Crytek has prepared a swathe of improvements for its stealthy shooter Hunt: Showdown, including a fix for a longstanding technical issue: the dreaded desync teleportation that most of us have experienced when climbing ladders or trying to wedge yourself through the same doorway that your teammate's in.
The forthcoming 1.9 update is currently being put through its paces on Hunt's public test server, but a full release date for the changes isn't set yet.
Although there are new gun skins, Legendary Hunters, map adjustments, and other stuff on the way, most of the changes are technical in nature. Here's the biggest stuff that stands out to me in Hunt's 1.9 update as someone who's put 200 hours into the game this year.
Gunfire sound propagation
Crytek says: "Improved the audio tied to distant interior gunshots for better readability over distance. This should make it easy to determine if a shot was fired indoors or outdoors."
Are those gunshots someone frantically killing a boss inside, or are they a spontaneous encounter between two teams? This small-but-significant change further emphasizes listening as a skill, one of my favorite aspects of Hunt.
Spend your Blood Bonds at the Black Market
A new kind of rotating store, this seems to be a fuller, themed implementation of the daily discounts currently in Hunt's in-game store, featuring "several infamous vendors." We've seen this sort of thing in other online competitive games. I do like the idea of getting legendaries I already own at an occasional Hunt Dollars discount, which Crytek says you'll be able to do if one of your owned items shows up in the rotation. A separate store for Blood Bonds should also clear up the confusing shopping experience Hunt has right now, where some items can be purchased with earnable Blood Bonds and others are direct $9-$15 purchases.
Ammo (& corresponding gun balance) changes
- "Slightly reduced Uppercut damage at close range, but it retains damage better over distance"
- "Reduce the extra ammo for Slugs by around 30-40%"
- "Slugs now differentiate between medium and long barreled shotguns, resulting in slightly stronger damage drop over distance with medium barreled shotguns compared to before.
- Increased the rate of fire of the Winfield 1876 Centennial by around 20%."
- "Reload speed has been increased to shorten the reload time of the Winfield 1887 Terminus"
- "Increased the base damage of the poison ammo to be in line with regular ammo."
- "Minor adjustments made to the ballistics of the long ammo pistol cartridge to slightly reduce the damage dealt at close range but keeping higher damage at slightly longer distances."
This is a broad set of changes that will hopefully make a few more weapons more viable in higher MMRs, where Hunt's meta is at its most stagnant. Most notably, the dominant Caldwell Conversion Uppercut (an expensive pistol that shoots rifle bullets) has been slightly nerfed at medium range so it's not as powerful in every scenario.
"We have improved the error correction in game which should allow for faster and fairer feedback in those instances where desync can occur. The aim here is to reduce the instances of abrupt and unexpected teleports."
Anyone who plays Hunt has experienced the sometimes-annoying teleporting that happens when clambering over mud hills or falling off a ledge. It's nice to see this get addressed, but I think aspects like this often get overstated by streamers and top-tier players, who tend to fixate on rough edges that affect high-level play.
Two new Legendary Hunters
Meet "Bartender," who apparently still needs a name, and Hawkshaw Jack, yet another black-garbed fighter. There's also a broken bottle item (unclear if it's a standard knife or heavy knife), which will no doubt be available in a bundle with the bartender. I'm very eager to know the drink names served up in Hunt's 18th-century saloons, hopefully that will make an appearance in the bits of lore stuffed in the menus.
Select map areas have had ladders or windows added or subtracted, or cover dropped in. Have a look for yourself in the images above. The most significant change is to Kingsnake Mine, which gets a new tunnel entrance underneath the compound, a slithering path that leads to the main and side building.
"Player Spawn improvement: There is now a minimum distance between spawning players of 110m on DeSalle. This avoids some unfair spawn configurations and allows us to place more spawn points in general. This currently only affects spawns in DeSalle as the earlier maps already have larger distances between the spawns."
I enjoy the unpredictability of Hunt's asymmetrical spawn points. I love getting in early-game fights and encountering players unexpectedly in the first compound. In my own experience the distance between spawns doesn't necessarily need to be increased, but I don't have the benefit of Hunt's comprehensive data to draw from. I just hope that surprise first-clue encounters don't happen less frequently as a result of this change.
More information in the match debrief
After pretty much every match, my teammates and I stare at the "match summary" screen and try to piece together a cohesive narrative of who we fought and how it played out. It can be a bit hard to decode this information: it's not clear when you frag the same player twice, or which team snatched up a bounty first. Some players have already taken notice that the icons in the test server aren't distinct enough, but I'm just glad to see attention being paid to this bit of UI that I think most players interact with every time they play.
Matches are shorter
Matches are now capped at 45 minutes. Interestingly, Crytek shared that "only 1% of all matches went beyond the 45-minute mark." After dying at the end of an exhausting 30-minute campfest/standoff last night, I'd love to see match length curtailed even further to discourage stalemates, though we know that Crytek has some other, unrevealed plans for addressing camping.
The full patchnotes for this not-quite-final patch can be found on Hunt's Steam page.