[Wildstar] Oh wow, that raid attunement

So I like attunements. I missed them a little when WoW made away with them entirely, mostly because it’s always an all-or-nothing approach with some developers. I like attunements for their symbolic value: they’re a rite of passage and as such an opportunity to add meaning to the event of unlocking a raid dungeon for your character. Perfect time to have a special quest chain with the obligatory lore tidbits before you send your players off to the abyss or city above the clouds, or wherever it is they are going. Think the personal storyline in GW2 for instance, doable enough for any player on his way to level-cap, plus one Arah run on normal mode. Fair enough.

What attunements absolutely shouldn’t be is a way to divide your playerbase and essentially make it excruciatingly frustrating to nigh impossible for the more casual crowd, which constitutes the majority of your paying customers, to ever experience endgame or raid content. It makes no sense to create content for your top 1% or even top 5% and that’s a lesson Blizzard learned down the line, to a point where even flex raids have become a reality.

After seeing Carbine’s excessive 12-step attunement to 40man raid entry in Wildstar (thanks Jeromai!) which makes a 100 jailbreaks look decent, I am trying very hard to stay cool and understand what they were thinking and cui bono? Not the l33t kids and top guilds either, surely – anyone who has ever run a raid guild in WoW (or elsewhere) and been in charge of recruitment, shudders at the prospect of finding suitable recruits or getting new people attuned over and over just to access raiding in Wildstar. And we’re talking 40man. Good luck with that roster, the competition is on!

While reserving ultimate judgement is probably the way to go while the game is new and we’re all newbies still, it’s hard to stay positive when reading through the same old vitriolic forum discussions of “casual versus hardcore” that 12-step attunement infographic has sparked in Wildstar’s early community. An infographic which by the by, is brought to us not by Carbine but your self-proclaimed staple elitist guild, sporting core values such as “If you want to bring your shitty girlfriend along, I will personally show you where to shove it” on their about-page.

That’s my main issue right there, the fact that Carbine consciously or not, are catering to this type of demographic rather than their core playerbase. I’m not sure they realize it yet, just as they clearly didn’t foresee what one PvP realm per region would do to launch day. Yeah, sometimes developers don’t have the ultimate foresight. That’s also why I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and 6 months at most before they nerf Wildstar’s raid entry requirements considerably. They seem at odds with everything else I’ve seen of the game so far and Carbine have proven they’re in touch with community feedback before.

It would be a great shame to see this game go down a similar road as GW2; no endgame or inaccessible endgame is all the same to me. That said, early days friends, early days.


  1. I think the problem is that Carbine do think that this type of demographic IS their core playerbase. The only alternative is to assume that whoever designed that attunement process is staggeringly incompetent because, as you said (in Latin no less), who benefits from it? Only the no-lifers who value having got through that long and tedious process because it lets them lord it over those who haven’t.

    Like you, I’m quite in favour of having some sort of process to unlock content through play, but it should be something that makes sense in terms of game lore and is proportionate to what it unlocks. Too many of those 12 steps look like they are there solely to extend the process.

    1. Haha – I suffered through seven years of a latin major, so every now and then I need to throw something into my posts or it was all for naught! ^^

      Seriously tho, if as you say Carbine consider the top tier raiders their core player base, let’s see what happens to that subscription model. The game has no cash shop right now, so the sub is the way to go. Unless they are very weird, they want a majority of players to pay their subs longterm.

    2. You entitled casuals are SOOOO selfish. 90% of the game’s content is exclusively for you. Why can’t you let us have our raids? The idea is not that you don’t deserve to do raids, it’s that if you get that content it becomes boring for us.

      There are homes, warplots, arenas, TONS of quests and world content, adventures, dungeons, and more for you to pick from! Why are you so selfish that you DEMAND access to 100% of the content when you’re not even willing to put in the time to experience it?

      It baffles me how you can sit there and pretend raiders are the ones who are “elitist”. You are the ones trying to take our tiny bit of content, and ruin it like you have in so many games. You are the ones that can’t handle us having a little bit of fun. You are the ones who don’t understand that different people enjoy games differently.

      BUG OFF. Carbine promised us hard raid content. They never stuttered. If this bugs you, FIND ANOTHER GAME DOUCHEBAG.

      1. Hi there. I am not generally a fan of capslock namecalling on my blog but I’ll approve your comment this once because it proves my point of toxic elitism above so beautifully – thanks, I guess!

      2. You entitled casuals are SOOOO selfish. etc etc…

        The irony is strong in this one! The ability to demand a whole area of the game be devoted purely to your gamer subtype and then have the audacity to call others selfish. Good job my friend!

      3. @Stumps How in the world is he the selfish? The game is how it is, you are the one who wants to change it, if you make it more accesible hardcore raiders will leave, and without them the game will just die like every other MMO.

        There is a reason WoW is bleeding subs since LFR, and there was a reason TBC was the biggest growth in WoW’s history.

        I play 2 hours a day max and I’m 2/4 in the Veteran Dungeons part. I’M NOT IN A RUSH, 0 need to unless you are going for world firsts, stop seeing the attunement as an obstacle and start seeing it as another layer of progression.

  2. If my memory is serving me, the worst one in WoW wasn’t jailbreak. That was a long thing, but it was packed with lore and only needed 5 people to do the problematic part.

    The really painful one was the Black Temple. To get the Medallion of Karabor, you had to get an item from Mount Hyjal. To get that, you had to clear both Serpentshrine Cavern AND Tempest Keep. Got a new person you need to bring for this weeks Black Temple raid? Go run *THREE* other raids first! And that’s assuming they’d done all the other quests. It was bonkers, and I was in a raiding guild at the time trying to deal with it.

    Blizzard learned that lesson the hard way. Carbine didn’t learn from Blizzard’s mistake, but they will.

    I like attunements, like you, but they need to be handled with less of an iron fist. My favorite one is Upper Blackrock Spire in Vanilla WoW. You had to build the Seal of Ascention to open the door, which was a fair bit of work. Only one person in the group needed the item to open the door. That means you can swap pepole out and bring in new members without breaking things, once you have multiple seals created. Plus if you used the item during the right moment, you got a really cool scene.

    We need more of that style “your group needs to accomplish something to enter the raid” attunements, and less “every single player has to do this giant list of nonsense” style attunements.

    1. “We need more of that style “your group needs to accomplish something to enter the raid” attunements, and less “every single player has to do this giant list of nonsense” style attunements.”

      WoW has quite the attunement history and as you say, jailbreak wasn’t the worst by far. There’s a nice spreadsheet of that too btw: http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/60/wowraids.png

      I use jailbreaks as an anecdotal reference since it was such a thing in vanilla raiding to run jailbreaks with new guildies and BRD was a real pita. 😀 I probably ran around 80 or so myself for other people and yeah, eugh. I would still rather do that than 12-step list of doom. Some of those steps are like seperate attunements in themselves.

    1. Immature and cocky has always existed in top tier raider brackets, although it might be interesting to analyze if there’s more in games like WoW or Wildstar, yeah. We used to have guilds recruiting in this vein back in vanilla on the official forums and would laugh at them because down the line we were server top 3 and they were not. You don’t have to be an ass to be competitive. This is why I roll on RP servers nowadays.

      1. Smart move to roll on RP servers, if you ask me.

        I spent the last two weeks loitering around Honor Hold just to keep the Horde from going all Hillsbrad on lowbie Ally personnel, and it’s pretty depressing after a while.

  3. I have a tendency to just.. grin and bear it. Perhaps they implemented it BECAUSE they wanted a more “vanilla WoW” approach to raiding, with the idea that once you’ve completed the raid attunement, you’ve REALLY earned it. I’m not sticking up for this, by any means, just trying to see what they see.

    But that shitty girlfriend comment.. is that seriously on a modern-day raiding guild’s about page? Oo I think I’d like to show them where to shove it. With my pistols.

    1. Jup. You can check their page out if you follow the link on the bottom of the infographic. I didn’t feel like promoting them further by adding it to my post.

    2. Yeah, that crap doesn’t shock me at all.

      Bardo’s commentary aside, I see a lot of obnoxious stuff out there on MMOs, and this particular guild is just codifying it. Hardcore my ass; more like macho-core.

  4. I kind of agree with you in that I don’t believe that Carbine will be very successful with this model… but why not let them try to prove us wrong? I agree with Tremayne above that they clearly see hardcore raiders as their core player base. A lot of recent MMO armchair designer talk has focused on how devs should stop trying to appeal to everyone at the same time, but as soon as someone does pick a niche and caters to it we complain that they’re excluding players? Can’t have it both ways.

    1. Carbine’s problem is that pre-launch they’ve sold WildStar as everything for everyone. Like housing? We got housing! (always nice to have, by the way). PVP? In 99 different flavours! What’s your Bartle type – doesn’t matter, we’ve got something extra for all of them. Then when we get to launch there’s a whole raiding gear progression set-up with a big fat “HARDCORE OR GTFO!” gate slapped down in front of it. For all of us who’ve played vanilla WoW that has to be a reminder of the days when raiders ruled supreme in every aspect of the game because they had access to gear in advance of any non-raider.
      If Carbine had built and touted WildStar from the start as aimed at the hardcore raider niche, then this would be fine (as long as long, grindy attunements are what hardcore raiders actually want). It looks to me as if they’ve been after widespread appeal and just managed to shoot themselves in the foot.

      1. This pretty much. Wildstar marketing has been targeted at friends&family from day one, so this move just seems very inconsistent. There will be no end to this discussion, anyway. It’s weird.

        On a different note, “Can’t have it both ways.” – why not?
        I never understood this, not in WoW either when I was the so-called hardcore raider myself. What difference does it make if other more casual guilds get to at least step into places like MC and BWL? It didn’t matter to me as long as the content remained hard enough and fun for me. At the rate of this 12-step attunement, casual guilds will lag behind content tremendously, if they get there at all. 40man is pretty hardcore in itself already.

      2. My “can’t have it both ways” wasn’t meant to be in reference to whether you can have both hardcore and casual raiders in a game. Of course you can. The question is why every game should have to cater to everyone, especially when people keep complaining that too many games end up feeling the same by doing so.

        I’ve clearly been watching the wrong promo materials for Wildstar, because for me it’s been apparent since I first learned about the game that it was going to be all about the hardcore endgame crowd… with fluffy bunny people riding around in hamster balls and living in rocket houses. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that that juxtaposition is coming back to bite them in the butt. 😛

      3. Gotta agree with Shintar: I have been under no other impression from the start that this was going to be a hardcore raiding game. It has always struck me as trying to do what WoW did — and WoW did hardcore raiding.

    2. Hehe well..it’s probably a trap to assume that Wildstar’s graphics and fluffy bunnies stand for approachable content. However, when I watched previews like this one – http://www.wildstar-online.com/en/news/wildstar_wednesday_an_inside_look_at_wildstars_friends_family.php/ – which is literally called friends&family, that creates expectations. Given that Carbine let very little slip about raid content at all pre-launch, it comes a bit as a surprise to me how hardcore the attunement is – but then, that makes guilds all the more important again, doesn’t it. 😉

      I am torn here; I like a degree of pre-raiding hoops for sure, it just seems very time-sinky and over the top. There’s also clear indication that they do intend to cater to everyone (there was an interview at Gameinformer a while back with Stephan Frost), just not with the same content. We’ll see.

      1. For the record, ‘Friends & Family’ is an industry term. It is when a game developer opens internal testing to friends and family of their employees. It isn’t really a marketing thing to make the game seem more approachable, but instead an opportunity to get feedback from reliable sources close to the developers.

      2. Hmm good point, Murf. I never understood it that way, shows the non-native speaker bias that’s gotten me before. 🙂

    3. Carbine may not see hardcore raiders as their core demographic, but rather non-hardcore raiders that aren’t a good investment. The real core demographic if this is a solo friendly tourist-spot like most modern MMO’s will be the tourists passing through with standard rates of churn. Carbine may have decided it’s worth focusing on the hardcore minority who don’t really have other options at the moment and thus might stick around, rather than focusing on a slightly larger minority who get to endgame, want to raid, and still leave after a few months.

      1. I see your point. However makes me wonder how that can be more profitable unless they’ve got more money-sinks (for raiders) planned down the line? Wouldn’t you try appeal to a majority if a sub is your main financing model? Or maybe they are just confident they got more than enough content variety for everybody.

  5. Kinda onboard with Shintar here. The group content is already at a much higher skill level than most other MMOs. I think time will tell, based on consumption, if this was a solid bet. Hats off for picking a target I guess.

    I won’t be going through those hoops mind you, so I’ll be a stat on the other side!

    1. These days, I don’t know if I _want to_ go through those hoops. I don’t pay a sub to get a fat barrier of entry shoved into my face like that. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any, I’m saying this is too much.

    1. Nice share, I missed this article on Gamasutra. Right now there’s a ton of wild notions about Carbine’s core demographic but they seem to think they can cater to everyone.

  6. I believe in Carbine, and I have to admit that my first reaction to the infographic was: holy shit, that looks like fun! Yes, it probably sucks for raid leaders and recruitments, but some of my best WoW memories are the Karazhan attunement chain, and the insanely satisfying feeling you got when you did manage all of it. It was my pleasure assisting my casual guild back then to get through the chain and become better players in the process.

    I agree it’s not for everyone, but then, raiding isn’t intended to be for everyone in Wildstar. And that’s fine by me, as long as there’s enough of everything else to do. Right now, I have faith that Carbine can actually pull that off. Everything that I have heard from people in the higher levels is filled with enthusiasm, e.g. the Drusera story instances or how fun Veteran runs actually are. Let’s not be so down on them until we all get there, to the place where it boils down to if a theme park MMO can be considered a long term success or not: the end game.

    1. It would be fine by me too other than that, playing devil’s advocate a little, I don’t understand why you can’t make raiding for everyone. Beats me.

      I have faith in Carbine too though, I wouldn’t be playing right now if I didn’t. 😉

      1. When you say raiding for everyone, my first thought goes to WoW’s LFR, which makes me rather not want to raid, if accessibility leads to such results.

        Like Shintar and Doone I have also never been under the impression that the raiding endgame was not going to be tailored to the hardcore crowd. They have communicated this all through the beta, and repeatedly stated that there will be no nerfs to make group content easier. In fact, they recently buffed a dungeon. We’ll just have to wait and see how this all plays out.

  7. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Wildstar just had challenging group content, but they went overboard and made it not only very difficult, but also very time consuming. That time consuming part of it wasn’t really made clear to me until after I had preordered the game. There are probably a lot of “casually hardcore” players out there that will find out the hard way that they won’t have the time necessary to raid in Wildstar, even though they have the desire and the skill.

    I think that may have been done on purpose by the devs though because by having so many hoops to jump through just to raid and then having the raids be difficult, it should take even the more competent guilds a long time to finish the raids, giving Carbine more time to work on the next round of raids.

    The space hamsters and bunny people are some of their attempts to have the kind of flippant humor that WoW does so well, to try to keep the super casual players around and paying/subsidizing the raiders. So on the one hand you have stuff for the super casuals and the other you have stuff for the super raiders. Everyone else in the middle is screwed.

  8. On a point of order, GW2 certainly does have an “end game”, unfortunately. It consists of long-term grinding to get either gear with a very minor statistical advantage, gear with a (usually hideous) unique appearance or both. Players from traditional vertical progression MMOs sometimes (often) have difficulty recognizing it as an “end game” but an “end game” is what it surely is.

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