So much to say, so little desire to write, so how about Wildstar?

That’s been my story lately — not a lack of ideas, but a lack of desire or an inability to execute.  There’s plenty of changes and additions I’ve yet to write about in Glitch — other than housing, I’ve pretty much skipped everything since foxes and sloths.  Those furry friends probably deserve a paragraph or two.  The magic rock made his return to the game, and butlers were introduced to help monitor our home streets and give access to our mail — those two deserve a whole post, maybe a post each.   A friend asked me to write about the generosity the community showed to his wife when she made the amazingly short list of people whose digital goods did not survive the digital move and have yet to be recovered.  Still not recovered, and possibly never will be, the last I checked.  But I was involved in that generosity, and the couple-in-question and I are among the founding members of the group (PBMS) where most of the generosity came from — so every attempt to write that has felt like self-congratulation.  I’m already willing to claim that me and my associates are awesome without providing evidence — evidence just felt like overkill.  There was also a few community controversies I’ve considered writing up—one I don’t care about though many seem to, another I do care about though many seem not to—but straightforward reporting seemed best (and less controversial) than my normal editorializing, and I’m not in the mood.

And so this blog has fallen silent.   I’ll try to turn that around this week.

So how about that Wildstar?  Until recently, I’ve only been mildly interested in the game, mostly because the sci fi setting with cartoon graphics along with the humor in the original trailer strongly reminded me of the old Space Quest series, which were among the most revered adventure games for me as a wee one.  But really, all it seemed to have going for it at that time (maybe a year ago?  half a year?) that I could justify with some objectivity were an active combat system with a bit of twitch, and the vague idea of the path system, based loosely on Bartle’s infamous play style types.

In the time that has passed, active combat has lost its power as a selling point — now there’s Tera and soon there will be GW2, both of which require players to pay attention during combat.  The path system, on the other hand, seems to be getting more interesting, and might be adding more sandbox elements to this theme park.  For those unfamiliar, paths are planned choices players will make at character creation in addition to class.  Any class can choose any path — the path, as originally explained at least, will simply influence the types of quests and goals a player picks up as she wanders the world.  The soldiers will get more kill ten rats type of quests while the explorers will get more find the highest peak in the zone type of quests.

One of their recent public releases, from about two weeks ago, mentions a new path option: the settler.  Apparently the settler will be able to build outposts and expand or improve existing settlements and quest hubs.  This path seems like more than just a guide to the game as to what quest types to send you most often — it almost seems like it should be a crafting profession instead.

Of course, there are few details available yet.  It’s quite possible that improving settlements or building outposts will be things that players on other paths will also be able to do, just not as often.  And there’s my biggest question: what happens next?  In the video, which I have embedded at the end of this post, we see a settler add a vendor then drive away on what the narrator calls a mount—

To digress for a moment, can we stop calling them mounts when they are not mounts?  Sure, UO, EQ, and WoW all helped set the stage for that, but they have mounts.  If your “mount vendor” sells motorcycles and hovercrafts, you might want to try a new name for it.  How about vehicle vendor?  There, ridiculous non-issue solved—

but that’s all we see.  Even if that is entirely the way it works—and a recent interview suggests they haven’t locked down how it works entirely—it still doesn’t answer the question “what next?”  At some point, every settlement in every zone on every server would be fully upgraded — so what happens next to contest or remove those upgrades?  I think that’s a potential spot for interesting dynamic content with real consequences, yet consequences that do not ruin the days of those that take their gaming and virtual goods a little too seriously for my taste.

So I am now paying more attention to Wildstar press releases.  Too early to endorse the game, but they’ve piqued my interest.

If you watch the video, be sure to catch the zone with the giant robot messing everything up.  The zone designs they show really make this game feel, well, like a game.  Gamey!

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