I finally got through the 2 hour and 15 minute marathon of the final WildStar Nation podcast. They add an extra special guest, Mattekay, who spent years working at WildStar. The podcast is a good listen, albeit a lot of profanity (more than normal) and they are having a few drinks along the way. It was a pretty funny sendoff.
The fun is the insider information Mattekay has on it from his perspective and experiences working on and in WildStar. As an ex-employee (who quit and wasn’t let go) I tend to go soft on the facts in case it is a bitter-ex syndrome – but Mattekay ‘s commentary seems pretty fair and balanced. He calls out a few things that (in his opinion) weren’t done well but it isn’t a scathing or dramatic “tell all” that we have heard in the past with different companies. It’s worth a listen (and there are laughs too!) especially if you are/were interested in WIldStar. A couple things that stood out to me:
- Wildstar was never intended to be an action mmo – originally it was tab-targetting. I don’t mind action MMOs but they are more hectic and less relaxing to play, and I think there is room for both (although most lately seem to be moving towards the action elements). So they had to switch the entire design scope midstream and try to fit existing systems into a hugely different gameplay. I miss tab targetting. I really wonder how the game would have been with it.
- Some big changes to the game team members learned of through hearing the leaders in interviews. That is funny to think, but not uncommon in the real world either. Communication in companies can be bad sometimes.
- The typical tale of 80-100 hour work weeks that is unsustainable and leads to poor products. I have never agreed with that mentality and while not WildStar specific, I think its a problem that needs to get fixed in the industry.
- One of the podcast hosts (Dopamean, I think, as Terry Bearstack. Long story if you don’t know.) brought up because everything is AOE technically, that you don’t get the feel of a big hit. There is no connection to the damage. You are just damaging air and hoping enemies are in that cone/telegraph. I agree heavily with this as I thought more on it.
There are a lot of stories and other anecdotal information, but it’s a great listen (and ESRB would be M for Mature). They also cover WildStar’s decline and some options to fix it – most of which has been discussed before but relevant and accurate.
I love the “behind the scenes” kind of stories and it would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall in a lot of devs corporate offices to hear the arguments and decision making behind major decisions – especially ones that have major impact (40 man raids in 2014? With Telegraphs?) and the nuances of the company culture behind a lot of our beloved games.