Review in Progress #3
Next week, we’ll finally slap a score on our WildStar review. I can already taste the disgruntled sentiment of some readers, the tears of joy from others, and the /shrugs of even more. I’m actually running out of things to talk about here, as between myself and our weekly WildStar columnist Gareth Harmer, I feel like we’ve gone over and over pretty much every aspect of the game. Still, this weekly journal is less about combing through all the many features in WildStar (there are a ton) and more about my personal experience while playing the game. And how has my experience been? Well, pretty damn silky smooth. As Rob and I note when we’re playing, there are quite a few wonky/weird interface bugs, but nothing truly game-breaking. WildStar is one of the more polished and refined MMORPGs we’ve seen, and that’s nothing to scoff at.
If there’s one thing that would get my frowny face coming out, it’s the obvious fact that WildStar would love if you bought some CREDD. It’s the in-game way to buy gold for real world cash. Like EVE’s PLEX, you buy the CREDD for $20 (a price that stays the same), but then it gives you a consumable in-game to sell via CREDD Marketplace to players for in-game gold. Right now, the prices are pretty low actually at a few Platinum per CREDD. For this meager price of farming and playing the markets, you could effectively not pay a subscription to WildStar. But I expect that price will rise in coming weeks, probably to somewhere around 8-10 Plat as players hit the cap. We’ll see.
But what Rob and I are noticing is the high price of pretty much everything in the game… not the commodity or auction house, but rather the cost of repairing housing items, buying skills, mounts, dying armor, and so forth. If you’re an impulse buyer, chances are you’ll be looking to buy CREDD and sell it for a few plat pretty soon. But really, you can and should hold off if you’re not about spending money. The cost is going to rise, and you won’t NEED that gold just yet. And what’s more, if you’re patient or lucky? You can probably sell your unused/unneeded lower level AMPs on the brokers for a Plat or more. Ask Rob, he did.
But in any case, I’m complaining about these sort of issues, because at least for now… that’s the bulk of issues which Carbine faces. There are certainly some class balance things to get around to when it comes to PVP (as in all games of this sort, Ranged tend to have an advantage of Melee), and moreover I’m sure that the Warplots will need some fine-tuning once a bulk of the player-base is at the level cap. But for now, I’m happy to report that WildStar is a very polished experience. If there’s any larger issue that I’d like to note before the final review, it’s that overall framerate performance is less than stellar. It’s come a long way since the later stages of beta, but when I can play something like ESO’s PVP in max settings at 60+ frames and then come to Nexus to find the client struggling in less-than-crowded cities… there’s bound to be optimization issues.
The first big “Drop” of content lands in WildStar next week. That’s not estimated; it’s a promise from Carbine. At E3, Jeremy told us that they have no fears about hitting their goal of sizable chunks of new content every 4-6 weeks. While I highly doubt every patch will be as grand as The Strain (it was mostly done before launch), I’m feeling very optimistic that Carbine means business and will be one of the first MMO developers to meet that goal. If there’s one thing the long development cycle of WildStar has done, it’s likely been to teach them the best pipeline possible for releasing their content.
I’m not yet close to 50 myself, but having put over 60 hours into GerBill, having made my way through dungeons, adventures, Arenas, Battlegrounds… I’m confident that I can give WildStar an accurate and (hopefully you agree) fair final score. Not only that, but I’ve spent well over 100 hours in the beta itself, dabbled with Warplots, Raids, and more. I think it’s safe to say that I know what WildStar has to offer… which is to say: A LOT.
I’ve really enjoyed my time with Carbine’s freshman effort thus far, and I plan on sticking with a good while longer. I’m well aware that Nexus has its fans as well as its detractors, but what I see when I look at WildStar is a bold and feature-rich MMORPG that we don’t get often enough in the genre. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s not what should matter. What game hits every note for every player? No, what’s important here is that Carbine has succeeded in making an original, irreverent, fun, and feature-filled MMORPG in a genre that many claim needs an overhaul. Perhaps that’s not at all what it needs though. Perhaps all the MMORPG needed was the Chua.
Tune in next Friday for our final score and summation of our seven review categories. I’m anxious to see where the comments lie on this one. Don’t let me down!
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.