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DevConnect: Faction Barrier

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#1 Pappy


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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:36 PM

Hey all!


One of the things that we have always appreciated about the WildStar community is your passion for the game. And specifically on the forums there’s a ton of insightful feedback on many different aspects of the game. Reading through them gave us an idea to better improve our ability to effectively communicate. To do that we’re going to start a new initiative called DevConnect—an ongoing series that captures all of your thoughts and feedback on certain subjects in one place.


DevConnect will take place in a forum thread that will stay pinned in General Discussion for everyone to see. If this becomes a bigger deal over time, we’ll consider making a new forums section for the series. Each thread will be open for a certain timeframe, maybe one or two weeks (we’ll see how this first one goes), and then we’ll lock it and introduce a new topic. This brings everyone together in a discussion over a coordinated topic—and we’ll take cues from you to help determine future ones—to focus feedback, and allow us to jump in too to offer our own thoughts.


The first topic that we’d like us all to discuss is faction barrier.


Dropping the faction barrier is certainly something that we’ve talked about internally, but we see that you lots of you have been talking about it as well. Here are some possible discussion topics for the thread:

  • What are your thoughts on dropping the faction barrier? And why?
  • What are your thoughts on keeping the faction barrier? And why?
  • If you were a developer for a day, what would your vision for what faction barriers be?
  • How should PvP flags factor into faction barriers, if at all?


This DevConnect thread will be open from now until March 30, so hop in and tell us your thoughts! Remember, this is a place for everyone to discuss awesome ideas, so let’s make each other feel welcome.


Looking forward to the discussion!



#2 WakynSkybreaker

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:48 PM


Hey Pappy,


To me, as someone who rarely PvPs, the faction barrier essentially halves the population that there could be. From a standpoint of simply having more people to do non-PvP stuff with, I'd totally be behind dropping the faction barrier.


I'm not wholly opposed to keeping the faction barrier, I understand why it's there from a story and lore perspective. But, and this is as someone who loves the lore and story, sometimes that has to be put aside for what's good for the game and it's players.


If I was developer for a day, and factions were something we had to have... I'd make them only count when flagged or in a PVP Battleground. I do think PvP in the open world should be faction based, with MAYBE an exception of a part of a zone that is free-for-all (and auto-flags you when you enter). Put quests in this area to make it more appealing to people. 


PvP is a part of the game, and should remain that way. But dropping the faction barrier increases the number of people able to do things together, and that'll keep them playing the game.

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#3 the infamous Brad

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:52 PM

Personally, I'm a big fan of having factions, but for a reason that may not be entirely economically practical: it's the best way I know to tell more than one story set in the same game-world. The way that the Exiles learn about Nexus is different from the way that the Dominion learns about Nexus. The ways that they interact with the world are different. The ways that they talk about the world are different. And it gives you the opportunity to tell the same kinds of stories but with entirely different personalities, even entirely different emotional tone ...


But that doubles the storytelling cost. At least.


And it creates a problem that has haunted every MMO that's done factions since they were invented: 2/3rds of all players will never consider playing the bad guys. You can fix that by making both sides the bad guys--it worked for Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. (Other things went wrong, like out of control development costs, but that part worked.) You can fix that by making both sides, or all three sides, good guys who just don't like each other, like in The Secret World--but, again, it's hard to call that one a success, too, isn't it? But without some way of breaking down the resistance to playing "bad guys" then you can't do any kind of competitive play, whether races or PvP or whatever, without having to invest heavily in some way to allow the badly outnumbered faction to still be competitive.


If you can't afford to fund two stories, then you realistically have no choice but to find ways to merge the factions into one faction, like City of Heroes did before the end, and like Star Wars: The Old Republic has done lately. I hate that. But I get that sometimes it's an economic necessity.

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#4 Revon

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:54 PM

  • What are your thoughts on dropping the faction barrier? And why?

I don't want to see it dropped. The only exception to this is some special instanced content with a lore based reasoning, like Exiles and Dominion having to band together despite their differences to fight the common evil. The faction barrier should not be dropped simply as a band-aid fix for group content in a low-pop stage. I feel factions are too deeply rooted into the base of the game to tear it apart in this way just for a problem that, for all we know, could as well fix itself with some time. I don't see any other reason why this should even be discussed.


  • What are your thoughts on keeping the faction barrier? And why?

The faction barrier is one of the main things that drew me to this game. I've always loved PvP in MMORPGs and factions enhance the PvP experience a lot. It adds that special flavour and incentive to PvP, to have an "enemy". Games where everyone is in the same faction, PvP and especially world PvP feels a bit lackluster. Additionally I like the story element of Exiles and Dominion at odds with each other.

  • If you were a developer for a day, what would your vision for what faction barriers be?

Keep them as is, the only change I would do is maybe remove the chat filtering for enemy faction chat as most players are getting around that with an addon anyway and the lore doesn't really support it. Enemy speech should still be marked in some way, with a faction symbol next to the name, maybe? Oh, and I'd like content to have a bit more variety between factions, like the first 2-3 zones had. This obviously increases the workload and might be a bit utopistic, but it's something that would improve factions in my opinion and offer better re-play value when leveling a new character in the opposing faction.


Edit: Since Bytek mentioned it I remembered one thing to add; cross-faction housing. This is the one faction barrier breaking thing I've been wanting for some time. But maybe with the twist of being force flagged on enemy faction's plots? ;) Gotta be able to defend against intruders... Faction houses would obviously have to be specifically marked if this was the case. But, being a housing nut I'd love to visit some of the amazing houses the other faction players have built, without having to hop on an alt character. I imagine cross-faction housing would be a very welcome change for roleplayers as well.

  • How should PvP flags factor into faction barriers, if at all?

Keep it as is.

Edited by Revon, 16 March 2016 - 04:12 PM.

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#5 Bytek

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 03:59 PM

LOVE the idea of dropping the faction barrier.  If it were up to me I would do it like this and for the following reasons.


Keeping the faction lore the same, I would allow all grouping, guilds, circles and communication to be open between the factions.


This would negate any faction population imbalances.  It wouldn't matter who joined which faction because it would allow the community and the opportunities to remain at peak capacity for all players at all times.


The lore would remain the same in that there is still a war going on and the factions are still comprised of their same races.  The faction interaction would simply be explained as outlyers of the societies.  But neither faction would openly accept members of the other factions races for the lore specific reasons of increased potential sabotage and espionage.  Guards would still attack opposing faction players.  But housing travel would be open to either faction.


In this manner, PvP would be handled the same way.  All factions races teams would be grouped together and fighting another mixed species team. (No team would need a minimum of any specific faction players.  First come first serve.)   It would keep que downtime at it's lowest across the board for every player reguardless of faction.


Lorewise, your mixed team of PvPers is fighting another "nefarious" mixed team of combatants.  or, alternatively, at least in one pvp game, the 'other' team will simply looked like strain races to your own.  Which would incentivize the cross factional team up.


PvP flags shouldn't be a huge factor.  If your flagged, you are eligible to be hit.  Maybe give the option to be immune to hits from guild members and also circle members in open world.  This way, open world PvP could commence without a hitch and people who have no interest in open world pvp  could simply remain un flagged.  And open world PvP teams could be created both around guilds and around circles.

Edited by Bytek, 16 March 2016 - 04:07 PM.

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Disclaimer: Lore may be discussed in this thread. Possibilities based on lore are being suggested. These suggested possibilities should not be taken as declaration. Only actual declarations should be taken as declarations.*   "Have I gone mad? "   "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

#6 EsperXIV

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:15 PM


I would vote for you folks at Carbine to make the simplest possible changes in the least invasive way, catering to the crowd most likely to benefit from reduced faction barrier.


Ideally this would mean implementing cross-faction housing as a 'first wave' approach. Lore-wise it's grounded in Protostar and begins with a short quest that unlocks cross-faction status, thus allowing players to select whether or not they want to participate. This should hopefully require little effort from you, is player-centric, and caters to builders and RPers as test subjects.


If that goes well and there isn't significant outcry, and you're able to test to see how many people actually participate (by completing the quest), you can implement the second wave, which would be cross-faction PVE instances for expeditions, adventures, and dungeons. This would simply be another quest, possibly again using Protostar as the lore anchor, and would let players select a cross-faction option when queueing. Coincide this with a multi-queue release and a special bag of rewards per clear, to incentivize participation.


Now comes the big controversial part, which would only be released if the second wave proved successful: third wave would be a cross-faction raid queue. I'll offer two options for implementation, the first being a slightly reduced difficulty, the second being the same difficulty with built-in boss mechanic explanations via storyboard graphics (similar to you-know-who's dungeon journal). Either way you could add an incentive from Protostar, or whichever group becomes the third party faction to these changes. It could be a bag of goodies but I would actually go one step further and encourage you to make it a rep-based group that offers a plethora of rewards and a reason to continue running this content weekly.


In all of these cases, PVP should be automatically unflagged upon entry of the instance and prevented for the duration. I see no reason to complicate any of these situations or take up your time recoding a flag system.



I would minimize lore advertisement/development for these changes and focus on selling them as gameplay QOL benefits, rather than being dramatic alterations to your storyline. It's possible to work with the idea of reluctant allies who are only doing this becaues they think that, in the end, it'll help their faction achieve dominance.This would hopefully minimize negative feedback and allow your writers the room they need to continue developing the faction conflict, if such a direction is desired. Arcterra seems like a good platform to justify any changes made, since the factions have effectively become neighbours (and you've got a couple of scientists chatting on the border).



If you feel like investing more time and energy, I'd also recommend coming up with a way to reinforce faction awareness and pride, should you choose to make these changes. I personally don't care for factions but I can clearly see that many people do. Factions provide a 'home team' mentality and create distinction so the game world feels more dynamic. So if you were to push the second and third waves, I would create some way for players to still represent their factions while doing this content: i..e., some kind of meter for each faction that fills based on cross-faction participation, resets weekly (perhaps), and provides global benefits. So at 100 'fuel' collected the Dominion all get bonus XP, then prestige at 200, then EG (to cap faster) at 400, then maybe omnibit bonus at 1000, etc.


Basically, work with faction pride, play on it as a psychological and gameplay device, while also nurturing the desire for faster queues and more diverse group lineups. I don't feel that there has to be a binary choice here.



That's all I've got.

Edited by EsperXIV, 16 March 2016 - 04:42 PM.

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#7 Jordydoge

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:26 PM

Hey pappy!


First off, just want to say that i'm loving all the new things i've seen since your promotion. You're doing an excellent job at realizing what it is the community is fighting for, this is a FANTASTIC step in the right direction! TT would be so proud *sniffles*


As for the faction barrier, as much as i can see the lore reasoning and idea behind it, i think with steam release coming as soon as it is, that removing the faction barrier could only benefit the game at this point.


By "removing the faction barrier" I assume you mean cross-faction instance queuing (dungeons, expeditions, adventures, etc). Honestly this is something you could do whilst still maintaining the lore standpoint in the issue.


The dominion and exiles have the option of banding together with the other smelly faction in order to combat the greater evils that threaten nexus, ho-ho!! You might even consider having Avra over on exile side adding some snarky little comments about working with the dominion (How terribly the chua smell etc) if one chooses to queue cross-faction. I think adding a faction-specific queuing option would be beneficial if you choose to remove the barrier, but i think the default way to have it would be cross-faction.


Not only would this encourage people to play dominion (If steam releases and people see exile is more populated, that will get blown right up and increase ten fold), but it would allow us to make friends with players of the other faction, AND as a by-product of that might encourage us to make a new character on the other faction to raid with our newly made friends!!


Honestly i see nothing but benefits from removing the faction barrier. I'm all for it!!! (Plus it doesn't make huge sense to me that while both factions speak english, we can't understand each other ;) )


Another note, at the moment queuing for dungeons as a DPS can take a long, long time if the servers aren't in prime-time. This would GREATLY reduce that time, and encourage people to continue to queue!


Thanks for reading, love you all. Devconnect is an amazing step forward!!

Edited by Jordydoge, 16 March 2016 - 04:28 PM.

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#8 Oniss

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:33 PM

I'll make this as short as possible:

1. I'm not going to lie and say I like the idea of bringing the faction wall down.
2. I love Wildstar and the Community. SO TO MAKE IT BIGGER. We seek peace and prosperity (in Ronald Regans words) Mr. Gorbachev (Pappy), tear down this wall!

Directly toward the faction barrier, bring it down completely. Allow us to group/guild/que/raid/PvP/etc with whom ever we please.

Wildstar is a living world for game purposes say the leaders came up with a cease-fire and a combined effort to bring down the combined enemy (Strain / Marauders / whoever else) but they still hate each other! SOOOOO BRINGS ME TO MY NEXT TOPIC WORLD PVP

I SAY we just make it free for all unless you're partied then you can't attack your party members which could get a little hectic.

Also open up the quest zones for everyone why the hell not more quests to level up Alts. Some people hate being "bad guys" now they can do the bad guy quests as the good guys bam.
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#9 Kavi

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:28 PM

This has been rehashed so many times among the players, I'll keep my response fairly simple...


I like Factions.
I like the "War" aspect in a game...but the war is on a far back burner on an oven with 13 burners in this game. I'd suggest keeping the Factions, but allowing Cross-Faction as a default setting in most things. Dungeons, Adventures, Shiphands, BGs, etc and have an opt-out button (that's fairly visible and not just a teeny tiny checkbox) for things if you really really don't want the other side in your house, etc. or you're just having a bad day and don't feel like being "friendly".


I'd suggest leaving Chat Channels (Trade, Advice, etc.) as they are, but have us speak the same language so we can still use /say /party /raid /instance together. Maybe even give races their "own" language, like WoW does, to help the RPers keep some real immersion feeling. Each race can have it's own language, and yet all speak "common" because of translators or whatever. We have FCON and the neutral races so there's no saying that there's no way certain entire races would ever get along. Our AH's are already linked, too.


WildStar's population is not big enough to sustain the way we have things now, and even with the Steam Release, I think it might be Rocky for a while til things settle in their place.


So, as much as I like Factions and despise Chua with an irrational passion, it'd be better for the game to allow Cross-Faction content with opt-out buttons.

Edited by Kavi, 16 March 2016 - 04:30 PM.

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#10 Seztren

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:34 PM

The thought of you guys removing the faction barrier makes me feel physically ill. Not because of the people playing Exiles or whatever, not even because I think Exile characters look dumb and Aurin are ew anime-catgirl tree rats.


But because dissolving the barrier between factions will completely destroy everything that is conflict in Wildstar, everything that the Wildstar lore is about, and any sense of rivalry between factions, in PvP, world PvP especially, and so on. What are you going to do, ret-con ALL of the games lore so the war never happened? Change all the character personalities so that the Aurin suddenly don't mind that Arboria got obliterated and they can play nice with the Dommies now, and the Exiled Humans just forgot about why they rebelled?

Is Kezrek Warbringer going to be a flower-sniffing pansy now, and accept peace with the Exiles? When we all know he'd probably rather take Kuralak the Defiler on a romantic date than stop fighting the war? Will you guys just remove all the voice lines in the game about how much they hate each other, all the "Death to the Exiles" and "Down with the Dominion" everywhere is just gonna go poof?

Even the IDEA of dissolving the faction barrier is absolutely bonkers. And the fact that Pappy, the LORE guy is posting about something that will completely and absolutely break all the lore in the game, I'm dumbstruck. If you guys allowed players from the opposite factions to collaborate with one another, you'd destroy the very essence of the game. Destroy any semblance of FACTION LOYALTY. I could never stand for this sort of thing.


The only possible "reduction" to the faction barrier I would support would be removing the gibberish language so that the factions can talk to each other freely without using Addons. The Exiles and Dominion clearly speak the same language in the Lore since they communicate all the time. I'd enjoy a removal of the gibberish so that (friendly) trash-talking in PvP is easier. That's is.



Tl;dr wat is this I don't even.

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#11 QuinnBee

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:38 PM

If housing becomes cross faction, as an RPer I absolutely demand for a feature to kick people off my plot and possibly a feature to make it strictly one-faction visitation rights.


I like factions. Ridding the factions would suck and not make sense lorewise. For PVP and PVE stuff, it might make sense because there is a necessity to work together for xyz reasons, so I am down for it. And I can see the appeal in X-faction plots.


That said, I do not want an Aurin troll running around my Dommie base. 

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#12 DoktorKadaver

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:38 PM

Only if there was a VERY good lore reason. I would hate for the sense of loyalty to be besmerched by a sudden sense of peace. They should have voice lines showing that they are working out of necessity. The housing thing is a good idea, as is pvp, but the lore based pve content wouldnt work i dont think.
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#13 DoktorKadaver

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:41 PM

Also, after writing in a lore reason, give new quests in zones for exiles for dommies and vice versa, and make sure under no circumstances are factions allowed into the other factions capital or certain bases without being attacked.
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#14 Kavi

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:42 PM

If housing becomes cross faction, as an RPer I absolutely demand for a feature to kick people off my plot and possibly a feature to make it strictly one-faction visitation rights.


Honestly it should just be a straight up kick feature for housing, since even your own faction can be cupcakes. But I second the optional faction lock-out for housing!

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#15 Xocoatl

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:48 PM

I'm a roleplayer. At my level, there's no reason not to bring down the faction divide. I'd like NPCs to stay hostile, but the ability to communicate without addons and visit cross-faction housing would open up tremendous opportunities. As long as the lore isn't affected, I can only see it strengthening conflict if Dommies and Exiles can scream at each other.


EsperXIV has the right idea. Try housing first. If that goes well, roll cross-faction play out in waves.

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#16 Cantatus

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:51 PM

First off, I think these DevConnects are a fantastic idea.


What are your thoughts on dropping the faction barrier? And why?

What are your thoughts on keeping the faction barrier? And why?


The lore of Wildstar has always been one of my favorite parts of it.  It's a vibrant world with a deep story and long history.  However, I still think it's in the game's best interest to loosen the faction barriers.  When it comes down to it, it's choosing lore or gameplay, and I think in as things currently stand, gameplay has to trump the lore.  Based on recent events, we know where Wildstar's player population stands.  The rigidity of the faction barriers take an already smaller population and divide it into two (uneven) smaller factions. 


This means, from the perspective of a player, there are less people around to play with and longer queues due to less people being in them.  It helps to perpetuate the idea that not many people play Wildstar.



If you were a developer for a day, what would your vision for what faction barriers be?



Cross-faction queuing, cross-faction housing, cross-faction grouping and possibly guilding.  I think you can retain Wildstar's theme while still having these things exist.  I like to point to my experience with EverQuest years ago.  People could play together, but there were still obvious factions.  My High Elf couldn't go into the Ogre city without being killed and vice versa.  You can still keep Thayd and Illium as is, but give players the option to work together if they so choose. 


I don't think lore really suffers or requires huge sweeping changes either.  How deeply you invest yourself in the lore becomes your choice.  You can just enjoy the gameplay or you can completely immerse yourself in it by creating an Exile-only guild.  I honestly think people are smart enough and capable or separating the two and customizing the world to suit their own needs.  Dropping the faction barrier just gives people more freedom to do so, but it doesn't require completely revamping Wildstar's lore.


In my opinion, having such rigid faction barriers is an archaic idea that hurts a playerbase more than it helps it.  It's just not a good idea to divide your playerbase down the middle and put restrictions on how much they can communicate.



How should PvP flags factor into faction barriers, if at all?



I don't see why loosening the faction barriers in certain aspects of the game necessitate changes to PvP.  Let people PvE together if they wish, but PvP can still include factions.  PvP requires there to be at least two teams, and I'm not really sure how you can completely remove the faction barriers without drastically changing how world PvP currently works.  The PvP community can co-exist with the PvE one.  Wasn't that part of the intention of merging the servers today?

Edited by Cantatus, 16 March 2016 - 04:59 PM.

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#17 Fredrick

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:52 PM

I agree fully with EsperXIV's post. I feel like this should be a gameplay change to allow people more chances to interact with each other, but I would strongly prefer it not alter the lore and story that you are already telling.


Changing the storyline by dropping IC faction barriers within the lore on a grand scale would be detrimental to a large swatch of the population that enjoys the conflict, especially the roleplayers who are very dedicated to Wildstar as a beautifully crafted lore-based game. I would be very strongly against this idea, as it would eliminate a factor that drew me to the game in the first place.


On the other hand, I would love dropping faction barriers in ways that do not affect the already present storyline. As someone said, complete peace and trust at this point for several years makes no sense given the long history of the Exile-Empire conflict. Working together in new zones or in PvE instances, however, makes complete sense given how fierce the enemies that both sides face are - they have to band together or die alone, basically.


Allowing (optional) cross-faction housing, combining PvE queues, and other gameplay changes could only aid the community as a whole. I would be wholly behind these changes.

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#18 theLarom

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:54 PM

Short version: Blend the factions at level cap, but not beforehand.


Long version: I think EsperXIV is on the right track with having several gates to lowering the faction barrier. The places where lowering the barrier can be useful. First and foremost, a single individual player can (or do) have characters from each faction. having the ability for all of their characters to be able to interact with each other: mailing, guild membership, housing plots visits, etc. is a big plus. Once you talk about Housing, you look at how much more rich an RP expereince you could have on a housing plot when you can interact with people of the opposite faction. Even if the players involved want to RP the war moving forward and their mutual hatred of one another, they need to be able to meet up in a common place and talk in a common chat channel to be able to do so. Thirdly, group content will become easier to queue for with a wider pool of players to pull from. And finally, I have gotten a sense with the Lore that has been released in Blightaven that dealing with the Strain may require cooperation from both sides. Using this Lore reason to bring the sides together is Fantastic!


On the other hand, the barrier remaining up allows for a few positives, too: the Lore of how the war started before everyone's arrival on Nexus, and then continued after planet-fall is fantastic. To throw that story away for player convenience seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Keeping the factions apart removes the ability for there to be cross-faction smack talk or verbal abuse, and gives a great reason for open-world PvP.


From EsperXIV's ideas, I see some great points:

1. Allow players to Opt-In into a lower faction barrier situation, which also implies they could opt back out if there is any abuse going on. Asking a player to complete a quest is a great start.

2. Only allow players at level cap to fully interact in a cross-faction way, though at low levels partial interaction (like opening up guild chat across the barrier) would be nice.

3. Using the merchant 3rd faction of Wildstar (e.g. Protostar-Ekose-Freebot-Lopp) is a great way to tie in how/why things begin to blend together at the end of the game.


Continuing the list with some of my own ideas:

4. Make the cross-faction interaction only happen in specific zones, most likely starting in Grimvault and continuing through Arcterra.


I have confidence in you, Pappy, and the rest of the Carbine team to handle this is a positive way that makes sense from the player experience and from an in-game Lore perspective. I support lowering the faction barrier (some).

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#19 Pesterchum

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:55 PM

Destroying the wall would be tops. I'm sure there's going to be people complaining about lore but honestly it just boils down with me being able to play the character I want with my friends on the characters they want. If people still want to hoot and holler at another side they can still go nuts with it once the wall is down, it accomplishes just as much for them.

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#20 Quietsy

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 04:57 PM

Easy no-brainer faction barrier changes that should have been done already:


  • Drop the faction barrier in Battlegrounds/Warplots group finder - it seems that exiles can't be grouped with dominion, it either matches exile vs exile, dominion vs dominion or exile vs dominion, which makes queues longer and hurts balance according to rating.
  • Drop the faction barrier in Dungeons/Adventures/Expiditions group finder - again to shorten queues.
  • Drop the faction barrier in chat - the alien chat is unnecessary, need to be able to whisper players on the other faction, would be nice to have a Cross-faction server wide Global channel (to plan warplots/pinky bosses etc).
  • Support switching factions - players already do it manually by leveling another character, would save a lot of pain if it was supported in-game, even through the store.
  • Support cross-faction housing - it seems like a popular request.


The rest is extremely complicated, I don't see any solution that could satisfy everyone.

There are more important things to work on, and said changes are minimal but would significantly improve the QoL of the game.


I would also like to note that I appreciate your recent communication and honesty, it was really lacking before, and I hope it continues going forward.

Edited by Quietsy, 16 March 2016 - 05:26 PM.

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