We've been speaking with NCsoft West off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters (to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.
Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."
"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."
On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.
Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.
For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?
Writing about WildStar at this point feels weird.
Obviously, I just finished up playing the game for this feature for four weeks. It feels fresh in my mind. And in many ways, it really has changed quite a bit from launch to its credit. In many other ways, it hasn’t changed much at all. And the ways in which it has changed would make a much bigger difference if those changes affected things that initially drove me away from the game.
So in many ways, when I write about WildStar now, I’m still writing about the launch version of the game. It’s just that we’re now several years out from that launch, and its potential to really be something no longer has the time to turn into reality. It’s still just a hope for what it could be, and there’s not much more to the game beyond what we see right now. So it’s the same state of the game, but it’s gone from promising opportunities to unrealized potential.
WildStar is down another high-profile member of its development team this week with the loss of Carbine Senior Product Manager Jen Ortiz.
On Twitter Friday, Ortiz said that she had just punched in her last day at the studio and was leaving for undisclosed opportunities. "Today was my last day at Carbine Studios (moving on to other opportunities)," she wrote. "I wish the team the best... we've done a lot in the past years [...] To the fans, I appreciated the hell out of you and so do the rest of the Carbine crew. Thanks for everything. You're the best."
WildStar Game Director Chad Moore expressed his sadness at seeing Ortiz go: "We're going to miss you, Jen! Couldn't have asked for a better partner this year. Family won't be the same without you."
First and foremost, before I start talking about my last week of adventures in WildStar, I'd like to thank the developers for giving me an opportunity I rarely have in this column. Nine times out of ten the reality of the column means I don't get to actually see high-level play at all; I don't know that I'd classify this week's adventure as being indicative of the whole level cap experience, but it gives me a better picture of it than just sitting down at level 10 or whatever.
I'd also like to thank a friend for accompanying me up to the high-level portion of the game, since she was curious about it as well. Teamwork, people, that's what MMOs are all about.
When I originally played WildStar, I had in fact reached level cap and done a fair number of the initial crop of dailies during one of the earlier patches. Thus, my friend and I decided to unlock the Primal Matrix and head out to Arcterra, which was added too recently for either of us to have seen it in the past. Yes, that meant I wasn't going to be in an area going "oh, I remember this," but it meant that I'd have a good idea about that part of the endgame.
Still trying to wrap your head around the latest WildStar content update? There's a livestream for that.
WildStar's Power of the Primal Matrix dropped last week on March 8th, bringing a whole new endgame system and some other high-level challenges. It has received mixed reviews, but the developers aren't content just to fling out an update and run away. Instead, the Carbine team sat down for a two-hour livestream that discusses the Power of the Primal Matrix in detail and takes you on a tour of all of the new content.
Hunker down for a rap with the developers after the break, and when you're done with that, check out our Choose My Adventure series for Eliot's brand-new adventures in the game!
It's amazing how some things stick in your mind while others don't. I honestly had forgotten about the whole questline in WildStar that involves showing off just how awful the Dominion can be until I was knee-deep in it, but as soon as I was in there, I remembered being impressed with it. There's a lot to like: subtle worldbuilding and careful production that really sends a message and forces you to think about what you're doing and why. I like that and appreciate it immensely.
That makes it a good companion piece to dungeon queues just not happening. And it also lines up nicely with the fact that this week's CMA provides us with a heretofore unprecedented opportunity, one that I am very curious to see about the response to. It wasn't really an option in the last installment, and it wasn't necessary in the prior one anyhow... but now, it's a choice. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
The most recent WildStar patch hit just yesterday. You would think it would take a little bit longer for people to get really upset about it. But a player has already extensively analyzed the impact for the game and the players and come to a number of conclusions. Spoiler warning, pretty much none of them is positive, and most point to a system that makes most content in the game less rewarding rather than more.
One of the big sticking points, for example, is the fact that the system requires both rare and common essences for advancement. While common essences become easier to acquire over time with a catch-up mechanism, rare essences are firmly gated behind dailies, which means the catch-up mechanism doesn't actually allow you to catch up much faster (if at all). You just hit the sticking points faster.
There's also issues with the impact the stats have on the current game balance, as the effects ripple down through all content in both making characters with Matrix nodes extraordinarily more powerful (even in lower-level content) and in invalidating content which doesn't drop needed essences (essentially, everything that isn't Prime-difficulty dungeons and expeditions). It's a worthwhile analysis to read, even if it will take a little time to see if the most doom-and-gloom predictions are borne out over the long term.
; thanks to Pepperzine for the tip!
Eyebrows flew up earlier this week when Carbine announced it would be granting free max-level WildStar characters to players who log into the game with the patch launch today.
In way, the decision makes sense, since the game has long touted its endgame and Power of the Primal Matrix introduces horizontal advancement best explored at the level cap.
On the other hand, MOP's Justin and I have a longstanding debate on whether advanced characters are a boon to MMOs -- do they crush your fun or just help you skip unrelated grind? Are they a net positive for a game or just a Hail Mary?
For today's impromptu Leaderboard, let's see how the free toon is working out for you.
You can log in to WildStar today and get yourself a free level 50 character to celebrate the Power of the Primal Matrix update. Will that mean you're done with leveling? Not even a little bit! No, the whole centerpiece of this update is the eponymous Primal Matrix, and that means getting in and leveling your max-level character with more levels and nodes and all that comes with it. So you get a free level 50, but it's more like another step on the same path.
Lucky for you, you'll have plenty to do at 50, since you'll also have two new dungeons to explore, the new Primal difficulty, quality of life improvements, bug fixes, ability adjustments... you get the idea. Peruse the patch notes to get a sense of what you're jumping in to, just for your own edification. And if you already have a level 50 character, so much the better.
This week on the show, Justin and Bree celebrate a couple of hearty MMO updates, argue about mandatory mount viewing, celebrate the soft launch of Revelation Online, and extol the virtues of the PC Master Race.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
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If you're at the level cap in WildStar, you're probably looking forward to the game's next update. If you aren't at the level cap in WildStar... well, you will be once the update goes live because the update will allow you to get a free max-level character just for showing up. But what about your lower-level characters? Don't they matter? The answer is a definite yes, as a tucked-away line in the official update announcement mentions that the patch will improve downscaling to lower-level content significantly.
The promise made is that players will be able to jump into lower-level content while still receiving appropriate rewards for the character level, so even if you want to spend all day on your max-level characters, you can still get something out of helping your lower-level friends. It's the sort of thing that could massively rewrite the game's extant leveling structure, so of course it's buried away and easily missed in the announcement. Let's keep our eyes peeled for the patch notes on this one, yes?
Happy Monday! Who wants free stuff? It's better than candy: It's a free max level toon in WildStar for its "Free 50 Frenzy" promo.
"Just log in after the Power of the Primal Matrix update is released and you’ll have a free character boost available at character creation for you to make a new level 50 character with. This is a one-time use offer, so be extra sure you’re creating the character you want to before finalizing it. Once your free level 50 boost is used, it’s used up forever—no takesy-backsies!"
There's already a paid character boost in this game, mind you, but this freebie one will come with a full set of DPS gear, a full set of one flavor of support gear, path rewards, a mount, a housing teleport, and a capital city port.
Primal Matrix launches on Wednesday; you'll have almost a week to log in and grab your freebie. And hey, while you're at it, why not swing by our Choose My Adventure column: We're currently in the midst if a WildStar playthrough.