The new reserve is (as you probably already knew) cold. You will need to use the free Arctic clothes (grab your set for free here) or your hunt will be quite short and miserable. Do remember that the clothes you wear will not matter if for any reason you up in the icy waters of Whiterime Ridge. Water will cause your body temperature to drop rapidly and, if you end up in the water, you will need to fast travel to a lodge for some defrosting.
As far as your old clothing go, check the item descriptions in the store for info on how good they are against the cold. Some have no protection, others offer some. Bear in mind that very few of the old pieces of clothing will fully protect you from the savage cold of Whiterime Ridge.
Another thing to bear in mind is that this reserve is huge. Exploring Whiterime Ridge is quite an undertaking. It is a good idea to bring a tent to your first expeditions to make the exploration easier and to find your own perfect hunting spots.
The Bison is huge, powerful and very grumpy. Hunting it is not the greatest of challenges as it is quite fearless. The real challenge is in shot placement. If you mess up you will have a long tracking session ahead of you. The bison is the heaviest animal in the Evergreen Hunting Reserves and it can take a lot of damage. This is also the reason why some weapons, such as the Longbow and the .50 Cap Muzzleloader, are excluded from the list of permitted weapons. They simply lack the penetration to instantly kill a bison. It might have been all well and good in the time before ethical hunting but not in this day and age.
This is the prey for the expert hunters! They are small, fast and extremely well camouflaged. They behave much like Cottontail Rabbits but prove more of a challenge due to their excellent camouflaged fur.
Here is another challenge! For much of the same reason as with the Snowshoe Hare, the Arctic Fox boasts excellent camo (plus all the elusiveness you should already know from encountering their red sisters in Hemmeldal). That is, as long as you don’t encounter the blue furred variety.
The Sitka is much like its close relative, the Blacktail. They have smaller antlers and are a tad more chubby, helping them to cope with the cold weather. Other than that, they go about their business in a similar manner to what you might expect from other deer species in the EHR.
As we’ve mentioned in one of our status updates, we’ve partnered with the Swedish company Tobii to bring their sophisticated eye tracking system into theHunter and with today’s game update that integration is finally live!
From now on, if you have Tobii’s nifty EyeX gadget, you can control certain aspects of the game by moving just your eyes. The camera will pan to what you are looking at, which will bring a new intuitive experience when scanning the terrain for animals to hunt. It is even possible to raise your weapon with your eyes. Using traditional controls (keyboard and mouse) you navigate the same as always, except now, as you look to the left of the environment so will your character – all without breaking stride. This is called ‘Infinite Screen’ because no longer are you restricted to the size of your monitor to explore the territory freely. As a player, not only do you feel more immersed in your environment, you now have the ability to become more aware of your surroundings as you explore the unknown.
You can customize the EyeX settings in the Options menu in-game to make it behave exactly as you want. Note that these options are only visible if you have the EyeX connected with the relevant drivers installed (for any hardware-related issues please contact Tobii support).
Here’s how one theHunter player who has been helping us to test eye tracking describes it:
“The Eye Tracking software was a great surprise – it was technology that I wasn’t sure about initially, but I ended up really liking it the more I used it. It’s very configurable and aiming by closing one eye is really immersive to the entire hunting experience. Watching the view move as I scanned my peripheral for animals really makes you feel like you’re actually there, and helps keep track of any animals you may have otherwise missed as you walk around. Waterfowl and pheasant hunting is a blast with this technology, and makes leading them a bit easier as well. One of my favorite experiences with it was soon after I first got it up and running, had jumped into Whitehart Island, and was tracking a herd of Roosevelt Elk – sitting motionless both in game and in real life, and having my view change to follow them without touching anything was incredibly immersive and fantastic, and I found myself holding my breath in real life.”
You can purchase your Tobii EyeX here for just $99 (regular price $139) using the code TheHunter. When playing theHunter with Tobii EyeX installed for the first time, you’ll receive a special Tobii Eyemaster membership bundle bundle which includes a 14 day membership, 12 GA Pump Action shotgun, Male Mallard Decoys, Waterfowl Blind and a Sneaky 3D Summer Swamp outfit.
Since the early days of theHunter there has been an important part missing in the hunting experience: Dogs. It has been brought up as a possible feature for the game countless times but circumstances where never quite right. Until now.
With adding dogs to theHunter we have two different roles for them in mind. First, perhaps the most important one, is to add to the immersion of the game. Having a dog with you who reacts to the surroundings and to yourself is something that intensifies the hunting experience. What we want to give you is the experience of the hunter and the dog – a companionship going back in time to as long as some ten thousand years or more. If we could even slightly tap into that ancient human-canine bond the hunting immersion would increase significantly. This is what we’ve tried to achieve here. So not everything about the dog has to do about gameplay: It is more an enhancement of the hunting experience.
Second role that the dog plays is, obviously, an aid to the hunter in the game. In real life it is an arduous task to go fetch a downed mallard through waist deep water. The task may not be as tough in theHunter but the dog will at least let you focus on the shooting.
Why retriever (or a specific dog type at all)?
When we were looking around in the different dog threads over the forums and asked our trusted hunting experts, the first dog type that would come up in almost all cases was a bird retrieving dog. Our decision to make one was solely based on this. Many has also suggested a more “multitalented” dog that could, for instance, track as well as retrieve. Although we considered making dogs that could do multiple tasks, it quickly became obvious that it developing an easy-to-use interaction (GUI) system for a dog that could flush, retrieve, track and partake in driven hunts would be impossible. It was also difficult to find a suitable breed to base such a multitalented dog on. So, we decided to focus on specialized dogs instead.
Impact of the dog on the game
The retriever is much more of an experience and a convenience addition rather than a game changer. You won’t have to zip around fetching a whole bunch of birds; you can let your dog do the work while you keep an eye on the skies. The dog has no real impact on missions or competitions either since the hunting is still done by you.
How it works
Taking a dog with you on a hunt is simple: Just drag it out from the lodge or tent inventory and place into the dog slot in your own inventory. It will spawn next to you once you close the inventory screen. If this is the first time you bring your dog with you, you will be prompted to give it a name (choose wisely, as it is not possible to rename your dog, at least for now!) Once you leave the lodge or tent area you won’t be able to unequip the dog (try putting a labrador into a backpack and see how that goes). You can access a set of dog commands by pressing the V-button. While holding V, simply select the command you want to give your dog with the left mouse button. Play around with different commands and see how your dog behaves – it’s a lot of fun!
When you first purchase a dog, it is inexperienced and a bit rowdy (same as in real life). It may have some issues obeying and following commands, but the more time it spends out hunting with you, the better it gets at understanding what you want it to do. If the dog does not understand or chooses to ignore a command, a small icon with a question mark in the bottom left corner is shown. If the dog understands the command then an icon with an exclamation mark will be shown. Better experience will also make your dog calmer and more focused – it will make less noise, ignore other dogs more easily and be less prone to bark at animals close by. Yes, your lab will spook other animals but who wants to see a dog walking through a group of Whitetails who leisurely continue with their grazing? Your dog has 50 levels and each new level comes with a skill increase or a small gift. Leveling up is fairly quick in the beginning but will slowly become tougher and tougher. You can see your dog’s experience and level, as well as its stamina state, in the right corner of the screen when you bring up the commands menu.
Once your dog reach level 50 it will be the perfect hunting companion: Quiet, focused and efficient. It’ll do everything but shoot the birds for you.
Each performed command reduces your dog’s stamina a little. This doesn’t have much impact on how long your dog can work with you, but a lower stamina means it can gain less experience, such as a tired dog learns a bit less than a well rested one. Letting your dog mind its own business will regenerate its stamina.
On your dog’s profile page you’ll see two sets of icons: one set governs basic dog skills called Loyalty skills, the other set is specific for retrieving dogs. The number in the upper left corner shows which level your dog is at on that particular skill. Each skill starts out on level 1. All retriever skills have maximum 3 levels but some of the Loyalty skills have more than that. To get information about what each skill does, just hover the mouse over the skill icon.
Make sure to watch this short tutorial video to see it all in action.
There are now a total of three different apps to run on the HunterMate and to accommodate for this we’ve created a new App Selection Menu.
How to launch an app:
Hold the G-key
Move the mouse in the direction of a desired app
Press the left mouse button to launch
How to close an app:
Press the G-key at anytime to close an app
Environment Camo App
The environment camo app is a new free tool that can be used to learn in which areas your environment based camo such as the Sneaky 3D and Ghillie outfits are active.
Green – You are wearing an environment based camo item and you are in an area where it provides camo
Light Grey – You are wearing an environment based camo item but you are not in an area where it provides camo
Dark Grey – You are wearing an item with no environment based camo
Note that species-specific camo such as the B&C Outfit is counted as items with no environment based camo. These are active everywhere, thus there’s no need to include them in the app.
Since we now have a way to select multiple apps again we’ve brought back an old friend that should be familiar to most veterans of the game. The HunterMate mini-game “Bust Through” is now available via the App Selection Menu and free to all players of theHunter. To add a competitive touch we’ve also added an all new leaderboard for this game on the website.
When we design a new species for the game we strive to add as much unique gameplay around it as possible, preferably inspired by real life characteristics. One of the most distinguishable features of the Alpine Ibex is their ability to scale almost vertical walls and already in the beginning of the research process it became clear that this had to be included in the game to make the species justice.
This, coupled with the fact that Ibex are not known to respond to any lures, puts the hunter at a great disadvantage. Climbing evens the playing field by allowing agile hunters to follow their prey up even the most difficult slopes while adding an all new type of outdoor experience to the world of theHunter.
Do I have to climb?
Climbing is as much a requirement for hunting Ibex as lures are generally for other species. In other words, it makes it easier but it is not required. Most of the reserve, including the high areas where Ibex roam, can be reached by walking and climbing should be viewed more as taking a shortcut than a requirement.
Add a couple of Climbing Gear to your field inventory
Find a suitable rock wall, look for extruding stones in vertical cliff areas
Equip your Climbing Gear & click the Use Item Button (Left Mouse) to deploy
Note that deployment cost is dependent on wall with taller walls costing more units
How to climb:
Walk up to your deployed climbing path & hold the Use Environment button (E) for options
Use the Move Forward & Move Backward buttons (W/S) to move up or down
When you see a balance bar use Move Left & Move Right (A/D) to keep the balance arrow centered
If the arrow go too far to any edge of the bar you will fall, the first couple of falls in each climbing season are recovered by the rope but eventually the rope breaks which lead to a fatal disagreement with gravity. Note that falling and breaking the rope does not affect the wall. Climbing gear can only be lost through dismantle
Once at the other end of the wall press the Use Environment button (E) to exit
How to dismantle:
Walk up to your deployed climbing path & hold the Use Environment button (E) for options
Note that only 75% of deployed climbing gear are recovered on dismantle due to wear & tear
Is there a reserve limit for deployed climbing paths?
The amount of climbing paths that can be deployed in a reserve is only limited by the amount of available deployment spots which in Val-Des-Bois is about 20.
In addition to climbing we’ve added another new feature requested by many players for a very long time. Basically it is about addressing the immersion breaking superman ability of the hunter to survive falls from any height without any of the bone breaking consequences one would expect from such an event in real life. While this has worked well in most areas of the old reserves, simply due to the lack of places to fall from, it became more of an issue in a mountainous reserve such as Val-Des-Bois.
Unlike climbing, this will affect gameplay in both the new and old reserves, however, as mentioned above, there are not that many places to fall from in the old reserves except extreme areas such as the hangbridge ravine on Logger’s Point.
Being knocked out from falling follows by the same procedure as similar features such as animal attacks. Once knocked out you can choose to use a First Aid Kit to respawn at the spot or respawn at a Tent or Campsite.
Mastering the balance act of climbing can take a few tries. It’s recommended to bring a couple of medkits or place a tent near your practice wall for quick respawns.
Be easy on the keys when balancing, holding too long can tip the scale over to the other side and lead to acceleration towards epic disaster
While you need to focus on the balance bar while climbing don’t forget to check for the “exit wall” icon in the right corner of the screen as you approach your destination
Yesterdays patch included a major revamp of trajectories, damage & penetration for the following weapons:
.308 Rifle & Handgun
.50 Cal Muzzleloader Round Ball
12 GA Shotgun Slug
12 GA Buckshot
The primary change for all these weapons is that they now use kinetic energy derived from our advanced trajectory system as the basis for their damage & penetration calculations instead of the old legacy system of linearly reducing velocity that did not take into account things like air resistance, bullet shape and weight.
This system has been applied to most new weapons since the release of the 9.3 Rifle, but until now there has not been enough time to convert the old weapons, as a lot of research and experimentation was needed to make sure we got things right.
While this change mostly affects damage & penetration due to the fact that all weapons already use the advanced trajectory system for things like bullet drop, there have been some additional minor tweaks, primarily involving adding more precision to how air resistance is calculated. I expect that it will be mostly noticeable for large calibre weapons such as handguns, slug & the muzzleloader, although as zeroing has been updated to compensate for the changes in bullet drop it may only be noticeable at very long distances.
Penetration and base damage mostly remain the same as before for most rifles as they worked fairly well with the linear system, however, you can expect somewhat more base damage from .300 & .270 rifles, which in turn means quicker deaths at the cost of trophy integrity (better reflecting calibre & bullet weight).
Previously these weapons had very high base damage and very low penetration. This has now been reversed to reflect how they commonly work in real life. The result is that poorly placed shots become less lethal while well-placed shoots are more likely to result in things like double-lung shots vs. permitted species. It also means that it should be easier to get good trophy integrity values using these weapons as this number is dependent on base damage.
So, are all weapons now converted to this new glorious system? Sadly no, all arrow based weapons still use the old linear system as well as both 12 GA & 20 GA birdshot. But, the good news is that I am currently looking into converting these weapons as well and that by doing so we may finally be able to address some of the realism problems that have been plaguing these weapons since they were first introduced to the game.
Today we’re introducing a couple of significant changes to turkey hunting, with a new “locator” caller, turkey decoys and tweaks in the species’s AI. Our game designer Björn has put together some notes for you, make sure to read them through before grabbing the new lures and setting off for Settler Creeks or Whitehart Island.
Turkey decoys work a little differently than the previously released waterfowl decoys. While the latter ones are primarily used to get high-flying flocks to land, the Turkey decoys are in the first place applied for attraction and distraction purposes.
The attraction component is similar to that of scent and callers, however detection is affected by the birds’ field of view, which means that they need to be fairly close to, and have an unobstructed view of the spread to have a chance of being attracted.
While this can be considered a serious downside compared to the traditional “Box Caller”, there are some very nice advantages to using decoys.
Turkeys stay longer at decoys than they do at a call location and, since they do not require active engagement from a hunter, decoys can also be used to draw the birds away from hunters rather than straight to them, which naturally decreases the chance of detection as they approach.
The final and possibly most important advantage to using decoys vs. a caller is that in addition to attraction they also provide distraction. Birds attracted by decoys are highly focused on their target and thus are less likely to detect hidden hunters. This can be thought of as an additional camo bonus being applied to hunters for as long as a bird is at the decoy site.
The attraction and distraction effect stack over multiple simultaneously detected decoys up to a maximum of three.
The turkey locator caller functions in a similar manner to that of the Pheasant caller. The call sound does not attract Turkey but creates a chance of a response from any male Turkey in the area, which in turn allows the hunter to track it down using the corresponding audio clue on the HunterMate.
Response chance is tied to the score of the individual, with higher scoring Turkey being less likely to respond than low scoring individuals.
Turkey AI Adjustments
Most animals in the game get more spooky and thus harder to hunt the higher they score. This creates a nice relationship between effort and reward, when skilled hunters can increase their chance of better trophies through the way they play. Turkeys have never been a part of this system but this has now been changed as a part of this Turkey flavoured revamp. Higher scoring males are now somewhat more spooky while females and low scoring males remain at the previous difficulty level.
A Final Advice
Since decoys are detected visually, Turkey have to be fairly close to notice them. To increase your chances, try using the “Box Caller” as a means to get them within visual range of the decoys. Decoys always override all other lures, which means that they will forget about walking to your call location as soon as they’ve detected the decoys and leaving you to focus on taking that epic shoot with your favourite close range weapon…