Delving Into WildStars Big Changes and Beta Update
Content Director Mike Donatelli served up his latest beta update today to touch on some of the coming changes to WildStar based on feedback from beta testers and fans. And, according to Donatelli, this includes some of the feedback provided by players on threads from leaked content across the Internet. So, job well done, I guess? The feedback has led to changes for WildStar's quest system, mob tagging, and the continued work to find the right fit for the Milestone system.
The Milestone system is something that some have considered to be a bit confusing and devoid of player choice. It was the first topic that Donatelli touched on in his update and clearly defined what is not working but is a bit vague on where the next version of the system is heading. Carbine has avoided discussing the Milestone system too much publicly as its previous versions were not performing as they had hoped. The initial version of allowed players to slot passive abilities alongside active with locks tied to certain stat thresholds.
Changes made to the system in the second iteration removed the manual slotting in favor of a system that favored more unlocks through stat progression, making it more gear-based than anything else. Negative feedback from testers has sent this feature back to the drawing board once again, unfortunately, Donatelli didnt provide further details about the next iteration to the system, so well have to wait until his next update to see how the system evolves.
Carbine is also making a couple of really big changes to its questing system. And its a bit of an interesting, all be it somewhat familiar, approach to completing your standard kill 10 rats or collect 40 carrots quests. Rather than rolling with the usual numerical quest progression (again, say kill 10 rats), the progression number is being replaced with a progression bar, which, could possibly be a variation of the same system used by Guild Wars 2, basing the quest progression more on XP than simply killing a given number of creatures. So if you decide that you want to kill a fewer number of higher con mobs for more XP rather than a higher number of weaker ones for less, then that is one option that the new system will provide. Other quests will increment on the number of interactions, so you just may still have to collect those 40 carrots.
Another big change that will accompany the questing changes is the removal of mob tagging. Instead, WildStar is pivoting towards a mechanic used in more recent games by providing XP based on damage contribution to the kill, providing allies in the field the option to lend a hand when needed and get a little something in return for their trouble. Grouping will still provide players with full XP based on the damage that the group does rather than a percentage of the damage-to-kill contribution, so that does help keep WildStar from falling into that same old pitfall that some games have hit with similar systems. And by pitfall I mean the inevitable tweaking that has to be made once players discovered that the system penalized support and healing classes for doing their jobs and not ignoring their role to dish out damage just to get a share of the rewards.
Grouping is something that Carbine plans to encourage and they're exploring a few new ways to make it easier for players to team up and avoid something that is all too common with more recent MMORPGs avoiding groups because it just slows you down. If youve been around the MMORPG block a few times you know what Im referring to. There are several MMORPGs available now that, aside from dungeon runs, its often just quicker to grab up a bunch of quests and grind them out alone if youre looking to push through the levels given that you can flatten enough enemies on your own fast enough that a group can often just hinder your progression, something that Dalmarus eloquently covered in his recent EverQuest article about the importance of combat pacing and how it helps to create a more challenge MMORPG experience.
And that is Donatelli's update in a nutshell. The beta is still ongoing, so head over to the WildStar website to sign up if you want to get your name in the pool. In the meantime, you can read Donatelli's full update for yourself here.
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