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5 Things Carbine Should Add

WildStar Columns - By Gareth Harmer on September 18, 2014

5 Things Carbine Should Add

With a whole stack of new content, including a new zone, WildStar’s Drop 3 is shaping up to be Carbine’s biggest update yet. Megaservers are also on the horizon, bringing players from disparate realms together under the same roof. Beyond that, there’s the Nexus Saga, an epic story arc just waiting for us to rocket into.

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Aside from the announcements and PTR arrivals, there are a number of features that I wish Carbine would implement. Some have been hinted at as ‘in the works,’ while others haven’t been mentioned at all. Understandably, the studio has been focusing heavily on quality of life updates since that early-June launch. But when development flips over to shiny new stuff, here’s what I’m hoping will make the cut and arrive on Nexus.

Pets, Pets and More Pets

Nexus is filled with all kinds of cute and cuddly creatures, and I’m not just talking about the Chua. Whether it’s the curious Jabbits, the inflatable Vind, or the somewhat bitey Chompacabra, there’s a species out there to suit every taste. Unfortunately though, either trapping or buying a pet of our own just isn’t possible, and it’s a surprising omission. Almost every other MMO includes them as some form of collectible companion, with some (like World of Warcraft) expanding the idea even further with pet battles and duels.

That said, Carbine has previously hinted that pets will be coming to WildStar. If and when they do arrive, I’m hoping the studio does more than have a small fuzzy yapping at your ankles or perching on your shoulder. I’d like my housing plot to become a menagerie of all the exotic specimens I’ve managed to obtain, as if it were a trophy room for my zoological prowess. I’d also like to get plugs and scenery that the creatures can interact with, like a loftite formation for the majestic Noot Noot to engorge itself on.

Gliders

Since the early days of WildStar’s development, I’ve been against the introduction of flying mounts. For me they destroy the sense of exploration and adventure, shrinking the world dramatically. It’s a sentiment that seems to be gathering pace; when I interviewed Tom Chilton at Gamescom, he mentioned that he wishes he didn’t add flying mounts to World of Warcraft.

But it doesn’t mean that I’m against going airborne. FireFall (and more recently ArcheAge) have introduced gliders as an alternative way of getting around. Both games still have ground mounts, but these provide away of soaring above the tree line without harming exploration. They also provide a bit of competition – who can glide the furthest, climb the highest, and so on.

In WildStar, I see gliders as having huge potential, especially when combined with the exotic crystals of Loftite and Accelerite. It could even add a new dimension to the Explorer path, encouraging us to experiment with carefully arranged formations in order to reach remote locations. And can you imagine the potential of combining gliders and hoverboards?

Guild Housing

One of the first MMOs I ever played, Horizons: Empires of Istaria offered an early experience with both player and guild housing. The former was pretty much as you’d expect: grind resources to build houses, furniture and so on. That said, I never got very far with it - my strongest memory was how long it all took compared to modern-day games, with grinding actually meaning something back then. Guild housing was altogether more ambitious - a guild island or plot would have a number of smaller player plots, together with a large space for a guildhall. It meant that you could build small player-run villages, although the amount of effort involved seldom made the result worthwhile.

WildStar’s player housing is light-years ahead in every way possible, compared to what we had ten years ago. Building is slicker, getting started is easier, and I’m not spending an eternity dragging a cargo disc from one end of the zone to another. But, while players have done some incredible things with their own plots already, I’d like Carbine to push the idea further. Huge guildhalls brimming with raidboss taxidermy. Bustling roleplay hubs that can hold an entire community. Sports stadiums, racetracks and more could become possible. As WildStar’s megaserver move brings even larger groups of players together, it feels natural to give them bigger spaces to gang out together.

Better Dynamic Events

Yes, WildStar has dynamic events. Metal Maw is a prime example, with the cyber-amphibian busting out of his cage at regular intervals. For the most part though, dynamic events are pretty subtle – a meteor strike here, a pirate invasion there. You’d be forgiven for thinking that they’re just challenges or pop-up quests, rather than being something more significant.

RIFT has, well, Rifts, and FFXIV has FATEs, both of which work brilliantly at pulling players together to take down big challenges. Guild Wars 2 also features dynamic events in a similar way, but capitalizes on them further as part of the living story, bringing it out of instances and into the open world. As WildStar transitions from the story prologue and into the Nexus Saga, I’m hoping that we’ll start to see similar events, with the Strain launching attacks against former safe havens and sanctuaries. Rather than Big Purple being an endgame-only thing, it could become something that players of all levels can experience.

Go Online

World of Warcraft has its Armory, and FFXIV has the Lodestone. RIFT has a mobile app, and EVE Online has an exposed API that supports all manner of creations. Although WildStar is still in its infancy, I’m hoping that it eventually branches out, with Carbine providing tools to take it to new and interesting places.

One of my big hopes is for a tool that will show off your housing plot, complete with virtual tour. Besides supporting a fledgling creative community, it would make discovering new and incredible creations a cinch. Throw in the ability to bookmark housing plots for when you log back in-game, and you’ve got a pocket version of Nexus Real Estate ready to go.

What about you? What features would you like to see Carbine add to WildStar? Perhaps something from a previous MMO, or maybe something completely new? Whatever your desire, be sure to sound off in the comments.

Gareth Harmer / When he's not blasting or fireballing his way through a virtual world, Gareth "Gazimoff" Harmer can be found dissecting the mechanics of online games. Chua at heart, he's also our resident columnist for all things WildStar.