Five Reasons Wildstar Turned Me Off

ETA: 10/8/15.  Many people are finding their way here as Wildstar goes F2P.  Please know that this was written from my beta experiences in the game and some things will have changed.  If the article is too long and you are just looking for a TL;DR summary:  I don’t like WildStar’s style or mechanics, but its not really a bad game.  Its just a niche MMO that really only appeals to a certain audience.   Now that its F2P (as predicted below) whether or not you fit in that audience is up to you to find out.

Its five for Friday, and while in yonder years I would do a full on write up of a game when the NDA dropped, these days…I’m just not that keen on it. So I’m hijacking my new Friday format to answer the burning question: “Why don’t you like Wildstar?”

Along the way we will answer that secondary question – why its perfectly legitimate to call Wildstar “WoW 2.0 In Space,” despite assertions to the contrary.

1) Turns Out Paths Are Not That Unique

So when I get into the Beta, I start doing some digging and asking around about Paths. I know they are loosely based on Bartle’s dichotomy, and so normally I would pick and Explorer. But the devil is in the details – how exactly do you let one explore? Well, turns out, for Wildstar, at least according to what I’ve read and the players I talked to in game, Exploring involves some wandering, but also a good bit of platforming. I hate platforming. So I decide to pass on exploring. I know its been a big deal (love it or hate it) in GW2 and I’m sure Wilstar wanted to capitalize on some of that as a trend in MMO gaming.

Well, no big deal, I’m also a lore hound, and so I figure Scientist works for me. It requires you to carry around a noncombat pet that can die in combat but can’t fight for you (strike 1), but hey, I play a lot of pet classes, so I can live with that. Somehow, I managed to not complete my first Science mission, in the tutorial arc, which is bad. Because you can’t go back and finish it, and this is a themepark MMO – which means now my science level will now never be as high as it could be. Granted this is Beta, but how often will this happen in the full game? Is it just this one mission I can’t go back to? And with that one miss, we have turned what could be a fun – well, path – into something that feels like a must do (strike 2). And so I dive with enthusiasm into the next couple of missions only to find one that requires me to…wait for it…go platforming to complete it. And sure enough I miss. And miss again. And miss again. But I have to complete it, because if not I’ll be behind! And then I won’t get the rewards and XP that everyone else has and….you know what, forget it (strike 3). Someone tell me why being a lore hound means you have to saddle yourself with a noncombat pet that dies every time you get into combat and platforming?

I guess “loosely” really is the key word here. In reality, its just four bonus rounds to give you a crutch through replayability (and some are not even that – some of the soldier missions basically amount to killing extra waves of the same enemies in the same area – ::yawn::) Because Wildstar is going to be a game that looks to get you to level multiple characters to the top of the charts to keep that sub going, and this is a way to help swallow that bitter pill. Quick, can anyone think of another themepark MMO that has become famous for getting people to level alts all the way to the top?

2) Why Am I Paying For My Abilities?

I’m just not sure I get it. For the most part, developers have figured out that artificially slowing you down and capping your power is a bad thing. Its just not fun to hit that ding finally, be stoked about a new level, and have nothing to show for it. We want those abilities to pop up in the hot bar. We want to see tangibly how we are now more powerful and can kick more but. That we have indeed climbed higher on the curve. But not here. Get your hoverboard ready kiddos, because you are going to need to ride back into town to buy that new sword swing.

That’s just a money sink right? What kinds of games need money sinks? And how many games these days make you buy your abilities when you level up?

3) I Can’t Play What I Want To

Many bloggers have been over this before, but it truly is one of the things that turns me off. I want to play a Mordesh Esper. But space zombies don’t have brains. Or something. Look, to paraphrase legendary game designer Luke Crane, if I as a developer create a game where magic is dead, and I have a player that says, “I want to play the last living mage,” the answer is always and emphatic, resounding “YES.” Particularly in a game like Wildstar where your character is supposed to be a hero. Heroes break the mold, the do the extraordinary. I don’t care that space zombies don’t have the brains to be an Esper in your lore. That is completely irrelevant. The real question is why my extraordinary, heroic Mordesh can’t be an Esper. And the only viable answer to that question is a developer saying “because I don’t want you to.”

This isn’t 2004, and you don’t have an 11 million 9 million person playerbase. Open the options up.

4) The Totally Original Art Style

Its cute, its whimsical, its fun, its like nothing you’ve ever seen before!

wildstar art style

5) I Got Deus Ex‘d Into Playing The Exact Same Area All Over Again

I can’t believe this actually happened, but it did. I completed an sub area, to finish off a greater area. I had succeeded, mission accomplished, well done, good job! Go stand here and watch the victory animation unfold so that you can move to the next area!

But then, the hand of God descending…well, not really, because they hadn’t put in the graphics for it yet…but I gathered from the quest text, that the spaceship I was waiting for had been blasted into oblivion. The NPC I had spent time and effort saving was now dead. The NPC whose gratitude I had for saving said NPC is now pissed. And to make things even worse, to fix things, I have to go back into the same area and do more missions. Why?

Because the developers decided that having the players move to a new area was not as good as reusing space they had already designed for yet another leg of missions.

Really? We are skimping on areas now? We are reusing the same areas over and over again for new quests, just to squeeze some extra time in them and to keep from having to design new areas and new levels? And we’ve done it in such a way as to make you absolutely powerless in the storyline, and to reveal the “do-over” as a result of that, well, it doesn’t come off as anything other than a punishment for a crime you did not commit.

That’s not smart design. Its not good design. Its crappy design, and perhaps even worse, lazy design. If we are going to make a themepark MMO, what is the point of making people ride the same rides over and over again? Isn’t part of the reward the progression of uncovering new rides?

Of all the things I’ve mentioned here, this one took the cake. I still am shaking my head as I write this. Whose idea was it? Did they think it was a good one? I mean isn’t having to double back into areas for quests the epitome of bad quest design? This is basically that, but more.

Bonus) The Silver Lining

Wildstar isn’t all bad. It has its moments. In the good ones, it feels almost like a sort of fantasy version of Firefly/Serenity. A Wild West Fantasy Sci-Fi Pulp Mashup. And I can see the appeal in that, despite the fact that I’m not a big fan of space bunnies and space zombies.

The abilities are fun, despite the generic three tree of skill progression (tank/heal or DPS? Oh, the choices…), and the limited bar is part of that.

This is one of those games, that I could see dipping into from time to for fun. But the sub really does make that an impossibility. Perhaps once the game transitions to F2P – and make no mistake, it will eventually do just that (once they figure out that they are WoW but without millions people willing to sub up) – then I could see giving it a run through.

And one final thing – I have always said Wildstar was “WoW 2.0 in Space.” It is an improvement over WoW, there can be no doubt about it. There are things here that, while not really innovative, are steps forward from where WoW is. In fact, you might say that if Blizzard were to remake WoW today, Wildstar, at least mechanically, is probably what you would expect them to do. In that sense, it is not a bad game. But the comparisons are aboslutely deserved, and nobody can complain that they don’t know what they are getting out of this game. Its all but written on the tagline.

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52 thoughts on “Five Reasons Wildstar Turned Me Off

  1. Just a couple notes, here.

    * WoW got rid of buying abilities awhile ago. Now they just appear when you level up.

    * Rift is WoW 2.0. WildStar is WoW in Spaaaace.

  2. Interesting post. Generally, I enjoy your writing, have you in my feed reader, etc. Today, I have a few issues with what you said.

    Alrighty…*cracks knuckles*…

    1) Paths are not supposed to be the Bartle test. They are loosely based off of the Bartle test. You also don’t need to do every path mission to get to the max level of 30, only about 70% I believe. In fact, the only thing that path mission would have given you is a tiny bit of path exp. They know you can’t go back, so there is no lore entry for one of them, and the only one that has a lore entry is the datacube, which you have to click on to advance the quest to leave. Unlike later in the game, there is no bonus chest for finishing the entire area. You did not gimp yourself. Also, the fact that you didn’t like soldier is fine, but that isn’t the system’s fault. Someone I was reading (can’t remember who) said that if these are roughly based on the Bartle Test, then there should be a path you love and a path you hate, plus two that are meh. I am that way with Scientist, Explorer, Soldier, and Settler respectively.

    2) You make a fair point. It seems to be personal preference, since most games I have played do charge for your skills. SWTOR, Firefall, LOTRO, etc. I personally don’t care about this, but obviously it is a big deal to you, so I cannot judge you for that!

    3) There is a split faction battle on this. Some people like race restrictions. Others don’t. I personally again don’t care one way or another, since I almost always play humans. I think it does make sense in the lore, but you know, again this is a thing you obviously care about more than I do.

    4) This is unfair and you know it. Similar art style does not a clone make. Jeez. I’m tired of explaining that. Wildstar reminds me more if Pixar than WoW anyway. It would be like saying that Megaman was a clone of Transformers because he has a similar art style. Sometimes, stylized graphics are used to provide longevity. LOTRO is aging for example, and you can tell this because they went for realism.

    5) As I recall, you are talking about the Northern Wilds, and I never felt like I was doing missions in the same area. You may run through the area you were just in to get to the next set of missions, and there might be a few new ones on the way, but seriously, moving it along for moving’s sake would be a mistake too if the story would be told better in the same area, I believe.

    Also, this statement:
    “The abilities are fun, despite the generic three tree of skill progression (tank/heal or DPS? Oh, the choices…), and the limited bar is part of that.”

    I think this was referring to the AMP system? Which actually has six trees, Support (heal/tank), DPS, utility, PvP offense, PvP defense, and DPS/Support hybrid. So….beyond generic three trees of skill progression.

    I can see why you don’t like it, as a lot of personal preferences are not being met. However, I don’t see how that makes Wildstar = WoW! Wildstar is entirely different from WoW in so many ways, right down to the core of the combat system and the telegraphs and the limited action set. Crafting is different, PvP is different, Housing(!), combat difficulty is way higher in Wildstar, etc. I am tired of people just dismissing it and saying “it is WoW in Space” or “WoW 2.0.”

    1. My takeaway from the Wildstar beta was that it was fun, but too early for me to get invested in it. I spend a lot of time customizing the look of my character, and when I was playing beta character customization wasn’t yet added.

      Since I’m not in the business of judging a game in a true beta (as opposed to a marketing beta, which this was not), I tested out a few things that might be fun and then left it alone to mature.

      The housing system fascinated me most out of all of Wildstar’s features, but it wasn’t available in the beta I played.

      At this point, I’m in wait-and-see mode. I haven’t decided whether I like it or not.

      1. AkashaPain

        Yet two days prior to this post you offered this tidbit:

        “Ben Overmyer
        on March 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm said:
        * Rift is WoW 2.0. WildStar is WoW in Spaaaace.”

        So how do you go from making such a sweeping generalization that WildStar is simply WoW in a different setting to statements like:

        “My takeaway from the Wildstar beta was that it was fun, but too early for me to get invested in it.”

        “Since I’m not in the business of judging a game in a true beta[…]”

        “At this point, I’m in wait-and-see mode. I haven’t decided whether I like it or not.” ?

    2. Geldarion,

      Thanks for being a loyal reader, and for writing a response that was not a personal attack. That’s a rarity on the internet. (-: Sadly, I will now counter everything you wrote, because I anticipated each and every one when I wrote the post. (-;

      1) Yes, I said myself they were loosely based. My problem is not that I don’t like any one path system. My problem is two fold – first, that the paths pidgeon-hole you in some pointless and unrelated ways. Every scientist likes non combat pets? Every explorer likes platforming? And second, that paths are in no way, shape, or form innovative. They are still kill ten rats, click the shiny, collect the object quests. Is it a bad system? No. Is it anything to get excited about? No.

      2) As Ben has let us know, that is apparently no longer a concern in WoW. Which in some ways makes it more of a head scratcher. The only real reason I can think of is, as I said, a money sink. And you only need a money sink for a sub game, so…

      3) Of course restrictions make sense for lore! I completely agree. But they make no sense for a player driven RPG. Ever. Which may be one of my underlying turn offs here about Wildstar. I want an MMORPG, not an MMO.

      4) First off, I have never used the word clone, so lets not get carried away. But to continue your 1980’s cartoon example, Gobots was in no way like Transformers because of the similar art style? I don’t buy it, but lets concede your point for a moment. Can we say that when both cartoons were about warring factions of giant morphing robots from outer space and their impact on humanity when the war comes to earth, the similar art style was a short hand for people looking in on Gobots for the first timethat they were going to get something very similar to Transformers? Doesn’t mean Gobots wasn’t good (it was) but it was very similar.

      5) Then we are not talking about the same thing, because I literally had to go back and do another set of missions in the area I had just left. Did it make sense in the context of the story? I guess. If the bad guys had managed to set up giant space-ship destroying AA artillery in the area I just cleared of all bad guys five minutes before hand. More the concern was the poor story writing itself. I’ve just spent a couple of hours with missions wrapped around helping these NPC’s and now they are vaporized. There is a reason TV shows don’t kill off primary cast members 3 episodes into the series. Even Game of Thrones isn’t that brutal. And, referencing number four above, this game in no way presents itself as GoT anyway.

      Bonus) Yes, I mean the same system, with its three trees that allow you the same six options you mention there which are the same six options that WoW and other three-tree MMO’s allow you with their three trees. Again, not bad, but not innovative either.

      1. Oh, darn, I forgot my personal attack? Sorry, here you go: your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries! 😛 There, rectified!

        But seriously, yeah, it seems like writing genuine critiques of a game is always just asking for some jerk to come by and get mean haha. I like civil discussion myself, so that’s what I shoot for.

        1) I’ll admit that the path system in general is nothing revolutionary with regards to leveling like I had hoped. There are some really bright spots in the path missions though, especially in the scientist one. In general, I have just grinded through the scanning quests, but occasionally there is an interesting experiment or something. It brings a little different flavor. Let’s put it this way, I like having all the lore entries unlocked, so Scientist is fun to do on the side as I level. Settlers bring a lot of utility with their stations. Also, at higher levels, they can free-place a campfire, an abilities kiosk, a crafting table, a mailbox (I think), and something else that escapes my memory. They essentially can make a small town. That is awesome and incredibly useful! The soldier and explorer paths are boring to me, I’ll admit, but I haven’t investigated their higher playstyles at all.

        2) Again, don’t really care about this, so skipping it. Seems personal preference to me.

        3) I can see that. Though I think even D&D has race restrictions, right? And that is the classic RPG.

        4) That is true, I jumped the gun and released several weeks of pent-up frustration with people who call Wildstar a WoW-clone on you! Sorry about that! I just think that it isn’t fair to criticize their choice of art style because another game has a similar one. If they went realistic, then that would be similar to other games as well. If you don’t prefer the stylized art style, that is fine, but equating it with WoW’s (which it isn’t exactly like anyway) isn’t fair. You see what I’m saying? There aren’t a lot of games with the stylized art style out there right now (AAA games), so maybe the next game to go that route will be able to be compared to “WoW/Wildstar’s art style” instead of just being dismissed as a WoW-clone.

        5) Like I said before, I think you might be mistaken about where you went after that. I know which part you are talking about in the story, but as I recall, the next place you go is completely different from where you have been. I have done that section a lot (like six times), so I think I would remember if I got sent back to somewhere I had already been. Are you sure that you didn’t accidentally wander there ahead of yourself for a path mission or something, and you just thought that you had quested there? It doesn’t really matter, I guess. I could be wrong too. I do want to reassure you that it is rare for Wildstar to “double-dip” in an area. Usually, they have you would in a line or a circle, turning in and granting quests by way of communicator. You usually don’t have to go back to an area after you finished it. The exception is for path quests if you missed something.

        Bonus) I would argue the way that WoW/SWTOR’s three trees and the way Wildstar’s six-way AMP system work is different in a large way: Wildstar encourages hybrids. Sure, there are six combinations of three trees with respect to hybridization, but the WoW/SWTOR method always has you give up higher progression in the tree for more flexibility. In other words, it doesn’t reward flexibility with its own playstyle. Wildstar, on the other hand, has three “skill trees” that are ONLY accessible if you are building into two of the “main” trees and hybridizing yourself!

        Sorry for the wall of text, but this is a good discussion!

      2. 1) “Settlers bring a lot of utility with their stations. Also, at higher levels, they can free-place a campfire, an abilities kiosk, a crafting table, a mailbox (I think), and something else that escapes my memory”

        …..oh. my. god. That sounds like Star Wars: Galaxies’ Scout/Ranger profession, back in the days before the NGE. You just sold Wildstar for me.

        2) K.

        3) Dungeons & Dragons hasn’t had race restrictions in many years. In any edition 3 or higher, you can be any mix of anything. I think there were some alignment restrictions in 3.x, though.

        4) Wildstar is not a WoW clone. But it’s very easy to draw parallels, since it’s a colorful, polished, cartoony MMORPG with a lot of action. Interestingly, WoW and Wildstar have very distinct art styles once you get past the whole “it’s not realistic” thing. Same with EverQuest Next.

        5) Can’t speak to this point.

        Wish I could reinstall Wildstar, but I can’t find a place on the beta site to do so.

  3. i listened up until the “why am i paying for my abilities” part. Now im able to make 2 discernations. 1) your a youngin. 2) wow was your first mmorpg and for good measure – you obviously dont even know a REAL mmo from whatever theyre calling wow before it got lupmed in w/ the real games.

    boy oh boy you woulnt last a new york minute in eq.

    to be fair. Wildstar sucks which i expected based on it being made by ex blizzard employees. Im a waitin for pantheon (dont bother checking it out – wont be for you)

    1. I’m 34, my first MMO was EQ, and I had a wad of cash committed to Pantheon’s Kickstarter before it failed. How’s that crystal ball looking now?

      Some things change for the better, and the way training is done now is one of them.

      1. New feature of the recent beta patch is that you can now buy your skills straight from the UI. No need to ride back to town. That is a big improvement, and almost addresses your point 2! 🙂

    2. Sinkitsune

      I believe you mean “WildStar is not for me” Because it certainly does not suck out right. Or else it wouldn’t have tons upon tons of people playing the beta.

      So please rethink your rushed “If I don’t like it fully, it sucks” comment.

      1. Ad hominems aside for a moment, this guy/gal seems confused. The title of the post indicates just that – “Wildstar is not for me.” I don’t think I ever said “it sucks” either. So, there isn’t really anything for me to rethink.

  4. Mark

    Level design is killing it for me. Very little thought to how hard it is to get around or what’s fun. Quest arrows will often guide you to the wrong side of a wall/mountain and leave you the find the path around. Some really green designers thought that a sprawling maze of a city would be fun. Its really not. if the zones are this bad …. I’m already regretting my pre-order.

    1. I’m beginning to think that level design is either a lost art or I’m just not on board with what “good” level design is supposed to be these days. I remember when TOR came out and they said that Korriban and Tython had been at the beginning and end of level design and how one was exceedingly better than the other and they were proud of how much they had learned. I assumed Korriban had to be the final design, it plays out so smoothly. It keeps you moving and seems large but never feels like a chore to get from point A to point B. Tython on the other hand is a pain in the ass with terrible travel times and a leveling scheme that forces you into out of the way areas and backtracking. But I was wrong – Tython was the one they were proud of and thought was the “model” for a good zone. Color me surprised.

      1. I actually hated Korriban and liked Tython. They were both “valleys” which SWTOR did a bit too much, but Tython had better transportation and flow in my opinion. And the exploration was more fun. Korriban was tight and claustrophobic with a lot of tombs (which I am not a fan of long straight tombs, I like mazes).

        I think that is the thing though. People will hate and like different things. I love Tatooine and Hoth because they are open and you can see the horizon. I am from West Texas where that is the landscape. A lot of people like Alderaan, which I hate, because it is mountainous and claustrophobic. People will prefer different things. That’s okay.

      2. Well to each his own I guess. But to me the run up into the hills where the Flesh Raiders are at, or where the final quests are located, take way longer than the little jaunt into tomb A, B, or C on Korriban. For transportation, I immediately think of the very first area, where I have to run all the way back to the beginning to turn in the quest, then run all the way back through the quest area (fighting again) and then through a non combat area, just to reach the Jedi temple. Why doesn’t the quest turn in unlock the speeder point at the temple? To me, there’s not really any oversights like that on Korriban.

  5. I got invited to the Wildstar Beta this last weekend of April 25th and gave it a go. I have to agree with what a youtube reviewer said about it, if you could describe Wildstar with one word, that word would be, “Meh”

    He did go on to say, until you do the first dungeon in the game, it is very boring, doesn’t do anything special other MMOs have done. Just a whole bunch of, “Meh” until you do the first dungeon at level 20. Then, it magically becomes fun and you realize they are doing something different from other MMOs.

    Unfortunately, there has to be more to an MMO than just that to bring in a wide audience. There’s a terrible problem that you have to grind up to a certain level before the, “Game” becomes fun. You can call it impatience but I play games to have fun all the time. My dollar, I want the fun to start when I start playing.

    Reading about the dungeons and raids I do feel the hardcore crowd for raiding is going to love it. I use to be part of that crowd years ago but I don’t have time for it in my life anymore.

    That’s why I will not be taking part in Wildstar when it launches.

  6. Sinkitsune

    I am truely glad you didn’t just out right say “EEeech this game sucks, it’s gonna fail lawllawl” like oh so many people do…

    I know damn well that this game won’t be for everyone. Just like a lot of MMO’s aren’t for me.

    But some point’s you made are unfair, such as the looks. WildStar is far more leaning towards Ratchet and Clank style than WoW’s style. Big Weapons and Big Shoulders on Big Races do not instantly depict copying. As for the races? It’s better than the bore storm that ESO has….

    1. The looks are what they are, nobody is denying that it takes stylistic cues from WoW…well, except for you.

      The races in Wildstar are fine, my only complaint is that I can’t play the one I want to.

      1. Sinkitsune

        The only race in WoW that looks anything close to WildStar’s style is Gnome you twat. other than that and “large swords” and big shoulder pieces on the large races are like WoW’s style.

      2. I think you are confusing my two responses. I am not claiming that the races are copies of WoW’s. I am claiming that the art style is.

        Again, I have no problem with the races.

        Since on these two points we agree, does that mean that you are a twat as well?

  7. Wanderhoof

    WARNING: Wall of Text Incoming! (But, I think honest and fair evaluations deserve the effort of being fully voiced).

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about the Wildstar beta. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one underwhelmed and unimpressed. TO BE CLEAR, I do NOT hate Wildstar. I do NOT want Wildstar to fail. I just really, really do not like it and am disappointed in it.

    As to the details, I dabbled in the beta this weekend off and on, and I find myself disappointed.

    Mechanically, the game works great – not just for a beta, but even as a full release. Some UI elements could use tweaking and there was the background music oversight that made it impossible to turn off from playing in the background when tabbed out, but overall things functioned as advertised. If it launches in this condition, Wildstar could be one of the most bug and glitch free MMO launches in years!

    That said, the story is boring as stale bread. Nothing about the story, the NPC’s, the lore, the quests, or my character made me care about anything. Progression is VERY linear, which was acceptable a decade ago when WoW launched, but not so much now. You are a good guy or a bad guy because the game tells you are. Your character race will choose ONLY these classes not because you feel suited to them but because we told you you are suited for them and no others. You want to serve this faction or other and carry out their work because the game tells you you do. You save, kill, serve, or compete with NPC’s because the game tells you you will, not because you are making choices, not because it is in your character’s nature, and not because of any animus on your part. I felt so disconnected from the story and my character, the only thing left to engage me was the combat (which, actually, is very good). If you are launching an RPG (!!!) and you cannot get players to care about and invest in their characters beyond power ups and cosmetics, that is a problem.

    Speaking of characters and cosmetics, was this game developed by adolescent boys? Every, and I mean EVERY, female character must have breasts of a size to give ME sympathy pains in my back. Hips and butts were wide enough to make one think, “Were they expecting female characters to double as pack animals?” Look, I have no problem with attempts to create sexy characters. A lot of us gamers have been smitten by one character or another, or even fantasized about looking like one of our characters. THAT SAID, such overt sexualization should be OPTIONAL. I should be able to create ‘normal’ looking characters – of either gender – if I want to. If big boobs and big butts are mandatory, you are sending a not so subtle message to your player base that female characters (and by extension, the players who play them) are nothing more than objectified eye candy. Oh, sure, they can fight and craft with the best of them, but at the end of the day you are encouraging trolling and sexism of a juvenile nature. There is a big difference between telling a player with a female character that their character can be sexy if they want it to be versus telling them their character MUST be sexy (and I use the term ‘sexy’ loosely, as we do not all find the same things attractive; this is ‘sexy’ as imagined by pubescent boys). To be fair, though, no matter what characters look like, there will sadly always be within the gamer community an element of rude, sexist, trolling pigs that are going to say and do sexist things to other characters/players. So, Wildstar did not create this problem (it’s just doing little to make it go away or minimize its impact).

    In less heated observations about the graphical assets, gawdz, the environment is boring and eye ache inducing. The developers really, really leaned heavily on their Blizzard/WoW laurels in creating this world. As a note, I do love WoW, and while WoW is cartoony and looking a bit dated, it’s environments are still engaging wonders for me to behold. The world has life, it has character, it has depth, and I want to explore it. In Wildstar, all of that life feels stripped out, as if the environments are really just two dimensional backdrops whose main purpose is just to be there so you are not engaging in combat on a blank, white field. Very little made me want to go exploring just to see what was over the next hill. Very little (outside of quests that told me I needed to!) made me want to peek into corners or climb new vistas or wade into the wild just to see what was there. The few elements that were eye-catching seemed lonely and out of place.

    I really, really wanted to like this game. And, it has some great things going for it – gltich-free mechanics, engaging combat, features out the wazoo, player housing, double-jumping (no, really, I love this!), and so on. The nuts and bolts of the game are great. Unfortunately the package they wrapped it up in is just so damn uninteresting, juvenile, and disenfranchising. Worse, the environmental graphics feel old, like WoW:TBC old. Again, a decade ago this would have been good enough to impress. But, this late in the MMORPG genre’s life cycle I think it is OK to expect more from an environment and the story it tells (e.g., TERA, Neverwinter, and GW2 all have waaay more engaging environments that encourage exploration and sightseeing; you can really lose yourself in those worlds, even if other elements of the game are lackluster).

    I hope, in a way, that Wildstar does well. The MMORPG genre has had a bumpy history the last few years (and this year especially with the ESO fiasco). I do not want developers to give up on this genre. I think some successful releases, Wildstar included, can give publishers and developers the incentive to keep working on new titles and can give players the incentive to continue investing their time and money into playing these titles. That said, I was left uninspired and disappointed by my (admittedly brief) experiences with Wildstar.

    I cannot see myself finding enough reasons to want to buy AND subscribe to this game. I hold it no malice, but I don’t want to play it either.

    1. Wander your sentiments echo my own pretty firmly. Outside of the sexualizing, I thought that was pretty tame. But then I play TERA, and everything is tame next to that!

    2. AkashaPain

      For what it’s worth I don’t know if something changed dramatically about customization, but at least in terms of making an Aurin female character (but also looking into human) the “assets” issue seems like a non factor. If anything I was surprised by how many pear shaped or totally boyish models there were. There was only one option that seemed overtly sexualized to me with massive chest and rear end and tiny waist line. I’d say there was a pretty diverse set of options with like I said only one seeming hyper sexualized. But those body types do exist in real life (if not necessarily nature) too.

    1. While I disagree with the general direction of the post, I prefer good discussion to dismissive comments. Your comment is as annoying as “Wildstar is WoW 2.0” because it ends discussion, it doesn’t start it.

  8. My personal reasons why it turned me off:
    1) 40-man raiding.
    Yes it feels epic, I was there. No, it was not brilliant. The size of the raid impose a limit on how many “combo death” you can afford in a Boss fight. Let’s assume any one of the 40 people can screw up the whole team by making a mistake. By what extent is the key to the tuning of the difficulty. If a failure in dealing with a certain mechanics takes away 20% of the entire team’s health, which is quite small percentage on its own, 5 people failing this will very likely grant you a instant wipe. How often could this occur is the key now. In a 20-man fight, this can occur at a very much lower rate than it can in a 40-man counterpart.
    It sucks when a complete RNG death ruins your attempt. And in 40-man this will occur so much often.
    This is among the many reasons why WoW moved AWAY from this raiding structure, along side with logistical difficulty that an MMO with such huge players base seems not able to pull through.
    WoW has spent 9 years figuring out the best raid size and I’m pretty sure their best guess is 20 for now. For a game with 11 classes and 34 specializations, 20 is big enough to cover every class, and small enough to limit RNG death.
    2) Graphic
    No comments here, completely personal preference. It is the same reason I’m actually playing FF 14 right now, although I don’t like quite a large part of its game design.
    3) Dungeon difficulty
    I heard it’s hard, I like hard game. Why is this a bad thing? Well, it’s still an MMO, you can’t have an MMO with such steep learning curve right at the very first dungeon run.
    Take FF14 as an example, the first couple of dungeons were incredibly easy, both in terms of boss/mob mechanics and dps/healing requirement tuning. But the later dungeons were actually quite challenging, especially the higher difficulty trials, even at this point of the game where most of the players have out-geared the encounter significantly. That is a good learning curve for average players.
    Let’s be honest, MMO-RPG is an old genre, you can’t expect that there are still that many veteran MMO-RPG players still playing this genre.
    4) Telegraph system
    I’ll again take FF14 as the example since I have played it for quite some time now. The lag is there even I know for sure there is only a minimal input lag and my internet connection is great. The greatest advantage “tab-target” has is the possibility of “spell queue”. This means that as long as you hit the button within a set time window, the system will register it and make it effective as if there was zero latency. This makes someone with a crappy internet virtually incompetent for an online game that implements any sort of telegraph mechanics. It is one of the reasons why even in a MOBA game you have to limit the amount of skill shot abilities. They are hard to hit, because you have to anticipate your opponent’s move as well as your own latency.
    Put this on top of 40-man raiding and you’ll realise what lies before those who dare walk into this mess.

    1. I think what you are heading towards on 1) is the idea of cascade failure, which happens in groups and can be amplified in raids if not tuned right. 2) we are obviously agree, lol. On 4), I don’t mind telegraphs, but there is a balance to be had there. There needs to be a limit on what gets telegraphed, and how much of a telegraph that there is. But I am happy to have it just as an innovation to the genre, if nothing else.

      1. 1) Yes. That cascade failure is a limit of the size of any group content. If we take a look at any team sport, the most popular and competitive ones never have a group of size larger than 11, giving 22 people playing in the same field. If you want to make a game competitive, don’t force a chaotic 40-man size on it.
        4) To be fair, there are a lot of telegraph in WoW raiding now actually. They are simply implemented in a way that are less obvious; in other words, those are not really telegraph but function in a similar way.
        If we generalize this system to “non-tab-targeting”, then it is just an AOE effect, which is in abundance in WoW right now. If we generalize this system to “non-tab-targeting with a warning/timer”, then you still have a lot of these from encounters even without a boss timer addon.
        WoW cannot completely change its old-school tab-targeting system, but it has been experimenting with the newer combat system since a very long time ago.

    1. I see, know, and understand that WildStar has a visually distinct style from World of Warcraft.

      I don’t know who A Perfect Circle is, and am only vaguely aware of Tool from the 1990s.

      Your hypothesis is thus proved incorrect.

      1. Not quite a match Ben. You’d have to be familiar with both APC and Tool to unravel his example.

        I am familiar with both, and I think its a good example. The first time I heard an APC song, I immediately said “wait, Tool put out a new album?”

      2. Fair enough. I just prefer to defend WildStar’s visual style, since comparing it to WoW is like comparing a Don Bluth animated film to a Disney animated film. Yes, they’re both animated and exaggerated, but they have very distinctive individual styles.

        All too often, people say that an MMORPG with a cel-esque style is a clone of WoW’s art style.

  9. This User

    So they didn’t make a game tailored to your exacting and narrow design specs, imagine that.

  10. Gronky

    I also feel WS is WoW2. I know that mechanics and many things are different. The thing is that it all seems like an improvement and nothing there was new. Basically I can’t feel a breath of fresh air there. Saying all that WS is the only MMO I will play now as it is currently the best. Hopefully Blizz will come up with something new but as long I know Blizz they only thing they know how to do well is to improve upon others. They never do anything really knew.

    1. In my opinion, it is WoW 0.5. This is not in an insulting sense by any means. It is simply referring to its design philosophy being almost identical to vanilla to early TBC WoW. During that time, everything is a huge time sink, including dungeons, questing, PVP, raids. And you need a group of people, whether your friends or some random people you get to know briefly, for almost anything in game.
      Many people defend WS by argument like “You need to have a solid group/guild to enjoy this game”, or “You need to dedicate some time in the game”. I can use the same argument to defend WoW even in its “dying” state. If you can actually have a solid group/guild with some time dedicated, you can enjoy the top-end raiding progression that is both complex and challenging. The same people telling others to dedicate time and go out to find like-minded groups are the ones that could not enjoy WoW because it is too casual to them. How could a game with 0.25% of its player base finished heroic progression after more than 3 month of the raids had been released being “casual”? Well, if you don’t have a solid group/guild with dedicated time, then yeah, it is pretty much casual playing. The irony is that WoW gives you the option to play casually, but the very option makes it casual for its entirety, according to many people.

      1. Bob

        the reason ts only 0.25% finishing heroic is BECAUSE the game went so casual. offering a million different easy mode difficulties for people to get their free purples. then after they see all the content in those easy modes, whats the point in raiding heroic for a year until they finally give you a new raid. in past xpacs it was more enjoyable to have to work your ass off if you wanted to see raids. rather than this “I pay my 15 bucks a month i should be able to do everything”

        I left wow because they spent too much time putting in alternate difficulties and alt catch up mechanics rather than giving me time-sinks or new content for my main. My main did everything there was to do outside of raiding the current raid every night. And sorry but after months and months and months of killing the same bosses in tot, they put out siege and expect that to last longer than a year. no. If you’re not putting in new content go F2P.

  11. I am very much tying to enjoy this new game. I like the concept, the combat and the vibe. Sharing an account, these are the things that are making my girlfriend and I, currently sharing an account to see what we think, hesitate about committing to buying two accounts for a year (worth $520, after all):

    The long, dull on-rail entry levels need to be repeated and cannot be skipped on a new character.

    I thought that it was a space/sci-fi MMO, but you seem to be stuck on one planet all the time. Still in Azeroth…

    Costume customization was sold as a major feature, yet it is buggy with constant flickering in the interface making it a lottery. Dyes cannot be used at low levels and you only find this out after much searching on Google.

    The scientist robot disappears constantly, so much so that I regret taking this option.

    AMPs are not explained. Google again. Still have no idea, really. The old TBC Talents in WoW or those in Rift were a lot more sensible than these anonymous dots.

    The capital city for Dominion is bland and spread-out, involving boring running about in bland plazas. Years of that place? Erk. Please..No more Silvermoon City!

    Using simple features like bags is confusing, requiring a click on a ‘cog’ to manage and silly scrolling up and down to see what you have.

    Finding a simple thing like the first PvP battleground is not at all obvious, being buried in the menus.

    Quite often, a ‘network error’ will make you log out. Realms are displayed as ‘online’, but are not. /sigh.

    Professions are utterly confusing and there does not seem to be any skill-up bar. Google again. How well am I doing? I can’t tell: the Tradeskills tab tells you nothing.

    A few wins in PvP meant that I out-leveled my quest zone, with no idea where to go next.

    I had to research what attributes like ‘Moxie’ mean. All six seems to correlate to the ever-present D&D ones, actually.

    Overall, I am used to researching in new games such as Rift, Tera and once WoW, but many things are buggy and unintuitive. I don’t mind doing background reading, in fact I enjoy it, but for an MMO in 2014, this is off putting.

    I will keep trying while my sub lasts. I guess the biggest problem is that nothing has been memorable so far…

    1. A very telling review Kingerz. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The one planet thing is not something I had put together, but now that you mention it, yeah that is kind of a bummer. At least SWTOR pretended to give us a bunch of planets. (-:

    2. Bob

      why would there be multiple planets? the whole lore and game is about the eldan and their home world etc etc. I mean you dont have to like it, but never once did the game ever ever mention heading to other planets.
      Not to mention, expanding to other planets or make a game world too big too fast usually takes away form the detail.

  12. I had a look today at World of Warcraft and noticed you can now pay to have you character leveled up to level 90 on the official website. I thought that was a joke and didn’t end up reactivating my subscription. That was my turn off.

  13. Bob

    I just wanted to point out that no, this game is not that alt friendly. In fact it takes a helluva long ass time just to get your amps and abilities for your main at cap. I wont roll an alt to max level anytime soon, and if i did id feel obligated to grind to make sure he got all his points.

    Also wow wasn’t the first game with a ‘cartoony’ look. It wont be the last. I still don’t understand how if anything puts a dash of color or personality in, it’s automatically a wow clone. I personally like cartoony style graphics in my games. I find its less strain on my eyes and easier for me to identify everything in the game worlds.

  14. Well, I remember back in 2011, when they first announced it, (I think it was around then anyway; there were some videos circulating the web at that time for sure, such as this from 2011: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4fIruA4fxo ), Wildstar got me all hyped up. Took some time before it actually arrived, but when it finally did, it was a pretty good experience tbh.

    I had some beta invites, but by the time I got those, I was a bit on the fence. Nevertheless I picked up the game on launch day and started running around with a Warrior. The whole experience of it was pretty decent (I am saying this as a long time WoW player). The story is compelling and the areas (zones) are well made. Lacks a bit in some of the sub-systems such as trading/crafting/auction house interfaces, but I suppose that will all be ironed out as time goes by. The PvP is pretty decent too.

    As an MMO, I can put it this way: If this was the first MMO ever made, people would be over the moon about it. It IS a great game in itself. The raiding has an unprecedented approach, for example ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lr5wzAviCQ ). Thing is, over the years we have seen so many games fall into the trap of trying to copy one another or do the same, only better – well, this might be a good thing actually – because it creates competition and we all know competition is good for the end user. But none has really “risen to the challenge” of becoming a “WoW killer”. Honestly I do not think anyone ever will. A new, successful MMO has to be a good experience in its own right and for its own reasons.

    As for the economy there is one thing that really separates Wildstar from other MMOs; the C.R.E.D.D. system. The way they laid out this whole feature is pretty unique. It is about taking power away from the 3d party actors and transferring it over to the players. I know that one can get a good deal game time on some sites, such as g2a: https://www.g2a.com/r/wildstar-category-global – but if one can make big bucks in game (being sort of an in game tycoon), one can actually end up paying for the subscription by just playing the game.

    In the end I think it is safe to say that the impressions one gets from playing a new MMO depends on where you are coming from. If you have played MMOs for 15 years, you will not easily get impressed. But if you are just starting out, and Wildstar is your first MMO experience, it is as good as any.

  15. AkashaPain

    There’s definitely a lot not to like about WS, but those things are far outweighed by the good. At least for now.

    The things to dislike:

    1. The world quests are essentially the exact same thing over and over again with very little variation. This is a problem that is widespread in MMOs though to a large extent. WoW (at least WoW vanilla anyway, only leveled 2 chars to max, did Onyxia and MC and let me 6 month sub expire as I’d just about ‘done it all’ at that point minus killing Rag himself) was pretty good in that regard in that at least you could level from ~ 10 all the way to max just grinding dungeons. I found that MUCH more fun than grinding the world quests. In WS it feels like “Kill [X] (Insert: Pumera/Ravenok/Pirate/etc)” “Collect [Y] (insert world loot shards/rocks/gems/plants/meteorites/etc)” “Activate [Z] (insert: Computer terminals/radar dishes/alien technologies/etc)” or “Hold out for 4 waves of (insert creature here)”. That’s it, over and over and the mobs don’t really get all that different between level 1 and level 50.

    2. The Group Finder System: In a game with as high a skill requirement as WS has for simple 5-man dungeon crawling, the LFG queue system is busted as Hell. It’s obviously not a game you want to be constantly doing pick up groups in but the problem is the world is such that it’s difficult to find and cultivate relationships with new players. World questing is almost exclusively solo content. It feels like an imposition when there’s anyone questing near you. With how casual and easy it is to queue up an instance there’s essentially zero repercussion for being bad, for being a jerk, for doing inconsiderate things. To make matters worse, sometimes the queue takes FOREVER (80+ minutes??) and then you end up getting dumped into a broken group 3/4 the way through a dungeon or worse dumped into a group where the guy who is listed as the tank is really just a DPS who queues as tank to get a group faster and now you have to wait 15:00 (!) to vote to kick him and CAN’T vote to kick if he keeps engaging creeps as votes can’t be started in combat.

    3. Lack of content: There are adventures, but most people like the dungeons. They’ll tell you there’s in essence 8, 5-man dungeon experiences in game right now which is sort of true but it’s really 4 dungeons with all 4 getting MUCH harder at max level with few new mechanics. Compounding the problem is 50% of the dungeons are level 20 dungeons at their core. By the time you’re level 30 you’ve basically geared out of any reason other than practice/fun to queue for those two level 20 dungeons. Then you get one at 35. By 43 you’re gearing out of that dungeon as well. The fourth dungeon? It’s max level. So you basically get both the normal and veteran difficulties of the same dungeon plus the veteran difficulties for the other 3 at 50. Something about it all just feels very limited and as a game that was really promoted on its group/raid play the game is virtually entirely solo-content outside of the dungeons of which there are only 4 in the whole world pre-raids. This game needs a content pack desperately or people who aren’t in the top-flight raiding guilds are going to get bored and walk away. And you seriously need to be serious to raid (which is okay!) as the attunement for the 20-man is pretty insane. It just means that the game is missing a lot of content for the hardcore in terms of mechanics but maybe not time. I love that it’s EASY for a 5-man to wipe on “trash” mobs in some cases, I want that challenge. I don’t necessarily want to have to commit to turning the game into a second full-time job to get access to roughly 25% of the instanced content.

  16. IamZeb

    lemme share my dissappointments. I had an active subscription for 1month till the 29th of june as it said on my account. but its gone inactive and I had to buy another subscription 2 days prior to the 29th as its the 27th today, and I work full time as im only able to play like 10days or less out of that 1month pay period, which is retarded I don’t get the playtime I paid for and now I lose 2 days of playtime cause nobody cares what I had to say about anything

  17. Some Jerk

    Yet another WOW reject to plague gaming and the interwebs. Most of us couldn’t care less about bitching rights to show off your mamas trophies, we just add people like you to the block list and sometimes even report your ass for kicks and giggles. Fact is most gamers already have learned a simple lesson in real world economics, mmos are mostly grind and mostly revolve around pumping out $$ to pay for our continued narcissism.

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