Today Mike Donatelli has released what they're calling their big plans for 2015, which is a little bit of a roadmap and a little bit of a producer's letter (although Donatelli's actual title is Product Director). After looking at the community responses to the latest news for what's coming to WildStar, people are overall pretty confused as to what exactly is happening to the game. WildStar, in short, seems to be shifting from a game with a more hardcore edge to one that focuses more on accessibility to keep people trying it out playing it longer. In today's press release, one part of the news announcement was highlighted:

  • We will encourage and listen carefully to your – the player’s – feedback and focus development on making WildStar a more fun, less grindy, game.

  • We will make these updates with both present and future players in mind, to support a multitude of play styles, durations, group sizes and levels.

  • We will invest in, enhance, and grow this game.

This seems great, but for a game that released in June of 2014, pointing out specifically that now people are encouraged to leave feedback for the team to listen to seems like something that shouldn't be pointed out seven months down the road. This implies that community feedback wasn't encouraged and listened to up until now. Does this mean that only feedback regarding switching WildStar to a more accessible game will be listened to? Based on current community feedback in response to today's news announcement, the community doesn't have much to say about toning down the grind.

What people are concerned with is whether or not going this route will ensure an overall healthy community. Those who are playing WildStar currently are doing so because the learning curve is above the norm. Content is difficult, and they want more of it. While people can be understanding of the fact that Carbine wants to create a more accessible game – which in turn means boosting the population – having no word on PvP updates (outside of Anlath on Reddit saying that there will be something on the horizon, but it's not ready to be discussed yet). Two new Augmentation raids (“boss in a box” or single boss raids) will be added in, but that's not until the second half of 2015. For the first half, Datascape 20-man will be opening in February. Currently, it exists as a 40-man raid. The problem with 40-mans is that it's hard to keep up with that kind of roster. While 20-mans are far easier to deal with in terms of numbers, having flexible or 10-man raids adds to mobility. I know that DS20 means that more people will be able to experience raid content in WildStar now, but will it be enough?

There's also the possibility that Carbine already has something lined up, but haven't released the news yet. Players are wondering what Tier 3 has in store for raiding and if Carbine does plan to release anything between now and the second half of the year besides DS20. At least DS20 will give more people something to work on in the meantime, and more people new fights to learn, but there's a great concern that by working on other aspects of the game, those who are at the top will get bored and drop off. Players are citing that they don't see many people leveling at lower levels right now, which makes the game feel lonely. Focusing on accessibility could resolve this, but it also takes the risk of losing more of the max level population. All of this doesn't even bring into account how the PvP community is feeling right now. So far, we know that this is the plan for the first half of 2015:

  • We will be adding lots of solo and group content to the game, including new Shiphands, Adventures and dungeons.

  • We are focusing on revamping our customization systems and adding new ways for players to add personality to their characters.

  • We are improving the Elder game experience, offering players lots of opportunities to find new and exciting loot!

All of this is based on feedback and accessibility issues, such as people not getting to level 14 to try out housing in WildStar. I agree that it does feel like a long grind to be able to get there, so I can't be anything but supportive of the decision to work on accessibility here. I do love WildStar's housing design. In today's announcement, Donatelli also touches on making customization expanded and easier to understand, so people can better customize their characters. Again, something I can completely get behind. Donatelli also gives us a rundown on what to expect from Drop 4:

Getting more specific and focusing on our next update, The Protogames Initiative, we are adding many new features, including:

  • Protogames Academy – a training dungeon to prepare lower level players for telegraphs, interrupt armor, and boss mechanics.

  • Ultimate Protogames – an exciting new dungeon for upper level players.

  • They Came from Fragment Zero! – a level 6 shiphand that introduces players to group gameplay at a much earlier level.

  • LFG upgrades – currently, some shiphands, adventures, and dungeons are intentionally hidden or need to be unlocked. Unfortunately, this keeps many players out of the content. Moving forward, all of this content will be added to an expanded LFG tool.

  • Datascape 20 – the 40-person dungeon wasn’t getting played as often as we hoped. Not only was the content challenging, but roster management was painful. In the next update we will lower the player requirement down to 20.

The second half of 2015 will be aimed at giving players better options for shorter gaming sessions, meaning people can log in with less than an hour's worth of availability, yet still progress and accomplish goals. For this, Donatelli states:

  • A new Contracts system which will provide players with short, fun objectives throughout different kinds of WildStar content, enabling them to obtain rare and exciting rewards.

  • Revising overall levelling and Elder games experiences and making adjustments to enhance story immersion, fight combat fatigue, and fine-tune our reward streams.

  • As our Raiding guilds begin to face Avatus in the Datascape, we’re working on your next challenge! A brand new 20-player experience.

I think a lot of the plans for WildStar are smart, but I also feel that many of them should have been in the game months ago. Shifting WildStar to be a less grinding and more accessible game will mean a population increase for WildStar at the lower levels of the game, but what does that have to say about people who are at max level? Will these changes benefit the game overall and for the better? Time now can only tell.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our WildStar Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Vendolyn's been playing MMOs since 1999, although Vendolyn in-game often becomes a long-term shelved alt. When she's not gaming, she's likely marathoning some questionable TV show or babbling about music to no end. She really likes goats.