WildStar Is Free-To-Play As Of Today

After a few weeks of running on test servers, WildStar [official site] is officially free-to-play as of today. That means you can play the scifi western MMO without a subscription, though existing subscribers who keep paying will get various bonuses and extras to reward them for their loyalty. Hop below for a finely animated CG launch trailer.

As with any change to free-to-play, the transition comes with it a range of other changes, including a new in-game currency to earn, simplified combat stat system, improvements to the character creator and tutorial to ease in the new players, as well as crafting, runes and much more. You can find details of all the changes in this post on the WildStar site, along with links to where you can sign up and download the client to start playing.

WildStar was in development for over seven years before eventually being released in June 2014. The challenge, as Carbine Studios founder Jeremy Gaffney once explained it to me, was to make a game that could compete with what World of Warcraft had become and not what it was at launch. That meant having raids and PvP and multiple playstyles and skill paths and careers and everything all in the game on day one, and then growing from there. WildStar almost seemed to manage it; I liked its world, its art style, and its structure, though I think I realise now that MMO combat – no matter how much designer’s try to make it feel active or responsive – is never going to appeal to me.

Yet here it is, a little over a year later and going free-to-play. Is this a failure of the game, or are subscription MMOs at the scale required here simply a thing of the past? I’m actually not sure. Our Angus Morrison, at least, argues that the game going free-to-play was a good thing for all.

36 Comments

  1. kipue says:

    I would watch that cartoon!
    Also the game was fun when I tried the 14 days but it was too empty in lower level zones at that time.
    Will give it a go again it must be better with some more lively places

    • Chalky says:

      I’ve heard very mixed things about this game. Certainly at release the end game content was not only untested but intentionally infuriating to play with very few players about to either complete it or derive enjoyment from attempting it.

      That said, I’ve also heard people say that they’ve really started to turn things around, introduce more enjoyable mechanics and sort out a lot of the problems that caused the initial waves of players to leave.

      Has anyone here played the wildstar “end game” recently and are you enjoying it?

      Personally I only played the beta and found it to be rather uninspiring at low levels, but I didn’t give it all that much of a chance.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, if only the game was anywhere near as interesting as their trailers.

      • Rizlar says:

        You obviously never tried the player housing!

      • Flopper says:

        This was the best MMO I played since WoW. I’ve never felt so good playing an MMO after so many years of WoW burnout.

        I loved the art style, story, combat… Pretty much everything except crafting.

        What killed it for me was empty servers. I’m not gonna pay $15 a month to play by myself.

        I’m very interested in playing again with a populated server.

  2. Sakkura says:

    They completely messed up the systems around PVP at the original launch, and their PVE content overall was just too hardcore to keep the crowds engaged. They also had some technical/performance issues and dealt poorly with various things like server population.

    There’s a lot to like in the game though. IMO the best movement and combat system of any MMO, and absolutely excellent raid content. Really good housing system.

  3. Shockeh says:

    It was lovely. I thought the game itself had a lot of charm, it just didn’t release with enough content complete, and trying to do Box Plus Sub in 2014 was never going to fly unless you’re Blizzard.

    On a F2P Platform, I’m totally willing to give it another go, I’ll get the download started now!

    • Ejmir says:

      “trying to do Box Plus Sub in 2014 was never going to fly unless you’re Blizzard”
      Even Blizzard doesn’t do that anymore. They did that with WoW which is a 11 years old game now, and they cancelled the other MMO they were doing. I’m not sure they will be able or willing to keep WoW’s economic model for other games (I’m not speaking about WoW expansions) – look at what they did with Hearthstone or Diablo 3.

  4. Awesomeclaw says:

    I gave this a try a couple of times when they did free trials but never really stuck with it. Like so many MMOs, it seemed fine but didn’t really do anything to keep my attention although I did like the general look and feel of it. Maybe I’ll give it another go now that it’s free to play.

    • 0positivo says:

      the problem was that the combat was awfully generic. And as much as they hyped up the non-combat path, they were really just small diversions from the same-old, same-old

      I REALLY wanted a MMO where I could play as a non-combat colonist, goddammit

  5. Kollega says:

    I don’t know about the opinions of the established playerbase, but I plan on giving Wildstar a go now that it’s free-to-play. The art style, worldbuilding, and more involved combat system appeal to me, but I would never be able to spare money or effort required to get decent value for money from a monthly-subscription game. Now that it’s F2P and does not require that level of commitment, I will at least give it a shot.

  6. padger says:

    Wish I had time for an MMO.

    Wait, all my comments on RPS say that. I need to retire.

    • Perjoss says:

      You could always try joining a quality assurance team for an mmo, they probably spend quite a lot of hours playing mmo games and they get paid for it :P

      • Crazy Hippo says:

        they get paid very little to TEST the game, very different thing from playing.

  7. Ejmir says:

    I didn’t like the general design of the game. Cartoonish graphics, sophomoric jokes, traditional gameplay with new names, boring quests… I didn’t play the end-game, or even the mid-game, but a good early game is a need for any kind of game (if one had to endure hours of ininteresting questing in TW3 before one can do something interesting one would not find it a good game).

    It might be a good game but it’s not an interesting one. I still think that TESO is better in many ways than Wildstar, but I really hope we’ll see more MMOs like Secret World in the future…

    • Sakkura says:

      Wildstar is much, much better than ESO. What a joke that game was.

      • Caelinus says:

        Fans of The Secret World will definitely enjoy TESO more than Wildstar.

        TESO has gotten a lot of bad press, but the game is actually a surprisingly good themepark MMO.

        • Premium User Badge

          artrexdenthur says:

          Huh… Care to offer a more detailed comparison of the two? I’m quite intrigued by your comment, especially given I feel TSW has an intrinsic advantage over ESO insofar as it’s modern day horror rather than The Fantasy World (R), not to mention the genuinely weird-but-good progression system.

  8. malkav11 says:

    The game definitely had (and has) failings, but the subscription model is not a viable long term strategy anymore and that has little to do with the quality of the game. Yes, WoW, Eve and FFXIV still have a subscription requirement. But WoW and Eve have ways to convert in-game currency to game time (have for ages, in Eve’s case, more recently in WoW’s case), so really FFXIV is the last major bastion of the old approach and I’d be real surprised if it stayed box+sub only for more than another year or two tops.

    • Sakkura says:

      Wildstar had a way to convert in-game currency to game time at launch – that’s before WoW got such a system.

      • Thornback says:

        Please be aware this is the game that came with a raid that literally couldn’t be beaten at launch. DPS checks were so high on a boss they couldn’t be achieved. Then when someone found an item that would help boost DPS for the fight, they changed that item and tuned the boss to be even harder.

        Presumably because they had said pre launch that their raids were “so tough they would take months to beat bla bla something something how do you like that cupcakes!?” Which is true if you don’t make the raid possible to complete until those months are up.

        Can’t remember if this guy is still there, but the lead raid designer at the time essentially mocked people for “finally” beating the raid after they made it easier (doable).

        This is why their game died so fast, constant smug looking down on their players.

        • jrodman says:

          A game-industry employee looking down on his or her customers? How rare!

  9. Khaza says:

    I actually had a chance to play the closed beta of the free 2 play version and I was left a little unimpressed link to youtu.be. Wasn’t all that surprised it went F2P really. I think many people we’re jumping ship from WoW and were looking for somewhere to go. Many didn’t find it.

  10. EkoAzarak says:

    I love the world and art of Wildstar but the combat is just awful. The telegraph system is so fucking obnoxious. It’s guitar hero in a mmo. You don’t watch the world or the target or your character – you robotically watch for glowing shapes on the ground. Zzzzzzzzz

    • Foosnark says:

      Highlighting shapes on the ground is exactly how Neverwinter and Guild Wars 2 do it, and probably many others that I haven’t tried. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that system — it works very well for GW2, and more-or-less-ok for NW.

      • MisterFurious says:

        “There’s nothing inherently wrong with that system ”

        Sure there is: It’s Gaming for Dummies. If you’re a grown up that likes a challenge, playing step-out-of-the-big-red-circle gets pretty dull pretty quickly.

        • GHudston says:

          “If you’re a grown up…”

          Grown ups don’t need to rely on insulting someone’s maturity to express their opinion.

  11. harvb says:

    Well I really liked the look of this when it came out but couldn’t really commit to a pay-to-play model, so decided to give the F2P a try.

    Downloaded and installed it and just tried to login…

    97 hour queue on the only current F2P PvE server.

    This is going to work very well, I think.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mr. Anderson says:

      148 hours for me and I still have about three weeks subscription (from the humblebundle) left.

  12. rilian says:

    Only 97 hours? You’re doing well. I’m in position 8035 in the queue and am told to expect a wait of 435 hours.

  13. geldonyetich says:

    Well I’m in. Always thought Wildstar was an excellent game, love Carbine Studios, but there’s just too much prime gaming to be had to make a $15/mo commitment to any one game anymore.

    See you in the login queue.

  14. GHudston says:

    Say what you like about the game, but that has to be one of the best cinematic trailers I’ve ever seen.

  15. Kala says:

    Hurrumph. If I could ever get into the bloody thing. Only 2 servers and both full…?