Monday, December 16, 2013

System Changes - Dungeons and Others?

The classes ultra drop has concluded. No live stream for the next couple of weekends due to Christmas and New Years, but they do owe us a Stalker stream. Suddenly I see the wisdom in the 1-15 NDA drop for select fan sites and news outlets. They can keep the coals warm while the devs sip hot cider.

The focus of this blog is to talk about mostly official news, so don't expect too much stream analysis from me. I will occasionally retweet stream announcements that I catch in the window of relevance. @itsboats is my social twitter, so you can follow that if you'd like. In the blog you can probably expect me to talk a bit more about my daily workout efforts in order to fill 500 words while the Carbine team packs it in for the holidays, but it's not all dreary, still plenty to talk about. Today I'd like to chat about Dungeons and other instanced content.

I am going to start with a very scary number: 4. That is the number of dungeons that Carbine has confirmed will be available at launch. the Dungeons will be placed at level 20, level 30 and level 40. Level 20 will feature a faction divide with Stormtalon's Lair for the Exiles and Ruins of Kel Voreth for the Dominion. Skullcano and Sanctuary of the Shieldmaiden will be available to both factions. At 50 expert versions of these 4 dungeons will be available to both factions. It is unknown if these will be World of Warcraft style (where it is mostly the same content just harder) or if it will evolve the story like Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV have been doing with their dungeons.

As someone who mostly focuses on small group content this kind of worries me, but there are positive things.

They have been showing the first two dungeons off in the official live streams and they look great! The boss encounters are slick and intelligent with real mechanics. But will it be enough fun to carry each dungeon through 10 levels?

We've been told about Adventures, but we've not had a chance to see them yet. In some reports they've been described as simple dungeons. In other reports they've been described as complex dungeons with branching story paths. If these are "dungeons" in everything but in name then I guess I'm pretty cool with that.

The next type of instanced content they've presented us with is Shiphand missions. These involve the player meeting a pilot on Nexus and flying to his ship for some sort of short adventure. From the context I've picked up from streams and interviews, these are scaling instanced content that are designed for groups of 1-3 players. You can solo them, but if you go in as a group it will up the challenge, something that open world content does not do.

Finally they have mentioned the mini dungeons you can get for your housing plots, which they showed off a little at PAX Prime.

There are still a lot of questions to be addressed about small group content, and hopefully we'll start getting some answers early next year. It does seem the extra non-dungeon small group content is going to fill the gap in what a typical MMO player expects the amount of end game dungeons to be, but it would be nice to know a number on how much of these will exist in a level 50 edition, and how long will they remain relevant content. Mostly I am curious why no new dungeons at 50. I have a suspicion that it's a story thing. I think they will be giving us more dungeons as patches happen and the story unfolds.

I am really looking forward to hearing more about the end game. As much fun as the leveling process looks in Wildstar and as deep and varied as they've made the zones...that's all just going to fly by in a blur. It's the daily activities that will make or break long term interest in the game. I want to have that information so I can start painting the full picture to my friends.

Did I talk about all this stuff before? Listen. I'm all out of classes. I am going to flounder a bit until they give us some end game stuff to chomp on.

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