Interview: Chatting WildStar and Posts with Reddit Mods
Last month we reported on the WildStar subreddit attempting to limit "trolling" type posts by essentially banning discussion about F2P or B2P options the game may take. While these actions were taken by a single mod, the response on the reddit as a whole was rather negative.
Since then, a lot has changed. WildStar officially announced their upcoming F2P conversion and on the reddit side of things mods were moved around or added (based on the community's feedback) and the reddit as a whole is moving in a slightly different direction when it comes to media and community relations.
I had a chance to sit down with WildStar reddit mods /u/Lawlta, /u/drtugjobs, and /u/rrauwl to catch up on the reddit changes and to get a feel for how WildStar players and non players alike are receiving the free to play news.
Magicman (MM): Alright, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first. What happened with the whole "banning F2P/B2P" issue? Where did it come from thought wise and what has changed behind the scenes on the subreddit since the "backlash?"
Lawlta: I want to clarify first that I believe the intention of the post was not to remove all of the F2P/B2P discussion, but rather remove all of the toxic posts like “ded gaem needs free-to-play gg” posts. These posts are not posts for discussion, they are just trolly snide remarks that create a negative atmosphere. It spiralled out of control for a couple reasons:
I have been a moderator in several subreddits, and /r/Wildstar for a year+ (probably creeping on 2 years). There’s always been mod drama, either with selections, or things being done. I decided (I was the only mod after having removed the previously discussed mod) that I didn't want to go through and search through a bunch of applications, and then also possibly be called out for any kind of favouritism for mod selections. I put it on the community to choose who THEY wanted to help keep the subreddit well maintained. This allowed the community to dig through post histories, bring up in-game/forum/subreddit drama users may have stirred up, and who they believed were level-headed choices. So far it seems to have worked out great. Because I was allowed to setup the questions to choose moderators, I wanted it to be known that whoever was chosen was going to have to try and be as transparent as possible. Transparency seems to be the best approach, we’ll see where it takes us.
DrTugjobs: Lawlta chose me as one of the new mods because he was looking for someone who doesn't have any strong ties to the game as a mod, in the hopes that they’d have a more neutral view of the community not influenced by their personal gameplay preferences or server politics. I briefly played Wildstar for a little less than a month at launch, so I understand what people are talking about when they discuss the setting and mechanics, but I've been gone long enough that I don’t really have any strong feelings either way about possible future patches -- one of the problems that got some of the previous mods in such hot water.
MM: The reddit has implemented a more "media friendly" policy. What exactly does this entail and how is it good for both the reddit and the game?
Rrauwl: We've taken it upon ourselves to reach out to Wildstar’s content providers, streamers, and media personalities such as yourself Mike. That way we can be a proper hub for all of the latest Wildstar news, views from the pundits, provide AMA sessions to persons of interest to the community, and even directly speak with Carbine and NCSoft press/media contacts. By doing this, we can also showcase awesome contests, potentially get the skinny on upcoming changes to addons, and the like. In short, we can add to the content that the community provides by proactively reaching out and encouraging key community figures to contribute.
MM: Knowing that the game is officially going F2P now, what has been the general response from players and non players alike on reddit?
Lawlta: Overall positive. We all have friends that are looking forward to the transition, and tons of users have come back asking about the game (we’ve actually had increases in subscribers, something we were bleeding as the game was bleeding). With that said, people are wanting to come back and try what’s changed. There’s still a decent amount of work and testing to be done. No game is perfect, but hopefully Wildstar is in the place it needs to be during the F2P change.
DrTugjobs: People seem cautiously hopeful that F2P will bring back players who were turned off by the initial state of the game and introduce it to a new batch of players who initially passed it up, especially PVP players who want to see the PVP servers thrive again.
MM: For those that have not played here and there over the last year, can you highlight some of the key changes Carbine Studios has implemented based on player feedback? Levelling grind, attunement, casual content...these were all complaints over the last year, how have they been addressed?
Lawlta: Levelling has had quest experience rewards increased by 15% from levels 23-45, I believe, making levelling a lot easier. Attunement is now retroactive, so if you cleared bronze dungeons first, once you get to that step in your attunement, it will count towards completion (same goes for world bosses, etc). As for casual content, they have implemented the pet collection system, more housing customization (it’s probably THE best customization on the mmorpg market), veteran shiphands (solo-able dungeon content), and the contract system (in short, random world dailies that give raid rewards at different milestones).
MM: What's coming down the pipeline for players to look forward to, besides F2P obviously?
Lawlta: While there is nothing we have any direct input into with the game, we as a mod team have communicated with NCSoft and Carbine about what their players want. I want to specify: we have no ties whatsoever with Carbine or NCSoft, we gain nothing from being moderators, we do not censor or remove anything they would potentially ask us to remove (they never have). The means of our communication is to purely let them know what’s going on in the community, what people want, and that’s it. We’re trying to set up some AMAs with different departments right now, but that will take time (though it is coming). I don’t want to delve into too much, because we are waiting for word back from them, but we’re hoping to have a lot more community engagement with Carbine.
Rrauwl: We can give you some examples of what players can look forward to on the subreddit, however. We've implemented monthly Guild Recruitment threads that we hope will be better than what you see at the official forums, as people will have to update their recruitment status and stay relevant... no more applying to orphan or closed recruitment guilds from ancient posts. We're also partnering with a new sister subreddit, /r/WildStarBuilds. Again, this is to push the community for up to date build information for every drop, keeping up with the nerfs and buffs on a patch by patch basis. And the new team has diverse skills, from media, to CSS, to technology, to writing... so we'll be able to modify the subreddit to change with the times.
MM:If someone has never once played WildStar, what would you tell them to get them to play in spite of all the "awful" things they've heard on the internet?
Rrauwl: Wildstar got a bad rap because of a buggy launch for the most part. The core gameplay and concepts have always been awesome. In the past few months, starting with Drop 4, the vast majority of bugs and balance issues are gone. Finally we have a polished game. What we don’t have is the population we need to make the game shine. So I’d tell them: We suffered through the bugs, the balance issues, and we helped Carbine to get their house in order. With the F2P release, the invite is out there to MMO gamers from all walks of life: Casual, hardcore, roleplayers, PvPers, raiders, collectors, housing addicts… everyone. All we need now, is you!
My thanks to the team over at the WildStar reddit for taking time out to chat with me. Go pay them a visit on the reddit page!
About the Author
Mike “Magicman” Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site’s current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.
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In light of their now official confirmation of it going f2p this becomes a sore and blemish in their attempts to keep people interested in the game.
After reading their response during your interview I am still not convinced to give this game another try.