The most anticipated new MMORPG of 2014 is, without a doubt, Carbine Studios’ WildStar. The Elder Scrolls Online has had its time in the spotlight, bugs and all included, so now it’s time for that focus to shift to the new IP on the block. However, before the complete launch that will undoubtedly be full of server stability problems, balance issues, and complaints from the typical “I hate this game, yet I play it” players, let us bask in the glow of pre-launch hype just a bit longer. Below is our list of the top five reasons why you should play WildStar, so take a look and set some time aside in your schedule to indulge in the internet’s latest upcoming addiction.
5) Unique Style and Personality
It’s no secret that most MMOs nowadays are the same exact game, remade over and over with small variations to provide a margin of marketability. Sometimes they alter the combat system, maybe the art style is a bit different, a new PvP game mode, consistent updates, altered setting, the list of typical alterations goes on and on, but they usually end up playing and feeling very similar. Thankfully, WildStar is aiming to break away from this “me too!” trend of the MMO genre by injecting a fresh style and personality into the industry. The partially cartoon-style visuals offer enough individuality to stand out from the Guild Wars 2’s and Elder Scrolls’ of the world, while the aesthetics are different enough to not be labeled a WoW-clone, at least not out of the gate.
If you’ve ever watched any of the trailers, witnessed a developer stream, or played the game for yourself, you’d know how humorous it all tends to be. Thankfully, this is a game that doesn’t really take itself all too seriously, but also refrains from feeling too over the top with its humor. Additionally, Carbine has taken an interesting approach in terms of setting and art direction by marrying styles of vastly different types of sci-fi, from hints of Firefly and Star Wars, all the way down to an almost spaghetti western approach. Ultimately, playing WildStar will feel, on a moment-to-moment interaction basis, unlike most other games currently on the market.
Chances are, if you’re a fan of housing in MMOs, your favorite housing system is probably in the past. Games like Ultima Online or the late Star Wars Galaxies are regarded as beacons of hope for housing systems in MMOs, while modern takes such as EverQuest 2 struggle to live up to expectations. The common hallmarks of the best housing systems are in not only their customization options, but in their flexibility.
WildStar promises a system that is so much more than simply picking from a selection of cookie-cutter options that loosely piece together your home, but rather intricate systems that afford tremendous amounts of depth. You are free to scavenge for materials, purchase them, build items, or even find them in your adventures. Everything from the exterior designs and accent materials to the interior furnishings and decorations are fully customizable on an almost EverQuest Next Landmark level (okay, that’s a bit of exaggeration, but it’s still a lot more than most games out there).
3) Player Customization
For lack of a better modern comparison, Guild Wars 2 is a great example of character customization done correctly. WildStar is, in many ways, attempting to iterate on many of those facets, while also pushing ideas forward in new directions. One of the biggest pieces of this concept is referred to as a “path” system.
Rather than force you to play in ways that aren’t fun for you (crafting, questing, PvP, etc.) WildStar will actually let you choose to play how you want and actually reward you for it. No matter how you choose to play the game, there will undoubtedly be a path that suits you best.
2) Action Combat Mechanics
Real-time, action combat is all the rage in MMOs nowadays. While I enjoy going back to an old-school stand and hit combat system where I spend more time staring at my hotbars than the game itself from time to time, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think action combat was the undeniable future of the genre. Games like Guild Wars 2, TERA, Neverwinter, and tons of others have made great strides towards making combat and general gameplay more fast-paced and interactive, but let’s not stop there.
WildStar is taking an approach that moves many of the features established in the aforementioned games forward in terms of not only fluidity, but general fun. The vast mount / vehicle system allows for increased mobility and the diverse character classes ensure variety of gameplay.
1) Smart Subscription Model
Currently, there are three basic types of business models for MMO games. First is the subscription model, which typically includes buying the game and then paying a recurring fee to continue playing, such as with World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls Online. Second is the free-to-play model, which is comprised of being able to download and play the game entirely free of charge, but is also usually characterized by micro-transactions and premium options that require payment. Games such as Neverwinter and most other current MMOs employ this payment model. Finally is the buy-to-play model, which involves paying for initial access to the game itself, but then never having to pay another penny, unless you would like to enjoy perks and upgrades for additional cash, like Guild Wars 2 or most console games.
WildStar is taking an approach very similar to EVE Online in that, while it is on its face a subscription-based MMO, the game has workarounds for certain types of players. The C.R.E.D.D. and Commodities Exchange (CX) systems allow players to purchase game time (subscriptions) with in-game currency off of other players. This means if you don’t have the time to grind for weeks to build up a ton of gold, you can sell game time for in-game money. On the flip side, if you don’t have the money to pay for the game each month, you can trade your gold for game time. It should create a very balanced and self-sustaining ecosystem.
There is no such thing as the perfect MMO, simply due to the fact that everyone wants and enjoys different things. People that love some games will dislike others, and that’s okay. But big, new, AAA MMORPGs are few and far between due to the immense undertaking that they entail, so it’s a huge deal when one drops. WildStar may not be everyone, but there is a good chance that at least one of these reasons is enough to at least get you interested!