Today on Reddit, there was a PvP Ask-Me-Anything. I have scraped the lousy organization of Reddit forums for questions that were answered by Carbine Devs.
The Devs that answered the call for answers were as follows:
- CRB_Bardic – Jen Gordy, PvP Lead
- CRB_Hugh – Hugh Shelton, Class Combat Lead
- CRB_Clynch – Chris Lynch, Lead Combat Systems Designer
- CRB_KevinLee – Kevin Lee, PvP Systems Designer
- CRB_Aether – Troy Hewitt, Director of Community
- CRB_Scooter – David Bass, Senior Community Manager
- CRB_Atreid – Loic Claveau, Global Community Manager
I have not put who asked and answered what on here, but suffice it to say that all of these answers are approved by Carbine staffers in the know.
Let’s learn some stuff! Hit the jump for the transcript!
On the official website, in the classes section, it states that there is only one weapon type per-class. Is this going to be the case at launch? If so, why was it the decision to confine each class to only one weapon type?
The animators only have to focus on one weapon type per class which allows them to deliver unique high quality animations for each of the class’ abilities.
Our classes work with a Limited Action Set system, and we felt that further restricting your abilities by weapon type would be a little bit too “restricting”.
How closely interlinked are PvP and PvE versions of abilities? if I’m a PvE player, can I expect nerfs and buffs for the sake of PvP balance (and vice versa), or are they completely decoupled?
Due to the way we design and balance WildStar you should not experience nerfs/buffs to your PVE experience because that ability is over/underpowered in PVP (and vice versa).
In WildStar, we balance all of our combat around a base creature we call “Bob”. This entity has statistics that are what we expect the ‘average’ player to have at each level in the game. This means if we balance Bob so that a player kills it in 30 seconds, then we can assume that an average player will then kill another average player in 30 seconds. This also means that if an ability is overpowered in PVE, it’s probably overpowered in PVP and will need to be addressed.
We also have some tools on the Crowd Control (CC) side of gameplay that will allow us to make CC’s feel different in PVE than they do in PVP.
Due to our Breakout Gameplay system, we can make the effects on players be different than creatures. For example; when you stun a player they will be able to fight to get out of the stun faster, but a creature does not get this opportunity.
Do any forms of PvP have a spectator mode?
I love it and I want it, but it’s unlikely it will be a launch feature.
Can you talk about the PvP progression system? Things such as levels, points, badges, ranks, currencies and the like? Do all available PvP activities contribute to this PvP progression (open world, arena, battlegrounds, warplots)? Or are there separate progression paths, but perhaps shared currencies, or points? SPILL IT! :)
We will have a shared currency across all features (Warplots, Battlegrounds, Arenas) that you can use to purchase PvP rewards. Some rewards will be purchase blocked by individual or team (or Warparty) rating.
The Warparty also has its own specific earned currency, but that’s for another day!
Additionally, we will have progressive titles granted to you as you increase an individual rating (or team rating).
You’ll likely get more information on reward specifics as we move forward in our beta.
Have you decided how many active abilities will be available to the player during combat? Are you looking at limiting it to 7-10 abilities as some recent games have done, 30+ abilities that the more established MMOs use, or something in between?
In our first round of beta, players will be able to create a Limited Action Set with 10 total active abilities. Most of these abilities are class specific but some of them are gained through your Path or through equipment (Gadgets).
That being said, the number of abilities on the LAS may be adjusted during beta since we are open to player feedback.
First off, I was wondering if any of you are allowed to go into detail how leveling up in your PvP system works. Are you able to get any kind of gear that’s only associated with PvP as you level up? Or is gear progression strictly reserved for cap.
I can answer some of this! As for leveling up in PvP…in WildStar, we’d like for you to be able to play the way you want. For us, this means that if you want to be able to level your character by slaying player foes instead of AI foes…you can do so.
Through Battlegrounds, you will be able to gain experience to level up. You will also be able to attain gear and rewards to help keep you equipped (on par with a PvE leveling experience).
So, for us…PvP is not just about being at level cap.
In order to support leveling, we will have a system in place, called Rallying, which boosts the player’s level (and statistics) to match the maximum level for the Battleground bracket he or she is participating in. The Rallying system also normalizes gear to that level max, so you may enjoy as fair a fight as possible!
As for bracket sizes, those are currently under discussion…factoring in gear, character progression (skills and advancement), and the Rallying system.
I unfortunately cannot answer your Heirloom question, we’ll have to save that for another time :)
For those playing healing capable classes. How direct are the mechanics? Are things rules by AoE heals or are these more aligned with the ‘trinity’ where players can target friendly players that need attention most? Essentially when looking at classes, the question is are these capable of being dedicated roles in support or are they DPS classes with support capability?
We allow players to specialize for healing, and healers have a variety of tools at their disposal. As a quick example:
Do you prefer more Free Form (Skill Shot) heals or do you feel more comfortable with targeted heals? Do you want to add to your group’s total damage output or would you rather focus on CC?
As a healer you can build your Limited Action Set to fulfill any mixture of those roles.
Are tanks going to have roles to fill in PvP? Taunts reducing damage others around the tank take unless someone targets them? Shielding abilities that transfer a percentage of the damage a targeted ally takes back to the tank? Anything else a tank can do that’s unique to that “mindset” in PvP?
Tanks will have a good arsenal of abilities that will help them fulfill their tank role in PVP. A small sample of these tools include:
- Taunt: If a Tank taunts an enemy, the enemy will deal reduced damage to everyone but the Tank that taunted.
- Tether: Let’s say someone is chasing your healer (or another one of your friends). You can create an anchor in the world that the enemy player will be tethered to. Once tethered, that enemy player can only move a set amount of distance away from that anchor until the anchor is destroyed or wears off.
- Pull: Another case of someone chasing your healer (or another one of your friends!). In this case, you can aim at the enemy and launch a chain at them that will them pull them to your current location, buying your friend precious time to get away.
Does this mean you can stack that Taunt to give DPS constant damage reduction?
Currently you can only be under the effects of one Taunt ability at a time, but you could stagger your Taunt ability out.
This is a question from another member of Wildstar-Central. Rockhound asks, “Since you’ve incorporated ELO algorithms, making the PvP completely skill based, do you plan on creating a ladder/statistics system that can be accessed via the website to showcase the top players/teams/guilds?”
Excellent question: We are currently working with our Web Developers and Database Engineers to create a system that will allow for the display of leaderboard-style statistics for individual players and guilds.
As a matter of fact, we are exploring ways to use this system to reward player’s for their skill with a scheme that mixes a-reputation-as-currency, and the weight of that player’s contribution to the community site (think forum posts that float to the top, think opportunities for direct-to-designer feedback, think invites to future fan-based events). More on this as we know more.
Telegraphs are an important part of Wildstar’s combat and even healers will make use of them from what we’ve been told. Will the majority of heals be telegraphs and how is that holding up in PVP where positioning is constantly changing?
Great question! Yes, a large portion of heal abilities will be telegraphed (we call this Freeform) and this is holding up very well in PVP. Landing these types of heal abilities give the caster quite a bit of satisfaction when landing that heal.
I’d also like to take a moment to illustrate a sample of the wide variety of telegraphed (Freeform) heals we already have:
- Aimed Telegraph – This is the type you are referring to in which you heal everyone in your telegraphed area shape. These shapes can be lines, cones, squares, circles, half-moons, rectangles, crosses, or any combination of those stacked on top of each other to make a new shape altogether.
- Heal Nodes – This is an ability type where you can actually spawn healing nodes in the game space. Some of these may pulse healing/buffs in that telegraphed area for a period of time. Others may be consumed by the first friendly player to run to the node.
- Movement-based – These types of abilities will actually cause your player to move across the telegraphed area (usually a line) and heal everyone in your path. This type of heal is great for getting away from enemies chasing you and healing your friends at the same time.
Will the implementation of crowd control be visible to all players clearly?. for example a person who is poisoned would turn his model green. or will we have to be looking at our debuff bars similar to how world of warcraft seems to look like?
We have been spending quite a bit of time on making our crowd control system stand out from what has been done in most MMO’s.
In WildStar we will clearly be messaging if a player is under a Crowd Control state. We do this through a variety of ways:
- Animation: If someone or something is stunned, they will play a stunned animation. Every creature and player in the game will have this animation and it is very noticeable.
- Floaters: Anytime someone gets hit by a Crowd Control spell, there will be a floater in the game that says ‘STUNNED’ or ‘TETHERED’.
- Visual FX: We will have standard noticeable visual FX associated with each CC state. For stun, you may see stars circling around the affected targets head. For tether, you will see the anchor in the playspace with a tether to it from the player.
Will each class have a different combat resource mechanics? And will there be more than one (i.e. builders and finishers, such as energy and combo points?) Could you possibly overview the known class resources here?
Yes, we have been working towards a unique combat resource mechanics per class. These resource mechanics are still undergoing changes based on feedback and playtesting, so we will not be elaborating on them further today.
Group PvE combat question (I know… I don’t really pvp that often but the combat dudes are here so…). For a tank, how high on the priority list is keeping aggro in group combat? By this I mean will tanks have to actively create threat on a target or do you believe that keeping threat shouldn’t be a particularly hard endeavor which leaves more brain space for other things such as placement/movement, CCs, and interrupts?
Yes, tanks will actively have to generate threat, but this is not a particularly hard endeavor due to the reasons you listed. Our combat, and boss fights, tend to require the player to react to things that are occurring in real time. Due to this a majority of the tank’s time/brainpower will be spent on things such as:
- Movement: The tank and their group mates will need to be available to actively move around during a fight to avoid high damage attacks that could seriously hurt, or kill them.
- Coordinating CC’s: With systems like Interrupt Armor, most boss creatures will require multiple CC’s to prevent them from casting potentially devastating abilities. This means that interrupting these abilities will need to be a coordinated group activity.
- Timing Defensive/Survivability Abilities: The tank will have a nice arsenal of abilities that help them increase their survivability.
When, where, and how you use these abilities will truly determine their true effectiveness.
We’ve already been told that each player will have an “Elo” rating for the purpose of match-balancing. Will this rating deteriorate over time or remain static if a player stops playing for a while?
The current plan is to have the rating deteriorate over time due to inactivity. That said, we’re just moving into beta…things could change!
Will players of one faction be able to “raid” other enemy faction cities? Will there be a “large” central hub(s) for players of each faction to occupy?
There will be large faction cities that opposing faction players can enter and be flagged for PvP – so you may indeed cause some mischief, particularly on the PvP ruleset!
Will there be meaningful PvP objectives in the open world areas of PvP servers?
WildStar will have zones that are shared by both factions, which present opportunities for PvP combat on PvP ruleset servers. However, objective based open world PvP is not a focus for WildStar for launch.
We would like to see where players naturally gravitate towards and what areas of Wildstar appeal to them before making an investment on open world PvP.
How will Wildstar handle PvP itemization and gear progression, and will gear acquired through PvE and PvP be able to be used interchangeably in both PvE and PvP (if applicable)?
We will have gear progression in PvP, where:
Warplot Rewards > Arena Rewards > Battleground Rewards
We will have a system in place, called Rallying, which boosts the player’s level (and statistics) to match the maximum level for the Battleground bracket he or she is participating in. The Rallying system also normalizes gear to that level max, so you may enjoy as fair a fight as possible.
We will have a shared currency across all features (Warplots, Battlegrounds, Arenas) that you can use to purchase PvP rewards. Some rewards will be purchase blocked by individual or team (or Warparty) rating.
Will the path system be incorporated in PVP? Settlers building fortification, scientists upgrading them as an example?
Yes, the path systems will be incorporated in PvP allowing players to gain path xp in battlegrounds and warplots. Although, I can’t provide specifics on how it will be implemented.
To my understanding, there will be gear progression in PVP according to your ELO rankings. *Does that mean that if a person only plays unranked they will face people with higher PVP gear (the guys who play both ranked and unranked)?
*Also what happens when people with high PVE gear from high level raids for into PVP? how will the gear match up?
*Furthermore will the pvp gear be ok to raid with?
I am worried about gear imbalance and that gear will be more important than skill.
If a person plays in an unranked Battleground they will be matched with other players with similar gear values to you. Additionally, due to the Rallying system (where players are boosted in level/stats to the max level of the Battleground bracket), your gear is then normalized to the max level of the bracket. If there were players with higher PvP gear, their gear is normalized as well.
Rallying is also present in ranked Battlegrounds (the only difference here is that the player is matched with other similiarly rated players).
Another question that was brought up over at WildStar Central, why did you decide on using the elo system to rate yourself in battlegrounds? People claim the elo system doesn’t correctly show skill level in a multiplayer environment, do you think this is true? If so, how do you plan on coping with that in WildStar?
Every game that uses an Elo based rating system uses their own unique methods: finding the change in score after matches are completed (k-factor scaling), starting values, flooring, hard/soft resets, decay, etc. We are no different – we will attempt to learn from those that came before us, but we recognize the strength that the Elo system, in general, has to offer in matching players of appropriate skill levels for more rewarding play. That, in essence, is why we chose to use (and custom-fit) the system for Wildstar PvP.
Quick question: What kind of dungeon finder are you planning on implementing in WildStar? Will it be similar to World of Warcraft’s, and will it match you with players across multiple servers or just with others on your own server?
We will have a dungeon finder available for Wildstar at launch! It will match you with players across multiple servers.
Combat Smoothness is one of the most important things in an mmo. Players can almost instantly tell if they are going to enjoy the game within seconds of playing it. Does Wildstar have combat smoothness that other action mmos seemed to have lack in the past? Things such as your character locking up when they use abilities, and general clunkiness are huge turn offs for me personally.
I have experienced the clunkiness you talk about in other action MMOs and I can happily say you won’t find that in WildStar.
Our animations never lock you in place and we have split body technology that allows those animations to look awesome while standing still or while moving.
Some abilities do require you to stand still while casting them, but you can always move to interrupt the cast. We use castable while moving / not castable while moving as another way to differentiate our classes and abilities.
The smoothness of our combat is one of the many things that I am excited about getting into player hands.
Is the plan for release to have 8 races and 6 classes?
You’ve talked to us about your own “capture the flag” system. Seems so fantastic. Do you have any other examples of battlegrounds ? I dream about a new “Huttball”, like in SWTOR…
One of the other battlegrounds I can provide details on is an attack/defend gametype tentatively called Hold the Line. A match consists of two rounds in which each team will have an opportunity to play as the attackers and defenders. The objective is to capture a series of points in the least amount of time. Only one control point will be active at a time and once a point is captured, the next control point is unlocked. As points are captured, the spawn points of the attackers will be moved forward, and the spawns of the defenders will be pushed back. The intent of which is to give the feeling of gaining/losing ground.
Given that there are at least three different PvP systems in Wildstar (Battlegrounds, Warplots, and Arena), how will you handle ELO ratings between them? Will there be separate ELO ratings for each system or will it be accumulative? If it is separate, will the top-tier PvP gear be shared amongst them all?
You will have:
- An individual Battleground Elo Rating
- An individual Arena Elo Rating
- An individual Warparty Elo Rating
Your Arena teams that you are a member of will also have a team rating, which is independent from the individual ratings of the members of the Arena team.
Your Warparty will also have a “team” rating, which is independent from the individual ratings of the members of the Warparty.
We will have a tiered reward system for PvP, where:
Warplot Rewards > Arena Rewards > Battleground Rewards
My biggest question is about the Interrupt Armor. We got a little snippet in the PvP analysis about it, and I was wondering if you could go into more detail about the whole mechanic. More specifically, Is interrupt armor an ability that only one class has or can every class use it? Or is it a passive that can’t be cast on someone else?
All classes have access to at least one active ability that grants interrupt armor (usually along with some other buffs). Some of these abilities are self-cast, but others can be cast on allies.
Is the ESPers’ “golden armor” buff one of those? :D
That’s Phantasmal Armor, it gives both Interrupt Armor and an Absorption Shield. ;D
One of the problems I’ve noticed with MMO’s is their lack of communities. It is an MMO, after all. Part of this, for me, is world PVP and goals that guilds can compete for.
An example for me is group finders and cross server stuff. How will you encourage closer communities(people you actually care about killing or helping) while also implementing features that will allow players to not have to wait forever to fight each other?
I’d really like to see world combat (pve and pvp) and not just instanced fighting. I think a lot of gamers are tired of buying an mmo and not feeling connected to anyone they are playing with. There is no reputation to uphold anymore.
CRB_Bardic talked about our design intentions for group finders and cross-server PvP in this discussion, so in short form: Yes, we are building for that level of support.
Open-world combat is another issue, and while we will have servers that will provide for contested-zone style PvP rule sets, we’re not quite ready to invest development time to provide open-world PvP across the board. CRB_Bardic is actually addressing that very question as I type this- with a better answer, because she is way smarter than I am. (Check out her answer here: Answer 6)
We know players want to get into their PvP combats with attention to an economy of efforts, but in addition to that, it’s important that we are supporting community building, even for PvP-minded players.
That means watching what happens as people get involved in cross-server engagements, and tweaking those systems based on a combination of game data, and PvP feedback.
We’re committed to supporting the micro-communities that make up the greater WildStar player-base, and that means making sure our Combat Designers have a direct conduit to our community PvP experts.
I just turned around to ask the Combat and PvP teams if they found it offensive that I believe that expert players can often know more about how a system functions than the Designer that created it, and they unanimously said “Nope, not offensive, because it’s true.”
So there you go. We are all in agreement!
The problem I have with cross-servers tools is the negative effect it has on the community as a whole due to the anonymity that those tools create.
This is an interesting issue, and we’re talking about this on a philosophical level right now.
As I understand your question, you are looking for ways to build relationships with the people you engage with using cross-server tools, right?
Honestly, I think this is an answer best tackled by the social team, and I’m getting up from my chair right now to see if I can get someone on that team to drop a note in this thread…
Ok, so the Social Team is working on some beta critical tasks right now, but I managed to interrupt them long enough to get some insight into our plans:
Cross-Server friends lists and other social connectivity features are built into the Social Team’s feature plan. The current discussions revolve around available Engineering cycles and priority based on feedback we get from our beta process.
So, I hate to answer you with what amounts to a “Yeah, we want that!” kind of statement, but that’s what I’ve got to share.
That, and social connections are crucial to us as MMO developers, a commitment that crosses every feature team and department. We won’t forget how important this is.
It would be nice to just build relationships with people on your chosen server. I am apart of my chosen servers’ community, not another servers’ community.
Yeah, we agree with that sentiment as well, though our question to you is the following: Does dungeon finder need to be the tool for building relationships on your own server?
We tend to think that providing a useful set of social tools for you to engage and connect with people on your server may be a more important investment of development time.
The goal with cross-server tools is to get you to the action faster than your server population may allow.
I’m really interested in your thoughts on this.
This is going to be a rant and I apologize up front but this is what killed WOW for me. I disagree with getting in to the action fast is important. This isn’t a FPS game – this is a game trying to build a community. On paper it sounds great to “get in the action fast” but after awhile it just feels like a grind. Nothing feels different. You know no one from the opposite faction and you’re left just to do the objective in the battleground.
The most fun I had in WOW was the original rank 14 pvp system. All the grinding and how the gear worked aside – joining a battleground with only people from my server was amazing. Seeing people my guild fought before and having rivalries on the other faction created a living breathing community. It doesn’t feel like a world anymore when you know you’ll probably never see that person from the opposing faction again.
Also the forum trash talk and drama that occurs when you’re only fighting people on your server again builds a community. You stated above that you want to have people use the forums and are offering rewards … this is the best way to get people active on the forums. Look at vanilla wow as an example. The forums were always busy.
The last thing I want to bring up on this is when you have a community it’s much harder to put down the game. If you’re looking to keep retention of subscriptions (or just people playing because we don’t know the payment model) it’s much harder to leave a game if you feel invested in and more importantly apart of. I have a much easier time leaving a wow now a days because I don’t feel like it’s a world. Even if it’s just a few “isolated” servers I would be very surprised if they have “unsub rates” were even closed to the average of the rest of the servers.
You bring up an interesting counter-argument (and for the record, we don’t mind the rants- we like hearing from passionate people. We just don’t like it when our mom is somehow forced to be involved in unseemly ways).
I think you are right when you talk about the friction people have on forums. Contrary to what it might look like to people outside the business of building community, when the friction and interactions are high, it means people are active (within reason, of course. Again, when people start being abusive, that’s a different issue to tackle).
Honestly, this discussion is as much an education for our team as it is an opportunity to educate, which is why we are asking questions.
My question to you: If we agree that a good portion of players utilize cross-realm tools, how do we provide for a group that wants that feature, while preserving the sanctity of groups that do not like that feature?
Will stalkers have an infinite cloak or will they be more bursty with short cloaks?
I just wanted to chime in about comments we have made in the past about stealth… We have received a lot of player feedback on this topic, and going into beta the Stalker WILL have permanent stealth.
It may change in beta, but for now stealth is not limited by any resource (you will still get broken out of stealth when dealing or taking damage).
Also, we have given the Stalker the ability to activate stealth while in combat to give them “Partial Stealth” and access to their “from stealth” ability perks. This can only be used every 25 seconds but being able to use those stealth perks (such as disarm, bonus damage, etc) can be the difference maker in longer fights.
My main question is simple will you be building more dynamic arenas/BG’s to fight in not just the standard chjoke points something where we can almost design a attack plan that does not become the only and best route of attack making the PvP more dynamic and more tactical?
Your first question sounds a lot like our Warplot system. We can’t dive into many details about it yet, but if you like the idea of changing the battleground you fight on, I think you’ll be satisfied with the system we are designing.
What will you be doing in regards to PvP and leveling? I’d personally like to see XP come out of all forms of PvP (open world and instanced). Additionally, I’d like to see the xp gained from PvP to be on par with PvE XP rate gain.
You will be able to earn experience from player kills in open world PvP.
In Battleground matches, you’ll earn experience from player kills and objective completion.
What will you do to keep PvP fresh? I have played so many MMOs where the pvp was great but it eventually just became stale due to lack of content or slow balancing.
We definitely plan on continuing to support it post launch! We have lots of plans for adding content! The non-static nature of Warplots will also extend PvP replayability!
When the housing video first launched, there was talk about building “defensive” turrets for your land, but now we come to find out that all housing is instanced. Is there a reason for these “defensive” turrets beyond thinking that they look cool?
I know that you said all housing is instanced so I’m not sure if there’s any reason for defensive structures around your property if nobody can invade!
How are you dealing with or balancing casters versus melee pvp ?
This is all still a work in progress but I can say that our longer ranged abilities are generally not castable while moving (or movement speed is slowed while casting them). On the other hand, melee classes are generally able to use all of their abilities while moving. This alone makes it easier for melee to get into range of the casters.
On the ability side, melee classes also have abilities that help close the gap and snare their opponents. Casters aren’t defenseless though, they have abilities to help increase the gap. This all turns into a dance that forces players to use the right abilities at the right time.
From the “demo” gameplays we’ve seen so far, we spotted only 9 action buttons in the recent videos. But more in only 1 older video, I think it was 12 buttons on the lower action bar and 12 on the top one.
Don’t you think that only 9 abilities are too few and will result in very repetitive and boring gameplay?
If a player at max level will have 9 abilities at any given time, will that player have enough diversity to fulfill his role in the group completely and still be able to fill up gaps in other roles?
Because as a Paladin in WoW, I enjoy having so many abilities and having a ton of keybinds, and just doing a little bit of everything while still doing my main task properly.
Please raise the number of abilities to at least 18, I am worried combat will get really boring like in GW2 :( Last thing I want is to be bored of WildStar.
When you’re playing some of these games without Limited Action Sets you can end up feeling like you’re trying to pilot a helicopter. Also, trying to go back to play one of these games after a long break can be extremely difficult (I usually just reroll an alt).
Each ability should feel impactful. You won’t find buffs that you cast once every 60 minutes to give you a 5% buff to a single stat.
Each ability should be unique. You’re not going to find things like Sword Strike A which has blue VFX and Sword Strike B which has green VFX.
We would prefer to have player skill be based off choosing the right abilities at the right time rather than being able to manage a dashboard full of inputs.
To sum things up… Our Limited Action Set reduces the moment to moment decision making to a manageable level while making those decisions more impactful.
Do you guys have a handle on the culling and netcode issues that have plagued gw2, which from the videos of wildstar you guys seem to share alot of tech with, if not using the same engine package?
Just a quick clarification: WildStar runs on a proprietary engine as created solely by our Engineering team.
In short: No technologies were shared between Carbine and ArenaNet in this regard.
We want to make sure credit goes where credit is due, and both teams deserve recognition for their work on their respective game engines.
That’s all they wrote, but keep an eye on Wildstar Radio for coverage and opinions of the PvP information given to us!