---QUOTATION--- Squads tend to take the path of least resistance where possible ---END QUOTATION---
That's my in-game impression too. But do they calculate the total resistance (from every opposing squad on the way to the target) or just that of the nearest squad's?
---QUOTATION--- Because of the high ranking Stalker squads in AW, and the low rankings of mutants, the game picks a path for mutants that doesn't involve having to go through the stalker squads in AW, which is generally through the Red Forest and Yantar. ---END QUOTATION---
That still requires engaging both the Freedom and Duty squads next to Forester and the Stalker squad at Dark Yar. Meanwhile there are just two separate Monolith squads blocking(?) the paved road to AW's southern level changer, the rest of the camps are currently empty (for example, a few Freedom squads have had no problem sneaking past those Monolith positions and continue all the way up to the Barrier, even though that's not the quite the same way that mutants would take).
If mutants wanted to go directly south-east from the Bloodsucker Village I guess they'd have to engage both the Mercs and the two Freedom squads on the hill. For some reason a slight detour (like using the road out of the village) is not allowed by the game.
---QUOTATION--- Only the siding door at the Garbage/AW lc will stop the mutants. They don't use lc's like the player. ---END QUOTATION---
If the door is closed in CS I guess that's a valid obstacle. I have seen quite a few mutants in the southern AW in previous games (coming from the north), but can't remember if they've ever continued south out of the level.
Monolithians almost killed the whole squad at the Barrier if i didn't show up. And mutants tend to show up there, so sooner or later they will conquer them, but i think Barrier squads get reinforced fast
---QUOTATION--- - In southern Red Forest pseudodogs have started spawning, headed straight towards the Dark Yar Stalkers, who will now never survive the Red Forest for sure. ---END QUOTATION---
After killing more of these dogs I went to the Limansk Bridge and put the unwilling ambush survivor in motion again. Then suddenly dogs spawned at their old site (by the electro anomalies with the three dead stalkers). Once I killed these dogs the stalker squad at Witcher's circle immediately started moving (with the Barrier as their target) but for some reason they stopped at the SW corner of the forest (the new mutant spawning site).
At the same time the surviving ambusher moved down the road, again with the Barrier as his target, but stopped at the western camp outside the forest where the mercs end up.
Maybe there's still hope for the Red Forest stalkers, at least if I could make the electro anomaly dogs stop spawning.
Went to AW to prune mutants. Clearing a path appeared to set the RF stalkers in motion, but also spawned mutants very close to them. I decided to reload the AW level and return to RF a bit earlier.
When I returned to RF the stalker squad was approached by three mutant squads at once (one with snorks, the others with pseudodogs). Took me a few attempts until I could save all four stalkers.
After this I decided to return Compass to Forester, thinking that doing so would stop the mutant spawning, and that seems to be the case at least for now. The downside is that the RF stalkers show no inclination of moving now.
In my experience whether in the Red Forest or watching the Red Forest
on the PDA Map while in another level, the spawning of mutants is a
continuous action and anyone there will always soon end up dead.
While I was roaming the forest it seems I accidentally started the Lower the bridge mission (even though I still haven't transmitted the coordinates, a known bug). I decided to keep playing and see what happened.
Once the bridge was lowered the mercs couldn't go to their usual camp (because the ambush survivor stands there), so they had to stay at the bridge, providing me with an extra guide.
When I went into the forest again the electro anomaly in the middle had spawned a new Battery artifact.
Back to a save before the "Lower the bridge" mission!
What if the Dark Yar squad prevented the others from continuing into Garbage? I decided to test this by sending the Dark Yar squad on their mission to Devilish Encampment. And sure enough, the stalker squad in the southern forest moved into the now vacant Dark Yar, while the surviving ambusher moved from the merc camp to the southern forest camp. It seems these NPCs avoid each other's camps. But they didn't continue into Garbage, not even when the entrance was free from Bandits.
Tried clearing a path through Garbage for the stalkers, killing all Bandits, Duty and Freedom squads blocking the way to southern Army Warehouses. But the suicidal Stalkers in Red Forest still didn't go farther than Dark Yar. I also tried clearing the other way through the forest and directly into north-western AW, still no reaction.