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All posts for the month January, 2014

Ahoy Nexians!

Time for your weekly dose of WildStar News!

 

Let’s start with the biggest news of the week… Beta Key Giveaways!!!

Yeah, you read that right.. the first beta key giveaways are underway.  Carbine has teamed up with some WildStar fan sites, to allow you the opportunity to win a beta key!  Now, because there are some…unsavory folks out there who may try and scam you out of your personal information…and not give you a key… Carbine has posted an official list of the sites participating in the giveaway.  Head over here, to view the list…then go try and get a key!

Official news from Carbine this week, was centered around the Guild System.  We got a shiny page describing the basics of the system.  Guilds in WildStar will be able to have all the ‘standard’ stuff (Guild banks, customizable ranks, optional guild tax, etc).  Plus, they’ll have the WildStar twist to guilds as well (because, really… if the news was ‘our guilds are just like everyone else’s, it’d boring).

We get Holomarks:

GuildHolomark

IN WILDSTAR, GUILDS WILL BE ABLE TO CREATE A HOLOMARK: A HOLOGRAPHIC EMBLEM PROJECTED IN THE AIR AROUND, OR ABOVE THE CHARACTER. YOU CAN SET THE VARIOUS ELEMENTS OF THE LOGO (WE’VE GOT 65 INNER AND 65 OUTER DESIGNS AT LAUNCH, WHICH MEANS AROUND 4225 POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS AT LAUNCH), AND THEN EACH PLAYER CAN DECIDE WHERE THEY WANT TO DISPLAY IT ON THEIR CHARACTER. SNAZZY!

This is, essentially, a guild tabard..but, done very differently.  The 4,225 possible combinations of elements (at launch), should reduce the chances of multiple guilds on the same server, having the same Holomark.  Which is good, because how many times did you see a guild tabard in WoW that had the identical image as 3, or 4 other guilds.  The added benefit to it being a holomark, and not a tabard, is also that it won’t cover up whatever armor/costume piece your character is wearing.

In a shot at the “blindly invite everyone you see that is unguided, but never actually play together’ type of guilds.. Carbine has added some…encouragement for you to actually… play with your guildies! (Shocking right?!?!  I mean, who wants to play with their guilds!)

This incentive comes in the form of Guild Influence, which can only be raised by grouping with your guildies, and playing the game with them.

WITH WILDSTAR, WE WANT GUILDS TO WANT TO PLAY TOGETHER, AND WE’RE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO INCENTIVIZE THAT THROUGH A GUILD CURRENCY KNOWN AS INFLUENCE.

So, now we have this guild currency… what is it good for?  Influence can be spent in 3 major categories:

  1. Guild unlocks (including additional bank vaults and player summoning)
  2. Guild-wide buffs
  3. Consumable guild items

The buffs are things like boosts to experience gain, reputation gain, etc.  Under this system, it looks like a small guild that plays together should be able to unlock just as many ‘perks’ as a guild of 500 people who rarely group together.

Jeremy Gaffney swung by the WildStar subreddit to provide a ‘state of the beta’ (that, should be appearing in some fashion on the official site soon too).

Here’s a quick version at least (yeah, we should do an official one, I agree, I’ll send this to Scooter):
Just did a big update (37 pages o patch notes if I recall). This was from our work in December, so it’s a 4 week update minus 2 weeks from most folks from holiday break.
Major foci:

  • Doing a polish pass on the 15-35 content
  • Polishing some of the 35-50 areas (which aren’t enabled yet for the CBT testers)
  • Rebalancing class abilities across PVE and PVP (pretty good number of changes there, generally based on feedback or the data mining we’ve done)
  • Bunch of new itemization in various areas

A ton more. Did we release those patch notes? I forget.
The other thing we added in the last patch (NOT in the patch notes) was about 6 different crash bugs (due to the way we did QA testing over the holiday break, we added in about 50 new QA testers and for various technical reasons this basically disguised a bunch of crash logs which we normally fix during the staging period before a build goes live; it was a combination of adding new QA folks and the fact that some of our technical guys were on the holiday break. Sorta ironic that adding testers added crashers, but there ya go)
So I believe as of right now, the crashers are licked, folks are back testing/playing more stably. The crashes sucked for about a week or so though, so that was a pain for the guys fixing and the beta folks.
Current things we’re currently looking at internally (based on implementation schedule, data, board feedback, or just playing and saying “we could do that better”) – these aren’t guaranteed to be in next update (or any if we find blockers) but are things we’re either working on or discussing:

  • UI updates (we got some great new guys on our UI team) on many/most UIs, especially the obviously-placeholder ones
  • Extending the cap to 50 for next update
  • High level economies across the various elder content (level 50 playspaces, vet dungeons, raids, warplots, arenas, new content additions post launch)

Batting around ideas to help small-group play:

  • a lot of people like playing in/near small groups, and some quests are set up well for it/some aren’t – we are fixing those
  • Fighting in the outside world as a small group is often too trivial (some few monsters and challenges are aimed towards it, and but 2 or 3 people fighting a mob tuned for 1 person is awful easy). That sounds tricky to fix, but we actually have some ideas. Some of those might also make for some interesting variation in killing quests (something we aim for is to reduce kill grindiness whenever we can) But we’ll see, that’s all in discussion. Not guaranteed to go in, but Donatelli is examining.

So in net: Personally I’m relatively happy with where we’re at. Lot of pro and con feedback on the boards about some of the above issues (and others) but it feels IMO like a pretty healthy set of discussions and I love the team’s pace of new additions and polishing existing content right now.

 

Carbine is also seeking WildStar fan art submissions for possible featuring on their Social Media pages:

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 4.43.28 PM

 

And that’s it for your Nexian News Wrap-up for this week!

It’s Stalker Time!

We got the long awaited Stalker live stream this week…and, the possibly even longer awaited Pappy vs Frost epic PvP battle!

Let’s jump into the stream, and then pick up the rest of the week’s tidbits.

The stream opened up with the Stalker DevSpeak, and since it’s been a bit since that one was released, here it is again:

The gameplay portion of the stream starts with a look at the single target DPS build for the Stalker.

We see the action set using abilities like Shred (basic attack), Impale, and Stagger (Stun).

The Stalker’s innate ability is stealth, and depending on the stance picked, provides differing bonuses.  Stealth can also be used in-combat.

 

Opening from stealth, using Analyze Health, and Impale was doing some serious damage to the mobs, most were going down to a little less than 50% health just after the opener.

As is normal, they did various short Q&A segments during the gameplay portions.

Q: Will Stalkers struggle to stay in Stealth? Creatures with AoEs?
A: Unlock AMP to keep damage from breaking stealth.. can avoid telegraphs
Q: What constitutes ‘behind’ target? Does flanking from the side count too
A: about the full 180* arc behind the target

Q: Relative position to enemy changes your chances of being detected?
A: Zone of awareness is pretty much the same for all players/creatures. You’ll see the icon over the head if you are in the zone. Based off levels, bonuses, etc..

After showing off a bit of the DPS roll, they moved into the Stormtalon dungeon, to show off some Stalker Tank play.

The tank build they’re using includes:

Whiplash (basic attack +25% threat), Nano field (life siphon), Stagger, Collapse, False retreat (jumps you back, use again to jump back forwards), reaver (taunt).

An interesting bit to note, is that the nameplates showed by the team during the stream aren’t the default ones, they’re actually using an add-on developed by one of the beta testers, they go on to talk about a DPS add one developed by another tester, that Carbine has been working with to refine further for internal testing too.

Q: What answers does Stalker bring to table, over classes that can kite more?
A: Pounce, (Pounce again, but described as a backwards version), Collapse (pulls in nearby enemies), various stuns, and snares.

Q: Stalker tanks have an ‘oh crap’ instant heal, or invulnerability button?
A: Steadfast increases deflect up to 60%, Stalker stance increases damage mitigation.

Q: Stalker Tanks get any use out of stealth?
A: Passive buffs from Stalker Stance

Q: Examples of tank traits in AMP system?
A: Deflect chance, health pool increase, some AMPs trigger off of deflecting attacks

 

While getting ready for the Pappy vs Frost cage match, the classes flick was shown again:

That’s always a fun video to watch.. poor guy is right.. there are a ton of those psychopathic Stalkers running around 😛

After the class video ended, PvP design lead Jen Gordy joined the stream, to answer PvP questions while the Pappy vs Frost match was underway.

The plan is for Pappy and Frost to cycle through all the classes, so they can pick which class they play, but not play any class twice.

The match opens with Frost playing a Stalker (One of the classes he’s better at), and Pappy playing a SpellSlinger (a class he says he’s not very good at)…

Round 1 was over… quickly… Frost decimated Pappy that round…

Next up, Frost took the Warrior against Pappy’s Esper… and Pappy was typing in chat the whole time (so, 11122233222311131, etc..), and didn’t do very well (since it means none of the actions he was trying to use were used).. so they took pity, and had that match replayed… and Pappy still lost.

Couple of quick Q&As with Jen:

Q: World PvP objectives in contested zones?
A: Probably not for launch, want to see where people end up wanting to fight at

Q: Level up solely through PvP
A: After level 6, yes. Trying to make BG vs Quest XP equivalent.

Match 3 was Frost playing a Medic, and Pappy playing a Warrior… that match handily went to Pappy.

After those three 1v1 PvP matches, the focus shifted to some 2v2.  Pappy teamed up with Chris Lynch (Lead Combat Designer), to take on Frost, and his teammate Marc Matzenbacher  (Warrior/Medic class designer).

Match 1 was Engineer/Esper (Team Pappy) vs Engineer/Medic (Team Frost).

This match shows us that if you’re in a PvP zone, and both you and the other faction are flagged for PvP.. the silhouettes of the other team will be red from a distance..and as you close turn ‘normal’.

Frost went down first in this match, but Marc’s Medic showed some pretty decent survivability against Team Pappy… Team Pappy did take Match 1 though.

Q: Melee seems to be dominating ranged in these matches, do the metrics match?
A: Ranged classes aren’t doing a good job at staying at range in Pappy vs Frost

Q: Skill cooldowns differ from PvP to PvE
A: Skills don’t..but the breakout gameplay can impact them

Q: How will PvP queues match groups and solo players
A: Two different systems, arena will match on rating… open match on gear

This stream also gave us our first look at one of WildStar’s Arenas!

There will be two types of arenas in the game, open (level 30+), and rated (level 50).  Rated gives you team/personal rating towards arena rewards, and open is more of a ‘practice’ type environment.

Arenas have a shared pool of respawns per team.. so your team needs to manage that aspect as well (who will use the respawns, and when).  For example, it might be more beneficial to have your healer take one of the last respawns, than it would be to have a DPS take it.

For the 3v3 arena, the team makeup is:

  • Team Pappy:  Hugh Shelton (Esper), Steven Ingle (Engineer), and Pappy (Medic).
  • Team Frost:  Jen Bardic (Warrior), Jade (Stalker), and Frost on a SpellSlinger.

Team Pappy suffered from technical difficulties on attempt one (Hugh’s computer rebooted).  Team Frost ended up taking the match.

To settle things once and for all, one last 1v1 match was called..both Pappy, and Frost were able to pick their best class.

Pappy went Warrior, and Frost went Stalker… it was a close match, and Stephen Frost emerged victorious!

Congratulations Frost!  (I’m still Team Pappy!).

The other big news for the week, comes by way of Jeremy Gaffney in the comments section over on WildStar Fans.  In the comments to their article about the NDA related plans, JG swings by to shed some light on the pre-order situation.  Short version is, no pre-order information till more testing on elder game content.. but, head over to WildStar Fans to read the comment yourself.

There has been some discontent with the art style for female characters in WildStar.  Particularly, regarding their breast size.  Carbine has addressed this, by changing the breast size for the Humans, and Aurin, in the latest patch.  This reddit thread (some comments are very NSFW), has a decent side-by-side comparison of the Human appearance, before/after the change.

When he wasn’t practicing for the big PvP match, Stephen Frost swung by the MMORPG.com forums, for a Q&A session.

Here’s some highlights:

Q: How much true end game content will their be when the game launches? Or will we as players have to wait for multiple content releases?

A: * Raids are only available at level 50 * Warplots are only available at level 50 * Veteran Dungeons and Adventures * PVE zones * Level 50 content instances for PVE players * Housing Items * there’s a ton that is only available ONLY at level cap

Q: im just wondering if rp rule will be enforced on rp server, and if classes with the same possible job will have equal potential or if one will overshadow others. like medic healing better than spellslinger/esper?

A: Not sure on the RP server, actually. I’d have to chat with our live producer. Regarding healing, different classes have different spells and feel to them. Some people prefer the Esper, some the Medic and me, I like the Spellslinger healer. It’s a lot more precision based, and I like that gameplay style. It all depends on you.

Q: Are there going to be any mechanics which will allow me, once I reach max level and obtain the uberest of gear, to play with friends who are just starting? For instance, Guild Wars 2’s down-leveling (which is far from perfect). This seems to always be the biggest barrier to me getting my friends to try whatever game I’m playing. I hate rolling alts for this purpose. Also, beta key yada yada…

A: Yeah we have mentoring and rallying in our game. We wanted to make sure that you were able to play with your homies, even if they picked up the game after you did.

Q: just wondering about your WARPLOTS i watch every video about them but to this day i really want to know how do you create one meaning what level , how to upgrade in general everything regarding them. i was a stress tester for the winter beta but didnt reach that far , plus the game deleted my character so yhhhhh … PS: cant wait to see you & papi go @ it #TEAMFROST BTW can you hook a brother up on a beta key please just had to add that part in XD

A: Despite the fact that I said I wouldn’t talk about Warplots, I’ll answer a couple of questions here. You can create a Warplot ONLY at level 50, they are Elder Game content. You get upgrades by earning a currency within Warplots, I won’t say what those upgrades are, but you can use that currency to buy instruments of death. Also we’ve said that you can capture a raid boss and unleash them upon a rival team before… so… you can do that by getting a rare drop off of a boss in a dungeon or raid. Watching/playing that in playtests is pretty damned entertaining as they crush hordes of players. I’m extremely excited for the coming weeks and months ahead, because I think people are going to love seeing and playing this feature. 40 vs. 40 death fortress combat! What’s not to love? Also thanks for the #teamfrost support. I will eviscerate Pappy.

 

And that’s it for the week.. can’t wait to see what Carbine has in store for us next week!

Frost_vs_Moore

Welcome to the first WildStar Wrap-up for 2014!  The Carbine team is back in the office, and things are chugging along.

The big news for this week was supposed to be the the Stalker Live Stream, and the long-awaited Pappy vs Frost PvP event.  Sadly, it  had to be pushed back a week due to illness.  So, we’ve got that coming next week (Go Pappy!!!).

That didn’t stop us from getting at least some news out of Carbine this week though.

David Bass chimed in on a reddit thread, asking about the future of WildStar Wednesdays:

I’ve now worked on two huge games that did weekly updates for the years leading up to launch, and I think this type of content rollout has its plusses and minuses. On the one hand, you establish a weekly rhythm that fans grow accustomed to and look forward to each week. However, as that community grows, the expectations for each weekly update grow larger and larger until we simply can’t match the fervor no matter what we do. Before the Chua and Mordesh were announced, every week everyone truly believe that was the week we’d reveal them, and they’d be disappointed when we didn’t. After Chua/Mordesh, it was Medic/Engineer. Now that those are done, we see “Pre-order announcement,” “Release date,” and “Warplots” as the big things everyone expects to see week after week.
So all that said, after two big projects with this content cycle, I’ve come around to thinking that while irregular updates mean we can’t give you a regular schedule to watch and get hyped for, we can promise that when we DO post something, it’ll be juicy, full of information and imagery, and not just something we put out because we have to post something that week.
Will we post things on Wednesdays going forward? Probably, because it’s a good day to publish things so that the most people see and share it. Will it be every Wednesday from now through launch? It’s unlikely, but I’m not going to commit either way. We’re just getting back into the swing of things from our holiday break, so you’ll definitely have to wait a bit before our next big thing, but I’ve seen some of the stuff the team is working on (Devspeak and Flick-wise) and we’re planning to start off strong.
Curious about your thoughts on this, though. What do you guys think?
PS. Of the top of my head, here are some (not all) of the major topics we definitely plan to cover in the next few months:
Customization (Character, Gear, Housing, and [REDACTED])
Adventures
Battlegrounds
Arenas
Raids
Warplots
Tradeskills
Guilds

 

I’d love more information on crafting, which isn’t on his list, along with other economy related information (gotta know if I can corner the market on widgets and build a fortune, retire, and never have to adventure again!).  I do get his point about how hard it is to always have something ‘new’ and noteworthy to release on Wednesdays, eventually you end up releasing information that your fans consider ‘pointless’, so it is a hard pace to keep up.

I’d much rather see slower releases, but with ‘bigger’ topics, so it’ll be interesting to see what they end up doing.

Via the WildStar twitter, we got confirmation that Beta invites are going out weekly now, so make sure you’re checking your inboxes regularly!

Jeremy Gaffney also swung by reddit to answer some questions regarding the NDA:

We do hang out here though. By the way, thanks mods for all the work!
After the holiday break we’re working now on updating our plans for extending testing in various ways (making sure we get as much elder game testing as possible, planning on various short- and long-term testing cycles) as well as the order for what the next sets of reveals/deep dives will be, etc.
Re: the NDA – we’re still planning when to raise the level limits for the press, when we drop the NDA for non-press, all that. So while we have some planned dates in mind, we’re still bouncing schedules off the various groups involved (dev folks, Scooter, the video guys, etc.) so nothing final to announce.
Also, we learned a lot by dropping the press NDA from 1-15 and we like to take what we learn to modify our old plans, so plans shift (example: we’re factoring plans for twitch/streamers/etc better into our plans than we were before)
We’re actually kinda anti-NDA in many ways (obviously the game is pretty fun for most folks I think from all the footage that’s gone out even in mid-beta stage, it’s not like we’re trying to hide too much, and I think as devs it’s pretty obvious that we’re on the casual side) but it does let us stage out reveals over time to hold up some hype for near launch while simultaneously letting us actually get testing and iteration done.
Also, IMO we still have work to do on some things (some of the early tradeskills IMO need a pass now that we have more data on em, capital cities could use some loving, lots of UI tuning to do, class tuning, work on group play in the early zones, etc.) And so how much do we want out there on systems that we’re changing? What if (say) a tradeskill specialist checks out early footage and decides to pass before we react to feedback? Or what if a fan falls in love with a system we then decide to change and feels screwed?
So we debate that a lot on spreading info vs. feeling locked in via public disclosure. We’ll see.

 

Looking forward to a more relaxed NDA, and it will be interesting to see if the ‘press’ NDA is raised to cover additional levels, or if the NDA drops in whole first.

Speaking of press.. MOGNation now has permission to stream the 1-15 content, so if you’re looking for a WildStar stream to check out, head over to the MOGNation twitch channel!