I used to raid back in the day. You know, when we trash meant something and you stayed logged on to farm mats. Oh, what glorious days it was to raid 5 hours a day, 5 days a week and then farm the other 2 days! Kids today have it much to easy. What with the CoD, Destiny, D3 pop-in and play gamestyle. Where’s the challenge of getting 20-40 cavedwellers to wake up from their late nap to log in? And then proceed to ignore all instructions for the first 45 minutes? Oh, too easy I tell you, much too easy!
Some odd Wildstar numbers for you here. So from the horses’ mouth, 120-150 20 man raids, 7 40 man raids that have cleared 3 of the 9 bosses. The math comes to around 4000 raiders.
Let’s look at WoW for a second, where Raiding is arguably, no longer the top-tier end game activity (pet battles!). Here’s the link and it accounts for data ~6 months after the raid released. 7.3 million character, 2.3 million accounts, looking at the final tier of raiding, SoO. 70% completed the first boss on LFR, 40% flex, 20% normal, 10% heroic. 50% completed the last boss on LFR, 18% flex, 13% normal, 0.8% heroic. Assuming the “accounts number”, WoW’s hard mode attracted ~1% of the playerbase. I’ve mentioned before that WoW’s heroic is pretty close in difficulty to Wildstar’s default raid level.
Back to Wildstar. Assuming the same 1% ratio (and that’s a very large assumption) they are sitting at around 400k subs, which I think is a pretty decent number. Of course, it takes magic math to get there.
But the crux of the argument is that their design vision, hardcore 40 man raids, are being consumed by a tiny, tiny fraction of the playerbase. You’re leaving 99% of the rest of playerbase with next to nothing to do as end-game currently consists of either daily grinds, or getting into the raiding sphere. Hate on WoW’s LFR as much as you want, they’ve found a way to get 50-70% of their playerbase to USE the material they’ve built.
Now you’re going to LFR for 1 of 2 reasons. First, and I’m going to assume this is the minority here, to see the story/content through. Raids, since BWL at least, have had pretty decent narratives. If you didn’t raid Icecrown, then you’re probably wondering what ever happened to the Lich King after having seen him every 15 minutes while leveling. Second, they do it for gear. Gear for gear’s sake, or to get into the real “raiding” that starts at Flex.
Flex for a minute. This to me is the smartest move WoW ever made when it comes to raiding. There were many months of tweaking, in order to avoid breakpoints but today’s implementation is near perfect. Solid enough challenge, built for social guilds and allows you to take a night off with the missus.
Back on point, raids are by their very nature exclusive. They require not only a decent amount of RPG-savvy (stats through gear + good build + good tactics) but also coordination of multiple people over long periods of time (3+ hours). Sometimes the latter is the hardest part and calling a raid off because you only have 32 people instead of 40 happened often in vanilla.
So while Wildstar has it’s own little problem in that they need something for people to do other than raid, they also need to look at how they can make raiding more accessible so that they aren’t spending millions on content that only 4000 people get to see.