In Wildstar, players can “mentor” other players that are of a lower level. The concept of “mentoring” in an MMO certainly isn’t new, but there are a variety of ways I’ve seen it implemented. In Wildstar, mentoring consists of selecting another, lower level character, choosing to “mentor” them, and then being temporarily down-leveled to that character’s level. The mentor keeps all of her skills, but her attributes are scaled down to an appropriate level. This keeps the content from being trivialized and the mentee’s XP from being ruined. It effectively lets the players can experience content together as if they were much closer in level.
As I’ve said before, the idea of mentoring has been featured in MMOs. To date, though, Wildstar’s version works better than any other mentoring system I’ve experienced. Keep in mind I’ve not yet experienced it with an enormous level gap between mentor and mentee, but I am really excited about the implications of the mentor system and look forward to using it many times in the future.
Since MMOs are, for many of us, a hugely social experience, it’s unsurprising that some players end up with different groups of friends in a game. This can lead to an awkward situation for those players when it comes to joining a guild. Most traditional MMOs only allow characters (or sometimes even accounts) to be in one guild at a time. Some MMOs (mostly newer ones) allow players to be in multiple guilds at the same time, but often with the stipulation that they are only active in one guild at a time (they “toggle” their guild, so to speak). Wildstar only allows characters to be in one guild at a time; however, they address the age-old social conundrum with a new system: Circles.
Circles are completely separate from Guilds, yet support many similar features, such as private chat channels, group rosters, and tags below your character’s name. I also believe that grouping with circle members gives players an XP boost. Circles allow players to keep in touch with multiple groups of people easily, though they’ll still need to choose one guild. I like the idea, and see it as a stream-lined way to support a consistent private chat channel. I’ve already created a Co-Optimus circle!
All in all, Wildstar really impressed me with these social aspects. Carbine really seems to know that MMO players want to play with their friends, and goes out of their way to facilitate that. From grouping up from the start, to being able to play with different level friends, to being part of multiple social groups, Wildstar has your back. And that’s certainly most encouraging to see.
That about wraps up my column for this month. I’ve only really scratched the surface of Wildstar, and I’m excited to get into the small group content with Mike and Locke. Maybe next month I’ll have more on that, as well as combat, class, and skill details!