Wildstar! Arkship! and Carbine Studios
In February 2013, Carbine Studios held what it entitled its Arkship event in Los Angeles. That event entailed flying in 20 or so gaming news site and regular contributors to their community to look at the plans for Wildstar and provide feedback. The Syndicate was part of that event. Up until this point, Wildstar was being developed for several years and mostly in private. There was some public information but for the most part, its secrets were well kept. The Syndicate had about 250 personnel who formed a Core Team of testers and who provided regular feedback on the development of the game but beyond that, little was known outside the studio of the game.
Taking place over two days, the Arkship event was not the usual "press event" that games do shortly before launch. Rather, it was a serious effort to both educate key community members and elicit feedback on key systems. There was ample play time, which for many in attendance was the first time they had seen the game. For The Syndicate members present it was a chance to see how some of their feedback had turned into positive changes in the game.
In addition to the play time, there were a number of sessions about various game systems. Those included things such as UI Customization and how that would work; PvP and how those systems would work including how they tied into housing; End Game (which Carbine refers to as the Elder Game) content and how that would work etc... We learned about their plans for content updates once the game goes live.. .all about the housing system with both its short term/launch and long term plans... and much more. While the specifics of those sessions were under NDA, Carbine was very open with the attendees on what their vision and plans were.
As part of the event there was a studio tour where they showed how they were structured and how their teams worked. It was a pleasant surprise to find some of our friends from 38 Studios hard at work in their new home and loving the game they were working on.
All in all this was a well run event; full of information and it definitely felt like Carbine wanted their communities opinion. It was also rewarding to be able to see how the feedback from the 250 Syndies on the Core Team had changed the game, for the better, via getting to play the latest build.