I’m new to the Wildstar radio family and wanted to take a moment to ramble about something I’m really impressed by in Wildstar: The Path System. It’s innovative the way that they are truly encouraging playing the way YOU want. As a once wanna-be game developer, this system truly hit close to home in my belief about giving gamers what they really want. It draws on a well-proven gaming theory that has been around since the early 90s, and it gives a more personal touch to your character, making it a reflection of yourself. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Once upon a time, I had dreams of being a game developer; those dreams were promptly crushed when I discovered the woeful lack of gaming development companies in Dallas, TX. However, before that discovery, I did have a chance to learn about Bartle’s breakdown of gaming styles. I found it fascinating! Bartle wrote an article in 1996 describing different play styles that tend to dominate the gaming world. There are four types: Killer, Explorer, Achiever, and Socializer. The Killers are those who derive great pleasure from destroying everything in sight. They are most at ease when they have the knowledge that they are the best are taking opponents down, be it NPCs or other players. Explorers are exactly what you might expect from the name. They like to try to get to the secret places, find those really cool spots for amazing screen shots, and, in general, have every map filled out. The Achiever values knowledge about the game. These gamers enjoy doing everything in the game. They are the theorycrafters, the one you always go to for advice, and the ones who find inconsistencies in the story of the game. Lastly, the Socializers play for the interpersonal aspect of the game. The seek out new friendships, organize large groups, and troll trade chat talking about Chuck Norris (whoa, no joke, Microsoft Works just auto corrected norris to Norris, he even scares Microsoft!).
Now to boggle your mind even more, no person is just one type. You can have a primary and secondary type of gaming you prefer. For example: I am an Explorer Killer, meaning I mostly enjoy filling out all the blank spaces on my map, but I can’t resist trying to figure out how kill a 4-person elite by myself. This does not mean that I don’t like to be an achiever every now and then as well. I did take the time to get all the Datacrons on my Consular in SW:TOR and was a slight achievement whore in WoW. I can occasionally enjoy some group content. It’s rare; I mostly just play with people I know. Now, every gamer is like this. We all have something we tend to prefer and a secondary preference that also partially drives us.
That’s why I believe Wildstar is doing such a great job of catering to gamers. The four paths coincide with the four gamer types: The Soldier, The Explorer, The Scientist, and the Settler.
The Soldier is based on the Killer archetype. Most quests are about, go here kill ten rats and bring me back their left molars. Well, the Soldier path simply gives you more of those, but makes them more challenging, fun, or both! You may be called upon to guard a probe while it takes soil samples, or to go kill a huge monster that is terrorizing the local settlement. As a soldier, your job is to kill stuff. Have fun!
The Explorer path is based off the errr…explorer archetype. Kind of a no brainer there. As an explorer, you still do your standard share of kill ten rats but you tend to get easily distracted by the nearby mountain. Killing rats can wait, I wonder what’s at the top of that mountain. You do of course have the assistance of your locator that points you to all the cool points. Happy exploring, and may the best screenshot win!
The Scientist is based off the Achiever archetype. As a scientist you get a little probe that assists you in investigating the mysteries of Nexus and the history of the Eldan. So Before you turn in your ten rat molars you analyze them for cavities first. The promise of monthly content updates should make avid scientists very happy.
The Settler is aimed at the Socializers. Honestly, it took me a while to figure this one out. Being a settler doesn’t directly lead you to interacting with other players. Instead, it leads you to help other players by adding to the world. To help your fellow gamers out you can set up a new travel hub, build turrets to defend a quest hub in a PvP-intense zone, and even add additional respawn points. Honestly, this path doesn’t appeal to me much, but I really hope that it does to others because they will really make my life easier.
If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend take the Bartle game personality test. It’s actually really fun and will help you to focus on gaming the way that would really make you happiest. The link is included here. The rest of the staff took the test, and the results are as follows:
- Carla: Explorer 73%, Killer 60%, Socializer 33%, Achiever 33%
- Joe: Achiever 67%, Killer 60%, Explorer 40%, Socializer 33%
- Drew: Killer 87%, Explorer 47%, Socializer 33%, Achiever 33%
- Maer: Explorer 73%, Socializer 60%, Killer 20%, Achiever 4%
We have a fairly even split here at Wildstar Radio!
Wildstar is less than a year away and I can hardly wait; I look forward to meeting you planetside.
Funny thing about this game is that it brought out the explorer in me. During Arkship, I found myself really, really enjoying the explorer path. I think as the game develops, and beta comes around, I’ll be taking at least one character all the way up as an explorer. Part of the joy is that it doesn’t interfere with the normal questing / killing / leveling experience – it adds a new dimension that’s sympatico with the status quo, and consequently enhances it.
Thanks for this post..I’m not an explorer normally, so I may have to check out that path now.
Whoa, Drew! I so didn’t see you as a killer. i figured you more for an achiever.
I remember reading that article way back when I was playing another game.. I enjoy being the explorer type. A small group of friends and I plotting out the unknown is very exciting- especially when you get that awsome rare loot drop from a mob barely known to the server.
[…] I recently changed my goals in Wildstar for my main character to include the Scientist path. For those who don’t know what the Scientist is, you should check out the post Torvox did a few weeks ago, called “Which Path Will You Take?“. […]