Guide to Ranged Incomplete Attacking
In Don't Starve Together (DST) smallbirds suck. They sucked in the base game too, but at least they actually worked to kill birds.
The crazy thing is though that we've just been using them wrong. Via tactics like incomplete attacking (with boomerangs) players can get all those sweet morsels and feathers without having to choose horrible character like Wickerbottom and sacrificing amazing mechanics like sleep and eating rotten food. Any way, lets begin.
Overview of Incomplete Attacking
Incomplete attacking is a mechanic in DST where a player starts the attack animation, but exits it abruptly, generally to apply follower agro to an enemy.
This becomes necessary in DST but not DS as in Don't Starve player followers will automatically attack an enemy that you click on, while in Don't Starve Together they will only attack an enemy that is directly attacked or has had the attack animation played against it.
In practical application this is useful in mob farms like pig farms or Bunnymen farms (or spider farms for you Webber mains, Wurt will get some love later) to get the mobs to fight each other. Don Giani has a guide which explains the traditional incomplete attack (Don't Starve Together-->Early Bunnymen farm) and Helicalpuma uses this mechanic fairly often in his famous Maxwell playthrough with his Pigman and Bunnymen farms (If you wanted some examples).
This Is not a guide on melee incomplete attacks though. The fun stuff is ranged.
An Overview of Ranged Incomplete Attacking
Ranged Incomplete attacking is the same idea as melee incomplete attacking, but takes a little practice to get the hold of.
You press Ctrl-F, F (your attack or force attack keys) or click on the enemy and then move your character quickly to stop the attack. If you time the cancel wrong you may throw your weapon instead of just starting the throw but with practice it will become very easy. As a general rule of thumb, if your character says their attacking quote, or your followers start to attack the chosen enemy you have probably done it right. If the latter occasions did not occur however all you did was look like an idiot by throwing nothing. (either way good job)
In most uses of this the boomerang should be your weapon of choice. Not only is it the easiest to obtain in most circumstances, but it also has the largest range of any ranged weapon allowing for the player to attack farther enemies more easily.
Other weapons that do technically work for this but are less optimal are below from best to worst.
- Ice Staff
- Fire Staff
- Every Dart (fire, blowdart, electric, and sleep)
- Water Balloons
- Knap Sack
Note: The Weather pain doesn't work for this as you can't break out of its animation when used unlike the other, darts and throwables work slightly differently in the cancel part but are useable if you really need to)
The Fun Stuff
I have a couple uses of this where its useful outside of a gimmicky thing.
I have a really absurd bee queen strategy with boomerangs and smallbirds, but for more daily use this can be used to safely apply agro in mob farms and for followers.
Maxwells shadow duelists can fight a Volt Goat during the day if you agro them to it.
Catcoons can kill birds if you agro them to the birds (the only problem with using this is that catcoons will constantly perform other activities that take priority over attacking so this is hard to use in most settings. Catcoons have some really wonky follower ai, as while they still follow the player like a pig they tend to do idle actions that mess up most things).
Smallbirds and teenbirds can kill birds as long as you use the boomerang to make them target them (basically their intended function in singleplayer. On a serious note I would really love a rework for smallbirds, their almost useless and are barely unchanged from the previous game where they were supposed to be a reminder that the world hates you).
It also works with most follower mobs and structures like the houndius shootius or winonas catapults.
I'm sure more creative people could find other interesting uses for this but this is some basic everyday things that they can do.
The Really Fun Stuff
Fact: The optimal character choice to use this mechanic is Wurt
For some reason merms don't scare birds. (I don't know why but don't tell Klei. Just kidding this is totally intended because the birds are just saying thank you to Wurt and merms for not eating eggs)
This means that with a boomerang to focus some merms agro a Wurt player can get really easy bird kills.
This synergizes really well with Wurts overall playstyle as it allows for her easy blowdart access in winter and feather hats too as feather and tentacle spots are easier to farm with Wurt and this strategy.
Also: For all those who are thinking that being able to kill birds is bad because Wurt can't even eat morsels I propose to you this
- Feed your friends (just kidding who has friends who play dst).
- Feed the morsels to a bird. (irony) A Wurt can make both Ratatouille and Fistful of Jam with 3 eggs and a berry or vegetable depending on the recipe you want. Outside of just how strange those recipes really are this can be efficient for Wurt if you need to repurpose these types of foods as even if the overall food value obtained is technically much worse merms still gotta eat.
Some Other Information
Yes I did figure this out myself. Or at least the ranged part, the melee part has been common knowledge for awhile (I think I was testing out smallbird mechanics or something I don't really know anymore).
With this in mind it's kind of crazy I've only found a couple other people who know of this mechanic (or at least use it, maybe I'm just restating common knowledge).
I'm pretty sure other players have had similar ideas with this mechanic but usually with ice staffs.