WildStar Player versus Player AMA Transcript

To celebrate PvP week in WildStar we've pulled together a transcript of last nights Ask Me Anything

To celebrate PvP week in WildStar, four of the team took to Reddit late yesterday to answer any and all questions the community had. Answered by Jen Gordy, PvP Systems Lead (CRB_Bardic), Kevin Lee, PvP Systems Designer (CRB_KevinLee), Tony Rey, Community for WildStar (CRB_TonyRey13) and Jeff Tallon, Itemization Designer (CRB_JTal) there’s some good information to keep us going until the next weekend. 

Zhenyaya: For the whole duration of the beta I havent seen people Qing for "Practice Grounds" (as I understood its non-rated battlegrounds) and everyone from lvl 6 been Qing for "rated" BGs.. So, is it intended that you can join RBGs by solo-Qing from lvl 6 or there will be some restrictions (Practice BGs 6-50lvl, RBGs 50+ lvl, or smth like that) after launch?

What is the max/min amount of rating you can loose/gain after loosing/winning rated PvP matches?

CRB_Bardic: Practice Grounds will be your go to. We've changed (internally) rated battlegrounds to only be level 50. You should see this change on the next major beta update.

Saucyribs: Is the prestige reward rate equal in all three PvP types? For example, if I spend 1 hour playing battlegrounds will I earn the same amount of prestige as if I had spent an hour doing arenas or warplots?

CRB_JTal: We’ve recently rebalanced the reward rate for Prestige and other PvP rewards from instanced PvP matches. The goal is that Battlegrounds with longer average match times will give more rewards and those with shorter average match times will give less rewards so that, on average, you will get the same amount of rewards over time regardless of which PvP match you participate in.

Dclaiche: For the ratings is there a separate rating system for BGs and Arenas or is it all under one rating? In addition, are there normal and ranked rating systems or just ranked?

CRB_Bardic: Each system has it's own rating. So you'll have:

  • Personal Battleground Rating
  • Personal 2v2 Arena Rating, Team 2v2 Arena Rating
  • Personal 3v3 Arena Rating, Team 3v3 Arena Rating
  • Personal 5v5 Arena Rating, Team 5v5 Arena Rating
  • Personal Warparty Rating, Team Warparty Rating

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Unknown: All three of you, what are your favorite classes to play and why? What combination of abilities do you frequently use? Which class do you find to be the easiest against your favorite class? Which is hardest?

CRB_JTal: I play a Mechari Engineer. I really like the class mechanics, ExoSuit and bots, ranged tanking, etc. I generally run a very tanky build even when soloing and questing. It actually works really well in PvP if I can get the other team to focus on me (which is easy when playing with a Dev tag!). I seem to have an easy time dealing with Medics and Espers, and a tougher time handling Warriors and Stalkers.

AM97s: Do you have any plans to restrict the creation of characters to 'one faction only' on PVP realms?

CRB_Bardic: On PvP ruleset realms, we DO currently restrict creation to one faction.

Teohtime: Does J-Tal have a decimal point in the wrong place on your PvP stat changes, or are you actually putting 50 times as much PvP Def/Off on gear? Also, how do you intend to address the problem of very large/wide AoE telegraphs which deal high damage being naturally strong in PvP, without gimping the classes which use them in PvE, where the size of the telegraph isn't really a big deal?

CRB_JTal: The decimal point is in the right place. It is a pretty significant change, but one that we felt we needed to do. PvP stats, at the time, were not performing anywhere near where we wanted them. With some internal number crunching, we found that we were very far off our target numbers and adjusted as such.

We have been introducing line of sight blocking structures to help you break up some of these massive fights. The new props added into Walatiki and Halls are to address this. Much of this comes down to map design when you have this type of combat system. We're taking a lot of our learning with us for future game types. 

Lividhatter: Are there any pieces of gear that will have click abilities?

CRB_JTal: Our Gadget item slot is just that. They are all clickable abilities that give you various temporary buffs, deal damage, heal, restore shields, etc.

Sebastiansly: I really like your battle ground designs, especially Walatiki temple.

The Halls of the Blood Sworn is interesting. It reminds me of SWTOR's Warzone the Void Star. However in HotBS there is a much more "open" feel to the capture objectives. In the Void Star players are attempting to channel open doors to move into the next area. This brings the fighting up against a wall/bridge and it's much more obvious when you need to move forward to the next objective.

The HotBS map is fun but I find it far less intuitive to play compared to the Void Star. Has any thought gone into making it clearer when you need to transition into the next area? IE turn off flashing yellow arrows until it's time to run? Make the primary/secondary capture voice overs more distinct? Flashing red lights in the room you should move out of when you open the door? What about improving the UI to show which secondary objectives have been capped?

Do you feel the classes with a long knock back - (Esper's Shockwave) are balanced on this map? I was able to run up to people and knock them off the secondary objective platforms so I could cap very easily. There doesn't seem to be much defense against this tactic right now.

CRB_KevinLee: Thank you, I’m glad that you are enjoying the battlegrounds!

Currently HotBS has several indicators that a room has been captured and that it is time to move forward:

  • The primary control point has a large “Lock” icon that spawns in the middle of the point
  • The capture progress UI resets
  • The defending team will also get a "Fall Back" ability (this shows up above the ability bar) that will port them to the next room/CP.
  • And most importantly, a quest arrow will pop up on your character as soon as a point is fully capped directing you to the next point.

This is not to say that there isn’t more to be done to make it more obvious and we pride ourselves on listening to player feedback and taking action on it. Your suggestions of “turn off flashing yellow arrows until it's time to run”, is one that I will certainly look into.

Lividhatter: Other than gear, what cool things can be earned in pvp?

CRB_JTal: There are several Housing Décor items that can only be acquired through PvP. There are several new PvP-only Rune Sets (although, you could argue that is part of your gear). I’ve recently updated the reward bags at the end of the match to also include rolling on normal World Loot tables (which includes several cool things like Costumes, AMPs, very rare Epic quality PvE gear, crafting recipes, and more!)

Lividhatter: Are these items all bop?

CRB_JTal: No, many of these items are tradable/auctionable.

Mozaar: Will there be leaderboards?

TonyRey13: The team really wants to do this, however we are limited by resources and time. So it won't be in by launch, but would love to get it in game post-launch.

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Lividhatter: Do you track duels won / lost?

CRB_TonyRey13: We track it for an achievement, but it is not a statistic you see anywhere else.

King_WildStar: My most pressing concern is the AMP and LAS system and its negative affect on PVP. Honestly I play MMOs to PVP at the highest level, and as the system currently stands I will be forced to PVE in order to not be at a distinct disadvantage due to the unlocks and extra points linked to PVE quests/tasks.

What is the point in having seperate gear when the point system makes all serious PVPers PVE. Why level in BGs when you will be gimped by doing so?

Do you guys plan on changing the system at all to allow PVPers to get access to the points/skills without forcing them into PVE?

CRB_Bardic: We have changed our Battleground loot bags! With the next update, you'll have a chance to receive non-PvP amps from those bags.

Unidel: Will PvP gear get more interesting item specials like PvE/crafted gear has? It seems like the recent plans to rebalance the super powerful item specials and changes to PvP offense/defense rating will at least make PvP gear better than PvE gear in PvP but my concern is that it's not as fun/interesting.

Also can you give any examples of PvP runesets?

CRB_JTal: Yes. We have plans to add several new PvP and crafting specific item specials in the future. I’ve already made some headway in this regard with the addition of PvP-specific Rune Sets. The Engineer PvP Rune Set is based around your class innate ExoSuit ability. While this ability is active, you have a chance on Hit to increase both your Crit and Deflect ratings for a short time. We’ve really worked on making the PvP Rune Sets give bonuses for both a DPS spec and a Support (Tank/Healer) spec for each class. Each PvP Rune Set will have one bonus that is focused on DPS (in this case, a Crit Buff) and one bonus that is focused on the Support role for that class (Deflect Buff).

Disabledhippos: How will the ratings and gearscore work together? Say I have a rating of 1300 in the 2v2 arena, will I meet another 2-man group that's 1300 rating too, and they just essentially outgears the living hell out of me?

How does stat normalization work in BGs? For example in the 6-14 bracket, is everyone's stat basically just brought up to the stats that a level 14 would have (minus all the gear) and any stats added onto that is basically coming from your gear?

What is exactly pvp offensive and pvp defensive stats. Like how significant is it to have that +5 pvp offense/defense then no pvp offense/defense at all? Are there some numbers to see how the pvp offense/defense is calculated?

CRB_Bardic: Gearscore matching is not applied in the Rated Arena and Rated Battleground environments. Ultimately, your rating becomes a combination of gear and skill. As you’re becoming more successful in the rated matches, you’ll get access to gear. The new gear may give you a boost towards attaining higher rating.

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In Battlegrounds, the rallying system treats the character as it is the max level of the bracket (so for 6-14 Walatiki, you’re considered level 14) for the purposes of scaling base attributes, health, player abilities, and gear. All stats on items are scaled with the player’s level, through adjustments in the item’s available power. This is so we preserve your stat distribution on your gear while keeping power level appropriate.

PvP Defense: provides a percentage based mitigation against player sourced damage. Players have a natural amount of PvP defense before item bonuses are calculated in. PvP Offense: counters a percentage of the target’s PvP Defense. This is basically a form of PvP strikethrough.

Bunyz12: Any chance for a low gravity PvP map where you jump alot higher? You could put all sorts of jumping areas in it to make it challenging for people to move around.

CRB_Kevinlee: I actually prototyped a low gravity battleground a few years ago and what I found out is that low gravity is awful for PvP. It didn’t lend itself well to combat … or moving in general.

EntropicTempest: Are there any game modes for battlegrounds that you looked at that didn't quite make the cut, or are there any game types that are being considered down the road?

For Arena's, how long would an 'ideal match' last for among similarly skilled and geared players?

I know the AMA topic was over battlegrounds and arenas, so I don't know if World PvP is your domain or not, but…

What kind of incentives do you plan to put in place to encourage players to participate in large scale WPvP? Will there be any incentive to raid capital cities of the opposing faction?

CRB_Bardic: We actually had 21 designs for battleground gameplay. CRB_KevinLee was very busy early in WildStar development! Some of these had grey map layouts (and several versions of them). Only a few made it to the actual prototyping stage.

The ones we ended up choosing for launch (which evolved into Walatiki and Halls) were ones that we had in a scripted and playtest-able stage with a couple of different map layouts. We’ve set aside a few other gameplay designs from the pool to use post launch. Those designs have been or will be adjusted based on player demand/desire as well.

For Arenas, the match times in beta have been around 5-6 minutes long, on average. In general, we feel this is a pretty good average duration! There have been matches that stretch almost to the end of the match limit (30 minutes), but it hasn’t been a common occurrence.

For open world PvP, we intentionally did not place much emphasis on open world PvP since we wanted to find where players naturally gravitated and what PvE content encouraged fighting. Post launch, we’ll take this knowledge to potentially enhance these areas.

Lividhatter: What benefits do you see with pvp specific stats?

CRB_JTal: PvP stats allow us to easily and quickly tweak PvP balance from an itemization standpoint without causing collateral damage to PvE itemization and balance. It also allows us to keep PvP item progression in-line with PvE item progression without having them bleed into each other or have issues where PvP gear is better than Raiding gear or vice versa. PvP gear will be better for PvP and PvE gear will be better for PvE.

Birdboy272: Do you have a pvp team?

CRB_TonyRey13: Yes we do!

CloseoutTX: A) Many people are incredibly butthurt upset with the recent change to PvP offense/defense on gear. The biggest fear is that any gear earned through PvE will be neigh useless in a battleground. In a PvP setting, what would the true damage difference be between a gear equivalent PvE geared player vs their PvP geared counterpart (Assuming they just sat there slugging it out with the same abilities).

B) I have been led to believe that the absolute top end PvP gear will be from Warplots. While I think his is fantastic game type I am curious as to why it would come from Warplots vs the highest Arena echelon. I believe getting such a large force assembled and working together deserves fantastic gear and definitely above the average arena player. But it is my belief that PvP with the largest focus on individual skill should reward the BIS PvP gear.

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CRB_JTal: The damage difference can vary based on the tier. At the top tier, the true damage difference between a fully geared PvP player and a fully geared PvE player (when attacking each other) is close to 65%. It is a pretty significant difference. The highest tier of PvP gear is available from both Warplots and Arenas.

Snappypants: World PvP Objectives: Any plans for post launch? Keeps or territory control or something? I've already seen the "we'll see where people pvp first" replies, got anything solid in the planning stages at all?

Cross Faction Chat (/say, /yell): Any chance to enable this on pvp servers?

The Third Battleground: How long will it take to get this in after launch?

CRB_Bardic: We can’t disclose our post launch plans yet, as we’re still refining said plan! Keep your eyes peeled though. We may have updates for you when we get closer to launch.

That out of the way, our third battleground has been tested internally pretty thoroughly and we’re enjoying the heck out of it. We hope you’ll like it too :)

As for cross faction chat, the current implementation is staying (no communication across factions). However, we do value your feedback on it – we’ve had many discussions internally on this topic.

Renzor_PT: So is MOBA battleground a future idea? What other sort of unique ideas, like SWTOR huttball, would you guys like to implement (like not that you will).

CRB_KevinLee: I can’t go into specifics about future BG’s, but I can tell you that we do draw inspiration from many different games/genres (like MOBA’s). The intent, of course, is to continue to deliver battlegrounds with unique mechanics and “twists” on old favorites.

Nocternal80: What will be the difference between PvP gear and PvE? Will PvP gear be viable for PvE or will we need to invest in two sets?

CRB_JTal: PvP gear uses two PvP stats: PvP Defense and PvP Offense. Defense reduces the damage you take from other players and Offense penetrates your target’s Defense. 50% of the item budget goes to these two stats. Because of this, PvP gear can be used in PvE but will be at a significant disadvantage (50% stats) compared to Veteran quality or Raid quality gear. Alternatively, PvE gear can be used in PvP but will also be at a significant disadvantage compared to PvP gear. You will likely want to acquire two sets of gear if you wish to be competitive in both aspects of the game.

Toiks: For people who will like mostly PVP how are you gonna do the gear progression in PVP?

CRB_JTal: Our gear progression for PvP is as follows: When you reach level 50, there is a Dungeon-quality Blue set for each class (faction specific) that you can purchase right away with our PvP currency, Prestige. The next tier of PvP gear is a Veteran-quality Epic set for each class (also faction specific), you will need both Prestige and personal Rating in either Rated Battlegrounds, Arenas (any bracket), or Warplots. The final tier of PvP gear is a Raid-quality Epic set (again, for each class/faction specific), you will need both Prestige and a high personal Rating in either Rated Arenas or Warplots.

Willagon: Why did you go with the 'Team Revive Pool' instead of the standard Arena format of one life per player?

Is there only the one map for Arena? If yes, why?

CRB_KevinLee: 1) I initially prototyped the life pool as part of a bg and later applied it to the arena to account for the fact that our kill times were very short (this was before the class team started balancing for pvp). Because the kill times were so short, we couldn’t get any meaningful playtest geared toward getting map feedback. After it was added we found that the life pool added a lot of interesting elements and allowed more tactical arena play.

2) Yes. What I can say is that I have been working on post launch Arena’s/BG’s content for a few months, so fear not.

ReconerX: What do you think it is that delineates Wildstar's PvP from other MMO PvP systems? What makes Wildstar's "special"?

CRB_Bardic: I think our combat system is the major bit that makes WildStar PvP awesome. Telegraph play and movement (double jumping, dashing, sprinting) play a major part in how we design WildStar PvP experiences. It’s also really fun – clashes feel frenetic (aiming, movement) and combat requires more skill than in other MMOs. I also like our limited action system. The choices when going into Arena feel more deliberate and strategic (working with your teammates to complement abilities).

EmeraldEtan: How do you plan on keeping open world pvp functional while keeping gear discretion? Swtor had an issue where pvp stats did not apply in open world. How do you have this setup?

CRB_JTal: PvP stats function in both instance PvP and the open world.

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About The Author

The only game to have distracted Lewis away from MMOG's over the last 15 years was Pokemon Red. Despite that blip, Lewis has worked his way through countless games in the genre in search of something that comes close to his much loved (and long time dead) Neocron. Having written for several gaming networks before Ten Ton Hammer, Lewis likes to think he knows a thing or two about what makes an MMOG and its player-base tick.

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