Uplink Analysis: Cross-Faction Communication

Written by David "Scooter" Bass on July 20, 2012

WildStar Uplink is a weekly conversation we hold with our fans about MMO design, philosophy, and news. The main goal of these conversations is to gauge how important certain issues are to the WildStar community. More than just a simple conversation, we ask questions about topics that are important, and we share your responses with the development team directly. Want to participate? Follow @Team_WildStar on Twitter for the weekly question, participate using #WSuplink, and keep an eye on the community team (@CRB_Atreid, CRB_Aether, and @CRB_Scooter) to interact with us throughout the discussions.

This week's topic was contributed by one of our fans, CosmicDebris. The topic was:

Do you prefer games that allow cross-faction communication or ones that prevent it?

As expected, this was a very divisive topic, with the community coming down strongly on both sides:

Nick A.: Cross faction role playing is a lot of fun. I'd hate to see that taken away for role players just because someone is using it to be rude. If someone wants to be rude to another player, they will find a way, language barrier or not.
Stephjen K.: Prevent it, cause if u have pvp and people can talk cross-faction, whats to stop them from sending someone to the other faction to spy and give up there defensive positions and ruining all the fun.
Paul S.: I prefer no factions and open chat. Everyone should be fair game in pvp.
Vilde L.: I like it - mostly. It allows you to make a temporary truce with someone from the opposite faction and work together to achieve a common goal, and things such as cross-faction roleplay, which is great. What's not so great is the verbal abuse that's likely to happen in a PvP setting (or if someone should, say, grab a quest item that disappears temporarily right in front of someone else), in which case an ignore function that works cross-faction would be a great addition.
Kurt R.: Cross-faction assumes PvP, as far as I'm concerned. So, if a game primarily PvP-oriented then I would generally prefer little communication between the factions... In a primarily PVE game, is there any real reason to limit cross-faction communication?
Kriston L.: I'd say let it be server-dependent. On PVP servers, it makes sense to limit it to a say/yell radius, or what have you, but on PVE servers, let it be open.
Nicole G.: I liked how SWTOR did it. I don't need the crap that fills the air when you can have cross faction chat through the world or local channels, but if they are standing right next to each other, sure, that's perfectly reasonable, and if I don't want to hear it, I can walk away until I can't hear it.
Gareth H.: It depends on the relationship between the factions, and how conflict arises between them. If you've got two factions that are constantly at each other's throats, who are constantly in conflict through open world PVP, then cross-faction communications should be avoided. If, on the other hand, the two factions can occasionally work together, and PVP in dedicated battlegrounds or arenas, then cross-faction comms should be allowed. It all depends on the feeling you're trying to create between the factions - are they sworn enemies, or will they occasionally (but regularly) unite against a greater foe?

As a follow-up, we asked if you thought cross-faction communication helps or hurts faction rivalries:

WildStar: Taking into account previous gaming experiences, do you feel that CFC helps promote healthy faction rivalry? Does it negatively impact the faction relationships? Or do you think it has minimal/no effect?
Half S.: positively faction relationship exists only in theory. Practice (and my experience) shows some other results. It'll always be bad/insulting language between factions. It is indeed a problem, but most players want to harass other peoples who are not on their side.
Mike B.: I remember when WoW was still in its infancy and I feel that the lack of CFC really helped create "Horde vs. Alliance" mentality. You were either one or the other and the other was scum and had to be destroyed. Yeah, you could just create a new character and be on the other side when you wanted to, but a lot of players stuck with the one faction because the lack of communication especially during PVP. "Oh great, this jerk killed me again.... and now hes taunting me with emotes, but I have no way of actually talking to him to give him a piece of my mind.....RRRRRAAAAARRRR! HORDE SMASH!" It just helps develop a sense of community.
Sean B.: I love the smack talk before some open world fights break out.

The majority of concerns over allowing cross-faction communication stemmed from fears of spying and harassment by the opposing faction.

WildStar: It sounds like there are a couple concerns about allowing CFC: Griefing, Harassment, and Spying. How would you go about solving those issues?
Gareth H.: Spying: Restrict CFC in areas where spying gives an advantage: arenas, battlegrounds and warzones.
Daniel C.: Personally I would say that cross faction chat is fine, but should be disabled on PVP realms, and people should accept that's what has to be if your doing PVP. Should also be disabled in Warzone areas.
Mohammed W.: I think there used to be reason to not allow cross faction communication, but in today's games, the inherent competitive nature of the gamer demands it. The only concern would be how to design it where it cannot be used to exploited in PvP based engagements.

The conversation's still continuing as the week goes on, so feel free to stop by our Facebook page and give us your thoughts as well. Thanks to everyone who joined in with this week's WildStar Uplink! We'll be back on Twitter next week for Uplink, so make sure you follow @Team_WildStar on Twitter and keep an eye on the #WSuplink hashtag for a heads up when we begin on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Boss Hunter Challenge

By Team WildStar on September 20, 2018

Kill more and get more in this limited-time challenge.

Residential Renovation! September 14–21

By Team WildStar on September 13, 2018

It’s show time! Sara Conavius is in town to help renovate your homes for the best program on holovision.

Double Prestige Bonus August 31–September 3

By Team WildStar on August 30, 2018

Put on your game faces people, the Power, Prestige, and PvP bonus event is back!