As if WildStar needs more news of a developer leaving, Art Director Matt Mocarskiannounced on Twitter that he was starting an new top secret project at Amazon Game Studios. This means that he is no longer working for Carbine Studios and WildStar. He did have a quick message to his followers.
Started my new role at Amazon Game Studios today! Although Carbine will be missed, I'm super excited to start on my top secret new project!
On October 15th at 5:00 a.m., all the WildStar servers will come down for 12 to 24 hours. When they come back online they will be merged into four servers. Europeans will be on Jabbit for PvE and Luminai for PvP, and Americans will head to Entity for PvE and Warhound for PvP.
For those who are concerned about their names, everyone will be prompted to put in a surname for each character. And all the characters that are under level 3 will be deleted. Everything level 3 and above will be transferred to the new servers with all their stuff. Carbine suggests that if you need help with naming your character you can check out the naming guides for Exiles and Dominion.
It’s a bit more complicated in regards to duplicate guild names. The latest dev blog explains what’s going to happen.
“When a naming conflict exists, the oldest guild with the conflicted name will be permitted to keep it. If the name chosen for your guild is no longer available, the Guild Leader will be prompted to rename their guild on first login.”
Unfortunately, there is no perfectly fair way to do it. That’s about as fair as you can get. Good luck.
WildStar had some struggles. Top-level designers and community leaders have jumped to other projects or left the industry altogether. Needless to say morale for the budding studio is down over all, but thanks to the latest developer blog, things might be on an upward swing.
The next content patch introduces a new “Mystery” zone that will provide brand new content for level 50s. The developers promise content of all kinds.
“We’ve added content for players of all stripes, from lore-filled immersive solo content, to fast and furious 5-player quests and massive 20-player public events.”
If you’re a person who’s on the fence about what to think about WildStar, then take a trip to the dev blog. You might want to come back.
Today on the Wildstar’s weekly show Stephan Frost announced he will be leaving Carbine. It’s possible you might not recognize the name, but if you have watched any of Wildstar’s videos you probably know his voice because in many ways he was the voice of Wildstar and will be missed by many.
Though people leaving a company after a MMO launches isn’t unusual the list of people leaving Carbine is starting to get a bit long. Hopefully this will be the last for awhile. No word yet on where his next gig will be.
Carbine has announced that changes are in store for WildStar’s servers. While still a bit off, plans have been made to begin moving the game’s population onto megaservers. This will include replacing current rulesets with a PvP and PvP server each per region and adding specific chat channels to make up for the loss of specialized servers.
At this point the announcement is more of an advanced warning, no date having been set for it’s implementation.
“Going the megaserver route means that we vastly increase server capacity allowing for greater critical mass of our player base, resulting in more people, more groups, more activity and more raids… more of everything that makes WildStar so fun,”
In addition to these changes, Carbine will be increasing player character slots to 12 and adding last names — so hopefully no one will be stuck having to add numbers and other crazy things to their handles.
Free transfers will also be offered once the new system is implemented.
Jeremy Gaffney, the president of Carbine Studios, sticks to his “no-bullshit” policy and explains explicitly why he’s stepping down as leader of the studio who made WildStar. The last several months have been unhealthy for him. He had to have surgery for cancer, and he needs some time off.
He also gives a warning to everyone who is a workaholic like him:
“Don’t be my brand of idiot, if you see an unusual mole or marking get it checked out ASAP; there’s worse stuff out there than what I had.”
It’s not often that a game developer is as candid as Gaffney, so here’s his whole post. It’s a must-read.
I wanted to let you know that I’m stepping down as President of Carbine Studios. I’m not leaving entirely; I’ll be adopting more of a consulting role going forward with Carbine (and possibly elsewhere in the industry down the road).
This is not a bad thing. Some of our current development stars will be stepping up to lead WildStar forward while I can help work with them from the outside.
I have a personal “no bullshit” policy (which I think I’ve infused Carbine with as well), so let me give some context here without getting too personal.
“Focusing on family” is most often, in my opinion, a horseshit excuse you hear from executive types (usually departing with a forcible shove).
In my case, it is part of my reason for stepping down – through 2013, my wife and I lost six members of our families to various reasons – mostly cancer. I myself was diagnosed at the end of last year with a fatal-if-untreated form of skin cancer. I had let it go untreated/undiagnosed for over 9 months while focusing on work instead. I dodged a bullet; surgery was successful and I’m cancer-free – but (if you ever go through anything similar you’ll know) that’s a hell of a wake-up call.
I mention this now (I usually don’t talk about personal stuff, because who cares) to say: don’t be my brand of idiot, if you see an unusual mole or marking get it checked out ASAP; there’s worse stuff out there than what I had.
On the professional front, when you lead a team this size in a company this size, there are a variety of strong opinions on every major decision. It’s been a pleasure helping steer us through to launch, but I think having one less strong opinion in the mix can be a good thing too. Even if I’m always right, of course.
Anyways, all this culminates in a need to take some time off before leaping into the next set of adventures. This has not been an easy decision for me to make, as I’ve pretty much poured my life into Carbine and WildStar. I’m proud of what we accomplished; we took a no-name IP to a big ass MMO launch, which ain’t easy in this day and age. There’s more work to do (the devs are indeed listening) but we have a great team to do it with as well.
I think it’s important that the folks here coordinate together around a single vision to move forward, and as part of that I’m looking forward to working with NCSOFT and Carbine in a very supportive role moving forward. I’ll likely not be as active in the forums and community as I have been in the past (some of y’all have noticed this already as I’ve worked here on my transition over the last months). But I’m far too passionate about you and WildStar to just get up and go entirely; while my role has changed, my voice hasn’t.
Thanks guys for your support and for being passionate WildStar fans – I remain one too.
It’s one of tools developers use to help justify monthly subscriptions in this time of free to play, but more often than not it proves to be a tad overly ambitious.
WildStar Senior Game Designer Megan Starks said during an interview at Gamescom that following the first two updates that came out in rapid succession, the cadence for releases would be slowing down from the previous schedule of monthly updates.
“Originally our idea was to have a really aggressive post-launch schedule, just constantly provide stuff for our players so that there’s always things for you to do. Now that we’ve put out two of our updates, our schedule is still planned out. [...] We decided to work on [the upcoming patch Defile] until it’s a really good quality state. We do know that we want it to come out in the next few months. Instead of saying that we have this hard deadline, that it’s going out no matter what, we’re going to take the time to make sure that the quality is there.”
When asked about future updates, Starks said that future updates would follow this same ready when it’s ready guideline.
The featured video above is that interview with MMORPG Life at Gamescom. It starts around the point this conversation begins, but you can feel free to watch the entire interview if you’d like.
This week on TWIMMO: WildStar Sabotage content news, beta for the Space MMO Elite: Dangerous, Firefall has launched and more!
What Is Sabotage?
Well, from this DevSpeak, Sabotage is a 15 vs 15 battleground full of bombs, mounts, airstrikes and… more bombs! Basically, both teams have a fusion core that they have to prevent from getting destroyed. There are also Uplink towers teams can capture to call in periodic airstrikes on an enemy’s fusion core. To damage fusion cores and Uplink towers, you have to carry bombs to either one. You can even use bombs on enemy players and, by the looks of that DevSpeak video, your teammates as well!
It looks like Star Citizen has some competition coming in the form of Elite Dangerous. The beta trailer for this game showed off some space combat and some stats on the game itself. For example, there are 55 playable star systems, multiplayer missions and a solo play option. The beta is $75 to get in and it looks good so far. Check out the show for the hosts’ opinions.
Firefall has finally launched and has a shiny new trailer for launch as well. Just to put some perspective on how long Firefall was in beta: Closed beta was in 2011 and open beta was in 2013. There’s open world PvP that puts you up against one of three armies. There’s instance queues for story missions, raids, every battleframe has several levels now, and zones have associated levels.
We have a lot more content to look forward to on future TWIMMO episodes. Be sure to return next week for your weekly dose of MMO news.
Well, here’s a pleasant surprise for all you WildStar PvPers out there, Carbine decided today was as good a day as any to drop the awesome PvPness (yes, that is legitimate gaming commentary damn it!) that is the Sabotage update players have been looking forward to.
On top of the absolute metric ton of class tweaks, comes a brand new 15v15 PvP Battleground, Daggerstone Pass.
Pick up bombs and drop them in order to destroy your enemies’ base, or just explode their faces. Uplinks are located in the middle of the map and are vital because they can be used to call down airstrikes against the enemy base. Or they can call down airstrikes against your base. The entire time you and your allies are attacking the enemy base, you must defend your own. The first team to take out the enemy base wins.
Improved PvP stat scaling should improve damage dealt and healing given as PvP gear improves, making your PvP experience more rewarding.
Check out the new DevSpeak video above, and then jump in WildStar, because all this is live right now!
1. 40 Man Raids: “Old School” is now “New School”.
WildStaris bringing the challenge back to raiding, and it will wreck your f@#&ing face! Raids are designed as a true challenge to players, and you’ll die more than a few times trying to take them on. This ain’t your grandma’s casual MMO raiding.
2. Speaking of 40 mans, you can annihilate your enemies in 40 vs 40 Warplot PvP!
Warplots are a customizable PvP experience, allowing teams to strategize and get a unique gameplay experience every time. Build your very own Warplot in WildStar and slaughter your enemies!
3. C.R.E.D.D. Gives you the option to Kick Ass for FREE!
Whether you want to convert real money to gold, or use in-game gold to purchase game time, C.R.E.D.D. offers flexibility in how you pay for for the time you play. I love playing Wildstar for FREE
4. Your friends can bask in the sheer fabulousness of your epic space crib.
Few games have offered player housing at launch, and fewer still provide the flexibility and customization WildStar‘s housing gives the players. You’re free to create your perfect space abode. The customization is mind boggling.
5. WildStar is glorious combat nirvana!
Why tab-target when there is action combat? The combat in WildStar is super fun, fast-paced and moving out of enemy attacks while maintaining the proper position to do maximum damage is sure to make you giddy.
6. One Word: Hoverboard
Remember that awesome hoverboard from “Back To The Future” you wanted as a kid?WildStartotally has those as mounts!
7. Does your MMO take itself too seriously?
There’s humor around every corner in WildStar!From hilarious emotes to 4th wall breaking cultural references, there’s plenty of funny. But watch yourself, this game can lay the smackdown on ya before you realize it.
8. Level-Ups Kick Ass!
There is no question as to when you level up in WildStar! You’ll feel like you just cured cancer every time you level up
9. My chompacabra can beat up your chocobo
You’ve been warned.
10. Updates Galore!
WildStarhas only been out since June 3, and already there has been one major content patch launched and another announced and just around the corner. If you’re looking for continuous new content to keep you entertained, this could be the game you’re looking for!
Hot on the heels of its first content update, WildStar is already sharing details on its second major addition, “Sabotage”.
This update is geared towards all the PvPers out there, featuring mounts, airstrikes and a ridiculous amount of explosives. Sabotage is a new game mode that players can access starting at level 30 and takes place in a massive new 15v15 battleground arena, Daggerstone Pass. The goal of the arena is to capture and maintain hold points, which will do damage to your enemy’s base. The “Sabotage” comes into play through bombs that are randomly spawned near your base. Once picked up by a player, the bombs begin ticking down to detonation and can be used for various strategies.
Check out the latest DevSpeak video above, and don’t worry PvE lovers, the next update will be for you.
Earlier today, WildStar surprised everyone by announcing their first game content pack titled “The Strain.” The update is bringing a lot of things with it, including a new zone, new solo content, new gear, housing items, costumes and mounts. In addition, players will notices that something is very different about previously existing zones.
In fact, it looks like things have gotten pretty nasty… and apparently we can thank a stray rowsdower for it?!
So, what do all these new features look like? Well, you can see them in the video above as well as in the screenshots below. But lets talk a few details. First! The new zone.
Blighthaven is a massive zone which is as Mike Donatelli put it during E3 “the size of 264 thousand hot tubs.” (You’ll have to ask him how that works out in imperial or metric units.) The zone is made up of two smaller areas: Cankertube swamp and “the gastrointestinal terrors” of the Globellum. Sounds… Tasty? I’m not sure these will be hot vacation spots.
In addition to the lovely scenery of the new zone players are also getting new solo content in the form of a tower defense game titled “Guardians of the Grove”. There’s also a “dungeon-like” area for group combat named The Nursery that features fight against Elyona the Mad, a boss infected by the Strain.
Of course, when you have rowsdowers running around eating whatever, it’s not likely they’ll stay in one spot and contain the resulting infection. So, players can also look forward to familiar areas being drastically altered as a result, such as Norther Wilds becoming a crash site named Northern Wastes.
Don’t worry, though. If you manage to make it through all of this alive you will be getting something for the effort. Players will be able to unlock Strain-themed items such as gear, housing items, costumes and mounts.
As we count down the last day to Wildstar’s launch, it seemed like a good time to reflect on how some of the most recent MMO launches have gone. Obviously this is all from my perspective so your experience might have been different
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Although World of Warcraft was my first real MMO, I didn’t start playing until it had been out for about a year. SWTOR was not only the first MMO I really looked at seriously, it was also the first MMO I played during launch.
SWTOR did a early access deal for people who pre-ordered, something which has pretty much become standard practice since. The nice thing about launching with early access is it gives a MMO a sort of “soft pre-launch” period. Overall it’s a strategy which seems to work well.
The biggest issue I experienced during launch was long queues. By long queues I mean hour long at least just waiting to login and play. The annoyance of queues was exacerbated by the fact I was leveling with a couple of friends so even when one of us would make it into the game we would still have to wait on the other two. Heaven forbid the internet went out during that time as well. Much rage was had over waiting in those long queues.
Now, having to wait in a queue to login for a MMO during launch should be pretty much expected. And in the grand scheme of things isn’t the worst case for a MMO launch (I’ll get into what’s worse in a bit). I’d personally rather wait in queues in the beginning rather than having the Devs open far too many servers just to avoid them… Unfortunately rather quickly more server were opened and eventually BioWare had to do server merges.
There were of course other issues during launch. There seemed to be a large variety of bugs all over. Nothing game breaking but enough that the end feeling was SWTOR was unpolished. My favorite bug was during some conversations some characters and NPCs would appear to have liquid mercury eyes. Pretty hilarious on the one hand, but on the other it absolutely destroyed the immersion and did take a bit away from the storyline.
The other issues (like endgame content which wasn’t really ready) didn’t become evident until after the launch phase was over. Massive queues, multitudes of bugs, and way too many servers are the main things I remember about the launch of SWTOR.
Guild Wars 2
The next MMO launch I participated in was Guild Wars 2 launch. Their answer to the common problem of having to wait in a queue was overflow servers. For anyone who doesn’t know what an overflow server is, it’s basically when a zone is full of people another copy is created and people are put there instead of on their home server. The upside is while players are waiting for room on their server they can actually play instead of sitting in a long boring queue.
The downside of the overflow system was apparent really quickly: playing with friends was quite difficult. Not only would people in the same group often get put into different overflows but joining each other was often impossible. Of course that wasn’t just because of the overflows, they were having problems overall with parties and guilds at launch.
For anyone who mostly plays alone the GW2 launch was probably the smoothest launch ever. For those of us who like to play these games with friends the launch was a bit of a nightmare. One of the big draws of GW2 is exploration and doing whatever variety of activities you find fun. Being out in the world and discovering and exploring things with my friends was the one thing I looked foreword to the most, and their launch made it pretty much impossible.
Of course there were also some security issues, and problems with the Trading Post. Apparently some people even had trouble logging at one point. These problems were troublesome enough it prompted Arenanet to stop selling the game for awhile. All in all though they got things in hand pretty quickly and really the social systems not being properly in place was the biggest failing here.
Final Fantasy XIV
It’s might be because the FFXIV launch is the most recent one I have been through, but I remember this one the most clearly. And it’s without a doubt the worst MMO launch I have personally experienced. Of course I am referring to the relaunch late last year I don’t want to the think about how much worse the original launch might have been.
I’ve talked some about the frustration of sitting in queues waiting to play. The FFXIV system is what’s worse than queues.
There was no queue system. You just tried to log in, if the server was full you just had to try again. Instead of sitting in a queue and perhaps doing something else while you waited you had to sit there trying to log in over and over. Some people even made macros to spam the log in in process, which is a really not great solution. Some people couldn’t log in for days on end. They even disabled creating toons on a lot of servers temporarily so aside from just trying to get into the game trying to get a character on the same server as friends was a herculean task in many cases.
The fact there was no AFK timer added to this problem. People were so concerned about never getting back in they started to just leave themselves logged in 24/7. While I understand the desire to do this, it just further complicated the problem for people who were trying to play. I remember running around in game (when I finally logged on) and seeing people all over obviously AFK just hanging out.
The most infuriating part wasn’t that sometimes your server name would just disappear, though that was pretty frustrating; no what took the cake was when it would seem like I made it through the log in process only for it to error out on the last step. Many tables were flipped.
Granted they did get the problems worked out, and they even credited everyone with extra game time. However, it’s hard for me to imagine how a launch where thousands of people want to play your game but can’t could be anything short of the worst MMO launch ever. I’m tempted to say it couldn’t have been worse if the game itself was poorly done and unplayable, but then the problem of too many people trying to log in would have fixed itself pretty quickly.
Looking back over this article I noticed I didn’t mention Rift. Which is funny on many levels but mostly because I was wrong in thinking SWTOR was my first MMO launch.
I played at launch but truth be told I don’t remember much about it. Certainly there were queues, but nothing too bad. I did a quick Google search and hardly got any results at all. There were long queues but Trion pretty quickly opened more servers.
Apparently Rift had one of the smoothest launches is recent history.
As I am finishing up here it is Wildstar eve. I have a lot of hope this will be the smoothest launch to date. I know the whole name reservation debacle has made a lot of people nervous, but I tend to look at it as it exposed some weaknesses in their system and hopefully it means those sorts of issues won’t be a thing. Plus all the crashing and extensive stress tests during beta also have me feeling good about.
One thing clear to me after reminiscing is launch experience has no real bearing on if I’ll stick with a game or not. I enjoyed Rift and had a good launch experience but I didn’t play after the first month. SWTOR and FFXIV were worse launch experiences for me, and yet I played both of those for many months after launch.
I am sure there will be queues for Wildstar, but if you feel yourself getting mad waiting in a queue just remember this: it could be WAY worse
I hope everyone has fun in Nexus and there will be no need for table flipping!
Protostar Labs brings you its first interview with add-on developer CasstielCupcake, creator of Steer and KeybindFreedom.
Add-ons have been a large influence in WildStar since the first days of the secret closed beta and as such it will have a heavy impact on how people choose to play the game. Addon developer CasstielCupcake has created two addons that allow you to play the game’s combat in a style similar to third person shooters, TERA, Elder Scrolls Online, and other action games.
“Steer will engage Wildstar’s native Mouse Lock functionality that pans the camera by mouse movement. By binding the forward movement with the mouse lock, we can achieve a “steering” function by pushing the middle mouse button and moving the mouse. While the addon senses your character moving, the Mouse Lock will engage. If the addon senses your character has stopped, it will disengage the mouse lock.
You can optionally select from two modes of operation: manual or automatic. You can manually toggle the mouse lock via a number of methods including single LMB click, double LMB click, or a keypress of your choosing.”
“This is an identical clone replacement of the Carbine stock Keybindings, but disabled the restriction on binding the Left Mouse Button and Right Mouse Button.
With the open beta in full swing and release just around the corner, I decided to give the combat another swing to see if it improved. Instead, I have found that the original issue I had with it is simply no longer an issue… In fact, it was never an issue to begin with.
A couple of months ago, I wrote an editorial explaining the problem I had with Wildstar’s combat. Feel free to read it if you like, but the short story is that the lack of response animations when hit by an ability made the experience feel almost incomplete. After playing the open beta, I realized that the lack of response animations was not the problem, it was the latency.
The Original Problem
For those who do not know, Wildstar’s action combat does not usually include an animation for an enemy or player getting hit. There are some, but it does not happen much. Normally, the model simply will not react from the impact. Originally, this felt so awkward to me that it made appreciating the combat hard. It was like an ink blotch on an otherwise perfect painting.
What I did not realize at the time was that the real problem was the subtle latency I was experiencing in combat. The beta weekends were not exactly sunshine and rainbows when it came to gameplay experience. The framerate was a fourth of what it is now, the world was buggy, and there was a distinct latency. However, because I was so focused on the combat action, I did not notice the latency. The screen was always moving at fifteen frames per second during combat, so what I thought was a lack of visual response in animations, was actually a latency that was so difficult to notice that I mistook it for something completely different.
That being said, how do I feel about the combat? I freaking love it.
But, wait… How did I realize my error?
Well, it is simple. I played during open beta. The game’s optimization has vastly improved and the latency has been decreased to the point where the game feels incredibly fluid and responsive. As a result, I was able to feel a massive difference from the beta weekends.
Do not get me wrong, there is still a lack of response animations in combat. The difference is that it does not detract from the impactful feeling that should be there. In fact, I really feel like the inclusion of response animations would mire the game in unnecessary detail. Think about it; the combat already has massive amounts of movement and action. Adding extra animations into an already animation-rich combat system could not only be distracting, but awkward.
Wildstar’s combat is very high paced. Cooldowns reset often and almost every ability has a completely different combat animation (especially with the melee classes). This is not only true with the character models, but with many of the NPC and enemy models, as well. If the models had to perform a response animation every time they were struck, animations would start overlapping in a pretty negative way. The models may start to seem twitchy or even flat out glitchy.
The Brilliance of Wildstar’s Combat
When it comes right down to it, Wildstar is a pretty standard MMO. It has your standard quests, your standard PVP, your standard dungeons, and your standard raids (but boy do they look HARDCORE). Sure, they have some cool things sprinkled in there, such as housing, adventures, etc., but it is all made so much more fun by the game’s combat.
I can honestly say that I have found Wildstar’s combat while QUESTING to be more engaging than World of Warcraft’s combat while RAIDING (oh boy, am I going to get some heat for that statement, there). It has a level of engagement that I have not seen in a long time, at least in an MMO. There is a certain balance between action-bar/cooldown based combat and flat-out action combat that I have not seen in many other games. It is not perfect, but it is pretty darn good.
Wrap-Up and Questions
So, I goofed up. What I thought was a problem with response animations was actually an issue with latency. Because of this realization, and just how fluid the combat has been, my enjoyment of Wildstar’s combat is very high. I have decided to put the game down until release. I do not want to spoil anything big… I really want to feel like I am walking into a new world. But, all in all, I am really excited for the combat system. It is looking good!
So, what do you think? Do you enjoy the game’s combat? Why or why not? Has optimization and/or latency improved for you as well? Let us know in the comments section below!
The much rumored and much anticipated Open Beta for WildStar is finally here! Open Beta will run from May 8th until May 18th. Anyone who has participated in the closed beta (even if it was just for a weekend event) will just need to patch up and start playing on the 8th. For people who haven’t played WildStar at all yet you’ll just need to visit Carbine’s Open Beta page to obtain a key to download and play WildStar. Additionally the level cap for Open Beta has been raised to level 30. For more Open beta details check out the official Open Beta Announcement.
To kick off the Open Beta Mike Donatelli, Chad Moore, Stephan Frost, and Matt Mocarski will be doing a 30 minute livestream at 11am PDT May 8th. This livestream will not only be celebrate making it to Open Beta and discussing why WildStar is awesome, but they also plan on addressing some of the questions repeatedly asked on the forums that haven’t been previously answered.
Last but certainly not least there will also be a six hour livestream on Friday May 9th starting at 11am PDT. Jeremy Gaffney will be on hand for this livestream to cover some of the challeneges Carbine had to overcome to get ready for launch, some play-by-play of raid and warplot activity, a sneak peak at higher level Open Beta Content, and some Post Launch content. This six hour livestream will also have a AMA format where they will be taking questions from Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Forums, Twitch, and some other social media platforms.
Looking for a chance to get into the next WildStar beta weekend but haven’t yet? We have some good news for you!
The lovely people over at Carbine have granted us with 5,000 keys to give away. The keys are good for the upcoming beta weekend and will grant you access from 7:00 a.m. Pacific on Friday, May to 11:59 Pacific, May 4th, 2014. Content for this beta will include levels 1-25 — previous betas were capped at lvl 20 — as well as access to the following:
New Adventure – Northern Wilds Adventure is a MOBA style group content experience for you and four of your buddies. Take over the whole map and destroy the enemy base to win, but watch out for the defending faction… they’ll viciously fight to win so come prepared to kick ass.
Whitevale – The Dominion version of Alcatraz, Invading Alien scientists (…that dissect anything that moves), and a sunken ship filled with treasure hungry Marauders are waiting for your arrival. Oh… and a nuclear teraformer explosion has unleashed brain controlling squid on the Exile and Dominion military forces. No big deal.
Hoverboards – Like hoverboarding? Duh. Of course you do. Get your hoverboard at a mount vendor in the capital city!
Abilities and AMPs – Get new abilities to put in your Limited Action Set so you can continue to customize the way you destroy baddies, and unlock more perks in our AMP system.
Unlock more clues to the history of the Eldan – Where did this hyper-advanced race go? What kind of technology and secrets are out there? Where can you get a solid space fish taco on Nexus? Get out there and find out, Spanky.
“There’s no easy way to say this, so let’s just dive right in: This is my goodbye thread.
WildStar’s been an opportunity I’ve never had before. It’s the first time I’ve gotten to work on an original IP, not something that’s owned or controlled by another company (like Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel, etc.) and it’s been amazing to have that freedom to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. With your support, we launched a massive livestream initiative, had a hugely successful beta, and forged some amazing relationships that will carry this game onwards forever. One of my main goals over the past couple months was to build up a solid Community team with a strong foundation, and I feel like we’ve hit that stride right now. Tony (aka Tha_Cheez, aka “The Packers Suck”) and Sean (aka “The guy who runs @WildStar”) are in a position now to catapult their way to launch with an awesome schedule of content that brings you guys further into our studio, and allows us to interact with you in more ways than ever.
There’s no real “perfect” time to leave a team, especially with MMOs that have no real “end,” but the truth is my personal life’s taken a turn and I’ve made the impossibly difficult decision to leave Carbine. The guys will continue building up the community team, and will share some of their plans with you in the near future, and I have no doubt that you guys will see some amazing stuff as we get ready for launch and beyond.
Thank you all so much for sharing your excitement and love for WildStar with me over the last few years. It’s been an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to jump over to the other side and experience the launch of this game as a player. (I’ve already got a LAN party set up with my friends for headstart!)
I want to leave you with a story that’s stuck with me my whole life, and hopefully will get you guys even more excited for the future of this game. When I was a kid, I was on the JV basketball team at my elementary school. We used to practice each afternoon outside on the court. One day, a team from our rival school showed up and tried to kick us off the court. That didn’t sit so well with us, and I got into the first (and last) fight of my life. The police got involved, and when I finally made it home, my mom was scared and said, “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel Air.”
See you on Nexus,
We wish David all the luck in his new endeavor and can’t wait to see what he’s up to next.
When it comes to max level content the Carbine team has been relatively quiet except to say there will be things for everyone to do. Some of these things are raids, events, PvP, dailies & events; and yes it’s called Elder Game not endgame. However, many of the specifics with these systems have been left undisclosed aside from superficial information (like the size of raids). Thankfully the Wildstar panel at PAX East was all about Elder Game content and I was able to talk with Stephan Frost, design producer, for a bit on Saturday and gleaned even more details from him.
Raids Are Hard
No really Carbine’s design philosophy when it comes to raiding is, raiding should be some of the most challenging content in the game. I have seen a number of people claim telegraphs make avoiding damage too easy. Unfortunately this perspective seems based on low level content which is easier because leveling is designed to teach players to deal with these mechanics throughout the process. When it comes to raiding Carbine is taking full advantage of the telegraphs to really challenge players.
Not only are there some pretty wickedly shaped telegraphs used, but when combined with other mechanics (like the floor dropping away) there is little room for error. With a limited amount of dodging allowed reacting at the wrong moment or in the wrong direction can seriously ruin a boss attempt.
One of the examples shown during the panel is a rotating weirdly shaped telegraph. Which doesn’t sound horrible, but with the rate the telegraph is rotating dodges have to be used. If a player happens to misjudge which direction they should go… well it’ll hurt a whole bunch. Or in Frost’s words “these telegraphs will melt your face.”
One of my favorite mechanics shown during the panel was a raid group fighting a boss on a bunch of interlocking platforms. There’s a mechanic where a player gets targeted with a “bomb” type effect. The way it seemed to be meant to work, is the player should jump off the platform… which in general is the last thing most people would think of doing. If done wrong however, well the guys in the stream wiped half their raid in one hit. Though it looked like there is potential if it’s done really wrong, a player could take out their entire raid team at once.
In addition the Carbine team is redefining trash mobs as “base population” and it’s not just a name change. Trash mobs will actually drop real loot and will have real mechanics to defeating them. As someone who generally hates trash mobs I am actually happy about this change. Most of the reason I hate trash, is because trash always seems pointless and just there to slow the group down. If the trash actually has some real mechanics and real loot it’ll be a huge improvement on the current state of things!
One thing I hadn’t heard the Carbine team talk about much before is some items will have an imbuement which is basically a quest or task the player will have to accomplish to unlock more power on a item. Examples of tasks are killing a particular boss, collecting a certain number of items, max reputation with some faction, and other things along these lines. The items will be pretty good without unlocking these imbuements, but for players who really want to get the full power out of their gear tackling any and all imbuement quests will be something they’ll want to do.
Now personally I love the concept of imbuements. For me it reminds me (and yes I realize it’s not a direct correlation) of forging Quel’Serrar back in Vanilla WoW. For anyone who was a warrior back then obtaining that sword was an accomplishment, and one where players not only had to kill a specific boss but had to do specific things during the boss fight… clearly it’s a memory I have held on to. As soon as Joe Piepiora mentioned imbuements and started explaining the reasoning behind them, I knew we were getting the type of content which will spawn stories and memories for years to come.
Piepiora also mentioned artifact weapons, which is the top most tier weapons only obtainable from doing the hardest content in Wildstar. Pretty cool. The Artifact Sword he showed off had SIX imbuements on it. As an example of how crazy it does get, at the end of the line on the artifact weapons to unlock the the last power players will have to summon two special bosses (which the group will never have fought before because they only exist for this imbuement) and defeat them at the same time (this is the 80 man raid some people have been mentioning). Talk about having a story to share afterwards.
Additionally… say I get this nice shiny artifact sword, great and stuff but then a new raid tier comes out. Well time to toss the old sword in the bank right (or relegate it to only being a costume skin)? Nope. Because of how imbuements work there is the potential to keep adding new imbuements on so I could keep powering that sword up and use it for a long long time. Not only is this prospect exciting, it’s also a great motivation to do some of these super hard requirements.
Story Instances are instances designed for a solo player to really delve into the deeper lore behind Wildstar. The player is guided through these encounters by A NPC everyone meets during the standard leveling quests named Drusera. Starting at level 35 the story instances will guide players to a deeper understanding of the history of the planet Nexus and what is currently going on.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ve seen this content because you’ve met Drusera. Story Instances have not made it into beta, and might not be there at all until launch. Which makes me sad, though I understand testing group content in beta is a higher priority for a multitude of reasons. Also, if these were already in beta some jerk probably would have written about it and spoiled all the mysteries for everyone else. /whistles innocently
Another aspect I really like about Story Instances is they can be leveraged to propel the story forward in the future. While there undoubtedly will be some story in the raids, most of the story will be told in these instances instead. As someone who is always unhappy to have to skip cut scenes because I don’t want to get left behind, I really appreciate this separation.
One part of Story Instances I am curious about, and unfortunately forgot to ask Stephan Frost about, is if Story Instances can be done in a group at all. I have friends who enjoy the story and lore in games as much as I do and it is nice to be able to go through the story parts with them when we can. Sure we can, and will, talk about what happened after but it’s not the same as experiencing it for the first time together.
One thing Frost emphasized when I was talking with him is the Carbine team is focused like a laser on making sure there is plenty of Elder Game available not only at launch but also in the months following launch. As someone who watched SWTOR implode firsthand, knowing Wildstar isn’t just planning for the launch itself but what will happen immediately afterwards is reassuring. It’s also good to know they are planning for more than just raid content updates.
Now if I could just find out how exactly a group captures a raid boss to use on their Warplot…
With the Wildstar NDA gone, the community has been discussing the ins and outs of the game. This editorial will weigh in on how the combat can teach us the importance of attack and response animation synchronization.
I have had the chance to play during two different beta weekends and I really enjoyed the game, but something bothered me about the combat. At the time of playing, I couldn’t figure out what it was. Something just didn’t feel like it was connecting and, as a result, the combat felt very floaty and weak.
With the NDA lifted, I have been thinking about it more often as to create an opportunity to write about it. Although I’m not in the beta proper, I have been watching video after video trying to figure out what about the combat didn’t sit well with me. Even when watching footage of the game, instead of playing it, I observed the same lack of weight and power in the combat.
Eventually, I realized what it was; when hit, the enemy and player avatar do not have a consistent response animation. Now, you might be thinking, “Hang on a minute, that’s standard in MMOs,” and you’d be right. Most developers do not bother with a consistent response animation attached to being hit with an attack. However, most of those MMOs don’t have action combat like Wildstar’s.
Why the Combat Feels Off
Wildstar’s combat is very involved and engaging. It was so much fun that I completely forgot how mundane the questing experience was (although I didn’t mind that so much as I was reading and appreciating the lore). Yet, it is that very engagement that highlights the lacking animations so much.
When I’m playing World of Warcraft, the attack and response animations are very inconsistent and even sometimes nonexistent. I can use mutilate on my rogue and the target won’t even flinch from being gutted by two daggers. Even so, the combat feels fluid and seems to have an appropriate weight because of the lack of involvement. I don’t need to aim nor do I even have to be particularly close to the enemy for the attack to connect. Not to mention, I have a constant auto-attack and I don’t need to worry about the enemy moving out of the way of my ability – mutilate will simply hit the target, no questions asked.
With Wildstar, however, that engagement is there. I need to pay attention not only to where the enemy is, but where the enemy will be. I’m not looking at the numbers to see I’m doing damage, I’m looking at the enemy itself and that makes all the difference in the world. On one hand, this is a really good thing. It means that Carbine has successfully created a combat system that shifts the focus from the hot and health bars to the action on the screen. On the other hand, it makes the combat feel floaty and light. I can swing a giant sword at an enemy and it’ll pass through their skull as if it were incorporeal.
This really makes the combat feel off for me. It’s like something is missing from the equation and the error is blazingly obvious at all times. I’m sure the more I play it, the less I’ll notice it, but it’s incredibly obvious right now.
How Can it be Fixed?
First of all, I don’t think this is something they should be focusing on right now. There are much more important issues to correct before the June 3rd launch date, such as optimization… Seriously, Carbine, please work on that optimization.
However, there is one simple thing they could do to make it feel better (even though it is probably FAR more complicated than I’m making it seem). They could simply add the occasional collision animation. It doesn’t have to happen all the time, but seeing it every once in a while would really make the combat feel heavier than it already does.
I’m actually reminded of Neverwinter’s combat and animation. It’s no secret that I consider Neverwinter to be the epitome of action combat (now if only the rest of the game could be that good). It feels heavy, has impact, and is unmatched by other MMO combat. It doesn’t even have a consistent response animation, the enemies often just freeze when hit, but even that gives a far more visceral feeling to the combat than usual. If Carbine could implement something similar, it would go a long way in emulating that viscerality.
Wrap-Up and Questions
Wildstar’s combat is, arguably, the best part of the game. It’s fairly innovative and actually requires attention and focus to execute. However, it’s plagued by lacking animations that are making it feel lightweight, when in reality it is quite a heavy and involved combat system. Regardless, the combat is so much fun that, whether they fix the problem or I just get used to it, the game will still consume many hours of my life.
So, what do you think of Wildstar’s combat? Have you noticed that same feeling as I have or am I just going crazy? Do you have any idea what class you’re going to play? (It’ll be Medic for me!) Let us know in the comments section below!
This week on TWIMMO: Elder Scrolls Online controversy, WildStar release date and more!
First off, we’ll let’s you guys know that WildStar finally has a release date of June 3rd and for Warlord’s of Draenor there’s the “on or before” december 20th. No Collector’s Edition for WildStar by the way. Zenimax has gotten a little flack recent with the cash shop and also defends their subscription model.
A Little Cash Shop Controversy
Studio General Manager, Matt Firor answered some questions to ZAM.com about ESO. Firor confirmed that at launch there will be a horse in the cash shop. Of course, seeing that the game has a subscription fee, some players are a bit upset about this. I can’t blame them. Ideally, your subscription fee should allow you to get everything. However, with the addition of a cash shop, these type of things in the cash shop was expected. Check out the show for the hosts’ opinions.
“We feel pretty strongly about the support we’re going to have for the game and what you’re going to get for those dollars, – We’re also very confident in our ability to support it with content. And not content of the magnitude of, it’s a new month, here’s a new sword or here’s a funny hat–but content that is real and significant and it feels like regular and consistent DLC releases.“
Well, I have to admit, it’s a decent answer. If they pull it off well, then I can’t really see any huge complaints.
We have a lot more content to look forward to on future TWIMMO episodes with the highly anticipated MMO games getting closer to release. So be sure to return next week for your weekly dose of MMO news.
The MMO community has been in debate over non-disclosure agreements the past couple weeks, particularly when they should and should not be lifted. The big question seems to be “when does a game’s NDA start being destructive to its image?”
Between the overnight-NDA-drop of EverQuest Next: Landmark and the barely cracked open press-NDA-drop of The Elder Scrolls Online, non-disclosure agreements have been the talk of the town for the past few weeks. At the moment, there are high-profile examples of each level of NDA philosophy that help illuminate the helpfulness and harmfulness of the policy.
On one extreme, we have Landmark which held an NDA for less than twenty-four hours regardless of its many crashes, bugs, and all-around alpha state. This is an extreme that isn’t seen much, especially in major, triple-A MMORPGs.
In the middle, we have Wildstar which does not have a release date, nor are you able to pre-order, and has lifted the NDA for the first fifteen levels. In general, this seems to be your industry standard NDA.
On the other extreme, we have ESO which is launching in less than two months and has made the NDA only slightly ajar for select press members, regardless of the fact that you can pre-order the standard, digital, and collector’s edition of the game. The general community consensus, especially after the largely negative first impressions of the press lift, is that the NDA has become very destructive to the game.
Each formula has benefits and drawbacks which can be easily illuminated by a familial simile. This editorial will take a look at the state of each NDA and will estimate when an NDA becomes destructive to its respective game.
On one hand, it’s incredibly consumer-friendly. Everyone gets to follow the game’s development and see its problems and progress. On the other hand, it’s very dangerous for the game because, regardless of the fact that it’s in alpha, some people will see the current state and instantly disregard the game for not being complete, never to look at it again.
Naturally, this risky strategy has provided Landmark with a massive amount of publicity, most of which has been very positive, regardless of the many problems the game has. The biggest complaint I have seen is how often the servers are down, which is to be expected. There is barely any “this game is so broken, SOE shouldn’t be charging for it” (the lack of this complaint is definitely to be attributed to the refund service). Players of the alpha and spectators alike seem to have nothing but confidence.
However, that doesn’t mean immediately dropping the NDA is a universally good thing. In fact, it’s pretty much nonsensical. The fact of the matter is first impressions are REALLY IMPORTANT (just look at ESO, but we’ll get to that) and, for many, the first impression of Landmark was a crashed server and tons of lost progress. So, how is SOE getting away with it? To be honest, I think it’s because Landmark is a creative tool. The gameplay itself looks very boring and tedious, right now, but the stuff players have created look incredible! Just take a look a Smedley’s and David Georgeson’s twitters for proof of that. This is a game rooted in creativity and that’s why even the alpha can be fascinating and fun. Its lack of an NDA is not as destructive because the content is so fluid and dynamic.
Landmark is like the hyperactive and cheery youngest child in the MMO family. It loves to show off everything it makes and is very vocal about all of its problems. Everyone thinks its adorable, but it can still be very annoying at times.
Carbine seems to have their NDA in a near-perfect spot. They’ve lifted what they feel comfortable with and that’s all there is to it. I have a feeling that more will be lifted soon, but even what we have seen has had a decent amount of substance.
Wildstar is at a point of calm before the storm. If they’re still looking at a spring launch window, it can’t be long until we see a pre-order option pop up and that’s when, at least in my opinion, they will completely lift the NDA (or at least lift a significant amount more of it). According to a recent Reddit post, not even Carbine knows exactly when the game will launch, so nobody can be sure when this is going to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, Wildstar has neither succeeded nor failed yet. It has been handling its NDA well, but that doesn’t mean they can’t screw it up from this point forward. In fact, considering the current recurring opinion on NDAs, even Wildstar’s could quickly become destructive.
For now, Wildstar appears to be the sensible and responsible middle child of the MMO family. It’s quiet and reserved, but still has a lot to say when it wants to. It shows off only what it feels is great and holds the rest for a later date. Everyone has high expectations for its future (and it looks bright), but are simultaneously worried it could become a massive disappointment.
The Elder Scrolls Online
ESO is clearly in a rough spot. Its NDA is closed up tight, with only a tiny amount of the press allowed to report on the game… and those reports have been largely negative. Before the press-NDA lift, I was cautiously optimistic about the game (emphasis on “cautiously”). After seeing the many first impressions, I’m flat out pessimistic.
Now, I understand that there is more to the game, but as was stated earlier, first impressions are REALLY IMPORTANT! There are many who are in the beta and enjoying the game, but everyone not in beta have only what the press has provided as reference for the game’s quality. With the full NDA still in place for the general population, the amount they have lifted has been very destructive to the game’s image.
People have pre-ordered the game, spending anywhere from $60-$100, and it doesn’t look very good! I don’t like to use this term because developers work very hard on their games, but ESO seems more and more like a cash-grab every day. That doesn’t mean the game won’t be good, but confidence is very low right now and I’m not the only one who feels that way.
So, what do Bethesda and Zenimax need to do? It’s really simple, actually. Just as was stated on TWIMMO, they need to drop the NDA. At this point, it can’t possibly hurt them more than the NDA already has. There have been whispers that the game gets better as the player progresses, which is a commonality in MMOs, but the general populace has not seen any of it at all. It is impossible to deny that the NDA has not been incredibly destructive to ESO’s image.
ESO is like the oldest child in the MMO family. It spends massive amounts of time holed-up in its room and we’re never really sure what it’s doing. All we do know is it isn’t doing very well in school and everyone is nervous around it. Occasionally, it’ll leave its room and show something to the rest of the family, but even that is disappointing. It really needs to take a break from its seclusion, clean up, and spend some time with its family and friends before it’s wisped away to college where it could either be incredibly successful or crash and burn, only to find itself in a dead-end job selling hats and experience boosts through an online store.
Wrap-Up and Questions
Non-disclosure agreements are important. They protect a product’s image and quality when it is in development, while providing a veil of mystery and excitement to the community. Yet, an NDA left unchecked can become very destructive to the product. At this point, I would argue that Wildstar’s NDA is perfect, but is could quickly become problematic. ESO’s NDA is out of control and has been extremely detrimental to its image. Landmark’s, on the other hand, is an anomaly and wouldn’t – ney, shouldn’t – work as well as it is.
So, what do you think? Do you think Landmark’s NDA is in a good position? What do you think of Wildstar‘s? How about ESO‘s? Let us know in the comments section below!