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WildStar Wednesday: October State of the Game

Written by Jeremy Gaffney on October 17, 2012

From the desk of Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney:

There’s a party happening on Nexus these days. It’s been a while since our last progress update, so here’s a quick snapshot of what’s going on in-game right now – we’re in the middle of some pretty interesting stuff.

The trick with making MMOs is twofold: 

  1. You have to make a metric boatload of content.  Your average box game these days has perhaps 10-20 hours of content, and an MMO needs infinitely more than that to keep players interested and entertained.
  2. But, even more than that, as a dev you need to remain flexible.  It’s not enough just to make content, you have to get real live players in the game, see what people love and hate, and make the game better by listening to them and making appropriate changes.

The last few months around Carbine’s secret volcano lair are a good example of this:

  • We’ve been focused on tons of leveling content; all sorts of crazy zones and new path content has been coming from our Content team. The stuff we’ve shown you previously - Northern Wilds, Algoroc, and Galeras – are our early zones, and while they’re still being polished, we’re now heavily focused on the mid-level content for both factions. And quite a bit of recent focus has been on Dominion content. I know we haven't really told you much about this faction yet, but I can say that they have a very distinct flavor compared to that of the scrappy Exiles... and when will you see more of the Dominion? Not quite yet, but soon™.
  • We’ve completed a number of dungeons which are almost ready to be playtested via our Friends & Family testers. We’re also hard at work on many more dungeons, which will carry you all the way through elder game.
  • Raids are being designed and mapped out – with some special sauce of WildStar flavor to make them distinguished and unique beyond just the cool combat systems – it turns out that freeform targeting and all the combat movement and reactions is quite fun in large scale group settings.
  • 20+ vs. 20+ PvP battles have been breaking out over play sessions amongst our Combat team and the entire studio.  It’s quite frenetic, but people really seem to be enjoying some of our unannounced PvP systems we’re messing around with... more on that as we fine-tune the system.
  • Our Economy team’s been prototyping some really cool, unique takes on crafting systems. I’m not going to ruin their fun, but you can look forward to an update from them in the near future about the sorts of designs we’ve been looking at.
  • We’re regularly bringing in some true newbies to the office, putting them under blood-signed NDAs so they can play in our test lab. Their play experiences are broadcast to our conference rooms so we can eat pizza and watch them to see what UI and game features work and which might need some tweaking.  After the sessions, our teams sit down with the players and drill them with questions to really understand what parts of this game are clicking and which might need to be re-evaulated. Assuming they are interested, these newbies then get to join our Friends and Family testers (and I can’t think of one who’s turned down that opportunity yet, so that’s probably a good sign.) Our Friends & Family testing pool is growing constantly, but we know some day we’ll run out of family members and will need to break into a full beta test, so make sure you’ve applied!

What’s next?  I've said it before and I'll say it again, the feedback process is a critical part of our game-forging process.  We can’t do it without fans.  We’ve been leaning heavily on our Friends and Family testers, and we also want to continue to involve YOU.  The plan is for us to start releasing a lot more information soon, and we'll want YOUR feedback through further live discussions and opportunities to talk directly with the development team.

So stay tuned!  Get involved with us on Twitter and Facebook, visit some of our fansite forums, and chat with us on IRC!

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