Wot I Think: WildStar Reloaded

Released in June last year, WildStar’s player count didn’t so much dwindle as vanish into the nether. Despite comic book stylings and zany humour, logging on was a lot like touring a nursing home, the party atmosphere muted by the aspect of Death trailing behind and checking his watch. Or if not death, then the spectre of the game’s inevitable free-to-play conversion.

For the past few days I’ve been relearning the ropes in WildStar Reloaded [official site], which isn’t a shot in the arm so much as a new bionic hip. Quaint trappings like the subscription fee have been removed, but developers Carbine have gone much further, also overhauling and streamlining the game in umpteen different ways. Here’s wot I think after a hectic opening week.

It’s busy, O thank WildStar’s Eldan space gods, it’s busy. Bodies on the ground are what count if WildStar Reloaded is to stand the slightest chance of survival. I’ve been queuing like a champ to get in, even at off-peak times, and it’s a situation that’s only just been alleviated by the introduction of two temporary overspill servers on either side of the Atlantic. It’s hard to begrudge the usual madness that accompanies an MMO launch (or re-launch) having experienced the crushing emptiness of WildStar’s levelling zones beforehand. Now the ‘nearby players’ pane teems, with noobs hopping into chat in their droves to ask questions of the vets who have come back to see what’s changed. It’s a lovely community – you know, as online games go. The old guard are so excited to see new faces that help flows freely and politely; a semblance of the determined, stiff-upper-lip cohesion exhibited by the diehards even when the population was going down the pan.

Queue times for group content like the lengthy dungeons or impromptu adventures are down, not that ‘down’ does the reduction justice when previously it was quicker to organise parties through chat than to let the group finder piece one together. During prime time, expect to wait less than 10 minutes for a dungeon run and not at all for adventures and expeditions (challenges that scale based on the number of players, formerly called shiphands). PvP remains unhinged as ever (you try strategising when 20 people are simultaneously projecting death rays onto the ground) but it seems the newcomers are happy to be cannon fodder, because the level-six battleground, Walatiki Temple, is never more than a few minutes’ thumb-twiddling away. The same can’t be said for the upper end of PvP, but it’s reasonable to expect a delay while the new wave of players wends its way towards the level cap.

Lag is a consequence, of course. Carbine have been releasing patches rapidly, but fighting in those first few zones feels like it’s being relayed via the moon – a real pity, because to make long-term prospects of the free-to-play day-trippers, WildStar needs to be flaunting its dynamic don’t-stand-in-the-murder-zones combat system. Still, the devs have already lain to rest one frustrating capacity issue that caused me to bounce back and forth between character selection and load screen, so there’s hope for their ongoing engineering work yet. What is peculiar is Reloaded’s absence from Steam: a SteamDB entry that appeared in March and gave the game away regarding the existence of free-to-play had suggested it would join the catalogue. If I were in need of meat to fill my ailing sci-fi MMO, Steam is where I’d be, but it could be that this launch is a stress test before leaping on Valve’s platform later this year.

Barring the standard server problems that accompany a week-one surge, WildStar Reloaded is alive and bustling. But how does it treat its players now they’re not bound to it by a subscription? Borderline philanthropically. It appears NCSoft have drawn from the Guild Wars 2 school of thought, applying light-touch monetisation that does not, in any way that I’ve been able to divine, impact your experience of the game. In some cases, things have improved. The housing plots, one of WildStar’s defining features and literal bastions of player expression, have more than tripled in size, the better to stuff with tasteless follies collected while adventuring. Intriguingly, WildStar’s cash shop, nestled in the lower-left corner of your screen, isn’t stuffed to the gills with décor either. There’s a selection of exclusive goods, sure, but it’s closer to a half-hearted car boot sale than some sort of off-brand IKEA. Instead, Carbine are flogging multiple tiers of capacity upgrades to boost the amount of tat you can show off at once, up to 4,000 separate objects. It’s smart: everyone has access to the same range of dayglow house fittings; everyone gets extra space; but only those properly hooked on the housing will end up paying. Similar exists for the holo-wardrobe, whereby you pay for additional armour and weapon skin storage.

400 NCoins costs you £4; 390 will get you room for 100 new skins and 210 will buy an extra character slot (new users start with two, up to a maximum of 14). Not extortionate in my opinion, but I’ve never been one for alts and having bought the game at launch I qualify for extra characters anyway, so perhaps I’m not the best judge of whether £4 for extra bank space is a rip-off. It doesn’t really matter though – everything in the cash store can be yours for omnibits, a secondary currency earned just by being out there doing stuff. So far I’ve acquired omnibits for finishing quest chains, as part of regular loot drops, and for liquidising a guy in PvP. That last one felt good. Omnibits keep you out in the world doing stuff, which will hopefully keep zones thriving in the long term but stop short of becoming a grind. I’ve scooped them up at a rate of about one every two minutes, so saving for a 115-omnibit bank expansion isn’t all that daunting when they’re handed out for playing as normal.

In fact, each time I spied something insidious and prepared to type with righteous fury against the impositions of free-to-play, minutes later I would unearth a reasonable alternative. Service tokens got my shackles up briefly, their primary uses being to reduce cooldowns on teleports (which remain at their pre-free-to-play values) and unlock extra rune slots on gear. Rune slots are a big deal, allowing you to socket stat-boosting runes and thus increase your chances of remaining intact in WildStar’s sadistic raids. This, surely, was putting power behind a paywall. But no, if you don’t want to spend your hard-earned omnibits on the basics, every 10 days you’ll be awarded a sack of service tokens for consistent logging in.

I can’t help but think of the current state of the premium economy as a sort of quantitative easing – that NCSoft are keeping prices down to get the players in before rebalancing once the accountants know what they’re working with. WildStar Reloaded is generous to an absurd degree, built to the budget of a premium MMO but now available to all. I don’t personally foresee any need to pay out.

I am admittedly flush with the benefits of longstanding membership, but that in itself is evidence of the care that’s gone into cooking up this brand of free-to-play. One of the major limitations on free players is the inability to create or invite others to a guild, or to maintain more than one ‘circle’ of specific friends. For the socialites who have subscribed from the start, the loss of those basic functions would be bitter, but the Cosmic Rewards programme intervenes. As you spend money on WildStar, you earn loyalty points in the store, unlocking account bonuses that are otherwise reserved for Signature members (£9-per-month access to experience boosters, guild ownership, etc.). For former subscribers, Cosmic Rewards are applied retroactively, retaining the social features they used to enjoy and chucking some vanity pets and mounts their way for good measure.

Carbine have put similar care into touching up the year-old world ahead of the new arrivals. Crafting has benefited no end from an overhaul, and where before it involved calculating vast quantities of raw materials to buy from the nearby vendor, recipes, like omnibits, now ask you to venture out and gather the bulk of ingredients on your travels. It is peculiar that crafting now incurs an in-game fee, and rumblings on the forums suggest that levelling a tradeskill might have become prohibitively expensive relative to farming loot, but at the same time WildStar’s new money sinks, including the enormously inflated armour dyeing cost, look to have reduced individual buying power and might have helped stabilise commodity prices. Prior to the update, raw materials auctioned for less than their vendor price, so the long-term health of the wonky economy will be a key test of the new model.

These changes to material gathering, combined with characters who now sprint by default and the ability to warp anywhere from an icon on your minimap, emphasise that WildStar wants you out there doing, questing, and exploding rather than mooching in the capital cities. The world is a pleasure as ever, and an upgraded lighting system that dials back on the neon bloom means that the Saturday morning cartoon style hasn’t aged a day.

Despite what must have been a torrid year for Carbine and WildStar, the energy and flamboyance with which it launched has been stepped up for Reloaded. It’s testament to their good humour that the patch notes for the biggest update in WildStar history open, “Fixed a journal inaccuracy and made it clear Nexus orbits a trinary star system.” As classic MMOs go, WildStar was exceptional – light and fun while retaining some bite in its endgame raids. It came years too late, however, when its target audience of disenfranchised Warcraft players had neither the time nor the inclination to tie themselves down with a subscription fee. Reloaded is a better game still, incorporating a year’s lessons in managing a live MMO and, at this stage at least, its free-to-play model is surprisingly unobtrusive.

WildStar Reloaded is out now.

57 Comments

  1. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Typo: “got my shackles up”

    Amusing to visualize, though.

  2. ablindpoet says:

    The WildStar Reloaded [official site] link isn’t present.

  3. jonahcutter says:

    “I don’t personally foresee any need to pay out”

    I sometimes wonder about this for FTP games (I haven’t really played any). I mean, you are playing the hard work of the developers. You don’t feel a need to support and reward them, if you’re enjoying it?

    • Bugamn says:

      I think he meant that the game is playable as it is, you don’t feel like you need to spend money to buy, say, weapons, or you will have no chance.

    • Strabo says:

      Do you feel the need to watch TV ads during breaks when watching TV to support the hard work of the show/series maker? I sure don’t.

      • Dux Ducis Hodiernus says:

        Difference is you usually pay for TV to begin with, and the TV networks gets money for showing the ads no matter if you watch it or not.

        • gwathdring says:

          Well, I pay for my Internet and my computer already and the artists who worked on the game get paid for their hours of work whether or not I pay money to the company that produces the game. It’s not literally the same, no, but the point of advertising is to generate sales–if it doesn’t help the company, they change their advertisement strategy which can hurt all kinds of people. But it’s all rather indirect.

          This is MORE direct, but still indirect. The welfare of individuals at the company is not directly tied to my patronage. This is not a proper patronage-based system. It’s more elaborate and indirect than that. Even if you’re one of the company’s investors, the relationship is not just funding -> product -> enjoyment of product.

          They’re releasing it for free. That means they’re confident that the way they run things will ensure sufficient profit. As such, there’s no special obligation to go out of your way to buy things just to be a patron. In this way, it is much like TV advertising where the involved parties have already come up with an arrangement and you are not asked to behave in any particular way. Their arrangement is not with you, but around you.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If you’re not very committed to it, not really?

      You’re out there in the long tail. You aren’t really a possibility for charging for the work that’s gone into the game, but there are lots of people who were. Your part in the economics of this is trading a tiny slice of server hosting costs for your time and presence making the game world a little bit more populated and alive. (How much this is worth depends on the MMO, but half the fun I had in Champions Online was just sightseeing the various superhero designs other people had come up with, especially as they all piled into a major ambient event in a maelstrom of brightly-coloured capes.)

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Free to play is a profitable business model in which some scenarios are already calculated, you’ll have the “whales”, the occasional buyer and the “freeloader”.

      Thing is, even as the latter you’re part of their business plan, a good F2P doesn’t force your “conversion”, if you love the game and the monetization you’ll want to pay.

      • teppic says:

        It’s a shame so few f2p companies get that. They often make it unpleasant (or near impossible) to play without regularly paying for stuff, leaving people feeling a bit resentful rather than happy they’ve bought something.

      • Dr_Barnowl says:

        Or just want to _play_ : as the article makes clear, the game was a bit dull without people playing. A dull game has a smaller audience, and a smaller audience is death for a game where only a fraction of a percent of players are profitable.

        If your game needs an audience to draw in the whales, then there’s nothing wrong with being one of the krill – you have your own value, just by being there, even if you didn’t pay to get in (as any bar owner who runs a ladies night will attest).

        • gwathdring says:

          Exactly, especially in an MMO … a certain number of players are worth the cost of server strain just for showing up because without a baseline player count EVERYONE gets less interested, even players will to pay $15 a month.

    • Jannn says:

      I have that want sometimes. I buy cosmetic stuff if I really like a game, after buying dlc if there is any. But it’s a want, not a need.

    • gwathdring says:

      If they give it to me for free of their own choice and I enjoy it enough to give it my time but not my time AND my money? No, not really. Time is a cost itself. It’s a non-transferable cost so I can’t expect the creators of the product to consider it due payment obviously … but a free product, formally speaking, has no due payment.

      If they make it good enough, sure I’ll buy extra character slots and similar addons quite willingly. But it doesn’t begin and end with “they worked hard.” The hard work has been compensated already, as per employment legislation and company policy.

      • thejimformerlyknownasjim says:

        “time is a payment” Come that is just nonsense. It is a payment when you are working on something.. not when you are doing recreational things like fucking video games.

  4. Arren says:

    He bought the game at release — says so right there in the article…..

  5. Chaosie says:

    After sampling many MMO’s over the years, Wildstar still just clicked with me. The only thing that put me off from the game originally was the skill wall end game dungeons put up for players. It was very difficult to train new people through dungeons when they fail to reconsider that their default key bindings are awful for playing this game. The challenging nature of the end game content compared with the lack of reward for doing said content plus the subscription fee left a lot of people stuck progression wise and not motivated to stay.

    Going through their patch notes over the past year, they did a lot to buff players and nerd bosses. That initially made me really disappointed to hear as I enjoyed the challenge, but I understood. Having had an opportunity to play some veteran content recently I am pleased to say they still present a challenge to anyone who isn’t properly focused on what’s going on.

  6. Chillicothe says:

    “…and the ability to warp anywhere from an icon on your minimap, emphasise that WildStar wants you out there doing, questing, and exploding rather than mooching in the capital cities.”

    Yet has the exact opposite effect, reached even quicker.

    Sadly, the game’s real problems have only been touched.

  7. Smoof says:

    What are the game’s real problems?

    • BloatedGuppy says:

      Anachronistic design that tries to cash in on decade old MMO paradigms. Lousy world building and borderline genre-worst treadmill questing. Juvenile sense of humor (not in the “fun” way, more in the “loud voices shouting = funny” way). Limited action set that perhaps faults slightly into the “too limiting” side of things, and wrist crippling combat that becomes extraordinarily repetitive. An end game thoroughly gated by extremely difficult raids and little to no meaningful advancement offered for soloists or small groups.

      I found the game to be of exceedingly minimal charm, but it’s possible a year’s worth of desperation polish might have sanded some of the roughest edges off.

      • LacSlyer says:

        Couldn’t have said it better. They relied far too much on nostalgic gimmicks to attract players and didn’t realize that they wouldn’t have enough players for more than two or three 40 man raiding guilds to exist, for instance. I don’t even mind the over the top design that appeals to the more bro-gamer type (i.e. multiple kill announcing and basically nothing but loud noises as you mentioned), but I agree that I think in the end it did more harm than good.

      • Askis says:

        As someone who has only tried it now that it’s gone FTP, the “wrist crippling combat” seems to be on the way out.
        You can turn on constant mouselook in the options and with a bit of rebinding, you’re looking at a control scheme that’s pretty much like other action-combat MMOs.
        Much better than trying to hold keyboard keys for attacking, while moving with WASD and holding RMB to turn and aim.
        There’s still issues however, as sometimes you’ll be stuck back in cursor mode after going through menus, with restarting the game being the only way to get mouselook back.

        • Premium User Badge

          Qazinsky says:

          What sometimes works for me to get mouselook back is to tab out and back into the game.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        “Anachronistic design that tries to cash in on decade old MMO paradigms.”

        Maybe they went overboard with attunements or overestimated their possibilities when they tailored the best content for 40 men raids, maybe, but yours is not a proper answer if you use that line as an opening.

        That nostalgic focus was a feature for a good part of the target player base, the fact that they might have mismanaged it doesn’t make it a “wrong” decision, that is your opinion and you probably never were part of the intended audience to start with.

        • LacSlyer says:

          I’m not convinced it’s as simple as saying their design for some of their features was flawed rather than that their decision to cater to players’ nostalgia was the reason they weren’t successful. On one had, you have Rift that proved you can cater to the hardcore MMO crowd and be completely profitable, but then you have these design decisions that are obviously done purely for nostalgia by the Wildstar devs that don’t make any sense.

          The second they announced 40 man raids I instantly scoffed and claimed that’ll be the death of them. Then less than 6 months later they ditch that idea because of how ridiculous it was to expect their small player base to acquire 40 raiders. As well, the attunement process was a bit ridiculous and completely unnecessary. There’s a reason a game like WoW moved on from these archaic concepts and it’s not to cater to casuals. They literally had top raiding guilds complaining about how ridiculous it was to maintain a 40 man roster, and limiting the population you can recruit from by requiring attunements made it practically impossible at times.

          The worst part is that this shouldn’t be some foreign concept as some of these very developers went through that experience with WoW.

          So yes, the hardcore concept for an MMO can definitely work, but not when you keep using flawed game concepts that were abandoned for good reason. Especially when some of them are obviously used purely for nostalgic purposes.

    • goettel says:

      The game’s real problem was lack of players.
      Solved, making it the best current MMO IMO – certainly the best F2P. Opinions, eh?

    • 0positivo says:

      my 2 cents, it’s chaotic. It’s an information overload. There’s WAY too much going on at any given time, and I’m left completely dumbfounded about what I’m actually supposed to DO.

      Granted, part of it is sure to be attributed to the UI, but still. There’s just so much fuff that you completely lose view of what’s actually important

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        I can totally symphatize with this, it starts out ok enough, but the second you leave the starter area and reaches the first town with all the missions and mailboxes and new buttons and path quests and… Coupled with so many screaming colors and effects everywhere. Entertainment needs a certain ebb and flow so you can enjoy the highs. Compare the constant bombardment of action in a Michael Bay movie, if everything is high, nothing is high.

        But on the other hand, hoverboards are fun!

      • Foosnark says:

        This, exactly. It’s way too chaotic to be relaxing to play. Everything is screaming at you for attention — quests, imbuement stuff, dungeons, expeditions, dungeons, events, path stuff, resource nodes, artifacts, lore, NPCs radioing you to add more, challenges. Some of which keep bugging you even if you hide, remove, abandon, ignore, and untrack them from your quest log.

        Contrast that with Guild Wars 2 where everything just sort of flows into place, and can be ignored or jumped into according to your whim.

        I don’t like the crafting system; I don’t know how it was before “Reloaded” but it seems needlessly complicated and too expensive to bother with.

        There are (rented or bought) ground mounts and hoverboards and taxis and teleporters and other stuff and it’s kind of a mess, and some of the distances involved are too short to worry about anyway.

        A lot of interfaces aren’t terribly clear; the costume system takes a lot of fiddling with to figure out (and it doesn’t tell you that you pay a merchant once to unlock a dye color, and then have to pay the costume interface much more than that for each item you want to apply the color to); the action set builder is kind of fiddly and slightly buggy; overall the whole game seems like it needs another UX pass. Possibly some of the game systems should be simpler too.

        As far as the queues go, I’ve seen the wait times as high as 5 and a half hours. I’ve also sat there for 20 minutes waiting for “less than a minute” to tick away. There were some pretty dire disconnect and just-get-stuck-logging-in-without-feedback issues early on. In the last couple of days though, it seems queues have disappeared and things are pretty smooth.

        All that said: I’m enjoying my Medic, and to a lesser degree my Spellslinger and Stalker. Some of the quests and areas and the feel of the setting can be really good at times (but kind of theme park MMO filler-ish in others). Some of the humor really works, and some misses the mark. Overall, I’m not blown away but I’m having fun.

  8. tnzk says:

    I missed the WoW boat, and I’ve always longed to jump into a experience that could somewhat capture the madness of its novelty and popularity.

    The only problem is the hours required. MMOs are a freakin’ time-sink, and now that I’m 25, I just do not have that time to play games like I use to, let alone thousand hour MMOs. I can barely knock off a few races in Forza 6, and the other week I had to actually take a couple of days off work to finish the Tomb Raider reboot, which was a relatively short game anyway (kinda sucky too).

    In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: I’m too old for this shit.

    P.S No I don’t waste my time doing other things. I dunno how some people can play Skyrim AND binge on Netflix on top of that. Maybe it’s a student thing.

    • tnzk says:

      P.P.S To clarify I don’t watch television/Netflix or watch many movies either, so combining gaming and television marathons is crazy to me.

    • Blackfish says:

      I’m with you on the MMO thing. The time required is intimidating and is probably the #1 reason I only recently was convinced to start playing an MMO.

      But how long is your work day? I work a nine-to-five and I have no problem squeezing in about two hours of gaming a day while still having time for other things.

    • TormDK says:

      It’s about priorities.

      I’m sure you’ll be able to prioritize differently in a few years time, should you have the desire still by then.

      I have no problems balancing a full time midlevel management position in a large multinational company, with friends and family and gaming.

      I also get roughly 8 hours of sleep every day :P

      I did have to leave gaming a bit behind for a few years, but now that my daughter is in her teens, free time spent on gaming is becoming increasingly available for me, and I’ll turn 36 next year, so things are looking good from a gaming perspective.

    • killmachine says:

      mmo’s these days actually allow for shorter game sessions. even in the beginning, one of wow’s strengths was that you could do some quests for an hour or so and felt like you’ve achieved something. the emphasize on this is even stronger now.

      i’m relatively new to wildstar but i already found content that’s particularly tailored towards shorter game sessions. i’m not too familiar with the nomenclature but there are like these scenario type things. you can solo these or go with a group of 3. these take maybe 15 minutes or so. you can get epic rewards from this even on low level. i played shortly before free2play launched and got a epic sword. you can do these over and over again.

      quests are also short but questing isn’t really one of wildstar’s strengths. more like the opposite. but still, you can play for half and hour and complete a couple of quests and feel like you’ve achieved something.

      pvp matches seem to be really short, too but i personally haven’t been there yet.

      so, yea, even if you don’t have a lot of time, i personally only play 1-2 hours every other day, you can still get an enjoyable experience from some mmorpg’s. wildstar’s definitely one of them.

  9. shagen454 says:

    I bought this game when it came out. I didn’t like it – to this day I call it the Jar Jar Binks of MMOs, looks like, acts like it, sounds like it – therefore it must be.

  10. Xerophyte says:

    I wanted to like Wildstar, I really did. As a man who like Fallout, space, cartoons, adventuring and MMOs, “Tim Cain makes a cartoony space adventure MMO!” was a concept that I could very much appreciate as catering to my tastes.

    I bounced, hard. Partly due to the combat system which I found extremely repetitive, partly because the devs appeared to have listened far too much to the “life must be a struggle” snobs of vanilla World of Warcraft, partly because the world itself wasn’t built nearly well enough to keep me there anyhow. There were just so many fundamental problems. I’d like to say that it could’ve been a good game since clearly there was talent involved in the production, but rarely has talent been so misdirected.

    I’ll likely check out the relaunch but my expectations this time are … low.

    • gwathdring says:

      Same here. I loved the promotional materials, though some people have sneered at its stylings on this page I found it charming and fun. But actually playing the thing … despite how it was made to sound and look in previews, in practice it feels exactly like everything I dislike about MMOs. The stingy pacing, the stingy progression, the stingy visuals, the stingy environment design, the You Are The Most Important Person storytelling … so you get some action mechanics on top of the boring-as-heck standard fare … but they aren’t GOOD action mechanics. Outside of their context as an allegedly refreshing gimmick, they didn’t feel remotely satisfying.

      First Guildwars 2 than this. They talked big, but they’re just so dull. Guildwars 2 at least managed to pull off its worldbuilding and sense of place better than Wildstar which is somewhat surprising in context … but both have painfully massive and empty indoor/settlement environments and a constantly shifting sense of scale in the great outdoors even if GW2 is less extreme with the later.

      Guild Wars 1’s skill system surprised me. I found it entertaining and tactile and it was one of the few times I actually enjoyed the grind of the MMO process.

      I genuinely cannot fathom why people find it interesting. It is some strange alien thing to me. To each their own and I don’t fault those who enjoy it but I find it utterly baffling. Wildstar left me feeling a little bit more dead inside every minute I played.

  11. racccoon says:

    Good review.
    I still believe this game has resemblances of Chronicle of Spellborn, & that wasn’t a great game, this is a bit better.

  12. Jenks says:

    Unfortunately Wildstar Reborn still looks like Wildstar.

    • TormDK says:

      Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of their character models, and as vain as that sound – it might just be the long time deal breaker for me.

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        I wouldn’t call that vain, alot of what we get out of games is the visual and if you dislike what you see, then that will affect your enjoyment of it. Different people value different aspects of the game, like story, world building, sound, feel or graphics,to different amounts. The visual style is just as valid a reason to bounce off a game as “The story is stupid”.

  13. Arglebargle says:

    Too bad the game didn’t live up to the fun trailers. Those were a hoot. The game? Less so.

    May give it another try, but not holding out much hope.

  14. revan says:

    I really like WildStar, but like Angus pointed out, my lack of free time just didn’t justify continuous subscription. I’ve bought a month a little while ago and booted the game two or three times. Guess I’ll give Reloaded a try during the holidays.

  15. spacedyemeerkat says:

    I bought the game on release and played until my initial month ran out. Thought I’d give it a try last weekend and guess what? They’ve deleted my characters despite them having what I am sure are unique names. One support person said they were recoverable, the second said they’re not and invited me to vent my spleen in a thread on the official forum.

    It’s not worth venting my spleen over but it does mean they’ve lost a potential customer.

  16. Fgale says:

    So much negsti city and from people who haven’t even tried the Reloaded version! WildStar is fun, done with a ton of heart and now is finally bustling.Stop mumbling and check it out for yourself.

    • gwathdring says:

      I played during beta and unless the core of what they game was has made radical departures, I have no interest. My issue wasn’t populations. It was the core mechanics.

  17. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    “previously it was quicker to organise parties through chat than to let the group finder piece one together.”

    I’d still love to see people keep doing that occasionally though.

  18. goettel says:

    With the unwashed masses of F2P now present and correct, Wildstar has become my one-stop for MMO time wasting: it’s an absolute blast to play, has a great world and story to explore and has some of the best voice-acting of any MMO ever.

    So try it, or try it again. It’s good, it’s free and it’s got Lopp.

  19. SomeDuder says:

    Imna give this a try, kinda wondering about the claim that this is an old-school MMO. Which I kinda doubt – I mean, it went F2P, which kind of proves the point that people just don’t want this crap no more: they want INSTANT ACTION, GRATIFICATION, DORITOS! Mountain Dew! YOUTUBE LETS PLAYS CASTS! Multimilion dollar tournaments! Live blogs! eSports!

    It’s like an entire side of the industry met up for a secret discussion with the outcome being “let’s run this shit into the ground”.

    Monthly subs just don’t work no more – there’s too much alternative entertainment available. When WoW launched, that just wasn’t an option. Hell, Steam was only just getting relevant, and didn’t have the near-permanent discounts on offer.

    So unless you’re an EA or Ubi or whatever big name that can fund a yearly returning installment in a franchise like CoDMoHBFBlOps that costs millions to produce, you’re shit out of luck and will have to scale down.

    • gwathdring says:

      I’m not an instant gratification sort of player and I’ve never gone on with MMOs. I know you’re probably really invested in your grumpy Kids These Days bullcrap, but this stuff has been bad since the day it started and lot of gamers have been all about action, graphics and whiz-pow since the arcade machine days.

      Sure, it’s hard to support an MMO nowadays. There are a lot of reasons for that–economic, technological, cultural–but don’t act like it’s part of some universal deadening of the heart or patience or integrity of the industry and its audience. That rose-tinted bullcrap hasn’t flown since elites first claimed the technology of popular writing would lead to people not being capable of remembering anything or speaking properly.

      • gwathdring says:

        That is, your nostalgia is several thousand years out of date.

  20. aircool says:

    I found the game quite boring, mainly because it’s the usual ‘click on quest giver, do ‘x’, return to quest completer’. I did enjoy PvP though as it involved a lot more than the standard ‘spam your rotation’.

    However, botters and AFK’ers absolutely destroyed the PvP. They released a new PvP map which I never saw, even after waiting for hours in the queue. Eventually, only Walatiki Temple would pop, but your results would largely depend on the amount of bots/AFK’ers on your team. Generally, the team with the most human players would win quite easily.

    I became extremely sick of the game.

    I’ll give it a punt again. They appear to have thrown a bone to original purchasers of the game and those that have had subs. I just hope that with the influx of F2P’ers they’ve got a grip on AFK’ers and Botters as it utterly destroyed PvP.

  21. intruth says:

    I endured the queues last week and returned to my character who’d level-capped just before I got bored and moved on.

    My main problem returning was working out what exactly I was supposed to do. I had a bags full of gear I had no idea what to do with, a quest log full of loose ends with no real clues how or where to pick them up, and a tool bar full of icons I’d forgotten how to use.

    Part of the fun, for me, of an MMO is the slow-burn learning of all the mechanics as you progress through the game. It’s almost impossible to pick them up all at once. I suppose it would be impossible to tailor the in-game hand-holding for every type of player, but returning to wildstar felt impenitrable in a way that coming back to other MMOs never has.

    • gwathdring says:

      I have the opposite problem. I learn what all of the things do and then find the game usually doesn’t present enough interesting challenges; grinding until the game deigns to give me more mechanics to play with. If these games were less stingy, the pure discovery process would be more interesting to me. Figuring out how to balance a character all at once with a dozen moving parts would be a process, somewhat like deck building in tabletop games, that I could sink my teeth into as I play. I could enjoy the learning process even if the moment-to-moment challenges weren’t very interesting. Instead I get one tiny morsel at a time and quickly exhaust it’s complexity.

  22. aircool says:

    Crafting… using colours for sockets and stat icons is a really, really, really, really bad idea and incredibly, incredibly, incredibly frustrating.

    Someone needs shooting for coming up with that bright idea. I mean, they have colourblind options for the target displays (none of which are particularly good, making your own is preferable), but not even having tooltips for the sockets and icons?

    Colourblind people have been banging on about this issue for ages, except, even though some developers make an effort, they still manage to fuck it up because it would appear that they don’t test the colourblind options on people who are colourblind. If they did, they’d realise that contrast and shape are far more important to a colourblind person.

    Looks like today is a two Diazepam day *grmph*