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[Column] WildStar: Changes to Core Systems

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,649MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

This week's WildStar Wednesday laid out some information about core systems changes that the team has been working on since the close of the last beta phase. In our new WildStar column, we take a look at those changes and offer a few thoughts. See what we have to say before leaving your own thoughts in the comments.

In subsequent months, the studio has been working hard on updating three core systems: making leveling up more interesting, making it easier to choose abilities, and completely revamping the quest system.  These changes are all intended to make WildStar more engrossing and entertaining, while removing some of the limitations that came with a more traditional approach.

Read more of Gareth Harmer WildStar: Changes to Core Systems.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • AnhrezAnhrez Portland, ORPosts: 3Member

    Great read, I am really looking forward to your first devspeak break down once another one is released.

    What do you think about announcing areas that are unlocked in the level up screen? I know its only a proto-type but seems like it cuts a little of the discovery down the first time through the game 

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member

    That's big news? Seriously?

    Isn't the lead dev on this the guy claiming that he made a huge mistake by making WoW so simple, and how this was going to be bringing in new ideas again?

    Instead, the huge multi-paragraph news is... they made it so that instead of collecting ears, a bar fills up?

    Seriously?

     

    I thought the news was going to be "No more quest grinding!"

     

    But what did I expect, a new idea from one of the WoW devs? The game that has, to this day, never done anything new or unique in its entire 9 year run?

  • MaelzraelMaelzrael Las Cruces, NMPosts: 354Member Uncommon
    That's not true Davis. Shared servers and lfr are unique to wow.

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  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Maelzrael
    That's not true Davis. Shared servers and lfr are unique to wow.

    Nope, DAoC and other MMOs had shared servers a good 4-5 years before WoW. and LFR are things that have been in online RPGs for eons.

  • GazimoffGazimoff Staff Writer LondonPosts: 93Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Anhrez

    Great read, I am really looking forward to your first devspeak break down once another one is released.

    What do you think about announcing areas that are unlocked in the level up screen? I know its only a proto-type but seems like it cuts a little of the discovery down the first time through the game 

    I think it could go one of two ways. As you mention, that feeling of self-discovery is quite powerful. It depends on how zone completion is handled, and if there are NPCs that breadcrumb you to the next zone.

    On the other hand, if you're suffering from zone fatigue, having a pop-up to tell you that a different option is available might be just what you need. Of course, zones should be designed well enough to keep things interesting for the majority of players, but options are always a good thing.

    Player of games, smither of words, former of opinions, and masher of keys. WildStar Columnist
    Currently playing: WildStar, Guild Wars 2, EVE Online, Vain Glory.
  • ZalmonZalmon Bloomington, INPosts: 319Member
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by Maelzrael
    That's not true Davis. Shared servers and lfr are unique to wow.

    Nope, DAoC and other MMOs had shared servers a good 4-5 years before WoW. and LFR are things that have been in online RPGs for eons.

    Care giving examples of LFR in online RPGS that existed for eons.

  • GazimoffGazimoff Staff Writer LondonPosts: 93Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    But what did I expect, a new idea from one of the WoW devs? The game that has, to this day, never done anything new or unique in its entire 9 year run?

     

    I'm a little confused here. Exec Producer Jeremy Gaffney never worked on WoW - he was the founder of Turbine, then moved over to NCSoft before joining Carbine. Development Director Mike Donatelli started out at Mythic on DAOC and WAR before heading on to Carbine. Although they have several ex-Blizzard devs on the team, I'm not sure which one you're referring to here.

    Getting back to your point, questing feels like a grind in many games. You're tapping the same sequence of buttons to get the same result in a bunch of different locations, so it's bound to get repetitive. WildStar tries to improve on it somewhat through a new combat system that'll take a while to get used to, plus trimming quest text down to what you can fit in a Twitter message. But it's also better to take on bigger challenges and get your quest done faster, like tougher mobs or (possibly) multiple mobs. That sounds like an improvement to me.

    Player of games, smither of words, former of opinions, and masher of keys. WildStar Columnist
    Currently playing: WildStar, Guild Wars 2, EVE Online, Vain Glory.
  • VorthanionVorthanion Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 2,121Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Gazimoff
    Originally posted by Anhrez

    Great read, I am really looking forward to your first devspeak break down once another one is released.

    What do you think about announcing areas that are unlocked in the level up screen? I know its only a proto-type but seems like it cuts a little of the discovery down the first time through the game 

    I think it could go one of two ways. As you mention, that feeling of self-discovery is quite powerful. It depends on how zone completion is handled, and if there are NPCs that breadcrumb you to the next zone.

    On the other hand, if you're suffering from zone fatigue, having a pop-up to tell you that a different option is available might be just what you need. Of course, zones should be designed well enough to keep things interesting for the majority of players, but options are always a good thing.

    I find it critical for MMOs to have multiple areas per level range, otherwise I start to feel like a cow being sent down the chute for slaughter.

    image
  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Vorthanion
    Originally posted by Gazimoff
    Originally posted by Anhrez

    Great read, I am really looking forward to your first devspeak break down once another one is released.

    What do you think about announcing areas that are unlocked in the level up screen? I know its only a proto-type but seems like it cuts a little of the discovery down the first time through the game 

    I think it could go one of two ways. As you mention, that feeling of self-discovery is quite powerful. It depends on how zone completion is handled, and if there are NPCs that breadcrumb you to the next zone.

    On the other hand, if you're suffering from zone fatigue, having a pop-up to tell you that a different option is available might be just what you need. Of course, zones should be designed well enough to keep things interesting for the majority of players, but options are always a good thing.

    I find it critical for MMOs to have multiple areas per level range, otherwise I start to feel like a cow being sent down the chute for slaughter.

    Well, with instances, quest based leveling, !! over NPC heads, and all the busy work, how can you not already feel like that? Adding a few zones doesn't really change the fact that the game treats you like a toddler.

  • GazimoffGazimoff Staff Writer LondonPosts: 93Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vorthanion

    I find it critical for MMOs to have multiple areas per level range, otherwise I start to feel like a cow being sent down the chute for slaughter.

    Nice analogy :)

     

    From what we already know, there are a small number of zones designed for one faction or the other, with the majority containing content for both groups. As to multiple areas for each level bracket beyond that, it's currently unknown. I'm with you though - I definitely hope so, as it improves replayability.

    Player of games, smither of words, former of opinions, and masher of keys. WildStar Columnist
    Currently playing: WildStar, Guild Wars 2, EVE Online, Vain Glory.
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,221Member Uncommon

    Open tapping is a good feature addition. It only makes sense that if you contribute, then you should be rewarded. I hope they make the reward comparable to the contribution. I think this will be more of a community builder for the game.

    I don't really see how a progress bar is any different from a numeric counter, other than you're using different visual feedback. The counter says 5/10 orc shoes, or the progress bar is halfway full, it's the same thing. So you kill a tougher mob, it drops 2 orc shoes instead of one for the minion mobs, still no different. What makes the heart quests a slightly more interesting twist is that they're auto-bestowed, rather than driven by an NPC with a bang over its head, not that they use a progress bar instead of a counter. I guess we'll have to see how it actually works out, because what I read doesn't seem very newsworthy.

    The skill organization looks interesting. The stuff isn't super exciting news really, but it's always tough to provide feedback to the users when you're in a really mundane aspect of the project.

  • PsistormPsistorm SomeplacePosts: 39Member Uncommon
    Since people were arguing the switch from an "X of X" tracking to a bar - re-read the article. They are explicitly mentioning that they are also making it so that you can choose to say, smack around  a hard monster for more completion etc. I can only assume that they will further expand on this idea. That, along with credit for open tagging sounds like quite an improvement over the current system.
  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Gazimoff
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    But what did I expect, a new idea from one of the WoW devs? The game that has, to this day, never done anything new or unique in its entire 9 year run?

     

    I'm a little confused here. Exec Producer Jeremy Gaffney never worked on WoW - he was the founder of Turbine, then moved over to NCSoft before joining Carbine. Development Director Mike Donatelli started out at Mythic on DAOC and WAR before heading on to Carbine. Although they have several ex-Blizzard devs on the team, I'm not sure which one you're referring to here.

    Getting back to your point, questing feels like a grind in many games. You're tapping the same sequence of buttons to get the same result in a bunch of different locations, so it's bound to get repetitive. WildStar tries to improve on it somewhat through a new combat system that'll take a while to get used to, plus trimming quest text down to what you can fit in a Twitter message. But it's also better to take on bigger challenges and get your quest done faster, like tougher mobs or (possibly) multiple mobs. That sounds like an improvement to me.

    A different combat system and less quest text (which was always skipped anyway) does not do much to improve the quest system. It's not a radical redesign like this writer implies, it's the smallest of tweaks. But I guess in the 8 years since creativity died in this genre, small tweaks seem huge nowadays.

    Quest based leveling, by its very design, is boring. Certainly after 8 years of it, having different combat isn't going to stop it from being boring. It certainly didn't stop me from uninstall Age of Conan before I got b level 5 when I realized it was all quest grinding.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Psistorm
    Since people were arguing the switch from an "X of X" tracking to a bar - re-read the article. They are explicitly mentioning that they are also making it so that you can choose to say, smack around  a hard monster for more completion etc. I can only assume that they will further expand on this idea. That, along with credit for open tagging sounds like quite an improvement over the current system.

    So instead of killing 10 bears, I can kill 1 big bear?

    That's... not much o f a change at all. I'm still being herded by NPCs to go kill monsters to complete a quest to level up.

  • Sho0terMcgavinSho0terMcgavin Harrisburg, PAPosts: 301Member

    Tagging is one of the things from GW2 I hoped more mmos would follow.  Not because it's easier, but because I find people aren't such assholes like in other mmos.  You could be waiting patiently for some mob to appear to finish a quest.  Here comes an entitled stupid kid who steals it after waiting for 3 seconds when it was clear that you are already (and have been) waiting for it.  This type of behavior ends with this system.

     

    Cannot Wait to play this game otherwise!

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  • Kaynos1972Kaynos1972 Quebec, QCPosts: 2,316Member
    Not impressed, seems lots of work just do kill stuff.   All i saw on that video is player and monster exchanging moves with telegraphed AOE on the ground.....    For me it just seems a lot of buttons mashing to achieve what we used to be able just by clikcing once, is that supposed to be better ?
  • Sho0terMcgavinSho0terMcgavin Harrisburg, PAPosts: 301Member
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by Gazimoff
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    But what did I expect, a new idea from one of the WoW devs? The game that has, to this day, never done anything new or unique in its entire 9 year run?

     

    I'm a little confused here. Exec Producer Jeremy Gaffney never worked on WoW - he was the founder of Turbine, then moved over to NCSoft before joining Carbine. Development Director Mike Donatelli started out at Mythic on DAOC and WAR before heading on to Carbine. Although they have several ex-Blizzard devs on the team, I'm not sure which one you're referring to here.

    Getting back to your point, questing feels like a grind in many games. You're tapping the same sequence of buttons to get the same result in a bunch of different locations, so it's bound to get repetitive. WildStar tries to improve on it somewhat through a new combat system that'll take a while to get used to, plus trimming quest text down to what you can fit in a Twitter message. But it's also better to take on bigger challenges and get your quest done faster, like tougher mobs or (possibly) multiple mobs. That sounds like an improvement to me.

    A different combat system and less quest text (which was always skipped anyway) does not do much to improve the quest system. It's not a radical redesign like this writer implies, it's the smallest of tweaks. But I guess in the 8 years since creativity died in this genre, small tweaks seem huge nowadays.

    Quest based leveling, by its very design, is boring. Certainly after 8 years of it, having different combat isn't going to stop it from being boring. It certainly didn't stop me from uninstall Age of Conan before I got b level 5 when I realized it was all quest grinding.

     

    What mmo doesn't have quest grinding?  I understand you don't enjoy it, but it seems so trivial.  Also, give the game a shot before you have an expert opinion on it already.

    image
  • Greymantle4Greymantle4 Posts: 803Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kaynos1972
    Not impressed, seems lots of work just do kill stuff.   All i saw on that video is player and monster exchanging moves with telegraphed AOE on the ground.....    For me it just seems a lot of buttons mashing to achieve what we used to be able just by clikcing once, is that supposed to be better ?

    That's how I feel to much button mashing for my taste. When they announced you can get out of stun by mashing your button that was when I decided its not for me. 

  • madnessman13madnessman13 trimont, MNPosts: 91Member
    Wild star is honestly one of the better looking MMORPG's coming out in the near future and from the sounds of it there doing a good job. there actually listening to there fan base and changing the game according to that for the most part. I'm also very interested to see how 40 man raids will do, i missed them in WoW but can't wait to try them in wild star. Keep working hard guys :D

    madnessman

  • GazimoffGazimoff Staff Writer LondonPosts: 93Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zeppelin4
    Originally posted by Kaynos1972
    Not impressed, seems lots of work just do kill stuff.   All i saw on that video is player and monster exchanging moves with telegraphed AOE on the ground.....    For me it just seems a lot of buttons mashing to achieve what we used to be able just by clikcing once, is that supposed to be better ?

    That's how I feel to much button mashing for my taste. When they announced you can get out of stun by mashing your button that was when I decided its not for me. 

    To be honest, the actual moment-to-moment combat doesn't feel like a button mash - after playing an Arcane Mage in WoW, I know exactly what that feels like. I'd say that it feels more like Guild Wars 2 in terms of combat style, with an emphasis on movement. 

    I'd also that yes, it is supposed to be better. For one thing, where's the skill in just lining up a shot with tab targeting and mashing buttons, knowing that your abilities will always hit? After playing it a few times, I definitely prefer it over the more traditional way of doing things.

    Player of games, smither of words, former of opinions, and masher of keys. WildStar Columnist
    Currently playing: WildStar, Guild Wars 2, EVE Online, Vain Glory.
  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Sho0terMcgavin
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by Gazimoff
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    But what did I expect, a new idea from one of the WoW devs? The game that has, to this day, never done anything new or unique in its entire 9 year run?

     

    I'm a little confused here. Exec Producer Jeremy Gaffney never worked on WoW - he was the founder of Turbine, then moved over to NCSoft before joining Carbine. Development Director Mike Donatelli started out at Mythic on DAOC and WAR before heading on to Carbine. Although they have several ex-Blizzard devs on the team, I'm not sure which one you're referring to here.

    Getting back to your point, questing feels like a grind in many games. You're tapping the same sequence of buttons to get the same result in a bunch of different locations, so it's bound to get repetitive. WildStar tries to improve on it somewhat through a new combat system that'll take a while to get used to, plus trimming quest text down to what you can fit in a Twitter message. But it's also better to take on bigger challenges and get your quest done faster, like tougher mobs or (possibly) multiple mobs. That sounds like an improvement to me.

    A different combat system and less quest text (which was always skipped anyway) does not do much to improve the quest system. It's not a radical redesign like this writer implies, it's the smallest of tweaks. But I guess in the 8 years since creativity died in this genre, small tweaks seem huge nowadays.

    Quest based leveling, by its very design, is boring. Certainly after 8 years of it, having different combat isn't going to stop it from being boring. It certainly didn't stop me from uninstall Age of Conan before I got b level 5 when I realized it was all quest grinding.

     

    What mmo doesn't have quest grinding?  I understand you don't enjoy it, but it seems so trivial.  Also, give the game a shot before you have an expert opinion on it already.

    What games don't have quest grinding?

    Eve, Darkfall, Vanguard (to an extent), Project Gorgon, Dark Age of Camelot, Asheron's Call, Ultima Online, EverQuest (vanilla), Middle Earth Online (alpha), GW2 (somewhat), Planetside 2...

     

    What's trivial about it? Quest grinding is the activity you do during 90% of an MMO in most WoW clones. It's a really awful, limiting system that encourages you to be anti social AND to turn your brain off. It's ANYTHING but trivial. It's done more to damage the MMO genre than almost anything else other than instancing.

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger La Quinta, CAPosts: 2,596Member

    When I read anything about MMOs that has been changed to make it "easier", I generally cringe.  I think people are pretty bored with "easier" right now.

    Hell if someone would make a HARD theme park, it might be interesting.  Or at the very least, make a couple "hard mode" servers for people.  Not everyone wants their objectives handed to them on a silver platter, with little effort.  I know I sure don't.

     

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • sketocafesketocafe StoupaPosts: 804Member Uncommon
    Now I'm cautiously optimistic. I've become  sick of the 'press button, watch something happen' mechanics in hotbar mmos but this seems like it may be fun.
  • RyowulfRyowulf Greensburg, PAPosts: 668Member Uncommon

    People should see this as a big warning sign. Wildstar didn't just start production.  They are well into development and suddenly decide the game that they had been making is a huge mistake, so they need to quickly bash someone new together?

     

    In other words the Devs up until now have been telling us what a great game they have. Now they are saying what they had was crap and they redid it all so its better? And they are asking for box+ sub for this mashup of ideas and late game changes?

     

  • KethrymKethrym Oklahoma City, OKPosts: 85Member
    Gazimoff writing for MMORPG.com!  Heck yes!! Great article, looking forward to more of your stuff :)  
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