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JaxckLl

Red Hounds need a Rework

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There are currently five types of Hounds in the game, normal Black, White, Red, Varg, and the Hound Mound. The first three spawn in Hound Waves and can be summoned by the Varg. Hound Mounds create a "fixed" and constant Hound Wave which makes an area abnormally dangerous to explore. White Hounds add to the challenge of a Hound attack by attacking the player's temperature as well as their health. They are interesting because they make Hound Waves more situationally dangerous, without changing the conceit of the wave itself. In other words, White Hounds increase the intensity of a Hound attack without requiring the player to completely change their tactics for dealing with the Wave. This is great, and goes a long way to making Winter fun (indeed I might even go so far as to say that Hound Waves are *the* thing that makes Winter fun. It is critically important to force the player off their campfire to make freezing dangerous, and White Hound Waves accomplish this perfectly).

Red Hounds are a completely different deal. Red Hounds require a fundamentally different approach because they have the capacity to completely wipe out bases with fire. Fire is not just a danger to the player, it is a danger to the world itself. There is no biome where a Red Hound Wave is not a disaster. They do not create the interesting situation of forcing the player off their campfire, instead they force the player off the world itself. It's especially aggravating because Red Hounds will explode regardless of how they are killed, meaning it's not just possible but likely that attempts to use world features to distract the Hound Wave (a standard tactic for Black & White waves) will result in an uncontrollable firestorm. Where White Hounds succeed in raising the stakes in Winter, Red Hounds fail by completely overcoming the conceit of Hound Waves themselves. Hound Waves target the player for being the player, Red Hounds punish the world for being the world.

Side note, Red Hounds are seriously stepping on the design space of Giants by acting as such a threat to the world itself. No other regular mob gets to be such a threat to what the player has built, why should Red Hounds?

Vargs serve as a somewhat interesting alternative to Hound Waves. Where Hound Waves target the player without question, Vargs must be hunted down and targeted by the player. This is interesting because it essentially lets the player fight a Hound Wave on their own terms. It's not so interesting because it's missing the point of Hounds and their extreme aggressiveness towards the player. Vargs are often a remarkably frustrating fight because of how their Hound spawning mechanic can spawn in White & Red Hounds. Where White Hounds increase the intensity of the encounter (which arguably does not need to be increased because the Varg itself is already making the encounter more challenging than a typical wave), Red Hounds spawning transform a Varg from a skill-testing, player-induced Hound attack into a fundamental threat to everything that exists in the gameworld. This is pretty f*cking extreme for a fight that can barely even be called a miniboss.

And now we get to Hound Mounds. Hound Mounds are probably, from a design perspective, the best use of the Hound mob outside of Winter. They make an area of the map fundamentally dangerous in a very compelling way which the player will understand immediately from having been attacked by an earlier wave. Hound Mounds add a lovely logic to the world by giving Hounds a real home. Much like with Waves, their ability to spawn White Hounds increases the intensity of their encounter in Winter (a season in which you will be unlikely to encounter a Hound Mound unfortunately, due to the need for the player to collocate with a firepit). However in Summer they have largely the same problem as summer Hound Waves & Varg encounters. The player is most likely to be exploring in Summer/early Autumn, and therefore more likely to encounter Red Hounds as adds to a Hound Mound infested area than White. Unlike with summer Hound Waves or Vargs, this actually works. The fixed hunting range of Hound Mound Hounds (how many hounds could a hound mound hound...) means that Red Hounds are unlikely to be able to destroy the world and their fire is only a significant threat to the player.

In summary,

  • Hound Waves in Autumn & Winter with Black & White Hounds do their job perfectly. They force the player off their firepit. The addition of White Hounds escalates the intensity wonderfully and makes Winter FUN (with a capital Dwarf Fortress).
  • Autumn, Winter, and Spring Vargs present a somewhat interesting fight (it would be more interesting with fewer adds) which also serve as a player-directed Hound Wave. They make hunts scary without breaking the experience.
  • Red Hounds fail to escalate the intensity of either Hound Waves or Vargs by being a very real threat to the world itself. Where earlier waves push the player, Red Hound waves punish those who aren't in the Caves in summer. Additionally, they have the odd effect of often destroying their own drops.
  • Hound Mounds do a good job with all three varieties of Hounds, although the typical seasonal cycle of exploration means that they end up feeling like Red Hound Mounds later on in the game.

My suggestions,

  • Change Red Hounds from being themed around fire, to themed around attacking a different resource of the player. All Hounds attack health & sanity. Winter Hounds attack temp. Perhaps Red Hounds could attack hunger, or more simply they could serve as a higher threat normal hound by just dealing more damage.
  • Change Red Hound fires to be player-initiated, aka Red Hounds only explode into flame when the player kills them. This perfectly fits the mechanical theme of Hound Waves targeting the player and doesn't punish the world for simply existing. This also makes the "standard" (read, "new player") strategy for dealing with Hound Waves (run them into bees) still viable without risking a global catastrophe.
  • Limit Vargs to only summoning normal Hounds. This makes the Varg fight, already one that is founded on random chance, much more consistent. This additionally opens up design space for White & Red Vargs which summon exclusively their more specialized kin.
  • Like with Vargs, limit Hound Mounds to only summon normal Hounds. Add an upgraded Hound Mound that can morph out of an existing Mound like a Spider's Nest. The upgraded Mound can summon the special Hounds, except it does it opposite to the season (Red in Winter, White in Summer). This opens up some interesting strategies for temperature control, with the player now having the ability to enter a highly dangerous area but one who's dangers regulate the seasonal challenge. This creates a fantastic incentive to be near Hound Mounds in winter/summer. The player can prevent the Hound Mound from upgrading by building a Pig-Head-on-a-stick (the ones found in the Touchstone set piece) encouraging players to create "do not go here" zones for other players to encounter.
  • Attach Red Hound spawning to the "Wildfires" world setting slider. Red Hound Waves are functionally identical to wildfires in result, it only seems reasonable that the two are bundled into the same setting. This change is probably unnecessary if Red Hounds lose the ability to explode to non-player damage.
  • Make Monster Meat immune to burning. It's insanely stupid that Red Hounds can destroy their own drops. If the intention is for them to drop ash, why don't they just drop ash? It would be really cool if Monster Meat could only be cooked on an Endothermic Fire. This would open up a whole new suite of survival strategies that would also make summer feel even more unique as a season.
  • And last but not least, Red Hounds need to be visually more distinctive from Black Hounds. There's a whole bunch of basic mods that accomplish this, there's no reason this shouldn't be a core feature.
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They are actually even easier to fight compared to ice hounds with proper preparation, and all you need is a single flingo machine. When they burst into flames, they trigger the extinguisher and in turn freezes all other nearby hounds. Easy CC. 

In the middle of nowhere, you could either just outrun them or kill them and prevent the fire from spreading by leaving the area, which will unload it and wont spread further.

Also, pretty sure Monster Meat dropped from fire hounds is already immune to the fire dropped from them.

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1 hour ago, Maybe a dog said:

Also, pretty sure Monster Meat dropped from fire hounds is already immune to the fire dropped from them.

You would be correct! And in a really cool way, fire doesn’t just destroy everything in its path (well I mean it kinda does..) the fire will also COOK that Monster Meat, or whatever else you need cooked.

Klei has been making DST a whole heck of a lot more forgiving: For example some items that used to be able to be burned away can no longer be burned at all.

I would recommend that the op find themselves a nice Tallbirds nest (one Tallbirds will do) or even a field of Beefalo: And to kite their fire hounds to them out in the open where you know fire isn’t going to spread.

I think that fire hounds should have a more distinctive look to them so I personally am not getting their colors mixed with regular hounds. (You can see Blue hounds easy but the Red ones are only slightly different from normal color)

I think if they looked more like THIS: I would be able to see and avoid them easier.

99B75C98-5BA9-497C-8BAD-FF29170FE93C.png.934ba5fb5eb00b9415e73e518eb153c0.png

This picture is from a mod.. but it puts a yellow streak of Lava down a fire hounds back I would love it if Fire hounds (and maybe blue hounds even though they don’t need it..) got a visual upgrade.

Animated flames coming off fire hounds back, ice sickles coming out of blue hounds back.. just something that takes a 2013 mob design and updates it for 2021.

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7 hours ago, stranger again said:

you seem to have forgot about mutant hounds.how disrespectful to them. there now crying because of you.you should be ashamed

 

And you seem to have forgotten about capitalization and the space bar. You're right I didn't include them, it was an oversight on my part. There's not really much to say as regards Mutant Hounds. They're a newer implementation and it shows, as they build up the threat when on the Lunar Island without being oppressive (unlike Red Hounds). In practice I've found them to not really be that interesting. They extend the length of time it takes to deal with a Hound Wave, but they don't change the character of a group of Hounds like White, Red, or the Varg. Now if there was some way they could spawn more frequently, perhaps associated with an upgraded Lunar Varg miniboss?

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I don't agree one bit.

Red hounds are 100% countered by a single flingo. They have weaker health and their death can help panic regular hounds alongside them just like blue hounds (although it is less effective)

You control where red hounds die. It's your fault if they burn down stuff.

you say they force you off the base but I say even regular hounds should force you off your base, because otherwise they'll tear down your walls and pets.

to me it rather sounds like you rely on other mobs to fend off hound waves and then you get upset because they burn things down and make a mess despiste you not being willing to interfere.

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i dont think they need to change the fire aspect but at some point, it is just a chore and annoying. you hear them and then you run to your traps and get rid of them. they are kinda annoying tbh. there should be an endgame item getting completely rid of them.

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26 minutes ago, YumoS said:

i dont think they need to change the fire aspect but at some point, it is just a chore and annoying. you hear them and then you run to your traps and get rid of them. they are kinda annoying tbh. there should be an endgame item getting completely rid of them.

perhaps we should nerf traps instead lol

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31 minutes ago, YumoS said:

i dont think they need to change the fire aspect but at some point, it is just a chore and annoying. you hear them and then you run to your traps and get rid of them. they are kinda annoying tbh. there should be an endgame item getting completely rid of them.

the game doesnt force you to force boring traps

hounds is a good way to limit how much a player can survive and spice boss fights

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3 hours ago, ArubaroBeefalo said:

the game doesnt force you to force boring traps

hounds is a good way to limit how much a player can survive and spice boss fights

I think you'll find it does according to the posters in this thread. There's now three people who have said something along the lines of "Red Hounds are fine because the Ice Flingomatic exists". In other words, "Red Hounds are fine because there is exactly one solution, and that solution is a trap". A big part of what makes Don't Starve fun is having multiple options to every problem. The player can cheese bossfights with Pigs or Merms. The player can use Giants to chop down forests. There's 70+ Crockpot recipes. If there's only one solution to the problem then that's a problem. Doubly so since the Ice Flingomatic is a proactive solution, not a reactive one. Hardly like you can build one after the Hound Wave shows up.

@YumoS: That's kind of exactly my point. It's especially annoying late in the game once Hound Waves are up to 50% White/Red. Attaching Red Hound spawning to the "Wildfires" world slider would allow the world host to tone them down substantially taking away the annoyance factor.

@Well-met: There's no need to be rude.

@ Stranger Again: I've never met an adult incapable of using capitalization & the space bar at least moderately consistently. It's extremely disrespectful when someone puts in effort to communicate to then not put in effort yourself.

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20 minutes ago, JaxckLl said:

There's no need to be rude.

then why are you being rude just for no using few gramma rules that doesnt make the communication difficult

20 minutes ago, JaxckLl said:

In other words, "Red Hounds are fine because there is exactly one solution, and that solution is a trap". A big part of what makes Don't Starve fun is having multiple options to every problem

and you have many. Goose fan, water cans, ice staffs and the most obvious, not being near important things when a hound wave will come

im telling you this from the experience of playing with noob friends in +400 days worlds, one time i even needed to telelocate a red hound that spawned inside of a unprotected gekko pen.

as always, dont blame the game, blame the player

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19 minutes ago, JaxckLl said:

 Red Hounds are fine because there is exactly one solution

but that's not true

the common solution is to kill the red hounds anywhere you want outside of your base because it really doesnt matter all that much

if you dont want a forest to burn down, just get away quickly and the fires will unload

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Unfortunately the OP isn’t looking for advice, so any of us trying to offer it isn’t going to do any good, op just wants a hard nerf to most of the games existing mechanics-

And the way I feel about all that is pretty simple:  (this could maybe be seen as off-topic so I am placing it in a Spoiler just to be Safe)

Spoiler

DST is a Direct SEQUEL to Dont Starve Giant Edition- and As such Klei shouldn’t suddenly be making massive changes to DST to make it Any less uncompromising than its single player counter part.

And for as long as the Single player game does not get patches/fixes/modes or content sliders to make anything less uncompromising- Why on earth should they start doing it for DST?

I want DST to achieve the popularity status among gamers that Klei rightfully deserves, but what I DO NOT WANT is for them to abandon the series roots & turn it into something unrecognizable to players who played the first game in their efforts to get it there.

(this is my polite and highly reasonable way of saying not every little thing about the game should suddenly become easier- If Klei has no intentions of also going back to Solo DS and also making THAT any easier- The franchise needs to maintain its roots)

But ultimately that isn’t my decision to make, It’s KLEI Entertainments: And rather or not that would be beneficial to them as a Company. 

But as a Gamer: I want DST to always play like a proper sequel to DS.

 

 

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I agree with most of what you have said JaxckLI and I hate fire hounds and wildfires with a passion.

Especially agree re the Varg as well - I'd love to have a Varg fight where I don't have to worry about a huge fire as well. It's dumb, the Varg has enough going on already.

It's not even necessarily the danger to your base its the danger as you said to your world. When non-renewable resources like Tallbird Nests, Catcoon Dens etc burn because of Fire Hounds that is an instant rollback for me and is a situation far worse than death. Same goes for all my non-planted Totally normal trees and pretty much anything else of any value or that is irreplaceable or expensive to craft.

I love White hounds and their entire dynamic and they do make Winter more interesting.

Fire hounds however can burn away what makes your world rich and interesting in seconds. Fire hounds from Hound Mounds can decimate entire areas and burn away non-renewable resources with ease if you are too close especially if hound mounds have spawned nearby catcoon dens etc.

Yes you can easily counter them with flingos (which is what I do) or by making them fight Beef in a safe Savannah area that has very little that can burn and where a fire won't spread to another biome, but honestly its just not fun and every single time it isn't the threat of the hounds killing you that you are worried about with a fire hound wave it is your base and/or the environment that is at stake.

On 12/28/2020 at 8:09 AM, Mike23Ua said:

I would recommend that the op find themselves a nice Tallbirds nest (one Tallbirds will do) or even a field of Beefalo: And to kite their fire hounds to them out in the open where you know fire isn’t going to spread.

This is a quick way to lose your tallbird nests forever to fire and they are non-renewable.

3 hours ago, Mike23Ua said:

Unfortunately the OP isn’t looking for advice, so any of us trying to offer it isn’t going to do any good, op just wants a hard nerf to most of the games existing mechanics-

 

Dude seriously? After your whole Dragonfly fiasco I would not be making claims about others refusing to take advice or that giving them advice won't do any good. He is trying to discuss his ideas for a change to a single mechanic not MOST of the games mechanics. Don't exaggerate and try to make them look unreasonable.

8 hours ago, Well-met said:

 

the common solution is to kill the red hounds anywhere you want outside of your base because it really doesnt matter all that much

Anywhere outside of your base? This is entirely dependent on your play style and priorities, if you value other resources throughout your world you aren't really going to want to start a fire anywhere other than a safe designated spot where it won't spread or burn anything important. Doesn't matter all that much? Again extremely subjective, it does matter to certain players - I'd rather not lose any resources to a huge blaze if I can avoid that by fighting them in a specific way in a specific spot.

I'm certainly not desperate or campaigning for one but of all the mobs and mechanics I wouldn't be unhappy with a Fire Hound rework at all. They pose more of a threat than anything else late game to your base, your pets and your world and not because of the actual hound itself but simply because it creates fire upon death.

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^^ and this is exactly why there needs to be alternate types of game modes- you have your 10,000 day mega base building worlds- and then you have worlds like mine- That last roughly about 500 days and then get erased for a brand new randomly generated world.

I DONT Build Mega Bases, I don’t sit out to keep the same world for 10,000 game days- I create a world with the intention that one way or another that world is going to meet its inevitable end.

I WANT things like that, I want challenges that challenge my day by day and I quote “Uncompromising Wilderness Survival”

Thats the game I bought... lessening that challenge is to take the game I bought- and make it something else.

Difficulty sliders, alternate game modes etc I am fine with all that as long as it does not effect MY Personal enjoyment of the game-

What I most certainly am not fine with is the removal of features like disease because they weren’t liked very much, then I see threads where people want wildfires and fire hounds removed/lessened-

Are you people completely forgetting that during SUMMER Animals of all types start smoldering and can & will catch Fire? A single burning spider your fighting can ignite away an entire forest if your not careful- it’s the NATURE of the game your playing.

You can currently turn off summer, or Hound waves if you don’t want to deal with them: But for god sake man please don’t make Klei think everyone wants Summer & fire hounds removed because everything about it is Unfun/tedious.

some people actually dare I say “like” watching random rabbits in DST get so hot due to the intensity of the Summer heat that they spontaneously combust?

Different people will always have varying different opinions & that is totally fine but- my original point still stands: If Klei has made no efforts to make DS single Player any less difficult, why Should They make its sequel DST more forgiving?

I guess what I’m just trying to say is that the sudden removal of disease from the game has me on edge about what other features I may actually enjoy that may end up being removed from the game because the majority of the fanbase dislikes them? 

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@Mike23Ua: You do realize Wildfires can be turned off in the game settings? That one of my main suggestions is to tie in Red Hound spawning to this slider? That Klei has gone to enormous lengths to tone down the unforgiving nature of DST to make it a more cooperative and social game, to emphasize the "Together"? I'm all for allowing players who want to play unforgiving death worlds to have that option. What I am against, and what I've proposed in this and several other threads, is to push the unforgiving features onto sliders so players have the choice of what kind of game they'd like to play. If you like Hounds that's great, you can even turn them up if you want and have them show up every 3 days in the late game. For me & my playgroup it's gotten to the point where we've completely switched off Hound attacks entirely because the threat of Reds is too disruptive to our play experience. It's good to have your perspective next to ours. It shows the breadth of the player base and enhances the discussion. What is not productive is wandering off topic or allowing salt from other changes to influence your response to the suggestions as presented.

Here are my revised suggestions taking into account the discussion of this thread and from my discord,

  • Make Red Hound fireballs player initiated, and disabled entirely if Wildfires are disabled. Increase Red Hound hitting power to compensate.
  • Red Hounds gain a heat aura which can cause the player & surrounding environment to overheat
  • Scale Red Hound appearance rates to the Wildfire slider. No Wildfires, no Red Hounds (this is an alternative to the first suggestion)
  • Add a separate "Mutant Hound" slider which controls the appearance rate of White & Red Hounds as a proportion of normal Hound spawns. By default, mutant hounds scale up over time to 50% of total Hound spawns, usually around day 100. This slider changes that proportion of the total population, and could be combined with any other slider-related suggestion.
  • Limit Vargs & Hound Mounds to normal hounds, with an upgraded Hound Mound being able to appear after a period of time which can spawn White & Red Hounds. These Hounds spawn opposite their typical season (White in Summer, Red in Winter), creating an opportunity for brave players to manage their temperature.
  • White & Red Vargs can rarely appear in the appropriate season. Red Vargs would in turn be tied to the spawn rate of Red Hounds, if adjusted by the Wildfire slider.
  • Make Red Hounds visually distinctive from White, Lunatic, Black, and Clay Hounds. Personally I like the idea of an orange/red scheme as it is currently underused in the game and is literally the same colour as fire.
  • Add a "Classic" default world setting which restores balance changes & disables content to allow DST to play more like Reign of Giants-era DS.

Also general side note, most players do not megabase. Indeed I doubt most players have even reached Spring consistently. However most playtime is by players who, even if they do not right now, are capable of megabasing. It's important to keep in mind that the highly invested voices we will find on these official forums are not an accurate representation of the DST community. We are all speaking English for one thing.

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18 minutes ago, JaxckLl said:
  • Scale Red Hound appearance rates to the Wildfire slider. No Wildfires, no Red Hounds (this is an alternative to the first suggestion)
  • Hounds spawn opposite their typical season (White in Summer, Red in Winter), creating an opportunity for brave players to manage their temperature.

^ this, please!

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4 hours ago, GelatinousCube said:

 

The problem then is how limited are some resources

Again, you can run. Mag and cane are a thing. You can run an entire biome before they spawn and you can keep their aggro if they are in a delicate area

 

If the wiki isnt wrong, catcoon dens respawn if that makes you less worried

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1 hour ago, Well-met said:

that makes no sense

.....are you actually serious? XD wow! ok, so normally carats are used in math but over the last 20 years or so it has been commonly used on the internet as a way to drastically reduce keystrokes. i must confess i have been using the internet since 1999 and have been doing maths well before that and this is the first time someone didnt understand so it is quite a novel experience for me to explain!

ok, so the carat symbol is used to indicate something needs to be inserted/added/amended. in this case because the carat is pointed up like so "^" it means that i wish to augment the line above it(in this case the quote). adding "this" to an existing statement is a shorthand way of indicating you agree with something fully. knowing these two things my reply was basically an excited "ditto" on the existing suggestion that hounds should vary based on other settings and be assigned to opposite temp seasons to give players a reason to want them there without my having to rewrite the words myself or devolving to the use of emotives where it is left to the author to suss out what part i actually liked about the comment.

super simple<3 and now you'll understand so much more of what people are expressing and have more opportunities to articulate without needing to write walls of text! isn't language fun?

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12 minutes ago, gaymime said:

super simple<3 and now you'll understand so much more of what people are expressing and have more opportunities to articulate without needing to write walls of text! isn't language

they're talking about the suggestions that you agreed with, lol.

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