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WildStar

Guild Wars 2 emerges unscathed by NCsoft's layoffs

Aion, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Miscellaneous, WildStar

GW2
Last night's revelation that a large chunk of the WildStar team had been let go is not the only bad news to come from NCsoft this week. According to a letter sent to Polygon, the NCWest layoffs affected all of NCsoft's western branches... except ArenaNet, which runs Guild Wars 2 and Guild Wars. Here's what NCsoft wrote:
Today we announced a restructuring of key operations within NC West. As a result of this restructuring, we are implementing staff reductions across our Western operations with the exclusion of ArenaNet. While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our core development capabilities and the intellectual properties (WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars franchises) that have made NCSOFT what it is today. However, we are looking to move into new business segments like mobile and tablet games as well as explore emerging technologies.

Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors.
Polygon's unnamed source says around 60 Carbine Studios employees were let go; we don't yet know how hard the other teams were hit.

Layoffs hit WildStar's Carbine Studios

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Rumors, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
Word is bubbling up from several sources that layoffs are impacting Carbine Studios and WildStar today. NCsoft confirmed the rumors in an official statement: "While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment. Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors."

Community Manager Tony Rey said that the remaining team would soldier on: "Today NC West announced staff reductions across its Western operations. While this impacted several colleagues, the teams here at Carbine are committed to supporting WildStar to ensure you get the experiences you want well into the future. We wish all of our friends well and hopefully our paths will cross again in the future."

Polygon reports that an unnamed source claims that 60 employees were let go. One employee affected was Chief Client Engineer Bitwise, who said farewell on Twitter: "My amazing time at Carbine has come to an end. I can't adequately express my appreciation to the company and players. Thank you!"

The WildStar developer recently saw several high-profile members of its team depart. Massively sends its regards to those impacted by the decision.

Leaderboard: Which 2014 MMO will be the most financially successful?

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, WildStar, Leaderboard, The Elder Scrolls Online

2014 is winding down, and when it comes to big triple-A MMO releases, it's basically over already. The Elder Scrolls Online, WildStar, and ArcheAge all debuted this year and apart from their differing premises, mechanics, and reception, they also differed in terms of their business models.

One thing they had in common, though, was expensive production values as well as the pressure of carrying the financial flag for their respective development studios. While it's hard to accurately predict the future, that's exactly what we're going to do in today's Leaderboard. Which of 2014's big three do you think will be the most financially successful in the long run? Vote after the cut and don't forget to explain your vote in the comments!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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WildStar's megaservers shouldn't impact addons much

Sci-Fi, Patches, Guides, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
Carbine Studios took to the forums earlier today to address how player addons may have been affected by WildStar's recent megaserver merge and name changes. The good news is that "most third-party addon users" will not be impacted whatsoever.

For addons that were impacted by the transition, Carbine posted tips on how to bring broken addons up to par. The team encouraged those dealing with broken mods by saying that the data is still there and that recovering it won't be difficult at all. This post is somewhat technical and relevant only to addon creators, but important to everyone who's mods are borked.

WildStar reveals big lore drops on the Aurin and the Mechari

Sci-Fi, Lore, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Boy, this information could have been really useful back when the game launched, but...
It's time to learn everything about the WildStar races that you were afraid to ask. Or, more likely, that you did ask. There's a lot of lore in the game, but it's possible to miss some pieces of important information, and players always have lore questions no matter what happens. So the team at Carbine Studios asked for player questions, and creative director Chad Moore has posted the first set of answers in the form of pages for the Aurin and the Mechari.

Both pages contain an overview of the racial histories, culture, social structures, relations with other races, lifespans... everything you could want to know at a glance regarding the operations of these species. Veteran players will find some elements of this unsurprising, but there's more to learn and some longstanding theories confirmed (like the functional immortality of the Mechari or the Aurin preference for analogies). Take a look at both pages for more information.

The Stream Team: WildStar megaservers are here

Fantasy, Video, Livestream, WildStar, The Stream Team, Subscription

The megaservers for WildStar have just been deployed. Will Massively's MJ see an increase in activity while roaming about the Aurin wilds? Perhaps not so much in the lower levels, but maybe the promise of more robust populations will entice players back to the world of Nexus and cause a rash of rerolls. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to peek into this new realm where everyone is now joined together, holding hands and singing Kum Ba Yah (OK, not really).

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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WildStar's Nexus Report on megaservers and the state of the game

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, WildStar

WildStar's latest Nexus Report has been posted to YouTube. Carbine's Chad Moore, Tony Rey, and Craig Turner are your hosts for a 35-minute show that delves into the specifics of megaservers as well as the current state of the game.

You can watch the full clip just past the cut!

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Global Chat: Going negative

Culture, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar

eso
It's hard to be positive as a blogger, I'd say. It's not only really easy to get whipped up into a writing lather when you're upset about something, but negativity sells as well, at least in the short-term. People love a good rant, especially when it mirrors their line of thinking and doesn't bash a game they like. Even I, though I try to stay positive as a rule, have fallen into such patterns.

This week in Global Chat, we're going to see more negativity than normal -- or perhaps, more critical analysis with vivid metaphors. That doesn't mean it's all downers nor mindless emotional wordsplosions. But I thought it was fascinating how these stories caught my eye over the past couple of weeks of MMO blog reading.

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Art director Matt Mocarski leaves WildStar

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Free-fallin', I'm free-fallin'.
We'd heard about recent departures, but this one is new. Former art director Matt Mocarski has apparently left Carbine Studios to work at Amazon Game Studios; no specific date for the departure has been given beyond the fact that he has already started his new job. WildStar has already seen two high-profile names leave the game post-launch, president Jeremy Gaffney and design producer Stephan Frost.

We wish Mocarski the best of luck in his new workspace.

[Thanks to JesLyck for the tip!]

Carbine's Donatelli and Moore on WildStar's population and philosophy

Sci-Fi, Interviews, Endgame, News Items, WildStar, Dungeons, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

No comment.
Two weeks ago, Carbine Studios offered us the opportunity to interview product director Mike Donatelli and creative director Chad Moore regarding the state of WildStar and what future updates would bring to the game. We have their thorough answers in their entirety for you today; Carbine assures us that there was no animosity or conspiracy in the delay, and we thank the studio for that. So let's get to it: Read on as the duo discuss WildStar's current population, business model, development strategy, and plans for the near future.

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WildStar's megaservers deploy this week

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
Carbine has just announced that WildStar's megaserver implementation, first revealed in September, will deploy this Wednesday. Megaservers are intended to increase server capacities and deal with fading populations without disrupting players, though they have the side effect of muddying server communities and eliminating the ruleset servers on which players originally rolled.

The servers will go offline on Wednesday, October 15th, at 8 a.m. EDT, for up to 24 hours. To make up for the extended downtime, Carbine is giving all players a month's worth of in-game Boom-Boxes and a free day of game-time.

Characters level 3 and up, as well as guild, arena teams, circles, mail, and auction items, will move intact, but characters under level 3 that haven't been played in the last month will be nuked. The team is simultaneously introducing surnames to avoid duplicate name conflicts.

WildStar's state-of-the-game missive promises new content, quality-of-life adjustments

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription

Carbine Studios has just posted another WildStar state-of-the-game letter to fans. In it, the studio says that an upcoming content update will provide two content chapters: The first, Mystery of the Genesis Prime, will introduce a new level 50 zone and tie into the plot from The Strain. The second, Journey to OMNIcore-1, opens up the "galaxy-spanning Nexus Saga," which the devs say includes "content for players of all stripes, from lore-filled immersive solo content, to fast and furious 5-player quests and massive 20-player public events."

Carbine also mentions sweeping bug fixes, ELO tweaks, housing remodeling, extensive quality-of-life adjustments for lowbies, and tutorial-skipping for alts.

The studio does not provide a date for the release; Carbine has previously floated November for the patch's likely arrival. The devs do say they're putting more into this release "than [they've] put into any update so far."

The Nexus Telegraph Extra: WildStar's deafening silence

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Answers so mysterious they've decided not to share any of them.
How many people are currently playing WildStar?

I don't know. You don't know, either, beyond vague guesses based on things like Raptr numbers, which say more about what Raptr users like to play than about actual game popularity. But it seems like the sort of answer that could be used to at least deflect a great deal of criticism, doesn't it? If Carbine Studios is sitting on two million players at a reasonable level of activity, that wouldn't shut down all discussion of the game's myriad problems, but it sure as heck would demand some rethinking.

That's precisely what I asked when I, at Carbine's behest, sent the team questions about the health of the game over a week ago. The bad news is that Carbine still hasn't answered my questions, nine days later. But the good news is that in the interim, Carbine was willing to tell another site that WildStar does not have a "player interest" problem, which seems like the sort of waffley question you'd answer if you really didn't want to be specific.

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The Nexus Telegraph: Dribs and drabs of WildStar

Sci-Fi, Culture, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Admittedly, talking about it seems a little silly.
The past few weeks have not been a fun time to be a fan of WildStar, and we still have heard distressingly little about what's coming in the next patch. Heck, the most I can think of hearing about in recent memory is the announcement that the game will not feature any sort of holiday content this year, and as those of you who know me will probably guess I kind of wanted a Halloween event. (I like October.)

But let's talk about what we do know and where we are right now, since barring any further developments, there's not much more to be said about what isn't working. Either things get addressed or they don't. So let's talk about the next drop, what we will and won't be getting from it with any measure of luck, and about the complete lack of holiday content and why anyone should care. Yes, even if you normally don't care about holiday content!

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Ask Massively: Dancing on WildStar's grave

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, WildStar

This week's revelation that WildStar Design Producer Stephen Frost is quitting his role is not the first and likely won't be the last blow to the beleaguered game. Carbine lost several high-profile developers before and after launch, and with raiding guilds abandoning the title, server merges on the way, endgame grind being scaled back, updates being heavily delayed, and Christmas being canceled, even more players are losing faith in the title. That's nothing new in our industry. MMOs are big and unwieldy and sometimes launch with terrible underlying problems. They can usually pull out of a nosedive, given time. So let's give them time.

But there's a whole contingent of gamers already dancing on WildStar's grave when it's not even dead. It's one thing to deeply oppose a game's design, but if you take delight in watching major MMOs flounder, you don't really deserve this genre at all.

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