Tuesday, November 19, 2013

WildStar Town Hall Funsies

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting some of WildStar's leaders in the community yesterday when I attended the WildStar Town Hall, hosted by MrNyxis, Pseudo Nihm, and JKKennedy.  In addition to those fine moderators, I found myself joined by a host of community and guild leaders who all are doing big things (much bigger things than this meager blog!) It was a very humbling experience.

But as opposed to sitting on my hands and dumbly trying to take notes of everything that was said (which I was trying to do, at first), I found the conversation very accessible, and was able to jump in. Everyone was so friendly, and after some initial hesitation, I fully embraced the meet-up and ended up staying about an hour and a half longer than I originally intended.

Without further ado, allow me to recap what was said for those of you who were unable to join us:

The first topic up for discussion (once we got past some of the community event bits, which will have to wait for a while until things get sorted out by the folks over at Subterfuge Gaming) was that of the business model. For those of you unfamiliar with the system, feel free to go educate yourselves; the basic gist of the system is that you can accrue enough gold in-game to buy credits that you will eventually be able to use for game time. Most seemed in favor of the system, though Zap-Robo of WildStar-Central brought up a point that I found particularly interesting: since the market for CREDD will be based purely on individual servers, what happens if the conversion ratio is higher on one server than the other? For example, is it possible for one economy to price their CREDD at 5 million "gold" while another server that is less developed has theirs priced at 1 million? It's an interesting idea, and one that was discussed at length.

Another point that was brought up during this topic, and one most seemed to oppose, was the idea that CREDD cannot be gifted to others, but rather can only be bought from anonymous sources at the lowest posted price. Most in the meeting agreed that we would love the opportunity to gift CREDD to friends and guildies; it would be a great way to reward others for something, or to simply be an awesome and generous friend. Perhaps Carbine could allow so that only individuals on your friends list would be able to gift you CREDD? In which case, friend requests would have to be accepted by both parties. Something to think about.

The next topic that was addressed was that of PvP and how WildStar would fare in the realm of not only world PvP, but structured PvP, all the way up to the e-Sport level. I was fairly useless during this portion of the conversation, only really able to pop my head in and state, "I liked PvP in Dark Age of Camelot, but I suck at it otherwise!" I really do hope they consider the idea of allowing us to capture "Eldan relics" that can provide buffs for individuals who are not participating in PvP. It's one of the traits I found most awesome in Guild Wars 2 and Dark Age of Camelot. As I've said before, most PvP discussion flies totally over my head, but there was also an in-depth discussion about the merits and pitfalls of the "80-85% effectiveness rule" in terms of PvP to PvE conversion (and vice-versa, I assume), as well as some talk of why MMO's struggle in the e-sport category when going up against MOBA's and RTS games.

Following that was a discussion that turned to PvE, and I can pretty much sum up most people's thoughts on dailies in this one quote from Cali of CKN, "Eff 'em." To probably nobody's surprise, daily quests were very unpopular; I can see the reasoning in this, but to play devil's advocate, I will give a reason why I think daily's are good: they provide an ongoing stimulus to the economy. I'm not going to elaborate on that point at all, as I'd probably just make a jackass out of myself, but I can see the good (and, of course, the bad) they do. The other benefit that was brought up was using dailies as a means of encouraging world PvP: throw the opposing factions into common ground for quests and let them duke it out.

At this point I should state that I had to step out due to work obligations, but I will do my best to relate the information on the stream, just because I love you all so much.

Cali dropped some knowledge about how raiding would work in WildStar, the difference between 40-mans and 20-mans (the established raid sizes of WildStar), and Pseudo added in some information about attunements. It's interesting to get people's opinions of raid-sizes and raiding in general, because it's such a big topic in games. For the most part, raids are the real game that you work towards throughout your leveling experience. When it comes down to the bare-bones of MMO gameplay, all the leveling and such is done to feed you a steady stream of abilities and allow you time to learn to use them so that when you ding that final magical ding, you know what you're doing and are ready to step up and take on the big baddies. Obviously there are a lot of intricacies that go into raiding (raid size, difficulty, attunement, etc.) that are all up for debate, and that's why this portion in particular is a great listen, as they touch on all of that.

One point I want to touch on here: Sang of CKN pointed out that the randomness of WildStar's raids would be an interesting factor that adds a bit of variety to raids. I really, really hope he's right. Raids can get a bit repetitive (duh), and there are typically at least one or two stretches during raids where my mind begins to wander and I start to think "Bleeeehhhhh this is so booorrriiiinnnnggg." Randomness would mess all of that up (and probably make a big mess of many groups as well!) However, it's very easy to say that you're going to implement randomness in raids; it's a different thing entirely to actually do it. Throwing in a few extra random abilities doesn't make a raid random. I could go off on a whole separate tangent for this, but this article is getting long enough as-is.

Again, a bunch more about raiding is discussed on the stream itself (which can be re-watched HERE!), as well as a ton of other juicy bits. However, things are getting a bit lengthy here, so I'm gon' hafta snip this short. All in all, the Town Hall was an awesome experience, and I very much look forward to doing it again!

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