WildStar Paths: Diversity in a Themepark

WildStar’s path system fascinates me.  Paths are almost class-like identities, but they’re not a class.  They represent a playstyle, or how you like to play MMOs. In the lore, your path represents your responsibilities once you reach Nexus.  This is ‘extra’ content for the players to involve themselves in beside the normal ‘leveling content’.  That’s what fascinates me; someone is trying to create

Explorer is for people who want to go out and see the world, Soldier for those who like killin’, Scientists for the nerds who like puzzles and knowledge, and the Settler for people who enjoy socializing and building stuff.  You better believe I am ALL about the Settler.  I can totally identify with JPHiggenbottom from the latest WildStar DevSpeak video.

Types of missions someone of the settler path can enjoy:

EXPANSION: That town ain’t going to improve itself. So step up, strap on a toolbelt, and get to work building things that make everyone’s life a little easier. CIVIL DEFENSE: Town guards can handle the small stuff. But when the biggest, meanest monsters on Nexus come a-knockin’, you’ll step up and save the day!
SUPPLY CACHE: Who has time to sit around and wait for vital supplies to show up on a platter? Put on those boots and bring home the bacon! INFASTRUCTURE:Are you ready for some serious real estate development? Then do your civic duty and build hospitals, taverns, and spaceports for your friends and allies.
PUBLIC SERVICE: Some people just don’t have the grit and backbone to get the job done. Good thing you do. Achieve tasks for the greater good, and get rewarded for it.


Constructing beneficial structures for friends and allies sounds awesome.  I’m imagining being able to build quasi-permanent structures that stay for at least as long as I am online.  Ideally they’d be permanent, but I have realistic expectations.  If I can make a structure in a quest hub that will buff other players who come in, and I get rewarded for that… how freaking cool is that?!  Making turrets to defend towns, building taverns for people to stop by and visit, or simply being able to think about the actual act of making things is just really, really appealing to me.

To me, this kind of thing is innovative. I was losing hope, but Carbine Studios is showing that even in a themepark there are ways to tip your hat to different playstyles beyond just killing mobs and running dungeons. Two people may both be Gunslingers, but one might be a Gunslinger Scientists and the other a Gunslinger Explorer. Both players get what they want in a way that appeals to the individual most.  I love the idea, and I am now even more eager to play WildStar.  Now who wants to give me a beta invite?  Please?

  • You’re a gaming journalist, I’m sure you can swing a few invites for yourself and the guild! lol

  • I think Paths are great in that they formally acknowledge within the mechanics and structure of the game that players have different goals and mindsets. Other games do try and do this of course, but Carbine’s implementation is one of the most formal and “up front” attempts I’ve ever seen. I have high hopes……. and am equally anxious to get my hands on the game for real. 🙂

  • I really hope it works out as well in practice as it does on paper. It sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to roll my explorer, team up with a scientist, get into a huge boss fight when we group up with a soldier and then hang out in our own little club the settler built. I can really see myself playing this game for a long time to come. Really hope I get the chance to help out with the beta.

  • I’m not one to get hyped about upcoming MMOs, but this certainly looks promising. Very promising. I love the idea that they can further customize your enjoyment of the game based on what things you like.

  • I was excited too at first, but then I have read somewhere that is not something that completely change your playstyle. It is just mean that while you leveling and doing quests to kill monsters you will occasionally receive some special quests for your path to add some diversity..

    It is still unknown if they will have any benefit at the endgame and especially for 40 man raids. For example, construct a tunnel so all the group can enter to avoid a boss aoe ability…or make a bridge to cross to avoid the adds and go to boss. Construct turrets to your base in the battleground to help for defending it.

    As I see it now is just a “side game” if you are bored to level up in the traditional way, but I hope to be proven wrong.

  • I don’t see it as a side thing to do while you’re leveling up, it’s more of a fun thing to do any time during the game. It’s a nice incentive to get out into the world and socialize and you know, have fun – which is why I play MMOs any way. MMOs are very social games, or are supposed to be, and I really get tired when every MMO community out there seems largely to only play to race to the end and try and see who can beat a few raid bosses before anyone else.

    I miss older MMOs where the meat of the content was having fun with others, socializing, and enjoying the world you were in. Just my 2 cents anyway.

  • @John: Your point is valid. Honestly, I do see this as a ‘side’ thing. Heck, paths are based around types of missions you can run. I don’t see these contributing a whole lot to end-game raids. Maybe a settler can build a buff station and an explorer can scout ahead.

    Even if it is something on the side, and I think it may be, it’ll provide different avenues for exploration and enjoyment of the ‘side’ stuff in a game.

  • “Even if it is something on the side, and I think it may be, it’ll provide different avenues for exploration and enjoyment.”

    Keen, I am sure it will. The question is for how long?It will be fun while leveling but when you eventually get enough from this and you start progress your character power, will you still go out in the world after 2-3 months to build a buff station for others? I am not say is bad, I would really liked to be much more meaningful at the end and be the core of the game, especially in dungeons/raids. Imagine a 40 man raid where you will have the scientists responsible for x thing, the settlers need to build things around for protection, the explorer do x thing, e.t.c.

    @theredcomet I agree that MMOs are social games but also it depends on MMOs..if Carbine take the x-realm route with tools to group up people, I don’t expect to much interaction between players..I think that I will construct a buff station, someone will run by use it and leave in seconds without even say a “thanks” or make an emote..because you know, after that he will press a button to join a dungeon with xyz randoms…

    The game has a lot of potential and I really hope it will be a great game 🙂 If they make Housing and paths really meaningful at any state of the game, it will be great!

  • True, but I also think it depends on what server you’re on. There tends to be more social interaction on RP servers, even between non-RPers.

  • I always chose RP servers 🙂 I was on Argent Dawn in wow and Laurelin in Lotro 🙂 Always chose an RP server because the chances to meet nice people are higher!Although my experience say that the RP community are on decline and I don’t know if it is a problem of current games not being “RP-Friendly” or because the new gamer generation care less about it..

  • I have a feeling this implementation is going to be anything but organic. Making systems like this just will make the gameplay more rigid and be little more than a mini game slightly related to these play styles.

    MMOs are at least coming out with new ideas. Unfortunately many of the ideas are still constrained by corporate culture which does not want to alienate or offend anyone.

  • If the implementation is organic enough and this isn’t just tacked on as a series of side quests, then I see paths being able to last a very long time — at least as long as someone’s typical enjoyment of a themepark. To me these sound infinitely more fun than daily quests or gimmicky story lines.

  • While that is true I inherently mistrust most things that take theory too seriously into implementation. Most of the surveys related to these play styles show that people are normally a mix of a few different types. While these play styles do help understand mmos better, slotting people into them will make the game more rigid. My guess is this is going to be a series of gimmicky daily quests instead of story lines.

  • The concept looks good on paper but I have a feeling that the implementation of it will be difficult. I’d expect the things will just not live up to our expectations – it likely can’t. If we choose a certain path we essentially want to experience something cool and awesome…but for the sake of balance…there wont be anything awesome waiting for us. An explorer is not going to find “unique” cool things, dungeons, or pathways…a scientist wont make a hugely useful discovery that only few people are aware of…to do this “right”…it would be a huge undertaking and I don’t believe the team dedicated itself to this…

  • If they go all out with it, I could see them making some pretty unique and really great rewards for each individual path. The nice thing is, even though you are locked into your path you can still experience all of the other paths by grouping up with other players. I think, if anything, this could really help promote some more social behaviour on top of the fact that they’ll have player housing as well.

    But yeah, it’s something that sounds great but we really just have to wait and see how it turns out.

  • Almost every major MMO (and many wannabe majors) sound amazing and innovative in the pre-launch PR blitz. Carbine have a really, really good PR team.

    I’ll reserve judgment until I get a beta invite (if ever). After that I’ll reserve judgment some more until I play the launch build. And then I’ll reserve it some more until a few months down the line from there.

    It’ll be a fun MMO, I’d be willing to take a bet on that. Whether it’s anything more than that, only time will tell.

  • Path’s sounds more like some unique quests you get as you level up, as long with some skills. It sounds awesome, but when it comes to MMO’s i’m a huge sceptical. I dont think this will be anything new, just class/story quests given a new name.

  • I continue to hold on to my (hopefully realistic) hope of Wildstar essentially being Space-WoW with some improvements. That’d satisfy me, and anything more is a bonus.

    Also, on the Settler path, Keen, going by their video descriptions and interviews I think the buildings are persistent beyond logout but degrade over time, with bigger buildings requiring more time/resources to maintain. Small buildables could be maintained solo, and larger ones will require some community cooperation to stay operational indefinitely.

  • I find it interesting that no one has questioned the way they promoted these paths in the video.

    Explorer can find some areas and will sometimes get to do time races. (I’m this type, but races? wtf? I want to explore)
    Soldier will kill things (everyone will be killing things, its an MMO)
    Scientist can tell us the backstory of an area (oh boy, a lot of people will care about that!)
    Settler will be able to build useful and interesting things for not only themselves, but other players. These contraptions will last for a while (unknown), and have an actual impact on playing. (He made speeders for them to get back to base, and then a bar to hang out in, etc)

    Does that not seem quite a bit lopsided on the Settler side to anyone else?

  • @Rawblin, Maybe you would find them more balanced by reading up on Paths a bit more. Each one has different strengths. Scientist has a few interesting things (imo). I’d say from reading your post, that what you’ve really proven is that you should play Settler. 🙂