Fixing Problems*

After about 75 hours of RimWorld, I decided to download mods to “fix” the base game.

As mentioned a few times around here, RimWorld is still currently in an Early Access state. Version 1.0 is on the horizon, but we do not yet have a complete feature list or an itemized accounting of what is going to change. This was frustrating me quite a bit in my current playthrough, due to an outcome I cannot help but question whether it was intended.

The basic gist is this: a group of mechanical enemies attacked my base, and Wolle got shot and was bleeding out. I rescued him and patched him back up… but he would not leave the medical bed. Prognosis: shattered spine. Vanilla RimWorld actually has bionic arms, bionic legs, and bionic eyes as core features. You can’t craft them, but you can buy them from traders occasionally, and clearly have the medical technology to install them. Additionally, there are nanite serums in-game that can automatically boost your skills, which by the description function specifically by moving from the orbit of the eye, into the skull, and then transmuting into the necessary brain tissue.


The Days-Are-Numbered version

Plus, there is something called Luciferium, which are medical nanites that can fix permanent scarring – including in the brain – for the low, low cost of permanent addiction. If you miss a dose every 5-6 days, and you will go on a berserk rage until death. A “devil’s bargain” indeed.

Trouble is, nothing cures a shattered spine in the core game. Was this an oversight? If Luciferium can cure stab scars in the brain, surely it could repair a spine too? Well, it doesn’t. So that led me to question whether it was intentional. There is nothing that cures shattered ribs either, for example – they just permanently reduce the amount of torso damage a colonist can take before collapsing/dying.

So, perhaps the designers were wanting to force the player to confront a scenario in which they have a permanently disabled colonist. Do you maintain them as dead weight, perhaps even taking them with you somehow if/when you escape the planet? Do you simply euthanize them and turn them into a hat? I can see how the emergent moral dilemmas come about. On the other hand, it’s hard to draw a line at spines and ribs when nanite magic is already out of the bottle.

Despite this, it wasn’t until I wasted an in-game month unsuccessfully trying to find uranium to start building a ship that I broke down and modded the game. I added a mod that augments the ground-penetrating radar to actually tell me the resources that are located underneath. And then I added Expanded Prosthetics and Organ Engineering (EPOE).

With EPOP installed, I did the relevant research and built the required workstation and finally crafted a fresh new bionic spine for Wolle. After a successful surgery, I took a look at his Health page… and realized that he wasn’t just fixed, he was better. Specifically, something like 20% better. So now I’m in a scenario in which I could craft 11 more bionic spines and implant them into my colonists to maximize the amount and quality of their work. Then I could get to work on about a dozen other bionic implants too.


Now his spine is broken in a different direction.

Like I said before, bionic eyes, arms, and legs are already in the base game. In fact, I have some spares hanging around for emergencies, but bionics are better than standard-issue meat in every way already. While you cannot craft your own, you can generally pick up extras without too much trouble. So it’s not quite too far a bridge, right? Right?


Yeah, yeah, I know. I do think shattered spines are a hole in the vanilla game’s original design, hopefully to be filled in a more balanced way upon release. But then again, sometimes it is precisely the gaps in satisfaction that moves us out of our comfort zone.

Posted on April 17, 2018, in Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I don’t know why, but reading your posts about early access games is turning me against playing early access games even more than the “100% against” that my position already is (I do, in fact, never play or buy early access games).
    Not that it’s really a problem, since there are enough non-early access games out there to last me way too many lifetimes…..


    • There are some Early Access games that are much better than others – Slay the Spire and Oxygen Not Included have timed, scheduled updates – but otherwise… yeah. It’s an awful position to put myself in. When is the next update? What will fundamentally be changed? Will my save file still work? It’s all much worse than patches in MMOs, honestly.

      The problem I have is that the genre I enjoy (survival-ish) is almost exclusively Early Access. Minecraft, ARK, and… what? The Long Dark, Don’t Starve, Subnautica, Starbound, Terraria are all already beaten. I enjoyed the first State of Decay, but the sequel is not out until next month. I have other games in other genres to play, sure, but it sometimes feels like “forcing” myself if I have a hankering for the collection of resources to build shit in the woods.


  2. I don’t believe its intended to fix a spine, so that death isn’t the only ‘well this guy is basically gone’ way of going out. That mod that adds all the new implants basically allows you to also turn everyone into a super-worker, which is good for finishing the game, but removes basically all the early/mid game problems of getting the right people and getting things done in time. Once even a few people are at 200%+, everything is easy-mode.


    • Yeah, EPOE seems to be majorly overboard. I’m trying to imagine a scenario in which you have the resources/time to do the research and the materials to make all the augmentations, but not be at a point in which you can’t just win the game.

      I might be done with RimWorld until 1.0 though. Sure, I could try the “legit” way on a harder difficulty, etc, but just knowing that there are going to be “major changes to Caravans” and other such game-changers, I feel like it might be best.


  3. This poses some very interesting questions. I’ve never had any objections to Early Access on principle but I’ve always thought of it as a kind of beta you pay to join. In that sense, naturally, you’d expect that things might change, maybe quite significantly, but you take that risk so that you get to play sooner.

    What hadn’t ever occured to me would be that players might start altering the game at the same time the developers were still…developing it. In my experience of actual betas no-one ever produces “Mods” for them. I’ve never even seen a beta that allows for player-made “Add Ons”, let alone full blown Mods.

    It adds another magnitude of impermanence and uncertainty, doesn’t it? How can you feel anything is in any way “legit” or “real” or “canon” if the whole game is open to manipulation and alteration at both ends? I struggle with the concept of Mods and Add Ons even in supposedly finished games but in the context of games still in the process of development it seems to remove the last vestige of there being an actual point to playing at all.


    • I think one of the issues with some Early Access games is the length in-between updates. We may be “beta testing” things, but the last RimWorld patch was ~5 months ago. The number of people still playing the same game 5 months later is probably very small, much less however long we have to wait for the actual next release. So, given the choice between playing a fun, engaging-yet-incomplete game and one with a bit more meat on it (via mods) becomes much easier. On the other hand, mods are made by fans for fans, so hard decisions and/or balanced gameplay typically isn’t a part of the package.


  4. This sounds like Shadowrun. If you’re not into RP restrictions/limits, why wouldn’t a non-spellcaster not replace as much as the system limits and available resources allow? I’m no min-maxer mind, so if I did play I’d probably not go too crazy…


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