Tuesday, June 18, 2013
WildStar Q&A with Jeremy Gaffney
Despite what you may initially anticipate, this is not a joke or parody article. I understand that me saying that only further perpetuates the notion that it is. Thanks to Team WildStar's community director, Troy Hewitt, (@CRB_Aether) I have wrangled a pretty good Q&A with WildStar's Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney, who you may recognize from... everything. I asked the
We’re still mucking around with some of the what’s and how’s (we iterate a lot, so pinning us down is nontrivial) but I really think that the rares economy was an overlooked subtlety of UO that I haven’t really seen done right since – maybe some of that itch was scratched by achievement systems entering the genre, or EQ2 collections, but there’s something cool about a world alive enough that not everything’s static and there all the time. Discoveries (random player-started mini-events that can be anything from boxes of loot, to bots that follow you around and buff you, to quests, to dungeon entrances) are part of that non-static feeling, but in my opinion collecting and having an economy around those sorts of things are cool. There’s so much stuff in housing alone, that making some of it rarer than others (and/or player craftable, or rare drops, or seasonal, or requiring obscure quest lines or activities to get) is a natural in any case. Damn, back on housing.
(Oh, for those who aren’t all UO-y, my familiarity comes from being lead prog on UO2 as well as playing) – a big market of rare items kind of emergently developed in UO. Mostly this was all based around bugs and glitches to start – you could pick up a grass tile that wasn’t nailed down if you hustled over to the right spot after a server reboot, or items that were once available and then left the game. When developers try to manage stuff like that (as did some generations of the UO design teams) it’s very easy to make it TOO accessible – an obscure quest gating stuff over time is done by most players in the game, or a 1% drop is still found by thousands of players daily. Some of the UO rares existed with dozens total on a server, or were even unique. All emergent, but those kinds of things are developer crack to see if you can get some of those cool elements that arose without depending on bugs. Even just gating when items can enter into the economy and then seeing what happens with the economy when you guarantee scarcity for a period of time thereafter is interesting.)
Anyways, that’s a subtlety and won’t bring that crowd back into the genre (which was your original question) and that will develop over time as the game is live or not. More obvious answers are housing (tons of depth there), Warplots (build a destructible town, chain down some raid bosses, and sic them on your enemies, what ain’t to like?), dynamic content (kind of an overused buzzword, but great when done right), competitive raids, social systems support (through settlers and more). And other stuff, but I’d just as soon not be a USP bullet point machine gun.
I can now focus all of my UO2 hatred on somebody! Neat!
Nobody openly admits that they want to be tortured by video-games, but Ninja Turtles (NES) had a water level for a reason.
a. Can you have a vendor in your house?
b. Instancing aside, do players have to get an invitation to get to your house, or can you lure unsuspecting victi... friends to come hang out?
c. Can you PvP on your homestead?
d. Can your house have some sort of psychopathic butler that attacks you Pink Panther style? Can he be a robot?
e. What is the thing you like most about your player housing system?
Crossing my fingers on rideable llamas...
We do some freeform aspects (settler campfires, dynamic discoveries, housing, etc.) and some fixed (towns, hubs, some static quests, etc.) and some hybrid (settler buildings in towns). We tend to do more themeparky stuff early (new players need direction) and more sandboxy stuff later (you’re at level cap, you have big boy pants on now - go build a town and take it into battle, you crazy shiny flower).
But it’s like business models – people often enjoy hating gameplay styles more than liking them, really, especially because you’ve been burned (or burned out) by one game or another. So we really don’t stress one way or another and do what we find fun, and then people can choose what to dislike or enjoy.
Freedom at any level is always a good thing for the longevity of a MMORPG.
That's okay, she's 8 weeks old now and she can fend for herself.
I'll take no space-flight over rail-shooter bullshit any day of the week... Not that I'm naming names... SWTOR...
I see what you did there...
I'd love to see some Tony Hawk features added to the platforming in WildStar!
I would say that I couldn't say it better myself, but I probably could... because I rule.
Thanks for giving us some time to share a little bit of WildStar with you. Now we’ve got to get back to work.
Thanks for making me feel important!
That's all, folks. Team WildStar, if nothing else, has made great strides in transparent development. The game definitely looks promising so far, so let's all cross our fingers and hope I don't have to write a follow up!