The biggest problem with Felforged (and possible solutions)
I started playing Ascension during season 7 and loved it, I even managed to get one of my close friends to come join when they learned about the Felforged mode which allows for shorter term play. We happened to start playing during a random event where it was active for an extremely long period of time and we were hooked. Felforged is fantastic as a high intensity form of the game and we both enjoy it more than the base game.
That's the lion's share of the problem though. It is essentially random when Felforged is available, it rarely sticks around for long, and there is no clear schedule as to when we can expect it again. This makes it impossible to plan around. Because of this we actually stopped playing about the third time it shut down with no clear date to start back up. Just today I took a peak at the game again because season 8 has started and we saw that there were no scheduled Felforged events on the calendar. I thought to myself, "Oh good, they finally made Felforged permanent!" Silly me, I logged in to find that it was not only not available but that there was no way to know when or even if it would be available again.
I understand that the idea behind Felforged being a limited time event is to concentrate the player base so that when it is active there are tons of people playing it, but for the permanent Felforged players it basically means that we can't play at all the vast majority of the time. I lack the statistical data that the developers likely have on player counts, so take these suggestions with a grain of salt, but here are a few ideas that I have come up with that would help to address the situation:
Make Felforged permanent but add a event based incentive that encourages spikes in population similar to what we experience now. This would allow the people who want to keep playing Felforged to continue, albeit at a reduced reward rate than during peak population events. It would require a bit of work to implement of course but if nothing else it seems like the Ascension devs do not shy away from work. (considering the impressive amount of content they churn out regularly) It could be as simple as being "Felforged rewards are doubled on weekends" and then adjust the numbers so that progression overall stays the same.
Make Felforged happen every week or every other week on the weekend or specified days of the week. This would allow players to get into a regular habit of returning to Felforged regularly and let us plan around a set schedule instead of having to constantly monitor whether or not it is active.
Release a public schedule of when the next event will be every time Felforged closes. This option requires the least effort and is similarly the worst outcome, but it would still be a massive improvement over what we have now.
As a final note I would like to point out, I mentioned that when we first started playing Felforged was active for a LONG time. That was at least a week straight of Felforged being active and during that time there were always people active in every zone, but especially the first few zones. There was clearly a lot more during the start but the population never dropped to an unhealthy level during that period. I think the idea that Felforged would become a ghost town if it was always active is largely just not true and instead you would see a significant pocket of permanent Felforged players form, such as myself and my friends. That is what makes me think that the first solution I suggested is the best outcome because you would get the best of both worlds. Giant spikes of players during bonus events, but also consistent play-ability for the dedicated Felforged players. As I said, I don't have player statistics, just casual observations, but that is how it seemed to be from a player perspective.
I would love to come back and play Ascension again, but with the current state of Felforged being a daily guessing game as to whether or not I can even play, there is no way that I can justify it. Nothing but love for the devs, you guys are doing a fantastic job, just wish that Felforged was more reliable/permanent.