WildStar Wednesday: Customization, Customization, Customization! What can’t you customize?

It’s time for another big info-drop and today it’s all about customization. From housing, (which is a customizers dream), to mounts, combat and gear, there’s a ton of customization options in WildStar and we’ll get right to it with housing.

Housing

Joe Piepiora, Social Systems Lead, graced us with his presence and told us all about housing. You first get your house at level 14 when you visit your capital city. Once you first port to your house you get a Portal ability to be able to port back to and from your house. Now, once you get your house up and running, then comes the customization options.

You can change pretty much anything in your home from the floor to ceiling and Carbine calls that y our ‘Remodel Options’. Every room has options for wallpaper, floors, and ceiling so the look and feel will be vastly different at every house. Each room can be customized differently as well and you can even customize the lighting in each room, making some rooms dark and brooding while another room can have a sepia tone used to give it that old school western look.

There’s so many things beyond ‘Remodel Options’ we have to use, the idea of décor. Now when talk about housing in WildStar beta, the often, this is the first thing they kinda look at I think. The options for you to place objects where you want, scale them, rotate them, lift them off the ground, just some pretty crazy stuff. And we’ve seen some really phenomenal stuff, fantastic war-bases, we’ve seen stip clubs, we’ve seen libraries, we’ve seen hospitals, we’ve seen some really really great sets that players have put together themselves. It’s so different, even with the same props, going from house to house to house based purely on the configuration. Players will make their own extra floors, they’ll have sub-divided rooms for themselves, I mean, we give you a lot of power.

Going outside your home, you can customize a ton of stuff on the outside. You can change your entryway from a number of options as well as the roof, giving your home a vastly different profile. You can also change how the sky looks, from normal day or night skies, to flashy colorful rainbow filled skies or a constant firework show above your home. They’ve even done away with décor sockets on the outside of your house.

Now most recently, in the last beta round, what we decided to do was free up the exterior of the housing property. It gives you the ability to kinda free place out there as well. Prior to this last round of beta, we were actually using a socket system, which if your are familiar with LoTR housing and some other housing models, it’s where you’re able to place a décor object in a specific place on the property and rotate it still, but that’s all you could do. We decided to get rid of sockets based on feedback, now players can decorate the exterior of the house the way they decorate the interior of the house. It feels like the more options we give players the better they like housing.

Décor can be obtained in just about all areas of the game, from quests, drops, to crafting among other ways. You’ll find all sorts of décor and they’ll give you rested experience bonuses while they’re being used at your home. So if you log out in your property you’ll get extra rested experience from these décor items.

They’re not totally killing the socket system though, it still remains for your 6 main expansion areas on your housing plot. You’ll get 2 large sockets and 4 smaller ones and you’ll be able to socket in some pretty awesome plugs, from crafting stations to skilled dungeons that you’ll need to group up to clear.

There are even mini-game plugs for your sockets. One example Joe gave was a loftite game where a swirling gust of wind throws you high into the air and while you descend you need to collect loftite crystals until you reach the score limit at which point you’d receive a random décor reward.

Also, for those interested friends can help decorate your home, plus you can also visit random houses that allow public visitations. Your home has certain permissions you can set like being available to the public, friends, or nobody, while at the same time you can set their permissions to allow friends or the public to edit your décor.

Now in WildStar we have systems called Neighbors. What that allows you to do is you can select a person on your friends list and make them your neighbor. Which allows them to visit your property whenever they like, and then you can go to their property and see what kind of mini-games and other utility plugs they’ve put on their property. You can also pick a neighbor and upgrade them to a roommate, and what that allows them to do is decorate your house for you. They can buy things, put it in your house, they can change all your lights, put all your stuff in a crate, whatever they want to do they can help decorate and make that space feel like a shared space. Now if you don’t have any friends, which you know, is extremely unfortunate, you also have the option to visit a lot random people around you and check out their houses.

Gallery: Housing

Mounts

Nick Roth, Systems Designer Lead talked to us about mount customization, and no, we’re not just talking about different mounts, we’re talking about actually customizing your mount with added stuff. Mounts can equip flair to make them more of a status symbol. Once you reach level 15 you have four mounts to choose from at your capital city which are themed by the four races of your faction, but they aren’t race restricted. So if you’re a Draken warrior, you can still nab that Chua mount at level 15. 

Once you get your mount you can start customizing it. Customizations are unlocked, not consumed by items so they won’t take up precious bag space and they can be used over and over again. You can also make sets of flair to quickly change your main mount but keep all the sweet flair from your old mount.

You’ll also get your first hoverboard at level 25, which isn’t customizable, but you’ll get other hoverboards as you progress that are customizable. Hoverboards are separated from the regular ground mounts, so they have their own set of customization options that are only available for them. So that means if you get an awesome spoiler for a hoverboard, you aren’t able to put that on your lizard mount, but I guess that makes sense.

One of the reasons that I really like mounts personally is that they have sort of dual function. On the one hand if you are sort of a ‘Pokemon, gotta catch ‘em all’, they are a great way to have that thing to chase and build up your collection. But on the other hand, there’s also the status symbol of mounts. You can have mounts and pieces that you unlock for doing content that might be too hard for somebody else or take a really long time to do. So there’s that dual function that’s really interesting. And with our customization system which lets you get pieces of flair that you can stick on the front, the back, and the sides of your mount, both hoverboard and ground mount, you can add a whole new dimension to the amount of things to collect and how hard it is to get some of these things. So if you see someone riding around on their Chua hamster ball, you might say ‘Oh well everybody can get a Chua hamster ball’, but then you see they got the flair on it that’s only available from doing this whole huge meta-achievement for doing all sorts of things around Nexus. It’s a way to take your existing mount that you may like the look of but adding the status symbol on top of it.

There are tons of mounts to obtain as well, from motorcycles, to horses, lizards and other creatures. You’ll also have different hoverboards to obtain as you level up. You can obtain mounts and mount customizations through the usual ways, like buying them with gold, renown (the social currency earned while grouping), dungeon drops and PvP. It seems the only way you don’t get mounts and mount customizations is through crafting, although they said that might change in a future patch.

The hoverboards sort of made it so you can get anywhere, like we don’t put up invisible walls in the open world and say ‘You can’t go up this wall’. The hoverboards have a whole physics system, you’ve got momentum when you’re going up ramps and stuff like that. And so the world artists just kind of got to go crazy up in the hills. They put in some random easter eggs up there and there’s tons of ramps and stuff you can get off up there.

Gallery: Mounts

Combat

Customizing combat comes in the form of the limited action set(LAS), which lets you choose 8 class abilities to put on your bar, out of the total of 30 class abilities for each class. On top of that you also have your innate ability, which is custom to each class and is also dependent on your stance if your class has a stance. Your innate abilities also have longer cooldowns, of a minute and a half or longer as opposed to your class abilities which are more diverse in their cooldowns. You have your gadget ability which is dependent on what gadget you have equipped, bringing your total abilities to 10. You also have a path ability, but it’s not an ability that will help in combat, it’s mostly for out of combat situations. An example would be like a portal spell that will port you to the capital, which is only used out of combat and it doesn’t take a slot on your LAS.

Besides the LAS you also have the ability tier system, which is the system to level up your abilities. Each ability has 8 tiers with the 4th tier being a minor tier and the 8th tier being the major tier. The minor tiers will increase the power or length of the ability while the major tier usually adds a new dimension to the ability/spell to make it better without taking away any functionality.

The ability tiering system is very flexible, we allow you to respec whenever you want to for free, we don’t make you go to a vendor or anything like that. We want it to be tied closely to the action sets so that you feel like switch up your actions sets where you want to on the fly, as long as you’re not in combat. This is actually restricted in arenas though, you’re not going to be able to change that inside the arena, so when you get into there you’re stuck with whatever you choose.

You do have a limited number of points to tier-up abilities. So you’re not going to be able to move up all your abilities to tier 8. Currently at level 50 you’ll only be able to tier up 2 abilities to tier 8, but once you reach end-game, you can purchase more tier points with elder gems which will allow you to tier up 3 abilities to tier 8.

And this is a number [ed. note, He’s referring to the number of tier points you can earn] that we’re planning on increasing as the game grows. It’s pretty exciting because that means that the actions are going to be very different. An action set that didn’t work with the limited number of tier points might work a lot better when you have the ability to tier up 4 or 5 abilities to tier 8.

Joining the LAS and the ability tier system, WildStar also has the AMP system to customize your combat style, which is more or less like a talent tree. The AMP system unlocks at level 6 and you get one power point per level. The AMPs also cost a variable amount of power points, so while some AMPs only cost one power point, some will cost upwards of 5 points, requiring you to wait some levels and save points to gain some AMPs. You can respec your AMPs but it will cost you money each time you respect. Carbine says that they needed at least one system that was more rigid as it requires you to think more tactically about how you choose to spend your points.

The AMP tree system branches out in six directions instead of the usual three. The three major trees are assault, support, and utility. Assault with be your standard DPS tree, support with either be your healing or tanking tree depending on your class, and the utility tree has abilities that have longer cooldowns and include abilities like crowd control and are useful to both specs. The other three trees are hybrid trees that are hybrids of the two trees they are in-between. To get into these trees you need to spend points in the two trees that surrounds them.

So what you are going to find in these AMP trees, what you’re actually unlocking, some of the things are in the one power point cost, those are going to be passive upgrades. They are going to be an armor pierce and an increase in physical damage. Things that cost a little bit more are gonna be stuff like proc events, things that trigger maybe once your shield has been depleted, you’ll do an AoE or you’ll root nearby enemies. They’re proc events based on the enemy, so if I’m hitting an enemy that’s low on heath maybe my abilities will earn more damage because of that. The other types of unlocks that you have are ability unlocks. We had certain abilities that players would seem to always pick up regardless what spec they had. So we made it so that abilities like that have to be unlocked through the AMP tree, and there’s one ability in each of those sub branches. There’s one assault ability, one support ability, and one utility ability that you can unlock through the AMP system, and that’s for every class.

Moving on, one more customization ability that encompasses the LAS, ability tier system and AMPs are the action sets. Not to be confused with the LAS, the action sets are a whole set of LAS abilities, the tier system and your AMP tree that can be swiped out for a completely different action set for a different situation. So at level 20 you’ll unlock your second action set and you can set up a whole new LAS, tier up those abilities and setup an all new AMP system to go with it. You can also unlock 2 more action sets through the elder game bringing you to a total of four action sets if you unlock them all.

Gallery: Combat

Gear

We were also supposed to hear from Creative Director Matt Mocarski about the customization of gear and what that all entails, but Matt was unavailable due to an emergency. We’ve reached out to Matt and hope to hear back soon, so if we get more info on gear customization we’ll probably release it as a new news post in the future.

What we do know, is that you can dye your gear through a pretty fancy dye system. It looks like all dyes are available from the start or perhaps new dye tiers are earned as you level, but to actually dye your clothes cost a certain amount of gold; although in the pictures in the gallery below it's more like a few silver to less than 1 silver to dye your clothes using all three dye layers. We can also see from those pictures that there are three dye layers/sections. Most likely a primary color, secondary color, and the last one is probably an accent color of some sort. You have six pieces of gear to dye, your helmet, shoulders, chest, gloves, pants and boots. Each piece can be dyed independently or you can select them all and dye them all at once.

Also, we know there are costumes you can equip, which basically work like a second set of gear with no stats. They aren't one piece costumes either, you have pieces for all the traditional pieces of gear and I believe you can even use other actual gear you like the look of as a costume piece, you just don't get the stats from it of course.

I can't wait to hear back from Matt, hopefully it's sooner than later, but you can bet on it that we'll get any new info on gear customization up as quickly as we know it, so keep on the lookout on the front page for more info on customizing gear!

Gallery: Outfit Customization

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