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Starfield Should Have A Survival Mode: Here’s Why!

Fans of Starfield have been eagerly anticipating the game's release and have expressed their strong desire for an iconic survival mode. Following the immense popularity of survival mode in Fallout 4 and the hardcore mode in Fallout New Vegas, it seemed reasonable to expect Bethesda to include this highly sought-after feature right from the start in their long-awaited space adventure. However, although Todd Howard has hinted at the possibility of its inclusion at a later stage in the game's lifespan, it appears that survival mode will not be available in Starfield upon its initial launch.

Survival mode, when thoughtfully and meticulously implemented, has the potential to offer players fresh and optional challenges, rewards, and immersive moments. All of them add a touch of magic to their gaming experience. While survival mode may not appeal to everyone, it is ultimately a choice for players to engage with, and numerous Bethesda fans have voiced their belief that the absence of this mode would detract from the overall enjoyment of Starfield. There are indeed several compelling reasons behind this sentiment. 

Let’s go through all of them!

8. Another Treasure Type

In the expansive open-world games characteristic of Bethesda's style, a multitude of food and drink items are often scattered throughout the maps. However, players frequently discard these items, such as sandwiches, as they provide a meager restoration of just 1 HP. This lackluster reward prompts players to continue their search for more lucrative discoveries. Experienced game developers understand that a dearth of rewards can dampen players' motivation to explore further. Conversely, an overwhelming surplus of rewards can dilute the sense of accomplishment, thereby jeopardizing player engagement.

Survival mode changes the dynamics by elevating the value of seemingly ordinary items like water bottles to the level of importance usually reserved for health kits. Mundane consumables like cheese wheels or apples gain newfound significance and become precious commodities, all without diminishing the excitement of finding extraordinary rewards such as the Legendary Demon-Slaying Frying Pan or the Mirthril-Laced Oven Mitts with 10% Laser Deflection. In essence, survival mode allows the Starfield loot table to expand, offering a wider array of treasures while ensuring that the regular bursts of dopamine never lose their impact.

7. Auditing the Inventory 

Dealing with the burden of being encumbered, where the weight of accumulated items causes your character's legs to sink into the ground, can be a frustrating experience. Equally exasperating is the task of sifting through an inventory menu cluttered with useless junk from top to bottom. It's a peculiar phenomenon that when presented with virtually infinite inventory space, many gamers develop a tendency to compulsively hoard anything and everything they come across. However, even in low-gravity environments, there are limits to the capacity of bags and pockets.

Items such as health potions, skill boosters, sweet rolls, and dragon scales often languish at the bottom of a player's backpack, gathering dust until the final boss is defeated and the credits roll. The limited slots available in survival mode would ensure that players not only value the few items they can carry but also engage in compelling and sometimes agonizing decision-making about what to take and what to leave behind. These restrictions add an extra layer of challenge and strategic depth to the gameplay experience.

6. Slow Travels

While not all survival modes disable fast travel, in many cases, the ability to quickly load into previously discovered or unexplored locations is, at the very least, limited. Undoubtedly, not every gamer has the luxury of dedicating ample time to traverse the entire map just to complete a seemingly trivial quest, especially when there are other responsibilities like picking up the kids.

However, for some players, the realization that fast travel is just a button press away can shatter the immersion. Suddenly, the majesty of the planets and the vastness of the cosmos lose their impact. Considering that Starfield is set in an endless expanse and survival mode is entirely optional, it would be ideal to offer those who relish the notion of getting lost in an incomprehensibly large universe the freedom to explore the vast open space without the convenience of fast travel.

5. More Rewarding Crafting

In Fallout 4, Bethesda breathed new life into miscellaneous junk items by introducing settlement building mechanics, providing purpose and value to seemingly insignificant items. Similarly, in Starfield's survival mode, incorporating survival recipes into crafting benches presents additional incentives for players to engage with content that they may have otherwise overlooked. These recipes can offer long-term advantages in managing hunger, thirst, or environmental challenges.

Much like consumables, crafting benches and cooking stations will become highly sought-after resources, and players will appreciate discovering them scattered throughout the game world. As long as the act of crafting itself is gratifying, it can serve as a welcome diversion from regular gameplay, injecting variety into extended in-game sessions.

4. Enhanced Base Building

Bethesda's recent focus on immersive and emergent make-your-own-fun gameplay has led to little surprise when they announced the inclusion of a base-building feature. While bases in many games serve primarily as repositories for weapons, trophies, and loot, survival mode imbues these player-created outposts with a far greater significance.

In the absence of the need to restock supplies and rest, settlements hold little value for players who might view them as mere novelties or, at worst, a waste of time. However, with the implementation of basic needs in survival mode, indulging in build mode becomes an obvious choice. Taking a short break from the adrenaline-pumping action also adds an additional layer to the gameplay loop, allowing players to recharge their enthusiasm for exploration and treasure hunting.

3. Conquering the Nature 

While many gamers appreciate immersive walking simulations, it's understandable why most game developers incorporate health bars and adversaries into their games. Similar to real life, even journeys through breathtaking landscapes can lose their appeal without an element of risk. Ice planets, lava worlds, and acid plains exist within the vast expanse of the Milky Way galaxy, so why not in Starfield? The natural world can provide just as much challenge as encountering hordes of unnamed, bloodthirsty wanderers aimlessly traversing the cosmos, typically armed with a specific set of resources consisting of 12 shotgun shells, two lockpicks, and a desire for self-destruction. 

Embarking on a journey to another moon while risking the depletion of essential supplies should evoke the same level of excitement as sneaking up on a gang of roving cannibals. Confronting different environmental elements would maintain a sense of freshness in the challenges faced, incentivizing players to equip themselves with a diverse array of situation-specific armors and consumables.

2. Dynamic Difficulty 

In survival mode, the inclusion of long-term injuries serves a purpose beyond mere realism—it becomes an avenue for emergent storytelling. The recovery of the main character following injuries is a familiar trope in other storytelling mediums, so why not incorporate it into the realm of video games? These wounds also act as a natural difficulty curve, presenting a challenge to players who engage in too many frequent battles, effectively ramping up the difficulty where instant-healing items would otherwise make it a breeze.

While a prolonged healing time might be frustrating in fast-paced, cover-to-cover shooters, taking the time to heal serves as a reminder to players of the gravity of their death-defying achievements. Bethesda games are renowned for their "long burn" experiences, and since part of the enjoyment of survival mode lies in testing the longevity of a single playthrough, it seems like a perfect match. It adds an extra layer of depth to the gameplay, allowing players to truly appreciate the duration and endurance of their immersive journey.

1. Enhancing Immersion

In regular gameplay, players often limit their visits to two key locations in town: the weapon store for selling accumulated loot and the healing items vendor. However, survival mode alters this dynamic entirely. Food markets and restaurants transcend their backdrop status, becoming more than just scenery. The simple act of enjoying a hot meal and seeking refuge by a warm fire after a harrowing encounter in frigid wastelands possesses an underrated power to bring players back to a state of complete mindfulness.

Outposts truly become beacons of hope in the midst of endless darkness. Bars cease to be mere quest hubs and take on a deeper significance. The sight of an inn or shelter evokes a sense of comfort and intimacy that resonates strongly with survival enthusiasts. Moreover, in a visually stunning game like Starfield, taking a moment to appreciate the surroundings, whether it's inhaling the scent of roses or gazing up at celestial bodies, becomes an inviting prospect. Bethesda is already known for providing players with much-needed moments of tranquility and introspection, so extending that sense of solace to a game set amidst the stars seems like a natural progression.

Final Thoughts

Survival mode in Starfield offers an array of exciting possibilities for players seeking a heightened sense of immersion and challenge. By incorporating features like valuable survival recipes, limited inventory space, restricted fast travel, and long-term injuries, Bethesda has crafted a gameplay experience that goes beyond mere realism, becoming a catalyst for emergent storytelling and strategic decision-making.

Bethesda's commitment to providing players with both thrilling challenges and serene moments of reflection shines through, ensuring that Starfield offers a holistic and captivating gaming experience. In the end, Starfield's survival if ever that comes should provide an unforgettable journey through the vast reaches of space.

Do you want to see a survival mode in Starfield? Would you play it? Let us know in the comments!

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