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[Death Stranding] The Reviews are Ambiguous and Confusing! (much like the game)

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    PeasPeas Registered User regular
    edited December 2019
    I know you don't like the game but do you have to spoil the entire gameplay portion at the end there @Ninja Snarl P

    Peas on
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    President EvilPresident Evil Let's Rock Registered User regular
    Chance wrote: »
    Death Stranding doesn't compare to anything else, and it doesn't compare well, on paper. It is, literally, a game about getting shit from A to B. Your body - moving it over stones. This stuff - weighing down your body. Getting it across that river, up that hill, down into that valley, with a thousand little complications. On paper, that is a fucking insane concept for a triple-A game. How can we recommend this game to anyone, when we have a well-known, kinda' derogotory phrase for its basic loop - the fetch quest?

    And yet I can't stop playing it. And this guy at work bought it and now has the same problem I do - he's really enjoying it, but doesn't feel like he can reccomend it to anyone else because it's just Fetch Quest: The Game. We're definitely enjoying the game a lot, and yet we find that fact so insane we completely lack the confidence to endorse it to others.


    I feel like we're enjoying it because Kojima's design is just that bloody good. This is deep walking. This is walking with texture and grit. This is packing and planning with nuance and subtlety and strategy. You pack your bags and take a walk. That's Death Stranding. And yes, it is really, really good. Even just typing that is crazy, to me.

    As for the story, well... I'm not at the end yet, but I'm really enjoying Kojima telling Yet Another Batshit Insane Story, and appreciate that it has nothing to do with Metal or Gears. When he completely goes off the rails and fails to tell that story well, I won't be surprised - it's Kojima, and he tells insane stories very poorly, as a rule. I came out of loyalty and affection for the Metal Gears, but I stayed for the hiking.

    And I know that phrase seems fucking insane, but I too am surprised to discover it's true.

    Pretty much how I feel. I’ve sunk about 80 hours in so far just building out routes and trying to LL enough of the standard orders to pop the trophy.

    Some of the gear hidden behind 5-star connection levels is nuts

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    Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Peas wrote: »
    I know you don't like the game but do you have to spoil the entire gameplay portion at the end there @Ninja Snarl P

    I don't hate the game (my playtime was near 70 hours, so it's not like I rushed through it), but yeah, I do think people should know Kojima is going to try to pull the equipment rug out from under them at the end. People should definitely know it's coming because it's something that can actually be enjoyable with even just one or two items of preparation, or completely miserable as a total surprise (as several other people have encountered). I know Kojima must think de-equipping the player is just the most brilliant, original thing ever, but it's actually one of the suckiest, laziest things design ideas possible in gaming. Case in point, why the fuck do I have to rebuild all my gear just for using fast-travel? There is zero experience improvement from this and it just eats time; not letting it move cargo but keep player gear would've been completely fine.

    I actually enjoyed that long long run back myself, but I know it has soured other people on the game because they didn't prep for it. I only enjoyed it because I knew about it, too.

    As for the overall game, I can't say that the gameplay is particularly good (it definitely needs more polish and depth, particularly with the vehicles), but I can say I did enjoy a lot of it for being something different. It largely underscores that Kojima should get control of overall game design (but not all of it) and be part of the story writing process, but desperately needs a team that can really tell him "no, this is stupid, we are going to make it better" at least sometimes.

    I can't say it's more than a mediocre game with some impressive pieces, it just happens to be mediocre in ways I can still enjoy. It's interesting enough that I don't regret buying the game at launch, but it's definitely not the transcendent masterpiece Kojima takes offense at people criticizing.

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    DemonStaceyDemonStacey TTODewback's Daughter In love with the TaySwayRegistered User regular

    Well ya know you can just add context to a spoiler tag so someone can decide for themselves if they want to know that information or if it would be bad for their experience.

    A very simple method to make sure you aren't spoiling something for people who will be negatively affected by it.

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    ChanceChance Registered User regular
    edited December 2019
    Yesterday I was explaining to some folks at the office that (in addition to basic gameplay design that I feel is really, really strong and will fight over) Death Stranding is one of the most impeccably, thoughtfully-designed games I've ever played, and was using the example of all the UI and control shortcuts that are built into the game, but don't seem to be documented anywhere.

    Like in my first few hours with the game, it bothered me that as I was arranging my inventory, I had to click down, down, down, down, down through all the inventory to get to the "Confirm" button at the bottom of the inventory.

    Then I learned that if I tapped left or right on the D-pad, it would jump to the beginning or end of whichever section of the inventory you were in, skipping multiple button presses. Handy!

    Then I discovered you don't have to go down to the "confirm" button at all. Just hold X and it confirms everything where it is, at the moment, and exits the menu. Beautiful. So clean, so efficient.



    And I explain that the game is fine-grit enough to have you open a menu specific to your right hand - hold right on the D-pad - which has grenades and weapons and tools, and once you equip a weapon there's an option within that menu to clear that hand. But, of course, there's also a shortcut. Just tap right on the D-pad and pop Sam will unequip whatever you had him holding. So thoughtful!



    So last night, I'm playin' Death Stranding and I'm dealing with some very, very large orders. Orders of dozens of items, and I'm scrolling down my inventory, tap down on the D-pad, tap square to select, tap down on the D-pad, tap square to select (you can then move multiple inventory items together when they're all selected this way).

    But there were so many things that I thought "man I wish I could just hold down square and... oh my God." and of course it lets me select multiple items much faster. Holding square and tapping down on the D-Pad.

    Then, I thought about it for a moment and held down square and down on the D-Pad.

    Then, I began laughing in maniacal ecstasy, like... like Cate Blanchett at the end of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when the aliens start blowing her mind with their forbidden knowledge. Like Robert Pattinson at the end of The Lighthouse, gazing into the infinite perfection of the lamp, I was laughing like I'd just seen the very face of God.



    So good. So good. I will go to the mats over Death Stranding. It really is exceptionally well designed.

    Chance on
    'Chance, you are the best kind of whore.' -Henroid
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    President EvilPresident Evil Let's Rock Registered User regular
    Putting in the work to build a network of ziplines in the mountains, then using them to S-rank every god-damned timed premium delivery is the best

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    rahkeesh2000rahkeesh2000 Registered User regular
    Only Kojima could make poor documentation/signposting a design feature.

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    ChanceChance Registered User regular
    Putting in the work to build a network of ziplines in the mountains, then using them to S-rank every god-damned timed premium delivery is the best

    I'm in the process of putting that together now! I had a network that went from South Knot to the Timefall Farmer to the Weather Station to the Roboticist to Mountain Knot City - which made the get-a-person-there delivery way, way easier than I think it was meant to be - but I spent most of Monday night walking that route and deconstructing all the zip lines between the Farmer and the Weather Station to free up chiral bandwidth and make more zips in the mountains.

    Then, I discovered, you can just open the map, find the structure you want to deconstruct and hold down triangle.



    TO THE MATS!

    'Chance, you are the best kind of whore.' -Henroid
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    21stCentury21stCentury Call me Pixel, or Pix for short! [They/Them]Registered User regular
    I'm 50 hours in, at the start of Episode 10. IDK if i like this but it's something interesting for sure.

    quick question though???
    I got the last(?) email from Peter Englert (Or was it Higgs all along?). Did i miss out on anything by not doing the Mountain Knot City delivery?

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    cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    I'm 50 hours in, at the start of Episode 10. IDK if i like this but it's something interesting for sure.

    quick question though???
    I got the last(?) email from Peter Englert (Or was it Higgs all along?). Did i miss out on anything by not doing the Mountain Knot City delivery?
    If you got the email signed Higgs, then his quest is done, though you still have one last pizza to deliver so you can get him on the chiral network and view his base.

    Also: worth it.

    wVEsyIc.png
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    GSMGSM Registered User regular
    re: pizza missions
    I got the letter from him that implies it was him, but not signed by him? In the letter he says he unlocked his base, but then asks me to go to the "first prepper, high on a mountain" to pick up a last pizza, but I dunno where he means at all. I did go to his bunker and went inside, so I dunno what good that last pizza would have done.

    We'll get back there someday.
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    FencingsaxFencingsax It is difficult to get a man to understand, when his salary depends upon his not understanding GNU Terry PratchettRegistered User regular
    edited December 2019
    Chance wrote: »
    Yesterday I was explaining to some folks at the office that (in addition to basic gameplay design that I feel is really, really strong and will fight over) Death Stranding is one of the most impeccably, thoughtfully-designed games I've ever played, and was using the example of all the UI and control shortcuts that are built into the game, but don't seem to be documented anywhere.

    Like in my first few hours with the game, it bothered me that as I was arranging my inventory, I had to click down, down, down, down, down through all the inventory to get to the "Confirm" button at the bottom of the inventory.

    Then I learned that if I tapped left or right on the D-pad, it would jump to the beginning or end of whichever section of the inventory you were in, skipping multiple button presses. Handy!

    Then I discovered you don't have to go down to the "confirm" button at all. Just hold X and it confirms everything where it is, at the moment, and exits the menu. Beautiful. So clean, so efficient.



    And I explain that the game is fine-grit enough to have you open a menu specific to your right hand - hold right on the D-pad - which has grenades and weapons and tools, and once you equip a weapon there's an option within that menu to clear that hand. But, of course, there's also a shortcut. Just tap right on the D-pad and pop Sam will unequip whatever you had him holding. So thoughtful!



    So last night, I'm playin' Death Stranding and I'm dealing with some very, very large orders. Orders of dozens of items, and I'm scrolling down my inventory, tap down on the D-pad, tap square to select, tap down on the D-pad, tap square to select (you can then move multiple inventory items together when they're all selected this way).

    But there were so many things that I thought "man I wish I could just hold down square and... oh my God." and of course it lets me select multiple items much faster. Holding square and tapping down on the D-Pad.

    Then, I thought about it for a moment and held down square and down on the D-Pad.

    Then, I began laughing in maniacal ecstasy, like... like Cate Blanchett at the end of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when the aliens start blowing her mind with their forbidden knowledge. Like Robert Pattinson at the end of The Lighthouse, gazing into the infinite perfection of the lamp, I was laughing like I'd just seen the very face of God.



    So good. So good. I will go to the mats over Death Stranding. It really is exceptionally well designed.

    That sounds like basic UI design that should have been... explained already? Like the fact that it's there is good, but the fact that you had to figure it out is less good.

    Fencingsax on
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    AlphaRomeroAlphaRomero Registered User regular
    edited December 2019
    GSM wrote: »
    re: pizza missions
    I got the letter from him that implies it was him, but not signed by him? In the letter he says he unlocked his base, but then asks me to go to the "first prepper, high on a mountain" to pick up a last pizza, but I dunno where he means at all. I did go to his bunker and went inside, so I dunno what good that last pizza would have done.

    To find the first prepper
    Go to the spiritualist, face straight forward out if the exit if their shelter then just go forward over that one mountain. First prepper is on the other side.

    Take a rope.

    The pizza missions unlock higgs variant weappns that have more modes for humans and bts.

    AlphaRomero on
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    cj iwakuracj iwakura The Rhythm Regent Bears The Name FreedomRegistered User regular
    GSM wrote: »
    re: pizza missions
    I got the letter from him that implies it was him, but not signed by him? In the letter he says he unlocked his base, but then asks me to go to the "first prepper, high on a mountain" to pick up a last pizza, but I dunno where he means at all. I did go to his bunker and went inside, so I dunno what good that last pizza would have done.

    I assumed I had to get the last pizza. Whoops.

    wVEsyIc.png
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    21stCentury21stCentury Call me Pixel, or Pix for short! [They/Them]Registered User regular
    Goddamn.

    I did not expect
    Toby fox to spoil the big twist. Years ago.

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    We finished! This was lovely. Apparently our time was 50 hours and it felt like half of that.

    Oh brilliant
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    21stCentury21stCentury Call me Pixel, or Pix for short! [They/Them]Registered User regular
    We finished! This was lovely. Apparently our time was 50 hours and it felt like half of that.

    More or less the same.

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    CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Is there any way to un-stuck a truck beyond madly waggling the wheels and hitting the jump button?

    Yesterday I got a truck jam-packed with stuff stuck nose-first in a rather narrow stream. Could not budge it. Proceeded to get another truck and one of the MULE trucks stuck in the same god damned stream trying to ram the first truck out of there. Finally gave up and unloaded everything from Truck 1 into Truck 4. Then drove Truck 4 for probably 15 minutes before getting it stuck on a rock.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
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    SeGaTaiSeGaTai Registered User regular
    Don't think so, have lost trucks to shallow rivers as well between tiny rocks and not being able to jump in water

    PSN SeGaTai
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    President EvilPresident Evil Let's Rock Registered User regular
    edited December 2019
    Finished the story last night at 116(!) hours. I enjoyed it!
    Meeting Heartman was my favorite bit of the game. The Amalie exposition dump
    would have been less annoying if you could save. Tommie Earl Jenkins is the shit. Dropping “BB’s Theme” on you in chapter 14 gave me all the feels.

    Kind of surprised nobody mentioned the Santa hat yet. It’s sooooooo delightfully stupid.

    President Evil on
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    21stCentury21stCentury Call me Pixel, or Pix for short! [They/Them]Registered User regular
    any tips for finding Memory cards?

    I think i found a total of 5 playing normally. i'm wondering if there's a trick to it?

    Also, it took me only 50 hours to reach the end! huzzah!
    Highlight for me: Meeting Heartman. I didn't think he'd overshadow Deadman but.... there you have it.
    Lowlight for me: Episode Deadman. Whoever thought forcing you to go through BT Territory over and over again without a BB was fun is wrongo.

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    DeMoNDeMoN twitch.tv/toxic_cizzle Registered User regular
    any tips for finding Memory cards?

    I think i found a total of 5 playing normally. i'm wondering if there's a trick to it?

    Also, it took me only 50 hours to reach the end! huzzah!
    Highlight for me: Meeting Heartman. I didn't think he'd overshadow Deadman but.... there you have it.
    Lowlight for me: Episode Deadman. Whoever thought forcing you to go through BT Territory over and over again without a BB was fun is wrongo.

    The more I played the more I realized that memory cards are usually just sitting around "interesting" areas. If you come across any kind of neat-looking thing, be it architecture or a plant or something, there's probably a card sitting around somewhere. There's even some just sitting around the outsides of shelters. Your scanner does mark them, but the range seems to be a lot shorter than with other items. Also if you see any kind of little cave, sometimes there's just a memory card sitting in it.

    As for your spoiler
    I actually never had trouble going through BT territory once without BB. I mainly avoided them all-together, going the long way, except for a certain area that already had a pretty good zipline that someone had made online. The trick to that part is that you're in the mountains, so if you need to go through a BT area downhill, just ride the floating carrier! You move like crazy on that thing and the BTs aren't fast enough to catch you. It's also really fun.

    Steam id : Toxic Cizzle
    *TyCart*_banner.jpg
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    Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    As far as I can tell, virtually every bandit camp has a memory stick as well. At least it seemed like every one of them I went to had a memory card.

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    Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Trans* Woman In Aviators Firing A Bazooka. ⚛️Registered User regular
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    President EvilPresident Evil Let's Rock Registered User regular
    As far as I can tell, virtually every bandit camp has a memory stick as well. At least it seemed like every one of them I went to had a memory card.

    Every major city will have one as well.

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    Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Trans* Woman In Aviators Firing A Bazooka. ⚛️Registered User regular
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    ChanceChance Registered User regular
    I honestly thought DS was gonna' win GotY and even have some pretty good reasons why it should, but I'm glad it was Sekiro..

    'Chance, you are the best kind of whore.' -Henroid
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    ZavianZavian universal peace sounds better than forever war Registered User regular
    I don't agree with best direction as I thought RE2 was better overall, but I'm down with Mads getting best performer; he alternately had the best cutscenes but also the worst integration gameplay wise (without spoilers, those sections just weren't good or fun, and felt out of place)

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    Oh yeah, I loved those scenes, but also cranked the difficulty down to Easy for each of them, cause they just weren't fun to play on Hard IMO.

    Oh brilliant
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    21stCentury21stCentury Call me Pixel, or Pix for short! [They/Them]Registered User regular
    Peas wrote: »
    From reddit:
    1thbzoygvwg8.png

    i hope that sweat and grime-flavored Monster Energy is a joke.

    But then again, Pocari Sweat is a thing.

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    Zilla360Zilla360 21st Century. |She/Her| Trans* Woman In Aviators Firing A Bazooka. ⚛️Registered User regular
    Hideo Kojima And Art Director Yoji Shinkawa Break Down A Key Death Stranding Scene:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sMNtH21-JU

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    mxmarksmxmarks Registered User regular
    Wow - both this and the SE++ thread died in December. I just finished last night and was excited to dive into what folks thought but it's been pretty quiet!

    In the end I liked it - I loved the gameplay and walked away confused but happy with the story. Subsequent reading and listening to some spoiler filled podcasts actually have me liking the plot even more. Which is of course, a fault. I shouldn't need supplemental stuff to help me understand what happened - ESPECIALLY in such an exposition dump of a game - but all in all I really like the world and am very hopeful for a sequel.

    The gameplay far surpasses the story. Im glad the post game hook to keep playing is so clever, because I really am excited now to just 5-star everyone and find the few preppers I never saw.

    All in all I loved it and would be up to talk about anything with anyone. I have a lot of thoughts rattling around about people.
    Most specifically - what the hell was the deal between Amelie and Cliff?

    I get that there was this tangled web where we were led to believe Higgs was controlling everything, but it turns out he was a pawn. And in the end I thought it was kind of obvious that Cliff wasn't working for anyone - he just was this extra factor doing his own thing. But why did he have a link to Amilie's beach? Those dolls? Did he just steal them in hopes of getting to her and thus getting his BB?

    Did HE know she was Bridget?

    PSN: mxmarks - WiiU: mxmarks - twitter: @ MikesPS4 - twitch.tv/mxmarks - "Yes, mxmarks is the King of Queens" - Unbreakable Vow
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    XerinkXerink Registered User regular
    mxmarks wrote: »
    Wow - both this and the SE++ thread died in December. I just finished last night and was excited to dive into what folks thought but it's been pretty quiet!

    In the end I liked it - I loved the gameplay and walked away confused but happy with the story. Subsequent reading and listening to some spoiler filled podcasts actually have me liking the plot even more. Which is of course, a fault. I shouldn't need supplemental stuff to help me understand what happened - ESPECIALLY in such an exposition dump of a game - but all in all I really like the world and am very hopeful for a sequel.

    The gameplay far surpasses the story. Im glad the post game hook to keep playing is so clever, because I really am excited now to just 5-star everyone and find the few preppers I never saw.

    All in all I loved it and would be up to talk about anything with anyone. I have a lot of thoughts rattling around about people.
    Most specifically - what the hell was the deal between Amelie and Cliff?

    I get that there was this tangled web where we were led to believe Higgs was controlling everything, but it turns out he was a pawn. And in the end I thought it was kind of obvious that Cliff wasn't working for anyone - he just was this extra factor doing his own thing. But why did he have a link to Amilie's beach? Those dolls? Did he just steal them in hopes of getting to her and thus getting his BB?

    Did HE know she was Bridget?

    A couple of my thoughts on the spoilers:
    The link between Cliff and Amelie is a direct link (I'll touch on that later), but it's also a connection Sam has to both of them that makes it possible for Cliff to appear on Amelie's Beach.

    The exact existence of Cliff is kind of explained but not perfectly either: after dying, Cliff ended up on a shared Beach that functioned as a sort of purgatory for soldiers. That was the reason every time Sam got sucked into the Supercell during the game he ended up on a battlefield; the Beach was manifesting itself as different war zones based on the experiences of soldiers who ended up on the Beach.

    In addition to this, Amelie was manipulating the Supercell in some way to allow Cliff and Sam to come into contact. The exact way this was being done isn't clear (likely as Amelia was getting stronger due to the growth of the chiral network she was able to control peoples' Beaches more easily), but the end result was that Cliff was able to get closer to Sam. It was likely Amelie that also gave Cliff access to the BB dolls similar to how Higgs and Deadman got them from her.

    Why would Amelie do this? The reason I took was to try to make amends for what she did in the past when Cliff died trying to rescue Sam from an existence as a BB unit. Cliff probably knew that Amelie/Bridget on the Beach was the same woman who was running the BB facility in the past but might not have known she was also the President. It doesn't really matter if he did, imo.

    PSN: darkhart0
    3DS FC: 2234-7230-2712
    Battle.net: Kriese#1709
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    AlphaRomeroAlphaRomero Registered User regular
    mxmarks wrote: »
    Wow - both this and the SE++ thread died in December. I just finished last night and was excited to dive into what folks thought but it's been pretty quiet!

    In the end I liked it - I loved the gameplay and walked away confused but happy with the story. Subsequent reading and listening to some spoiler filled podcasts actually have me liking the plot even more. Which is of course, a fault. I shouldn't need supplemental stuff to help me understand what happened - ESPECIALLY in such an exposition dump of a game - but all in all I really like the world and am very hopeful for a sequel.

    The gameplay far surpasses the story. Im glad the post game hook to keep playing is so clever, because I really am excited now to just 5-star everyone and find the few preppers I never saw.

    All in all I loved it and would be up to talk about anything with anyone. I have a lot of thoughts rattling around about people.
    Most specifically - what the hell was the deal between Amelie and Cliff?

    I get that there was this tangled web where we were led to believe Higgs was controlling everything, but it turns out he was a pawn. And in the end I thought it was kind of obvious that Cliff wasn't working for anyone - he just was this extra factor doing his own thing. But why did he have a link to Amilie's beach? Those dolls? Did he just steal them in hopes of getting to her and thus getting his BB?

    Did HE know she was Bridget?
    Beaches don't have to look like beaches. They can look like anything, but there seems to be a primal element to most people that defaults them to literal beaches. That's why the warzone beaches exist, when MANY, MANY people die at the same time in the same area it carves that scenario into a shared beach, and Cliff was drawn to them as a career soldier.

    Amelie brought Cliff back as part of her overarching plan to give Sam and Cliff closure, and specifically to give Cliff a chance to reconcile with his son. She seemed to regret that she had ultimately taken a child away from a loving father and he was killed as a side effect. You'll remember that Cliff actually saw Amelie resurrecting Sam as an infant on her beach before walking into the water (I assume he has no choice in that). I don't believe there was ever a point where Cliff was at risk of stopping Amelie's plan because Amelie's plan cannot be stopped. They didn't have a personal relationship (he never technically met Amelie), I doubt he was coherent enough to be aware of her, he's operating almost like he is in a waking dream throughout the game until the big reveal where he demonstrates a lot more clarity and is able to have a discussion with Sam, which in turn helps make Sam whole and make that significant connection he had been denied. I don't know if it's really made clear how Cliff can control the soldiers, I assumed it was just sheer will since the rest are literal ghosts and he is operating with purpose beyond just repeating those moments in history. As a soldier, they default to his control and leadership.

    Higgs never had any control over Cliff, he only controlled the beached things.

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    urahonkyurahonky Cynical Old Man Registered User regular
    edited March 2020
    So I started playing this on Saturday and I think I may absolutely LOVE it. I know that at it's core it's fetch quest: the game, but there's something satisfying about trekking 1000m+ with 120kg of weight and not falling over, while avoiding bandits and invisible demons.

    I can't wait to go home and play it some more!

    urahonky on
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    vamenvamen Registered User regular
    For people like me who are eagerly awaiting this on PC, release date is June 2!

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    urahonkyurahonky Cynical Old Man Registered User regular
    vamen wrote: »
    For people like me who are eagerly awaiting this on PC, release date is June 2!

    Any idea if the stuff I build and leave behind will benefit PC players and vice versa? Although there's still a bunch of player-made things around.

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    vamenvamen Registered User regular
    I haven't heard but I sort of hope not since I wanted to see stuff slowly build up. But I also don't really have a firm grasp on how it all works so it might be a non-issue even if it was included, I have no idea! I'm mostly on media blackout for the game so I can go into it very fresh.

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    Some details on how structures from other players work
    everything anyone builds has a limited lifespan. Everything degrades, without active upkeep, it'll be gone in a week or two.

    You as a player have a connection stat with other players, which levels up over time. At the start of the game IIRC you are only ever connected to a pool of 10 other players of similar level, so their stuff is all the equipment you will see.

    Oh brilliant
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