The newest patch release for WildStar has basically turned the attunement process for Genetic Archives into an easy mode experience. This new era is cleverly donned “The Bronze Age” by the Carbine community manager because instead of requiring players to complete dungeons on silver difficulty, they’ve been lowered to bronze status. Part of me thinks that this is a really good thing, but in all honesty it’s likely that this won’t have any great long term effects.
EASY MODE…OR IS IT?
Running dungeons over and over again trying to get that silver achievement is really frustrating, and I could understand how players would even quit the game after getting stuck at that point. I’ve discussed in length the irritation that I initially had clearing silver dungeons, but in actuality they’re a good way to prepare for raids. By prepare I mean get ready to die time and time again making progress in small intervals.
By dropping the requirements from silver to bronze it means that in order to progress in the attunement process players simply have to finish the dungeons. They can clear them in 20 minutes or 20 hours, but it doesn’t matter as long as they finish all of the requirements along the way. Silver requires players to kill optional bosses and finish the dungeons in a certain amount of time, while bronze essentially requires players to kill the main bosses and pick up a few quest items. Anyone who can’t beat a dungeon with unlimited time honestly doesn’t need to be in raids at all.
What I like about this lowered requirement is the fact that it could start to bring players back into the game or make players who have become less interested start to play more. When players get the opportunity to see new and more content there’s a higher likelihood that they’ll continue to play. Over the many years that I’ve played MMORPGs it seems like the two biggest reasons people quit are over some form of difficulty, whether it’s level grinding, mechanics, or progressing, or boredom because there’s no content left to play. By essentially handing players their attunement, everyone that wants to see endgame content will have the chance to do so. This also gives guilds a chance to “power level” some of their lesser skilled counterparts through the attunement process if they need to fill a couple of slots.
There is a problem with this, however, and that is the fact that these players are not going to be ready for raids. Sure, if players are leveling up alt characters then this is great because attunement becomes a breeze, but if you’re struggling to finish Skullcano then you’re going to have a terrible time fighting Experiment X-89, who’s the easiest boss in Genetic Archives by far. Another issue is going to be the lack of gear. While completing silver attunements I was able to obtain two full sets of gear, damage and tank, but it’s impossible to put together a decent set in a single run. So this means that these players will inevitably have to go back and still grind these dungeons or they’ll have to dump a ton of money into the auction house.
Besides this controversial change to the attunement process there was another very positive change, in my opinion. Achievements and titles have now been added to dungeon clearing and world boss kills. Great, another title, so what? Well this means that if you’ve killed the world bosses, before being on that specific step for the attunement process, you’ll get retroactive credit for it. I don’t know how many world bosses and silver dungeons I completed before being on those steps, but it would have been really convenient to not have to do them over again. I feel that these changes to WildStar are moving in a positive direction away from repetitiveness. There’s a big difference between making something difficult and forcing players to grind unforgivingly. The world bosses never dropped any good loot anyways, so making this step retroactive was a great move and will probably be appreciated by newcomers and alts alike.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
While I just praised Carbine for removing some of the annoying grinding aspects of the attunement process, they’ve just added a bunch of new grinding content for those of us stuck on raids. Previously, Elder Gems were the only way to obtain Ability and Amp Power unlock items, but now there 8 Amp Upgrade Points and 5 Ability Tier Points that can be earned by completing various tasks around Nexus. You’re probably wondering what gloriously hardcore tasks Carbine has set aside for us veteran players. Well, if you guessed reputation grinding, then you’re mostly correct.
There are actually a few easy ones to obtain, such as the ones that can be bought from the PvP and path vendors (finally a reason to finish leveling up Soldier). Then there are the rather “hardcore” requirements of finishing all dungeons on Gold. Finally, the last few points can be obtained after hitting the reputation cap with the Northern Wastes, Crimson Isle, Malgrave, and Blighthaven.
So here we go again, not only am I expected to spend a good amount of time each week raiding, but now I need to go back and finish reputation grinding in order to keep up with everyone else. I’m sure I’m not the only player that never wants to blow up skiffs in the Crimson Isle or deal with the gankfests in the Northern Wastes again. There are the dedicated few that already have max reputation with all of these factions, and good for them, but I doubt there’s anyone who really wants to go back and grind these areas again; putting in something like a new world boss in each of these zones would have been a lot more exciting.
What I feel like they’re trying to do with WildStar right now is stall until their new content is ready. Nothing says repeatable content like gold dungeon farming and max reputation caps. While achieving gold in most dungeons does require a fair amount of skill, it’s still very luck and gear dependent. Even the easiest, Stormtalon’s Lair, has a few pretty difficult challenges and one wrong step, while trying to beat the clock, means a wasted run. Again, it really feels like Carbine is confusing hardcore and frustrating. Adding a boss that requires very specific mechanics, gear and coordination to down is hardcore. Reinforcing old content and putting the pressure on players to grind trivial quests is not.Related: Carbine Studios, Column, Dungeon, Patch, Raids, The Nexus Times, Wildstar