So I started 20man raiding in Wildstar last week and have downed a couple of mini-bosses as well as X-89 in Genetic Archives thus far. It took my guild of jolly freeform raiders several wipenights to get a team of 20 people fully accustomed to the drill, something that players already need to learn during the dungeon attunement: individual performance matters. Even if some veteran 5mans get easier over time for a seasoned group of well-geared folk, many fights require every member in the party to be familiar with fight mechanics. Wildstar combat is a dance more than WoW ever was, unforgivable unless players continuously adapt their playstyles. The X-89 in GA comes with two different “YOU ARE THE BOMB!”-features which means an unsuspecting rookie is likely to ruin it for everyone else.
There is no hiding in Wildstar’s raids – addons are seriously recommended, cooldowns must be juggled and adjusting your tragically limited actionbar for every encounter is a given. Execution demands a high level of focus because the fights are so mobile. From that point of view the learning curve is quite steep, especially for genre newcomers. Considering how 40mans must feel in comparison, which are no less unforgivable, it becomes apparent why raiders have been crying out for Carbine to critically consider their endgame. In their most recent state of the game Nexus Report, they finally address this issue albeit just briefly:
malzek: That “other” MMORPG abandoned the 40-man model 9 years ago due to logistical issues. WildStar’s raids are much more unforgiving, leaving many scratching their head at this design decision. Has any consideration gone into bringing raid content to a more realistic level for the playerbase size?
CM: “All I’m willing to say right now is yes. Yes, there’s been discussion. I’m not going into details at this time…..the devs are listening.
With subscription numbers dwindling and complaints both from the casual and hardcore (see the rest of the Q&A), Carbine cannot afford not to act. New content dumps may appease some non-raiding players but the fact remains that Wildstar endgame is tuned to a difficulty level that not enough people enjoy longterm. For myself, I will say this: I had fun getting to grips with the X-89 mechanics and I didn’t mind wiping as much as we did – but I am also under no illusion that the really hard bosses are yet to come and will test those spirits further. Have raids felt harder than vanilla raiding so far? – No. Do I expect them to get much harder? Oh yes! Woe to all that underestimate this endgame.
The dreaded server merges of both global region’s PVE and PVP realms respectively, have been hinted at going live sometime around mid-October earliest. The names were decided by community poll and it appears I shall soon reside on Jabbit, a name I neither endorse nor understand.
Alas, for me the merges can’t come soon enough. Lightspire’s Dominion side has quickly turned into a graveyard, with probably 60% of its active members hosted by my guild and only one single other, competing guild in terms of raiding. The AH is dreadful, with entire subsections entirely empty or then, most likely offering an item or two by guildies (keeps the money in the family!). The costs for much coveted items such as runes amount to a subscription’s worth of platinum, just to get a basic gear set kitted out. No, I do not like this situation at all. We need a better market, we need comparisons and proper competition. For once, I don’t think a merge can do more harm than good – the fact that I cannot reasonably accumulate fancy hats and robes via the auction house is frankly intolerable.