WildStar: State of the Game

Carbine's Mike Donatelli discusses the past, present and future of WildStar.

It's been roughly three months since the Carbine Studios-developed MMORPG, WildStar, hit the shelves in early June. Within this time period, the game has had its fair share of ups and downs to say the least, and it should not surprise any MMORPG veteran that the team is constantly having to re-shape this sci-fantasy world based on continuous player feedback.

Through the epic world first raid boss kills, to the PvP balance conundrums, comes Carbines Product Director, Mike Donatelli, to discuss the current state of WildStar and what players can expect to see as the game moves forward.

The first topic discussed in the Carbine "State of the Game" blog posted late last week, was on the subject regarding "Megaservers". Megaservers were originally announced in early September, after the initial rush of players started winding down and server population began coming into question. Carbine acknowledged that some servers were suffering from low population and many of the game's player activities and systems–such as Dungeons, PvP, and the player economy–were being negatively impacted.

The upcoming Megaserver system will get rid of the current server structure Carbine has in place, replacing them with one PvP and one PvE realm per data center. According to Mike Donatelli, this will help increase player participation in both PvE and PvP and should bring more life to the game and community overall.

"What do megaservers get us? Greater participation in PvP and PvE. More players for guild recruitment. You’ll see more player based trading and a busy auction house and commodity exchange. We want players playing together, so this strikes us as the best approach to address the sparsely populated realms."

While Megaservers aren't quite ready to be implemented to the game yet, you can read many of the answered questions regarding the new server structure in the Carbine Megaserver FAQ section of the site.

The next topic of discussion in the State of the Game blog was centered around content drops. As many WildStar fans know, originally Carbine had boasted a pretty rapid game update cycle, stating monthly content drops would be the team's target goal for launch. However, due to feedback from the community and internal discussions regarding their most recent drops, Carbine has decided to steer away from the monthly update cycle it originally planned for.

"An aggressive drop schedule was something we had planned from the beginning," says Donatelli.

"Our goal was to get new content out there and into your hands as fast as possible. However, we soon learned a pretty painful lesson: the quicker we tried to get content out the door, the buggier it ended up.

The community has been both very forgiving, but very clear about their opinion on the matter:

Stop releasing buggy content. Period.

After Drop 2, we sat down and had a hard talk about the process so far. The result of this discussion: no more drops before their time. While we would still like to get content to our players as quickly as possible, we’re going to focus on quality. In the end, this will provide true value."

He goes on to say that the teams feels that they can accomplish future content drops on a three month schedule, assuming the polish is there.

"We feel we can accomplish this on a quarterly basis, with one caveat. If it's not ready, we'll hold it until it is. This doesn’t mean we won’t have other activities available to experience on a more regular basis, we’re just taking the necessary time to get the major drops right."

With WildStar still holding on to its monthly subscription, making sure you get updates "right" the first time can be crucial in keeping your player-base willing to pay for gametime every 30 days, as we've seen from other MMOs in the past. However, making sure you have enough content to keep players interested for that three month period can also be a challenge in itself, and may have been a factor in the initial decision to have monthly content drops. Regardless of the reasoning, players will have to wait and see how this change ends up affecting the game in the long-run.

Before wrapping the blog post up, three other topics regarding the Raid Attunement, Itemization and PvP were touched on as well.

1. Attunement – The raid content was designed to have players actually play it. We adjusted the attunement process to help get players into raids, where the real challenge is. Getting in is one thing, being prepared is another. We are currently implementing a training dungeon that will help train and prepare players for the epic challenges that await them in our dungeons and raids. I want to stress that we’re not nerfing raids, we’re just giving you the tools to succeed when tackling them.

2. Elder Game Itemization – We got a ton of testing and feedback on the early leveling content in beta stages, as that is what gets tested the most. Since launch we’ve tried to respond as quickly as possible to the concerns about elder game items based on direct feedback from the thousands of players playing the live build, something that got little interaction before launch. We’ve been making positive changes related to rune slots and how desirable the hard content rewards are and we’re not close to finished yet.

3. PvP – Early PvP systems incentivized toxic behavior and play patterns. While updates to the gear and matchmaking system have gone a long way to mitigate this, expect further updates and adjustments in the future.

Mike Donatelli went on to end the post by saying that players can expect more open and honest communication going forward, and additional details regarding the upcoming changes will be made available soon.

"And this is just the beginning folks, the first step in building and maintaining regular, honest communication. We’re working on the next post that will detail the major features we’re tweaking and introducing into the game and how WildStar really does provide gaming experiences for all play styles – casual and hardcore.

The devs are listening. Your input, your feedback, your vision have already and will continue to help shape the future of WildStar. We want you to feel good about sharing your WildStar experiences with your friends and inviting them to play with you. We can and will do to this together, united."

The full State of the Game blog post can be viewed here. For more WildStar news, updates and information, keep it locked to ZAM!

Corey "Cyglaive" Jenkins

Follow Corey on Twitter @Cyglaive


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Well crap
# Sep 30 2014 at 8:40 AM Rating: Decent
37 posts
If they are moving to a lazy dev schedule to cut costs(regardless of the marketing reason they give) I am going to have to rethink my sub. Even though I have been somewhat bored lately, I was planning to stay subbed to support them as I was a big fan of their focus on providing value for the sub fee. 3 months updates no thanks. I don't see why they can't delay one xpack for a month for QA testing, when that is released move the QA team to the next drop which should be finished and ready for testing, QA for a month and continue on like this. 3 month schedule sounds lazy.
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