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You've heard it before:...

... I really liked Lost Alpha...

(and the blogtitle is sarcasm)

I even thought the first iteration of the Developer's Cut was going places. We knocked a lot of bugs out of that trying to get The expedition to conclude.

Even carrying 15kg of junk for the mission was a sort of kindness - provided you quietly killed a party member at the end to conclude the mission.. OK, we here didn't knock bugs out - we found WORKAROUNDS.

But enough reminiscences.

LADC v1.4007

  • I can see where they (the devs) are trying to go with this now.
  • But the same community spirit doesn't seem to have survived: the ModDB crowd gushing about the Extended pack seemed to just fade away about six months ago; conversation about 1.4007 at GSC forums has been almost as anaemic for almost as long.
  • Even with the current release postings are minimal for a Lost Alpha release, and the download stats at ModDB look a bit quiet...
  • I HOPE it ain't dead, but it may be time to walk it through an Electro to 'give it a kick'.

Day One

  • I'm not a fan of a game where I previously had a full complement of Basic Equipment to start my explorations - but now start without my cherished Knife AS WELL AS having no Simple anomaly detector, or any other detector for that matter, with the expectation that I am to "self finance" my operation.
  • Well, OK, I'll give it the good old college try.
  • To some degree I got lucky - the scripted Flesh cutscene (which I tend to milk) kept on wanting to give me a Devil's guts (now named "Giblets" for some bullshit reason) so in the end, after reloading this poor flesh death sequence a dozen times, I take the hint and pick it up. Previously a nonsense arty - it now has a rad protect of +15. Looks like I'm wearing that...
  • By the end of the day I've done Sid's stuff as well as returning to the Military Checkpoint directly for a bit of expert safe cracking.
  • 50000 richer, I pop back to Sid to see what looks affordable and settle on a Detector "Echo" and some bullshit Beril armour that looks good value at 18000 and packs 26% bulletproof.
  • Earlier on the Trade Route Tunnel zombies had been farmed for some high end artys and after repeated miscalculations on my part I had walked off with a couple of Night Stars, a Stone Flower, two Springs and a pair of Shells.. I sold Sid the Nstars for additional funding.
  • Refused POINT BLANK to buy a Simple anomaly detector. Just to spice the game up, I'll play "Gridiron without a Helmet" and wait for something to 'show up'.
  • What could possibly go wrong?
  • (Sold all three Homemade detectors - too heavy)
  • Did some gophering for Nimble and discovered that he now reverts to the old 1.4002 death route that was a bone of contention with nearly AAAAL players (But the devs know best eh?)
  • Presumably, basement 'wall humping' and freakazoid oscillatory behaviour comes later with Numnutz. Poor bastard.

Day TWO

  • Sin play the bugging out song. The Sin House becomes empty.
  • I contribute four dead bandits at the Hangar (ran down to the BS sniper earlier with the AK of the doomed one on single just like I did last week in 1.4006. He's now one of my loot stations.
  • Decided to try for the Great Metal Factory(Lost Alpha) before the Mole sequence, not with intents on getting to Yantar this time, but on "rescuing the twit" on Forest(Lost Alpha) just to see what was what...
  • HAD to deal with the Pdoggies. Couldn't run past because the Springs are toxic and stashed in Garbage - but the shells each give a nice clean +26 rad protect (63% total atm)
  • Wiped the mutants in Forest, mostly knifework with the Boar, blunderbuss stick on Fleshies, variety with the Zombified Stalkers near Paulie the Stew. These guys used to be lethal before v1.4005. Now you can stab them in a bush. Or just shoot them.
  • Sold a PERFECT Akm 74/2U to the twit who later bitched by the fleshpack "about not having a gun"... Since the two remaining flesh wanted to just run away - and it was pissing down at 02.30, I slept in the open for five hours...
  • We get to the Duty Checkpoint (Forest) finally and the Fungus turns out to have toxic components now and all that I've found with radiation reducing properties are the humble Jellyfish....
  • However, I did have the presence of mind to snag the tinned Goldfish in Music Village earlier and that one is 'more interesting' -3% redioactive, +21% BULLETPROOF.
  • Well, well, well... Bulletproofing makes a comeback.
  • (By now you realize that there is NO direction in the Developer's Cut. Just action and reaction)

Day Five

Whatever happened to days 3 and 4??
  • Well, everyone listens to the other player's experiences. We encourage comments (talk pages) but BLOGS and their comments are more FOCUSED.
  • Comments are sometimes helpful on articles, but it can be varied.
  • Now. The comments sections on ModDB are LINEAR.
    • There's NO 'threading' - like at GSC forums - so lazy stalkerz keep on asking the same questions - and getting pissed off with cranky replies, snotty l33tiszm, and the "brotherhood of Kool-aid" yes-men.
    • Go figure the results....
And before someone 'calls me out' - I only EVER wanted LA to succeed.


Looks like I need to get BOT...
  • Personally, User:Matsu-Taka needs a medal for persistence.
  • User:ElessarTheOnly deserves the same or better - probably with a field promotion, a free weapon upgrade and oak leaf clusters...
Days 3 and 4 were spent prepping to avoid ElessarTheOnly's 'lockout bug' with Veles.
  • (Which is an incredibly spiteful bullshit 'balance tweak' for v1.4007 from the devs)
  • So in conjunction with the Main Mission Strategy - this is what you do:.
  • You strategize to only EVER go to X18(Lost Alpha) ONCE.
  • This means you buy an Xray PDA Downloads module from the Barkeep.
  • This also allows you to catch up on downloads ahead of the game.
    • Then:
  • If you're up to speed in the Documents Thread - you have a Bandit Base Mail jacket, which will give you a "pass" in Dolina.. Or you score the Bandit jacket if preferred.
  • If Numbnutz has you searching for Borov's Pecker then you need to brainburn 2-9-5 into your cortex (you don't need Veles to give a "heads up", and just take the bloody thing.... TSHTF if you take the Borov's Documents at this stage. So leave it - and don't blow your cover...
  • After nicking a Cossacks vodka just outside his office, get the password in the usual manner.
  • Sweet talk your way into Monolith Base and head directly to the X18(Lost Alpha) entrance - poke in 5271 like a veteran stalker, head through the level changer and change into whatever feels comfortable for the level.
  • Since you 'remember as if by magic' that top_secret is a thing, you magically gain access to the entire PC network of LA/LADC. Tough luck stalker!
  • Grab the Documents, and any blurb from the comps. GTFO.
  • Exit the level in some form of Bandit jacket...... (Otherwise you will 'blow your cover')
  • THEN work up a strategy to save 10000Ru (i.e. NOT Meet Monolith informer - just swipe the Document and be prepared for a firefight...
Interim rewiew of operations:
  1. WITHOUT swiping the Document you can go anywhere you please - perhaps to deliver the damn "Pecker" with the Reinforced suit that had already been stashed at the Hangar.
  2. If you snag that Document - all hell breaks out. You don't even need to go 10000 into the hole for it. Think it through..
  3. But the 1.4007 gameplay is a bit fubared.
  4. And the DC gameplay may have flaws too. Here's why:
  5. Assuming you downloaded / picked up everything before the firefight...(and never need to return)
  6. Hid behind a good corner, offed the Mils, looted some crap...
  7. You can get to the entrance - and die.
LOGIC:
  • If you have a 'secondary suit' (mine is this semi-OK Beril-1 thing) and switch into it - your cover is 'blown'...
  • If you get out... The heli may spawn and hunt you - or not - especially after a reload.
  • WITHOUT 'blowing cover' you can do what I did - run back to Borov's Documents, swipe them, make a quick exit (cover well and forever blown), and trust to luck that the heli goes 'dark'.
  • On a reload - it might.... (Nice AI Dwave..)
  • Since I didn't "find a cronicule in the lacul vacinity" (glad that was fixed) - the trip to Darkscape was almost perfect on foot except that the changer had a MUCH smaller focus.

When there - as previously noted by Matsu-Taka the free transport is shyte of the first order.

Gallery of the Doomed One

  • FFS. Is this the shape of things to come?

Day SIX

  1. Fewer lethal anomalies, remember I'm still in a "no-detec / no protec" regime. For five days.

Oh, I gained a Detector "Echo" by forking over 5 figures to Sid. That might not always be convenient.

  • The DS gate seems flaky. Being on foot, I try for the 'side jump' (doesn't work) - panic - try fence leaping (no go) - even more doses of the 'frantic juice' - then 'find' that the locked gate now opens,
  • Just as the engine saves and irretrievably crashes....
  • After the second reload I had my stuff in gear..
  • Tried dodging the PAIR of helis (memories of 1.3003)... and won!
  • Multiple-saved around to the Bus Stop(Darkscape) and just popped the gunner.
  • Luckily I pissed off a chopper so that it "stood still" and used the single RPG grenade to send it to stalker heaven. The other heli just lost interest in me after that, very redolent of 1.3003 IMHO.

Day SEVEN

  • I had ONE objective on this level: head for the Lone House and its Elite anomaly detector (remember - I've been detectorless since I woke in Siddie's bunker and it's getting a bit old by now)
  • If it's not there, or has mutated into a PP-4a sensor or any other type of "dev dross" - then the game gets sent to the woodchipper...
  • So I ran away from the remaining Military and made a save at the Mines bridge (jic)
  • And realized that Dezowave have spent the last YEAR reworking the levels...
  • Ran past assorted canines and got my detector. Mercifully.
  • That has been reworked too. Plays 'new tunes' and is a bit less "in your face"..
  • Have a quick look in the "anomaly grave" just to confirm that it's now full of crap. Yep. Way to go devs - just keep on sucking the fun out of the game...
  • Run on to the SOUTH Mines entrance. (Never reached the Mines this way before)
  • That actually works. Get whacked, wake up by Veles, get 'tasked', LOSE all of your crap and verify that the box is locked. (A big shoutout to ElessarTheOnly for spotting this FUBARed spiteful piece of dev insanity)
  • But I have a cunning plan, and if you have read this far you can probably guess what it is...
  • (NO - I'm not going to slot Veles and fight it out with Sin. The game would probably crash anyway..)
  • Veles has given me a spanking new Akm 74/2 that I intend to upgrade at my earliest convenience (my Akm 74/2U special is a nice gun if used on SS, but it's a bit gutless and I prefer a scoped longarm anyway) and a wholly redundant Xray PDA Downloads module - because - I bought one off the Barkeep earlier..
  • I have everything that "V" wants from the Dolina..
  • So right there - I 'report back' to him and everything updates and the box magically becomes unlocked... I nonchalantly grab my gear and tool up.
  • I exit the mines in the same direction that I entered - and get the 'heads up' from Sid.
  • I'm in no great hurry to hit Yantar. I hear that my second fave suit was removed from the board (SSP-99M suit) for v1.4007 and the thing has been nerfed by some insane dev right up to v1.4006 so I'll stick with the "Beril-1" for the duration. Some Night vision might be helpful - but I'll just sleep at night like a normal person...
  • I REENTER Darkscape to get that fagwagon near the Merc House. And to pay my respect to them as well.
  • Halfway through the skirmish, a Blowout strikes.....
  • Can't make saves of course.. And standing outside by the door is not close enough to get "protected" ..
  • Had to go full on 'cheeki breeki' and worm my way into the dump. Never found the flashdrive - what's going on there I wonder.

Interim Conclusions

  • Against my better judgment, I actually LIKE this release.
  • Probably because I snagged 50000 Ru on Day One and spent some of it wisely.
  • Is that "cheating" I hear some say? Here's my defense:
  1. If you hack the gamefiles so that you can run around in a rainbow coloured Exoskeleton carrying 97 tonnes of assorted rubbish, THAT'S cheating.
  2. If you console hack into 'god mode' THAT'S cheating.
  3. If you '-developer mode' hack your gamelaunch shortcut THAT'S a cheat too (but you need that for testing purposes)
  4. I'm just testing the gameboard. Because, to be frank about it, the Dezowave testing cycle appears to not exist. (Or maybe it's hopelessly goalseeked - or employs hand picked 'yes-stalkers' - either possibility might suggest poor project leadership)
  5. Corollary to 4) - this is why Badlands and Main Mission Strategy exist.
  6. Corollary to 2) and 3) - this is why Cheating Stalker's Guide For Jumping The Levels exists. (My ghod I lurve that page - but will never ever do any of that stuff)
  7. Is "milking the mutants" - as seen in Artifact Spawns a cheat? NO - it's an exploit... like jumping the fence in Badlands. It's on the board, you can do it - or not.
  8. Similarly - running into the Brain Scorcher for a manic 3.5 minute shutdown without Nomad's belongings (quest) or ignoring Captain's bullshit 'threat' obviates the Meet the Patriarch subthread without shafting the storyline... It's another exploit...
  • Maybe that's been "tightened up" for 1.4007 and you get to take on 46 Monolithians with a used Mosin Nagant 1981, that you can't run with, jams on every fourth bullet, and you get to do this at night - in a BJ - while all of your crap is 'locked' in Nomad's Belongings by some evil Controller that just gave you the worst acid-hangover you never thought was possible.
  • Oh, and you have 13 rounds for this POS weapon and your knife is locked away, and 13 into 46 basically means that you need to get three Monogoonz with each bullet. Occasionally four - and you MAY NOT miss.
  • I'll find out later. And probably make a beeline for X10(Lost Alpha) anyway.

What I DO NOT like about 1.4007

  • Waking up potless.
  • Not having any detector other than the shitty Homemade detector that appears to be a PRM creation looking for a game to play in...
  • Having to buy my own fucking Knife. WTF? Who gave the devs the nod to convert LA into the 'Misery Mod'?
  • Shagged out loot weaponry that had been so effective at drilling me before I slotted the mark. (It's marginally less fucked up than 1.4006, considerably better than the total SNAFU that was 1.4005 (which I will never, EVER play again) and almost on a par with the knackered economy of Clear Sky (I'm almost seeing a pattern here))
  • The economy in general. FUBARed as I expected.
  • The PRM weaponry. It just sux. There were perfectly fine circus relics in LA from 1.30013 to 1.4002. Even the Vintar BC got fixed after 1.3003. And the names manage to suck and blow simultaneously - how the flying fook does Dwave get off on this crud? A "Mosin Nagant 1981"?? but all others get 'real' names (the Mosin Nagant 1891 is a fine rifle that is possibly superior to its British contemporary the Enfield 303. But it doesn't need to have a bolloxed up 'fake name' when the rest of the weaponry goes for (potentially litigious) 'real names'..
  • Which brings me to the Community chest........
  1. A seriously Bugged Stash up to 1.4005.. Miraculously 'unfucked' for 1.4006 and the repository for a spanking new Sniper AKMS..... Which inexplicably transforms into this "MN 1981" mentioned above.
  2. Serious hint for the devs living in 'Mommie's Basement' - lose weight. Get a life.
  • The toxic artifacts. Generally, I saw this coming after 1.4002:
  1. I'm not a fan of the rebalancing that Dwave appear to be nailing their mast to since 1.3003.
  2. 1.4002 pretty much had it covered..
  3. There were added 'benefits' in 1.4005 (but the economy was a major major turnoff)
  4. Publishing a revised Handbook pdf without ANY artifact section is just lazy writing - it's a cop out.
  • Vehicles. I heard through the grapevine that this week's chocolate ration had been increased from 12 vehicles to a much more beneficial 6 vehicles. I almost gave up there and then. But I had to see this nonsense myself. I knew where free cars could be obtained - we all do. But my Dark Valley strategy didn't allow for checking out the likely replacement for the Lada Niva Hospital Service (which was much maligned due to its buggered up torsion bars - but I managed to coax as far as Dead City(Lost Alpha)) It's probably been 'upgraded' to one of these one-door fagmobiles that are made of tissue paper. Picture me - actually caring....
  • Artifacts - How many times are the devs going to tweak this?
  • Anomaly Fields - seem to have been removed from the game if my experiences in the Dark Valley(Lost Alpha) are typical. Major MAJOR cockup there at Dezowave HQ.
  • The redecorated levels. They weren't broken even in 1.4002. WHY fix them? (Oh - hold the phone, because the "Project Leader" wanted to. Well, this is dandy, but it doesn't fix any of the bugz in the game.
  • Cut content
  1. I'm not seeing Ghost Zombies either in Cordon or Music Village. I like Zombies, they're really easy to faceknife between 1.4005 and 1.4007. Did some reprehensible twat bitch about them? Interested stalkers would like an answer.
  2. The highly laughed at Karlito that got a dance routine in the Pripyat Underground(Lost Alpha) mines in 1.30013 and made a reappearance for 1.4005 vanilla in the Bandit Mine. By 1.4006 this got transformed into a Controller... FFS - make your collective minds up. I liked the beast. I thought you bagged it in 1.30013 - but it got cut (executive order?)
  1. Why do the names need to change?
  2. I pretty much understand the semi-logic behind the so called 'rebalancing' that you seem desperate to inflict us with but:..
  3. Reintroducing the bulletproof parameter after it was so magnanimously expunged for v1.4005 just smacks of desperation. The playing community voted by 'bugging out' and moving on.
  1. Still waiting for an answer from "Dez" about their names. Not holding my breath...
  1. This was a feature of all previous versions, hellfire, you could even pick up the bloody casings in 1.30013.
  2. Now, no oppo throws a grenade in my direction. But since this is the 'final' release, it's obviously "fixed" and I'm just imagining this in some mushroom addled alter mindspace. Other players are also noticing this 'feature'...
  • The PDA now has much more webshit that no-one needed to know about. It's more polished than previous releases (+1) - but how were the fugly bugz LESS of a priority?
Did I miss anything?
  • Personally - much as I would like to pose as a "katana wielding fiend" - I know my limits. Being of the opposite sex to Uma Thurman I consider this to be an advantage (but I'm genetically hardwired to think this way) Any SJWs may ignore this section and run off to their 'safe spaces' behind the PRM cauldron.
  • Excluding 'chicks' from the Zone was a serious GSC fuckup. There were possibilities for Dwave to reintroduce the minigunner girl for a bit of comic relief.
  • Instead, we gained
  1. 957 unnecessary weapons.
  2. 46 various Silencers.
  3. 21 POS food items...
  4. 88 toxic artys..
  5. 897,662 useless loot weapons.
  6. And a Crow in a pear tree.
  1. 6 Vehicles - but gained a fagmobile.
  2. The SSP-99M suit in Yantar(Lost Alpha) (but it was previously nerfed between 1.4002 and 1.4006 - so you ain't meant to notice this)
  3. Any sensible loot
  4. Pretty much all of the ransom spawn artys held in "all.spawn" at game kickoff...
  5. Anomaly Fields - they look to be excised from the game <<insert reason here>>
  6. Unbelievably crappy weather.
  7. Alife that looks realisic.


Did I miss anything?

Days Eight to Sixteen

  • Pretty much your average run everywhere with the SSP-100M / Tourist suit (heavy) combination looking for better rocks.
  • I eventually concluded that the Detector "Echo", while fully tweaked, just wasn't cutting the mustard and splurged 100000 to fully upgrade the superiour Detector "Veles".
  • Almost no chance of recouping the outlay but what the hell, I've already left a banker save in X2 on the 'good' side of the wormhole, so I literally ran back down the map just to see what's what.
  • (Stopped to 'interrogate' a thin controller with the Chaser. Two shot wonder. And it's supposed to be "very strong", I guess not having working space when a stalker gets the pump action under your chin sort of equalizes things)
  • With better rocks (the Fungus and 4-5 Night stars) and means to defray the toxicity, I thought it prudent to have at the various Bloodsucker Village incarnations.
  • The original LA Bloodsucker village was a bit easy. Never saw any Chimeras and did the Kolovrat sidie just for checking purposes. It actually works well, and you can keep the Sniper TRs 301 JIC you feel like running it to Nimble (I don't)
  • One or two stupidly named and pretty forgettable rocks. But another Bubble showed up..
  • The car's parked outside the Monolith Base on Radar acting as a goto lootdump.
  • WTF can't the devs give more than 120kg storage? This is just DUMB.
  • My black spacsuit was a bit tarnished after shooting various MonoNutz - say about 20% shagged.
  • Chef wanted 16000 to repair - so I ran to the New 100 Rads Bar and took a guide to Garbage(Lost Alpha) (2500) and had it fixed for 8000. The Sniper Obokan that I found near the Anomaly Generator for Lukash upgraded nicely for about 10000 and I stashed the very nice (but a bit gutless) scoped Akm 74/2 that I had been carrying since Darkscape.
  • Bought a couple of boxes of buckshot off Sid for old times sake ran everywhere finishing the Forgotten tasks (all of them in half a day) and moved on to that BloodVille copy on Oldroad. (I had had to sprint through that lot earlier)
  • Found all sorts of crap with the Veles voltmeter. So that's working out.
  • Even got cocky in that village as the NINE Zombified Stalkers closed in and didn't bother to swap out the rupture protect for any bulletproofing. They're a bit wanky in v1.4007 IMHO. About 9 zombies and 7 bloods if I recall. Not a scratch ...
  • Revisited the Mono base here where the goons had respawned. Put the BP rocks on and just wandered in. About 15 bullets later it's all over again. So that's working OK.

Days 16 to 19

  • Found everything.
  • Played the standard 'good' ending (all 'bad' endings were of course closed)
  • Played the "hidden" 'good' ending too.

Conclusion

  • I really liked the reimagined MCC workout.
  • (Next time I really will bring a kilo of Pellicles...
But although:
  • The 'ghost' ending gets you to Freeplay (provided you have a good kip and take your eat-toxic rocks off before end during)
  • The 'hidden' ending also gets you to Freeplay with a quick glimpse of the deprecated Oso level before whisking you away to FP....
  • WTFFF happened to Antennas?

Where the fuck is that level? (or does it just occupy 75Mb of my harddrive in some never to be reached Dez0wave 'safe space'?)

  • As for the 'New Victory' ending, may I be the first to say:
EPIC . FAIL

Secondary conclusion

  • Joining Duty is less restricted than in v1.30013 - 1.4005. But it has its own restrictions: NO early visit to Outskirts to prevent the player from exploiting the board - I suppose...
  • I know this to be true because I forked my game (a dev wasn't handy for "snork-forking") and indeed joined the Martinet Contingent that is Duty.
  • (sigh)
  • I played that fork to the end - with ONE difference. I DID NOT pick up the Psi-blocker near the X7 entrance. Just to see what sort of 'Victory Ending' would ensue.
  • If, in my humble opinion, the FIRST 'Victory Ending' was an "EPIC FAIL" (on SO MANY levels) then the 'Victory Ending "light"' is an EPIC FAIL TO SLASH YOUR WRISTS BY..
  • What the flying FUCK are the devs smoking? When the original standalone was leaked the head dev DEFENDED the various 'Illuminati Endings'.
  • Briefly.
  • And then caved in to unwarranted criticism (possibly by 'Illuminati' trolls - most of which critics have mysteriously vanished since they stuck the knife in)
  • I can vividly remember the reply from the mighty Zoltan Munkacsi (Dezodor to mere mortals) when harangued about the 'Illuminati Endings':
"It it what it is..."
Quite correct, Dez. I admired that. And that was how it should have been left. Stick to your gunz etc. ...
  • Whatever ending a game HAS - it should be CONSISTENT with the grammar seen in the game. It can be uplifting - or a complete throat-slashing downer like this incarnation.
    • Copy the Endings from SoC? REALLY? Because <insert reason here>
You had the FOURTH standalone S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise game in the palm of your hand - and pissed it away.
  • That's not to say that I don't like the v1.4007 offering.
  • I REALLY DO. Against my better judgement.
  • But seriously:
  1. Renamed artifacts (why)
  2. Name-altered misions (why?)
  3. Totally fucked up weaponry (because?)
  4. Buying your own Basic Equipment? (ffs - does my family get billed for the bullets that drop me???)
  5. and so on...
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