Thursday, March 21, 2013

Questions and concerns I have

I really thought this list of questions would make more sense...but it is what it is. Not all of them are proper questions even. If you have any questions of your own, please get them in, I will try and ask Wildstar Staff to provide insights on these issues for me this weekend at PAX.

No cut today, pretty short list it turns out:

What will character creation look like? WoW, Guild wars? Aion?

In its early life MMO leveling zones have a lot of traffic making for fun and dynamic play experiences, but as time passes these zones become less populated. What systems or technology is Wildstar planning to utilize to keep leveling zones active?

We currently know very little about the economy in Wildstar. How crafting works, how it is restricted. What resources exist and how they are distributed.  Lots of unknowns in this space.

Another system we know very little about is the advancement system. I think they've said that 50 is the max level, but that's just an arbitrary number. I'm more interested to see how the player influences advancement.

On the subject of raids, one of my concerns is the implication that some raids will be for large groups and some raids will be for smaller groups. This concerns me because I have been part of progression raiding in WoW. having 40 and 20 man raids was frustrating because you'd have to split up your group to do some content, and sometimes your groups skill is not evenly distributed so one group has more success than the other and then there are hurt feelings and cronyism. I think having full size and half size raid options for all instances is both good for the community and good for development.

Another concern, how will the leveling zones weave together. Is the opposite faction our primary enemy? Will it remain so? This is a problem that has plagued multi faction MMO's. If the opposing faction is our primary antagonist in quests then we will be fighting a lot of hostile NPCs that opposing players will be friendly to, so they will not be questing in that area, meaning players will not encounter each other. That player interaction is important to the world feeling alive. This was SWTOR's problem. Huge maps with separate quest pockets where everyone fought their own NPCs and never saw the opposite faction. In Warcraft we ended up with Common Foe Syndrome, and even Common Ally Syndrome. So I am interested to hear how open world interaction is being designed into the game to create natural interactions between players of the opposing factions.

There are more questions that I have, but I feel they aren't super useful questions to ask, or won't effect my interest level, or are really granular issues that will come out over time. Things like Dungeon numbers or class limitations, and Payment models at this stage are outside the scope of concern. Right now the general systems and design philosophies are what's important.

One thing that I caught in the AMA from the other week was the huge tangent that came up from the cross server group finder. In the end the team said they were going to look into this feature and consult the beta testers. Carbine has made it clear that player feedback is important to their design, but one thing that they have not said that I have kind of assumed - It's still the game they want to make. I hope they stay true to a vision for their game and work to attract players who find that compelling and not make sacrifices to their vision to draw in fringe elements.B

When I get back from PAX I am going to be covering news that is current, so I may need some comment conversations to help guide content for the 6 days in a week that aren't Wednesday.

I am also developing a pro group finder rant, so look forward to that sometime next week.

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