Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Nexus - Server Types, Crafting Tidbits, and Community Building

To my great shame I used the elevator today. I was cutting across the office and someone asked me "going down?" I panicked and said, "Yes." I did get my walk in before it rained though...well snowed actually. It's April! You aren't welcome here anymore!

I'll be heading to the gym for a elliptical session later, probably before I finish writing this; there is lots of Wildstar news out there this week.
  • The results of an Uplink on the subject of Community
  • A crafting sneak peak posted today
  • A thread over on Wildstar Central about server types and open world PVP.
  • An interview with Mike Donatelli over on Muchmore Gaming
  • Everyone should follow Chad Moore on Twitter.
  • and Bogotter is giving away a T-shirt
After the cut I'll go into detail on each -- This is going to be a long one.

The Uplink - What does it mean to have a "healthy community" for an MMO?

What I found most interesting about this question was how open to interpretation it was. To me, a healthy community means populated servers with engaged players who are active in the core game play elements.

Not everyone interpreted the question in the same way. Some players suggested methods that would help develop a healthy community such as developing in-game tools to access social systems, or active moderation of forums and public chat channels. Other players identified the types of players who build up the community such as activity guilds and players answering questions in public channels. Some focused on the players who they felt bring down the community, such as trolls and players with a sense of entitlement. It was interesting to see the wide array of responses from the community...which is in itself a sign of a healthy community.

The community team added their input, sans Mr. Bass who is in the Galapagos and I'd like to imagine currently riding atop a galloping tortoise...possibly waving some sort of hat. In their response the community team applauded the efforts of the Wildstar Central community and also brought up the recent reddit AMAA that ended up highlighted the cross server group finder. In the case of the group finder they were able to report an option that has been added to the system as a result of the fan feedback.
"At launch, our Group Finder will include a checkbox to allow you to only group with players from your own server. Players who are willing to submit to a longer wait using Group Finder will be placed with people from their own servers when looking to tackle Dungeons, Adventures, and unrated Battlegrounds. (Ranked Arenas, Battlegrounds, and Warplots will still only be available cross-server, to allow for proper rating-based matchmaking.)"
I posed a couple of follow up questions to Troy Hewitt about the finer details of this system via twitter. Will the system group people who have clicked the box only with other people who have clicked the box, or will it find other players from the server who are waiting in queue? Does the system have a built in bias to try and group you with players from your own server even if you don't have the box checked?  Answers are pending, but both Troy and Loic indicated that the team would watch the data and make changes to the system as needed after launch.

Econ Devblog - Circuit Board Crafting

This came as a big surprise today, but I should have suspected something was up when they posted the Uplink Analysis on Thursday. This article came to us via Primus aka Gortok.

They are debuting Circuit Board Crafting which is a system that is used in most pieces of gear and is the basis for one of their two crafting systems. Craft-ception!

Each item will have a power core that will be based on its level. This core will generate energy that is used to power microchips that alter the item. There are three primary types of chips: Power Amps, Attribute Relays, and Special Circuits (Which in turn come in three primary types: Ability Chips, Set Chips, and Item Challenge Chips)

You are able to customize gear by removing and replacing microchips. You are able to remove a chip, but doing so will destroy the item. I suppose the game here is in deciding which chip from an item you want, since the others will be lost. You are then able to place chips back into sockets on other items, destroying the current chip in that socket.

There are limitations built into the system to complicate things. Items come with some sockets filled with Random Chips from a pool of options, these cannot be replaced. Some items come with Locked Sockets which can not be replaced, or or removed. You will also find some Slot Specific Chips that can only be used in specific item types.

The example item schematic provided in the sample UI was pretty simple. It had 4 nodes, one for each type of chip. Primus provides an example of customizing a vest with a desired special on it by tracking down other items to harvest for their stat and power amps. This was interesting but I would like to see some further examples of schematics and the kinds of choices you'll have to make when trying to optimize. You can check out the full article on the official blog.

Server Types and Open World PVP

A thread popped up on the Wildstar Central forums on Thursday started by Jen "Bardic" Gordy of the Wildstar Team. She wanted to clarify how open world PVP would work in Wildstar and open up a dialog to answer questions that the community may have. Bardic identified that there would be two server types available at launch PVP and PVE, these come with the standard rules we've come to expect in an MMO. She reconfirmed that there would not be any built in objective based open world combat zone at launch. Finally she mentioned that killing opposing players does reward XP both in open world and instanced PVP. The thread is 5 pages and growing. Bardic offered some answers to questions, I have found the interplay between the community more interesting though. It is likely we will see more activity in this thread next week because shortly after posting it Bardic went home for the weekend. You can follow the thread on the Wildstar Central Forums.

Muchmore Gaming interviews Mike Donatelli

This is a great interview! The interviewer asks good questions that get at the core of what players want to know and Donatelli does an amazing job of answering in a way that directs questions to things he's allowed to talk about. My big take away from this interview was that we will get a reveal on the remaining two races before the Closed Beta invites start going out, but we will be waiting a bit longer to find out what the two remaining classes are. By no means is that the only take away from this interview, I strongly recommend reading it.

Follow Chad Moore on Twitter

Every couple of days around midnight Chad Moore the Lead Narrative Designer at Carbine will create twitter magic.
And the piece de resistance

Honestly, just go and follow @Pappylicious already, the responses to the Haiku throw down is reason enough to visit his feed.

Bogotter is giving away a shirt

I am still too shy to go on camera and I'm sure as hell not going to give away one of my Wildstar shirts -- in fact I want his, it's different than the ones I got at PAX and I have a habit of sweating in mine. Richie Procopio is a great guy, part of the Gamebreaker Family, and a gaming dad. Check out his channel.

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