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As WolfQuest is intended to depict a realistic wolf simulation set in the tracks of real gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park, one of the factors players can expect to encounter is death whether it occurs to their avatar, mate, pups, prey or other predators. Dying is only possible once the health bar (red) has been completely depleted. Most NPCs will leave behind a carcass upon dying; some are edible, offering health and food for pups during the second episode, whereas others cannot be consumed and will despawn after a while.
The game keeps track of all deaths and kills, the only exception being kill counts against Grizzly bears since the entity lacks the necessary programming due to the accomplishment being impossible during normal gameplay. Kill and death counts are displayed under the Pack Stats interface while the game is paused.
A pack in single player consists of the player, their mate and their pups; a pack in multiplayer consists of up to five human players. Both do gradually lose health as a result of hunger and fatigue.
If a player dies, they will hear a brief sound clip play as the camera pans to the front of the avatar. A short time after this has happened, their avatar will respawn with refilled health and stamina, allowing the game to resume with no penalties.
The mate is an essential NPC throughout the course of the game. Therefore, if they should die by any means, he or she will respawn shortly after they have met their end with health fully restored. This serves to reaffirm that a mate is the permanent companion once a bond has been established. The same is not true for dispersal wolves as they cannot be killed during an encounter and will usually leave regardless of the choices made during any socialization opportunities.
While a mate can die by predator attack, recoil damage or starvation, this likelihood decreases once pups have been born during the second episode. There is a bug that prevents the mate from eating; this issue can be fixed by reloading the save or restarting the game.
Wolf pups are constantly vulnerable to both the environment and predators, as well as being at risk of starvation if the mate cannot gather food or the player neglects to feed them themselves. Unlike the player or their mate, pups do not respawn in the event of death, meaning the only way to reclaim a lost pup would be to either reload a previous save file or, should the entire litter die, select the "restart with pups" option when prompted.
A deceased puppy will sink into the ground and despawn much faster than other animals. This may be intentional so as not to upset younger players. Additionally, the health indicator of a dead pup (shown in the HUD) is not removed from the display. The icon will be permanently empty unless reloaded or restarted.
Predator animals do not possess naturally degrading health. Most can only be killed by the player(s) and their mate.
Unlike the mate, stranger wolves are not essential NPCs. If a stranger wolf is killed, he or she will not respawn immediately, nor will they permanently disappear from the game altogether until the next replay. The game uses a pre-defined roster of stranger wolves, which includes their pack, gender and stats among other snippets of data. Some wolves in this roster can and will fight to the death with the correct interactions, whereas others will stop after a certain amount of damage, rendering their death difficult or impossible.
It is possible to encounter the same character multiple times in any game regardless of how many times the wolf was defeated, spared or the victor of an encounter.
When a stranger wolf dies, the player will receive a brief victory notification with the carcass usually despawning once the social encounter ends. As they are gray wolves, they share the same death animation as all other wolves in the game. Though wolves have been known to resort to cannibalism out of desperation, deceased stranger wolves cannot be eaten.
- Due to a bug in v2.5.1, players' avatars will not despawn upon death during Amethyst Mountain. This can make it impossible to save if death occurred in stranger wolf territory and other areas. It is advised to save frequently in single player in order to ensure progress is not lost as a result of this issue. Resting will cause the camera to focus on the original deceased avatar, rather than panning to and around the player's active, resting avatar. The same issue also occurs during multiplayer sessions. Slough Creek is unaffected.