Diving into the Protogames Initiative
WildStar is close to releasing its next big content update to the live servers, and we were recently given a good look at The Protogames Initiative. Chad Moore and Mike Donatelli were on hand to show us everything the patch looks to add to the world of Nexus and beyond.
Mike started off the demo by reminding us all that they’re no stranger to WildStar’s ups and downs since launch. The team’s been hard at work focusing on what’s made the game popular with its core audience, and what might have driven players away as well. Everything from combat, to balance, to PVP, accessibility, the endgame and more are all being tweaked and worked on in 2015. Less grinding, more fun is the message overall.
They Came from Fragment Zero
The new level 6 shiphand mission, They Came from Fragment Zero was first up. Yes, level SIX. Take note that shiphand will be getting Veteran versions for max-level players. So not only will these spice up the leveling process more, but they’ll serve as scalable content at the max level too.
Chad noted that this is the first shiphand mission to get its own themed cinematics, and that all shiphand missions added going forward will be getting these too to help make the missions more of a story-based experience. You’ll also be able to access shiphands from the newly remodeled LFG tool in Protogames Initiative, making them easier to get into solo, or in groups.
What about rewards for shiphands that will keep people playing them more than once? Not only will shiphands now award gear through playing, intended at level 6 to help gear up for dungeons of harder difficulty, but they’ll also reward renown. There’s a currency revamp going in that makes renown a much more lucrative currency. And there will also be unique rare drops like mounts, dyes, and stuff like that to make them attractive for repeat play.
Protogames Academy is set to be the new lowest level dungeon in the game, starting players off at level 10. There’s no specific “Veteran” version of this one, but there will be a form of veteran mode in “Ultimate Protogames” which we’ll get to a bit. This is a narrative-based decision as designed Brett Scheinert explained. The Academy is aimed at being a tutorial-style dungeon, hence the name. It’ll explain how interrupt armor works, how moments of opportunity work to give the big 50% damage buff, environmental damage and hazards, and so forth. Things that aren’t really explained anywhere else in the game and may be off-putting to new or more casual players about the group content.
It’s also worth noting that the UI for interrupts is being overhauled so that you won’t need a mod to make sense of interrupt armor. Additionally, the guys mentioned that rewards for dungeons and leveling are being significantly boosted so that if dungeons are your preferred style of play (or shiphands or PVP or any of the instanced content), you can level up doing just that. The goal is to make it so that you won’t need to do just do world questing anymore, and hopefully make the group finder a much more used tool.
At the other end of the spectrum, from the Academy, the Ultimate Protogames serve as one of the most challenging veteran dungeons in the game. Brett mentioned that it won’t be exceptionally hard to just clear it, but that to clear it well with a high score it’s not going to be easy. This is part of the team’s overall design goal to make things more approachable, but still require hard work and skill to really excel at content completion.
Lore wise, the UP is a Protorstar company “Game Show”. You’re actually a team of game show contestants trying to get the highest possible score. Three bosses, and different event rooms. There will be a lot of variety in running the dungeon a lot, complete with the 80’s styled gameshow music and theme. From space pirates to deep space exploration, the Ultimate Protogames are there to entertain you as well as their fictional audience.
It’s important to note that UP does NOT become part of the attunement process. This is more about the rewards and the best items you can get in the game. It’s also a little bit shorter than Skullcano in terms of length (30-35 minutes).
Brett mentioned that the goal of the new dungeons and the new low level content is to make player’s more prepared for the game’s harder content… not to just make existing content easier as some other games tend to do.
Overall, it seems like Carbine is making good on their promises to tune up and add to WildStar not just for its existing fans but for new players they hope to attract as well. I personally can’t help but want to check out the game again after the presentation. I wonder if we’re not working up to some larger “re-launch” event in 2015 with free trials and the like on the horizon. That’s all speculation of course, but stay tuned for the launch of Protogames Initiative later today, February 3rd. If you’ve been wanting to try the game again, and maybe roll up a new character? Now might be the time.