Sprinting and better endurance

With the new system players will be encouraged to pick a few hobbies, or other traits, that round out their character with skills they intend to use – and likely have to build in some bigger disadvantages into their character to compensate. This is why those choosing to be unemployed (crikey, that sounds a bit political) gets you extra points to start. It assumes you’ve had the time to invest in hobbies, which you willl likely need to build from and survive.


But wait, there’s more. Also in our testing build is a modified version of the Last Stand menu that will allow for particular challenges that use the Last Stand challenge system but are played in the Survival game mode. As mentioned before, when we break out into 1.0 we want to feel like more of a complete game – and the rewrite of this code will provide ways of providing extra unlockable challenges, a feeling of progression and some goals for players who tire of the pure sandbox.

It’s something that will allow our team, or indeed any modder with lua skillz, to throw in fun (and easily created) concepts during idle moments. If you’re at all Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead literate, then you’ll be pleased to know that the test challenge currently in the build is called  ‘A Really CD DA’ – and it’s pretty fun stuff.


Finally: in the new system we’re testing we’ve made it so that hammers at level 0 in Carpentry can only build barricades. All carpentry recipes are going up one level – except for log walls. Sorry!


Here is a video of some zombies doing the hokey-cokey

We don’t know whether the hokey-cokey exists in places like America, and other similar places that are far away, but if not then consider this part of a vital cultural exchange.

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