June 25, 2014 by Tim

I really enjoy Wildstar… I haven’t been into an MMO like this since WoW. I could go on and on about everything it does well, but it isn’t without its flaws.

I both love and hate the Veteran system at endgame. The concept, going above and beyond to execute objectives flawlessly and being rewarded for doing so, is great. Master a dungeon, and you get the best gear. That makes sense to me. Strive for the gold tier.

However the general group mentality that has sprung up around it as a result, I’m less a fan of. I don’t even blame the gamers for this one… Carbine should have realized that people were going to behave like this. The system itself is flawed.

Getting gold in an adventure or dungeon means sticking to some very strict parameters… time limits, no deaths, and other related objectives. If you manage it, you get a handful of epics at the end. If you fall short, if you get a silver medal, you’re rewarded with… well, not much. And therein lies the problem.

The instant gold goes out the window, so does group morale (and the group). “Wipe it up, throw in the towel. Oh, you were queued for forty-five minutes to get in here, and we’ve spent another thirty on this? Doesn’t matter, we’re bailing.” And frankly… they’re right. If you want epic gear, you have to get gold, and anything less becomes a waste of time for better geared players. 

There needs to be more of an incentive to plug along for silver tier, if the tables turn that way. If one of your caravan members dies to a fluke, or the generator takes a single hit. Sure, not the same level of gear as gold, the challenge is there for a reason after all. But enough to deter the insta-quit mentality that is so pervasive in Groupfinder at the moment. Perhaps with a slightly stiffer deserter debuff to round things out on the other side. Give us a reason to rally for completion, instead of the all or nothing setup we have now.

Tanks and Healers seem to be the biggest offenders, because their queue times are minutes. They’ll throw in the towel at the first hint of trouble, the slightest quiver of struggle, because they know they can get right into a fresh instance.

How does anyone expect new level 50s to learn an adventure/dungeon if nobody ever completes them outside of perfect runs? I’m lucky to have an active guild of people to run with, but sometimes I have to pug regardless. I attempted Veteran Malgrave Trail via the groupfinder six times before I landed in a group that didn’t fall apart ten minutes in. I would have been satisfied with silver/bronze as a matter of learning the routes, but I was shit out of luck once people started disbanding.

On top of this, then factor in those people that will quit if they land in a group with another of the same class. Because if the group got gold and if a piece of gear for them dropped, they don’t want any competition in rolling for it.

If these were twenty minute affairs, maybe it wouldn’t be quite so annoying. But if you spend an hour working through Malgrave trail, only to lose a single caravan member in the home stretch (and with it, the gold tier), you feel like you’ve just completely wasted your time. There is no consolation prize at silver, once you reach a certain gear threshold.

Give two epics at gold, and one at silver. Or at least give silver some a few Elder Gems for the effort. Maybe then people would be more apt to stick around. Grouping with friends/guildies will always be the best path no matter what, but pugging is sometimes a necessary evil. And it already has its own fair share of problems without also deliberatly shooting it in the foot.

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