Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Back to Normal(ish)

No Wildstar Wednesday or Twitter activity today, though they haven't said, I assume the staff has moved on to GDC. It is convention season, there are advantages and there are disadvantages.

I am still back logged with content from PAX East. In addition to still wanting to watch the streams from Saturday and Sunday (I didn't have a ticket for Saturday and we didn't attend any panels on Sunday) Plus there is Youtuber content which focuses in on specific games that I couldn't even get near that I'd love to get some information on, plus Monster Hunter 3 is sitting in a bag behind me and other people are playing Bioshock (I don't play shooters normally) so there are Let's Plays to look at. Plus all the creative content I missed at the end of last week, new things I was introduced to at PAX and TV shows are back from spring break.

But enough of my First World Problems, it's a Tuesday and that means a Weigh in. 117.2 pounds! All that PAX East walking did me good.

For Wildstar coverage I am going to start with my Show Floor Impressions and the answers to the questions I had going into the show.

I have never played an MMO at a convention before. Well, that isn't entirely true, I did play Cataclysm at Blizzcon but that was very specific - Goblin and Worgan starting area content. It's very linear. The Wildstar demo was set in Deradune, which is past that initial tutorial phase. Much more free form. There were quests with instructions and as soon as I stepped out of town there was a contextual quest depending on which path I had chosen. As an MMO native that all clicks, it's immediately recognizable, different but familiar. Unfortunately as an MMO native with very specific key binds that I've been using for over a decade the most challenging complication was remembering which one was strafe and which one was key-board turning. That got me killed in my first encounter...with like 5 monkeys that I was supposed to throw a grenade at but instead started swinging my sword at like a noob.

Ok fingers, stop being stupid. I did find an option to invert the mouse, which freed up some of my brain power from shouting "no UP, UP!" so it could remember how to strafe. I did a little bit of Soldiering and looked around the map some.

The Devs were frequently doing on stage Q&A's so every time I stopped by the booth to try and really get some hands on I'd stop 5 or 10 minutes in and join the crowd so my hands on impressions are pretty limited. What I can say is it feels good. The controls are responsive and combat is engaging and interesting. I was able to just stand and take it in the teeth going one on one, but I also went back to that group of monkeys and was able to use telegraphs and combat mechanics to fight them with minimal suffering. The major negative I got from my hands on was that it felt slow. In Wildstar you have a dodge stamina bar, much like in Guild Wars 2, but it also serves as your sprint. I've never had a sprint in an MMO before. While you don't move a /rpwalk speed when you aren't sprinting it does feel slower than other games, and I don't know that it's really a bad thing. In context it felt like a bad thing, but that was in the buzz of the convention hall with people waiting in line behind me and wanting to see everything now, Now, NOW! In the right setting I'm sure it'll feel fine. Hell in Guild Wars I'll job across whole zones just having a good time even though I could have used a warp crystal to get me where I am going. Sometimes hyper speed is a barrier to having a good time.

I want to take a moment to address questions that I had going into PAX and the answers I got there.

Character Creation
What they had at the convention was still very much in Beta but it featured multiple faces, hair styles, skin tones, hair colors, and special feature, horns for the Draken, hood ornaments for the Mechari (ears? antenna?) and *cough*cough* I didn't make a human.. Diligence! There were sliders for the faces so you could adjust the various structures but that was the only sliders currently. I got confirmation later that they want to expand the sliders but that we are not likely going to see different body types, they want to have distinct silhouettes for the races.

Out Leveling Content
To this I got a "We aren't talking about that yet." But they did say that they want you to be able to play with your friends in a real and meaningful way, and in a way that benefits you and them.

Nope, not talking about that yet.

Advancement system
Also no details, but there was a reason for it. Jeremy Gaffney explained that it's very in flux. It goes through radical changes every build. (And this is normal, check the old WoW Beta notes sometime if you want to be amazed the the types of systems that were popping up just months before launch.)

Raid sizes and inter faction leveling content weaving
I didn't ask any questions about these. I used up my three wishes and Chad Moore was so pissed I didn't use my third one to free him that he zipped back to the Cave of Wonders. Someone at E3 or PAX Prime will have to get those answers.

Tomorrow I am going to focus in on Housing.

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