Hello Vikings –
It was suggested I share my thoughts in it's own post, so I figured I'd do so. I hope you take the time to read what I believe would be a fair, meaningful, while still simple, change to the food system to capture both the player's vision and the dev's vision. Note that I am primarily a solo player though I did have some friends who I've played with in the past.
Firstly, I understand the idea behind changing to food to the current "health/stam" style. However, I'm not sure this change really accomplishes the freedom to make choices that the devs said they wanted to capture. The issue is because at its core, there are only a few choices right now. Eat heavy health, eat balanced, eat heavy stam. This actually forces more min/max imo and less choice, since you must now eat certain foods or be severely punished (esp in late game). I like the idea but I think fundamentally the "choice" is not really prevalent because the game really requires both health and stam, particularly as a solo player. The binary choice gets widdled down quickly.
Anyway, on to what, imo, would be a better fix that adds far more interesting layers to the food while still keeping the core of the current changes without all the "punishment" to the player:
Eating foods should provide a stat buff
This is the core of my idea. Let me explain with some examples. The muckshake, in addition to its current stats (I'm fine w leaving the stam/health as is if that is the goal for the devs), should provide a poison resistance. Poison does 3 ticks of damage instead of 4 if you've eaten a muckshake.
Pies can add a health regen, or a damage resistance buff. Something like honey or jam can provide stam regen buff. There can be foods for mining, where eating say carrot soup reduces the wear on your pickaxe, or reduces stam usage when swinging a pickaxe. Neck can give a swimming buff to reduce stam when swimming. Other meats can buff your attack. Bread gives fire resistance. Eyescream cold resistance. Eating raw veggies reduces stam usage while farming. Serpent stew gives you the wind. Etc.
The idea here is that this truly will specialize certain foods. If I have to go back to swamps, do I want to eat my "better" (health/stam – wise) food or eat something more specialized to help in the swamp? I can now decide to eat something generic or take the time to craft something to make mining easier. Or make building easier. These are much more interesting choices to me. Do I want to run 90/75 with some buffs for my environment or 120/100 with no special perks? Do I want to eat a hearty serpent stew to make sailing easier or save it for a boss? That is the idea. I know this is a little more work for the devs, but resistances are already built into the game, so it shouldn't require a ground floor rebuild to add things to food.
The other part of this is that the food in the biomes can be made to more help those specific biomes. Foods with swamp ingredients will help you in the swamp. Foods on the mountain can help in the mountain biome. Etc. It also will help food becoming obsolete. Like there is a point in the game you just don't eat mushrooms anymore. What if eating mushrooms increases mushroom spawn rate? What if it increases run speed? Now if you need to forage you have a reason to go back to that food, rather than never using it again.
I'd be truly interested in what you all would think about this change. If you feel it's terrible definitely eviscerate me I won't mind. If you think you can improve upon it please do! Maybe you have an idea for a food + buff combo?
At any rate, thank you for reading.
Keep health/stam stats but add perks to food to truly force players to make decisions.