MMOs are a funny old thing. While FPS or RPG fans may experiment with many different titles in the genre, MMO players have a tendency to stick with one, perhaps two, out of a vast array of different offerings. It’s a fair statement to suggest that the reasons for this are, aside from the obvious monthly expense which may put people off, the feeling of attachment that players get towards their characters after investing such a large amount of time into them. I have to admit to feeling the same.
Years and years of World of Warcraft seemed to have subconsciously conditioned me into disregarding anything else that may be released, filling me with a sense of fear for the unknown and leaving me unwilling to ever consider jumping ship to another MMO. That was, however, until I invested time into Wildstar. For me, it’s the experience I’ve been waiting for to open my eyes and show me that there are other MMOs out there that deserve my attention. Below, I’ve listed my top five reasons I think other MMO fans seriously need to consider Wildstar.
1) Player housing is amazingly well designed
Customisation in any MMO is vitally important to sustain peoples interests. It’s no good being ZORDANIA, LORD OF THE SEVEN WINDS AND DEFENDER OF ARGUS! if you look exactly like everyone else. Players like to stand out with customisable clothing, mounts, and anything else they can get their hands on. It’s one of the reasons that Player Housing is included right off the bat with Wildstar and, frankly, it’s looking amazing.
In terms of customisation, there is practically nothing that can not be achieved. We have seen haunted houses, cathedrals, fun houses even a good attempt at the Star Wars Cantina. Interiors can be designed exactly how you want and it doesn’t stop there. Different buildings can also be constructed outside your house, including raid portals, farms, training grounds, the list goes. Couple it all with guild districts and achievements and you have an entire meta game built around player housing. I can see many hours being lost just on my house alone…
2) Flexible subscription model
Sustaining an MMO with a subscription is increasingly hard, some might say nearly impossible. There are so many F2P offerings on the market now, a title has to be something very special to convince players to hand over money each and every month. SWTOR and Star Trek Online, for example, have all switched to a F2P model soon after their release as sub numbers plummet. Wildstar, however, is being released with a rather interesting subscription model.
Players have two choices when it comes to paying for their monthly subscription which revolve around the use of C.R.E.D.D – an item that can be bought via the Wildstar website and exchanged for 30 days of playtime. However, C.R.E.D.D can also be bought and sold on a separate version of the Auction house, the Commodities Exchange. This means that you can use gold farmed in-game to pay for your subscription, or use your subscriptions to gain in-game gold.
While some people might not like the idea of purchasing gold, the Commodities Exchange is slightly different in that it will only allow you to purchase an item at it’s lowest price and players are unable to see who you are buying it from. This benefits the buyer rather than the seller and helps prevent people running up the prices artificially. Being able to fund your subscription by playing the game is a great system and something we are pretty excited about.
3) The class system is looking fantastic
The Wildstar class system takes a bit of a sideways look at the traditional models. Rather than cookie cutter versions of Mages, Healers and Rogues who are only really useful in their typical roles, we instead get classes such as Spellsingers, Engineers and Stalkers who are able to essentially play a variety of roles.
Take the Engineer for example, who historically should play very much like a Hunter. However, with the inclusion of an awesome exo-suit and the ability to deploy healing bots, it can also tank and heal with the best of them. It means that you can play a class based on the enjoyment of it, rather than having to stick to a typical role. Also, you get to play as a space cowboy, or Batmanwolverinepredator (aka the Stalker).
4) Skill-based combat mechanics
One thing which always annoyed me about a lot of traditional MMOs is that combat was won or lost based on nothing more than virtual dice rolls and the ability to memorise the most efficient rotation of your abilities. Wildstar borrows somewhat from Guild Wars 2, in that it gives you the ability to dodge and roll your way out of opponents attacks and most abilities can be channelled while moving. Rolls can be performed with double taps of the movement keys so long as you have enough energy to do so (normally two in a row) and can get you out of the way of most attacks. This makes combat fluid and intuitive rather than static and boring.
Additionally, it allows employ different tactics to other MMO’s when engaging in PVP battles. A few times I’ve beaten a superior geared player through nothing more than efficient movement and evasion. This makes normally mundane fights seem just that much more exciting, and gives hope to those who want to play the game well, but don’t feel like pouring over a spreadsheet every night and having to min/max their equipment.
5) Questing is sublime
Carbine Studios have really pushed the boat out when it comes to questing in Wildstar. Turning in quests can be done remotely via your communication system – so no more running backwards and forwards - and there are the inclusion of challenges. These can take the form of specific challenges involving the current quest you are on. There are also quests and challenges that revolve around exploration, lore, and even speed running; such as climbing an object in the fastest time. Overall it makes the core experience of the game just far more rewarding to engage with.
For example, lets say your quest involves freeing some prisoners. While you can gain loot and experience just from completing the quest, you can gain additional experience by completing it in a set time, or by doing it in a certain way. This makes the whole experience far more rewarding and varied.
Wildstar also features a system called Paths which allows you to tailor your experience of Wildstar to how you like to play MMOs. There are four paths to choose from; Explorer, Solider, Settler and Scientist – each with their own unique content, challenges and skills to unlock and master.
BONUS REASON: THE GODDAMN CHUA!
Well… Just look at them!
Wildstar is scheduled for release on June 3rd 2014 for PC and can be pre-ordered directly from the Wildstar website.