WildStar's ferocious members of The Dominion questioned, with insights by Chad Moore
As you would have read last week (if you haven't, go read it now!), I spoke to Chad "Pappy" Moore, Lead Narrative Designer for WildStar who offered a few insights into the Draken in addition to the latest "in-character" Q&A interview.
The entertaining Q&A gives a good grounding for what to expect from the Draken. Single-minded and purposeful with all the airs and graces of a rhino on a bad day, Khuvor represents his race with aplomb.
In the words of Khuvor himself:
"We are the Draken! Forged in the fires of planet Mikros! For a thousand years we have led the unstoppable war machine of the Dominion military, slaughtering all who dare face us on the field of battle! We are savage! We are UNYIELDING"
In the heirarchy of the Dominion, the Draken are the shock troops, unconcerned with attaining political power and unneringly focused on the fight itself, utterly devout in their love of the hunt. When I asked Chad about the Draken's placement in the leadership of the Dominion he stated that you could expect to see Draken being the commanders of battle units but in the overall structure of the faction it simply wasn't something of interest to them.
The impression I got from Chad was that it wasn't the Draken's lack of intelligence that held them back (in fact their cunning seems to be a prime characteristic for promotion in the Dominion) it was due to how content the Draken are in allowing the Cassians to continue their obsession with vainglorious pomp and circumstance.
It would also be easy to confuse the Draken's lack of political ambition with subservience to the Cassians because of their code of honor and historical precedent. This is not the case.
For those not aware, the Cassians and Draken were previously mortal enemies, as stated in the Q&A:
"Q:...My next question is not meant to offend. I want to stress that. Here goes. The Dominion conquered your world some time ago, yes?
A: You dare speak such insults? Watch your tongue, or I will tear it out!
Q: But… isn't that what happened?
A: Yes! The Red River War shook the very core of Mikros! Do you doubt the truth of my words?
Q: No! Absolutely not. I'm just looking for the facts.
A: Azrion the Conqueror, emperor of old, came to Mikros and challenged the High Clanlord Zhur. Zhur was strong, but Azrion was stronger. The Draken swore eternal loyalty to the emperor, and today we follow his heirs."
The Draken's loyalty to the emperor would seem to be unwavering (though I can see some roleplayers getting plenty of stories out of that friction) and the opportunity to prove their undoubted mettle and hunt some worthy sport on Nexus leads them ever onward.
Such a life of battle does take its toll. I asked Moore what the respective lifespans of the various races were. Though Cassians can expect to live as long as real world humans, Moore admitted not a lot of thought had been put into the potential longevity of a given Draken:
"We don't describe them as being particularly long-lived. One of the reasons for that, just from a lore perspective, they drive themselves into the most dangerous, vicious and bloodthirsty battles ever, so regardless of their physiological longevity as a race they don't have a super high life expectancy."
It appears no one has found out how good the Draken pension plan is so far.
In portraying the Draken's personality, it seems appropriate to keep text to a minimum, particularly in light of the WildStar questing system. When speaking to Chad Moore last week, he outlined the development team's adherence to minimizing quest text to "tweet sized" chunks. The questing in WildStar will have a visual and aural approach that uses character animation, environment design and voice over combined with concise and purposeful quest text to tell stories and imbue the world with personality. As Chad said:
"I don't think anyone would argue that if you put a paragraph to describe the Draken next to a picture that shows just how vicious and brutal and bloodthirsty they are, the picture is always going to do a better job of conveying that."
Also, the brevity of quest text should prove appropriate for a race that is focused on action rather than conversation. The bite sized text might be a challenge for the development team when it comes to the voice of the Cassians or Mechari, but not the Draken. As I put to Moore, they're not the type to be delivering a poetic soliloquy:
"That's right, they're not going to be quoting Shakespeare out on the savanna."
You can read the full Q&A with Khuvor on the official WildStar site and come back later this week as the Mechari come under the spotlight, Chad speaks about his favorite race and many fascinating details to complete the current picture of the Dominion.