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Rethinking Racials: What if they were cosmetic?

Discussion in 'WildStar Races' started by Rootmuncher, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. Baeldan

    Baeldan Cupcake-About-Town

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    This.

    Wow righto. Now you're just getting aggressive. We're now at the level of "Go play WoW" now? Almost exactly the nasty attitude I was hoping to avoid.

    Still nobody has addressed the path issue. I'm willing to bet because there isn't an answer. It's the same issue only higher in magnitude, yet it's fine because it's a shiny new mechanic. You can homogenise races all you want, but in a few months you'll either be saying the same thing about scientists and soldiers, or you'll be in denial.

    I quite like this idea. But limiting it to pets is a little lame. Very much like the idea of a parellel path of progression through cosmetic racials though. Love that. What would be even better is it there was an element of customisation or choice to it. This would be a really good alternative to mechanical racials.
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  2. Rootmuncher

    Rootmuncher New Cupcake

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    Honestly, nobody has said anything about path issues because with the exception of beta testers (which can't contribute in with what the know anyway) know exactly what perks each path brings mechanic-wise.

    I remember a Dev came in once with that question with someone worried they'd influence class combos, and he said something among the lines of 'we'll make sure they don't influence class combos, the main thing with paths is questing content' (I really need to find this post though.) Aside from taking faith in whatever the devs say, your speculation is as good as ours when it comes to how much it will affect gameplay.

    And like I said, even with mechanical racials they don't add anything to the game more than a tiny gnawing on the back of your head that makes you feel your race choice was wrong. In fact, I doubt race identities would be hardly affected if ALL racials were removed. (Homogenization is a ridiculous superlative for just '''not using stat boost racials'')
  3. Baeldan

    Baeldan Cupcake-About-Town

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    I don't see how it differs though. Obviously the devs are going to try to ensure that all the paths are useful for all classes, but I'd imagine that if they had hypothetically created mechanical racials then they would have tried to do the same for them. Almost everything talked about in this thread and most others on this forum are hypothetical. Speculative at best. Speculation is all we have to work with as non-testers.

    I mean my entire point is pretty redundant since we pretty much know for a fact how racials work. Doesn't mean we can debate the hypothetical merits of different systems. And with the information we currently have, paths seem to do exactly the same thing that mechanical racials would.

    That's an interesting point. I disagree but I can easily imagine people to whom racials add nothing to their racial identity.

    On a sidenote: using "stat boost racials" is something I'm against too. It's not visual and it's barely thematic. It's not interesting. Not something I'm supporting here. Mechanical racials are what I'm supporting. Utility abilities that do something useful in combat. Goblin rocket boots for example.
  4. Jarinolde

    Jarinolde Cupcake-About-Town

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    Last I heard the system they said they have is that there is a specific pool of skills that all players can choose from but your race determines how much it'll cost to get them. (This is even stated in that Kaeyi interview, he talked about what sounded like talents or passive skills, not stats)
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  5. Evgen88

    Evgen88 Cupcake-About-Town

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    I really think games should use a point system. Any race costs a certain number of points, and comes with certain base stats and has certain skills by default. So all Granok would be strong and tough, and Aurin would have an innate high dexterity and speed, but could spend their extra points to get just as strong and tough as a Granok if they wanted.
    As another option, I really think pros and cons that don't make certain races the obvious choice for any roll would be the best idea. Usually the cons for any race just make it less desirable for other rolls. Further promoting race/roll combos.
    With Pros and Cons set up, a Granok Warrior might play differently than an Aurin warrior, but both could be equally effective . That should be the case though, and it would add some variety to the game.
    Apparently Aurin can't be warriors, but you still get the idea ;)
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  6. BlindSear

    BlindSear Super Cupcake

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    So, one big difference between the path abilities and the racial abilities is things like faction balance is not affected by paths. It's hard to say exactly how they'll work out in balance. One major difference is that there's only 4 paths, as opposed to 8 races. So, races will have an effect on faction imbalances, which is bad overall for open world pvp and communities on given servers. This means that it's bad for gameplay balance and for community health.

    Next it's only 4 variables of freedom for each class as opposed to (potentially) 8, so balancing the path abilities will be easier than the racial abilities. While this probably won't cause many issues upfront, it will as classes change over time, and you could end up disconnecting players from how their character "feels" if a racial is revamped. So, changing up racials means that players could just be annoyed that one of the thing that gave depth to their character is gone, or doesn't work the same anymore. With paths, it's more based around a gameplay style, so tweaks to abilities won't be a complete disconnect from that "lore" which you're suggesting will be built through the racial abilities.

    Finally, in order to get path abilities, players will have to do the gameplay attached to that path. So, even if there's an imbalanced ability, they may have to play 100 hours of gameplay which they hate to get the absolute best dps possibility. This is a lot more effort than simply clicking an option on a character creation screen. This then forces a player to weigh the actual benefit gained from a path they dislike. If it's somewhere around a .5% gain, I doubt it'll be much of an issue for most.

    So, the issues with racial bonuses is mainly that they're able to be chosen for "free" and right off the bat with no effort.
  7. Baeldan

    Baeldan Cupcake-About-Town

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    Some really good points.

    Hadn't really thought about faction inbalance. That is indeed another issue, but again is it going to be significant enough to have a negative effect? I'm not sure. However, if racials were disabled in any form of competitive PvP mode which we would expect, then we're only looking at PvE and open world PvP. In terms of PvE, there's no interaction with the opposing faction there so inbalances are largely irrelevant. Look at vanilla WoW - there was a faction inbalance of 2 entire classes there and it worked fine. And that's the period of WoW worshipped by the people who Wildstar is intended to target. Granted it leaves a faction inbalance in open world PvP, but really no more than it does in WoW or Rift and really open world PvP in those games is fine. Well, except for Rift which doesn't really have it anymore.

    As for the racials being 'free', then yeah I agree that could be improved. Racial progression paths, man! Sounds pretty awesome to me. In fact that's an avenue that I'm surprised MMOs haven't explored before now.
  8. BlindSear

    BlindSear Super Cupcake

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    But now that resources and the ability to determine how "good" skills are mathematically is more prevalent in MMO's, you see things like faction swaps in the higher end guilds in WoW. Now, because the higher guilds are doing it, the lower guilds with real world money start to do it. So, what happens is you get strange populations. PVE players that are good know which faction to roll on, and newbies who look at the top guilds also are influenced by it. So you get a lot of the fresh blood that does their research and due diligence to join the "better" faction. This means if your guild likes a certain faction, because it aligns with them better, they automatically are at a disadvantage for recruitment, in that people will see the guild as less serious, and the faction you are on isn't as strong for raiding, so less of the "good" raiders are on it.

    As for open world PVP no one does open world PVP because it's poorly executed. In that, zones are made with an objective which is supposed to promote PVP, only it ends up being somewhere players don't actually go. Wildstar is going to attempt to circumvent that by actually waiting to put open world pvp objectives in, after they find out where players spend time the most and natural pvp happens more often. This makes it more organic and that should make it more successful.

    Albeit these are both only to an extent and are probably not that large of a problem, but they are problems which are known to be caused. Basically, anything that can cause a faction imbalance, probably will. Faction balance is pretty delicate.

    So, that's kinda what Wildstar is looking at doing (from what I've heard), only the different abilities cost different amounts based on your race, so natural progression will end up leaning general players in a direction. These abilities are all shared though, and this is the "elder game talent pool" which has been mentioned. The exact way it works is unknown, but it is likely that as an Aurin you could get a dodge ability within an hour of hitting max level, while a Granok would take 50 hours to get the same ability. Since it is bought through currency, it means that the Granok may never actually get the dodge ability, as there will be others as well which take less than the dodge. That way it balances out for the hardcore gamers who "need" it for their gameplay, while still making a long(ish) lasting racial for others, that eventually the Granok would be able to do the dodge after trying for a long time. This is also interesting because it makes that Granok extremely different and makes the player feel unique.

    This actually will probably feel really cool in practice, because you'll go along buying your abilities, and then decide "I wanna be the most graceful and quick Granok there ever was on Nexus." So, you go out and save your currency and buy that one ability against the Granok's physique, and then, you're unique and "powerful" and different from all others.
  9. Baeldan

    Baeldan Cupcake-About-Town

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    Yeah all your points are valid. It would probably have an affect on faction populations. It's just the magnitude of that influence that I question. I believe the influence will be very small. Those who are affected might be very strongly affected, but those people I believe would be a very small fraction of the playerbase. I think the current lore imbalance will have more of an affect on faction population than any theoretical racials would.

    People have been using WoW as an example of mechanical racials leading to imbalance, but there's no faction imbalance there either. Some servers are alliance-skewed, some are horde-skewed. Of course there are probably people changing servers and factions for various reasons, but it doesn't seem to break anything.

    As for your explanation of the 'elder game talent pool', it does sound interesting, but we don't know what these talents entail. We don't know if these talents will actually be character defining traits, or just little stat buffs, or what. If they are actually interesting, useful talents, then yeah there's something to that. Races might actually seem pretty interesting and different... for the first 2 months after launch until everyone has everything.
  10. BlindSear

    BlindSear Super Cupcake

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    So, for the top end of player base, racials can break the game, but for the lower end they can be fun. That's why the elder talent pool is the best system, because at top end it balances out (players willing to put in the time and effort) but in the lower end it remains fun. It's really hard to make any serious conjecture on WoW's imbalance, as it's not really the populations on the servers that matter, but the population of good players on each server depending on faction. At max level Humans have 19% of the entire population, with Night Elves at 11%. On the other hand Blood Elves have 14%. I think the reason for this is, humans look human-like, and have an imbalanced racial for PVP. Night elves look human-like, and also have a somewhat imbalanced racial for PVP. On the other hand, Blood Elves are the only human-like race on the Horde side, so that weighs moreso on the population.

    In other words Aesthetics matter moreso for the regular every day player, that's not competitive for a racial choice, while top end players care more about the racial mechanic than the look. This is because the racial only helps if you're able to pump out the performance from your character that makes it worthwhile. It's really hard to prove this, because there's not a lot of current data which compiles all the information about racial choice of top end players (both PVE and PVP), nor is there much information about the distribution of good players for either of these. You have to remember the majority of players are not "good" players, and tailoring game mechanics toward bad players makes it a bad player's game. On the other hand if you tailor the mechanics so that players simply have to be better, they either learn or get weeded out, and what will remain is better players. Everyone's got that friend that says "this game is too hard" and you know if you go play that game that it will be refreshingly challenging.

    I think the elder talent/racial pool will end up making your character feel unique, and will play to your race. That's all that really matters in the end, even if you know in theory there is a player out there that gets your race's ability, it will be a neat experience finding that player, or seeing them do it, because it makes them unique.

    Edit: Also, it depends on how many abilities exist, you have to remember they have a racial pool for 8 races, not just the 4 on your faction. This means that you'll have some abilities you get at a discount (so like an hour or two of play to get it, per ability) some which are normal (so let's say 10-20 hours of play per ability) and some which are hard to get (so let's say 50-100 hours of play per ability). This means that we could estimate each race has 3 that are easy to get, so 24 abilities altogether. We'll then imagine 15 of those are normal amount of time to get, and 6 of them are hard to get. Further we'll go for the lower limit on the time played. So, that's 453 hours of gameplay to get them all.

    While this is the blink of an eye (2 months) for a hardcore player, a casual player will probably take years to get them all. Now, let's say these abilities also have specific content which allows you to gain currency, so you only get them if you're playing that specific content. This further develops a barrier for players to get all of the abilities, because they specifically are spending time to get the abilities and not progress their characters in any other way. This means players will probably grab the ones that are their easy racials, and then eventually go and get the 1 or 2 others they think are really cool.
  11. Phable

    Phable New Cupcake

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    As for racial "abilities" I could go either way on that. Some I have seen give a slight advantage but I have never seen them as game breaking. I never chose my class/race combos on racial abilities but rather on esthetics. How does this race look in the gear wearable by that class.

    Other racial things however totally effect my choice. Things that to most players don't really matter ( atleast the ones that I know) different /dances for races I love. Also the jokes told by wow toons were hilarious. Something like this would absolutely effect my choice. Cheesy I know, but I still like it :p
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  12. CaRaDaGaiTa

    CaRaDaGaiTa Cupcake-About-Town

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    Cosmetic racials are ok and fun. Passive non-combat racials are ok too, like "5% + xp" or "10% + reputation" "1% more gold loot" etc etc.

    Combat racials suck, only selfish players defend this.
  13. Steampunkette

    Steampunkette Cupcake-About-Town

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    Combat racials are cool so long as all races have combat racials which result in the same net effect on combat.

    Things like Accuracy, Recharge, and Damage bonuses in equal efficacy. The big problem is when they tend to have them apply to different classes based on race.

    -Rachel-
  14. BlindSear

    BlindSear Super Cupcake

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    But, if you're making a game where you're attempting to grow a hardcore elitist community (which Carbine says they're attempting) combat racials break this down somewhat and that's when players choose by racial ability. I'll usually pick based on a combination of racial abilities and Aesthetics. I will rarely pick a race/class combination without considering the racials, but if they're close and I like the look of one better than another, I'll go with the better looking one. They do have to be very close in performance for this to happen. If there's one race that clearly outperforms the others on the faction I'm rolling, I'll definitely choose it.

    I think aesthetic racials are a good way to do this. Or something where you can "CC" friendly players, something you wouldn't use in an actual competitive gameplay, because it hurts your own team. Something like making another player drunk, or forcing them to dance or whatever. Sure it'll cause griefing in a PUG dungeon, but at some point you just have to laugh about it.

    Perhaps you can "trip" a friendly player as a Chua, or hand them a bomb that blasts them straight up into the air.

    Possibly you can pop off your arm or head as a Mordesh and make nearby players run in terror, or "forget" to take your vitalus serum and start transforming into crazy guy, and run after a nearby player who has to jab you in the neck with a syringe or something weird happens.

    Maybe make racial mini-games, like Aurins have to pick fleas off of each other. Granoks have to get waxed to keep from eroding, and it'll make a glossy finish for X amount of time. Or Granoks can throw a friendly player a short distance, but the player is stunned upon landing as long as pathing couldn't be abused. Or make it without a targeting reticle.

    I think mechanical racials can exist, as long as there's no way to abuse them movement wise, and so that it only effects friendlies in negative ways.
  15. Yowser

    Yowser Cupcake

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    Just because a Race may get a certain combat racial ability it does not mean you would choose to use it.

    You have about 50 class abilities, half a dozen Path abilities and perhaps a Racial ability to choose from and only 8 slots available to you.
  16. Fingers

    Fingers Cupcake-About-Town

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    This strikes me as a very sensible way to approach racials :), although there might be some difficulty where some might scale better for some classes than others.
  17. The Duck

    The Duck New Cupcake

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    I am hopeful that if Wildstar has racials they are purely non combat cosmetic type effects. I am looking forward to picking a race based on just how it looks or it's lore (to be honest this won't happen, lore and I do not get along). If the Wildstar racials present a combat bonus for certain classes I will most definitely play the min/max game and let the ability determing my race. Any good 1%er wannabe should.

    We'll have to see how it plays out but right now it looks like Carbine is packing this game full of fun new systems. We might be able to survive and have fun in a game where the color and shape of our skin, in some cases metal, was just that and nothing more. That's kind of what I'm hoping for.
  18. Phable

    Phable New Cupcake

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    Hey!! We don't have fleas!! That's very racist ;0
  19. BlindSear

    BlindSear Super Cupcake

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    Lies, dirty filthy flea infested Aurin lies...
  20. BlindSear

    BlindSear Super Cupcake

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    Nope, not true, the racial ability slot is separate from the 8 class ability slots you get. So, you get something like 8 class abilities, 1 path ability, 1 item ability, and 1 racial/elder pool ability. So, it does mean that you have exactly 1 slot to dedicate for that OP ability.

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