I've thought for a while about writing a set WildStar column every week, on X day at Y time and as appealing as that is, producing content in that manner can sometimes be devoid of feeling or inspiration. That's where WildStar Burst comes in. If I've a thought on a topic, I'll drop it on the Ten Ton Hammer network as soon as my fingers can type it. It might not be every week and it might be a ramble, but it'll definitely be something I want to get of my chest. Hopefully, it'll also be something you want to talk about. Here's my first burst.
I'm fortunate to have played WildStarand having become ingrained in the community, there's a certain something about the way Carbine are developing the game which fills me with great hope. I'm a stickler for the small things in MMOG's and often become incredibly frustrated with how developers miss the most obvious of things and pursue what players aren't actually seeking. In direct contrast to the likes of ArenaNet, what I'm really loving about Carbine is how they've set the ground work so solid for WildStar.
Some of my biggest annoyances in Guild Wars 2 have been the fact that the very basics of what modern players expected from day one still have not made it into the product after 12 months and yet when WildStar launches, it will be with a swathe of features missing in so much of the genre:
1. Dyeable weapons
2. Build saving
3. “Looking For Group” Tool
4. Add-on Support
5. Costumes that work in all areas of the game, irrespective of armor type
These 5 things might seem menial when written and I can imagine some of you reading this winced when you read number 4, but they make a huge difference to the vast majority of players game lives and their fundamental enjoyment of the product.
I'm a stickler for my characters looking good and I go to great lengths to ensure that they look their best. This might seem unimportant to many, but it's a big part of why I love massively multiplayer games so much. Yes, yes, I could go and play Hello Kitty Online and dress-up all fancy, all of the time, but unfortunately in that game you can't shoot people in the face with giant laser pistols. The fact that you all too often in MMOG's have to source a weapon that matches your armor, as opposed to simply being able to match your favorite weapon by amending its color, is something that's frustrated me for far too long. Its a menial task and one which compromises on a players ability to look just how they want to.
Now, not only can I look f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s in my every day attire, but my weapons will also match whatever color scheme I've chosen to adopt. Versace would be proud.
Speaking of attire (point 5), costumes play a huge role in WildStar and unlike attempts by the likes of Guild Wars 2 to implement town clothes that are temporary and ultimately pointless cosmetic items, WildStar builds on this in a big way. Every costume in WildStar can be worn as armour, irrespective of whether its baggy pants, a clowns outfit or hulking giant robot suit when you're a light armor wearer. The sheer variety available, to truly fine tune your external image, is worth its weight in gold to players like me. With my Spellslinger I've already a specific look in mind that has no relationship with being a light armor wearer and I think that's fantastic.
B is for Convenience
I could nerd rage in massively multiplayer games when I can't change my builds quickly. I often wonder whether the developers of these games are also playing what we are, because if they too find it frustrating, why they bloody hell don't they do something about it? Some games do have build saving, and they instantly win my “senisible-game-design-implementation-of-the-year -award”, but many don't and in this day and age, it's an unforgivable sin (worse than stealing candy from a baby).
I fully appreciate that implementing build saving and allowing you to auto-swap in specific builds (complete with a full change to your skills, armor and weapons) but I would bet my life’s savings ($3) that players would take build saving over 1 months worth of additional content. Convenience is priceless to those of us strapped to time and especially those of us who are growing old. Dragging and dropping 10 skills and and multiple armor pieces takes its toll on wizened fingers.
Looking For Trouble Group
Handled correctly, there's very little wrong with a Looking For Group tool. It saves time, allows people to progress when they want to progress and avoids the need for me to stand in Nexus for six hours, spamming:
H/SS LFG LEVEL 15 – WHISPER ME
H/SS LFG LEVEL 15 – WHISPER ME
H/SS LFG LEVEL 15 – WHISPER ME
H/SS LFG LEVEL 15 – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHISPER ME
H/SS LFG LEVEL 15 – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE!! WHISPER ME!!!!111
Carbine have some made some slight tweaks with the system by the fact that you have to be outside the specific location you want to find a group for. A simple, yet elegant solution to the lack of social interaction and lost friendships that many LFG tools cause. If that wasn't good enough, there's also a My Realm Only button for those who are truly xenophobic.
Add Me On!
Last but not least are addons. A curse for some but divine intervention for many, I really like addons. After revisiting my dust covered World of Warcraft account recently and seeing the number of addons I had installed at the time, I do wonder whether I was on drugs or just terrible at the time. However, I like addons because their creators are often a clever bunch who make some brilliant tools (predominantly for free) that tend to supersede that of a developers making. I don't agree with all of them and some rightfully don't belong in WildStar (anything that gives you a distinct advantage over an opposing player not using addons in PvP is a no-no) but if it means that a specific addons makes everyones life easier in whatever area they're seeking to streamline, then so be it.
So there we have it, my first WildStar Burst. Any thoughts?
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