Friday, August 3, 2012

WildStar: Not Responsible For Making Actual Dreams Come True

I haven't said much about WildStar. I tend not to pay close attention to MMOs when they're not even in closed beta. I note the ones I might be interested in playing and keep an eye open for news but I'm not one to hang around proto-game forums building a post count and projecting my dream game onto a blank canvas.

It's next to impossible to know what an MMO is going to feel like to play until you, y'know, play. Or at the very least watch  someone else play. Amazing trailers that look like mini-movies tell you next to nothing about the game you'll get. Remember those astounding DCUO trailers? Much though I enjoy DCUO, on balance I'd rather SOE had given all the money it cost to make to the people who made the trailers and let them make a full-length movie instead. No MMO was ever going to live up to that.

So it's with a deal of wariness that I link this trailer. And with even more wariness that I make this comment: WildStar is starting to look like the new EQ2.

There's no MMO like EQ2. It's a blend of MMO styles that offers a wider range and greater depth than just about anything else in the market. The problem with EQ2 is that even after you've played it so long that the colors are fading and the fizz has gone flat, other games still struggle to hold your attention. They start out all gosh-wow but after a while you begin to realize they just don't offer the sheer choice you've been taking for granted all these years.

On the surface, WildStar seems to be the only upcoming MMO interested in attempting to match that range. Whether that's a realistic goal for a game to start out with, I'm not sure. EQ2 got there by an accretive process over more than half a decade. But I'm glad to see them try.

I have WildStar pencilled in as my next "big" MMO after GW2. Not sure how far along they are. It'd be nice to think they might launch next year sometime. There's still precious little hard information on the website . We don't even know what the payment model will be.

Best not to get too excited, then.  It's one to keep in the back of the mind for now. For all we know, it may never get to launch.

But boy, does that housing look good!



  1. Can't play that for some reason, but if it's the friends&family update trailer, I've seen that. it sure looks very good, although I keep thinking it's WoW with time-appropriate graphics. it's certainly on the goofy and cartoony side. they also appear to try and appeal to a very broad market, young kids included. maybe Wildstar will release at a time when some of today's most loyal WoW players finally start looking for something slightly newer. there's certainly that share of the market freeing up sooner or later, as Blizzard won't ever actually produce a "sequel". there's also the more active and interactive combat, public events etc. which sound good.

    initially I especially liked the Bartle approach to WS's questing system; they really bring something new and interesting to the table there. I was gonna blog about it months ago but then I was turned off by the trailer....despite the eye candy I don't think I wanna play a cartoony MMO anymore with Disney characters. somehow I'm just over that :)

    that said I have no advanced knowledge of the game's mechanics and content, like yourself I usually don't follow MMOs too distant from launch. if WS offers that much more content depth than average titles, I will certainly follow future discussions.

  2. Fixed the link (well, replaced it with a direct link to the YouTube version). Thanks for letting me know!

    It's a trailer of their Housing system that came out this week. It was on Massively and Syp did a piece on it on BioBreak so you've probably already seen it, but if not it's worth a look if you're into building MMO houses!

  3. Bhagpuss I, like you, am eagerly awaiting Wildstar. The game looks very promising indeed; although as you say it is impossible to judge a game before actually playing it. The details of the game that have been discussed bode well for the depth of the game and its mechanics. I have played MMO's since EQ1 and I’m hoping some of the magic of that game finds its way into this game. For a time now I have been dismayed at the lack of community in many MMO's. I find that that when I begin many contemporary MMO's that I am playing what amounts to a single player game. There is very little grouping encouraged as most 'quests' are suited to the single player experience. If there is a 'group' quest then there is the headache of trying to find players up to that step of the quest - it all seems needlessly complex and in my opinion reduces the desire to group with other players. MMO's are places that are massive as their name implies, therefore there are many players in the game world to participate in this experience. I would like to see games like Wildstar harness these players and help us build networks of friends and acquaintances which bring an allurement to continually log into the game, even after the content has been visited many times. Community is the grist of compelling gameplay in an MMO world. The linkages that we make in an MMO world build friendships, camaraderie, and active interdependent guilds. Yet all of this is formed by the direction of the game world we find ourselves in. So I’m hoping Wildstar will foster content that lends itself to an environment of interdependence where we need each other and the skills of the classes we play. I hold my breath that content may not be trivialized so that we may participate in a world like EQ1 demonstrated, and not a race to max level that just gets in the way of ‘the endgame’. By content being meaningful the game becomes enjoyable and players can rally to join each other to face the dangers posed by the game world. By overcoming the challenges together a vibrant networked community emerges with the players at the helm. Wildstar looks promising, and like you Bhagpuss I am excited and curious as to what is planned.

  4. That's the nub of it, really. We don't know enough yet to be sure what it will be like. The only thing that's clear is that it'll be a quality MMO but whether it will be a solo romp or a group-friendly "serious" game, who can say?

    If it can just manage a reasonably convincing virtual world I'll settle for that.

  5. That's fascinating. I watched the trailer, and the thing that it immediately reminded me of was... Ratchet & Clank. Yes, the platformer series that single-handedly made my PS2 worth every single penny I spent on it back in the day.

    The whole style of the video, the 3D model of the clerk, the over-the-top voicing of the ad, the muzak in the background, it all was spot-on. If the game is anything like the video, or even anything like the Ratchet & Clank games, this will be awesome.


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