We all have our reasons for wanting to play WildStar. Ask my boss Bill Murphy and he’ll reply with a single word: Chua. Myself, I’m a sucker for a finely crafted world, full of hidden stories just waiting to be discovered. But, with a combat system that’s faster and more agile than a rubber NASCAR, Carbine’s imminent MMO has also lured me into playing PvP. That, and the Chua.
On a recent trip to London, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in all things WildStar. Part of it was getting the chance to delve into the mind of Creative Director Chad “Pappy” Moore, returning with a two part interview (part 1 and part 2) and immersive lore primer. But just as important was the community meet-up, giving me the chance to chat with fans and find out why they’re so excited about the impending launch.
Armed with a camera and the flimsiest of recording equipment, I ventured to the Coney and Barrow in Canary Wharf to find out more.
Sealing the Deal
WildStar’s a very broad MMO, with a number of stand-out features to interest potential players. When I asked players which one convinced them to preorder, some of them had a hard time choosing. “The second the preorder page went up, I was ‘Yup, there we go.’” Ikari had been following WildStar since the earliest videos, but also got to spend time in closed beta. “The game itself is different, yet the same enough to keep me wanting to play it. There’re just so many features that I tried out and just enjoyed.”
It was a similar story from someone going by the name of Baron Sheepslayer. “It’s just the whole game, doing quests and exploring a world that’s been masterfully put together. The customization is probably the thing that grabbed me more than anything.”
Surprisingly, one of the most talked about preorder reasons was WildStar’s strong combat system, as Reaperfox illustrated. “I’ve been interested in WildStar since the very first videos. I’m not an MMO fan, so what cinched the deal for me was the player housing. But also, it was the combat. It was targeting, it was tactical, you can run and jump and dodge, and do all this stuff that you can’t normally do in a tab click scenario.” Ben had a similar opinion: “Probably the combat system: how it’s more mobile than any of the other MMOs that I’ve played. Things that they can do with the telegraphs are really interesting, and plus combining that with things like raid mechanics.”
Dungeons and Adventures were also a popular choice, with Rustique telling me about the first time he journeyed into one. “Doing an adventure for the first time, and seeing how difficult it was, and seeing how the combat played out. It was really enjoyable, different, and still challenging, but still had all of the good stuff that I was expecting from an MMO.” He later told me that his plans for launch included “Being server first on everything! Solo! No, I’m looking forward to raid leading in general. I’m a GM of a guild called Total Fluke.”
That said, not everyone that got into beta devoured every single morsel of content. Several of those I spoke to, like Gurfquake, limited themselves in order to save most of the game for launch. “I was lucky enough to get into a few of the closed betas a while back, and fell in love with the game in the first ten minutes. Just the character and everything really hooked me. I was one of those weird people who didn’t want to play it too much, because I didn’t want to reveal too much of the game, so I’m really looking forward to getting into it.”
Anticipation of Launch
Not everyone I spoke to had preordered the game – some had been on the fence until they’d had the chance to throw some questions at Chad Moore and Mark Hulmes. Others had simply lost track – after following the game for years, launch week had caught people off-guard. That said, everyone I spoke to was looking forward to getting in the game, even if it meant waiting for their next payday before catching a flight to Nexus.
Almost universally though, players were looking forward to digging into endgame content. Whether it’s world stories, raiding or warplots, Carbine’s commitment to having content at level cap seems to have paid dividends, as Aaron explained. “The main concern for me was endgame content, having something to do once I reach level cap. I didn’t want to get there and have nothing to do. WildStar seems to offer quite a lot of things like crafting, raiding, housing. And also the fact that, when I discovered WildStar, I found out the devs listen to the community, which is a big thing for me. To know that when the community agrees on something they will act upon it.”
Several players that I spoke to are also itching to try out WidStar’s raids, including Vahnye. “Hardcore raiding. I’m in a raiding guild at the moment, and I’m looking forward to the versatility and variation that they’ve got. Their DevSpeak on the raids? That is exciting, that looks fast-paced, it looks really interactive. The whole deal with the telegraphs - it looks manic in a fun sort of way.”
And then there was the community. Gathered in a pub in the heart of London, it was great to see people trading stories from beta and sharing their launch-day excitement. As Ikari reminded me, sometimes that’s all you need. “The thing that I always enjoy most with MMOs is just playing with my friends. Any game that we can all enjoy and play, I’m happy to play. I’m just looking forward to getting together with the usual group of people.”
To everyone who answered my questions at the meet-up or let me take their picture, thank you very much for being so patient with me. Who knows – maybe we’ll see each other in-game. And if you’ve got your own story from WildStar’s beta, please share it in the comments.
See you on Nexus!
Gareth Harmer / Gareth “Gazimoff” Harmer has been blasting and fireballing his way through MMOs for over ten years. When he's not exploring an online world, he can usually be found enthusiastically dissecting and debating them. Follow him on Twitter at @Gazimoff.