Saturday, September 28, 2013

DevSpeak: Ability Mechanics


If you haven’t listened to it already, check out the latest Nexus Weekly podcast: Level 39 which guested both Ender of WSRP and the Scowling Cassian! Listen to us chat about the latest WildStar housing contest, “hardcore” raiding and our opinions on the attitudes of the WildStar team in their game. Stick around to hear an interview with the props team at the end as well!

WildStar Wednesday featured a new Shiphand missions concept, allowing players to face new story-based questing challenges outside of Nexus. These events scale from single players to a whole party, allowing people a chance to travel to the stars and uncover more in the vast world that revolves around the central conflict.

As revealed in DevSpeak video, keep your eyes peeled for the next two class releases coming SOON!


Special Sauce!
The most recent Devspeak deals with an addition to the WildStar combat sandwich. This “special sauce” lends an additional piece to the gameplay that further supports the mobility and versatility that has been presented thus far.

If you haven’t watched the video yet, be sure to check it out here!

As always, the disclaimer features more than just the disclaimer itself. Here are the panels found at the beginning of this particular DevSpeak. Sadly I did not see the answer to the previous DevSpeak story with the Mechari agent and the three Exiles. Hopefully we will learn this soon!

The Pig Latin translation is as follows:  "Should you have difficulty reading this panel, please consult a porcumlogologist, which is a Latin term I just made up and I leave for you to validate. Apologies to the localization team for what fun they'll have translating this."

*cue trumpet fanfare*
Alrighty, so on to the featured topic: “Ability Mechanics” These are those extra little concepts that lend themselves to the strengths of the combat system used in WildStar, putting even more control in the hands of the players and less at the mercy of standard MMORPG gameplay. As Frost put it:

“It’s about the way you, as the player, control what your character can do. I’m talking about ‘Ability Mechanics.’ In other words, how you interact with the game in order to use your abilities.”

Now before we jump into what all that means, let’s take a brief moment to talk about combat in traditional MMORPGs. Though not quite so restrictive as the traditional turn based combat of most RPG games, many MMORPGs have a combat system with some similar limitations. For instance, in World of Warcraft, though you can break line of sight with enemies or utilize certain combat mechanics to avoid incoming damage, you cannot simply dodge out of incoming attacks. A fireball hits you no matter where you run, so long as you stay within its range at the point of firing and shifting quickly to the side of a monster will still get you clawed in the face. Combat mobility varies in applicability and usefulness. Often times you find your character standing still while you cycle through your combat rotations. I remember that when I first started playing, the mark of a “good tank” was one with exceptional situational awareness, or the ability to keep track of their team, the movements of the boss and other enemies and the hazards and layouts of the playing field. Being able to move a boss around competently to the advantage of the team was a big deal back then. It was one of the reasons bosses like Grobbulus from Naxxramas was so difficult. Many people had not had to move quite so much for a single fight.

The terror himself, standing in his chambers. (Image found here

WildStar has, as they have explained in previous DevSpeaks, adopted a much different kind of combat system, one that is entirely mobile like action RPG games such as God of War or Devil May Cry. These games rely heavily on mobility and being aware of the battle grounds at all times, sometimes needing to dodge at a moments notice to avoid taking damage. However, this brings to the question another aspect of these games. In action based games, combat is fast and furious, with players executing abilities swiftly while maneuvering their way around the field. In MMORPGs, combat is usually a bit less hectic. You tend to focus more on your rotation to maximize your efficiency in combat with some reactionary changes, but you tend not to need to pound out your actions and combos with haste. How you interact with your characters abilities, such as keys on a keyboard or buttons on a controller tend to reflect this. On the keyboard, you simply press your button for whatever you are using whether they be instant, cast times, or channeled abilities. Action based games tend to be different. In part with a much more limited set of buttons and in part with the style of gameplay, you can press buttons, hold buttons and use them in many different combinations to pull off different moves.

So how does WildStar handle this? Well, they explain such in this video!

WildStar still deals with the three basics of ability types:

Cast Time (Upper Left) Instant (Center) Channeled (Upper Right)
2-Cast Time
(Crossword Challenge: Down 8 – 40man PvP death fortresses)

So what are these? What exactly do these abilities mean? Before we continue on how ability mechanics work with them, let’s talk a bit more on what these abilities are. To better explain these, I will be pulling some information from

Instant Abilities:

-Instant abilities have no casting time. When you press the button to perform the action, it happens as instantly as possible (usually around a half a second, though reliant on server response times). One of the great advantages of these abilities was the fact that you could use it both while standing still and while in motion. These could feature a wide variety of abilities such as straight up damaging abilities, DoTs (damage over time abilities, which are applied instantly, then do damage over their duration on the target) and HoTs (healing over time abilities which are applied instantly, then deal over their duration on the target)

Instant Casts are fire off nigh instantly

Cast Time Abilities:

-Cast time abilities are based on “casting time” or the time needed to cast a spell or execute an action before it will take effect. Typically a bar will display that will fill during this casting time indicating the time until the ability or spell will be used, which will happen once it has filled completely. These abilities tend to have more powerful effects than instant casts (more damage or healing for instance) as they are usually broken if the character moves or if an enemy interrupts the ability before it fires.

Cast times are executed when their timer bar is filled

-Channeled Abilities:

-Channeled abilities sport an instant cast time, with a prolonged execution. These begin their effect upon cast, which then executes a spell or ability over the entire duration of the channeling time. This can be damage or healing that takes place every “tick” or every second, or it may happen during specific intervals within. These abilities are broken upon movement or interruption by an enemy.

The effects of a channeled ability last the entirety of their timer

As Frost stated in the video:

“In WildStar, we needed players to interact with their abilities in a much more reactive way because circumstances can change, quickly.”


 In an action based RPG, a character is always on the move. So you can see how both Cast time and Channeled abilities would be difficult to pull off with WildStar’s system. If any movement broke them, or being hit by enemies, players who chose these types of abilities would often be at a disadvantage. Unless the power of such skills was ridiculously buffed over instant-casts, there would be little reason to ever attempt them, especially with a limited skill set. Plus, combat might be a lot less interesting if the Carbine team opted for instant casts only. So instead, they did something even better: they made these abilities mobile.

By making these abilities mobile, you open them all up to being useful in many different situations. You can now channel a cast while chasing down an opponent or fire off a casted ability as you begin backing out of a telegraph in order to flee. They also have added some additional bits to existing casts to make them more reactive and useful in this style of combat.


Fire off your abilities rapidly within a set time limit
 -I actually don’t 100% follow this, though I imagine playing one of these abilities make it fairly intuitive. From the sounds of it, this is an ability that features a time window in which to use consecutive executions. You will most likely be able to aim where and to which enemy you please and each attack will be a press of the button within the time window.

Ability Charges

Stored ability charges can be used as needed, either saved and used one at a time, or dumped all at once for maximum power!
-Some abilities will have stored charges. Whether they inherently build this over time with something along the lines of...oh let’s say one charge regenerates every 15-20 seconds if one or more are absent or they are cast and then stored, to be spent with further casts before you replenish, I am not sure. Or perhaps both are viable. Either way, these allow some additional strategies in combat. Let’s say I have that stabbing ability on that stalker. Perhaps I save it to use on an enemy when they are low on health, using (let’s assume it has two charges) both charges to quickly dispatch the enemy. Or perhaps I use one on my opponent when they are stunned, but then I have to dodge out of the way of an incoming telegraph from my enemy’s partner. I can save this ability and either let the second one regenerate before using them again, or wait for another moment of opportunity to strike. As these are not spammable abilities, I imagine abilities with charges will tend to have a bit more bang for their buck.

Charge and Release

Need to move out of the way? No problem! Fire off what you've charged so far when you are out of harm's way. It may not be as strong, but it didn't go to waste
- Similar to channeled, or perhaps simply a version thereof, these abilities appear to become more powerful the longer you cast them. However, if you are forced to move to dodge attacks, you do not have to feel bad for wasting your time standing still and then breaking your cast with nothing to show for it. Releasing the cast early might be a slightly less powerful version of the fully charged ability, but it will no longer go to waste!

Press and Hold

Press the button and hold to reap untold destruction. Or let go if you need to change tactics.
-A reactive channel, this ability type features a cast in which you press down the ability button and are then free to move about the battle field extolling out massive punishment (or perhaps healing maybe) in the process. If you need to get out of the way quickly, however, you can simply let go of the button and dive to the side. Or just pose there and look awesome. ;)

More than anything else, these additional aspects to the combat add a lot of variety to an already interesting and fluid combat style based on movement and aiming. By allowing a lot of reactive abilities as well, they make more some far more involved battle tactics, leaving players free to act and react to a very hectic and cool fighting style. And though it might be a minor point to make, I still feel it is important to mention that these abilities will be utilized for all members of the “holy trinity” of MMORPG gaming, be they tank, healer or dps. So everyone can feel involved and active in their gameplay.

And as Carbine said, everyone deserves to be a spider monkey ninja.

If they want to

And stay tuned folks...we’re on the home stretch to something everyone has been waiting some time to hear more about: Classes. Not only the reveal of <REDACTED> and <REDACTED> but perhaps a fantastic video on all the amazing classes in WildStar? I cannot wait! (p.s. Stalkers rule...just sayin’...)


Saturday, September 21, 2013

"At the Usual Place": Recurring RP Events and You


Sorry about the late blog this week folks, I've been watching a friend of ours wiener dogs for the weekend and thought today would be a good time to write while they flopped around my feet :3

Out for walkies!

This Weeks WildStar Wednesday was about the Wacky Housing contest held during last beta build. You can check out these deranged domiciles here if you wish!

Yesterday Carbine announces that they will be at the New York Comic-Con to show off WildStar a bit more. We're not sure if they will announce anything new here, though I do not think so. But hang in there, good stuff is on it's way. I have a funny feeling we will be seeing much more once they have their new beta build up!

Keep your...well ears posted for the next Nexus Weekly! The Scowling Cassian has been asked to guest alongside Patrician and Ender of WSRP. I am very excited to join the podcast and hope you will all enjoy!


Stay awhile and listen...

Though it is always enjoyable to roleplay with your close friends and/or guildies, one of the best parts about roleplaying in MMORPGs is the entirety of the roleplaying community. With the mighty power of social media and the internet you can reach out and connect to hundreds of thousands of people with a few deft strokes on the keyboard!

One of the best ways to bring the community together is through roleplaying events, whether through short sessions lasting a few hours, grand events spanning days or even weeks, recurring events or even spontaneous get-togethers. Though each present their own merits and challenges, they all lend a hand to strengthening the community as a whole. And they can be a lot of fun!

Today I wanted to talk a little about recurring events in roleplaying, some advice on how to find them and/or host them and a few ideas to help inspire. Keep in mind that while these are technically aimed at roleplayers, many of these ideas can be helpful to guild handling in general.

My first real experience with MMORPG events began in World of Warcraft on the server Wyrmrest Accord. While I was leveling my tauren warrior in the starting zone of Mulgore, I saw advertisements in the general chat for an RP “story circle” that was to take place shortly at one of the first town hubs. Curious, I decided to head that way when the time came and see what this was all about.

A roleplaying group gathered around the Bloodhoof fire (image found here)

The story circle, hosted then by the Earthspear Tribe (an all Tauren RP guild), was a weekly occurring event that took place for a few hours every Saturday evening. Members of the guild would gather up and advertise around the area while throwing a shout out in their social media connections online for those not in-game at the moment before making their way to a large open area in Bloodhoof village which sported a large bonfire in the center of a clearing. Members of the Horde were all welcome here from any level, race or class. The event itself was partially casual. While they encouraged people to attend in character, they  were welcomed to set aside rivalries and other RP complications to just enjoy hanging out with others.

After a brief introduction by the storymaster chosen from the hosting guild, people were encouraged to step up and tell a story, anecdote, poem or really anything of their choosing. The crowds would listen with the occassional comment, laugh or gasp and then clap when the sharing was finished before a new person would rise to speak. There were stories of joy and betrayal, beautiful poems, epic tales of bravery and even a few short plays.

Though I was not a complete stranger to RP in general, I had yet to really experience much in the way of online live RP and I was a bit nervous to begin with. The story circle ended up as a wonderful introduction for me! It was casual enough that I didn’t have to stress out about how perfect my RP skills were or whether or not I was up to date with the ongoing storylines of all present. It was also a good mixture of interaction and relaxation. I didn’t have to be on the spotlight if I didn’t wish, though I was welcome to offer up a story if I wanted to. And afterwards, the hosting guild and many others would mingle around, greeting others and thanking the community for attending their event.

Though it would be a year before I rejoined with the server and eventually joined the Earthspear Tribe, I had already been given an excellent taste of RP to whet my appetite that would lead me through many years of roleplaying with that guild and the subsequent guilds that would branch off, eventually leading to me meeting and falling for my partner...though that is a story for another time.

These events do not just need to be casual storytelling either. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the guild known as The Legion on the server Ebon Hawk hosted a weekly Monday evening RP event known as “Trooper Night.” Though largely aimed at troopers in general, this event was open to anyone with military skills out for hire. Each night was themed as a coalition of many different military and mercenary teams banding together for a single contract event from rescuing captured personnel to assaulting enemy bases. These were a lot of fun and both the event and the celebrations in the nearby Cantina after a successful mission were great ways to meet new people.

One of the best parts of Trooper Night was getting a ton of people all lined up into teams to march through the cities. All dressed in our armor, we drew a lot of looks from the community when we passed by. (Image found here)

Ultimately these events served as a means to bring together the community, to help people meet new friends and to just have fun. They were excellent introductions into RP for some or a fun way to push a character’s storyline for veteran roleplayers as well.

WildStar is an untapped well of creative potential. With a brand new world that blends a bit of Sci-fi and fantasy, exciting new cultures and factions and a whole host of amazing RP tools from specialized mounts to housing, it will be exciting to see what shapes within the RP community. If you are considering being a part of this, or just want to learn a bit more, then read on!

Hosting these events can be a challenge. Much like hosting a pen and paper campaign, you need to work to pull together a group, hold them together and build a storyline or idea for them to play with. Though I haven’t started one on my own, I have helped to promote and lead these events for my guilds and I have a few bits of advice if you are looking to start your own.

Advice for Hosting Recurring RP Events:

Step1: Pick an Idea
-Are you creating a casual story circle or a marketplace bazaar? Perhaps a competition of some sort or a combat mission. Maybe you are offering training or fortune telling to others? There really is no limit to this. Pick something that you think you can carry on through many sessions and that you find fun!

Step2: Support
-Every event I have seen has been led through a guild or group of guilds. The time commitment for these can be tough to meet every single time and can be difficult to create, host and manage all by oneself. Find some friends or a guild that shares your views and propose your idea. Maybe a mercenary guild might hold weekly fireside chats, offering sale of goods or contracts while providing a place to share stories of bravery over a few beers. A mechanics group or biker gang might host weekly or monthly races, or perhaps a special forces guild might host military missions on enemy holdings.

Step3: Consitency
-Pick a day and time that works best for yourself and your supporting team/guild, etc. While this can change if need be, it is always best to be consistent. Content aside, a consistent time and day will help others to find your event and will make it a regular occurrence to view around the game zones. Making sure you host it regularly will encourage others to show up regularly and will build the loyalty to your idea that will help keep it going. Failing to keep up with your events may result in a poorer turn out or in no turn out at all.

Step4: Promote
-Take advantage of social media. Forums, Twitter, guild pages and server sites are all great ways to advertise your events out of game. Within the game, polite advertising (not spamming) in chat channels in your zones or cities help, along with word of mouth to your friends, allied guilds or even just random roleplayers. You do not need to over-extend yourself and waste all your energy just talking about your event, but putting it out there for people to find, or extending the hand of welcome, will help announce your events and can bring in all sorts of people. That is how I first attended the Story Circle in WoW.

Step5; Have Fun!
-I know I sound like a broken record, but I simply cannot repeat this enough. Hosting events like this isn’t for everyone. To establish them as a common server-known event, they take time and dedication. Some will speak more to certain groups of roleplayers than others, some times you won’t have the energy to host for the night and sometimes even the best laid plans can fall through. If you find you just aren’t having fun, or you would rather attend events then host them, then do so. Forcing yourself to create or maintain something you just don’t have the time or energy for won’t be fun. And at the end of the day, this is just a game. Do what is relaxing and fun for you. Maybe instead, try a few single sessions events that just last a few hours rather than a weekly recurrence. You do not have to commit to something longer or harder if you do not wish to.

So again:
  • Step1: Pick an Idea
  • Step2: Support
  • Step3: Consistency
  • Step4: Promote
  • Step5: Have Fun!

These events can be very rewarding to host, but they can also just plain be a lot of fun to attend. They draw in both new and veteran roleplayers and might even pull in those who are simply curious while offering them all a chance to network together and have fun.

I am very excited to see what events and gatherings rise up with the release of WildStar and look forwards to seeing you all out there!

Adventure Awaits!

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Oh...hello..." : How to Play the Introvert (And still have fun)


So cute! ...Except the part where he is chewing on the Dominion....
The third part of Mystery and Mayhem is up! If you haven't read it yet, go check it out here.

This weeks WildStar Wednesday was a PAX Prime Round-up that summarized Carbine's time at the event. It may not be some of the fantastic reveals or sneak-peeks we have been waiting for, but hang in there guys. Give these folks a round of applause and hang tight, more good news is on the way!


She watches him from the far side of the room. Not as loud as the others and not nearly as bold as to approach him. In fact, he only notices her because of the lapse in the sound, a moment of silence when their eyes meet. She startles, like a deer caught in the headlights, at once shy and graceful in her very awkwardness. Almost imperceptible, her tiny smile flickers beneath tired eyes and suddenly he realizes this congratulation is worth more in its quiet simplicity then any other.

Making his apologies, he pushes through the throngs of bodies to stand before her. A few cast him a questioning look, but he pays them no heed. She turns her face away for a moment, as though debating whether to stay or flee, but it was too late. Looking up bravely she gives him a genuine smile and tells him her story...

Perhaps you have lived on one side of the story or the other. Perhaps you have been the shy introvert, or you grew up alongside them. You saw them at school or on the bus to work. There is an appeal to those who are shy, as much as there is a fright of being in their place. There is an appeal of roleplaying a shy or Lone Wolf character; an appeal to the mysterious and unknown. But for all that they might be an enigma, there is the fear of them remaining such forever. Just as in real life, the shy are oft overlooked or even forgotten. In this fan suggestion from Evion, we will seek to look over this character concept and the challenges that follow with it. So how does one manage such a personality and obtain interactions? How can one play this character and have fun?

It is important to note that there are many types of introverted or shy characters. They are as varied as the people they represent, such as the Bookworm, the Absent-Minded Professor, the Stoic, the Mad Mathematician or the Ineffectual Loner, just to name a few. Not every character is just peeking around the corner with their hair in their eyes and fearfully avoiding eye contact (though they certainly could be!) The important thing is that, though they may talk somewhat, they are often very reserved and can be difficult to approach head on, especially in social situations. For MMORPGs where a major part of roleplay tends to come in the form of some sort of social situation, this can lead to some potential frustrations and difficulties. However, if this is what you want to play, do not lose hope! These types of characters, when played right, can also result in some amazing roleplay!

Some shy or introverted characters have difficulty feeling comfortable in social situations. Or they just might be cute kittens hiding under the porch, you never know... (image found here)

How to Make an Introverted Character in 6 Easy Steps!

Step 1: Choose to make an Introverted character

-No seriously. This might sound silly, but committing to an idea in roleplay is always a good call. Now this doesn't mean that your character cannot grow or change, but by focusing on an idea, you focus the character. Though personalities can vary within a person, even on a daily basis, there tends to be some sort of focus in a person (otherwise we wouldn't have stereotypes) and a character who acts accordingly will be much easier to interact with. A character who's personality fluctuates wildly (with few exceptions) tends to be very difficult to pin down or relate with. With a Shy character already starting with the difficulty of their very nature, there is no reason to make your fun that much harder to obtain.

Making this decision does not limit you to this idea only, however. Many characters can develop shyness, or show their introverted natures in specific situations only, or they could also grow out of it as well. Focus should not lead to stagnation, but more on that in a bit.

Step 2: Figure out why your character is an Introvert

-Remember when I told you there were many types of Shy characters? There is no one right or wrong way to do this, so feel free to use plenty of your creative genius here! If starting off with WHY your character is an introvert seems daunting, perhaps try starting with HOW they are shy.

For instance:

“How a character can be Shy”
-They rarely speak
-They are shy in social gatherings
-They simply don't feel the need to push their opinions
-They prefer the company of a select few and have difficulties opening up
-They prefer the company of non-organics
-They think they do not need anyone else
-They often turn down help for personal reasons
-They have bad social anxiety or perhaps deep phobias that push them away from social interactions
-They are shy around members of the opposite sex or any sort of flirtatious activity

Some might find that interactions with robots, golems or other entities not of their race are easier to interact with with the traditional social stigma gone from the equation. ( Image by Jason Chan)
Note that these characteristics do not necessarily need to be shown through shy characters only, but many character types can show shy tendencies in certain situations!

Maybe your character is an introvert because they simply are by nature. They are not necessarily deeply shy, but are definitely not the most social person you will ever meet. They gain their strength when left to their own devices or a select group of people and tend to feel overextended in larger groups or stressful situations. Perhaps there has been some calamity in your character's life that has promoted their shyness. Perhaps your Exile suffered bullying under their peers on the Arkship and has trouble finding a sense of self-worth. Or maybe you played an Aurin who just barely escaped the destruction of their world, shocked to numbness by losing everything they have ever known, leaving them wary of the intents of others. You character could also be a deep cynic who thinks people are not worth their time, a sort of Lone Wolf who relies only on their own strengths to see them through and might even look down on other characters.

A common mistake is to assume that introverted characters are always victims. Though there is often an emotional or even physical trauma that may have inspired their shyness, they are many times products of their own actions. For instance, your character could be a sort of Lone Wolf who relies only on their own strengths to see them through and might even look down on other characters. Maybe they see themselves as intellectually superior and shun the “unwashed masses” in their vast knowledge.

Or perhaps your character is simply lonely but is far too proud to admit it...

Why are you looking at me like that?

Remember that your character does not need to be an introvert all of the time! Hawkens here is an excellent example actually.

I hardly think that going into my personal life is wise, and /certainly/ not necessary.

Come now, it will be helpful to our readers. Hawkens here is a good example of a selective introvert. For the most part, he will speak with others without too much difficulty. He generally speaks when spoken to and will also seek others out for interactions when necessary. Get him talking about his passions, such as the Dominion, his people (the Cassians), animals, his personal hobbies, etc and he can become quite animated. He interacts regularly on the job and understands the importance on good communication. But stick him in a casual social situation and he crumbles.

He might be scowling, but he secretly loves this baby stemdragon...just don't tell him I told you!

I do not-!

As is common with many stories of secret agents, specialized operatives and the like, there exists a degree of dehumanization they face in the efforts to stay sane with the atrocities they may witness or even perform for the good of their company/Empire/etc. On the job, other people are tools. They are assets to utilize or obstacles to overcome. To interact with them with something so mundane as “small talk” or “pleasurable conversation” becomes uncomfortable. There is not set way to deal with social interactions, no magical protocol that will solve every chat. In some ways, Hawkens is simply ill equipped for such chatter when it isn't about work. He has lived so long apart from a “normal” life that such normalcy is almost frightening. And so he is shy. He avoids dancing like the plague and tries to escape the gatherings at the first available opportunity. He can become irritated or flustered from small talk and has absolutely no idea how to handle (Emperor forbid) flirting.

As I mentioned in my blog “It's All in the Details: Fleshing out Characters through the use of the Mundane” there was actually a fairly good explanation of this point, of WHY Hawkens is often an introvert in social situations:

“...he found mundane actions to be tedious and sometimes boring. Yet that never stopped him from going through the motions of care for his hygiene, of cooking in his own kitchen or from playing an occasional video game. It wasn't about the movie at all. It was about the concept of relaxation, the concept of “letting loose” or “having fun.” He was far more worried about dropping his appearance as a grumpy and bitter individual who only cared for his job and nothing else. By watching the movie, he had strangely reasoned, he was showing weakness or betraying his ideals.”

There is no rest for the wicked. Life is too short to waste on such frivolities...

Hawkens is an introvert because he believes that showing anything close to “relaxation” or “playfulness” means that he is betraying his own personal moral code and is showing weakness in his resolve. Think on why your character may reason out their own introverted tendencies.

Step 3: Figure out how to Act out your Character

-Hawkens takes full advantage of live MMORPG roleplay in timing and visual silence. He might refuse to speak, shuffle awkwardly or turn his back on a conversation not going his way. He is often short and to the point or might be sarcastic or rude if he dislikes his situation or the person he is interacting with. Other characters may display similar characteristics or something entirely different, to varying degrees of severity. Perhaps your character simply chooses to not speak often, they are too shy, too nervous or may simply not have the need to voice their opinion. Perhaps they have nervous ticks, such as nail biting, hair twirling or tail-tugging. They probably avoid eye contact and might keep their head down when others approach. Or they could keep their arms tightly crossed and glare daggers across the room. The best way to figure this out is to take a look around you. I don't mean stare rudely at the person next to you on the bus, but you can still take note of their actions and demeanor. Or perhaps you remember a time in your life when you were very shy, or you might even channel some of your own characteristics into your character. As with all things in roleplay, I highly advise taking a little time to “do some homework.” Take your time to look up the trope or phobia of your character online and learn about it. Believability comes when those you interact with can relate, which often is due to using realism as a solid tool in your roleplaying arsenal. (But more about that in a future article!) The more you learn, the better you can portray!

I think this pretty much speaks for itself. Do not underestimate the strength of applying learning to your roleplay. Who knows, you might learn something new and exciting in the process! (Image found here)

Step 4: Now figure out how to Defeat your Character

-I was highly amused the first time someone caught onto one of Hawken's tendencies. Actually, they caught onto something I was subconsciously writing that I then immediately reinforced. Hawkens, for all his bristling and arrogance, gives some very clear social cues when certain situations come to pass. For instance, rather than admit he was wrong or bested (which would certainly kill him), Hawkens huffs. “Hmph” had become his coinphrase for the admittance of defeat, an affectionate concession, or his white flag in a conversation. Though he still remained as difficult as ever, it was a great social cue for interacting with others to show that they had won!

Remember that the introverted character often defeats themselves by their very nature. Shy people tend to be overlooked. Withdrawn or loner characters may often push others away. There is a reason we view these tendencies as a personal flaw in life rather than a boon. In roleplay, this is no different. You cannot expect people to force themselves to play with you, let alone expect them to do so with a character that is predisposed to be potentially difficult to interact with. And so, you learn how to defeat your own character.

Hawkens may be a stick in the mud who couldn't flirt his way out of a paper bag and often looks like he has swallowed something disagreeable, but that has not stopped him from being an engaging character to interact with. Why? I actually touched a great deal on this in my blog “How to Play the Loveable Jerk (And not go too far)” with two very key points: Growth and Moderation. I feel they very much apply to the Introverted character as well.

If your character only ever sulks or stutters in the corner and never tries anything else, they are probably going to be very boring to interact with. Even if you can get someone to roleplay with you for awhile, there is a good chance you may force others away if your character is near impossible to interact with. Don't be afraid to let your character break the mold, or even hold a normal conversation now and then. While you may wish to adhere to a solid characteristic or type, if you wish to engage in live roleplay, you need to be willing to take AND give. Try to balance your shy or introverted tendencies in moderation with something interactive. It does not necessarily have to be talking. Perhaps your character is also a good cook and might be willing to make some food while others chatter away. However, in the same respect, for those who are playing with Shy characters this is also a good point for you to learn as well. If they are going to make concessions to play with you, then you should do the same. Roleplaying is a team effort. Don’t force fun, but learning how to work together can be quite rewarding.

Though character growth is important in any character, it is especially helpful here. It is only natural to grow and change as we go through life, and so it is no different for our characters. Perhaps your character might grow close to another or a group of characters, allowing them to interact more comfortably with them. Perhaps someone shows them that they do not need to deal with everything on their own and they begrudgingly accept help and camaraderie. Maybe they are coached in skills they lack and grow more confident, or perhaps they simply learn how to better manage their shyness and it becomes more an aspect of endearment then a fatal flaw.

One of the rewards of roleplaying with others is watching how the unpredictable can evolve your character. It's like writing a part of a book where you never quite know what the other character will write. You never know what can happen! Watching your character grow is pleasing. Watching your character help another character grow in the process is even better. It is an excellent way to show another how much you appreciate their time and sharing your experiences together, by showing them the effects they have on your character. Maybe your character loses their shyness forever, thanks to their help. However, do not feel pressured to change something you really like. The enigma that an introverted character might display can be interesting by itself. You can certainly grow and evolve around that without having to completely give that up.

Character Growth is a fascinating part of roleplay. Ushering them through their own personal growth can be rewarding not just for yourself, but for others with invested interest in your character. (Image found here)

Step 5: Patience

-A shy character that chatters incessantly the next day might seem odd. A Lone Wolf magically accepting someone into their personal life after a day may seem like wasted potential. Shy characters take patience and time on both sides of the equation to really get the best out of them. There is a tendency to rush things in roleplay...I mean who wants to really spend an entire nine months or so playing out a pregnancy, or a year “recovering from a wound”? Roleplay allows us to control the flow of time, letting us bypass frustrating or even sad or unfortunate parts of real life. Sometimes it is still good to let things flow naturally with time. Some of the closest bonds can be formed from bitter rivalries if given time, just as an introvert may open up if given space and compassion.

It may not be easy with control over the very time and space of your creation, but often patience is the best path to the most rewarding victories. (Image found here)

Step 6: Have fun!

- I can never stress this enough. Roleplaying is supposed to be fun. We play with others and relax online to enjoy ourselves. If you are not having fun, reevaluate what you are doing and reassess how you are acting. Maybe this type of character just doesn't turn out to be fun. Introverted characters can take a lot of time and patience or perhaps it isn't your style. Don't be afraid to have your character grow out of it, or try something new. If, however, you and the people around you are having fun, then go for it!

Hawkens occasionally has difficulties with the word "fun"... (Art by Kinder Egg! )

To sum up the 6 steps:
Step 1: Choose to make a Introverted character
Step 2: Figure out why your character is an Introvert
Step 3: Figure out how to Act out your Character
Step 4: Now figure out how to Defeat your Character
Step 5: Patience
Step 6: Have fun!

These are certainly not intended as the best advice in the universe that you must follow or else, but they are ideas that I have found useful in my time roleplaying that have either worked well for myself or for others. I hope that they might come in handy for those intending to play this character or are at least something interesting to think about!

Thank you once again for joining us, dear readers. As always feel free to comment here or on WSRP and always feel free to contact myself or Agent Hawkens with questions, concerns or future blog topics! Remember it is your support that makes this all possible! You guys rock. Really!


See? Even Hawkens agrees ;)

(( P.S. Patrician, you asked a question of Agent Hawkens about friendship. Though he has been largely absent on classified business, I assure you the question has not been forgotten and shall be answered soon!))

Friday, September 6, 2013

In the Meantime: Traveling with your Character


Congratulations are in order to Team WildStar for stealing the show at Gamescom and PAX Prime! At Gamescom 2013, WildStar won Best in Show from ZAM as well as the Best of Gamescom award from one of the biggest gaming networks in Germany: At PAX Prime 2013, they also walked away with's Best of Show award. Awesome work guys! We were rooting for ya the whole way!

The bug is so CUTE!!

Today another Tales from Beyond the Fringe : Mystery and Mayhem was released. This one for Victor Lazarin. With some stunning art, these are really fun to read!

Part 1: Mondo Zax
Part 2: Victor Lazarin
Part 3: Coming Soon! 09/13/13


Today looks like a DOUBLE FEATURE FRIDAY. Guess I just had so much to say, I couldn't contain myself.

As always, feel free to share any ideas, comments, concerns or suggestions for future articles! (Or harass Agent Hawkens with any questions you might have) I know Blogger isn't always the most convenient to comment on, so feel free to check out my link to these articles on WSRP. Each one gets their own thread to allow others a chance to comment where the whole community can help chime in! ( Plus you should totally check out all the awesome stuff that goes on WSRP or even make your own character there ;) )

Right, so, before Hawkens here can add anything clever, let's get started. Be sure to check out both articles today! I've got this one here on traveling with your characters and the previous one here about the payment model.




Like everything in the Dominion, the Imperial Arkship was the model of efficiency and strength. Every Cassian, Draken, Mechari and even the Chua dedicated themselves to their tasks of preparation for their inevitable arrival on Nexus.

Agent Hawkens was no exception to the rule. Like all soldiers of the Dominion, he knew life was made up of periods of intense action filling the spaces between the infuriating stretches of waiting. Thus every day became a ritual of training and drills. Every day was as much an exercise of the body as it was of the mind. If the agent was not in conference with his handler, he would instead seek solace in the silence, drawing strength from the calm before the storm instead of madness.

Every moment was potential. Potential to study Nexus, potential to study the Exiles and potential to prepare himself. To waste such time in idleness or frustration was to invite calamity. Every agent of the ICI knew a lazy agent was a dead one and the Cassian had no desire to add his name to the lists of the departed just yet.

Though Agent Hawkens well believed the warning, it did little to mollify his restlessness. Nexus, the Promise of the Eldan made real, the endgame of thousands of years of loyalty and faith. Planetfall could not come soon enough. Until then, he settled himself for one of the hardest tasks he had ever faced in his life: patience...

With the pushback of the release of WildStar to spring of 2014, Nexus seems just all the further from our reach. Though I am all for Carbine taking all the time they need to make the best game they can, this certainly does not stop me from pouting dejectedly in the corner. But, just as Agent Hawkens, I know there are far better ways to spend my time instead of moping about.

So you have your character and you're ready to go, yes? Or close at least. You've got a pretty decent idea who you want to play, but with WildStar so far off and a bit of a lull in the big reveals for Carbine studios everything seems to be slowing down as people look to find a way to spend their time while they wait. So what exactly can you do while you sit with bated breath?

Well, one of the best things about creating characters is that they are quite mobile. In fact, almost every character comes in their own neat little travel package in your mind. While some parts of them may rely closely on the world you built them for, with a bit of creativity and malleablility, you can shape them to whatever you so choose.

First of all, before I continue, I would like to remind everyone that playing other games or taking some time off the forums is not a bad thing. You don't have to feel like you are somehow betraying WildStar if you play World of Warcraft or any other game. You do not have to check the forums every single day to be a valued member of a community. Times are slow right now. With the last really big reveals being the last two races and WildStar's business model, there has been a lull in the flow of energy and excitement while we wait for them to prepare their next build of the beta with all their new changes and streamline more of their work behind the scenes. Many people have taken the time to explore Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn and some have simply decided to take a break for a little while until another surge of news emerges. And this is okay! The last thing you want to do is push yourself to the point of burning out. WildStar, at the end of the day, is just a game and games are meant to be fun. If you are not enjoying your time, take a break, play another game and relax. We'll all be here and so will WildStar. :3

That said, you don't necessarily need to leave everything behind if you are looking for something for yourself, your friends and/or your guild to do for now! In the realm of roleplay, your creativity travels with you and so does the product of your genius. Just because WildStar has not yet launched does not mean you need to slam on the breaks and refuse to move! Remember that it is even in the little things that a character can really evolve, especially when you are able to RP with others.

So where do you take them? Well I am glad you asked! ( Also, as a quick aside for those of you who do not roleplay, some of these suggestions still stand as some fun alternatives while you wait for WildStar!)
Note: All activities are more fun with friends, so be sure to bring plenty of them along!

Roleplaying-on-the Fly:

Would you character enjoy spicy food?
-Just a few minutes ago, one of my good friends just asked (while heading out to purchase dinner):

“Hmmm, now brain is considering character development implications. What exotic foods does your character like? Do they like spicy things?”

This is an excellent example of one half of RP on the Fly: Character development. One of the best ways to shape a very believable character lies not in the fantastic, but in the mundane. What you like to eat, what you enjoy reading, what the aftermath of a rainstorm smells like when you step outside, or what the nightlife of the city sounds like, these are all examples of everyday events that shape who we are. This is no different for your character, so have fun! My friends and I often pull the most random thoughts and ideas and pause, giddy with excitement to figure out how they effect or shape our characters! It might sound silly to some, but it can be a lot of fun. It is a good creative exercise that doesn't just help you build your character, but it also further elaborates on your own perceptions of the world. By better understanding the world around you and by giving even simple things extra thought, you greatly improve your creative and communicative abilities! The better you understand your own thoughts, the better you can convey them to others in an understandable fashion.

The second half of RP on the Fly, is exactly that: Impromptu RP. Whether written or voiced, these can be quite enjoyable! Maybe you take part in the back and forth of the Dominion and Exiles in some good-natured bantering on Twitter or perhaps you write a few quick and humorous lines in Skype with one of your friends. Maybe you sit down and write that one scene that just popped into your head at work and you just /have/ to get it on paper or perhaps you find yourself verbally trading lines on the phone or in person with another “character.” While impromptu can sometimes feel silly or insignificant in the long run, don't laugh them off. Some of my best roleplay began as just some tiny impromptu piece that grew far beyond the few silly lines it began as. Although, on the other hand, don't force yourself to take them too seriously (Yes, I am totally reminding myself here as well cough ) Sometimes a few lines of silliness can be a lot of fun and that is great! Laughter is good for you and even if no horribly deep personality growth comes from it, it is still great creative practice and maybe some fun social time for you as well.

RP on the Fly can be done really anywhere. It can be done at Wal-Mart, while you are shopping, or at dinner. You can RP on the bus, or over Skype. You can text some silly bantering with your friends or take your character to a whole new game. Nothing is really limiting you here, save your own imagination. So don't be afraid to look silly, have fun!

Alternate Universe Roleplaying:

The Pacific Rim universe would certainly be an enjoyable AU to RP in!
AU or Alternate Universe RP, stands for when you RP your characters in another “universe” then the one they were created for. For instance, taking your WildStar character and turning them into a modern day version so they could become a Jaeger pilot would be part of an AU RP for Pacific Rim. Or you could make a strong pure fantasy alteration of your character to fit in the worlds of Final Fantasy or Dragon Age.

These AU Roleplay sessions can really be a lot of fun. Not every universe may provide all the things you really would like to build or show in your character. And not every universe fits your personal style perfectly. A High School AU roleplay session might show better how your character grew through their change into adulthood, while translating your character to The Secret World would allow for some really great RP that places them in the “real world” with Twitter, Gmail, McDonalds and Microsoft, allowing you to showcase how your character might react if they were with you today while still allowing for them to deal with the fantastic.

While some people might call these silly or even “stupid,” they aren't. They are just more excellent creative exercises! There is nothing wrong with taking your epic WildStar warrior and making him or her a student at Hogwarts if you really want to. The point of roleplaying is to exercise your creativity and have FUN. These situations can sometimes really help to shape your character's personality or can just simply be a enjoyable distraction for awhile. Don't be afraid to join in on one, or make your own and give a shout out to others to play with ya! Or just write something for yourself if you wish.

Just remember to be respectful of the world you are playing in. You are using the genius of someone else and it is not canon in their works unless they say so. Other then that, go nuts. Make believe doesn't necessarily have rules!

Other Games:

I know, games other then WildStar? What is this? Although it might sound like a trick, there were actually games before WildStar and there will be games during and after. There is nothing wrong with playing them as well!

Except the part where you are clearly a blasphemer and are subject to execution under Dominion Law...

Hawkens...did you just try to make a joke?


Yeeeahhh....maybe...maybe just stick to doing your agent things, okay?


Much better! Now where was I? Oh yes! Other games!

This is one of the best ways to spend your time, evolve your character and just plain have fun. You can play by yourself, with a group of friends or even as something for your guild to bond over while you wait for WildStar. Here's just some of the games I would recommend to look at:

Star Wars: The Old Republic- Though it's had some rough spots, this Star Wars themed gem from Bioware has some of the most fantastic storytelling in the world of MMORPGs. I personally highly recommend this as a good way to spend some time for a few months to at least play through a class story. While the dialogue choices foster roleplay in it of themselves, the game is even more enjoyable if you bring in your WildStar character and translate them over the best you can. While it might not be a perfect fit, it can be a lot of fun! My friends and I are currently spending some time here for some relaxing RP as we run through our storylines! My advice? Spend the fifteen dollars for the sub, their F2P is terrible.

GuildWars 2: A buy-to-play game with no monthly fee, Guild Wars 2 can be an enjoyable game to return back to whenever you just want to run around and enjoy some gorgeous landscapes and some decently fun gameplay. While your WildStar characters may not translate the best, you can always carry over their personality and give it a shot in a heavy fantasy setting. While the game is colorful and the classes interesting, the grindy-ness of the game can get kind of boring with time and the zones tend to start blending together in looks. However, I still enjoy hopping on my Charr Mesmer and Charr elementalist from time to time to just relax and run around killing and cooking XD

The Secret World: Another buy-to-play with an optional sub fee, The Secret World has an excellent storyline and some unique questing ideas including puzzle solving quests with an in-game browser for researching your answers! The world itself is set in modern day, filled with H.P. Lovecraft/Stephen King inspiration. It is very interesting, playing your character as not some magical hero, but one of many supernatural forces standing in between the darkness and those in our world who live unawares. While the story can be dark and sometimes downright creepy, the combat has an incredibly steep learning curve. While it allows you to play in most any style, without looking up how to make a strong deck, anything past the first two sections of the first zone can get frustratingly difficult. That said, its certainly worth a look!

Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn: While the launch of this game has run into some frustrating issues for the North America and European servers, I have been told the gameplay itself is rather enjoyable, if somewhat grindy. Though I decided not to try it out, I find the idea of getting to have your own Chocobo mount and companion is amazing! I love Chocobos!!!

Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer: While I personally recommend the entire Mass Effect series, and the Dragon Age series for that matter, as some amazing stories to play through, the multiplayer of ME3 is a lot of fun. Though it is no longer officially supported from Bioware, you can still get into games of all levels of difficulty within a reasonable amount of time. Even though the levels themselves can get a little repetitive, I always find the fast paced combat to be fun and enjoyable and nothing is quite so satisfying as charging my Krogan Warlord across the map and sending the bodies of my enemies scattering everywhere while I laugh!

The Thief series, Deus Ex series and System Shock 2: You can find these games for a decent price on Steam and some of them on GoG. Though most of them are a bit outdated, they still hold a very dear place in my heart. Thief has some excellent stealth gameplay for the patient, while Deus Ex features a very rewarding conspiracy theory/cyberpunk story that began my love of agents and cyberpunk! System Shock 2 is an amazing survival horror that still has some great atmosphere to this day, though I will warn that the ending is a little lackluster. Still, these are all worth the time to see!

These are just some of the games I would recommend, there are MANY more that I haven't played that I know people really enjoy. Feel free to mention what you are playing and/or enjoy in the comments either here or on WSRP!

Pen and Paper/Tabletop RPGs:

I know I've already babbled on for a bit, but I felt I would be remiss if I did not touch on this briefly. Pen and Paper games are another perfect way to get your RP fix while you wait for WildStar to come out, even better if you can play with your fellow WildStar friends or community!

There are all sorts of settings for you to play with from the cyberpunk Shadowrun to the classic Dungeons and Dragons! GURPS, Star Wars, Warhammer 40k Death Watch, Ironclaw and a whole myriad of other settings exist out there. It can be sometimes difficult to pick the right one for your group and get a session up and running, but if you can these can be TONS of fun to roleplay in!

So you see, there really is a LOT of alternatives to keep yourself and your friends busy with and still have fun. You don't necessarily have to leave the WildStar character you worked so hard on behind either. Feel free to bend and mold them to have fun, be silly and try some random RP or even join up with a WildStar thread over on WSRP while you wait. Don't feel bad if you just need to step back and take a break for awhile either. There is no sense in getting burned out and no longer enjoying the game! Besides, we'll all be here when you return. ;)

Just remember, the most important thing of all, is to have fun!

Relax ;)