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All posts for the month February, 2014

Holy Adventure Information overflow!

The flick last week was apparently just the start of the information iceberg for Adventures!

Following up on the flick’s release, we received a DevSpeak, an Info-Drop page, and the Reddit AMA.  If you had questions about Adventures, odds are… they got answered this week!

Let’s start with the DevSpeak:

At first glance, it looks like a plain, boring disclaimer this week.. but, there is a quick flash of a more…colorful disclaimer:

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.47.16 AM

Keeping like colored letters together to form words, and then putting those words into sentences.. gives us:

“The Disclaimer guy loves you and wants you to be happy so do like wise with your fellow gamers and be excellent to each other.  party on!”

So..Disclaimer guy is obviously either Bill, or Ted:

BandT

 

Actual highlights from the DevSpeak video are:

  • 5 person simulations that take place in alternate versions of zones you’ve already seen
  • Leveling/Elder game modes for each Adventure
  • Unique mechanics that may not exist in other parts of the game.
  • Choice matters
  • The Malgrave Trail (level 45 Adventure) is shown as an example of choice mattering.  You protect a caravan, and have to select from multiple paths to get to the destination.  Each route could be geared toward a specific path (Solider, Explorer, Settler, etc..)..and will have different challenges along the way.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 9.43.03 PM

 

  • Siege of Tempest Refuge (level 30 Adventure) has “Tower Defense” elements, to help you fight off the attacking forces.
  • XP, medals, achievements, and titles can be awarded in an Adventure.

 

The Adventure Reddit AMA on Weds. afternoon, was just chock full of good information, here’s my favorite Q&As:

Q: Hello! Are there any advantages in having various Paths by people in the Adventures?
I mean do Settlers and such get to build some stuff for their team? Do warriors get some missions that the rest of the team can participate in? Etc.
A: Hi! Thanks for the question. Paths will only come into play in the higher level adventures. And even then, the path composition of your group won’t have any run-making/breaking affects. We don’t want to add the extra difficulty of getting that optimal group combination in.
I can give you an example of the effects you will see though! In The Malgrave Trail adventure, for every player you have in your group with a particular path, your caravan will receive a particular buff. This includes things like Your caravan moving slightly faster for every explorer you have, a percentage of the caravan becoming armed for every soldier, maximum supply stores being upgraded for every settler, and your caravan’s max health being increased / starting supply of medicine for every scientist.

Q: How much replayability do you aim on Adventures having for endgame players?
A: Four of the six launching adventures will have veteran difficulty modes that drop level 50 rewards. These modes will also have tougher fights and additional mechanics in place to take the challenge to the next level.
Each adventure accomodates a fair number of playthroughs without your group seeing the same content twice. Replayability is among our top priorities when we make adventure content!

Q: Are adventures truly dynamic? Or are they “solvable” in that there is a particular solution that you/your party should know in order to get the maximum rewards?
A: The lowest level adventures respond pretty predictably to player choice, but once you’re past those introductory instances you’ve got a lot of different variance in the mix. One of our key goals is to make sure that a good group of players will always see better results from a solid strategy they cooked up in real time than one they read off the internet. We also spread out loot rewards across the various routes through the content to ensure that making the same choices every time isn’t the way to go.
Adventures and dungeons will be similarly rewarding, and the expected time to complete isn’t wildly different between them. As far as difficulty, dungeons and advenures are challenging in different ways. Dungeon content tends to stress a group’s ability to cohere in combat, while adventure content rewards groups that communicate and strategize well on the fly.

Q: It seems the adventure concept will greatly increase replay-ability for leveling alts or repeating adventures. Will there be different adventure choices based on faction for even more variety?
A: We’ve generally avoided faction-specific choices, mostly for balance reasons (we don’t want a case where the Dominion has an easier route through an instance, for example).
Each faction does have its own exclusive introductory adventure, however.

Q: Are different options in adventures tailored to be more difficult / have better rewards? Will the “elder game” difficulty of adventures have any differences outside of increased difficulty?
A: Our approach to increasing the difficulty of veteran adventures definitely extends beyond the mobs hitting a little harder. We have additional mechanics in place for every veteran modes.

 

We also got the info drop via the WildStar website (make sure you stay on the page for several moments, so you can experiences all of it’s personalities).

Here, we get a short introduction via the caretaker, a brief description of each of the initial Adventures (including their level requirement).  There’s also a sample of how you can choose between different options during an Adventure.. so, make your choice! see the outcome!

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If that wasn’t enough information for you… Carbine also ran a 40,000 invite “beta weekend” event this weekend, which, is one heck of a stress test.  Speaking of Beta… Gaffney swung by Reddit..and gave an interesting Beta statistic:

The total we’ve let into the beta (not counting stress tests) is something like 3.3% of the people who have signed up, after one removes all duplicate emails from the numbers. Demand is high.

3.3%.. so, if you got in.. consider yourself really lucky!

That wraps up this week’s news on Nexus, I’ll see you guys next week!

 

Listen up Cupcake… it’s Adventure Time!

Teaser_Poster_destroy_en

The big reveal this week, was a new WildStar Flick about Adventures!

Highlights from the video:

  • The CareTaker… reminds me of some DMs I had playing D&D when I was younger… that dude has gone crazy!
  • Adventures seem to be more ‘mega questy’ than a ‘normal’ dungeon.  Looks to be a ‘simulation’ inside WildStar, instead of a traditional dungeon as well.
  • Choices matter, good choices get you rewards, poor choices…. not so much.

Looking forward to getting more information from Carbine about what we can actually do in an Adventure.  This flick was great at teasing it, but didn’t give me as much ‘real’ information as I would have liked to see.  Really, we just know that Adventures are 5 person instanced group content.  Fortunately, the Carbine team will be conducting an Adventure AMA on Wednesday, in the WildStar sub-reddit, starting at 2 PST.

 

There are more ongoing beta key giveaways (check the Official WildStar page here to see the current ones), and Jeremy Gaffney swung by Reddit (he really loves that place!) to chime in on some of his thoughts about that (and some other interesting beta tidbits):

As more hardware is coming online, we’re going to up the scale of the testing we’re doing. Compared to other historical betas, we’re still in “dev” stage (actively changing/fixing things using players as guinea pigs) rather than “marketing” stage (where really you are out of time to be changing things and you’re trying to just raise awareness.)
Though given our internal mentality, we’ll probably be changing things based on feedback through and after launch too (that’s how we’ve set ourselves up; to be flexible and responsive) so for us the distinction will be pretty blurred.
Our purchase intent surveys from beta testers in-game say there’s player desire to say “ship it!” but to gently disagree with the survey feedback (most of those folks haven’t seen elder game yet, for instance so can that truly be a full judgement?) and to respond more to beta forum feedback which is more strongly opinionated on polishing/critical things to work on: we want more testing on elder games because we haven’t had enough mass tests of that yet and also in our opinion we want more polish on areas like UI, encounters, small group play, etc.
As hardware comes online, and as stress tests succeed or not with that hardware, we’ll start with more wide availability (soon, if things go well, somewhat later if not).
Obviously there’s a lot of pent-up demand; hopefully we can walk the right path (or close enough) between polishing/finishing the game responsibly, making folks waiting for access happy, not burning folks out through delays, and having a successful, stable launch.
Oh, forgot to respond actually to OP: we’re doing partner giveaways in part to be nice to our partners (we respect ’em for having helped out and so it’s a way for them to get some traffic/etc when in the past they are the ones who have been giving US traffic) and in part so that there is some outlet for players to have other ways to get keys (contests etc.) other than our scientific-but-unsatisfying-if-you-don’t-win-the-lottery base random selection method.

This current round of Beta Key Giveaways, runs until the 24th, so you’ve still got time to get a key and jump in and help test!

There was a stress test over the Valentine’s Day weekend, and nothing appears to have gone KABOOM over the weekend (didn’t see any tweets/vines about Carbine team members mourning for server hardware having gone up in smoke).  That’s probably a good sign, maybe they’re getting closer to opening beta up to more people, now that they’ve raised the beta level cap to 50, and that end game content is getting tested by players!

Want to see a Chua cry?  Of course you do!  Lucky for you (and the rest of us), the folks over at MMORPG put together a short video showing off a whole mess of emotes that have been added to the game over the last update.  For being such little models, the Chua can be pretty expressive!

That covers the WildStar news for the past week.  I’ll see you next week!

Not only were the Chua not happy with eating last week’s Wildcast from the MOG Nation folks… They apparently ate my calendar too (or, caused all the stuff at work that kept me too busy to write this last week.. take your pick).  This is what happens when you let Chua eat after midnight folks, so keep that in mind!

 

Over the last two weeks the big official news drop out of the Carbine camp… was all about customization!  Check out this DevSpeak:

This week’s disclaimer gives us a ‘leaked’ look at an unannounced (and, not real) PvP mode “Asaraven’s Assault”.  You can read the whole disclaimer here.

Highlights from the DevSpeak.

  • We see some armor with various dyes applied to it (same suit, different colors).
  • We get a quick look at the character customization sliders.

Quick look at some housing customization:

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 5.29.58 PM

 

Definitely a wide variety of housing appearances possible, not to mention all the internal customization.

  • You appear to be able to customize part of the sky’s appearance (shows changing it from snowing to a rainbow).
  • Weapon stats can be customized (after level 15)
  • Crafting system provides for a lot of variability/customization on the ‘standard’ recipes.
  • Mounts can be customized!
Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 5.33.17 PM

Chua restaurant delivery service?

We’re also given a sneak peek of the talked about (but not seen) WarPlots, which will allow quite a bit of customization as well.  Carbine has a write up, showing some screenshots of the dye interface as well, so check that out over here.

We got part 2 of the “B-Team” web comic (featuring the Engineer’s Bots!).  This part, we find out what ‘the new guy’ is actually capable of doing.. and he does it well!

Jeremy Gaffney swung by Reddit, and offered a small glimpse into some of the challenge in marketing WildStar based off just one ‘thing’ (Like Rift’s rifts, for example).:

The pro and con for WildStar is that the “thing” is action combat, environmental hazards that affect combat, discoveries, raids, housing, housing dungeons, 100’s of hours of levelling content, adventures, level by pvp/group pve/solo pve, Paths affecting a % of content and having social benefits, warplots, solid elder games for solo pve/pvp/group pve of various sizes, frequent updates post launch, yadda yadda.
So honestly how to package all that? Dunno, you can go trite with “MMOs done right” or pick one and hype it up knowing that any single feature some people will love and some won’t care about, or any single feature might not carry the freight of the whole enchilada.
We made a game that was fun to play, not easy to market – it’s the downside (and upside) of being a dev team at inception rather than a biz team. Good games sell in our opinion. We figure if we work our butts off to make it fun, the main goal then is just let people play it and figure out if they like it. In the interim we’ll dig deep into every given feature through devspeaks and let players who like it decide for themselves.
Maybe Rift (and similar titles) had a better plan – there were a lot of good systems in that game beyond the Rifts, but that was a good one (IMO) for them to segment out and have as being a sellable reasonably unique feature.
We could market ourselves as being “Paths of Pathy Pathness Online” or “World of Warplots” but that IMO would be selling it short (that last one is kinda catchy but might not fly with legal).
So yeah, tough question. YMMV. It’s double tough with a new IP; everyone knows what Star Wars Online implies. City of Heroes was IMO a great name – got the whole concept of the game across in 3 words.

 

Gaffney likes Reddit.. he also chimed in on a thread discussing some of the customization choices (character body wise):

Too many points to respond individually! But a few notes:
No body sliders at the moment because of the skeletal variance we have – you’ll note few games with very different racial silhouettes have sliders of note; clipping and armor stretching and weirdnesses abound. You can get away with it with a few humanoid skeletons (see: City of Heroes, etc.).
Not that we might not solve the tech hurdles eventually but for instance metal armor needs to not “breathe” with the character and if you allowed body sliders it’s approx the same tech that keeps it from “breathing” that keeps it from turning into a potbelly.
That might not be English but you get the thought.
Not all classes can be done by all races in part because as a tech issue not all the animations necessarily exist; we went the route of “lots of class animations” as an aesthetic choice (vs a cast and swing animation then used with particle combos for almost everything else like Some Games). On the flavor side, IMO class variance per race is one of the things that gives races flavor and affects the lore. One can like the variation or not, but as with anything it’s a tradeoff made during dev.
Sit-in-able chairs etc. exist (there are some vids floating around).
Huh, not familiar with MRP, I learn something new every day. Don’t see why a similar addon couldn’t exist, we don’t have anything quite like that in-game now but finding things to help RPers is a plus for us (they are VERY hard to systemize for IMO since many RPers like different rulesets to support RP!)
Numbers exist in names in part because Mechari names often contain them.
Interesting thought on RP instances, never considered that.
Characters of one faction only on PVP enabled servers.  Not much RMT at launch (server transfers perhaps) but more will likely follow (recustomization is a natural, especially if we add more character options at some point after launch)

The tidbits about single faction only on PvP servers, and the minimal RMT are nice.  I know a lot of PvPers who will be very happy about the single faction thing, since they feel that makes your faction identity ‘stronger’ than if you can switch between factions.

 

MMORPG.com ran an interview with Philip Chan (Carbine’s crafting guru).  Read the whole article if you’re into crafting, lots of good information in there.. my favorite tidbit came from near the end:

Even more promising is the news that we’ll be able to craft incredible, competitive items for raiding, using materials collected from those raids. “For those of you that are interested, I am fighting very hard for crafting to mean something.” That could even mean being able to sell those items to others. “In my mind, even in elder game crafting, I want players to engage in the elder game, whether that’s PvP or raids, I want them to get crafting specific materials from those elder games, and I want them to be able to craft things that they can sell. “

“I would like for everything that your raid earns to be up to them to decide what to do with it.”

Yeah.. that’s right.. crafted gear might be viable for raiding!  Woo-hoo!  Can’t wait!

 

That pretty much wraps up the last two weeks of news drops for WildStar.. but, the Carbine crew did tease us about a new flick coming next week:

Teaser_Poster_reward_en

The W* Flicks are always entertaining, and this one will obviously give us some insight into the W* Adventure system (5 man group content with a variety of gameplay types).  So, stay tuned on Tuesday!