Nexus Telegraph: How can WildStar be more alt-friendly?

With rare exception, creating multiple characters in MMOs is and has always been a standard practice for me. I can't play any single class for long without looking across the fence and thinking to myself, "Hm... I wonder what that plays like? Maybe I'd like it more! Maybe there are different or more efficient ways I could be leveling!"

Before I know it, an army of alts is born, each one clamoring for my attention, my approval, my love. Usually only a small handful ever make it to the level cap, although I never quite tire of starting over once more time. Perhaps it's chasing that "fresh character scent," but mostly it's the curiosity and desire to have a broad experience in the game.

So how alt-friendly is WildStar? While I've mained an Engineer to 50, I've dabbled in several Medics, one or two Espers, and a couple sly Spellslingers (I am not a melee fan, obviously). This past weekend I took advantage of the double-XP event to power-level an Esper, and all while I was doing so, I was thinking of what WildStar does right for alts and how it could be improved.

Nurturing the fledgling altoholic in all of us

If you were to ask me, I would say that WildStar is no better or worse than most of your standard MMOs when it comes to alts. Players have enough character slots to experiment around, and between the factions, classes, races, and paths, there are quite a few options to whipping up a different type of character for your next run-through.

There are four things that I think deserve a little acclaim in the alt department. The first is that Carbine's decision to move to a two-name format for characters definitely helped those of us who like to hang on to a shared name or surname without butting into "that name is taken" errors. Most of my characters use "Syppi" as a first name to help my guildmates keep me (the player) straight even when I'm flipping through alts.

The second is that there's a little symbiotic potential between alts when it comes to crafting. Characters can only have two active tradeskills at a time (although they can be switched on a timer), which means that a second or third character can be farming mats or crafting items for the first toon. I used a field of alts to harvest a wide range of materials so that my Engie could level up architecture without having to spend much money on the commodities market.

Thirdly, there are several account-wide unlocks that stack up over time from promotions, daily rewards, and the like. My new alts instantly benefit from a lot of goodies that have been attained by the work of my older characters, and I always love that feeling.

Finally, the path system -- while far from ideal -- at least offers some token new experience to compensate for the limitation of only six classes. True, I wish the mix-and-match was more tantalizing and beneficial, but at least it's there and some people like pursuing a different path on a new alt to see what it's like.

Fertilizing the alt pasture

While WildStar isn't antagonistic toward alts (or, like The Secret World and ArcheAge, structured to make alts obsolete), there's quite a bit it could be doing to foster their usage among the community. Before you single-character players scoff at this, may I point out that alts have a great effect of getting people to stick around for longer, which is beneficial to the game's health as a whole?

Probably WildStar's biggest problem with alts is that there aren't that many classes to begin with -- and that, due to the custom animations and limited development time for each race, not every race can access every class. Naturally, my first wish is that all races be able to roll as any class. No, I don't care if this is a lot of extra work, it needs to happen and the fact that there are grayed out race/class combos makes WildStar appear downright archaic in this day and age.

Following that, a new class or two (or barring that, new playable races) would be Jim Dandy. I know that this is a tall order, but hey, it's part of how MMOs grow. If WildStar is proving to be financially profitable following F2P and eyes a major content update or even an expansion in the future, this should be on the table. How exciting would it be to have this announced?

My next couple of suggestions are more reasonable and also have the effect of promoting an alt-friendly environment. First of all, there should be more account-bound unlocks for mounts and big-ticket items in the store. If I'm thinking about how a purchase will benefit all of my alts instead of a single character, then I might feel like I'm getting a better deal and be more willing to drop money on it. I don't think I'm alone here.

Beefing up paths, as I've said before, is a must. This was the number one reason Carbine gave back in early development to promote the idea of rolling up alts, and I continue to stand by my assertion that if it's reworked right, paths could be a powerful incentive to trying out a different side of the game.

Finally, WildStar's leveling game is far too linear after level 15 and through around 45 or so. Alts will end up doing the same quests in the same zone in the same fashion time and again, and boy does that get old. There needs to be branching zone choices for level ranges, something that can only be addressed with new mid-level zones. Of course, that's hard to sell to developers, since they'd almost always rather be making new content for the bulk of endgame characters, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done anyway.

Another thought is to institute a legacy system that we've seen in other MMOs which would give special bonuses or abilities to alts of level-capped characters. It'd be really neat if at level 50, you'd unlock one skill from that class to use from now on across all classes on your account. Or if you got a faster leveling speed for alts when you have one or two at the cap. Or if you could utilize your alts to perform automated tasks while you're offline to benefit your entire account. There are endless possibilities in this realm.

So what do you think: How could WildStar be more alt-friendly? And how many alts do you have to date?

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

LEAVE A COMMENT

22 Comments on "Nexus Telegraph: How can WildStar be more alt-friendly?"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Karl_Hungus 
I think the problem is this game is actually 80 to 120 lvs worth of content squeezed into 50. Level 49, which I haven't achieved yet, must feel like 1 to 49 and them some. :(

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Lethality 
Perhaps you should rename yourself Linearity...

Murmillo
Guest
Murmillo

I feel that things like achievements and reputations with factions should always be account wide, but add a tick box in char creation that will make the specific character that you are creating start from scratch if you, for whatever reason want to do those again.

Karl_Hungus
Guest
Karl_Hungus

It's not even main-friendly. I quit halfway to cap because the insane amount of questing became tedious. I swear I leveled faster in EverQuest back in '99.

Thor131
Guest
Thor131

As someone with 12 characters ill say the Xp flasks helped alot ot get
them all to 50. But some things gearing wise along with amp and ability
points would be alot better. Lets say if you have already done cretin
things Your alternate have special tokens to redeem or if you already
unlocked the amp and abilities from rep it carries over to alts.

solipsis
Guest
solipsis

how about shared storage?

A Dad Supreme
Guest
A Dad Supreme

Having to redo the UI for each new character is annoying and frustrating in MMOs.
I don't Wildstar having one, but they should have a SWTOR type UI where you can import just about every single setting the same way. 
Wildstar throws up a vomit of word salad and on-screen things pointing to this, that and the other. I always found that inhibiting to rolling a new character as well. Even the skill wheel seems overly cluttered to my eyes.

Spacejesus3k
Guest
Spacejesus3k

Lethality But 1 in the loneliest number :(

ColdinT
Guest
ColdinT

Line with more hugs Funny. I don't think it's hard at all to hit max level these days. Not with the Signature perks for extra xp (plus the cosmic reward bonuses). And there are flasks of XP boosts as well. And just a week ago there was Double XP, which made leveling a cakewalk.

ColdinT
Guest
ColdinT

Most the issues for alts for high level characters tends to be more in gearing them up. Not equipment, but obtaining the appropriate runes, unlocking slots, rerolling them.....then getting all your Amp and Ability points so you can start running end-game builds.  It's a lot more work than just the leveling.

As far as the leveling goes, I think it's actually not that bad. A few more mid game zones might be good, but you have to make those relevant to level capped characters too.  Maybe they should go and implement the level scaling like every other MMO is doing these days, but not sure how accepting of that Wildstar players would be.

neserbohy
Guest
neserbohy

My altoholism really got out of the hand in Wildstar. Partly due to the unintended deal of "two character slots for the price of one", partly because I like the starting experience much more than later levels: instead of continuing with my lvl 30 guy in Farside, I'd rather go and roll a new one to replay Algoroc and Galeras one more time.
I started with "I'm just gonna roll one character for each faction"; and I'm sitting 20 characters right now. If I can get my hands on enough omnibits before they re-merge the servers, I'm gonna roll one more Dominion Esper, one more Exile Warrior and one Medic for each faction... then I'll have two of each class in each faction and three of each race. Enough fun for months to come.
Come to think about it, I don't have a Draken male yet. Maybe I should make make it three of each class in each faction?
Gods, I just realized... I'm not even playing the game anymore. I'm bloody collecting action figures! o.O

What could Wildstar do to help alts? Well, you pretty much nailed it in the article. Account-wide dyes and mounts would be nice; the ability to join my sky islands together to create an account-wide one; account-wide bank would be good to have, too. What else? Maybe my own personal dream, a feature I've seen on a certain private WoW server: on that server, you could bring your alt as a companion for your main, complete with some primitive AI scripts to make the alt pick loot for you, take quests with you and help you in the fight. It was, basically,  server-side multiboxing. Genius. Ever since, I've been wanting a legit game to implement that mechanic.

Lethality
Guest
Lethality

Perhaps it doesn't need to be alt-friendly. Perhaps there's enough to progress 1 character.

krazy_wabbit
Guest
krazy_wabbit

I say Wildstar is Alt-friendly if you put time into leveling them up. Last year I made a character for each class at launch and leveled them all at the same time, took me about two months to get them to level 50.

Esoteric Coyote
Guest
Esoteric Coyote

The thing that keeps me from wanting to make other alts or specs is running.  Superb runes have gone down in price, but getting those perfect rune slots costs a lot of gold to reroll or service tokens.  I think I went through 400 or so service tokens doing my medic's gear.

flatline4400
Guest
flatline4400

ACCOUNT BOUND MOUNTS!

From a strictly *short term* financial view, individual unlocks seems like a win... but come on.  This game has no respecs of class or subclass, I have no idea which combo is going to be the next flavour of the month, and I am *not* about to sink any money into a single character mount... let alone the $20 asking price for most of them.
Add into that housing gear and dyes.
Also, despite what the fanpeople want you to believe, there's not really a lot of choice in terms of levelling.  You've got big ol zones as you go, but once you level out, that's it.  I started before the f2p transition, and once it hit I was way over level for all the quests (late 20's) as I went due to the bonus xp stuff and events.  The only option is to jump up to the next zone (there is no tier, it's one zone per), and now that I'm 50, that's basically it.  There's no *alternate* way to go.
I know it's a big ask, and it seems like a dead thing for MMO devs to invest time into, but I think a broad base of levelling zones helps a game in a big way, longevity wise, for just those reasons you mention.

hardy83
Guest
hardy83

Like any MMO taking out a lot of the grinds helps alts.

Did you collect some awesome mounts and pets on your main? Let them be account bound and have any alt have access to them.
Grind out the painfully long to grind rep? Those should be account bound too, all alts share the rep grind and rewards.
Did you grind out that raid currency on one character? No problem. It should be an account bound currency that you can spend on any toon.
Did you find or grind some rare outfits on your main? Again, no problem, armour skins should be account bound.

I'd even go so far as to say weapons as armor shouldn' t be "soulbound" but "account bound" so you can send gear over to alts.

That's the reason I don't rolls alts. It annoying enough to have to relevel, but doing all those incredibly poorly designed grinds like rep grinds and what not is just not fun, period.

Zucatti360
Guest
Zucatti360

I heard leveling used to be horribly painful and took forever.............I dont think its that bad now I hit 50 on the double xp weekend. But some rest xp potions with omnibits in the store and get signature if you can afford it. It helps a lot.

dantetifosi
Guest
dantetifosi

Line with more hugs I'm with ya man, for whatever reason I can't not get myself to reach max level.  I've played many themepark mmo's and had no problem lvling to max, but with WS it just seems so tedious and I don't know why.

DPandaren
Guest
DPandaren

WoW's heirlooms would be a good start. Maybe even make it a thing where you find one on a higher level character, send it to a lower level one. Make the heirloom cap at every 10-20 levels, so the lower level alt can do a small quest to unlock the higher level version of the heirloom once. Would be a bit more interesting then just dumping gold on heirloom upgrades like in WoW. Just to give them a little bit more spice or meaning to the term Heirloom.

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

Still haven't managed to reach the level cap.
So I guess they should start by making levelling a thing, instead of a waste of time? But tough sell to make and remake levelling content in themeparks a priority, as you said.

Outside of that... level up boosters, XP boosters and the like to be found with high level characters. It'sgreat in GW2 to just dump what you need on a new race/class combo, than it is to grind the THE linear quest line yet again in other MMOs.
In the same spirit, account bound stuff. Come on, plenty of mounts aren't even account bound, that's a joke... make gear easily available between characters, and like in WoW, make some heirloom stuff (less broken maybe, but scaled with levelling to avoid the constant changes of crappy greens for other crappy greens that are just pointless).

Rumm
Guest
Rumm

Redo the Dominion starter zones to be at the same level of quality that the exile ones are.

eekamouse
Guest
eekamouse

Just hit 50 and started my first alt today . Having a lot of fun in Wildstar . Think this is one I can play for quite a while to come .

wpDiscuz