Posted Wed, Jun 26, 2013 by Dalmarus
Listen up, Maggots! Today is the day you make your parents proud. Today is the first day you have ever amounted to anything. Today is the day you will finally be of use to the society that has supported you all of your life. When you set foot on Nexus you will choose one of four paths that will determine how you go about improving this hostile world for your fellows. It will be hard. It will be long. It will be painful! And quite possibly, it will be... DEADLY. You there! In the back! Stand tall, Maggot! The time for backing out has come and gone and you missed the train, so you all had better pull up your britches and step to it. Now get out there and prove your worth!
All of us play games for different reasons and as such, all of us have different things that we enjoy doing in games. Rather than try to shoehorn everyone to fit into the same mold, the team at Carbine Studios is going about things differently with their upcoming title, WildStar. After years of antidotal evidence, research, and just plain psychology, it's been known for some time that people fall into different categories when it comes to their personal gaming preferences. Working off that assumption, WildStar is set to introduce the world to a level of customized gameplay never before seen.
There are four paths you can choose from and each of them will have a set of skills that only they can use. Each zone will have between 20 and 30 percent of its entire content for each player dedicated solely to the path they chose. Players will need to decide which of the following four path types they wish to follow throughout their gaming career with that particular character: Soldier, Scientist, Settler, or Explorer.
Soldiers are the choice to make for those that couldn't care less about why things work, what's out in the world awaiting discovery, or creating buildings. Soldiers are about one thing and one thing only - death and destruction. Given access to a wide array of experimental weaponry, they are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to dismember their opponents... even if that hapless opponent is just a goat. It's in the way so it has to die. Hey, I don't make the rule, that’s just the way it is. Is this the choice for you? No? Perhaps you'd like to be a Scientist instead?
Scientists enjoy studying everything. And when I say everything, that's exactly what I mean. Did you notice that flower we passed 10 minutes ago? The ones with the funky glow rings around them? If just the thought of them and trying to figure out why they have glowing rings and what they’re for is driving you crazy, then the Scientist is the choice for you. Playing with plants, studying rock formations, and figuring out the mystery of Mechari farts still not your bag of proverbial tea? How about the Settler then?
The world of Nexus is harsh, brutal, and in desperate need of taming. That's where the Settler comes in. Need a forest cleared? A town built? Merchants to start hanging around a new town in the middle of nowhere? Begging for a buff station? For all this and more, you just need to walk by your local Settler and casually mention how it would be nice to finally have a place to hang up your hat at the end of the day and call home. Before you know it, they'll be hacking down trees, clearing rocks, and building a palace. Depending on how nicely you ask that is. If you want to be the one doing the building instead of the begging, this path is for you. Still not doing it for you? No worries, we've got one more left!
The Explorer is the path of choice for those that always have to see what's over the next ridge. What's hidden in that cave off in the distance? For the person that is convinced there has to be a quicker path to Destination X rather than the same old boring trail everyone else uses... this is the path for you. And for me as a matter of fact too. I am the consummate explorer and that's what I love to do in games. One of the quickest things a developer can do to get me to hate a game is put up "fake graphic curtains" and place me on a linear path. WildStar is seeking to do just the opposite by not only encouraging me to explore, but making it a mandatory part of my character's growth.
The path system sounds like the perfect idea and one that once it was announced, seemed so brilliant that it's astounding no one thought to do it long before now. If history has shown us anything, those are the ideas that do the best though. It ranks right up there with AoE-looting. Once Rift introduced the gaming world to that simple mechanic, I now consider it a must have staple for any future games. Let's see if WildStar's path system creates the same effect on future game designers.