The first dev connect for WildStar has ended and the results are in. Here’s what Pappy has to say about the changes coming for factions in WildStar:
- We will be dropping the Content Finder faction barrier.
- We will be allowing players of both factions to communicate openly with each other. There will no longer be a faction filter in chat.
- The faction barrier for open world grouping, housing, social systems, and guilds (which includes Arena teams and Warparties) will stay in place for now.
Well that’s very disappointing. Depending on where you sit on the faction issue, you can find reason for complaint here, or reason for hope. My opinion is that I would have liked to see the faction wall go completely out the window. I want to be able to play with my friends on either faction without having to reroll a new character, and I want to be able to inhabit social spaces with them without restrictions. Unfortunately these changes do none of that. Let’s see what we are getting out of this.
1: Dropping the content finder faction barrier. I understand this choice. Queues can be long, and this will help shorten them. I do think it will feel incredibly weird to be randomly dropped into a group with the other faction but know that there’s no way to reconnect socially with those folks once the run is over (see point #3 below). It may feel a bit jarring to end up in a mixed group if you are a strong advocate of the faction wall, and it is almost made worse by the fact that there’s no lore or social context at all for this. Basically the only place in the game where mixed groups can happen is in a random group setting.
2: Removal of faction filter from chat. This is such a non-issue for me I don’t even know what to say about it. There’s been chat mods and even workarounds in the built-in systems that have allowed cross faction chat since launch. The people who really wanted this already have it, and the people really don’t want it are going to be annoyed at having it forced on them when they’ve chosen to avoid it up to now. It should make coordinating world boss groups easier at least since everyone will be able to understand each other.
3: No changes to open world grouping and social systems. Well shit. This is what I really was hoping for, and now it feels like xmas is canceled. I wanted changes that would let me play with my friends no matter what faction. I was hoping to be able to check out the other faction’s housing, or to convince my dommie friends to join my awesome guild. The housing thing especially frustrates me since it seems like it would be straightforward to add an “Exiles only” toggle to the housing settings to appease folks who don’t want dommies stepping on their lawns or in their private RP areas. Housing is such a bastion of community and creativity which absolutely does not follow strict faction, lore, or even genre restrictions, so it makes me sad to see it stay closed off.
I have spoken with some faction purist folks who are upset about these changes because they wanted the walls to stay in place as-is. I almost feel like this result is bad for both of us. For them, they can be randomly placed into groups with the opposite faction with no context and no way to avoid it. For me, the only faction crossover is happening in a place that I don’t spend any time, since I usually run group content with friends not random pugs. I really think opening up the social systems would have been much more preferable. Those who want to play with their friends or meet new ones while questing or grouping in the world could do so, while the faction purists could choose to keep their guilds and personal social spaces to one faction only. There would be no forced grouping with the other faction. I believe enough in the lore team of WildStar to give us interesting reasons why this could work, and I believe enough in the player base that they could continue to create social spaces and events that make them happy.
I hope that this is not the final word on this issue. These dev connects are an interesting way to gather feedback, but I hope there continues to be a dialog even after the decisions are made. One of WildStar’s greatest strengths is the way the devs interact with the players, long may this continue.
P.S. Don’t forget to check in on the new dev connect, they’re asking for feedback on race/class combos!