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World Scaling, how much will/should Wildstar have?

Discussion in 'WildStar General' started by Miatog, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. Miatog

    Miatog Cupcake-About-Town

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    First, lesson time for those who don't know what World Scaling is. I will use WoW as my example because it's the most well known game with world scaling. If you don't need the lesson, feel free to scroll to the bright red letters.

    World scaling is a game design choice, where you make the world 'smaller' than it really is. In the example of WoW, people have taken measurements using player runs speeds, making assumptions based on real people and animal run speeds. Using these numbers, WoW would have you believe that Azeroth is smaller than the US. That's right, the United States of America is longer than the entire planet of Azeroth...well not really.

    Taking what data we can from books and short stories, it's more likely that Azeroth is around Earth size, give or take depending on who's math you want to follow. The reason why it's so much smaller in WoW, is world scaling.

    Now you may ask, why did Blizzard shrink the planet down so much? The answer is simple, fun. If it were a realistic size, with realistic travel, it could take hours or even days or more to get from a major city to a raid. Blizzard decided to make it smaller so that they could have a 'full' world but allow people to travel around at a reasonable pace, letting them search the entire planet over a few times a day if they wanted. This is also why you never see a village unless there's a quest there. Blizzard couldn't afford to put them all in with the smaller scale, because it would just make things too crowded.

    And now, for something completely different.
    The Topic at hand!
    aka The point where some of you scrolled past my lesson!

    Now for the point of the thread. Before I really got into Wildstar, someone told me that it was going to have the largest starting world of any MMO. While I don't know if he's basing this on any facts or things devs have said, this is making me think about the size. Wildstar is going to start with a good number of zones, 23 according to the website. However this is nearly half what WoW started with, 42. I just went through and counted vanilla zones, not counting cities. Now, for this claim that my friend gave to be true, the average size of each zone would have to be twice the size of each WoW zone. Which makes me wonder about World scaling.

    World scaling is an important part of any game, more so with MMOs because people need the ability to travel. So while the 'measured' size of Nexus will be smaller than it really is, thinking about my friend's claim and the number of zones, worries me about how large the zones will be. For one one of the nice things about changing zones is the change in feel to each. Even when they're close to the same style (Durotar and Barrens for example), they still have visual differences and you know you're somewhere else. Having larger zones makes me wonder about how soon will I want out?

    Of the Vanilla zones, the two largest zones had people complain often that they were too big, Barrens and Stranglethorn Vale. In Cataclysm, these vary zones were split in half to be more in line with the size of most zones.

    If we have 23 very large zones, sure they'll last us longer, but will we be wanting out of each zone sooner? Maybe my friend was full of hot air and we're looking at something near the size of WoW or even smaller.

    But what are your thoughts about how big a zone should be? Are larger zones better? Why? Are smaller better? Again I ask, why? Unlike past threads I've started I seek not to have an question answered this time, but I seek a discussion on the matter. I want to see what you all think.

    For me, I am leaning toward hoping for larger zones. My favorite old world zones pre-cata were the vary two that got split in Cataclysm. Was it their size that made them so great for me? Maybe. They were the zones I had the most fun in. I loved how STV had the book quest and we gathered up the pages while doing everything else. If I didn't have them all while I was wrapping up quests, I would just offer to trade in general and always be done before I left. They just had the quests that hold the fondest memories for me, and since they were the largest, maybe that had something to do with it. So I'd like to give more big zones a try.

    tl;dr, go up two paragraphs.
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  2. wasabi

    wasabi Cupcake

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    I read somewhere on here that Nexus as of right now could be scaled to roughly 400 kilometers :]
  3. McSteezy

    McSteezy Cupcake

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    I feel like I'm with you on this, the zones I had the most fun in were the Barrens (maybe just because of the chat, or the world PvP) and STV (just because the zone was beautiful). Maybe it could've been that they were bigger, and that I couldn't see the next zone with completely different landscape on the horizon. I guess it kinda felt more immersive to be in this huge area with so much to do. As long as the zones have major differences and a change in feel to them, then I prefer larger zones!
  4. Wubzorz

    Wubzorz Cupcake

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    Larger areas, although more difficult to traverse, always make the world feel like it wasn't specifically tailored/engineered. The game world should feel like a 'world'.
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  5. Extatica

    Extatica Super Cupcake

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    I never had problems with STV tbh....Barrens just looked boring....quests weren't anything special (mayby WC helped a bit and the Defias savory thing you could get).

    Scaling is always needed you can't have it that it takes you more then a year to just walk to the other end of the world :p

    If they make a large zone they should have it like this:
    Differences in the zone itself! (call them sub-zones)
    Epic Quests or other epic things
    Quests that sometimes get you out of the zone
    etc.

    These kind of things makes being in a large zone less anoying and more do-able.

    But that's just my 2 cent, i personally love big ass zones, atleast if they are well-made!!! <-- key point!!
  6. Ohoni

    Ohoni Cupcake-About-Town

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    The size of the zones isn't really an issue. Taken directly, the bigger, the better though. What does matter are two things, travel times and content density.

    If the zones are tiny, then just can jog everywhere at human run speeds. If the zones are huge, then you need faster options, from mounts or powers that let you travel at several times walking speed, to instant teleportation for longer hops. Basically, if you give the player a reason to travel from A to B, you need to make sure that the trip doesn't take up too much of their time. You can either do that by having A and B close together, or by making the speed at which you can travel between them faster.

    The second issue is about how much stuff there is to do. If you have a massive zone that takes an hour to jog across, but you only have content worth playing in small dollops that are minutes apart from each other, than people will be bored. On the other hand, if you have a tiny zone then it can be hard to put enough content into them without them feeling cramped. A good balance is to have big content zones separated by smaller ones, but always within a short jog's distance.

    So, what I'm saying is, there is no right or wrong way to do size, but the whole game needs to revolve around that choice. Ideally I think there would be fairly large zones, with plenty of content per square mile, and plenty of fast travel options so that you can get around it easily. the balance is the important bit.
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  7. Vyver

    Vyver "That" Cupcake

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    It isn't a big deal to me personally, although I can see the allure of having large zones.

    I know they said that zones won't change climate suddenly either, so I believe that should help. No more standing in a desert and seeing a tundra in the distance. Zones will kinda be "blended" together so to speak, which will greatly undercut the feeling of small zones.
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  8. ebakrans

    ebakrans Cupcake

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    I think I remember them saying somewhere that even within a zone there are varied sub zones to keep us entertained, I will have to look for the article but they made it sound like each zone was larger than your average wow zone and had an over arcing theme too it but it wasn't "barrens" all the way through it.

    http://www.wildstar-online.com/en/news/sandboxes_and_theme_parks_further_analysis.php

    That is one, still looking for the other article that talks about size.
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  9. Wubzorz

    Wubzorz Cupcake

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    I agree that you need faster modes of transportation as the size of a zone increases. However I feel that these should be end-game rewards/unlockables to incentive players to work towards them. Traversing the area on foot should feel like a journey, and players should ultimately want to acquire a faster means of transport (which should be difficult to earn).
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  10. MrDreadful

    MrDreadful Creepy Cupcake

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    I think most agree that no zone should feel too small. I, personally, feel like a mix of modest sized zones and large zones is a must. Zones where pc factions meet (not just a smattering of Dominion NPCs in an Exile zone), should be some of the larger ones so that faction A and B content is robust, but the middle area (where A and B duke it out) has content enough to keep folks busy as well.
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  11. Convicted

    Convicted Super Cupcake

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    So what happened to the quote where they said each zone would be something like 4 times the size of a Van wow zone?
  12. Woke

    Woke Cupcake

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    It seems, I am in the minority but I prefer smaller/average zones.

    STV is a bad example since it wasn't the huge zone that enticed people. It was the fact that both fractions had similar quest hubs (causing endless amount of WPvP) and of course you shared the main zone city in Booty Bay. Also the Arena played a part. It was also an amazingly designed Zone.

    The reason I am against Large Zones would be Swtor. They implemented so many Large zones like Hoth, Taris, Tat, actually basically almost every zone. Large zones spread out the player base, hurting WPvP and immersion. Nothing is worse than while questing in a zone, you run into only one player the entire time you LvL in that zone.
  13. Vyver

    Vyver "That" Cupcake

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    How is being able to see the zone borders from wherever you are "immersive"

    And what does 'immersion' have to do with wpvp

    [​IMG]

    Big zones can work easily, like you said they just need to have stuff in them.

    SWTOR is a horrible example because

    1. the zones were boring and lifeless
    2. zones were separated by 6 loading screens and a jog through a space station
    3. once you outleveled a zone you had no reason to go back, and leveling through a zone took about a day for a slow player
    4. SWTOR is a game that already did everything it could to make teaming a chore, people didn't get together just because the zone was big, there's a titanic sized list of things that made people unwilling to team
    5. SWTOR is a horrible game
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  14. Mierelle

    Mierelle Cupcake-About-Town

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    If we take Vanilla WoW as the example you often had 2-3 different zones sharing the same level range and you often had to visit more than 1 to get those 5/10/15 levels they were tuned for. They could easily have merged Hillsbrad Foothills, Alterac Mountain and Arathi Highlands and it would still feel like one zone same with Eastern and Western Plaguelands.

    It seems like all four races from each faction will start in the same zone, which makes it plausible that Nexus and Azeroth have the same size and scaling. I'd like big zones and hopefully we'll see sub-zones , 10 levels in a massive wasteland would be tedious, but put in one level in a oasis and one level in a canyon etc.
  15. Woke

    Woke Cupcake

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    I wasn't talking about zone borders. I was talking more about the MMO immersion instead of a Single player game. Basically, I believe you should see more than a couple of people while questing in a Zone. I personally don't care about Zone weather/design as far as immersion. You misunderstood or perhaps I came off wrong. I was mentioning them as two different things that get ruined with Larger Zones.

    Swtor is not a horrible example since the topic is on "Large Zones" and Swtor implemented the majority of the zones with a Large scale.

    1. I agree and one of the main reasons was because of the Zone size.
    2. Pretty sure the only loading screen was the initial loading of every zone and that was all. They got rid of the Space Station jog since it was obviously stupid, but I am guessing it was implemented for immersion/RP.
    3.This happens in almost every game. It is hard to implement an incentive good enough for Cap Players to go back to low LvL zones. Swtor tried with some Vanity pets and World Bosses, similar to WoW. This topic is hard for ThemePark MMOs that give there Top Gear with Raids and Instance PvP.
    4. Not sure where you are going on this one. Swtor and WoW had once again a similar Zone grouping. They both had heroic quests that required multiple people. I don't see how Zone Size impacts whether a person wants to group up for a heroic quest or group LvLing.
    5.Swtor actually wasn't that bad, it has the best LvLing system that I have ever played as far as an MMO goes. It was simply released to early and had <REDACTED> Endgame.
  16. John

    John "That" Cupcake

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    I like some empty space where there is nothing going on.

    I would love to see a zone that has a populated, active city, and then as you travel away from it you have smaller villages surrounding it, and then further still are the farmers and select merchants at small outposts to serve the hinterland, and then finally just have complete wilderness, with the density of wildlife increasing as you get further into it.
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  17. Ohoni

    Ohoni Cupcake-About-Town

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    The scale of your speed needs to grow with the scale of the map. If you don't get faster travel until late in the game then all the early content needs to be very compressed. you can have travel speed lagging slightly behind world scale, so that players always feel that the area they're traversing is a little too spread out, and then they get a new tier of speed boost and suddenly everything's within arm's reach, but now the next area they're entering is a little too spread out again, etc., but they definitely shouldn't make everything way too spread out unless you have a vehicle, and then hide all those vehicles at endgame.

    I think TOR did this fairly well, where the starter worlds were fairly tight, if a little spread out, then you get sprint and it makes them pretty simple, btu then the next planets are a bit spread out, but then you get a speeder, but then you get to planets like Tatooine where they would be a nightmare on foot, but are tolerable with a base speeder, and you soon get an even faster speeder, etc..

    I don't think the problem there was scale, so much as that they didn't have enough people in each zone.

    All true enough.

    GW2 managed it. Most level 80s spend most of their time in lower level zones. I have three of mine parked in starter zones most of the time. The important bit is level scaling.
  18. Woke

    Woke Cupcake

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    The higher the LvL zone the less people are in them at least from my perspective, so why spread out the population with a Larger Zone, keep it Normal.

    GW2 is basically a PvP Sandbox MMO. Normalized Gear, lack of incentives and progression is non existence. I am talking about ThemePark MMOs. Where all the incentives and progression lie with Raids and Instanced PvP. Mentioned that in the post, that you quoted. The only way to get you back into an old zone with this type of MMO are Vanity pets, World Bosses, Dailies, Rep Grind, Etc... And I know a lot of people hate these but this is a ThemePark MMO with a few Sandbox additions like Player Housing. Hopefully, Wildstar has came up with a few new ideas on getting us back into old zones, but I am not holding my breath. (Unless the Path System isn't scaled to each zone)
  19. Miatog

    Miatog Cupcake-About-Town

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    I wasn't aware of this quote, probably the quote my friend was referring to when he told me Wildstar would have the largest launch world.


    These are easily fixed though, as much as I enjoyed SWTOR it did have a flaw in having the questing so far from the hubs and so spread out. You can have larger zones but have things packed closer together than SWTOR did.

    I personally think this is true of every MMO out there...I rarely if ever group in any game till end game. There honestly isn't any point...unless you go back to games like EQ where you had to group up to farm mobs for XP, but that's a step backwards IMO.


    I actually found it very enjoyable right up until my guild ended up having insane drama, finding out I was on a server small enough that it kept me from ever seeing a raid again, and being unwilling to roll again on a new server when I already had 3 max toons...then it went F2P and went WAY overboard on the <REDACTED> they want you to pay for.
  20. Shalanigh

    Shalanigh Cupcake

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    Depends on the game really. I've been in large zones that seemed small because there was just so much to do and I was so immersed into the experience that I didn't realize I was that deep into the map already. Then I've been in small zones that feel large because they make you run back and forth for each quest.
    Then I remember times in EQ where me and my friend would have a roll off on who was going to run to who...he just had to be a elf! I ended up running to him...but that was an adventure in itself (running through Kithicor at night...scary!).

    My hope is if the zones are large with the layered content and path stuff...I don't see myself feeling bored or feeling like it's a chore to get to point A to point B, especially if I am doing stuff on my way there.
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  21. MrDreadful

    MrDreadful Creepy Cupcake

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    This is also a good idea because of the settler path! Area between outposts and enemy heavy region could use some homegrown amenities.

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