There was an AMA by Jeremy Gaffney (Executive Producer) regarding Wildstar on Friday. Here were some of the interesting notes:
As someone who has left the MMO scene for quite some time now, do you think WildStar could pull me back in? (ex WoW player)
Our #1 market is probably ex-MMO players, truth be told. That’s many of us as well :) (source)
Subtle and straight-forward. I like it.
Your stand on “catch-up gear” content? Like if I want to get into raiding say about year after release and I of course need to get proper gear to get into raiding. So are you planning to do 5man dungeons with some godly gear or other catch-up mechanics?
We’ll want some catch-up mechanics that are also fair to the long-term raiders; I know the econ guys have thought but thank heavens that’s a ways out yet. (source)
Given the Wildstar team’s commitment to to anachronisms like attunements, I have to wonder about how exactly “catch-up gear mechanics” would even work. Blizzard is heading towards making all of Warlord’s LFR gear be non-tier, so I could see “ghetto-tier” gear as a means to help newer players catch up… but what about those attunements? Is it “fair to long-term raiders” for attunements to be relaxed after the content is no longer current? How is that any different than the traditional cry that content is being obsoleted?
Will it be possible to purchase high end gear or tier equivalent gear via the Auction House? In other words, given the existence of the CREDD system, will it be possible to buy power in this game with cash?
In general, nope. In practice, there may be a few BOE pieces of appropriate rarity/difficulty to acquire that spice up the mix, but buying power is a dangerous thing to systemize. (source)
The questing experience levels 1-6 is terrible (especially on Dominion side), why do your tutorials areas have so many quests that are not interactive for the player?
Mostly through focus testing with players of a variety of experience levels; you’ve probably played too many MMOs to want your hand held for long and don’t value the world and character introductions we do there (and why should you? You don’t know if those will pay off later and just want to check out the gameplay, which is rational).
We will likely add an option down the road for you to opt out. (source)
This is a subject that could almost be an entire series of blog posts by itself. Namely, the tension between clearly going after competitor’s subscribers (e.g. “Not in Azeroth anymore!”) and needing to be accessible for first-time MMO players. Because let’s be honest, the only real way you’re going to build word-of-mouth is by exciting the already-existing base, unless your base is already established via IP. Quite frankly, I’m a bit surprised that we haven’t seen more MMO companies come out with mid-range or even end-game gameplay in their beta right from the start. I mean, I guess even veterans will need a little bit of time to acclimate to the new environment, but you need them to be excited about the long-term future, not forcing them to spam-run tutorials every beta weekend.
Many people have had a really bad first impression of the game (usually first few hours of play), what would you say to these people to sway them into trying the game again?
Getting people back into the game is tricky (you form an impression and stick with it) – we change so much month to month that I don’t expect to re-earn the eyeballs of many folks who played in the past and left (even if we fixed some of what bothered them).
My plan personally is that you play what your friends are playing; the one thing more than any other email/ad/PR campaign we can do is get people liking the game itself and convincing their friends to come back in – thus Friend Passes, etc. (source)
That… is astonishingly honest and straight-forward. I have a few friends that pre-ordered Wildstar already, and they will pretty much be the only reason I purchase the game given my previous beta impressions.
Class balance is on going but their seems to be a mostly agreed tier list, with Spellslingers and Medics at the bottom in terms of DPS, and by a fair margin. What approach are you taking to get classes more in line with each other? Nerfing the top classes, or buffing the lower ones?
We err on the side of buffing rather than nerfing, but not to the point of insane mudflation. We’ll pretty regularly rebalance classes so that none is too gimped or OP (some drops are slated around this directly, while some will happen in each drop for higher priority stuff). (source)
I would say that erring on the side of buffing is the opposite of the WoW approach, but I don’t think classes ever got OP when someone else got nerfed, so… yeah.
Currently WildStars PVE Group Content ins linear, like in vanilla wow or tbc (the good times). With Wotlk and multilayer-content, problems like content skipping occured. Are you aware of that and are your gonna stick with the linear system? How will you ensure, that the linear system will work successfull on longterm for all different kind of raidguilds (casual, average, hardcore).
Adventures are intended to be heavily NON-linear, and raids are intended to have a fair amount of weekly variation (room ordering, sub-bosses, etc.) for just such reasons – if what we have is well received at launch, we’ll add more. (source)
I’m pretty sure they were talking about two different things here. I’m not sure about anyone else’s guild, but I absolutely hated the random variables in boss ordering (e.g. which drakes were in the cage, which bosses activated first, etc) as it required explaining the entire fight and every variation every time to everyone.
Q: In most MMO’s the crafted gear/items don’t have any real impact on endgame… What’s WildStar’s stance on this?
Our goal is that crafted items are competitive with the best items, but usually need to be earned through those same activities (either by the wearer or by the crafter) to keep things balanced. (source)
I have a difficult time trying to determine if this sort of thing would work for me. If I can’t craft the epic sword before being able to kill the guy who drops an epic sword, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to crafting (beyond playing the AH). On the other hand, I could sorta see this working if the raid boss had a much higher chance to drop the crafting component necessary to craft the epic sword, such that my profession had value in reducing the randomness of drops. This would require the crafting component to be personal loot though, I think.
I currently play GW2. what’s one good reason I should stop and start playing your game?
Don’t! Guild Wars 2 is an excellent game as well; respect to MO and the other arena.net devs. (source)
If I was less of a cynical bastard, I would be pretty impressed with this response. Alas, both MMOs are from NCSoft, so…