Loppysaurusrex

TO THE DEVS: Wolves

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Here is my thoughts on the wolf situation right now.

I liked the original changes to wolves in the PV update, they were fast, and aggro'd at much longer ranges, it was great. But now people are crying, and they want it changed back to zombie wolves that are literally traffic cones that you should avoid getting near, lest they start running at about 5-10 feet (so scurry).

Here's what should happen with the wolves: Instead of making them spawn all over the place, make them spawn in groups of 2-3 or maybe 3-5, and make them spawn a lot less, this makes them very dangerous and certainly worth avoiding, now since there is not really an effective way to fight off 3-5 wolves in the current build (no melee combat besides "struggle") don't make them travel in groups, but the changes in the speed and aggro range were great.

Also consider adding wolf types: Alpha wolf, beta wolf, Omega wolf (lone wolf)

When I see a wolf in game, my thoughts should be like real life, which should be "OH S*** better stay away from him, that's an actual predatory animal that could easily kill me" instead of "eh I can just outrun him cuz he's just going to walk after me if he sees me"

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Out of control how?

Spawn rate? I'd agree with you there, but everything else still stands, they need to be a threat.

Stalker mode = hardcore mode

Voyager = How the game is meant to be played

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The wolves in 192 were FAR too aggressive in Voyager. Seriously they were LOS missiles that would hit you 2 at a time. Voyager is NOT supposed to be fuzzy jaws of death. In Stalker yes they should be HIGHLY aggressive.

As for how difficult wolves are to fight off they are no more or less difficult than med/large sized dogs. Frankly you CAN kick them in the chest as they approach you and kill them. They are very very risk averse and will run away rather than risk further damage.

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Well although I really dislike the fact that you basically bring discredit on anyone who is or was not satisfied with the wolfs in .192, I really like your ideas here. Different wolves would be cool, maybe even with different behaviour. Or maybe with different fighting mechanics, like new "minigames" to fight them of, or at least wolves that are not all the same. Some could already flee faster, but instead do more damage or try to attack again or something like that. My favorite wish about wolves would still be to add status effects after a wolf attack. Like an injured arm that makes it harder to aim, or increases all kind of stuff you do with your hands, like foraging wood, crafting and so on. Or an injured leg, similar to the spained ankle.

I still think the number of wolves in coastal highway is a little bit to high. It's not difficult or anything if 8 out of 10 times you leave a building you hear a wolf barking. That's just annoying as hell. I agree with the OP that wolves should be a threat and when you see one you should think "oh shit". So every melee combat should be avoided at all cost, but if this is the case wolf attacks shouldn't be the standard (at least not on voyager) but something that happens if you act too foolish or you dont pay attention to your environment.

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On 2/11/2015 at 9:54 AM, Loppysaurusrex said:

Here is my thoughts on the wolf situation right now.

I liked the original changes to wolves in the PV update, they were fast, and aggro'd at much longer ranges, it was great. But now people are crying, and they want it changed back to zombie wolves that are literally traffic cones that you should avoid getting near, lest they start running at about 5-10 feet (so scurry).

Here's what should happen with the wolves: Instead of making them spawn all over the place, make them spawn in groups of 2-3 or maybe 3-5, and make them spawn a lot less, this makes them very dangerous and certainly worth avoiding, now since there is not really an effective way to fight off 3-5 wolves in the current build (no melee combat besides "struggle") don't make them travel in groups, but the changes in the speed and aggro range were great.

Also consider adding wolf types: Alpha wolf, beta wolf, Omega wolf (lone wolf)

When I see a wolf in game, my thoughts should be like real life, which should be "OH S*** better stay away from him, that's an actual predatory animal that could easily kill me" instead of "eh I can just outrun him cuz he's just going to walk after me if he sees me"

More diversity in animal behaviours is certainly a must. If you could learn which types of wolves are more likely to attack alone, which ones would only attack in a pack, or when you approach their den. In a pack if you could fight off the alpha wolf maybe the rest run away

Reasons would very quickly fix the 'zombie-wolf' syndrome that makes them so easy to deal with (basically a temporary semi-predictable condition loss)

Also less aggression but more dangerous when they do. Once they decide to actually hunt you, you can't simply out run

Edited by PINGU

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I definitely think they need some group AI and pack behaviour. And I think the idea of having Alpha, Beta, Omega wolf types is great.

Basically, I think it could work more or less along these lines: Lone wolves are timid and don't attack unless you overtly approach them; wolves in small groups would be aggressive if you approach - aggressive as a group, that is, rather than as individuals - but otherwise would be more likely to just take an interest if they spot you and follow you at distance (this would actually feel quite menacing for the player, I think - bringing the sensation of being stalked by a predator, maybe); smaller groups could attract other wolves to them by howling during the stalking phase, and once the group reached a certain size they might start getting bolder, moving closer to you or even attacking. Running while being followed would trigger increased aggression. Once the pack got to full-on hunt mode, you'd have very little time to get to safety before they surround you and attack; but you'd still have flares, torches and fires to ward them off (and your range weapons). If you did get safely indoors after being chased or followed, the group or pack would stay in the area, waiting for you for a period, making it dangerous to go out again and extending the potential 'hunted' phase over a longer duration, possibly even days.

I don't know how feasible that kind of system would be to implement, or even if it's very realistic (I don't know much about real wolf behaviour), but I think it would create a lot tension in the game (a lot more than you now get with wolves), while also making their behaviour less chore-like to deal with, feeling less like they are game-monsters that guard key pick-ups or routes, but without making them any less dangerous or common or obstructive to your progress and movement.

Edited by Pillock
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I don't know about other experienced players but to me wolves should be FEARED and not just seen as a walking meal. On Stalker mode I try to avoid them but if one wants a fight it's no big deal, just stabstabstab, get a bit of bruising, maybe a cut to bandage up, apply some antiseptic, but no worries, just heal up and wait for injured wolf to die so I can harvest it. There's no fear there. I want injures that take days to heal, I want cuts so bad that I have to harvest some of the very clothes I'm wearing to stem the blood, or to tie a splint to my leg when sprained, forcing me to choose between warmth, health or mobility. I want clothes to be destroyed or reduced so low to make them ineffective against the cold. Maybe have my vision badly impaired that I have to struggle to see where I'm going to find shelter, limping from a sprained ankle (that isn't instantly healed by popping two pills), and waving a distress flare feebly in a pathetic attempt to ward off another wolf that's spotted me.

I'd like to have injuries that still affect our mobility / weapon usage days later (painkillers ease symptoms a bit but not fully, their effect would also keep wearing off after four hours), and lowering our condition when not resting (but only to 50%), forcing us to go out to hunt/forage for food while weaker.

I adore the game, I'd just like to see a risk of greater consequences to instil a little more fear or panic. 

Edited by Karzee
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Huh, didn't realise it was that old...

There's a really good Planet Earth episode on wolves. It has a single desperate wolf fighting a yearling muskox to the death. It was rather sad to watch but it was a good reminder on how desperate animals will sometimes do very surprising things.

In the context of the game though it seems that all wolves are in "meat seeking missile" mode unfortunately. While having some wolves act like that brings tension (and prevents complacency) having all wolves like that gets old. Having the lone wolf stalk you and start attracting other nearby wolves through howling as suggested would be downright terrifying! Whether it's possible who knows but it would make a nice change of pace.

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1 hour ago, cekivi said:

Huh, didn't realise it was that old...

There's a really good Planet Earth episode on wolves. It has a single desperate wolf fighting a yearling muskox to the death. It was rather sad to watch but it was a good reminder on how desperate animals will sometimes do very surprising things.

In the context of the game though it seems that all wolves are in "meat seeking missile" mode unfortunately. While having some wolves act like that brings tension (and prevents complacency) having all wolves like that gets old. Having the lone wolf stalk you and start attracting other nearby wolves through howling as suggested would be downright terrifying! Whether it's possible who knows but it would make a nice change of pace.

I didn't realise it was that old when I replied, either!

Still, having thought about the idea of a pack hunt a bit more, it could be a thought of as similar to how the police work in GTA, in terms of its implementation: they have varying levels of aggression depending on the stage of the 'hunt', and you can make it worse or better for yourself depending on your actions (in this case maybe through hiding from them for a while, or by lighting a decent fire to ward them off until they lose interest?). The wolves could remain as they are by default: hanging around in ones and twos or small-ish groups in certain areas, then trigger the stalking and hunting behaviour if they detect your presence. Or maybe even it could kick in when they start hunting deer as well? anyway, the fact that a similar system works in GTA makes me more confident that it might be possible in TLD, at least, even though it's not exactly the same context.

(I think I've seen that Planet Earth episode, by the way - was quite poignant, must say.)

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I very much like these ideas!

 

3 minutes ago, Pillock said:

The wolves could remain as they are by default: hanging around in ones and twos or small-ish groups in certain areas, then trigger the stalking and hunting behaviour if they detect your presence. Or maybe even it could kick in when they start hunting deer as well? anyway, the fact that a similar system works in GTA makes me more confident that it might be possible in TLD, at least, even though it's not exactly the same context.

This is pretty much already in the game.  They could apply the behaviors of the Old Bear to the wolves. 

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2 minutes ago, Timber Wolf said:

 They could apply the behaviors of the Old Bear to the wolves. 

Yeah, but you wouldn't want it all the time throughout a sandbox, like it is with the Old Bear. The behaviour would need to be able to be triggered and untriggered in wolves, so that you'd have some respite and so that you could avoid it if you were careful.

Edited by Pillock

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Just now, Pillock said:

Yeah, but you wouldn't want it all the time throughout a sandbox. The behaviour would need to be able to be triggered and untriggered in wolves, so that you'd have some respite and so that you could avoid it if you were careful.

My main point is that they pretty much already have written the code to implement this kind of thing and would only need to make some adjustments.

Also, the Old Bear has variations to the ways in which he stalks you.  He doesn't always just come straight for you as soon as he senses you.  Believe me, I know.  I have spent hundreds of days playing with him.  Sometimes he will just watch you from a distance and not attack - those are always good times to get stuff done.

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11 minutes ago, Pillock said:

I didn't realise it was that old when I replied, either!

Still, having thought about the idea of a pack hunt a bit more, it could be a thought of as similar to how the police work in GTA, in terms of its implementation: they have varying levels of aggression depending on the stage of the 'hunt', and you can make it worse or better for yourself depending on your actions (in this case maybe through hiding from them for a while, or by lighting a decent fire to ward them off until they lose interest?). The wolves could remain as they are by default: hanging around in ones and twos or small-ish groups in certain areas, then trigger the stalking and hunting behaviour if they detect your presence. Or maybe even it could kick in when they start hunting deer as well? anyway, the fact that a similar system works in GTA makes me more confident that it might be possible in TLD, at least, even though it's not exactly the same context.

(I think I've seen that Planet Earth episode, by the way - was quite poignant, must say.)

How you describe the wolf behaviour (specifically the fending off of the wolves) sounds a lot like the opening scenes of White Fang ;)

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I had a wolf stalking me on Interloper today.   Like, really stalking.  In PV, headed up the road from the xroads to the CH mine.  There's a good-sized cliff on the N of the road until a shortcut, which is simply a hill that's not too steep to climb.  Just before the top of the shortcut hill I crouched, made a fire and pulled out a brand, for some meager weaponless-Interloper protection since there are often wolves in this spot.  Didn't see/hear anything, so I made my way -- still crouched -- toward the mine.  Next time I stopped to listen I heard soft footsteps right behind me.  Whirled around and the wolf was maybe 3 meters away (yikes!), trotting like they do before breaking into a run to chase down a rabbit.  But he passed me to go where I made the fire, then wandered away.

I'm guessing he paralleled me on the clifftop when I was below on the road, then went to check out the spot he lost track of me.  Often in the past you'd hear a lot of sniffing from wolves when they tracked you but this one was almost silent.  Anyway, scared the bejesus of me.   

Edited by Ruruwawa
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1 hour ago, Pillock said:

Yeah, but you wouldn't want it all the time throughout a sandbox, like it is with the Old Bear. The behaviour would need to be able to be triggered and untriggered in wolves, so that you'd have some respite and so that you could avoid it if you were careful.

While I follow the GTA analogy in terms of "levels of aggression", I am curious how you would contrast this with current wolf behaviour? Currently, wolves will break off from groups of 2, 3, or 4 to pursue you. And you may evade them, use a decoy, or some other deterrent to ward them off. But you would like to see the initial "lone wolf" draw in others irregardless of whether the player aggro'd them or not (through howling, etc)? Just trying to understand your thinking a bit better. :)

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25 minutes ago, Patrick Carlson said:

While I follow the GTA analogy in terms of "levels of aggression", I am curious how you would contrast this with current wolf behaviour? Currently, wolves will break off from groups of 2, 3, or 4 to pursue you. And you may evade them, use a decoy, or some other deterrent to ward them off. But you would like to see the initial "lone wolf" draw in others irregardless of whether the player aggro'd them or not (through howling, etc)? Just trying to understand your thinking a bit better. :)

Well, at the moment all of the wolves behave as individual actors which is one of the reasons I refer to them as "meat seeking missiles". A lone wolf is seldom a threat to a fully equipped character on most difficulties. @mystifeid even has screen shots of deliberately aggro-ing a pack one at a time to one shot them with a bow while playing on interloper. In short, they seem less of a threat than they used to be (in earlier alphas) and more of an annoyance to avoid. 

With tracking/pack behaviour you could have a dynamic aggression variable. A lone wolf may still attack you but it may also completely ignore you or even run away. However, the threat then becomes the wolf tracking you calling in surrounding wolves. As the number tracking you increases the chances of being attacked go up. Eventually, you may have 3-4 wolves all attack you at once. While still survivable this would be much more risky for the player. There would also be a lot of tension as you hear the wolf pack following you (just out of view of course) get larger and larger as more join in. Even if you are able to escape inside or to a cave to light a fire the tension and threat would still be there. In short, a lone wolf morphs from an annoyance to an existential threat regardless of whether or not you actually have a wolf struggle. 

TL;DR: A lone wolf would become an unknown threat (as opposed to a meat seeking missile) with the true danger being the marshaling of a pack to hunt down the two footed interloper... O.o

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As it stands, it isn't 100% guaranteed that a lone wolf will end up attacking you, but I take your meat-seeking missile analogy on-board. :)

Depending on you and your actions, combined with the terrain, and the path of the wolf itself, it could run off without engaging you. But we certainly understand the desire for more complexity in terms of interactions. It's never our intention for a part of the world to feel rote or meaningless. We'll continue to look at wolves and ways to improve them as we progress. 

 

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32 minutes ago, Patrick Carlson said:

As it stands, it isn't 100% guaranteed that a lone wolf will end up attacking you, but I take your meat-seeking missile analogy on-board. :)

True. My most interesting interactions with wolves have been when I've been trying to avoid their stalking behaviour (much more interesting then just getting immediately jumped) or when they do something unexpected ;)

The other bonus of more complex behaviour is you can potentially stumble into a wolf in an unexpected spot. In other words you couldn't just memorize spawn locations.

Edited by cekivi
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1 minute ago, Patrick Carlson said:

While I follow the GTA analogy in terms of "levels of aggression", I am curious how you would contrast this with current wolf behaviour? Currently, wolves will break off from groups of 2, 3, or 4 to pursue you. And you may evade them, use a decoy, or some other deterrent to ward them off. But you would like to see the initial "lone wolf" draw in others irregardless of whether the player aggro'd them or not (through howling, etc)? Just trying to understand your thinking a bit better. :)

I think Cekivi put it as well as I could have done here:

2 hours ago, cekivi said:

With tracking/pack behaviour you could have a dynamic aggression variable. A lone wolf may still attack you but it may also completely ignore you or even run away. However, the threat then becomes the wolf tracking you calling in surrounding wolves. As the number tracking you increases the chances of being attacked go up. Eventually, you may have 3-4 wolves all attack you at once. While still survivable this would be much more risky for the player. There would also be a lot of tension as you hear the wolf pack following you (just out of view of course) get larger and larger as more join in. Even if you are able to escape inside or to a cave to light a fire the tension and threat would still be there. In short, a lone wolf morphs from an annoyance to an existential threat regardless of whether or not you actually have a wolf struggle.

The most important difference I'd like to see is, as you suggested, that if you came across a group of wolves and one of them detected you, it would trigger a response from the whole of that group, not just from the one that detected you.

You could then have the aggression level of the group scale according to their numbers (and a bit of random chance, maybe): so a lone wolf is probably timid, while a pack of 6 or more is aggressive, say. And you could have progress through the scale according to your actions and to time, with small groups that merely follow at a distance becoming larger packs that actively hunt you down and attack in numbers.

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55 minutes ago, Pillock said:

You could then have the aggression level of the group scale according to their numbers (and a bit of random chance, maybe): so a lone wolf is probably timid, while a pack of 6 or more is aggressive, say. And you could have progress through the scale according to your actions and to time, with small groups that merely follow at a distance becoming larger packs that actively hunt you down and attack in numbers.

There should always be exceptions otherwise interactions will become just as predictable as they are now - ie don't eradicate all of the "meat seeking missiles".

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I really like the pack mentality of alpha, beta, and omega. 

I would like wolves to be more challenging and interesting. Part of being challenging is being more threatening, but also having more complex behavior for the player to understand and act upon.

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