Jeremy Gaffney explains how WildStar will cater to different types of player
Some players like to spend their time on their own, happily working their way through short-term objectives. Some players like to spend their time coming up with new and inventive ways to mow down fellow players. Then there are those players who want world domination; the players who want to be there first and make sure you know about it: The 1%ers of the MMO sphere.
Recent MMOs have moved away from the 1% -- or hard core raiders -- as a population for a variety of reasons. One is that the amount of hours spent in development -- and therefore cost -- is skewed in regard to the amount of players who get to see that content. Also, there appears to be fear that if the majority of players do not see that content -- even if it's something they just don't want to participate in -- they will become resentful.
One game appears to be bucking that trend. WildStar will be bringing endgame difficulty back into a lazer-sharp focus with its exciting take on raiding; including a competitive PvE edge that few MMOs boast at the moment.
To explain the reasons why and how WildStar will cater to the three main playstyles evident in MMOs, Jeremy Gaffney spent some time with the lovely folks on the WildStar Central Forum.
Of his reasons why content for the hardcore is important, number four resonated with me personally:
"4) There's some magic involved. Picture a game with no nigh-inaccessible content. You can go anywhere the first month, there's nothing left unseen. From one perspective, maybe that's great - there's no earning your way into Counterstrike maps, and that game's pretty damn fun. But from another...I dunno, it's pretty tough to have a mysterious, huge-feeling world when you can trivially do it all, and even in games I don't want to or don't have time to raid in I'd like to know there's more out there. That's arguable though."
I've often thought that the mystique of MMO worlds is lost when everyone has ready access to all of the content. As I do quite often, I think back to my EverQuest experience: knowing that there was content that I would never see; seeking out stories on message boards and whispers among players about the fabled Sleeper's Tomb and so on. Having places that could fall into legend among players added a lot to the game for me, though I understand that many players disagree.
Which is probably a large reason why there is LFR in World of Warcraft, no raiding in Guild Wars 2 and other prominent games in development are expected to have no large group content available at launch at all.
That's not to say that all games need to take the same route, but it's good to see at least one game that is willing to cater for what might be a small percentage, but that can still be a very large number.
It's not just the 1% that will be catered for though. Gaffney uses 65% as the approximate number of MMO players that like to play solo. He feels that they are also not properly being taken care of in current MMOs and WildStar will offer more:
"Soloers PVE'ers (IMO under-served in most MMOs oddly as they are 65+% of the playerbase in most western MMOs) get more than rep grinds and dailies by having solo story dungeons released regularly, dynamic PQ content (most to be revealed down the road), big frequent updates, housing stuff, good tradeskilling, and more."
Be sure to read the full post as it is quite revealing just how much thought is being put into the player for WildStar in a way that seems off the current path most MMOs are racing down.
Is WildStar the game to stoke your fire for MMOs once more?