It’s not every day that the creative director of a AAA studios is made available to you. Carbine Studios has made it appear as a somewhat common occurrence for here at Lore Hound and we’re proud to bring you our latest discussion with Chad “Pappy” Moore. Today’s piece includes questions from our staff in addition to numerous questions sourced directly from the /r/WildStar community.
Lore Hound: Carbine Studios has always pushed lore, but ya’ll have been focusing even more lately with Loremageddon followed by the just-launched Voyage of the Nomad. Why the renewed focus on (expanding) the founding lore for WildStar?
Chad Moore: Having a healthy IP means that you need to continue to develop and expand it both inside the game and out. What’s great about this content is that it can be enjoyed by our existing players, who will see brand new stories such as the Voyage of the Nomad, as well as new players who are just coming to WildStar and are interested in knowing about our lore. I also think that it’s important that we continue to engage our community on multiple levels, and further expanding our universe (sometimes in conjunction with our existing fans, as we did with Loremageddon) is just one of the ways we can do that.
LH:WildStar made news all around the Nexus when it was revealed that quests would be initially consumed in Twitter-sized bites. Do you feel this may have been a misstep? Perhaps leading to many players not fully consuming the rich lore of Nexus and the universe it resides?
Chad: I don’t think that short quest text was a misstep at all. Really good storytelling doesn’t require walls of text in order to be compelling. And I still very much believe in the philosophy of allowing our players to choose when they want to dig deeper into our lore, and our current system does a great job of doing that.
LH: Carbine Studios has played with how storytelling can happen in an MMORPG from the aforementioned short-hand quests and lore posts to the single-player adventure of Journey to OMNIcore-1. Are these innovations reactions to how the lore’s being consumed or driven by technology advances?
Chad: As Creative Director I have really been focusing on the ways that we convey our stories in WildStar…both in new content, as well as in some of our existing content. We received a lot of feedback after the game launched about what kind of stories and experiences were resonating with people, and we have been making some improvements and changes based on it. What players experienced in Journey Into OMNICore-1 is a results of that, but that’s really just the beginning. I think that players will be very happy with some of the things that are coming down the pipe.
LH: The Mordesh were once a budding scientific culture on the cusp of joining the Dominion until the Contagion ravaged their society. Considering the near adoption of the alchemical race could the Cassians ever warm up to them again or is the perception of “plagued and evil” far too ingrained in Cassian minds?
Chad: Given everything that has taken place after the outbreak of the Contagion, I think that it is safe to say that the Dominion would not consider allowing the Mordesh into the empire – especially given the fact that each and every surviving Mordesh is really just a ticking zombie time bomb if their reserves of Vitalus ever run out. That is the kind of risk that the Dominion would never really be able to ignore, even if they get could get past the whole undead thing.
But the more important point is that the Mordesh themselves would never dream of joining the Dominion after what went down after the outbreak. In their minds, the empire abandoned the surviving Mordesh to die, ensuring that no one could come to their aid by establishing the quarantine and the blockade. The Mordesh will never forget that, and most of them want vengeance.
LH: The conspiracy theorists of the WildStar community don’t accept that the Aurin story is as straightforward as the Loremageddon post would leave us to believe. For instance, “the Dominion quickly suppressed any Aurin” can be received as the Dominion defending themselves from what they thought were mindless beasts or that it openly hunted and murdered the Aurin to take what it wanted. How’d it actually go down?
Chad: As with anything, it’s a matter of perspective. Here is one of them.
When the Dominion arrived on Arboria, their investigations confirmed that the Aurin had indeed aided the renegade Exiles, even going so far as to try and hide the fact that the Exiles had even been there. These were treasonous infractions of Dominion law, requiring an appropriate response from the empire. When the Aurin were made aware of the possible consequences of their actions, their response was both belligerent and openly hostile. The empire had no choice but to deploy military troops to the surface of the planet, and those troops were immediately met with resistance from Aurin instigators and saboteurs. As such resistance was considered an act of war as defined by laws that had existed for more than a thousand years, the Dominion had no choice but to engage the enemy and claim the planet for the empire.
Of course, there are other perspectives. Maybe we’ll get into those next time.
LH: I hope you polished up on your astronomy of the WildStar universe because these next two community questions focus on celestial bodies. For instance, Azuryon wants to know more about the red moon orbiting Nexus because details have been scarce.
Chad: The name of that moon is Pyra. The details have been scarce because we have some plans for that place, and we’re not ready to talk about them. I’m assuming that everyone has taken a close look at that moon in the animated screen that comes up when you start the game? If not, I would recommend doing so.
LH: Nexus is dancing around the gravity of three suns, ie “wild stars”. Outside of holding the Nexus in their combined orbit what’s their deal? Are they also Eldan creations? A power source, a beta Genesis Prime, a natural occurrence?
Chad: We haven’t really talked in detail about the trinary system in which Nexus is located. At this point, all data points to the fact that these are just three standard celestial bodies – but who’s to say if that is actually the case? The Eldan had hidden the location of Nexus and its advanced technology from the rest of the galaxy for millennia, so it stands to assume that these stars might have their secrets as well. What’s great about the WildStar universe is that almost anything is possible, and I love that fact that our fans are looking into every nook and cranny for places where new and exciting mysteries might be hiding.
LH: We know that there are six primal focuses aligned to elemental lore (water, air, life, etc.). An early Tales from Beyond the Fringe hinted that they reside on Nexus since six “powerful signatures” can be seen from orbit. Do earth, fire and logic reside on the planet as expected, simply undiscovered?
Chad: That is an awesome question. I mean, a really, really exceptional question. I’m sure the answer to such a great question is probably just as awesome and exceptional.
LH: WildStar is a culture full of religion, historically and active, from the Way of the Stone to Cassian devotion of the Vigilant Church. Cassians appear to have a strict following while some Granok tossed away the Way of the Stone causing their exile. Are these religions strictly followed? Are there sects or those that turn away from it, such as Cassians that don’t believe in their cultures teachings?
Chad: The WildStar universe is really similar [to] our own, where you have varying degrees of devotion and faith across all of the different religions and philosophies. Sometimes you get movements and cults that are considered heretical to certain systems of belief, such as the Ascendancy or the Thorns of Arboria. Many Draken still believe very strongly in the old gods of Mikros, while others have found meaning and enlightenment in the teachings of the Vigilant church. Most of the Granok who left with Durek Stonebreaker after the War of Gnox have turned away from the Way of Stone, but it would not be out of the question to encounter individuals who still cling to their old Gnoxian traditions despite what those traditions cost them.
For me, what’s most exciting is thinking about how many of these religions, philosophies, and beliefs will be tested and shaken by what is transpiring on Nexus. There are some great stories out there just waiting to be told.