All the cool Hunt: Showdown players are sending kamikaze beetles to kill their enemies

key art of stalker beetle, and wow does it not look friendly
(Image credit: Crytek)
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Before Hunt: Showdown's 1.10 patch even hit test servers yesterday, players were already scheming about the terrible things they might be able to do with the game's new toy: a remote-controlled flying beetle that can be used to spot enemies. The Stalker Beetle is expected to be introduced in October, and it has the opportunity to shake up stalemate situations where one team sits well-protected in a compound and their opponents sit outside, daring them to shed their advantage.

Players wondered: Could the Stalker Beetle be used to revive teammates, extending the reach of the Necromancer trait? (No.) What about Serpent, the trait that lets you siphon bounties and clues from a distance? (Nope.)

Surely something clever was possible with this brand-new insectoid tool. Wait, could you chuck a sticky bomb onto the beetle, then fly it straight into an enemy? 

At first, the answer seemed like no. Hunt experts like HomeReel (opens in new tab) on YouTube tested the bomb delivery technique, but saw their beetle bud fizzle dead the moment a sticky was affixed. A dud.

But as with all scientific research, it's important to double-check your colleagues' findings. Other figures on YouTube like Rachta Z (opens in new tab) seemed to be able to pull off the maneuver. 

In the clip above, we see Rachta Z hurl sticky bombs at beetles controlled by a teammate, which are then flown in as grotesque little mailmen. It works! Albeit inconsistently, as HomeReel later acknowledged. The beetle's own manually-triggered explosion does only 5 damage, but a sticky bomb is deadly inside 15 meters: enough breathing room to pull off a kill. 

The new technique definitely takes coordination to pull off—the person piloting the beetle drone is vulnerable when they're behind the insect's eyes, and the beetle has to hold still while the sticky is attached. But the payoff is tremendous. Three years into the game's lifespan, many Hunt players have learned how to evade explosives and other throwables, so being pursued by them opens up new anxieties. 

As for why the sticky-Stalker move wasn't working for some players, as HomeReel points out, gunfire collision on the Stalker seems inconsistent at the moment, with provable bullet impacts sometimes not destroying an activated Stalker. But that's what test servers are for. Now the question remains: is this meant to be a feature, or a bug bug?

What will all this mean for Hunt's emerging meta? I think Poison Sense and poison ammo will certainly see greater adoption: being able to track poisoned players through walls with the Stalker Beetle's darksight makes it even easier to pull off these bombing raids. And with the poison effect lasting for 15 seconds, that's a decent window for pulling off a follow-up if you're in proximity to a wounded enemy.

The rest of the patch notes, which include lots of changes to weapon and item pricing and some tweaks to audio, are laid out on Steam. And here's how to download the Hunt: Showdown test server (opens in new tab), if you'd like to try this out yourself.

Evan Lahti
Global Editor-in-Chief

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.