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Uplink Analysis: Gamescom Previews

Written by David "Scooter" Bass on August 24, 2012

WildStar Uplink is a weekly conversation we hold with our fans about MMO design, philosophy, and news. The main goal of these conversations is to gauge how important certain issues are to the WildStar community. More than just a simple conversation, we ask questions about topics that are important, and we share your responses with the development team directly. Want to participate? Follow @Team_WildStar on Twitter for the weekly question, participate using #WSuplink, and keep an eye on the community team (@CRB_Atreid, CRB_Aether, and @CRB_Scooter) to interact with us throughout the discussions.

This week's we tried something a little different with the Uplink; we asked you to give us your feedback on the Gamescom demo we showed to the press. First, we started with the good:

What are you most excited for from the Gamescom videos? What are you most concerned about?

We wanted to hear which features got you jumping up and down to know exactly what things we should make sure to cover in future updates, plus we wanted to make sure some of our philosophies matched up with yours. Here's what you had to say:

Nerf_Dialogue: Really love setting up elder game bosses/dungeons early on so they are more impactful later!
AgentNardz: The worlds look great from the videos, lots of variety too.
jleithart: I'm most excited for the world. how it is seamless and seemingly dynamic. this experience has been missing in most modern MMOs.
zaprobo: Early story intro to Endgame Raid Content / Seamless World / Upgradable Hubs / Hidden Quests
bramhendriks: UI fully modifiable, skill gets rewarded, hidden area's to explore, aim targeting system. All sounds really good!
bbrown2k: Seamless zones, gorgeous spell/ability effects and interesting combat.
ValkavGaming: I'm most excited for the bonus rewards for quick and efficient kills, and the hidden content sprinkled around the world.
MasonTMatchak: Environment stuff, exploration, new races & classes.
Hoigwai: Gameplay, the love I am seeing in the zone design and the results of your team really looking at what is fun.
Zerdav: I'm most excited about interactive, changing, hidden environment, and targeting mechanic.

Asking what you liked is the easy part, though. More importantly, we needed to know what concerned you from seeing the videos. What were your biggest fears? Were there things that were unclear or confusing? Do we need to react and change something in the game? Here's what you guys had to say:

Nerf_Dialogue: The telegraphs are WAY too obvious. I worry about difficulty if I just have to step out of a GIANT RED CIRCLE
jleithart: I am worried about whether or not the game will be too easy.
AgentNardz: In combat, is the enemy spell area of effect actually going to be shown like that or was it just for demonstration?
zaprobo: Possibly missing AI - creatures not reacting to each other / Tab vs. Active Targeting, all abilities AoE?
bbrown2k: Much interest in targeting system. Lots of concern how it will work and be balanced however
ValkavGaming: If I had to say I'm concerned about anything, it would be a lack of variety in class abilities, but the game is still new.

We took these concerns, combined them into a few hard questions, and sat down with Chris Lynch, Lead Combat Systems Designer, and Mike Donatelli, Content Director:

Won't the game be too easy if everything is telegraphed?

Creatures will deal damage in a variety of ways not associated with their telegraphed attacks. They will have auto-attacks, standard abilities, and behaviors all designed to help them deal an appropriate amount of damage for their level and difficulty.

Telegraphs themselves will also evolve as you level through the game. We have a wide set of levers and knobs we can pull and twist to increase the difficulty of telegraphs. These include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Size and Shape (we can drastically change the difficulty just by changing the size and shape)
  • Reaction Window (how long do you have to react to what you are seeing)
  • Persistent Environmental Effects (how long does it affect the world space after it's cast?)
  • Punishment Level (How hard does it hit, does it knock the player down, does it stun them, does it debuff them, etc)

Using any combination of these options (and unlisted options) we can drastically decrease/increase the difficulty of any telegraph to make it appropriate for the level range and expected difficulty of a part of the game.

Will people who tab-target have an inherent advantage over those who use active targeting? How do you go about balancing that?

One of the benefits of using Freeform Targeting is that if you line up your spells just right, you can hit more targets than you would have hit if you let the system aim directly at your intended target for you. In regards to PVP, we are investigating the possibility of creating matches with rule sets that automatically turn off assisted aiming - so that people who want to have nothing but Freeform matches would select this option at the queue window.

The video only shows a few different abilities for each class. Can players expect more variety in the finished product?

Of course - we plan to have a wide variety of abilities for each of the classes supporting multiple play styles. Every class will have access to a DPS role and will have a wide variety of abilities to support dealing damage. In addition to that every class will have one (or more) other roles they can specialize towards via the ability and attribute choices they make as they level up through the game.

Do you have more feedback for us about the Gamescom demo? Let us know on Twitter at @Team_WildStar and keep an eye on the #WSuplink hashtag for a heads up when we begin a new topic on Monday. Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's discussion, and have a great weekend!

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