[2.7] A Wolf's Guide to Slough Creek

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altias
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[2.7] A Wolf's Guide to Slough Creek

Post by altias » Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:07 am

Shoutout to "Taking Care of your Pack and Selecting a Den" for being a general precursor to this. This post is meant to be more of a strategy guide with a step-by-step readthrough that most anyone should be able to follow, with an additional bonus in that it was made with 2.7 in mind.
CONTENTS

= please use CTRL+F and copy-paste the number of the section to find it easily in this thread! =

o1. Before Slough - Setting Up

o2. Den Decisions - Choose Your Home

o3. Pup Preparation - No Starvation Necessary

o4. Raising Loyal Members

o5. Lurking Dangers

o6. Stuffed Pups

o7. The Journey To A Better Place

o1. Before Slough - Setting Up

Before you even get into Slough Creek, you'll be - assumedly, of course - starting in Amethyst Mountain. This guide will assume that your wolf is inexperienced and essentially freshly made.

If you're starting at the character creation process, it would be suggested that you have a very balanced wolf - 50/50/50 is great, but you can still hunt stuff and defend your den with a less balanced build. If you're going to be playing on Bring It On!, you might want to consider the balanced build, as elk never tire on that game-mode and you'd be best with a wolf that can be versatile.

If you're not doing Bring It On! and are starting from one of your already-created wolves, or you've already created your wolf and just want to get on with it, you should be aware of your goals.

Step one of Amethyst Mountain should be hunting to 750 exp. That is the point where mates are unlocked. This exp can be earned any way you like, but it's fastest to hunt elk. Focus on cow elk rather than tbe bull elk - not only are bull elks hard to hunt (you will die many, many times!), but they don't give the 500 exp consistently enough to make them worth it. If you want, you can hop onto multiplayer and open a server to get the exp out of the way faster - more players means faster exp gain, and eight elk with friends is a piece of cake.

(you can, of course, do other things to get the required experience - however, I've found that hunting elk is fastest and most efficient. Coyotes and hares give 25 exp apiece, but they aren't all that common, and from what I can remember, stranger wolf encounters aren't as beneficial for exp as hunting is, since you can regain health easier after a hunt than after a social arena encounter.)

Once you're done with hunting, you'll want to locate a stranger wolf territory. Unless you care what your future mate's pelt is, you can go to any of these. Save before entering the territory so you can reload if you encounter a non-dispersal wolf. Check the wind direction before heading in too - it would be fastest to find the wolf if you can see their scent trail, but they only appear if you're downwind (or very, very close to the wolf). If it's not blowing your way, that's fine - you can probably just run around 'til you find the wolf.

If you've got the dispersal located but don't like the pelt, you can reload. If you don't care or if you like the pelt, you can go through the mate-gaining process - start with "hello there", progress to "i like you", then "Let's play!", and then "Let's start a pack!" twice. (Sometimes this option can show up more than once in the same menu, but as far as I'm aware, it doesn't matter which one you pick - they do the same thing.) After this, name your mate and head to the star on your compass that will appear soon after you've left the arena.

Please note that mate AI is still unreliable outside of hunting. Don't expect anything of your mate; if they do something favorable, be happy, but don't wait for them to come home and feed your pups or anything. Work as if you are playing by yourself. Mates don't feed pups quite properly (oftentimes either ignoring them/bowing at them/waving a tail at them OR feeding one pup, even if that pup isn't hungry) and don't understand how the rendezvous works sometimes. I've had mine carry a pup across the farther crossing point at Saddle Meadows and run to Little Butte - only to come back with a half-starved pup so they can take another. What is this wolf doing? I don't know, but you should not trust them to carry your pups.


o2. Den Decisions - Choose Your Home

This section starts out at Slough Creek - if you're here, you've either followed the above guide or have already done the whole song and dance with getting a mate and getting to SC. Even if you skipped over the previous section, please read the last paragraph - it's extremely relevant to all parts of your pups' life.

So, dens! That's the very first thing you'll want to settle on. From there, you'll want to start hunting elk with wild abandon - chase them to your den or to locations highlighted on the maps below. Flank the elk on the side you want it to run from (i.e. if you want the elk to go left, follow it on its right side). This can be difficult either with a mate NPC or with players, but if you're hunting on your own or your mate is nowhere to be found, it shouldn't be too bad. On any difficulty except Bring It On!, you can get the elk to tire out and you can catch up to it. With balanced stats, you can easily trail along behind it and continue biting it until it stops (preferably at a spot you'd like it to be at!).

I use the term 'scattering carcasses' because that's pretty much what you're doing - instead of just having the carcasses lumped around the hunting grounds (or your den), you can have some 'scattered' along your future rendezvous path so that you won't need to leave your pups unattended.

Luckily, the dens themselves have a pretty easily-gauged difficulty. Below, I will list them according to difficulty and accessibility to resources, as well as the safety of the rendezvous path you'd need to take. The more stars, the harder it is to play through with that den.

Saddle Meadows *
This den is possibly the easiest one, debatably. You may be intimidated by the wolf territory to the north, but don't be - the wolves never leave (unless you let your territory's mark percentage go down dangerously low) and will just stare at you if you pass them. Ignore them and you'll be fine.

This den has very easy access to food and not one, but two routes to the rendezvous. There is a shallow spot very close to the den, just at the bend, which is the one that I normally use. There's another much farther downstream by Little Butte that you can carry your pups to instead if you'd rather not edge around Little Butte to get to the rendezvous (which isn't really that hard, despite some weird terrain mapping that can get you disoriented). It's extremely easy to set up carcasses along the route, so I'd call it the most ideal den of the four you can choose.

A simple map of where you can
cross and where you should scatter carcasses:
Spoiler
Show
Image
One or two carcass by the smaller circle would be ideal, with the rest clustered either at the base of Saddle Meadows itself or along the path you'll be following. For a simple route, try to just make a beeline straight for the first shallow crossing and then follow the river's edge along the west side of Little Butte. You can easily move through the rocks there, and afterwards, you can make another beeline straight to the rendezvous. It's very simple and straightforward, but if you'd rather, you can instead go all the way to the second crossing that's farther south (and if you plan on that one, you'll want to put a carcass or two out there too). The mate AI seems pre-programmed to head to the second one, so I'd assume that it's safer, but it's also farther (both from the hunting grounds and from the first path).

Bison Peak Cutoff **
The only really difficult part of this den is that you have to maneuver through Sandbar Crossing during the rendezvous, which is less than ideal if you're playing on multi and people won't carry the pups across the shallow parts. In the past, you could just barely walk along the left bank (coming from the den) without triggering the enemy wolf message, but I haven't managed to have this happen in 2.7. Stick to the two shallow spots marked on the map below and you'll be just fine, though your pups may still get a little waterlogged.

A simple map of where you can
cross and where you should scatter carcasses:
Spoiler
Show
Image
As your den is close to the hunting grounds, you have easy access to a food source even if you don't hunt until after the pups are born. However, you will want to hunt before that so that you can rest assured that you won't struggle with feeding your pups as well as hunting (which the mate is likely to not do!). Though it'd be great to have some carcasses at the den, be sure to put one or two between you and Sandbar, and if you're feeling very worried, you can chase an elk across Sandbar so you have food both before and after the crossing.

Unlike Saddle Meadows, there is only one easy way to cross, and that's through the Sandbar.

East Creek ***
You might assume that this one would be essentially the same as Bison Peak. However, this one puts you at more of a disadvantage; your den is farther from the hunting grounds than Bison Peak, which is an added challenge along with needing to pass through Sandbar Crossing. This den has a similar approach to hunting and crossing to Bison Peak.

A simple map of where you can
cross and where you should scatter carcasses:
Spoiler
Show
Image
The path to Sandbar is much longer from here compared to Bison Peak, but it's still not as bad as Aspen Heights. You'll just need to scatter a few extra carcasses so you can make sure your pups won't starve on the way to the rendezvous.

The crossing is covered already in the Bison Peak section, so here's a short version: you can only easily cross at Sandbar, and unless you have some sort of enemy repellant, you can't go around the river. No deal.

Aspen Heights ****
This is the worst possible den you could pick if you're on Bring It On! difficulty or if you're a beginner to Wolfquest as a whole. This den has the longest and most bothersome rendezvous route of the four dens, and the hunting grounds are in some shrubs. This messes with the elk AI and makes it extremely difficult to herd the elk to either your den or to Sandbar. You're better off using a different den altogether.

I constantly forget that the Cattle Ranch is nearby, but it is - just a ways to the south, before the river. Not worth the risk. Just stick to cow elk unless you're going for the achievements linked to the cattle mission. It's much faster and safer to just eat elk.

A simple map of where you can
cross and where you should scatter carcasses:
Spoiler
Show
Image
I repeat: this is the most tedious route of the four dens and I would not suggest it to a beginner by any means unless you really want the challenge ASAP. You'll need to manage a few carcasses past the bushes at least as far as the Oxbow, if not a bit further. I often start the game off by hunting prey from one of the other two territories and chasing it to the Sandbar- either other hunting ground would be closer to Sandbar than the one by your den, so you'll probably want to chase some elk from there to Sandbar so your pups won't starve (and neither will you!).

Crossing is the same as East Creek and Bison Peak. For this path, you want to make your way past the Oxbow and down to the middle of Sandbar, and then cross the western shallow spot with your pups. From there, you're free to run to the rendezvous.


Beginner-Friendly: Saddle Meadows

Eh, I've Done This Before: Bison Peak Cutoff, East Creek

I Love Pain And Suffering: Aspen Heights

And that's the den selection process out of the way!


o3. Pup Preparation - No Starvation Necessary

This section is pretty short and sweet compared to the ones above.

As soon as you've selected your den, go to the nearest hunting grounds and start setting up your carcasses. Chase a few towards the den first, then a few along the future rendezvous path. (See the above section for details on that!) After you've done that, you can either start towards the den of choice or leave the hunting grounds and do one of two things to re-spawn the elk:

Saving and Reloading - the easiest to do, but requires singleplayer to work.

Changing the Time of Day - Get all wolves out of the territory (all of them - yourself, your mate, other players) and rest until any time of the day. The elk should respawn next time you explore the hunting grounds.

When I raised my first litter on Bring It On!, I hunted two or three herds of elk before settling into the den. Don't go for the bull elk, only chase cow elk. Just like I wrote in the first section of this guide, they're a waste of time/health/food and a hassle to hunt, even in groups. Just leave that dude be and you're fine.

After you've finished hunting, you can start towards the den and claim it. If you're on multiplayer, please make sure you've cleared it with the other players - if they don't like that den, you may want to try and compromise with a different den. (Remember to say please!) You can then start marking the territory.

Marking the territory can be done with the 'p' button. To make the process faster, press the down/'s' key immediately after using 'p' so that you can mark the territory even faster - you can only mark once per spot (i.e. the place you stood still), and moving constantly means you can spam the 'p' button until the slice in the minimap is completely bright and yellow! Repeat for all of the slices and you'll have pups on their way. Be warned that after all pups are named, all players (in multiplayer) will be teleported to the den. If your packmates are out hunting, consider waiting for them to finish before marking the territory completely out of courtesy!

o4. Raising Loyal Members

You've done it! You and your packmate(s) have found yourselves with four puppies. The 'oldest' members of the server (the host and the first three people to join) will be allowed to name the pups, but everyone else will just be presented with the 'You've Got Pups!" screen with no name option. But it's alright! Just because you didn't name any of them doesn't mean the pups aren't yours too.

At 15,000 exp, you unlock the white puppy, too - it will look visibly different from its siblings. There's no benefits to this, but it does add a little variety to the puppies. It's not 100% guaranteed in multiplayer games, but it's still a possibility.

After the pups are born, you will want to howl. A lot. If you're the server host or you're playing on singleplayer, your howls are the only ones that count towards this stage's completion - everyone else is just helping. To make this faster, walk backwards and spam the 'h' button until the blue bar in the top right of your screen is completely filled. Repeat until the next stage of the mission is announced.


o5. Lurking Dangers

The next part of this mission encompasses enemies. If you're on Bring It On!, you could either leave the territory marking alone until you've finished this stage or you can keep it just above 60%; I don't recall when stranger wolves spawn, but 60% seems safe. On Bring It On!, you will also have limited time to do anything - run to a carcass, get food, run back, repeat. Your pup's hunger goes down like.... absurdly fast on this difficulty, and unless you're constantly going back to feed your pups, they will starve.

The game doesn't check whether a predator is killed in or out of the territory, by the way - so if you see any coyotes or bears near carcasses, chase them off/eliminate them as you go so the mission will pass quicker (and so they won't pose a threat during your journey). This part can be either really fast or really slow depending on how well your territory is marked, with higher percentages yielding lower predator spawn rates (near your den, anyway).


o6. Stuffed Pup

After the defending mission comes the Grow your pups! mission. You can do one of two things: either force food into your pups constantly until they're around 17 lbs, or wait for them to get hungry and feed them when necessary. The former option is faster, but could be seen as wasting food. Either option works, though, and the faster you get your pups to the right weight, the faster you can get onto that rendezvous. On Bring It On! mode, you may be better off running back and forth from the carcasses to your pups, as the health bar declines fast enough that you'll have to worry about their hunger constantly.

If you find yourself low on food (and you aren't on Bring It On!, of course!), go hunting and bring some carcasses to the den and along the path again. This is like the setting-up stage, but with the added challenge of making sure your pups won't starve. Predators won't come into the den and eat your pups unless you're nearby, so it's safe to leave them alone.

This mission, like the last, can either be very fast or very slow depending on how you go about it! After this one is the rendezvous - brace yourself!


The Journey To A Better Place

At last, the journey has come! Your pups are fed (and hopefully alive?) and you're ready to take them to the rendezvous.

The first step is to review what the path is for your particular den - look in one of the earlier sections for maps of what route(s) to follow. You will want to start carrying stragglers to the front of the line as you start towards the crossing point(s); if you followed the advice earlier and have carcasses on the path you're taking, head for those so you won't run out of pup food. Keep yourself close to your pups and don't let any of them go too far ahead or get left behind, or a coyote may just snag them. (This happened to me multiple times when I did my first Bring It On! run, and it was awful. I had to reload a lot.)

If you're playing on the three easier difficulty-settings, the eagle will be introduced here - if you're on BIO, you'll have seen it already at least once. The eagle will be a threat, but you can easily keep an eye on it if your computer can handle shadows - follow its shadow and run at it when it lands to chase it off. Bears bear-ly show up here (ehehe), but coyotes are still very common (and annoying!). Your biggest concern, though, should be continuing to move forward and keep close to your pups. (And, to repeat an earlier point - don't expect your mate to do anything. Act as though they are not there and you'll be golden.)

If you're the server host, that means that the pups will follow you (or if you're playing by yourself, they'll follow you by default). It's suggested that you stay near the front of the 'line' so the pups are constantly moving forward, but if no one else is going for stragglers, you might as well. Carrying pups is faster than letting them follow, but it's best to reserve your energy for if there's a pup straggling behind or if you need to cross the river. (You can use the Infinite Stamina exploit to carry your pups if you're impatient - press 'escape' while running with a pup and your stamina won't drain until you re-enter the game.)

Assume that, even in shallow water, your pup will drown - don't start crossing the river until your stamina is at its maximum. Wait in between the pups (in the river) for your stamina to refill so that you can attack any incoming coyotes and/or eagles, and when you're ready, grab another pup and bring it across. For the East Creek and Bison Peak Cutoff dens, you do this twice - so be careful and find the shallow spot before you cross, or you'll have a lot of regrets and less pups afterwards.

You must remember, also, to have food nearby. If you're on Multiplayer, you can ask another player to watch the pups while you go get food, and do the same for them so they can get food too.It's not fun to run out of food right before the Rendezvous and having to watch all of your pups starve to death while you're busy trying to hunt another elk or find a carcass! If you're in singleplayer, your best bet is to just go. Go get that food. Save first, of course, so that predators don't surprise you and ruin your progress.

From the crossing of the river, you're free! Get your pups and your mate/other players to the rendezvous and you're done.

If you're going for all the pup achievements, I have one suggestion: start at Saddle Meadows on Bring It On!, save just before the rendezvous point (the place, not the quest!!), and change difficulties lower and lower and complete the quest at each of them. For the 'Survive with one pup on <lower difficulty here>', drown three of your pups and protect the fourth one.


And that's it for this guide! If there's anything else you want me to cover that isn't covered here, let me know in a reply.

Update 3/9/16: Added a few tidbits and fixed some spelling/grammar errors.

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