Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Nexus - Gaffney Is A Pretty Cool Dude

There is a lot of negative news that I could talk about this week, but that just isn't the focus of this blog.

I'll start with my activity, as I reported Wednesday I got to the gym, and also Friday. Thursday I failed to do my strength building exercises. Thanks to certain environmental effects I did not get to take my daily walks at work Thursday or Friday. Today I plan to do two sets of strength building exercises and tomorrow two sets on the elliptical. Sometime this weekend I will be drawing up a chart to check yay or nay for if I did what I planned. I should have that up no later than Wednesday's Weigh In.

This was a massive undertaking this week. There is so much going on in the Wildstar community right now. I've chosen to mostly focus on Jeremy Gaffney related news, because there was a lot of it. There were a couple of threads I wanted to check back on to see how they turned out.

  • Open World PVP thread follow up
  • Design an Item follow up
  • Gaffney on Reddit
  • Gaffney (and other Carbine staff) answer questions about patch note leaks
  • Wildstar Weekly an EU video cast

 PVP Thread Follow Up

Bardic addressed one additional concern after the initial Q&A. Your area effect and free form attacks will not affect flagged players if you are not flagged yourself.

Design an Item Follow Up

This thread is currently at 13 pages, and still active. The last developer interaction was on Wednesday when PChan stopped by to cheer everyone on. It seems the conversation has sparked some interest for the item team to look at implementing some sort of Path based equipment slot. There was a lot of community support for the idea, but there are significant design hurdles. Maybe we will see it make its way into the game. I'd really feel the community influenced that design in a critical way if that is the case. If design time only allows it to be a theme related choice I think we'll see a Communicator based slot, or a "Gizmo" slot with passive abilities to partner with the existing "Gadget" slot which is an active slot that can be placed in your Limited Action Set. We probably not hear final results for a couple of months.

Gaffney on Reddit

As it turns out Jeremy Gaffney is pretty active in the Wildstar sub Reddit. I am no fan of Reddit, I barely understand it, so sometimes it takes awhile for me to notice something this.

Some dude accidentally joined the founder's program for Firefall mistaking it for Wildstar due to the Graphic style. Gaffney offered to refund his investment, of course instead of spending $20 on something he didn't want he now has $20 that he can't spend.

Next, a fine gentleman by the name of Ninja-Jellyfish asked about how often beta invites are distributed. Gaffney answered, about every 5 weeks, corresponding with the release of a new Milestone build. He further clarified that there may be several waves of invites during each phase of beta. A followup question addressed if Wildstar would do a founders program of their own. "Yes, we'll have access to different parts of beta via pre-purchase under current plans."

Gaffney made his next appearance in a Thread titled "The Beta Effect" The thread addressed the way the start of closed beta effects the community at large. Since the large portion is unable to get into beta it's not particularly exciting to see only news about how great beta is and have no new tangible details about the game to discuss. What The Gaffer did in this thread was almost a magic trick. He gave out almost no information but placated the sentiment. This thread appears to have been the rough draft for this week's Wildstar Wednesday. It's a real pain to have a small beta for a product where you have a fairly large invested fan base. I do feel for the PR situation that Carbine is in at the moment. You want people to be excited, but not so excited that they burn out before the game releases at the end of the year. (give or take)

Why are Subscription fee always $15. This thread was really interesting, there was a lot of back and forth on the merits and reasons. In the end I can summarize the answer as "Economics." If you are interested in the details here is a link to the thread.

Finally Jeremy Gaffney offered some details on what the participants in the EU Arkship would be experiencing and also what they would be allowed to discuss. They will be treated to some hands on with a fresh build of the game, to allow for some more relevant feedback. They will also get to do some Arena PVP and run through the first dungeon. They will be allowed to freely discuss their hands on time it sounds like and may be provided with some screenshots or videos to share with the community. They will also see some things in development that will be under strict NDA so that they can provide feedback.

There are always fun threads to find in the Wildstar Sub-Reddit. Check it out if you can stand Reddit.

Q&A about the M30 Patch Notes

Originally I was not particularly interested in the patch note leak. If you have the time I advise you to read the beta patch notes for World of Warcraft from April of 2004. The major systems as explained hardly reflect the released product. Some of them are relevant, but how would you have known?

The context of beta patch notes is what is important, and they have context for the participants of this beta phase. It gives them a base understanding of recent changes and helps them direct feedback regarding recent changes to help guide development. To people outside of the beta they are largely insignificant, or so I thought. Jeremy Gaffney came onto the Wildstar Central forums and offered to answer any questions that he could. In some cases he called in other team members to address specific concerns. This was a massive thread, ending at 26 pages so I am going to try and highlight some major concerns that were addressed. (Most of these answers are Jeremy Gaffney, but I may have forgot to note/notice specific answers that came from other developers)

Future Patch Notes:
We'll publicly release patch notes throughout the beta process. One thing that makes us rock (I'm so modest) is we update the <REDACTED> out of the game often and quickly. So why not show it off? Also, to keep future patch note leaks from happening we'd have to do some sort of a canary trap in the patch notes to find out who was leaking them and that sounds like a pain in the ass and time better spent on working on the game.
Settler Build Griefing:
Most of the stuff that has major collision is plug-based (i.e. fixed placement) for just this reason (also we can change terrain on plugs which lets us do more fun stuff). Most of the freeplaceable stuff has limited collision or can't be spawned near other settler placeables, preventing overspamming or blocking.
The Limited Action Set:
Q: are the slots restricted by action slot "type" so that you end up with only 1-2 abilities that have long cool downs?
 A: Nope, not at the moment. Something we're pinging players for feedback on is how much freedom to allow folks to make sets that could end up 'gimping' you.
David Bass Clarifies Why "7" down from 10:
Like I mentioned previously, this is still heavily in testing, and will probably change a lot during beta. In this first phase of beta, we say it's 7 slots, but it's actually 9 slots (though two can't be adjusted):
1: Innate Ability (every class has a specific ability in this slot which cannot be adjusted)
2-8: Slotted abilities (you place these yourselves anytime outside of combat)
9: Path Ability (you earn these by leveling your path)
"Auto Attack":
This is more of a filler attack than an auto attack, and it is just temporary. It will be replaced after we make some improvements to our Limited Action Set builder (you’ll be able to bind one of your LAS abilities to right-click).
Donatelli references adventures in an interview from PAX East. Adventures are group instances over typically large areas where players get a non-traditional gameplay experience. They're different, quirky and full of character.

To use a bizarre Karazhan-centric analogy: If the Curator = dungeons then the Chess match = Adventures.
Elder Game:
RE Racial Abilities - The costs of things in the Elder Advancement system (to be revealed later) is influenced by your race choice. So stuff you'd think would be natural to the Granok is much cheaper, requiring less elder advancement, while stuff you'd associate with, well, smarter races is more expensive.
This way you can't permanently gimp yourself by a choice you made when you had the lowest information you'll ever have in the game (creating your first character) - but you can set yourself up with a little more work required for PvP or elder PvE optimality.
 There is a ton of other really interesting topics that were addressed by the team, If you'd like to read the whole thread you can. If you are coming in late you may get more out of the edited thread containing only questions that were answered and their answers.

Wildstar Weekly on Ectic TV

In honor of Arkship EU this weekend I am capping off my post today with a YouTube Video series by one of the EU fans.

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