Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dirty Little Secrets...


This week we have seen a TON of articles and reviews based on the two newly released races in WildStar. I have linked a few I have reference inside the blog here and I highly recommend checking them out! Also a hearty cheer for the return of Malvolio, who was the one who brought my to WildStar in the first place ;)


Team WildStar added two more names to their “Meet the Devs” Vine series:

Part Four: Jeff Kurtenacker-Lead Composer (And the fantastic gentleman who worked on the Q&A for my latest music blog with an exclusive video on the Dominion theme )

Part Five: Tim Hume-Combat Programmer

And proving that crazy things come from letting friends hang out late at night, check out Evion's thread on WSRP: Chuamogrify Your Character! For some awesome and silly Chua art. I even contributed my own piece...much to Hawken's chagrin.

Whoops almost forgot to put this in. Chua Hawkens! MWAHAHAHHA!

Stay tuned next week for a special guest, when I post my Q&A with the talented Packetdancer as we discuss addons and WildStar.

Also thanks to all my Twitter pals who engaged in a lovely round of some light hearted faction smackdown. I am pretty certain the Dominion won though ;P #DominionDomination!

And once again, Hawkens and I always love hearing from you, our dear readers. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions on future articles! Or take a look at our threads on WSRP for a slightly better place to discuss these articles and then stay awhile and hang out with the awesome community there!

Here we go!

 Here they are at last. The final races revealed. With the dark and brooding Mordesh and the hyper and maniacal Chua, WildStar reveals that not everything is black and white in this epic struggle for Nexus.

Showcased in yet another stunning video of a series Carbine now refers to as “A WildStar Flick.” (and I would like to point out that it mentions that the graphics are all done with the game engine!) we see the return of Malvolio and Kit as they explain, somewhat reluctantly, on the remaining races of their faction. Joining me will be Agent Hawkens of the ICI as we explore not only the races themselves, but their impact on their factions and the community as a whole.

First of all, if you have yet to see the amazing video, or just want to see it again, here ya go!

So my initial reaction was a bit skeptical. Gnomes and Forsaken? Were these to be comic relief races for their factions? Mind you, not so much that I doubted the Lore Master Chad Moore so much as I was really turned off by these races in WoW. Every time I tried to play Forsaken, the sheer dreariness of the zone was just a massive turn off and the comic relief of the gnomes endlessly grated on my nerves. See, I tend to be a very serious person...

Serious enough you could almost be mistaken for a Cassian.

I, uh, think I will take that as a compliment.

You should. Seeing as Cassians are by far the most glorious--

Right! So. I tend to be an overly serious person. Gnomes, Goblins, Claptrap...they all irritate me to no end. They are just /silly/! It's something my friends always tease me about. So when I saw the Chua for the Dominion, I was preparing for an epic eyeroll.

And then I remembered one of the reasons I joined WildStar: the humor. It isn't to say that there is no seriousness to this game. In fact, there is a ton of depth in the lore as it stands. But they aren't afraid to bring out the laughter, or to remind us it is a game. And thus, for fun. ( I know, crazy right?)

With this in mind, I delved head first into the new races and was pleasantly rewarded.

The Chua and the Mordesh represent to each faction a sort of discord with their central theme, something I found quite interesting. In fact, let's take a moment to talk about this.

The Exiles and the Mordesh

A tense relationship at best...

One of the strongest pulls of the Exiles is the sympathy with the underdog. The Exile humans broke free from their Cassian ancestry from under the harsh Vigilant Declaration when the Dominion turned their ferocity on controlling their own people. The Granok were exiled for defending their people with the tools of their enemies. The Aurin were attacked for befriending the Exiles as they fled the Dominion, their planet ravaged for the needs of the Empire. These are all people fleeing oppression, fighting for freedom and searching for a place to call home. Facing off against the impressive might of the Dominion, you really feel for these guys in their epic struggle to hold true to what they believe in.

And then come the Mordesh.

The Mordesh are a people who have doomed themselves in an effort to find the secret of Immortality. Victor Lazarin created the Everlife Elixir following the tragedy of his wife's early death after decades of relentless work, only to find that it could only provide the grotesque illusion of his goals. Though the elixir worked initially, it was soon discovered that it turned upon the consumer, devouring them, body and mind.

With the entirety of his homeworld afflicted, Lazarin barely managed to create the Vitalus Serum: a fluid that would hold the effects of the devastating Everlife Elixir at bay until a true cure could be discovered. But it was nearly too late. In weeks, almost the entirety of the Mordesh people lay dead or wandering in madness, setting them on the edge of extinction. High above, their once allies in the Dominion responded with an uncompromising quarantine on the planet of Grismara, forever sealing the hatred of the Mordesh.

The only answer we had for a people foolish enough to destroy themselves so utterly.

You mean to say, Hawkens, that the Dominion could not have helped in researching a cure for their allies?

With the onslaught of the contagion killing in numbers beyond counting, how could we be certain it would not infect or mutate to our own people? What would a disease like that become amongst the might of the Dominion?

…what would an epidemic like that become amongst my people? We still have not forgotten the pyres of Shade's Eve, burning the bodies of our fallen. How could we invite such calamity on ourselves again to help a people who had manufactured their own demise from greed?

It was not sheer cruelty, but fear and necessity. The Dominion must survive and prevail in the Will of the Eldan. On this scale it became the suffering of the few for the preservation of the many. One race's demise would serve as a warning to the rest.

A harsh truth that forced the Mordesh to turn to the Exiles in a final, desperate bid to save their race from extinction. Those that still survived were smuggled through the blockade.

There is little joy in their new alliance, however. As WildStar replied on their Gamebreaker Q&A:

Media: How old are the Mordesh that we are dealing with in the game? Are we still dealing with the survivors of the plague?
The Mordesh can’t procreate because of the contagion so all of the Mordesh that we have in our game are survivors from Grismara and the outbreak. Grismara is where they’re from and that happened about 80 years ago from the point of which the game begins.

Lazarin now leads a dying people. Their only hope is that Nexus will allow them the ability to discover a cure to undo his mistakes and save their kind from extinction. With so much at stake, they have become jaded to morality and risk. They are willing to get their hands dirty where the Exiles might balk for a sense of honor and justice.

The Mordesh are unsettling to the rest of the Exiles. Dark and mysterious, their bodies alone are frightening, with whole limbs and flesh replaced with cyberpunk style augmentations filled with the Vitalus Serum. Their burning hatred and desire for vengeance against their one-time allies in the Dominion show a darker side when many Exiles would prefer the Dominion to just leave them be. And let us not forget the ever present fear of a contagion outbreak or of the regression of Mordesh who do not get their Serum...

Just look at the Mordesh on the left...that is all sorts of disturbing. Can you imagine watching that talk? Also note different colored Serums for the characters... (image found on Massively)

It is in their talents that the Mordesh are valued in the Exiles. Their skills in technology and alchemical research have already aided the Exiles by curing epidemics on their fleet. Their skills in deception and sabotage have led them to establish the Black Hoods, the intelligence agency formed to counter the ICI.

As though they think they could ever really compare to the strength of the ICI...

The Mordesh add, in my opinion, an interesting “dark side” of the Exiles. The humans eye them warily, the Granok tolerate them so long as they are useful and the Aurin seem to pity them. Though their story is sympathetic, it should also be taken with a grain of salt. This is a desperate race that will stop at nothing to undo the tragedy they brought upon themselves.

It was mentioned in the Gamebreaker Q&A that in a zone called Whitevale there is something terribly wrong going on that was started by the Mordesh and that this horrified not only the Exiles, but the Dominion as well. There was also a mention of that squid-like creature in the end of the new WildStar flick, saying that it would be discussed soon and is “way way cooler than a pet.” I wonder if these might be connected? Another creation of the Mordesh gone wrong?

Actually! This reminds me of something I saw in the DevSpeak Movement video awhile back! When they mentioned that movement was in everything in the game from questing to raging, they also mentioned “trolling” and we got this image (see below) of someone with this weird octopus-squid thing on their head. Trolling implies bothering someone. But if it also refers to that squid thing, does this mean, seeing someone like that should be bothersome or perhaps even scary? Maybe these squids are something evil the Mordesh have found/created/released into this strange zone? I am excited to see what Carbine has to say about these things...

Are these the same thing?

I personally like the style of the Mordesh. I like the darker element added to the “noble downtrodden” feel of the Exiles. Something that they are not entirely comfortable with. This better helps to portray that the Exiles are not necessarily “good” in this struggle. I also love though I haven't said that a million times already...

Am I the only one who felt this Mordesh bears a striking resemblance to Jake Armitage from Shadowrun! AWESOME!

The Dominion and the Chua

Clearly there is no love lost here...

Ugh...must we?

Well we /are/ covering all the dirty secrets of the factions here...and that includes the Chua.


So I agree full-heartedly with Eliot Lefebvre's comments on the Chua and the Dominion in their review on the new races in their Massively article:

“In one respect, I'm a little upset that the last race isn't a bit more friendly or likable. I'm not really down with the idea that the Dominion are pure evil, and having a more genial species in the last slot would have sent that message quite nicely. They might not like the Exiles, but they're not monsters. Instead, we have an explicitly nasty little race, which sends the same message in a more roundabout way.

Obviously the Dominion isn't completely proud of the Chua, but it's not because of size or capability. Watch the race reveal video again. Our dear Malvolio says he dislikes the Chua chiefly because he wishes they weren't all so psychotic.”
"Sane" and "Chua" do not appear to belong in the same sentence. Ever.

I agree with this entirely. Often, I hear that the Dominion is “evil” compared to the Exiles and that everything in WildStar is very black and white. I just don't see this. Perhaps it could be blamed on working with Agent Hawkens here.

After enough time, even someone like you must eventually learn to come to their senses...

Or perhaps it is because it's just part of who I am. Ever since I was little I have always tried to find the redeeming elements in the “darker” factions. What is it that makes them do what they do? Do they have a reason for their beliefs? Do they have a purpose?

Like all the races of the Dominion, it all began with the Mechari. Noticing that this highly competitive and intelligent race could potentially be useful, they decided to pay them a visit. Presenting the Chua with instructive examples of Dominion technology, the Mechari were gifted a native beetle that exploded into corrosive black ooze which took some time for the Mechari dignitaries to recover from. This alone says a lot about the Chua. Had this been Cassians instead, they could very well be dead instead. However the Mechari still stepped back to watch as the Chua exceeded projections and dove into their new tech with a fervor that soon saw their planet covered with factories that choked their skies and defiled their lands.

When the Chua finally joined the Empire, they did not do so because they particularly wanted to. They did because they had gluttonously consumed all the resources their planet had and required the resources that the Dominion could provide in order to continue their endless quest for advancement. Their benefit to the Dominion was intensive and endless new technology that their new allies could create at an alarming rate, particularly in weapons.

If you need something that can hurt people...

What I find interesting, is that the Chua are not really the “comic relief” race of the Dominion, even though they can be silly. They are more of a necessary evil of sorts. The Mechari found that they could produce the weapons and tech at a much more efficient rate than any others of the species in the Empire. While the Draken make excellent soldiers and brutal warriors and the Cassians could maintain the political, economical and heart of the Empire, the Chua were the best used as unrestricted inventors.

The Draken like the Chua well enough, since they provide them with more weapons to go to war with. The Mechari seem to treat them like any other race they add to the Dominion: as a tool for the continued existence of the Dominion itself. The Cassians, however, find them extremely distasteful. Which I think actually says a lot about the Cassians themselves. While they are arrogant and unrelenting, they are not evil. They find the hyper-violence and moraless Chua disgusting and irritating. A nuisance only tolerated because the Mechari recommended them and their results are still useful.

In the end what we seek, above all else, is to bring the Lost Children of the Empire home. We seek to pull all under the folds of the Dominion to elevate them into the Golden Future under the promise of the Eldan. Though rebellion and aggression must be met in turn, we do not believe in wanton slaughter. Our purpose gives us meaning, not endless blood and destruction.
Which brings me to another point on the Chua. On the WildStar site, they post this:

“Predicting that a species unconstrained by economic or moral considerations could prove useful, they opened communications.”

So the Mechari specifically picked the Chua for the very traits that the Cassians would find so offensive to their own refined culture. This actually reminds me a lot of the Krogan from the Mass Effect series. The Krogan were found to be a race who were ridiculously powerful, hard to kill and with a thirst for battle. When the insectoid Rachni were overwhelming the galaxy in a brutal war, the Salarians uplifted the Krogan to the stars to turn their natural ferocity against their enemies. This worked out very well and the Krogan were able to completely turn the tides of the battle. The problem arose when the wars were over. Now free in the stars with hyper advanced weaponry and armament, this warlike race needed to expand their ever growing numbers. This ended up in the Krogan turning on the very races that had prematurely elevated them as they sought new worlds to settle their people, forcing the Salarians to create a genetic weapon that devastated the birth rate of the Krogan people so they faced extinction at the rate of their losses in their new war.

So what about the Chua? When the Krogan were elevated to the stars, they did not have the time needed to create a civilization or economy that would be needed to work together in order to create space faring flight or advanced weapons and armor. Think of giving a child control over a rocket launcher. You might be able to teach them how to fire it, but it might then be difficult to explain why it is sometimes acceptable for them to use it and sometimes unacceptable to use it. They have not reached the ability to comprehend such complex reasonings because they have not yet reached that stage in their development. Such it was for the Krogan, and such it seems to be for the Chua.

So when do the Chua turn on their makers? They have completely consumed their homeworld, as was recently released in this GameGeex article, as they have also consumed Arboria. This leaves us to wonder, is that why the Aurin were not given a choice to join the Dominion? Was harboring the Exiles enough to damn their world, or was it just enough to tip the scales before the Emperor threw them to the Chua to keep their voracious allies sated? With this in mind, what about the fate of Nexus? How will the Dominion keep the Chua from consuming this world as well or will the Chua finally turn on their creators with their need for resources?

In this case, do the Mechari have a weapon against the Chua just as the Salarians used the genophage against the Krogan? Do they have a hidden trump card to protect their precious Empire against this unstable race? It has been stated that Chua are genderless, or rather they are impossible for non Chua to tell. Is there, perhaps, a means for the Mechari to control the population of the Chua to keep them in check? Are there maybe an extreme lack of males or females, making it possible to kill off what they would need to continue their race or do the Mechari have something even more sinister in mind?

Food for thought...

I personally prefer that we rid ourselves of the nasty beasts before they betray us all. Their aid will soon be overshadowed by their disregard for sanity and the greater purpose of the Dominion. It is not so much a matter of /if/ they will turn, but /when./

The impact on the roleplaying community from the release of the Mordesh and the Chua has been phenomenal. Not only have many people been waiting for these races before making their final decisions on characters, but they have provided a wealth of lore and new concepts for people to use while they delve into the rich galaxy of WildStar. There is also a great deal who have now found that perfect race for them, just as I am so very fond of the Cassians, which always makes roleplaying and just plain, playing the game that much more fun.

Ultimately these two races have not just added a whole new depth to the lore of the races of WildStar, but they have also opened a more complex dynamics within the factions themselves. Nothing is black and white. There is no good and evil. There are two forces struggling for a home that they believe they have a right to. And by their logic, both the Exiles and the Dominion have a right to Nexus.

And so they meet in brutal conflict, each seeking to drive off or destroy the other side while also attempting to discover why the mysterious and powerful Eldan have disappeared from the galaxy. The question remains of what drove the Eldan away and if it still remains, will it consume these two factions while they waste their energy on each other.

Only time will tell.


I would also like to think that this is the fancanon of WSRP: Something Expensive ;)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Facing the Future Together (with your friends!)


Expect a big explosion of excitement when WildStar reveals the two <REDACTED> races this Friday!

And the next part of Meet the Crew: Matt Kause, UI Master of Darkness

This WildStar Wednesday gave us a little peek into what we can expect coming up this Friday at the San Diego Comic Con including some exciting Nexian cocktails from our very own Chemical Cutthroat from WSRP. I know I have featured these before in previous blogs and it is always very exciting to see how connected Carbine is with the WildStar community and how much they value us!

I personally recommend the Scowling Cassian drink ;) Just saying...

Also in preparation for the event right here on Earth, both @GamblersRuin_AS and @DestinyArkship have returned within reach of our sensors. Be sure to tune in on Twitter and see what the Exiles and the Dominion are up to!


My absolutely favorite part of playing MMORPGs are the people I play with. I have played alongside close friends from outside the game and made many amazing new friends within the game as well. No MMO is complete without the myriads of people that fill their worlds.

Sometimes I enjoy adventuring on my own. It can be relaxing to go at my own pace, explore in peace and quiet or mindlessly farm some materials while I relax from a busy day at work. But the best and most memorable times have come from spending time with my friends.

Only with friends is trouble this much fun!
It all began for me in college, when I found out that one of my closest friends also played World of Warcraft. I had just recently picked up the game and started a Tauren hunter. My friend happened to have a Tauren druid near my level and I asked if she would like to play together. Thus began the daring duo of Goldhawk and Valixry. And Goldhawk's trusty black lion sidekick Humar. We had no idea of the advanced concepts of MMO gameplay, but we still had so much fun just wandering and exploring and questing together. Heh, I smile even now thinking about it.

One of the times that I recall fondly also exhibits the sort of MMO gaming “innocence” or “newness” I mentioned in one of my first blog articles: Wonder Lost: Why WildStar may be a much needed breath of fresh air. Goldhawk and Valixry were wandering around, exploring the Barrens when they happened upon a brand new zone: Dustwallow Marsh. Nervously poking around the swampy land, they happened upon a cave with Dragonkin just south of the path into the zone. Now let me point out (especially for those of you who have played WoW) that I was a Beast Mastery hunter and Valixry was a Resto druid long before anyone thought they were cool. Valixry was also a few levels lower than myself and we had both entered a zone just a tiny bit higher leveled than myself. Even so, we grinned at each other and threw ourselves into that camp like fools. Every single Dragonkin was an epic battle and we had to be very careful to not get mauled every second we were there. Through our teamwork and stubborness we managed to thin their numbers a fair bit. From there, Valixry skinned a few and procured an item we had never seen before: Dragon Scales. Suddenly the place was even more exciting! And so, without quests or any other incentive, we dove headfirst into the Dragonkin cave and spent the next few hours alternating between epic fights and being horribly slaughtered time and time again while we filled our bags full of Dragon Scales. It's funny really. Today I look back and I know there were better ways to make gold, and better ways to level, but it was just the excitement of discovery and adventure with my friend that made such activities fun!

These antics continued on for a few months until we discovered that we had more friends who were big into World of Warcraft. These friends had been playing together as well and we all decided to roll brand new characters together and try a full party of RL friends! Thus began the Shapers of Destiny, a guild of my closest friends who would spend the next year or so playing together. We leveled together, learned together, dungeoned together and raided together. We helped craft things for the guild and networked ourselves all over our server, making a name for ourselves and many friends along the way.

The Heroes of The Shapers of Destiny (and all our alts) art by Valixry!

Those days were some of my most fond memories with my friends. Though we don't all keep in touch that well anymore, I will never forget all the crazy late nights theorycrafting and planning our gear progression so we could begin raiding. I'll never forget laughing about our silly adventures while we cooked breakfast together, getting ready for a day of gaming or finally getting used to responding to my character's name. My close friend (also the person who played Valixry!) would draw pictures of all our Draenei together, including little comics of our antics as even though we weren't all roleplayers, our characters all ended up with personalities the longer we played together. These were so special to me. They were ways to capture all these wonderful times together. I still have a large collection I have saved throughout the years that I take the time to look at now and again.

From there I eventually made new friends on the server, including my partner Londrieved (who guested for my gender blog) and started all sorts of new adventures while I learned how to roleplay. I had a good couple more years to put under my belt before some of us moved on to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Here I made a brand new set of friends and a brand new set of stories including a lot of development for how Agent Hawkens is today!

With friends, anywhere can spawn the next part in your story...
And that's just how it goes really. You can bring some friends from outside the game, or make some within, but each time, they help you create new stories and adventures. You don't have to be a roleplayer to enjoy these either! These are stories built of camaraderie and the love of fun and friendship!

To me, WildStar is shaping to be an excellent place to bring and meet friends as you experience a brand new adventure on Nexus. From everything we've seen thus far, the entire team heavily encourages these interactions within the community. Take for instance, the Path system! Not only are these nice little additions for the style of play you like, they are also ways to add to the fun of the whole group! Scientists can share lore they discover in game to their party, while Explorers can find shortcuts in the world. Settlers can build useful additions to the land, like campfires or bikes to return to town and Soldiers can add some epic challenge fights for the group to face as a whole. The fact that you can share these together, even if some of your paths overlap, is so amazing! This encourages people to band together, help each other out and experience new things! And just judging from what we've seen thus far, including the Dev's heavy support of their community, you can bet their gameplay will also encourage players working together for adventure!

I know I have already made some absolutely fantastic friends and I simply cannot wait for that day when we can all take our first step onto Nexus and our brand new story. Together.

Couldn't have said it better myself...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

DevSpeak: Aiming!


This week has seen a few interesting developments on the WildStar front!

For one we have had it confirmed that not only will WildStar be at the San Diego ComicCon, but they will be holding a panel and sharing with us the two unconfirmed races!!! Definitely keep your eyes on this one folks! (You can read up a few details on ZAM here!)

Pay It Forwards folks should keep their eyes open tomorrow!

Yesterday a number of the UK community were able to meet with “The Gaffer” for lunch and some Q&A. An extra congrats to WSRP's very own Renaise! Hope you all had a lot of fun! (KaeyiDream has recorded much of the lunch if you would like to see it on her YouTube channel here!)

Hope you guys all had fun!
Team WildStar has been making a “Meet the Crew” with Vine, showcasing who they can in brief and amusing blips. You can see the first two in the links below!

This past WildStar Wednesday featured a series of screenshots from various houses built by Beta testers, showing off the scope of the Housing system! Congrats to all the beta testers who won!

Last night Jon Wiesman ( WildStar UI architect and lead client engineer) pursued his own personal challenge to create Tetris using the WildStar Addon systems. Please welcome Loftis!

Check out this beautiful cover of the Character Creator (by Jeff Kurtenacker <3) by @Sarys! Give them a round of applause for this gorgeous piece!

Also note: Corgis are a cure for everything! (Team WildStar said it, it MUST be true ;) )

So welcome back once again to another glorious edition of DevSpeak. Voiced by the talented Design Producer Stephen Frost, this particular episode has given us the ultimate in-depth review on one of the most overlooked aspects of MMO gaming: Aiming!

If you haven't had a chance to check it out, here's the video!

And once again I have a frame-by-frame of the whole disclaimer. ARG, WHY YOU KEEP MAKING IT BIGGER CARBINE!?

The jokes here almost make the Devs look like real people!....almost

Alright, now that that is out of the way, let's talk about this critical aspect of MMO gaming: Aiming.

So important, you barely realize it's there.

Aiming is so integrated into our gameplay that it is easy to overlook, and yet it is very important to how we function within the world provided to us. This changes how we interact with enemies, raids, dungeons and even with each other in PvP (player versus player) instances. There are many different ways one could approach the issue of Aiming in an MMO. You could approach it like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic, where you tab target enemies and so long as you are in range (and facing the right direction), any attack hits. Or you could go the route of Guild Wars 2, in which I would designate it “soft tab targetting” where you still have the ability to actually dodge some attacks. Or you could go the route of WildStar and try something completely different.

As showcased in the video, WildStar went through a few renditions of targeting before it settled on the Aiming system it uses today. They tried the traditional MMO tab-targetting (As seen in WoW, SW:ToR, Rift, etc). They tried cross-hair aiming (as seen in TERA), cross-hair soft targetting and MOBA-style skill shots (as seen in League of Legends) before finally ending up on the style they liked best. While considering the pros and cons of the other systems, Carbine Studios came up with and designed their very own Freeform Targeting system!

          Tab Targeting            Cross-Hair Aiming    and Cross-Hair Soft Targeting

The video comments on how it takes over the core of MMO targeting completely, allowing easy visuals of friends and foes while still allowing the player solid control of the aiming of their abilities. This, I imagine would be quite important considering the number of monster/ally telegraphs you might see.

Keep in mind that awhile ago, WildStar told us all about their telegraph system, which was a system that would broadcast enemy and ally abilities on the open world as an active part of the combat system. Being able to actively control the aiming of your abilities, as well as what we have seen thus far in the videos, showcases a mostly mobile system, allowing you to place your shots where you think they will be the most effective.

This is an interesting feature. Think back to some traditional action games such as God of War and Darksiders. Part of the reason combat was so fun was because you felt so much a part of it. By actively engaging in where your character moved and when and where their attacks would hit, you felt more immersed, more in control of the action around you. From the looks of it, WildStar is attempting much of the same. By allowing the player an active hand in their own combat, you not only get a very immersive style of gameplay, but also a system that really promotes player skill!

While Carbine found that traditional aiming style, combined with their telegraph system, made active aiming feel lackluster; leaving little room for skill, they found that their freeform targeting system is much more powerful and is a system that rewards skilled players.

With Freeform Targeting we find that our “everyday actions” suddenly become more complicated. Take, for instance, tanking. With WoW we had a general concept of what you would do as a tank: you would rotate through most of your high-threat abilities, drag the mob to the nearest wall to protect your back, then taunt only when necessary. Now what if these core abilities could miss? What if you had to aim at the boss, while simultaneously moving out of “bad” telegraphs. Suddenly, turning and taunting, or actively tracking down a fellow player to protect them, seems far more difficult,

Those who are very skilled tanks will be much more apparent.

Is this a good thing? I think so! I, personally, am a huge fan of getting the most out of my class! I like to find my particular niche in a game and expend as much effort as possible to guarantee myself as a clever (insert-name-of-class-here *Druid, Paladin, Imperial Agent, etc) and part of the challenge is getting to know that class intimately and figuring out how to best utilize them. With an action set that relies on your own choosing you can really pick your favorite ability and apply it how it best suits you. As we have seen in the video, you have many different shapes in your own telegraphs from cones to lines and even arcs!

As explained, while enemies can can you! This means players are going to have to spend a good amount of time learning their abilities and making sure they know how to utilize them properly. Nothing would be more embarrassing than a healer who can't hit their party or a tank who cannot taunt the enemy. My only concern would be some sort of internal compensation for machines that will not be running this game flawlessly. When your success depends on such time-sensitive actions, you would want to be able to do your best even if your computer isn't completely up to par.

Every class will need to learn how best to utilize their own skills. Tanks will need to learn how to avoid big damage abilities, while also being able to taunt, protect allies and pull mobs for fights. Healers will need to keep conscious of enemy fire while also making sure to heal their own companions. DPS, obviously, will need to learn how to deal the most damage while also avoiding taking large sums of enemy fire themselves.

This is a long ways from healers being able to cast with their back facing you, like in WoW. Also check out this GORGEOUS ability! They look like little paper lanterns of energy.
One nice bit of this system is the mouse-over targeting decal. When you mouse over one of your abilities, you should be able to see where that ability will hit as a blue decal on the ground around you. ( i.e. is the attack conal, in a line or something else? ) If you want to drag this ability to where you want it, you can always hold the ability trigger button until you are able to line it up with the enemy. From here, releasing the button starts (or continues) the fight.

Start up your attack by hovering over to show your telegraph, turn and release to attack your targets and walla!
One of the aspects I like best about this system is that you will really be able to see skilled players. Now anyone who does their best will definitely show, but in a system that relies on the skill of its players, you will find those giving their 110% will really stand out. It would be nice to be recognized for your own heroic efforts!

The video showed that this is really only the tip of the iceberg. As we've seen, effects such as Blind are about to get an overhaul. No longer just a debuff, they now appear to effect your screen in new and interesting ways! I wonder what else we will see along these line in the future!

Blind actually creates a very real visual impairment on the player's end!

There will be more to come, though the video ends with another tasty tidbit, although perhaps unintentional. Just get a look at Brofessional here! Even with the impressive rain of Rowsdower chunks all around him, he displays some fantastic animation here! See this evil grin? This pompous bow? This is a man who is enjoying every minute of this rowsdowser kill fest.

Just check out that creepy maniacal smile...actually I think I will be going now...

"An' so, in conclusion, if'n you're wantin' t'hit what you're aimin' at, you best be aimin' at what you wanna hit! Oh, an' don't be aimin' at any'f us Exiles, that just ain't polite. Oh shi-! Th'Cassian's back! Gotta run-!"

Wait, what!? Who let the Exile in this house!? Lock down the premise! Check all the rooms! Check the video footage...FIND ME THE EXILE!

((Also. Omg. These birds. Please tell me there will be a mount of these! I LOVE THEM! <3 <3 <3))

Introducing Hawken's killsquad: Fattums, Fluffers and WuvMuffin ;)

Thank you once again, my dear readers for all your support and encouragement. You guys help make the Scowling Cassian possible! As always, I love hearing fan suggestions on article topics or feel free to send questions to harrass our dear Agent Hawkens!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Turning with Time: Happy Foundation Day and Beyond!


This week's WildStar Wednesday featured an exciting look into the add-on systems for WildStar and what exactly goes into them. Featuring the very talented and amazing Packetdancer! Keep your eyes peeled for a blog on this topic soon! If you haven't read it yet, check it out here!

Also woke up a few days ago to this gem from WSRP's Kinder Egg, an incredibly talented artist who's style reminds me a bit of YoshitakaAmano's works! Thanks Kinder <3 

Hawkens is far too serious to party...

First and foremost, Happy Foundation Day fellow loyal citizens of the glorious Dominion! (...and I /suppose/ Happy Starfall for all you Exile folk ;p )

Featured in a WildStar Wednesday exactly one year ago, Starfall and Foundation Day were announced by Carbine along with a little lore behind each event. It also showcased a feature in MMORPGs that I find very important: Seasonal Events.

Whether echoing real life holidays or made-up events, Seasonal Events help breathe an extra bit of “life” into the turning of time within an MMORPG. As an effective bridge to gap the distance between real life and the fantastic digital worlds we play in, seasonal events provide something we can relate to and look forwards to in a long-term sense.

Take for instance, World of Warcraft, who's seasonal events strongly echo traditional holidays. In spring we have Noblegarden (complete with bunnies and colored egg hunts) and in winter we have the Feast of Winter Veil which features reindeer, gifts and Greatfather Winter. During these events, major cities and other outposts in the game are decorated with related revelry. Special NPCs can be seen chatting around towns and there are special gifts and prizes you can obtain by participating in quests and other activities made just for these events!

Left: An Orc decked out for Noblegarden. Right: Two players showing off their reindeer mounts! (screens from here and here, respectively)

Sure these events were often rather silly and usually did not fit well with the lore of the overarching story, but they were FUN! They were something new and different to play around with for awhile that made the world of the game just that little bit more interesting. I remember the first time I saw the fireworks go off in WoW many years back and I was completely in awe. A game that recognized real life events and did special things for them? Amazing!

It was very enjoyable to watch them grow and shape over the years, adding more awards, achievements and even special seasonal bosses! And not to mention all the other fun mini-games and activities, such as ram-racing! It was actually sort of fun doing the temporary dailies to earn the event tokens to buy special outfits, items and even mounts! ( I LOVED collecting mounts, you have no idea <,< )

The Brewfest event Kodo mount! (image found here)

Star Wars: The Old Republic tried a slightly different approach, selling special seasonal items for their Life Day 'event' in their cash shop without actually adding it to the world itself. Although I didn't mind purchasing seasonal items here, I was a little disappointed in not seeing the event in-game.

The Life Day Bundle in the Cartel Shop on SW:ToR (image found here)

See, to me the events go just a little bit deeper. Sure they are fun and they can be a BLAST to roleplay in, but they represent something bigger. By providing events similar to real life holidays, these games give off an extra sense of...oh, how to put it...longevity! You see a bigger picture than what you are going to do when you log in tomorrow, instead seeing events months ahead of time. You don't exactly need to be so excited that you just can't wait to start Valentine's dailies to acknowledge the idea that, when this real world event happens, there will also be a gaming equivalent for the most part. The world you enjoy begins to last outside when you are on, creating a sort of entity of its own. And a world that feels alive and exciting and changing is always fun to return to time and time again!

I really hope that by showcasing events such as Foundation Day/Starfall and Shade's Eve that Carbine intends to do even more seasonal events for Nexus! I would love to see special outfits/costumes, weapons, housing items and mounts both in-game and maybe some cash shop items as well! To me, this would not only be fun, but also represent the longevity and long-time commitment to the game as a whole. Plus they are just plain fun to roleplay in.

Here's hoping to see some fireworks with you in Nexus next year my friends!

Gaius Caster watches the fireworks at Starfall (art by Evion)