This week, Wildstar opened its arms to players for its open beta period, and I figured it was as good a time as any to give the game a shot. I’d been watching from afar, listening to what friends said (mostly positive) but not sure I was all that interested. However, after playing in the open beta, I can honestly say I am! As always, I’ll be honest; there are great things about the game, and quite a few gripes, which I’ll share in the hopes that anyone considering buying the game will make the commitment with as much information as possible.
First of all, the game is cute and I find myself immersed despite its cartoony aesthetic and super-saturated palette. Character creation is fun, and I immediately fell in love with the Aurin (purple hair!) and their bouncy personalities. The classes aren’t your usual fare; while there’s some similarities in the classes available to you, esper and spellslinger are a bit different from your usual mage and ranger archetypes, and the more active combat style works really well. This is what put me off other MMOs like Tera, so I’m surprised it works so well here. Combat did strike me as odd at first, but after I got used to it I found myself enjoying the mobility a lot.
Questing is fun, even though I heard the opposite from a few friends. I especially like that, as an “Explorer”, I get to complete little side missions that involve exploring the map and finding trees to climb or radioactive pools to mark. I haven’t tried PvP yet, and I’m not sure when I will, but for now I’m having a lot of fun in the PvE.
One of my favourite things about the game, however, is its soundtrack. The musical score is gorgeous, reminiscent of Firefly in some places, and Star Wars in others. Everything about the game’s atmosphere has been perfected; every sound is really fitting for the environment. This is something particularly important to me, as I realised that a lot of my nostalgia for WoW was flared up by the sound and aesthetic of the game.
I do have some issues with the game, as I mentioned. The first thing I noticed was that the game runs really hot on my GPU, which is shocking as other more powerful, graphically intensive games run upwards of 20ºC cooler. The temperature varies wildly as well, no matter what I do with my video settings. V-sync changes nothing, and tweaking the settings seems to make no difference. My temps will be low for a few minutes then soar randomly for a while, before settling down again. There seems to be very little rhyme or reason for it as well, though I did notice my temps are always high indoors.
I also hate the camera with a fiery passion. It sticks pointing downwards at my character, seemingly at random, and it’s incredibly annoying. I’ve been told there are add-ons that resolve this kind of problem, and make the camera follow you at all times, however I’ve yet to find this add-on and am frustrated that I have to use an add-on to resolve something so simple.
Ultimately, the problems I have with the game aren’t enough to put me off, and I did end up preordering so I could play with a friend. Would I recommend it? Yes, but only if you’re happy with a brightly coloured, very cartoony aesthetic, and more action-oriented combat rather than just stand-still-and-press-buttons. There’s still a lot of pressing of buttons to activate abilities, but there’s a lot more movement and manual targetting (though you can set yourself to auto-target your selected enemy in PvE.) If you are interested in the game, you can get 20% off on Green Man Gaming by using the following code: FUSWJT-B1DU64-JBV8UY
That will obviously only last for a while, but get it while you can if you are interested!