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Skatche

Wolves are way OP

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I recently bought this expecting a reasonably realistic survival experience in a Minecraft-style sandbox. Accordingly I've been trying to play in the Wilderness Survival mode; maybe the balance in Standard mode is different. My experience is being somewhat ruined by the fact that wolves can insta-gib me.

That isn't realistic, it's punishing for the sake of punishment. The only way a wolf could instantly kill you is if it got ahold of your jugular, which is a lot less likely than you might think. I assume the balance is intended to force you to run away from wolves, but that isn't realistic either, because real-life wolves can run significantly faster than the fastest human alive. Truth is, a dude armed with a spear and/or knife has a pretty good chance of surviving a one-on-one wolf attack, albeit with serious injuries. The wolf might have an advantage in a fight to the death, but generally unless they're rabid they'll back off after they get stabbed a couple times.

Of lesser concern: in one game, a wolf killed a chicken before coming straight at me. That's not realistic either; once they've already killed their next meal, they're not going to immediately attack a much larger animal. They might give a warning growl to keep you from stealing their food, but they're not going to attack unless you get too close.

In short: Lovecraftian horrors and maybe, like, bears can insta-kill and it's realistic enough, but not wolves. Please consider rebalancing them.

Edited by Skatche
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Animal behavior could use some attention, that is true. But getting instantly killed by wolves? That should not happen unless you significantly changed the difficulty settings, or didn't pay attention to your health bar. You should have 15 health on default settings, and wolves do 8 damage to unarmored targets. It should take a wolf at least two hits to kill you. If you've gotten at least 1.1 points of bonus health through nutrition, which is fairly easy to do, they'll need three hits. If you're well fed overall, they need four. If you're wearing the most basic, improvised armor, you survive an additional one to two hits (and you can make that armor within two minutes of spawning into a new world, typically).

Also, wolves do back off and flee after they've taken some damage.

Still, don't get hung up on "this isn't realistic". Realism is a terrible game design paradigm. Ever tried to jump up a ledge of one meter height from a standstill? Possible, yes. But hard to do, especially untrained. Yet nobody's complaining about the player character bouncing up whole block heights unaided all day long like they chugged gummibear juice. Nevermind the way you can carry around 640 cubic meters of loose sand in just your hands, without even a basket to help.

The better paradigm instead of "realistic" is "believable". You've never questioned the sheer weight and volume and physical characteristics of the blocks you pick up and carry around. And even if you're vaguely aware that, yeah sure, this is just an abstracted game mechanic, it doesn't bug you. Because it feels okay enough. It's believable enough for you to willingly suspend disbelief.

And is it believable that an aggressive wolf would ruin your day in a one-on-one fight without protective equipment on you and combat training and high physical fitness? Absolutely. I will believe that without question. Even if it should turn out that realistically, I would stand a bit better of a chance than I thought I would, that doesn't change the fact that it's not wrong to be terrified of death by wolf if you're alone in the wilderness with just a sharpened stick for protection. At the same time, a knight in armor with a sword and shield facing a wolf? Yeah, that's not even a contest! I will believe the wolf losing every time.

As such, when a game designer looks for something to keep the player on their toes - an obstacle that's meant to teach the player that they're not on top of the food chain, that they're going to get their ass kicked sky high if they're not careful, until they progress further in the game and overcome that obstacle? A wolf is a pretty good choice. The precise stat selection is just the second step after that, and it'll be chosen so that the wolf serves both roles. A seemingly insurmountable obstacle at the start; yet merely a minor nuisance in the endgame.

And yes, wolves do get downgraded to minor nuisance by the time you get proper gear, and experience in the way they act and attack. Or, well, perhaps "minor nuisance" is the wrong word. "Welcome source of resources" may be better. ;)

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On 5/21/2020 at 2:35 AM, Streetwind said:

Animal behavior could use some attention, that is true. But getting instantly killed by wolves? That should not happen unless you significantly changed the difficulty settings, or didn't pay attention to your health bar. You should have 15 health on default settings, and wolves do 8 damage to unarmored targets. It should take a wolf at least two hits to kill you. If you've gotten at least 1.1 points of bonus health through nutrition, which is fairly easy to do, they'll need three hits. If you're well fed overall, they need four. If you're wearing the most basic, improvised armor, you survive an additional one to two hits (and you can make that armor within two minutes of spawning into a new world, typically).

Strictly speaking, I wasn't using default settings -- but I was starting in Wilderness Survival mode, which is one of only a few modes presented in the New Game menu, without making any additional changes to the difficulty. Wolves were definitely killing me in one hit. I've since changed to Standard mode, which has been at least a bit more forgiving, but it still feels like that should be how the Wilderness Survival mode is balanced, and the Standard mode should be even more forgiving. I have a tendency to play survival games in Ironman mode, even if I have to impose it on myself, and even in Standard mode a wolf can really ruin your day if it catches you in a vulnerable position.

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Also, wolves do back off and flee after they've taken some damage.

That is reassuring. After my encounters in Wilderness Survival, I hadn't even attempted to take them on in Standard mode.

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And is it believable that an aggressive wolf would ruin your day in a one-on-one fight without protective equipment on you and combat training and high physical fitness? Absolutely. I will believe that without question. Even if it should turn out that realistically, I would stand a bit better of a chance than I thought I would, that doesn't change the fact that it's not wrong to be terrified of death by wolf if you're alone in the wilderness with just a sharpened stick for protection. At the same time, a knight in armor with a sword and shield facing a wolf? Yeah, that's not even a contest! I will believe the wolf losing every time.

Ruin your day? Sure, and the fear is good too. But as weird as it sounds, I'd rather helplessly watch my character bleed out over the course of a few minutes, or even die of an infection that lasts an hour or two, than just get insta-gibbed. It feels like a more authentic survival experience then, and at least in principle it means I can make some token effort to save myself.

Quote

As such, when a game designer looks for something to keep the player on their toes - an obstacle that's meant to teach the player that they're not on top of the food chain, that they're going to get their ass kicked sky high if they're not careful, until they progress further in the game and overcome that obstacle? A wolf is a pretty good choice. The precise stat selection is just the second step after that, and it'll be chosen so that the wolf serves both roles. A seemingly insurmountable obstacle at the start; yet merely a minor nuisance in the endgame.

Honestly, even a couple of fox hunts can fuck me right up in this game if they go badly, leaving me unprepared for any wild animal encounter whatsoever. A major loss of health forces me to rely on wild berries and mushrooms with significantly fewer calories, and that can cause major problems in itself -- not only threatening me with starvation, but forcing me outside the bubble of my home base, where there may even be more wolves lurking.

Quote

Still, don't get hung up on "this isn't realistic". Realism is a terrible game design paradigm. Ever tried to jump up a ledge of one meter height from a standstill? Possible, yes. But hard to do, especially untrained. Yet nobody's complaining about the player character bouncing up whole block heights unaided all day long like they chugged gummibear juice. Nevermind the way you can carry around 640 cubic meters of loose sand in just your hands, without even a basket to help.

I actually feel like the irrealism of the large inventory space counteracts the equal and opposite irrealism of not being able to properly store all the detritus you pick up that might be useful in the early game. Even with four reed baskets, the inventory limit starts to get a bit claustrophobic as you're making inroads into the Copper Age. And on the other hand, there's no convenient way to store those two full stacks of slate rocks you picked up from mining, unless you're willing to be constantly picking them up again by accident. So your unrealistic personal inventory space ends up as a stand-in for the floor space you should realistically be able to properly use in your hut.

Edited by Skatche

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5 hours ago, Skatche said:

Strictly speaking, I wasn't using default settings -- but I was starting in Wilderness Survival mode, which is one of only a few modes presented in the New Game menu, without making any additional changes to the difficulty. Wolves were definitely killing me in one hit. I've since changed to Standard mode, which has been at least a bit more forgiving, but it still feels like that should be how the Wilderness Survival mode is balanced, and the Standard mode should be even more forgiving. I have a tendency to play survival games in Ironman mode, even if I have to impose it on myself, and even in Standard mode a wolf can really ruin your day if it catches you in a vulnerable position.

That is reassuring. After my encounters in Wilderness Survival, I hadn't even attempted to take them on in Standard mode.

If you play hard mode, you get hard mode :P You can however tweak the difficulty settings at world creation to fit your liking, player health and damage can be individually modified in the customize world screen. As Streetwind pointed out, wolves in the normal mode are pretty well balanced. I still remember a time when wolves would be much more dangerous then they are now, a few major updates ago: Wolves wouldn't sleep/rest, they would be on the lookout night and day, they would spawn everywhere, hunt you down for hours and two hit kill you, for the entire game, because there wasn't any kind of armor. Now the only problem I have with them, is them making no step sounds, which can make them quite sneaky, but if you craft a set of wooden armor and a weapon, you are able to easily kill a wolf, if you dodge some of its attacks.

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The primary issue I have is that wolves do not automatically attack in real life; they are more likely to avoid humans, not engage them.  I would like that to carry over into the game, honestly; yeah, sure, hard mode is one thing, let things be far more hostile.  But the default Survival mode should have wolves who attack to attack solely when 1) protecting cubs, 2) defending against attack, 3) the last efforts to fend off starvation.  The truth of the matter is that wolves, by their very nature, tend to leave humans alone, although they can have positive interactions and live alongside one another, if needed (see: Human History, Dog History).

Just my suggestion.

Edited by Paul Beverage
Correcting some language

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