Thursday, November 21, 2013

Let's Start Again

My employment has come to a sudden end, an end that was foretold in legends...well in a memo that was given to us in March. Since I have an abundance of time perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to restart this blog and my weight loss activities. Starting today I will be hitting the gym in my apartment complex for daily sessions on the elliptical.

I should probably point out that I have lost all progress I had originally made. I weigh, once again,  225 (actually 226.3) pounds.

As an interesting coincidence, Wildstar has been presenting us with a new beginning. A few months ago closed beta phase 2 was brought to a close rather publicly. The developers had some great feedback from the players and they needed some time to implement the changes they wanted to make to the game. This new build has been appearing in live streams hosted by the Incomparable David Bass, the Uncontrollable Stephan Frost, and Loic "Mos French" Claveau. This unveiling is being accompanied by a reintroduction to the known 4 classes and the long awaited reveal of the remaining two unknown classes. (A tightly guarded secret.)

We are three weeks into this process. We have seen 2 livestreams featuring the new build, there have been 2 Reddit AMA's with a third happening today. And three class pages have been redeployed. So far things are looking pretty awesome, and over the next week or three I'll be spending a post to talk about all of noticeable changes I've seen in the classes, but today I wanted to talk about a major system change that has been demonstrated in this current build: player advancement.

Previously the only system players had access to was called "Milestones" it was a stat threshold system with different bonuses provided to each class in each of the major stats. The idea was that you would be able to juggle and tweak your stats at max level to create interesting combinations of bonuses while trying to manage stat weights. This turned out to not be fun during leveling and left players feeling indifferent when they gained a level. They have done some subtle things to make this moment a bit more exciting...

but they have also provided the player with more choices and control once this glorious moment has passed. Two new advancement systems have been added, Ability Tiering and AMPs.

Ability Tiering is pretty straight forwarded, as you level you'll get points that you can slot into your abilities. Each ability has a maximum of 8 tiers with Tier 4 and Tier 8 being the most dramatic. There are choices to make because it is impossible to fully rank up all of the abilities in your limited action set even at max level. They have stated that you are free to reassign these tier points at any time out of combat, just like your ability to change your limited action set load-out. This is exactly the type of player choice I like to see. The choices you are making are not trivial, and they are not permanent. There is a great opportunity to have moment to moment gameplay created by this system. I would have been happy this this, but they didn't stop there.

A very early version of the AMP system was on display in the Warrior Livestream. The AMP is basically your character's talent tree, but there are some differences...

in the future all squares have 6 sides
That's a little confusing...partially because the UI team has not built the art for it yet, and they are mortified that it was shown to the public. There are three primary trees and three secondary trees alternating around the hexagon. What you will notice is there is no core for the secondary trees, in order to enter the secondary trees you'll need to unlock them by spending points in the core of the adjacent primary tree. This could lead to some interesting build options, especially if you are able to move back into your primary tree's outer tier after filling in the middle tier in the secondary tier...or better yet, the other adjacent primary tree. Is this likely? No, not in the slightest. I have one of my fantastic MS Paint masterpieces to show the amp system as I understand it. 

Friends, that is that. The new advancement systems in Wildstar's current beta build as presented by the Development team. What are your thoughts? What strengths and weaknesses do you see in these combined systems? What are your hopes and dreams for them?

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