Make Scenthounds Better

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TheSheWolf
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Make Scenthounds Better

Postby TheSheWolf » January 13th, 2018, 3:23 pm

Issues in my eyes:

- Dog fails way too often
- Dog levels far too slowly
- Levelling seems to have little to no real noticeable effect

Suggested Change:

- Improve the scenthounds so they stop failing any track once near max-level
- Double or triple levelling speed, it shouldn't be a full-time job to max its level
- Dramatically improve the tracking--the first change will help with this, but it should be like... lvl 1 the dog fails some tracks, lvl 25 the dog fails very few, lvl 50 the dog never ever fails.

The dog losing tracks shouldn't happen, the dog losing blood tracks MULTIPLE times on one trail at level 30+ is atrocious. It's so bad that a lot of players have insisted that the dog gets worse instead of better as it levels. I always defended mine, as at lower levels she performed about how I'd expect for those levels, but now at level 30 or so she's failing far too frequently.

Info for background on my experiences:
- Lvl ~30 light-coated female
- Generally a Heavy Recurve Bow hunter who waits a bit before sending the dog onto the trail, so ALL hits should be fatal
- Dog often loses the trail after only a few domes, or even gives a "?" after 1-2. Dog will also often just stop dead and sit or stand with no "?" but refuse to continue until called back.

It should be a lot more useful, for what it is, imo. This much failure isn't realistic or fun.
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strandjutter
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby strandjutter » January 13th, 2018, 5:56 pm

I compared my lvl 26 dog with my friends new lvl3 dog.
They seem to stop or loose tracks at the same dome, the only diferents between lvl 26 and lvl 3 is the lvl 26 follows the track a litle further ahead then the lvl3.
I could not find any different in behaviour at all.


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WolfLQ
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby WolfLQ » January 13th, 2018, 6:40 pm

I took mine hunting multiplayer, mine is level 12/13 and my buddy's was brand-new. They performed the same, and mine has been specifically trained in blood trailing (I hunt low-score moose with a bow and body shots just for training purposes). Very upsetting. They're supposed to follow "even the faintest blood trail," so to me that means ALL wounded animals, not just vitally wounded ones--but losing animals that have been vitally wounded by a bow of all things, which results in endless blood, is especially awful. I know there has to be reason to level them up, but I'd rather high-level dogs just find the animals faster instead of having a marginally higher chance of following the trail.

I still bring mine just in case he saves my tail. But I recently lost a trophy that was shot in the intestines with a crossbow because my dog couldn't follow the trail. I searched for a long time with my dog basically going in confused circles, doubling back over and over to keep showing him the blood tracks in hopes he'd tell me which way to go, and ended up losing connection before I could find it. I'm really upset about this. Dogs plus GPS are not cheap investments. :(


(Back after a long, long absence... not really a newbie.)
Alderman
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby Alderman » January 13th, 2018, 8:00 pm

Unfortunately I have to agree.

My scrent hound is lvl 33 atm and since he passed lvl 30 it seems that his skills get worse in every perspective and slowly but surely it is driving me insane.
When we're strolling through the reserve he's crossing my path and blocking me when even when I'm only slightly changing my direction. Moreover he's hardly finding dead animals on first try, sometimes he's circling the dead animal for minutes without starting to bark.
Recently he's losing the trail of wounded animals (body shots, intestines) normally on the first non-blood dome. After that it doesn't make any sense to set him again onto the blood trail, because he will lose it again almost immediately.

After the first level ups I thought I could experience some progress in his trailing. Finding dead animals faster and reliably, not walking into my path, he also did reliably surpass the final "fleeing" traces without blood before he found that roaming traces with blood again. And yes it takes ages to level him up, but as mentioned at the moment it is pointless to do so as he's obviously not getting better or more experienced i.e. reliable. Since Level 30 he seems to getting old....I mean very old.

Someone has to have a look at it. I assume that there is something broken codewise, this behaviour is most likely not working as intended.
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TheSheWolf
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby TheSheWolf » January 13th, 2018, 10:53 pm

Alderman wrote:Recently he's losing the trail of wounded animals (body shots, intestines) normally on the first non-blood dome. After that it doesn't make any sense to set him again onto the blood trail, because he will lose it again almost immediately.


That's also something I've noticed and it does seem much worse recently. You phrased it better than I could, so I've not much to add on it, bar agreement.
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xOEDragonx
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby xOEDragonx » January 14th, 2018, 12:51 am

I can fully agree with this topic, and would even ask that retrievers get a little love too. Dogs would be an amazing tool in this game if they worked exactly as intended, and they'd likely see more sales if there weren't so many "I hate the dogs" topics and comments in the forums. I almost wish I had requested a revision of dogs as one of my wishes for 2018, as improvement of the game and items we currently have is still a personal priority of mine.

I agree, the scent hounds level incredibly slowly when compared to retrievers. It would be nice to see them level up at a more comparable rate. And on that note, I agree that leveling up actually needs to mean something or what is the point to having a leveling system at all? I'm not sure I'm convinced with the "higher level scent hounds get worse" belief. I personally think the scent hound has the same issues all the time, but they're a lot more noticeable at say level 30 because, again, the scent hounds level so slowly that you'll spend a lot more time watching your level 30 scent hound fail a track than a level 1. Simply put, a scent hound is at level 30 exponentially longer than level 1 or level 10 or even level 20, so you're going to notice the failure more often at that level, and even moreso onward thus giving the impression of getting worse. If the dog genuinely got better at tracking, this wouldn't be an issue.

My main scent hound is currently at level 33, and I also have one I believe is at level 10 to compare him to. They function almost entirely the same, but the higher level one can track faster. That is it. When my friend and I hunt with our scent hounds together (similar levels) they almost always fail at the same track if they're going to fail, so I believe there must be something about a way an animal is hit or something that effects whether it can be tracked or not.

I agree with TheSheWolf completely on the ability to track at certain levels. Level 1, fail occasionally, maybe even half of all tracks? Level 25, only fail tracks every now and then. Level 50, never fail, or at least a 95% success rate. I believe the only time a scent hound should ever TRULY fail (as in, you can send it on the same track multiple times but will never find the animal ever) is if your shot genuinely would not kill the animal, i.e. a body shot with a low caliber gun. Arrow shots should always be trackable, even if you have to tell the dog to "reset" or start it tracking again a couple different times (again, only if it's at a low level). Vital hits should always be trackable.

Since the PB release, I have noticed the issue with scent hounds pausing/standing without giving the "?" has gotten much worse. It has always been there in the year I've owned my dog, but it's happening on almost half of all my PB tracks. And the half where he is willing to try tracking, he tends to get stuck on those large trees with the snakey roots. So I would like to see the pausing issue/bug fixed, and I would like to see them try to find a way to improve the dog pathing so if it gets stuck, it can try backtracking and taking another route.

As for the leveling itself. As I said, I can definitely tell a difference in tracking speed between my two different scent hounds, which is great. I already mentioned I totally agree with higher level dogs being more successful on the first track command as well. I like to think that there could be even more aspirations to improving scent hound level, i.e. a hound with level 40+ could possible track live animal trails in addition to blood trails, or a higher level scent hound is more likely to walk behind you and never walk in front of you thus "tripping" you. In it's current state, there really feels like there's no improvement to the dog whatsoever as it levels which is fairly discouraging. Especially when there are so many bugs, and so many ways they could genuinely improve.

As for the retriever getting love, I mostly mean in terms of bugs. The leveling speed seems fine with them and they don't usually get in the way bird hunting or anything, but there are so many bugs. Right now, my retriever frequently gets stuck running into the edge of the blind when I send him to fetch from the blind, and the only fix is to run to a tent and put him away. Also, the dog can't get in a blind if there are already 3 people in a blind, but if one person gets out, you can call the dog in and then the third person can get back in. That's annoying, if you're going to let him in then just have it so he can get in when there's already 3 people in there. Also, the slingshotting duck/goose bug. Doesn't really need much explanation, it isn't gamebreaking but it is oh so annoying sometimes. And please, we need a "retrieve all" command, the ability to cancel a retrieve if birds are incoming (my dog likes to fetch those 200+m plink kills just in time for a flock to come in, and he gets back just in time to spook the birds as soon as they break from the flock) or even better, have the dog be able to run back to you while carrying a bird, at least with ducks. Real retrievers don't usually struggle carrying ducks while running and many don't struggle with geese either.

And on top of ALL of this, there is that annoying bug that if you play multiplayer and you're not the host, there's a high chance your dog won't even spawn into the game. An item you paid for (not even a cheap item, really) can't even be used when it's supposed to be able to be used. Meh.

I really feel like the dogs would be a bigger seller and a much more enjoyable part of the game if they could be improved. Right now, new players come to the forum to ask if they should get a dog and the first couple responses always tend to include nos and discouraging words. That's not good for marketing, but the people saying no aren't wrong. The dogs have some serious setbacks and while they /can/ usually do what they're designed to do, the first time they can't or don't do it is beyond frustrating. Each time after just makes it worse. I love my dogs in the game, I like the company, I think the models are great, I love the backpacks, and they usually help more than hinder. But sometimes, I really do wish the game would just let me shoot them.
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Granti
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby Granti » January 14th, 2018, 8:32 am

xOEDragonx wrote:I can fully agree with this topic, and would even ask that retrievers get a little love too. Dogs would be an amazing tool in this game if they worked exactly as intended, and they'd likely see more sales if there weren't so many "I hate the dogs" topics and comments in the forums. I almost wish I had requested a revision of dogs as one of my wishes for 2018, as improvement of the game and items we currently have is still a personal priority of mine...


all what xOEDragonx said above to scenthounds. i did some bighorn-hunts lately with long range shots. so i often got intestines. i didnt use my scenthound lots in the past cause of the mentioned issues but i wanted to give it another shot at the bighornhunt. as mentioned in another topic it even failed to track intestine shots. so its just useless.

a level-system where you can clearly see a progress in the dogs abilities to obey and to track would be great. in fact thats what the scenthound should have been in first place. its an expansive piece of equipment so why shouldnt anyone that owns one gain an advantage out of it with a dog that can track even slightly wounded aninmals.

@retriever dogs: each duck needs an own command to get harvested; how is it an incentive - and thats what they should be in the first place - owning a dog when i can do it myself in the same time or faster? so auto-retrieving would be my #1 priority for them (viewtopic.php?f=229&t=81856)

one good thing there is with retrieving animals that get shot further away; that is mostly the thing i use retr.-dogs for. i personally would like an option where i can tell my dog that he should start collecting animals that are the furthest away.

either way; dogs are one of the things that need a serious update. as they are right now its an expensive piece pretty much for nothing
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Seifer
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby Seifer » January 14th, 2018, 11:57 am

What is a failed track? A failed track to me would be when I vitally wound an animal and my dog fails to track it to it's resting place. My dog is a level 38 and this has happened to me only once. Do people consider it a failed track when your dog stops and you have to restart your track? Sure it happens occasionally but how hard is it to tap the U key to restart a track? It makes tracking so much easier. I'd rather follow my dog on GPS than walk in circles looking for tracking domes when an animal decides to change directions as it often does when running through a dense forest or trying to find tracks in thick vegetation. This allows me to keep my eyes open for other things like mushrooms and antler sheds. Let's be honest though. If we dropped every animal in it's tracks there wouldn't be any need for the scent hound at all besides being a pack mule which is great for the extra equipment that we can carry. The description in the store says "The Hound's extraordinary sense of smell can detect even the faintest blood track over long distances". If the animal isn't bleeding how can your dog track it? If the game can detect that an animal is wounded, sure I would like for my dog to be able to track it even if it's not bleeding, it's still wounded after all. Can any real life hunters out there verify that a wounded animal will stop bleeding? I've tracked animals in this game in excess of 20 minutes because of a poor bow shot on my part. When the animal is bleeding out (body shot with a bow) my dog has no problem tracking it even over expanses of water like in the swamp area of Redfeather falls. That being said my dog is a level 38 and didn't used to be able to track so well over water and sure I have to restart a track sometimes. The most annoying thing for me is the collision with the player. Another thing is when my dog sits in front of my rifle when I'm trying to take a shot but I could've told her to stay (which is what I usually do) before taking a shot and that wouldn't have happened. For those thinking about buying one (w/ GPS), I love my scent hound and don't go hunting without her. No she doesn't get any worse as she levels up, not in my experience.

Pros: Makes tracking less tedious and can carry extra equipment for you.
Cons: Collision with player is annoying and she doesn't do the Hokey Pokey when locating a downed animal ;)


Don't mind me, I'm just thinking out loud ;)
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WolfLQ
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby WolfLQ » January 14th, 2018, 1:18 pm

Seifer wrote:Can any real life hunters out there verify that a wounded animal will stop bleeding?


I'm not the hunter you ask for but I am a wildlife rehabilitator (side note, hunters and wildlife rehabbers are not mortal enemies, we both want to help wildlife prosper). They don't completely stop bleeding the same day, no. We've had to locate wounded animals that are not dying and dogs can definitely find them; even if there is no dripping blood, blood and tissue and hair will still get caught on foliage as the animal moves through the forest. If scenthounds are following even the "faintest" blood trail, that should be all wounded animals, but certainly a body shot with a high-caliber rifle should count.


(Back after a long, long absence... not really a newbie.)
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TheSheWolf
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Re: Make Scenthounds Better

Postby TheSheWolf » January 14th, 2018, 3:05 pm

Seifer wrote:What is a failed track?...


I used to say the same thing but recently it's failing many tracks, and by failing, I mean the dog simply stops, and does nothing, or stops and "?"s at me even on vital hits with a bow. She's been incredibly bad the last few months, whereas before that I was still a staunch defender, thinking that any minor failures were just down to her low level.

Now she's level 31 and loses tracks, maybe completes 1 trail per hunt if I make a few fail shots. I often try my hand at competitions, so there's a lot of weird/bad shots, but they should still kill eventually. I've given up trying to track wounded on TgT in the long grass, where she used to be the best. It's not as easy as "press button to put dog back on track" when she will repeatedly fail the same track, or when the last blood trail was several domes back.

WolfLQ wrote:
Seifer wrote:Can any real life hunters out there verify that a wounded animal will stop bleeding?


I'm not the hunter you ask for but I am a wildlife rehabilitator (side note, hunters and wildlife rehabbers are not mortal enemies, we both want to help wildlife prosper). They don't completely stop bleeding the same day, no. We've had to locate wounded animals that are not dying and dogs can definitely find them; even if there is no dripping blood, blood and tissue and hair will still get caught on foliage as the animal moves through the forest. If scenthounds are following even the "faintest" blood trail, that should be all wounded animals, but certainly a body shot with a high-caliber rifle should count.


Good on you for good work! I used to volunteer in the field, was a very rewarding experience. And yeah, I used to train dogs in both Schutzhund and SAR, not to titles and on an ENTIRELY hobby basis, but what you say is true. A dog isn't going to just lose a trail, which is one of the things that really irritates me about the in-game one. Like, you have an animal REEKING of adrenaline and smelling of blood plowing through long grass, and you can't smell it?! Are you a dog or?! Dogs can be used to find missing pets (which likely have a somewhat stronger odor, granted, that might stand out in forests) over miles, missing people over busy city streets, dead people several meters under running water, oil leaks at a few parts per billion, and more. The game kinda undersells their abilities.

Unrelated side-note, one of the best moments of my life was as a kid, having trained a pet dog for tracking. Neighbors' kids had lost their 13-year-old cat, who ran outside in a heavy storm, and this cat (a total housecat) had no idea how to survive outdoors. Me, being just a kid, offered to try to track the cat. Given a small blanket she slept on for a source, the dog went off and led me on what I thought was a casual walk through the woods, into another part of the neighborhood, and started sort of idly sniffing about the road. I left, thinking she didn't grasp what I wanted. A few days later, the cat had been missing for 11 days now, and I offered to give it another shot. ELEVEN DAYS, an uninjured CAT. Started her on the trail and she took the exact same route. This time, the kids were walking with me. The dog stopped at the same spot on the road, sniffing about, and I still tear up today remembering the little boy's voice squealing out "THAT'S MY CAT!" Look down, there's a gutter opening there, I got down on my hands and knees and sure enough there's eye-shine down there. We got some neighbors with a crowbar to pop out the grate, and the sight of the cat's owner running down the road toward us in tears to collect her alive (if very hungry) cat after her kids went to tell her their pet was still alive was--well, very rewarding.

Dogs truly are amazing animals. This is one of many anecdotes you'll find out there that should attest to their amazing skills!

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