Wayfinder Developer Interview Talks Characters, Itemization, Endgame, and More

Wayfinder Developer Interview Talks Characters, Itemization, Endgame, and More

Wayfinder got a ton of details and plans outlined in an interview. They touch upon various topics, like characters, endgame, and more.

Wayfinder Developer Interview Talks Characters, Itemization, Endgame, and More

Gaming publication MMORPG recently sat down with developers Airship Syndicate for an exclusive interview. The team was represented by CEO Joe Madureira, Design Director Steve Madureira, marketing director AJ Lasaracina, and President Ryan Stefanelli. Overall, the conversation was quite the lengthy one. The team did touch upon many things that players will likely have in mind when coming into the upcoming MMO.

So kick back, load up your favorite character, and sit back comfortably in Skylight. We’ve got a ton to look into!

Welcoming the Wayfinders

Wayfinder’s story is serviceable and good for what it needs to achieve. We are Wayfinders, heroes of varied origins who have taken up arms to defend the land of Evenor from ancient evils. The Wayfinders themselves are predetermined characters already. Players can expect to experience character-specific plots and stories come up for each character.

The exact execution of these story threads is still being tested, however. Story beats may appear in instances when you visit certain locations in a character’s history. Or simply a place can evoke memories of the past worth reminiscing.

These instanced bits can also allow each character to interact with one another, especially if they’ve already had a relationship beforehand. Maybe then we could shine some light as to why the serious Wingrave would ally himself with the mysterious Kyros. Furthermore, there are going to be quests associated with them but they won’t be dropped all at once to sustain the interests of the game’s players. Instead, it’ll be released on a seasonal period.

Similar to Destiny 2, the idea is to execute activities such as Expeditions and Hunts that are engaging enough to make you want to participate over and over again by cycling between the characters you’ve recently unlocked.

Putting the “Massive” into “Massively Multiplayer”

Wayfinder is being advertised as an MMO, but its meat is mostly focused on the instanced areas reserved for parties and matchmaking. So the question comes in, how many players exactly can roam around the open areas at any given time?

What Zone Do I Conquer Today

What Zone Do I Conquer Today

Based on the tests that Airship Syndicate has been conducting over the past several months, Skylight, which is the main hub, can accommodate up to 40 people in an instance. The number is based probably on the most comfortable balance between stability and interactability.

For bigger activities, the developers are still deciding on the maximum number of players. This will probably depend on how they set up the respawn timers on enemies. Unlike classic MMOs where more than 30 people would engage in longstanding events, Wayfinder’s action genre enables you to wipe away dozens of enemies fairly quickly.

Moreover, the team is looking into improving their implementation of an overworld. This will likely be similar to Destiny 2 where planets are populated with an abundance of enemies and events.

According to Airship Syndicate President Ryan Stefano, “We want people to see each other as often as the game will allow, whether that’s technical limitations or design limitations.” This is a good route to take, especially since during the Closed Beta, we found that the world design could evolve more to make areas feel more alive.

Echoes, Scaling, and Everything in Between

In addition to the standard weapons and accessories, Wayfinder will have you collect loot known as Echoes. You can think of Echoes essentially as mods. Each has its own stats, rarities, and abilities. Special actions can even be triggered upon specific conditions. The team is making it so that lower-level areas containing special creatures will still provide value to any player, whether their level is high or not. This is especially important when a player is trying to fill up their Echo capacities to gain more power.

Lost Zones, for instance, won’t be too easy for high-level players. The difficulty will adjust accordingly so it’s not possible to one-shot every monster there is. Although you of course feel powerful, encounters will not be a cakewalk. This allows a certain degree of challenge to remain. However, it remains to be seen whether or not randomized events will make it to the cut to add to the encounter’s difficulty but this would certainly be interesting to see.

In the full launch of Wayfinder, Echoes will remain available to all Wayfinders. There will not be any character-specific mods from the get-go. But Airship Syndicate has plans of possibly creating mods that will further enhance a class’ abilities. For now, you’ll have to be content with simply upgrading your abilities as we’ve experienced in the Closed Beta. But back then, there was no way to respec the points you already invested.

The Wayfinder Monetization Model

Monetization might just be one of the most interesting topics for any new game. This is especially true for a free-to-play MMO like Wayfinder. It’s a plus that Digital Extremes is the publisher because perhaps their model will make its way into this action title. They have been quite famous (along with Grinding Gear Games’ Path of Exile) for creating a fair monetization model for an entirely free game.

First off, there will be no loot box or gatcha system. The team wants to avoid players feeling like they’re not getting what they paid for, which is an unfortunate side effect of random loot boxes.

There’s going to be an Awakening System, which will allow you to craft the same character over and over again to boost their performance. Players won’t be able to buy the same character from the shop over and over. You can only “buy” characters if you don’t already own them. This is so that you actually spend time playing to awaken your Wayfinder, and not just level up with your wallet.

Also, as expected, there will be a cosmetic shop in the game. However, it isn’t confirmed just yet if you can earn the in-game currency, or if you can earn these cosmetics as rewards via other means.

A Character Study

Things will get quite stale if players would be limited to the current 6 characters through to the end of time. As such, Airship Syndicate is planning to release one new Wayfinder every 3 months. But it’s worth noting that new weapon types will be less frequent than new Wayfinders. Instead, varieties of already existing weapon classes will pop up more frequently as the game is updated.

It's Wayfinder Genji!

It’s Wayfinder Genji!

Furthermore, there will be archetype levels and talents corresponding to the characters you play. These features weren’t present as of the latest beta. Now groups of characters belong to certain archetypes, meaning that leveling them up will increase the respective archetype’s level. According to Design Director Steve Madureira, “For example, let’s say you start with Wingrave, and you max him out, you’ll have two talent points now, for all of your Warmasters. Then there’s also the concept of cross-archetype talents. When you fully master a tree with an archetype, you actually unlock a special talent in your other archetypes.

We’re in the Endgame Now

Wayfinder’s endgame plan is reminiscent of Destiny 2’s. Specifically, in the vein that you’ll gain access to new zones. This will pave the way to run after a higher level cap, grind for new weapons and Echoes, and even play dungeons at greater difficulties. Of course, the main story will continue to be a part of the journey.

Endgame Activities

Endgame Activities

Additionally, there will be a Housing System, which won’t only be cosmetic in nature. Aside from mentioning that its “slots are power-based”, not much is known as to what we can expect here since it hasn’t been part of the beta. Perhaps we will get some global passive abilities or even a consolidated Forge system in one place.

Finding the Wayfinder

Wayfinder just ended one of its closed betas quite recently. If you want to know our initial thoughts on the game, check out our Wayfinder Closed Beta Impressions. The next thing coming up would be the game’s Early Access sometime in May of this year. In the meantime, be sure to visit our Wayfinder Wiki for more on the game. Be on the lookout for various Wayfinder Guides and Builds to make the most of your time in the game.

In other news, check out The Last Spell is a Hybrid Turn-Based Tactical Tower Defense RPG, and Wild Hearts New Update Brings New Kemono, Skills and More.

Writer at Fextralife. I really like vanilla ice cream.

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