A foundation for greatness hampered by a few glaring flaws.
After being an on and off player of WoW for many years, I called it quits for good around the release of the Pandaria expansion and tried some other MMOs from time to time.
However, when Guild Wars 2 came along, it rekindled my love for the genre with its forward thinking design choices, and blew away all my preconceived notions of what an MMO was in the first place.
Unfortunately, even that initial honeymoon period was short lived after I reached max level and saw most of what the game had to offer.
When I heard of Wildstar, I hoped that it would have the same effect GW2 had, and while I wasn’t quite blown away, it’s still a solid foundation that fans of the genre will have a blast exploring.
MSRP: $59.99 with 30 days free in the box. Each month subscription costs $14.99.
Platforms: PC only.
Multiplayer: It’s an MMO!
Demo Availability: N/A
Length: Did you not read? It’s an MMO!
The first big thing that stuck out to me on starting this title was the rather cartoony art style that reminded me deeply of the Jak & Dexter / Ratchet & Clank games.
This was a good thing, as I found the characters extremely expressive and the environments full of color and rich with details.
The combat engine was also fast paced with “telegraphed attacks” that must be aimed like skill shots and dodged quickly. This is certainly not a title for those expecting to coast through the content as a certain level of skill is required, especially in the challenging adventures and dungeons.
There is also a great deal of customization in both way characters look as well as how they function in combat.
I could change the look of my Esper by using dyes, and even build a humble home from decor and housing parts I found around the world, which was a bit technical but mostly enjoyable.
Skills are unlocked as the character levels and learned by purchasing them with gold. They are placed into a limited number of slots which must be chosen with great care, as they will go on to determine the arsenal available in combat.
Every single class is designed to fit two roles, and they can easily be switched at any time with a click on a button.
While I played a DPS Esper, I also hoarded a bunch of support gear and often switched to healer mode for many group quests and dungeons, which was a nice change of pace.
Unfortunately, while the dungeons and adventures were fun to do, there weren’t many to choose from, especially in the early to mid levels.
I understand that it’s an MMO that was recently launched and it will have more content in the future, but what’s there feels lacking at the moment as far as group content goes.
Also, while I quite enjoyed the fast paced combat, the latency to the servers was less than ideal most of the time, leading to constant instances of getting damaged by telegraphed attacks which I’ve clearly dodged.
It was like getting hit by an overhead I blocked in a fighting game all over again, and just as frustrating in this instance.
Lastly but perhaps the greatest issue I had with the Wildstar experience was in its quests and pacing.
While there is a level of variance in the quests offered, many boiled down to the tried and true- or perhaps in this scenario, tired and boring, kill and fetch quests.
Sure, there were a few unique quests, but nothing really popped up as interesting or particularly innovative in any way.
Worse yet, the amount of experience required to level felt excessively high even from the early stages after the first fifteen or so levels.
I felt the grind really getting to me, siphoning my desire to play, and when I tried to change things up by group content, I was left with the same old dungeons I completed a half a dozen times already.
I feel as it stands, Wildstar is a title with great potential that needs a bit more fine tuning and additional content for the earlier levels to truly be considered as a must-play title.
It remains to be seen whether or not such adjustments will be made in the future, but for now it’s a title with a strong foundation well worth a look for everyone who’s looking to discover a new but familiar world.
Fun Tidbit – I rolled on a PvP server and leveling became even more of a hassle as I found myself constantly under attack while I was just trying to level. I was expecting it when I picked the server but the frequency with which it happened seemed exceptionally high.