Many moons ago, I got the chance to play WildStar. It was kind of a surreal experience for me. I mean, I wanted to be delighted. There were gorgeous vistas and Han-Solo-esque gunmen and surprisingly dark references to the film Alien and brilliant tweaks to the traditional MMO formula. It was like a diligent student with purple hair and bunny ears for some reason that had trained under WoW – and then surpassed it. But, even with dodge-heavy multi-lane combat, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this cartoony sci-fi-fantasy galaxy far, far away was actually Azeroth’s next door neighbor. Group combat – tank-healer-DPS “holy trinity” and all – does look fairly exciting, though. Let it caress your giant, strangely out-of-character anime eyeballs after the break.
See? Doesn’t that look crazy? There were smaller robots and mid-sized robots and giant robots! And oh, the animations. But ew, auto-attack and ultra-traditional party roles. I am, as such, conflicted.
It’s not completely rote, though. The specialized Explorer, Soldier, Scientist, and Settler paths allow for a degree of choice in some of the quests you tackle, and that’s a wonderfully promising idea. And, when I played, enemies in certain areas stopped attacking me – generally for reasons explained by the story – after I wrapped up quest chains. It’s all so smart and convenient.
But, when pitted against the massive genre-stomping monster that is MMO fatigue, these things register as relatively small blips on the radar. Maybe they’ll come together and become a Big Deal? It’s anyone’s guess at this point. Credit where credit’s due, though: MMO developers are, at least, trying. But when your development cycle’s five years long, widespread change, you know, takes a little while.