Bitwise addresses WildStar addons effecting open world pvp
Lost to me in all the hype of organising headstart for the site and my guild. Bitwise took to the official forums to give us an official answer on addons such as TheZone which players were worried could ruin open world pvp. I saw many a discussion on it, a 300 comment Reddit post being one of the most prominent. For those of you coming into this not knowing what the hubbub is about, TheZone basically allowed you to locate any enemy player that was flagged for pvp in the vicinity, to the point of drawing a line right too them on screen. Bitwise wrote a very detailed, open and intelligent post on the issue and the steps he and his team will be taking on this.
In my opinion we can't have asked for a better response, they came to the conclusion that the actual benefits of this to players was minor, however the use to gankers is quite insane. So in that regard they will be reworking the UI code. This means chnaging it for themselves and any official addons that use the current method as they will always keep the ‘peer-level functionality'. Thanks to Bitwise for addressing this and I look forward to seeing the fix in game being a member of Hazak EU!
You can read the full post below.
For the last few weeks we've been getting a lot of feedback through the forums, live stream chats, and Twitter about certain capabilities that are exposed in the UI and available to Addons, specifically the ability to track the location of enemy player characters (or units) who are flagged as PvP. The most popular Addon that uses this capability is called TheZone, but there are others as well.
As promised, the devs are listening, and this issue is no different. I'd like to explain why we are addressing this, what we are planning to do, and when that will happen.
For those of you who have been following the UI dev team posts or have done any Addon work on WildStar, you will already know that we have what we call "peer-level functionality" in the UI. This means that external Addon devs have ALL the powers and capabilities that internal devs have. This will not change. What this means is that sometimes we have to rethink the kinds of capabilities we expose or how we get information to the UI, because we won't be the only people using it.
In the case of enemy player position, the first thing I want to reassure everyone about is that stealthed players will not be exposed by the UI. I can promise this because enemy stealthed units are removed from the client's memory when the server says to remove them. The UI can't show stealthed units because the UI doesn't know anything about them.
The only units that can be shown by Addons are units that are within a certain radius of the player (we call this the Area of Interest or AoI). We have ways to filter out certain players from the UI if we want, but here's the thing: the logic to filter out those units must exist on the client, which means that even if we don't tell the UI about those units, the units exist in memory. This means a hack like ShowEQ on EverQuest (from Back In The Day™) could easily show a list of all enemy players.
Our initial thought about Addons that might show enemy units is that it was an equalizer between those who might try to hack and those who just wanted to use an Addon. Also, showing enemy units just wasn't that big of a deal. Wait, wait, wait. Don't send me your angry tweets yet. Seriously, hear me out. We've tested this. When it comes right down to it, there isn't a huge advantage in PvP to knowing exactly where your enemy is. You still have to aim and hit them. If anything, it's a marginal advantage.
However, if you are interested in this post (and I'm assuming my sparkling prose has chased away any casual readers by this point) you probably know that in many ways, PvP is played on the margins. So that marginal advantage? Hey, that's an advantage, period. Or at least it's a perceived advantage.
The other problem that we didn't initially foresee is that while being able to zero in on someone might not be a huge advantage to you, it's a wonderful way to grief someone. And the thing about griefers is that they don't always care if they win the PvP confrontation, because they're playing a different game, something that only their dark souls understand. Seriously, screw those guys.
Not to pick on TheZone, because it's not the author's fault he/she did what we allowed, but the option it has to constantly draw a hint arrow to a selected unit was pretty much the straw that broke the Boulderback's... back. I mean... cheesy as hell, amirite?
So here is what is going to happen. The function to draw a hint arrow on a unit is going to do some checking first. If the unit you want to draw a hint arrow on is PvP flagged and so are you, the call to draw hint arrow just... won't. This goes a long way to solving the biggest problem. Yes, hax0rs (ZOMG "hax0rs" is in the spell check DB you guys!) may still be able to present you with a list in an external program of all units that your machine knows about, but they can't draw a freaking giant arrow on the screen for you. Still peer-level functionality here. We can't do it either.
Secondly (because I know what some of you are thinking, ahem Scelestic), when you have an enemy unit that is either occluded or behind the player, we won't return updated information about that player's position anymore. Instead, the last "known" information will be sent to the Addon requesting that information. Again, this limitation applies to Carbine Addons as well. If you can't do it, neither can we.
Finally, you're probably wondering, hey Bitwise, when will this happen? And the answer is: not before Head Start, I can tell you that. So, yeah, for at least a little while it's going to be exactly as it has been during Beta. I apologize for that; it's my fault. Part of me would have preferred to get this change integrated sooner, but it's not possible. We have to pound on a change like this to really test it, and for the most part, as I said earlier, it really isn't a huge advantage. If this bothers you, and I can understand that, you might want to be careful out there. I am going to do all I can to get this integrated... wait for it... SOON.