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WildStar

WildStar slashes box prices by 33%

Sci-Fi, Economy, WildStar, Subscription

wildstar
In a day after releasing its third major update to the game, WildStar has gone on sale by reducing the cost of both editions by 33% if purchased through the official website. This brings the standard edition down to $40 and the digital deluxe edition to $55. Both editions come with a month of game time included.

Earlier today we reported on an interview in which the studio said that its publisher was standing behind the game and that it had strong though unspecific box sales. Yesterday, WildStar released Drop 3, Mystery of Genesis Prime, a content patch with over a hundred pages of bug fixes.

NCsoft 'sees a future' for WildStar

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Interviews, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription

I also see a future for WildStar. I'm not sure it's the same future.
Eurogamer recently spoke to WildStar Creative Director Chad Moore and Product Director Mike Donatelli to counter concerns that WildStar is a "sinking ship." Fortunately for players, NCsoft, which controls Carbine, apparently doesn't think so. "They specialise in MMOs, that's what they do. And they see a future for WildStar," Donatelli explained. "And as far as NCsoft is concerned, they're going to support us, and I take them at their word for that when they've made a commitment to us for the future, so I feel very comfortable making that statement." Moore noted that Carbine still has "hundreds" of employees in spite of recent layoffs, and while he wouldn't outright condemn negative Glassdoor reviews, he did recommend they be taken "with a grain of salt."

Regarding sales, Donatelli told Eurogamer the game sold "many, many, many times" the hoped-for 250,000 boxes, but he doesn't mention current subs. Back in October, he told Massively that the game had "hundreds of thousands of active players." NCsoft declined to clarify that ambiguous phrasing when asked.

WildStar's Mystery of the Genesis Prime patch launched yesterday.

Global Chat: Why we blog

World of Warcraft, Culture, Opinion, The Secret World, RIFT, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar

tsw
Why an MMO player decides that he or she needs to take up an additional hobby of writing about these games isn't much of a mystery. We may all blog about a huge variety of topics, but the impetus behind it tends to be very common: We have so many thoughts about and so much love for these games that we can't hold it in.

To blog is to open up and share experiences, observations, and hopes. It's to connect with others and to perhaps give another layer of meaning to the time that we spend in-game. We don't blog because we have to; we blog because we simply could not not blog.

So let's see a few examples of what MMO bloggers couldn't keep inside of them! From spooky stories to rapturous tales of exploration, it's a testament to the power of words and goofy rejoinders.

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WildStar's Mystery of the Genesis Prime is live today [Updated]

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

It'd be nice to actually learn what Drusera has spent the entire lifespan of the game apologizing for, yes.
It's been a long road getting from there to here, but players who have been waiting patiently for the next WildStar patch can stop waiting. Mystery of the Genesis Prime adds two major new pieces of content: the Defile, a new zone extending off of Blighthaven; and Journey to Omnicore-1, a new solo instance that allows players to explore more of the story behind Nexus.

The Defile includes the Black Focus (which we toured), the Siege of the Lightspire, and a variety of solo quest chains. Journey to Omnicore-1 kicks off the game's ongoing story, exploring more of the details behind what took place on Nexus and how the events on the planet could have long-lasting consequences for everyone on the planet and off. The patch also increases loot rewards from enemies fought in groups, adds rental mount vendors for low-level players, and increases money rewards from quests and junk items. You can take the patch for a drive today; it took a while to land, but there's a lot of new stuff therein.

[Source: Carbine Studios press release]
[Update: Carbine has posted a list of known patch issues on the official site; they include currency display issues, non-functioning gardens, and borky public events.]

The Daily Grind: Should MMOs have a 'raid stat'?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Miscellaneous, WildStar

Last week, WildStar dev J-Tal outright apologized for the game's poor solo progression, stating that Carbine is "well aware that solo progression in WildStar is pretty much non-existent" and is working on the problem. But as I was researching that quote, what caught my eye is the post right after J-Tal's mea culpa, a benign little question by a player named Nike Online:
If progression is driven by need, why is there not a budget-hungry 'raid stat' that only provides benefit inside raid instances and keeps those drops more sedate when taken out into the open world? [...] PvP gear has its own stats to protect its environement from outside gear coming in and dominating. PvP power/defense also drain budget from those items so that it's not the optimal open-world gear.
Lots of games have tried PvP stats (for example, World of Warcraft's now-defunct spell penetration and resillience), but I've never seen the equivalent for raid gear. It's definitely a band-aid on a game with innate design and balance issues, but it does seem to solve the problem of overgeared raiders trampling the open world. What do you think: Should MMOs have a "raid stat"?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

WildStar Loremaggedon illuminates the Mordesh, Draken

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Lore, MMO Industry, News Items, WildStar

WildStar's Loremaggedon is down to its final two races. This week's installment features the Mordesh and the Draken, and it's required reading if you're curious about how the former lived "before they because quasi-undead space zombies."

Carbine's Chad Moore says that Loremaggedon isn't quite finished, either, even though it's now covered all of WildStar's races.

The Stream Team: Whiling away my Monday in WildStar

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Livestream, WildStar, The Stream Team

It's the continuing adventures of Emy Fluffybutt! Last episode Massively's MJ took on a group boss in WildStar with the unexpected help of a passerby who jumped into the fray. (See, there are other low-level players in the game!) But even with that accomplishment, she's far from her goal of retiring comfortably in her very little handcrafted housing hideout. That means there's plenty places to see and mobs to kill -- and hopefully housing items to plunder! What better way to while away a Monday than collecting loot? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to continue the bouncy Aurin's adventures on Nexus.

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, November 10th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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A tour of WildStar's upcoming Black Focus area

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Patches, Previews, Opinion, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

I can say it was about what I expected, sadly.
The next update for WildStar has some pretty big shoes to fill. Arriving on November 11th, it's the first update the game has seen since August, when the game abruptly peeled back from monthly updates to quarterly ones. It comes after a round of server merges. It needs to prove to fans who are still subscribed to the game that there's good reason to keep playing and that more content is on the way in the near future -- that there's a reason to hold out hope.

Earlier this week, I toured the Black Focus, the five-person group content releasing in the new region of The Defile in the upcoming patch. Not all of my questions about the zone as a whole were answered since I didn't get to go through all of the quests leading into this particular encounter. However, I did get a chance to form at least some first impressions and see how well this bit of content holds up. And there's a new trailer past the cut if you just want to watch that.

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WildStar shows off the Mystery of the Genesis Prime

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

The real mystery is why she decided to float around eternally without pants.
The nature of the Genesis Prime is one of the major elements of WildStar's story as presented to players on the road to level 50. Even once you get there, though, you still have questions, ones that will hopefully be answered by the end of the game's next update. Lucky for you, a new trailer for the Mystery of the Genesis Prime update is now available, along with a look at the Defile region that should help bring much of this storytelling to a conclusion for the time being.

Inside the Defile, players will be exploring solo content in the Sonic Plaza and the Strain Maw, taking on five-person tasks in the Black Focus, and fighting through large-group challenges with the Siege of the Lightspire. Carbine intends to have content in place for you no matter what your preference is.

The update was originally scheduled to launch in November, but no formal date has been announced. Check out the trailer past the break, scope out the locations available, and get ready to find some answers to one of the game's biggest mysteries.

[Source: Carbine Studios press release]

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WildStar's Loremageddon focuses on Cassians, Exile Humans

Sci-Fi, Lore, MMO Industry, News Items, Races, WildStar

WildStar's Loremageddon continues this week with an installment focused on the Cassians and the Exile Humans. These two groups have a healthy dislike for one another, and if you'd like to know why, you should head to their respective web pages and do a bit of reading. You'll learn about Jarec the Vigilant, Exile cologne, and the reasons behind the Cassian Civil War, among other tidbits.

Employee reviews blast Carbine Studios management

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

On the plus side, we'll give you an extra hour in the employee ball pit.
Whenever you hear of a studio laying off 60 people, you have to think things aren't going well. Sometimes it's a matter of bad luck and circumstance, but sometimes it's a case of bad management and poor decisions. Current and former employees of Carbine Studios attribute it to the latter, with the company holding a 41% rating on Glassdoor.com as reported by The Escapist. The reviews uniformly emphasize that WildStar is an excellent game, but they also point out universal flaws with management, decision-making, and communication.

Several employee reviews characterize the studio as a "boy's club" with only the top decision-makers given leeway. There are also criticisms of the studio's overall implementation of strategies and willingness to adapt. As the reviews come from both present and former employees, the negativity speaks to some underlying problems at the studio and certainly does little to alleviate the sense of general anxiety for players regarding the state of the game.

Global Chat: Wrongs and rights

EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Trove

trove
So often, bloggers are struggling to succinctly answer the same question in a variety of formats: What is right with this game and what is wrong with it? It gets complicated fast when biases, comparisons, and general drama enters into it, although I wouldn't have it any other way. MMOs should be filtered through our various viewpoints to gain broader understanding and (hopefully) provide better feedback.

This week in our journey around the blogosphere, we'll take a second look at Trove, see where ArcheAge messed up, and attempt to understand why PvP sandboxes will wither and die if they're not welcoming to carebears. What's wrong? What's right? That's up to them -- and you -- to decide!

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WildStar opens up free, indefinite megaserver transfers

Culture, PvP, News Items, PvE, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

It's generally seen as discouraging if your fix for a problem still leaves it broken.
How's your server's population in WildStar since the switch to megaservers? Does it still feel a little empty? Community manager Tony Rey says that the team has heard the complaints that the PvP servers are quiet, and the team is responding by opening up indefinite free transfers between the PvE and PvP megaservers in both directions. You can move your PvE character to the PvP megaserver as you wish, and vice versa.

Rey says that while the team was initially happy with the stats on the PvP realms, the EU PvP megaserver in particular had certain difficulties with player numbers after PvP-to-PvE transfers were opened up but before the megaservers went live. Having free transfers in place does carry the risk of allowing people to level on a PvE server only to transfer over at the level cap, but players are assured that the team is watching for shenanigans and will shut down untoward transfers. These transfers are currently open for an indefinite period of time; Carbine will decide whether or not these free transfers will remain in place after monitoring the health of the server system.

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.

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