WildStar DevSpeak: Revolutionizing MMORPG Ability Mechanics

WildStar devs learn from boring static MMORPG mechanics.

I get excited everytime a new WildStar DevSpeak video is released. The deadly combination of awesome and innovative gameplay mechanics, odd-ball disclaimers, and humor from each new video totally sells me on this game.

The new DevSpeak, "Ability Mechanics," details some of the key points about combat gameplay in WildStar and how the player interacts with abilities. Combat in WildStar is unique with the telegraph system, and the devs have tailored abilities to synergize with the telegraphed gameplay. While you will still have a hotbar full of abilities like most MMORPGs, there are some new and diverse ways for you to interact with those abilities.

Changing the Game Up

The video pokes fun at old-school hotbar MMOs by chastising them for their three main types of ability mechanics: instant, cast time, and channel abilities. All of which are simple and require very little player engagement. Most MMOs operate as the narrator describes: "Hit a button, wait for it to do it's thing… Make a chicken sandwich." This gameplay is tried and true, but it can get stale. Especially since this is how most MMORPGs function, with the exception of a few action-oriented and FPS MMOs.

"Hit a button, wait for it to do it's thing… Make a chicken sandwich." 

WildStar is offering some new variations to these old mechanics by forcing hotkey MMO mechanics to mate with the action-oriented telegraph system. First of all, all abilities are mobile. So, even if you are doing instants, cast time, or channeled attacks - you can still continue to move your character. This allows better positioning and the opportunity to dodge incoming attacks.

Additionally, the rapid-tap mechanic allows you to wait for the right moment and then spam an ability as many times as possible on a short timer. Abilities with charges, on the other hand, do not have time window attached to them. This means you can unload some charges, then run around avoiding attacks until you get the chance to use more. Sounds ideal for raid bosses.

"You can hold the button to charge up. But if homie pulls a fast one, fire it off and change tactics. It wont do as much damage, but it won't go to waste."

As a change to cast time mechanics, abilities in WildStar have a more flexible charge-and-release mechanic: "You can hold the button to charge up. But if homie pulls a fast one, fire it off and change tactics. It wont do as much damage, but it won't go to waste."

Finally, press-and-hold is a reactive take on channeling mechanics. Instead of being locked in one spot while you channel an ability or attack, you can move while channeling. Also, you simply press the hotkey to start the channel and release the hotkey to stop the channel. Simple stuff. Overall, I'm pretty excited about these mechanics.

I would always get super bored in WoW raids back in the day, it really jaded my MMORPG experience. Some people are raving about Final Fantasy XIV, but I really can't get past the static game mechanics. Guild Wars 2 held some exciting innovations, but the overall game itself still has some other classic MMO problems that turn me off. For me, my next MMO will either be WildStar, I am repeatedly impressed by with these DevSpeak videos, or The Elder Scrolls Online, which I think also has great gameplay potential (and the beta build I played back at PAX East was very impressive!).


Additionally, if you just want to check out the text from the awesome intro disclaimer without pausing it every 0.5 seconds, I've transcribed it for your reading pleasure:

The video you are about to see does not represent the final version of WildStar. You Will see content in these videos that are works in progress, some more than others. All player abilities will likely change in some way before launch. This video is our attempt to provide a detailed explanation of WildStar's core gameplay, while still leaving content for you to discover once we go live. Enjoy.

Do not use DevSpeak while sleeping. The use of safety goggles is recommended while viewing, if only because it looks cool and others will and other will think you're doing something important. The watching of this video does not enable the user to fly, lift heavy objects, create telegraphs on the ground around them, or properly balance multiple classes in an MMORPG.

This video may, at its sole discretion, decide that it's had enough of this gameplay demonstration crap and substitute is previously intended purpose for playing of montage of bears on trampolines, Japanese gameshows, and a super-cut of game devs saying "One of the cool things…" during interviews.

"I ask you to join with me in my raiding, that WildStar will so enlighten the minds of your guild mates, guide their hotkeys, and prosper their inventories, that whatsoever they do, shall result in your gold, and shall secure to you the world firsts, friendship, and approbation of all gamers." -- Thomas Jefferson

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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. 

I don't really have a joke here, but I'm trying to avoid writing up this really complex bug report for one of our in-game cinema tics. Do me a solid and act like this panel was funny, but not so funny that one of my bosses goes like "Hey, what's so funny?" and wants to read it themselves. Thanks for being a sport.

… This panel has been intentionally left blank.

I love the disclaimer guy. I want to be his BFF.

Published Sep. 27th 2013
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