Can you imagine having to tell all the players of an MMO that Christmas is cancelled? That there will be no twinkly lights in pine trees or fine dustings of snow offering the chance to feel festive while simultaneously escaping your nearest and dearest? That actually you’re not only cancelling Christmas but Hallowe’en as well? That’s what WildStar developers Carbine have had to do.
The logical lore explanation for all this would have been, like, “Some Mordesh dude in a pinstripe suit tried to alleviate his festive ennui by poaching Christmas* and doing it himself. Everything went tits up, no-one could find the Aurin rag doll lady who fixes this kind of thing and thus the holidays are off and it’s probably Tim Burton’s fault, not ours”. Alas, they didn’t go with that explanation.
Instead, they’re all:
“We did have Shade’s Eve [that’s WildStar Hallowe’en] ready to go… It was going for October. We ended up pushing the Drop into its window and we just didn’t feel like it was going to get the amount of testing we – Carbine Studios – wants the content to get. We don’t want to put out content that’s buggy. Players have said stop putting out buggy content so we’re not going to but that’s also going to impact the amount of content and how fast we can get it out. Shade’s Eve could have gone out but I would have worried about the quality of it.”
That was Carbine’s product director Mike Donatelli explaining the situation on The Nexus Report (a weekly WildStar show). The cause for the delay, as Carbine puts it, is that a massive patch is going to drop later than originally intended – late October or early November. As such, they don’t have the resources to do the final rounds of testing for a limited-time event.
Posting on the official forums, Kristen ‘Caydium’ DeMeza, a content designer and zone lead at Carbine added:
Now, holidays are great, but they’re not as important as making sure the live game is working well. We took the time we needed to fix things players were already experiencing — all of the departments — and that meant that the schedule changed to account for it. But Halloween and Christmas weren’t interested in our bug fixes and didn’t change their schedules for us.
When it came to Drop 3, Shade’s Eve was more or less done, but it still needed a lot of proper, rigorous testing. With limited-time events, it’s even more imperative that your content work and work well, because if there’s a show-stopping bug that happens, every hour you spend fixing it is an hour players miss of that content for the year. QA time was vital, therefore — particularly with some new bits of tech we received. But QA had Drop 3 on their plate, and Drop 3 — full of many bug fixes and content that would be around all year — was rightly deemed more important for QA to focus on.
But it doesn’t sound like the content is lost forever. Instead it seems the studio is going to keep Shade’s Eve back for next year instead. DeMeza finished her post saying, “I’ve been doing holiday content in this industry a long time, and I really want to show you folks what we cooked up, because I’m very proud of it. I hope you’ll enjoy it next year.”
*Recipe for “Poached Christmas”: take the fruit bits out of mulled wine, eat.