Let's discuss the new critter moods and strategic ramifications (2024)

So the latest public testing build introduces an exciting and highly impactful change to critters.

Now there are now four main states of mood:

  • Happy:the critter has full metabolism and increased reproduction. Achieved with Grooming or Critter Fountain.
  • Satisfied: The critter has full metabolism but replacement level reproduction. Achieved most straightforwardly by having an uncrowded ranch with a Critter Condo.
  • Glum: the critter has greatly reduced metabolism and replacement level reproduction. Easily achieved by not giving the critters nice things.
  • Miserable: the critter has greatly reduced metabolism and no reproduction. Easily achieved by a high degree of overcrowding.

This has large strategic ramifications, it would seem:

  • The Purpose of happy is to increase populations, or to produce surplus eggs for large scale omelette/meat production.
  • The Purpose of Satisfied is for resource conversion with population replacement without the need forgrooming labor or critter fountains. Satisfied allows this conversion to be done with 1/5th as many critters compared with previous glum unranched populations.
  • Glum may still find a purpose for critters like Dreckos and Plug Slugs which have a secondary production not effected by metabolism, it's something of a no-brainer to get full secondary production for 1/5th the calories (personally I don't like this mechanic, there shouldn't be very strong incentive to neglect critters).
  • Miserable seems to mainly prevent "remove the eggs" concentration camps. You can still put like 8 critters in a 12 tile room but it avoids excesses like putting 100 critters in a 12 tile room. Miserable may have applications for Dreckostarvation ranches where the doomed critters never get the chance to lay an egg anyway, though this isn't so much a use for miserable, just a callousindifference as to whether the critters are glum or miserable. Note: Wild critters don't seem to be able to be miserable, they're just glum.
  • Starvation, as it carries a -10 happiness penalty, now kills reproduction unless the critter has bonus happiness from groomed or critter fountain, allowing it to be Glum.Cozy by itself is not enough to prevent a starving critter from being miserable. However since starvation reproduction has always relied on grooming, except pacus, I don't think this actually changes anything.

What critters can get the Cozy buff?

It seems:

  • Flying critters can not use the Critter Condo or Water Fort, meaning Gassy Moos, Pufts and Shine Bugs are not able to get the Cozy buff(Is a flying critter equivalentcoming?)
  • Most ranchable critters that don't swim or fly can use the Critter Condo, the exception is Pokeshells.
  • Pacus obviously use the Water Fort.
  • Pokeshells only use the Water Fort and not the Critter Condo, despite being amphibious.
  • Plug Slugs, including Sponge Slug, onlyuse the Critter Condo and not the Water Fortdespite being amphibious.

Ranching for resource conversion

For those who ranch mainly for resource conversion rather than food, Satisfied is going to be the new Happy, it's better in every way for resource conversion. This makes ranching a very un-important skill and attribute for critters which can get the Cozy buff, you have to do a little grooming to build populations, but once the population is at the desired level ranching is only needed for odd wrangling jobs as the resource conversion critters will replace themselves with 1 egg per lifetime.

The most useful way of getting Satisfied would seem to be using a non-crowded ranch with a Condo.

You can technically also achieve Satisfied with a crowded ranch and grooming/brackene, I don't see this being very useful, but it would technically be possible for example to pack 6 critters into a 24 tile ranch (or 32 tile for Pufts etc) if the critters are groomed/fountained. This allows for much more resource conversion in a small space and I guess it could have some micro-base applications perhaps like getting a bunch of Slicksters in a small place to convert CO2 from a micro petroleum boiler, or if you don't care about labor and want to make micro-builds for fun. But overall doesn't seem terribly useful.

(note that none of the above applies when the critters are cramped by an egg. Cramped is not a mood and doesn't effect and is not effected by happiness. Critters can be crowded but still happy, but those things which compensate for crowded do not compensate for cramped).

Ranching for food

It doesn't seem to be a huge change when it comes to ranching critters primarily for food, but there are some effects. You can fit an extra critter in a breeder ranch if you have a Condo, hence having 9 critters in a 96 tile ranch instead of 8. This +1 critter is more significant for small ranches, where you could go from 2 to 3 critters in a 24 tile ranch. If flying critters could get Cozy this would be slightly more impactful for them as they require 16 tiles per critter instead of 12.

What critters benefit most

My hunch is that the critters that benefit most from this patch is those critters which exist primarily for resource conversion rather than for meat/omelette or for secondary functions.

I think these are the main critters that become more useful thanks to Satisfied:

  • All Pufts, but mainly if flying critters become eligible for Cozy.
  • Slicksters and Molten Slicksters.
  • Smooth hatches. if you use them
  • Other Hatches if you don't care about food but do want coal.
  • Pips possibly if you are serious about dirt consumption.

And that about it I think. Not to say that other critters aren't useful for resource conversion, but you probably get enough resource conversion "on the side" when ranching them for another reason.

I think right now, Slicksters are the biggest winners, as they can easily be made Satisfied, and a ranch of 8 Satisfied Slicksters will perform as much resource conversion as 40 Glum Slicksters, that's a huge deal.

Pokeshells can be used for resource conversion, but their appetite is so voracious relative to food supply that even glum ones have done a perfectly good job of resource conversion. However I guess you can now get away with having just like 1 Pokeshell, in a 3 tile deep pond with a Water Fort (it needs to be fully submerged, though you can use layers of thin films of liquid), and it'll do all the resource conversion you ever need. Doesn't save many critters or much labor though and often Pokshells are not ranched for conversion but for molts.

Flying critters are in an awkward place at the moment. Gassy Moos seem to gain nothing at all from being Happy rather than Satisified (hopefully this changes so their accu-moo-lation is higher when Happy than Satisfied), but the only way to make them Satisfied is to combine grooming/fountain and crowding.Pufts seem like they could really be much more useful with Satisfied, but presently the only use is packing more Pufts in a small ranch, you can't escapethe need for labor/brackene.

What Critters are the biggest losers

(in terms of gameplay advantage to the player, not their living conditions)

Definitely Pacu. But is starvation ranching impossible? Nope. A Pacu starts adulthood with 400 kcals. Being glum they lose 20 kcal/cycle. They gain egg chance at 7% per cycle. After 14 cycles they lay an egg, at this time they still have over 100 kcal in the bank. So it's not even close, a glum Pacu still lays an egg even if it never sees food.

However, some versions of starvation ranching of Pacu are nerfed. You now have to limit crowding so they don't become miserable. You can put 8 unfed pacus in a single isolated tile of water, but no more. "Flopper" builds still work, when you have 'infinite' pacus flopping on the floor, and occasionally submerged so they can lay eggs, flopping pacus don't experience crowding/cramped and don't have any happiness penalty (I kind of hope this changes).

Also as far as I can tell, the Water Fort is not that useful to Pacus. The most obvious use is cramming one extra Pacu in a breeding chamber of a given volume. I don't see why you'd ever want Satisfied Pacu, you either want Happy to produce many eggs, or Glum to minimize metabolism. Actually, I can see one perverse incentive. Pacus are notoriously annoying to kill prematurely to turn into fillet quicker. Normally players just don't bother killing them, since why not let them live out their life and lay an egg and still drop a fillet. But if you REALLY want to kill them, then giving them a Condo will cause them to starve to death a little quicker (unfortunately starvation timer is still 10 cycles).


Flying Critters can presently not get Cozy.

Slicksters are a big winner with this patch, because you can put 8 in a ranch with a Critter Condo and get as much labor-free resource conversion as 40 Glum Slicksters. Big win. Other resource conversion critters win less because you don't need nearly as many but there are minor savings to be had on critter count or labor.

You can always stuff an extra critter in a Groomed Ranch by adding a Condo, so you can have 9 Hatches instead of 8. Without adding an extra critter, a Condo doesn't do much as "happy is happy", but if the groomed buff falls off they can still be Satisfied and do full resource conversion.

Pacu "infinite" starvation ranching is still possible, some variants won't work due to miserable, some will still work.

Let's discuss the new critter moods and strategic ramifications (2024)
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