Summer’s wrapping up, but the patches and such are still steadily rolling out for some of the bigger MMOs. This month, we look at some upcoming changes to Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar as well as more details about the upcoming RIFT expansion, Nightmare Tide. Interestingly enough, all of these new pieces seem to be really geared towards addressing players wants and needs.
Wildstar Announces Megaservers
Carbine recently announced that they plan on implementing “Megaservers” to Wildstar. When implemented (no specific date yet, just the “near future”), each Data Center will have only one PVE and one PVP server. The goal is to consolidate the player bases so the servers will have larger communities.
The new megaservers will support up to 12 characters per realm (currently, it’s 6). If players have more than 12 characters across servers that get merged, all characters will be preserved, and they’ll be able to play all of them (allowing them to violate the 12 character limit); however, they just won’t be able to make a new character unless they get back down to 11 existing characters. Obviously, with server merges there’s always a question of what happens with duplicate names. Carbine has chosen to address this by implementing a last name system. When megaservers go live, players will be prompted to enter a last name on the character select screen. So all characters will have a first name (their current name) and a last name (chosen on megaserver launch) separated by a space. Friends lists will automatically get updated with last names.
The obvious inquiry is what this means for Wildstar. As a player, it’s pretty obvious to me that the player base has pretty substantially decreased. This is certainly to be expected a couple months after an MMO’s launch these days. I myself haven’t logged on in a few weeks for various reasons, though my subscription is still active. Carbine also appears to have rethought the monthly megapatch plan, as there has been no September update yet. These megaservers will likely be a good idea for the game, as it will reconsolidate the player base and make it easier for people to group up in the open world. I certainly still have my eye on Wildstar, and look forward to seeing what they’ll bring for us next.
Guild Wars 2 to Overhaul New Player Experience
Arenanet has recently decided to make some interface and general player-usability improvements to Guild Wars 2. One such major update is the changes to the new player experience. This, in part, includes a bunch of small changes to the default interface (which can be changed in the settings by experienced players). For example, the default interface will now have a simplified top right corner (the map area) which also provides an arrow suggesting where the player should go. The arrow will lead them towards appropriate level content. As mentioned, more experienced players can deselect this display mode on the game options, or instead select “World Complete” mode which will point them towards areas they need for world completion.
Gameplay mechanics and systems will also be more gradually introduced to new players. For example, the PvP and WvW buttons will be hidden to new players until levels 18 and 22 respectively. When they reach those levels, the game will inform them of their existence and offer to teach players about them. Experienced players will notice no difference, as when these buttons are unlocked on one character, they’ll be unlocked on all other account characters. Arenanet has also changed the pacing at which leveling characters receive stat boosts. There will be level milestones (complete with rewards) which will give characters noticeable increases in power so players can more clearly gauge their progression in the game.