WildStar Wednesday: Jeremy Gaffney on Quality of Life Features
By Loic "Atreid" Claveau - May 09, 2012
At Carbine, we're MMO gamers as well as designers. As we work on WildStar we look for ways to improve the quality of life of gamers - what can we do to remove tedium, frustration, or boredom on your way to performing great feats of derring-do?
Many of these quality of life improvements may sound minor - but they have an impact. For instance, roads in WildStar give you an increase to your speed, whether mounted or on foot. Okay, you say, that's cool, reducing travel time is a plus - but it also helps us design our world better, because we know where players will tend to be travelling.
This helps us make sure that the amount of time you spend in between fights is in the right proportion, and that there are good concentrations of found content in areas we know players will tend to travel. Similarly it lets us make sure that there are fun things to find off of the main paths for the Explorer path types. It also provides a guaranteed space to run into other adventurers traveling by road.
Heck, if you're passionate about speeding up your travel pace even further, you can choose to take action - among the many things Settlers can build are additions and improvements to the transportation network across Nexus. This means adding new taxi points for areas that would otherwise be remote, building vendors that sell temporary mounts for low level characters, or installing run speed improvement machines at outposts found in the wild.
The more Settlers that are in your area of Nexus, the more conveniences are available for all - this is a world that's just being explored and exploited, and the Settlers get to participate in this strongly; everyone loves having Settlers nearby.
Part of this wild, dynamic frontier feel is about having a world that is interesting to explore. Your communicator is key, allowing us to announce dynamic events or quests to people in an area, or letting you get calls for help from nearby NPCs in the area. Many quests are area-based, to keep you from having to find and click on a bunch of folks with punctuation-mark hats on. And for many quests you can complete them via a comm call, eliminating ping-ponging back and forth to the quest hubs until you're ready to collect your rewards or it's time to go hit the vendors or trainers.
Once you've gotten your quests, you can get hints about the locations needed; nobody wants to be handed all the answers, but we let you seek out likely quest targets by clicking the quests and getting a general direction arrow to hint at where likely spots might be.
And in the best "play how you want to play" fashion, we found many players to be bored by tons of quest text - so most of our quests are delivered in short, controlled textual bursts. (Editor's Note: See Cory Herndon's Devlog for more on that subject here). However, if you want more info or backstory you can get it on demand by looking deeper in your journals, and Scientists in particular can unlock all sorts of back story and lore in the Galactic Archives (earning rewards in the process). We'll talk a lot more about these features as we release more info later!
The goals: Focus on the fun parts of the game. Eliminate tedium. Keep the challenge in there for advanced gamers. Overall, let you play the way you want to play.