From the desk of Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney:
It's been eight weeks since my last State of the Game. Developer time is counted like dog years, so that's a long ol' time. As we wrap up the year, contrary to what you might expect, we're busy as hell right now. It's a good time - major features are coming online, some systems that have been complete are getting fleshed out with content, we're gearing up for lots of announcements of races, classes, and features - and all in all we're having a blast. Here's the latest skinny:
- We've been doing our first internal tests of our raid playspaces - making sure that the raids are sized well to handle the largest amounts of people we can have in raids (spoiler alert: Big!)
- We've been working on polishing the Dominion content, since we're gearing up to reveal it early next year - the Dominion combine skullduggery, badassery, and their own particular attitude... and we are infusing their content with their own distinct personality.
- We've been doing test events with our Friends and Family testers to prepare for closed beta testing in 2013. As the saying goes, "It's ready when it's ready" - and we're getting pretty close to being beta-ready.
- There's been lots of work on the newest (still unannounced) classes and races in the game, making sure they each have their own mechanics which make them distinctly different from the other classes we've already shown off. We also noticed a lack of flamethrowers in the game, so we're remedying that.
- We've been doing mass PvP playtesting as well for our unannounced PvP elder games - we've had matches of up to 24v24, but that's really small scale for what's to come - this is one of those things that we'll test with our F&F crowd, but really need beta-scale numbers of players to test fully. We'll definitely be inviting some guilds in to play as well, because we want really high-end gamers in there testing out the coordinated attacks needed for both raiding and PvP. If you haven't signed up for beta and given us your guild's contact information, make sure you do so we can get some great group tests going!
- Tradeskills have recently gotten an overhaul as well - we've got an interesting new crafting mechanism that lets you explore your own unique recipes for crafting goods as a master tradeskiller in several of the tradeskills. Early tests show a lot of potential...
- And we're gearing up for our plans over the next year to start announcing a metric boatload of unannounced features, races, classes, coming down the pike.
On a meta level though, there's a really important process happening right now - we're gearing the team and production schedule around being responsive. Really responsive. We don't like playing games where you can't hear from the dev team, or when critical fixes take too long, or where there are long delays around new content. We've built an MMO engine that allows us to make changes rapidly (through things like modifiable terrain), and we want to gear the team around being able to hear your beta feedback and respond to it rapidly - carrying this on to after launch to have a game with frequent, fun updates based on a healthy combination of user feedback and development vision.
Today, this means that every 8 weeks our internal testers seeing a massive amount of bugfixes, new content, feature improvements and more - and our goal is to speed that up even further for a game that is great on day one, but then keeps on growing before your eyes.
Enjoy your holidays, and get ready for 2013: WildStar Edition!