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The Cattle ranch is a standalone area that was first introduced with the release of Survival of the Pack, having been teased and confirmed by the WolfQuest Team during the episode's development cycle.

As its name implies, the ranch acts as an alternative resource for hunting prey other than moose, elk, and hare or scavenging from naturally generated carcasses. This location will provide players with a sustainable source of food both for themselves and for their growing pups.


Be warned that hunting here is not without consequences. Caution must be taken to ensure survival, or else players risk dying to a bullet fired by the ranch owner in an effort to protect their livestock, which mirrors the same protective measures that actually occur in real life.


Information

Cattle ranch (2.7)

The cattle ranch.

Visits to the ranch always take place during the middle of the night regardless of the time in the overworld. The area is a flat field with a wire fence in the center, surrounded by hills and trees. It can be assumed that the ranch sits just outside of Yellowstone National Park. An invisible border prevents the player from exploring the surrounding hilly forested area. A purple cloud represents the exit portal. A few night-time sounds are prominent here, such as crickets chirping, an owl hooting, dogs, coyotes or wolves howling in the distance and the soft sounds of a wind chime.

Inside this man-made enclosure are multiple adult cattle and one cattle calf. With the enclosure being the only exception, there are no man-made structures such as a house or shack in sight. The parameter is secured by a barbed wire fence with no visible no gaps or breaks just tall enough to be breached by jumping over it. The most convenient territories to choose if players wish to take advantage of this zone are East Creek and Aspen Heights.


Entry

WQ2.7 HumanImpactsMap SC

The cattle ranch is marked in cyan. (Click to enlarge.)

The entrance to the cattle ranch can be found by following the wire fence icon on the compass. This leads players to the north-east side of the creek, sitting above the words 'Creek' of the Slough Creek text shown on the in-game map.

A message will pop-up, prompting the player to continue to the ranch alone or back-out and go elsewhere. Unlike other missions, this one is purely optional and may be replayed multiple times in any save file, though the journey is only worthwhile if the player lives within a reasonable distance of the ranch. Pups can still die in the absence of the player and their mate, so take care not to dawdle while away from home.


Restrictions

It should be noted that visiting this location is only possible during single player while playing the Slough Creek map; it is not possible to visit this zone in Amethyst Mountain or Lost River. The ranch can be accessed at any point after the pups have been born in spring.

During all instances of Slough Creek in multiplayer, the ranch is completely inaccessible.


Objective

There are four objectives the player should focus on during their visit:

  1. Breach the fence.
  2. Locate the calf.
  3. Kill and consume the dead calf.
  4. Escape!

Re-entering the zone after a successful escape will always re-roll the positions of the calf and the cows at random, as well as respawning the calf if the player was successful in killing it.

An unsuccessful escape will terminate the hunt and respawning the player just outside of the entrance to the ranch. This is not an issue, as any food earned during the activity will be retained upon respawning in Slough Creek; whether this is intentional or a bug is unclear. However, this is not as simple as it would seem. Adult cattle cannot be harmed at all and will chase predators out of the enclosure, returning the player's wolf near the portal outside of the enclosure.

Should a visitor overstay their welcome or fail to leave the ranch within a set amount of time after killing and devouring the calf, the sound of barking will begin to stir up somewhere nearby. The calf carcass will despawn immediately after the barking has started once the player's avatar has finished its eating animation.

Failure to leave within a minute or so after the dogs have started barking will result in a loud gunshot accompanied by the player's avatar dropping to the ground, dead. After a moment, the cattle ranch autosave will be loaded, putting the player back in Slough Creek without whatever food for pups was gained during their excursion.


Gallery


Trivia

  • There are no dog models in-game, nor are the farmer's dogs ever seen. The only indication of their presence is the sound of barking.
    • This is the first and only warning cue to leave the ranch. Failure to acknowledge this will result in unavoidable death.
  • Much like the dogs, the ranch owner has no in-game model. They are never seen, but can only be heard a set period of time after the dogs have started barking. They will never shoot before the barking starts.
    • Both the barking and gunshot do not play from a set location or area of the map; the sound is global in the same way as the game's soundtrack. This would imply that the rancher and their dogs are very close even though no visible house or shack is seen in the surrounding environment. It could be more of a cost-effective option the team decided to go with, though it is unrealistic to say the least.
    • The rancher owner or a rancher will never miss the avatar; their shot will always result in a one-hit instant death.
  • Screen shot47

    Development image. Early phase(?) of the cattle ranch zone.

    This area was originally set to be the only mission to take place at night, as cited by the team during a Q&A held while the episode was actively undergoing its development cycle. With the introduction of time and weather in the Deluxe Edition update, this is no longer the case as any of the story missions may take place during any time of day if the player so wishes to do so.
    • Stalking is believed to have been originally intended for the Cattle Ranch. The fact that the mission takes place at night and the lack of sound made by the avatar while in the area supports this theory. It's possible the animation was assigned outside of the area for technical reasons or limitations, though this is only player theory and speculation.
      • The animation itself is inaccurate, as wolves do not stalk in the way that WolfQuest depicts it.
  • Original plans indicated a sheep ranch. This was scrapped because sheep aren't accurate within the setting of Yellowstone, but the concept remained the same by having cattle replace them in order to keep the setting both accurate and realistic.[1]
  • It's advised to play with audio turned on in this particular zone in order to hear the auditory cues. Don't play with volume too loud to avoid being startled!
    • This may be a problem for deaf players who won't be able to hear the first warning cue; the alternative cue to watch for is the calf despawning. This visible indicator occurs once the dogs have begun barking and can be used by deaf players to know when this warning event has started.
  • The cattle calf appears to be disproportionate when killed, as its neck is unnaturally elongated or stretched. This may be an oversight due to the calf's original shrunken cow elk placeholder which may extend to the reuse of idle cow elk animations, or else a problem or limitation with the cow calf model's own rigging.
  • Death by the rancher is one of few deaths that doesn't result in a game over. Instead, the autosave that is always generated upon entering this zone will be reloaded instead.


References

  1. Cited from three official sources: The mod forum in a post by Cana, Live Q&A answer #1 and Live Q&A answer #2.