Arkship Dungeons Interview with Christopher Behrens

As some of you might know we attended a gathering of Wildstar websites in Brighton, UK, called Arkship EU 2013. We took this awesome opportunity to meet and talk to several Carbine game developers and staff. All of them are really nice and very knowledgeable people and we took the opportunity to interview some of them. Since the overall theme of Arkship was the ability for us to play the newly announced dungeon, Stormtalon’s Lair, we talked dungeons with none other but Lead Systems Designer, Mr. Christopher Behrens. Here’s the video of the interview and you can find the full transcript bellow:

Q: Would you please tell our visitors what is your name and what you do at Carbine?

I’m Christopher Behrens, the Lead Systems Designer at the project. That means I have my hands on lot of pies like classes, paths, dungeons, raids and every system in the game.

Q: We are going to be playing the first dungeon that has been announced for the game today. Can you please tell us something about it?

It’s called Stormtalon’s Lair and it is a 5 men leveling dungeon, that you will be able to take you and 4 of your friends to play. Starting at level 20 you’ll be able to get through that content. It’s a fun dungeon. There is a set of three primary bosses inside and each of them has a very different feel. It is not going to be a fairly similar type of boss. You’ll go from one to the other and have a radically different experience each time. I don’t know if I want to necessarily dive into the details of each of the bosses, I think I would rather let the viewers experience it, I don’t want to do spoilers. They are quite interesting, and I think people will get a thrill out of them.

Q: Is that the first dungeon you’re going to come across in the game as a player?

It is one of two early dungeons. The other one is currently under NDA, so we can talk about it another time, but it is one of the two early dungeons.

Q: What we always do when we go to events like these is basically take questions from the community, and then present them to the developers. We think it’s really important to establish that link. There were a lot of questions from the community, especially the reddit community, that follows Wildstar closly. I would like to take the opportunity to ask some of those. The dungeon we are going to see today is for level 20, but is there a version that’s for level 50 or a harder version for level 20. Is there a level-up version and a heroic version?

We spoke in the past about veteran dungeons and those are meant for the initiall elder game the; level 50 cap content. You will go through this dungeon, the first time at the lower levels, and then you will see it again at the higher levels; when you start your progression at the elder game. You’ll have the opportunity to fight those bosses and go through the experience again, slightly changed from what you may remember to fit the new power that you have at the higher level.

Q: So they are gpoing to be tougher than they were before or just different?

That’s the goal. They will be different and tougher. Players are endlessly creative and may find ways for … the aim is making them more difficult. That is the goal.

Q: Are dungeons an important aspect of the world in Nexus, meaning, do they connect to the main story, are they integrated to the world, or are they just: “here is the dungeon, all of a sudden, out of nowhere”?

This particular dungeon, Stormtalon’s Lair, and our general philosophy is that everything is tied into the story of Nexus in some way, shape or form. While it may not be directly related to the world story specifically, they all have a place in the world, they all are there to tell the story what is happening and what has happened on Nexus in the past. In that context they all contribute to the world story as a whole.

Q: What makes Wildstar dungeons being unique compared to other MMORP games?

There’s a few things that we will do it, but probably one of the most interesting is the way that we have free form targeting in our combat and it is very very action oriented combat. You have seen other games have information about what the raid bosses are doing through UI applications and things like that, but what we have is we actually display what the bosses ability is about to do, which allow us to be far more creative about the bosses options. It’s not the secret necessarily to the player what’s coming it’s all in the player skill, in anticipating what’s coming and getting out the way or interrupting in time or being active participants in the environment rather than mastering a specific strategy or things like that. Tying to all that is the opportunity to occasionally stun a boss to prevent a critical ability going off. There are opportunities to evade critical attacks, and then retaliate. There’s a great deal of opportunity for the player to use the free form combat, free form targeting to solve the problems that are put before them in the dungeon rather than just react to a specific strategy.

Q: How long do dungeons take to complete on average and what is your goal with that?

The goal is generally around an hour. Some may be less, some may be more. We want them to be relatively quick, enjoyable experiences, at least at the dungeon level, especially since they can form part of the player’s progression experience.

Q: You have a group finder for dungeons?

There is currently planed to be a Group Finder for the five men dungeons. It’s currently the plan for launch. I’m not exactly sure how many details of it have been put up, but there is definitely a plan to have one (at launch). This much I do know, because we actually had a discussion about this, we have said publicly that there will be both cross realm teaming at the LFG and there will also be realm only option for dungeons and a couple of other pieces of content.

Q: What kind of loot is available in the dungeons?

I just wanted to touch on that because recently we had posted something about item modification system and that is going to play a very large part in the game (the loot that you get from the dungeons). The general philosophy of play the way you want to play means that you may get an item drop that you can evolve to be better so, you know, it will be a single item maybe viable for multiple classes initially but it won’t be perfect and you’ll have the opportunity to improve it and make it better so that it is a more powerful item for you. At the same time, since it is progression, we will emphasize having gear that is more immediately useful, because you don’t necessarily want people to level past its usefulness. There we find balance of using the item modification system and also fitting it into the leveling progression.

Q: One last question that I know you can’t answer. How many dungeons and raids do you plan on having in the end?

More than one. 🙂

We would like to thank very much Mr. Christopher Behrens for taking the time to talk to us and answer these questions.