It’s that most wonderful time of the year when we’re all keen to walk in a Winterfest wonderland—rowsdowers roasting on an open fire, Papa Phineas nipping at our wallets. And, with the majesty of the season upon us, we’re switching our focus for this installment of the Spotlight series from guilds to an individual. Kaeret has long been a player housing extraordinaire in the WildStar community, regularly hosting livestreams on her Twitch channel and challenging others to push the limits of custom-built décor. This month we’ve armed her with a number of unique décor pack codes to hand out. But, before she gets to this most special of Winterfest loot giveaways, we’ve borrowed her to answer some questions about her countless WildStar experiences.
Tell us a little bit about your first experiences with WildStar and what drew you into this rowdy universe.
I heard about WildStar via my son, who'd come across the early DevSpeak videos. By that time, I'd been playing some of the same games for about a decade, so I was definitely ready to try something new. The look of the game world and the tone of those videos are what caught my attention. In the end, he went a different direction with his free time, but I kept my eyes on WildStar and was fortunate enough to grab a Beta key. Once I hit level 14 and housing—I was hooked, lined, and sinkered. I purchased a subscription as soon as I was able and have been playing ever since. As part of this adventure, I tasked myself with learning how to create videos—originally as keepsakes for myself of housing projects I worked on—and later got involved in livestreaming, with my first broadcast entering the wild on May 6, 2015.
How did you start to really set your focus on housing and overall plot customization?
Generally speaking, solo-questing is my bread and butter in any game I play. Meaning, that's usually what I end up doing most of the time, be it leveling a new character or hitting dailies for a capped one. Didn't matter if I belonged to a guild or not, my play hours were always scatty enough that I tended to play alone. When I was younger, raiding was also on the menu, but these days I just don't have the muster for that kind of intensity and excitement. WildStar was my first taste at a true housing system; and as someone who dabbles in hobby art IRL (painting/drawing/etc.), it was only natural that I found housing to be the perfect in-game creative outlet. Even in the Beta I spent the majority of my time tinkering with décor, so for me, it wasn't a matter of setting my focus on housing, but rather a “that's just how it's going to be” kind of thing. While for the most part I technically remain a solo-player, I've found that my social interactions (in-game chats, social media, etc.) are higher here than any other game I've ever played, and I believe housing and the amazing community that has grown within it, takes the full credit on that.
Dabbling with a waterfall painting.
You’ve been doing monthly “Custom-Built Décor Challenges” (CBDC) for some time now, extending it from a guild activity to the whole community—which we love checking out! How did this become a thing within your guild and what motivates you to continue challenging your fellow players every month?
This actually started back in Beta, if you can believe it, with a Beta guild I joined fairly early on. Later, when the game went live and I joined an official guild, I continued with the challenges as one of many guild activities I hosted. With CBDCs specifically, my aim was not only to get players interested in housing, but to encourage them to think outside the box—i.e. to see more than a plate when they looked at a plate. I didn't want it to be a competition, but rather a fun and friendly experience for everyone. Unfortunately, the guilds have come and gone, but my passion for housing has never waned, so I reintroduced the challenges via my livestream in April 2016 and thankfully they have been well-received by the general community. The theme changes every month, sometimes with special rules thrown in, but always in the same spirit of keeping it open and inviting to all players, no matter their perception of their own skill or creativeness.
Being able to issue a challenge and then see what our builders come up with, based on given parameters, is a great pleasure and I'm never disappointed with their efforts. Some of the challenges force us to step outside of our own comfort zones, providing even more opportunity to learn and experiment. I think it's builders' willingness to stretch those boundaries that drives me to keep challenging them and myself.
Project created for June 2016 Food-themed CBDC.
Tell us about the December CBDC and your special décor giveaway. What challenge have you issued and how can folks get a chance at scoring some free loot?
December's CBDC had to of course be winter-related in some way, so I desired a theme that could fit that criteria, but also would actively stimulate creativity amongst our builders. Since I know mount collecting is a big thing for many players, with some of them regularly daydreaming about the kinds of mounts they would like to see, I thought it a perfect melding of the two things. That is how the Winter Rides challenge came to be. Participants are charged with creating their very own winter-themed mounts, from sleighs and snowmobiles to saddled polar bears and ice drakes.
Now typically, these monthly challenges are purely for funsies. This means no judging, no voting, and no prizes. That said, I wanted to provide an extra incentive to participants this month—it's the holiday season, after all—by offering some in-game goodies. With the help of Peregryn, Conguero, and the rest of the Carbine Studios Team, that has become a reality, with me being able to offer a number of exclusive “Cozy Decorations” décor pack codes to some of this month's participants. In short, if you submit a project for December's Winter Rides CBDC, your name will be entered into a random drawing that will be held during the livestream CBDC Showcase on December 30. You can read full details about the challenge on the WildStar forums.
Project created for December 2016 Winter Rides CBDC.
You’re known by many community regulars for your housing streams on twitch.tv/Kaeret_WS and videos on YouTube.com/Kaeret_WS. What do you hope WildStar players, and any gamers who take interest in character housing and customization, learn or take away from watching your stream?
Barring the occasional illness or other obstacle, I stream every weekday. House tours are on Wednesdays, the CBDC showcase lands near the end of each month, and the rest of the days are filled up with live-building projects. Ordinarily these projects stem from my own personal random works (like my paintings), but also cover CBDC builds I create right alongside other participants (I never issue a challenge I'm not willing to take on myself, is just fair right?), holiday-related projects where we might brainstorm decorating ideas, as an example, or something like the Advent countdown series I'm currently involved in for this month.
Project for Advent Countdown 2016, Day 8.
The stream's general goal is to open players'—both existing and potential—eyes to the endless possibilities of WildStar's housing. I strive to keep it accessible to low-level/new players by building my projects primarily with the more readily available materials (those purchased straight from the housing vendor) to show them that they don't require hundreds of platinum or high-level characters with maxed rep to create something unique for themselves and others to enjoy. At the same time, I strive to keep it interesting for more seasoned builders by continually stretching my own limits with new and hopefully engaging ideas/builds, in an effort to spur them into their own bigger and better outcomes. Throw in regular updates on WildStar news/events, upcoming décor and housing features, PTR sneak peeks, and a constant nattering of all things housing and I think it safe to say that there is a little something for everyone.
While some builders prefer to covet the tricks and techniques they utilize, my stream aims to get into the nit and gritty of it. From the add-ons I use (and how to use them), such as Katia's Builder Toolkit, to the reasoning behind why I chose to use one piece of décor over another, I share it all. Through the live-building projects, viewers get to follow along with me as I move from point A to point B, including any problems I have along the way, how I overcome those obstacles, and of course the final outcomes. It's a peek behind the curtain, so to speak. Even in our weekly tours, I don't just “ooh and ahh” over the builds, but discuss the items the builders used, alternative items they could have employed, and alternative situations where certain ideas/techniques could also work—i.e. an item used for water in an outdoor pond, could alternatively work as water for a sink or tub.
Live Panda Bear Painting construction.
Those who follow regularly along with the streams are a very helpful, laid-back bunch, always up for a fun chat, eager to welcome new builders, answer questions, etc. I'm extremely grateful for them, not only because of their support, but it also saves me from talking to myself. :P
And I would be remiss if I didn't extend a special thank you to Poiekelsatin for her unwavering efforts as my channel's moderator and promoter (gotta love the video tweets!). With their help, it is my hope that the stream positively promotes WildStar and its amazing housing system, and energizes new and veteran builders alike into continuing their incredible efforts and sharing their works with us.
If you can think of one, what’s the most awe-inspiring plot customization you’ve seen so far in WildStar and what about it blew you away?
This one is a toughie, as I believe all builders and their creations have great merit in their own right, so I can think of many. XD
To keep with the request though, I'd have to go with one of the earliest plots I can recall that left me speechless—many others have done so before and since, to be clear. That would be the creation of Madigan Alix, whom we fondly refer to as Madi. The plot itself is called Country Idyll (found on Jabbit-EU) and it remains one of my favorite builds to visit. Aside from the incredible detail, the landscaping—this is long before insta-hills were available, I might add—is what truly wows me the most, as that aspect of building is my own greatest weakness. Madi creates believable/natural scenery with ease, making a visit to any of their plots a joy and a tremendous source of inspiration.
You’re consistently very active in the community. What do you see in your future for WildStar and those who share your enthusiasm for housing?
For the immediate future, I see me expanding my weekly house tours to include NA plots. Up till now, my focus has primarily been on the builders of EU. The one exception to this has been the CBDC, which is open to both sides of the pond. As quality-of-life features have continued to pile up, there is greater ease in visiting plots of both regions and opposing factions. For some time now, I've had numerous requests to include NA homes in our tours, but only now feel that the time is right to take that step; so in January 2017, I will be adding NA builds into the regular livestream schedule, alternating between the regions each week. To date, we've toured over 315 homes, with our 100th house tours episode on the horizon sometime in April, so I'm looking forward to covering many more plots in the New Year.
July 2016 Modular Embellishment CBDC Showcase.
In the long term, I would like to continue adding more interactivity to the livestream, as I think it would allow viewers to feel more involved, rather than just sitting and listening to me rattle on and on. So something along the lines of live Q&As of fellow builders where we can pick their brains and squeeze out their secrets (mwahahaha!). This, of course, is heavily reliant on my being able to figure out how to set it up—I'm clueless at this point—but it's definitely something I would love to include as a regular feature of the stream. My approach to housing isn't the same as the next builder’s, so learning about how others tackle their projects, the problems they've faced, their wishes for housing, etc., is something I think my viewers would appreciate.
Besides that, and in more general terms, I plan to continue sharing my love of WildStar and its housing system, and encouraging anyone that crosses my path to give it a try. As long as more features and new décor keep coming, so too will the ideas and builds!
Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us, Kaeret, and good luck in choosing Cozy Decorations décor pack recipients during the Winter Rides challenge! We wish you continued success with your Twitch channel and CBDCs. As always, we’ll be watching!
If you’re involved in unique community projects and interested in having the spotlight shone on you or your guild next, visit our official forums for more info on how to apply.
It’s show time! Sara Conavius is in town to help renovate your homes for the best program on holovision.
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