I’m sure this declaration isn’t necessarily a surprise to many of you, considering the dwindling population of WildStar servers over the last few months. You’d think that after merging all the servers together there would at least be enough of a player base for a few skirmishes here and there or maybe even a city-wide raid. However, it seems that things have taken a turn for the worse.
Illium is now as populated as a graveyard at midnight, and the daily questing zones, usually prime territories for ganking Stalkers, have been almost completely deserted. Earlier this week, during primetime, I flew my hoverboard around the Crimson Badlands and Northern Wastes hoping that at least someone would take the bait. All I found was a single medic who seemed more interested in finishing their quest than attacking me. It’s sad that even by merging all the “PvP” servers together, there’s still no one left to fight.
MEGASERVERS CAUSE PANIC
Initially it sounded like megaservers were going to be a great thing for WildStar. There would be plenty of players to fill out guild rosters for raid content, battlegrounds and maybe even enough to raid Thayd. The number of players on Pergo were still reasonable the week before the merger and even though many guilds desired more members, there were still quite a few at least capable of at least raiding Genetic Archives. By then it was assumed that most hardcore players had already transferred, due to the free server transfers issued, but it was possible that there were a dedicated few left on the struggling servers.
What we hadn’t planned for was the mass exodus from Warhound (PvP) to Entity (PvE) once the megaservers actually went live. Carbine decided to give players a couple of days to transfer (for free) after the megaservers were released and for some reason rumors spread throughout WildStar that everyone was consolidating on Entity. Well those rumors seem to have come true, or forced the reality of the situation, as the numbers of players currently on Warhound appear to be even less than on Pergo a couple of weeks ago. I can login to Illium right now and literally count all of the players in the city without have to stop; there’s probably two dozen in the city, maybe less.
GUILDS HARD UP FOR RAIDERS
Right now there are only five main raiding guilds left on Warhound: Subterfuge, Hindsight, Naptime, Dreadnought, and Symbiosis. While Subterfuge is still a top tier guild, clearing 5/9 in Datascape last week, and Hindsight is doing pretty decent as well, the other guilds are still behind the progress curve and haven’t even finished Genetic Archives yet. I’m not blaming this issue on those guilds, but WildStar should have more than two guilds actively progressing through content between all of its PvP servers combined. I understand why some guilds have either fallen behind, aren’t progressing, or just gave up because I’ve been through all three of those situations. The content is hard, players quit, people become more interested in games that are actually fun, and regressing multiple weeks in a row, instead of progressing, usually breaks the camel’s back.
Due to these player constraints guilds have been forced into aggressive recruitment. This means merging, absorbing and even sniping players from competing guilds. The unfortunate thing is that there are so few guilds left on Warhound that within a few months there will likely only be one or two left after stealing players from smaller guilds by offering them easily obtained gear. This is inevitable because players are leaving the game at a much faster rate than new players are joining. According to Tandoor from Hindsight, last week they had approximately 220 raiders but the guild has been losing players at a rate of about 10 per week. It’s likely that similar, smaller guilds have also been experiencing a player loss and the only way to continue to raid is to join a larger guild.
Furthermore, this lack of a player base can also be seen on the official forums. While the WildStar forums have never been excessively active, the Entity forum has had more than 150 topics and 1600 replies since the megaservers went live. Warhound, on the other hand, has had less than 50 topics and 240 replies. When you look at the Entity forum there are contests, guild and circle recruitment posts, but the few posts on the Warhound section consist of players trying to figure out where everyone else is.
NO MORE PVP
When WildStar first came out I lived and breathed PvP. First it was battlegrounds, then arenas and finally open-world combat. Things were still very broken back then, but the game was fresh and the combat system made winning that much more gratifying. Since then, things are pretty much the same except that the game isn’t shiny and new anymore. People have been waiting a long time for the PvP aspects of WildStar to be fixed. There’s simply no reason to play.
Battlegrounds are punishing and anyone without 1500 gear, and possibly even 1800 gear at this point, is going to get steamrolled. Many guilds used to focus on both PvE and PvP but due to the low payout of PvP and excessive time suck of raiding, most are strictly the latter. It’s not entertaining to get decimated in Walatiki Temple anymore and the grind to 1800 arena score is just as painful as ever. Not only has instanced PvP become simply not fun, but there’s also no reason to do it. There aren’t seasons or special rewards like in many other games, so once you hit the top there’s no reason to keep playing.
Sure, you used to be able to take that shiny new gear out to the Northern Wastes to gank a few newbies, but there’s no one left to gank anymore. Everyone is either sick of grinding or they already have max reputation and probably never want to see those zones again. The sad truth is that it might be entirely too late to save world PvP. If new players ever to migrate back to WildStar their best chance at endgame content is on the higher populated PvE server and with no draw left on the PvP server, what’s the point?Related: Column, PvP, The Nexus Times, Wildstar