Factions and alts

I’m finding myself rather torn in Wildstar over the faction divide. Thematically I prefer the Exiles – I just don’t enjoy playing evil characters that much (nor good characters surviving within an evil system). All the Exile races appeal to me, so I’ll happily play an alt of each of them at some point. But of course the Dominion has Chua as a racial choice. That’s a problem since these cute, albeit rather violent, little fur-balls are so adorable to play! So any chance of keeping to one faction to make logistics and the cumulative benefits of having multiple characters is lessened, especially if my Chua ends up being my second highest character.


Chua cuteness x2

An example came while I was pottering around on my engineer over the weekend and I thought: “oh I should make some healing potions (well, injections in Wildstar) for low-level alts”. So I started making low-tier healing pots and then I noticed the one variant I’d never discovered – the shield restore pot. That heals the imbiber a chunk and restores some shield strength too. That’s rather cool and so perfect for my husband’s Chua Engineer tank. So after faffing to discover it, I made a stack to send over. Then of course, I was reminded by the game that I can’t mail cross-faction in Wildstar…


Crafting items to auction is fun, but I like to make useful items for my characters even more...

Crafting items to auction is fun, but I like to make useful items for my characters even more…

So I’m annoyed by the faction barrier in yet another MMORPG. Although I always have one or two main characters, it’s usual for me to have a group of alts to try out races & class combos and to look at the various crafting professions. Playing at least one character of each faction is also a good idea to get a more rounded appreciation for the game’s stories. It’s supremely annoying to not be able to transfer crafted goods to all my alts because of, I can only guess, PVP-inspired interaction barriers.

Now of course there is the auction house; I remember many times using the Goblin auction house in World of Warcraft to trade rare items or materials between factions, and I also remember the careful coordination with friends this needed and the fear of the item being snatched by someone else! In the modern MMO era I consider this option a hassle, plus it costs time and money to use.

Several MMORPGs have made changes towards reducing the barriers to alt-play: shared bank space, account level achievements & collectables, and even permitting mail to be sent across factions (e.g. Rift, EQ2, SWTOR for some points). It makes the game extra alt-friendly compared to the rest. Wildstar already has an Account Inventory (for the login rewards), so why not add an account bank – cross-faction, please! – or at the very least break down those faction barriers between characters on the same account so I can mail my alts!

P.S. Edited to add pictures.

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4 Responses to Factions and alts

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I’ve always liked faction barriers. I think it’s granularity like that contributed so making older MMOs feel so much more immersive than modern ones. It isn’t just that we’ve all grown over-familiar with the tropes, it’s that over time a great deal of what made MMOs feel different from other kinds of entertainment has eroded.

    Convenience has, by and large, trumped just about all other considerations. I’m as guilty as anyone of becoming complicit in the stroll to coziness. It’s not like I ever turn down an option to make my in-game life easier. I think that it’s against my own long term best interests, though, and I wish developers would be a little less willing to make life easy for me sometimes.

  2. bhagpuss says:

    I meant to add that in the case of WildStar, however, the developers probably ought to be doing everything they possibly can to make the game more attractive to new customers. I’d definitely make an exception to my preferences on faction in that case. The last thing WildStar needs is another reason for people not to play.

    • Telwyn says:

      I did think of EQ2 specifically when writing this. If I could make a Chua character and then ‘betray’ him or her to be with the Exile then my main problem would have been solved without needing to break down any barriers.

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