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So uh, I play a lot of build them up games and stuff. I only recently just picked up Grounded, but I haven't been able to stop playing and have been convincing friends to buy it too. Anyways! I play a lot of games like Ark, The Forest, House Flipper, Valheim, 7 Days to Die, Subnautica- obvious Sandbox and Survival games that are replayable. I love this game a lot, because there is so much to do, even if you get a lot of the stuff done in the game itself. On that note I just have mild suggestions in terms of gameplay:

 

Balancing Thoughts:

- Poison/Gas Arrows: I uh, don't see this working on anything I fight, it'd be nice to have like a status symbol under the health bar or something just to see that it's working? I don't tend to see the health go down, but the venom/gas arrows feel a little pointless if you don't see them actually working?

- Crow Feathers: I saw you fixed the issue where they stay forever as well as the free respawns, I just think it might be a good idea to up the amount of fragments you get- not by a lot. Maybe 2-3 per a drop rather than 1? Since you only award 2 Raven Arrows per a fragment it'd be nicer to not have to wait days to farm the feathers. Either that or increase how many arrows you get per? Make gameplay a little more balanced when you do get what you need.

- Spike Traps: I hate saying it, but you should pull the damage down on them, I killed a wolf spider on accident because it went for a lure trap surrounded by spikes. It only took a minute for it to die. Those may be just a tad over powered. I did do this on patch 8.2 though, so maybe they will break before they kill the wolf spider this time, but even then; just might be a good idea.

- Weapons: So far the best weapons ( which I think was your intention ) for dealing heavy damage are the maces/clubs. Which is nice, they are well balanced ( Stamina Cost, Speed and Stun Rate ) and honestly satisfying as all hell. Same with the spear ( Good Damage, Mid-Speed, Long Range and Good Stamina Consumption ), but uh, I wish the daggers or the Mosquito Sword thing were a bit more rewarding? Maybe dual wield daggers or something so the low damage and high speed mean a little more. Or just make successive hits more damaging? Make a perk with it? I'm unsure on what would be good in that regard, but everything else feels pretty good. Just thought I'd offer some input. I haven't tried the trident yet, but if it's like the spear I'm sure it'll be amazing.

- Raw Science: Alright, so this one I'm on the fence about, I've explored the majority of the map- including the U/C areas. Raw Science is pretty abundant, but finding it is a literal bitch sometimes. I have a lot on this one so uh, sorry if it's a long read? XD But for the most part, purchases are too expensive at the rate we accumulate RS or find it. It may be different on other difficulties, but I'm unsure as I haven't tried them yet. These are all just personal opinions as someone who plays games too much XD 

  • For upgrades such as the Eyepatch (2k), Fiber Bandage (2k), Torch (1.25k), Canteen (5k)
    Spoiler

    Fin Flops (2k), Diving Lantern (2k)

    and the Acorn Shovel (2.5k). The amount of Raw Science is so expensive that I honestly just thought "Is this even worth it?" and after using them. No. No they aren't. I can say the only decently balanced RS cost out of this, is the Torch Upgrade. Everything else? It's so expensive for how little it is used. Personally I cut the majority in half or down to 75%. In terms of use, the torch is one of the bigger ones so it's cost is actually pretty good for the amount of use it'll get. I would still lower it to 1k, but that's just me. However. The Eyepatch, Fiber Bandage and Acorn Shovel. For the amount that you have to spend on all these and the lack of effectiveness they have is...so underwhelming for the cost. I personally would cut these costs down- Eyepatch at 500 since a lot of people only use it for early game, Fiber Bandage 750-1k, since I'm unsure of other people's playstyle it may be a good work around as purchasable if you use them a lot. Acorn Shovel, honestly unless you are digging a bunch of clay ( I dunno about the Pond Items since I had the Shovel+ prior to exploring there ) it's so inefficient. Personally if you keep it the same price, make it break Clay in 2 hits instead of 4 cause it's painful to have this expensive RS shovel but it not do more than dig 1 step faster. Otherwise I'd lower it to 500. As for the overly expensive Canteen....honestly I'd make this something you could just make after finding a blueprint, but that's me. Otherwise, cut the cost in half for it. 5k for 4 drops of water? Even when you finish the map and all, you'd really only need the base canteen. To make it a more viable option just cut the cost in half. The 2 Koi Pond items, are actually well priced- personally I'd shove the Light Source down to 1.5k just because the normal ones really don't last long enough, but that's my opinion. Those two are pretty well balanced that I don't have much to say on them.
  • Build Upgrades- oh man. So, I think the Multi-Story and such are extremely well balanced and perfect for the cost of what you are getting. However. I think Fortified Bases should be cut down- not a lot, just a drop to 3k instead so you don't have to cut off a literal arm and that extra foot. The Buoyant Foundation is also well priced for those that want that cool on top of the water base, decently priced- even if you only get one item. Due to the fact it's not necessity and it's more of a 'must really want' I think it's well placed. Now comes the excess- 
    Spoiler

    Curved Bases at 6k is way too damn much. I know it's subject to change on official release, but please for the love of god cut that down to 3-4k. Ya'll made too pretty of a game for me to have to hunt every Burg L chip down just to afford all the base building stuff. On top of Ladders being 3.5k?! Like I wanted to physically die. I can't understand why you made these so expensive. Truly I'd cut the curved stuff down to 3k unless it's stronger than the Fortified Bases Upgrade and cut Ladders down to 1.5-2k. Mainly because I feel like Ladders can be so useful for certain areas that it should be expensive to get.

    As for the Pebblet Foundation, I'm not sure which is better between it or the solid Clay, but if Pebblet is stronger, the price is right and I will STFU, but if it's not. I'd cut cost down to 500. Or leave it alone completely if you plan on adding more stuff- like walls, sconces and roofs, things of that kind. Right now though? Honestly way too expensive.
  • Ziplines, honestly I can understand why they are so expensive. Personally I didn't really take heavy interest in them, because I had less use for them, but others probably have cool ideas and uses for it. At the moment ( until there are more ways to get large amounts of RS besides saving that 300 day per Quest ) I'd cut it down to 5k- still expensive and robust, but allows for a little more freedom and option- as well as some more flexibility in getting other stuff you may need if you speed the chipsleuth. That's just my opinion though, others may say its worth, or not at all. 
  • Splatburst isn't.....strong enough for it to cost 3k. I've played with it a lot cause I love explosions. I'd honestly cut it down to 2k with it's current damage and range- it works well for it's effectiveness or when you uh, wanna genocide the ants. XD But since its something that takes a bit to unlock ( with the right Burg L chip and all ) I'd say it'd be better at 2k. Its already expensive to make ( the ingredients are a bit painful to get after all ) so not eating my RS wallet would be kinda nice. 
  • Daredevil, alright. I have an issue with this perk specifically. I haven't tried it, but unless I take next to no damage when falling, it's not worth 5k. If it just softens a blow at 25% or so, cheapen it. I can't offer as much input since I was just dead staring at the price in exchange for it's effect. I'd honestly price it similar to it's effectiveness, if it cuts fall damage by 25% make it 1k, 50% 2k, 75% 3k. That 100% is worth the 5k for those of us who suck at looking where we leap.
  • Signage: 1k is too expensive for these. Pulling it down for those who really like cosmetics may be a better choice- or making them unlockables in the varying bases. At best I'd throw these at a 500 cost rather than 1k.

Just some feedback on that regard and suggestions- since I know if you play the game a lot with really good equipment, farming 300 RS a day is excessively easy, but you heavily rely on the RS you find at the beginning so much that some costs really should be cut down a little for flexibility. It'd be a more streamlined progression if some of the early starter things you get ( since there is no step by step unlocking the chips ) were a bit cheaper to get. Some of the harder unlocks that are hidden behind puzzles should be a bit more expensive and offer a bit more progression in the game. No qualms on that. I think it's kinda strange to grind out quests daily on the game to get some of these unlocks- it may promote some explorations, but people can generally be lazy. They will more than likely return to the same spots to farm, which...kinda makes it grindy? Which in this game I don't think grinding should be a go-to kinda deal. If that is what you're going for then disregard me. Otherwise the RS placements and the amounts you get from Burg L I think are really decent and well spaced out thus far. Personally I wish the TAZY. T's respawned ( After like weeks ) or gave a little more for a single encounter deal, but that might make things a little too easy. As more stuff becomes available though I'm sure RS will be easier to get, but as an early access it shouldn't be a grind is all.

- Perks: I don't have much on this- I actually like the perks and all as well as their progressions. Personally I wish we could have more active- like make an upgrade that cost RS or an unlock- something to allow the use of 1-2 more mutations at once ( with a total of 4 or 5 ), but otherwise I think the system is quite brilliant. Since it's so interchangeable with all the combos, its very nice. I only have one small suggestion and its just after you unlock them- I couldn't find a progress bar ( maybe I'm blind ) to see what I need to get it to the next phase, its honestly not necessity or anything. Just a Quality of Life type improvement.

- Armor: I actually really love your armor system- it feels really good to be able to have different effects on everything. Personally my favorite set is the Worker Ants cause of the haul capacity xD Ehem, but overall I think the armor system is well balanced- requires you to take chances to get better stuff and it deteriorates at a decent rate to boot. The set effects and the many quirks they give are unique and fun to mix and match. I truly do love them a lot and I'm so god damn excited for what other's you guys come up and out with. ( I'd love to see more Marksman stuff xP ) 

- Gliders: Oh man, I want more gliders....like we get crow feather fragments and iridescent wings, it'd be cool to have some really awesome craftable gliders with those ingredients. That's just my opinion XD 

- Traps: I really want more traps and lures....they are so cool and it makes me feel like a badass when I set up something really good XD Be awesome to make a spike pit or use the spiders webbing again to make something similar to the dew drop catcher. But it catches bugs instead. A predator deterrent wouldn't be a bad idea either....

- Mob Stuff: Another long section, I'm so sorry.

  • Weevils: Love them, good source of meat and all, but uh. I did the dumb and dropped a mushroom on the ground early on. There were so many weevils and the ants trying to kill said weevil that I was terrified I'd crash the game. It'd be cool if they could eat the mushrooms on the run or the mushrooms despawned ( cause they get kicked around and become hard to find after a bit ) after a bit. So that it's less painful- it also might help with being less taxing on computers. Plus I've had them glitched in a lot of random places ( I think I still have some glitched in a cave??? I can hear them but can't see them ) as well as spawning like....in the ground. Where you can see the top and kill it, but the poor things can't move. It's like they are half-buried XD 
  • Aphids: These things are fine- I think there is an issue with the AI though. If they get scared, sometimes they just hop in place over and over and over again. Sometimes they explode randomly too, but uh yeah, besides the fact they are super annoying when they get stuck in that loop. I have no issues. Spawn rate is really good and overall decent.
  • Grubs: Need to spawn a little more frequently- like if I leave corpses it'd be nice if they were more likely to spawn close by? I dunno, I rarely get the dig areas so I often have to go hunting for them in the first place. Be nice if they dropped more hide instead of goop though. Other then that, they are fine. OH and they spawn on top of leaves and that one wooden board sticking out of the ground- which is really weird. 
  • Larva: These things are so damn fast- which is good. I find these guys to be a challenge. Personally I have no issue with them at all. Just wish they had more drops- maybe an armor since they look kinda cool.
  • Lawnmites: Oh my god. I hate these things. Which makes them good. I just wish they took longer to respawn- so they aren't a daily issue. Infected Mites are fine with how many are around in that one area, but the amount of regular bastards is ridiculous. Preferably, just don't make them come back daily- even just one day after killing them all kinda respawn would be better. That's just an extremely personal opinion though, because I freaking hate the battle music starting with an enemy that can't even get to me. 
  • Water Fleas: No issue- maybe a little too dumb? Other then that, think they are fine, could probably be a little faster in water to make them a bit more challenging of an enemy.
  • Tadpoles: They are fine too. Just wish they gave a bit more meat since they are kinda beefy looking. Maybe drop tails to make better fins too?
  • Gnats: Same as Water Fleas, may want to raise the visibility on their corpses though- their body physics are a little wonky at times too. I killed one under a tree root and found it further up next to the oak tree itself for some reason. 
  • Water Boatman: It'd be a bit more appealing if they would fightback....otherwise I honestly think they are cute and want them as pets XD 
  • Spiderlings: Perfectly balanced. Fast, annoying, hard to hit. 
  • Orb Weavers: No issue with them combat wise, AI wise or anything like that. Since they are so abundant currently, I think personally, the amount of spider parts they drop can be lowered a bit. Since on average you get 5 per a kill? Something of that sort. It'd also be nice to have a rare drop of Spider Mandibles from them as well so you don't have to hunt the wolf spiders constantly. 
  • Wolf Spiders: These guys are messed up? Like not in the combat sense- when I don't do sneaky BS they are a really tough fight that I like. However, they glitch. Often. I have one spawned in the actual Oak Lab where Burg L is. I've had them glitch into trees. Glitch into dirt mounds and the like. They are very very easy to stick with how their AI works. I personally get a lot of satisfaction in killing one in actual combat then it getting stuck staring at me while I lob away at it's head XD As for drops, since they can be a hard kill ( if you don't do dirty tricks like most of us ) maybe some more venom? Since they are a bitch to fight ( especially when their venom attack vaporizes your health bar even after you win ) they should be a little more rewarding with special drops, not by a lot of course.
  • Worker Ants: So, the Weevils attract the ants- then they pile up and glitch....so yeah. That's a problem. Other than that, I think they are adorable and I get really sad when I have to kill them for parts XD Be cool if they attacked other bugs that get near their anthills though.
  • Soldier Ants: Perfectly balanced- I found it cool they came to murk my ass after slaughtering a bunch of workers near by. I don't see any issues with them. They do get glitched in the Old Anthill sometimes though. 
  • Stinkbugs: I haven't really fought these, so I don't know much about them. Far as I know, they spawn too close together so it's really difficult to kill one without 2-3 more coming to beat your ass XD Besides that I think they are pretty cool looking, intimidating enough.
  • Bombardiers: I have a physical vendetta against these things now because of Grounded. I promised to kill any of them that I find out of spite. I feel like I may just be unlucky, but every time I fight one, I either end up fighting 1-2 more in a group of up to 3, or the larva help these bastards. Either way, I wish they didn't spawn so close together. They are a decent and engaging fight- even if I hate the acid spitting. Well balanced offensively other than that. 
  • Bees: No issues, I like the way they are balanced, difficult to get and all. Wish you could make a lure for them so you have a better chance at smacking them. Or well you'd have to Spawn Kill them in the U/C area.
  • Mosquitoes: Hate them, great enemy, well balance and you have room to breath. However the follow distance should be reduced. I honestly tested how far these bastards will follow and it tagged me all the way from the Flooded Grounds to the Western Anthill. =| Not okay.
  • Diving Bell Spiders: No issues, I dunno if they are supposed to give you air back on kill, but they do? Their attack box on the player is also a bit wonky- may just be a glitch? 
  • Fireflies: Need to spawn more XD Honestly. I know they have little in the way's of crafting, but it'd be cool to be able to place attractors or something near the base so you can see them. Other then that I feel bad for killing them since they are neutral babies. 
  • Ladybugs: Oh man, I find these guys pretty rarely, which I'm guessing is a good thing since they are pretty strong. Uhhhh I think they are excessively well balanced and just the right amount of challenging. Wish you could attract them with aphid bodies or something. It'd be both challenging ( if you get more than one ) as well as something nice to look at. 
  • Tazy. T: No issues, just wish they gave more RS or respawned after a really long amount of time.

I think the game is perfectly balanced when it comes to challenging the mobs, there are so few things honestly wrong with them that it makes the game really fun to play and remain exciting throughout. I also enjoy the satisfaction you get when you do defeat some of them- I do have some arachnophobia, more so cause of venomous spiders though. So murking them feels excessively good xD I really like the spread so far and I'm excited to see more.

Odds/Ends

Just a few little things- since Smoothies can be kinda costly, I was hoping maybe they would be more cost efficient if they lasted longer. Maybe for half the day or at least 6 hours in game time would be a better balance for that. I'm unsure, but they just really don't feel like they are worth making currently.

Acorn Bits: I wish we could roast these or something. It's painful to have a lot of these and get so little when eating them. I don't think I really use them at all were I to be honest. Maybe at some point you could make stronger healing salves with them? I dunno. I find them pretty useless.

Berry Chunks: Wish they were edible. Besides that, wish they were used in crafting a little more.

Mushroom: Would be more beneficial if you could roast them or use them in recipes since they are very abundant. I dunno about the balancing around them, but honestly they just take up inventory space for the most part.

Spinning Wheel: I think it's well done for time vs efficiency. I do hope at some point you could put it near chests filled with grass/webbing so that it just does it on it's own so you don't have to stop and pick things up all the time. It's more of ease of use type thing though rather than quality of life, just a thought.

Tool Tips: This is major quality of life, since I have to search so hard just to find the effects of things and what they do. It'd be nice to have a short description just pop up when you hover over things. Like for the canteen it just tells you how many drops it holds. Be cool to also have the tooltips pop up on armor set effects and all so people don't have to hunt through the OS, but this is also made for game systems so it's probably too difficult.

Storage: It'd be great if we could name our storage chests as well as see an indicator for the workbench on what area it draws items from. A condense button wouldn't be bad either...personally would love some larger storages cause I'm a hoarder XD 

Decorating: This is just because I know you can make really cool houses all over. Making halfwalls and windows would be pretty neat, double doors or um 'glass' walls/roof would be an interesting concept too. Love to see some more decor using bug parts since a lot of bugs are colorful or unique. Be awesome to see a gnat bean bag chair, a mite fuzz carpet or a ladybug table. Just little things. Also, this is just because the fact its an exploring thing. Maybe it'd be cool to make paths with standing lamps and such? For navigating and the like. Crafting bridges and stuff too would be interesting.....just little cool things like that. Or um using the Bioluminescent Goop as markers for underground, or on armor to make yourself glow in the dark...could use it for some cool stuff is all.

Spoiler

Pond Lab: So I know a few people who want to use this as a main base already XD Only issue is. No workbench. It'd be really awesome if you guys could place one in there or make it so you can do so? It's a really pretty base and I love all the space you gave to use it as such. I hope at some point a gardening system is thrown in- so you can grow those muscle sprouts and maybe other genetically modified veggies XD 

 

 

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LOL! Its not like...huge changes...personally if I had the ability I'd want to volunteer to work just for this. I like the unique idea and everything XD But I also play mainly single player because multiplayer has so so many glitches with spawns TT u TT 

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I took the time to read through your entire post, and I agree with your feelings on just about everything. Thanks for being so detailed, I hope the devs take the time to read this. I REALLY agree that Raw Science cost for upgrades is way too high for most items. And I feel that way for all the same reasons you enumerated. 

I have also noticed that the balance between digging up Larva versus Grubs is off since update 0.09. Since grub goop is essential for making smoothies, they need to spawn more frequently than the Larva, not the other way around. I also think the smoothie effects should last longer. Also, the fiber bandage should have a better healing effect than the smoothie IMO. Right now, the fiber bandage seems almost useless to apply during a fight. 

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