Be warned that hunting here is not without consequences. Caution must be taken to ensure survival, or else the player risks 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.
InformationVisits to the ranch always take place during the middle of the night regardless of the time setting in the overworld. The area is composed of a flat field with a wire fence in the center, surrounded by hills and trees. An invisible border prevents the player from exploring the hilly, forest area. A purple cloud represents the exit portal. A few night-time sounds are prominent here, such as crickets chirping, an owl hooting, dogs (or wolves?) howling in the distance and soft chiming.
Inside this man-made enclosure are multiple cows and just one 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 moderately-tall barbed wire fence with no visible no gaps or breaks; the only way in and out requires a leap over the fence before the player can begin their hunt. The most convenient territories to choose if players wish to take advantage of this zone are East Creek or Aspen Heights.
EntryThe entrance to the ranch can be found by following the wire fence icon on the compass, found on the north-east side of the creek, slightly above the text 'Slough Creek' shown on the in-game map. A message will pop-up allowing the player to continue or back-out. Unlike other missions, this one 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.
In multiplayer, the ranch is completely inaccessible.
There are certain objectives the player should focus on during their visit to the ranch.
- Breach the fence.
- Locate the calf.
- Kill and eat the dead calf.
Re-entering the zone after a successful escape will always randomize the position of both the calf and the cows, as well as respawning the calf if it was killed and consumed. 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 player will be redirected to the Slough Creek map, being respawned with full health and stamina. No progress is lost, so any food gained for pups will be retained upon being force-exited from the ranch.
- 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.
- 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 second episode was being developed. 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.
- Originally, plans indicated a sheep ranch. This was scrapped because sheep aren't accurate within the setting of Yellowstone. The concept remained the same with cattle replacing them instead in order to keep the setting accurate and realistic.
- Colliding with a cow after killing and consuming a calf will quickly and effortlessly transport your avatar to the exit portal, allowing a relatively easy escape.
- In doing this, the ranch will also be reset. The dogs will stop barking and your wolf will not be shot, but the calf does not respawn in light of this circumstance; you would need to quit the ranch and re-enter in order for the calf to respawn if you wish to continue hunting.
- 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 while consuming it. This visible indicator occurs once the dogs have begun barking and can be used by deaf players to know when this warning event has stated.
- 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. It likely reuses idle cow elk animations.
- ↑ http://wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?p=992068#p992068Mod forum post by Cana, Live Q&A answer #1 & Live Q&A answer #2.