WildStar Wednesday: October Game Systems Update

Written by David "Scooter" Bass on October 02, 2013

It's been a while since we've mentioned the B-word, hasn't it? (Um, we're talking about "beta," not sure what you're thinking about.)

Anyway, this week we thought we'd give a little update about where we're at in development, what changes we've been working on since the last beta phase ended, and where we go from here. We'll be referencing Mike Donatelli's State of the Beta from August, so if you haven't read it yet, go do that right now. It's cool, we'll wait.

Back already? I bet you just skipped ahead so you could check out the new hotness. That's fine, I'll just remember that next time you're begging me for a beta invite because you have such great attention to detail.

I want to talk about three major systems we've been working on in the last few months that needed some major facelifts. They're not quite done yet, which is why we're still holding off on the next beta phase, but they're in a basic working state, enough that we're comfortable pulling back the curtain a little to show off the progress.

Leveling Up

A common piece of feedback we heard during beta was that leveling up was, to be frank, boring. You dinged, there was a cool little animation that played, but then what? Is it worth making the trek back to town to purchase new abilities from the ability vendor? Did I unlock a new dungeon? What did I just earn for reaching a new Path level?

The game now answers all of these questions for you through the new Level Up interface. When you level, you'll be able to click to pop open a window, showing you all the new class benefits, game features, and so on that you've unlocked with your new level.

By making what you've unlocked much clearer, leveling up feels much more like a celebration, and less like a paralyzing choice of what to do or where to go next.

Ability Loadouts

Gaining new abilities as you level feels great, but it can also be overwhelming when you're not sure what situations the abilities are appropriate for, or which one is more suited for tanking or for DPS.

Enter, the new Ability Loadout UI.

Abilities are now sorted at the top by Assault (i.e. DPS), Support (i.e. Tank or Heals), Utility, and Path, making it much clearer which abilities fit into which spec. This allows players to build their Action Set with the abilities they want much faster. We've added sorting of the abilities you've unlocked vs. ones you will eventually be able to purchase, and also made it simpler to add/remove abilities from your loadout quickly.

New Quest System

This is the big one that's been taking up the majority of our Content Systems team's time over the last few months. As mentioned in the last State of the Beta update, we agreed that our quest system needed some work to make it feel more like a modern MMO. Happily, our first major revision of the quest system has been completed!

Quest objectives are no longer listed as "Kill 6 Squirgs." Instead, you gain progress across a bar the more creatures you kill. I can already hear most of you saying "So what? Big deal! You just changed it visually so that you could mess with our minds, this doesn't actually change the fundamentals of questing." Well, sure, I guess the cynics could look at it that way, but the true benefit becomes clear once we add in two extra features:

  • Creatures of varying difficulty can now count for more or less quest credit rather than every creature incrementing your kill count by one. Kill a Squirg? Maybe you earn 16% towards your quest objective. Take on a MEGASQUIRG DESTROYER™? Suddenly you've completed 40% of your quest with one badass kill.
  • Open tagging is now in the game. See a dude or dudette having trouble with a critter? Run over to help them take it down, and you'll both gain XP, quest credit, and loot for it. Even if you're not grouped with them!

These combined improvements to questing are definitely one of the largest changes we're most excited about, but it's also one that requires the most extensive internal testing.

The specifics of Open Tagging are crazy complex and we could spend an entire devblog talking about the system behind it. For now, rest assured that we've kept in mind the usual concerns about open tagging when implementing this system, including powerleveling concerns, high-level gank squads, and the oft-used "tag-and-forget" scenarios that terribad players use.

We're also putting tons of polish and love into all four of our classes right now because we want to start diving deeper into them in a very public way in the near future. Wait, did I say four? It's six, I meant six.

That's about it from us; it's time we head back to our desks to keep working towards the next phase of beta. See you next week!

The Lost World Story

By Team WildStar on November 14, 2018

When last we left our heroes...

Protostar’s Gala Winterfest Extravaganza! November 9-23

By Team WildStar on November 07, 2018

It’s time to show everyone the true meaning of the season: CONSUMERISM.

WildStar Signing Off November 28

By Team WildStar on September 26, 2018

Here’s what we have planned for the final two months on Planet Nexus.