Jul 102014

With my move complete(-ish, opening boxes in RL is much less fun then in-game), I’ve had some time to check back into the gaming scene. With the majority of my guild hooked on Wildstar and tons of people singing its praises on Twitter, I figured it was worth a shot. Thanks to a Guest Pass hookup from @vosskah, I’ve been playing extensively for the past week. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much here to convince me this game will survive long-term.

Annoying/weird animations, especially female

All I wanted was a cool Stalker (aka Rogue). I came away from an hour of character creation wondering exactly what the Carbine animators were going for, as every race had at least one animation that just looked bizarre, especially the stealth movement animations. As for the females…well, let’s say that every female character (excepting Aurin) has Sir Mix-a-Lot jiggle, which probably plays well with a younger demographic but to me just feels totally tasteless. There’s no way, as a happily married man, that I could play Wildstar with a female character and live.

Tone-deaf storylines

A lot of people skip WoW’s quest text and go right for the killing of the ten whatsits, but there’s generally a very coherent storyline to be found for each zone. Humor is there in the occasional quest, but in general, things are played pretty straight.

Borderlands (and especially Borderlands 2) is the opposite. It goes for maximum zany/crazy, gleefully subverting plot elements at every turn. It works because you know nothing is serious, with makes the few elements that ARE played straight more impactful.

I bring up these two games because Wildstar can’t decide which approach it wants to go for. The Dominion are cartoonishly evil; hell, you’re (minor spoiler) pressing buttons to execute groups of people within the first five minutes. That’s almost preferable to the Exiles, though, who get the sterotypical and insufferable cowboy/environmental archetypes. I get that it’s not worth writing a good storyline when most people skip it, but I can hardly remember the zones I just played through, which is not a good sign. I’m sure lots of people will tell me “it gets better later,” but as it stands, I just can’t see myself identifying with any of the characters.

Unsupportable PvE endgame

A lot of people are calling it a World of Warcraft clone…and it is, but it’s a bit more complicated then that. The vision for WoW pivoted significantly after the Burning Crusade expansion to making the game more accessible to a wider audience, as anyone who remembers the frequent invocations of “bring the player, not the class” can attest. Wildstar looks to revert that change, as this 12-step(!) guide to attuning for the first raid shows.

While this gives you the opportunity to design more…unique…challenges, it also means that you’re significantly limiting your audience to the more hardcore players. This works for a game like EvE because of its sandbox nature, but I foresee Carbine having great difficulty pushing out PvE content updates at the speed demanded by said-hardcore players. THAT means subscription numbers falling off drastically, which means the client will eventually be free to drive subscription sales. Lock it in – I’m predicting at least levels 1-20 will be F2P within a year.

Now, Wildstar does have a lot going for it. The Path system, in where you pick one of four sub-classes (Explorer, Scientist, Settler, or Soldier) to give you bits of extra content in each zone, is clever and reasonably well done. Addons are well-supported out of the box. Challenges spice up questing a good bit, tossing in random jumping puzzles and timed-kill bonuses. The combat system itself is also very well done – being able to see and dodge enemy attacks remains fun.

Overall – the game is competent, but in today’s PC gaming environment where competent games are nearly given away, it needed to be more, and it doesn’t quite get there. If you’re playing with a good group, it’s fine…but then, if you’re playing with a good group, all of the major MMO’s are fine, so pick your flavor and have fun. :)

 Posted by at 7:06 pm

  2 Responses to “3 Reasons I Won’t be Buying Wildstar”

  1. I disagree wholeheartedly with this entire article. It’s pretty vapid and shallow reasons not to play it, to be honest. It seems you are insisting on comparing it to WoW, so since you are going to be blogging and posting an article like this, be objective…How about 3 reasons (which I can provide quite easily) why it’s so much better than WoW? (Because it is…) Even the basic non-veteran dungeon boss encounters are all harder than every single heroic boss encounter in WoW. Every single one. Harder, more complex, and more fun. It’s not the game’s fault that you can’t read the quests or choose to remember the zones you played in, it’s yours. It’s you having become jaded to WoW’s quest texts and objectives and not taking the actual time to read or listen. How can you blame Wildstar for your own bad habit? And as far as an “Unsupportable PvE endgame…”…What? What? And “playing with a good group all of the major MMOs are fine”? No, they aren’t. You seem like you haven’t played all of the major MMO’s, much less with a group. I don’t mean to be rude or anything and please don’t take anything I say as a personal attack (as many seem to do when you disagree), but your points quite frankly aren’t really solid enough to accept as excuses. Wildstar is great. It has been vastly improved with the most recent patches, but it was still a great game even before that. Give it another go. WoW is dying.

    • Marty, thanks for the reply I agree that if you want a more difficult version of WoW, Wildstar is a good choice, and I’m glad you’re having fun playing it. Please take the post as reasons why *i* won’t be playing it, not a sweeping denunciation. Differences of opinion are okay.

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