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WildStar Wednesday: Yep, We're Listening!

Written by Robert "Robeardo" Land on November 16, 2011

Over the past few weeks, we tried out something we feel very passionate about: Community Uplinks. These are our conversations with the community on various topics we feel are important to the community. So far, they've been a hit!

For our first Uplink, we posed the following question to the community: What kinds of in-game events do you like/want to see in WildStar? Live? Seasonal? Player-driven? Let us know! Everyone liked some version of events, but what they liked and wanted to see ran the gamut.

Seasonal Events? We had those in favor of them -

thtgynmdfsh: I'd like to see seasonal events that make sense in the context of the game world and happen in certain areas of the world.
CRB_Aether: So imagine we have unique seasonal events that match up with our standard holidays. Is that alright?
thtgynmdfsh: As long as you guys can find a fun way to twist them in with the game's context and make it feel like they belong there.
zaprobo: Make events about the season, not holiday - planting, harvesting, and the customs WS races have for that
CRB_Aether: Agreed, on all counts. Re-imagined seasonal events, set in our world. That makes the list.
thtgynmdfsh: It would be interesting to have some events be faction exclusive, because of differing lore between the two.
CRB_Aether: Faction exclusive events are now on the list for exploration by the Social Systems team. ^5

And those who were not as excited by the prospect -

crazybladeuk: Player driven and Live would be fantastic. Seasonal, frankly, has been done to death! Be innovative!

There were discussions about specific events people enjoyed, what they'd like to see in live events, and how to give player-driven events more visiblity. And interspersed in these discussions we got ideas from the community that took us in directions we hadn't even started exploring yet!

Like, how about making the reward proportional to the participation?

thtgynmdfsh: Perhaps an event where the amount of contribution determines the scale of the reward for players? Like a harvest for a feast?
CRB_Aether: Now we're talking. That's the kind of thing we like: Recognizing groups and individuals that work hard.

Or what about including PvP events?

souperfan: We need player driven PvP events such as escort/destroy the artifact in a Team Fortress 2 "Payload" style event.
CRB_Aether: Now that's a great idea as well. PvP events are on the list.

There was a great suggestion to include events that play off the players' Paths -

siegaplays: Given paths, maybe live events for specific paths, other paths can help, but focused on the path talents of the day
CRB_Aether: Ooh, that's an interesting idea. Imagine that anything is possible: What kind of Path events sound interesting?
siegaplays: example would be an public event to build something big for settler, while other paths fend off native lifeforms/pvp.
thtgynmdfsh: I think it would be interesting to give Settlers a way to begin smaller, more localized events in towns and such.
CRB_Aether: I like that sound of that. Settlers are a natural Path for storytellers and social event fans to get involved with.

And a great suggestion to take players' suggestions and make an event out of that

KatharineUrtem: Anyone can propose their event to the WS crew, & if it's doable, they get the crew's help to organize it
KatharineUrtem: ...And those who successfully submit their event win a little something like an object or a title
CRB_Aether: Now that's a great idea. I'm writing that one down.

What we learned from all of it was this - Everyone who responded to this question was excited about some kind of in-game events. Player-driven events were a popular topic, but there was concern they wouldn't be seen by many people and there wouldn't be any way to control what happened because they were not being done by the devs. Live events also excited the community, especially as they related to what was currently happening in-game and as a means of moving the story forward and revealing information about the world. Regularly scheduled events were perhaps the most requested/talked about events because anyone could participate and there is less chance to lose out on the experience and any relevant rewards. There was talk of events that change the world (for both good and bad) depending on how much participation the players actually devote to it. Seasonal events, in the end, were the least popular to the community because all games do them and they are perceived as always being the same. The request was made that, if seasonal events happen, to tie them into in-game events and not "game-ified" versions of real holidays. Again, it was stated they could be used as a tool to impart lore and story while giving the players something unique to do at the same time.

The next Uplink conversation was about griefing! Topic of the day: What are your thoughts on griefing in the modern MMO? was what we asked the community, and you responded with a wide variety of opinions!

The was some talk about the basics of griefing -

Arkadies: Depends on what is considered griefing. Setting expectations with the community on what is fair play is helpful.

WonderPenguin: I think griefing is most often tied to pvp players taking things too seriously.
CRB_Robeardo: While I've had experiences with that, I've also encountered some people who just seemed to like being jerks :)
WonderPenguin: haha, definitely true. I like the single shard games, cause I can just change instances and be free.
CRB_Robeardo: Or 'counter-grief' like me and my friends would do. Though I'm sure that just perpetuates the problem.
WonderPenguin: Counter-griefing is just standing up to a bully, in my opinion. Also its REALLY fun.
CRB_Robeardo: You are so right about that. But is there a way to effectively counter the problem without stooping to their level?
WonderPenguin: The game needs to provide negative feedback to the troll, not the players. The griefer is looking for player reaction (contd)
WonderPenguin: so perhaps after a certain amount of blacklists (or something) the game has a spirit of justice chase them away.
CRB_Robeardo: Interesting idea, but how would you prevent it from being abused so griefers couldn't chase away regular players?
WonderPenguin: Maybe a certain # of blacklists places them in a "Grief" state where they become invisible to those that BL them for X hrs.

And discussion about the perception of griefing -

CRB_Aether: A question related to today's topic: Have you engaged in behavior that someone called griefing, but you considered gameplay?
CRB_Robeardo: I think there's a fine line between messing around and griefing. We've all had fun that others don't like in a game.
CRB_Robeardo: But is that all you do? If so, you are probably a griefer. That's when I stop enjoying a game.
moneda: To be honest, if I'm playing on a server labeled "PvP" I don't think almost anything should be considered griefing.
moneda: So, yes, I've probably done something considered griefing, LOL.
CRB_Aether: Surely griefing happens outside of PvP encounters.
moneda: That depends. In a game where I'm allowed to attack any/everyone, then there is no encounter that's always outside of PvP.
CRB_Robeardo: But some people may see a PvP server as a literal Player vs Player environment. Not just on a battleground.
moneda: Exactly. PvP can be one battle or it can be Me vs You in Everything In The Game. But...
moneda: If one party doesn't agree to that then there's griefing, whether it's recognized or not.

And even some people who enjoy griefing -

Hezzy88: i like griefing, it is a way of life
CRB_Aether: There are a lot of people that agree with you. ;) Why though?
Hezzy88: It just fun to tease people. i do it IRL and ingame! it is a lot easier to do it in game and you reach a wider audience
CRB_Aether: hah- you sound like someone running a marketing campaign. Though I'm not sure good-natured teasing counts as griefing. Examples?
Hezzy88: well I have been known to dabble in PR ;) things like actively blocking people from doing what they want to illicit a response,
Hezzy88: crashing ingame events, generally annoying people!
siegaplays: Teasing is mutual fun. Griefing is being a jerk to incite anger, sadness or otherwise make some lose "face".

It seems that people have given the topic a lot of thought because there were many participants who had suggestions on how to handle griefers -

siegaplays: Player tools: Accountwide ignore, spam/grief report. GM tool: enforced solo community service, temp ban, perma-ban
CRB_Aether: Can you describe what a solo community service means in this context?
siegaplays: Example: a long path grind with no access to any chats until complete. Not public punishment, but out of the "loop".
zaprobo: Not fond of the "Community Service" concept - hardened griefers may reroll or consider it an achievement siegaplays: Make it accountwide. Service needs to be done on any toon on the account before any toon can do other stuff.
zaprobo: Still gives a hardened griefer a "badge of honour" - I'd not acknowledge them that way. Deny them targets PTGameGeek: Deny them radar, quests, faction hierarchy, leadership positions, trading, mounts...until they work it off.
Arkadies: May have been stated before but how many times does a person get Community Service before jail time?

vanessa_chu: Mute or ignore player option in chat would be useful. If you don't hear the grief, it doesn't matter!
CRB_Robeardo: That's good for chat spam, but what if I follow you and tag your mobs or just jump around and annoy you?
siegaplays: Social medias really should be covered by stalker laws, if we are talking persistent stalking/griefing a person.
siegaplays: Reporting tools is the most common, but there has to be a common ruleset of expectations to uphold using such

zaprobo: Was a long night, and missed it from my article but I like idea of putting them in own phase

Arkadies: What about world impact for griefers. Vendors all charge more, trade restrictions, stat debuff etc? Add some RP for them lol

Also an interesting discussion started up about how some amount of griefing can actually help people develop a feel for the conflict in-game -

AutumnalDusk: Companies need to realize that unabated greifing, and noob camping cuts off the "new blood" playerbase, once a pecking order is established by the people who "leveled first". No new blood + player attrition= Game Death.
WildStarSource: This is very true, but if a game gets too 'safe' it can also splinter a community. Partying for safety is great fun!
WildStarSource: PvP griefing CAN BE a great tool that players use to encourage faction enmity. Common enemies unite communities!
zaprobo: Operative word "can". Must have systems for times when players can't fight back (e.g. same faction) WildStarSource: Not that we're disagreeing, but the more regulated a system gets, the more it gets abused by smart players

So, what did we learn from this Uplink? Well, almost exclusively, the community responded to griefing with a desire to help control it. There were some respondents that liked - and even enjoyed - griefing. But many of the community that enjoyed it admitted they liked it defined within the parameters of the game (e.g. faction vs. faction antagonism). In fact, requests were made to help foster such antagonism so the feeling of war and rivalry could help convey the story. There was also a request to give players ways to deal with griefers themselves - tools that could make the griefer invisible, let the player have a global account ignore, etc.

At the end of it all, we confirmed something we already knew - our community is passionate about games and has a lot of good ideas about issues/topics dear to every players' heart. We're glad everyone is enjoying these conversations as much as we are and we hope you keep coming back!

Talk to us - we're listening!

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