May 152013

Following the announcement of Closed Beta Test 2 starting this week along with more invites heading out, MMORPG started a live chat with Jeremy Gaffney, Executive Producer of Wildstar. Here are the consolidated notes.

Question 1

Originally posted by Wrekh
How are holograms working against enemies on higher ground?

IMO quite well.  Water/aerial combat is where they have the most trickiness (so we tend to disincent that, water combat is often quite a pain anyways because people don’t necessarily operate in 3-space well (just ask Khan).)


Hit the break for more!

Question 2

Can someone who hasn’t recieved/completed the PreBeta survey back at february participate in the coming beta test two or stess test?

JG:  Yep

If so, will there be an another wave of surveys before Beta 3?

JG:  Yep.  Troy’s doublechecking this though, to make sure – so I might edit this.

At launch or post lunch, will there be a spectator mode to watch the epic 40 vs 40 Warplot  matches?

JG:  currently on the post-launch plans, but plans do change – so no promises one way or the other.  Half the team is addicted to LoL so e-sports is a thang for us, but we do want to ship in our lifetimes.

Question 3

Originally posted by Splut
What will the language be for writing add-ons/mods?

LUA.   Also, Houston is our tool to help more easily make them.  Lots of add-ons already being generated by even the tiny community in CBT1 (about 2000 folks)

Question 4

Originally posted by vagabondNord
HEY! Super excited about Wildstar! 

  • WILL I be able to pilot a space ship? (However big or small.) I’ve seen them docked in the yard, for instance, in the Housing Dev! :D
  • What will your guild system be like? (I’m coming primarily from a WoW background, so I’ll be comparing. ;D)
  • Do you have any need for a personal assistant/human slave?

Space ships:  Actually we built the whole world intending for flight from day 1.  But there’s a bit of a backlash in the community right now around flight trivializing content/making the world too small.  So we’re listening to those debates right now, if I can be honest.  Back when I/we launched City of Heroes flight was  a big deal, so it’s interesting to me now to hear the backlash.   Opinions welcome.

We do guilds, haven’t announced a ton of the different stuff in ’em yet.  We also do circles which are guilds-lite, allowing you to more casually bond with numbers of different friends with different interests.


Question 5

Originally posted by Jarcar711
There’s rumors that classes can only wield one weapon type (As in warriors can only wield two-handed swords, spellslingers can only wield guns etc). Is this true?

Thanks :)

In general you get a weapon type per class, with some exceptions – like Warhammer did back in the day.  Why?  Lets us do unique animations per class/attack and have more visual oomph in combat, and makes class silhouettes unique.  Tradeoffs are making sure there’s enough variety in your weapons and making sure more than 1/7 of the weapon drops are useful to you (that’s on us to make sure we do a good job around that)

Question 6

Originally posted by Jimma
Aside from the milestones, do attributes that are not primary/secondary for your class provide any other benefits? For example, do stalkers get assault power from brutality?

Here’s a quick version:  Each attribute for each class has milestones.  Some big, some small (interally we call ’em “lollipops” and “jawbreakers” but that’s because we’re borderline unfit for interaction with the real world.  We’ll call em something else publicly)

As you raise each of your stats, every point gives you some secondary stat or two (so each point of Brutality is slightly useful).

Lollipops are interim milestones giving you a noticeable chunk of a secondary stat (sometimes the same as the primary, sometimes not).

Jawbreakers give you big gamechangers of abilities (enough Brutality and slain enemies pop and leave health globes behind, or whatever –  check the patch notes for tons of em).

There’s a whole design theory behind how that works, if you see me on a forum later remind me and I’ll give a little soliloquy on the subject (unless it’s obvious from the above).

Question 7

Originally posted by TownClowne
If I submitted multiple beta invites due to changing information (in a guild, out of a guild, changed emails, part of a WildStar press project, etc) does that ruin my shot at beta due to it looking like I’m trying to artificially inflate my odds?

We filter out duplicates so that doesn’t help or hurt you too much, so don’t sweat it too much.  Our default answer on any given question is “what’s the rational thing to do” and then we try to do that.

Question 8

Originally posted by diasz
When it is going to be released ?

As soon as we have fun, varied leveling content up to cap and solid elder games around each major playstyle, is the honest answer.  We’d like that to fall in 2013 but honestly getting it right is more important than hitting a date; you only get to launch once and the mentality of “launch a patcher and then fill in the game” has killed more MMOs than any other disease.

Question 9

Originally posted by kittykatdp
when are the last 2 races being announced??

One of the races are such mischievous bastages that we’re pretty sure they’re trying to announce themselves against our will.

Next few months in all likelihood!

Question 10

Originally posted by coatsy35
Can you give any information on how you going to cater to solo players at Eldergame?


Sure:  Short form is we’re aiming for at least one big dynamic area chock full of PQs and other solo/semi-solo content, regular new consumable content advancing the world story (approximately once a month but if we’re cool like the GW2 guys we’ll speed it up even more), deep housing stuff (some revealed some not), and more.  Around the end of the summer we’ll lift the veil on a lot of the elder game plans in detail so that it’s not hand-wavey answers.

Question 11

Originally posted by Pokket
Simple question: Can you have numbers in your name? What about special characters like spaces or dashes.


This is important to me for… reasons.


(Serious question btw :D :D :D).

At the moment there are numbers allowed in the names, not special characters.  There’s some debate on our beta forums from RPers about whether it’s better to have them so that Mechari can have more robotic-style names or remove em so l33td3wd doesn’t exist, so opinions welcome.

Question 12

Originally posted by Trivolver
Greetings: Seeing some of the early beta footage from PAX, I’ve noticed there’s a limited skill-bar with maybe 8 skills. An attraction to some other MMORPGs is that there is a variety of ways to play your character using a lot of skills (extra skillbars, many abilities…). Is Wildstar keeping its current ability limit of 8, will it increase, and what are the development decisions behind this?  

Yeah, that caused a mild kerfluffle in the CBT1 Patch notes.  Here’s the intent:

The limited bar mentioned there is actually class skills, not path skills, temp skills, mount skills, class specials, etc.   We reduced the number of abilities IIR in those notes to add more Path skills (but my brain is fallible)

Our goal is to support as many abilities in the LAS as a skilled player can use without custom hardware (30-button mouses etc).  It turns out that while dodging, facing, strafing, moving, jumping, etc. we were finding super low numbers of folks using even the upper ends of the bar.

So…will it change?  Probably, we need a ton more testers in and specifically we need high end raiders in saying when it’s enough and not too much, and we need to gather data.  So I don’t know which way it’ll change (history dictates probably allowing more abiltiies to be used, either through unlocking via the elder advancement system or otherwise so people can tune the way they want to play, but data and feedback will drive us (as through most things).

Question 13

Originally posted by TheHavok
Hello Mr. Gaffney,

My question is more on the business side of Wildstar’s development and Carbine Studio’s creation.  It has been repeated multiple times that many of the developers that worked on Wildstar were former Blizzard developers.  And there has been comparisons made between Wildstar and WoW.  As somebody who greatly enjoyed WoW for many years, I’m not disappointed what so ever by this.

I would like to know who came up with the idea to start Carbine Studios. Additionally,  who had the vision and led the charge of getting Wildstar developed?

Second question: So many games seem to release unfinished products, with the idea that they can patch them up in the months to come.  However, you guys have stated that you will release Wildstar when its done.  This is GREAT news for us gamers.  I would like to know what sets you guys apart to give you the freedom to release a product when you feel its done, as opposed to games like Warhammer Online and SWTOR which were launched with a myriad of issues.

It feels like, with other games, their management (or publisher) dictates when a game is to be launched while with you guys, it seems like the developers have the final say.



The team was originally formed of about 20 seniors and leads off of the World of Warcraft team – but since then (we’re now many years later and more like 220 people and growing) we have folks from EQ1/2, CoH,  Dark Age, WAR, and probably most of the other western MMOs big and small.  And a good crop of noobs on their first MMO too (new blood is good too).

I was the executive (VP Product Development) on the NCsoft side who signed the team initially (with Robert Garriott, Richard’s brother).  I actually retired for a year and they gave me a call because they needed exec help and design help and I have a background in both.  One of the bennies of being a VP/PD of a big company is that you know pretty much all the games in development (little games want funding, and we’re a cash-rich company, and big games want to go to Korea with a major partner) and honestly this was just the coolest project in the industry in my mind, so I joined here fulltime 4-5 years back or so.

Anyhoo I’m as senior as it gets in Carbine.  Within NCsoft I report to our CEO and our Global CEO and they are both gamers, so making sure the game gets backed by NCsoft is a matter of making sure it’s actually fun and have ’em play.  Sounds simple but it works, sometimes it’s really that easy, even in a megacorp.

Question 14

Originally posted by Tamath
Will PvE in Wildstar be a never-ending arms race to get the latest wave of shiny gear before it is obsoleted with a patch, or will there be alternatives? How raid-centric is the game? I’m quite excited for it but I have little desire to go through raiding hell again a la WoW.

Similarly, will PvP also be a gear arms race or will the game be taking more of a GW2 approach in keeping things more balanced?

We’ve put some spin on the standard loot-grind cycle by allowing you to invest in gear over time as well as outright replace it, and having a number of different non-loot advancement cycles both during levelling and elder games (path XP, crafting levelling (a brand new system), housing advancement (fairly deep, lots of investment is tied there), warplot advancement, and probably others I’m forgetting).

So I don’t promise that there’s no gearing up, but we do spread the advancement across a number of areas to hopefully reward players for playing how they want to play as well as just farming phat lootz. You’ll play at some point and tell us how well we did or not.

Question 15

Originally posted by PieRad

Originally posted by kittykatdp

Originally posted by Fuel68

PS: If you have a spare Beta Testing slot for CBT2, I and my guild will buy all members of Carbine Studios baked goods as incentive—seriously!  :D

Homemade baked goods doesn’t work.  Did it already, no beta invite yet.

No telling what people put in their homebaked…

People do this at conventions too, bring homebaked cakes and what have you to devs, would you eat it if some crazy, possibly smelly nerd gave you cake? lol

I admit we approach homebaked goods with some trepidation. :)

Question 16

Originally posted by aikab
Will we be informed when the beta invites stop? So we can stop the F5 spam.

We’ll try to keep folks informed for sake of the F5 keys.

Question 17

Originally posted by kittykatdp
are there going to be anymore ArkShip Events before Launch??

As many as we can cram in, they are tons of fun (and quite valuable to us as putting Real Players under NDA, telling them full plans on things, and sounding out opinions is actually quite useful to us, never mind that it’s fun in it’s own right).  We’ll try to do some mini-arkships at least alongside whichever shows we attend.

Question 18

Originally posted by SilasJasar

Originally posted by Bainik
I’d like to comment on the flying mount controversy if you don’t mind.

I think a lot of the people bashing flying mounts are coming from WoW where they really did and continue to have a terrible impact on the world. WoW is fundamentally played on a 2D surface and while you move through 3 space going over a hill it’s still just a curved surface. When flying mounts were introduced suddenly the entire game was tied to a surface, but players were able to leave that surface and totally circumvent the game world while also allowing the fastest form of 

<clippy clippy for space>

Other alternatives include limited flight (via a gas tank on your speederplane or w/e), mounts unlocked per zone (so that you can be a badass once you’ve unlocked the main quests, but that might feel too game-y) and more – we actually have a meeting later today to bounce the latest alternatives off of each other.

Question 19

Originally posted by koiin
1. Group xp how will it be devided 50/50 or you all the same / bouses for more people that sort of stuff?

2. business model please dont be F2P

3. Mounts can we exspect groud and flying mounts?

4. Dungeon finder? can i que for duegons or do i have to sit around for hours trying to get a group?

5. Max level?

Group XP is slightly too complex for this space, I’ll see if our lead systems designer can comment.

Biz model:  We’ve determined that more people hate business models than love a given one for many reasons. :)  We’ll announce more of our plans later this year.

Ground mounts yes, flying mounts we have a debate going on even in this thread!

Dungeon finder yes, once you’ve unlocked the dungeon.  Raid finder TBD, but there’s a lot of debate on our forums about whether the ease of access makes raids not meaningful enough, so we haven’t implemented it that way.  Feedback welcome.

Max level 50 at the moment.

Question 20

Originally posted by Leonidas10
Most MMOs are faced with leaks, but you’ve chosen to respond rather differently than other companies in similar circumstances. What was the reasoning behind taking a more proactive approach? 

Our community team (and really Carbine as a whole) has a simple mantra:  transparency transparency transparency.  We figure if we’re upfront on as much as humanly possible when we goof up and be transparent on something that then changes or turns out to the be the wrong plan, we’ll have earned enough karma to survive looking like complete idiots.  That is admittedly just a theory :)

But also we just like behaving in a rational fashion.  Troy (community director) and I called each other the Saturday the CBT patch notes leak happened and said “well hell, we’re proud of that stuff, why not just release it?” so we did.  Pretty easy.

It helps that all the forum leaks and stuff that happens has been overwhelmingly positive, but we try to enforce the NDA on all that as well really so as not to punish those who behave well.  Negative leaks will happen I’m sure at some point (hell, nobody’s perfect and the game’s been in beta for 5 weeks) but we’re unstressed, we’re proud of our game honestly.

If it weren’t for queueing up exclusives for press etc. (which gets you better coverage and magazine covers and such) we likely wouldn’t care about reveals much at all.  But that’s the biz, and we do care, because it hurts the ability somewhat to get the hype train rolling as we lead into launch.

We weren’t really aiming for a ton of press/fans previously, but everything is starting to spike up (100K+ unique new non-spam non-duplicate beta applications just last month or so) so we’ll just ride the wave and get the reveals going moving forward.  Fans seem to want it.  Hype us up, might as well get the train rolling towards launch.

(We kinda overshot, we only wanted about 20K beta keys at this point and we missed by about 15x that and growing RAPIDLY.  Team is really geeked up about that)

Question 21

Originally posted by Moridin82
What can you say about mounts? and what types there will be.

Will there be fishing in the game?

Mounts in game today:  Temporary mounts (as quest mechaincs, quest rewards, rep rewards, via vendors in diff zones, and things settlers build), quest mounts, real normal mounts (with HP bars and sometimes ability bars), taxis, ground taxis, settler-build additions to the taxi node network, and probably other stuff I’ve forgotten.

Fishing:  It’s in game today – but I was just talking with the econ team and we don’t like it (not fun enough yet).  So we’ll yank it out and it will either a) be in for launch and be fun or b) go in at some later point postlaunch and be fun or c) never exist outside of the dev code.  So no promises on that one (sorry, downside of iterative development)

Question 22

Originally posted by Keywork
Hey there! Got one question for you, are these invites for the supposed stress test or are these invites for the rest of the beta?

Also, can you let us know when invites will stop going out so we can stop refreshing :D Thanks!!!!

Keys going out now are for full CBT access.

Soon we’ll send out about 15K keys for the stress test.  After they hit the servers and we clean up the resulting rubble we’ll add the folks who tried to log in and help blow up our servers – they will get access also likely during CBT2 (might be some in CBT3 depending how well our servers stressed out).

Question 23

Originally posted by jgilmer87
How are you planning on releasing raiding content? Is it going to be immediately available, staggered release, some type of keying process?

Part of me hopes for it being immediately released so I can experience it right away. However, I know if that is done, I will skip over a lot of content and zerg my way to level cap to raid asap. Alts can always be used to go back and experience that content the way it was meant to be experienced I suppose.

We’ll have multiple raids at launch and add more thereafter fairly rapidly/regularly, is the current plans.  Won’t completely swear to that until we get some hardcore raiders in there to tell us what’s awesome and what ain’t because knowing how long we have to polish/tune is, if I can give an honest answer, a very tricky thang from a dev standpoint.

Also our raids are harder to put together than normal raids (and more replayable) because of the dynamic elements.  But IMO we need to ship with at least several and have more in the hopper for post-launch deployment or can we really say we’re committed to elder games?

We’ll see as we reveal more about ’em too.

Question 24

Originally posted by herbalz
can you go in to detail about the in house game binball…or vinball(whatever its called)? will this be a mini game you can earn stuff through or will it be just for fun? also will there ever be an open beta period or will you be going from closed beta straight into launch like other games such as marvel heroes for example

Ha!  Vindball.  It’s basically crazy combat soccer knocking an ever-growing supply of giant inflated weasels into nets.  We added it to housing for fun and it became a meme on our team.  I don’t know how much we’ll add to it over time (or when we’ll push it live).

We’ll do an open beta period not long before launch (open beta for us means w/o NDA, means different things at diff companies).

Question 25

Originally posted by muskeydogbo
Just had to reply to two points, want fun fishing go play zelda n64 soo good copy paste tht + a few bells and whistles .Two,flying mounts are great just need something to make us  WANT  to land and do ground events fly /land /fly land.

Toontown/animal crossing both had good fishing too IMO.  Remember tho we are Wildstar so likely you’ll be tossing explosives into the water to blow things up or something equally offbeat…unless you’re used to getting eaten by mining nodes in other games, we usually have our own spin on it.

Question 26

Originally posted by dr_yiggles
Hey Jeremy!  Another question for you:

Do you think you guys will ever implement some sort of speed run type system for 5 man dungeons or add any solo player dungeons where there is a Leaderboard System for either/both to them?  

Its something I see done in other games and would be really great for players who don’t have the time to do the big Elder Game and would be a nice progression for those players.

Ha!  Yes, some plans on this which sound quite fun.  More info as we get it in game/test it (I hate talking about plans for things I haven’t seen working yet as plans tend to dissipate when they meet reality).

Question 27

Originally posted by Panzerbase
I know every company has an official policy on hacks and cheats, but what are you guys going to do in this regard? Many a game has been ruined for me because of the lack of enforcement. This includes gold sellers. 

We are of the bannzor mentality.  Life’s too short to have to watch speedhackers wreck the game around you.

Question 28

Originally posted by PieRad
Hey Gaffney, who would you rather be…


WoW.. P2P ?

Allods Online… F2P ?



Question 29

Originally posted by Mohhe
Wildstar seems to be more focused on big raids at least on player wise, but will there be any challenging 4-6 man dungeons (same difficulty as the high-end raids)?

Not as difficult, but hard.

Question 30

Originally posted by darkraxiel
what language will be available at laucnh?

Other languages will be revealed later.

Question 31

Originally posted by cnosyt
Question is in regards to elder games:

A lot of previous MMOs developed in the last couple of years have launched after a series of beta tests. However, very few have actually had a significant amount of time, if any, spent testing the end game content. This has created huge problems in the communities and arguably killed the games out right. Do you have any intentions of testing the end game content prior to launch, or are you going to mostly focus on the game mechanics and leveling process during your beta phases. 

Also, sorry for a second question, do you plan on having an arena system similar to WoW. This has definitely been one of, if not the most popular aspects of an MMO ever and no game has even came close to replicating it. I understand you are going to have arena, but will it be in at launch and will there be a ladder type rewards system to get new gear, potentially mounts, and things of that nature? Importantly, will there be a 3v3 bracket so that logging on and playing asap will be made easy, as opposed to gathering a group of 5 which can take some time and sap the fun out of it.

Testing the elder content is one of the hardest things to do as a dev (mentioned in another comment but I kinda fat-fingered the answer there).  So we’re doing our damnedest to do that right.  We have arenas including 3v3 in game today (our combat team got destroyed by beta players last CBT already)

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