Suggestions Regarding the Hounds

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So, with the latest update to Don't Starve we've been introduced to a new type of enemy, known as the Hound. And while this is certainly a great addition to the world, as it's the first real beast to be introduced into the game, I can't help but feel that the hounds are a bit overpowered.

What I mean by this is that they are introduced much too early and there's not many way to fend them off, besides running like crazy or fighting them head on (or hoping their A.D.D. Will act up and they'll go attack something else.)

While this isn't really a big issue for me, since I have a character that's around day 90, it is definitely an issue if you're starting a new game. I was watching my girlfriend play earlier, and saw that she got attacked by a pack of hounds on the starting island at day 10, without having built or researched any combat items, and thus having no plausible way of fending them off. I don't think it's really fair to be introduced to such a formidable foe so quickly, while you're still trying to settle in.

So I started thinking about it a bit, and I've come up with a few suggestion that would make the hounds a little more manageable and interesting, while still keeping them sufficiently lethal.

Since the hounds are wolf-like creatures, and would therefore fall into the category of beasts, I think it would be a good idea to make them behave a little more beast-like. Here's what I mean by this:

They should only be aggressive while in packs

They shouldn't really be active during daytime (they personally strike me more as nocturnal creatures, but perhaps that's not what Klei had in mind)

They should be afraid of fire

If you think about it, that makes perfect sense. I mean, one of the main reasons why people gathered around fires was safety from beasts. By all logic, hounds shouldn't come near you if you're close to a fireplace. Maybe they could cuss at you for a while at a safe distance, but inevitably give up and retreat into the wilderness. This would also mean that you could use your torch as a last resort, perhaps swinging at them or running toward them could make them retreat a bit, or at least give them pause while you plan your next course of action.

That being said, I suppose the Fire Hounds could be an exception to this rule, to increase their threat level.

They should be indigenous to certain areas

I have to say I was quite surprised to see my girlfriend get attacked by hounds while in grasslands. You'd think that hounds, like the other inhabitants of the world, would be indigenous to certain types of areas. I think packs of hounds should only be found in heavly wooded areas.

In all other areas, I think there should only be a chance to run into stragglers, which brings me to my next point.

There should be stragglers (lone-wolves)

This is sort of a followup to my initial suggestion. While packs of hounds would be indigenous to certain areas, and attack you on sight, stragglers could be found roaming anywhere, but would not attack unless provoked and/or cornered. I'm pretty sure this is how most beasts would behave.

I think this would also be a good way to have fire hounds in the game. They could be stragglers in later areas, and perhaps not appear in packs at all, since those are lethal enough without them, if you ask me.

I think that about covers my suggestions on altering hound behaviour, however I have one more idea in mind, that could be a pretty neat addition to the game.

Add the ability to tame a hound and keep him as a pet.

That sounds like a pretty sick thing to me. Imagine, having a pet hound that would roam the wilderness with you and keep you safe at night. I think for balance reasons you should only be allowed one pet hound.

How you'd obtain one is another thing entirely. I suppose maybe a special hound trap could be added? Perhaps something akin to a cage. With it you could trap a straggler and keep him grounded until you manage to tame him. I guess to tame a hound would just be a simple act of feeding and looking after him for a certain period of time (say like a week?), after which you would let him out and he'd be your friend.

Naturally you'd have to keep taking care of him, lest he turns on you again. Let's say you'd have to feed him at least once a day, and if you fail to do so he'd first stop being loyal and following you around, and eventually turn on you (let's say if you didn't feed him for 3 days.) To keep track of his needs, I guess clicking on him would suffice and the character could say things like „He looks satisfied“, „Hmmm, he looks hungry“, etc.

Well, that's about all that comes to mind atm. I think these would all be great additions to the game; adding a new layer of awesomeness to the hounds, while making them a little more managable and not as dangerous in early game.

But I want to hear your feedback as well. What do the rest of you guys think about my suggestions?

And, of course, feel free to throw in your own 2 cents into the discussion.

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