New Life

Crowded Thayd is a happy Thayd

Crowded Thayd is a happy Thayd

The Megaserver merge has been absolutely wonderful for my experience in WildStar. I was a bit nervous that there’d be more competition for quest mobs and resources, and that’s true but to such a minor extent that it doesn’t really matter. It is vastly outweighed by the fact that there’s dozens of people wandering around Thayd at all hours. For the first time ever I did the Drusera’s Tree event and got gold with all special sprouts up, because there were enough people to actually defend them. There were so many people killing Scorchwing that there was a crowd waiting for him to spawn. The very first night of the Megaserver people were cheering because there were enough settlers around to activate all the teleports and buffs in Thayd!

Waiting for the flaming chicken to appear

Waiting for the flaming chicken to appear

I don’t know what is in store for this game, I do know that having people around has completely revitalized it for me. I hope that people who have left decide to give it another chance, either now or after the upcoming drop launches. It is a living world again, and I’d like it to stay that way.

Relaxing for a Change

Lopp villiage in Celestion

This zone is so photogenic. Oh who am I kidding the whole game is just beautiful.

I’ve had slightly more time to play WildStar over the past week. Unfortunately my fabulous guild has turned into a bit of a ghost town lately, so I’ve been looking for ways to keep myself busy solo. This weekend I worked on tying up some loose ends by finishing some quests and path missions in Celestion. While leveling Gracie I went through Algoroc, and though I had seen Celestion during beta and some on my alts, it had been a while. I really enjoyed looking at the story now that I have the perspective of seeing where things end up at higher levels.

I ran around finding all the TALES! keys and datacubes too. The stories they tell make a very different kind of sense once you know more about the big picture. I remember leveling for the first time and just starting to get the sense that the Eldan were actually more petty jerks than omnipotent gods sometime around the end of Whitevale/ beginning of Farside. But the seeds are definitely planted even in the earlier zones if you know what you’re looking for.

The other nice thing about questing in a low level zone is that it is relaxing. I’ve been doing my dailies for months now on Gracie, and I know how to get through them efficiently. I can even solo the 2 quests in Crimson Badlands that are meant for two people, as long as I’m careful. However, since I don’t have fancy raid or even veteran gear my power level has been about the same for most of this time. Any improvements have been because I got better or learned some new trick or fiddled with my abilities. Sometimes you miss the feeling of just straight-up becoming more powerful and finally mowing down your enemies. So going back to low level zones and kicking ass was silly but also very satisfying.

The game definitely feels very quiet right now. Daily quest zones are still relatively active on my server, but the low-level zones I visited were extremely quiet. I did get to help a couple people I saw struggling to solo some of the group quest bosses though. Sometimes I waffle about whether to help people with things like that, since I know some folks like the challenge of seeing if they can solo it. Usually I err on the side of helping out, and both the people I helped this weekend thanked me so I guess I made the right call. With the Megaserver merge happening this week I am hoping to see more people at all levels out in the world.

I’m going to end this with a plea. Are you still actively playing WildStar? Are you in an active guild on a NA PvE server (shortly to be the NA PvE server)? I am starting to look for a new home and would love to find someplace I would be a good fit. I’m actively playing and would like to be part of a guild that is running group content together again. Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter!

Still Alive

That can't be good for property values.

That can’t be good for property values.

Hello folks! I apologize for dropping off the face of Nexus for a bit there. The human being behind Gracie the Mordesh is a grad student and has been going through some crazy exams. For Science. In any case it has kept me so busy I’ve only been able to log into WildStar a couple times over the past few weeks. This month will continue to be hell IRL but at least I should be able to log in enough to cap my elder gems each week and maybe start getting back into some group content once in a while. This is the time when I am so grateful for CREDD. My playtime and finances are limited enough that there’s no way I could justify paying a subscription right now, but my account is paid in CREDD for a few months so I get to keep playing whenever I have time!

Welcome! Please leave all weapons with the freebot minding the door.

Welcome! Please leave all weapons with the freebot minding the door.

Before my stress-induces hiatus I promised some updates on my home remodel. I ditched my spaceship and upgraded to the spacious granok house. Unfortunately the strain seems to have spread from that infected lab I installed, but so far it’s contained outside of the house. For today I’ll just show off the foyer, bar, and dining room.

Have a drink. Maybe it will help you forget the house is surrounded by the Strain.

Have a drink. Maybe it will help you forget the house is surrounded by the Strain.

The spacious granok house has one huge main room and one smaller sub-room. I tried to break up the space in slightly different ways on each floor. It made for some slightly funky corners but I like some of the cozy rooms I ended up with. I promise I’ll have the rest of the tour up before I disappear again.

I can't say enough awesome things about the nautical-themed furniture.

I can’t say enough awesome things about the nautical-themed furniture.

CREDD Watch

I'm pretty sure this guy is sick of seeing me.

I’m pretty sure this guy is sick of seeing me.

I have a confession. I’m a CREDD addict. It started so innocently, I knew I was about to head into some tight financial times, so I saved up some plat and bought a couple CREDD as soon as I hit 50 and had access to that sweet sweet daily quest money. “Hooray! I can get through the next few months and not have to worry about the subscription cost,” I thought. Soon I had earned back all the plat I’d spent on CREDD, and was going happily about my business. “Oh I’ll just check the CREDD prices,” HAHA.

Fast-forward to today, and I have enough CREDD saved up to pay my subscription through April. The price has more than doubled since I bought my first one, but I still make about enough in a full week of dailies and my normal messing around to buy one if I choose to. I’m especially grateful for CREDD right now, when my play time is extremely limited. It’s hard to justify paying a sub in a month where you know you won’t get many hours of play time, but when I can earn enough in-game currency during normal play to subsidize my costs, then why not stay subbed? It turns the game into a fun stress-relief during a busy time, instead of either removing it or making me feel guilty for not playing when I’ve paid for it.

So why is CREDD on my mind even more right now? One word: Megaserver. I made the mistake of checking the price of CREDD on all the servers I have alts on. It turns out that my home server has the lowest price of any of them. So I snapped some up while the getting is good. I expect after the launch of the megaserver that the price of everything, CREDD included, will fluctuate quite a bit. I’m betting that when things stabilize the price of CREDD won’t dip back below my server’s current prices. If you’re on a server with low prices, you might consider getting while the getting’s good. Alternately, if you’re the gambling type and on a server with high prices, you could sell now and hope you can catch some for a bit cheaper on the megaserver. Or you could just avoid the whole thing and pay your subscription with real money like most folks.

I’ll just be over here, obsessively checking the CREDD market.

Mega Madness

Lately I’ve been slacking off in-game a bit. Real Life is going to be coming down on me pretty hard for the months of September and October, so my play time will be much more sparse for now. I’ve gotten in the habit of just logging in to do some dailies, puttering around my house for a few minutes making some upgrades, and then calling it a night. Last night, however, I decided to be a bit more social. First I popped in to be a spectator at a race hosted by KatiaRacer (recently featured as the epic moment of the week on the Nexus report!). I had seen it advertised in housing chat occasionally but this was the first time I had actually stopped by. I had a fun time and I’d encourage anyone on Evindra to check it out. Perhaps I’ll actually race sometime if I can get a few practice laps on the course in first!

As the race was ending, a call went out looking for more to kill Scorchwing. I managed to join up just in time for a quick summons and we went to work slaying the flaming chicken. I enjoy seeing familiar names of players when I’m wandering around questing, grouping up, or just visiting random houses, so it was fun to see some folks from the race also in group with me. After Scorchwing we kept enough people in group to go grab Elyonia and also do Drusera’s Tree event.

All in all it was a very fun night, and I was more social than I had been in quite a while. It reminded me why MMOs can become such a huge part of our lives. It’s not just that they are a fun diversion, or that the gameplay compels us. It is also that we get to interact with people, and hopefully those interactions are more positive than not.

Which brings me to the question on a lot of people’s minds right now: What is going to happen to our community when the Megaservers go live? If you haven’t heard yet, Cougar announced on the Nexus Report this week that they are officially moving forward with plans to move everyone onto just one PvP and one PvE server for each region. As a proud resident of the sole NA Roleplaying server, I am curious what will happen once we are merged with the bulk of the general PvE population. On one hand I’m excited, since currently I have no room for Dominion alts on my server, so the megaserver will give me access to the Dommie side RP community. It will also be nice to have a more full world, with hopefully easier grouping for events and a more robust CX/AH market.

On the other hand, it means dealing with more names like XXKillYouLulzXX, more potential for griefing of RP, higher competition for resources and crowded daily questing areas. I think one of the coolest things about my server now is that our housing zone chat is quite alive and generally helpful and interesting. The other servers I have seen all seemed to be quite silent. My hope is that the culture of Evindra manages to persist on the new megaserver, and that the influx of new blood will help it grow rather than shouting it down or turning it into a clone of the annoying capital city chat I’ve seen on almost every server in every MMO I’ve played.

Currently I’m pretty optimistic about the megaserver news. I hope that the good will far outweigh the bad. For now I have time to enjoy my RP server, start thinking of last names for all of my characters (which will be required once the new servers launch), and get some practice on the racetrack!

A New Laboratory

Corrupted Laboratory, use at your own risk

Corrupted Laboratory, use at your own risk

In the process of changing my house around, I did some browsing of the available fabkits. That’s when I noticed the “Corrupted Laboratory” on the list. This housing plug does not actually require a FABkit, rather it is unlocked at level 50 and costs over 4 platinum. Ouch. Well it looked interesting, and since it fit with my new theme for my house I decided to splurge. I am here to say I’m very glad I did.

This plug takes up one of the 2 large slots on your property, and when installed it unlocks a quest called “Batteries Not Included.” This is not your garden variety housing challenge, friend. Oh no, this quest will send you all over Grimvault and Blighthaven on a mission to gather what you need to restart the corrupted lab. Along the way you’ll visit some fantastic out-of-the-way places, and solve a few puzzles. Honestly for a moment I was wondering whether I had accidentally loaded up The Secret World instead of WildStar, because I haven’t really seen this type of quest before.

I may have died to get this screen shot. Don't judge.

One fantastic location visited on the quest. I may have died to get this screen shot. Don’t judge.

I’m not going to give a step-by-step here for the quest since a lot of the fun was the discovery, and everything should be pretty clear with a quick search of the ol’ intertubes if you get stuck. Once you’ve finished your travels you can power up the lab, which involves solving yet another puzzle while being taunted by The Entity itself.

entityguest

The Entity is trying to sneak into my house?!

The quest is not exclusive to the person who owns the house, so any level 50 can stop by and try it for themselves. Once everything is finished it activates a jump boost on the left side (where you place the tech samples for the quest). By using it you can jump up into the middle of the central tower and stand in the purple light, where you’ll gain a “phageform augmentation” buff. This buff increases your primary stats by 5.

I had a lot of fun discovering this housing plug, but for over 4 plat it’s a bit pricy for a stat boost. But that’s what neighbors are for! If you’re on Evindra (Exiles) stop by Gracie’s house and give it a shot!

So long, Moonshine Laboratory

The outside of my secret lab, and adjacent rowsdower stables.

The outside of my secret lab, and adjacent rowsdower stables.

I knew I needed a kick in the rear to get my creative juices flowing, so over last weekend I tore down every bit of decor I had placed on my housing plot. It was pretty terrifying hitting that “send all to crate” button, but in the end it was worth it. I’ve been messing with my house more than I had in weeks! My new creations aren’t ready for blog time yet, so instead today I’m going to show off a little of what I had done before. My favorite bit of my plot was this corner. Instead of a second large plug, I built a few things from scratch. The rowsdower stables got shown off a little in an earlier post, but the secret laboratory needs to be preserved for posterity.

The entrance level is as open and inviting as a secret lab can be.

The entrance level is as open and inviting as a secret lab can be.

I’m not sure exactly what the motivation was for it to begin with, I guess every Mordesh probably has dreams of their own secret lab, right? And I wanted to see what I could do as a first attempt at making a building of my own from scratch. The building has two main floors, with a small loft at the top. I tried to keep the design fairly open, mostly breaking up the space with staircases. The entry floor has a kitchen, bookshelves and an analysis table where my research specimens have been piling up.

Creepy lab is creepy.

Creepy lab is creepy.

The second floor is where the real action happens. Cages and research equipment and scanners oh my! The loft area has my library and desk, and has a view of most of the second floor research area, so I can keep an eye on everything even while studying.

What a view.

What a view.

One of my favorite parts of the whole building is that there’s a path around the back of the outside that lets you get all the way to the roof, and from the roof to the top of a tower I placed up there. Every once in a while I liked to climb up there just for the awesome view.

I’m a bit sad that all of this is gone now, but I’m excited to be playing with new ideas again. A little redecoration was just what I needed to get me out of my comfort zone and building again!

 

 

Housing Updates

The Nexus Report this week got me excited all over again about WildStar’s housing. Joe Piepiora mentioned several upcoming changes that are being worked on, like the guild housing, and ability to change the terrain on your housing plot. He also teased something called “Communities” which from my fuzzy understanding would involve 5 people sharing or linking skyplots. I’m not sure whether this means a new plot that all 5 share, or a new way of linking their 5 individual plots, but either way I’m intrigued. I am so delighted that in a game with such a focus on the “hardcore” there’s still so much love for the frivolous pursuit of housing. While the last two drops have been focused on other things, both have included new decor items that compliment their themes. I can’t wait to see what happens if and when we get an entire drop devoted to housing! I’m also incredibly excited to know that Carbine has lots of plans for WildStar’s housing, and that for many of these changes the timeframe is in the near-term over the next few months.

The endless possibilities of alts

The endless possibilities of alts

As for me, I’ve been slacking off in my housing enterprises lately. In part this is due to spending lots of time actually doing dailies, PvP, and wrapping up some questing, but honestly there’s another reason too. The community for this game has done some of the most ridiculously amazing things with housing, and I feel sometimes like nothing I can do can live up to that so why bother trying. In the next week I plan to tear down everything on my plot and start over from scratch, and hopefully that will get my creative juices flowing. Expect a tour of the old version soon as I catalog everything before the demolition! I have also been dabbling some with houses for my alts, but they’ve mostly been leveled through PvP so I am sorely lacking in the bits and pieces of decor you get from challenges and zone reputations. Still, you can accomplish quite a lot just from decor you can purchase from the housing vendor. Hmmm, I smell a challenge brewing…perhaps one alt needs to create something awesome using only vendor decor!

Time to get building!

Nexus is My Home

There comes a time for new MMOs, 1-3 months after launch, when the players are deciding whether to stick around for the long haul or to leave for old comfortable homes or new horizons. WildStar is in this period of settling in now. What can Carbine do to make sure there’s a healthy population for years to come?

I’ve played lots of MMOs, but some I knew weren’t for me fairly quickly, and I was one of the players who left after the first month or two, while some I picked up months after the initial pulse of player had already passed through. This is the third time I’ve gone through the post-launch settling-in phase of the MMO life cycle.

Friends and Stories

The first time was with Rift. When it launched I loved it, and I was desperate for an alternative to WoW. I enjoyed the customizability of the classes, and the open-world gameplay of the titular rifts. I wanted to stick around and see how the game developed after the initial excitement wore down. There were two factors that ended up causing me to lose interest in the long run. The first was that many of my guildies drifted back to WoW eventually. Not having a group to play with in an MMO limits the opportunities for fun. But I could have found a new guild!  The factor that made me not bother was the world of the game. For whatever reason the lore didn’t really do much for me, and in the end the game felt like WoW with a much less interesting story. I still occasionally go back to Rift since it has gone free-to-play, and I remember quickly why I loved it and also why I let it go.

Don’t Nickel and Dime Me

The second MMO I saw launch and then settled down with for a time was SW:TOR. I could write several posts about all the things I loved and hated about SW:TOR. This time I did eventually find an awesome guild that were making the game their primary MMO and raiding together. Many of these folks I still talk with regularly even if we don’t always play games together anymore. What led me to drift away from SW:TOR was a combination of raid burnout, frustrating buggy gameplay, and the F2P conversion. The silly thing is that as a subscriber who would be staying subscribed to raid, the F2P switch should have had very little impact on me. But the announcements of how they were planning to monetize things made me really uncomfortable and worried about the direction they were heading, and it contributed to me leaving.

thayd

Thayd feels like home.

WildStar’s Turn

It is obvious that the launch surge has come and gone. While Thayd is still packed with people at times on my server, out in the world the population has thinned, especially noticeable in the off-peak hours. Overall it still feels like a thriving world, but it is a little sad to see people move on when you are still in love. I think Carbine is definitely doing some really smart things for their future success. Most importantly, they’ve promised and delivered on a really aggressive content delivery schedule so far. Monthly updates mean there’s always something new and interesting to look at, and they also mean that if you’ve taken a break for a bit there will be shiny new changes to see when you come back. Another great thing is the way they interact with their fans. More than any other game I’ve ever played I feel like they are responsive to questions and concerns, and willing to be very transparent about what they’re up to. The Devs are Listening. Also, the story of this game is really appealing to me, and with the promise of new story content already in the works I can’t wait to see where this world takes us. WildStar is a well-crafted, fun game and I think it deserves to thrive.

Things to Watch

Chatting with some of my friends who chose not to stick with WildStar, there are some issues they had in common. One big one is that there seems to be a bit of a leveling slump around the end of Whitevale. I am curious if the full player data supports these anecdotes, but even I felt like I was slowing down too much at that point and had to fill in with adventures and dungeons to change things up some. If it is true over the larger population then hopefully some things can be tweaked to help fix it.

The other big issue was the raiding attunement. Now, I have yet to get a single silver vet adventure run but I am still a fan of the raiding philosophy and attunement process in WildStar. However, I’ve seen a few folks suggest that they’d never be able to complete the attunement and start raiding before they would get distracted by another game, so they chose to not even try. I don’t have a good sense of whether this is actually a loss for the long-term population, even if it does make me sad to see my friends go. If this class of player was never planning to stay then it doesn’t make sense for the devs to substantially change the game to appeal to them. It does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity, though, because what if those folks had really enjoyed the raiding and decided to stay?

Gracie Settles In

I’ve made my decision to stick with WildStar and give it my time and support. I’ve settled into a routine of dailies on my main, followed by leveling, crafting, and PvP on my army of alts when I have more time for gaming that day. I have some plans for big changes to my housing plot, and a powerful urge to get raid attuned. So if you’re still around and looking for something to do, stop by Evindra (Exile side) and say howdy. I’ll be here, settling down for the long haul.

 

How to PvP like a Noob

Ridiculous hat, reporting for duty

Ridiculous hat, reporting for duty

With the Sabotage drop upon us PvP is taking center stage for a while in WildStar. In preparation, I decided to try some PvP myself and get a feel for how it works in this game. Over many years of playing WoW, I only did battlegrounds when forced to for holidays or the legendary quest chain. In other games I was much more open to trying to kill my fellow players. I think my favorite experience was the leveling bracket PvP in SW:TOR. For some unknown reason I actually enjoyed Huttball. WildStar’s leveling brackets feel similar to me, and I’ve been enjoying them! Here’s some advice if you’re new to PvP and want to give it a go.

Bring Friends

I’m just going to get the most important advice out of the way first. Bring friends, as many as you can coerce into joining you. It doesn’t matter if they know what they are doing or not. If you’re new, you can be new and confused together and laugh at your misfortunes as you learn. If you have a pro PvPer friend they can help explain what is going on. Either way, the more people you have the more fun you’ll have. As an added bonus, the more friends you bring means the fewer strangers. I am nervous when I’m learning, so having friends along means I don’t have to embarrass myself in front of strangers!

Be Prepared to Ignore

Following on the prior section, there will always be that jerk who gets under your skin yelling at you because you don’t know what you’re doing yet. Feel free to ignore them! And know that most of the folks you’ll play with are actually pretty cool, or at least neutral. I’ve had more good experiences with random people in WildStar’s battlegrounds than bad ones, but the fact is that people can be jerks and yell when they’re annoyed and you’re not obligated to listen to them.

Look at the Map

When you join a battleground, you’ll have a minute or two to sit around before the match actually starts. Use this time to take a look at the map and try to get a feel for the layout. Where’s your base? Where are objectives? Orient yourself ahead of time and you’ll look like you know what you’re doing!

Stick with the Group

If you’re in a battleground for the first time, follow the group and try to help heal or kill as a part of the group. Try not to run off and explore, and avoid engaging the enemy by yourself if you can. Following along with everyone else will seem chaotic and confusing but over the course of a match you will start to see the patterns of what people are doing and get a sense of how the battleground works.

Don’t Worry about Winning

I think the first night I ran battlegrounds with my friends in the level 6-14 bracket we won one match the whole night. We still had a blast though! Our low expectations saved us from getting too mad at our losses. As you learn and play a lot more you’ll do a little better, but it is always good to have realistic expectations. You’ll definitely not be winning all the time.

Study if you Want to

Psynister has an awesome guide to Walatiki Temple, the first battleground available in WildStar when you reach level 6. Don’t stress yourself out worrying about the finer points of strategy right away though. I will admit that I read it before I tried battlegrounds for the first time, and it was a bit overwhelming. I’d recommend taking a quick look at that guide, trying the battleground for yourself once or twice, and then going back and read in-depth. I found everything made much more sense once I had seen it for myself first, and the advice in the guide was quite helpful once I knew enough to understand it!

Have Fun

The obvious advice, but important! Don’t keep forcing yourself to queue if you’re not enjoying it or you’re burning out. Give PvP a shot and see how it works, and then decide if it is something you’d like to keep doing. And don’t forget, there’s housing decor to be bought with prestige, the PvP currency, and decor can drop from the reward bags too!