Why the gooseberry bushes got nerfed (2.20.0)

“In video gaming a nerf is a change to a game that reduces the desirability or effectiveness of a particular game element. The term is also used as a verb for the act of making such a change. The opposite of nerf is buff (in one of that term’s two usages).”

One of the changes in update 2.20.0 (Update 2.20.0 / アップデートバージョン2.20.0) was about gooseberry bushes, and gooseberries. There was a bit of an uproar on Discord, so I promised to clarify the reasons for the change once more, in a forum post. This is that post. I will start here, and depending on follow-up questions and arguments, I can add further detail where it makes sense. I’m not going to try and put every detail in one single post.

I make it a habit to discuss changes that I judge as impactful with you in the community ahead of time. The place for that discussion is here in the forum, because unlike Discord, the forum is sorted by topic threads. It’s easier to go back and re-read the topics and I tend to do just that when I plan new updates.

History of gooseberries discussion
The topic of gooseberry bushes have been brought up several times, because they have been overused by players for a long time. I asked the community for feedback on some proposed changes in this topic thread, more than half a year ago: Making Gooseberry bush behave like Raspberry / スグリをキイチゴのように変更
If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so. The TLDR is roughly that the community wanted the bushes to change, but not through the method of seasonality but by making it impossible to plant new ones from seeds.
I saw a need to prepare for changes by improving the carrots though, which I explained here: Carrot Improvements / ニンジンの改善
Those improvements came in the 2.15.0 update, together with some other improvements (Release 2.15.0, What's New? / バージョン2.15.0とは)

I let the ideas of the gooseberry changes lie for a time, while we made other updates that people wanted (Farming technology updates in the making / 農耕技術アップデート準備中 (2.16.0), Update 2.17.0 / 近況, Update 2.18.0 The Fire Update / バージョン2.18.0 新しい火起こし, Upcoming update (Mining and Christmas) / 鉱脈とクリスマスのアップデート (2.19.0))

What we were trying to solve
When I was about to plan the 2.20 update, there was a lot of discussion in Discord about a perceived problem: “Why is there so much Wheat lying around? Can’t you make a way for us to clean it up easily?” There were also some good ideas, like the idea of Stick Bread, which I more or less immediately decided that I wanted to put into the game.

Some of you who talked about the excess wheat have complained about the contents of update 2.20, saying “no one asked for any change to the bushes”. (This is only partially true. If you have read the topics I have linked to, you know now that many players supported and wished for some change.) I hear you, but I have to try to fix the cause of the problem - not just the symptoms.

You are Hope is a survival game. Many of you who have played it for a long time, have mastered the challenge of staying alive and have begun to play the game more as a perpetual building game. I have no problem with this, in fact we have devoted a lot of effort over the years to build both features and content for this play style. But if you look at the description on the AppStore or Google Play, you will see that we promise the buyers a survival game.

If the players of a survival game have the problem “there is always food littering on the ground” then something is broken, and the solution is not to build a clean-up system for excess food. So I took a deeper look and saw that the problem of overlarge fields of berry bushes had only grown since we discussed it last. Gooseberries were now an almost exclusive diet for many players, and hiding so much of nice game content from new players. It was time to put ideas into action.

Reasons for the decisions of the update
Now, one of the reasons I like to discuss potential solutions with you guys a long time ahead, is that I find that good ideas take time. With the background of a previous discussion, some later input can suddenly strike a spark of better ideas, and an improved, or less intrusive solution, might present itself. In this case, I had the realisation that just making bushes non-reproducible would be a short term solution. Players tend to spend a lot of time in the same cities now (certainly more so than before the Rebirth feature was added) and it would only be a matter of time until you had your 100-bush orchards again, from exploring and bringing bushes back. So the solution must make it so that there is no gain from having 100 bushes instead of for example 10-20.

The domestic bushes were never intended for early play. The delay for them to grow berries would make you die before you got them. What happens now is that experienced players play on the beginner servers, where hunger is slow, and make the berry patches for the newbie players. This way, the bushes “work”, though they weren’t supposed to. The new players “learn” that berries is what you are supposed to make and miss out on the challenge of the early game.

So we made the bushes quicker, so newbies can grow them themselves (if they want to). But we also made the berries give much less food per work and resource use, so you can’t rely on only berries to survive. And we greatly reduced their “storage ability”, so that 100 bushes clearly is not a final solution to the food problem.

The disappearing bush problem
There was also one other change: we let the dead bushes despawn automatically. This was mostly a “beauty” problem and had nothing to do with the food logic. I personally get depressed from seeing those dead bushes, and I wanted to spare those of you who feel the same way. This turned out to be a mistake for other reasons though, which some of you brought up in this topic: About Gooseberries / すぐりについて . The bush is sometimes used as a griefer-resistant detail for sheep pens and other constructions. So I will remove the decay of a bush into nothing, to restore this property. This will be changed in the next update.

I think I will stop here and let you ask questions if you want more details on any aspect. I hope you have gotten a peak at some of the underlying reasons for why the bushes had to change, for the good of the game experience. I’m open to talking further on the subject, so feel free to join the discussion.

// Christoffer


A post was merged into an existing topic: Should Gooseberries work differently on Private servers than on public ones?

Hi Christoffer,

Let domestic gooseberry bushes get nerfed means let them disappear?

I read this topic carefully, and I think you are changing concepts.

There are your suggestions in your topic

  • Gooseberry bushes would yield one harvest every seasonal cycle, without requiring more soil all the time.
  • Like with Raspberry , you could get one extra harvest out of them per cycle, by harvesting quickly and then tending to them. This is optional though.
  • You can’t grow bushes from seeds, but you can dig up and replant bushes.

You didn’t mention that domestic gooseberry would disappear completely. You just provide a seasonal harvest scenario. That’s totally different.
If you mentioned despawn in that topic, I’m sure there would be more players coming out against this idea, like this time.
There were 15 ppl joined the discussion.

  • 27% agree with this seasonal harvest idea(rather than despawn idea), 33% disagree with it, 13% are not sure.

  • 4 of them emphasize gooseberry is an important resource (for early camps).
  • 2 of them worry griefers would dig berry bushes out

I don’t know how you get the conclusion that players wanted gooseberries change.
From your post, there are more opposed and skeptical opinions(46%). And that’s just the idea of making gooseberry harvest seasonal like raspberry rather than let them despawn automatically.

In fact, some players have begun planting raspberry replacing gooseberry to face this new mechanism. This update just turns 100 gooseberry bushes into 100 raspberry bushes.

(A screenshot from 420 farm before/after this update)

I prefer 100 gooseberry bushes. They are more useful than raspberry.

I don’t like a huge gooseberry farm neither, but some of my family like it. It’s ok. Why we have to limit the number of gooseberry? Players can plant only a little, also can plant a lot. It’s up to them. I think this is the freedom of players. You can take care the farm if you plant them. I will not take care them. I am happy to see these died bushes because I can get lot kindling. However, my happiness despawn with the died bushes.

There are 4 reason I want gooseberry back. I don’t want to repeat them here.

Here I would like to highlight the most two obvious shortcomings of this new gooseberry mechanisms.

  • (1) Digging out wild gooseberry bush will be a new target for griefers.
    Wild gooseberry bush becomes the only berry resource. Although you can find wild gooseberry anywhere, the number are still limited. Once the nearby wild gooseberry bushes were dug out by the griefers, the camps will be approaching their doom - No food; no gooseberries for compost; no gooseberries to feed the sheep. Even though you can feed sheep with bread now, you can’t get bread without compost to plant wheat.
  • (2)The new gooseberry mechanism is a blow to the diversity of the camp
    Towns in deserts and jungles or other place will fade or disappear because they are far from grasslands to get wild gooseberry bushes. It will be more difficult for these towns which are not located in grassland to survival.

Survival is only a part of the game. For players who have been playing the game for a long time, exploring technology and building is more appealing. We all want to do more things in our limited lives in game, rather than wasting time searching for gooseberries and cooking food.

It’s ok for me if you reduce gooseberries’ food point to 1 or 0.5.
I don’t want domestic gooseberry bushes decay automatically.


I think we already agree on that? We will change so they do not automatically disappear. That’s what I wrote here in the original post, in the “The disappearing bush problem” section:

Let me know if I misunderstood your intention though?

Oh yay! I was coming here to suggest this.(Reduce the food benefit but no decay/despawn.) The nice thing about gooseberry bushes is free food storage. Corn is the only other thing I’ve come up with that has that feature.

I think you misunderstood. The bush itself will not disappear after the next change, but it will still not act as indefinite storage, because the berries will still disappear if you do not pick them.

Thank you for your modifications to remove the decay of bushes.
I hope gooseberries can go back to the way before the update - they won’t automatically disappear on bushes if I don’t pick them.

Growing gooseberries repeatedly every day makes me tired. I can’t stop my family from watering gooseberries. In order to avoid berries withering, I have to put soil on them. Then my fam water berries again. This is a vicious circle.

When I log in the game later, I found only bare ground. I have to replant them every day because of this new mechanism. Plus, gooseberry cost more soil and water because they dry sooner.

Although in the next update, the bushes won’t decay, but if the mechanism by which gooseberries disappear automatically does not change, my pain will continue.

Wild gooseberries don’t meet my needs. They are small in number and far from the camp. The total number of wild gooseberries is large, but they are scattered. Collecting wild gooseberries is a time-consuming task. Growing domestic gooseberries obviously improves my efficiency in collecting gooseberries, but this update undermines that.

Gooseberry is the foundation of the game. I plant gooseberries not only as food. Gooseberries influence other activities in game, like do compost and feed sheep. they also affect other activities based on composting and sheep, such as making pies and planting other plants. That’s why ppl think gooseberry is important.

If you want to reduce people’s dependence on gooseberries, it’s enough to cut down it’s food point. If we had a better way of composting and feeding sheep, I could accept this gooseberry update. I know we can compost with boxes and worms now, but gooseberry and carrots are still the most efficient way to compost(and we can get more soil). It is also a more convenient food for sheep(easier than bread).

As I mentioned earlier, people have entered the raspberry era. Is this what you want to see? From 100 gooseberries farm to 100 raspberries farm?

I really hope you can change your mind. At a minimum, gooseberries can be kept longer.

There is a new update being deployed now. You can read about the changes here: Improvements on update 2.20.0 / バージョン2.20.0についての改善

The bushes won’t disappear, but they will not act as long-term storage. I think this is reasonable, but try it out and see what you think, once the update is done. It should take about two hours before all servers have been updated.

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