Previews Rezzing Up Wildstar

Published on July 10th, 2013 | by Adam Lee

Summer Showtime: Rezzing Up A Wildstar Interview

Firstly readers, I need to share my sorrow with you. The evil Captain Funsponge took away my Wildstar bandana, stripped me of my Wildstar lanyard and hacked the words “Be Unbiased” into my Wildstar shirt. I should start by apologising for my current state of undress, however it does mean I’ve managed to fight back my excitement to give you an even-handed opinion of what I’ve seen so far.

Some of the information I’ve laid my hands on won’t be particularly new to rabid Wildstar followers, so you’ll probably get more out of the highlights below. Alternatively you can listen to the unabridged recording complete with the most most apathetic tannoy woman to ever hold a microphone, or read the full transcript. For the rest of you, let me take your hand and guide you on a journey of discovery with Wildstar.

Hands-On

After a painfully early start, myself and the good Captain arrived at Birmingham’s colossal NEC for our first exploratory roam, curtailed somewhat rapidly by the Wildstar booth having an empty seat. So, down I plonk myself only to find it’s the same demo that Carbine have been showing for the last eight months. I strapped my goggles to my forehead, checked my pistols were in their holsters, and set out to sling some spells.

Being limited on time, I grabbed the first starting quest and ignored the others, I wanted to see how combat “felt” in Wildstar and that’s what my play was focused on. A lot quicker and smoother than I expected with a smattering of issues associated with such an early beta (don’t worry, I’m not complaining about the lack of key bindings!), the game demonstrated a lot of potential.

Dodging attacks and interrupting enemies bestows extra buffs or the opportunity for bonus damage, unfortunately I didn’t quite get the hang of this in the first five minutes and ended up suffering a brutal agonising death – something that made me happy! Too many MMOs have made the levelling game so easy that pewpewing through while your brain is elsewhere has become standard. once I’d managed to sort out which skills worked on the run, which I had to channel and most importantly how to evade like a teleporting, gun-toting ninja, I was soon able to rack up juicy multi-kill bonuses.

Unfortunately, apart from a holdout — a fight against waves of enemies that you need to survive — I wasn’t able to see many of Wildstar’s varied events in the demo. It’s the same content dotted about the intertubes, and while it was enjoyable to be able to finally try it myself, the devs were clear to point out that the interface has been totally redesigned, combat has changed, abilities have been adjusted and more animations have been added since this code was released. I can see what Wildstar could become but the actual playing of the demo didn’t really offer much further insight. A new build is planned for Comic-Con so if you happen to own a private jet bound for California, give me a call.

Developer Conference

The second part of the Wildstar Rezzed coverage was the Developer session, while I’m not going to cover it in detail here as it’s available online, I will tell you it includes the scientist and settler gameplay and more importantly a run through of the first dungeon, giving you a chance to see how group content is going to be working in the game and demonstrating some of the variety in the big red circles of doom that your teammates will stand in.

…and now for the main event

This takes us to the meat and potatoes of my article, the interview with Max Matzenbacher from Carbine Studios, host of the Rezzed presentation and someone who was incredibly enthusiastic about choice in Wildstar. I’ve cut down a version for those of you who would rather get back to your cat pictures, but if you’d like to read it in it’s full glory click the little toggle below. I will go by the cunning moniker of A, James the J and WS for Max (it’s short for Wildstar!)

Spinning Dragon PUNCH!

Spinning Dragon PUNCH!

A: First question I would like to ask you is, we got a chance to play on WildStar and we were told that it is an old build; there have been quite a few significant changes.

WS: Absolutely.

A: I was wondering if you could go over what a few of those changes are, and why those changes have specifically been pushed for.

WS: There’s little changes that are constantly occurring, and there’s systems that have been planned and have been in the works that are just not ready to show by the time an event rolls around. For example, if you look at the class abilities, there are class abilities that have been planned that were just not in at that point, innates are one of those things we’ve talked about tuning and even what abilities are on there currently. The number of slots on the limited action sets has been changing. The roll out order of different abilities is something that’s very different in this build compared to something that you’d see within the studio right now.

What that means, especially on the demo, is that we’re trying to give a snapshot of the game. People are going to walk up and they might play for a minute, they might play for the full 25 minutes and we need to give them a quick “this is the game at a glance”. As far as it being an accurate representation of the game as a whole — it’s never going to deliver that exactly. There’s things that we have turned off and disabled for the demo. Customisation things that we want for both the UI for key bindings and things like that we’re keeping locked just because we don’t want it to disrupt the player experience in this moment. We’d rather people just be playing the game, even if it’s a little bit uncomfortable and awkward.

One of the things that’s gone back and forth is are we going to have press and hold abilities, or press and press again abilities? It’s something we’ve debated back and forth, passionately at times, and it’s something that we’re going to make it an option for players to pick, it’s just not represented in the demo build.

A: Something we’re definitely not going to do is expect to get a full multiple hour experience in 30 minutes on the show floor, so don’t worry about that.

J: We’re not going to haul you over the coals for not having key bindings in a show demo. Don’t worry about covering yourselves there.

WS: It does occur!

J: We’re aware, and it makes us sad.

Swinging ma thang

Swinging ma thang

A: During the dev session earlier you mentioned that classes would have more than one role. Would you be able to explain in a bit more detail?

WS: I can’t go into the final details on all that stuff but fundamentally, how do you support a class to make it as relevant as possible? One of the things that we’ve found is to support PvE and PvP is that if you make a class innately a role, so say if we made our warrior a tank, or we made the esper the healer, that’s a lot of decisions for somebody to make right out of the gate and you could have the impression that healing or tanking or something like that is more challenging to level up.

What we want is something where classes can really kind of make a class their own, and the benefit of going with more than one role on a class is what makes that role within that class is going to be player preference. Even if someone were to come along, and this will happen, and they’re gonna say “Look, if you’re gonna be a healer, and you’re gonna be an esper you have to take this ability, it’s the best ability” They could provide statistical analysis breakdown, and we could disagree with them thoroughly – it doesn’t matter. Some people are going to hear that, and they’re going to try it out. But then, we think what’s going to happen is players are going to find things they like to do.

So being a good healer could mean being very mobile. Being a good tank could mean avoiding damage verses absorbing damage, when you have that role and you’re able to then pick a role that fits the way that you want to use that role, it allows people to feel better about the class they’re playing. If you get into group play, larger group play in particular, the line between being DPS and healer can change based on how the encounter is set up, or based on how successful you are. We absolutely don’t want to have a situation where it’s like “look the group is all doing very well at avoiding damage, so you’re sat on time-out very bored because no one’s taking damage”. What we want to do is always have things you can do and be involved in all the time, and not be a one dimensional system.

A: Kind of plugging into that question, are you able to change your abilities on the fly, and have you looked at a holy trinity style one healer, one tank, and the rest dps or is that adaptable based on the encounters and how things progress?

WS: So in terms of “on the fly” you mean in that I go into an encounter, while I’m fighting a creature I swap out my abilities.

A: Or can I only swap out once per day or..?

WS: I couldn’t get into final specifics, but you would be able to pick from a larger pool of abilities and make choices. Some of these are going to be customisation options, and some are going to be things that you have improved and that you’ve picked, so you’re going to have more abilities available to you than are ever going to be available on your bar. The logical progression of that is you might have multiple options based on a subset of abilities that you’ve pulled down. So you could then swap some of those abilities between combat. There’s no reason to prevent you from doing that, and then the larger more broad sweeping, you’re going to swap out things entirely, we would probably want to limit that. Players are going to want maximum freedom to do as much as possible, but then we also want to put a few guard rails on that so it allows us to keep content a little more specific.

PvP’s the same, if you go into a match you’re going to probably be committed to the abilities that are on your bar at the start of the match. Now, between matches you could swap out, this is how we’re doing it internally. Is that going to be the final iteration of it once it goes live? I wouldn’t be surprised if it changes somewhat here and there, but it’s going to be a similar vibe that you have choices, and you have to commit to certain choices for a given encounter. It isn’t going to be the kind of thing where you’re locked into that for the day and now you’re feeling like “argh I made a bad choice so I might as well not go to raid”, or “I might as well not go in PvP”. You’ll be happy to have some flexibility there.

J: So there will be some higher level stuff that you’ll have to commit to a decision about your character permanently and then you’ll drill down into the more flexible stuff?

WS: Absolutely. It’s something that players in the beta have commented on, they want customisation like we said, they want control of everything, and they want choices that are unique. One of the ways to make that happen is to have choices that you have to commit to, that you have to build into, and so there will be customisation, the final form is still being developed, and I wouldn’t want to say it’s going to be exactly like this.

J: We don’t really want to tie you down to mechanics, we just get an idea of your ethos…

WS: The thing that we’re going for is customisation. My personal take on it — and I wouldn’t want to commit Carbine to this because it’s my personal take — I like it when I have made a decision about the class I play that feels, not just like I chose between these two things, I made a choice. It’s a personal preference, it’s a style thing, and it’s something that people have commented on before about us, that the combat feels very fluid and dynamic. To me the thing I’ve noticed in our internal play tests and then watching people playing, there’s a spontaneity that occurs that is completely player based. You could use an ability that is an attack, but you’re using it to avoid something and because of that spontaneity it means people are going to discover things that we could have never predicted. If that’s cool and it’s not game breaking, then we want to encourage and support that.

J: It’s nice to have a bit of flexibility and not just to use skills as it says on the tin.

WS: Definitely, and it gets into this ownership idea about when you create a character, you build a house, you create a guild, we want it to feel for players that they own the choices they’ve made and it’s theirs. It’s not something that they have been directed into and we’ve given them a subtle push in one direction, they’ve had choices, they’re all good choices, and they’ve picked something based on their experience.

J: That’s the important bit, that they’re good choices. Pretty much every game in the genre will say that you can play the game how you want to play, which is basically short hand for “You can play it all these inferior ways, or you can choose this one way that’s by far the best”. Sometimes you’ll have a choice that maybe fits your play style, but is vastly inferior to all those other things. Choice feels good so long as you’re not feeling like you’ve made that choice despite conventional wisdom.

WS: If we’ve done our jobs then you’ve got good choices, and I will say absolutely our class team has done a phenomenal job of iterating and providing good options. There are still going to be people that are going to say “This way is the way”.

J: It’s an unbelievably difficult thing to do. Someone will always break it down into a spreadsheet.

WS: The benefit of our approach is that we’re going to have metrics and dynamics to be able to track and say “everybody is using this ability”. It’s instantly noticeable in our internal play tests when hey, all the warriors — and there are suddenly a lot of warriors — are all using this one ability, and we’re noticing that their damage is ridiculously higher. That’s gonna be “oh that ability was broken”. The inverse of that is that you don’t want to take an ability that is strong and then change it and have somebody feel like “you’ve broken my entire reason for playing this class”, so as long as we can keep that in check, I think it’s going to be something that players will like.

PPpppppeewwwww!

PPpppppeewwwww!

A: We’ve seen in the customisation that you have various races and two unrevealed ones so far, but how will your race choice actually affect your gameplay, if at all?

WS: That’s a very good question, how to answer that? It’s a tricky one. It’s something that we’re playing with, the idea of having race factor in, it’s the standard MMO thing of big targets are easier to see, small targets are easier to hide with. That’s kind of inevitable. In terms of it being a direct “I made this choice”, the thing that we want to avoid is the problem of someone playing through the game because they were presented with an option at character select – “I can be this bold giant rock guy, or I can be this sneaky rabbit-like feral creature”. You might think one is cute, the other one is bad ass, we don’t want to get into the situation where somebody gets to the end, they’ve invested 40/50 hours and they’re like “holy crap, I didn’t realise when I made this choice I was simultaneously making another choice which you didn’t make clear to me  radically affects my success or failure”.

J: Maybe something that improves your particular class more than it improves someone else’s?

WS: Right, again it comes down to options, that if we provide options then we provide other good options and so it’s not finalised,  it’s something that we’re looking at and we’re assessing. We like those choices as long as they’re good choices.

A: Does each race have its own starting area, or a do you have a shared faction zone?

WS: We haven’t revealed all of this yet so I can’t go into super detail, so I will say this — there will be multiple early level experiences, the specifics of that is something players will have to stay tuned for, you can make several assumptions based on the storytelling of the game as to what may happen in the early parts, but it’s something we really want to get into. I think there’s going to be something memorable there, it’s something we’re really having to work hard to refine, and it’s kind of a stay tuned situation.

A: We’ve got time for one more question, would you be able to explain at all about how the PvP progression will work, is it plugged into the PvE experience or can you level them up separately?

WS: There are other people at the studio that could be more specific about this so I’m going to feign a bit of ignorance, I will say this; we want there to be progression, full progression for both PvP and PvE, there are players that will entirely play our game based off of one of those choices. A lot of people are going to play both. We want the two to be connected so they’re not two entirely different social experiences where one never talks to the other, and we want to bring those groups together, but we don’t want to present a situation where people feel frustrated because the best thing for them comes from the thing that they don’t like to do. One of the ways that we’re trying to deal with that is to make items and crafting more integrated so there is no best thing, and any really good item can be customised by players and tuned so that you will make choices and there will be progression that is going to be entirely present in PvP and in PvE, because you’re never going to be trapped in the situation of “Oh my god, I have to go and do this thing that I never want to do”.

J: It seems like there’s a lot of times when, like you say, you end up with two very separate communities, and you’ll have the PvEers who maybe want to go spend a couple of hours doing PvP but the nature of the separate progression means that the bar to entry for those people is almost impossible, whereas it maybe doesn’t apply the other direction.

WS: I’ll be honest, this is slightly opinion based but if you look at it, for people who do engage in a little bit of both there’s something satisfying about finding something in PvE that’s valuable in PvP and vice versa, and so we don’t want to make the two worlds never meet, we just want to make sure that players have a lot to do. If you think about open class race caring where you have anything goes, some people love that, they love that idea that “I can bring anything from anywhere and there’s nothing to stop me from being the best thing that I’ve been able to put together” and we don’t want to limit that, but then some people prefer almost like stock car racing, they’re going to go into a match or an environment and it’s going to say “You can’t have anything that is ridiculously overpowered, everyone’s going to be brought down to a common level” and it’s going to be your skills that make the difference.

Skulls and Horns, it's all the rage

Skulls and Horns, it’s all the rage

Unabridged Audio Format

Full Transcript

+ If you’d like to see the interview it in its full unedited glory click here

A: First question I would like to ask you is, we got a chance to play on WildStar and we’re told that it’s an old build; there have been quite a few significant changes.

WS: Absolutely

A: I was wondering if you could go over what a few of those changes are, and why those changes have specifically been pushed for.

WS: Wow, that is a bit of a loaded question, so… when I would say there have been changes based on the build I would say that what’s happening is as the game is being developed it’s constantly evolving. There’s little changes that are constantly occurring, and then those will kind of impact down the line. And there’s systems that have been planned and have been in the works that are just not ready to show by the time an event rolls around. For example, if you look at the class abilities, there are class abilities that have been planned that were just not in at that point, there are systems that are in there currently, for example the innate abilities – I don’t know if you were, if you caught onto those. The innate, basically, every class has a kind of designated ability that is different than say like an attack or something like that you would pick, it would be more like the stalker has stealth that is his innate ability, and it’s something that we’ve put on all the classes, and the way that we’ve designed it is that rather than forcing a player to pick between “do I want damage or do I want some sort of utility that is fundamental to the class”, we wanted to kind of remove that kind of debate, so we’ve created the innate abilities to do that. But then even what the innate abilities are and how they work is still evolving and people want tons of customisation. Players want anything that, everything that we could present they would be like “Well what about another option for that?” and so innates is one of those things we’ve talked about tuning and even what abilities that are on there currently. The number of slots that are on the limited action sets that we have has been changing. Some of this is things that we were, we had a larger number and we went down to a smaller number and then based on internal feedback, based on player feedback in the beta, that number is fluctuating back and forth a little bit. The roll out order of different abilities is something that’s very different in this build compared to something that you’d see within the studio right now. What that means, especially on the demo, is that we’re trying to give, in this environment, a snapshot of the game. People are going to walk up and they might play for a minute, they might play for the full 25 minutes and we need to give them a quick “This is the game at a glance”. As far as it being an accurate representation of the game as a whole – it’s never going to deliver that exactly. There’s things that we have turned off and disabled for the demo. Customisation things that we want for the UI for key bindings and things like that we’re keeping locked just because we don’t want it to disrupt the player experience in this moment. We’d rather just people be playing the game, even if it’s a little bit uncomfortable and awkward and you want the ability to use an ability… one of the things that’s gone back and forth is are we going to have press and hold abilities, or press and press again abilities? And it’s something we’ve debated back and forth, passionately at times, and it’s something that we’re going to make an option for players to pick and it’s just not represented in the demo build.

A: I mean something we’re definitely not going to do is expect to get a full multiple hour experience in 30mins in a hall, so, don’t worry about that

J: We’re not going to haul you over the coals for not having key bindings in a show demo. Don’t worry about covering yourselves

WS: It does occur!

J: We’re aware and it makes me sad

WS: It’s, honestly, at the time when I had heard about it, it’s the kind of thing where you react and go like “Well that’s a very good point, we should have that” and then you’ll play the demo and you’re like “Oh, that’s locked in this demo” that’s how it goes.

A: During the dev session earlier you mentioned that classes would have more than one role. Would you be able to explain about this in further detail?

WS: A little bit. I can’t go into the final, final details on all that stuff but fundamentally what, and there was a question about this specifically, is how do you support a class to make a class as relevant as possible? And one of the things that we have found is to support PvE and PvP is that if you make a class innately a role, so say if we made our warrior a tank, or me made the Esper healer, that’s a lot of decision for somebody to make right out of the gate and even if somebody was kind of bringing it up you could have the impression that healing or tanking or something like that is more challenging to level up. In some games it’s slower to level; you’re not as efficient as someone who’s pure DPS. What we want is something where classes can really kind of make a class their own, and the benefit of going with more than one role on a class is that even what makes that role within that class is going to be player preference. Even if someone were to come along, and this will happen, and they’re gonna say “Look, if you’re gonna be a healer, and you’re gonna be an Esper you have to take this ability, it’s the best ability” They could provide statistical analysis breakdown, and we could disagree with them thoroughly – it doesn’t matter. Some people are going to hear that, and they’re going to try it out. And they should. Right, if someone tells you “I use this, it’s way better” why wouldn’t you try it out, right? But then, we think what’s going to happen is that players are going to find things that they like to do. That they are better at doing, right, so being a good healer could mean being very mobile. Being a good tank could mean avoiding damage vs. absorbing damage. And so when you have that role, and you’re able to then pick things within that role that fit the way that you want to use that role, it allows people to feel better about the class that they’re playing. They’re not forced into a specific set up, and so then if you get into group play, larger group play in particular, the line between being a dps and being a healer can change in an encounter based on how the encounter is set up, or based on how successful you are. And the thing that we absolutely don’t want to do is have a situation where it’s like “Look the group is all doing very well at avoiding damage, so while that’s happening you’re gonna be sitting there on time out very bored because no-one’s taking damage.” So what we want to do is always have things that you can do and be involved in all the time, and not be a one dimensional system.

A: Kind of plugging into that question, are you able to change your abilities on the fly, and have you looked at a holy trinity style one healer, one tank, and the rest dps or is that adaptable based on the encounters and how things progress?

WS: So in terms of “on the fly”, what you are, you mean in that I go into an encounter, while I’m fighting a creature I swap out my abilities.

A: Or can I only swap out once per day or…

WS: I couldn’t get into final final specifics on that, but quite honestly, the way that I would look at it is this: Is that you would be able to go and pick from a larger pool of abilities and make choices. Some of these are going to be customisation options, and some of these are going to be things that you have improved and that you’ve picked, kind of role things to go at, but you’re going to have more abilities available to you than are ever going to be available on your bar, and so, the logical progression of that is that you might have multiple options based on a subset of abilities that you’ve pulled down. Does that make sense? So you could then swap some of those abilities in between combat. There’s no reason to prevent you from doing that, and then the larger, kind of more broad sweeping, you’re going to swap out things entirely, we would probably want to limit that. I’m not saying we’re 100% gonna do that or not do that, and it’s something that’s going to be tested in and rated on, and players are going to give us their feedback as to what they want. Players are going to want maximum freedom to do as much as possible, but then we also want to kind of put a little bit of guard rails on that so it allows us to kind of keep content a little more specific and it isn’t so much about, players are going to have this huge set of abilities that when they go in and fight a boss or something like that, that they’re constantly switching out through hundreds of abilities to find the best one, we want that to be a more time sensitive thing, where you’ll take a shot and then… PvP’s the same example, if you go into a match you’re going to be probably committed to the abilities that are on your bar at the start of the match. Now, between matches you could swap out, this is how we’re doing it internally, is that going to be the final iteration of it once it goes live? I would not be surprised if it changes somewhat here and there, but it’s going to be a similar vibe that you have choices, and you have to commit to certain choices for a given encounter. But it isn’t going to be the kind of thing where you’re locked into that for the day and now you’re feeling like “Argh I made a bad choice so I might as well not go to raid”, or “I might as well not go in PvP”, that you’ll be happy to have some flexibility there.

J: So there will be some sort of higher level stuff that you will have to commit to a decision about your character permanently and then you’ll drill down into the more…

WS: Absolutely. It’s something that players in the beta have commented on, they wanna have customisation like we said, they wanna have control of everything, and they wanna have choices that are unique, and one of the ways to make that happen is to have choices that you have to commit to, that you have to build into, and so there will be customisation, the final form of it’s still being developed, and I wouldn’t want to say it’s going to be exactly like this… I have an idea of the way it’s going to go, and, from things that we’ve done, and from directions that I personally would like it to go, but like everything, it’s a collaborative process with not just the dev team, but the dev team and the players.

J: Yeah we don’t really want to tie you down to mechanics, we just sort of want to get an idea of your ethos around designing the…

WS: The thing that we’re going for is customisation. My personal take on it, and I wouldn’t want to commit Carbine to this because it’s my personal take, my personal take is I like it when I have made a decision about the class that I play that feels, not just like I chose between these two things, but I chose something because I made a choice. It’s a personal preference, it’s a style thing, and it’s something that people have commented on before about us, that the combat feels very fluid and dynamic. To me the thing that I’ve noticed in our internal play tests and then watching people playing this is there’s a spontaneity that occurs that is completely player based. You could use an ability that is an ability that’s an attack, but that you’re using it to avoid something., and because of that spontaneity it means that people are going to discover things that we could have never predicted and then if that’s cool and it’s not game breaking, then we want to encourage that, and support that.

J: Yeah it’s nice to have a bit of flexibility and not just to use as it says on the tin skill.

WS: Definitely and it gets into this ownership idea about when you create a character, you build a house, you create a guild, there is ownership that is implied there and we want it to, rather than the rather tired phrase of “play the way you want to play”, we want to feel like, we want it to feel for players that they own the choices that they’ve made and it is theirs. It’s not something that they have been directed into and we’ve kind of given them a subtle push in one direction, they’ve had choices, they’re all good choices, and they’ve picked something based on their experience.

J: That’s the important bit, that they’re good choices. Pretty much every game in the genre will say that you can play the game how you want to play, which is basically short hand for “You can play it all these inferior ways or you can choose this one way that’s by far the best” and you can feel good about… sometimes you’ll have a choice that maybe fits your play style, but is vastly inferior to all those other things, so it’s nice to feel that that choice you can make, that feels good so long as you’re not feeling like you’ve made that choice despite conventional wisdom.

WS: Well and the, so far you’re talking about is the question of “Have we done our jobs?” If we’ve done our jobs then you’ve got good choices, and I will say absolutely our class team has done a phenomenal job of iterating and providing good options. There are going to be people that are going to say “This way is the way”.

J: It’s an unbelievably difficult thing to do. Someone will always break it down into a spreadsheet.

WS: And then the benefit of I feel like our approach to it is that, we’re going to have metrics and dynamics that we’re going to be able to track and say “Everybody is using this ability”. It’s instantly noticeable in our internal play tests when hey, all the warriors, and there are suddenly a lot of warriors, are all using this one ability, and we’re noticing that their damage is ridiculously higher. That’s gonna be “Oh that ability was broken”. The inverse of that is that you don’t want to take an ability that is strong and then change it and then have somebody feel like “You’ve broken my entire reason for playing this class”, so as long as we can keep that in check, I think it’s going to be something that the players are going to like.

A: We’ve seen in the customisation that you do have various races and two unrevealed ones so far, but how will your race choice actually affect your game play, if at all?

WS: That’s a very good question, how to answer that? It’s a tricky one… It’s something that we’re playing with, the idea of having race factor in, there is an inevitable factor , it’s a standard MMO thing of big targets are easier to see, small targets are easier to hide and fade with. That’s kind of inevitable; we haven’t really had to do any hard work to figure that out. Any game will present that. In terms of it being a direct “I made this choice”, the thing that we want to avoid is the problem of, someone plays through the game because they were presented with an option at character select – “I can be this bold giant rock guy, or I can be this sneaky rabbit-like feral creature”. You might think one is cute, the other one is bad ass, one is bad ass the other one is more badass. We don’t want to get into the situation where somebody gets to the end, they’ve invested 40/50 hours and they’re like “Holy crap, I didn’t realise when I made this choice I was simultaneously making another choice which you didn’t make clear to me that will radically affect my success or failure”.

J: Maybe something that improves your particular class more than it improves someone else’s

WS: Right, that if we, again it comes down to options, that if we provide options then we provide other good options and so it’s not finalised, it’s not something that I would feel comfortable saying one way or the other, we will do this or that, it’s something that we’re looking at and we’re assessing. We like those choices as long as they’re good choices.

A: Do each race have its own starting zone, or do you have a faction starting zone?

WS: It’s a very good question, we haven’t revealed all of this yet so I can’t go into super detail about it, so I will say this – there will be multiple early level experiences, the specifics of that is something that players will have to stay tuned for, we have, you can make several assumptions I’d say based off of the storytelling of the game as to what may happen in the early parts, but it’s something we really want to get into and so I think that there’s going to be something that’s going to be memorable there, it’s something we’re really having to work hard to refine, and it’s kind of a stay tuned situation, you’ll have to see more.

A: We’ve got one more question to ask, would you be able to explain at all about how the PvP progression will work, is it plugged into the PvE experience or could you level them up separately?

WS: There are other people at the studio that could be more specific about this so I’m going to slightly feign a bit of ignorance, I will say this: We want there to be progression, full progression for both PvP and PvE, there are players that will entirely play our game based off of one of those choices. A lot of people are going to play both. We want the two to be connected so they’re not two entirely different social experiences where one never talks to the other, and we want to bring those groups together, but we don’t want to present a situation where people feel frustrated because the best thing for them, the thing that they like to do, comes from the thing that they don’t like to do. One of the ways that we’re trying to deal with that is to make items and crafting and things like that much more integrated so that there is no best thing, and any really good item can be customised by players and tuned so that you will make choices and there will be progression that is going to be entirely present in PvP and in PvE, because you’re never going to be trapped in the situation of “Oh my god, I have to go and do this thing that I never want to do”

J: It seems like there’s a lot of times when, like you say, you end up with two very separate communities, and you’ll have the PvEers who maybe they’ll want to go spend a couple of hours doing PvP but they’re, the nature of the separate progression for the PvE sphere means that the bar to entry for those people is almost impossible, whereas sometimes it maybe doesn’t apply the other direction so… specific stats and things.

WS: I’ll be honest, this is solely opinion based but, if you look at it, for people who do engage in a little bit of both of those things, there’s something satisfying about finding something in PvE that’s is of value in PvP and vice versa, and so we don’t want to make the two worlds never meet, we just want to make sure that players have a lot to do in that side. Then that gets into the whole idea of, quoting almost the way that I’ve referred to it to a lot of the fans that have been here, is that if you think about open class race caring, where you have anything goes, some people love that, they love that idea that “I can bring anything from anywhere and there’s nothing to stop me from being the best thing that I’ve been able to put together” and we don’t want to limit that, but then some people prefer almost like stock car racing, and what that means is that they’re going to go into a match or an environment and it’s going to say “You can’t have anything that is ridiculously overpowered, everyone’s going to be brought down to a common level” and it’s going to be your skills is going to dictate.

Wildstar has so much potential, but it’s hard to form a sincere opinion at this stage from such a fleeting glimpse. It’s an interesting world with an infectious sense of humour, the promise of which kindles the embers of my MMO desire, but for now I’m left with more questions than answers. With a hatful of shows and conventions ahead, I’ll put on my Wildstar shades, take a seat on my Wildstar cushion and wait patiently for more information.

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About the Author

has been gaming for so long that he views the world through an RPG heads-up display at all times - he's always happy to dip into any genre but generally lurks in games with multiplayer components where his constant chatter can destroy even the strongest mind.



One Response to Summer Showtime: Rezzing Up A Wildstar Interview

  1. Pingback: Friday Roundup #2 | Wildstar Nerds

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