WildStar Chapter Update #6 (The Christmas Carol version)

Discussion in 'Front Page News' started by Ren, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. Ren Elder

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    A WildStar Christmas Carol. In the spirit of the Holidays, we bring you our sixth WildStar Chapter update – this time in Dickensian guise (forgive us Charles). To those of you who have or are playing in our Chapter, thank you so much for your investments of time and energy; it’s been a challenging but definitely rewarding latter half of the past year. So let’s raise our glasses (and cross our fingers) for continued good times in 2015!

    Ghost of Christmas Past
    “Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?” asked Scrooge.
    “I am!”
    The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside him, it were at a distance.
    “Who, and what are you?” Scrooge demanded.
    “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
    “Long Past?” inquired Scrooge: observant of its dwarfish stature.
    “No. Your past.”

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    These holidays also mark the six month anniversary of the Chapter! One of the qualities that first attracted me to LotD is the longevity of the guild (founded in 1995) as well as the duration of each effort with a game, demonstrated time and time again. Trust me, it is incredibly frustrating to final reach level cap only to look around and find that all your "hardcore" friends and guild mates are no longer playing. That doesn’t happen in LotD, and certainly did not happen in our WildStar Chapter.

    As a game WildStar started with great promise, blending familiarity with measured innovation, all bundled up into a very tight and appealing package. To quote a critic’s review from June 2014:
    However it did not take long to begin to unravel as some less obvious but catastrophic decisions by the Development team cause the subscription base to plummet. Broken PvP itemization absolutely wrecked early balance, so the first few to 1800 dominated. This included a rash of Arena win traders which then made it nigh impossible for those trying to advance legitimately. Many people either cancelled their sub, or moved into other aspects of WildStar and stopped PvPing altogether. Drop 3’s rating reset and the restating of tiered gear helped, while the constant struggle with class balance (with the most recent offender being field Medics) has hindered a resurgence of PvP.

    PvE has always been easier to balance than PvP as NPCs are a little (!) more predictable than players. But the raid attunement process distilled the player base pretty quick into the “In Crowd” and everyone else. Either you had the time to slug through, or you were of no use to your Guild’s raid progression (and it is a shame that such a minority percentage of the playerbase has been able to participate). Roster Boss struggles were real – getting 20 for Genetic Archives and then even worse 40 for Datascape, was often more difficult than completing the actual game content. And for those looking for non-raid content, other than the one bright spot of housing, the open world content is very grindy and repetitive. Does anyone really enjoy doing a set of daily quests the thirtieth time in a row to finish the rep grind?

    LotD is now on our third server (Pago, Pergo and now Warhound) due to server mergers to consolidate a shrinking player base. And to compensate for player attrition we have merged in four sizable guilds (welcome AltTabMe!) and recruited numerous individual players, all the while maintaining what it means to be part of LotD. Without this continued effort, we too would have fallen victim to the Roster Boss.

    [Next up, the Ghost of Christmas Present.]
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  2. Ren Elder

    Ghost of Christmas Present

    Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch, that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. In easy state upon this couch, there sat a jolly Giant, glorious to see; who bore a glowing torch, in shape not unlike Plenty’s horn, and held it up, high up, to shed its light on Scrooge, as he came peeping round the door.

    “Come in!” exclaimed the Ghost. “Come in! and know me better, man!”

    Scrooge entered timidly, and hung his head before this Spirit. He was not the dogged Scrooge he had been; and though the Spirit’s eyes were clear and kind, he did not like to meet them.

    “I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the Spirit. “Look upon me!”


    STATE OF THE GAME
    We continue to find ways to have fun, although at times we as players are feeling a huge burden on us to position ourselves in exactly the right place so that we can participate (eg PvE Roster Boss or cross faction coordination in scheduling PvP queues), or have to create the content ourselves. LotD has taken a leadership role in the community doing just these things, recently amplified by a few spotlight additions to the Chapter – players who are very outspoken as podcasters and organizers of player events.


    PLAYER DRIVEN CONTENT
    We are extremely happy to announce the addition of Flo X to our officer corp as an Event Lead. He is the driving force behind Warhound Events. Along with a staff that includes both Exile and Dominion, Flo X endeavors to bring player created content to the Warhound community. This includes a special emphasis on open world PvP. As LotD has deep roots in PvP MMOs, this is right in our wheelhouse and LotD has heavily supported these events with our participation. Flo X has picked some really cool places for battles such as the Bio-domes or Farside’s zero G, and simply invites everyone to show up and rumble.

    This definitely reminds me of simpler times during the vanilla-WoW days when prior to the creation of formal battlegrounds, the PvP crews would show up to Tarren Mill and rumble – just for the fun of it. And the bragging rights! Some clever world design by Carbine could have taken better advantage of these wickedly cool environments to foster conflict. Unfortunately in the absence of player scheduled events, almost every zones is barren these days other than a few that have max level daily quest chains. And it has become a struggle to get enough people to show up to these open world events as the Dominion population has become extremely small on Warhound.


    One of the coolest non-PvP related events run by Flo’s team was the housing contest. This was a huge effort by Flo X and Warhounds Event crew to organize and judge the event. And of course it wouldn’t have been possible without all the aspiring architects! A special congratulations to the two LotDers, Miss Diagnosis and The Grandmaster, who finished among the winners.



    For those with short attention spans, jump to the results at the end of the video.


    COMMUNITY FEEDBACK
    Bazeleel, another recent addition to our Chapter, created an open letter/video to Carbine regarding the state of PvP. It is a realistic and honest appraisal yet still optimistic about the viability to correct the trajectory of the PvP component of the game. Topics include State of PvP, gear disparity (why is this even an issue in a skill based game), class imbalances, and a currently unhealthily small community where queue pops are limited to prime time.

    What resonates with me personally is the positivity and optimism of this commentary, and the constructive nature (how to fix it) as opposed to just ranting. As a follow up, there has been some healthy public interaction with the Development team on the forums which is definitely encouraging.

    Carbine - LotD has a long history of collaborating with developers during Alpha and Beta testing to work through these types of issues. If there is anything we as a guild can do to support your efforts to improve the state of PvP, please do not hesitate to let us know.

    PVP
    Our PvP update is brought to you by Tsunamic (aka Rayne Prime) who has been doing an extraordinary amount of work to make sure the battleground queues keep popping:

    PvP has had its ups and downs since last update. Our new PvP Officers and event Officer have been working hard with the Dominion to organize events. Some take off and some don't. Upcoming we are also working with Entity (the NA PvE server) with both Exile and Dominion factions for more events.


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    The last 14 battleground matches that we did against Domis # 1 PvP guild were amazing, and we WON 10 games, lost 2, and tied 2.

    We also started doing Arena 3s in guild but recently got the word out advertising our PvP schedule to Warhound and Entity to increase the PvP player base. This is Slowly working and will continue to Grow !!


    PVP WARPLOT.jpg

    Warplots have picked up since last update.... we have gotten a few games off the ground. However due to lack on player base on Domi side this is struggling, but we hope to get this going every week in the New Year.

    Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. Sun Tzu


    (First Dickens and now Sun Tzu - aren't we cultured?!)

    PVE
    End game raiding has probably fared the best of all the content choices because there are two superbly designed raid instances just sitting there waiting for us. And no guild, anywhere in the world, has yet to beat the final boss Avatus in Datascape. So the struggle becomes one of momentum maintenance- progressing enough on a week to week basis to keep your roster happy and returning for the next raid, while being able to recruit replacements for what is hopefully minimal attrition. This has worked very well for LotD over the past months as we went 5/6 in Genetic Archives through December.


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    News flash! Yesterday I intended to use the image below - us so very close to killing Dreadphage Ohmna, the final boss in Genetic Archives - as an indication of where we are in regards to progression.


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    Well today, I am happy (maybe even a bit giddy) to announce that we are now 6/6 in GA as we finally dropped Ohmna just last night! Wheeeee!


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    Our Ohmna kill is only the 32nd North American first-kill recorded on WildStar Progress, which is a pretty big deal for us as a guild that only raids 9 hours a week. The last Warhound guild to have a first-kill on Dreadphage Ohmna was early November (Illicit Awakening) and before that you have to go all the way back to September. There are simply not a lot of people engaged in this content right now.

    [Two Ghosts down and one to go! Thanks for reading so far.]
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  3. Ren Elder

    Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

    The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently, approached. When it came near him, Scrooge bent down upon his knee; for in the very air through which this Spirit moved it seemed to scatter gloom and mystery.

    It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.

    He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread. He knew no more, for the Spirit neither spoke nor moved.

    “I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?” said Scrooge.

    The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand.


    Looking towards 2015
    So what do our Warhound and WildStar communities look like in the immediate future?


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    LotD’s continued PvE raid activity and progress, a roster big enough to run two full GA raids, along with the fresh promise of Datascape now on our raid schedule, reaffirms the Chapter’s PvE health and provides clear focus for the upcoming months.


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    We just got our first Datascape miniboss kill and associated Legendary quality loots, with much more to follow as we really dig in. Many of you know that I game with my son Lobo – you can hear his reaction when the loots start dropping! So continued good fortune to our raiders in 2015.

    On a more serious note, the dwindling PvP player base is of grave concern and any letup of LotD’s, and our Domi counterparts, organization of BGs would be a catastrophic loss to the scene. There are already limited queues for practice BGs during primetime (even when not running premades, LotD often representing a large number of the 10 man PUGs). Queues for Rated BGs have only been popping when LotD on Exile and Gatlike on Dominion directly communication to coordinate to queue up and fight.



    RBGs scheduled.jpg
    Just over the past few days the situation has become even more tenuous as a number of Dominion PvP-focus guilds including Gatlike have left Warhound (PvP) and moved to Entity (PvE), ironically in search of better chances to continue PvPing. The higher population base on Entity offers improved recruitment to maintain a full 10man team. And Warplot 30 man teams cannot be composed of players from multiple servers. This effectively kills any open world PvP on Warhound as acknowledged by Flo X in today’s “Do or Die” post on Warhound Events, and related discussion on the official Carbine forums.

    During Beta I recall chain insta-queues with fresh level 6 characters (the minimum needed to queue) and playing until the character dinged 15 out of the noobie bracket. Then it was time to delete and reroll to try a different character. The gameplay at that time was less about about gear advancement or ratings, and just simply for the sheer joy of the fight! For me, that magic is what is now missing from WildStar PvP.

    We need rebalance/releveling of gear discrepancies which shut out new players, and if gear advancement is to remains in the game then we need an alternative path to the Rated match system which is failing to consistently deliver gameplay to the playerbase. The game is at a tipping point where any further loss of players interested and willing to queue up for BGs will simply mean a permanent stop to the action. And then those few remaining players will go elsewhere and WildStar would become a PvE-only game, most likely on a single PvE server.

    There is a lot of work to do in the coming year to make WildStar a viable PvX gaming option, especially as it is still running on a subscription model (with an ingame currency sub option) so the playerbase feels on the clock and really needs to see immediate communication of a vision for improvement. We all want the game to succeed and continue to do our best to support the community who remains playing WildStar. A player-organized Town Hall is being scheduled for January, and one of the advantages of a smaller community is that each of our voices carries just a little bit more weight.

    And so once again, Happy Holidays to all those who have come across this missive. May your roast pig be succulent and your figgy pudding plentiful!

    And so to end our Christmas Carol with Scrooge's transformation...

    …and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
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  4. Cedwyn Banned

    It's empty?!?

    I think this tells a lot about you Ren. You suck at Wildstar!
     
  5. Ren Elder

    The ghosts don't all come at the same time! What is wrong with you Cedwyn?
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
  6. Bazeleel Member

    Great guild and great community we have here! Happy to be apart of it!
     
  7. Leshil Warlord

    Testament on how to run a chapter, Ren. Nice job everyone.
     
  8. Ren Elder

  9. Ren Elder

  10. qberto Crowfall Leadership

    Great update Ren!
     

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