Birdshot

In this issue…

Actually, I’m not sure what’s in this issue as I’m going to adlib as I go along.

I spent the last 2 weeks testing out possible loadouts for my new profile in The Hunter – Call of the Wild as I wait with many other players for the new scoring system release date. In the course of that wait I’ve photographed lots of Fallow Deer as I’ve re-run the early challenges time and again. They’re still spotty and the males have horns…

I’ve also experienced the missing tracks / corpse issue a number of times. For those playing the game regularly, this has been an issue for a very long time. What happens is… You shoot an animal and you know where you shot it. You go to the spot where you shot the animal and find the blood splatter then, because you saw which way the animal ran after you shot it, you follow where the tracks should be… Guess what – there are no tracks. You circle around because you know they have to be there but… Nothing! I point-blanked a female Red Deer with my shotgun – in self defense I should add (she would have mowed me down otherwise) and this was the blood splatter at the site where I shot her……That looks a pretty major lung wound to me and the little lady should go down within a few yards. In fact, that pink you can see on the hand held device means she’s dead. But – no tracks and no body 😦 Like the rest of the community I’m just glad that consecutive harvests no longer affect your score when you subsequently shoot another animal and actually find the body!

So what happens to the tracks? Sometimes they appear suspended in mid-air – I have seen this myself at night and I’ve seen daytime shots of the same issue from fellow members of the community. Other times they may appear a distance from the actual kill point and the lateral shift seems to also apply to where the body will eventually be found in those cases. And then there will be the no tracks at all variant. In the latter case I have found that moving away from the area where you made the kill and wandering around for a while (10 mins or so) will result in the blood from your victim miraculously appearing for you to track and find the body. This is an ongoing issue that the developers are working hard to resolve and I’m sure they will get there eventually.

It would be wrong to think that only The Hunter – COTW has these issues. I’ve experienced a similar ongoing problem with the fish in The Fisherman – Fishing Planet. Most of the time you sling your hook, suitably baited, and wait for a bite. You hope your choice of tackle, hook size and bait will entice the fish you are seeking. 95% of the time the bite will be a fish that you would expect to take the bait – maybe not the one you wanted but that’s what fishing is about. Then you get the big one… The Really Big one! You find yourself fighting a fish that you tire out… and then it regains its strength and goes on another run… time and time again. You’ve just hooked the Glitch-Fish. How do you know that this is what’s on the end of your line? You check the wear and tear of the line, rod and reel – If they haven’t moved from where they were before then you have a spooky fish and can probably set up a clothing brand 😉 There is only one way out of this. You have to put your line into the red like this……guess what – it won’t snap like it should and after a bit more fight you’ll bring the Glitch-Fish in. At which point you’ll discover another amazing thing about the Glitch-Fish – it then metamorphoses into a run of the mill Bass (for example) that should never have troubled your equipment in the first place!

These are the joys of playing simulation games that do their best to mimic real life – sometimes the behaviour algorithms for wild animals prove to be beyond what the processing can reliably produce. And as for the Truck Simulator games… You can rely on the AI to do some very un-human behaviours – except in France where everybody knows that Cedez le Passage means that some drivers won’t Cedez le Passage 😉 I know the dev’s of all these games are doing their best to get the AI to behave as true to life as possible – my thanks for their efforts.

Earlier this pm, Expansive Worlds tweeted that there will be an important announcement tomorrow – hopefully that signals the release of the new scoring system for The hunter – COTW. I’m looking forward to that release and I’ll then start afresh with my chosen beginners loadout 🙂

Birdshot

After my last post I have been watching the debate about the scoring changes within the community with interest. Most of that debate has been among the real world hunters and centres around the lack of penalty in the scoring for each animal that a hunter downs in the Open Beta. Removing the artificial 8 seconds Quick Kill is seen as a good thing in that even a good ‘ethical’ shot will not bring down some animal species within that time limit. The issue as seen by quite a few is that with no penalty the game becomes more of an arcade game than a simulation. With no penalty a player can go around taking shots to the intestine region of an animal, for example, and know that they will get the full trophy score in the game because a ‘gut-shot’ animal will always die. In the real world such behaviour would be cruel to the animal and is viewed as unethical and shows the hunter as lacking integrity.

The Hunter’s developers have built up a good relationship with their community over the years – perhaps not quite as good as the one SCS have with their truckers but definitely one in which the developers listen to what the community has to say. So, after the first period of Open Beta testing, the developers have moved to reintroduce a form of penalty for poorly placed shots. Initially there were three checks at the point of harvest – correct weapon and ammunition for the animal class, no more than two shots and intact trophy organs (usually the animal’s skull and horns). The fix is a fourth check on whether the hunter hit the animal in a vital organ – Heart, lungs, stomach or liver. This gives a little bit more leeway than in the real world where a good ethical shot would be to the lungs/heart – Here’s an example of an ethical shot that would give a full trophy rating in the new scoring system (shown in the current live harvest screen)……But the game has to have some compromise to allow for the variations in computing equipment being used by gamers.

Of course, I wish all my shots hit in the correct place! I do usually get it right but it’s sometimes possible to get caught out by an animal’s behaviour or to misread the wind. I lined up a shot on a Roe Deer today with my bow. At the very instant that I released the arrow the animal turned 😦 If I had been using a rifle the shot would probably have been further back from the lungs – possibly stomach or intestines, but because I was using the slower projectile, my shot hit the animal in the upper thigh just below the hip. The deer ran off and I had to track it to find where it finally succumbed to the loss of blood – not too far thank goodness. So even with the best intentions, all of us will sometimes have a bad shot. The game will penalise us with a reduced trophy score – in the real world our conscience would be asking why we took the shot at that exact moment and could we have done anything different to achieve the ethical shot with minimum suffering. Actually, I even do that in game!

Apart from the changes to the way that trophy scoring is calculated, the new weapons and animal classes charts have also seen some changes during the period of Open Beta. There has been some more refinement of the levels for certain weapons and tweaks to the ammunition. Perhaps the most important changes are to the 7.62 ammo used by the Solokhin. This is now a class 3-7 weapon and therefore can’t be used on Coyotes like before. In some ways it could cease to be the ‘go to’ general weapon because the .223 has been beefed up slightly to cover animals in class 2-4. That means the .223 is no longer just a Red Fox killer and much more viable as part of a loadout which, with the 7mm or 30-06, could handle almost everything! Here’s the current charts……No doubt there will be some more refinements before this change goes live but currently it looks to be a great improvement to the game. I think we shall have to wait a while yet before it finally drops…

Birdshot

Well… It seems big changes are afoot in The Hunter – Call of the Wild. There willl be a new animal scoring system that will fundamentally change how your kills are evaluated for your experience points. It is built around some changes to the animal and weapon ranking systems which at least bring a bit of clarity to understanding which weapons can be used on which beasts. No longer will quick kills be important to what your score is but integrity (use of correct weapon and taking a maximum of 2 shots) will be.

I’ve watched YouTube videos from a couple of hunters that play the game and I think the view is that these changes will bring the game significantly closer to what it’s like to really hunt rather than playing a game. It has been suggested that the changes will split the community – with those who really hunt or want to understand real hunting staying whilst those who just play it as a game perhaps move on. So the developers are taking a risky step with this change. It should be noted that the change actually brings this version closer to The Hunter – Classic which was the original on-line game. I believe that was highly popular with real-world hunters.

For someone like myself who falls into the Simulation category of players, any change that makes the game closer to real life is good. So I will be continuing playing. However, with such a fundamental change to how the game works, I will be resetting my profile and starting out anew when this update releases. In fact, I have already reset my proflie and I spent some time today trying out some starting loadouts for hunting in Hirschfelden. The base loadout when you start now comprises the .243 rifle, a 12 gauge shotgun and a .357 revolver – it looks like this…

One thing I value a lot is the ability to hunt very quietly – it’s why I normally carry a bow and also why I have been trying out the large bore Air Rifle. My regular readers will know that I do not like the .243 and only normally use it when required to by a mission. I will have access to a couple of Bow’s and also the Vasquez Cyclone as these were included in Weapons Packs that I purchased. The Solokhin MN1890 will also be available to me. This is the first changed loadout that I tried today……You’ll note that I replaced the .243 with the Solokhin and brought in the rather nice Orpheus bow. That should cover all basic eventualities. Testing threw up an interesting discovery – the Focoso revolver is actually very good for Foxes. I killed 3 this afternoon with it – one at over 50 metres! That has revised my opinion of the gun and I shall probably continue to carry it in most reserves. However, the limitations of available ammunition types for the bow made me have a rethink about the best no-bang for buck. I reset again and came up with a different loadout – one which takes advantage of the .270 for the likes of Red Deer and Wild Boar whilst keeping the ability to hunt Roe and Fallow Deer almost silently……It’s also a lot cheaper to run than using the bow and Solokhin option above.

The highlight of testing the Vasquez Air Rifle was taking down a Fallow Deer from 86 metres away – that’s a pretty good shot for an airgun. For the record, my personal longest shot to quick-kill an animal was 328 metres and the Solokhin holds that – or it did until I reset my profile – I guess I’ll have to repeat that in the future. But for now I think that my second loadout above will be my starting loadout, especially as the changes mean that I will be able to use the Vasquez to take down Foxes – no longer any need for the .223 in that role.

Lets have a quick game of Spot the Fallow Deer……Do you see them? Yes, that’s them……Drinking in the lake.

Here’s another one……He may think he’s invisible but he soon got that feeling ‘somebody’s watching me’……so he had to stand up 🙂

Hope you enjoyed those images – till next time 🙂