It's all about faith and a deeper devotion. It's all about soul, ‘cause under the love is a stronger emotion... okay, enough of the greatest songwriter to ever walk this earth (the inimitable William Joel, Esq.). But Piano Man’s classic ballad has a lot in common with why I’m looking forward to WildStar more and more this year. It has the sort of chutzpah to be something different and unique... while still retaining themepark MMO standards like questing, story, and so forth. It's going to give us our cake, and let us build stuff with said cake (I think I got that mixed up). As Gaffney told us recently on MMOFTW, the goal is to build WildStar into a hybrid between a sandbox and themepark: something they’re calling a modern playground. But even if that wasn’t the case? You know what would make me still check WildStar out when it launches? Mr. Malvolio Portius.
Like all of the videos before it, the WildStar team seems hellbent on making this game world as likable as possible. Damn their audacity. Really though, how many MMOs have this kind of style and flair? At the risk of sounding like this guy from Office Space:
MMOs are in desperate need of more flair, more often. Why must every game be so gritty, dark, and “epic” all the damn time? I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we try to have a little fun in the worlds we’re asked to spend hundreds of hours with. Not that games which try to take themselves seriously aren’t without soul. Don’t get me wrong. But what ends up happening? When every world is filled with heroes against some dark and malevolent rising evil? Well, what happens is they cease to be discernible from one another. They all become some giant high fantasy goop we muddle through until something better comes along to capture our imaginations.
That something “better” might be the world of Nexus and its inhabitants.
From the videos one might think WildStar runs the risk of being “too light” and fun of a jaunt, but having played it myself in its earliest stages I can safely say that it’s a good balance. It feels, and this isn’t damning, a lot like WoW’s early days in terms of tone. Before any shark jumping happened. Its world is both new and familiar, enthralling and lighthearted all at once. And that was just based on one starter zone. And that makes sense, given that a lot of Carbine’s staff previously came from Vanilla Azeroth and work at Blizzard (among many other MMOs).
On a side note: Nexus is a seamless and open world too... no portals to different zones. There will be instanced dungeons, if I’m not mistaken, but the entire landscape is wide open for you to walk seamlessly between regions. And here we’re being told by other studios that such feats can’t be achieved anymore.
Anyway, I’m not sure what the real point of this little column is other than to laud Carbine for their creativity, their joie de vivre (in MMO terms anyway), and their bold notion that you can make a serious MMORPG that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I can’t wait to roll my Cassian and act pompous for hundreds of hours. I already do it in real life anyway.
Oh, and just because you deserve it:
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.