Raids & Dungeons

Datascape: Conversion to 20 Players now official!

After Mike Donatelli's hint, to help guilds fighting the "Roster-Boss", players already assumed that a change of the current raid size of Datascape would be unavoidable and just a matter of time. Carbine now released a detailed statement confirming the upcoming conversion of Datascape to a 20 player raid.
By Loui on Nov 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Brett Scheinert aka Timetravel, Raid & Dungeon Lead Designer at Carbine Studios, just released a detailed statement about the upcoming conversion of Datascape to a 20 player raid. The change in raid size is currently aimed for Content Drop #4 (Patch 1.2.0) which means, that all guilds progressing in Datascape right now, will have about 3 months to defeat Avatus in 40 player mode, which will be no longer available once the patch goes live.

Since it is not very likely, that current 40 player raid guilds will spread into two 20 player raids, this change also means, that many guilds will have to trim their roster down to 20 players.

With the higher accessibility of Datascape, chances are good, that a healthy amount of guilds will fight for future World First Kills and many more players will finally be able to experience this remarkable raid instance.

Changes coming to Datascape
We are re-balancing Datascape to be a 20-player raid instance instead of its current 40-player size.

This is, obviously, a big change and will frustrate and excite players to varying degrees. I would like to take the time to explain some of the reasoning behind this decision.

We spoke to a number of raiding guilds--including all of the ones at that time who had experience within Datascape. The feedback across the board listed the extreme pressure that the 'roster boss' put upon those guilds, and the (in our opinion) excessive amount of additional stress it required simply to maintain a stable 40-player raid roster.

Our analytics shows that the player buy-in (number of players attempting the raid) is too low and that the player turnover (players who entered, then left and did not return) is much too high.

This change should greatly help in addressing 'roster boss,' player buy-in, and player turnover rate without losing the epic experience of defeating some of the most challenging encounters in the market. Making this change will also allow us to improve the experience in several additional ways:

  • Combat - Our combat system functions much more cleanly in a smaller 20-player raid environment. We feel that it has been extremely successful in Genetic Archives. Reducing the number of players in Datascape to match Genetic Archives allows the encounters and rooms and mechanics to be much cleaner, clearer, and enjoyable for players.

  • FPS - More people means more load, and a 40-player raid players further restricted the pool of players with machines that were capable of running the content as smoothly as we’d like. Reducing the player count will greatly reduce the load on players' connections and computers, helping out quite a bit for a number of rooms and encounters within Datascape.

  • Future Content - With a consistent raid size, it allows us to streamline our future content and no longer split it among varying raid sizes. This will allow future zones to have more clearly defined places in the progression, and avoid the disconnect that can arise when attempting to compare raids of different sizes.

  • Guild Management - Running a guild is a lot of work. Having two separate raid sizes forced many guilds to attempt to rapidly expand from 20 to 40 players after finishing Genetic Archives, additionally causing the work required to manage that many people to increase exponentially. Having our raid sizes be consistent across all zones will create a clear expectation and balance for players and guilds that they can plan and build around.

  • Testing - It is very difficult not just for players, but also for us to assemble 40 people to test these encounters. This has made it very difficult for us to adequately test many of these encounters internally. Reducing the size will allow us to balance, tune, and bug-fix our encounters much more effectively.

Finally, I'd like to make a couple more points that deserve clarification and answer a few questions that are surely incoming:

When is this happening?
Currently we are planning to convert Datascape to its 20-player version with our 1.2.0 patch.
It will be available on PTR in its 20-player iteration as soon as the next drop arrives there, and we would greatly appreciate all help players are willing to offer in testing it!

Additionally, we created a PTR-only version of the raid's teleporter to allow groups to jump to any room in the instance and test it without having to progress naturally through the zone.

Are the encounters being nerfed?
No, they are not. Some aspects may feel easier to handle because of the reduced player count, but none of the encounters are being reduced in difficulty.

Will the 40 still be available?
No, it will not. Existing achievements earned in the 40-player will be converted to Galactic Hotshot achievements.
The 40-player version will remain available until Datascape-20 goes live.

Will the gear be changing?
It will not, the legendary gear will remain legendary. The number of items that drop per kill will be reduced to match the new raid size--you can expect it to drop about the same number of items per boss/miniboss as Genetic Archives.

Any questions that weren't answered?
Please post in this thread and I will answer as many as I can. I will also update this post with the questions and answers as I go.

Thank you all for playing and for giving us so much feedback, so many amazing wipes, and some amazing boss kills!

What is your opinion on the upcoming conversion of Datascape to 20 players? Let us know what you think by writing a comment.

Update: Additional Informations

Carbine answered several questions regarding the upcoming changes to Datascape.

Genetic Archives 10 Player Raid?
well this mean that GA will be going to a 10 man ?!?!?!

No, our plan is to stick to a single raid size and to make the highest quality raids of that size.

What means Patch 1.2.0?
Is the 1.2.0 patch the one coming in January/February (usually called drop 4)?

Yes. The exact names of the drops change, but the branch #s are pretty consistent (they're on your client when you open it up). The one that just went live was 1.1.3, the next drop up will be 1.2.0.

Make 20-Man a separate option!
Sad day. I don't really understand why you don't keep the 40-man in the game and just add the 20-man Datascape as a separate option?

A few reasons:

  • Having a consistent raid size was important to us.

  • Supporting both raid sizes--for such a large instance--would have been very difficult. Also, it would have put the itemization in a strange place, which we wanted to avoid.

  • Creating a new instance that was 20-player-sized actually would have been several orders of magnitude more work than rebalancing the current structure for 20 players.

What happens to the current Datascape?
What are the plans for the current DS? There are some fights that are overtuned and unkillable. Will they be fixed, allowing for current 40man raid groups to get to and kill avatus, before the switch to 20man?

I'm kinda bummed, 40man raiding is awesome, but it makes sense with the number of people seeing the content.

We will still be working to bugfix and support the live 40 man version of the instance. We are fully expecting to see Avatus killed before the conversion to 20 man.

Smaller scale hardcore content
You guys should honestly consider a 10 player raid at some point.
Or at least some sort of smaller scale hardcore content, say a 3 player dungeon or something similar(harder than veteran, but designed for 3 players) or some more much harder tuned 5 player dungeons.

Just because we are sticking to a single raid size doesn't mean we aren't looking at different avenues of progression for hardcore players.

Bosses feel already made for 20 man
... almost none of the bosses takes great advantage of the 40 man concept to begin with other than System daemons, which in return turned out to be 1 of the most amazing raid bosses yet. Anything after Daemons felt underwhelming and I could picture 90% of the remaining bosses as 20 man bosses. Elemental pairs will be weird with 20 people however because of how some of the pairs work, but other than that Gloomclaw, Maelstrom, Lattice & Limbo could as well have been made for 20 man.

System Daemons and Avatus were the two encounters that were the most challenging to rebalance as 20 man encounters. Many of the other fights actually feel much cleaner in their 20 man version.

Ratio of support players to dps players
how do you intend to address the ratio of support players to DPS players in a change from 40 to 20?

In GA we attempted to never require more than 3 'true' tanks. As part of this change, we are going to relax that requirement and allow several of the encounters to still require up to 4 tanks. We initially intended System Daemons to require 5 tanks. However, players are clever and several guilds are doing it with only 4. We reworked some of the timing to make that 4-tank strategy more feasible and expect it to be the standard in the 20-player version.

That's the same approach we took with most of the encounters.

Ratio of support players to dps players
I guess the most concise way to express my question is: "how do you intend to address the ratio of support players to DPS players in a change from 40 to 20?"

We are intending that you will be able to modify your raid composition to accommodate up to 4 tanks and/or 5 healers for Datascape 20. While this is slightly more than we'd normally intend for a 20 man raid, we think this is a fair compromise to preserve the design of the encounters. Players should have access to sufficient gear after completing Genetic Archives and we will strive to avoid making any fight require 4 exceedingly well geared tanks.

Datascape is still very much a step up in difficulty from Genetic Archives, and part of that difficulty requires at least a small number of players in your raid master both their roles.

DS 20 coming with Wrath of the Chua King?
So what this means is the following. DS 20 will come in 6 months (Drop 5) at the earliest.

DS 20 should be available on the PTR as early as next week. It will be available for play in 1.2.0 (drop 4)

Progression path after DS20?
A welcome change to be sure.

One thing though: A lot of our players have become disheartened already, and have left Wildstar completely.

We would like to start up our guild again, but we need to know more about the plans after January.

It would really, REALLY help to build confidence in the Wildstar raiding scene if you could shed some light on the current expected (use those words deliberately, all plans and expectations change and the player base understands that) progression path after DS-20.

In other words, we would like to know when you expect to release the next 20 man instance, and even the one after that. We don't expect details, just a "it will come in June, subject to change, and December after that", or whatever it is.

Without this, we have a hard time making old guildies come back, just to raid "the last 20 man in foreseeable time". That's not a basis for restarting a guild, after fighting the roster boss and losing.

So help us help you :)

1.2.0 - Datascape 20
1.3.0 - [pending them being done] Augmentors 20 (currently on the PTR), as well as another boss-in-a-box encounter that we've not yet shown. Both will have multiple difficulties to the encounters to provide a challenge for many different levels of guild progression.

We are working on the next tier of raid content, and it will arrive some day, but I cannot give you a date at this point. However, we know what the zone is going to be and art has already created some pretty rad stuff for it =)

Next step LFR?
Please don't do this. Its just a way of making the same content last longer by adding one or two extra mechanics and making everything a DPS race.

If you mention LFR next this will be my last post on this forum.

No, we do not currently have any plans to create a plethora of 'difficulty' tiers of the same content along the lines of LFR/Flex/Normal/Mythic.

Augmentors 20 Hard Mode
I suppose I should clarify this. I did not mean that there were normal/vet/lfr difficulties for the raids. The encounters themselves are being built such that there will be opt-in mechanics as part of the encounter that make them significantly harder--and doing so will provide more and better rewards.

So kinda like encounter achivements we got right now? Why change how it works?

Not quite the same. The current Challenges are usually rewards for performing the existing fight in an exceptional way. The opt in stuff that TT mention starts the fight with additional mechanics. The opt-in option will be in addition to the exiting Challenges, not replace them.

Awesome I always enjoyed this option when I was raiding Ulduar in World of Warcraft. At least I am assuming that is what you meant by optional harder mechanics that may involving hitting a large red "DO NOT TOUCH" button.

For Augmentors 20 this as pretty much exactly what we are doing. You can start the fight normally by pulling the boss, or start the fight by "pushing the button" which will activate the additional mechanics. To be clear, this not just something that just buffs the boss' damage and makes their auto attack do something slightly different. It adds a completely new mechanic that the players must deal with in addition to the base fight.

The idea/reason behind doing something like this is to add some repeatability/lifespan to the content with minimal resources on our end. Now as for the question: will it be enough? Well as said before, this encounter is currently accessible on PTR and is ready for testing, and we are ready and willing to know what you guys think of it. The first draft will most likely be super rough (like GA was in beta), but we're looking forward to getting any and all feedback to make it awesome (this applies to both DS20 and A20).

Second "Boss in a Box" PTR testing?
Quick question, but it was mentioned earlier that theres another boss in a box coming along, is it coming with Augmentors 20 and since we haven't seen or heard of it until now, will it be up on PTR or is it internally tested/QA tested?

This is literally a conversation we had earlier today and is still undecided. However, what I CAN say is that we want all future raid/content to be available on PTR before it goes live.
JeremiEldridge, Drutol and Nifty like this!
edit no longer possible
3 Comments: Newest Oldest Top Comments
  • Nifty
    Nov 19, 2014
    I feel bad for the great 40-man guilds out there, but this is GOOD news for the majority of players!
    I can't wait!
  • ChronicGamer
    Nov 15, 2014
    Thanks for grabbing the comments and answers. Really enjoyed Carbines responses to a lot of questions.
  • Loui
    Nov 15, 2014
    Carbine answered a ton of questions regarding the upcoming changes to Datascape and beyond.
    We've updated the article.