During PAX East 2014, Jen Gordy, lead PvP designer on WildStar, led a behind-closed-doors tour of Warplots — the main end-game PvP 40v40 feature. She went pretty in-depth with everything involved in Warplots, including how to build them. Still, let's start at the beginning: how to create a Warparty. If you'd like to skip to a certain section, click one of the links directly below.
The only requirement to create a Warparty is being level 50. A Warparty is a guild-like permanent team with a fixed size of 80 members. You have different ranks (and even custom ranks) that you can set up permissions for, like building or entering into a match.
I’m sure you’re wondering, “can I be in a Warparty and a guild?” The answer is yes, you can. They are two different entities. This allows smaller guilds to team up and create a larger Warparty, creating something resembling an alliance. Likewise, a large guild can split up into multiple Warparties.
In a Warparty, you will have two ratings: a Warparty rating used to competitively match you, and a personal Warparty rating that you use for personal rewards. While you can have 80 people in a Warparty, the match size only allows for 40 Warparty members to participate in a match. When your Warparty queues up, it takes any Warparty members that have queued up into the match with you.
What happens if you don’t have enough? There is a mercenary system in place that will fill out your Warparty. A mercenary is a player queued for a Warparty match that does not belong to a Warparty. They get matched up according to your Warparty rating and their personal rating.
Once you create a Warparty, you can go into the Build map using a recall ability to customize your Warplot. Let it be known that you do not build before the match; you have to customize your Warplot before you queue up.
So what’s a Warplot? It’s a customizable flying fortress that lands on the battlefield when a Warplot match starts. Until then, you’re just flying around in the air while you’re building the Warplot. The Warplot is customizable with modifications/plugs and freeform placed traps and turrets. Enhancements can offer defensive or offensive capabilities during a match, such as mines to protect your base, or a missile launcher that fires rockets at your enemies. There are seven socketable areas in a Warplot where you can place modifications/plugs, complete with stairs and walkways to help with defense.
To customize and purchase enhancements for your Warplot, you’ll be using Warcoins, a special team/Warparty currency. Upon creating a Warparty, you’ll get an initial 500 Warcoins to help build a Warplot for your first match. Warparties will get more Warcoins by completing Warparty PvP matches.
One example of a plug is a travel plug near the center of the Warplot that can be used to traveling offensively or defensively. This deployment station allows you to be dropped into the thick of things by walking up to an active teleportation pad. Doing so will teleport them to the corresponding number on the holographic map in the center of the plug.
There's a piece of the plug that can be attacked; attacking the plug and bringing it to zero will deactivate the plug and take its uses away. Here’s the big thing: damage carries over from match to match. So you’ll either have to repair the plug in-match using in-match resources or you use Warcoins to repair it after the match. Plugs are also upgradeable during the match using in-match resources, with the ability to be upgraded twice. For this deployment plug, two more pads will become active and give you two more drop locations.
To the left and right of the front-center plug is sit small Warplot spaces. There, Jen placed a military research center and a silo. These plugs give Warparty-wide bonuses and modifications to your team during the match. The military research center provides a health bonus to all freeplaced traps and turrets, and upgrading it increases the health bonus. The silo increases damage mitigation to your teammates, also available to be upgrading. These plugs are also interactible. Right-clicking on the military research center will give you a temporary turret item to spawn in the battlefield, while the silo gives players an item that grants a defensive aura to protect nearby teammates.
These plugs also have defenses. The silo has stationary defensive cannons that you can use to attack enemies, as well as a series of laser grids that will damage them. The military research center has a ranged dps guard and an assassin guard; upgrading the plug will increase the number of guards on the plug, while destroying the plug means no guards will spawn. Each plug also has funneling techniques to bring the enemies into them.
On the outside left and right of the Warplot sit large Warplot sockets. Large plugs can be one of two different types: either a hazard or a guard plug that can be used offensively or defensively with the purchase of a variant. The guard plug that Jen showed us is a Battlebot factory, which is a skilled variant. The guard plug provides guards to whichever side the plug is socketed into, with upgrades increasing the guards health and damage.
Let’s say you used a defensive variant for the plug. The guard plug will spawn more guards; if you used an offensive variant, the guards will go from your base to the enemy’s base to help you attack them. The guard plugs have different creature types with different stats and abilities, so you have options depending on what you want from your plug, whether it’s more health or crowd control.
The hazard plug provides an environmental hazzard for the side of the base you socket it into. The hazard shown to us was a nuclear plant that brings up a hazard meter and debuffs the enemy, as well as damages them while they are in the hazardous effect. If the hazard meter fills, they’ll be hit for higher damage, so they’ll want to destroy the plug as quickly as possible. Teammates will go through the plug in a hazmat suit, so they won’t take damage.
Then there’s the superweapon plug. Superweapon plugs, as well as guard plugs, give players an ability on a special warplot bar during the match. This is used for sending reinforcements to the enemy base with the guard plug, while the superweapon action will fire the weapon. The multiple rocket launcher superweapon will fire missiles from the launcher, but it has a team-wide cooldown so it can’t be spammed. It also requires match resources, so you’ll want to make sure your team captures the resource nodes.
There’s one more plug — a boss summoner plug. If you capture a boss from a 40-man raid that you’ve defeated, you can summon him as a boss in a Warplot, either defending your Warplot or going to attack the enemy one. So that means the enemy will have to deal with you, your defenses, and a raid boss with a number of special attacks.
I know what you’re wondering and the answer is yes: if both Warparties summon a boss, the two bosses can fight against each other. There’s one downside to this: boss summoning will consume the boss, so you’d have to go out, defeat the boss and hopefully capture him again if you want to use him in your Warplot again.
All plugs have a cost that is tallied up for the total battle maintenance cost. This is used from energy resources in matches. While you can win by destroying both of the generators in the enemy's Warplot, there's another method to win — by attrition (the enemy running out of energy). This happens by controlling energy points in the middle ground of the map between the two teams' Warplots, which will take energy away from the enemy. While kills take away from energy, the cost of your Warplot's plugs will drain energy, as well. So keep that in mind when choosing your strategy and planning your defenses.