Well, I can say I'm also up-to-pace regarding just about anything wrapped to look like the Outline that's been agreed upon.
Also, I must add it's contents are admirable at least, moreso I'm pleased - if not more than that; the in-depth perspective on CataDDA_world, very well thought-of and reasonable goes as a must-read for any and everyone looking to get involved with RLs in development. It's also good material coverage for those who suggest Lovecraftian mythos should feel (may sound wrong when spoken, but it's not) "imposing" on current efforts that concern fiction in general.
I do have some opinions overall that I'm about to share with all'y'alls. :)
I'ma leave mutations and their conseqences to the process-thinker of it all, for starters. It feels the included info in Design_Outline is to serve as a pointer and not experience, primarily because inside information (player feedback) is still being gathered to a point when it reaches a certain level needed for feature expansion. However, I must state these two (general) points of self-perspective:
1) "The Blob" is searching suitable hosts in order to adapt them, and the debris of its path of dominance are CataDDA mutations. It's not hard to imagine the lineage of horror/nightmare-ish fantasy dwells on ancient scriptures and works of art combined, consisting of but not inclusive of religious experiences and lore, if you wish. In order to relief the stress of compromising with recognized social measures of such canons - with them being "evil" or not - and common demonology, even though when knowing they're compromised with works of Tolkien and alike, one must also turn to nature's mechanics upon trying to score something unique in the progress of making a fantasy piece. It's not hard to perceive why the the first of those nature's creatures to fall under influence of that which is "nether" are, in basis, nocturnal and parasitical in a manner. Evolving a creature of a bat's nature perhaps is one of the finer examples for a starting point of design; it's a firm ground basis for both habitat and "ether-disease" spreading modes of operation. Don't feel derailed with certain bad examples in literature and cinema - and The Blob isn't a daytime infestation that preys on the strongest (bears, for ex.).
2) Reading through the Raptor's mutation outline I've noticed there's no predatorial equality in the "tiny world" of bugs. I can agree that wasps are a very dangerous entity that balance out spider mutations. It's the ants that are unmatched when we discuss their mandibles and protection. They easily find their nemesis (being they're so numerous) amongst more solitary types of insects that don't lack tools of war; moreso such bugs make up their lack in numbers with size and sheer power.
I wish to make an extra round-up on Gear_Up and Noncraftables sections.
Besides utmost understanding of the rare-war-gear decline, mainly because it opens up a "grande" discussion over other types of rarities that "could be found in New England, but won't be found" - I also have some sympathy for those who misunderstand "coolness" of in-game items and a self-centered wish to evolve from a decaying world, be it with a shiny ole' gun. There's been much, much discussion about books/knowledge and CataDDA so I'll just cut to the chase: If the player finds some crazy's notes on a WW1 Gatling manually operated gun, he/she should not be deprived of choice towards playing a little iron soldier in the world of Cataclysm. Knowing that, all those ticked-off concepts could have some place within the "extra" content this project's aiming for.
Now, regarding those hard-to-obtain, top-of-the-line hardware coded BLUE for NONE; I've been doing some research on my own (as you might've well suspected), and I feel you have to know two major facts:
1) Endless supply of anything in a game means that the particular game's orientation shifts slightly in that direction. Power armors, for example, are obtained by the US army of the time in STOCK numbers. This means that the resources for scrapping/repairing some are limited, yet obtainable. I feel these, and some chemical products that've bounced off prohibited use towards general population must have had some sort of a supply line before cataclysm. Same goes for solar panels, end-tier engines etc. that depend on uncommon resources and product/service lines. Must I note that small enterprizes offer product-line upgrades and services of the same, even today? It mustn't be hard to imagine a basement crammed with batches for such a specific purpose, if you know that access to such places of business is restricted to majority of regular users.
2) Hoarding and line-production have a common thing in particular, that is known as Industrial Power Outlet. Nearly every metropolitan area has one today, but tomorrow when it's defunct - a fresh stockpile of high-end tools and products is next to impossible. But as we all progress in this world, some things eventually give in - like microbrews in the last two or three decades, or industrial-grade precision lasers 5 years ago, today and absolutely - tomorrow. Therefore, if a player goes to such great lengths to obtain the means to generate enough power, and surplus, to operate a small yet efficient workshop, he/she should be able do repair and upgrade on the existing equipment. It is not an opinion based on the suspicion of current (future) techs that could be utilized to the full extent (nanotechnology, molecular biology), but the exploit of accessible and spot-evident machines and tools that, without sufficient power input, lack any operational value ATM.
May I also add that before this, survival genre, there was an adventure genre. It offered loads of ideas along with its traits; concepts forgotten or left to be, it's echo still lingers: "To venture into the unknown, and accomplish the unachievable." Let us all ignite our brainstorming circuits on that one. :)