So this is related to my review of The Grey,( an excellent movie).
It is easy for wolves to be regulated to a bottom tier monster, just above goblins and giant rats. Kinda the giant rats of the wilderness. I know in Skyrim when a wolf pack attacks I lazily unsheathe my sword and halfhearted swing it around in their direction, more annoyed then menaced.
In a game with dragons and demons and ogres, it is real easy for wolves to look lame. It is easy to forget that wolves are scary. Seriously, they aren't slightly cooler dogs- they are feral apex predators. One of the most successful predators on this planet. They are territorial, social, and intelligent. Alot of the reviews I have read of The Grey (and I read quite a few when I decided to do my own review) slammed the movie because they thought the wolves acted unrealistically by hunting and killing humans.
It is explained in the movie the wolves are so aggressive because the humans are near their den, although Wikipedia neither confirms or denies this sort of behavior it does affirm that wolves are fiercely territorial and that attacks on humans are escalating. The humans in the movie are wounded, bloody and suffering from the high altitude and exposure to the elements, and they are unarmed. No more than 8 wolves are ever shown on camera together, usually you don't see them at all. They perform skillful ambushes and hit and run attacks, probing and testing, not committing to an attack unless they can be confident of a kill.
How many times are your PC's wounded and trekking through the trackless forest to or from a dungeon.
From now on in my games I'm going to treat wolves seriously and turn them into a real threat.