Hey Now, You’re A: Wildstar Beta Begins

By Nathan Grayson on April 11th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

HAIRCUT BATTLE.

If Wildstar existed back when WoW had me pinned under its hulking gorilla girth, I think my head would’ve exploded. It has pretty much all the things every fiber of my hunched, addiction-ravaged being could’ve wished for – and then some. Player housing? You betcha. Customizable guild death lairs? Oh my yes. Highly mobile combat? Try standing still and find out. Bizarrely out-of-place anime bunny people? Well, they can’t all be winners. But you get my point. Its personality reminds me of less obnoxious 3D-animated kid films, too, and it definitely has heart. I can practically feel Past Me grossing up his portion of the space-time continuum with puddles of anticipatory froth. Current Me, though? He’s living in a post-WoW world, and he’s got a family of largely inconsequential desk cacti to be responsible for. Is Wildstar’s take on the tried-and-true MMO formula too little, too late, even with a generous helping of all the things? Perhaps the now up-and-running closed beta can help us find out.

While the beta hasn’t opened its floodgates to everyone yet, Carbine’s still encouraging new applicants to put their names in the crazy purple curly-horned hat. Apparently, the plan is to expand pretty substantially in the coming weeks.

“We have already seen a phenomenal response from our fans and are looking to continually add thousands of players throughout CBT1 to come check out the great content we’ve been talking about for months. Our closed beta testing process is not a typical weekend event, but instead it will last for several weeks, giving players ample time to come in and check out the factions, races and classes they may choose to play when WildStar launches later this year.”

I’m looking forward to having a look around myself, too, as Wildstar seems incredibly well-thought-out for what it is. That fact, of course, isn’t entirely surprising given a pedigree that’s littered with Blizzard and Mythic veterans.

Then again, I also desperately want to see MMOs reach new, different, less-grindy heights, and I’m not sure if any of Wildstar’s four patented paths will lead us there. That said, there’s a place in this world for comfort food, especially when it’s cooked up with a near-perfect blend of down-home ingredients. It certainly seems like that’s what Carbine’s going for, but I suppose there’s only one surefire way to find out. Who else is hoping to give the beta a try?

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43 Comments »

  1. razgon says:

    Man, I really want to try this out – its one of my big hopes for 2013!

    • zul says:

      Me too. I’m also a WoW vet from times long past. Since leaving that game years ago I haven’t really felt an attraction to the genre. But Wildstar actually tickles the curiosity center of my brain… especially the explore-focused bits. I hold little hope it’ll be groundbreaking because, well, MMO. But, dammit, I want to try it.

  2. Spinks says:

    It has bunnygirls. Just no.

  3. Hazzard65 says:

    I really love the style of this game… its fantastic. I just wish the game didn’t look so bland.

    It’s been said before. If they ever produce an animated film or cartoon I would totally watch it :D.

  4. Loque says:

    It really looks like a space-mod for WoW…

  5. jellydonut says:

    Meh.

    I shall bide my time for another sandbox MMO instead of ‘WoW with more stuff’.

  6. KikiJiki says:

    I think no matter how good Wildstar is, it will sadly suffer from the same problem that I think every MMO has when you measure it up to WoW.

    WoW is not a game, it’s a time and a place as well and you can never recreate that for people, so you end up with large numbers at launch quickly tailing off. It’s like trying to release a new version of your teenage years – it’ll never have the same magic as first time around.

    • utharda says:

      I am a bit of an old man, and I started this sort of experience with various muds. Then moved on to uo and then eq. I’m glad there are a number of options for pvp that resemble uo. But honestly I hated wow because it wasn’t eq. It was way to much easymode. Especially on the high end.

      I’ve probably eased off my pve standards because I’ve played a lot of good MMO’s in the past few years. I enjoyed war. I enjoyed Rift, and I really loved secret world. But everything that comes out lately seems to suffer community collapse after 3 to 6 months. An MMO without a community is a shitty single player game.

      Still, I like the Wildstar cockiness, and the idea of advancing as an explorer or scientist. We’ll see how she goes. I would like to get in on the beta. Hell this one I might have liked being on the design team -).

      • KikiJiki says:

        Oh don’t get me wrong – I completely agree with your post. I adored WAR and Rift and thought that they were both great games that unfortunately had community collapse for seemingly no good reason (at least on Rift’s part, WAR had a couple of design issues but I am a huge Warhammer nerd so ignored them).

        I think the reason why people leave new MMOs like rats from the Titanic and go back to WoW is the reason I gave, it’s ‘special’ for people so nothing can replace that for them totally.

      • Loque says:

        WoW raiding in heroic mode is not easy at all, unless you’ve got a pretty good guild and decent gear. Yes, WoW ALSO offers trivial and easy stuff for everyone. But you can focus on hard tasks as well. I’ve been in WoW for nearly 5 ears and the amount of stuff yo can do is just insane. I am now too old for that, I guess, but let’s stop saying “WoW is too easy”.

        The endgame content has been completed by few hundreds of players all around the world. It’s NOT easy at all.

        • utharda says:

          KikiJiki, IO think we’re on the same page.

          Loque… I didn’t mean to insult wow or its fan base. You just have to understand what eq was like. First of all, everything was competitive. Second, when the first epic weapons came out, it was ocnsidered sane to camp one mob, for a solid (24×7) week, to get the cleric epics done. I had 3 years /played on my cleric when I quit around the time we cleared the plane of time. That was a singular point in time, a singular mania, .. I’m not sure I’d go back if i could.

          I know wow has its challenges, but nothing I’ve ever done in wow really compares to what we put into eq. Its just… different.

      • Geewhizbatman says:

        I think the Community>Game argument is substantial for games in today’s market. Games themselves are no longer really a novelty. At any given point pretty much everyone can have access to any kind of game that has existed. It means that at least one of them, even if it’s from a by gone era with “bad” graphics or some such thing, will fill the “Game Itch.” Which means that I don’t think people necessarily play games purely for their mechanics as intensely anymore.

        I think that’s part of what made WoW so successful. It really just had an updated Everquest model–but it became a social phenomenon as well. Everquest and Everquest II still exist because they cater to their community of tight-knit players.

        Obviously it can’t always work with CoH and Galaxies as examples of strong communities that weren’t enough, but even those lasted a long, long time due to the community support for it—Even if they had competitors that were offering more or different.

        It’s why I think that Wildstar is doing it right and will be successful, even if they can’t topple the great WoW beast. They’ve made a focus on their community interaction and bonding. It seems that at every opportunity they have tried to make it so that you can bond with your community in a variety of ways. The Settler path even makes it sound like as a Solo player you could still feel connected to the community through gameplay without taking advantage of any other feature. It’s why I’d like to enter into Beta–I’d like to see what, from all reports, is an active and supportive community already at work and see how it will grow and expand as the Beta doors crack open.

    • VengefulGiblets says:

      We’ll see, I suppose. If I get into beta then I’ll post as much about it as I can, depending on NDA or the lack there of.

      I haven’t watched a single video about the game (including skipping the ones in this article). I haven’t read anything about it. What I have seen is the exact same exaggerated hype from the game’s followers that I have seen prior to the release every single MMO ever. It’s a bizarre thing to witness, and it’s borderline surreal to see that this behavior still exists even in the face of so many repeated crash’n burns up to this point.

      All things considered, I expect the same from WildStar that I’ve seen from every MMO release to date. I also expect its nearly religious followers to attack me for saying so. I can’t help but wonder how many of them will turn on the game with the same passion, and how quickly they’ll do so.

      We’ll see.

    • Brun says:

      WoW is not a game, it’s a time and a place as well and you can never recreate that for people, so you end up with large numbers at launch quickly tailing off. It’s like trying to release a new version of your teenage years – it’ll never have the same magic as first time around.

      So much this. Timing was a huge part of WoW’s success, along with accessibility. It came along right around when high-speed internet was becoming common and online games were growing rapidly in popularity. For a large number of people WoW was their first MMO or even their first online game. Things that were common to previous MMOs and online games were blowing these people’s minds because they had never seen anything like it before.

      That particular mind-blowing feeling will forever be associated with WoW for these people, which makes it that much more difficult for other MMOs to engage them, and that’s why pretty much every subsequent MMO that has tried to do “what WoW does but slightly better or with a slight twist” hasn’t grabbed them like WoW did.

      The market of players for the EQ-style MMO (of which WoW is a part) has been completely cannibalized by WoW. Completely non-EQ-style MMOs are the best bet for the foreseeable future – and that means games built from the ground up to be different from the EQ paradigm. EVE is a good modern example, although it lacks the accessibility to reach WoW’s level.

  7. Harlander says:

    Now I’ve got bloody All Star stuck in my head.

    I hope you’re happy, RPS.

  8. Bradamantium says:

    I signed up for the beta as soon as I could. Hopefully I get in. It seems to be getting written off as too WoW-like by a lot of people, but I’ve personally never seen the appeal of WoW and think this looks like the first MMO I’d be engaged with since I ended my City of Heroes sub a couple years ago. It seems representative of the unique problems with MMOs. They all get compared to WoW, the daddy of modern MMOs (not the first, necessarily, but obviously most successful, so maybe it’s more like the unseen rich uncle of MMOs?), and it’s either a bad thing they’re similar or a bad thing they’re trying too hard not to be. To me, at least, this one seems to fall squarely in the middle of Doing Things an MMO Should and Doing Things an MMO Could. Fingers crossed…

  9. VileJester says:

    I love the art, but the fog is too thick.

  10. Enikuo says:

    I really don’t want to be interested in this, because I keep getting let down by MMOs as soon as I figure out their “catch.” But, it has really cool player housing…. bah.

  11. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    No. We need to know about the death fortresses.

    DEATH FORTRESSES.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      If only they could be like what we would want them to be. My hope for that (as well that this game is genuinely fun for more than, say, a month or so) is not that great. But who knows? Maybe they’ll surprise me.

  12. Kollega says:

    I still do not understand why Wildstar isn’t a sandbox game with the Exiles and the Dominion clashing for territory and trying to conquer eachother, a-la Perpetuum and EVE Online. The age of WoW-style MMO is over, it’s just boring nowadays. Everyone knows that – except for the developers, it seems.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      And the millions of people playing and having fun.

    • dragonherder says:

      Kollega – The reason for this is easily explainable. Pure sandbox and pure themepark games are going away. Pure sandbox is just bad for most players and while it has it’s niche there is just no guiding and nothing to overtly “do” other than pvp in most sandboxes. This is a themepark games that borrows elements from sandbox games and the successful hybridization of them will be the future. Some of us prefer pve and community content and not just pvp constantly.

      While there is a market for PVP only games the entire genre shifting over to this would be haphazard at best and realistically it would be an illogical move on any studios part to do so (sorry Mark Jacobs camelot unchained is going to suck for this very reason for most of the market.) Not everyone are pvp drones that play these games for competitive stuff… If i want PVP i’ll go play GW1 or 2 where there is at least some monicum of balance to it. Darkfall plays good, looks good etc it’s a sandbox game but the fact that it is purely PVP without any sort of sense of direction for players puts it in the same niche market as games like Eve.

      Pure themepark WoW style games are dying but then for the most part so are pure sandbox games like darkfall and as i stated the hybridization of the two is where the growth is finding a good middle ground for player driven content and a path of content a player can follow as well as something like the neverwinter foundry, scalable instanced monsters (real time instancing is plausible and already done for some things) for higher difficulty when in a party on the base map. Borrowing elements of sandbox for building up environments and other things, territory control that is opt in (lets all be real here open world pvp is NEVER handled well especially in a game that is gear/level based at all we don’t need the whole gank train experience…) Allowing players to create their own quests with random rewards and scalability toward group/player level along with their own dungeons and stories etc.

      The things above are the future not pure sandbox or pure themepark so pull your head out of the sandbox and be realistic because a pure sandbox game in this market will be niche and fail just as hard or harder than a pure themebox in this market. And really the only “fail” that happens and why people get on themeparks as failing is because of companies developers/producers not being realistic on sub numbers. WoW has sub’s that no one else is going to get no one is EVER going to touch those numbers in our life time unless they make some kind of WoW 2 that just improves everything… WoW players do not move from WoW most of the time and those of us that do move do so and most have already done so… There is a bright horizon ahead for mmorpgs but it doesn’t lie in the extreme direction of either side.

      Middle ground sandpark or themebox or whatever you want to call it for the future!!!

  13. GingerSeniorcitizenStepchild says:

    This looks so much like WoW (mostly burning crusade areas) that at times I was sure it was just that. I’d almost be surprised if they aren’t forced to change some things or face the wrath of ActiBli$$.

  14. Loque says:

    I bet my balls it will not last for a long time.

  15. aliksy says:

    So… is this a sub game, f2p, b2p? If it’s a sub game I’m just not going to buy it, and every time an article comes up I don’t see any discussion on the payment model.

  16. Beren says:

    Can anyone comment on the “action gaming”?

    It doesn’t look like anything more then gw2ish…

    How does it compare to the combat mechanics in Tera?

    • trjp says:

      When I played Tera the ‘combat mechanics’ were total and utter crap – unless things have radically changed!?

      This looks to have a bit of ‘mutual shin kicking’ trad. MMO with perhaps some GW2 ‘roll and dodge’ (pointless in GW2 – no idea about here)??

      • Doggy says:

        I’m not sure if I didn’t understand you trijp, but in GW2 dodge is pointfull! To beat some bosses it’s necessary to dodge at specific times, for example lieutenant Kholer in AC who will kill you in one move unless you avoid his projectile.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          I think what he meant is that dodging out of stuff on the ground isn’t significantly different from walking or strafing out of stuff on the ground. It’s still ye olde don’t stand in stuff mechanic.

      • aliksy says:

        Tera was so disappointing after everyone said it had such awesome gameplay. Nope. Maybe it gets better after 15 hours, but fuck if I’m going to pour that much time into shit before it gets good.

        GW2 dodging was pretty important, though. Not as much as, say, Dark Souls, but important.

    • j3w3l says:

      it’s ….ok. Not great just.. well only average

      it adds a little something and the combat requires more movement but the way they have done the attack animation tells seem very dumbed down and rather gimmicky. Bright flashy and easily avoidable so doesn’t really add to much to combat except for there being more get out of the red stuff play.

  17. trjp says:

    If the game carries the quality and mood of the trailers, every other game can go home

    That’s unlikely but an MMO with a BIT of a sense of humour would be a nice thing anyway? :)

  18. Dances to Podcasts says:

    If I were launching a new MMO I wouldn’t hype it much at all, before launch at least, and avoid all reference of being the next WoW-killer. You don’t want the MMO-hoppers, they’ll leave after a month or so anyway. You want to find a new audience and build that up as time goes by instead of a big launch and then tapering off.

  19. clark says:

    The trailer for this game makes me wish I wasn’t completely done with MMO’s. There’s clearly a lot of love here.

  20. shadeovblack says:

    I’d like to point out the fact that this is a NCsoft game and as such will almost certainly be prematurely killed.

    • dragonherder says:

      The only game they “prematurely killed” was Tabula Rasa honestly the others were losing user bases at a steady rate and were ready to be killed off (i know CoH players don’t want to hear that but yeah…) Tabula Rasa needed a lot of work and Garriots team really didn’t do well there they didn’t fix mass bugs left over from beta, he didn’t promote it enough early on, and he kept redoing the game consistently pretty much hemorrhaging money from NcSoft to consistently redo the ENTIRE game at least 3 or more times.. The fact Garriot’s team didn’t put much thought into it during beta/post launch hurt it and it still by the time it got killed off had some outstanding bugs that should of been fixed before launch…

      I get some people are fans of Tabula Rasa and thought it had promise but I “get” why it was killed off… it wasn’t a good endeavor and it might of been if garriot was the sort of person to actually settle on a design. The original leaked info for the game is nothing like what ended up coming out and really left a rather sour taste in my mouth. The man used to be a legend in game design but i’m not sure he still has that “gift” for it anymore… just because he can do everything in the pipeline himself doesn’t make him the shit in this day and age… it makes him above average but he needs to stop the cockiness and get back to actually making good games for modern times without hemoraging money…..

      Publishers are not made of money and the more you waste the more returns they will want to see and if you can’t deliver your product will subsequently be killed off. NcSoft knows how to successfully run an Mmorpg and carbine knows what they are doing on the design end…. These are not some amateurs these guy’s have been around for a long time heck the CEO of Carbine co-founded Turbine way back back when they pumped out Asherons call and the like so yaeh…. We have mmorpg design vets under the hood of much better games than UO…

      I wish them luck and wildstar is the first mmorpg in a good long while that actually has made me smile so take that as you will from a true mmo vet.

  21. ginsuchop says:

    This should be a fun game, I will try it when they offer a free trial.
    Whether I’ll stick around is another matter. I think the story/voicing in SWTOR gave it a soul and humanity that is lacking in most games. Other games I’ve played since seem hollow and superficial so I’ve become spoiled in that sense. I guess my tastes in games have changed from wanting just tactical/strategic challenges to that AND some level of literary sophistication. Or I’m just getting old fast and should go play more single-player adventure games.

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