WildStar has finished the first stage of tweaking its many systems, including player choice in character progression and the questing system.
WildStar, Carbine Studios' sci-fi MMORPG project has been picking up lots of speed lately. Scheduled to ship sometime this year, the developers have been extensively testing both their hardware and their game systems, such as combat mechanics and other aspects of gameplay. Carbine recently announced that Phase One of the WildStar beta testing is now complete, and that the game is going back into intensive development before being released to more beta testers later this year. The two main areas that the developers are looking to fix during this interim are player choice in character progression and quest progression. During the wrap-up post for Beta Phase One, the developers discuss their feelings on these systems, and shed some light on what they're looking to tweak for WildStar's future.
Although there are not many details on the new character development customization, Carbine has confirmed that their third iteration of a customization system is now complete, and is being moved to the implementation stage of development. The developers also had the following to say, "The Combat team has been working on a design of a new player progression system which allows you to customize your character's development as you level through the game." Character progression also promises to be based on the character themselves, and will be less gear-focused than many contemporary games.
The developers of WildStar have also made some major design shifts in how questing and mob tagging will work. Firstly, they are going to be completely removing numerical quest objectives such as killing X monsters or collecting Y objects. Instead, they're including a "Quest Completion Bar", which will fill up as players progress through quest objectives, and fills proportionately to the amount of XP they have earned. The goal for this questing system is to allow groups to work together more easily.
In WildStar, the legendary planet Nexus has been found. As the opposed forces of the Exiles and Dominion rush to capture it and its secrets you must pick your side and join in the fight to unlock the planet's secrets.
These changes will also influence how mob tagging works. Rather than simply assigning XP and loot to the first player to deal damage to an enemy, the WildStar team has decided to assign XP from kills based on the amount of damage done to the target. Pure-support characters need not worry, however, as there will still be rewards that will make playing a pure-support character a viable and desirable strategy in group play, which is their primary design purpose anyways.
None of these changes are final, but they offer helpful insight into what the WildStar team is looking to do with their game. Rather than simply going with the crowd, Carbine Studios' changes provide evidence that they're looking to shake up the MMO genre down to its gears and bolts. I personally applaud Carbine for removing numerical quest objectives, as they've been one of the most openly criticized aspects of MMOs since before the notably pointed South Park episode about World of Warcraft in 2006.
WildStar still has plenty of secrets left to unveil before the game ships, and their development team is clearly hard at work, both with creating vast content to capture the hearts of their players, and expanding their universe enough to keep players invested for a long time.