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Kay and Spike play S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Gulp!
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Armand
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May 10, 2011 - 8:18 pm
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Oh oh! Did we lose page 5?

Turns out I didn't turn off the Brain Scorcher, but did... well something else. I never know what's going on in this game. OMW to turn off Scorcer now.

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xtal
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May 10, 2011 - 8:18 pm
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test post to unbreak forums.

 

ground control to major tom?

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Steerpike
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May 10, 2011 - 8:19 pm
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Ahh, we burst through!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Spike
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May 10, 2011 - 9:06 pm
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Kay, how are you doing?  Where are you at and what are you working on?  In S.T.A.L.K.E.R. of course.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Armand
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May 10, 2011 - 11:28 pm
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I can only hope I'm near the end because things have gotten out of control...

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xtal
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May 10, 2011 - 11:32 pm
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Ill-advised perhaps, but I attacked (successfully) the military compound guarding the entrance to the Zone in Cordon, the one right near the rookie stalker camp. I used all but one of my dozen grenades, as well as 200+ AK rounds. On the positive side it looks like I killed somewhere around 20 military folk and they are each well stocked with ammo. I've already made two trips back to Sidorovich with as much as I could carry and decided to pack it in for the night.

I don't know if there will be repercussions for that attack but it looks like while I was gone someone in the stalker camp was wiped out. I don't know how; maybe some military fled and wound up there? Hard to believe they'd get inside (the dead stalker was in the middle of the road across from the fire pit) and take out just one guy. Maybe he died of a broken heart.

Either way, I'm up to 50,000 ruples and eyeballing some stalker suit Sidorovich is selling for 24,000. I also now have over 600 rounds for my Ak74u special, 20+ medkids, 65+ bandages, 25+ hunks of bread, 20+ anti-rad stims and a few bottles of vodka. It's hard to decide where to trim.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Armand
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May 11, 2011 - 12:22 am
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Okay, so I made it to the very end, within spitting distance from the Ramstein Wish Granter thing, and I simply don't have enough meds or anti-rad to make it. I've tried like 20 fucking times and it's just not happening. This just got lame. My latest save prior to this one is over an hour of endless gunfights, and I just don't care enough to go for it.

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Helmut
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May 11, 2011 - 1:50 am
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Armand Armand Armand. May I call you Armand? I don't really know you so very well. Take a breather. Revisit your notes. Reload your save from an hour before and look at things with fresh eyes. Perhaps some Robert Frost with a nice case of Chablis would help. 

It is a shitstorm in there no matter what. I found a semi automatic shotgun off some soldier near the end was a rapid dealer of pain.

My bad, I think. I loaded up a game and found no armour anywhere near where I recollected. Then again, the bad guys under the first tunnel are also gone so maybe the patches have been smoothing a few things over.

My Dark Souls single player sensibilities are protected by a +10 GfWL Firewall of Ineptitude

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Spike
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May 11, 2011 - 2:39 am
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I like this game quite a bit, and I want to love it.  But it is so unforgiving.   With the small carry limit (hey, it ain't the real world!) I have stuff stashed in Cordon, at Bes's camp, and now at Serity's hangar that I just can't lug around to sell.  And I now have a ton of stuff I could sell/trade.  The problem is the back and forth trying to keep the stuff near enough to me so that I don't have a long trek to retrieve it to trade. 

I left Bes's after successfuly completing that quest.  Got attacked at the swamp on the way to Serity.  Killed them after several tries.  Met Serity, completed his quest, did some trading with him and his guys, then went back to Bes's to get some more goodies to trade at Serity's.  Damned if there weren't more bandits at Bes's.  Fought.  Got some of my stuff and headed back towards Serity and lo and behold!  The guys at the swamp had respawned in a matter of less than an hour.  Once back at Serity's...more bandits.  And so on, and soforth.

At this rate I am not making much progress.

I haven't tried the fast travel yet, but when I checked it out (Esc., then "J")  my choices are Cordon, Agroprom, the wild area, and I think the bar.  Only the 4 choices.  I haven't been to Agroprom, the wilds or the bar, so I don't know if I could use those fast travel options yet.  BUT...if I take a load of goodies back to Cordon to sell to Sidorovich, and get some of my stash from Wolf's camp, I don't know if I'd be able to fast travel back to Bes's or Serity's.  That would mean that I have to traverse the entire route on foot, increasing my chances of getting killed.

Like I said, U N F O R G I V I N G .  Oi!

Crappy, that is Armand.  I've felt like that a time or 2 in this game, and I'm not nearly as far along as you.  Maybe a day or two away from it, and as Helmut said, loading that earlier save, you might be able to change your situation.

Then again, my advice often sounds patronizing to me, so it must to others.  Take no heed of a fellow frustrated player.  [Image Can Not Be Found]

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
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May 11, 2011 - 9:27 am
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I feel for you guys. STALKER is unforgiving, to the point of brutal, really… and its technical faults (like the respawning) can put you in a position where no matter what you're just not making any forward progress. Lemme offer some suggestions.

 

First, the difficulty can be changed at any time in game, so if you want, make it easier. Even "Novice" is pretty hard, but it should help somewhat.

It's very easy to get stuck before you complete  the Agroprom mission, which is hard, but waiting to do it will actually put you in the quicksand.

Spike, I recommend gathering all your meds, a big gun, and all your bullets and fighting your way to Agroprom asap. If you like, you could

pop over to Dark Valley (beware the radiation near the entrance). Once there you'll immediately encounter a Duty soldier who wants help

rescuing a buddy. If you succeed – and it's a pretty straightforward ambush – he'll give you a scope that should fit on an AK or other

Russian weapon. The scope will help a lot.

Once you go to Agroprom you have to move fast and be carrying as little as possible. That area begins with a huge fight between Stalkers and military. You can hang back for most of it, then swoop in and loot bodies (particularly those of soldiers, who are more likely to have AK ammo and improved assault rifles). If you don't speak to Mole before doing your looting, you should get extra time before military reinforcements arrive. Once you're flush for ammo, the other challenges in Agroprom will be more surmountable.

 

xtal, the Stalker Suit is only a good investment if you haven't gone finished Agroprom yet, because once you get to Rostok things open up quite a bit.

 

The last sequence outside the power plant is… breathless. It's one of the most crazy but awesome experiences I've had in a game. Helmut's right! Deep breath, relax, try it again later on. It's in that moment that you make the real choice about which ending you're going to get, assuming you completed a key quest earlier.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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May 11, 2011 - 9:54 am
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I feel your pain, Spike.

On the one hand, I love how dynamic the world feels. It's nice to be in a game world that does not center its universal focus on you, the player. On the other, it can be quite frustrating to revisit areas and have them be constantly repopulated with bandits and such. I think the Garbage-Agroprom transition area will be particularly guilty of this, after I've been there 3 times and each faced new enemies. I wish some stalkers would fortify their territory with a well placed sniper or two.

Positively, though, it does appear that military stay dead. I killed the military troops under the Cordon bridge very early on, sort of by accident. They were goaded into a fight with some nearby stalkers and I basically came in from behind and wiped them out with no problems. That has made travel a lot less stressful, so I can only hope possibilities like that remain throughout the Zone.

I think players like you and I-- by that I mean somewhat completionists that like to tidy up an area and have it in a neat little package before moving on-- would do well to take Steerpike's advice and do our best to put a sharper focus on moving forward, less backtracking where it is not needed so much.

 

Kind of a spring cleaning approach to STALKER: less can be more.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Armand
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May 11, 2011 - 11:42 am
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I'm putting this in a spoiler thing for anyone who doesn't want to read about end game stuff.

Even if I were to reload from an hour ago, and replay the punishingly difficult battles, I'll get a bad ending. Read up on it last night a bit, and a. I have too much money, b. I have too much rank points, and c. I never did whatever the special mission was. I don't know about you all, but going through all that again just to get a bad ending just doesn't seem at all worth it. With the money and rank points, it's like the game is punishing you for doing well!

And as it is, I am literally a few feet from the wish granter, but simply can't get to it since I ran out of first aid. Having the last 2 hours of the game in a ridiculously high radiation zone where even my super-bad ass radiation suit seems to do absolutely nothing isn't fun. It's just like the developer spitting in my eye (mild exaggeration, but damn it pissed me off!)

This all reminds me of the old school adventure games, where you would do some pointless thing mid game, only to discover at the very end that you doomed yourself to failure then and there, but weren't told about it until many hours later. I thought we got past the era of gaming. I don't know, but this whole ending bit has me really upset with Stalker. I like to have fun with video games, not be punished by them.

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Steerpike
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May 11, 2011 - 12:18 pm
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I can't blame you.

 

For what it's worth, none of the endings are "good." Some are just less horrible than others. The way they did requirements for the Wish Granter endings make it so pretty much everyone gets the too-much-money one, which is disappointing. And that key quest I mentioned is - due to a bug in the game - not actually assigned to you by someone. It just appears in your PDA. Of course, getting one of those ending would require even more radiation.

I love the battle outside the power plant for its sheer hecticness, but since you can't return to Pripyat and the game never really tells you that you need to prepare for armageddon, I know many players who wound up frustrated just as you are. The game is victim to a lot of mechanical flaws, which with the later installments they got better and better at polishing out. There's certainly no fun in continuing to endure a game that's punishing you. You can have an Honorary STALKER Completion Certificate if you like. : )

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Armand
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May 11, 2011 - 12:34 pm
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Thanks Steerpike. I'll take my honorary certificate and be done with it. This was all just too punishing for my tastes. I like a lot of things about Stalker, but it's just not my kind of game. I've come to expect a certain… I don't know, polish (without being condescending about it).

It all didn't help that the game crashed multiple times while playing the ending either. By the time I realized I wouldn't be finishing it without going back a few hours, I was just to frustrated to care anymore. The lack of clear, in game story or instruction didn't help at all either. Still didn't know who I was, what I was doing, where the guy I'm supposed to kill is or what happened to him

(I know it's me, just not because the game told me so)

. All I did know is that a bunch of angry Russians kept ordering me to do things that common sense told me I should avoid.

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Scout
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May 11, 2011 - 12:36 pm
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I finished the last Freedom quest last night, helping Freedom stop Monolith at the Barrier. Helped is an exaggeration maybe cause I spent most of the fight trying to get off a clear shot off at a target before the Freedom guys took them all down. I think I might have gotten one. So this is another entrance to the Wild Territory? I was thinking it was just the area inside Rostok where the helicopter full of Ecologist went down earlier. If there are more of those fracking Snorks out there….I hate, hate those things! It's becoming a Toger Spider sort of hate. They are like cockroaches, zipping around in those repulsive packs, like bugs. Makes me want to find a nuke and blow up the Zone just to rid the earth of Snorks. [Image Can Not Be Found]

It's tempting to explore my Snork phobia in greater depth but as the game doesn't seem to really reward exploration with anything but more of the same,  I think I want to get back to the Dark Valley and finish up that quest for the barkeep at the 100 Rad Bar. Then get to the lab area with all the Ecologist/Zombies.

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Spike
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May 11, 2011 - 1:16 pm
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xtal said:

Positively, though, it does appear that military stay dead. I killed the military troops under the Cordon bridge very early on, sort of by accident. They were goaded into a fight with some nearby stalkers and I basically came in from behind and wiped them out with no problems. That has made travel a lot less stressful, so I can only hope possibilities like that remain throughout the Zone.


xtal, do you mean the railway bridge with the broken train on it?  I keep meaning to go back with my 4, count 'em, 4, grenades and blow those guys to smithereens just so I don't have to keep sneaking up through the fence.  Plus, I'm betting they've got some good loot.  I need to get some of my stuff back to Sidorovich – I'm converting everything I don't need into cash.  Then I'll consider dealing with the military under the overpass.

 

I hope Kay is soldiering on.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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geggis
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May 11, 2011 - 2:28 pm
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"And that key quest I mentioned is – due to a bug in the game – not actually assigned to you by someone."
 

Really?! In that regard I do feel for you Armand. Both me and Lewis followed those missions and got the 'true' ending so I assumed it was either common knowledge or we'd gone a step further. If the game never made you aware of the mission then that's a bit shit really. As I said to you earlier though, don't feel too bad for getting one of the many bad endings. Breath it in, it's not very often a game is more willing to give you one of several bad endings over the only 'good' one. If you'd managed to reach the Wish Granter without dying repeatedly I don't think you'd have been so pissed about the whole thing -- you'd have got your ending and possibly been a bit 'wtf'. But because you kept dying and had to check out the endings on the net and found out that the one you were going to get was a 'bad' one, you feel a bit cheated which is understandable.

Contrary to Steerpike, that section on the run up to the power plant I found very stressful. Once inside, fine. But outside? Clusterfuck Central.

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Scout
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May 11, 2011 - 2:54 pm
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I'm trying with all my might to avoid clicking on all these new spoiler links though I've read Steerpike's article and already know some of what is waiting for me. It did occur to me last night that there is a difference between this game and most other games in that in most games you are considered to  be a somewhat sane, normal person thrust into extraordinary circumstances. That being true then the game tries to help you as much as it's interior rules allow. In Stalker, the premise must be that anyone going into the Zone on their own free will  is a raving, drooling psychopath to begin with and thus should be dealt with accordingly. Fly? Meet flyswatter.

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Armand
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May 11, 2011 - 3:11 pm
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I had the same experience there Gregg. It was one of those quicksave every 5 seconds moments. It didn't help that the team of super Stalkers I had with my died in less than 3 minutes, but the map marker never left their leader for some reason causing me to constantly backtrack to his corpse. The game also crashed a couple times there, and the choppers blowing me up every half a minute had some silly effects such as throwing me miles out of the game world into a grey abyss. All in all, it wasn't fun. It was just aggravating. All I wanted to do was to finish already so I could take a breath and relax, but even that was taken from me due to (and again, I just don't understand this part at all) the endless radiation damage throughout the whole section. My rad level was in the red from the moment I stepped into the long valley where I had to fight the military guys all the way to the final steps feet away from the wish granter.

Also, was I supposed to understand the "creepy" voice over in the last part at all? It was not translated, and just repeated over and over again to the point where the initial "that's cool" moment was quickly replaced by a "shut the fuck up!" feeling.

http://bluebogle.imgur.com/stalker_fail#qZNJx

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Armand
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May 11, 2011 - 3:13 pm
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Scout said:

 In Stalker, the premise must be that anyone going into the Zone on their own free will  is a raving, drooling psychopath to begin with and thus should be dealt with accordingly. Fly? Meet flyswatter.


Sort of my issue with it. I keep thinking to myself, "why don't I just leave, go home and start a fmaily maybe?" I don't know if any other game has inspired such feelings in me.
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