Wildstar was a game I enjoyed greatly when it first came out, but which fell foul of one of the MMO’s biggest issues as a genre: playing solo became quite boring, and I ended up giving up before I got too far due to there being fewer players in my level range doing any of the content. This was mostly problematic because I was very slow at levelling, but higher level players had no real reason to come back to my zones and so I was left exploring by myself. Now that it’s gone free2play this week, I’m really hyped to try it again.
Despite my somewhat negative experience towards the end of my last time playing, I really loved a lot of the features that Wildstar had. As I mentioned in my Wildstar First Impressions post last year during beta, the cartoony aesthetic really appealed to me, especially because the game was so bright and bubbly. It was also the first MMO with a more action-based combat system that I actually enjoyed; other MMOs before it had put me off with the same style because it didn’t feel right. I feel like the combat in Wildstar just makes sense, and feels a lot smoother, than other action MMOs have been.
Another thing that has attracted me to trying it again is the fact that the free2play model they’ve decided to use actually makes sense. Frequently I’ve played free2play MMOs where, let’s be honest, it’s pay2win or pay2havefun. As an adult with their own income, I am more than capable of spending a little cash on a game I like, but when games go the way of making it genuinely difficult to enjoy without purchasing upgrades and bonuses, or make those not paying a subscription feel like second-class gamers, it actually puts me off. It makes me feel like I have to invest more money into the MMO than I would normally for a subscription game, because if I don’t I feel like I’m missing out. Ultimately that ends up putting me off, but Wildstar has gone a completely different route. While the store doesn’t only sell aesthetic items — this is usually my preference in “free2play” games — most of the content is achievable by using in-game currency called Omnibits, it’ll just take you longer. There are a few things that require money to buy, but they’re ultimately not necessary to your experience. Subscribers also do get benefits, such as increased slots for selling items on the Auction House, additional character slots, and the ability to create and invite people to guilds, but again these are things that you are not necessarily going to need and the free model doesn’t feel restrictive because of them.
I’ve decided to take the plunge and play a new character from the beginning. I originally had a level 21 aurin spellslinger, but since so much has changed and I’m so out of touch, I’ve started fresh with the same race and class on Entity, as Psyche Astraia. I have a few friends on the NA servers so it seemed like a good choice!
I’ve been enjoying the few hours I’ve invested so far, and despite some launch hiccups and minor lag issues, I can see myself enjoying playing around in it from time to time. It reminds me a lot of my enjoyment in vanilla WoW, so that’s something as well. I just hope that the issues its facing don’t put new players off, since it’s really just because so many people are interested in the game again. This should be seen as a positive thing, even if it means you can’t play right away!
Will you be playing again? Give me a shout and leave me your character name so I can befriend you in-game!