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!

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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.