WildStar: A Possible Future of Housing
Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
Last week, I saw a fan-made video that was released to YouTube by Kelzam Duskthorn, a member of the WildStar community. Viewers of the video were introduced to one of WildStar’s core features, Housing. The video didn’t just introduce the housing feature, it sought to show a bit of its origins, how it evolved, and to showcase what WildStar’s community is capable of doing with the tools provided to them. Throughout the video, viewers are treated to clips of handcrafted locales the WildStar housing community have built within their own digital backyards. Each fully customized housing plot could easily be mistaken as a location found in WildStar’s game world. As I watched the video (more than once), an idea emerged from within the dark recesses of my jumbled mind to surprise, amaze and excite me. Today’s topic will focus solely on this simple yet (potentially) brilliant idea spawned from a phrase spoken in the video. Let’s discuss Player-Driven Content.
The idea I have come up with, that I believe to be the most amazebawls idea since sliced cubacon, takes the best aspects of Player Housing and simply expands on it. The players have been able to create wonderful works of art with the tools provided by Player Housing, but imagine the amazing things they could do if they were given the option of creating content for WildStar. My idea uses Neverwinter’s Foundry feature as a base, allowing players to create fully playable content created by the community, but this take would have a greater emphasis on customization through the use of décor items. This leads to the idea, or ideas, that I have for expanding the use of Player Housing.
The first, and arguably most obvious, way to expand on Housing would be to allow players to create their own dungeons. My idea allows the community to do just that. However, these aren’t going to be the same scope as the traditional dungeons, and shouldn’t provide the best possible loot in the game. Instead, playing completed “Holo-Dungeons” is meant to be a fun break from the nerve-wracking hardcore mentality that drove the development of WildStar’s Dungeon and Raid content. Though, players will have the option to face greater challenges and earn greater rewards if they choose. Before I go into those details, I shall start with the creation portion of this feature.
Holo-Dungeon Creators will be able to design the layout of the dungeon, adorn their dungeon with décor, populate the dungeon with enemy spawns, determine the player spawn location, and allocate up to 3 bosses to their dungeon. Holo-Dungeon layouts consist of rooms and hallways of varying sizes that can be connected at any point, and creators can hide any wall or floor panel as needed. The layouts work with a variety of themes, and a theme can be assigned across the whole dungeon, or to each individual piece of the dungeon. Creators can determine the types of enemies that appear at each enemy spawn point with the ability to mix and match a couple different types. The bosses available to Holo-Dungeon Creators are specially designed for this feature, each one consisting of three mechanics that the players must survive, and yielding greater rewards than standard enemies. Once a Holo-Dungeon has been completed, there are some interesting options for those who choose to play them.
Holo-Dungeons have some unique mechanics that separate them from standard Dungeons. First, the minimum number of players that can run a Holo-Dungeon is one. That’s right! Holo-Dungeons can be soloed, and, similarly to Diablo III, the strength and number of spawned enemies will scale with the number of players in the party. Additionally, players can scale the strength of a Holo-Dungeon even more using the special, handy-dandy Cubig Difficulty Scale provided by your friends at Proto-Star (for money). This scale has five tiers associated with it; each one is deadlier than the last, and more rewarding. I have an idea for some mild progression system that would work in conjunction with this, but I am not going to go into it.
Now that I have covered some of the technical stuff, I want to discuss some of the possibilities that could come out of this feature. Players could enter a Holo-Dungeon that features rampaging cubig hiding inside of a dark, gross cavern, and are tasked with culling their numbers. Then, they would have to defeat the boss at the darkest depths of the cave, which happens to be a massive, raging, mutated cuboar. Perhaps, you are sent to clear out an infestation of the Strain in an abandoned Dominion facility. There are more possibilities than I can think of at the moment, but I don’t have any idea what all the options would be – or how the players might use them.
My second idea, spawned more specifically from the housing video, was to allow players to create their own racing maps. The creation features would be very much the same as building a Holo-Dungeon, but with the additive of a couple additional features. First, creators would need to determine the points that the racers need to run through to earn credit in the race (think GTAV player-made racing, or something else racery). Second, the creator needs to determine whether the race is done on foot, while mounted, or if the racers are forced to use the Standard Edition Nexus Karts, from your friends at Proto-Star (for money). Lastly, the creator must decide on the basic racing rules, including number of laps, and minimum, or maximum, number of players. I like the option of building tracks as time trials, and seeing players all over the server trying to achieve the best time.
I thought about a method for maintaining a bit of the community by requiring that one room of the map be designated as a Lobby. So, if creators wanted to showcase their track, or if someone wanted to run some races with their friends or guildies, a player would need to create a server/lobby/room to hold these races. Think of this as a parallel to the structure PvP match servers in Guild Wars 2, or something akin to the game servers in Counter Strike. There would be some kind of terminal in the Lobby that players could interact with to queue up for the race. Any other players who aren’t apart of the active race would have the opportunity to watch and wait for the next round. The use of the Lobby could allow players to hold their own tournaments, inviting a couple dozen players to sign up for races, or merely to spectate, and using the racing infrastructure to easily track the results of each round.
Tales From Beyond The Fringe
The last idea I have uses the very essence of the Holo-Dungeons feature and simply adds some mechanics for creating a narrative adventure. I think this feature, in particular, would make the best use of the housing community’s creativity and imagination, especially given the right tools for telling a story. Players that run completed TFBTF levels may end up with a greater appreciation for the work that went into creating the level if made to stop and observe the scenery around them. There is still plenty of opportunity for creators to put players in peril by adding enemy spawns, bosses, or perhaps implementing a holdout during the level, but the emphasis of this feature is to tell a story. The base Holo-Dungeons feature would simply be about surviving the perils devised by the creator.
Well, those are the ideas that I have for expanding the use of the housing features. I thought it would be fun to come up with different ways for the housing community to use the features they have already become accustomed to. I’m excited by the prospect of Carbine Studios implementing these ideas, and how the tools might function once complete. I can also imagine the limitless possibilities and crazy constructs that would emerge once those tools were given to the players. Unfortunately, this is only a passing thought, and unless Carbine happens to have an abundance of time on their hands after their Free-to-Play update releases, I don’t really see this becoming a reality. While WildStar does seem to be more of a PvE-focused game, and the addition of these features would fall in line with that, I find it hard to believe Carbine would take development time away from the raiding content they have been building. In any case, I can still dream.
What do you guys think of my ideas? Do you have any of your own? Join the discussion below.
Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.
War Fist out.
Posted on August 21, 2015, in Game Design and tagged Carbine Studios, Dominion, Dungeons, Exiles, Foundry, Housing, NCSoft, Neverwinter, Nexus, PvE, Raiding, WildStar. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.