Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I've learned

Today I am summing up everything I have learned about Wildstar. This is not a fancy post. I wanted it to be with Video links and graphics...but F that, I have a bag to pack. Please, if you notice anything glaring that I haven't included give me a comment. I'm sure I've missed something important, and I'm sure I've missed information over the last 3 months.


What is Wildstar:
Wildstar is a fully featured MMORPG due out late 2013.

What is "fully featured"?
A two faction open world PVE enviroment with multiple server types (PVE, PVP, RP, ect.) allowing for different styles of game play. It will also include instanced content for PVP, as well as small group and large group PVE with a robust endgame model that will apeall to different types of players. Monthly content updates have been implied as well as the possibility of applying weekly changes to Raids to keep things interesting. No Payment model has been discussed.
What is a Modern Playground?
Jeremy Gaffney has said in multiple interviews that Wildstar will combine Theme Park and Sandbox elements to create a modern playground where players can play the way they want to play. Each zone will have a strong story based quest track that players can choose to follow, but will also feature lots of optional content and ways for players to alter and augment the play area.
What's the Story?
Some thousandish years ago a powerful advanced race known as the Eldan disappeared from the galaxy. Recently their home world has been located by an explorer and there is a battle underway between the game's primary factions to control it. The Exiles are a group of ex-patriots and refugees displaced by the expanding empire of the Dominion. The Exiles feel this would be a great home, and they discovered it. The Dominion feel it is their birthright because the Eldan originally provided the people of the Planet Cassius with the technology and the mission to form the Dominion. The primary story will circle around controlling the planet and unlocking its secrets. The general theme is a Sci Fi Western with a good mix of comedy.

Character Creation:

There will be 6 classes at launch, 4 have been revealed to the public
  • Warrior: A Sword and shield wielding melee fighter.
  • Esper: A telekinetic ranged fighter
  • Spell Slinger: A ranged fighter who wields dual pistols that channel elemental forces.
  • Stalker: A melee class with stealth and a pair of claw weapons.
In addition to selecting a Class you will also choose a Path for your character, this is a further customization that is not limited by your class choice. Your Path will affect the kinds of things you do as you play.
  • Soldier: Most standard MMO adventurer. Extra missions to kill challenging monsters, try fancy weapons, and to hold or take territory.
  • Explorer: A focus on exploration. Extra missions will include jumping puzzles,  finding seanic vistas, and locating secret underground tunnels that allow for quicker travel beneath the zone.
  • Scientist: A focus on "lore" and back story. limited details about this path, but will have access to a tool called a Scan Bot that will fill in details about creatures and objects including ancient relics and long lost technologies.
  • Settler: A builder. Limited details on this path. Will be able to augment quest hubs providing expanded services like extra stores or a flight path node, possibly a temporary vehicle rental location. Additional functions include adding a movement speed bonus dispenser along roads, or building a firepit that other players can use to get a buff of some sort. When used these created items will generate experience for the Settler.
There will be 8 races, 4 per faction. So far 6 have been revealed. Class selection will be limited by race, but all four paths will be available to all races.
  • Granok: Giant stone golems who are brutal fighters. Member of the Exiles
  • Aurin: Tall and thing human looking forest dwellers with animal ears and tails. Member of the Exiles
  • Human: Available to both Dominion and Exiles, different personalities implied. In the Dominion humans are the upper class.
  • Draken: Large humanoid dragon race. Clan like society, very Klingon-esc. Servants of the Dominion.
  • Mechari: Robot agents built by the Eldan who are loyal servants of the Dominion.


Free Form Targeting:
Combat in Wildstar will be action combat, positioning will be important and many abilities will need to be aimed. They have confirmed that ability animations will not lock your character in place, you will be able to continuously move while you fight. In one interview it is indicated that there will be an option to auto lock your free form targeting to center on your current enemy/friendly target as an option for a less experienced player.
Many abilities in Wildstar will feature telegraphs, red areas painted on the ground telling you where to avoid. This system has lots of knobs that can be adjusted to create challenges. Size, timing, ability damage, ect. In addition to NPCs player abilities will also be telegraphed. You use the telegraph graphic to aim your free form abilities, also healing abilities and other beneficial effects will be rendered for you to use. This allows for some base level wordless communication between group members in a pick up group.
Limited Action Set:
Currently players have access to a 10 slot active ability bar that can be customized out of combat. They like this number, but it is still part of the beta process. The Abilities that go into these slots includes class abilities, Path abilities, and Gadgets.

Interesting Features:

Player Housing With Guns:
A preview of player housing was given some time back and in addition to gardens and chairs, a player is shown adding a giant cannon to his perimeter. Very little has been shared about the housing system beyond this, but they have been teasing a Group based battleground system they call Warplots that will use the housing system to some degree. The base player housing has been confirmed to be a solo instanced environment currently that you can invite people to visit or give permission to access your resources for maintenance and collection if you are going to be away.
Group Finder:
A cross server group finder tool will be in at launch for both PVE and PVP. This was a issue of some contention in the recent AMAA on reddit. The team has indicated they will be speaking to beta testers about how this feature could be implemented in a way that does not negatively impact  players who prefer solo server communities.
The Trinity:
Groups will consist of a Tank, a Healer and DPS.
Short Quest Text:
There will be quests in Wildstar, but they are trying to make it so when you get a box of text to read that it is no longer than a twitter message. Instead of in the words the story will be told in the doing. You will get context from your actions and your results. Sometimes, for very important things, they will use a cutscene to add context, but they want it to be more a part of the world you play in and take control away from the player very rarely. 
This game supports UI Mods:
The UI will be fully customizable at launch and will allow for user created modifications. Coming up at PAX East Curse will be revealing how they will be providing tools to help Wildstar players. Gaffney has said in at least one interview that having a fully custom UI makes the design process really fluid, since not only is the UI team making layouts, but so are members of other teams while they are play testing and so are the beta testers.

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