Wildstar interview: Stephan Frost on fixing the MMO endgame

PC Gamer: It sounds like you're not on the back-foot when it comes to endgame. You have systems in place for the people who rush through.

Stephan Frost: I would not be surprised if within 24-48 hours, someone was in level cap in our game. It would not shock me in the slightest. We're fine with that. Well, we're not. Take your time. We don't want people to rush through this stuff, but we're knowledgeable about that, sure.

PC Gamer: So for more casual players—those who aren't going to be doing raids—is end game based around Renown and Elder gems?

Stephan Frost: That's one of them. Renown is certainly one of them. Another way you can do stuff for PvE is we have these things called PCPs. PCPs are Pocket Cap Playspaces, and so they are effectively public events that you can compete in. Some of them are in the world, like in Malgrave. This is a level 50 area, and there's two faction parts to it, so the Exiles and Dominion have their events that are going on. If the Dominion finishes theirs faster than the Exiles, they get more rewards for doing that. So it's not just the same old same old, finding quests or something like that. We'll include dailies for people who maybe don't want to do that stuff, but that's another option that we have their too.

We also have those PCPs in instances, so you can have groups of people going into these things, trying to get these things done, and you can earn rewards that way as well. We also have stuff for housing that you can unlock and find. The elder currency that you're earning can unlock loads of stuff, and it's not like when you get to end game you'll be like "well, there's nothing more for me to do. There's loads of stuff you can get, and different ways; doing those Shiphand missions that scale, and doing all that stuff is a great way to do it. And doing dungeons, and PvP—pretty much, if there's a way to level up in Wildstar, we have end game for it.

PC Gamer: So, with PCPs, there's a competition element to the factions? It's not just PvP combat?

Stephan Frost: It's mostly combat, really. But it is a good way to build up that competition to get through stuff faster. The fun part of it is, a lot of the... let's say you're collecting resources and you need 800 pieces of something to build a massive communications dish. You're going out in the field and finding those. Well, it just so happens to be the same field that the opposing faction is in as well, so there is some competition there. We have servers where you can turn off World PvP if you're not into that. We also have World PvP servers too, so you can fight everybody to get that. It's just two different types of gameplay: factions that are coming together and doing different stuff.

PC Gamer: Moving on to Warplots, how do teams go about planning their tactics?

Stephan Frost: You can build your Warplot way in advance. It's not like when you start a match, you have to build it in 10 minutes and then the game starts. You can build it far in advance, and build in loads of different stuff, so people can see what the Warplot layout is going to be and theorise what their strategies come out to, and what they can do with that. There are definitely some people who try to do the zerging methodology, but certainly the people who are more organised and have figured out ways to defend against that and set up Warplot traps that were just made for people who do that offense... if they can react to that defensively, then they'll take them out every time. Also more skilled PvP players are going to have a hand up in this game too.

It becomes very interesting to watch and see different people come up with these ideas of how they're going to do stuff. Are they going to be on the offensive? Are they going to be defensive? Do we use our Warplot boss that we've gotten from a dungeon and make sure that it takes out half of their raiding party that's coming in? There's just a load of ways that you can react to, and it's pretty fun to see how people are reacting.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.