Some of you may have heard of a game on Facebook called Deer Hunter 2014, a game developed by Glu for Android and iOS platforms. Their Android version has more than a million 5 star ratings as of today. Recently, around December last year, they released a version of Deer Hunter for Facebook users as well, where you can play from your computer, and I thought I’ll just give my own tips and strategy guide on this version.
First of all, let’s just say, “Nice going, Team Glu”, because this is a good game. And at the same time, I wasn’t that much surprised because most of the gameplay mechanics were quite similar to another popular game of theirs called “CONTRACT KILLER” (I even once blogged about a suggestion on how Contract Killer could be more interesting). Contract Killer is an FPS game where you have to complete various tasks by aiming and shooting at targets, and Deer Hunter is more or less a “re-skin” of that game (and I heard they also made a Robocop game using this same gameplay mechanics)…
But all redundant gameplay aside, I was skeptical.
Skeptical because knowing Glu and their monetization strategy, I thought twice about playing the game. Will it be just another of their so called “freemium” games where in reality a player has no chance of progressing to higher levels unless he makes an In-App Purchase?
Remember Glu’s “Heroes of Destiny”? I even made a short analysis of the game on Slideshare, which currently has more than 3000 views. I made that presentation because I ended up spending more than Rs. 8000/- (approx 130 USD) on the game, only to feel like I was being royally screwed over because in spite of spending so much on IAP, I still had to continuously spend more money in order to progress further. That wasn’t definitely the right way to go even though it may rake in revenue initially. In the long run, you’ll end up losing trust. No one will believe in your brand anymore, and that’s exactly my first thought when I saw that “Deer Hunter” was developed by Glu.
As Ilkka Paananen, CEO of SuperCell said in an interview with Forbes, “The best way to make money in mobile gaming is to stop thinking about making money”, I think this is a very crucial element of game development many people ignore. And look at SuperCell now – Their two games, “Clash of Clans” and “Hay Day” raked in a revenue of 829 million USD last year.
Morale of the story – Don’t make monetization a number one priority. Focus on gameplay experience. Once a (typical freeloading) player is really hooked on the free game, he may eventually end up spending money. That’s what freemium means. As a gamer, first give me an awesome game that I’ll truly enjoy playing, and introduce options where I must spend money to further enhance my game-playing experience, and yes, I WILL spend money on those. And I will also look forward to installing any future games you make. But if you give me a game where the only way I can proceed to higher levels is if I spend more and more money, then screw it. Direct uninstall.
Hence the reason why I was skeptical about “Deer Hunter” since it was developed by Glu.
But I decided to give it one more shot (pun unintended), and yes, Deer Hunter was actually quite different from Glu’s other game models. Yes you still need to make In-App Purchase to buy more cash in order to keep proceeding (or keep playing the same level over and over again in order to slowly generate cash, for which most people don’t have the time for). But there are many ways in which you can quickly progress without spending a dime if you follow what I did…
First of all, let me just state that I completed the entire Facebook desktop version of Deer Hunter 2014, consisting of 9 regions, in less than a week. And then I completed the recently added 10th region update in one day.
If you plan carefully, you don’t have to make any In-App Purchase (or continuously keep playing the same levels) in order to complete the game, while giving you the a great gameplay experience at the same time. Here are my pointers -
1. The most important element of the game – buying your guns.
For every region, there are four types of guns to choose from - rifle (which is your primary weapon), shotgun (whose scattered shots come in handy, especially during stampede hunts and bird hunts), assault rifles (basically, your machine guns, not required at all in the first few regions, but you’ll love it in the higher regions), and pistol (totally useless, lolz). Apart from that, there is the bows range (bows and crossbows) which you’ll require for the hidden region missions.
In the earlier regions, focus only on the rifle and shotgun. Do not, I repeat, do not waste your precious money on other weapons.
2. Always play fullscreen
For the Facebook version of Deer Hunter 2014, ALWAYS play it in fullscreen mode. If you don’t, you’re going to face a lot of issues while controlling your aim (mouse pointer). And even if you have started a mission and you’re not on fullscreen mode, just press your keypad “F” to go to fullscreen mode.
3. Other important shortcut keys to remember
Apart from pressing “F” to go to fullscreen, you can either press “R” to reload or right click mouse (like CounterStrike) to reload. Press “E” to toggle between your primary and secondary weapon, “Z” to zoom, and “X” to switch on infra-red. You can also use “A” and “D” to shift left or right, though unlike CounterStrike, you cannot use “W” or “S” to move forward/backward.
4. The missions
Every region has 3-4 types of missions – the standard “Hunting Series” which has a limited number of missions, the “Trophy Hunt” which consists of 5 trophies to hunt and you can go to the next region only if you complete this series, the “Contract Hunt” which is unlimited, and in some regions, there is also the “Rare Hunt” which you can play once every 32-48 hours depending on the region (or play missions in that region to reduce the rare hunt waiting time by 8 hours for every mission completed).
There are also special gun hunting series with a limited number of missions, where you can use only a particular type of gun to play the mission - shotgun series (Region 3), bow series (Region 4) and crossbow series (Region 5).
Also keep in mind that “Hunting Series” and “Contract Hunt” require one energy bar per mission, “Trophy Hunt” requires 2 energy bars per mission, and “Rare Hunts” do not require any energy to play.
And then there are “special” missions - Initially, at Region 7 and Region 9, there were special missions respectively called Spring Outbreak Event.
These two missions could be played only if we used a specific pistol, namely “The Headsman” (for Region 7) and “The Headsman Elite” (for Region 9). Such pistols could only be purchased with gold, meaning mandatory In App Purchase, so for us free users, we couldn’t play those missions.
In those missions, we had to shoot zombie versions of the animals!
However, in the latest update where that added Region 10 recently, they suddenly removed these two special missions (and I wonder what happened to those users who actually made In App Purchase to buy those two special guns in order to play the missions). Instead, they introduced two new special missions called “Open Season Event” at Region 3 and Region 4 respectively.
Again, these missions required “special” guns that could be purchased only using gold.
It doesn’t take much to figure out that this section is purely for monetization, and they even pushed it real hard to the users to purchase the “special” guns by giving one-time discounts.
Notice how the cost of the “Westin Nagano” pistol fell from 120 to 79 gold? And this was a one-time offer. I actually didn’t mind spending real money to purchase this gun EXCEPT for one little factor. So even if I ended up spending real money to purchase this gun so I could play the “Open Season Event” missions, what guarantee do I have that this mission will not be taken off the game just like how the “Spring Break Events” were easily removed from the game?
See, that’s exactly what I meant by branding and building trust. Had it been any other developer, I might have purchased the guns, but knowing Glu, based from past experiences, I was reluctant because a part of me feared that they would merely remove these special missions in the later updates, making our In App Purchases a complete waste of our precious money.
Last but not the least, there is the “Lost Temple series” which is a “hidden region” - you have to unlock this region by collecting all the map pieces across different Regions. And in these series, you can win both money and “silver coins” which you can use to upgrade your bows and crossbows.
5. The BEST way to select which gun to buy
This is the most IMPORTANT part of my post - how to make the best selection while buying guns. This is where your game playing duration is determined - Make the right choice and finish the game as quickly as possible, or make the wrong choice and keep playing the same level for a long long time…
First of all, you will notice that across all four types of weapons (rifles, assault rifles, shot guns and pistols), there are two weapons for every region, a normal gun and a premium gun. The normal one can be purchased with in-game money (for which you’ll need to keep playing different missions to generate enough money or make In-App Purchase) and the premium one can be purchased with gold (for which you’ll have to make In-App Purchase to buy more gold because you don’t have enough). And the premium gun is obviously better than the normal gun, in terms of power, semi-automatic mag-fed feature (meaning you don’t have to reload your rifle after every shot) etc.
The guns keep getting more and more powerful as you proceed from one region to the other.
Now, you will also notice that in order to complete the “Trophy Hunt” missions (so you can unlock the next region), you will need to keep upgrading your current gun (otherwise you cannot play the particular mission). And that fully upgraded gun is useless for the next mission because it does not have enough “power”, giving you no other option but to buy a more powerful gun meant for that next region.
This is where you think - Are you seriously going to keep buying the guns of every region, then play mission after mission to generate money so that you can keep upgrading the guns, and then repeat that for every next mission?
OR... Buy guns meant for a much later region (which is still unlocked) so that by the time you have fully upgraded it in the current region you’re playing, you can keep using that same gun until you complete the “Trophy Hunt” of the region your current gun belongs to.
That way, you end up saving a lot of money as every upgrade (power, stability, sight, infra-red, etc.) also requires money/gold.
See! That is how you can complete the entire game in a matter of few days.
As for me, these are the guns I bought -
At region 1, I was provided with a Grantham Model 500 rifle, with a maximum power of 129. After completing the “Hunting Series” and “Trophy Hunt” of Region 1, I unlocked Region 2. At Region 2, I couldn’t play the missions anymore because my current gun did not have enough power and so I needed to buy a rifle meant for Region 2, namely the Grantham Lightning with maximum power of 187, costing 6,750 in cash.
And I had enough cash to buy it.
But INSTEAD of buying this gun, I kept playing the “Contract Hunt” missions of Region 2, which did not have a mandatory rule on how powerful your current gun must be in order to play. And if it was difficult to win because the power of my gun was too less, I simply played the “Contract Hunt” of Region 1. And once I had enough cash (15,620 to be precise), I bought the “Westin Warfighter” rifle with a max power of 276, meant for Region 3!
Now using this Region 3 gun at Region 2 (and occasionally upgrading it), I completed the region quickly. And at Region 3, I did not need to spend any more money upgrading my Region 3 gun because it was already fully upgraded, and so I completed Region 3 quickly too.
And since I saved a lot of money by not wasting my cash buying and upgrading a Region 2 gun, I had a lot of money at the end of Region 3 and I used that to buy a Region 6 rifle - the “Grantham Huntsman” with a max power of 869, costing a whopping 98,560 in cash!
Once my Region 6 gun was fully upgraded, I quickly finished Region 4, 5, and 6. And with a lot of money in hand, I bought a Region 9 rifle, the “Rohman K.R.” with a max power of 2718, and same story repeated itself, making me quickly complete Region 7, 8 and 9.
Similar with shotguns, I had the Grantham Swordfish with a power of 323 on Region 1. After that, my next shotgun was the Region 6 Clayton Commando with a fire power of 2165! Yeah baby, I had a hell lot of fun with it from Regions 2-6. My next shotgun after that was the Plisskin Mamba, meant for Region 9. And again, I blasted away all the animals easily from Region 7-9 with a max power of 6799.
Machine guns and pistols? I just bought one each, towards the end – the Region 9 pistol “PHC Stingray” with a max firepower of 1089, and the Region 9 assault rifle “Rapier Hound” with a max firepower of 1822.
I used them both a lot on stampede hunts - Yeah they did not have infrared, but they both had very quick reload time, so even if their power was not enough, two shots could easily kill the prey.
So these are the arsenal I currently possess…
To summarize, when it comes to rifles –
At Region 1, you are provided with a free Region 1 rifle.
At Region 2, buy a Region 3 rifle.
At Region 4, buy a Region 6 rifle.
At Region 7, buy a Region 9 (or now that Region 10 is added, buy a Region 10 rifle).
Those four rifles are all you need to complete all the missions from Region 1 – 10. Don’t waste your money on any other rifles.
6. Playing it smart - how to clear difficult missions
Over all, all the missions of Deer Hunter 2014 are pretty easy once you have a gun with the required fire power. Perhaps the only difficult missions to play are those where you have to kill 3-4 animals with a particular lung or heart shot.
Those types of missions usually come towards the end of the limited “Hunting series”.
It is difficult because even with zoom and infrared feature on your rifle, by the time you kill two animals with a lung/heart shot and your gun reloads, the remaining animals run away. You can still kill them before they disappear, but since they’re now running, it is very difficult to get a heart/lung shot, and you’ll end up failing the mission.
One way of going past this is to use animal calls and continue from where you left off and finish the rest of the animals with the lung/heart shot.
But if you don’t have animal calls, you can drink a “sports drink” during a mission which slows down time. Again, if you don’t have this power-up, then one option is to purchase a premium rifle (costing gold / In App Purchase). All premium rifles come with a special “SEMI-AUTO, MAG-FED” which means the gun self-reloads after every shot, hence giving you enough time to kill the required animals before they start running.
Another option is to use a bow or crossbow! These weapons come with extremely good suppression time. Since they do not make much noise while firing, the other animals take more time before they finally start running away. And with those techniques, you can easily complete difficult missions such as below:
If you’re not using an animal call, sports drink, premium rifle or bow series, then my last piece of advice when it comes to this type of difficult mission is to play them when you happen to have a lot of energy left and you’ve almost leveled up…
Because every time you level up, your entire energy gets filled, so it is actually a big waste of energy if you level up while your energy bar is high. Instead, leave the difficult missions when you’re in this situation, so that even if you fail, you can afford to keep playing again and again and by chance you may kill the running animals with the required heart/lung/brain shot.
This way, you don’t need to spend 10 gold to refill your energy bar (or wait a long time for your energy bar to replenish). Smart move aye? :)
7. The road ahead…
As they’ve just added a new region in their latest update - Region 10, here are the guns of the region.
Well, notice one thing - the whole game is starting to feel ridiculous because the only new element in every region that affects the gameplay (I’m not talking about aesthetic new type of background or animals) is that, the power of the guns keep increasing and increasing.
Notice that a pistol from Region 10 has a maximum firepower of 1592 while a shotgun from Region 1 has a maximum firepower of 323, making the pistol 5 times more powerful than a freaking shotgun :) And if this is how they’re gonna continue their updates, then many people are going to lose interest in it.
Instead, if they make the new missions more challenging like giving us more targets etc, then that becomes not just interesting but more believable. But if the next update means new guns with more firepower, then, I don’t think I’ll play it any further.
Hope some of my tips were helpful to you.